India thrash New Zealand by 178 runs


India thrash New Zealand by 178 runs, clinch series

Kolkata : India pulled off a brilliant all-round performance to trounce New Zealand by 178 runs in the second Test to clinch the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead on Monday. Virat Kohli’s men wrapped up the series-deciding victory on the Fourth day of the match after setting the Black Caps a mammoth target of 376 runs to chase.

The visitors showed some spark to start with but their chase floundered in the post-tea session and the side was bowled out for 197 in 81.1 overs in what was India’s 250th home Test. The home team had earlier finished its second innings at 263 in 76.5 overs.


Following Rohit Sharma’s 82-run knock, Wriddhiman Saha also picked up his second successive half-century of the match by scoring a 120-ball 58, laced with half a dozen fours. Faced with an improbable chase, New Zealand were off to a confident start before things went downhill in the final session of the day.

Opener Tom Latham top-scored for them with a 148-ball 74, which included eight hits to the fence. His innings gave New Zealand some hope of springing a surprise but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin put paid to any such eventuality in just the second over after tea, inducing an edge off his bat which was comfortably taken by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Besides Latham, Luke Ronchi was the only one to play an innings of significance, accounting for 32 runs (60 balls, 4×4). However, rest of the Black Caps’ line-up failed to apply itself on the tricky track, exploited well by both the pacers and spinners. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the top Indian wicket-takers with hauls of 3/82 and 3/41 respectively. Among the pacers, Mohammed Shami grabbed 3/46 in a fine concerted bowling performance.

The two teams will now move to Indore for the third Test starting October 8 which would be followed by a five-match ODI series. Having extracted reverse swing with the old ball, Shami cleaned the tail after new ball was taken in the 80th over. Trent Boult was the last wicket to fall on Monday when he tried to pull a bouncer but instead top-edged to Murali Vijay, who completed a clean catch.

New Zealand desperately missed skipper and batting talisman Kane Williamson, who was ruled out of the match owing to illness. Latham, however, stood out with a stellar knock but the left-hander lacked support at the other end, and the writing was on the wall after he was dismissed in the second over after tea. Having starred in Kanpur with a 10-wicket match haul, Ashwin, bowling with a corn in his middle finger, was once again the key on an eased-out track that looked slow, aiding little turn. Ashwin struck in the fifth ball after lunch to give India the first breakthrough by dismissing senior opener Martin Guptill (24), snapping the 55-run opening partnership.

Jadeja joined in before Ashwin took his second but Latham stayed on completing his second successive half-century and ninth overall. Latham looked in firm control of the proceedings till he took a leading edge on 66 but survived owing to confusion between Kohli and Ashwin. Kohli dived for the catch from short cover but it was a half-hearted attempt after realising that Ashwin too was going for it. But neither of them could hold onto it and Latham did not mind it. Latham, however, could not extend his vigil as Ashwin once again gave a crucial breakthrough in the second over after tea by ending the left-hander’s elegant innings.

Bowling around the wicket to left-handers, Shami got reverse swings. Having trapped Saunter LBW, Shami got a second one after Watling got out to a ripper, a lovely delivery that came back in to uproot the off-stump.

Earlier resuming on 227 for eight, India were bundled out for 263 in 76.5 overs setting New Zealand an improbable target.

The highlight of the day’s play in India’s second innings was man of the man Saha, who remained unbeaten on 58.

For the Kiwis, Trent Boult (3/38), Matt Henry (3/59) and Mitchell Santner (3/60) returned three each.

Saha had also remained not out in the first innings with a stellar 54 and he followed it up with yet another impressive knock, his fourth fifty in Test cricket.

Resuming the day on 39, Saha was watchful to start with getting himself adjusted to the condition which seemed better but the ball kept slow and sometimes low.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, at the other end, looked to go for his strokes and hit the first boundary in the seventh over of the day driving Henry in the slip cordon.

Stand-in skipper Ross Taylor brought in Neil Wagner in the 10th over of the day and the left-arm pacer gave the breakthrough in Bhuvneshwar (23; 2×4, 1×6) for his 99th scalp in his 25th Test.

At the other end, Saha remained calm and finally got to his fifty in 113 balls after a watchful stay.

He swept Santner for two delightful boundaries to get past the mark but he was left stranded when India’s last man Shami becoming Boult’s third victim. Shami was dismissed with a low catch by Latham at third gully that was referred to third umpire.

