Steven Smith to captain Australia again? CA Chairman reveals

Staff Writer Updated: 9 August, 2019, 3:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Steven Smith has been the talk of the town after his twin centuries in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston, helped the visitors take a lead of 1-0 in the five-match Test series. At one point, Australia were struggling at 122 for 8 in the first innings of the Test but Smith played one heck of a knock to marshal his team to a competitive total.

Even in the second innings, Australia were in a spot of bother but the former Australian captain rescued the team and showed to the world what they had missed in the last one year in international cricket especially in the longer-version.

In the aftermath of the Sandpaper gate, Steven Smith was stripped off his captaincy and slapped with a one-year ban. But, after his performance in the first Test and involvement in team's tactics and field-setting, some people had started hoping that they can see Smith leading Australia once again. But Cricket Australia chairman has brushed aside all the hopes and made his stand clear on Smith's captaincy thing.

“It’s not even on our radar. We’ve got a captain doing a great job. Steve has just come back into the side,” said Eddings. “We haven’t even thought about it or mentioned it at board meetings. We’re just glad that [Smith, Warner and Bancroft] are back. That’s been a focus, getting the boys back into the team. And getting them playing the right way, which they are. So that’s not our focus.

“We’re just happy they’re doing well and happy to get them back in the side. Tim is captaining really well. It’s not on the board agenda,” he said.

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News Cricket

Sleep-deprived Ishant Sharma was forced to play by Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:32 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Having picked up three wickets in the first innings of New Zealand, it was expected that Ishant Sharma would be happy at the end of the day. However, Ishant has said that he was not feeling good at all and that it was only for the team that he agreed to be in the playing eleven.

“I am not happy because I have not slept for two days and I was struggling a lot today (with my body). The way I would have liked to bowl, it did not happen. They asked me to play and I played. Anything, for the team,” Ishant Sharma, who has the experience of playing 96 Tests under his hat, was quoted as saying by India TV.

The pacer was content by his bowling display but he was not happy with the amount of sleep that his body has received since his arrival in New Zealand.

“Not that I wasn’t happy with my bowling. I wasn’t happy with my body as I could only sleep for 40 minutes last night and day before the Test match, I slept for three hours,” said Ishant on his battle with the ‘jet lag’.

Ishant was rushed to New Zealand after recovering from a ligament.

News Cricket

Ajinkya Rahane registers unwanted record for the first time in his career

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:13 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ajinkya Rahane, for the first time, has achieved a dubious feat, of getting involved in run-out for the in his Test career. In the morning session of day two, Rahane was involved in a horrible mix-up with young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.

Prior to this, India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane wasn't involved in a single run-out in his Test career.

Rahane blocked a ball and stormed towards the non-strikers' end for a single. In reply, Pant went ahead but halted mid-way seeing the fielder, Ajaz Patel running towards the strikers' end quickly. Eventually, the 22-year-old decided to sacrifice his wicket as a result of the confusion in the middle and departed for 19.

From 132 for 5, India were then bundled out for a paltry 165. It was also the first instance after the Jamaica Test versus West Indies in August 2019 that India were bowled out in an innings.

As a result of the mix-up, Rahane got involved in his first-ever run-out in his Test career. While Rahane top-scored with 46, Pant’s miserable run of form continued, as he got out for 19. If India want to remain in the two-match Test series opener, they need to strike regularly.

Feature Cricket

Five batsmen to watch out for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Delhi Capitals did pretty well in the last edition of the Indian Premier League. After changing their name, they made it to the knockout stage for the first time in the last few years. Under their skipper, Shreyas Iyer, Capitals are looking forward to land their first IPL trophy in the upcoming season. Let’s take a look at five batsmen, who can lead their team to IPL glory.

Marcus Stoinis

He was the best batsman in the last edition of the Big Bash League and was rewarded with the best player award for his heroics. In BBL, Stoinis scored 705 runs at a strike rate of 136.63 and an average of 54.23. In IPL though, Stoinis has not been able to leave his mark so far. He has had a decent outing though, having scored 473 runs from 29 matches. But apart from his one performance, where he took 4/15 against Mumbai Indians, playing for Kings XI Punjab, the Western Australia player has not lived up to the hype. However, his track record in the shortest format is worth applauding. With 2430 runs and 62 wickets in 114 T20 matches, Stoinis has proved to be a genuine all-rounder.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Lack of form, injuries and whatnot. It hasn’t been a good year for Pant so far. But as soon as the IPL arises, Rishabh Pant is like 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man’. He can turn the tide in his favor. He is one batsman who has been mastering the league like no one else. Over the past four seasons, Pant has scored 1736 runs in 54 matches with a phenomenal strike rate of 162.69 and a decent average of 36.16. Although at the international level, Pant has not been able to replicate his IPL form and that has been a reason of worry for the national team. But we are talking about IPL and over here, he rules the roost. He has an array of shots in his kitty that are destructive, to say the least.

