A Sachin Tendulkar Classic : 2003 World Cup


Sachin Tendulkar smashed a fearless 98 ruining the morale of Pakistani bowlers on this day. 16 years ago he sent back Pakistan from the World Cup after an intense battle with the likes of Wasim, Waqar, and Shoaib.

It was the 36th match of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup at Centurion. The sub-continental neighbors India and Pakistan were scheduled to play their last group league match on this day among lots of tension and anticipation.

Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

The Clash Of Arch Rivals

The last India-Pakistan match was played almost three years back and being a World Cup match, the fans were looking forward to this match immensely. Also, India won all three previous encounters in the World Cup and was determined to carry on the trend.

Led by Sourav Ganguly and Waqar Younis both the teams had legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Shoaib Akhtar, and others. It was a legendary clash and both the fans and media hyped the match to the highest degree.

On the morning of March 1, 2003, Waqar won the toss and decided to bat to set a target for India’s strong batting line up. Most likely he had immense faith in his world famous bowling attack to defend any score.

Pakistan Set A Decent Target

Anwar and young Taufeeq Umar started cautiously before raising the tempo. Umar was gone in the 11th over to Zaheer. Abdul Razzaq, sent to number three as pinch-heater, did not last long, neither did Inzamam who was run out once again and did justice to his reputation. Pakistan lost 3 wickets before reaching 100. Yousuf Yuhana (Mohammad Yousuf) built a partnership with Anwar who was playing beautifully. He already passed his half-century and added 73 runs with Yousuf when the experienced Srinath came and took care of Yousuf. Anwar got a well-deserved 100 in the 40th over but any plan of him accelerating was damaged when Nehra came back to peg back his off-stump.

Afridi could not bat longer on his 23rd birthday and loft a very slow one from Dinesh Mongia to be caught by Anil Kumble. Younis khan along with wicketkeeper Rashid Latif tried to add some quick runs but Indian bowlers also maintained their control and managed to restrict them to 273.

The Chase Began

The first two overs of India’s chase was one of the most talked about match situations during an India-Pakistan clash. The fans from both the nations, especially the Indians still can visualize those 12 balls even today. 

Wasim Akram started the proceeding and was in control from the first ball. However, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were not in a mood to restrict. The third ball of the over was driven through cover for four by Tendulkar whereas Sehwag fetched another boundary in the last ball. From the other end, it was Shoaib Akhtar on his pomp. He was on top of his form and Waqar trusted him with the new ball and held himself back as first change.

Shoaib looked tensed. He started with a wide. His first three legal deliveries went for four runs and Tendulkar was back on Strike.

The Unstoppable Sachin Tendulkar

The fourth delivery of the over was a wide raising delivery outside the off stump, Tendulkar went for it. It was sweetly timed and the ball flew over the third man boundary for a massive six. It was an iconic shot that changed the mood of two nations in two completely different directions.

Sachin Tendulkar (Image- Getty Images)

But Sachin Tendulkar was not going to contain easily. Shoaib changed his line but his next delivery on the middle stump was flicked by Tendulkar for Boundary through the square leg fence. The last ball of the over, a very similar line, was driven back between the bowler and mid on for another boundary and suddenly India were 27 for no loss in two overs and the target was already below 250.

India continued to chase with enough dominance and reached 50 in the fifth over. But Waqar then gave two back to back blows as he got Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly on back to back deliveries. But Tendulkar got good support from Mohammad Kaif who was surprisingly sent at number four before Rahul Dravid.

Kaif held on one end with a sedate 35 when Tendulkar kept playing his shots. All the Pakistani bowlers faced the same fate that day and looked like he was in an unstoppable mood. But if not by the bowlers, he was stopped by his hamstring. He started having cramps. Although after a few moments of treatment he resumed and hit Razzaq for four in no time.

Kaif finally went with the score at 155 for three. Dravid joined Tendulkar who by that time was severely impacted by the cramps and still kept running by himself as he did not prefer taking a runner. But with the team’s total score of 177 and his personal score of 98, Tendulkar could not take it anymore and Sehwag appeared as his runner. This was the first instance of Sachin Tendulkar taking a runner in international cricket.

But Shoaib was also back as a last-ditch effort from Waqar and delivered a vicious well-directed bouncer. A fit Tendulkar might have evaded. But this time the ball took the shoulder of the bat and a diving catch was taken by Younis Khan in the point to get the little master out. His 98 of 75 balls played against Pakistan on this day is one of the top performances in a World Cup match.

