Cricket

Australia vs India day one review

Marnus Labuschagne impressed again for Australia with yet another 100.

After failing to win the third test, Australia got their innings off to a solid start after the hosts made 274-5.

Tourists India, who have done well to put aside together after the injuries suffered in the drawn third test, were punished for two drop catches as Marnus Labuschagne made his fifth century.

The South African born Labuschagne who was dropped on 37 and 48, took full advantage of those reprieves and made his century off 204 balls.

The Asian side, who were without Hanuma Vihari and Ravid Jadeja, were arguably missing the presence of these two men on the field as India’s inexperienced bowling attack toiled on the first day.

The day did start well for the tourists as David Warner (5) and the recalled Marcus Harris (1) both fell cheaply. Hosts Australia were able to steady the ship through Steve Smith (36) and Matthew Wade (45).

Captain Tim Paine (38) and Cameron Green (28) put on 61 for the sixth wicket, as the world champions looked to press home their advantage. India’s inexperienced bowling attack toiled, even opener Rohit Sharma sent down one over.

On the flip side, should the visitors get an early breakthrough, they’re right back in this test match. It’s well documented that, the tourists have a depleted bowling attack, but they still have a very solid top order.

Tomorrow’s first session will be very important, one thing is for sure is that this test promises to be a classic.

New Zealand vs Pakistan 2nd test; tourists well beaten

New Zealand, kept their World Test Championship campaign, with a resounding 2-0 test series win against former world number one side Pakistan. The kiwi’s who were brilliant in the first test, were just as good in the second.

On reflection of the game, some might argue that tourists Pakistan were poor more than The Black Caps, being good. Kane Williamson (238), Henry Nicholls (157) and a maiden ton from all-rounder Daryl Mitchell (102), really put the tourists’ attack to the sword, but to rub salt in the wounds, Pakistan dropped Williamson three times and Mitchell too.

Those errors proved costly. Opener Shaan Masood, capped off a very poor game, with a pair and three dropped catches in the New Zealand innings, which will naturally put pressure on the left-hander come the upcoming South Africa series which starts at the end of the month.

The easy thing to do, would be to carry out the post mortem , straight after the game and have a knee jerk reaction. But, these two defeats for Pakistan have been more damaging, especially with the poor performances with the bat.

Fawad Alam, did make an emotional century in the second innings of the first test, and Faheem Ashraf made 91 in the first innings, but there hasn’t been too much to shout about. Azhar Ali in the first innings of this test made 93, but there’s not been a sizeable contribution from any Pakistan batsmen.

This maybe a tad harsh, especially since Williamson, wouldn’t have gone to make the scores he did, if the Pakistani’s would have taken their chances. Credit, must be given to New Zealand who are lead brilliantly by Kane Williamson, who in this test became just the third person to reach 7,000 test runs for New Zealand.

For Pakistan, it’s evident they have some soul searching to do in preparation for their upcoming series against South Africa. New Zealand on the other hand, they now look forward to a series of limited over and T20 games against arch-rivals Australia.

Opinion, why five batters are better than six

Hello and good afternoon, my name is Ayyaz Malik, sportswriter and sports broadcaster for six years now. Through my blog, I hope you the reader, have been able to digest and feast your self on some very good reading.

Some of the pieces I have written of late have been designed to provoke some thoughts of all sports fans. What I want to talk about today, is an issue in the world of cricket, and offer my thoughts on the debate too.

The issue I am referring to is the issue of, should a team have five batsmen or six? In the modern game, a lot of bowlers are able to bat, as are batsmen are able to bowl.

But what I want to talk about is the team line-up more for test matches. Traditionally, in limited over matches, teams tend to field, five bowlers and five batsmen. In the test format, it differs pending on the team.

Misbah Ul-Haq’s Pakistan team, in my humble opinion, were notorious for fielding six batsmen and four bowlers (three seamers and one spinner). There are two ways to look at this argument.

With having the six batsmen, like that Pakistan team did where Asad Shafiq became one of the best in the world. The 2009 T20 champions, simply were outscoring their opponents, especially at their adopted home of Abu Dhabi.

The flipside of this Pakistani side was that as good as they were with bat and arguably the ball due to the brilliance of Yasir Shah, if a team would play sensible test cricket, four bowlers could get worn out quicker, compared to the five.

I am trying to argue that, in tests most likely a lot of overs will be bowled. To be able to get through the overs, I argue that five bowlers are better to keep a bowling attack fresh.

In this test series, current Pakistan test captain, Mohammed Rizwan has opted for five bowlers.

I feel for test series against New Zealand, where they have players like Williamson at their disposal, one would think there would be a lot of overs bowled. So that’s my opinion cricket fans, what do you think?

India is that you?

After World Cup wins in 2007 (World T20) and in 2011 (50 over one day international tournament and a 2013 victory in the Champions Trophy, India towards the latter years of the start of the decade, and the early years of the last decade, established themselves as a cricketing world super power.

The success of the India team, wasn’t just restricted to the limited overs format. The Indian’s even managed to achieve the lofty status of being World number one in tests too.

The sky was the limit, what could go wrong? Well a lot actually. A disappointing semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final and a defeat at the same stage in the World T20 semi-final to now two-time winners West Indies.

To rub further salt in the wounds, a chastening defeat to arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2017 Champions trophy was just another example of some disappointments in Indian cricket.

Being a British born Pakistani, some might think I am revelling, seeing Kohli’s men in their current plight.

As a fan, yeah a little bit (I can’t lie, being a Pakistan fan and all). But the cricket purist side of me, says it’s tough to watch.

That kind of score is reminiscent of my school cricket team. It’s difficult to watch seeing a talented side like India being skittled out for 42, which broke a 48 year-old record.

Surely India haven’t sunk that low, but to see the former world champions be humbled like that (eventually going on to lose the match by eight wickets) was quite something.

The next test between the sides will be resuming on the night of the 25th December, for India that can’t come quick enough.

Unfortunately for them, they will have to manage in this game and for the rest of the series without their captain supreme, Virat Kohli.

The RCB captain, will be returning home for the birth of his first child. India will be hoping for a change of fortunes this time out.

This tour for India will make a man out of one their batsmen and bowlers. Let’s see who’s man enough then?