Shreyas Iyer

Captain charismatic comes at number three on the list. Mostly because he hasn’t made as much of an impact as Pant in the IPL. But boy he is in some form in the International circuit! In his last 10 matches, the Mumbaikar has scored 421 runs at a whopping average of 60.142. Not only that, but he was also India’s leading run-scorer in the recently concluded ODI series in New Zealand. In the Indian Premier League, Iyer has done quite well. In 62 matches, Iyer has scored 1681 runs at an average of 30.56 and a somewhat modest strike rate of 126.96. But since May last year, Iyer has performed exceedingly well. In 2019-20, Iyer scored 334 runs in 15 innings at an average of 33.4 and a strike rate that dwells between 135 and 140.

Jason Roy

Along with Stoinis, another foreigner, who has performed well and has made himself a playing XI permanent is- Jason Roy. Since the 2019 World Cup itself, Roy has been in supreme touch. Although, he did not go through a good patch in Mzansi Premier League and missed the New Zealand T20I series. Since his return to the national side against South Africa, earlier this month, Roy has performed well for the Three Lions, both in the ODIs and in the T20Is. Roy has scored 5977 runs in 232 innings in his T20 career and has played all around the world.

Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw scored runs in the Ranji Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In the domestic T20, Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Shaw made 240 runs from five matches at a strike rate of 170 and. He also played quite well even for the India A team, before getting a call for the national side’s 50 over travails in New Zealand. Although he failed to convert the starts he got in New Zealand, but Shaw can never be kept out of a match especially in a T20 game on Indian pitches. He has played a few superb Knocks in IPL. Overall, Shaw has scored 598 runs in 25 matches at a prolific strike rate of 141.03.

Opinion Cricket

What’s ailing Virat Kohli in New Zealand?

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Eight matches, 182 runs at an average of 22.75 with a best of 51. These are not numbers you generally associate with the run-machine named Virat Kohli. But, these are the actual stats of the Indian captain on the tour of New Zealand, updated till his dismissal in the first innings of the Wellington Test. To be more precise, Kohli’s numbers in New Zealand read 45, 11, 38, 11 in the four T20Is he played, 51, 15 and 9 in the three ODIs as India were whitewashed, and 2 in the first innings of the Wellington. Kohli has now gone without a hundred in 19 international innings, his worst batting run since February-October 2014, when he went century-less for 25 innings.

It is not that Kohli was in poor form before heading on the plane to New Zealand. In fact, he had notched up 78 and 89 at Rajkot and Bengaluru respectively as India got the better of Australia 2-1 in the ODIs at home. His last international hundred though came against Bangladesh during the historic Day-Night Test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. What is it then that’s going wrong with the Indian captain in New Zealand?

Mental fatigue or law of averages?

Before the start of the Wellington Test, Kohli revealed during an interaction with the media that he wants to play all formats of the game for the next three years, after which he will make a decision on his future plans. At the same time, he also admitted that the constant flow of matches and incessant traveling is taking a toll on him. Remember India arrived in New Zealand just a few hours after their victory over Australia at Bengaluru. And, there won’t be a big gap between South Africa’s three ODI-tour of India and the IPL.

Perhaps, the tight cricketing schedule has affected Kohli’s powers of concentration in New Zealand, a place where the slightest mistake can cost the batsman his wicket considering the challenging conditions. It is not as if Kohli has looked out of form. In fact, he has got himself in a number of times but has found ways to get himself out. Then, there is also the small matter of luck and law of averages. Since the horrific 2014 tour of England, Kohli has had an unbelievably consistent run across formats. Somewhere down the line, to prove that Kohli is only human after all, there was bound to be a lull period.

