Abrasive Nature Of Karachi Pitch Helped In Getting Reverse Swing: Mitchell Starc

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Mitchell Starc celebrates a wicket in 2nd Test vs Pakistan© AFP

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc on Monday said the abrasive nature of the Karachi pitch helped him and Pat Cummins gain substantial reverse swing as the visitors bowled out Pakistan for 148 runs in the second Test. Asked in a media interaction why Australian bowlers didn’t get much reverse swing in the first Test in Rawalpindi, Starc said for one they didn’t expect the pitch in Karachi to deteriorate so quickly.

“This track is much more abrasive and the wicket footholds will also encourage the spinners in next two days. I feel there are more cracks on this abrasive wicket and this has played a big part in us achieving reverse swing.

“Another factor is that the square and practice wickets here are also dry and basically mud and the weather is also warmer and more dry compared to Pindi so that has helped us reverse the ball both ways.” Starc also said that before coming to Pakistan for their first Test tour in 24 years, Australia had done their homework and had some thorough discussions and gone through all the scenarios they expected to face here.

“In Melbourne before flying out here we spent one full day only on bowling reverse swing because in the Ashes series mostly we had the new and hard ball and didn’t get many opportunities for reversing the ball.” The Australian veteran said he would give full credit to the Australian batters to set up a big total and put their team in the box seat over the next two days.

He also said that captain Cummins had not discussed anything with him before deciding not to enforce the follow on on Monday.

“I think probably because of the position we found ourselves in we had a lot of scenarios before us and mainly we don’t want to bat last on this pitch.” Asked when was the last time he had seen the ball reverse as it did in Karachi, Starc said it happened a couple of times, probably in the series against India.

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To a question, Starc who took three wickets and missed out on a hat trick, added: “We are searching to improve our record in the subcontinent and in away series and we have as a group had a lot of discussion and thorough conversations in lead up to this series and even after the Pindi Test on how to do this.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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West Indies Docked WTC Points, Drop Below Bangladesh To Eighth Place

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West Indies players during their match against England© AFP

West Indies on Monday slipped to eighth spot in the World Test Championship standings after being penalised by docking two points for slow over-rate during their drawn first Test against England in Antigua. The Kraigg Brathwaite-led side were found to have been two overs short after reasonable adjustments and time allowances had been taken into consideration, the ICC said.

As a result, West Indies were fined 40 per cent of their match fee and were also penalised two points in the ICC World Test Championship standings, dropping below Bangladesh to eighth place in the nine-steam standings.

They are one of three teams to have been docked points due to penalty overs.

This was West Indies’ first slow over-rate offence in the 2021-2023 Championship cycle, while India have been docked three points and ninth-placed England docked 10 across 10 matches to date.

As per the WTC playing conditions, a side will be penalised one WTC point and fined 20 percent of their match fees for every over they have failed to bowl in the allotted time.

West Indies’ four-pronged seam attack bowled the bulk of the 188.5 overs as the Antigua Test saw England bat long in both innings.

West Indies frontline spinner Veerasammy Permaul sent down just 25 overs of his left-arm spin in the match, a significant factor in the slow over-rate.

Brathwaite has pointed to it as an area for improvement going into the second Test in Barbados from Wednesday.

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“There are some areas in terms of run rate we can improve and it’s simply just setting the field and bowling to it and being disciplined enough to bowl to that field,” said Brathwaite.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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“We Were Given A Target…”: Shreyas Iyer On Team India’s Plans In 2nd Test vs Sri Lanka

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Shreyas Iyer was adjudged Player of the Match in 2nd Test© BCCI

Playing under lights with a pink ball in a Day-Night Test match is challenging as most of the teams and their players are yet to get used to it. But for Shreyas Iyer who was playing his first Test under lights here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium had a different approach and his attacking style paid rich dividends to the team as his 92 run knocks in the first innings helped India score 252 in the first innings when at one stage India was tottering at 148 for 6.

“That wasn’t my normal approach but when I saw other batters struggling, I knew I had to attack. I was just trying to be one step of the bowlers. When the tail came in, I was on 55 and I added 37 more, so I wasn’t too bothered about missing out on a hundred,” said Shreyas Iyer in the post-match presentation ceremony.