India 1st innings

All out: 316

NZ 1st innings

All out: 204

India 2nd innings

All out: 263

NZ 2nd innings

T Latham c Saha b Ashwin…………74

M Guptill lbw b Ashwin…………….24

H Nicholls c Rahane b Jadeja………24

R Taylor lbw b Ashwin…………………4

L Ronchi b Jadeja……………………..32

M Santner lbw b Shami………………9

BJ Watling b Shami…………………….1

M Henry c Kohli b Jadeja……………18

J Patel b Kumar………………………….2

N Wagner not out………………………5

T Boult c Vijay b Shami………………..4

Total: (all out)……………………….197

Bowling: B Kumar 12-4-28-1, Shami 18.1-5-46-3, Ashwin 31-6-82-3, Jadeja 20-3-41-3.

Number 1

Team India on Monday dislodged arch-rivals Pakistan to claim the numero uno spot in the ICC Test rankings.

India’s top spot is guaranteed irrespective of how the third and final Test in Indore, which will be played from 8-12 October, pans out.

Kohli’s side had entered the series against New Zealand trailing Pakistan by one point and needed to win the series to reclaim the number one position for the fourth time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003.

India has previously been at the top of the table from November 2009 to August 2011 and then briefly during Jan-Feb 2016 and in August. To celebrate India’s number one Test ranking, it will be presented with the ICC Test mace.

STAT’S IT!

* Saha is the fifth batsman to register two unbeaten knocks in a Test match for India. He has joined Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman (twice), Bapu Nadkarni and Rahul Dravid.

* Saha has received his first Man of the Match award in 17 Tests. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the last Indian wicketkeeper to get the MoM award in Tests — 224 vs Australia at Chennai in February 2013.

* Twenty six wickets taken by the pacers is the second highest tally in a Test match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata — the highest being 30 vs Pakistan in 1998-99.

* India have contested 13 consecutive Tests without a loss at home since Dec 13, 2012.

* Since being beaten by England in two consecutive Tests — by 10 wickets at Mumbai and by 7 wickets at Kolkata in Nov/December 2012, India have won eleven and drawn two.

* India have won three consecutive Test series vs NZ in India — 1-0 in 2010-11; 2-0 in 2012-13 and 2-0 (leading) in 2016-17.

* At Eden Gardens, India have won 12 out of 40 Tests played (Lost 9 and Drawn 19) — success % 30.00. They have won their first Test out of three played vs New Zealand at Eden Gardens. The first two Tests between the two teams at this venue — in 1955-56 & 1964-65 — could not produce results.

* India have won nine out of 16 Tests played (lost 2 & drawn 5) under Virat Kohli’s captaincy — success % 56.25.

* Tom Latham (74) has registered his highest score vs India in Tests, eclipsing 58 in the first Test at Kanpur.

FREE HITS!

Nair replaces injured Dhawan

Promising Karnataka batsman Karun Nair replaced injured Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian squad for the third and final cricket Test.Dhawan was ruled out of the third Test following a minor fracture on his left thumb. “The All-India Senior Selection Committee have named batsman Karun Nair as the replacement for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian team.”

Captain Kohli praises Saha

Describing wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha as a revelation for the Indian Test cricket side after it registered an empahtic win over New Zeland in the second Test here, captain Virat Kohli on Monday praised him, “Saha is brilliant. He is the best keeper in the country right now. He is doing a great job in Test cricket.”

‘Crowd supports matters’

IIndia captain Virat Kohli was seen egging on the 12,000-odd turnout, “I think it makes a massive difference. We experience that when you go to Australia, England, South Africa, they get a couple of wickets and the crowd gets really loud and as a batsman you understand that creates a lot of pressure.”

BCCI congratulates Team India

Anurag Thakur said: “I congratulate the Team India for their dominant show in Test cricket, which is the pinnacle of sport. The ICC Test rankings rightly reflect the impressive performance Virat Kohli and his boys have displayed since the overseas tour of Sri Lanka, where they registered a series victory after 22 years.”




Locals want to enjoy Mahendra Singh Dhoni fireworks before Diwali


Ranchi : There is nothing that is ‘untold’ about Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Ranchi but the people in this industrial township would like their favourite son to use his blazing blade in what could possibly be his swansong on home turf and add to his legacy.

