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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, ICC World Test Championship, 2nd Test

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New Zealand 196 for 4 (Latham 111*, Watling 25*) trail Sri Lanka 244 by 48 runs

After a largely rain-free third day, the weather affected play once again in Colombo as the first session on the fourth day was washed out at the P Sara Oval. With time running out in the Test and the weather still uncertain, there is a high likelihood that this match could end in a draw, which will break a sequence of 25 consecutive Tests in Sri Lanka that ended with an outright winner.

On the third day, New Zealand had recovered well through Tom Latham’s composed 111*, ending on 196 for 4, just 48 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total of 244. Latham shared three significant partnerships that kept New Zealand steady. He put on 50 with Ross Taylor for the third wicket, 42 for the fourth with Henry Nicholls, and his unbroken association with Watling for the fifth wicket has yielded 70 runs so far.

Sri Lanka’s total, meanwhile, was built around Dhananjaya de Silva’s free-stroking century, which allowed their lower order to rally from 130 for 6, and also ensured their innings went on till the third day, with the first two badly hit by rain.



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‘World Cup or IPL?’ – Quinton de Kock clarifies

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During the World Cup earlier this year, Quinton de Kock created a mild furore by saying the atmosphere during his IPL 2019 win with Mumbai Indians was more emotionally intense than the one during South Africa’s semi-final defeat in the World Cup in 2015. Blasphemy, cried those who support international cricket over leagues, national flags over similar-looking jerseys. Blown out of proportion, said those who had heard the question, which related to emotional atmosphere at a ground and not the value of a tournament or a match.

A couple of months later, on the eve of South Africa’s T20I against India in Mohali, de Kock was given an opportunity to clarify what he meant.

“What must I say?” It is the biggest thing I have won so far. I haven’t won a World Cup,” de Kock said as a matter of fact. “So obviously once I win a World Cup, if I do, that will be the biggest ever thing I have done in my career. So far it is an IPL. I had played for a couple of teams but had never made the play-offs before. I played for Mumbai, we made the final and we won. So obviously it is a big achievement for any cricketer. There are so many things that cricketers these days want to be part of. They want to win IPL finals. They want to be part of World Cup finals and win them. Personally it’s different for everyone. Everyone has their opinions. My opinion is mine. Their opinion is theirs. For me that’s the biggest thing I have achieved so far.”

The IPL final could not be accused of being dull. Played in front of a raucous crowd, the match involved a successful defence of eight runs in the final over. De Kock was in the thick of him: taking a catch, effecting a run-out, but also conceding four byes off a Jasprit Bumrah hand grenade. The World Cup semi-final was a similarly close affair, but New Zealand beat South Africa in that heart-breaking finish. As a wicketkeeper, de Kock was in the thick of it again, taking a superlative catch to send back Ross Taylor but missing the run-out of Grant Elliott, who eventually took New Zealand home.



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Recent Match Report – India A vs South Africa A 2nd unofficial Test 2019

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Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi and Senuran Muthusamy, three bowlers who could line-up together in the XI for South Africa’s first Test against India in Visakhapatnam, had to go through the grind on the first day of South Africa A’s second four-day fixture against India A in Mysuru. They managed just one wicket between them in 35 overs as the Indians got to a healthy 233 for 3 in 74 overs before bad light forced early stumps.

Shubman Gill, who is unlikely to feature in that Test but is part of the India squad, provided yet another reminder of why he’s rated so highly. Opening the innings, he struck a 137-ball 92, courtesy 12 fours and a six, before becoming the third Indian wicket to fall. Karun Nair, the man with whom Gill forged a 135-run third-wicket stand, continued his good form from the Duleep Trophy to remain unbeaten on 78. His first-class scores for the season before this one read: 20, 90, 166* and 99.

ALSO READ: Shubman Gill interview: ‘Mindset, not game should change.’

When play ended for the day, Nair was batting alongside India A captain Wriddhiman Saha, unbeaten on 36. Rishabh Pant’s Test position isn’t yet under scrutiny, but with a potentially tough examination coming up against South Africa, Saha, who has been named the second wicket-keeper in the Test squad, will have an opportunity to further press his credentials.

