Tag: Test matches

India v Australia, 2nd test, Bengaluru: India stay alive (and kicking!)

It was tea on the third day of the second test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2017. One nil down in the series and having conceded a lead of 87 in the first innings, India was ahead by just 33 runs with six wickets in hand. India’s experiment with Jadeja had failed in the last over before the break and Ajinkya Rahane would join the dogged Cheteshwara Pujara for the final session of day three. India were alive in the series, but only just.

That’s when we decided to send out a tweet asking the world at large whether Pujara and Rahane could channel their inner Dravid and Laxman. You see, when it’s India and Australia, with the series one wicket away from escaping India’s grasp, Eden Gardens in 2001 becomes the benchmark for a certain generation of Indian cricket fans.

Almost exactly 16 years later, a similar stage was set. Four wickets had fallen in the second innings of the Eden test when Dravid came in to join Laxman. In 2001, Tendulkar had gone for 10. Here, Virat Kohli fell (a slightly dubious decision, in our opinion) for just 15. Dravid was struggling to lay bat on ball before Eden. Before Bengaluru, so was Rahane. Pujara is a batsman in Dravid’s mould. Rahane is more stylish, VVS like.

Unlike Eden, however, the Bengaluru pitch was not going to hold up for five days. The bounce was unpredictable and the turn was quick and sharp. Lyon had taken eight wickets in the first innings to bundle India out for 189. Jadeja had taken six for India. Surely Australia retaining the Border Gavaskar trophy was a just matter of time.

The first ball after tea kept low and went through Matthew Wade and went for four byes. A sign of things to come? Another third day finish looked on the cards. If there was ever a time to stand up and be counted, this was it.

Like 2001, two unfancied guys took up the challenge. Bit by bit, with their backs firmly up against the wall, first Pujara and then Rahane dragged India back into the match with supple wrists, soft hands and some good luck. The Australians, who had the game (and the series) by the scruff of the neck until then, began to flag. By the end of the third days’ play, Indian fans were believing again. 126 priceless runs ahead with 6 wickets still standing – the 93 run partnership between Pujara and Rahane had changed the complexion of the match. Unbelievably, the momentum had shifted towards India.

The fourth morning brought with it another twist in the tale. Pujara fell in the 90s for the first time in his test career and India’s remaining wickets tumbled to Hazelwood quickly, leaving Australia 187 to chase to retain the Border Gavaskar trophy. It was a tough ask, but not impossible. One good session from Warner could get Australia within sniffing distance.

Renshaw went first to a snorter from Ishant. The dangerous Warner followed soon after lbw post DRS to Ashwin. Marsh was given out lbw and chose not to review after a mix-up with Smith. Steve Smith then decided to look towards the dressing when given out lbw to a “worm burner” from Umesh.

Who knows whether it was deliberate or not. The one thing that #DressingRoomGate surely exemplified the confusion that reigned in Aussie minds at the time. Teams visiting India need a bit of luck, good technique and, perhaps most importantly, clear minds. Smith had cracked under the pressure of the moment. In that moment of panic, Kohli knew that the series had turned decisively in India’s favour.

India proceeded to wrap up the test with Ashwin picking up six to become the fourth bowler in the test to take six wickets or more (after Lyon, Jadeja and Hazlewood). The series was tied 1-1. Bangalore was the site of yet another mini-miracle. 

DressingRoomGate, unfortunately, probably got a bit blown out of proportion thereafter. Smith called it a brain-fade, Kohli made some comments in the post match conference and the boards of both nations got involved. Finally, better sense has prevailed and the BCCI has withdrawn its complaint against Steve Smith and Hanscombe.

As an aside, we rather enjoyed Kohli telling Healy that the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black. In our opinion, Heals should stick to what he is good at (which is NOT being a commentator, for the record). We have offered our services to Mr. Kohli to research his critics further. At the date of writing, we have not heard back.

Where does that leave us for the third test in Ranchi starting on Thursday? Well, for one, Mitch Starc will be out with injury and so will Mitch Marsh. Kohli’s India will be fired up and raring to go. It won’t be an easy ride but we are predicting a 3-1 win to India to win back the Border Gavaskar Trophy and round off this grand season of Indian test cricket. What to you guys think?

The third test match starts at Ranchi on Thursday, 16 March 2017. Remember to subscribe to all our blog updates by clicking here.

