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‘Ahmedabad ton gave me a grounded feeling back’

After a wait of 1205 days, Kohli registered his first Test century since 2019 and overall 28th, in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this month…reports Asian Lite News

Star India batter Virat Kohli has said that he felt a sense of calmness and excitement after scoring a hundred against Australia in Ahmedabad which ended his three-year century drought in Test cricket.

After a wait of 1205 days, Kohli registered his first Test century since 2019 and overall 28th, in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this month.

There was a gap of 41 innings between his last century and a ton in Ahmedabad, with the previous one coming over three years ago against Bangladesh in November 2019, where Kohli scored a sublime 136 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

“When I made the hundred and converted it into a big one, that gave me a sense of calmness, relaxation, and excitement again. You kind of become comfortable with your game, and your thinking, and your heart is not rising before the next practice session. You eventually want to be in such a space. And that particular hundred gave me a grounded feeling back,” Kohli said in a chat with his good friend and his RCB teammate AB de Villiers on the latter’s YouTube show.

Just from a cricketing perspective. In life, I was pretty happy and relaxed. But when playing also, you want to be in that space as much as possible,” he added.

“I and AB have been in touch for a while. He knows how much I value Test cricket. Even though I had performed in T20Is again and scored ODI centuries and all that stuff, I always felt that white-ball cricket, for me, was more of a thing where if you go in with the right frame of mind on a particular day or for a certain period of time, you can get past the hurdles,” Kohli further said.

“But even though we played the Test on a wicket that is not offering too much to the bowlers, you still have to bat for good 7-8 hours sometimes, because they (Australia) are that patient with their fields and they could go defensive. It was just testing me constantly. That is something that I have always cherished as a cricketer,” he continued.

The former India skipper further said that he was happy with his contributions to the team but was not doing enough to convert his decent score into big runs.

Kohli had gone without a fifty-plus score in his last 15 innings in Tests before he scored 186 against Australia.

“I was getting decent scores, but if you ask me if I was happy with what I was doing. I wasn’t. I pride myself in performing for the team to the best of my ability, I certainly wasn’t doing that enough. I wanted to score big runs, that’s something that always propelled me, whether it was at home or away. I was doing that to a certain extent. But I was not having the same kind of impact that I had before,” Kohli said.

The stylish batter will next be seen in action in the third ODI of the three-match series against Australia, scheduled on Wednesday at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

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We didn’t apply ourselves, admits Rohit Sharma

In a highly-disappointing batting performance, India lost four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand…reports Asian Lite News

India captain Rohit Sharma admitted that his players did not apply themselves well during the first innings of the second ODI against Australia, where they were bowled out for a paltry 117 in just 26 overs. He added that the nature of the pitch wasn’t the one where teams would get out for that score.

Left-arm fast-bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the main architect in Australia bundling out India for their fourth-lowest total at home, claiming his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket. Then, openers Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh slammed rollicking fifties to chase down the total in 11 overs, giving India their heaviest defeat in terms of balls left (234 balls).

Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of swing bowling to scythe through the top order and then took out Mohammed Siraj to finish with 5-53. Sean Abbott was excellent in his 3-23 while Nathan Ellis provided great support through 2-13 as all of Australia’s fast bowlers took ten Indian wickets.

In a highly-disappointing batting performance, India lost four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand. Four batters fell for ducks as only Virat Kohli and Axar Patel could go beyond 25.

“It has been a good ground for us but unfortunately, we didn’t bat well today. We didn’t apply ourselves and it wasn’t a pitch to get out for 117. Even when you lose a couple of early wickets, it is important to create a partnership or two so that you can get back into the game.”

“I don’t think we batted well enough and that was a failure from our side from a batting perspective. When you have only 117 on the board, the batters have nothing to lose, and then try to swing the bat and get off to a good start.”

“Once that happens, they keep putting the pressure on. At times, we have done that like in England when we had to chase 110 and we did it in 12 or 13 overs if I am not wrong. Today’s failure was from our batsmen,” said Rohit in the post-match press conference.

Sunday’s match was also the second successive time India’s top order failed to get going after being dismissed cheaply in the first ODI in Mumbai. Moreover, Starc’s five-fer showed that the Indian batting order continues to struggle in countering left-arm pacers, into which Rohit refused to look further.

