Leher Reddy Challuri DP1
David Warner, Steve Smith, and the bowlers put together a solid all-round performance to defeat a subpar Sri Lanka by 9 wickets, winning the series and leading 2-0.
Opting to bat, Sri Lanka were off to a bad start as Kusal Mendis was run out in the second over after being dropped from a diving effort by Smith in the first. Danushka Gunathilaka dil scooped a 146 kmph delivery from Billy Stanlake but was bowled by him not long after. Kusal Perera was timing the ball nicely, but support at the other end was thin.
Avishka Fernando departed in the ninth over, and Niroshan Dickwella, after dil scooping his first delivery, departed two deliveries later. Soon after, Kusal Perera chopped on as well and Dasun Shanaka was strangled down the leg side.
The next four batsmen chipped in with some handy contributions, but the innings folded by the end of the 19th over. All of the bowlers except Kane Richardson picked up 2 wickets each, with Adam Zampa and Billy Stanlake going under 6 runs an over.
Australia were in early trouble with Aaron Finch caught down the leg side. Steve Smith, returning to T20I cricket after 3 ½ years, was sent out at no. 3 to stabilize the innings, and he did exactly that. He timed the ball to perfection almost every single time, driving and cutting with ease. David Warner was manipulating the field well and putting the bowlers under extreme pressure all throughout.
The pair stitched together a 117-run partnership. They also got to their half-centuries towards the end of the innings, remaining not out. The game ended with a wide as Australia needed 1 run to win. Lasith Malinga was the only one to pick up a wicket in the innings.
Innings Score: 117 (19)
Kusal Perera: 27 (19)
Danushka Gunathilaka: 21 (22)
Pat Cummins: 2-29 (4)
Ashton Agar: 2-27 (4)
Billy Stanlake: 2-23 (4)
Adam Zampa: 2-20 (4)
Innings Score: 118-1 (13)
David Warner: 60* (41)
Steve Smith: 53* (36)
Lasith Malinga: 1-23 (3)
Leher Reddy Challuri DP1
Match Date: 27th October 2019
Venue: Adelaide Ovel
Birthday boy David Warner and Adam Zampa were the standout performers in a collectively solid all-round performance, which saw them defeat Sri Lanka by their largest T20 victory margin of 134 runs.
Opting to bowl, Sri Lanka were in for an onslaught, with Aaron Finch playing with intent from the get-go. David Warner started his innings slowly, but picked up the pace towards the end of the powerplay. The openers brought up their half-centuries before the 10-over mark, putting up a 122-run partnership, which lasted until the 11th over, when Finch was dismissed.
Sent out at no. 3, Glenn Maxwell put up an exhibition of hard-hitting and innovative play, picking up from where Finch left off. His innings came to an end in the last over, but Warner got his century off the last ball of the innings, with a welcome return to form. On the bowling end, Nuwan Pradeep was economical but the rest were expensive, especially in the case of Kasun Rajitha, who went for almost 20 runs an over.
Sri Lanka got off to a bad start, with opener Kusal Mendis dismissed in the very first over. Two more wickets fell in the 4th over, including Danushka Gunathilaka, who was dropped earlier. The next partnership was the best of the innings worth 33 runs between Kusal Perera, who could have been stumped, and Oshada Fernando. However, neither could up the ante, and were eventually dismissed in the 10th (Fernando) and 11th (Perera) over.
At 50-5, Sri Lanka had lost all hope of winning the game. Boundaries were few and far between as the wickets continued to tumble, with Wanindu Hasaranga’s dismissal from a blazing Maxwell throw being the highlight. Malinga was resilient towards the end, but it wasn’t of much help. All the bowlers bowled well, with Adam Zampa being the pick of the lot.
Aaron Finch: 64 (36)
David Warner: 100* (56)
Glenn Maxwell: 62 (28)
Nuwan Pradeep: 0-28 (4)
5 double-digit scores
Adam Zampa: 3-14 (4)
Mitchell Starc: 2-18 (4)
Pat Cummins: 2-27 (4)
Ashton Agar: 1-13 (4)
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwan Pradeep, and Wanindu Hasaranga starred for Sri Lanka as they achieved victory over Pakistan by a sizeable margin of 35 runs.
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Sri Lanka did not get off to the greatest of starts, with the star of the last game, Danushka Gunathilaka dismissed for 15 in the 3rd over, edging off to the keeper in an attempt to cut the ball. Bhanuka Rajapaksa began his innings with a flick down the leg side, aided by a misfield at short third man. He then hit two commanding shots on the on and off side. However, misery struck at the other end as Avishka Fernando was run out for 8 in the 5th over, taking a single that was never on.
