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International

Openers haven’t shown intent but I’ll live & die by the sword: David Warner

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Australia and India openers have not shown the intent, urgency and bravery to put opposition bowlers under pressure, David Warner said on Saturday while adding that he will bat aggressively if he gets to play the third Test in Sydney beginning January 7.

“If you allow them to dictate terms and if you don’t apply any pressure, then it becomes difficult to score. In the last two Tests, from both teams there has been lack of urgency at the top in trying to take it to the bowlers a little and having that intent,” said Warner while speaking to the media on Saturday.

Australia in particular, without Warner opening, have been very slow to get off the blocks in the two Tests. The first innings of the first Test saw both Matthew Wade and Joe Burns add 16 runs in 14 overs while in the second Test, both Burns and Wade added 10 in just over four overs in first innings and four in three overs in the second innings.

The slow start has let the pressure build on middle-order batsmen, especially in the case of Aussies, on Steve Smith as well as No. 3 Marnus Labuschagne as they have mostly walked in with very few runs on the board.

India too have struggled to get good starts especially with Mayank Agarwal going into a shell and getting dismissed for little scores after doing the hard work while facing the new ball. India’s highest partnership for the first wicket has been 16.

“It is loud calling (for runs), it is the way your shoulders are back here, you are sort of in the bowlers’ face you are trying to upset their line and length… whether to drive on the up, to allow the ball to come, to drop and run, apply that pressure. I think there is a little bit of that, that was missing. It is not just from our side but from both sides, which is why I say in Test cricket you can’t allow great attacks to dictate terms,” said Warner while explaining what he meant by intent.

“It has its challenges, sometimes you have to play outside the square and be a little bit brave and I have always said that I’d rather go down swinging than sitting on the crease. I think if I am able to get up and get out there, I will have that intent as I always have. Applying a little bit of pressure can release a bit of tension and help your partner. That is the pressure you need to apply back,” said the 34-year-old opening batsman who missed the first two Tests due to groin injury and is uncertain ahead of the third Test.

“Both attacks have bowled so well that batsmen have got into that ‘okay let’s bat out time’ mode and then obviously that has dictated the run rate… If the attack is going well, you got have to to play a shot somewhere. Whether or not you get out or hit that for a boundary… I live by the sword and die by the sword when I am out with the bat,” he added.

Warner’s strike rate in Test cricket is close to 73 and he has scored 24 centuries and 30 fifties in 84 Tests. He takes pride in playing aggressively and adds that his 84 Tests have all been about putting the bowling under pressure right from the start.

“I talk about body language, about intent. It is not about going out there and taking to them with the willow. It is about having intent and building pressure back on the bowlers that way. It is not about going out there and swinging the bat. There are other ways of showing intent and putting pressure on them which can lead to full-pitched ball, short pitched ball and which we can try to pull and cut. That is what I mean when I say applying pressure. It is not just going there and playing your shots.”

International

WTC final: India lose openers, go to lunch at 69/2

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Rohit-Sharma

India were 69 for two at lunch on the second day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand here at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.

Openers Rohit Sharma (34 off 68 balls) and Shubman Gill (28 off 64 balls) made a solid start, helping India reach 62 without loss in 20 overs as New Zealand bowlers struggled for the ideal line.

But then Kyle Jamieson provided the breakthrough on the first ball of his sixth over, having Sharma caught at third slip.

Gill followed over four overs later, nicking one from left-armer Neil Wagner to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.

The first day was washed out. New Zealand won the toss on the second day and elected to bowl.

Brief scores (at lunch): India 69/2 in 28 overs (R Sharma 34, S Gill 28, N Wagner 1/5, K Jamieson 1/10) vs New Zealand.

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WTC final: New Zealand win toss, elect to bowl

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India-vs--New-Zealand

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl in the World Test Championship final against India here at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.

India have stuck to the playing eleven they had announced on Thursday. While India are going in with two spinners and three pace bowlers, the Kiwis have four pacers and no spinner in their attack.

The toss took place on the second day after the first day’s play was washed out due to rain. As many as 98 overs are scheduled to be bowled on Saturday. The Test will run into the reserve day on June 23.

Teams:

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.

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Sri Lanka middle order big worry for coach Mickey Arthur

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Mickey-Arthur

Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about the lack of depth in the middle order as his team gears up to take on England in six white-ball matches, beginning with a T20 International in Cardiff on June 23.

The three-match ODI series will commence on June 29 and conclude on July 4.

“In Bangladesh, we got caught a little bit through the middle overs and that’s one area where we’ve focused hard on in our practice and preparation (in England). It’s about the intensity required through that middle period. Our strike rotation and intensity at the crease are really areas that we’ve worked on in this training block,” said Arthur, who has been with the team since February 2020.

Sri Lanka had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 in May with all the matches being played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Arthur feels that one of the major reasons for the middle-order not clicking is shortage of players for the No. 4, 5, 6 slots, with far too many batsmen vying for top-order slots.

“We’ve reclassified guys’ roles. We’ve got a lot of players who can bat Nos. 1, 2 and 3, but we didn’t have many guys who could bat 4, 5 and 6. We’ve consolidated that here in our training session (in England). One of two players has had to change the roles that we’ve had before. We can’t be top-heavy and have no one who can bat in the middle and finish for us,” Arthur told cricinfo.com.

“We’ve knuckled down on the roles of each guy and set the scenarios up in the nets to replicate that. I’ve got a clear plan on who’s going to drop into the middle. If you look at Kusal (Perera), Avishka (Fernando) and Danushka (Gunathilaka) at 1, 2 and 3, that’s pretty good. We need to drill down and get 4, 5 and 6 batting comfortably within their roles as well, so that those middle overs — when we need to rotate strike — we’ve actually practiced it and the people we’ve sent into those positions can handle it.”

“We’ve got to settle down on a batting order as soon as we can. We can’t be jumping around having players bat in so many positions because that just creates confusion. Each position is so different.”

Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about the lack of depth in the middle order as his team gears up to take on England in six white-ball matches, beginning with a T20 International in Cardiff on June 23.

The three-match ODI series will commence on June 29 and conclude on July 4.

“In Bangladesh, we got caught a little bit through the middle overs and that’s one area where we’ve focused hard on in our practice and preparation (in England). It’s about the intensity required through that middle period. Our strike rotation and intensity at the crease are really areas that we’ve worked on in this training block,” said Arthur, who has been with the team since February 2020.

Sri Lanka had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 in May with all the matches being played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Arthur feels that one of the major reasons for the middle-order not clicking is shortage of players for the No. 4, 5, 6 slots, with far too many batsmen vying for top-order slots.

“We’ve reclassified guys’ roles. We’ve got a lot of players who can bat Nos. 1, 2 and 3, but we didn’t have many guys who could bat 4, 5 and 6. We’ve consolidated that here in our training session (in England). One of two players has had to change the roles that we’ve had before. We can’t be top-heavy and have no one who can bat in the middle and finish for us,” Arthur told cricinfo.com.

“We’ve knuckled down on the roles of each guy and set the scenarios up in the nets to replicate that. I’ve got a clear plan on who’s going to drop into the middle. If you look at Kusal (Perera), Avishka (Fernando) and Danushka (Gunathilaka) at 1, 2 and 3, that’s pretty good. We need to drill down and get 4, 5 and 6 batting comfortably within their roles as well, so that those middle overs — when we need to rotate strike — we’ve actually practiced it and the people we’ve sent into those positions can handle it.”

“We’ve got to settle down on a batting order as soon as we can. We can’t be jumping around having players bat in so many positions because that just creates confusion. Each position is so different.”

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