India Won 

In 1999, India could not win the Chennai test match when Sachin was dismissed post getting troubled by a bad back. This time close to 100 runs more were required. Tension and nervousness were creeping into Indian fans’ minds. But the young confident Yuvraj Singh arrived to rescue.

He started positively and soon with his stroke play the momentum was back to India. Even Dravid was also looking tired after keeping and batting on a hot day. Yuvraj anchored the chase and reached his 50 with only a few runs to get. In the 46th Over, Dravid (44 not out) pulled one from Waqar to the boundary for the winning runs and rejoiced the glory along with Yuvraj and other team members.

The entire nation was celebrating. After not a strong start in the campaign, India turned out to be one of the strongest teams to qualify for the next round. Pakistan had to return home among lots of controversies and retirements.  

Also Read: On This Day – 28th Feb

Sachin Tendulkar hits first men ODI double hundred

Sachin Tendulkar hits first men ODI double hundred

During the 1997 Women’s World Cup Belinda Clarke from Australia became the first International limited over double centurion against Denmark. A feat which was not achieved yet in Men’s game. Saeed Anwar’s record 194 was made a few months earlier which remained the highest individual score in the men’s game for the next few years. 

As we moved past the new millennium one constant debate among cricket fans was to guess who would be One Day cricket’s first male double centurion, a scenario which looked likely more and more every passing day. Especially with the invent of T20 and presence of some of astonishing hitting talent in the game like Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers the first ODI double century was round the corner. In 2009, bespectacled Charles Coventry touched Anwar’s record of 194 against Bangladesh but being an innings played between the minnows, the innings did not get focus and appreciation it deserved.

Image Source – NDTV Sports

In 2010, South Africa came to India to play a short series of two tests and three ODIs. After a closely fought test series and tight first One Day which India won by just 1 run, the teams came to Gwalior for the second One Day international. 

India Won the toss and elected to bat in better. Although Sehwag went early Sachin Tendulkar kept playing his shots and looked ominous. Tendulkar’s highest ODI score 186 was far away but his strokeplay that day gave an indication that something special might be in store. He along with Dinesh Karthik built a 196-run partnership and Tendulkar reached his 100 in just 90 balls. Once Karthik was departed Yousuf Pathan was sent up the order to utilize the platform built and he duly delivered with a 23-ball 36. By the time Pathan was dismissed Tendulkar already reached 168 in 41st over and 200 looks real possibility! With MS Dhoni for the company, Tendulkar broke Anwar’s record of 194 in the 45th over with thunderous applause from the spectators present in the ground. It is when MS Dhoni took over and Tendulkar could add only 4 more runs in next 3 overs. The 50th over started with India on 385, Sachin Tendulkar on 199 at the non-striker end and a nation on his feet, restless for a single from the master. 

Langeveldt’s first delivery went for another six by Dhoni, must of be one of his least appreciated six by Indian fans as they were focussing on something else. In the next ball, Dhoni Swings the ball towards mid-wicket boundary but Amla dived to save the four and batsmen agree to not to go for the double despite the fumble, again came the huge cheer from the fans in the ground and also in front of the television. But the biggest cheer of the day was saved for the next delivery when Tendulkar steered the ball past point to become the first double centurion in One Day cricket in the ODI number 2,962. Everyone in the ground was up on their feet including his team members. Sachin Tendulkar has many records in his name, especially in the One Day Cricket and one of the key reasons for the enhanced popularity of this format during the 90’s. Hence very fittingly once he became the first double centurion of the game it gave a feeling of justice and fulfilments.

MS Dhoni finished in style to take India past 400 and South Africa could not replicate their Wonderers’ magic and lost by 153 runs.

Looked like Sachin Tendulkar has started a trend and in the next few years quite a few big names added themselves in the ‘ODI 200 Club’.

Image Source – The Common Man Speaks

Sehwag broke Tendulkar’s record in December 2011, when he scored 219. The next two double hundreds came from Rohit Sharma who managed to change his career graph once he started opening in ODIs and proved his capacity to play long innings. During his second double hundred, he could reach 264 against Sri Lanka at Kolkata which remained the highest. In this way, the first four ODI double hundreds were all scored by Indians. 

Interestingly on this same day, four years later, Chris Gayle became the first Non-Indian player to score an ODI double. This was also the first double century in the men’s World Cup game. But Gayle’s record of highest score in the World Cup was broken by Martin Guptil within a month when he scored 237 against the Windies in the Quarterfinal. 

In the last four years, there are three instances of ODI double hundred. One more came from Rohit Sharma and the first from Pakistan was scored when Fakhar Zaman got one against Zimbabwe. The other double centurion during this period was Amelia Kerr, the young all-rounder from White Ferns who also took 5 wickets in the same match in one of the game’s greatest all-round performance.