Rajapaksa went along and started to smack some massive sixes, with a dap down to third man getting him his maiden fifty in T20 cricket. Shehan Jayasuriya accompanied him well, also scoring four boundaries in his innings. He was also run out in the 16th over for 34, but their partnership was worth a solid 94 runs. In the very next over, Rajapaksa was dismissed for an excellent innings of 77 from 48 deliveries, chasing a wide delivery and slogging it straight to deep cover.
A third wicket fell in succession as Minod Bhanuka was run out for a first-ball duck in the same over. The mini-collapse continued as Isuru Udana was bowled by a pacy full delivery for 8 in the 18th over. Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka’s captain’s cameo of 27* off 15 deliveries, including 3 fours and one big six down the ground lifted Sri Lanka to a great score 182-6, albeit a little short of what they would have hoped for.
Mohammad Hasnain and Amir went wicketless and were expensive too, going for 39 runs and 40 respectively off their 4 overs. Shadab Khan picked up one wicket, but was also expensive, conceding 38 runs off his 4 overs. The best pacer of the innings was Wahab Riaz, recording good figures of 1-31 off 4 overs. Imad Wasim was the best in the spin department, recording excellent figures of 1-27 off 4 overs.
Pakistan did not get off to the best of starts with the bat either, with Fakhar attempting a dilscoop that went onto his stumps, dismissed for 6 in the 3rd over. Babar Azam attempted to slog a good-length delivery angled in and chopped onto his stumps for 3 in the very next over. Ahmed Shahzad and Sarfaraz Khan were able to hold things together for a brief period, until Shahzad was eventually dismissed for 13 in the 8th over, missing a delivery that turned in sharply. Umar Akmal was dismissed on the very next delivery for a duck, trying to cut a delivery that crashed into his pads before he could, with a review not helping his cause. A third wicket fell in the over, with Sarfaraz Ahmed also attempting to cut a delivery too close to him, being bowled for 26 as the delivery turned back in sharply. Pakistan were 52-5 in 8 overs, in deep trouble.
Imad Wasim and Asif Ali put together a scintillating show, in which Imad was being especially aggressive, taking on the bowlers arially and late into his innings, showing some innovation as well. He hit 8 fours, whereas Asif, the slower partner, got himself 3. The pair put up a marvelous 75-run partnership and had Sri Lanka on the ropes for a large part in the game, but Imad was eventually dismissed LBW from a full delivery in the 16th over.
In the very next over, Wahab Riaz was also dismissed, top-edging an attempted dilscoop to the keeper for 7. On the first delivery of the next over, Shadab Khan was also dismissed, slogging the ball straight up in the air to cover for a duck. The collapse continued as in the 19th over, Asif Ali dragged a slower ball onto his stumps for 29. The innings ended on the last ball of the same over, with Mohammad Hasnain slogging the ball straight to cow corner for 1 as Pakistan’s innings folded for 147.
Lakshan Sandakan went wicketless but conceded just 33 runs off 4 overs, which was decent considering the context of the game. Kasun Rajitha was the most economical of the bunch, recording excellent figures of 1-11 off 3 overs. Isuru Udana was expensive but did pick up 2 wickets in the back end, recording decent figures of 2-38 off 4 overs. Wanindu Hasaranga conceded the same amount of runs but bowled a miraculous over that got Sri Lanka 3 wickets early on in the game, recording good figures of 3-38 off 4 overs. The pick of the lot was Nuwan Pradeep, who recorded astonishing figures of 4-25, picking up wickets during the powerplay and at the death.
Sri Lanka were able to trigger a Pakistani collapse yet again with an impressive bowling display. Their batting still has a little room to improve, but they have done enough to win the series 2-0. They have one last match to achieve a whitewash. Will they pull it off or will Pakistan hit back for their pride? Join us on the Sreenidhian on the 9th of October to know more!
