Selection blunders, Proteas batsmen again poor and more- Talking points from South Africa vs England Port Elizabeth 2020

England registered their first overseas win by an innings since 2011 Sydney as they comprehensively outplayed South Africa in Port Elizabeth. Tailenders Keshav Maharaj and Dane Paterson frustrated the visitors for a while on the fifth morning, but the end was inevitable and Sam Curran’s run out saw England emerge victors by an innings and 53 runs. Maharaj did equal the record for most runs in an over in test cricket (28) as he took Joe Root to the cleaners, but there was precious little otherwise to cheer for the home fans.

maharaj root 28 run over

Here are our talking points from the clash in PE.

1. Proteas get selection wrong.

It’s the batsmen who have struggled more in recent times, but the Proteas bizarrely opted to strengthen their bowling for this game and dropped batting all rounder Dwaine Pretorius. Even worse, the extra bowler selected- Dane Paterson, toiled hard but was clearly ill-suited to this track. The conditions did not help Vernon Philander either and despite playing five bowlers the Proteas were forced to chase leather as England racked up nearly 500 runs after choosing to bat first.

sa cricket team v england pe 2020

2. South African batsmen continue to struggle

South Africa’s batsmen again came a cropper as England ran through them at St George’s Park. In the first innings, the Proteas lost half their side for 109; in the second innings they were 83/6 at one stage. While England had two centurions in Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes, the highest score from a Proteas top six batsman was 63 from the bat of Quinton De Kock, with none of the others even crossing 40. The fact that the Maharaj/Paterson last wicket partnership was the hosts’ highest of the innings tells a story by itself.

3. England’s youngsters impress

Ben Stokes again proved his worth in the longest format, and he was ably supported by England’s youngsters. The visitors had five players younger then South Africa’s youngest player in KG Rabada and each of the quintet played vital roles- Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid the platform upfront, Ollie Pope brought back memories of Ian Bell with a sparkling 135, Sam Curran made a crucial 44 and effected the run out that won England the game and Dom Bess claimed a 5 er in the first innings. If they continue to progress at this level it will only augur well for the side’s future. Continue reading “Selection blunders, Proteas batsmen again poor and more- Talking points from South Africa vs England Port Elizabeth 2020”

Impressive Nortje, Twin Failures for YJB & more- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England-2019

Mark Boucher’s first game as South Africa coach saw the Proteas beat England by 107 runs at Centurion- a long awaited win after a torrid year for Faf du Plessi’s men. For a brief while, England threatened to do what Sri Lanka had done at Kingsmead earlier this year, but their hopes were dashed after the home side took the second new ball as they lost their last seven wickets for 64 runs.

Here are our talking points from Days 2,3 & 4 at Supersport Park.

1. Impressive Anrich Nortje

Chosen ahead of Beuran Hendricks and Dane Paterson, Nortje justified his selection with a fine all round performance. He took the key wicket of Ben Stokes- arguably England’s best test batsman this year, in the first innings, and then got both Rory Burns and Joe Root in the second innings. He also made a vital 40 as nightwatchman- no Proteas batsman faced more deliveries than him in their second innings, and he was also involved in their biggest partnership of the game (91) with Rassie van der Dussen.

His combination with Kagiso Rabada looks very promising for South Africa and they will be hoping the duo can go from strength to strength.

2. Twin failures for YJB

It was a game to forget for Jonny Bairstow on his return to the England test team. The manner of his dismissals at Centurion will again raise questions about his suitability for the longest version of the game- he was bowled by Anrich Nortje in the first innings and attempted an ill-timed swipe at a swinging, wide delivery from Rabada, only to give a catch to Zubayr Hamza at gully. Continue reading “Impressive Nortje, Twin Failures for YJB & more- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England-2019”

Dean Elgar’s first golden duck, impressive Sam Curran & More- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England 2019 Centurion Test Day 1

South Africa began the Mark Boucher era with a batting display that felt more like one that belonged to his predecessor Ottis Gibson as they reached 277/9 at stumps against England at the end of the first Day at Centurion.

There was a very good crowd at Supersport Park for this Boxing Day game- nowhere near what the MCG had earlier in the day (80,473 for Australia vs New Zealand) or even what Newlands will have for the New Years’ test, but still an excellent one by Centurion’s standards, aided by the travelling Barmy Army.

England will probably be the happier of the two sides, but will also see the first day as an opportunity missed after having the Proteas on the ropes at 111/5 at one stagein the second session.

Here are our talking points from the first day’s action at Centurion.

A maiden golden duck for Dean Elgar: The first ball of the series saw Elgar nick a Jimmy Anderson ball down leg to Jos Buttler. It was an early Christmas gift for Anderson, playing his 150th test, and a first ever golden duck for Elgar, who has never previously been dismissed on the first ball that he’s faced in his 60 test career.

Mixed returns for South Africa’s debutants: The Proteas handed debuts to Rassie van der Dussen and Dwaine Pretorius. The former, apart from Elgar, was the only one of the top 8 not to cross double figures, but the latter looked decent for his 33. Both fell in identical fashion- caught by Joe Root at slip off the bowling of Sam Curran.

