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Monday, February 1, 2021

debuts ! .. .. drops !! .. .. .. reviews !!! - getting roasted on social media.

The 3rd Test got underway at Sydney this morning – and I had posted on the interesting debut by Claire Polosak – the playing debutants being Navdeep Saini and William Jan Pucovski .. ..

At close of play on a rain-curtailed day, Aussies had the better honours finishing at 166/2 in 55 overs.  Labuschagne & Smith are together after an half century by debutant Pucovski.  This innings has been different and some are quick to criticize Ajinkya Rahane who was hailed as a great captain with deft field placings and quick bowling changes in the last test.  In the first two Tests Ashwin was responsible for two of Smith's three dismissals in only 23 balls, threatening both edges of the bat.  This time he was introduced a bit later and Ravindra Jadeja very late in the day and has bowled just 3 of the 55.  

Indian ground fielding especially catching left a lot desired.  Dropped catches are as much a part of Test cricket as chances created are, but when it happens at a specialist position - wicketkeeper and slips - the technique comes under the scanner. Former wicketkeepers immediately talked about Pant's hands pointing at the ball, his fingers almost parallel to the ground and grabbing at the ball as opposed to hands pointing down and letting the ball come to him. ESPNcricinfo's logs revealed that Pant has dropped nine of the 20 catches that have come his way off spin bowling in Test cricket. Bear in mind that India has a weakened pace attack with Mohammed Siraj making debut in the last test and today Navdeep Saini forming the pace trio along with Jasprit Bumrah.   

In November, Pucovski was included in Australia's Test squad to face India. "It's been a long journey but I don't think I could be in a much better place to take this challenge on," he said. However, in the closing stages of the Australia A match against India at Drummoyne Oval he was struck on the helmet when he got into a tangle against a bouncer from Kartik Tyagi. He was diagnosed with concussion - his ninth - and was ruled out of contention for the first two Tests.

Today  Pucovski will be thanking his lucky stars after his debut 50 for Australia after Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant gave him two major lives.  He opened alongside legendary David Warner, after overcoming the latest concussion of his young career. He has been tipped for international honours from almost before he played professional cricket but has had to cope with a number of challenges along the way. Having dominated the Under-19 Championships with a record-breaking tally of 650 runs at 162.50 on the back of run-scoring feats at school and club cricket, Pucovski made his List A debut for a Cricket Australia XI against the touring Pakistan team. He opened the batting for a side that also included Cameron Green and made 10 before falling to Hasan Ali. Less than a month later he was in the Victoria Sheffield Shield side, making 28 in the first innings against New South Wales before the next day, on his birthday, suffering a concussion when he was hit in the head while in the field.

Playing in a One-Day Cup match against Queensland he was hit by a short ball from Ben Cutting and forced to retire hurt. He did resume his innings but was soon dismissed and later diagnosed with delayed concussion. A month later, in a Futures League match, he was struck again and retired hurt. He has overcome concussions and mental toughness.

Today, Pucovski was on 26 while Australia was 1/49 when a faint edge without deviation  was dropped by Pant of Ravichandran Ashwin. On Fox Cricket, Adam Gilchrist explained the problem for the gloveman, “Look at the hand position of Rishabh Pant, the way his fingers are pointing, they’re pointing at the ball,” Gilchrist said. “Ideally we want those fingers pointing down towards turf. Hands are apart which are not a good thing. Ideally we want those little fingers together, pointing down and spreading the gloves as wide as possible to have as much surface area and nice and soft as well. “Hard hands, it hits it and bounces straight out.”

Then came another sooner -  with  Pucovski  on 32 with Australia on 1/56, Siraj’s short ball took the glove and ballooned, Pant appeared to have pouched it – he  rolled the ball away and then high fived his teammates with the umpires needing to send it upstairs to check it out. The decision was sent upstairs with a soft signal of “out”, but the third umpire adjudicated the catch had not been completed. The social media ripped into Pant for attempting to claim he had cleanly taken the catch.

Moving away -  a New Zealand journalist took  a swipe at champion Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden while celebrating Kane Williamson’s latest accomplishment. Williamson is sewing up his position as the Kiwis’ greatest Test batsman with an impressive home summer against Pakistan.  Kane scored 238 in New Zealand’s score of 6/659 declared in the second Test, becoming the third Kiwi to make 7000 Test runs after Ross Taylor (7379) and Stephen Fleming (7172). It was this feat that prompted a strange drive-by of Hayden by New Zealand Herald journalist Dylan Cleaver.

“Achieving it in his 144th innings means only 12 batsmen in the history of the game did it quicker, a who’s who of 11 of the greatest to have ever graced the crease, and Matthew Hayden,” Cleaver wrote.  There’s no doubt the list of 12 batsmen who have scored 7000 Test runs in quicker time than Williamson is filled with legends of the game. Steve Smith, Wally Hammond, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Garry Sobers, Kumar Sangakkara, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Yousuf, Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards and Rahul Dravid are all generational talents. 

Pitches in the Test series betwen Australia and India have delivered a battle between bat and ball throughout, but New Zealand has taken a different approach. The New Zealand pitch curators have delivered some green demons with the ball swinging all over the place. After two green pitches saw the Black Caps punish the West Indies by an innings in each of their two Test matches, Pakistan at least put up a bit more of a fight before going down by 101 runs in the first Test.

But day one of the second Test has unleashed another green monster at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. And it's played tricks on the Pakistani batsman with two of the worst reviews you will ever see. Opener Shan Masood lasted just eight balls before Tim Southee landed one on his toe.  Shan Masood is struck on the foot in front of his wickets.  From first view, the only thing that could have saved him was an inside edge as the full toss swung back in a mile. "That is an absolute ripper from Tim Southee," the commentator said. The batsman reviewd – the review turned out to be crazy with the bat well behind the pad as he fell over with the ball to hit middle stump. The commentators didn't take aim at the review but social media did.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar




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