In the second innings too Shreyas Iyer top-scored by playing a knock of 67 and played an important role in taking India’s second innings total to 303 for 9.

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“We were given a target, and I was in the mindset to play as many balls as possible. I have always dreamt about being a Test player for India and playing alongside the greats and contributing at the highest level. I hope I can maintain that consistency in the time to come,” said Shreyas Iyer.

Shreyas Iyer’s performances in both innings helped him bag the ‘Player of the Match’ award.

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Watch: Mitchell Starc’s 145kph Thunderbolt Ends Fawad Alam’s Long Wait In One Ball

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Mitchell Starc was on top of his game as his spell of three for 29 saw Australia bowl out Pakistan for a paltry of 148 in the first innings on Day 3 of the ongoing second Test at the National Stadium in Karachi. However, Starc’s “blazing yorker” which got the better of Fawad Alam hogged all the limelight on a day dominated by the Australian bowlers. The delivery was clocked at 145kph and Alam was completely beaten by the pace as the ball tailed in and crashed into his pads.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shared the video of the dismissal on their official Twitter handle.

Watch: Mitchell Starc’s Blazing Yorker To Fawad Alam

This was Fawad Alam’s first opportunity to contribute with either bat, ball in this series. The experienced left-hander did not get an opportunity to bat or bowl in the first Test. Alam’s seven-day wait ended in a golden duck as he was dismissed off the first ball.

After rolling over Pakistan for cheap, Australia took a first innings lead of 408.

The visitors were 81 for one at stumps on Day 1, extending their lead to 489 with Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne unbeaten on 35 and 37, respectively.

David Warner was dismissed on 7 by Hasan Ali.

Earlier, Australia had declared their first innings at 556 for nine, thanks to Khawaja’s marathon knock of 160 runs, followed by a quickfire 93 by wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey.

The first Test in Rawalpindi had earlier ended in an unentertaining draw after batters had dominated their counterparts.

The pitch used for the Rawalpindi Test had drawn a lot of criticism from several current and former players.

As a result, the Pakistan team was also handed one demerit point for it.

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The third and final Test will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore from March 21-25.

The Test series will be followed by three ODIs and a one-off T20I, with all the white-ball games set to be played in Rawalpindi.

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International Football Friendly Against Belarus On As Of Now: India Head Coach Igor Stimac

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National football team coach Igor Stimac on Monday said India’s international friendly against Belarus next week is on “as of now” though the AIFF is in constant touch with FIFA about “possible sanctions” against the European country which has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All India Football Federation (AIFF) officials have said that India was trying to avoid playing against Belarus on March 26 in Manama, Bahrain amid a global sporting boycott of Russia and Belarus.

The world football body FIFA has suspended Russia but has not announced any such measure for Belarus as yet.

“It is regular. We are going to Bahrain to face them (Bahrain). Bahrain is hosting these games. So, as of now the game is on,” Stimac said during a virtual press conference, when asked about the status of the match against Belarus.

“We are in daily touch with the FIFA about everything, what is going on in Ukraine and about possible sanctions (on Belarus) but as far as we are concerned, the game is on.” India, without talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri who is out due to an injury, will play against hosts Bahrain on March 23 before taking on Belarus match three days later.

These two international friendly matches are a part of India’s preparation for the Asian Cup final-round qualifiers to be held in Kolkata in June. India will play Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia at the Salt Lake Stadium from June 8 to 14 in Group D matches.

“We are favourites in the group, we are hosting the group and there is nothing we should complain about. But we should earn it on the pitch,” Stimac said when asked about the Asian Cup qualifiers.

“The other three teams will also fight for qualification, we cannot take anyone easy. We should not look at the rankings of the teams. We should earn it on the pitch and that is how we are going to prepare.” The winners of the six groups and five best second placed teams across groups will make it to the Asian Cup in China in 2023. The matches of the six groups will be held in different countries.

He added that India will play at least four more international friendly matches before the Asian Cup final round qualifiers.

Stimac said he is looking forward to test various combinations during the two international friendly matches in Manama to prepare for different scenarios during the Asian Cup qualifiers in June.

