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Rest of the World

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Post by msp83 Wed 12 Jul 2023 - 12:54

First topic message reminder :

KP_fan wrote:
msp83 wrote:So India is getting back on the field tonight, kicking off their WTC campaign. Rohit has already confirmed Jaiswal will open, and Gill drop down to 3. When all the talk of Yashasvi taking over from Pujara at 3 was going on, I felt he should open, particularly since the team views Gill as the eventual successor to Virat Kohli at 4. Going forward, I see a top 4 of Jaiswal, Abhimanyu Easwaran/Devdutt Padikkal/Rohan Kunnummal, Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Eswaran has been hard done by......Jaiswal was jumped over him
Mayank Agarwal should not be ruled out...he has batted very well in FC and has a decent test match showing also.

And don't forget the favorite boy of seniors and BCCI in KL Rahul...as soon as he is fit he will walk back into the 11
Its been tough on Easwaran. Think Mayank and KL might find it difficult to now fight their way back in. Particularly if Yashasvi has a good start to his career. KL might still make a comeback when Rohit leaves, but I hope Easwaran, Rohan and even Padikkal will make better cases for themselves.
As for Yashasvi jumping over Abhimanyu, though its tough on the latter, think is the right call. Jaiswal scored hundreds on his Ranji, Duleep and Irani trophy debuts. He's versatile and has shown adaptability as indicated by his IPL success. And, its not much noted these days, but he's a handy parttimer with the ball, he very much was for the U-19s, hope he'll get a few chances right away to work on that secondary skill of his...

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Post by Duty281 Thu 14 Dec 2023 - 15:34

346/5 at stumps. Not as bad for Pakistan as I feared to be honest. Their bowling attack looked utterly toothless, with three bowlers below 85mph and no proper spin option, so to get five wickets is a fair effort. And Warner gets the headlines and answers his critics.

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Post by alfie Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 5:32

Marsh motored away early , finished with 90 to see Australia to 487 Nobody else made many , though Carey and Starc offered good support. In fact it looked like being possibly more before Pakistani debutant Aamer Jamal did a number on the late order : he was very impressive - some lovely deliveries to remove Carey and Starc - and deserved his final figures of 6/111.

Reckon 487 is plenty for Australia though. Their pace men will get enough out of this to make life difficult for the visitors.

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Post by alfie Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 6:54

Steady reply from Pakistan : no attempt to emulate Warner , but Shafique and Imam-Ul-Haq are still together at 39/0 after 18 overs. Imam only 5 from 43 balls seems intent on grinding the bowlers down rather than any of that Bazball stuff... Old Fashioned Test Cricket Smile

Now 43/0 off 20 at tea.

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Post by alfie Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 8:22

Still steady...still slow... But Pakistan will be happy to have the openers still together at 68/0 from 33 overs. Long way to get near the Aussie total but they are certainly showing some fight...


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Post by KP_fan Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 8:25

Pak 70-0 and going at ~ 2RPO....shows
Hard application from pak
and pitch must be devoid of any support for bowler
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Post by KP_fan Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 8:54

Lyon showing the value of a specialist spinner...but he is not just a specialist spinner, but one with a high class& does exceptionally well on Aussie pitches.
Watched a bit now and this one appears more like old Adelaide batting ptich than anywhere close to the fearsome WACA.

Edit--On a further view...it's fast the pitch....but with no seam movement
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Post by KP_fan Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 11:16

Pak has hung in their and gotten their RR upto 2.5RPO

if they can bat all of tomm and score at ~ 3rpo+ they would be close to Aussie total
and then it's a single inning shoot-out in 2 days . There are many Iffs in that happening and even in single innings chase Aus would be favorite as they would have Lyon bowling on a worn D5 pitch
Aus still clearly ahead 70-30 I would think.......but it would be good to see a test match going into last session of D5
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Post by Duty281 Fri 15 Dec 2023 - 12:07

Solid go of things from Pakistan, but they're still a mile off. Bat all day tomorrow and they'll still probably be behind. Best case scenario is a one innings shootout, but even there Australia have a clear advantage through not batting last and Lyon. The pitch is already taking turn and it's only day two.