Danushka Gunathilaka, Mohammad Hasnain, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, and Wanindu Hasaranga top-performed as Sri Lanka achieved their first victory of their tour to Pakistan in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
After losing the toss and being put into bat, Danuskha Gunathilaka played some cracking shots along the ground and arially during and after powerplay, while Avishka Fernando was quietly working his way into the innings, with occasional boundaries. Gunathilaka got to a blazing fast half-century off just 32 balls with a six over cow corner in the 8th over, which came as a result of a difficult catch being dropped. He was eventually dismissed LBW, trapped in front for 57 runs off 38 deliveries in the 10th over, with a review not helping his cause, but contributed greatly to an 84-run partnership between the pair.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa began his innings a lot like Gunathilika, smoking a six over deep midwicket on the 6th delivery he faced. The partnership between him and Avishka Fernando was going well, but did not last long enough as Fernando was run out by extra cover for 33 runs off 34 balls in the 15th over. At this point, Sri Lanka were 120-2, in a perfect position to unleash and score 50-60 more runs.
For a while, it looked as though they could do it, with Rajapaksa, and later, Dasun Shanaka hitting some massive sixes, but a Mohammad Hasnain hat-trick, in which he dismissed Rajapaksa LBW with a pacy yorker on the last ball of the 17th over for 32 off 22 deliveries, Shanaka for 17 off 10 deliveries and Shehan Jayasuriya for 2, who were both caught after mistiming the ball on the first two balls of the 19th over. As a result, Sri Lanka ended up at 165-5, about 15 runs short of where they would have wanted to be at the end.
The bowling display was decent but nothing special. Imad Wasim (0-24 off 4), Mohammad Amir (0-25 off 4) and Ifthikar Ahmed (0-7 off 1) were quite economical. Faheem Ashraf was quite expensive, conceding 31 runs in 3 overs without a wicket. Shadab Khan was also expensive, conceding 35 runs off his 4, but picked up 1 wicket. Mohammad Hasnain was also very expensive, but had the hat-trick to show to his name, recording figures of 3-37 off 4 overs.
After starting his innings with two boundaries, Babar Azam was dismissed for 13, edging off to the wicket-keeper, who took a wonderful diving one-handed catch in the 2nd over. The very next delivery, Umar Akmal was trapped in front by a delivery darted into his pads, being dismissed for a first-ball duck. More trouble for Pakistan came calling as Ahmed Shahzad chopped onto his stumps attempting a cut shot for 4 in the 5th over. At 22-3, Pakistan needed some recovery.
Ifthikar Ahmed provided them just that, at least for a brief period, hitting some boundaries to keep the run rate at a runner ball. The partnership was going well until a mix-up meant that Ifthikar was run out for 25 off 24 deliveries in the 12th over. Two overs later, Sarfaraz was bowled for 24 off 30 deliveries. In the next over, Imad Wasim was dismissed as well, slogging the ball straight to extra cover for 7.
The collapse continued as in the next over, Asif Ali was dismissed for 6, slogging the ball straight to the fielder in front of the sidescreen running in from the right. Faheem Ashraf was dismissed in the 17th over, clipping the ball to deep square leg for 8. Shadab was dismissed in the 18th over for 6, slogging the ball straight to deep midwicket. On the very next delivery, Mohammad Amir was dismissed for 1, hitting the ball straight to deep extra cover on the very next delivery as Pakistan’s innings folded for 101 runs off 17.4 overs.
Lakshan Sandakan bowled economically without success, recording figures of 0-24 off 4 overs. Kasun Rajitha bowled well with some success, recording economical figures of 1-20 off 4 overs. Wanindu Hasaranga found more success, recording better figures of 2-20 off his 4 overs. Nuwan Pradeep was relatively expensive but found great success, recording excellent figures of 3-21 off 3 overs. The star of the innings was Isuru Udana, who recorded outstanding figures, in terms of both his economy and wickets taken, of 3-11 off 2.4 overs.
With two more T20s to go, Sri Lanka have given themselves a good chance to win the series with a comprehensive bowling display, leading to a victory by 64 runs. Will they pile on this initial success or will Pakistan hit back? Join us on The Sreenidhian on the 7th of October to find out!
India Crushes South Africa and Leads the Series
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the final day, Mohammad Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Dane Piedt, and Semuan Muthusamy starred for their respective teams as India sunk South Africa to win by 203 runs.
The day began badly for South Africa, with Theunis de Bruyn dismissed in the 11th over, bowled by a delivery that turned in sharply. In the very next over, Temba Bavuma was bowled for a second-ball duck from a pacy delivery that kept low. Aiden Markram began to open his arms against the spinners, hitting them over the boundary and playing some good shots along the ground as well, also getting a luck boundary off an edge along the way. Faf du Plessis played with good intent, hitting 3 boundaries, clipping and driving the ball. However, he was dismissed in the 22nd over for 13, leaving a good-length delivery that came in and crashed into his off-stump.
