India’s batting coach says the team management wants to give as much time to the players to prove their fitness as they can
In the last three Tests of the series, India named their XI before Australia, a day before the match. Going into Brisbane, they don’t even know if they will have 11 able bodies. Addressing the pre-match press conference, India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour said, though, that the team was not going to make the selection thinking of rain or preserving someone for the England Test series at home, which starts in the first week of February.
“The injuries are still being monitored,” Rathour said. “Our medical staff is looking into them, they are working with the players. I won’t be in a position to comment exactly how it stands at the moment, we would like to give them as much time as we can. It is only in the morning that you will know which XI will take field.”
As it stands now, from the XI that took field in the last Test, Ravindra Jadeja is definitely ruled out. Hanuma Vihari is highly unlikely to be available. Rishabh Pant showed enough signs of recovery with his second innings in Sydney. Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin are doubtful with an abdominal strain and a tweaked back respectively.
If any or more of these players miss out on this Test, India have in the reserves Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Wriddhiman Saha, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan. They could also dip into the net bowlers if needed: Washington Sundar and Kartik Tyagi. Whatever be the composition, Rathour said he still expected the team to do well.
“I don’t believe in momentum,” Rathour said when asked if his team took the momentum with the win-like draw despite all the injuries. “After 36 all out, to come back to win the Melbourne Test, that tells you all about momentum. With or without injuries, the XI that we put on the field will be the best XI. All of them deserve to be there. They all deserve to have that opportunity to play Test cricket. And if they play to their potential, I don’t see any reason why they won’t do well. Whoever plays, all of us believe we can do well.”
There is a forecast of some rain on days two, four and five, but according to Rathour, that will not have any impact on the composition of the side. Nor will the imminent England tour where India will likely be starting without Jadeja.
“You don’t play cricket looking at the weather,” Rathour said. “As far as we are concerned, we are looking for a complete game. And we are going to give our best playing XI this game. We are going to put up our best available team on the park. If boys play to the potential, again we are looking to win this one.”
Added to injuries, India have been stretched further by increased Covid-19 restrictions in their hotel in Brisbane, but Rathour said that shouldn’t come in the way of their performance. “We are playing Australia in Australia against one of the better attacks in the world,” Rathour said. “You don’t need housekeeping or room service to motivate yourself. Of course, these were the concerns, which were passed on to the BCCI, and the BCCI is in touch with Cricket Australia and is trying to deal with all these things. As far as the team is concerned, as far as the team management is concerned, we are focused on the game. All the boys are looking forward to this game.”
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Recent Match Report – NZ Women vs ENG Women 2nd T20I 2020/21
England wrap up a comfortable win in the second T20I to go 2-0 up with one game to go
England Women 124 for 4 (Beaumont 63, Knight 39, Mair 2-22) beat New Zealand Women 123 for 9 (Satterthwaite 49, Davies 4-23, Sciver 2-25, Glenn 2-27) by six wickets
Opener Tammy Beaumont‘s 63 combined with superb bowling efforts from Freya Davies, Nat Sciver and Sarah Glenn helped England Women win the second T20I against New Zealand Women and seal the three-match series with one game to go.
After New Zealand were put in to bat, Sophie Ecclestone and Davies did the early damage by removing the openers within the first five overs. Amy Satterthwaite and Amelia Kerr then combined for a 58-run third-wicket stand and pushed the scoring rate up as they stayed together till the 12th over, but a double-strike from legspinner Glenn took care of Kerr and Katey Martin, which pegged New Zealand back.
Davies then caused further damage, removing Satterthwaite for 49 in the 15th over, and that put a lid on the scoring in a big way. New Zealand were 98 for 5 at that point, and after that they added just 25 more runs to push their total to 123 for 9. Davies finished with career-best figures of 4 for 23, while Sciver and Glenn picked up two wickets each.
