Steven Smith praises Shaun Marsh, Josh Hazlewood after Adelaide Test -
11/30/2015 9:45:23 AM
Australia's captain Steve Smith during the day-night cricket Test against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval on November 28, 2015
Skipper Steve Smith paid tribute to paceman Josh Hazlewood and struggling batsman Shaun Marsh for their roles in Australia's tense victory over New Zealand on Sunday in the first day-night Test. The determined Kiwis set up an exciting finish but the home side got home by three wickets late on the third day of a fluctuating match. The victory clinched the trans-Tasman series 2-0 for Australia. Smith, in his first full series as Australia's captain, pointed to the performances of man-of-the-match Hazlewood and Marsh's committed innings of 49. Hazlewood, leading the Australian attack in the absence of the injured Mitchell Starc, captured six for 70 giving him nine wickets for the match.
"Josh Hazlewood led the attack. He really stood up and bowled beautifully," Smith said. "Last night he got the new ball swinging and seaming around, which a lot of the bowlers did in these conditions. "He's had a big workload over the last little while, so we will have to take a look at that. "We don't want to break him, we have a lot of cricket to play in the next couple of months, so there might be a mixed load amongst a couple of players."
The under-pressure Shaun Marsh was the main contributor to Australia's successful chase of the 187-run target. Marsh only got back in the side through a hamstring injury to Usman Khawaja but seized his opportunity with a steely 49, forged in difficult batting conditions against the hooping pink ball under floodlights. Smith denied suggestions by commentators that Marsh had been playing for his Test spot, after being run out cheaply in the first innings.
"I never saw Shaun playing for his Test career," he said. "It was fantastic for Shaun to get an opportunity. He's been batting extremely well and I think Shaun has come in and done a terrific job. He is best suited at number five and he showed his class the way he played tonight," Smith said.
"He looked together and his game was in good order, and the way he played under pressure with his brother Mitch to put a partnership together was really crucial for us at that stage."
Smith also had glowing praise for senior paceman Peter Siddle, who battled back spasms and the loss of his ailing grandmother, to take his 200th Test wicket during the Test and hit the winning runs. "It's always tough losing someone close to you. We got around Sidds this morning and he came out and gave it his all as well like he always does," the skipper said. "It was great to see him get 200 Test wickets this week, that's an amazing feat and he should be really proud of how he performed over the last couple of days."
Virat Kohli a good leader, but will be challenged when on tour: Sourav Ganguly -
11/30/2015 9:44:38 AM
Virat Kohli is not short of admirers, but even he will have his chest puffed up with pride after hearing that Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, say that he was a 'big fan of Kohli'. Ganguly, popularly acknowledged as the captain who revolutionalized Indian cricket by introducing an aggressive form of cricket, was speaking on the sidelines of a promotional event in Mumbai.
The former India skipper heaped praise on the India Test captain Virat Kohli saying he is fond of his attitude and aggression. "He (Virat) is a good leader... he will be a good leader, but I have said before challenges for Indian captains is not in India its away. I like him. I like what I see on the field, he wants to win, he is passionate, you can see on the field and India has hopes on him," Ganguly added.
Under Kohli's leadership, India had defeated Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in the Test series and now have taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the four-match Test series versus South Africa. "I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. He is a captain who always wants to win matches on the field and I love that passion in him. I love the attitude and aggression in Kohli," Ganguly added.
When asked to give his opinion on the raging good-pitch-bad-pitch debate after the Nagpur pitch came under a lot of criticism (the third Test ended within three days), Ganguly opined: "It's ok, I thought, the batsmen could have batted better, the balls have turned there is not doubt about it, it turned, there was a lot of help for spinners. I think it's a one-off thing, I don't think India will produce such pitches."
We will have a good Test wicket: Chetan Chauhan -
11/30/2015 9:43:46 AM
Former India opener and Delhi and District Cricket Association's (DDCA) working president Chetan Chauhan on Sunday said that the Feroz Shah Kotla track will be a "good Test match wicket" when the hosts play South Africa in the fourth and final match here, from December 3. Chauhan, who is also the stadium in charge of Feroz Shah Kotla, had a meeting with chief curator Daljeet Singh where they had a discussion about the way forward.
"It will not be a pacer-friendly green top wicket. During Delhi's Ranji matches, wickets were pacer friendly but here it won't be like that. But I can assure you that we will produce a good Test match wicket," Chauhan said on Sunday.