Markram continued batting aggressively, but at the other end, Quinton de Kock was dismissed for a second-ball duck in the 24th over, missing a delivery that crashed into his off-stump. The miracle 27th over brought about more misery for South Africa, who lost Markram for 39 off 74 deliveries as his lofted shot produced a wonderful jump catch to give Jadeja a caught-and-bowled. Vernon Philander was dismissed for a three-ball duck after a review from India showed he was out LBW. Keshav Maharaj was out the very next delivery for a first-ball duck, adjudged LBW, with a review not helping his cause. From 70-5, South Africa went to 70-8 in one over.
Dane Piedt, new to the crease, took his chances against the spinners, slogging to the leg-side, the covers and over the sidescreens, but it paid off as he top-scored for South Africa, scoring his maiden half-century for South Africa in tests. Semuran Muthusamy, similar to last time around, played a dogged innings with few boundaries, but exhibited a solid defense once again, and he wasn’t caught on the crease as often. The pair put up a partnership worth 91 runs, the highest of the innings. With a no.10 getting a half-century and the 9th wicket partnership being worth more than the entirety of what the rest of the batsman scored, the top and middle-order batsman must have wondered what the situation in the game had been had they persisted and showed a little more patience.
Piedt eventually perished, fetching for a delivery outside the off-stump and chopping onto his stumps for 56 off 107 deliveries, ending a wonderful knock. Kagiso Rabada got himself a few boundaries on the on and off-side along with a six as Muthusamy was nearing a maiden half-century. Jadeja missed a chance to run Rabada out, but that didn’t matter as soon enough, he was dismissed, edging off to the keeper for 18, with South Africa’s innings folding for 191 off 63.5 overs. Muthusamy was unfortunate to miss out on a half-century, finishing the innings not out once again for 49* off 108 deliveries.
Ishant was economical without success, recording decent figures of 0-18 off 7 overs. Ravichandran Ashwin could not replicate his heroics from the first innings, but did have a wicket to show for his efforts and was economical, recording figures of 1-44 off 20 overs. Ravindra Jadeja recorded great figures of 4-87 in 25 overs, providing the highlight over that saw South Africa lost three wickets at once without a run scored. The star of the innings, however, was Mohammad Shami, recording his 5th 5-wicket haul and excellent figures of 5-35 off 10.5 overs, even breaking a stump on one occasion.
South Africa’s woes against spin in the subcontinent continue, but they must find a way to combat it, and fast. They let the chance to draw the game slip, and India is a quality side that more often than not, controls the game. If South Africa is to draw, let alone win the series, they will have to recover quickly from the defeat. How will they respond? Join us on the 10th of October for the coverage of the second test between these two cricketing giants!
Game in the Balance as India Hunts Test Victory
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the 5th of October in Visakhapatnam, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara emerge as the best performers for India as South Africa are phased with a difficult task of survival on day 5.
With only 2 wickets left in hand, Keshav Maharaj was dismissed early in the day, toe-ending a slow delivery that sucked him into a shot high in the air and straight to cow corner for 9 in the 124th over. The pair of Semuran Muthusamy and Kagiso Rabada put up an aggressive 35-run partnership, with both hitting a plethora of boundaries. Rabada was dismissed in the 132nd over due to LBW as India reviewed to challenge the umpire’s not out decision. Senuran Muthusamy remained 33* off 106 deliveries. South Africa ended their innings with 431 on the board, and while India did have a sizeable lead of 71 runs, South Africa did a good job keeping it to a minimum.
The Indian innings began well as Rohit Sharma targeted Keshav Maharaj, who bowled inconsistently every now and then. On the other end, Vernon Philander showed great discipline, bowling stump-to-stump and giving Mayank Agarwal no room to maneuver the delivery. Agarwal eventually broke free, with a boundary off a paddle sweep, but edged off to the slips the very next delivery, departing for 7. Rohit, accompanied by Cheteshwar Pujara, continued to be aggressive as session one came to a close, with India at 35-1 after 14 overs.
