Ricky Ponting Heaps Praise On Aaron Finch After His Half-Century On Day 1


After a poor outing in the first Test, opener Aaron Finch scored an impressive half-century on the opening day of the second Test versus India in Perth. Finch’s 50-run knock off 105 balls on a pace-friendly wicket helped Australia get a strong start in the first innings. Finch along with Marcus Harris shared a solid 112-run stand for the opening wicket. After the close of play on Day 1, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting heaped praise on Finch, saying that the 32-year-old played “really well” and the knock will help him gain confidence.

“What it showed today to everybody, and more importantly to himself, is that he has got a game that can stand up opening the batting at Test level,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“He had a few moments today where he did that a little bit, but in general I thought he played really well. He looked to be aggressive, play the ball off the back foot, which is a really good sign for him. It means he’s not getting onto the front foot too early,” Ponting added.

Australia ended Day 1 of the second Test at 277 for six with Marcus Harris (70) being the top scorer for the team. After winning the toss, Australia got off to a strong start as both openers denied India a breakthrough in the morning session of the day.

However, in the second session of the day, Jasprit Bumrah drew first blood, trapping Finch in front of the stumps in the 36th over. The Indian bowlers then dismissed Usman Khawaja (5) and Harris in quick succession to get back into the game.

But a solid 84-run stand between Shaun Marsh (45) and Travis Head (58) helped the home team get back on track after losing quick wickets.

Skipper Tim Paine (16*) and Pat Cummins (11*) were out in the middle when the umpires decided to call it a day.



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Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar Guide Bangladesh To Series Win Over Windies


Fresh from an unbeaten 146 off 144 balls in the previous match, Hope struck another unconquered knock of 108 off 131 to prop up the visitors, taking his tally in the series to 297 runs.

Bangladesh made a steady response, with Tamim and Liton Das hitting 45 runs for the opening wicket before Liton offered a catch to Rovman Powell at mid-on off Keemo Paul.

Soumya and Tamim denied the West Indies any momentum, putting 131 runs in their second wicket stand, which all but sealed the contest and the series.

Soumya was the aggressor-in-chief, smashing five sixes and as many fours before Paul sent his leg-stump cartwheeling. 

Tamim, who happily anchored the innings, sealed the game with successive fours off Powell, his eighth and ninth boundary of the innings.

Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 16 at the other end.

Earlier, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets each after man-of-the-match Mehidy rattled the West Indies’ top-order.

“It was a good match — Hope played an excellent innings,” Mashrafe said after the match.

“Our bowlers have been very good. Spinners have been tight and pacers also stuck to the plans,” he added. 

Earlier, Hope defied the spirited Bangladesh attack, hitting Shakib over the long off to bring up his fourth ODI century after the ninth wicket had fallen for 177 runs.

The opener, who was named player of the series, also hit 10 fours in his fine innings.

“Still a bit dizzy to be honest, but I’ve hung in there. Obviously wanted my team to get over the line, but very unfortunate for the guys to not take it till the end and hopefully we will learn from our mistakes,” said Hope.

Bangladesh won the first match by five wickets on Sunday before the West Indies levelled the series with four-wicket win in the second match two days later.

The West Indies will wrap up their tour with three Twenty20 internationals, with the opening match scheduled at the same venue on Monday.



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“Our Only Plan Was To Be Disciplined”: Hanuma Vihari Explains India’s Strategy On Day 1


Throwing light on India’s strategy on Day 1 of the second India-Australia Test in Perth, middle-order batsman and part-time off-spinner Hanuma Vihari said the plan was to be disciplined and the team did well in that aspect on the opening day. “Our only plan was to be disciplined. I think we did very well in that aspect. In all three sessions, we bounced back really well. They had so many plays and misses. It happens in the game. But overall I thought the bowlers put in a good effort,” the ICC website quoted Vihari as saying.

“The wicket was a little slow at the start and improved its pace after lunch. The bowlers adjusted well to that,” he added. Vihari, who returned with figures of 2/53, said he “tried to keep it tight” with the ball to help the pacers. “I tried to bowl a little bit quicker than the first few deliveries because I was trying to hit the surface a little bit more and get that bounce from the wicket. “That was the main idea – try to keep it tight and give the seamers a rest,” he said.

“I want to keep it simple and try to do the job for the team. I know my role very well in the team,” he added. At stumps, Australia were 277/6 with Pat Cummins (11) and skipper Tim Paine (16) at the crease.
The hosts had enjoyed a steady start, dominating the opening session before the Indians started to claw their way back into the game after lunch. All the six wickets fell in the post-lunch session with pacer Ishant Sharma and Vihari claiming two each. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav bagged one wicket each.

