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Sunday,28-February-2021

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Smith’s run out stands out, ahead of my wickets: Ravindra Jadeja

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Despite returning with four wickets for 62, a haul that included the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne for 91, India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja termed the run out of Steve Smith his best performance in Australia’s first innings of the ongoing third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Smith, who got his 27th Test century on Friday on return to form, was scoring quick runs with the last batsman Josh Hazlewood. The right-haned batsman clipped one to the square leg and tried to take a double. But Jadeja swooped on the ball and hit the stumps straight from outside the 30-yard circle to catch the batsmen short on his second run as Australian innings came to an end at 338 in the post-lunch session on Day Two.

“For me the run out is one that I can just rewind and play. It is one of my best. Getting a direct hit from outside the 30-yard circle — I would call this my best, my favourite. As far as wickets are concerned, four or five wickets outside India are also very good but this moment stands out,” said Jadeja while speaking to reporters in a virtual interaction at the end of the day’s play.

Australia had ended Day One of the Test in a commanding position, having scored 166/2. The hosts began the second day in similar fashion with Smith and Labuschagne scoring runs at a healthy rate. However, they lost their last eight wickets for 122 runs with Jadeja picking four of those.

“We had talked about the need to be patient because the wicket is not the kind where you can go out and take a wicket or two straightaway. We decided we have to make them play dot balls…The plan was to not give them easy boundaries, so that we could create pressure and get wickets,” Jadeja said.

Matthew Wade succumbed to pressure as he tried to hit Jadeja out but exposed Cameron Green and the tail to the new ball.

“The wicket was a bit slow and it was not easy to bowl on because there was not much turn in it. It was important to bowl at one spot,” said the left-arm spinner who picked the wickets of Labuschagne, Wade, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.

“My thinking was to not leak runs and try create pressure from one side as much I could. This wicket isn’t such that you will get a chance in every over,” he added.

The 32-year-old further revealed he varied his speed in order to be more effective.

“You couldn’t bowl at one speed because on this wicket, which wasn’t helping. So you had to mix it up — slow with fast and also create angles,” said Jadeja.

“My idea was to bowl into the stumps and try and not give him (Steve Smith) easy runs. All other fast bowlers were bowling in the right areas and putting pressure on the batsmen,” he added.

India ended the day at 96/2 and still trail by 242 runs.

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SunRisers Hyderabad’s David Warner looking ahead to IPL 2021

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SunRisers Hyderabad’s David Warner is already looking forward to the next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and leading the franchise again, even though the dates of the T20 tournament are yet to be announced.

“One of my things to do is lead this unbelievable franchise @sunrisershyd the entire team from fans, Owners, staff, players and ground staff. We have always had an amazing bunch of people be apart [sic] of the franchise and I am looking forward to the coming season. #orangearmy #cricket #india,” he wrote on Instagram.

Warner, 34, captained SunRisers to the IPL title in 2016, when his team defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight runs in the final played in Bengaluru.

A hard-hitting Australian opening batsman, Warner was laid low by a groin injury during the recent series against India in Australia. He is planning to return to action on March 4 in a domestic match.

“Just to clarify a comment I made on commentary last night, that “My Groin”will need on going treatment and will have an annoying pain for at least 6-9 months. I am returning to play for NSW on the 4th March 2021 [sic],” Warner tweeted on February 23.

Warner has played 86 Tests, 128 ODIs, and 81 T20 Internationals.

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Jasprit Bumrah released from Indian Test squad on his request: BCCI

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Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been released from the Indian team on his request, the Indian cricket board announced on Saturday.

“Bumrah made a request to BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to be released from India’s squad ahead of the fourth Test owing to personal reasons. Accordingly, the fast bowler has been released and he will not be available for selection for the fourth Test [against England],” said a BCCI statement.

The fourth Test begins here on March 4.

“There will be no addition to India’s squad for the final Test,” the BCCI said.

The BCCI, however, did not mention the reason for Bumrah’s release.

On a Motera pitch that assisted spinners, Bumrah was asked to bowl only six overs in the first innings of third Test and he didn’t take any wicket. In the second innings, neither he nor Ishant Sharma, the other fast bowler, bowled a single over.

India won the match by 10 wickets, and now lead the four-Test match series 2-1.

Squad for 4th Test: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keepers), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav

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Surprisingly, Ravi Shastri indulges in ‘banter’ on social media

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The Indian cricket team’s landslide win over England in the third Test match seems to have allowed coach Ravi Shastri to indulge in humour on social media. In a rare reply to a tweet, Shastri on Saturday wrote “love the banter” on his handle.

The tweet has a reference to India’s 10-wicket win over England in the third Test in Ahmedabad, Gujarat – a ‘dry’ state where liquor is prohibited. The win was registered inside two days of the five-day match, allowing players three days to practice and indulge in other activities.

It all started with a meme on social media. It carried a smiling photo of Shastri with these words attributed to the former India captain: “you thought I’d stay in a dry state for 5 days?” The reference was to the prohibition in Gujarat.

But whoever made the meme probably forgot that the next Test match will also be played in Ahmedabad, starting on March 4, so Shastri would have to stay put in the bio bubble in the city.

Well-known writer and author Shobhaa De, 73, tweeted the meme, along with the word “smart!” and tagged former India captain Shastri.

Surprisingly, Shastri, 58, reacted. “Love the banter ! Feels good to bring some smiles in these tough times,” he tweeted in reply.

Shastri, a successful all-rounder, played 80 Tests and scored 3,830 runs and captured 151 wickets. In 150 One-day Internationals, the left-arm spinner bagged 129 wickets and scored 3,108 runs.

After retirement, Shastri switched to television commentary and has had a few stints as coach of the Indian team.

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