Rohit continued playing his shots, going arial and playing with touch as the second session commenced, but for awhile, South Africa were containing Pujara. They could have even dismissed him, but missed a stumping chance in the 28th over, when he scored 8 runs off 63 deliveries. He began to make them pay, clipping, driving, cutting, and even shuffling to his backfoot and going arial nicely and bumping his strike rate up in the process as well. On the other hand, Rohit had gotten to his half-century off just 72 deliveries in the 29th over. Rohit could have also been dismissed in the 32nd over as he slogged a delivery straight to Muthusamy at cow corner, but got a six instead as Muthusamy’s in-and-out effort ended with his leg touching the fence with the ball in his hands. The pair continued playing aggressively as South Africa failed to seize some more opportunities to dismiss Pujara, who edged of twice in the 41st over, and on both occasions, the ball went in between the slip fielder and the wicket keeper. Despite the occasional hiccups, the pair ended up stitching together a big 169-run partnership.
After a small burst of aggression as the third session began, Pujara was trapped in front by a good length delivery, dismissed for 81 off 148 deliveries in the 51st over, with a review not helping his cause. Rohit got to a magnificent second hundred of the test match, becoming only the second batsman to achieve the feet after Sunil Gavaskar. He then started going arial more often against the spinners, sensing the urgency for more runs and a declaration. That eventually brought about his undoing, stumped for 127 off 149 deliveries in the 57th over.
Ravindra Jadeja, sent in ahead of Kohli, picked up where Rohit and Pujara left off, hitting 3 sixes in his innings of 40 runs off 32 deliveries, which ended with him being bowled in the 63rd over. Virat Kohli, forced to come in after Rohit’s dismissal, also took on the bowlers, driving and slogging cleanly with his usual wristyness. Ajinkya Rahane also began aggressively, with luck on his side as he claimed two lucky boundaries in the process as well, with the slip fielders and the wicket keeper missing two edges entirely. The highlight of his innings was an inside-out boundary over covers. India declared at 323-4 in the 67th over, setting a target of 395 to South Africa with a whole day and about 10 overs in their hands.
The South African innings got off to a bad start, with Dean Elgar dismissed for 2 due to LBW in the 4th over, with a review from India changing the umpire’s decision to out. Theunis de Bruyn hit one boundary to the covers, but that was the only scoring attempt in the 9 overs they played, ending the day at 11-1, with 9 wickets in hand for tomorrow.
While South Africa, at this point, cannot win the test match, they can achieve a respectable draw as the game still hangs in the balance. India, on the other hand, will be looking to get the 9 wickets left well within the 98 overs tomorrow. What will Day 5 have in store for us? Will it be a resilient display from South Africa or will India claim victory once again on home soil? Join us on The Sreenidhian on the 6th of October to find out!
South Africa Shows its Nerves of Steel and Takes Day 3
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the 4th of October in Visakhapatnam, Dean Elgar, Faf Du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock helped push South Africa to 385-8 at the end of Day 3, with Ravichandran Ashwin being the standout bowler for India.
Temba Bavuma started his innings sketchily, driving to covers and looping an edge over the slips on only the second ball of the day. He played an authoritative on-drive soon after to settle the nerves. Dean Elgar put in a conscious effort to put pressure on the spinners, who had picked up the bulk of the wickets thus far, playing with aggression along the ground and aerially. After just one more boundary, Bavuma was dismissed for 18 in the 27th over, missing a delivery that deviated off the pitch and crashed into his pads low. Faf du Plessis also came out in an attempt to pressure the spinners when the opportunity presented itself. Elgar got to his half-century in the 40th over with an on drive for a single.
Ravindra Jadeja produced a magic delivery in the 42nd over, exhibiting extreme turn and bounce against du Plessis. The pair was unphased by this, however, as Elgar took him on for two big aerial shot soon after. He could have been dismissed in the 46th over, however, as Wriddhiman Saha, India’s keeper, dropped an edge as Elgar tried to defend. Some deliveries from the pacers started to keep low as the scorching heat took its toll on the pitch as well. The pair managed to go to lunch at 153-4, without losing another wicket regardless.
Not long after the second session began, du Plessis got to his 20th half-century in the 53rd over. The pair put up a solid 115-run partnership, which lasted until du Plessis was dismissed for 55 off 103 balls as he flicked the ball straight to short leg. Soon after, Elgar brought up a magnificent century on a difficult pitch with a six in the 60th over, the 12th of his career. Quinton de Cock, new to the crease, began his innings with a good-looking cover drive, but could have been dismissed early in the 61st over as he was squared up and edged to silly point, which didn’t stick. He slowed down a little since the drop catch, but picked up the pace soon, hitting wonderful shots along the ground and occasionally going arial as well, putting pressure on the spinners like Elgar and du Plessis have. Soon, he got to his half-century and continued playing with aggression, finishing the third session 69*, with Elgar 133*, with South Africa at 292-5, with another good batting session under their belt.
