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‘One of my top five innings’ – Cheteshwar Pujara on the Adelaide century

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After playing “one of my top five innings” in Test cricket, Cheteshwar Pujara feels he has taken India to a decent total mainly because the pitch in Adelaide is difficult to bat on. It is one of those that doesn’t look difficult on television because there isn’t exaggerated movement, but it was two-paced, which made stroke-making difficult.

“I would say it is a decent total because there is enough turn,” Pujara said of India’s 250 for 9. “Ashwin will also come into play. It is not an easy wicket to bat on. Sometimes when you are seeing it on TV, it doesn’t look like it is doing a lot but when I batted in the first and second sessions, I felt it wasn’t easy to bat on. I will share my experience of what line and length to bowl on this pitch with our fast bowlers.

“It is the grass. The odd ball is skidding on, and the odd ball is holding a bit more from the grass. I would say it is kind of a two-paced pitch, and it is not easy to bat on.”

Having made 123 off 246 balls, Pujara said it took him two sessions to figure out what shots he can play on such a surface. That is perhaps why he would have liked a little more application from the other batsmen. “To be honest, we should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions and I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls,” Pujara said. “The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas. I also felt that our top order should have batted better, but they will learn from the mistakes and put up a better show in the second innings.”

The batsmen were there to show their gratitude, though. “It is one of my top innings in Test cricket, I could say top five,” Pujara said. “The way the team-mates appreciated it, they were saying it was one of the best.”

Pujara had to struggle with a hamstring niggle as he accelerated with the tail for company, but it was a case of mind over matter in the end. “It was tough but I was set and I knew I could play my shots, especially when we lost the seventh wicket,” Pujara said. “Myself and Ash were having a good partnership but once we lost Ash, I thought I had to accelerate. I knew what shots I could play on that wicket because I had batted for two sessions, and I think it was tough it was considering the weather. It was quite hot, we are used to it in India but still…”

The hamstring will be assessed overnight. “My leg got stuck into the pitch, and when I was trying to go for the second run, I had a little bit of a pull in my hamstring but I am going to consult the physio now,” Pujara said. “Hopefully it is not too bad.”

He was run-out off the last ball of the day and though it has been a problem in Pujara’s career, you can’t blame him this time. He had to take the risk in order to manipulate the strike, he had a dodgy hamstring, and he was also undone by a sensational piece of fielding from Pat Cummings. Still, if India’s bowlers and batsmen can follow Pujara’s lead on the coming days, he might have played one of the most significant knocks for India.



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Three UAE players suspended for eight weeks from international cricket

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Three UAE players have been handed an eight-week suspension from international cricket by the Emirates Cricket Board for violating the ‘Player’s Code of Conduct’ and requirements for the use of social media, a board release said. Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad, participating in the Emerging Teams Cup in Pakistan earlier this month, had tweeted criticising the ground facilities in Karachi, after rain wiped out their hopes of a semi-final spot.

“Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has today confirmed it has completed a disciplinary investigation relating to an alleged violation of its Player’s Code of Conduct, and use of Social Media following a recent incident during the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Teams Asia Cup,” the ECB statement said.

“ECB concluded that 3 players; Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad, had violated its Code of Conduct and requirements for the use of Social Media. As a result, each of the players have been suspended from International Cricket for a period of 8 weeks, fined and warned about their future conduct.”

UAE had restricted Hong Kong to 87 for 4 in 31 overs at the Southend Stadium in Karachi in the Group B match, before a spell of rain that lasted for about half an hour interrupted play. However, inadequate measures to cover the pitch and failed attempts to get the ground ready in time meant the match was abandoned, with the two teams sharing points. A win would have boosted UAE’s chances of a semi-final spot.

The players took to Twitter to express their frustration after the match, but the tweets were later deleted.

The board arrived upon the decision following a disciplinary investigation, and also handed out fines and warnings regarding their future conduct apart from the suspension.



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High on Hope and IPL riches, West Indies eye series win

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Big Picture

Two days ago, West Indies crushed Bangladesh by eight wickets after chasing down their 130-run target in 10.5 overs. The next day, six of their players walked away with deals worth a total of USD 2.4 million (INR 17 crores) in the coveted IPL auction. It should put a smile on the face of the visitors who have had it rough in the last four weeks in Bangladesh.