Tied down by smart Kiwi bowlers

While the above-mentioned points hold very much true, credit must also be given to New Zealand bowlers for doing their homework very adeptly against Kohli. The Kiwis knew that if Kohli does well, India would invariably succeed especially in the shorter formats. And, his failure in the ODIs coinciding with India being whitewashed 0-3 reiterated how heavily the team still depends on their skipper to deliver in the 50-over format.

The New Zealand bowlers did very well not to give Kohli much room to free his arms. Once he gets into his groove, it is very difficult to stop Kohli. But, the Kiwi bowlers ensured the Indian captain was back in the hut before that phase. If one analysis the 31-year-old’s dismissals in the three ODIs, Ish Sodhi, breached Kohli’s defense at Hamilton, preying on the Indian captain’s weakness against leg-spin bowling. In the second ODI at Auckland, Tim Southee tested Kohli with tight lines, and eventually broke through. At Mount Maunganui, Kohli did not look in any sort of rhythm.

Kohli’s dismissal in the first innings of the Wellington Test, fishing outside the off-stump, was a failed attempt at trying to break free and had shades of England 2014. Of course, neither Kohli nor India should not be worried about the captain’s mini-slump. However, the Indian skipper still has time to make a difference. Unlike the ODIs, Kohli knows Tests are relevant and will be keen to set the wrongs right.

Feature Cricket

Ranji Trophy undergoes a metamorphosis

Partab Ramchand Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:02 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Following the ongoing Ranji Trophy quarterfinals one cannot escape the metamorphosis that has taken place in India’s premier domestic cricket tournament. The quarterfinalists are Gujarat, Bengal, Karnataka, Saurashtra, Andhra, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha and Goa. A few years ago this sort of line-up could not have been envisaged. There is only one heavyweight remaining in Karnataka which has won the trophy eight times. The teams eliminated at the league stage include Mumbai (41 times champion), Delhi (8 times champions), Baroda (5 times champion), Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Railways and Rajasthan who have won the trophy twice each, Vidarbha who have won the title the last two years and winners of the trophy once in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Even after conceding the fact that the Ranji Trophy is now an open field and the days of the heavyweight teams dominating could well be a thing of the past the kind of scenario that has been seen in this year’s competition is quite extraordinary.

This is not just reflected in the teams making the last eight but also in the stats of the season. For example, the highest run-getter is Rahul Dalal of Arunachal Pradesh with a tally of 1340 at an average of 95.71 with four hundreds and five half-centuries and a highest score of 267 not out. The three who follow Dalal in the list are from Mizoram, Meghalaya and Puducherry. All with over 900 runs each. Batsmen from Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Goa and Nagaland find a place in the top ten with only one player from a heavyweight team – Sarfaraz Khan of Mumbai – breaking the monopoly. When it comes to the highest scores notched up in this year’s championship five of the top ten are from Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Goa with Taruwar Kohli of Mizoram leading the way with 307 not out.

It’s the same story when it comes to bowling. Going into the quarterfinals Sanjay Yadav of Meghalaya is the leading wicket-taker with 55 wickets from nine matches at an average of 12.65. Again in the top ten bowlers from Services, Puducherry, Tripura and Sikkim dominate. Sanjay Yadav has notched up the season’s best innings figures of nine for 52. While Karnataka’s K Gowtham has the best match figures of 14 for 170, Imliwati Lemtur of Nagaland and Sanjay Yadav are close behind with a match haul of 13 wickets.

One does not know whether any of these players will come even close to donning an India cap but then at the start of the new millennium could anyone have expected a player from Jharkhand to emerge as a true legend of Indian cricket? In any case, it is heartening to know that players from literally every nook and corner of the country are performing admirably and helping their team’s cause. One hopes that some of them are rewarded with representation at a higher level or land an IPL contract.

News Cricket

Umar Akmal was in touch with bookies before the Pakistan Super League

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 4:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Pakistani batsman Umar Akmal, who was suspended by the anti-corruption unit of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for breaching the code of conduct, has admitted that he was in touch with a bookie and he failed to report to the PCB.

Reports surfaced in a Pakistani news channel, Geo News that he accepted charges leveled against him, once damning evidence was provided by the anti-corruption unit of the PCB. On Thursday night, the board had intercepted a call that Umar Akmal had made to the bookies.

Senior sports journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti said that the cricketing body possessed the records of an intercepted phone call between Akmal and the bookies. The anti-corruption cell of the PCB was monitoring the suspicious calls for four full days before finally deciding to take the matter to the chairman, Ehsan Mani, just a night before the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The anti-corruption unit has also confiscated the cell phone of Umar Akmal. Earlier, PCB had banned Umar Akmal from taking part in any cricket-related activity before the investigation against him is completed.