Elgar faced some trouble against the seamers as a delivery he tried to leave ended up going to third man for a boundary off his gloves, and could have easily been caught with a slip in position. A bizarre delivery from Jadeja that Elgar tried to sweep from the leg side went to the fence for byes as well. After that, the two picked up again, and Elgar even got to 150 in the 92nd over, with a cut down to third man reaching the boundary. The Indians had another difficult chance to dismiss de Cock in the 98th over as an inside edge meant that the ball hit his foot and looped up, beyond the reach of the keeper or the slip fielder. De Cock then reverse swept the ball for a boundary as his innovative game was finally starting to emerge. The pair put up a big 164-run partnership, which lasted until Elgar was dismissed for 160 off 287 deliveries, slog sweeping up in the air and letting deep square leg a wonderful catch running forward, which gave Jadeja his 200th wicket in tests.
Senuran Muthusamy, the debutant, could have been dismissed for a duck as a booming drive gave away an edge to the slips, which was dropped in the 101st over. De Cock brought up the 5th hundred of his test career with a splendid six over cover in the 105th over. He was dismissed soon after, however, as he was bowled through the gate for 111 off 163 deliveries in the 110th over. Vernon Philander came and went, dismissed for a duck as a drive caught the inside edge and bowled him in the 114th over. With 8 wickets down, there wasn’t much left to the batting Innings, but Muthusamy and Keshav Maharaj ensured that no more wickets were lost to take their innings into Day 4. The last session was definitely India’s, sending two set batsman and one all rounder to the pavilion.
Hanuma Vihari bowled 9 overs but was expensive, going for 38 runs. Rohit Sharma bowled just two overs for 7 runs. Mohammad Shami bowled economically without success, going for only 40 runs off his 15 overs. Ishant Sharma picked up 1 wicket and went for a reasonable 44 runs off his 14 overs. Ravindra Jadeja recorded average figures of 2-116 off 37 overs, but may have been a tad unfortunate considering the turn and bounce he was able to extract from the pitch. The star of the innings is Ravichandran Ashwin, getting his 27th 5 wicket haul, recording excellent figures of 5-128 off 41 overs.
Despite the fact that South Africa lost three big wickets in a hurry, they trail India by 117 runs, not only successfully avoiding the follow-on, but giving themselves a chance to draw the game as well. The next thing they would want is for the tailenders and Muthusamy to trim the lead as much as possible. With the game in the balance, Day 4 shall be an intriguing one. Join us on the Sreenidhian to find out what happens on the 5th of October!
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
Danushka Gunathilaka’s best efforts were not enough as Mohammad Amir, Fakhar Zaman, Abid Ali, and Haris Sohail helped Pakistan to a second victory against Sri Lanka in the final ODI of the Brighto Sri Lanka Tour of Pakistan 2019 ODI series in the National Stadium, Karachi.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start despite a couple of boundaries as Avishka Fernando edged off to the slips for 4, pushing at a good length delivery. Gunathilaka, seemingly unphased by his partner’s departure, played with good intent, hitting wonderful shots, especially along the ground and got to his fifty in the process as well. Him and Lahiru Thirimanne, Sri Lanka’s captain, put together a settling 88-run partnership. Thirimanne departed in the 20th over, hitting the ball low and straight to the bowler for 36.
Gunathilaka continued playing aggressively, and began going arial too. He and Angelo Perera put together a 50-run partnership, but Perera contributed only 13 to it as he never really got going, eventually departing after chipping the ball to square leg in the 30th over. Things were looking good for Sri Lanka, however, who were only three down at 32 overs and had Gunathilaka reach a marvellous 2nd ODI ton at a runner ball. He was accompanied by Minod Bhanuka, who after a slow start, hit some big shots, sensing the urgency as the team got closer to the 40th over. The pair put together a 74-run partnership, which unfortunately ended in the 41st over as Bhanuka was run out for 36 due to a misunderstanding.