“We are going to prepare various combinations. As a contender for a first place in the group, we need to think about playing attacking football, playing with more players forward, risking more.” The head coach said he will give opportunities to the new players in the two matches but cautioned against jumping guns by declaring ISL performers as quality players at international stage.

“The pace of ISL is far below the pace international football. Sometimes we are impressed with some players in ISL, but when they come to international matches there is nothing they can do. We have to be quite sure about their quality at the international matches,” the Croat said.

“I want to look at some new faces. It is important for me to find out how much they can do at international stage. I am giving every player certain minute on the pitch and see their capability.

“The two matches (against Bahrain and Belarus) will show where his team is at the moment. We have chosen the opponents very carefully, they are better-ranked sides though I said rankings do not matter.” He mentioned Roshan Singh and VP Suhair as the young players to watch out for, while also describing Sahal Abdul Samad as one of his favourite players.

“Roshan has been consistent throughout the season, playing left or right, both flanks, making great crosses, assisting a lot, his crosses are with the eyes, always finding the players inside the box and creating opportunities. That is what we need, especially as we are the favourites in our group in Asian Cup qualifiers.” Stimac also informed that after the match against Bahrain, three Mumbai City FC players will leave the team as the ISL side will have to prepare for the AFC Champions League.

He said in the absence of Chhetri, goalkeeper Gupreet Singh Sandhu and defender Sandesh Jhinghan will wear the captain’s armband.

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Regarding the ongoing ISL, Stimac said he has seen some of the most spectacular goals since the start of the league and which can be compared to the level of Premier League.

He also said that most of the ISL goalkeepers, except for Prabhsukhan Gill, have had a “nightmare” season, making “unnecessary mistakes” and conceding “funny” goals though he said it was part of football.

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He Was Stepping Into Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara’s Shoes: Rohit Sharma Praises Young India Batter Shreyas Iyer

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India captain Rohit Sharma gestures towards a fielder© BCCI

India captain Rohit Sharma was all praise for Shreyas Iyer after India beat Sri Lanka in the day-night Test to clean sweep the series 2-0 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Shreyas scored half-centuries in both innings of the match and was named ‘Player of the Match’ for his showing in the second Test. Rohit said that Shreyas had big shoes to fill after veteran batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were dropped from the Test side for the Sri Lanka series.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Rohit said he was impressed with Shreyas for carrying his exceptional form from T20Is to the longest format of the games. The India captain said Iyer will only get better once he starts touring with the team regularly.

“Shreyas just carried on from where he left off in the T20 series against Sri Lanka. He seemed to carry that form into the Test series. He knew he was stepping into the big shoes of guys like Rahane and Pujara, but he has everything that he requires. He will be better now when he starts travelling,” said Rohit.

Iyer scored a sparkling 92 off just 98 balls in the first innings on a turning track to help post 252. The right-hander then backed his efforts with a 67-run knock in the second innings to help India post a 447-run for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka were skittled out for 208 as Jasprit Bumrah (3/23) and spinner Ravichandra Ashwin (4/55) broke through the Sri Lankan batting line-up.

For Sri Lanka, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne scored a battling ton while Kusal Mendis complemented him well with a fine half-century.

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Earlier, India had bowled out Sri Lanka for a paltry of 109 after scoring 252 and 303 for nine declared in the first and second innings, respectively.

This was India’s 14th straight win since Rohit was appointed as India’s captain.

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Indian Premier League: “No Cricketer In World Will Try To Fill…,” Says Faf Du Plessis On Royal Challengers Bangalore Great

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Faf du Plessis will lead RCB in IPL 2022.© Twitter

IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) newly-appointed captain Faf du Plessis said “no cricketer in the world” can “fill in” AB de Villiers’ shoes. RCB will be without the services of de Villiers in IPL 2022 as legendary South African cricketer announced his retirement from all forms of the game last year in November just ahead of the IPL retention.

“It’s huge shoes to fill in. There is no cricketer in the world that will try to fill in AB’s shoes. Those shoes are too big. I’ve got big feet but they’re never going to match AB’s feat. I wouldn’t even try, he’s an absolute great of the game,” du Plessis said of his former South African teammate.