“This is just two games that the top order has not done too well. It has been literally on fire in the last six games we played. Lot of the top-order batters have got big runs in the previous games. When we need to look into it, we will definitely do it but right now it’s not the time.”

“When you have a quality bowler in the opposition, he is bound to take wickets. He is obviously trying his best and it doesn’t matter whether it is a left-arm or a right-arm bowler. Right-armers have troubled us too, but nobody talks about it.”

“If we lose wickets it is a concern — whether it is to a right-hander or a left-armer is not the issue. We look into all sorts of things like how we are getting out and come up with better plans, methods etc. That’s about it and honestly, it’s just two games that the top order hasn’t done well.”

Moreover, in the absence of Shreyas Iyer due to a back injury, Suryakumar Yadav hasn’t found his mojo in ODI cricket batting. Suryakumar, the T20I batting sensation of 2022, has been dismissed twice in identical fashion against Australia – being trapped lbw on inswingers from Starc on his very first ball at the crease.

It has been 16 innings since Suryakumar got a fifty in ODIs. But Rohit called for calm and backed Suryakumar to shine in the format while adding that he will be given a consistent run to come good and find his footing in 50-over cricket.

“We don’t know about Iyer’s return. At this point in time, there is a spot available so we have to play him (Suryakumar). He has obviously shown a lot of potential with white-ball and I have said it many times before, guys with potential will be given some run.”

“Of course, he knows that he needs to do while in a slightly longer format of the game as well. Things are there in his mind as well. Like I said, guys with potential will have enough run where you know they should not feel that ‘Okay, You know I wasn’t given enough chances in that particular slot’.”

“Yes, he got out in the last two games and (in) the series before that as well. But he needs that consistent run, like back-to-back games, 7-8 or 10 games like that so that he feels more comfortable. Right now, he has got in the place when someone’s been injured or someone’s not been available.”

“That doesn’t solve the purpose, because as management we can’t look into the performance too much. When you give that consistent run and then you feel that okay, the runs are not coming and (he’s) not looking comfortable. Then, we will start thinking about it. Right now, we have not gone that route.”

ALSO READ: India fall to Australia in ‘horror show’ defeat

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India fall to Australia in ‘horror show’ defeat

Left-arm fast-bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the main architect of Australia bundling out India for their fourth-lowest total at home, claiming his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket…reports Asian Lite News

There was a scare of the second ODI at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium failing to start due to heavy rain being forecast for the day. Thankfully, the match began on time, much to the joy of fans in the stadium.

But the spirits were dampened as it turned into a horror show for India as the hosts crashed to 117 all out in 26 overs after being asked to bat first. Left-arm fast-bowler Mitchell Starc emerged as the main architect of Australia bundling out India for their fourth-lowest total at home, claiming his ninth five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

Starc, who had picked a three-fer in the first ODI in Mumbai, produced yet another stunning exhibition of early swing bowling to scythe through the top order and then took out Mohammed Siraj to finish with 5-53. Sean Abbott was excellent in his 3-23 while Nathan Ellis provided great support through 2-13.

If India’s highly disappointing batting wasn’t enough, then the bowlers were made to look utterly pedestrian by the tremendous display of spectacular hitting by the opening pair of Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head. The left-right duo thrashed Indian bowlers all around the park to chase down the total with 39 overs to spare, making it the heaviest defeat for the hosts in terms of balls left.

The result meant the series scoreline now stands at 1-1, with the decider to be held in Chennai on Wednesday. India had a game which they would like to delete from their memory forever.

They couldn’t handle pace and swing from Starc, losing four wickets in Power-play for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand. Four batters fell for ducks as only Virat Kohli and Axar Patel could go beyond 25. With the ball, they were just relentlessly thrashed by Marsh and Head as Australia completely outplayed them in all departments of the game.

Starc’s stellar show began from the first over, with Shubman Gill slashing a full and wide delivery straight to point. Rohit Sharma, coming in for Ishan Kishan, clipped him through square leg for four on the last ball of the opening over.