Soon after, Shehan Jayasuriya, in an attempt to hit the ball out of the park, lobbed the ball up in the air to deep midwicket for 3. Gunathilaka was hit on the ankle by a yorker during the last 10 overs, and could not get a move-on beyond a runner ball, eventually departing for 133 off 134 deliveries in the 45th over after being bowled by another yorker. Dasun Shanaka picked up from the previous game and played some big shots as Sri Lanka advanced towards 300. They were pegged back a little bit as Wanindu Hasaranga departed for 10 in the 49th over. In the same over, Lakshan Sandakan was run out for a first-ball duck. Shanaka also departed in the 50th over, but did his bit, scoring a cameo of 43 off 24 deliveries. Another wicket fell as Sri Lanka finished at 297-9, at a fairly good total.
Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, and Usman Shinwari, all picked up a wicket each. Riaz was expensive, however, going for 81 runs off 10 overs. The star of the bowling innings was Mohammad Amir, recording excellent figures of 3-50.
Pakistan got off to an excellent start thanks to Abid Ali, who drove the ball and clipped off his pads marvellously at a high strike rate, and got to his fifty off 37 balls. Fakhar Zaman took his time, but found his touch eventually, starting to get aggressive with a six and several boundaries after it. The two put together an opening stand worth 123 runs. It ended in the 20th over, with Abid dismissed by a wrong un that turned in sharply for 74 off 67 balls. Deemed not out at first, a review from the Lankans showed three reds, forcing the umpire to reverse his decision.
Soon after, Fakhar got to his half-century as well, albeit with a streaky shot that was sliced up in the air. Babar Azam starting his innings with good intent, hitting the ball along the ground and going arial, but was dismissed early for 31 in the 30th over, caught on the front pad. Again, he was deemed not out, but a review went Sri Lanka’s way as DRS showed the ball crashing into the top of the middle stump. In the very next over, Fakhar was dropped on 74 by the slip fielder, but fell in the next over, upper cutting a short delivery straight to third man for 76 off 91 balls. Haris Sohail started his innings aggressively as well, but could have been dismissed for 28 in the 39th over if the stumping opportunity was taken.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan’s captain, started slowly and hit only one boundary before he chopped onto his stumps for 23 in the 42nd over. Sri Lanka had another chance to dismiss Sohail in the 44th over, but confusion between two fielders in the ring meant that the ball landed in no man’s land. He went on to a fifty, playing some marvellous shots along the way. Ifthikar Ahmed started well too, taking down the remaining runs quickly. Sohail was bowled in the 48th over for 56 off 50 deliveries, but this didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things as Ifthikar’s cameo of 28* off 22 balls ensured that Pakistan won the match and the series 2-0 comfortably.
The Sri Lankans put up a much better display with the bat, but their inability to pick up wickets or stem the run rate throughout the innings brought about their undoing. They have a chance to redeem themselves, however, with the first of 3 T20s coming up on the 5th of October. How will they respond? Will Pakistan dominate the series once again or will Sri Lanka be defiant? Join us on the Sreenidhian to find out!
South Africa in Deep Trouble at the end of Day 2
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the 3rd of October in Visakhapatman, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mayank Agarwal impressed on Day 2 as South Africa’s chances of victory slipped further.
The openers picked up where they left off, hitting boundaries to all parts of the ground and striking a perfect balance of attack and defense. Sharma was given a chance at 125 in the 64th over as the keeper dropped an edge. Agarwal could have also been run out in the 66th over for 92 had the throw and collection been better. He went on to get his maiden ton in his first test on home soil in the 69th over off 204 deliveries. Rohit Sharma persisted with his aggression and went on to 150 off 224 deliveries in the 76th over.
Agarwal also began to play with more aggression, hitting the ball nicely along the ground and going arial as well. The pair put up a record 317-run opening partnership for India against South Africa. Sharma sliced a six not far away from deep extra cover in the 82nd over and followed up with a solid four to cover the very next delivery, only to be dismissed at the end of the over, stumped for 176 off 244 deliveries. India went to lunch at 324-1 off 88 overs, in a solid position to put up a mammoth score.
The second session got off to a bad start, however, as Pujara was bowled for 6. Mayank Agarwal made his way to 150 off 294 balls alongside Virat Kohli, who entertained with four beautiful drives, but could not go on for long as he chipped the ball back to the bowler for 20 off 40 balls in the 104th over. The two did put on a good-sized 53-run partnership, however. Agarwal began to play with even more intent as he got to 200 in the 116th over. Him and Rahane put together 54 runs for the 4th wicket. Rahane played well initially but was dismissed cheaply for 15 in the 118th over, caught at cover. Agarwal was dismissed soon as well, sweeping the ball straight to deep midwicket for a splendid innings of 215 off 371 deliveries. India ended the second session at 450-5, still at a strong position despite the loss of 4 wickets.