Also Read: On This Day – 23 Feb

Tendulkar Launches Video Game & Headset With JetSynthesys

Tendulkar Launches Video Game & Headset With JetSyntheys

The Master Blaster and one of the most renowned names in the history of Indian sports Sachin Tendulkar, has gone into a partnership with JetSyntheys. Jet has launched the Sachin Saga VR limited Edition Headset and Sachin Saga Virtual Reality Cricket game during the CII India Gaming Show (IGS).

On Monday JetSynthesys launched a multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket game called the Sachin Saga at the IGS. Sachin Saga has been named after Sachin Tendulkar, the former Indian cricketer. The newly launched game is claimed to be India’s first multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket Game. Sachin himself unveiled the game along with the Sachin Saga VR limited edition headset at an IGS event in Delhi.

The Sachin Saga VR multiplayer game is priced at 1499. The main purpose is to provide an immersive on-field experience to the players. It is claimed to be equipped with the best in class technology. In the game, the players face bowlers at over 150 Kilometres per hour delivering balls in the game with high-end VR graphics. The experience of real-time shadows, motion captures by Tendulkar and access to over 100 cricket matches in the legend mode are the USP of this game. The game also provides 28 unique cricketing shots and enables players to compete with multiple players. 

Also Read: The Indian Hero – Rahul Dravid

The headset comes with the VR multiplayer game along with over 3000 games, videos, education, and exploration apps. It supports a 100-degree field view, resin lenses and a customized Bluetooth controller for pro-gaming action. The Sachin Saga VR headset is a limited edition accessory and designed with specific actions.
Sachin Tendulkar, during the launch in Delhi, said,

“With VR, for the first time, the lines between gaming and real blur to give gamers an accurately simulated experience of the stadium, real-time action right on their mobile screens. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving my matches with Sachin Saga VR, and I am sure it will resonate with cricket fans and gamers all over the world.”

When Indian Fans Applauded Pakistan

When Indian Fans Applauded Pakistan

One of the biggest rivalries in sports is when India and Pakistan face each other on 22 yards. Although political tension between these countries in the last 72 years reduced the number of cricket matches, for cricket lovers India- Pakistan matches are still on the top priority. 

From Miandad’s last ball six in Sharjah to Kohli’s T20 masterclass in Kolkata, there are many India-Pakistan battles which have stayed in the mind of cricket fans for the ages.

20 years ago, on 31st January 1999, these two teams were engaged on another epic battle. Although the climax in semi-dark MA Chidambaram Stadium was heartbreaking for one set of fans it is still remembered as one of the memorable test matches.

The background of the series made it even more attractive and followed by the global media. India and Pakistan were going to play a test series after more than nine years and the relationship between these two countries were not great and went downhill since the last few years. From a cricketing standpoint, both teams looked equally balanced with many legends and future legends in the team.

The touring Pakistanis were led by legendary Wasim Akram, who along with Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq would take care of the bowling. For batting, they had Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, a young Shahid Afridi and Saeed Anwar, the owner of then ODI highest score of 194, scored against these opponents in the same venue couple of years back.

Sachin Tendulkar @Chennai Test against Pakistan, 1999 (Image- AFP)

Mohammad Azharuddin was leading the Indians. Sachin Tendulkar was leading the batting pack along with Ganguly and Dravid and also the exciting home boy Sadgopan Ramesh was making his debut. The bowling saw an all-Karnataka attack involving, Srinath, Prasad, Kumble and Sunil Joshi.

As expected between two strong teams, the match was a see-saw battle and no one could manage to hold the advantage for long enough. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Indians came with early strikes and Pakistan were 91 for 5 just after lunch. Yousuf and wicketkeeper Moin Khan led the recovery. Two fifties from them and some valuable contribution from skipper Akram took them to 238, much less than they would expect. Debutant Ramesh started briskly and by the close of day one, the Pakistan lead was cut down to 190 without any wicket. But again as the flow of the game, Pakistan made a strong comeback and got hold of both openers before Saqlain got Tendulkar for naught. Dravid and Ganguly formed a 50-run partnership before the former was gone for 53. Ganguly batted with the tail patiently and his 54 and Joshi’s 25 were the key reasons for India taking a slender 16 run lead. Pakistan had a slow start but Afridi lit up the ground on the 4th day with his 141 and with 275 for four, Pakistan looked in pretty good shape. But the lanky Venkatesh Prasad had a different plan and in a wonderful spell of 5 wickets for zero runs resulted in Pakistan losing their last six wickets for only 11 runs.

