October 17, 2013India are currently hosting Australia for one T20 and seven ODIs. As usual, India is at full strength, while Australia rest captain Michael Clarke and others in between grueling Ashes series. The stand-in skipper, George Bailey, with successive scores of 85 and 90 not out, is filling the breach as best he can.
In the Rajkot T20, India successfully chased down 202, thanks to a rapid 77 not out in 35 balls from a rejuvenated Yuvraj Singh, restored to the side after earlier bouts of ill health and loss of form. Earlier, Aaron Finch had set the pace for Australia with a quick-fire 89.
The first ODI in Pune went Australia’s way after they had posted 304 before bowling out the home side for 232. With a run a ball 85, Bailey grabbed the man of the match award; he was backed up by Finch (72) and Phillip Hughes (47). Virat Kohli (61) led India’s reply, but impressive performances from all members of Australia’s seam attack ensured the Indian threat to their total never materialised.
India exacted revenge in game two in Jaipur, recording the second highest run chase in ODI history. After Australia had posted 359 – 5 in their 50 overs, India made light of the target, reaching 360 – 1 in less than 44 overs with embarrassing ease. On a batsman friendly deck, Australia’s top five (Finch, Hughes, Shane Watson, Bailey and Glenn Maxwell) all recorded half centuries but their efforts were dwarfed by Rohit Sharma (145 not out), man of the match Shikhar Dhawan (92) and Kohli (100 not out). Who’d be a bowler in this golden age for batsmen?
New Zealand are playing two tests and three ODIs in Bangladesh. The first test on a flat track in Chittagong ended in an unsatisfactory high scoring draw, with Kate Williamson, BJ Watling, Mominul Haque and Sohal Gazi all posting centuries. Gazi became the first international cricketer to score a hundred and take a hat trick in the same match.
Pakistan are once again playing a ‘home’ series against South Africa in the UAE. This consists of two tests, five ODIs and two T20s. For the tests, Pakistan have dropped out of form Mohammad Hafeez, while a full strength South Africa welcome back long term absentees Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy and captain Graeme Smith. Pakistan have taken a early series lead by winning the first test in Abu Dhabi. Despite a classy118 from South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Pakistan led by 197on first innings, thanks largely to Khurram Manzoor (146) and Misbah-ul-Haq (100). Second time round, AB De Villiers made 90 for South Africa, but Pakistan were left with only 40 runs in their second innings to complete a surprise victory. The best bowler on show was Saeed Ajmal, with six wickets in the match.
The ECB has announced two high profile appointments. From the start of 2014, Paul Downton, the former England, Kent and Middlesex wicketkeeper takes over as managing director of England cricket, while former England and Leicestershire batsman, James Whittaker, will replace Geoff Miller as the National Selector.
Former Australian pace man Craig McDermott has been re-appointed as Australia’s bowling coach. McDermott, who held a similar post from 2011-2012, will take up the reins in time for the forthcoming home Ashes series against England. His duties will be restricted to preparing bowlers for test matches.
The Scoop 17/10/13