“The first one hour tomorrow will be very crucial. If we get them out for below 320, then we are right back in the game. If we bat well in the first innings, then we have a good chance. The first hour is crucial and I’m sure the pacers will come out (and do the job),” Vihari said.

(With IANS inputs)



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2nd Test Day 1: Bowlers Help India Bounce Back But Australia Still On Top


Pacer Ishant Sharma (2/35) and spinner Hanuma Vihari (2/53) took two wickets apiece while Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) accounted for one batsman each. Following a good start, Shaun Marsh (45) and Peter Handscomb (7) looked to extend their fourth-wicket partnership but could only manage to add three runs as Ishant broke through early in the final session.

Handscomb looked to cut away too close to his body, and Virat Kohli held a stunning one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss him in the second over after tea.

Marsh and Travis Head (58) then added 84 runs for the fifth wicket, and in doing so took Australia past 200 in the 69th over. India could have broken through early, but Rishabh Pant put down a regulation catch from Marsh (on 24) off Vihari in the 67th over.

India were looking in bother again when Marsh fell against the run of play, trying to cut Vihari and edging to first slip where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake.

Head reached his third Test half-century off 70 balls but threw it all away as he square-cut a wide delivery off Ishant six overs later and was caught at wide third man.

Earlier, India struck thrice post lunch as Australia were reduced to 145-3 at tea.

Jasprit Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) struck during a tight spell in the second hour of play after lunch, as Australia lost three wickets for 22 runs.

Post lunch, Marcus Harris had brought up his maiden Test half-century off 90 balls as he took his opening stand with Aaron Finch (50) to 112.

Their 100-stand had come up in the 34th over, with India leaking another 48 runs in the hour’s play after the break. Mohammed Shami (0-63) conceded 23 runs in his four-over second-spell after lunch.

Finch too reached his second Test half-century off 103 balls as Australia reached a position of strength. But things turned thereafter as Bumrah struck first up in the 36th over, trapping Finch lbw with a fuller delivery.

KL Rahul dropped Harris (on 60) off Shami in the 45th over, with the fielder failing to time his jump at second slip. It didn’t cost India too much though as four overs later, he hit a surprise bouncer from Vihari straight at Rahane at slip. In between, Yadav used the pressure built and etched out Usman Khawaja’s (5) wicket, out caught behind in the 46th over as India gained the fruits of their hard work in this second hour of play.

In the morning session, Australia defied a green-top wicket and made steady progress to reach 66-0 at lunch.

The Perth wicket at the Optus Stadium was talked up a raging green-top wicket, but the Australian openers defied all that speculation. For their part, Indian pacers chipped in with all possible help and bowled a poor first spell with the new ball.

Ishant started with a delivery down leg as the first Test ball to be bowled at this ground. It didn’t change much for this first spell of four overs as he sprayed the ball all over. He seemed to be more concerned about not bowling any no balls, than maintaining an attacking line first up.

At the other end, Bumrah was bowling short of a length, even if he bowled quicker than Ishant. This new ball pairing proved expensive and wasteful as Yadav came on as first change in the ninth over.

Shami was India’s best bowler of the first session as he bowled with immaculate control from the very beginning. He came on to bowl in the 12th over and immediately troubled the batsmen.

Finch survived an lbw shout on account of height as India wasted a DRS review. They had another loud shout turned down on the very next ball, but this time no review was taken.

India bowled better in the second hour of play and conceded only 19 runs in 13 overs. But the damage had already been done as the duo were set and the new ball had been wasted on a fresh pitch.



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India vs Australia: Virat Kohli Takes One-Handed Stunner To Remove Peter Handscomb – Watch


Team India skipper Virat Kohli, who is a thorough competitor with the bat, took a superb catch in Perth on Friday to prove that he is an equally gifted fielder. On Day One of the second Test in Perth, Peter Handscomb looked to steer a short of length delivery from Ishant Sharma but Virat Kohli, who was stationed at second slip, leapt up throwing his right hand in the air, thus completing a stunning catch. The 30-year-old has taken a lot of brilliant catches in his career but this one clearly stands out.

Watch it here and decide for yourself

As far as the match is concerned, Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and opted to bat in Perth.

Indian bowlers fought back with four wickets to curb Australia’s promising start.

Australia started very well, with openers Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch putting on a century opening partnership.

The pair added 112 runs, before Finch’s luck ran out and he was trapped in front by Jasprit Bumrah for 50.

Finch’s dismissal brought Usman Khawaja to the wicket and he made just five, before giving a thick edge to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.

Harris then fell to the part-time spin of Hanuma Vihari.

