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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jayant Yadav makes debut in Tests; Pujara and Kohli make centuries

There have been some quality off-spinners apart from Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Harbhajan was quite  successful – remember his bowling during that Aussie tour in 2001, and that Kolkatta hat-trick.... there was Shivlal Yadav too (M Venkatramana, Ashish Kapoor, Ashok Patel, Arshad Ayub, Sarandeep Singh, Gopal Sharma, Rajesh Chauhan) – all Off-spinners, who played for India at some point of time.  Ravichandran Ashwin now undoubtedly is on top .. and today, even before toss, another Offie Jayant Yadav was handed over Indian cap.   

Have recently posted on this historic place where - Nagavali, Vegavathi, Gomukhi, Suvarnamukhi, Champavathi and Gosthani rivers flow through.    The stadium now named after late CM of Andhra  has ends named as :  Vizzy End, DV Subba Rao End.  The city that has so many rivers is Vizianagaram, once  ruled by different Hindu emperors of Kalinga.  The area including Srikakulam in the north was integral part of the domain of Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi during the rule of Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624- 641). After,  Kakatiya Dynasty of Warangal, there  was  the rule of illustrious Krishna Deva Raya too. During last century,  the area was a part of British – Northern Circars.  One important event is te Bobbili yuddam fought between the MahaRaja of Vizianagaram and the Rajah of Bobbili in  1757. Rulers of this princely state belonged to the Pusapati family. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju [1905-1965] famously Maharajkumar of Vizianagram or Vizzy, an administrator and politician, played Cricket too.  Vizzy was the second son of Pusapati Vijaya Rama Gajapathi Raju, the ruler of Vizianagaram, organised his cricket team in 1926 and constructed a ground in his palace compounds. He recruited players from India and abroad. When MCC cancelled the tour of India in 1930–31 owing to political problems, he organised a team of his own and toured India and Ceylon – a la, Indian Premier League of last century. He was named the Captain for the 1936 tour of England,  and there are some references to lobbying and not cricketing reasons.  The team reportedly was divided and there were some controversies too, the one involving Lala Amarnath, much spoken about.  

At Vizag today, Jayant Yadav  who received his ODI  cap from former India opener Virender Sehwag received Test cap from Ravi Shastri – and that made news even before the toss and announcement of playing X1.  He replaced Amit Mishra – a harsh decision though.  Virat Kohli won the toss and duly opted to bat. 

Kannaur Lokesh Rahul was out to Stuart Broad without scoring and Vijay Murali after brief fluency was out for 20.  Then came the 226 partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli – both scoring centuries.  Pujara has now completed 3000 test runs in 67 innings – opener Murali Vijay too completed 3000 in 75 innings.  Pujara joined Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid as the fifth-fastest Indian to reach this mark. Among India batsmen, Virender Sehwag is the fastest to reach this mark - he took only 55 innings.

When Alastair Cook saw the coin go against him first thing, and following some none-too-subtle hints from Kohli regarding the surface he desired in the lead-up, it felt ominous. India racked up imposing first day scores for fun at home and thus the biggest surprise, bar the early removal of both openers, came when a stray dog twice invaded proceedings and relieved itself at deep point. By dodging the chasing, shoe-throwing groundstaff and forcing the umpires to call an early tea, the mongrel booked its place in Wisden’s index of unusual occurrences. It also left Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara both in the 90s at the interval, having dominated from the moment they came together five overs into the morning session. 

Neither were affected, with Pujara’s century coming first after the resumption – a heaved six off Adil Rashid over midwicket made it 10 in Test cricket for the in-form No3 – before Kohli, playing his 50th Test match, slotted James Anderson for a couple through the dog’s recently marked territory to bring up the 14th of his career.

With Ashwin batting the way he has been, a score of 450+ would definitely give India good comfort in the 2nd test.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Nov. 2016.

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