He and Virat Kohli took a boundary each off Cameron Green’s half-volleys in the next over, before the latter drove and clipped off Starc in the third over. Starc bounced back in the fifth over, enticing Rohit to chase a wide delivery and a thick outer edge was caught by Steve Smith at first slip.

On the very next ball, Starc’s inswinger comprehensively beat Suryakumar Yadav on the inside edge to trap the right-hander lbw for a second straight golden duck. The inswinger from Starc then took out KL Rahul, who looked to flick, but was struck on the front pad in front of the stumps.

India lost their fifth wicket in the tenth over when Hardik Pandya pushed away a Sean Abbott delivery without any footwork and Smith dived to his right to take a one-handed screamer of a catch with his right hand.

There was no respite for India as Nathan Ellis struck on his second delivery in the 16th over, trapping Kohli lbw with a straighter delivery while trying to play across the line. Four overs later, Ellis had his second wicket when his good length delivery got extra bounce and took the thick edge off Ravindra Jadeja’s gloves to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Axar and Kuldeep Yadav tried to put up some resistance. But Abbott lured Kuldeep into pulling to square leg. On the very next ball, Mohammed Shami poked at a full delivery and nicked behind to Alex Carey.

Axar smacked Starc for delightful sixes down the ground and backward square leg in the 26th over. But the left-arm pacer ended the over by rattling Mohammed Siraj’s top of off-stump to complete a fantastic five-wicket haul.

In chasing 118, Head clipped and flayed off Siraj for a brace of fours in the second over. Marsh continued from where he left off in the first ODI at Mumbai, starting by punching Shami between cover and point for four, followed by lofting over mid-on in the third over.

He welcomed Siraj by standing tall to flay past cover before Head pulled a short ball from him through square leg for the second four of the fourth over. Marsh’s dominance continued by flicking, punching and pulling Shami for two fours and a six in the fifth over.

Head took it to another level by pulling Siraj twice, apart from flicking and punching for four straight boundaries in the sixth over. Axar’s introduction in the seventh over couldn’t stop Marsh as he creamed a drive through cover for four.

He then welcomed Hardik by slamming a six down the ground, followed by clubbing back-to-back sixes over deep mid-wicket and long-on to reach his fifty in just 28 balls. Head feasted on Axar’s deliveries with a cut through point and whipped past short fine leg to get back-to-back boundaries as the opening partnership raised its century in just 8.5 overs.

Marsh welcomed Kuldeep Yadav by pulling him to the second tier over deep midwicket for six before Head went back to pull through the same region for four. After being dropped by Shami running in from long-on, Head got his fifty in 29 balls. Marsh finished off the chase in 11 overs with a square drive through point off Axar for a boundary to complete Australia’s drubbing of India.

Brief scores:

India 117 in 26 overs (Virat Kohli 31, Axar Patel 29 not out; Mitchell Starc 5-53, Sean Abbott 3-23) lost to Australia 121 for no loss in 11 overs (Mitchell Marsh 66 not out, Travis Head 51 not out) by 10 wickets

ALSO READ: Gianni Infantino re-elected as FIFA president

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Gianni Infantino re-elected as FIFA president

As the only candidate for the position, 52-year-old Infantino will continue his tenure as the FIFA chief….reports Asian Lite News

Gianni Infantino was re-elected as the president of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) �for the term of 2023-2027 at the 73rd FIFA Congress, held here on Thursday.

As the only candidate for the position, 52-year-old Infantino will continue his tenure as the FIFA chief.

“Being a president is an incredible honor, privilege, and great responsibility. I’m so humble and touched. I promise I’m going to continue to serve for football, and for the member associations,” said Infantino after being re-elected.

Since his election, FIFA has made significant progress in developing the game across the world and strived to implement a comprehensive strategy to make football truly global, a Xinhua report said.

As of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States, the football extravaganza will be expanded to a 48-team competition to give more opportunities to countries and regions which are willing to develop their local football levels.

FIFA approved the Annual Report 2022 in February with a record-breaking revenue of 7.6 billion U.S. dollars during the 2019-2022 cycle, and the FIFA Council expected to earn 11 billion U.S. dollars during the 2023-2026 period.