Meanwhile, Quetta Gladiators have named Anwar Ali as his replacement.

News Cricket

Babar Azam has surpassed me – Kumar Sangakkara

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 3:26 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Former Sri Lanka cricketer and the current President of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Kumar Sangakkara has said that Babar Azam has improved leaps and bounds and there should no comparisons made between him and the young Pakistani batter.

“I think Babar Azam has already surpassed me in many ways. His aim should be to become Babar Azam, The best Babar Azam possible,” Sangakkara was quoted as saying in an interview with Cricket Pakistan.

Sangakkara is in Pakistan as a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which toured the tension marred nation recently. Babar is taking long strides in the world of cricket and the great Sri Lankan also agrees to it.

“I have watched Babar Azam for a long time. I actually played with him for Karachi Kings. He is an exceptional player, one of the best in the world, in terms of Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root. He seems to adapt to every format very easily, he is a very special player,” added Sanga.

Babar is currently the ICC’s number-one T20I batsman and also features in the top five of the Test and ODI rankings. He is now plying his trade for the Karachi Kings in the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

News Cricket

I want to play like Ravindra Jadeja - Ashton Agar

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 2:11 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australian spinner Ashton Agar stole the show for his side in the first T20I against South Africa on Friday. The 26-year-old left-arm bowler scalped five wickets at the Wanderers Stadium in Gauteng Province. In the match, Agar also took a hat-trick against the hosts and became the second Australian bowler to achieve the feat in the shortest format of the game.

After his five-wicket haul, Agar revealed the name of his favorite cricketer in the world. The Aussie said that he wants to play like the Indian player Ravindra Jadeja. While calling him a rockstar, Agar also stated that Jadeja spins the ball very well and take the field with full confidence.

"I had a wonderful chat with Ravindra Jadeja after the India series. He's my favorite player in the world - I want to play cricket as he does. He's an absolute rockstar: smacks them, gun fielder, and spins the ball. But it's just his presence when he's out there, watching his confidence.. just talking to him about spin bowling, keep trying to spin the ball. When he's batting he has a really positive attitude and he takes that attitude into the field as well."

Aussies will now take on the Proteas in the second T20I which is scheduled to take place at the St George’s Oval on February 23.

News Cricket

BCB wants Virat Kohli to play for Asia XI vs. World XI

Abhishek Singh Updated: 22 February, 2020, 11:42 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow Virat Kohli to play for Asia XI against World XI. The upcoming two matches will be played between March 18 to 22 to celebrate the birth centenary of Bangladesh's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The Asia XI and World XI teams are yet to be confirmed for the two games but BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said he is in constant touch with BCCI.

"We are still working on the scheduling and the players' availability for the games and will make the announcement soon. We are in constant touch with the BCCI over the availability of the Indian players," Chowdhury told PTI.

Asked about the Indian players' availability for the matches, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said: "We have not yet finalized the names. We can send four to five players."

There’s also a plan that the two-match affair might be extended to three, with the final match being played in Ahmedabad, which could well turn out to be the inaugural match for renovated Motera.

"The third game is proposed at the renovated stadium, the Board is considering BCB's request," a BCCI official said.

It remains to be seen if Kohli makes himself available for the games in Dhaka. Indian team is currently in the middle of a full tour of New Zealand which ends on March 4.

News Cricket

India’s handsome hunk Yuzvendra Chahal dances with girls

Garima Kotroo Updated: 22 February, 2020, 10:53 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is not only famous for his destructive bowling spells on the field, but he also makes the headlines for his witty banters off the field. His ‘Chahal TV’ is famous among the fans. The 29-year-old right-arm bowler never misses any chance to entertain followers with his non-cricketing activities. This time, Chahal came up with a Tik Tok video in which he can be seen dancing with two beautiful girls in a hilarious manner.

While both the girls did their steps with perfection, Chahal messed up the things. As expected, the video spread like a wildfire on social media platforms and went viral in no time.

On the match front, Chahal was seen playing for India in the five-match T20I series against the Black Caps. However, the leg-spinner didn't have the best of outing with the ball as he bagged only three wickets. Chahal then regained his form in the three-match ODI series against the same opponent. He scalped six wickets in the last two matches after going wicket-less in the first game. India are currently playing a two-match Test series against Kiwis and Chahal is not a part of the Test set up.

