Sri Lanka losing a test match in India is hardly a surprise. India has been on an absolute annihilation spree in their home conditions in the last one and a half years and much more settled and solid test teams than Sri Lanka have found it hard to topple India on Indian pitches. Sri Lanka was always going to be the underdogs coming into the series, but what was surprising in the Nagpur test match which the Sri Lankans lost by an innings was the lack of spine that they showed.
After getting bundled out for less than 200 on the third morning of the Colombo test, the Sri Lankan team put on a far better display following-on and got very close to denying India an innings win.
India, however, eventually secured the innings win and with that secured the series win as well, but, it was definitely Sri Lanka’s best batting performance in the whole series and they would now be a pretty confident batting unit going ahead.
It was not that the wicket changed too much and the turn and bounce disappeared all of a sudden when the Sri Lankans came in to bat the second time.
It was still turning and bouncing a fair bit, probably the pace of the wicket had reduced slightly, but, it had certainly not turned into the flattest wicket in the world to bat on.
But, the reason why the hosts succeeded in the second innings was because they used a different game plan.
While batting in the first innings, they had let the Indian spinners bowl their lengths, but, that’s not what they allowed in the second innings.
They, particularly their top order, swept a lot and they swept from different areas of the wicket. They were fetching deliveries from even outside the off stump and were sweeping them against the spin in front of square which was quite extraordinary.
And because they were sweeping so successfully, they made the Indian spinners tinker with their lengths and that created the opportunities for them to play other shots too which they had not been able to play in the first innings.
So it was just a better and a more positive game plan which got them results in the second innings and they would want to stick to this game plan in the last game of the series as well.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have confirmed plans to implement new laws of the game in which players will get sent off for serious issues bordering on misconduct.
In addition, the MCC will clamp down on bat sizes ahead of the Ashes series.
The 2017/18 Ashes series will see players getting punished through penalty runs as part of new on-field sanctions for poor player behaviour. The series this year is poised to happen in Australia from November to January.
The issue of batsmen having an edge over bowlers has been addressed after bats increased in thickness in recent years. The maximum dimensions of bats are now 108mm in width, 67mm in depth and 40 mm in edges.
“The bat size issue has been heavily scrutinized and discussed in recent years. We believe the maximum dimensions we have set will help redress the balance between bat and ball, while still allowing the explosive, big hitting we all enjoy,” the MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said.
There is now a four-level scale for offences and umpires have more powers to deliver sanctions in games.
“We felt the time had come to introduce sanctions for poor player behaviour and research told us that a growing number of umpires at grass roots level were leaving the game because of it. Hopefully, these sanctions will give them more confidence to handle disciplinary issues efficiently, whilst providing a deterrent to the players,” Stephenson added.
Dissent and excessive appeals could now earn players five penalty runs at the lowest level. Throwing the ball at the opposition is a level two offence ad level three involves assault on an opponent. Depending on the game, level two and three could earn cricketers penalty runs and ‘sin-binning’ for a number of overs. Threatening an umpire or going violentis a level four offence that could earn the player marching orders.
Darren Sammy may be considered more as a T20 freelancer these days, but, he insists that he is ready to serve his motherland in white ball Cricket any time.
Sammy is probably the only international skipper who was dished out the sack by his board after winning one of the ICC majors and that too not because of any Cricketing reason, but, because of the speech that he had delivered in the aftermath of the title win as that speech was aimed against the board, but, the St. Lucia strongman took the sack in his stride without complaining and has been featuring for overseas franchises in the T20 tournaments since then, the latest of which was the Hong Kong league.
However, now he hopes that with the change of faces right at the top of the hierarchy in Caribbean Cricket, smart decisions will be made and the motive of the decision making will be the benefit of the national team.
Sammy hints that there have been some administrators in the recent years who have given their own agendas more importance that the interest of the team and that’s why West Indies has been deprived of the services of many of its Premier Cricketers for past some time and has slumped to its worst ranking position ever in the two white ball formats of the game.