Elsewhere, it's near confirmed that Pakistan/India will play in New York at the upcoming T20 World Cup. The new format for the expanded T20 World Cup will see an initial four groups of five, with Pakistan and India to be drawn together in a draw that is definitely not random! England will play all their games in the West Indies, no trips to the USA for them.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/dec/14/new-york-to-host-india-v-pakistan-clash-in-2024-t20-world-cup

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Post by KP_fan Sat 16 Dec 2023 - 5:49

PAK flattered to decieve
230-7
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Post by Duty281 Sat 16 Dec 2023 - 15:40

Yeah, easy street for Australia in this test. Marsh actually took the key wicket of Babar, which broke the heart of the Pakistani batting. Then Khawaja and Smith had to tough it out on a misbehaving pitch, after Warner and Labuschagne fell early to Shahzad.

Lead of 300 and two down overnight. Just a matter of waiting for the inevitable declaration and a 15th consecutive home win for Australia over Pakistan. Lyon also about to move into the 500 club.

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 1:14

Main discussion point for day four will be the timing of the declaration. Whatever Cummins decides will probably be fine though doubtless some of the critics will reckon he's too bold or too conservative Smile

Actually heard a commentator last night assert that they will certainly have more than enough of a lead by lunch : may not be quite true after slow scoring in that late session as you'd want more than 400 if you are going to give the opposition five sessions to bat. I'd imagine somewhere in the middle session will be the opportune moment to set the bowlers loose on Pakistan's bats again. Not anticipating a SA-type fourth innings chase down from the tourists , who - typically for modern times - haven't really had enough preparation in Australian conditions before this Test.

I'm sure the crowd will be revved up for Lyon's five hundredth anyway...

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 5:49

Pretty much what I expected. Australia fairly controlled to lunch after losing two early wickets ; then Khawaja and Marsh added a fast 47 after the break and Cummins calls a halt on Khawaja's dismissal for 90. Leaves Pakistan 450 to win : a pretty tall order on a pitch now producing plenty of tricks. Survival exercise I think ; but unlike in Pakistan , I think batting for the rest of today and all tomorrow is a bit much to expect.

Pakistan might feel a shade unlucky not to have taken a couple more wickets in that morning session : Khawaja barely survived a close lbw on umpire's call , and there were a few false strokes (not to mention a dolly dropped at mid off from Marsh which I guess comes under self-inflicted wounds). But nothing would have made too much difference really : they were always looking at something like this (very tough) task to avoid going one down. Lost it yesterday , practically speaking.

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 6:26

Pakistan quickly in disarray at 25/3 , Starc and Hazlewood on the charge... And Imam wasted a review on his way out with a real Shane Watson referral which served only to show an untouched delivery striking middle and leg half way up....

Rather a lot of work left for Babar and Shakeel , one might say Smile

This may well end tonight.

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 7:40

Five down now not long after tea. The way Starc is bowling Lyon may not get that 500th at all here...he's off now as Cummins comes back into the attack. I'm sure Australia wouldn't mind an extra day off - which is looking increasingly likely with the ball doing plenty , in conjunction with some accurate pace bowling. Shakeel still battling away but with only the bowlers to come now you'd think one more wicket will lead to a rush to the conclusion.

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 7:48

...and now just what they didn't need with Salman getting run out of all things ! Good throw by Head but getting stuck halfway down the pitch with partner not moving not what you want to do when trying to bat time...

65/6 and maybe Pakistan fancy the day off too Wink

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Post by KP_fan Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 7:59

The look of scorecard suggests Wheels Came Off for Pakistan.
How Mitch Marsh has grabbed the opportunity with both hands when Green was out with a niggle for just one test.....and playing some sublime cricket since with the bat.
If I was Green I would work on my bowling to become good enuf to be picked when one of top 3 seamers is down
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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:08

Cummins sets some odd fields at times...76/6 and Starc is bowling to Ashraf with no slips and six men on the leg side... Maybe they want to save the wickets for Lyon Wink

And Lyon might just have it now ? Big appeal , followed by review when umpire says caught behind ...but still no. Overexcited then , the Aussies . Lyon's quest goes on...