At a venue where India have won all their matches, two in ODIs and one in T20I, Dhoni has had limited opportunity as the India’s most successful captain and best keeper-batsman’s topscore here 10 not out.

As he has stopped playing Test matches, there is no guarantee that the talismanic limited overs skipper will be around when India play their next match.

Dhoni, who in the last match promoted himself to four and hit a 91-ball 80, it seems is determined not to deprive his home crowd one last time.

On a day most including Virat Kohli did not turn up for an optional practice, the 35-year-old was in full intent as he batted for nearly 20 minutes, swinging and swiveling his blade as the ball flew past the boundary on more than one occasion.

Dhoni was tested by the leg-spin of none other than the legendary Anil Kumble, the Indian head coach as the optional practice saw two others, Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey, from the Mohali XI who turned up.

The skipper earlier had a close look at the pitch and pointed at a few patches to the local curator before heading to the nets.

India last played here earlier this year when they posted 196 before restricting Sri Lanka to 127/9 in the second T20I of the series where Dhoni scored 9 not out.

Dhoni did not play the last ODI India played here when Virat Kohli’s 139 not out steered them to a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka who had scored 286/8 on November 16, 2014.

The pitch is a batting paradise as both teams would certainly look to breach the 300-barrier, something that has never achieved at this venue and in this series.

The best total on this ground has been Australia’s 295/8 in the rain-marred ODI on October 23, 2013 but with Dhoni batting with a renewed vigour, his fans here would certainly expect a treat.

“The wicket will be full of runs. We will keep our fingers crossed to see a 300-total here,” the local curator said indicating that evening dew may be a determining factor, making toss a crucial event ahead of the match.

India also wrapped their practice quickly and rushed to the hotel on a day their frontline pacer Umesh Yadav turned 29. “Always be yourself. You’re always happy and smiling, that’s the best thing about you. I wish you all the very best for future. Wish you all the success and lots of victories together. God bless you and have a great career for Team India,” Virat Kohli said in his message on BCCI Twitter.

Leading the five-match series 2-1 with their win in Mohali, India would look to seal the issue here before heading to Visakhapatnam for the final ODI October 29. PTI




BCCI moves to Supreme Court, seeks release of funds for Rajkot match


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has approached the Supreme Court seeking the release of funds ahead of the India-England Test match which is to be held in Rajkot from tomorrow. The hearing of this matter will happen today at 2 PM.

BCCI should implement 85 percent of Lodha recommendations: Ravi Shastri
Citing urgency, the BCCI has requested the Supreme Court to hear the matter early.

On October 22, Supreme Court has barred BCCI form using any funds till it gave undertaking to the apex court that it would comply with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

Indian team reaches Rajkot for first Test
The court had also asked the Lodha panel to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinize the income and expenses of the BCCI. BCCI on 3 November had missed a Supreme Court deadline for accepting the Lodha committee reforms. The reforms aims at a tranparent BCCI include age and tenure cap and a one-state-one unit policy.

England seamer James Anderson may play second Test vs India
India and England will play five Test matches, three one-day and as many as T20s starting from 9 November.




Kohli pips Smith as Cricket Australia’s ODI Captain of Year


Melbourne : Accolades continue to pour in for India’s dynamic Test captain Virat Kohli, who was on Tuesday named skipper of Cricket Australia’s ODI team of the year which also featured young yorker specialist Jasprit Bumrah.

Kohli, who was earlier also picked captain of the ICC’s ODI team of the year, was preferred over Australia’s very own Steve Smith. Smith was, however, picked in the ‘All-Star’ team.

“India’s skipper played only 10 ODI matches in 2016, but he again underlined his status as one of the best in the 50-over format,” CA said in a statement.

“The right-hander scored 45 or more in eight of his 10 innings for the year, notching back-to-back centuries in a run feast against Australia in January and then a magnificent 154 (not out) in a successful pursuit of 289 against New Zealand, more than half of his team’s total.

“He now averages an incredible 90.10 in 59 successful run chases for India, and has been out in the middle for the winning runs on 20 occasions,” it added.

CA said Bumrah made the cut riding on his consistency.

“India’s unorthodox paceman Jasprit Bumrah was a stand-out in 2016, his first year as an international player.

“While nine of his 17 wickets for the year came against Zimbabwe, it was his ability to keep scoring to a minimum that impressed us the most; he conceded more than 40 runs in an innings just once all year and his extraordinary economy rate of 3.63 is easily the best in the world for 2016,” the CA stated.

