Jos Buttler to replace struggling Ben Duckett for Mohali Test

Batsman Jos Buttler will replace the struggling Ben Duckett in the third Test against India starting on Saturday, despite having just one first-class match under his belt in the past year.

England skipper Alastair Cook also confirmed fast bowler Chris Woakes will return to the side for the game in Mohali after missing the second Test in Visakhapatnam which the visitors lost by a huge 246-run margin to go down 1-0 in the five-match series.

Woakes will replace Stuart Broad, who strained a tendon in his right foot in Visakhapatnam.

“Stuart’s definitely out,” Cook told reporters on Friday as his side looked to bounce back in the marathon series.

“Chris Woakes who was part of that rotation is definitely in and it’s just a question of whether we go with four seamers and two spinners or three and three again,” Cook said.

Left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari, who suffered from sickness and back spasms in the second Test, is still not fit to play.

Middle-order batsman Buttler, who also keeps wicket in the shorter formats, last played a Test in October 2015, against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Buttler averaged 30 in his 15 Tests but his strike-rate of 120.29 in ODIs and 140.18 in Twenty20s make him a top contender for a slot in the longest format.

“Jos is an extremely talented cricketer and we’ve all seen that in the one-day and Twenty20 format,” Cook said.

“He’s right up there with the best short-form players in the world and he’s earned an opportunity to come and play here.”

Duckett managed 18 in the first two matches after falling to India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in his three innings.

But Cook defended the batsman, calling it just a small bump in the batsman’s career.

“Ben (Duckett) won’t be the only good player who has been dropped,” Cook said.

“He has an England future, there’s no doubt about it, because he’s a very talented guy with a lot ahead of him.”

Cook also said that Jonny Bairstow will continue to keep wicket in the longer format with Buttler playing as a specialist batsman.

“There was no temptation to give Jos the gloves back. I think Jonny’s been outstanding and has settled in that role and done very well,” he added.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he was surprised that it had taken so long for England to bring Buttler back into the mix for Test matches.

“I was actually quite surprised to see him being left out after a couple of bad runs. I think he’s a very talented player and can do really well for England,” said Kohli.

 Originally published at cricwizz.com

Jonny Bairstow: It could have been a disastrous day for England

Jonny Bairstow’s timely 89 at Mohali rescued England somewhat on Day of the Mohali Test, following a careless batting by their top order. The Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman came to the crease when England were tottering at 51 for 3 — following the loss of Joe Root and Alastair Cook in quick successions.

Batting at number five, the in-form Bairstow, who has already score more than 1,300 runs in Test cricket this season, took his team to a respectable position. Though he could not last till stumps, but it was primarily because of his contribution, England crossed the 200-run mark and avoided a ‘disastrous day’.

“After winning the toss, it was disappointing to lose wickets. At the same time, it could have been a disastrous day as well. It could have been something like that if we didn’t knuckle down and work hard through the last phase of the morning session, the afternoon session, and the evening session. We could have been bowling tonight,” he said after the end of day’s play at Mohali on Saturday.

Bairstow reckoned the first-day pitch was good to bat on.

“The pitch is probably going to be at its best today and tomorrow but we have also seen some uneven bounce as well with the wicket which probably heightened throughout the day. You can see from where the wicketkeeper and slip fielders were fielding in the first few overs in the day compared to where they were lately in the day.”

Meanwhile, Bairstow missed out on a well-deserved ton, after being dismissed for 89 by Jayant Yadav, adjudged leg-before and by his own admission, it hurt him the most.

“That hurt me pretty bad to get out like that, because I thought I played quite nicely all through the day, so desperately disappointed with myself to get out especially towards the end of the day because I thought we fought back really well.”

He also felt, the wickets which India got late in the day has hurt England’s chances. But Bairstow also believes, his team has all the potentials to bounce back hard.

“So on a different evening, you finish six down instead of eight down, you look at that as the final two sessions and you go away pretty pleased with it to be quite honest with you because we scored 100 runs in the middle session and scored well again in the evening session,” he said, before adding, “We’re fighting; we’re in the battle. It’s been a bit of a scrappy day. But we’ve dealt with worse in the past.”

Meanwhile, prior to this Mohali Test match, England skipper Alastair Cook said that Bairstow had a “glint in his eyes” when he was told that he would be batting at No 5.

