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Recent Match Report – India vs New Zealand 1st Test 2021/22

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Both sides pick three spinners each

Toss India chose to bat vs New Zealand

On a clear morning in Kanpur, India captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and chose to bat in the first Test against New Zealand.

Rahane’s expectation was for the pitch to play “slow and low”, and both teams picked three spinners, hinting that they expected plenty of turn at some stage too.

One of New Zealand’s three spinners was a debutant, Rachin Ravindra, who bats left-handed and bowls left-arm orthodox. He pipped Mitchell Santner, suggesting New Zealand wanted a batting allrounder rather than a bowling allrounder to support frontline spinners Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville. The two seam-bowling slots, meanwhile, went to Kyle Jamison and Tim Southee, with the left-armer Neil Wagner left out.
Despite the absence of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, India went in with just five specialist batters including the debutant Shreyas Iyer. Wriddhiman Saha returned as keeper for the first time since the Adelaide Test of December 2020, while Axar Patel joined R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the spin attack. India went with the experience of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in the pace department, leaving out Mohammed Siraj.

India: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Axar Patel, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Ishant Sharma.

New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Will Young, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Rachin Ravindra, 8 Kyle Jamieson, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Will Somerville, 11 Ajaz Patel.

Karthik Iyer is on ESPNcricinfo’s multi-platform-content team



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Shaheen Shah Afridi breaks into top five in Test rankings for bowlers

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Latham, Karunaratne in top 10 of batting rankings; Jadeja No. 2 allrounder

Shaheen Shah Afridi has broken into the top five of the ICC Test bowling rankings for the first time following his five-for against Bangladesh in Pakistan’s eight-wicket win in the first Test in Chattogram. Afridi, who finished with a match haul of seven wickets, moved up three places to No. 5, overtaking James Anderson, Kagiso Rabada and Neil Wagner in the process.

Each of the three bowlers Afridi has overtaken will have an opportunity to make gains of their own. Wagner could have the first crack if he makes New Zealand’s XI for the second and final Test against India in Mumbai. Anderson is likely to line up for the first Ashes Test next week, while Rabada will spearhead South Africa’s pace attack during their home Tests against India later this month.

Meanwhile, Afridi’s new-ball partner Hasan Ali also moved five places to 11th, his best-ever position so far, following seven wickets in the Chattogram Test. This included figures of 5 for 51 that hastened Bangladesh’s collapse in the first innings after Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim put on 206 runs for the fifth wicket.
Kyle Jamieson, who impressed in his maiden outing in the subcontinent, was ranked ninth, while Tim Southee was within a point of second-placed R Ashwin following his eight-wicket match haul in Kanpur. Pat Cummins, Australia’s new Test captain, heads the list.
Among batters, Tom Latham and Dimuth Karunaratne made significant gains for their efforts in Kanpur and Galle respectively. Latham, who made 95 and 52 in New Zealand’s thrilling draw, jumped five places to No. 9, while the Sri Lankan captain was two spots higher st seven following scores of 147 and 83 in Sri Lanka’s 187-run win in the first Test.
Over in Bangladesh, the nature of Pakistan’s come-from-behind win had a few other gainers too. Abid Ali‘s 133 and 91 helped him jump 27 slots to a career-best 20th rank, one place above Mushfiqur. Among the other gainers was Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam climbed two places to 23rd after picking up a seven-for in Pakistan’s first innings.
In the allrounders’ rankings, Ravindra Jadeja jumped one place to be ranked second, behind West Indies’ Jason Holder. Jadeja struck a defiant half-century in the first innings, while his five wickets in the match also helped him jump to 19th in the bowling chart.



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BBL11 2021-22 – Alex Hales may need to carry the load for Sydney Thunder

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Usman Khawaja may be absent for most of the season if needed in the Ashes

Squad
Sam Billings (England), Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (England), Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja, Saqib Mahmood (England), Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain, Sam Whiteman

In Saqib Mahmood, Sam Whiteman
Out Callum Ferguson, Adam Milne, Arjun Nair

Last season Fourth
Led by a red-hot Alex Hales, the big-hitting Thunder appeared the team to beat after winning four of their first matches. But their balance suffered when allrounder Daniel Sams missed a few matches due to a concussion and the Thunder’s form nosedived. They were able to steady the ship, largely due to Hales’ virtuoso batting, to finish third on the ladder. It proved a false dawn with the Thunder falling to Brisbane Heat in the knockout to end an unfulfilled season.

International impact
It’s a fairly settled line-up although new skipper Khawaja may be Ashes bound as he battles Travis Head for Australia’s No. 5 spot. Saqib Mahmood will be absent in the early stages after being named in the England Lions squad and the rising quick along with Sam Billings may be part of England’s tour of the Caribbean, which starts during the latter stages of the BBL.

Player to watch
Alex Hales lit up BBL10 with a tournament best 543 runs at 38.78 and a strike rate of 161.60 – replicating similar dizzying stats from the season prior. There isn’t much bowlers can do when Hales is on song as champions Sydney Sixers can attest to after being on the receiving end of the Englishman’s remarkable 55-ball 110 in the Thunder’s record total of 5 for 232. But his participation in the upcoming tournament was under threat after photos of Hales in blackface emerged and he was also implicated in the racism scandal engulfing English cricket. He has, however, kept his BBL contract and will hope to make headlines on-field rather than off it.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Thunder were the best batting unit in the last edition. They went at a run rate of 8.98 in the competition that was made possible due to a strong performance in the powerplays. They had a run rate of 10.16 in the powerplay overs, which was the tournament’s best.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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WI in PAK Nicholas Pooran Shai Hope to lead West Indies in Pakistan after injury forces Kieron Pollard out

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Powell added to T20I squad, Thomas named ODI replacement

Kieron Pollard will not travel to Pakistan for the ODI and T20I series tour that starts next week after failing to recover from a hamstring injury that he picked up at the T20 World Cup. In his absence, Nicholas Pooran will be T20I captain and Shai Hope will be ODI captain. Pollard has been replaced by allrounder Rovman Powell for the T20Is and wicketkeeper-batter Devon Thomas for the ODIs.

A CWI statement said that Pollard will undergo rehabilitation work in Trinidad and will be reassessed in a few weeks ahead of the upcoming home tours against Ireland and England in January 2022.

This will be the first time Hope will be ODI captain and has a challenge ahead. The three ODIs are part of the World Cup Super League competition where West Indies are eighth on the points table with four wins in nine ODIs. However, a 3-0 ODI series sweep will lift West Indies to third.

Pollard’s experience will be missed in the West Indies contingent which is light on experience. None of Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Evin Lewis or Shimron Hetmyer are part of the squads. The ODI squad is instead full of inexperienced but promising players like Justin Greaves, Shamarh Brooks, Gudakesh Motie and Odean Smith while the T20I squad includes Dominic Drakes and Motie.

West Indies have had a positive run when Pooran has stood-in as captain. Under his leadership, West Indies recently defeated Australia 4-1 in home conditions earlier this year. Hope will be his T20I team vice-captain while Pooran will be the ODI team deputy.

All six games against Pakistan will be played in Karachi. The first T20I is on December 13 while the final ODI is on December 22.

ODI squad: Shai Hope (captain), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, Devon Thomas

T20I squad: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Rovman Powell



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