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WATCH: India or India A? Ishant to Jadeja, the long injury list going into the Gabba Test | Cricket



India have suffered a number of injuries – during matches and in training – since the start of the Test series © Getty Images

Somewhere amid their 36 all out at Adelaide Oval, the remarkable comeback at the MCG and the rearguard for the ages at the SCG, the story of India’s Test tour of Australia has been about the injuries.

There was a short list even before India left for Australia, with the names of the Sharmas – Rohit and Ishant – in it, but since then, the number has increased alarmingly. So much so that the team for the series-deciding final Test at the Gabba will likely look very different from anyone’s idea of the best Indian Test XI.

Virat Kohli was always going to leave after the first Test, and Rohit was going to be available for the third and fourth Tests – nothing has changed there. But elsewhere…

Yes, that was the first of those. Pat Cummins making sure Mohammed Shami – the new-ball partner to Jasprit Bumrah – isn’t around to trouble them for the remainder of the series, adding injury – a fractured forearm – to insult as India completed their 36 all-out show.

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Mohammed Siraj replaced him for the second Test, but then it was Umesh Yadav's turn to limp out. Not an impact injury, but a calf strain. And Yadav was back home not long after.

Worried Indian faces all around as Umesh Yadav hobbles off the field © Getty Images

The pace attack would ideally have had Bumrah, Shami and Ishant, with Yadav the spare. Bumrah had a group of rookies to do the job with him after that and, it appears, he might himself miss the final Test now because of what might be an abdominal injury.

Poor KL Rahul, he wasn't even out in the middle, just a back-up, when his tour was cut short by a training injury. And it appears that Mayank Agarwal is injured too, while R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari, who were so heroic on the final day at the SCG, are not fit enough to play the final Test. Wait and watch on those for now…

It's the hamstring for Vihari… and the back for Ashwin.

Vihari couldn't run because of a hamstring injury... Ashwin couldn't sit down because of a tweak in his back © Getty Images

But before Ashwin and Vihari did what they did, there were Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja.

Pant copped a blow to his elbow while batting in the first innings in Sydney, didn't keep in the Australia second innings, and then came out to play a remarkable knock on the final day. He should make the XI for Gabba.

But Jadeja won't. That was a first-innings injury too. He didn't bowl in the Australia second innings. Was possibly not in a condition to bat on the final day. And has since had surgery to fix a dislocated thumb.

That's the story so far… one Test to go, but more than winning the match, and the series, getting a fit XI on the field might be India's bigger worry.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test, Ahmedabad




Batsman insists a lead of 100-150 could be defendable in fourth innings on tricky pitch

Zak Crawley has insisted the third Test is “nowhere near over” despite England being bowled out cheaply in their first innings.

Crawley, the one England batsman to shine amid another grim performance, believes batting last on this Ahmedabad surface could prove “extremely difficult” and suggested a target of as little as 100 could prove challenging for India.

So despite England having pulled off a couple of victories from unlikely positions in recent years – the Ashes Test at Leeds in 2019 springs to mind – Crawley dismissed the idea his side will require such a “miracle” this time.

“Absolutely, there’s a way back into this game,” Crawley said. “It’s nowhere near over. We could bowl them out for late 100s, early 200s. And if we can get any sort of lead on that pitch, we’ve a chance in the fourth innings.

“I don’t think it’s going to require a miracle, to be honest. Batting last on this pitch is going to be extremely difficult. If we bowl well on Thursday and then get a nice lead – even a 100-run lead or 150 – we’ve got a great chance of winning the game.”

While Crawley admitted England’s total – just 112; their lowest first-innings score in Test history in India – was “a bit short”, he did not think it was as far under par as might be anticipated.

“We know we’ve should have got a few more runs,” he said. “We’re a bit short. But if we had made 200, that would be a nice competitive score.

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Recent Match Report – Kings vs United 6th Match 2020/21



Islamabad United 197 for 5 (Ifthikar 49*, Hales 46, Talat 42, Nabi 1-26) beat Karachi Kings 196 for 3 (Sharjeel 105, Azam 62) by five wickets

Chasing 197 in the final over might suggest this game was something of a humdinger. In truth, it was an error-strewn, sloppy contest that few on either side deserved to win. As is often the case with games like these, Islamabad United so often find a way to get over the line, as they did on Wednesday, withstanding an astonishing 59-ball 105 from Sharjeel Khan.

The Karachi Kings opener looked destined to have cost his side the game as he struggled, almost woefully, for fluency in the Powerplay, but 94 off his final 35 balls helped power his side to the highest first-innings total of the tournament. It was his opening partner Babar Azam whose 54-ball 62 ended up as the notable match-losing innings. He might have been the one keeping the run rate afloat while Sharjeel stuttered, but fell away badly at the death when a power-hitter’s presence might have propelled Karachi more than the 196 they ended up with.

