Dale Steyn picked up 4-48 to move joint-seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers as South Africa led Sri Lanka by 170 runs in the first test.
Steyn was the spearhead of South Africa's attack again — as he was so often before a serious shoulder injury in 2016 sidelined him for the best part of two years — and overtook Indian great Kapil Dev in career test wickets.
Steyn was instrumental in bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to see South Africa hold a 44-run first-innings lead in the series-opener at Kingsmead.
"After not playing for two years, I feel like it's a blessing to just be playing again. I've almost had to start over. I'm not on 430-odd wickets, I'm on 20 since breaking Shaun Pollock's record. It's nice to finish a three-Test series against Pakistan and not have someone write: 'He's an injury away from retiring.' It's nice to contribute again. Hopefully, I can continue this for longer," said an exciting Steyn.
He said that it was good to back among wickets.
"When I'm bowling 10-over spells, it shows I'm enjoying what I do. I could take the easy option, take 4 for 30 and go and stand at fine leg and tell someone else to do it. But it's fun. It's fun taking wickets. It's fun hitting guys on the head. As long as nothing serious happens."
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu condemned the terror attack on CRPF convey in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on Thursday.
Around 40 security personnel were martyred in this gruesome and coward attack. However, Sidhu landed in a controversy after he urged people to not blame entire Pakistan for the attack.
“For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?,” Sidhu was quoted as saying in Economic Times.
He went to Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan, who was appointed as Prime Minister of the country in 2018.
“It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” the 55-year-old from Patiala added.
The national selectors have announced squads for the limited overs series against Australia. Rishabh Pant, who is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, has been recalled to side after being axed from the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.
Pant was given a go in the ODI series against West Indies but he failed to deliver. However, he has been impressive in the Test format.
"We have included him [Pant] considering the fact that he is a left-hander and we are going to discuss with the team management. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for Pant. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination," India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.
"We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup."
Leg-spinner Mayank Markande was included in the squad in place of Kuldeep Yadav.
"We are looking at Markande as a backup spinner. We have been grooming him though India A process and today also he picked up a five-wicket haul. So, we want to look at him and he'll be a backup spinner," Prasad said.
Rishabh Pant was recalled back for the ODI series against Australia while Dinesh Karthik was axed from the team.
The Indian selectors announced squads for the five match ODI series and tow T20 internationals. Pant has done well in whites but he still has a long way to go in ODIs.
Dinesh Karthik was lambasted for refusing to take a single during the last T20 against New Zealand, which India lost by 4 runs. Krunal Pandya, who was at the other end, was left baffled by Karthik’s decision.
The axing of Karthik didn’t go down well with cricket fanatics, who slammed the BCCI for dropping the right hand batsman.
The BCCI announced India's squad for first two ODIs and the last three ODIs separately for the five-match ODI series against Australia.
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Siddarth Kaul have been named in India's ODI squad to take on Australia in the home series, which will be the last series for the Men in Blue to fine tune their balance and combination going forward in the World Cup. Dinesh Karthik has been dropped from India's ODI squad.
India’s squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul
India’s squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant
The national selectors have named the T20 squad to face Australia in the upcoming two-match T20 series. KL Rahul, Sidharth Kaul and Umesh Yadav have been recalled while Mayank Markande has been selected for the first time.
India’s squad for T20I series against Australia: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande
Kurtis Patterson's twin centuries against Sri Lanka in tour game propelled his selection over Will Pucovski in Australia's Test side against Sri Lanka. Pucovski was likely to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka but Patterson's impressive display in the warm-up game changed everything. But the Australian youngster has dismissed suggestions that his mental health issues were related to non-selection for Sri Lanka Tests.
“I don’t think it (the challenges he faced in Canberra) was anything to do with that,” Pucovski told Cricket.com.au. “A lot of people messaged me afterward (in Brisbane) as if I’d be really shattered. To a degree, I was sitting there like ‘I’m 20 years old, I’m in the Test squad – there are a lot worse situations to be in’. Obviously, it would have been amazing to play, but I was kind of just relieved to find out, either way, to be honest.”
