test match

India secure battling draw in third test against Australia

India managed to survive the last day and secure a thrilling draw in their third test against Australia in Sydney.

The tourists India battled against the odds and were indebted to Rishabh Pant (97) and Chasteshwar Pujara (77) for helping them have an improved showing with the bat.

When both men fell in quick succession, Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin came together to show further defiance to frustrate the hosts Australia.

What made the draw all the impressive, was that Vihari suffered a hamstring injury, his 23 was scored off 161 balls.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad man is almost certain to miss the fourth test in Brisbane.

Fellow spinner Ravi Jadeja is also likely to be absent for the fourth test after the 32-year old all-rounder suffered a fractured thumb. As impressive as this spirited draw has been, it seems to have come at a cost for India.

As for the hosts Australia, their usually potent bowling attack was blunted by India’s rearguard. Three drop catches by Aussie skipper Tim Paine, didn’t help their cause.

What the world champions can take from this performance is that debutant Will Puckovski scored a debut 50 and looks like he belongs at this level, and Steve Smith returned to form after a barren scoring run in this series.

So as disappointing as this draw was there were some positives for sure. Australia produced a brilliant battling display to come back from the disappointment of the second test.

As entertaining as the third test was, there was an incident of apparent racism. India players reported that members of the crowd. This is an allegation at this point, one would hope this isn’t the case.

Australia, have hosted a brilliant test series, and the last thing we want is for this test to be remembered for matters off the pitch. The fourth test between the two sides starts on 15th January.

Australia vs India; third test preview

After battling back, to win the second test, India have had to make some enforced changes coming into this one. Natarajan, who impressed for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this years IPL, comes in for the injured Umesh Yadav, who injured his calf during the second test victory.

The build-up to this test has been marred by an apparent breach of Covid protocols, where five Indian players (Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep and Pritvi Shaw) were seen in a video circulated over social media where the quintet were seen outdoors eating in a Sydney restaurant.

Despite this breach, it’s believed there hasn’t been any travel restrictions on the five, and they will be able to travel with the rest of the squad for the third test. This match, with the series squared at 1-1 will be crucial. At the top of the order has been a problem for India with Mayank Agarwal and Pritvi Shaw both struggling.

The return of Mumbai Indians skipper Sharma, will give the tourists some much strength needed up top, it will be hoped Rohit Sharma’s return, will take some pressure and the scoring burden off stand-in skipper Ajinkja Rahane, Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari in the middle.

Australia, who were well beaten in the second test have dropped Joe Burns, who has had indifferent series. Burns has been replaced by the returning David Warner, who has shaken off his groin injury. Will Pucovski, has impressed in the Sheffield Shield, but concussion issues have plagued the 22-year old. Selector Trevor Hohns has confirmed that Pucovski has been symptom free for sometime.

Fast bowler and all-rounder Sean Abbott who has recovered for a calf strain, has been recalled. The third test, which begins at 23:30, will be played at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.

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?

New Zealand over come Pakistan in thriller

In what turned out to be a great advertisement for test Cricket, New Zealand over came tourists Pakistan with a thrilling 101 run win in the first test, of their two game test series.

The win, which sees The Kiwis top the test rankings for the first time in their history, was achieved off the back of a brilliant 129 from captain Kane Williamson.

Ross Taylor (70) and Henry Nichols (56) did offer support to their captain, which helped the home side post a mammoth 431 all out.

In reply, Pakistan’s innings was below par as they fell to 239 all out. This total could have been worse, if it wasn’t for captain Mohammed Rizwan (71) and Faheem Ashraf (91).

The Pakistani all-rounder falling agonisingly short of a maiden century. New Zealand were in the ascendancy at this point, and in their 2nd innings posted 180-5.

Fifties from openers Tom Latham (53) and Tom Blundell (64) helps The Black Caps to set a tricky target of 372 for Pakistan to win the first test.

At 37-3 and then 75-4, Pakistan were staring at a humbling defeat. The tourists, though managed to draw up some of their resilience and doggedness of old.

Mohammed Rizwan, one of the top scorers in the first innings, was joined by Fawad Alam who would go on to make an emotional century (104).

The 34-year old Fawad’s brilliant 100 was his first ton after 11 years. The all-rounder has only just returned to the test side after an 11- year absence.

Alam and his captain Rizwan (60) combined in a 160 run fifth wicket partnership to frustrate the hosts and Maybe help secure an unlikely win.

When tall paceman Kyle Jamieson, had Mohammed Rizwan trapped lbw for 60, Pakistan’s resistance crumbled with the last five wickets falling for 31 runs.

An unfortunate end to a brilliant game of test cricket between the two sides. As the cliche goes, there can only be one winner.

Home side New Zealand deserved the win, but new captain Mohammed Rizwan will be encouraged with what he saw in parts of this game.

The second test, will be contested in Christchurch, if it’s anything like the first test we are in for a real treat!

The second test between the two sides starts on 2nd January and potentially ends on 6th January.