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India are getting into this tour. Victory in the final ODI and the opening T20I means there is a bit of spring in their step as they return to Sydney for the final two white-ball matches before attention firmly switches to the Test series, although while these matches are taking place the SCG Test preparations will be ramping up for others against Australia A across town at Drummoyne Oval.

It was a tremendous fightback from India in the opening match. From a position where they appeared to be struggling to post 140 before the late onslaught by Ravindra Jadeja, who has since been ruled out of the series with the concussion that brought in Yuzvendra Chahal to play his decisive role with the ball.

In the chase, Australia were well placed at 72 for 1 but Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell fell in consecutive overs and not for the first time a lack of hitting power down the order was exposed, although India’s bowlers exploited a pitch that started to hold more as the game went on.

Given the condensed nature of this tour, there will be some further juggling of players. Australia have released Cameron Green to join the Australia A squad, but Mitchell Swepson will remain with the T20I group following his swift call-up following Ashton Agar’s injury. With Australia potentially missing up to six players, who would likely be the first-choice players in their T20 XI – captain Aaron Finch was awaiting results on scans on Saturday after picking up a hip or glute injury in Canberra – this feels like a good chance for India to claim the series.

ALSO WATCH: Natarajan’s three-for on T20I debut (Indian subcontinent only)

Form guide

Last five completed matches

Australia LWLLW

India WWT(won super over)T(won super over)W

In the spotlight

After two below-par ODIs, Mitchell Starc looked much more like his usual self in his opening two overs in the first T20I, finding late swing including the sharp outswinger which Shikhar Dhawan got nowhere near. His last two overs went for 23, but it was his 144kph short ball that Jadeja top-edged on to his helmet to suffer concussion. He may still not be 100% fit, though, so he might not play both the remaining T20Is.

ALSO WATCH: Starc uproots Dhawan’s off stump (Indian subcontinent only)

Given how he came into the side and dominated, all the talk was about Chahal, but Washington Sundar‘s performance with the ball was also vital in India’s victory. He bowled his four overs for 16, including 13 dots, driving the ball into the surface with Australia’s batsmen struggling to connect with either straight-bat or cross-bat shots.

Team news

Finch remains doubtful, and if he misses out it would require a change of captaincy with Matthew Wade likely to step in. It would also need reinforcements to the batting and would probably see Wade open with D’Arcy Short, which could create an vacancy for Alex Carey to return in the middle order. Nathan Lyon has been drafted into the squad and could challenge for Swepson’s spot to offer a counterbalance to Adam Zampa’s legspin. Josh Hazlewood has played all the white-ball matches so far so he might be due a rest.

Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch/D’Arcy Short, 2 Matthew Wade, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Sean Abbott, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Mitchell Swepson/Nathan Lyon, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Jadeja will need to be replaced from the start this time and Chahal’s performance makes him the natural option although it significantly weakens the batting. Manish Pandey did not have his best day out at No. 5 with 2 off 8 balls in Canberra. India may decide to rotate Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 Manish Pandey/ Shreyas Iyer, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 T Natarajan, 10 Jasprit Bumrah/Mohammed Shami, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Pitch and conditions

The surfaces were flat, very flat, for the two ODIs although some of India’s bowlers have found their rhythm since those games. The forecast is for a dry, mild evening.

ALSO WATCH: Henriques picks up three key wickets (Indian subcontinent ony)

Stats and trivia

  • In the opening match of the series, Moises Henriques bowled his full four-over quota in a T20 for the first time since February 2017

  • India are unbeaten in their last ten T20Is, a run that includes one no-result and two ties, which they then won on Super Overs against New Zealand

  • Two years ago at the SCG, India chased 165 to level the series.


“I think two legspinners is fine. You’ve seen the impact that legspin has had on the T20 format in basically all competitions; the BBL, IPL, international cricket there’s a lot of legspinners having a lot of impact. That ability to spin the ball both ways puts doubt in the batsman’s mind. That’s where I think legspinners have that advantage in the T20 format.”
Mitchell Swepson

“The pitch (in the first T20I) was gripping so I decided I was not going to flight it for them, and bowl quick legbreaks like the Australian spinners had in the ODIs.”

Yuzvendra Chahal

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WTC 2021-23 – Geoff Allardice




The ICC’s acting CEO has said teams will continue to be ranked based on percentage of points contested

The shift to a ranking based on the percentage of points contested, which came about thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, will extend into the second (2021-23) edition of the World Test Championship, with one caveat. Instead of 120 points being available over each series, independent of the length of the series, every Test match will now carry an equal number of points. At the end of the WTC cycle, teams will be ranked based on the percentage of points accrued over all the matches they have played.

The above points system was revealed by Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s acting chief executive officer, during a media chat organised by the ICC on Monday. As a consequence of several series in the first cycle of the WTC being postponed due to the pandemic, the ICC altered the points system last November, deciding to rank teams based on the percentage of points won from the series they contested.

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Eng vs NZ 2021 – ‘Players have got to show desperation and earn the right to stay in the side’



Graham Thorpe, England’s assistant coach, has called on his team’s young batters to prove their “desperation” to stay in the Test team, after New Zealand’s eight-wicket win at Edgbaston on Sunday completed their first series victory in this country since 1999, and England’s first loss on home soil in seven years.

Thorpe, who was a part of the England team that slumped to the bottom of the unofficial world rankings with their 2-1 series loss in 1999, said that he hoped this defeat would spur a similar quest for higher standards among the class of 2021, after he himself played a central role in the Nasser Hussain-led team that went on to win four series in a row in 2000-01, including their first against West Indies in 32 years.