A huge growth in women’s football is witnessed as the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019 reportedly had over 1.1 million spectators in the stadiums and more than one billion TV viewers around the globe. The 2023 edition in Australia and New Zealand will be even bigger as it will be the first to be played with 32 teams.

Technology, education, transfer reform and new digital platform have made a massive impact on the game, and the fans are benefiting from the expansion of VAR, football program and FIFA+ to have more communication with each other from every corner of the world.

“It is FIFA’s duty to ensure not only that global tournaments engage with girls and boys, women and men from all corners of the world, but also that football continues to provide opportunities to everyone, wherever they are born,” said Infantino.

ALSO READ: A hectic year ahead for Men in Blue

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A hectic year ahead for Men in Blue

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) scheduled across April and May, the Indian white-ball specialists will barely get time to breathe….reports Asian Lite News

In the year in which they will host the 50-overs World Cup, India restart their preparations for the mega event in the hectic year with three One-day Internationals (ODIs) against Australia, the first of which will be played at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Friday.

The second and third ODIs of the three-match series will be played at Visakhapatnam (March 19) and Chennai (March 22).

It’s going to be a hectic year for India in 50-overs cricket. The Men in Blue have already played six ODIs in the first month of the year and the second phase of their preparations starts with three 50-over matches against Australia followed by three matches away in West Indies, the Asia Cup in Pakistan or in UAE, eventually ending with three more ODIs against Australia in September 2023, just before the start of the World Cup in October-November.

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) scheduled across April and May, the Indian white-ball specialists will barely get time to breathe.

In January, India registered a clean sweep of Sri Lanka, sealing off the 3-0 verdict with a massive 317-run triumph in Thiruvananthapuram. They followed that up with another clean sweep against New Zealand, winning by 12 runs in Hyderabad, by 8 wickets in Raipur and by 90 runs in Indore.

The Men in Blue will be hoping for another clean sweep against Australia, but blanking the five-time World Champions will be tougher than the 6-0 sweep put together. Even though the Aussies have lost a few players and were without key pacer and captain Pat Cummins, who left the tour midway, India could only manage a 2-1 win in the preceding Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test Series as the Aussies fought back to win the third Test in Indore after being thrashed in the first two.

Cummins is still in Australia, tending to family affairs following the death of his mother and Steve Smith will lead the team in his absence. Australia has been bolstered by the arrival of white-ball specialists Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Sean Abbott, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Josh Inglis and Ashton Agar and thus will pose a tougher challenge than they did in the Test series.

The nature of limited-overs cricket takes out the threat of excessive spin from the equation which will make the Aussie ODI specialists breathe easier than their Test counterparts did.

India are going into the first ODI without regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who will miss the match due to family commitments. In his absence, vice-captain Hardik Pandya, who has led the T20 squad admirably, will discharge the duties, getting another chance to establish himself as the frontrunner to take over the reins from Rohit Sharma.

The hosts suffered a big blow as middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the entire series due to a back injury he suffered during the fourth and final Test against Australia in Ahmedabad. Though the team goes into another series without pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, the presence of Mohd Shami and Mohd Siraj, both of whom had a good Test series against Australia, along with youngster Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat and skipper Hardik Pandya give the selectors test the pace department once again on the road to World Cup selection.

In the batting department, it will be a chance for K.L Rahul to cement his claim for a place in the World Cup squad. He has lost his place in the Test squad but a good series with the bat, �nd gloves if he gets the chance, will help his cause a lot ahead of the IPL.

On the other hand, Shubman Gill has been in great form in the preceding ODI series against the Black Caps, hitting a double century in the first match and a century in the third. He also scored a century against Australia in the Ahmedabad Test as did Virat Kohli, who had regained his form in the shorter versions of the game before hitting a majestic 186 against Australia a few days back.

With ODI specialist Suryakumar Yadav, allrounder Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur in the ranks, India will look forward to the performance of specialists and dual-role players ahead of the World Cup.

While Australia are still sweating over the availability of opener David Warner, who had suffered a concussion and hairline fracture in his elbow during the Test series, the team management will be keenly awaiting the return from a layoff by Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh, who could be in the scheme of things for the World Cup.