And it is not just the IPL boys who will happy. Sheldon Cottrell, the left-arm quick, got career-best figures in Sylhet before Shai Hope struck six sixes in his 23-ball 55. Keemo Paul then struck three sixes in his unbeaten 14-ball 28 to take West Indies home. The Sylhet crowd, like Bangladesh’s bowlers and fielders, were stunned into silence.

The home side’s road to recovery will have to be through a more disciplined showing. The bowlers will be aided by the Dhaka pitch offering less bounce and pace.

Bangladesh’s batsmen must also use the pace on the ball from the West Indies fast bowlers. Neil McKenzie, the batting coach, said after the first game that there are better ways to go toe-to-toe with a pace attack. Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Shakib Al Hasan all got caught trying to pull the ball. Shakib, however, looked more comfortable, and that was because he was patient.

Bangladesh’s bowlers would hope that they get a larger total to defend and if they are bowling first, they must find ways to stop West Indies’ big hitters from getting away to a rampant start again.

Form guide

Bangladesh LWWLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)

West Indies WLLLL

In the spotlight

While batting, Shakib Al Hasan had great judgment of deliveries that were beyond his control, and then off the bad balls, he cashed in. His pragmatism during his 43-ball 61 should have been copied by many of his team-mates in the first game.

Sheldon Cottrell created an awkward angle with his pace and bounce to get 4 for 28. It will be a bit of a challenge to do so in Dhaka, so Cottrell may have to dip his hands into his bag of tricks to do something different.

Team news

Shakib Al Hasan has a bit of fever but he is unlikely to miss out. Bangladesh are likely to give their eight batsmen another opportunity but it might not be so for left-arm paceman Abu Hider. Rubel Hossain could replace him. Mohammad Mithun and Nazmul Islam are the other options in the squad.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Liton Das, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Ariful Haque, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin 9 Mehidy Hasan, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

West Indies will be tempted to not change their XI after their overwhelming win in the first T20I. They also have Kesrick Williams, Khary Pierre, Denesh Ramdin and Sherfane Rutherford in reserve.

West Indies (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Shai Hope (wk), 3 Nicholas Pooran, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Carlos Brathwaite (capt), 8 Keemo Paul, 9 Fabian Allen, 10 Oshane Thomas, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Pitch and conditions

Weather is likely to clear up by Thursday but dew will be a factor for both sides as it is a 5pm start in Dhaka. It might just end up being a high-scoring game because of the dew.

Stats and trivia

  • Mehidy Hasan has been struck for three sixes in an over twice this year, first against Sri Lanka in the January ODI tri-nation series final, and the second time against West Indies in the first T20I.

  • The Shere Bangla National Stadium has hosted 37 T20Is, the second-most behind Dubai International Cricket Stadium’s 47



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PCB to pay nearly USD 2 million to BCCI after losing legal dispute

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Having suffered the injury of a lost claim for damages from the BCCI, the PCB now has to face up to the added insult of paying the India board nearly USD 2 million in legal costs.

Last month, the PCB’s attempt to claim USD 63 million from the BCCI for two bilateral series that did not take place in 2014 and 2015 was rejected by the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC).

As is the norm in arbitration cases such as this, the winning party claims legal costs from the losing side, which the BCCI had done. Those claims were submitted a week after the decision.

As with the final decision, there was a morsel of consolation for the PCB in that the panel decided they would not have to pay full costs.

“The Dispute Panel,” an ICC statement said, “has determined that the PCB should pay 60 percent of: “(a) the [BCCI’s] Claimed Costs; and (b) the administrative costs and expenses of the Panel… (including, without limitation, the fees of the Tribunal members, and the costs and expenses they incurred in relation to this matter), the figure whereof is to be supplied to the PCB by the ICC.”

Though neither party has made the total amount public, 60% is understood to come out to roughly USD 2 million. For a board that already does without playing India at bilateral cricket, or at home in Pakistan, that will be an especially unwelcome blow.

“The PCB notes the ICC Dispute Panel’s decision on BCCI’s claims for their legal expense incurred on the PCB-BCCI dispute,” the board said. “The award of significantly lesser costs than claimed by BCCI reflects that PCB’s case had merits. The PCB, however, reiterates its disappointment in the original decision/award given against it.”



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