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Recent Match Report – India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I 2021/22




New Zealand, at no stage, showed any semblance of a fight. Not even when Guptill shellacked a breezy half-century.

India 184 for 7 (Rohit 56, Kishan 29, Chahar 21*, Santner 3-27) beat New Zealand 111 (Guptill 51, Axar 3-9, Harshal 2-23) by 73 runs

India won the toss, opted to bat to challenge themselves against dewy conditions later, and ended up defending quite comfortably. They also ticked a fair few boxes along the way.

Their back-up opener Ishan Kishan came good. Their lower order contributed vital runs that gave them at least 20 extra to defend. Venkatesh Iyer delivered three frugal overs as a sixth-bowling option. Axar Patel showed why he’s an aggressive left-arm spin option. Comeback man Yuzvendra Chahal overcame a forgettable start by finishing strongly with the big wicket of Martin Guptill. Harshal Patel continued to take giant strides with his bag of slower variations in T20 cricket. Rishabh Pant displayed terrific agility and athleticism behind the stumps.

India swept the series 3-0, New Zealand at no stage showing any semblance of a fight. Not even when Guptill shellacked a breezy half-century.

The Mumbai Indians show

Players who generally plot and plan together were up against each other. Rohit Sharma and Kishan, coming in for the rested KL Rahul, as openers. Trent Boult and Adam Milne as new-ball bowlers. And it was India who set the tone for dominance early on as the top two got them off the blocks briskly, with a pair of fours each in the first few overs.

Rohit’s trademark pull and Kishan’s Jayasuriya-esque whip off his pads made an appearance. It was clear that India were mindful of heavy dew and wanted to set the tempo and sustain it through the innings. Lockie Ferguson, coming in for stand-in captain Tim Southee, struggled for rhythm – landing full tosses and short balls aplenty to concede 30 off his first 12 balls as India raced to 69 for 0 in six overs.

Santner puts the brakes on

Mitchell Santner brought himself on before dew took effect and trapped Kishan two balls later when he beat the batter with the skid off the pitch to have him caught for 29. In walked Suryakumar Yadav, another true-blue Mumbai Indian, but he didn’t last long either, driving one uppishly to cover to give Santner a second wicket in the over. One quiet Ish Sodhi set later, Santner had a third when he made Pant miscue a slog sweep to mid-on. New Zealand had landed a counter-punch. India went without any boundaries between overs 6 and 10. The slowdown was well and truly on.

The Iyers get going, before Harshal-Chahar finish strongly

Rohit fell for a 28-ball 55, after toe-ending a drive back to Sodhi, but Venkatesh and Shreyas set about the rebuild by milking the singles. From overs 11.3 to 13.4 when Venkatesh broke the shackles by muscling a slog sweep over deep midwicket, the pair played out a lone dot ball.

Venkatesh showed excellent footwork in getting to the pitch of the ball and hitting towards the short straight boundaries, while Shreyas picked off a bulk of his runs through cuts and dabs behind square. The pair had added 36 before they fell in the space of three deliveries.

Venkatesh went first for 20 when he dragged a Trent Boult knuckleball to deep midwicket. Shreyas fell trying to clear long-on with Daryl Mitchell covering good ground and sliding to complete the catch. At that point, ESPNcricinfo’s Forecaster pegged India to get 172.

That they got much 12 more was courtesy their batting depth. Harshal, who opens for his state side Haryana in T20s, and Deepak Chahar contributed 39 between them to force a strong finish. It included India getting 19 off the final over bowled by Ferguson, who went for 45 off his four overs.

Axar’s triple rocks New Zealand

A huge machine-mop took off as much dew as it could in the break, but it was only going to be a matter of time before it’d set in again to make it difficult for the spinners to grip the ball.

Perhaps mindful of this, Rohit introduced Axar in the third over, and the move worked as he struck twice to stun the visitors upfront. Mitchell picked out extra cover and Mark Chapman ran down the pitch, only to be beaten by sharp turn on the inside edge to see Pant pull off a terrific stumping.