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:14

Above post got scrambled somehow (and this wretched iPad won't let me edit !) Of course should read "when umpire says Not Out to caught behind appeal" .

Hazlewood back on now to take his turn collecting wickets...

Here's another Lyon appeal : this time they want lbw. And another review. And this time it is hitting ! So the 500 at last clapclapclap

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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:22

Two in the over for Lyon as one keeps low and skittles the number nine man. 83/8.

The End is Nigh...

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Post by KP_fan Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:25

501 for Lyon clap clap
Non mysterious, classic, clean offspinner.
Picks loads of wickets on non-spinning Aussie pitches
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Post by KP_fan Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:29

3rd Aussie after Warne and McGrath and 8th in the world.
Ashwin closing in with 489, should do it vs Eng next month
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Post by alfie Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:33

All done...two in two balls for Hazlewood and Pakistan all out for just 89... Australia win by 360. Comprehensive thumbsup

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Post by VTR Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 8:42

Woeful from Pakistan! Australia win following the template that wins them most of their Tests at home. Really is very hard to stop them in their own conditions

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Post by Duty281 Sun 17 Dec 2023 - 15:53

Very modern for Lyon to bring up his 500 through a review. Crushing victory. Any positives gleaned for Pakistan during the course of the test have now been eradicated. 15 wins in a row at home over Pakistan now. Can the tourists stop it being 17?

https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;host=2;opposition=7;orderby=start;spanmin1=01+jan+1999;spanval1=span;team=2;template=results;type=team;view=results

Pakistan have arranged an extra two day practice game in Melbourne before the next test. A sign of desperation, perhaps?

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Post by Duty281 Mon 18 Dec 2023 - 10:37

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/pakistan-women-in-new-zealand-2023-24-1388176/new-zealand-women-vs-pakistan-women-3rd-odi-1388201/full-scorecard

Something I found rather amusing - New Zealand's curse in Super Overs extends to the women's team.

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Post by KP_fan Mon 18 Dec 2023 - 11:28

Ind bowled out SA cheaply twice on the same pitch
In a T20 bowling 2nd Kuldeep spun them out for 95 with his 5-for
&
then in an ODI on the same pitch seamers bowled them out for 116......Arshdeep with a 5-for this time the pitch was seaming & swinging.

India has 2 mystery writs spinners in Bishnoi & Kuldeep.....both capable of running thru sides.

Arshdeep has potential to be a test bowler also.....needs to work on fitness and add more muscle strength
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Post by Duty281 Thu 21 Dec 2023 - 13:39

After Pakistan, the West Indies visit Australia for two tests (one of which is a day-nighter). And it could get a bit ugly because the West Indies - whose recent record in Australia is almost as bad as Pakistan, with 14 losses in the last 16, and not a win since 1997 - have named seven uncapped players in their 15 man squad. Holder and Mayers are both missing the series as they'd prefer to play franchise T20 cricket, while Seales is injured.

Overall, the squad has just 231 tests of experience, with 162 of those coming from Brathwaite and Roach!

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/west-indies-include-seven-uncapped-players-in-test-squad-for-australia-tour-1413764

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Post by KP_fan Fri 22 Dec 2023 - 7:30

Dean Elgar announces retirement from tests at the end of 2 test India series
All my memories of him are of a very tough nut.......fighting difficult conditions as a n opener.

Quinton retired after world cup and the beastly hitter Heinrich Klaasen is now their WK. Shocked

The legend of deemed unfairly treated South Indian star Samson, with a huge fan-base  grows bigger with his 100 yesterday....averages 57 in ODIs and to my memory his runs have generally come in difficult conditions.

Washington the allrounder, Arshdeep as the first among second line seamers  & Sai Sudarshan a technically compact opener, worthy for even a test slot are the others who come with reputation enhanced.

Gill, Gaekwad.....favorites of management stuttered further down.
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Post by alfie Fri 22 Dec 2023 - 8:25

Aussie women fighting back with some quick wickets after India threatened to run right away in their Test Match... Having bowled the Aussies out for 219 , India were well poised at 260/3 shortly after lunch , but have subsequently lost 3/5. Still in a strong position ; but they do have to bat last on a pitch that is unlikely to get easier.