News Cricket

Babar Azam and Azhar Ali helped me a lot in improving my game - Tom Banton

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 9:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

English wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Banton, who represented Brisbane Heat in this year’s edition of Big Bash League, is currently playing for Peshawar Zalmi in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL). Banton has played with two brilliant Pakistani players, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali last year where he emerged as the second-highest run-scorer for Somerset. The 21-year-old young batsman has revealed that Azhar helped him a lot in improving his game during the showpiece event and he is someone with whom Banton stays in touch on a regular basis.

“I must also mention another brilliant Pakistan player that I had the pleasure to play with at Somerset, Azhar Ali, who is also a good friend of mine now and someone I stay in touch with on a regular basis.”

“Like Babar, he has helped me a lot in my game and also been great for the club and everyone there. Despite being such an experienced international cricketer, he was always ready to help out and would throw balls at anyone for hours if needed.”

While praising Azam, Banton also went on to say, “Babar is a very calm and relaxed individual. He was the ideal batting partner for me as sometimes he would tell me to calm down when I got over-eager in my stroke-play.”

Feature Cricket

Statistical analysis: Why Indian pacers could cause issues for NZ batsmen in the Test series?

CT Contributor Updated: 21 February, 2020, 9:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

New Zealand and India are involved in the first Test in Wellington which started on Friday at the Basin Reserve. On an overcast and windy day, India ended a rain-hit Day 1 at 122/5. The play was possible only till Tea. What we saw on offer were the conditions that are set to help pacers at large.

There is movement aplenty with swing and seam dictating the play. Also, the bounce is on offer and if you are intelligent enough, then pitching the deliveries in the right channels will help in claiming wickets aplenty. The Kiwi bowlers were smart and Kyle Jamieson led the show with figures of 3/38. Indian bowlers will look to the same and produce the goods when New Zealand come into bat.

The Indian pace attack has been producing substance for a while now. Since 2018, the side has had important Test tours to South Africa, Australia, and England. And now New Zealand complete the show with the list of SENA nations. In between, they also toured West Indies last year and the pace-bowling unit wreaked havoc. Given their heroics on home soil of late that included whitewashing of Bangladesh and South Africa, the Kiwi batsmen can expect quality stuff.

India have quite the advantage when it comes to experience in the bowling unit. Ishant is 96 Tests old and has clinched 292 scalps. Shami has already fetched 175 scalps from 47 Tests. Umesh, who generally excels on home soil, has 142 in 45 Tests. Whereas, Bumrah, who made his debut in the longest format last year, has already been impressive by claiming 62 wickets in 12 matches. When you look at the performances in South Africa, England and Australia, it is evident Indian pacers will excel in New Zealand.

Leader Ishant Sharma has claimed 37 wickets in 10 Tests in these three nations since 2018. Bumrah, who made his Test debut in 2018, has claimed 49 wickets from 11 Test matches in this period. The impressive Shami has been terrific as well and boasts of 47 wickets in 12 Test matches. The three quicks who spearhead the bowling have 133 wickets between them in 12 Tests. This is a phenomenal return for Team India.

When you look at 2019, Indian fast bowlers accounted for a staggering tally of 59 scalps (home and away). These 59 were out of the 100 wickets claimed in total by the side. And one expects the team to continue the form in 2020 as well. Post the New Zealand Tests, India's next assignment is against Australia Down Under in 2020-21.

News Cricket

WT20: Poonam Yadav’s heroics secure memorable victory for India over Australia

Abhishek Singh Updated: 21 February, 2020, 4:57 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Poonam Yadav came and she conquered. At a stage when Australia were cruising towards victory, Poonam Yadav came as a beautiful respite for Team India. She took two wickets in one over and dealt hefty blows to host Australia to reduce them from 67 for 3 to 76 for 5. Not only that, she picked the three most important Australian wickets of Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry.

Riding on this bowling performance, India went on to secure a memorable victory by 17 runs against the hosts and defending T20 World Champions Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Earlier in the day, put to bat first, India had a good start from Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma. But soon after the 41 run partnership, India lost three quick wickets, including the experienced duo of captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. At 47 for 3, Jemimah Rodriguez and Deepti Sharma steadied the Indian ship, stitching a partnership of 53 runs. Deepti made 49 not out to get India to a respectable total of 133 runs.