Chahal came on from the other end and came in for some tap from the marauding Guptill, who batted with ferocity. Tossing the ball into his hitting arc, Chahal kept getting pinged between long-on and deep midwicket, but Axar at the other end wasn’t quite so obliging. Glenn Phillips became the left-armer’s third victim when he was bowled attempting a reverse sweep off a full delivery. At that stage, New Zealand were tottering at 30 for 3 in five overs.

Iyer, Harshal carry forward momentum

With the top order blown away, and only Guptill standing in their way, Rohit took the opportunity to get a few overs out of Venkatesh and the medium pacer used his height and clever variation of lengths to keep batters honest. Harshal was equally hard to hit with his bouquet of slower balls tying New Zealand down.

Chahal then returned after two expensive overs with a change in plan. After he went middle and leg only to be swung away, he corrected his line and tried to get batters hit against the turn, and it immediately worked as Guptill holed out to long-on after a quick fire half-century. At 70 for 4 in the 11th over, it was one-way traffic. Batter after batter came out swinging and missing and slipping and sliding as a hungry Indian bowling unit closed out the game clinically.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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‘I feel like I have nothing to lose’




Preparation is being disrupted by the weather and there are concerns around Covid-19, but the focus is on the Gabba

He’s never played a first-class match, let alone a Test, in Australia and the final week of preparation leading into the opening game of the Ashes in Brisbane looks set to be disrupted by the weather, but Jos Buttler is determined to go into the series unburdened by things he can’t control.

Buttler is part of the second group of England players who have now joined the full squad following their quarantine after the T20 World Cup but on leaving their Gold Coast camp for Brisbane they encountered torrential rain which wiped out the opening day of their final warm-up match.

With the forecast poor, there is a real chance England may not get any proper middle time in the days ahead. The first intrasquad match last week had just 29 overs on the first day. Australia are in the same position with their three-game likely to be canned – and have also had to deal with the off-field drama around Tim Paine’s resignation – although some of their players have been playing in the Sheffield Shield over the last two months.

Buttler did not play England’s most recent Test, against India at The Oval, due to paternity leave but had been due to regain his place for the Old Trafford match that was called off due to Covid-19 concerns. Overall it was a disjointed home season with no great Test reward for Buttler, who missed the New Zealand series due to the IPL and then made 72 runs in five innings against India, but he is ready to embrace the challenge in Australia.

“I feel like I have nothing to lose, to be honest,” he said. “It’s sort of been disjointed, that [year] just gone. Some good form and some bad form and in the year before as well. It’s the first time I’m experiencing an Ashes series [in Australia] so I’m fully determined to enjoy all the challenges that throws up. I’m excited to experience it, the good the bad, and I’m sure the highs and lows along the way.

“As a player at the minute I’m trying to bring a fearless approach and to truly try and embrace the opportunity. I know when I get to somewhere near my best that’s going to be pretty good.”

Buttler has reasonably extensive experience playing in Australia although it has all been in the white-ball formats. He averages 38.71 from 18 ODIs, has played five T20Is and has had Big Bash stints with Melbourne Renegades and most recently Sydney Thunder.

“Familiarity with some conditions is something I can dip into and hopefully not be surprised by,” he said. “But I think the challenge always as a player is to adapt to any conditions that are in front of you and adapt quickly. The practice, when you can practice, is incredibly important for that and your first five, 10 balls are vital as a player to understanding the conditions and playing accordingly. But certainly I will try to dip into that experience and I’m in my early 30s now so played quite a bit of cricket and hopefully know what to expect.”

As ever in the current world there could be further complications thrown the way of the series. It remains to be seen whether Covid-19 protocols will need to be tightened following the emergence of the Omicron variant – with cases detected in arriving passengers in New South Wales – and the impact any potential changes to international border restrictions could have on families.

Buttler was among the players to raise concerns about families not being able to join the tour but he said it was too early to be worrying about a scenario where they were unable to fly out.