“I don’t really mind where I bat. It is quite pleasing to be batting at five, because I feel I am in good form. The confidence that captain showed in me to bat me at No 5, along with the coach and rest of the side, is really good and I would like to think that I repaid them today with the faith they put in me,” Bairstow laughed and said when he was asked to comment on that.

Talking about his excellent run with bat in hand in this season, the Yorkshireman expressed his pleasure to be able to contribute for the team’s cause that too in different conditions.

“I think scoring runs at any point throughout the year has been pleasing for me. Combining with my keeping, it has been a pleasing aspect for the two to be combined all the way throughout the year. I didn’t see it as a change, obviously batting at No 5, it was not a change in mentality for me going out there at number five rather than No 7.

“I can’t really put a finger on it to be honest with you. Obviously, comparing the conditions to South Africa at the start of the year to England, throughout the summer, to Bangladesh, to here — they were all very different. I think it is just finding a method. Finding a way and finding a mindset of scoring runs. Trying to stay out there for as long as possible and yeah I was really cheesed off [angry] to get out like that,” the England keeper mentioned.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

England’s Stokes reprimanded for using foul language

England’s Ben Stokes was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday for using foul language on the opening day of the third Test against India in Mohali.

The incident took place when Stokes reacted to India’s celebrations following his dismissal and he got into a heated exchange with skipper Virat Kohli that was heard by onfield umpires Marais Erasmus and Chris Gaffaney.

Stokes was found to have used “language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting”.

Stokes accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Ranjan Madugalle and there was no need for a formal hearing on the matter.

This was Stokes’ second offence in less than a month after the allrounder was fined 15 per cent of his match fee in Bangladesh for verbally engaging with batsman Sabbir Rahman.

Stokes, who now has two demerit points under the new ICC code of conduct, will face suspension from one Test or two limited-overs internationals if he earns up to four points within a two-year period.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

A bit of Ashwin in Jayant Yadav

Is Jayant Yadav the younger version of Ravichandran Ashwin?

This has been the talk of the town at Mohali after the Haryana all-rounder notched up his maiden Test half-century batting at number nine, and played a crucial role to get India a decisive lead of 134 runs on the third day of the third Test match.

Jayant, in so many ways, looks like the younger version of his senior off-spin partner in the team.

When Ben Stokes got rid of Ashwin for 70, England would have hoped to bundle out India within 350.

But there was Jayant in their way.

Two sweetly-time boundaries off James Anderson got him going. Especially the straight drive to the fence looked like an exact replica of the shot which Ashwin played against the same bowler on Day Two at the beginning of his knock.

Jayant’s elegant punches through the off-side, his wristy flicks through mid-wicket, his leaning forward to defend against the spinners look so much Ashwin-like.

So far in the series, Jayant has batted thrice and has impressed on all three occasions. The 26-year-old comes across one of those no-nonsense type of cricketer who values his wicket despite batting not being his primary attribute. However, with the depth in the batting having become an important aspect of international cricket now-a-days, Jayant’s batting prowess is a welcome addition to the Indian Test set-up.

Also, what is most impressive about Jayant is — he knows the art of batting with the tail.

At Vizag, in the second innings, he shared a 42-run stand with Mohammed Shami for the final wicket. Here in Mohali, the youngster added 33 runs with Umesh Yadav for the tenth wickets. At the first-class level, Jayant holds a record of sharing a 392-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Amit Mishra against a strong Karnataka bowling attack in 2012, his second season in the domestic circuit. It is the highest eighth-wicket stand in Ranji Trophy. The off-spinner got a career best 211 in that innings.

Thus, Jayant knows when to trust and when to shield a tailender.

During the second session on Monday, when Alastair Cook used his off-spinner Gareth Batty for an extended spell from around the wicket and set up a Leg Before Wicket trap for tailender Umesh, Jayant quite wisely kept him off strike for most of that period. But later when someone like Ben Stokes – against whom Umesh looked comfortable – was bowling, he was ready to take the single on the first delivery of the over.

So, Jayant seems to be a very good reader of a match situation and looks like he has the maturity of a proper batsman. Interestingly, when Ashwin first came into the Test team, we used to relate these attributes with him.