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Post by alfie Sat 23 Dec 2023 - 8:18

At the risk of jinxing them (again !) I note the Australian pair of Perry and McGrath are making a solid job of running down the first innings deficit of 187 ... Currently 140/2 so just 47 behind , meaning today has (so far) gone well for the tourists , who took the last three Indian wickets quickly this morning to limit the damage.
But remembering the way the first innings folded up I think this partnership is very much the key. Ball is often keeping low and may not be easy for a new bat coming in.

... and would you believe it I have indeed jinxed them ! As Perry tickles one behind and gone for 45 picard

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Post by alfie Sat 23 Dec 2023 - 9:52

Australia have now wiped out the deficit : McGrath on 68 and good support from Healy .

Effectively 3/3 : game on !

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Post by alfie Sat 23 Dec 2023 - 12:05

231/5 at the close. New ball due so India will still fancy this ; but if they can muster another 120 or so Australia might be in with a chance bowling last. Could be an interesting last day.

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Post by alfie Sat 23 Dec 2023 - 12:07

Don't know what is going on in NZ though. Bangladesh bowled the home team out for 98 ?!! With pace , no less... Weird.

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Post by msp83 Sun 24 Dec 2023 - 10:34

So India's women have done well returning to test cricket, doing well against both England and Australia. Now time for the men's team, to try and push for that first series win in South Africa. They have competed well in South Africa since 2006, but haven't managed to get over the line. Great opportunity again this time round. Hope they get the selections right.

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Post by msp83 Sun 24 Dec 2023 - 19:30

Talking of selections, there are a few questions to be addressed by the managemwent.
What will be the make of the opening combination? There are 4 possible openers in the squad, and all are in with a chance to make it to the 11. Rohit, Jaiswal, Gill and KL Rahul... Think they should stick to the most recent combination of Jaiswal and Rohit. The youngster is the future and has had a fine start to his test career. Besides, he bats left-handed, and is one of those rare things these days in the indian batting lineup, can bowl a bit, without completely disgracing himself.
The bigger question is about number 3. Shubman Gill batted at 3 in India's most recent test outing. There is no Cheteshwar Pujara in the squad, and Gill has been viewed suited well for a middle order role because of his abbilities against spin. And again, he's certainly the future of the lineup. But the problem is that his current test record is not as good as it should be. And even when Jaiswal and others filled their boots, Gill didn't turn up with the bat in the West Indies. There is KL Rahul in the squad, and he had a decent tour of South Africa last time. But Rahul lost his place in the 11 for a reason, he has been far too inconsistent and his record in tests is just mediocre. Besides, there are indications that he might end up taking the gloves and in that case, he has to bat 6 rather than 3 really.
The wicketkeeper question is another interesting one. Of course, Rishabh Pant's long road back has reached only as far as the IPL Auction Table, an there will have to be a few more months at least for him to return to playing. Ishan Kishan has withdrawn from the team because of personal reasons. KS Bharat just isn't a test level bat and his keeping isn't extraordinary. So under the circumstances, Rahul could be the least worst option.
The next is the usual, familiar question, R Ashwin, one of India's test greats v the horse for course Shardul Thakur. Shardul doesn't pick himself as a bowler alone in the side. But in South African conditions, more often than not, spin isn't likely to play much of a role. While he didn't disgrace himself in any way, Ashwin couldn't overcome the conditions decisively last time round. And with Jadeja who in his own rights is a mighty fine bowler who in fact has a test 6for in the country making it as the undisputed all-rounder, Ashwin might find himself edged out by Thakur yet again.
The last major question is about the identity of the 3rd seamer. Mohammed Shami is unfit and unavailable. So there is an opportunity for either Mukesh Kumar who debuted in the West Indies, or Prasidh Krishna who has been in India's plans for a while. Mukesh is a seam orinted bowler, but is some way short of the Shami leage not only in terms of the craft, but also, speed. Krishna on the other hand is tall, and is a couple of yards quicker on average. His FC record, though limited, is very impressive. In the last series, bowlers who could use their tall frame to extract that bit extra made the difference in the end. So my vote is for Prasidh. The other option is to play Shardul as the 3rd quick and play Ashwin. Had it been Cape Town or Durban, I'd have gone for that, but centurion isn't probably the ground for that. But rather than playing Mukesh, I would prefer this as the batting will get strengthened.
So my 11 would be
Rohit Sharma
Yashasvi Jaiswal
Shubman Gill
Virat Kohli
Shreyas Iyer
KL Rahul (WK)
Ravindra Jadeja
Shardul Thakur
Jasprit Bumrah
Prasidh Krishna
Mohammed Siraj