But, Thorpe warned, while today’s selectors were far more tolerant of short-term failure than they were at the start of his own career in 1993, the management would need to see evidence of greater mental application than was the case in the past two Test matches. That was particularly the case in the second innings at Edgbaston, where England slumped to 76 for 6 and ultimately 122 all out.

“We have some younger players in our team who are still developing and we’re wanting them to improve,” Thorpe said. “But sometimes the intensity and the spotlight of Test cricket, when you’re up against a good team like New Zealand, just highlights how much of a challenge our players found their decision-making and the execution of shots.

“Whatever technique you have, the basics are still the same,” he added. “You have to get in, you have to be positive in your defence, leave the ball well outside off stump and play straight. These are the things that have applied to batting in Test match cricket for as long as it has been going.

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England vs India women’s Test 2021 – Harmanpreet Kaur: ‘We may not have much practice, but mentally we’re prepared’ | Cricket





‘Because of the struggles of past Indian women’s cricketers, we have this opportunity’ – Harmanpreet Kaur

Harmanpreet Kaur believes that a lack of adequate game time in the longest format in the lead-up to India Women’s return to Test cricket after nearly seven years can be offset in some measure by cultivating a positive outlook and heeding advice received from Ajinkya Rahane.

“I’ve played only two red-ball matches [in international cricket]. As a batting group when we have a discussion… this time we got a chance to speak to Rahane as well,” Kaur, the India Test vice-captain, said of her “easy and friendly talk” with her male counterpart in Southampton, where both the Indian teams served a hard quarantine upon arriving in the UK on June 3. “He shared his knowledge with us as to how to approach batting in the longest format and how one should divide their innings into parts.

“We may not have much practice under our belt [going into the Test], but mentally [we are prepared]. We’ve discussed a lot of things so we prepare ourselves well for the match. Even in the nets, we’ve tried to be in a good frame of mind because when you are happy, other than thinking too much about your batting, you tend to play well.”

The women’s team arrived in Bristol on Monday for the one-off Test against hosts England that begins on Wednesday. The opening fixture of a seven-match multi-format assignment, the Test marks India’s first outing in the format since the one-off Test at home against South Africa in November 2014. On the domestic circuit, the last multi-day women’s competition – the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Three-Day Game – was held in March-April 2018, in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kaur admitted that inadequate preparedness heading into the tour wasn’t ideal, but welcomed the revival of Test cricket for her team.

“Whatever time we’ve got [since coming out of quarantine], we’ve tried to simulate match scenarios as much as possible and tried to keep ourselves in the best frame of mind,” Kaur said. “We didn’t get much time to prepare, or any practice games. Individually, it’s imperative to adapt to the situation.

“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17″

Harmanpreet Kaur is all for letting Shafali Verma develop her own way

“The surfaces are different to what we get in India. We’ve practised against the swinging ball in the nets. We have a further two days – today and tomorrow – to prepare ourselves better for the match, so I hope we’ll be able to do that well.

“It’s a totally different scenario [to playing with the white ball]. I know we didn’t even get any domestic games with the red ball. In the upcoming season and years we’ll get more red-ball cricket also, which is a very good sign for us.”

As with Tests in the Women’s Ashes, the Bristol Test will feature the use of the Kookaburra red ball (the Dukes ball is usually used in England), with England captain Heather Knight saying last week that “we’re going to be using a Kookaburra in this match because that’s what we’re going to be using in the Ashes and it’s no secret this Test match is a huge part of our preparation going into that Ashes series and that Ashes Test match away from home.”

Kaur said that in the practice sessions India have had so far, the Kookaburra didn’t pose much challenge.

“Dealing with a Kookaburra didn’t feel too different because the ball size and weight is roughly the same [as the white ball we use in limited-overs cricket]. The last time we played [a Test], we felt the red ball was a bit heavier than the white variant, which makes you rely on your timing more. But the Kookaburra white and red ball feels the same; just the colour is different. We felt good playing with it because when you’re in whites and you play with the red ball, it’s a totally different feeling.”

When asked about the likelihood of 17-year-old big-hitter Shafali Verma making her debut on Wednesday, Kaur stressed that it was important for the senior players and the team management to refrain from talking shop too much with the young batter.

“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17 years old,” Kaur said. “To burden her with too many thoughts isn’t the right thing.

“All of us try to create a good environment for her to be able to feel less pressured and be able to enjoy her cricket well. She was looking great in the nets, and I hope if she gets a chance to play she’ll do better.”

As regards Jhulan Goswami, the senior-most bowler in the Indian attack, Kaur was hopeful that the 38-year-old pacer would replicate in this Test the consistency and success that’s been a hallmark of her nearly two-decade-long international career.

“She is someone who always takes the lead whenever we’re on the field,” Kaur said. “She’s always [been] special for us because her quota [of overs] is [important]. She will always give us breakthroughs whenever we need. Not only her but all the bowlers are very important because in Test matches you need breakthroughs, and I think she will be fantastic in this match also.”

The tour of England is also returning head coach Ramesh Powar‘s first assignment since replacing WV Raman in the role last month. Kaur, who is also India’s T20I captain, said her interactions with Powar on the ongoing tour had been no different to those during his first stint in the position which ended with the 2018 T20 World Cup, following a high-profile controversy involving himself, ODI captain Mithali Raj, Kaur, T20I vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, and several members of the now-defunct Committee of Administrators that was overseeing the BCCI.

“My interactions with him have been the same [as before]. He is someone who’s involved in the game all the time and expects the same of the players. Whenever you speak to him, you feel like you’re in a match. He asks you to imagine yourself in a match situation and figure out how you would react to it.

“I get a lot of information speaking to him because he, too, has played a lot of cricket, including T20 cricket. So the experience is the same. Whatever we had done in 2018, we are repeating those things now as well.”

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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