However, these are early days for Jayant and he needs to remember bowling off-spin is his primary responsibility. It will be his wicket-taking ability which will get him a place in the team, not his batting and so far with five scalps in three innings (uncompleted), Jayant has done no harm to his credentials as a bowler.

Like Ashwin, if he also gets his priorities right, Jayant won’t be known as the new Ashwin, he will be known as the first Jayant Yadav.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

Jadeja not disappointed to miss out on maiden Test ton

In cricket, it is not always a number eight batsman gets a chance to score a Test hundred. However, India’s number eight, Ravindra Jadeja on Day three of the Mohali Test did get the opportunity to score his maiden Test ton. But surprising everyone, batting on 90, Jadeja stepped out against Adil Rashid to hit him out of the park and eventually ended up offering a boundary-line take for Chirs Woakes.

The 27-year-old all-rounder, who earlier in his innings in this Mohali Test, showed great restraint during a partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav missed out on a well-deserving century. But he doesn’t have any regrets about this.

“The shot that I got out to is my pet shot,” Jadeja said, addressing the media after the end of day’s play. “I can hit six anytime with that shot. I had the confidence, but the ball came rather slow off the wicket and that’s why I didn’t get the required impact. I am not disappointed that I got out to a shot like that,” he added.

During this particular knock, Jadeja showed a lot of patience. He was ready to take his time, leave balls outside off-stump for the most part. However, after Lunch on Day Three, he certainly changed gears and was charged Woakes to hit him for four boundaries in an over.

“I didn’t go on an attacking mode, they were bowling boring lines outside off stump, We had a lot of time at our disposal so I just thought that let’s disturb the bowler, going outside the off-stump and try to use the area on leg-side as there were only two fielders that side. That’s what I was trying and luckily I got four boundaries in that over [of Woakes],” Jadeja said, talking about that particular phase of play.

The Saurashtra all-rounder who has three triple hundreds to his name in first-class cricket is often being criticised for underperforming with the bat at the international level. However, after becoming the top scorer in an innings in the Mohali Test match on Monday, Jadeja once again reminded the journalists about his batting credentials.

“It’s not that I consider myself as a batsman, I am a batsman,” Jadeja asserted when someone asked whether he has become more responsible while batting which was evident in his defensive game during the course of his knock.

“I have been scoring runs in first-class cricket at an average of 53 [43 as per ESPNCricinforecords], if you leave aside Test matches, that is. It’s not the first time that I have made 90 runs. Yes, may be a first in Tests but I have an idea that I can bat. I wasn’t in a hurry, since it was a slow wicket with less turn. I knew after 50, 60 or 70 balls, I can up my scoring rate,” Jadeja mentioned.

When he was asked to compare his 68 at Lord’s with Monday’s knock, the southpaw said, “I think any good innings that you have played for India is important. Even during this innings, we were in a situation where we were 5 for 150 (156) and from that situation to guide the team to a good position was challenging. Jayant Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and myself spoke to each other, build the innings and luckily we are now in a good position considering that they are still 70 behind [56 actually] and are four down.”

In the history of Indian Test cricket, it is the first time that batsmen from No 7 to 9 have scored 50 plus runs in the same innings and Jadeja said that it proves a point that lower-order too can bat.

“Any team will have a plus point if its lower middle order is contributing. If the last 7-11 can give 50 to 100 runs extra for the team it’s a bonus. Luckily everyone is contributing, which is a good sign and also an indication that it’s not only the top-order that’s contributing. We have batting till No 9 and we can score runs. Everything that’s happening is for good.”

But Jadeja did stress that spending extra time on batting at the nets has helped the team.

“It’s not magic. Just a bit more focus, spending some more time batting at the nets, talking to batting coach, mentally prepared for certain situations where you need to take more responsibility. Ashwin is scoring runs, he has scored around 500 runs this season. I am also trying to score as many runs as possible to help the team,” he said.

Finally, following a good day in the office, Jadeja was in jovial mood and when one asked him to explain about his trademark sword celebrations, he said, “That’s a Rajput trademark style, nothing special. It’s just that I can’t carry a sword into the ground!