Jimmy Adams is now the head of all the decision making at the Cricketing level in the Caribbean board and Sammy, having had a chat with him recently, reckons that he has come with some great ideas and so has the new coach Stuart Law, but, for both of them to be able to implement those ideas, there will be help needed from the top. So, it’s important that they get that help.
Jimmy Anderson believes that the condition of play suited Virat Kohli and that if it was in England, he would have ended up as a flop.
Anderson’s slight dig at the cricketer came at a period where the Indian captain was enjoying the time of his career, having made the headlines due to leading his team to victory and his astounding play.
Anderson is of the belief that the Indian tracks was of much help to Kohli as it lacked both pace and movement, which ensures that any technical glitches on the side of the Indian are hidden.
During the series in England back in 2014, Anderson dismissed Kohli thrice, where the batsman was repeatedly nicking away going deliveries outside the off-stump.
However, this series has seen Kohli punish England the most with no less than 700 runs. And when asked if there has been any changes in Kohli’s techniques, the answer given by Anderson wasn’t a very charitable one.
“I am not sure if he (Kohli) has changed. I just think any technical deficiencies he has got are not in play out here. The wickets just take that out of the equation. There is not that pace in the wicket to get the nicks, like we did against him in England – with a bit more movement,” he said.
The highest ever wicket taker for England in Test matches did not hide his feelings about Kohli’s technique on the day he scored a career-best 235 as he said,
“When that (pace and movement) is not there, he (Kohli) is very much suited to playing in these conditions. He is a very good player of spin – and if you are not bang on the money and don’t take your chances, he will punish you,”
Pakistan lost to Bangladesh in the national Stadium in Dhaka last night and was knocked out of the Asia Cup.
It was Pakistan’s second loss in the tournament as they had been toppled by India as well in their first game.
Now, they have to play Sri Lanka on Friday which will be a dead rubber.
The Pakistani team had come into the Asia Cup on the back of the Pakistan Super League and thus, had been considered as a strong contender, but, it was the same old story of irresponsible batting and lethargic fielding from them.
Their bowling was fast and furious as always or even more so with the arrival of Mohammad Amir, but, the rest two departments let them down.
The games against India and Bangladesh which they lost, they just didn’t put enough runs on the board.
83 and 129 are not the scores which give you the guarantee of winning matches especially when you have a fielding as inefficient and inconsistent as Pakistan’s is.
Pakistan’s selections have been a bit questionable too. They have played Khurram Manzoor three games in a row despite the fact that he is looking all out of sorts.
They could have been better off playing an extra bowler in the form of Wahab Riaz in the Bangladesh game and getting an all rounder, maybe Anwar Ali slightly up the batting order.
Riaz was dropped after just an off day against India which was bizarre because he has been Pakistan’s most successful bowler lately and on pitches with a little seam movement, he can make big impact.
The team management might want to bring him back on Friday against Sri Lanka.
That game is important for Pakistan not only for their pride, but, also, for their confidence before the World Championship that is only weeks away.
Kolkata Knight Riders would be ruing their soft batting execution at Green Park which got them losing their second game back to back and left them in a shaky situation for the playoffs qualification.
The grass on the deck meant the scores of 190-200 were not quite realistic even with the boundaries not situated at a huge distance.
Technique had to play its part while setting up the total for the opposition and Kolkata’s main weapon in that regard was their skipper and highest run getter Gautam Gambhir who had got a half century in the last game too.
But, with an electrifying Shadab Jakati catching him out of the crease with a great throw from short midwicket, it opened the gate for the Gujarat pacers to make their way into a not-so-technical middle order of Kolkata which did not rise up to the task.
Having had other pacers gaining from the juice in the wicket, Suresh Raina pulled off a surprise by getting the part timer Dwayne Smith bowling from one end and the big Caribbean repaid him with the figures of 4 for 8.
However, seeing the replay of the dismissals, the Kolkata batsmen would kick themselves for the lose shots they came up with against the ever-so-slightly moving balls of Smith which were not necessarily wicket taking if they had been handled more efficiently.
Kolkata also had the new ball making inroads for them and the chase of 120 odd still seemed problematic, but, Raina, straight out of his flight from Netherlands, took care of the matter with a fifty full of style which made the chase possible in the 14th over itself.