CA’s ODI Team of Year:

l Virat Kohli (India, captain), David Warner (Australia), Quinton de Kock (wk) (South Africa), Steve Smith (Australia), Babar Azam (Pakistan), Mitchell Marsh (Australia), Jos Buttler (England), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Imran Tahir (South Africa).




Talking Technique : Kohli on corrections, post England 2014


New Delhi : Indian captain Virat Kohli feels that chinks in his technique apart from utter desperation to succeed in England led to a disastrous tour of 2014 post which, he not only worked on his mindset but also on his batting.

In a chat with former England captain Nasser Hussain on bcci.tv, Kohli decoded his technique that led to his downfall during 2014 England series where he failed to get 50 plus score in five Tests and then smashed four hundreds in four Tests Down Under a few months later.


Through cramps and pains, Kohli stuggled day in and day out to improve his technique.  Tendulkar played a huge role too.

“I had put too much pressure on myself before going to England (2014) that I needed to score here. I don’t know why sub-continent players are given different benchmarks that we have to perform in certain countries and if you don’t do that, you are not considered a good player.

“I think it was more about me being desperate to do well in England and then when you don’t do well at start, you start going down mentally,” Kohli was honest about what went wrong during that series.

World’s premier batsman then elaborated as to what went wrong.

“Technique is important but even people with not that strong technique have been able to score well there because of a good mindset. The problem with me was that I was expecting inswingers too much and opened up my hip a lot more than I should have done. I was constantly looking for the inswinger and was in no position to counter the outswing.”

The skipper then decoded his earlier stance.

“I used to stand at two leg (middle stump) and my stance was pretty closed and then I figured out that after initial movement my toe wasn’t going towards point rather it was towards cover point, so anyway my hip was opening up initially.

“So to get the feel of the ball, I had to open up my hip as I was too side on. Anyway, I had too much of a bottom hand grip and I didn’t have too much room for my shoulder, to adjust to the line of the ball, so it was getting too late when it swung in front of my eyes,” Virat explained as to why he was getting dismissed outside the off-stump during that series.

He then spoke about the changes that he made in his drills. “Changes I made was I did some drills, making sure someone is recording me from the side. Everytime, I played the ball, I wanted to make sure that my toe is pointing in point direction rather than cover, that’s how I kept my hip nice and side-on and gave myself room. I widened my stance as well so that I have good balance when I wanted to go forward,” he said.

Kohli then spoke about how things changed in Australia.

“Short ball was not an issue for me. That really helped me in widening my stance and that forward press (front foot stride) that is important at the international level. So in Australia, I wasn’t worried about pace and bounce as I knew that I could handle it. But I stood a foot outside the crease to counter those deliveries on the corridor (of the off-stump) and standing on the fourth stump. So they had to really bowl far from me and unless my bodyweight is far behind, they can’t hit my pads.”

Although it looks natural now but Kohli said that it wasn’t easy at the beginning.

“This change has become easy now but it was not so at the beginning. I was batting three hours a day. I had cramps in my forearms by the end of the week. I did that for about 10 days. You know in golf they say you have to hit a shot 400-500 times before you can perfect that shot. So it was more about precise practice as I wanted to tune my head to play that way. I wasn’t used to forward pressing as I was waiting for the ball to clip it off my leg or waiting for short ball.”

Kohli also said that the forward movement was something that the legendary Sachin Tendulkar also advocated.

“There Sachin helped as he told me that I have to approach a fast bowler (forward press) just like you approach a spinner. One has to get on top of the ball not worry about pace or swing, you got to get towards the ball and give the ball lesser chance to move around and trouble you. Those advice helped me and became my second nature.”

At the beginning of his career, he was primarily an on-side player with only cover drive as his pet scoring shot.

But then he made slight adjustment to his grip and things changed.

Bat speed has been natural to me more towards on-side as I have been a bottom hand player. I worked on my off-side play a lot more. I used to hit past covers a lot and straight but the shot I hit past point is helping me a lot now. It’s a very minor adjustment to my grip.

“I know bowlers are hesitant to bowl on my pads as I can whip them so I know they would bowl a bit wide and I get deep into my crease, open the bat face and hit the bowler past point. Once you do that, he can either move fielder towards right or left, but they won’t understand its a minor adjustment.”




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