“It’s a hypothetical situation at the minute. Until we get told that something’s changed there’s no decision to make and it just adds to the unknown. So it’s things I don’t really need to worry about at the moment. If something like that happens I have to get the information and we can work through it and see how that looks.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Ban vs Pak 1st Test




Nurul Hasan was named as Yasir’s concussion substitute, although he won’t be allowed to keep wicket

Debutant Yasir Ali was taken for scans at a local hospital in Chattogram after being stuck on the back of his helmet during Bangladesh’s second innings on the fourth morning. Wicketkeeper-batter Nurul Hasan was named as Yasir’s concussion substitute, although he won’t be allowed to keep wicket as Yasir isn’t a keeper.

The incident occurred at the end of the 30th over when Yasir ducked into a Shaheen Shah Afridi bouncer. Yasir briefly took his eye away from the delivery while getting under the ball, and was hit on the helmet.

Bangladesh’s physio Bayejidul Islam checked Yasir immediately, and he went back to batting. But an over later, Bayejid came back to check on Yasir during the drinks break, after which he walked off.

The team director Khaled Mahmud confirmed a few minutes later that Yasir was out of the Test match, with Nurul as his replacement. Yasir has been taken to Imperial Hospital for a CT scan. A BCB statement said later that “he is medically stable. However, as a precaution, he will be observed for 24 hours at the hospital.”

This is the third time Bangladesh have needed concussion substitutes. The first instance was during the Kolkata Test in 2019 when Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan were struck on the head. Mohammad Saifuddin was also substituted during an ODI against Sri Lanka in May this year.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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




Roston Chase dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne late in the day, but not before another century opening stand

Sri Lanka 113 for 1 (Nissanka 61*, Karunaratne 42, Chase 1-33) vs West Indies

Pathum Nissanka breezed his way to a half-century, Dimuth Karunaratne fell eight short of a fifty that would have seen him equal a world record, and on a day in which rain washed out the first two sessions, Sri Lanka gained a significant advantage, moving to 113 for 1 in the 33.4 overs that were possible.
Before Roston Chase caught-and-bowled Karunaratne late in the day, Sri Lanka’s openers had put on 106 runs in 31 overs – their second century stand in the series. Kemar Roach, returning for this game after having been left out in favour of Shannon Gabriel, was perhaps the best of West Indies’ bowlers, delivering six overs and conceding just 12. Sri Lanka’s batters were largely untroubled by the others.

Nissanka was positive almost from the outset. He drilled a full Jason Holder ball down the ground for four to begin the second over, carved Roach past the slip cordon soon after, and although occasionally beaten by deliveries that jagged past his outside edge, was on a constant hunt for runs, moving to 20 off his first 30 balls. Karunaratne was typically conservative by comparison – defending and leaving the majority of deliveries he faced from the seamers, making just 4 from his first 30 deliveries.

Eventually though, Holder and Roach wrapped up their spells, and batting seemed to get easier. Kyle Mayers was hit for three fours – twice through the leg side by Karunaratne – in his first two overs, the only two he bowled on the first day. Nissanka attempted to dominate the left-arm spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who was playing his first Test since 2015, coming down the track in Permaul’s second over to launch him into the sightscreen.

Soon, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had spinners bowling from both ends, and although they prompted the occasional mistake, the batters largely settled into a rhythm against them, with Nissanka scoring primarily through the off side, and Karunaratne favouring the leg side, as he often does. Nissanka got to fifty – his third in Tests, and second in the series – off the 74th ball he faced.

Karunaratne’s dismissal came against the run of play. Earlier in that Chase over, he had played a late cut and a flick through midwicket, both of which went for four. But Chase found some rip off the last delivery of that over, and turned a ball more than the batter expected, which produced a return catch off the inside half of the bat as Karunaratne attempted to drive him down the ground.

If he had got to fifty, Karunaratne would have made seven Test half-centuries in as many innings, a feat only six batters had accomplished. In any case, his last seven scores read 42, 83, 147, 66, 118, 244 and 75.

Oshada Fernando survived ten balls before the players went off for bad light. Nissanka was 61 not out off 109 balls, his scoring rate having slowed as the light faded.

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

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