Handscomb was removed just after tea by Kohli’s brilliance in the field as Australia were 177/4 after 61 overs.

India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs as they seek their first series victory on Australian soil.

They were unable to consider star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Rohit Sharma, with both injured.





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India vs Australia: Michael Vaughan Thinks “India Made A Mistake” By Not Picking Ravindra Jadeja For Perth Test


Ravindra Jadeja, who is waiting on the sidelines, was not picked for India’s Perth Test against Australia as Virat Kohli opted to go with four pacers. While Hanuma Vihari was picked in place of Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav replaced Ravichandran Ashwin in the squad. Both the players missed the Perth Test due to injuries they suffered in the Adelaide Test. Ravindra Jadeja’s exclusion from the playing XI attracted criticism. Former England captain Michael Vaughan, unimpressed with India’s playing XI, took to Twitter to express his opinion. Vaughan said India “made a mistake” by not playing Jadeja. He further went onto to add “Aussies to win”.

This is the second instance that India will be playing an all-seam attack after Johannesburg which was an incredible win.

This is also the fifth time that India have gone in without a specialist spinner.

Virat Kohli, who lost his ninth toss this calendar year, said that he is excited about the bowling unit and added that they will have to work hard for another victory.

“We would have batted as well. But not a bad thing to bowl on day 1 on a wicket which has a lot of grass. We are happy with whatever we are going to do. I have seen an ODI game happen here and it had quite a bit for the bowlers. Pretty excited about that as a bowling side,” Kohli said after the toss.

“We will look to get in and make some inroads with the ball. It is a frest Test. Just another Test match for us. We are not taking anything complacently. We have to work hard for another victory. We are taking the confidence from the last game but not the scoreline ahead,” Kohli added.

India lead the four-match Test series 1-0.





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India vs Australia Live Score, 2nd Test Day 1: India Eye To Prove Mettle On Green Top vs Australia In Perth


India will face Australia in the second Test of the four-match series, starting Friday. With the pitch at Perth set to offer bounce and pace, Indian captain Virat Kohli said that the Indian team was more excited than nervous going into the match. India have a potent pace attack in the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav and it will be interesting to see who the fourth pacer will be. Keeping with tradition in Perth, a raging quick wicket has been laid out for the second Test and a healthy layering of grass which could impact strategies for both sides. (LIVE SCORECARD)

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Live updates between India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 1, straight from the Perth Stadium.

06:50 IST: Australia coach Justin Langer boosting his team’s morale ahead of the match, a preparation talk for the hosts, as we edge closer for the toss.

06:47 IST: India pacer Umesh Yadav in his final preparations ahead of the match. A lot will depend on the quicks in the second Test.

06:40 IST: Toss in 40 minutes, looks like Khawaja is having a final warm-up before we get underway. Remind you, India currently lead the four-match series 1-0. 

06:25 IST: Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has his say before the match. Listen to what he had to say, as we inch closer to the toss.

06:20 IST: Not long for the match to get underway. Australia skipper Tim Paine has a close look on what is expected to be a bouncy wicket.

06:00 IST: Hello and welcome to the live commentary from the second Test between India and Australia. 

The visitors will name a changed playing XI as they have been hit by a couple more injuries. India named their 13-man squad for this second Test, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma ruled out due to injuries. Prithvi Shaw, on the other hand, is still ruled out, meaning India will retain their opening combination of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay. For the other two spots in the playing eleven, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-man squad.

It gives rise to different permutations and combinations, and Kohli does have a prior history of picking an all-pace attack earlier in 2018. At Johannesburg, on another raging green-top wicket, he picked a four-pacer attack with Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder. India had played an all-pace attack in Perth back in 2012, when MS Dhoni fielded Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and R Vinay Kumar in Perth.

Even so, recent records need to be considered. In November, Western Australia hosted New South Wales for a Sheffield Shield game at this new ground as a dry-run for this maiden Test. Out of 40 wickets to fall in that four-day game, eight went to spinners with Nathan Lyon taking seven wickets for 120 runs in two innings and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picking the one wicket for 69 runs in two innings.

Clearly, Lyon as the off-spinner was able to exploit the bounce on offer. If Ashwin had been available, Kohli perhaps would have still been tempted to play him. With Jadeja in the squad though, there is still a possibility to go in with a spinner albeit the temptation is greatly reduced. The Indian batting line-up should otherwise be unchanged.