Alongside the overwhelming 20,014 international runs in his repertoire, De Villiers also boasts of records of fastest fifty, century and 150 in ODIs.

He also managed to rack up 4522 runs from 157 matches that he has played for RCB at an astonishing average and an electrifying strike rate.

“He mentioned throughout his career that it’d be nice if I could join him yet RCB so the timing is obviously not great now that he has decided to retire and also retired three years ago in International cricket.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be playing together. But it’s nice that one friend replaces another. And there’s something nice to that story,” he added.

Du Plessis is set to lead an RCB side which has the likes of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood.

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RCB are set to open their account against Punjab Kings on March 27.

(With PTI inputs)

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India vs Sri Lanka: Teammates Can’t Stop Laughing As Virat Kohli Tries To Copy Jasprit Bumrah’s Bowling Action. Watch

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Former India captain Virat Kohli was seen imitating pacer Jasprit Bumrah during the ongoing second Test against Sri Lanka at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Kohli, who could only manage scores of 23 and 13 runs in India’s first and second innings, respectively, was seen having some fun on the field as he tried to imitate the bowling action of Jasprit Bumrah. The incident happened before the start of Sri Lanka’s first innings on Day 1. Bumrah went on to pick a fifer in Sri Lanka’s first innings.

Watch: Virat Kohli’s hilarious attempt to copy Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling action

Kohli’s shenanigans managed to bring a smile on Bumrah and other Indian players’ faces.

Bumrah picked his 8th five-for, his first on home soil, as India bowled out Sri Lanka for a paltry total 109 in the first innings.

His figures of five for 24 helped India take a 143-run lead, having posted a total of 252 in the first innings.

Apart from Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets each while Axar Patel also picked up a wicket on his return to the side.

Bumrah struck again in Sri Lanka’s second innings as the visitors ended Day 2 at 28/1 after being set a target of 447. India declared their second innings at 303/9 after fifties by Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had resumed their innings 86 for six at stumps on Day 1, trailing India by 166 runs.

For India, Shreyas Iyer top-scored with a fine 92 while Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari also played cameos of 39 and 31, respectively.

For Sri Lanka, Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama bagged three wickets each while Dhanajaya de Silva also picked up a couple.

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India lead the two-match series 1-0, having won the first Test in Mohali by an innings and 222 runs.

The hosts had also clean swept the visitors 3-0 in the T20I series last month.

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Rishabh Pant Backs His Strengths, That’s A Positive Sign: Jasprit Bumrah

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Rishabh Pant backs his naturally aggressive style of batting and that is a positive sign for the Indian team, vice captain Jasprit Bumrah said on Sunday after stumper’s fiery knock helped them set Sri Lanka a massive 400-plus target in the second Test. Pant became the fastest Indian batter to score a Test fifty when he reached the mark in 28 balls on the second day of the match, going past Kapil Dev’s 30-ball record which he set way back in 1982 against Pakistan. “Not each and everyone (can) play in the same manner. Every individual has a different game-plan, so he has backed his strengths,” Bumrah said after day’s play.

Bumrah said that Pant is getting more and more experienced with each passing day.

“Not every player in the team will play with the same tempo, we understand that. He is still getting more and more experience and learning about this game. That is his plan (attacking) going forward so that’s a positive sign for us,” said the pacer.

Bumrah himself played a key role in taking control of the second Test with his five-wicket haul, which was his first at home.

“It feels good. When you play all three formats you have to look after your body and you sometimes miss out on the home Tests. But it’s always good, this is the time when I got the opportunity and to be able to contribute towards the team’s success is always a great feeling,” he said.

The spin-friendly track made life tough for the Sri Lankan batters even as the Indians negotiated the tough track with aplomb.

Asked what the Indian made out of the track, Bumrah said “no one is complaining”.

Bumrah feels that scoring runs on a track like this gives way more satisfaction.

“You always play in different conditions, not every wicket will be same. If there is some help for the bowlers, when you score runs on such a wicket gives you a lot of confidence,” he said.

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“You will not get flat wickets everywhere you play, so whenever it’s a challenge, you are always looking forward to that challenge.