Gujarat is in the play offs now, but, their position in top 2 is not certain unless they win their last game against Mumbai too.
Virat Kohli has owned the IPL 2016 with his batting prowess. With four scores of three figures in 13 games, he has got over the mark of 850 with his runs’ tally and has left behind all the previous highest scorers of the tournament by some margin.
Virat seems to have unlocked something for himself in terms of his big hitting because he never hit the ball such far and long before. He was always the anchor of a batsman who would begin his innings with some watchfulness and would be interested in finding the gaps through the field as he went along.
But, it’s been a different avatar of him this season as apart from showing some finesse; he has also shown some muscle power and some innovation too with the shots that were not in his repertoire before, the ramp shots and reverse sweeps.
Perhaps because Royal Challengers Bangalore has added some finishing power to its ranks, the skipper has freed himself up, coming at the top of the order with the knowledge that even if his aggression doesn’t go well and he gives his wicket to the opposition, enough batting ability is in the dugout to see the team through to where it needs to be.
In the past, maybe the fact that he knew it’s only the dismissal of him and AB De Villiers is what the opposition was looking for and one of the two had to bat it out the whole innings, a lot of thoughts would come into his head before he decided to play any risky shot.
But, now the likes of Shane Watson and others down the order has made him less bothered about his wicket and that is coming off in the form of some glamorous and unbelievable batting from him.
The Indian team beat Sri Lanka in the last two games and won a bilateral Twenty 20 series at home for the first time.
Sri Lanka, a team mostly comprised of the young players, had won the series opener on a green top, but, they had a reality check in the second and the third game as they were absolutely torn apart by the Indian heavyweights.
However, the Sri Lankan team management would be really impressed with a couple of their players especially in the fast bowling department.
That tall lanky pace bowler Dushmanta Chameera, he was on fire that lad.
Steaming in, hitting the deck hard, hurrying the batsmen and in between all that, he disguised his slower deliveries superbly as well.
He would be a bowler to look out for in the World Cup as he can make use of all conditions.
On traditional Indian tracks which would be a little slow and low, he has the variations to outfox the batsmen and if there is some juice in the wicket, he can make use of that too with his pace.
So, he along with the regular Indian skipper, Lasith Malinga, who would be coming back in the team for the World Cup, would be a potent fast bowling pair for Sri Lanka and would help them a great deal in retaining their crown.
Sri Lanka had won the last twenty 20 World Cup in Bangladesh and it was the bowling which had won them that. They were the best death bowling team in the tournament.
It was Kulasekara who had paired Malinga at that time to execute those yorkers to perfection to net let the opposition teams go bonkers in the death.
The young Chameera will have to do a similar job with the skipper and he has shown enough signs that he is capable of doing that.
Eoin Morgan, the captain of the England national side in white ball Cricket, is not going to feature for Middlesex in the upcoming County game versus Worcestershire.
He is said to have almost recovered from the concussion that he had sustained batting in the 5th One Day International game of the Australia series, but, the Middlesex management has decided to keep him out on a precautionary measure.
This season, the ECB has advised all the counties to be slightly careful with the players who have had concussion and to play them only when they don’t show any signs of dizziness for at least 7 days.
In Morgan’s case, when he was assessed by Middlesex a couple of days ago, he was still slightly ‘groggy’ and thus, to name in the squad in that sort of condition would not have been wise.
However, according to Angus Fraser, who is the club MD at the moment, Morgan is not too far away and he would be absolutely ready for the action in a week’s time.
Interacting with the media yesterday, Fraser said, “We have opted to go without Eoin keeping the board’s advice in mind. We had a look at him in the weekend and we found that there’s still some grogginess. So, it wasn’t appropriate to pick him, but, had there been another game coming up in 7-8 days’ time, he’d probably have been in a position to make an appearance.”
Morgan has missed quite a bit of Cricket for Middlesex in the ongoing season. Back in August, when he was struggling with the bat big time, had had a string of low scores to his name, he had requested to the county hierarchy for a break citing the need of spending some time away from the game.
He was permitted the break of two weeks and he had remained out of 4 games.