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“He’s Getting Close To His Best Again”: Tim Paine Backs Mitchell Starc Ahead Of 2nd Test


Australia suffered a 31-run defeat in the first Test against India in Adelaide and star pacer Mitchell Starc came under the scanner after failing to fire in the match. Starc, who managed to pick only five wickets in the game, was criticised by cricket pundits who thought his performance was lacklustre. Now as the second Test starts on Friday, Australia have decided to go into the match with an unchanged team. With Starc set to take the field in Perth, skipper Tim Paine feels the 28-year-old will bounce back stronger after all the criticism. Paine said that there was no doubt over Starc’s place in the team, further adding that the left-arm pacer is getting close to his best.

“There wasn’t any doubt (on Starc playing in the second Test). He has been good for us, and the criticism he has faced this week has been pretty unfair to be honest. Apart from two or three overs in Adelaide where he got his radar a bit wrong, I thought he bowled really well. His best and his worst are getting closer together and he is getting really close to his best again,” icc-cricket.com quoted Paine as saying.

“The conditions are going to suit him down to the ground, and one thing I know about Starc is when he cops a bit of criticism, he bounces back hard.

“I’m pretty pumped to see him go tomorrow or the next day and see what he can produce. We know his best is the best, so we’re excited to have him in our team and realise how lucky we are to have him,” Paine added. 

Another disappointment for the home team in the first match was opener Aaron Finch, who scored 0 and 11 in the two innings. Paine, ahead of the second Test asserted that Finch is only one score away from getting back to his best and he just needs to stick to his strengths.

“Finchy has been successful at international cricket and he played really well in the UAE, and he just needs that one score to get that little bit more self-belief at Test level.

“You are not going to succeed in international cricket unless you stick to your strengths. He knows the best way to go about his batting, and I’ll make sure he keeps trying to do that. If he does he will come good for us,” Paine added.

India currently lead the four-match Test series 1-0.



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Yuvraj Singh Fires A Threat To Rohit Sharma On His 37th Birthday


Yuvraj Singh turned 37 on Wednesday and his threatening response to Indian opener Rohit Sharma’s birthday wish is winning the Internet. Rohit took to Twitter to share an old photograph with Yuvraj and wrote, “Happy Birthday to the eternal superstar @YUVSTRONG12.” To which Yuvraj replied with a quirky yet threatening message, who is currently part of India’s Test entourage Down Under. Yuvraj wrote, “And next time u get out on 37 il catch hold of your neck like this again!” referring to Sharma’s reckless 61-ball 37-run knock against Australia in the first Test in Adelaide.

Rohit Sharma, who was looking in sublime touch after hitting three sixes, got out after playing a reckless shot on the first day of the Adelaide Test. Rohit, who was living on the edge, could not capitalise on the opportunity he got. He had got off to a solid start, but played an outrageous shot to bring an end to his knock.

The Perth Test, which starts on Friday, won’t see the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma take the field. India confirmed on Thursday that Ashwin had suffered a left-side abdominal strain, while Rohit jarred his back in the field during the first Test.

Moreover, opener Prithvi Shaw is yet to recover from an ankle injury. With the trio unavailable for selection, India included Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a 13-man squad announced on eve of the second Test.





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West Indies Hope To End Series Drought In Decider Against Bangladesh


Since then, they have capitulated in 11 series, managing their best result with a draw against minnows Afghanistan last year.

“It is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Windies haven’t won an ODI series for quite some time. This is a grand opportunity to change it,” Powell told reporters in Sylhet on Thursday.

“The guys are upbeat and confident of doing it tomorrow.”

They came close to defeating Bangladesh in July on home soil, suffering a 2-1 loss. In October, they went down to India 3-1.

A win would remove some sting from Windies’ humiliating drubbing by Bangladesh in the Test series in November and December when the home side wrapped up both matches inside three days.

Powell said his side had to improve on their winning flair displayed in the second ODI.

Opener Shai Hope hit a career-best 146 off 144 balls not out, as Windies toppled Bangladesh’s 255-7 with two balls in hand to complete their first win in the tour.

“We have to work on all three aspects of the game. One game doesn’t change the fact that we are still not batting as well as a team. We still need to work on our bowling and fielding,” Powell said.

Pace bowler Oshane Thomas worked up some lively pace to leave Bangladeshi batsmen unsettled in both the games.

“Bangladeshis don’t like fast bowling. We are definitely looking to exploit it. Hopefully tomorrow we can do that,” Powell said.

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza played down suggestions the hosts were rattled by Thomas’ pace.

“In both the matches, his economy rate was close to six. So there is no issue. If they think he is their best bowler we are relaxed,” said Mashrafe.    

This will be first ever ODI hosted in Sylhet, in Bangladesh’s northeast. The ground has hosted seven Twenty20 internationals and a Test.

The Windies will wrap up their tour of Bangladesh with three Twenty20 Internationals.



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