Abhimanyu Easwaran, who opened alongside Gill, and Priyank Panchal, who came in at No.3 with Gill opening, scored 5 and 6 respectively. Abhimanyu, coming off a match-winning 153 in the Duleep Trophy final that potentially set him in line for a Test call-up, was the first to go lbw to Ngidi in the sixth over. Panchal followed 11 overs later when he was out to Wiaan Mulder’s medium pace.

From there, Gill and Nair drove home the advantage before Gill fell eight short of his fifth first-class century, shortly before the tea interval. In his 15-match first class career, the 21-year-old now has two centuries and two double-centuries, the last of which was an unbeaten 204 against West Indies A in a second innings, which lifted India A from the pits of 14 for 3 to set up a declaration and eventually push for victory.



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Match Preview – Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Bangladesh Twenty20 Tri-Series 2019, 4th Match

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Big Picture

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been no match for Afghanistan in the T20I tri-series so far, so the game on Wednesday is one neither side can afford to slip up in. Both have not produced noteworthy moments so far, with both sets of senior players going through a rough time, though Bangladesh hold the advantage of having won the first encounter between the two.

The hosts’ problems against Afghanistan have resulted in wholesale changes in their squad for the remaining league matches, although only Soumya Sarkar’s axing was courtesy his performance or lack thereof; Mahedi Hasan, Abu Hider and Yeasin Arafat were all dropped without playing a game.

Bangladesh must arrest the top-order slides that marred their first two matches. Seniors Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have not made important contributions, neither have the likes of Liton Das and Sabbir Rahman. Among the bowlers, only Mohammad Saifuddin has stood out with wickets.

Zimbabwe have plenty to gain if they can manage to beat the under-fire home side. Much like in the case of Bangladesh, their senior batsmen – Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine – must be desperate for decent contributions. On the bowling front, Neville Madziva has at times shown some skills with his slower bouncers and Kyle Jarvis has at times tested with pace and bounce, but Masakadza will probably rely on his spinners to slow things down.

It will be interesting to see if both team managements feel some of their younger players can be tried out in their top orders. For Zimbabwe, that could mean breaking up the Taylor-Masakadza opening pairing, but one of them can add a handy bit of meat and experience down the order.

Form guide

Bangladesh: LWLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe: LLWLT

In the spotlight

Since his breakthrough 94 against West Indies in the World Cup, Liton Das hasn’t crossed 33 in eight innings across formats, culminating in a duck against Afghanistan in the previous game. Some of Bangladesh’s batting woes will go away if he finds form.

Ryan Burl has been something akin to Zimbabwe’s surprise package in this tri-series, having made a rapid, unbeaten fifty against Bangladesh in the first game, and a run-a-ball 25 against Afghanistan. His side would hope for consistency from him in the rest of the series.

Team news

With Soumya Sarkar axed from the squad, Bangladesh may look to hand a T20I debut to Mohammad Naim, the lanky opener who has impressed recently in domestic cricket. If they are willing to be a little adventurous, legspin-bowling allrounder Aminul Islam could be a possible replacement for Sabbir Rahman.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Afif Hossain, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taijul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Zimbabwe can try out Chris Mpofu and Richmond Mutumbami who are yet to play on this tour. Tony Munyonga, the 20-year-old allrounder should get another opportunity as he neither batted nor bowled in his debut against Bangladesh on September 13.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor (wk), 2 Hamilton Masakadza (capt), 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Sean Williams, 5 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Regis Chakabva, 8 Neville Madziva, 9 Kyle Jarvis, 10 Ainsley Ndlovu, Tendai Chatara

Pitch and conditions

Sides batting first have averaged 138 runs in night games at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, but the totals vary wildly: from Netherlands’ 39 all out to South Africa’s 196 for 5.

There is a slight possibility of a shower in the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Asghar Afghan is now the second Afghanistan player to appear in 50 consecutive T20Is for his country. Mohammad Shahzad tops the overall list with 58 appearances in a row.

  • Mustafizur Rahman is one wicket short of becoming the second Bangladesh bowler to take 50 T20I wickets. Shakib Al Hasan is the overall leader with 90 wickets.

  • Sabbir Rahman is 55 short of becoming the fifth batsman to reach 1,000 T20I runs for Bangladesh.

Quotes

“We know they [Bangladesh] are under pressure, but we have to get the basics right.”
Zimbabwe allrounder Sean Williams on whether this is his side’s best chance to push Bangladesh



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