In the bowling department, along with Poonam, Shikha Pandey also made vital contributions by picking up three wickets and choking out the runs in the death overs. Poonam was rightfully awarded the ‘Woman of the Match’ trophy.

News Cricket

You can never feel set on a tricky pitch of Basin Reserve - Mayank Agarwal

Garima Kotroo Updated: 21 February, 2020, 4:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal has revealed the reason behind his side’s top-order collapse during the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington. Agarwal said that it was quite difficult to perform on a tricky pitch of Basin Reserve as the players have to make extra efforts to play big shots. The 29-year-old right-hander also claimed that a batsman can never feel set in such difficult conditions.

“I think it is quite tricky since the wind blows at more than a decent speed here. And you just have to make adjustments right there on the field. As a batsman, it’s not easy, especially the first day, on this track. As a batsman, you never felt that you were completely in because even after lunch, it was doing a little bit.”

Speaking about Jamieson’s performance in the game, Agarwal said that the Kiwi pacer bowled exceedingly well as he hit the right areas and smartly used the new ball.

“I thought he (Jamieson) bowled exceedingly well. He hit good areas and he got a good bounce. The way he used the new ball was fantastic and he kept testing our bowling in the right areas.

Agarwal scored 34 runs off 84 balls against the Kiwis before losing his wicket to star pacer Trent Boult in the 35th over.

News Cricket

Smith and Kane are 100 times better than overrated Kohli: Fans blast skipper for his ordinary batting

Staff Writer Updated: 21 February, 2020, 3:09 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Fast bowler Kyle Jamieson made an impressive start to his Test career taking 3-38 Friday as New Zealand left India 122-5 on the rain-shortened first day of the first cricket test.

Ajinkya Rahane was 38 not out and Rishabh Pant 10 when stumps were drawn.

Jamieson was called up for Neil Wagner, New Zealand's most successful seamer of recent seasons, whose wife is expecting their first child.

New Zealand feared a hole in its bowling attack in Wagner's absence but Jamieson, who also made his international white-ball debut this season, stepped easily into the gap and ensured New Zealand took advantage of an influential toss.

His first wicket in tests was Cheteshwar Pujara (11) and his third, not long before rain shortened the day to two sessions, was Hanuma Vihari (7). The one he will remember longest was India captain Virat Kohli (2) who was out before lunch and whose dismissal swung the balance of the match in New Zealand's favor.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson didn't hesitate to bowl on winning the toss; the team winning the toss has bowled first 26 times in the last 30 tests at the Basin Reserve.

When the covers were drawn away from the pitch after some light morning rain it was green, moist and seemed to offer every advantage to the bowling team.

The pitch at first was a little slow and holding, hardened through the day and made the bounce sharper.

There was only a little seam and not much swing despite the low cloud that hung over the ground through the first two sessions and brought the rain during the tea break.

For Jamieson those conditions were ideal. His height — he stands 2.03 meters (6'8') — allowed him to use the bounce as the pitch hardened but he made most use of fuller deliveries which just nipped away. All of his wickets were catches behind the stumps.

He bowled full to Pujara, angling the ball into middle and off and forcing the batsman to play. When Pujara pushed tentatively forward, the ball just deviated, took the outside edge and carried to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling.

The delivery that accounted for Kohli was wider but still full. Kohli lunged well forward, the ball straightened just a little and took an edge, carrying to Ross Taylor at first slip.

The dismissal marked a collaboration between a player in his first test and another playing his 100th. Taylor on Friday became the fourth New Zealander after Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum to play 100 tests and the first to play 100 matches in all three formats.

Vihari also fell to a full ball which demanded a shot and which moved enough to give Watling another catch.

Jamieson also had a hand in the dismissal of Mayank Agarwal after the opening had endured all of the first session. Trent Boult tried a shorter ball and Agarwal, playing off his hip, got a top edge that flew to Jamieson at fine leg.

Tim Southee claimed the first wicket of the day, bowling Prithvi Shaw for 16 when India was 16-0.

The rain came after tea, shortening the day though New Zealand had done enough to advance the match. A strong wind made conditions difficult for batsmen and bowlers.

Virat Kohli’s ordinary batting was enough to invite the wrath of fans, who blasted the Indian skipper for the way he lost his wicket to New Zealand quick.