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Post by KP_fan Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 7:53

The 11 and batting order will end up like you have written , msp

Gill in my view  just doesn't have the technique to play any kind of moving ball...seam or late spin either.
He plays too early, too far ahead of the body snd down the initial line of ball without covering for late movement of ball. The hype around him far exceeds his skills.

JAISWAL not yet played anywhere close to the type of seam and swing and bounce and pace....untested but gives the felling he can adapt.

KL is best of all potential openers technically ...his last two overseas tours of SA and ENG were quite good ..he was out best batter .
But with WK responsibilities he will not open.


Shardul is quite a good bowler especially when compared to options like Mukesh or Avesh
The pitch will rule out playing 2nd spinner.
At the Centurion SA has lost only 1 in 9 tests. And Ind never won a series in SA.
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Post by msp83 Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 8:27

KPF,
I am a bit more hopeful about Gill the test batter though I do see your point and agree to some extend. . Perhaps he's the least suited to opening among the candidates and is better down the order. As for KL Rahul, I just can't understand how on earth has he ended up with such a mediocre record for a seemingly good player. Even worse than the pre-2019 Rohit Sharma. And he got even more opportunities than Rohit did. Think they should give the likes of Abhimanyu Easwaran a break now. With Gaikwad not opening at FC level, we might soon end up with a crisis once Rohit is done... Neither Easwaran nor Priyank Panchal, the A team openers, are exactly young in terms of their cricket careers it should be remembered. Further down the line, Shaw has that Ex Factor but is suspect in terms of technique and even temperament. Who else? Rohan Kunnummal?

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Post by KP_fan Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 9:05

KL was our best bat in the last two overseas tours that of SA and Eng
He floundered a bit in home tests but rightfully the management has decided to give him a longer run and assured place as a WK

Ishan was asked to pull out IMO to not create any pressure,  insecurities for KL nor any selection dilemmas for Capatain coach because Bharat is basically useless as a batter and no great keeper either. ..making selecting KL a no Brainerd.

With Rohit 36, Gill ain't cut out to be an opener....Jaiswal untested the next line of openers aught to be ready

They did a sensible thing by bringing Eswaran as a replacement for Gaekwad
The route to opening in tests is via Ranji, A series and not IPL...and Gaekwad doesn't cut it

I think after Pant is back KL will move to open and Sai Sudarshan has all the technical skills to be a test opener  like bat close to body, getting behind line of ball and knowing his off stump
KL, Sai and Eswaran the next line of openers IMO
Shaw has fitness, temperament , technique and behavioral problems
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Post by KP_fan Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 13:21

2 Boxing Day tests starting tomorrow....the other test playing nation in Southern hemisphere i.e NZ hasn't scheduled anything this time.

A 2 test series is too short between Ind and SA....at least 3 and optimally you need 4 to give the visiting team a chance to acclimatize and fight back.

Nobody expects anything from Pak and therein lies their strength......that of underdog.
They are lacking the bowling that looks like taking 20 wickets.......and so often when a team is down / weak , they lose the crucial toss also.
I did not watch....but by all written accounts the T1 pitch at Perth had turned into unplayable in 4th inning.

Meanwhile Merry Christmas to all here  Rest of the World - Page 5 3602195817  Rest of the World - Page 5 1f332  Rest of the World - Page 5 1f377
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Post by msp83 Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 19:53

KP_fan wrote:KL was our best bat in the last two overseas tours that of SA and Eng
He floundered a bit in home tests but rightfully the management has decided to give him a longer run and assured place as a WK

Ishan was asked to pull out IMO to not create any pressure,  insecurities for KL nor any selection dilemmas for Capatain coach because Bharat is basically useless as a batter and no great keeper either. ..making selecting KL a no Brainerd.

