Last Updated: February 09, 2023, 00:10 IST
New Delhi, India
Hello and welcome to our daily blog for Wednesday on February 8. On Tuesday, the build up to the Border Gavaskar Trophy began at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha. One of the most famous or infamous contests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy dates back to Australia’s 2004 tour of India when they won what they considered their final frontier. The tourists returned home with a 2-1 win in the four-match series thanks to victories in Bengaluru and Nagpur before India pulled one back in Mumbai.
Aside from the triumph, what those who witnessed the historic series clearly remember is the build up to the Nagpur Test and its fallout. Read More
Zimbabwe survived the loss of first innings centurion Gary Ballance and some testing spin bowling from West Indies duo Gudakesh Motie and Roston Chase to cling on for a draw in the first Test in Bulawayo on Wednesday. Set 272 to win in a minimum of 49 overs after West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite declared their second innings at 203 for five, Zimbabwe staggered to 134 for six before stumps were drawn. (Read Full Story Here)
Richa Ghosh smashed an attacking unbeaten 91 as India defeated Bangladesh by 52 runs in a warm-up match ahead of the Women’s T20 World Cup on Wednesday. Opting to bat, India made an imposing 183 for 5 riding on Ghosh’s exploits with the bat and then restricted Bangladesh to 131 for 8.
Coming on to bat at No 4, Ghosh’s knock came off just 56 balls with the help of three boundaries and nine hits over the fence. (Read Full Story Here)
At least 2,000 personnel of police will be deployed in the VCA stadium in Nagpur city of Maharashtra for the India-Australia test cricket match starting February 9, an official said on Wednesday.
Quick Response Team (QRT) personnel will be deployed on the route from two city-based hotels, where the players are currently staying, to the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha area, he said. (Read Full Story Here)
Skipper Mayank Agarwal scored an unbeaten century as he rescued Karnataka from a poor start to guide the hosts to 229 for five against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy semi-final on Wednesday. Sent in to bat, Karnataka were in some trouble, losing half their side for 112 in 40.3 overs.
But opener Agarwal (110 not out) held one end together and in the company of wicket-keeper Srinivas Sharath (58 not out) steadied the innings with an unbeaten 117-run partnership for the sixth wicket. (Read Full Story)
The buzz around the Border-Gavaskar Trophy might be focused on the pitch with the biggest talking point leading up to the first day of the series opener being how India have prepared a pitch to put Australian batters to the sword come D-Day.
Australian media may have already given their verdict on the track and quite possibly the match 24 hours before the first ball of the series is to be bowled, but for the cricket fans of the Orange City, the 22-yard strip in the middle at Jamtha has little bearing on their excitement level. (Read Full Report Here)
Batting great Sachin Tendulkar has given his opinion on all the noise around the Nagpur pitch for the first Test match between India and Australia. The pitch has come under scrutiny as several former cricketers and Australian media are labelling it as a ‘doctored pitch’. A couple of dry patches are quite visible on the Nagpur surface which is expected to cause trouble for the left-handed batters in front of left-arm spinners. (Read Full Story Here)
Ahead of the first Test, a big noise around the pitch, which looks quite dry with a big patch which is expected to trouble the left-handed batters. India might play with just two left-handers in the XI – Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, who will come down the order. But it’s almost contrasting for Australia who have the likes of David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Alex Carey and Matthew Renshaw in their batting line-up. (Read Full Story)
The famous 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy was a pivotal year for Indian cricket. For it was the series a new India emerged thwarting dominant Australia in their pursuit to conquer ‘The Final Frontier’. Even though Adam Gilchrist and Co. achieved it in 2004, 19 years later, Australia are on the Indian shores for another riveting Border-Gavaskar series, but this time it is not to conquer a bastion – far from it – what they will be eying, or rather hoping for, is redemption. (Read Full Report Here)
Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has picked his India’s XI for the first Test match against Australia at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur. The place in World Test Championship final is at stake for both sides in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy, starting from February 9.
Harbhajan, who had an imperious record against Australia in Tests as he claimed 95 wickets in 18 matches, has named his XI where he omitted a couple of notable players from the list. (Read Full Story Here)
Hardik Pandya has moved closer to reaching the top spot in the ICC Men’s T20I All-rounder Rankings. Pandya, who recently led India to a 2-1 series win over New Zealand, performed well with both bat and ball to overtake Mohammad Nabi at the second spot. The 29-year-old opened the bowling for India throughout the series and he ended up claiming a four-fer in the final T20I in Ahmedabad to help India outclass the Blackcaps. (Read Full Story)
Australia leads the nine-team points table for the ongoing cycle with a healthy points percentage of 75.56, followed by India at 58.93. The two teams are set to face off in a four-match Test series, beginning 9 February in Nagpur, and the eventual result will play a significant part in determining the eventual finalists.
The official dates for the final of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle to be played at The Oval later this year have been announced.
The final of the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship will be played at The Oval, London from 7 to 11 June with a reserve day in place (12 June). New Zealand had won the inaugural edition, defeating India by eight wickets in the 2021 final in Southampton.
The selection of the playing XI will be an interesting aspect to watch out for when India take on Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 on Thursday. Nagpur’s VCA Stadium is set to host the series opener and the talks about the line-ups of both sides have started taking centre stage. Both India and Australia have thoroughly inspected the track and have locked their respective XIs. However, the same will be announced after the toss on Thursday.