The three-match series is an opportunity to experiment and test players and workout various combinations ahead of the mega event, admitted Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh too, in the pre-match press conference here on Thursday.

These three one-dayers and the three more games these two sides will play in September give the team management to experiment and look at some players, check out different options, he said..


India: Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkat.

Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith (capt), Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa.

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India’s fielding coach backs K.L Rahul

As India get back to 50-over fold after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series 2-1, it is likely that K.L Rahul will be back in the playing eleven as a wicketkeeper-batter…reports Asian Lite News

With India all set to face Australia in ODIs from Friday at the Wankhede Stadium, it also means the restart of the preparations for the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup.

As India get back to 50-over fold after winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series 2-1, it is likely that K.L Rahul will be back in the playing eleven as a wicketkeeper-batter, apart from being the number five batter, a role where he’s had plenty of success in last few years.

India’s fielding coach T Dilip also hinted at the same, citing the balance Rahul brings to the playing eleven in ODIs. “We all know that KL Rahul is a wonderful player. He has a proven record. Even in ODIs, in the middle-order, he has proven enough as a batter. As a wicketkeeper, he gets a lot of balance into the team.”

“Since he is not someone who has picked the gloves just now — he has been doing that since a younger age – he adds a lot of things. Not much difficult to work on his wicketkeeping skills, apart from refining a few aspects,” he said in the pre-series press conference.

Dilip, who has been India’s fielding coach after R Sridhar moved on post the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup, stated that improvements in fielding will continue to happen. “There are certain areas where we have certainly improved over a period of time. If you look at the number of direct-hit percentages in the (2022 T20) World Cup and that one direct hit from KL Rahul changed the course of the match.”

“That’s something we are looking at as a group and if you look at the overall ratio, even if there are no runouts, the number of times we have hit the stumps has improved a bit. That’s one area we will keep improving.”

Dilip has been part of the NCA setup and accompanied the Indian team for the white-ball tour of Sri Lanka in July 2021. He had worked with the Hyderabad Ranji team, India A and junior teams for over 15 years.

“If you look at the last T20 World Cup, we had three wicketkeepers who played. That’s been a trend. If you see all the wicketkeeper-batters that are coming up in the lines, they have been fantastic batters too. That adds to the balance (of the team).”

“As a fielding coach, my responsibility is not only to work on their wicketkeeping skills, but also work on their fielding skills, so that whatever role the team requires according to the combination on that particular day, they are well equipped for that,” he added.

With all-rounder Hardik Pandya set to captain India in the first ODI as Rohit Sharma is unavailable due to personal reasons, Dilip thinks he can do the leadership job well in 50-over cricket after leading the team in various T20Is.

“When it comes to Hardik Pandya, he is the captain now officially. But he has been in our leadership group for all these matches and he’s already proven in T20s what he can bring to the table as a captain.”

“Irrespective of that, even if Rohit is the captain, he is part of our leadership group, and he adds a lot of value to the team. Not only you, we all are looking forward to him. He’s well-equipped to do it.”

Dilip signed off by saying the intensity that senior players like Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja bring while being excellent fielders is something which can have a good effect on the youngsters in the team.

“They (Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja) have proven over a period of time, they have been role models and examples in terms of what they can contribute in fielding. Players do look up to them. What special I see as a coach when they come to practice is the intensity. Even after proving themselves, they carry that intensity, which definitely rubs on to the youngsters.”

ALSO READ: Inaugural Legends Cricket Trophy launched

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Inaugural Legends Cricket Trophy launched

The 9-day long T20 tournament for former cricketers will have six teams and 18 matches in all, including the finals….reports Asian Lite News

The inaugural edition of the Legends Cricket Trophy will be played in Ghaziabad’s VVIP Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium between March 22-30, the organisers announced on Monday.

The announcement was made in the presence of former India opener Virender Sehwag, Praveen Tyagi, Acting President, Board for Veteran Cricket in India (BVCI), Sudhir Kulkarni, Joint Secretary, BVCI and Prasanna Venkateshan, Principal Consultant, 1 stadia, in the national capital.

The 9-day long T20 tournament for former cricketers will have six teams and 18 matches in all, including the finals.