Sam Curran impresses: Speaking of Curran, the 21 year old was the pick of England’s bowlers at Supersport Park. Whenever a South African partnership threatened to become dangerous, Curran nipped it in the bud. As mentioned before, he took out both Van der Dussen and Pretorius, and also opener Aiden Markram and the innings’ top scorer, Quinton de Kock. Joe Root had only four pacers to turn to because of Ben Stokes’ troublesome knee, and Curran ensured that his captain’s decision at the toss to field first didn’t go against the visitors.

Curran’s selection also merits asking another question- did South Africa err by not picking Beuran Hendricks on this track?

SA v Eng Continue reading “Dean Elgar’s first golden duck, impressive Sam Curran & More- Five Talking Points from Proteas vs England 2019 Centurion Test Day 1”

Five talking points & Analysis- India vs Bangladesh Second Test Kolkata November 2019

India completed yet another innings victory- their fourth successive in tests at home this season, as they comfortably beat Bangladesh in Kolkata on Sunday.

Here are our talking points from the country’s first day & night test.

1. Team India create history

As mentioned above, this victory over Bangladesh was India’s fourth consecutive tests win by an innings, making them the first ever team to do so. South Africa were humbled in Pune & Ranchi and Bangladesh suffered the same fate in the first test at Indore.

This maiden pink ball game was also the shortest in terms of deliveries bowled in a test in India (968), beating the previous record of 1028 against Afghanistan last year.

2. Two concussion substitutes used in the same innings

Bangladesh’s troubles with the bat were further exacerbated when Liton Das & Nayeem Hasan were forced off the field after being struck on the helmet.

Since the introduction of the concussion substitute rule, four of the five players who were replaced had been facing India’s bowlers at the time of the blow- another indication of how threatening the Men in Blue’s pacers have become over the last couple of years.

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Five Talking Points from India vs Bangladesh First Test Indore November 16 2019

India’s pace battery again came to the party as the hosts annihilated Bangladesh by an innings and 130 runs in the first Test at Indore. With this win- achieved within less than three days, Indian skipper Virat Kohli overtook Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain with most innings victories in the country’s history.

Here are our talking points from the first test.

1.Mayank Agarwal’s rich vein of form with the bat continues

Mayank Agarwal’s dream run with the bat continued as he notched up yet another test double hundred. His 243 was more than what the entire Bangladesh team achieved in their two innings (150 and 213)

Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli fell cheaply, but Agarwal ground Bangladesh’s bowlers into the dust with his double century. He was particularly severe on both Mehidy Hassan and Taijul Islam, and reached his 200 in Sehwag-esque fashion by smashing Mehidy into the stands.

In each of their four home tests this season, India have managed at least one double centurion- a key factor in their success.

2. Three consecutive wins by an innings for the Men in Blue

India continued from they had left off against South Africa by completing yet another innings victory here against Bangladesh. This Indore win means they have now won three successive tests by an innings for the first time since 1993/94. They are not just beating their opponents but mercilessly trampling all over them.

3. Bangladesh batsmen no match for India’s bowlers

Bangladesh batsmen came a cropper against India’s fiery pace attack. The trio of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami wreaked havoc in both the innings as the visitors crumbled in the face of some accurate bowling.

Apart from Mushfiqur Rahim and to an extent Liton Das, all the other Bangladesh batsmen struggled to get going. Despite skipper Mominul Haque winning the toss, (something Faf Du Plessis was unable to do for South Africa on their entire tour) the Tigers slumped to a heavy defeat.

Continue reading “Five Talking Points from India vs Bangladesh First Test Indore November 16 2019”

India T20 Squad for Bangladesh Series Announced- Shivam Dube and Sanju Samson included

India have today announced their squad for the upcoming test and T20 series against neighbours Bangladesh. The selectors have chosen to keep faith with the same test squad that demolished South Africa 3-0, but have made a number of changes to the T20 team with one eye on next year’s World Cup in Australia.

What changes have India made to the T20 squad for the Bangladesh series?

From the squad that toured the West Indies and won 2-0 in the Caribbean, India have made four changes. Out go skipper Virat Kohli, spinner Ravindra Jadeja and pacers Navdeep Saini and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and in come wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson, all-rounder Shivam Dube, pacer Shardul Thakur and leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.

With regular skipper Kohli rested for the three-match Twenty 20 series, Rohit Sharma will lead the Men in Blue against Bangladesh Continue reading “India T20 Squad for Bangladesh Series Announced- Shivam Dube and Sanju Samson included”

Five Talking Points, Fan Analysis & Player Ratings- India vs South Africa 3rd Test Ranchi 2019

South Africa’s miserable tour of India finished with another massive defeat in Ranchi, the first time in over 80 years that the Proteas have lost successive tests by an innings.

Here are our talking points from the fixture in Ranchi.

Proteas test debuts for Linde and Klaasen: South Africa made as many as five changes for this Ranchi test. Two were injury enforced from Pune- Markram and Maharaj, while Theunis de Bruyn, Vernon Philander and Senuran Muthusamy were also shown the door.