Islamabad responded by attacking from the outset, spearheaded by Alex Hales and Faheem Ashraf in the Powerplay, and even as the wickets fell, they continued to go after their shots, refusing to allow the asking rate get out of hand. An invaluable 94-run stand between Iftikhar Ahmed and Hussain Talat held things together through the middle overs, and while Karachi were never out of the game until the penultimate over, they never quite found an effective way of building any sort of pressure on the chasing side.

It was a contest defined by, at times, shocking bowling and fielding, especially by Islamabad, who took no fewer than three wickets off what ended up being no-balls, and dropped three further catches, not taking a wicket until the 19th over. By that time, Karachi’s opening partnership had put on 176, the highest stand in PSL history. But Karachi would be equally profligate with the ball, leaking 14 extras. Mohammad Amir’s inaccuracy at the death would prove to be the final nail. Asif Ali smacked a knee-high full toss he bowled for six to level up the scores, and Iftikhar did the honours with five balls to spare.

Star of the day

This man was almost nailed on to wind up in the column below – with the multiple dropped catches in the field – but by far the most significant reason Islamabad even got close in this game was a whirlwind of a cameo from Hales. Imad Wasim and Amir had helped Karachi put Islamabad against the wall before the chase had truly begun with the wickets of Phil Salt and Shadab Khan. But Hales’ approach to Aamer Yamin’s first – and, inevitably, only – over produced the first incipient signs that a remarkable chase was on. Aided by a no-ball, almost inevitably, Hales would go on to produce the most expensive over in the history of the PSL. Five fours and a six would help Islamabad get 29 off it, and suddenly, the asking rate was in control, and much of the Powerplay still remained.

The opener was off and away, and played with the sort of abandon that fetched him such success in the Big Bash League, racing along to 46 off 21 before Waqas Maqsood finally got rid of him. But it wasn’t before he’d helped Islamabad plunder 77 off the Powerplay; Karachi, by comparison, had managed just 33. What might have been a rout would end up as a sensationally dramatic victory, and Hales was at its heart.

Miss of the day

Sharjeel had struggled for any rhythm until Shadab brought himself in for his second over. He might have been unlucky that Sharjeel’s first swipe off him didn’t end up down long-on’s throat, but that was just the beginning of a contest that was less match, more fever dream for the Islamabad captain. He would follow that up with three abysmal balls that Sharjeel would put away for sixes much more decisively. Shadab lost any confidence he might have had after that, never to even consider bringing himself back on for another over even as the pacers offered full tosses and free hits like they were going out of fashion.

When he came out to bat, he was beaten all ends up by an Amir inswinger at pace – his bat was nowhere near – and sent on his way for a golden duck. It was just the second time the allrounder has been dismissed off his first delivery, and he’d sent down his most expensive spell on the same day. His side might have sneaked home, but the memories from the day are more likely bitter than sweet for the Islamabad captain.

Honourable mention

After an explosive start to his PSL career in the first game where Mohammad Waseem took three wickets, the 19-year-old backed it up with an equally stellar second outing. There might not be anything in the wickets column, but forced to come on and bowl his final two overs when Sharjeel was at his destructive best, Wasim allowed just six runs off his last over. The two overs either side of his, bowled by Faheem and Hasan Ali, leaked 17 and 13 respectively. In that context, four overs for 30 runs seems little less than heroic. Islamabad have some superstars in their line-up, but this emerging player truly appears to be living up to the name.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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Recent Match Report – England vs India 3rd Test 2020/21



Stumps: India 99 for 3 (Rohit 57*, Rahane 1*, Leach 2-27) trail England 112 (Crawley 53, Patel 6-38, Ashwin 3-26) by 13 runs

What do you see when you look at a pink ball? As Joe Root had indicated on the eve of the Ahmedabad Test, there’s not a lot of data to back up any preconceptions about day-night Test cricket. Therefore, both sets of players came into this contest at perfect liberty to see in the conditions whatever they so chose.

Ben Stokes, for England’s part, had been “licking his lips” in anticipation of a seam-dominated joust in what he clearly envisaged being the Trent Bridge of the East. And sure enough, England’s optimistic surge continued on the morning of the match, as James Anderson and Stuart Broad were thrown together for one last heist, like the cast of Ocean’s 14, before Root won a crucial toss and handed his batsmen the same opportunity that they had seized upon in the first Test – a chance to post a gargantuan first innings and dominate the match narrative through sheer weight of runs.

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