The target for India was 271 for a famous win. The openers were gone with the score at 6. Tendulkar came out to bat determined and played out the day with Dravid. The fifth day started with India needed 231 runs and Pakistan needed eight wickets to win the match. It was promised to be a memorable day and it was. Dravid was soon gone by a magic delivery from Akram, a ball which pitched on leg stump and swings late to take the off bail. Tendulkar kept playing shots but lost Azhar and Ganguly from the other end. Ganguly was given a wrongful dismissal after the ball clearly touched the ground. With India 82 for 5, the end looked near.

But Tendulkar found his ally in wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia. The duo added 136 runs and slowly brought the advantage back to India. But at 236 for 5, with a personal score of 52, Mongia tried to hit Akram and was caught by Waqar. The subplot forming in the other end was the back pain for Tendulkar who by then passed a century. He looked visibly uncomfortable with every passing over and was mostly playing with his will power and skill. He could not bend properly to play his shots but still held one end up. At 254, with only 17 runs to get, Tendulkar hit a lofted shot of Saqlain and got caught by Akram. It was a masterful inning of 136 but he could not finish the match for India.

Once Tendulkar was gone the Pakistanis attacked the tail. Akram got Kumble, and Saqlain got Srinath and Joshi to finish with 5 for 93 along with the 5 for 94 in the first innings. India were close but not close enough to win the match. Finally, India lost the test match by just 12 runs. These are the times when sports become a part of life. Indian fans on the ground were heartbroken but they showed their sporting face and cheered for the Pakistanis who a small victory lapped to accept the praise.

Rohit Paudel becomes the youngest half-centurion in International Cricket, surpassing Tendulkar

Rohit Paudel becomes the youngest half-centurion in International Cricket, surpassing Tendulkar

Nepal’s Rohit Paudel became the youngest male half-centurian in International Cricket after breaking Sachin Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi’s record. 

Rohit Paudel scored a blistering 55 in 58 deliveries during their second One Day International against the UAE on Saturday, January 26. He achieved this feat at the age of 16 years and 146 days. Paudel surpassed the record of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar who had scored 59 in a Test match against Pakistan at the age of 16 years and 213 days.

While in One Day International Cricket, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi had the record who smashed a half-century at the age of 16 years and 217 days in his maiden international innings against Sri Lanka.

While Sachin Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi had the records of Test and ODI respectively in men’s cricket, the overall record belongs to South Africa Women’s Cricketer Johmari Logtenburg; who recorded Test and ODI half-centuries at the age of 14.

Paudel hit seven boundaries during his 58-ball 55 knocks with a strike Rate of 94.82. His knock helped his side to put up a decent competitive total of 242/9 in their 50 overs. Along with his knock, 18-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 4-24 with his leg-spin and 22-year-old Sompal Kami took a fifer, thrashed the United Arab Emirates within 97 and won by 145 runs in the second ODI at Dubai. With this win, Nepal equalled the three-match ODI series by 1-1.

Earlier, Paudel came into limelight after he made his debut at the age of 15 years and 335 days in August 2018 and became the fourth-youngest man in history to do so. He came into the headlines when he scored 24-runs in an over off Indian pace bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti in an Under-19 match in 2016.

He has played 3 ODIs, 1 T20s and 15 List A matches where he scored 70 runs in ODIs and 307 runs in List A matches so far. He didn’t bat in the only T20 match which he had played till date against Marylebone Cricket Club at Lords on July 29, 2018. He had played a crucial role when Nepal got the ODI status for the first time with a thumping win over Papua New Guinea during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier last year.

Both the teams will play the final ODI as well as the decider on Monday, January 28, at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

Fastest Openers to reach 5,000 ODI Runs

Fastest Openers to 5,000 ODI Runs

Openers are crucial for the success of any cricketing team. Their job is to build a strong foundation for their team and navigate the early threats of the new ball.

Having a trustworthy opener a team can bank on at any given situation is surely a valuable asset, but only a few teams have been lucky to have such trustworthy openers. Here’s taking a look at some of the most iconic openers, who efficiently guided their team to victories and were the fastest to complete 5,000 ODI runs as an opener.

Hashim Amla

Even though the South African started his career very late, he did not lose time to catch up to his peers, scoring 5000 runs in a magnificent 100 innings, making him the fastest cricketer to reach the coveted number.

Way back in 2010, Amla was considered unsuitable for the ODIs, but the perceptions changed when the Proteas toured West Indies in 2010. It not only earned him a permanent spot in the line-up but has also helped him gain confidence and win many memorable games for his team.