George Linde and Heinrich Klaasen both made their test debuts. While Linde acquitted himself well, with handy knocks in both innings and four wickets in India’s first innings, Klaasen had one to forget, making just 6 and 5 in two outings at the crease.

Given that Rudi Second was originally the reserve wicket keeper on tour and that Kyle Verreynne is churning up some impressive numbers on the domestic circuit, it may be a while before we see Klaasen in tests again.

Both debutants also had the rather unique distinction of batting both their innings (in full) on the same day! Continue reading “Five Talking Points, Fan Analysis & Player Ratings- India vs South Africa 3rd Test Ranchi 2019”

The Theunis de Bruyn conundrum- Should the Proteas persist with TdB ?

Theunis de Bruyn’s spot in the South African lineup appears to be under serious threat as the Proteas head to Ranchi for the third and final test against India this weekend. Already 2-0 down in this series, the third test would normally only be of academic interest, but the introduction of the World Test Championship means there are points at stake, and both teams will be taking this as seriously as they did the Vizag and Pune ones.

De Bruyn’s case is an interesting one. Hailed as the next AB in South African cricket circles, he had to wait a long time for his debut despite dominating attacks for fun back home. It came two and a half years ago in Hamilton, and in the unfamiliar position of opener. The Titans star had a nightmare debut- out for a duck in the first, and run out in the second innings after a collision with Hashim Amla.

He has been in and out of the side, and only got a serious chance to cement his place in the starting XI after De Villiers retired, which was on the tough tour to Sri Lanka last year. To his credit, a fighting 101 on a turner in Colombo effectively saved his career, but mixed returns against Pakistan in the home summer and now away in India, means that his position is under threat again.

After 11 tests, De Bruyn only averages a measly 18.95. Half of them have been played away from home. Given South Africa’s representational requirements, and the fact that Zubayr Hamza is waiting in the wings, De Bruyn looks like the person most likely to be axed ahead of the home summer.

Continue reading “The Theunis de Bruyn conundrum- Should the Proteas persist with TdB ?”

Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019

India completed a comfortable win over South Africa, thrashing the Proteas by an innings and 137 runs and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three test series.

Here are our talking points from Day 3 & 4 at the MCA Stadium in Pune

India enforce the follow on for the first time ever against South Africa

Some what surprisingly, Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to enforce the follow on at the beginning of Day 4. Kohli has traditionally been a captain who prefers to give his bowlers a break and does not usually ask the opposition to bat in successive innings.

This was the first time ever that India had enforced the follow on against South Africa. Kohli’s men are also the first to do so against the Proteas since England back in 2008. On that occasion, South Africa managed to come away with a draw at Lord’s thanks to third innings centuries from Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Neil Mckenzie. This set of Proteas batsmen is however far inferior to that batch, and there was to be no repeat of their 2008 great escape.

A record 11th home series win for India

This was the Men in Blue’s 11th straight home series victory, breaking the previous record of 10 held by Australia.

India are becoming neigh unbeatable on home turf- they have lost only one test in the last five years.

Most consecutive series wins at home

India’s seamers shine again.

India’s pacers have improved manifold in Kohli’s reign as captain. Even the likes of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav- initially considered to wayward and unthreatening have become forces to be reckoned with in the last couple of years. South Africa were expected to struggle against spinners but had an equally tough time against the pacers.

India’s fast bowlers have averaged 22 per wicket as compared to South Africa’s 76. Given that they were without ace quick Jasprit Bumrah, those are stunning figures indeed!

Is this the end of Theunis de Bruyn’s test career? Continue reading “Another home series Win for India, Woeful Proteas & More- Talking points from India vs South Africa Day 3 & 4 Pune 2019”

Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019

Here are our talking points from the first two days of the 2nd test between India and South Africa at the MCA Stadium in Pune.

Faf’s toss Woes continue

Given his side’s struggles in Vizag, Faf du Plessis would have been desperate to win the toss in Pune. Unfortunately, The Proteas skipper called incorrectly- making it the 9th consecutive time in Asia that he has lost the toss. Batting first is a massive advantage in these conditions and India’s batsman again made merry, grinding South Africa to dust over two days in the hot Pune sun as they amassed over 600 runs.

More records for King Kohli

Indian skipper Virat Kohli made his seventh double century here, thus breaking the record for the most double centuries by an Indian (6 by Sachin Tendulkar & Virender Sehwag). Kohli also crossed the 7000 run landmark in tests, became the first Indian to hit double centuries against six different nations and also registered his highest individual score in the longest format of the game.

To his credit, Kohli also put the Indian team’s interest above his own. Such was his mastery that he could have easily hit a triple century had he batted for another hour or so. However he sensed that South Africa’s batsman were vulnerable and there for the taking after having spent two long days in the field and chose to declare instead. His bowlers reciprocated the faith and took out three of the Proteas’ top four, leaving the visitors in all kinds of trouble at the end of Day 2.

India line up against South Africa in the second test 2019 Continue reading “Toss woes for Faf, another record for King Kohli and more-Talking Points from India vs South Africa Second Test Pune (Day 1 & 2) 2019”