South Africa v India, 1st Test: Five Hits and Five Misses

Hits

  1. Like he did in England in 2014, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was brilliant with both bat and ball. India must be careful not to bowl this whole-hearted cricketer into the ground on this tour. Holding on to catches in the slips will help keep his energy levels up.
  2. Pandya’s performance. The lone warrior on day 2 for India scoring 93 (95) with the bat to tame four fire-breathing South African quicks and then taking two wickets to help India keep a toe-hold in the match.
  3. Wriddhiman Saha. A flawless performance behind the stumps saw Saha break the Indian test record for the number of catches. He pouched everything with a minimum of fuss. He will want to contribute more in front of the wickets though, scoring only 0 and 8.
  4. Rohit and Cheteshwar Pujara for the first 18 overs on day 2. Good, solid test cricket. It was good to see Rohit reigning in his usual attacking instincts for the greater good.
  5. The second innings bowling performance. From 65 for 2, it was a fantastic performance to bowl the home team out for the addition of just another 65 runs. The lines were perfect, no boundaries were gifted and the chances created were taken.

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South Africa v India: The Freedom Series Preview

1992 – Kapil breaking orange(!) stumps to mankad Peter Kirsten upon South Africa’s return to international cricket.

1996 – Tendulkar’s off stump sent cart-wheeling by Allan Donald. 100 in the first innings in Durban, 66 in the second innings. Magic from Sachin and Azhar at Cape Town, ended only by a magical catch by Adam Bacher. Rahul Dravid’s maiden test ton at Johannesburg. The test series won by South Africa 2-0 after rain and bad light frustrated India’s hopes in JohannesburgDonald swearing at Dravid and Tendulkar while they cart him around in the ODI tri-series final.

2001- Sehwag’s hundred on test debut. Charges of ball-tampering by Tendulkar and an unofficial test match.

2006- Sreesanth’s magical spell at Jo’burg. 2-1 to South Africa.

2011 – Tendulkar (146) v Steyn (5/75). Spell-binding cricket. Series drawn 1-1.

2013 – A near world record chase of 458 at Jo’burg. A six wicket haul by Steyn and a farewell hundred by Kallis helps the Saffers take the series 1-0.

After what felt like a million meaningless cricket matches against Sri Lanka, India has reached South Africa. And if you are feeling a mixture of dread and excitement, you are not alone. The first test of the Freedom Series begins at Newlands in Cape Town tomorrow – finally some competitive cricket! Read More …

India v Sri Lanka: Players pay the price for Delhi pollution

Even for those of us who have been complaining about the BCCI scheduling cricket matches with no context, the third India v Sri Lanka test match in Delhi will stick in the memory. Originally we thought it would be for Virat Kohl’s first triple century. But we were wrong. This test match will be remembered for #DelhiPollution and #PollutionStopsPlay (hashtags in their own right).

It will be remembered for the Sri Lankan players throwing up on the outfield.

Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal, centre, vomits as his teammates stand next to him during the fourth day of their third test cricket match against India in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadr)

For Sri Lankan players wearing surgical masks.

For Kohli’s angry declaration. (He pointed at his chest and said we will bowl, the implication being we will show you how to do it, you cry babies). Can you blame him? He is a proud Delhi boy and the masked Lankans had made his city look bad. Read More …

India v Sri Lanka: The Kohli-coaster rolls on

At the end of the first day’s play in Delhi, Kohli remained undefeated on 146. Three test matches against Sri Lanka have seen three contrasting tons from the Indian captain.

The first test at Eden Gardens saw Kohli get a ten-ball duck in the first innings. Walking in with Sri Lanka in the hunt for the win, Kohli’s second innings hundred on a spicy pitch swung the match decisively in India’s favour. One of his best efforts, one which nearly saw India pull off a famous come-from-behind win at the spiritual home of Indian cricket.

Kohli’s double hundred in Nagpur was pure efficiency after the Murali-Pujara show. He cut out risk and ground the Lankans into the dust without mercy. Read More …

Are you still watching India play cricket?

After the Latham-Taylor show in Mumbai, India have drawn level in the ODI cricket series against New Zealand with a clinical performance in Pune. Bhuvaneshwar and Bumrah set the tone up front and batsman knocked off the runs with ease. 1-1 with one to play. Our prediction at the start of the series seems to be coming good at this point.

We, however, have an another (larger) question – do these matches have any context at all? With series flying thick and fast, hardly a weekend goes by without India featuring in a cricket match. Since the Champions Trophy 2017 in June, India have played almost non-stop.

  • Five days after defeat in the Champions Trophy final the Indian team was in the West Indies for five ODIs and a T20I.
  • Two weeks after returning from the Caribbean, they were in Sri Lanka for three tests, five ODIs and a T20I.
  • Ten days after returning triumphant from Sri Lanka, India were playing their old nemesis Australia in five ODIs and three T20Is.
  • A week after Australia, the New Zealand series started.
  • Ten days after the end of the New Zealand series, India plays Sri Lanka again in three tests, three ODIs and one more T20. You might ask why we are playing Sri Lanka again, since we played them earlier in the year? Maybe it has something to with Sri Lanka being the only ones voting with the BCCI in the big ICC revenue re-shuffle?
  • Ten days after the end of the Sri Lanka series, India will be in South Africa for three tests, six ODIs and three T2OIs.

Did you feel tired reading that? Does the world really need more India-Sri Lanka matches? Who is watching these matches? Read More …