Asked if there was any suggestion from Daljeet, Chauhan said,"I had a meeting with Daljeet but it would not be fair on my part to divulge the details of my discussion with Daljeet."
Asked if groundsmen will stop watering the main square in order to make it spin friendly, Chauhan laughed and said:"I won't answer this one."
However, the groundsmen under local curator Ankit Datta watered the strip on Sunday. With forecast of foggy weather, a rank turner like Jamtha may not be prepared but it would be a wicket which is likely to offer turn from second day if not first day.
Grounds panel to 'review' Ranji venues -
11/30/2015 9:42:54 AM
The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot is one of the three venues that will be looked into.
A number of Ranji Trophy matches have got over in two or three days this season, leading to raised eyebrows. Even Rahul Dravid, the former India captain, questioned the merit of the host association producing doctored pitches and felt it wasn't good for Indian cricket.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken notice as well. It has been reliably-learnt that members of the BCCI grounds and pitches committee are visiting all the venues that have produced short matches recently, like Rajkot in Gujarat, Kalyani in Bengal and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.
The grounds panel members will submit their reports, which will be independent of the respective match referees' reports of the concerned matches, which have already been submitted.
The BCCI took up the matter after Odisha lodged a formal complaint about the Kalyani pitch where they were bowled out for just 37 in the second innings. Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) Ashirbad Behera had also written to BCCI, seeking action against such doctored pitches.
Though the BCCI has acted promptly, it is unlikely that any of the centres will be blacklisted or banned. "Drastic action is unlikely as the board may not want to ruffle feathers," a BCCI insider said.
Till last year, the grounds' panel members used to oversee preparation of pitches for all national-level competitions. But this season, with the BCCI AGM being delayed and the panel yet to be constituted, the host associations are doing almost everything, informed one of the members.
The BCCI has always directed host associations to prepare sporting pitches. Although they were allowed some leeway, so that teams could enjoy home advantage, some associations seem to be taking this a bit too far. Even if action is not taken against the 'erring' centres, the grounds and pitches committee will ensure that such incidents do not recur
Brendon McCullum plays down Lyon-DRS controversy -
11/30/2015 9:40:46 AM
McCullum took positives from his team's performances in the last two Tests.
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand skipper, did not let the Nathan Lyon-DRS controversy to take away anything from Australia's thrilling victory in the first Day and Night Test in Adelaide on Sunday (November 29). Lyon survived a review for a catch despite HotSpot showing a clear nick on his bat and went on to forge a crucial 74-run stand for the ninth wicket with Peter Nevill in the first innings that led to a momentum shift from New Zealand's favour and Australia's eventual victory.
While acknowledging the fact that it did have a bearing on the game, McCullum was quick to credit the hosts for seizing the opportunity and eking out a favourable result.
"At the time it was obviously incredibly frustrating.It definitely had a bearing on the game," McCullum told reporters. "You hope that when mistakes are made, they don't have a major bearing on the game but, I guess, none of us are naive enough to overlook that fact that it did in this instance.
"But, to Australia's credit, they seized that opportunity as well. They were able to put on two very strong last wicket partnerships which gave them a short lead but also, more importantly, gave them time out of the game in terms of when we were going to be able to bat under lights.
The vital stand between Nevill and Lyon allowed Australia to wipe out the first-innings deficit and take a slender 22-run lead. The bowlers then, used the final session conditions - of playing under lights - to full advantage. New Zealand batsmen struggled to cope with the extra bit of swing on offer and were eventually bundled out for 208.
Defending 187, Trent Boult, the left-arm fast bowler, gave the visitors a ray of hope with a fifer. There were nervous moments in the home team's dressing room as they lost seven wickets in chase, but Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc saw them through. McCullum rued his team's inability to "cross the line" when there was an opportunity.
"In the end, we still had an opportunity and we weren't quite able to get across the line."
With the series conceded 2-0, McCullum looked at the positives of his team's performances in the last two Tests - in Perth and Adelaide and hoped to carry it forward and beat Australia when they tour in February 2016.
"I think what we've seen in the last two Test matches is closer to where we want to be as a team and by the time that Australia arrive on our shores," McCullum said. "I'm sure after a pretty intense summer as well, we'll be almost reaching our peak as a team."
"In our own conditions it should be an interesting and enthralling series and if we can win those two, we'll call it a 2-2 draw over a five-match series and our unbeaten run continues," he added with a laugh