England started their chase briskly thanks to Beaumont, who hit seven fours and a six on her way to a 53-ball 63. Rosemary Mair removed Dani Wyatt and Sciver for paltry scores, but Beaumont partnered with captain Heather Knight – who made a run-a-ball 39 – for 83 runs to put England in a winning position. Though both of them were dismissed before the close, England cantered home with 16 balls in hand.
The third – and final – T20I will be played in Wellington on Sunday.
Match Preview – West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tour of West Indies 2020/21, 2nd T20I
At this point, Sri Lanka’s best hope is to bat ridiculously well and give their bowlers a chance
How do you plan for West Indies? Their bowlers are varied and skillful – the first T20 at Coolidge featuring quicks like Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder and Obed McCoy – who were adept at bowling a variety of slower balls that took advantage of a sluggish surface to flummox the Sri Lanka batsmen.
Their batsmen, meanwhile, can make something out of nothing. Not even a hat-trick to Akila Dananjaya could really derail the West Indies’ chase because they’ve got six-hitting batsmen down to No. 8. Within the course of an over, Kieron Pollard turned a tricky situation for his team into what became a cakewalk, withhis six sixes in an over. What do you do against that kind of power? If you have as many matchwinners in the side as they do – Andre Russell is not even a part of their equation for this series, by the way – this is a side that is as impervious to opposition analysis as any team around.
Sri Lanka’s best hope is to bat ridiculously well. It is possible there is no score that is beyond this West Indies team’s capability, but if Sri Lanka manage to fire collectively with the bat, they give their bowlers a chance. On Wednesday, none of their top seven batsmen had strike rates of even 120, which is clearly a problem. As a result, West Indies could take huge risks through the course of that chase, and those risks paid off.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka:: LLLLL
Battle to watch
West Indies’ power hitters vs Sri Lanka’s spinners. After the first match, Pollard suggested that his devastating six-hitting against Dananjaya was actually part of his team’s plan. The reasoning is this: West Indies’ batsmen can hit sixes like nobody else. And they particularly relish hitting sixes off spin bowling. On Wednesday, Dananjaya was the prime whipping boy, with eight of the 13 sixes for West Indies coming off his bowling. But Sri Lanka’s slow bowlers are likely to want to come back at the hosts. In their ranks, they can at least count on Wanindu Hasaranga, who is a wicket-taking threat as well as a more steady batsman when they need him.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at Coolidge for the first match was on the tackier side, so perhaps this could become a theme of this T20I series. There is no rainfall forecast.
Despite the defeat, Sri Lanka may opt for the same lineup.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Niroshan Dickwella 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Pathum Nissanka, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Ashen Bandara, 10 Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Nuwan Pradeep
West Indies have no reason to change their XI either.
West Indies (possible): 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Jason Holder, 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Kevin Sinclair, 10 Obed McCoy, 11 Fidel Edwards
Stats and trivia
- Sri Lanka have not won a T20I since October 2019. They have lost eight T20Is on the trot since then.
- Kieron Pollard hit 36 off his 38 runs via sixes in the last match – a staggering 95% runs.
- In general, West Indies hit 13 sixes to their six fours on Wednesday.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
Recent Match Report – England vs India 4th Test 2020/21
Join us for updates, analysis and colour from the second day of the fourth Test
Welcome to day two of our live report of the fourth India-England Test from Ahmedabad. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
*Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates. All times are local
9.35am: Let’s get it on
England start up with James Anderson, beginning a new spell from the Adani Pavilion End, and Ben Stokes. Anderson has conceded his first runs, but also rapped Rohit Sharma on the pads a couple of times. Time to find out which side of bed this Motera deck has woken up on…
9.15am: Morning call
#PoliteEnquiries: There’ll be a day 3 this time, right?!
Hello and welcome back to the action. India did a sterling job with the ball on day one – even if England’s rummage down the back of the sofa did bring them 200 for the first time in a while – and can take purposeful strides towards the WTC final with a solid showing from their batsmen. The tourists are in need of a cascade of wickets, but probably won’t get quite so much help from the pitch. Either way, let’s hope it’s a good, honest scrap between professionals who care about the sport they love. Shall we?
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
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