March 22, 2013
Sri Lanka have duly completed a test series victory over Bangladesh, winning the deciding second test in Colombo by 7 wickets with left arm spinner Rangana Herath picking up 12 wickets in the match. The visitors were by no means disgraced, however; some would argue that Bangladesh performed as well in this series as they have done in their short history. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim, a double centurion in the first test, readily acknowledges his team’s limitations, but bemoans the fact that his team does not play enough tests against tough opposition. It is a scandal, for example, that they have never been invited to play in India. ODI and T20 matches in Sri Lanka are scheduled for the next week or so.
Pakistan and South Africa are level pegging at two wins each in the current ODI series in South Africa. The final shoot-out takes place in Benoni on 24 March. The fourth match witnessed a controversial ‘obstructing the field’ dismissal of Mohammed Hafeez who became the first player in an international to be given out for adjusting his line of running to avoid being run out.
Kevin Pietersen has withdrawn from England’s deciding test against New Zealand in Auckland this week to rest and have treatment on an injured knee. The prognosis is for him to miss six to eight weeks of cricket. Pietersen, now on his way home, was apparently desperate to play in Auckland; so far he has failed to comment on his disappointment at missing out on the forthcoming lucrative IPL tournament. Nevertheless, he will receive a full IPL insurance payout. England can take comfort from the fact that the lay-off presents an opportunity for Pietersen to undergo a full rehabilitation programme in advance of this summer’s ICC Champions Trophy and Ashes series.
On Day 1 of the Auckland test, New Zealand have batted themselves into a strong position, finishing on 250-1 with undefeated overnight batsmen Peter Fulton (124) and Kane Williamson (83), not to mention a hungry for runs middle order, set to inflict further misery on the England attack.
Shane Watson, suspended from the Australian test team only a week ago for failing to complete his homework, has made a rapid transition from naughty boy to head prefect. Regular skipper, Michael Clarke has suffered a recurrence of back problems, a condition that has afflicted him for 14 years, and is out of the final test against India in Delhi. Watson, tail suitably held between his legs, has replaced him as captain. Australia have made a hesitant start in the match. India, with an unassailable 3-0 lead, are looking to complete a clean sweep in the series.
West Indies are in the process of making short shrift of Zimbabwe in the second and final test in Dominica and currently lead by more than 200 runs on first innings. Expect Zimbabwe’s meek resistance to end before the completion of Day 3.
International schedules around the world are drawing to a temporary halt. The reason? It’s nearly time for the annual IPL jamboree, which will run from 3 April until 26 May. For the world’s international elite this means either a relentless seven-week schedule of training, travelling, intensive cricket and non-stop razzmatazz or an opportunity for some R, R and R (rest, rehab and relaxation). Which of the two applies depends on whether or not players have been invited to the party. Meanwhile, county cricketers England are embarking on a series of “warm-up” matches in freezing temperatures ahead of the county season, which starts in early April.
The Scoop 22/03/13