“It is fantastic what the BVCI is doing for former cricketers by providing them with an avenue to be in touch with the game they so love. These legends tournaments help us in various ways including extending our professional careers, catching up with old friends as well as helping us to keep fit. Most importantly, fans also get an opportunity to catch up with their favourite cricketers and relive some magical moments that both have experienced together at some point in the past,” said Sehwag on the occasion.

“Cricket is also very competitive and I dare say some of us still have it to challenge even some of the present-day cricketers. I am confident that the Legends Cricket Trophy will provide wholesome entertainment to the fans of the game, particularly in India,” he added.

As per the organisers, the tournament, sponsored by KhiladiX, will be broadcasted in over 30 countries globally and will have six franchisees vying for the top honours.

The six teams have been christened Chandigarh Champs, Nagpur Ninjas, Patna Warriors, Vizag Titans, Indore Knights and Guwahati Avengers. Some prominent former cricketers who will be seen in action besides Sehwag are Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Nick Compton, Richard Levi, Isuru Udana, Praveen Kumar and Thisara Perera.

“The Board for Veteran Cricketers in India has a sole objective of bringing senior and veteran cricket lovers under a single platform to play active and competitive cricket and with KhiladiX Legends Cricket Trophy 2023, we have drafted a world-class cricket tournament for fans that will showcase the best cricket talent from around the world,” said Praveen Tyagi, Acting President, BVCI.

ALSO READ: Kohli’s 186 puts India in charge

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BCCI irked over ICC’s ‘poor’ rating for Indore pitch

A two-member ICC panel will now conduct a review before announcing their verdict within 14 days…reports Asian Lite News

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has filed a formal appeal with International Cricket Council (ICC) over the ‘poor’ rating given to the pitch of the Indore Test by match referee Chris Broad.

According to an ESPNcricinfo report, a two-member ICC panel will now conduct a review before announcing their verdict within 14 days.

The Test, the third of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between India and Australia and part of the World Test Championship (WTC) finished well within the first session on the third day after 30 wickets fell in the first two days at the Holkar Stadium.

Twenty-six of the 31 wickets in the Test went to spinners as Australia completed a nine-wicket win to claw back in the series after losing the first two Tests.

After the end of the game, match referee Broad in his report had said that the “pitch was very dry and did not provide a balance between bat and ball, favouring spinners from the start”. He further stated that there was “excessive and uneven bounce throughout the match”.

Broad’s rating meant the venue has now accrued three demerit points and this will remain active for a five-year rolling period.

The serious part of the Match Referee’s verdict is the impending danger of suspension to the ground. As per the rules, “When a venue accumulates five demerit points (or crosses that threshold), it will be suspended from hosting any international cricket for a period of 12 months, while a venue will be suspended from staging any international cricket for 24 months when it reaches the threshold of 10 demerit points.”

Earlier, Andy Pycroft, the match referee for the first two Tests, had rated the surfaces used in Nagpur and Delhi as “average”. Those Tests also finished inside three days, India winning both.

Notaly, match referees have six distinct markings for surfaces: very good, good, average, below average, poor and unfit. Only those rated below average, poor or unfit attract demerit points.

An ICC reconsideration or a review is not unprecedented. Recently, the world body had rescinded its decision on the Rawalpindi pitch which was initially declared ‘Below Average’ and allotted one demerit point. But on an appeal by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the ICC went back on its rating and withdrew the punitive measure to the stadium that hosted a WTC Test between Pakistan and England from December 1 to 5.

ALSO READ: India lifts Border-Gavaskar Trophy

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India lifts Border-Gavaskar Trophy

With more than an hour left on the clock for the game to end, both teams called for the match to end, as it reached the inevitable result of draw, as India pocketed their 16th consecutive series win at home…reports Asian Lite News

The fourth Test between India and Australia has ended in a draw at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with the hosts’ winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series 2-1 and retaining the trophy at home.

With more than an hour left on the clock for the game to end, both teams called for the match to end, as it reached the inevitable result of draw, as India pocketed their 16th consecutive series win at home. Also, it is the fourth straight series between India and Australia that has ended at 2-1 scoreline.

