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Recent Match Report – India vs South Africa 3rd Test 2021/22

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Petersen sets up 212 chase with a classy 82 before van der Dussen and Bavuma finish the job

South Africa 210 (Petersen 72, Bumrah 5-42) and 212 for 3 (Petersen 82, van der Dussen 41*, Bavuma 32*) beat India 223 (Kohli 79, Pujara 43, Rabada 4-73, Jansen 3-55) and 198 (Pant 100*, Kohli 29, Jansen 4-36, Ngidi 3-21, Rabada 3-53) by seven wickets

South Africa never ever give up a Test match. They were, not so long ago, the greatest travelling team in the whole world. They remain experts of the blockathon. And when you have the courage – the audacity – to bat out entire days of cricket, a target of 212 in a home game is nothing to worry about.

India fought hard. They began the fourth day with four dots. Two of them were plays and misses. One was an almost fatal piece of misjudgment where the batter allowed an uninterrupted path for the ball to strike his person.

Jasprit Bumrah went for his yorkers early. Mohammed Shami got it to seam away at will. Shardul Thakur got the only wicket to fall on the day. This is an attack not to be trifled with. And South Africa knew it. They respected the fact that the 111 runs they still needed for victory would require them to put their body, mind and spirit on the line. And that’s what they did.

There is a kind of easy grace to him. It’s hard to explain but picture Rohit Sharma and the shots he plays. Gloriously minimalist.

There was one in the 33rd over. It was only a single but if anyone managed to take a picture of the positions Petersen got into to play his on-drive, the makers of the cricket manual might be interested in it.

Shami was swinging into him, trying to cramp him. He saw it early. So he had the time to plant his front foot forward – but not too far – and angle it away so that it wouldn’t impede the flow of a straight bat coming down on the ball.

There was no anger in the shot. He seems to reserve that for his off side play. Especially when he decides to go on the back foot. The cuts through point and punches through cover really do leave a mark.

Assisting Petersen were Rassie van der Dussen, with his low backlift designed for the express purpose of protecting his stumps, and Temba Bavuma, the first Black African batter to score a Test match century for South Africa. That was back in January 2016. He’s come close a few times – a seventy here, an eighty there – but it’s been six years and he hasn’t added to that count. He’s still only got one century in 47 Test matches.

South Africa have kept the faith in him though. They’re a side in transition. They need senior players to guide them through it. And on Friday, Bavuma was the steadying hand that repelled one of the fiercest sides in international cricket. He struck two outstanding boundaries in one Bumrah over to end a spell where South Africa made just five runs in seven overs.

India were feeling it back then. “Just the keeper and the bowlers left, boys” Virat Kohli said. All of them were averaging around 15 in Test cricket. All of them could put their feet up and relax thanks to Bavuma.

That first Test defeat in Centurion now looks like an anomaly. South Africa went into it after six months in the red-ball wilderness. The rust they were still shaking off was deeply obvious on that first day’s play. Since then, they have rallied and rallied hard. Lungi Ngidi said this wasn’t a team of superstars. He won’t be able to keep saying that if they keep playing like this.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Under-19 World Cup 2022 – India’s Yash Dhull and four others recover from Covid-19 and available for knockouts

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Allrounder Nishant Sindhu, who led in Dhull’s absence, has, however, tested positive ahead of the quarter-final against Bangladesh

India’s Under-19 allrounder Nishant Sindhu will miss the quarter-final against Bangladesh at the Under-19 World Cup, after testing positive for Covid-19. However, India are set to be led by regular captain Yash Dhull on Saturday after he and four others, including vice-captain Shaik Rasheed, returned negative Covid tests having tested positive earlier in the tournament.

Players who test positive at the competition are expected to serve at least seven days of quarantine, which means Sindhu is also likely to be unavailable for the semi-final – against Pakistan or Australia on Wednesday – if they beat Bangladesh.

Despite Sindhu’s absence, the availability of the five previously positive players has bolstered India’s squad. Dhull and Rasheed are expected to slot into a batting line-up that averages nearly 315 runs per innings; Siddarth Yadav and Aaradhya Yadav are up for selection in the playing XI too.

Sindhu was thrusted into the spotlight after he had to take over the captaincy for two league games, when the five members of India’s squad returned positive tests. So far, Sindhu has played a key role as an economical left-arm spinner, taking four wickets at an average of 14.25 and an economy rate of 2.75.