Originally published at cricwizz.com

Five infamous spats Virat Kohli was involved in

The 2016 India vs England series has spiced up with battles among players on the field. The altercation between Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes has also dominated headlines. On the other hand, R Ashwin’s battle with Alastair Cook is a treat to watch. Kohli-Stokes rivalry is already being compared with the Andrew Flintoff-Sourav Ganguly row of last decade. Although Kohli has evolved over the years, his tryst with spats seems to continue in cricket. Cricwizz takes a look at five spats Virat Kohli was involved in.

Gambhir-Kohli row in 2013 IPL: The IPL 6 clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore took an ugly turn when their skippers Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli had an ugly altercation following the latter’s dismissal. After Kohli was dismissed, he apparently made a remark instead of walking back to the pavilion. Gambhir did not take it kindly and had a heated argument with his Delhi teammate Kohli. Another Dehli and KKR player Rajat Bhatia intervened to calm things down and separated the two. Both the skippers were warned and reprimanded for breaching the IPL code of conduct.

Stokes-Kohli spat in Nottingham ODI in 2014: In the Nottingham ODI of 2014, Kohli had a verbal spat with Stokes when he was dismissed for 40 by the Englishman. Kohli stopped midway after he seemed to have heard something from the pacer. Kohli did not take it lying down and retorted by raising his bat at Stokes. The umpires had to call the English skipper Alastair Cook and Stokes to keep the bring the tempers down before the match could resume.

Kohli abuse’s journalist in 2015: The year 2015 began with controversy during the World Cup. After a training session during the World Cup, Virat Kohli was caught abusing a journalist, taking him for the scribe who wrote an article about Kohli’s girlfriend, Anushka Sharma. Kohli later apologised through some other journalists after being told he had mistaken that scribe for someone else. Team Director Ravi Shastri also reprimanded Kohli, saying it was unbecoming of a future India captain to behave in this manner publicly.

Kohli’s send-off to Ben Stokes in 2016 Mohali Test: During the Mohali Test, Ben Stokes started the altercation when he apparently had an exchange with the Indian skipper after the England all-rounder was stumped by keeper Parthiv Patel off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling in England first innings. Stokes was reprimanded for his reaction by the ICC. When Kohli was dismissed by Stokes in India’s first innings, the England all-rounder celebrated the wicket by putting his hands in his mouth. Kohli reciprocated it by putting a finger in his mouth when Stokes was dismissed by R Ashwin in the second innings. The spat has spiced up the India vs England series.

Kohli showing middle-finger to Australian crowd in 2012: India were having a horrible series, and the sledging and the crowd heckling were too much to handle. It had got onto Virat Kohli who promptly showed the middle-finger. And he let not the fight end there. He gave a perfect reply by cracking 116 at Adelaide, shutting the Australians up. Although India lost the series 0-4, Kohli’s ton was the only saving grace. Kohli, in the next series Down Under, proved who the boss was by cracking four tons in 2014-15 series.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

India repeat a historic feat against England in Tests after 23 years

Under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, India have taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match Test series. The win in the Mohali Test has stretched India’s winning streak in Test cricket at home to 17 Tests. However, during the win in the Mohali Test, India have achieved a rare feat in Test cricket against England after more than two decades.

The Mohali win was India’s second consecutive win against England in a Test series. India have done this just for the fifth time in their 84-year-old cricketing rivalry with England. And Kohli and Co. have achieved this feat after 23 years.

India had last won two consecutive Tests against England in a Test series way back in 1993 when Mohammad Azharuddin-led team won the three-match Test series at home 3-0.

India had completely outplayed England in the 3-0 whitewash, registering win by 8 wickets, an innings and 22 runs and an innings and 15 runs in the three Tests.

The first time India won two consecutive Tests in a Test series against England was in the five-match Test series in 1961. Nari Contractor-led team won two successive Tests at Kolkata and Chennai in the fourth and fifth Tests to win the five-match Test series 2-0. The remaining three Tests were drawn.

The second time India won two consecutive Tests against England was at home in 1972. After losing the first Test at Delhi, India came back to win the next two Tests by 28 runs and 4 wickets. The next two Tests ended in a draw. India won the five-match Test series 2-1. Ajit Wadekar was the Indian skipper then.