It will be interesting to see which player gets to open alongside skipper Rohit Sharma. The toss-up is between Shubman Gill & KL Rahul; the former has been in great form lately and enters the series with multiple centuries in white-ball format. Whereas Rahul has been with the team for quite a long time now and returns to the squad after a short break.
Coming back to Pant, Rohit said: “We will miss Rishabh Pant but we have guys to fill into the role. We have had a good talk with the batters about their plans and hopefully we will execute it from tomorrow onwards.”
Rohit Sharma, a bonafide white-ball legend, will face his biggest test as India’s red-ball captain against a determined Australian side which would be hungry for revenge when the much-awaited Border-Gavaskar series starts here Thursday.
It is a series that promises a lot of twists and turns, engrossing sub-plots and probably career-defining performances.
It’s such a high-profile rubber that non-performance could lead to end of career for some after this series.
India captain Rohit Sharma has emphasized once again on Rishabh Pant’s absence ahead of the Border Gavaskar Trophy opener. Speaking to the media, Sharma made it very clear that the team will miss his service, but exuded confidence that the guys who are at his disposal won’t make Pant’s absence turn into a gaping hole.
Pant played his role to perfection when India toured Australia. In the series decider at Gabba, Pant played a whirlwind knock 89 off 138 balls as India went on to chase down the target of 330 runs to seal the series. However, things took a turn when the cricketer was seriously injured in a car crash while traveling back to his hometown on December 30. He had multiple ligament tears which meant he was ruled out of the series. Meanwhile, as of now, Pant is out of danger and recovering well.
“I remember watching Michael Clarke in 2004, played beautifully. The wickets probably didn’t spin as much real early and they did at the back end of the game, when it sped up. Harbhajan [Singh] bowled a lot from over the wicket to the left-handers and tried to spin the ball across. That’s something that’s probably Plan Z for a lot of off-spinners,” he said.
In an interview with Sportstar, Ganguly said the Australia series will be crucial for Pujara, given his draught of Test tons against big teams.
“He’s playing his 100th Test in Delhi and that’s a great achievement. He will be the 13th Indian to play 100 Test matches and he totally deserves it. But he also needs to be at his best because, after the last three years, even he needs a Test hundred against good attacks. It will be a big series for him,” said Ganguly in an interview with Sportstar.
“But with Ashwin, it’s more a chess game. He’s willing to bowl ugly, which very few other spin bowlers like to do. He’s willing to bowl ugly to be effective. You saw that in Australia where he just bowled as we could call it in Australia, ‘negative’ lines but it’s great cricket. You are making the batters not be able to score. You’re tying them down, tying them down. And then what he does great is then he attacks your outside-edge off the pressure that he’s built there (like he did at the MCG),” he told Cricbuzz.
Australia middle order batter Marnus Labuschagne has said that his battle with India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be like a battle of chess. In an exclusive interview with Cricbuzz, the 28-year-old South Africa-born Australian spoke at length about Ashwin and how he is going to take him on.
The 42-year-old Smith, who had recently expressed his wish to have Dhoni on board, said they are ready to welcome the World Cup-winning captain with open arms.
“I think MS is a great friend of South African cricket and we would welcome him with open arms if he decides to come. We ran into each other at the airports a couple of times. I think right now he is focused on doing well for Super Kings in the IPL.
Teams, when playing at home, prepare pitches to suit their strengths. So has been the case with India who are known to dish out spin-friendly tracks to aid their spinners.
However, Kishore Pradhan, the curator for the Nagpur pitch in 2004, thought differently. He prepared a bouncy track but once the then captain Sourav Ganguly had a look at it, he was left unimpressed.
“Once (Sourav) Ganguly saw the pitch, he thought I prepared it on my own,” Pradhan told The New Indian Express. “He spoke to me explaining the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. He then met the then VCA president Shashank Manohar. I also told him that the surface has been prepared in consultation with the VCA chief and coach K Jayantilal. ‘This is the wicket we have prepared and you have to play on it’, I tried explaining to Ganguly.”
Interestingly, Ganguly pulled out of the contest citing an injury as did Harbhajan Singh, the offspinner.
As it turned out, Australia were bowled out for 398 in their first innings and in reply, India were skittled for 185 in 91.5 overs with Jason Gillespie picking a five-for.
Australia again performed well with the bat in their second dig as well and this time declared on 329/5. Their pace trio of Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz shared eight wickets to bowl out India for 200 runs and record a massive 342-run win.
Pradhan maintains that Indian team lost the battle in the mind and not because of the pitch. “There were no demons on the pitch. It was all about applying yourself but unfortunately, our batters lost the battle in the mind even before the start of the contest,” he said.
While a retired Pradhan is far removed from Vidarbha Cricket Association now, he says should he be given an opportunity to prepare the pitch again, he won’t change a thing.
“If given an opportunity, I will lay out the same wicket. I always wanted to prepare pacy and bouncy wickets. How else our batters will learn to play on them? These days, it’s the opposite as they can now play on fast wickets but tend to struggle on spinning tracks. Mr G Kasturirangan, the then chairman of the BCCI grounds and pitches committee, praised me for the wicket,” Pradhan said.
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