Pucovski was recently honored with the Bradman Young Male Cricketer of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards. He had left the Australian squad mid-way when they were taking on Sri Lanka in the home Tests due to mental health issues. But, now he is all geared up for returning back to action.
While releasing the dates for the bilateral one day international series, Pakistan expressed disappointment over Cricket Australia’s refusal to bifurcate the series such that a part of it could be played in Pakistan soil. Do Pakistan have the right to feel aggrieved with Australia?
On the one hand, Pakistan seems to have little choice to accept that it will have to contend with having to continue playing away from their own home. On the other hand, it cannot put an embargo on the foreign cricketers who choose to come to Pakistan to play in Pakistan’s own Twenty20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League. Currently it is the only way Pakistan’s cricket public can see some of the international stars in action, even if some of these stars are either those who are making reparations or looking for one final attempt to catch the attention of their selectors back home. For Pakistan, it is only another opportunity to show not only the safety measures it has in place but also, expose the dual nature of the positions taken by cricket boards with regards to safety and security concerns of their players while their players are willing to play on Pakistan soil in individual capacity.
The Pakistan Super League has played home to players such as Steven Smith and Shane Watson and has become the only way that foreign cricketers are enticed to travel to Pakistan even though cricket boards have maintained that the players’ objections and the security reasons have stopped resumption of cricket in the country on bilateral terms. Pakistan had to step away from hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and also, has had to resort to other venues to play hosts on its behalf, taking a toll on cricket in their own country.
After the 2009 tour of Sri Lanka where the touring team was attacked by terrorists outside the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, this after Sri Lanka stood in for India who refused to tour following the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan cricket has suffered for want of cricket in the region. Deprived of hosting duties, shunned by the rest of the world, Pakistan’s cricket loving public continue to wrestle with the reality even as the Pakistan Cricket Board has seen its coffers shrink miserably.
In that light, with a decade long isolation and forced to play in the Gulf countries as surrogate hosts as the only alternative, there was optimism expressed at the start of the year when Pakistan claimed to be in conversation with Australia to the point of hosting two or three matches on Pakistan soil and then shifting the rest to the Gulf. However, the schedule released of the tour came with the explicit suggestion that Cricket Australia did not comply with Pakistan’s request and for the moment, the status quo remains, this despite Pakistan playing host to tainted players such as Steven Smith who were using every loophole in their own home board’s one year ban for taking their cricket overseas, a fact that left many around the world baffled.
Sachin Tendulkar was left shocked and devastated after hearing the news of gruesome terror attack on CRPF security personnel.
He took to twitter to condemn the attack and offer condolences to the families of 40 martyrs.
"Cowardly, dastardly, meaningless...... my heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones and prayers for recovery of those brave hearts in hospital. Salute to your commitment to "Service and Loyalty" @crpfindia!," Tendulkar tweeted.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, opener Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have condemned the attack by terrorists.
"I'm shocked after hearing about the attack in Pulwama, heartfelt condolences to the martyred soldiers & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured jawaans," Virat Kohli had tweeted.
"Disturbed by the incident in #Pulwama. My thoughts are with the families and friends of our brave CRPF jawans, who laid down their lives for the country. Let's all do our bit to help the families during their dark hours and remember the soldiers in our prayers," Hardik Pandya tweeted.
“Shocked and horrified by what happened #Pulwama. The day we all celebrated love some cowards spread hatred. Thinking about the jawans and their families. India keep them in your prayers,” wrote Rohit on social media platform Twitter.
England are ranked no.1 in ICC ODI team rankings at present. They are the numero-uno with 126 rating points followed by the Men in Blue, India, who have 122 points. England have completely changed their approach and turned into an absolute dynamite side in the 50-overs format. They are red-hot favorites to lift the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
But England all-rounder, Moeen Ali feels England won't be able to stake the claim of being the best ever England ODI side if they don't quite win the World Cup.
“We can say we were the best ODI side to play for England but without a trophy, it will be difficult to say that,” Moeen said. “We have come close and we feel now is the time. We don’t feel we have to win it, it’s more ‘this is the time to win it’. We are an amazing side but we know this year is massive for us.” The World Cup will commence from May 30 in England and Wales.