“Nobody is complaining about the wicket, yes everybody is finding a way and looking forward to contribute because they know if they score good runs on a tough wicket then that will give them a lot of confidence and when they play on a relatively flat wicket that will give them strength. So that is the mood in our camp,” he said.

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2nd Test, Day 2: India In Control As Sri Lanka Lose 1 Wicket In Chase Of 447; Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Jasprit Bumrah Star

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Rishabh Pant put Sri Lankan attack to the sword with a record-breaking half-century while Shreyas Iyer yet again conjured up a measured fifty to let India grab complete control of the second Test in Bengaluru on Sunday. Pant’s 31-ball 50 and Iyer’s 67-run knock after useful contribution from top-order batters meant that India set Sri Lanka a mammoth 447-run target after declaring their second innings at 303 for nine. The struggling visitors would need no less than a miraculous show to save the match after ending the second day at 28 for one.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and Kusal Mendis (16) will resume Sri Lankan chase on Monday morning.

With plenty of time at their disposal after bundling out Sri Lanka for 109 in the first session of the day for a 143-run first-innings lead, India batters gained more experience of playing with pink ball on a wicket that assisted spinners.

Like in the first innings, it was Pant’s blitzkrieg that forced Sri Lanka into complet submission. He did not let them gain momentum after getting breakthroughs. Pant’s game-changing innings let Iyer play freely and that certainly helped India to extend their lead beyond the 400-run mark.

Iyer carried from where he left in the first innings, scoring 67 off 87 balls with help of nine shots the fence.

There is never a dull moment when Pant is at the crease and it did not change today. He cut, pulled, swept, reverse swept, drove, charged down the wicket at will and raised his fifty off just 28 balls with 40 of those runs coming in boundaries.

It was the fastest Test fifty by an Indian, obliterating the 30-ball effort by Kapil Dev against Pakistan in 1982. He fell for an even 50, becoming the third scalp of left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama (4/78).

The Indians scored at a good pace throughout the day with Lankan bowlers failing to exploit the spin-friendly conditions.

Rohit was calculative in shot selection before lofting off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva straight to Angelo Mathews for 46. His footwork looked good, he largely swept left-arm spinners and charged down the wicket to smother the off-spin of De Silva.

However, he could not resists the temptation of going after De Silva when he closed in on a half-century.

Before walking back, Rohit added 42 runs with fellow opener Mayank Agarwal (22) and 56 for the second wicket with Hanuma Vihari (35), who also frittered away a solid start.

Agarwal edged one from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (3/87), who got the ball to turn away from good length and had the Indian caught by De Silva.

Vihari, who would ideally like to make the number three spot his own, missed a straighter one from Jayawickrama and lost his off stump.

Jayawickrama also sent back Virat Kohli (13), who again fell leg before and his search for that elusive 71st international hundred just got longer. He is without an international hundred in 73 innings now. It was another delivery that kept low and he was trapped on the back-foot.

The string of low scores means that Kohli is now averaging below 50 after years of consistency.  In the morning session, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah (5/24) completed his eighth five-wicket haul and first at home as India polished off the Sri Lankan lower-order in a jiffy.

Sri Lanka resumed at 86 for six and India required less than 30 minutes to wrap their innings. Bumrah and off-spinner R Ashwin (2/30) scalped two batters each as Sri Lanka’s shoddy display continued.

Stumper batter Niroshan Dickwella (21) started off with consecutive boundaries off Bumrah. He opened the face of the bat to gently place the ball between the gaps.

Ashwin expectedly bowled from the other end and troubled Embuldeniya (1) straight away, his balls turning from the rough.

Embuldeniya could not handle a short one from Bumrah, miscuing a pull to be caught by Rishabh Pant. That was an irresponsible shot under the circumstances.

Surnaga Lakmal showed intent to stay at the wicket but could not read a carrom ball from Ashwin and saw his timber disturbed. This was immediately after he lofted one over mid-on for a boundary.

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Bumrah completed his five-wicket haul when he had Dickwella caught behind. The short ball jumped off the track, touched the shoulder of the bat before going into Pant’s gloves.

Vishwa Fernando went after Ashwin in the next over but was soon deceived by another carrom ball and was stumped by Pant as the batter had lunged forward.

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