Vihari was dismissed early into the third session in the 124th over for 10, slogging the ball straight to long off. Wriddhiman Saha, on his return to test cricket, began his innings with two boundaries guided down to third man. He was aggressive from the get-go despite some difficulty coping with turn and bounce against the spinners, and Ravindra Jadeja began to pick up the pace as well. His cameo worth 21 runs off 16 deliveries came to an abrupt end in the 132nd over. Soon after in the 137th over, India declared at 502-7, with Jadeja finishing the innings 30* and Ravichandran Ashwin 1*.
Kagiso Rabada was economical without any success, conceding only 66 runs off 24 overs. Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dean Elgar, and Semuran Muthusamy ended up with a wicket each. Philander was economical, going for just 68 runs off 22 overs. Elgar bowled just one over, but Piedt and Muthusamy were expensive, conceding 107 off 19 overs and 63 off 15 overs. Keshav Maharaj took his time to pick up wickets, but he did end up with relatively respectable figures of 3-189 off 55 overs.
Dean Elgar began his innings with two boundaries down the leg side. Markram hit a boundary before being dismissed by a delivery that turned in sharply and bowled him for 5 in the 8th over. Elgar hit a wonderful six off the spinner and looked the most comfortable at the crease. Apart from the one boundary on his sixth delivery, Theunis De Bruyn scored nothing more and was stumped after facing 25 balls in the 17th over.
Dane Piedt, sent in as a night watchman, played for turn, but let the delivery slip through the gate, being dismissed for a duck in the 18th over. Temba Bavuma could have also been dismissed, but survived late in the day, chipping the ball straight to short leg, who ended up dropping the opportunity. South Africa ended the day at 39-3, trailing India by 463 runs, with Elgar 27* and Bavuma 2*, looking in deep trouble.
With the test match very much in India’s favour at the moment, how will South Africa respond? Will they produce a masterclass bowling display to display India’s patience or will India gain further control of the proceedings? Join us tomorrow on the Sreenidhian to find out!
Indians Remain Unscathed at the end of Day 1
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the 2nd of October in Visakhapatman, Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma starred for India as they ended the rain-affected day without a wicket lost.
The pair began the innings with some assertive shots. Sharma, playing his first test match as an opener, looked particularly impressive, defending well against the seamers and taking the attack to the spinners. Agarwal was lucky to have an edge evade the slip fielders, but looked good ever since. Off the front foot and back foot, the pair played marvellous shots along the ground and went arial comprehensively, especially Sharma, who got to his fifty within the first session, albeit with a streaky shot as the ball wasn’t far away from backward square leg.
Soon after the second session commenced, Mayank Agarwal got to the 4th fifty of his short test career. Sensing the opportunity with the spinners in the attack, the pair went harder at the ball, with Sharma showing his prowess with big shots once again. He got to his hundred in quick time, and Agarwal accompanied him well throughout, who also neared his maiden ton as the second session came to a close. During the 60th over, play stopped due to rain, which never stopped, due to which play was called off for the rest of the day. India ended the day at 202-0 off 59.1 overs, with Agarwal 84* off 183 balls, hitting 11 fours and 2 sixes and Sharma 115* off 174 balls, hitting 12 fours and 5 sixes.
With virtually no swing and some deviation off the pitch, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander bowled well and kept the run rate at a minimum. The two recorded figures of 0-35 off 15 overs and 0-34 off 11.1 overs respectively. None of the spinners could turn the ball as they failed to get the seam to grip into the surface and turn. Instead, the ball landed on its shiny surface and skid onto the bat, making life comfortable for the batsmen.
Even Keshav Maharaj could not turn the ball on a subcontinent pitch, recording economical but unprofitable figures of 0-66 off 23 overs. Senuran Muthusamy, a part-time left-arm off spinner on debut, did not produce anything special either, recording figures of 0-23 off 5 overs. Dane Piedt, who found some success on his previous test tour to India, could not replicate it this time around and disappointed the most. He recorded expensive figures of 0-43 off 7 overs as Agarwal, and especially Sharma never let him settle.
What will day 2 have in stock for us? With South Africa pegged back a fair bit in the game, how will they respond? Will they pick up quick wickets and trigger an Indian collapse, or will India build on their foundation and put up a solid score? Join us tomorrow on the Sreenidhian to find out!