India and Australia will meet again in the World Test Championship final at the Oval in England from June 7-11. India’s spot was sealed after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish at Hagley Oval.

It was a Test match in Ahmedabad where the batters were dominant on a slow, flat pitch, completely opposite of the spin-friendly pitches in the first three Tests, which all ended in three days.

Despite that, ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took a six-wicket haul. Usman Khawaja, and Cameron Green notched up centuries for Australia, while Shubman Gill made a sparkling 128 and Virat Kohli made a magnificent 186 for India.

On Monday, with the draw looming as a foregone conclusion, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne notched up fifties as Australia reached 175/2 before the end arrived as hopes for an unlikely win for both teams terminated.

Twenty minutes into the first session, Ravichandran Ashwin had Matthew Kuhnemann lbw with an off-break delivery which went past his forward defence to smash into the front pad. Replays later showed Kuhnemann could have survived if he had taken the review.

With not much in the pitch to create trouble for the batters, Marnus Labuschagne comfortably came down the pitch to hit Ashwin through mid-wicket for four. Travis Head also joined boundary hitting when he cut a short ball from Ravindra Jadeja through off-side.

Labuschagne used his feet again when he lofted Ashwin over mid-wicket for four, followed by Head making use of width from Jadeja to fetch another boundary. Though India got something as the ball began to show some tricks, there was no stopping Head, who danced down the pitch to slam a six off Ashwin straight down the ground.

Head then tore into Axar Patel, taking back-to-back boundaries off him – a straight drive was followed by a punch leading to an edge past the slip fielder. He and Labuschagne played out the remaining overs in the session comfortably to ensure Australia didn’t suffer any more damage.

Post lunch, Head reached his fifty when he guided a delivery from Axar past slip for four to take Australia towards safety. He then launched into Ashwin – a flick through mid-wicket for four was followed by a lofted six slammed down the ground. With the bowlers tiring, Head was turning out to be aggressive with his slogs and cuts.

Labuschagne looked comfortable with the pitch not doing much and easily put away anything offered on pads by Umesh Yadav for boundaries, before reaching his fifty with a brace through square leg.

Head was firmly on the verge of his sixth Test century, but Axar got one to spin sharply and go past the inside edge on the drive to clip the top of off-stump. Labuschagne went into the tea break unbeaten on 56, while Steve Smith is yet to get off the mark after KS Bharat dropped his catch on the last ball of 62nd over.

After tea, Smith slammed a boundary each off Ashwin and Jadeja. He then put up another defensive clinic with Labuschagne for company till the draw arrived, bringing an end to a fascinating series which saw India retaining the trophy, before Australia fought back in Indore and Ahmedabad produced a batting paradise for both teams to be tied down in a draw.

Brief Scores: Australia 480 in 167.2 overs and 175/2 in 78.1 overs (Travis Head 90, Marnus Labuschagne 63 not out; Axar Patel 1/36, Ravichandran Ashwin 1/58) draw with India 571 in 178.5 overs

ALSO READ: Kohli’s 186 puts India in charge

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Kohli’s 186 puts India in charge

If Shubman Gill was the talk of the town with his sparkling 128 on Saturday, it was Kohli’s turn to be in the spotlight on Sunday to break his drought for a Test century…reports Asian Lite News

Talismanic batter Virat Kohli showed impeccable grit, discipline and concentration to make a magnificent 186 as India took a 91-run lead over Australia after being bowled out for 571 in their first innings during the fourth Test at Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.

At stumps, Australia reached 3/0 in six overs of their second innings and trail India by 88 runs with one day left in the match. Travis Head made all the runs, as he and makeshift opener Matthew Kuhnemann, in place of an injured Usman Khawaja, negotiated the tricky six overs from Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

If Shubman Gill was the talk of the town with his sparkling 128 on Saturday, it was Kohli’s turn to be in the spotlight on Sunday to break his drought for a Test century which lasted 1025 days, 41 innings and more than three years.

His determined 364-ball stay at the crease was Kohli simply at his grittiest best, hitting 15 boundaries, running hard for his ones and twos while enthralling a sizeable Sunday crowd.