 

 

 

India v Bangladesh Test: Preview

In the past seven weeks, India has played against England in all 3 formats . Just over 2 weeks from now, India kicks off a 4-Test series with Australia too. Almost exactly 10 weeks from now, the IPL will kick off with an opening ceremony that is no doubt newsworthy, for better or for worse. That will be followed almost immediately by the Champions Trophy in England. PHEW!

Yet here we are, in the middle of a packed season previewing a standalone test between India and Bangladesh to be played in Hyderabad, from Feb 9-13, 2017.

So how did this Test match find a way into the already crazy calendar? Maybe the BCCI realized that India, despite sharing a border with them, remains the only Test playing nation to have not yet hosted Bangladesh in a Test match. All that is set to change on 9 February 2017.

The last time Hyderabad hosted a test in 2013, Pujara scored a double, Vijay scored a century, Ashwin took a 5-for and Jadeja took 3 wickets in each innings. Kohli will back his top XI and will be looking to warm-up for the upcoming  four test series against Steve Smith’s men with a win here.

Ahead of this (historic?) standalone test, here are a few things we at 1 Tip 1 Hand are watching closely: Read More

India v England 4th test: Day 4 Highlights at Mumbai

With a lead of 51 runs and 3 wickets in hand, India held the edge at the start of day 4 in Mumbai. By lunch, that edge had translated into a definitive advantage.

To cut a long story short, England was beyond rubbish and India outclassed them again. With Kohli moving on to a double hundred and Jayant Yadav at number 9 scoring a 100 (India’s first ever), India turned the screws on England. With a lead of 231, the last two sessions saw a familiar scenario unfold when England batted. Six down at the close of play, England still need 49 to make India bat again.

The best part for Indian fans is that England and their fans really have had nothing to whine about on this tour.

  1. England have won 3 tosses out of 4 and batted first. They have had the best of the batting conditions 75% of the time so the English conspiracy theory that winning the toss decides the result goes straight down the drain.
  2. The pitches haven’t been rank turners. No day 3 results. All the games have gone deep into the fourth and fifth days. So India have conclusively played the better cricket.
  3. All of DRS is in play. So no more whining about bad decisions. India have simply used the system better.
  4. India have had more injuries than England to key players. The Indian openers (Rahul), the wicket-keeper (Saha) and the opening bowlers (Shami) have all been injured but India’s bench strength has compensated. England’s only injury of the tour has been to the rookie opener Haseeb Hameed and the out-of-form Stuart Broad.
  5. Having gone 2-0 down, England had a nice break to re-group and make a fist of the series. India have not had such a luxury while touring the UK.

So no excuses from England, right? Wrong.

Having already hit rock bottom, someone handed England a spade and it was our old friend, Jimmy. Anderson labelled Kohli’s magnificent 235 a function of the “helpful” pitches he plays on.

Makes you wonder whether Anderson was watching the ball turn in this test? Also, it’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black – Anderson should be the last person to talk about using home advantage. Remember, Jimmy Anderson is someone with one five wicket haul in Asia in 19 test matches (as opposed to 1 every 4 tests in England). Pretty poor from England. Anderson should shut his mouth and stick to bowling (at home).

Statgasms

To add to the stats fun, let’s take a look at 5 awesome statistics from day 4 at Mumbai.

  • What more can you say about King Kohli? He was sublime on Day 4 of the Mumbai test, racing to his 3rd double century in 2016, becoming the first Indian batsman to accomplish this feat, and the 3rd captain to do so (after McCullum and Clarke). Here is one person who wishes 2016 never ends!
  • Jayant Yadav smashed several records including the first Indian #9 to score a century. In the process, Jayant and Kohli also put together the highest 8th-wicket partnership ever for India.
  • Captain Kohli now averages 50.53 in Test Cricket; along with 52.93 in ODIs and 57.13 in T20s, Virat is the first player to ever average more than 50 at the same time in all 3 formats
  • Joe Root hit a brilliant 77 in the second innings; he has now picked up at least a half-century in each of his 10 tests against India, converting 3 to centuries.
  • Keaton Jennings hit an outstanding first innings century, but followed up with a first ball duck in his second innings. He is the 4th batsman in history to have a century and duck on debut, the last 3 times being in 1969, 1992 and 1996, all more than 20 years ago.