With Rohit 36, Gill ain't cut out to be an opener....Jaiswal untested the next line of openers aught to be ready

They did a sensible thing by bringing Eswaran as a replacement for Gaekwad
The route to opening in tests is via Ranji, A series and not IPL...and Gaekwad doesn't cut it

I think after Pant is back KL will move to open and Sai Sudarshan has all the technical skills to be a test opener  like bat close to body, getting behind line of ball and knowing his off stump
KL, Sai and Eswaran the next line of openers IMO
Shaw has fitness, temperament , technique and behavioral problems
The problem though, is that KL was awful before and after those 2 tours. He was rightly dropped both times. He has got chances and chances. And after a fine start, just lost his way, never to hit those high points again, even in his what seemed to be 2nd coming in England. He's no spring chicken at 31. A fully fit Rishabh Pant has to be the best wicketkeeper bat in test cricket in the contemporary era. So KL taking the gloves and attempting a total reinvention as a middle order bat, seems a bit too much of desperation for me. But if he succeeds in inverting Rohit Sharma's journey and back it up with consistent performances, will be a great thing, as he's someone who doesn't have an obvious weakness in his game and has a wide range and a high ceiling.
There seems to be some mental block hampering his game in all formats, particularly in tests and T-20s. Possibly an aggravated fear of failure making him hold back... If he manages to overcome the same, can turn out to be great for India going forward.
Hope they are done with the idea of KL as captain though! No doubts here, he's absolutely hopeless, godawful in that department!.

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Post by msp83 Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 19:54

KP_fan wrote:KL was our best bat in the last two overseas tours that of SA and Eng
He floundered a bit in home tests but rightfully the management has decided to give him a longer run and assured place as a WK

Ishan was asked to pull out IMO to not create any pressure,  insecurities for KL nor any selection dilemmas for Capatain coach because Bharat is basically useless as a batter and no great keeper either. ..making selecting KL a no Brainerd.

With Rohit 36, Gill ain't cut out to be an opener....Jaiswal untested the next line of openers aught to be ready

They did a sensible thing by bringing Eswaran as a replacement for Gaekwad
The route to opening in tests is via Ranji, A series and not IPL...and Gaekwad doesn't cut it

I think after Pant is back KL will move to open and Sai Sudarshan has all the technical skills to be a test opener  like bat close to body, getting behind line of ball and knowing his off stump
KL, Sai and Eswaran the next line of openers IMO
Shaw has fitness, temperament , technique and behavioral problems
The problem though, is that KL was awful before and after those 2 tours. He was rightly dropped both times. He has got chances and chances. And after a fine start, just lost his way, never to hit those high points again, even in his what seemed to be 2nd coming in England. He's no spring chicken at 31. A fully fit Rishabh Pant has to be the best wicketkeeper bat in test cricket in the contemporary era. So KL taking the gloves and attempting a total reinvention as a middle order bat, seems a bit too much of desperation for me. But if he succeeds in inverting Rohit Sharma's journey and back it up with consistent performances, will be a great thing, as he's someone who doesn't have an obvious weakness in his game and has a wide range and a high ceiling.
There seems to be some mental block hampering his game in all formats, particularly in tests and T-20s. Possibly an aggravated fear of failure making him hold back... If he manages to overcome the same, can turn out to be great for India going forward.
Hope they are done with the idea of KL as captain though! No doubts here, he's absolutely hopeless, godawful in that department!.

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Post by Duty281 Mon 25 Dec 2023 - 21:07

Yes, South Africa/India should be interesting, but a real shame that it's only two tests. India have never won a test series in South Africa, losing seven and drawing one. A surprising record.

Last time in a series between these two the South Africans bounced off the canvas at 0-1, to win 2-1. Completing chases of 243 and 212 with ease, in tests that were otherwise very low-scoring.

But this might be India's best chance of finally securing a test series win in SA. Both teams look pretty much as expected. Plenty of rain around for the first test, though with all the low scores in recent tests in SA that might not matter too much.