He was also supported by a nice 44 from KS Bharat and an excellent 79 from Axar Patel. For Australia, Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy took three wickets each while Mitchell Starc and Matthew Kuhnemann took a scalp each.

All partnerships for the first six wickets by India ran for more than 50 runs. In the first session on Sunday, Kohli didn’t hit a single boundary. But from the second session onwards, he stroked wonderful boundaries to give India a sizeable lead, especially with Shreyas Iyer unavailable due to a lower back complaint and had to be sent for scans.

The day began with Ravindra Jadeja cutting uppishly against Murphy past slip for four. After taking another four through mid-off against Murphy, Jadeja mistimed to mid-on, but it went for a single.

But when he tried to repeat the shot in the final ball of 107th over, which came a little quicker, Jadeja lofted straight into mid-on’s hands off Murphy, ending a knock where he was patient for a major chunk of it.

Bharat came out to bat and got going with a superb slog-sweep going for six off Lyon. There was some turn available for Lyon, Murphy and Kuhnemann, as Australia operated with 7-2 leg-side fields, and spinners bowling tidy spells, like operating on off and outside off-stump lines, to dry up runs for Kohli and Bharat.

But whenever there was a bad ball, it was hit for boundary. Like, Bharat cracked a cut off backfoot when Nathan Lyon dropped short, as Kohli added only 29 runs to his overnight score in the first session.

Post lunch, Australia began with a short-ball ploy from their pacers. But Bharat took on Cameron Green with successive pulled sixes, followed by an elegant cut through deep point on a no-ball.

His fine cameo came to an end on 44 when he came forward to defend off Nathan Lyon. But the off-spinner got turn and bounce, taking inside edge to short leg. His wicket also meant Lyon went past Derek Underwood for the most Test wickets in India by a visiting bowler.

When Kohli reached 99, there was anticipation bubbling in the air as spectators brought out their mobiles to capture the century moment. It arrived on the second ball of 139th over, as Kohli came forward against Lyon and played a flick through square leg for single to bring up his 75th international century.

A sedate Kohli took off his helmet and raised the bat to acknowledge the applause from the crowd before kissing his wedding ring and looking to the skies in subdued celebrations on reaching the three-figure mark in Tests.

With pitch still not looking treacherous, Kohli brought out off-drive and glance through backward square leg off Starc for a brace of boundaries. He took the attack to spinners, pulling Murphy between backward square leg and short fine leg while driving on the up against Lyon for another boundary.

Axar also joined the party with some boundaries, including an effortless loft over a leaping long-off for six off Murphy, resulting in Khawaja limping off the field. He then cut off Kuhnemann through cover for boundary to put India on the verge of taking the lead in the match.

In the final session, after 3.3 overs, Axar got India in the lead by cutting Murphy through backward point for four. When Green was brought back in the attack, Kohli was quick to unfurl a cover-drive to an outside off-stump delivery.

On the very next ball, which was angled into pads, Kohli shuffled across to flick through mid-wicket and go past 150. When Green bowled a high full toss, Kohli got a thick edge past keeper for four, before taking a brace of boundaries off Lyon – a delightful pull was followed by a drive through mid-off.

Axar reached his fifty in 95 balls with a single off Murphy and then attacked Kuhnemann with a big swipe over mid-wicket for six. He then moved across to sweep Murphy through mid-wicket for four, before slog-sweeping twice off Kuhnemann for sixes.

His knock came to an end when he tried to drive off Starc, but chopped on to his stumps. Lyon got his third wicket of the match when he had Ashwin slog-sweeping to deep mid-wicket. In the next over, Umesh Yadav was caught short of the crease at the non-striker’s end by a direct hit from Peter Handscomb.

Kohli was dropped at 185 when Handscomb tried to take the catch with both hands while diving, but shelled the chance. In the next over, Murphy bowled outside off-stump and Kohli went for the slog-sweep, but holed out to deep mid-wicket, bringing an end to India’s innings as well as to Kohli’s wonderful knock.

Brief Scores: Australia 480 in 167.2 overs and 3/0 in six overs trail India 571 in 178.5 overs (Virat Kohli 186, Shubman Gill 128; Todd Murphy 3/113, Nathan Lyon 3/151) by 88 runs

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