Hanuma Vihari became the first player to score a century in three successive innings in Irani Cup when he completed his century on Day 4 of the ongoing match between Rest of India and current Ranji Trophy champion Vidarbha.
He had scored 114 in the first innings while his unbeaten 180 in the second innings led Rest of India to 374 for 3 before declaration. He had amassed 183 for Rest of India during last year's Irani Cup against the same team.
Hanuma Vihari also became the first batsman since Shikhar Dhawan in 2011 to hit centuries in each innings of the Irani Cup.
He was among runs in the Test series against England in their backyard while showed his class in one of the five-day matches in Australia.
Wasim Jaffer has lauded Virat Kohli for his fitness, batting and fielding. According to legendary player, Virat is the best player in world cricket at the moment and he would love to pay to watch him bat.
"Definitely Virat Kohli! He is one of the best players in world cricket right now. The way he keeps raising the bar for himself and the example he sets with his fitness, batting or fielding makes him a role model for any young upcoming cricketer. The way he keeps creating new records and leading the team with a winning mentality, he has walked the talk by winning away from home and the way the team is playing for the past couple of years, I think he is the best player in the world at the moment," said Jaffer to indiatvnews.com.
Virat is having the best time of his career across formats. The right hand batsman won all the major ICC awards for his exceptional display in 2018. He is expected to return for the T20 and ODI series against Australia after being rested from the last two ODI matches and three T20 internationals against New Zealand.
Australia legend, Ricky Ponting is looking forward to the return of discarded pair of Steven Smith and David Warner to Australian colors. Both the Australian superstars, Smith and Warner are currently serving a 12-month ban, which will come to an end on March 29.
A while back, Australia's two-time World Cup winning skipper, Ponting was appointed as assistant coach for the Men in Yellow keeping in mind the World Cup that beings from May 30 in England and Wales. Australia are reigning World-Cup champions.
“I’ve spoken to both of them quite a bit during their suspensions,” Ponting told Triple M’s Rush Hour. “Over the last couple of weeks they’ve both had quite similar elbow surgeries that’s sort of going to hold them back a bit. Steve’s ended up being a little bit worse than Davey’s was.”
“I said the other day I’m looking forward to having those guys back in the side. There’s still got to be a decision made as to whether they go straight back into the team or not. Reading the tea leaves, not only do we need those level of players back in our side, but the experience as well in our one day side and Test team,” added Ponting.
India‘s teenage batting sensation, Prithvi Shaw is finally back to training after recovering from ankle injury, which ruled him out of India's team for the four-match Test series in Australia. He was selected in the team for Australia Tests after a dazzling start to Test cricket with a century on debut.
Shaw, however, was ruled out of the Test series after he awkwardly landed while trying to attempt a catch on the deep boundary during a warm-up game in Sydney. Under Virat Kohli's captaincy, India won the four-match series 2-1.
“I felt sad as it was a good opportunity for me to play the quality Australian bowling line-up. I was a bit upset,” Shaw said, according to the Indian Express.
“But some things aren’t in your hands. Now I am looking forward to the Mushtaq Ali tournament to find my touch and gain my confidence back,” the teen opener added.
The right-hander has been batting in the nets at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.
The upcoming series against Australia will be India's last chance of trying out different combinations and players keeping the 2019 Cricket World Cup in mind. It is going to be a two-match T20I and five-match ODI series.
A while back, Shane Warne advocated for opening the batting with Rishabh Pant in the ODIs against Australia. Now, Indian legendary cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar has also backed Pant to open the batting for Men in Blue.
"Yes, why not. If you open with Rishabh Pant, it opens up a third option for you as well. If he does well at the top, he is someone who can also be played in the middle order," Gavaskar told India Today.
"I can't see why Rishabh Pant can't play as a batsman. He is outstanding. Maybe even open the batting with Rohit Sharma. I know Shikhar Dhawan does a great job but Rishabh Pant opening the batting with Rohit Sharma could be pretty cool too for India. Go with some of these X-factor type things and tactical battles where you surprise the opposition," he added.
Rishabh Pant has scored 696 runs in nine Test matches at an average of 49.71, and he is the only Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score Test centuries in England and Australia respectively.
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