Less interesting is Australia/Pakistan. After the 360 run win last time, Australia will be unchanged. Pakistan have made a few changes, with Shahzad injured, plus Sarfaraz and Ashraf both getting dropped. Sajid Khan will likely come in to add some much-needed spin, though what overall effect he'll have in Melbourne is another matter.

Let's just hope for a contest.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 3:15

OK Christmas done - hope everyone had a good one - and on with the proper cricket...

Slightly surprised to find the Test got away this morning after yesterday saw Melbourne just about under water all day. Wicket very well protected I guess thumbsup

Pakistan bagged the two openers either side of lunch for middling scores , and are currently putting Smith and Labuschagne under a fair bit of pressure (just 3 runs from the last five overs) with some excellent bowling from Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali. Drinks now , at 113/2 and the lights are on , with weather looking a bit threatening again. Next hour could be very interesting, if the rain holds off.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 3:35

Agree with Duty that it is a pity the SA v India series is just two matches. Two really doesn't make much sense : surely they could have managed to fit a third into the programme ? Perhaps a few less meaningless white ball contests ? Hardly seems worthwhile touring for such an abbreviated meeting...

(I don't say all two game series are totally a waste of time . For example , if a team touring Australia then called into NZ on their way home ; or perhaps twinning a tour of India with a brief visit to Bangladesh : as a way of getting extra Tests for those countries , not saying those should be the only tours , I should make clear ; then I reckon that would be fine. But for any of the "major" Test playing teams , a deliberate tour of one of their peers should always include three matches as a minimum. Even if that means a slightly longer interval between such tours)

Meanwhile , it is hosing down here and players are back in their dressing rooms. Covers all over the square. Bit gloomy all round...we are a couple of miles south of the 'G and it looks increasingly grey overhead so not too optimistic for further play.

But hey ! This is Melbourne ; so it is quite possible we will have bright sunshine in an hour or so. Or hail 😏

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 6:37

Well back on as the rain relented...the Pakistan bowlers have kept up the pressure though , some very good stuff here from Hasan Ali to Smith - who was on five from forty balls and struggling a bit : until a loose one on his legs just gave him a welcome boundary just then. 125/2 from 48 overs shows batting not easy.

Marnus 17 from 67 balls also not too fluent and has been beaten a few times : but hanging in determinedly. Both Hasan and Hamza getting movement and must think one will take the edge soon...

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 7:03

Concentration paying off now for Smith as a few loose deliveries coming now and he's been able to pick them off.137/2 from 53 , Smith up to 16 from 55. Hamas and Afridi have taken over the attack ; and they may be trying a bit too hard for the Perfect Ball now - frustrated by seeing so many going past the outside edge.

Looking bright enough overhead now so we should get the rest of the day in...

But now : is this Smith's wicket ? Lbw given...review called. by the batsman ...no edge : but too high ! Smith survives by an inch...

141/2 after 55.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 7:25

Well this time the review works the other way ! Smith with the faintest of edges revealed by the technology and he has to depart (still shaking his head ) for 26...Wicket for Jamal and the partnership broken at 46. 154/3 after 58 overs.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 8:29

So a decent day's play despite the weather : 66 overs done and a proper contest , with Australia finishing on 187/3. Pakistan bowled pretty well in helpful conditions and perhaps might have had better rewards for their efforts . Bad drop of Warner right at the start , though he didn't take full advantage , falling on the stroke of lunch for 38. And Head also dropped in the last over of the day - though this was a very tough chance and Masood probably did well to get a hand to it.

All got starts but no-one gone on - yet. Marnus on a slow 44 at the close. Question will be whether Pakistan can bring the same intensity and discipline again tomorrow or will Australia run away to a big score ?

And whether the rain will be around again...

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 8:38

And in Centurion , SA win the toss and insert India. Indian team much as expected except Jadeja sidelined with a back spasm so Ashwin has the spinner's role. Debut for Prasidh.

Two new boys for SA : Bedingham to bat and Burger to bowl.

Rohit and Jaiswal to face Rabada and Jansen for starters...

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Dec 2023 - 8:55

Rabada strikes ! Rohit gives the new boy Burger a chance to get on the scoreboard with a catch at long leg. 13/1.

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