India currently have 21 players to choose from. Sixteen of the 17 from the main squad remain available for selection, along with the five travelling reserves who were flown into the Caribbean following the first Covid-19 outbreak in the squad. If India need to dip into the pool of reserves, they will have to make a formal request to the ICC event technical committee for a temporary change in the squad.
Sindhu’s positive result makes it the fourth time that the Under-19 World Cup has been affected by Covid-19. Before the competition started, four Zimbabwe players tested positive before members of the Indian camp also returned positive results. West Indies, too, had to replace two players before their final group match because of Covid in their squad.

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



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Zimbabwe cricket – Brendan Taylor banned for three-and-a-half years for failing to report approach without delay

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ICC media release says the former Zimbabwe captain breached the ACU code on four counts

Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has been banned from all cricket for three-and-a-half years by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit for failing to report an approach from alleged corruptors without delay. In a media release on Friday, the ICC said Taylor has accepted the ban, which starts from January 28, and separately one charge of breaching the doping code.
In a statement on Twitter, Taylor had revealed that he had been filmed using cocaine during a meeting in India with alleged businessmen, who then used that video to allegedly blackmail him into an agreement to spot-fix. Taylor, who will turn 36 next week, has since admitted himself into a rehabilitation clinic.
Taylor told the Daily Mail that he had “beaten a few” drugs tests in the past few years before eventually failing one in his final international match in September 2021. “I might have beaten a few tests in the past two-and-a-half years but it got me when I was heading for destruction,” Taylor said.

More to follow…



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Recent Match Report – Scorchers vs Sixers Final 2021/22

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Scorchers were 4 for 25 before an audacious century partnership between Evans and Turner powered them to a competitive total

Perth Scorchers 6 for 171 (Evans 76*, Turner 54, Lyon 2-24, O’Keefe 2-43) beat Sydney Sixers 92 (Hughes 42, Tye 3-15, Richardson 2-20 ) by 79 runs

Laurie Evans smashed 76 under pressure then quick Andrew Tye took three wickets as Perth Scorchers won a record fourth BBL title and exacted revenge over shorthanded Sydney Sixers with a crushing 79-run victory at the Marvel Stadium.
In a re-match of last season’s decider, Scorchers were in serious trouble at 4 for 25 after being sent in before an audacious century partnership between Evans and captain Ashton Turner powered the hot favourites to 6 for 171.

Their star-studded attack then proved irresistible to end Sixers’ bid for a historic third-straight title. Having broken the deadlock for most titles with their arch-rival, Scorchers may have notched their sweetest triumph having been on the road for 50 straight days due to being shut out of Western Australia’s closed borders.

They faced a depleted Sixers without openers Josh Philippe and Jack Edwards, who were ruled out with Covid-19, while batter Jordan Silk failed to recover from a hamstring injury sustained against Adelaide Strikers on Wednesday where he controversially retired hurt before the match’s final ball.

A third bid for an exemption allowing Steve Smith to play was blocked by the BBL, while Jay Lenton, an assistant coach for Sixers, took the gloves for the second straight match.

Scorchers, however, deserved the spoils having dominated all season in a golden summer for the franchise which also won the WBBL title two months ago.

Evans and Turner rescue Scorchers
Scorchers endured a horror show early and their worst four-over powerplay of the season, which yielded just 14 runs on a tricky pitch. Worse was to follow with an uncharacteristically reckless Scorchers repeatedly throwing away their wickets under Marvel Stadium’s closed roof due to heavy rain in Melbourne.

Mitchell Marsh, who came in with a hamstring niggle, struggled and didn’t get off the mark until his ninth delivery. He didn’t last much longer as Scorchers appeared to be melting on the big stage.

Instead of rebuilding, a bold Evans and Turner launched a counterattack and quickly smashed 33 runs off 13 balls after the seventh over to turn the momentum. English import Evans has had an under-the-radar debut BBL season but his energetic batting made him a key cog of Scorchers’ middle order. He played his best innings of the season as he fearlessly attacked Steve O’Keefe and was ably supported by Turner.

The red-hot duo each registered half-centuries with sixes before Turner fell shortly after. It didn’t hurt Evans’ momentum as he unleashed several astounding cover drives to lift Scorchers to a total that appeared beyond them after four overs.

Full report to follow…

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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