The third time India achieved such a feat was in 1986 in England when they won the first two Tests and drew the third one. India won the Lord’s and Leeds Tests by 5 wickets and 279 runs respectively and drew the third one at Birmingham. Kapil Dev was the Indian skipper then.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

Cook rues top-order failure for Mohali loss

England skipper Alastair Cook Tuesday blamed the team’s top-order failure in both innings for their crushing eight-wicket loss to India in the third Test in Mohali on Tuesday.

The visitors let go of their advantage of batting first after winning the toss as they were soon reduced to 87 for four before posting 283 in the first innings.

Apart from wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow (89) and Jos Buttler (43) none of the English batsmen got going against a disciplined Indian bowling.

“400 was par and we were below it. It doesn’t just happen that you win the toss and get 400. We were not good enough to do it first time,” said Cook.

Even in their second outing, the English top half fell apart at 78-4 on the evening of day three with batsmen forced to bat up the order after an injury to teenage opener Haseeb Hameed.

“It’s not ideal when you lose your opener, he busts his hand and everyone has to move up.

“That happens once a year maybe, whichever team you are playing, but that was the second innings, we were behind the game in the first innings,” Cook told reporters.

“No magic balls were being bowled really… It was good accurate bowling as you expect from India in these conditions. You can talk whatever way you want but the top order has got to deliver.”

India grabbed the opportunity with both hands as their 417-run first innings total saw five half-centuries, giving the hosts a crucial lead of 134.

The Indian bowlers also came back well to bowl out the visitors for 256 despite gritty half-centuries from Joe Root (78) and Hameed (59 not out), who came out to bat at number eight.

The performance was certainly a far cry from England’s strong opening performance in Rajkot when they posted 537 after batting first.

The visitors have lost two straight matches, in Viskhapatnam and Mohali, after the first drawn Test to trail the five-match series 2-0.

“It was frustrating. We haven’t delivered in the last two games. There is nothing worse than that actually, when you know you can play better and you are not quite doing it,” said Cook.

The two teams now have a break before the action shifts to Mumbai for the fourth Test starting December 8.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

Jennings and Dawson called up by England

The uncapped Test pair of opening batsman Keaton Jennings and all-rounder Liam Dawson will join England for the remainder of their tour of India, selectors announced on Wednesday.

South Africa-born Jennings — whose father Ray coached the South African national team — will replace Haseeb Hameed who has a broken left little finger and Dawson fills in for fellow left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari, who is struggling with a back problem, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

Hameed is returning home for an operation on the back of plaudits for his courageous half century in the second innings of the Third Test in Mohali on Tuesday which England lost to go 2-0 down in the five match series.

Durham star Jennings — who averaged over 60 for Durham in the County Championship last season — is set to be captain Alistair Cook’s 11th opening partner since former skipper Andrew Strauss called it a day four years ago.

Jennings, 24, should get an immediate run-out for England Lions against the United Arab Emirates on Thursday before heading to India for the fourth Test in Mumbai next week.

Ansari is also due to return to England while 26-year-old Dawson, who made his One Day International and Twenty20 cricket debut this summer, is expected to arrive in India next week from Bangladesh where he is playing in the Premier League for Rangpur Raiders.

Originally published at cricwizz.com

Haseeb Hameed ruled out of the series with finger injury

Promising England opener Haseeb Hameed, who scored 219 runs in three Tests against India at an average of 43.80 following his debut at Rajkot, has been ruled out of the remainder of the ongoing series with a broken finger. The 19-year-old attracted quite a few eyeballs, following his gutsy knocks in the first Test at Rajkot and in the second innings at Mohali, where he scored a fighting 59 not out, batting with a broken finger.

The youngster suffered a blow in the little finger of his left hand when an Umesh Yadav delivery hit him there on Day One and it caused his dismissal. Hameed did not come out to field on Day Two and went for a scan. The report revealed, that he had suffered a fractured finger.

In England’s second essay with the bat, Hameed was not able to open the innings. He came out to bat at number eight and battled it out for 156 balls for his unbeaten 59.

England skipper Alastair Cook confirmed that Hameed will be sent back home and the team management will ask for a replacement ahead of the fourth Test in Mumbai, which starts on November 8. Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who has been quite impressed with the fighting skills of this teenagers, has wished him a speedy recovery.

With the eight-wicket victory at Mohali, India now lead the five-Test series 2-0 with two more Tests to go.

Originally published at cricwizz.com