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Ind vs NZ 3rd T20I – Rahul Dravid

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India’s coach also suggested that the team might continue to rest and rotate players over the coming 12 months

India may have just swept the T20 World Cup runners-up 3-0 in his first series as full-time head coach, but Rahul Dravid wants to take a “realistic” view of where the team stands. He is mindful, in particular, of New Zealand’s hectic schedule: they began this T20I series just three days after their World Cup final defeat in Dubai, while missing their captain Kane Williamson.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic, especially with bigger things down the line in the next 12 months,” Dravid told host broadcaster Star Sports after the third T20I in Kolkata. “It’s not easy for New Zealand to play a World Cup final, turn up three days later, and play three games in six days. We knew it was never going to be easy on them.”

While New Zealand were without Williamson through the series and rested stand-in captain Tim Southee for the last match, India, too, missed key personnel, with Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja rested. Dravid said the big positive from the series win was the performance of the players who got chances in the absence of the seniors.

Harshal Patel picked up four wickets in two games while returning an economy rate of 7.28, and also contributed a useful lower-order cameo in Kolkata. Axar Patel, standing in for Jadeja, played all three games and ended the series with a Player-of-the-Match-winning three-wicket haul in the final T20I. There were promising displays from the debutant allrounder Venkatesh Iyer and the back-up opener and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan as well.

“It’s been great to see the younger guys come through, we’ve given opportunity to some of the guys who haven’t played too much cricket in the last few months with the seniors taking rest,” Dravid said. “The greatest takeaway for us is to see the skills available to us. We need to continue developing those skills.”

Dravid said that with player workloads in focus over a packed upcoming 12 months, India are likely to continue resting key players across the year and giving new players regular game time. That thought process was in full view in Kolkata, where KL Rahul and R Ashwin – two players who are set to feature in the upcoming Test series – were rested after victory was secured in Ranchi.

“It’s really nice that we have options,” Dravid said. “We can mix and match. Its going to be a long season, lots of games to be played till the next World Cup and we need to do that [rest and rotate] with some of our players and be realistic about how much cricket needs to be played.”

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx



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Marnus Labuschagne eager for James Anderson duel with 'target on the back'

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Australia’s No. 3 is one of the few players who will enter the Ashes with substantial cricket under his belt



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India vs NZ, 2nd Test

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Tom Latham will lead New Zealand

Rahane is out due to a minor left hamstring strain he picked up while fielding on the final day of the Kanpur Test. Jadeja’s is a right forearm injury that required scans which revealed swelling. “He has been advised rest,” stated a BCCI release.

Ishant, meanwhile, dislocated his left little finger on the final day in Kanpur, leaving the door open for Mohammed Siraj‘s return. Siraj had himself sustained a finger injury during the T20I series, but has now been deemed fit.
For Williamson, it’s the recurrence of an old left-elbow problem that has troubled him for much of the year. Coach Gary Stead confirmed the injury had flared up during the first Test and with it failing to improve in the days following the match, the call was made to rule him out. In his absence. Tom Latham will lead the side.

“It’s been a really tough time for Kane having to deal with such a persistent injury,” Stead said. “While we’ve been able to manage the injury through the year and the T20 World Cup, the shift to Test cricket and the increased batting loading has re-aggravated his elbow.

“Ultimately the injury is still not right and while he got through the Kanpur Test, it was clear playing in the second Test wasn’t an option.”

Meanwhile, the absence of Rahane and Jadeja could leave India’s team management contemplate a sixth batting option. If they go down this route, it could mean a debut for KS Bharat or Suryakumar Yadav at his home ground. Wriddhiman Saha was ruled fit by Virat Kohli a day before the match.



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22

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Ninth-wicket partnership of 107 with Embuldeniya hurts West Indies and their hopes of victory in Galle

Sri Lanka 328 for 8 (Dhananjaya 153*, Embuldeniya 25*, Permaul 3-100, Chase 2-82) and 204 lead West Indies 253 by 279 runs

Dhananjaya de Silva came to the crease with Sri Lanka only 23 runs ahead, with three wickets down, and their most experienced batter injured an unable to play normally. By the time his work ended on day four, Sri Lanka were 279 runs ahead, with two wickets still in hand, in firm control.
De Silva, in sublime touch for much of this knock, was 153 not out off 259 balls by stumps, put on 78 alongside Pathum Nissanka to rescue Sri Lanka from immediate peril, and made 51 with Ramesh Mendis during a second session in which West Indies’ spinners made a four-wicket charge, but it was with No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya with whom he produced the most consequential and perhaps match-defining partnership – an as-yet unbeaten association of 107 runs, during which he completed his eighth Test century, and breezed past 150, plundering 73 runs off 98 balls from a tiring attack.
He was dropped twice – both times off the bowling of Veerasammy Permaul. On 5, wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva could not hold on to a big edge, though this was an incredibly difficult chance, the ball traveling quickly and hitting only the tips of his gloves. The opportunity West Indies will rue more came when de Silva was on 116 and attempted a slog sweep with the field spread. Permaul got himself under the swirling top edge as he ran toward the sight screen, but ultimately could not wrap his fingers around the ball. If he’d caught that, Sri Lanka would have been nine down with a lead of 218. It’s possible West Indies would already have been batting by now, chasing a difficult but not outlandish target.

The earliest stretch of the de Silva-Embuldeniya stand had been tense. Embuldeniya had come in with Sri Lanka only 179 ahead, and with Permaul having taken two wickets in quick succession with the second new ball. De Silva was batting on 80, and so the hundred was in sight as well. But the pair settled into a rhythm – de Silva farming the strike to give Embuldeniya only the last two or three balls an over, where possible. Though de Silva didn’t always attempt to hit boundaries early in those overs, largely because Kraigg Brathwaite had positioned fielders on the rope.

Embuldeniya scratched his way through that period, facing 20 balls before de Silva was able to complete the century. After that, de Silva moved up the gears. He hit Roston Chase behind point for four soon after getting to a hundred, then slammed him over long-on two balls later. The field spread back to him, he ran hard twos, and when Brathwaite brought the seamers back, attacked them as well. Having got to his hundred off his 189th delivery, he added the next 50 off 65.

Embuldeniya played an unambitious supporting hand, all the way up to stumps. He faced 110 balls for his 25. He did not hit a single boundary, but was largely good in defence. West Indies, through this period, seemed ragged and short of ideas. Brathwaite bowled a strange spell in which he occasionally tossed the ball up almost comically high.

West Indies will be kicking themselves for letting the situation slip, after having surged through the middle session, and having kept the opposition in check even before lunch. Sri Lanka had begun the day still three runs in arrears, and with two inexperienced batters at the crease. Permaul got one to bite to take Charith Asalanka’s inside edge, which popped up off the pad to short leg, in the first hour of play. And although Nissanka completed his third fifty of the series in the company of de SIlva, he was out the ball before lunch too – lbw to Chase.

Chase struck again in the afternoon, pocketing a return catch off Dinesh Chandimal, before Brathwaite was the beneficiary of the only wicket Sri Lanka truly threw away in the day – Mendis holing out at deep midwicket the over before the second new ball was due. Permaul removed Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Mathews cheaply with that new ball. He finished the day on 3 for 100 – West Indies’ best analysis.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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