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New Zealand 519 for 7 dec (Williamson 251, Latham 86, Jamieson 51*, Roach 3-114, Gabriel 3-89) beat West Indies 138 (Southee 4-35, Jamieson 2-25, Wagner 2-33) and 247 (f/o) (Blackwood 104, Joseph 86, Wagner 4-66, Jamieson 2-42) by an innings and 134 runs

In the end, it ended with a full ball from Neil Wagner. The man who has turned bowling sustained short-ball spells into an art form got six wickets in New Zealand’s first Test victory over West Indies, and only one of them via a short ball. It was the kind of end that was strangely fitting in a Test that New Zealand dominated, as evidenced by their victory margin of an innings and 134 runs, but where they were made to stretch themselves a bit further than they would have imagined. It still ended up being New Zealand’s biggest win over West Indies in terms of innings victories, and their fifth biggest ever.

West Indies had got through the first hour of the fourth day with the overnight pair of Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph still together. Not only had their partnership crossed 150 – more than the entire first-innings total West Indies mustered – but Blackwood had also progressed to a second Test century. The clouds that had gathered for much of the third day had given way to bright sunshine on day four, and both Blackwood and Joseph continued to be positive. That didn’t mean they attacked indiscriminately, but they were assured while defending and leaving the ball, and full of punch when putting it away.

Blackwood showed great control of his game, not shelving his aggressive instincts but picking his moments well. He had a bit of luck early on when Tim Southee got one to shape away beautifully in the channel and draw a leaden-footed drive, but New Zealand’s catching woes that dogged them in the latter part of West Indies’ second innings continued, as Ross Taylor put down a straightforward chance at first slip. That was Blackwood’s only blemish in the first hour, and he got to his century via the patient route, through singles rather than any ambitiously aimed big shots.

Joseph, who had crossed fifty in a Test match for the first time, was impressive too. He showed sound judgement of his off stump when leaving the ball, and had a full range of shots. When defending he got behind the line, and when a few balls were banged in short to him, he carted them in the arc between backward square leg and deep midwicket. He had shown vulnerability against the short ball earlier, but for that to come into play the bowlers needed to get it up to his throat. When the short ball sat up, Joseph was not hanging back.

The seventh-wicket stand kept flourishing until Kyle Jamieson made the breakthrough. He had pushed Joseph on the back foot on the third day, and when he dangled one full and wide, Joseph went for it without the balance being quite right. He ended up slicing it off the toe end to deep cover to end a 155-run stand. After that the end was swift. Wagner got his only wicket with a ball pitched in his half when Blackwood miscued a pull to backward square leg, cramped for room. In the same over, a fast and full delivery took out last-man Shannon Gabriel’s stumps to give Wagner his fourth for the innings.

New Zealand had only needed nine wickets to bowl West Indies out in both innings with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich absent hurt both times, having injured his hand on the first day while keeping. West Indies captain Jason Holder later said it wasn’t still certain whether Dowrich would be fit in time for the second and final Test, starting on December 11 in Wellington.

Kane Williamson was the undisputed Man of the Match for his masterful 251. Wagner’s 4 for 66 were the best figures in the second innings, while Southee’s 4 for 35 in the first innings had set up West Indies’ collapse.



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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

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‘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


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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Ind vs NZ – WTC winners to take home USD 1.6 million as well as Test Championship mace

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Runners-up to get USD 800,000; the teams will split the prize money in case there isn’t a result

The winners of the India vs New Zealand World Test Championship (WTC) final will take home USD 1.6 million, as well as the Test Championship Mace, while the losing team will get USD 800,000, the ICC has announced. In case there is a stalemate, or weather prevents a winner from being identified despite the reserve day, the two teams will split the total prize money of USD 2.4 million.

It will be the first time the sport will have official world champions in the format. “It (the WTC) has come to symbolise the best team in Test cricket, and with the Test championship now being used as the vehicle to identify the best team in Test cricket, the mace is on offer,” Geoff Allardice, the ICC chief executive, said in an interaction with members of the media.



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India Women in England 2021 – Nat Sciver

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England vice-captain hopes home conditions will help overcome visitors’ mix of experience and bold youth

Nat Sciver, England’s vice-captain, says the team will be wary of “fearless” elements within the India camp when they meet in a Test match for the first time in seven years from Wednesday in Bristol.

Sciver is one of six women in the current England squad who played in their last Test encounter with India at Wormsley, which the tourists won by six wickets. India have also named six players from that match in their current squad along with talented 17-year-old Shafali Verma.

Richa Ghosh, another 17-year-old who was recently added to India’s list of centrally contracted players, is not part of India’s combined Test and ODI group but is in the T20I squad for the multi-format series in which points are awarded across the standalone Test, three ODIs and three T20Is to decide the overall series winner.

“They’re an ever-growing side,” Sciver said. “There’s always a new, young talent on the team who isn’t afraid to go out there and show what they’ve got. They seem to be more fearless than I’ve seen before.

“Couple that with a lot of experience in their team – with Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami – they can be a very difficult side to beat. Hopefully in England, in our conditions, we can hone our skills and make sure that we’re doing the right things.

“Last time we played India, we weren’t very good in that Test match and we didn’t play to our potential so hopefully we can do better this time.”



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