Watch video – India v England, 4th test, day 4 highlights

In our view, the only question that remains for tomorrow is whether India will need to bat again to win the match and the series.

Let’s wrap it up nice and early tomorrow, boys!

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India v England, 4th Test: Day 1 Highlights at Mumbai

Sensational. See-saw. Gripping. What a day of test cricket that was at Mumbai! While India may have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, England let them know today that they will not be going down without a fight.

Sensational

With a doubt, Keaton Jennings was sensational. Dropped by Nair on 0 at gully (a difficult chance), the 24 year old made the Indians pay with a hundred. While he was the 19th England batsman to score a hundred on debut, we are pretty sure he is the first to get there with a reverse sweep! Along with Haseeb Hameed, Jennings may well the future of English batting. Alistair Cook might soon be under pressure from the young openers.

Watch video – Debut ton for Keaton Jennings 

The other bit of sensational cricket came from India’s skipper Kohli. Kohli is not India’s regular first slip fielder but with Rahane out with injury, someone had to fill in. Watch the video to see how Virat first goes in the wrong direction before recovering quickly to safely pouch England’s dangerman, Joe Root.

Watch video – Kohli’s great catch to dismiss Joe Root.

See-saw

England were in a really strong position at 230-2 and India were looking down the barrell. Jennings and Moeen Ali has just begun to step on the accelerator. As is so often the case in the sub-continent, things changed in a flash. Moeen was out to a top-edged slop sweep and within 2 balls, Jennings was caught in Ashwin’s web at gully. When the leading run-scorer of 2016, Johnny Bairstow was caught in the deep off another top-edged sweep, India had clawed their way back into the game to leave England at a precarious 249-5 with around 10 overs still left in the day’s play.

Gripping

With the fall of Bairstow’s wicket, Buttler joined Stokes at the crease. Ashwin and Jayant were fizzing the ball past both inside and outside edge regularly. Both Stokes and Buttler were being beaten in the flight and off the pitch. Add disconcerting bounce off a good length and India would have hoped to have picked up another couple of wickets before the close of play. Somehow, the two young England batsman lived to fight another day. England ended the day on 288 for 5. Tense stuff.

Watch video –  full highlights for Day 1 of the 4th India v England test from the official BCCI website 

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India v England, Day 1 at Vizag: India sitting pretty

Here is our wrap-up of the first day of the India v England Vizag test.

Similarities to the first test at Rajkot

India ended at a healthy 317/4, including centuries from Pujara and Kohli. After the first day of the Rajkot test, England were quite content with 311/4, including one centurion (Root) and one batsman not out on 99 (Moeen). In both cases, the captain who won the toss chose to bat first.

Pujara picks up the pace

After much criticism of his career strike rate (48.85) and showing lack of intent, Pujara has scored 2 centuries in the first 3 innings of this series, at strike rates of 60.19 and 58.33, noticeably quicker than history would suggest. He has been using his feet beautifully against the spinners. It is worth noting that he was also India’s highest scorer in the series against the Kiwis, though headlines were dominated by the bowlers.

Kohli makes it count

Virat raced to his 14th Test Century alongside Pujara, ending the day on 151*. His first 7 centuries were small in comparison, with his average 100+ score being 109 and the next 6 have averaged 162. His last two 100+ scores have both been double centuries.

India’s opening dilemma continues

Although Rahul came off a stellar patch in domestic cricket, it was yet another failure for the opening partnership. Between Dhawan, Rahul, Gambhir and Vijay, no one pair has really clicked at the top in recent test matches. Kohli and Pujara came together with the score at 22/2 with both openers back in the hut.

Jimmy Anderson returns

Expectations were low given Anderson’s absence with a fractured shoulder since August. Then again, can you ever really write off a fast bowler with nearly 500 test wickets? Replacing Woakes in the side, Anderson led from the front, picking up 3-44 in his 16 overs. Jimmy’s  dismissal of Rahane in the penultimate over the of the day with the new ball was a lesson in swing bowling. With Broad not quite 100%, Anderson will key for England on day 2.

Verdict

At the end of the first day the India v England test at Vizag, India will be much happier than they were after the first day of the first test at Rajkot. The pitch has already begun to show signs of breaking up so India will only want to bat once, and bat big.

Day 1 of the Vizag test belonged to India but there is still work to be done.

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