Ranchi pitch puts cricket buffs to test

Apurv Shukla –

His third double-century propelled Cheteshwar Pujara to second position in the International Cricket Council Test rankings for batsmen.

But that was not enough for India to gain victory over Australia in the Third Cricket Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ranchi.

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium became the newest Test venue in India, and produced a sporting pitch which resulted in a tense draw.

Strikes and injuries

It was on Day 4 that Australia began their second innings requiring 152 runs to make India bat again.

Ravi Jadeja (who overtook R Ashwin at the top of the ICC Test rankings for bowlers) bowled the dangerous opener David Warner and India held the upper hand leading into Day 5 of the match.

Victorian Peter Handscomb had other ideas. His defiant 72, ably supported by left- hander Shaun Marsh with a long vigil at the crease enabled Australia to bat out for a draw.

Action and Reaction

On Day 1 of the Test, India’s Captain Virat Kohli sustained a shoulder injury when diving in the field. Australian all-rounder Glen Maxwell, after stopping a ball, rose from the ground clutching his shoulder in mockery.

This upset Kohli, who on Day Four celebrated the dismissals of Warner and night-watchman Nathan Lyon with the same gesture.

Kohli also alleged that the Australian team was calling out the name of the Indian physio (Australian Patrick Farhart) in a mocking fashion during the test.

Australian media jumped into the fray, accusing Kohli of blaming them for his side’s shortcomings.

Excessive Cricket

Critics of the sport often accuse that too much cricket makes the game monotonous and lacking passion. The manner in which this Border –Gavaskar series has panned out so far is sure to allay those fears.

Test Cricket is alive and makes for riveting viewing.

Most importantly it still provides the sternest examination of a cricketer’s abilities.

Black Caps disappoint in Wellington

South African Keshav Maharaj picked up the best figures for a spinner (6-40) at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, leading his team to an eight-wicket victory over New Zealand.

It was a poor finish to the Test for the Black Caps, especially after they had the Proteas on the ropes at 94-6 in their first innings.

The performance of Opener Tom Latham causes concern, and allrounder Colin De Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham have not lived up to expectations.

Ross Taylor’s injury has added to the mess.

The lone bright spot for the Kiwis has been left hander Jeet Raval.

The Auckland batsman scored 80 runs in the second innings, and now has four half centuries in his first Six Tests.

The South African Tour is the highlight of the Kiwi cricketing summer.

Their progress and standing in world cricket will be judged by this series- and surely the Black Caps will like to end it on a high at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

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