Rohit Sharma

The other opener from India joined the list after his scintillating 111 that came against Pakistan in the 2018 Asia Cup in September last year. He is the fastest Indian opener to reach the milestone of 5,000 ODI runs, taking only 102 innings to reach the feat.

The Mumbaikar is the only batter in the world to have notched up three double centuries in ODIs. He, along with Dhawan, are the backbones for India in the format, with the runs they accumulate at the top acting as a cushion for the middle-order.

Shikhar Dhawan

India’s premier opener Shikhar Dhawan became the second-fastest Indian opener and the joint-fastest left-handed batter to achieve the feat of 5,000 runs in the first ODI against New Zealand. He needed only 118 innings to reach the mark, which came en route his unbeaten knock of 75 at Napier. After an iffy start to 2015, where he managed just 55 runs in 3 matches against Australia, Dhawan showed off his worth with an invaluable knock, during which he made history.

Sachin Tendulkar

The cricketing Master is the fourth fastest opener to complete this milestone, reaching 5000 runs in 119 innings, which is just one of the many records that he made in his illustrated career. As a 16-year old, he was in the news from his first match against Pakistan, where he faced the likes of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram with ease and continued his onslaught for the next 24 years.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

The Sri Lankan stalwart took 121 games to reach the mark, and he is the only one in the fastest openers to get to 5,000 runs from his country. After Sanath Jayasuriya retired, he was the only trusted opener, who never hesitated to counter-attack or play his now-famous Dilscoops. His ability to hit big from the beginning surely helped his team on more occasions than one.

MS Dhoni set to break Tendulkar’s record, Kohli to overtake Dravid

MS Dhoni set to break Tendulkar's record, Kohli to overtake Dravid

Former India captain MS Dhoni, who captained India to their first-ever ODI series win in New Zealand in 2008 and guide his side to the first bilateral series win in Australia recently, is all set to break batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s batting records against New Zealand at their own backyard.

MS Dhoni shut all his critics with his performances. He scored three consecutive half-centuries in Australia, amassed 193 runs in 3 matches; which helped him to earn the ‘Player of the series’ award. In this series, he has completed 10,000 ODI runs and became the fifth Indian to do so after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli.

Image Source – Twitter

After a bad patch in 2018 where he scored 275 runs in 20 innings, Dhoni was criticised for his strike rate and poor form. Many started doubting his capabilities as well. But, the recently concluded Australia series has changed many equations also. India has been searching for a number 4 batsman who can anchor the innings till the end. If Dhoni can play like this, he would be perfectly fit for the place.

Currently, India is in New Zealand to play a five-match ODI and three-match T20I series against the Black Caps at their backyard. This series will help Dhoni to keep his momentum on prior to the World Cup in May. He is currently on a verge to break former India player Sachin Tendulkar’s batting record in New Zealand.

Also Read: 6 records that might break in the ODI series

Dhoni requires only 197 runs to surpass Sachin Tendulkar and add another feather in his cap. He has scored 456 runs in 10 matches and at present is the third on the list of India’s top ODI run-getters against Black Caps in New Zealand. He is currently behind of Sachin Tendulkar (652 in 18 matches) and Virender Sehwag (598 in 12 matches) only.

Image Source – Twitter

Along with MS Dhoni, India captain Virat Kohli too has the possibility to overtake Md Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid. Kohli is at present at the seventh position on the list of India’s highest ODI run-getters in New Zealand. He has 291 runs in 5 innings in his name. Former India captain Md Azharuddin scored 336 runs in 13 innings whereas Rahul Dravid smashed 425 runs in 12 innings before. Kohli needs only 134 runs to overtake the previous India players. However, Ravindra Jadeja is in the sixth place after Md Azharuddin with 344 runs.

Also Read: Unknown records held by Sachin Tendulkar

Highest Run-getters in ODI in New Zealand against New Zealand

Sachin Tendulkar 652
Virender Sehwag 598
MS Dhoni 456
Rahul Dravid 425
Md Azharuddin 336
Ravindra Jadeja 334
Virat Kohli 291

India’s 5th Test Victory In Australia

India's 5th Test Victory In Australia

After a thrilling Sydney test match, 2008 that India lost with few minutes of the last hour remaining on the final day Perth test became a stage for India to bounce back. 

On January 19, 2008, India won their 5th test match on Australian soil in Perth. The victory was significant and vital for the Indian team due to a lot of reasons.


Ricky Ponting, Sydney Test 2008 (Image – ESPNCRICINFO)

2008 Sydney test match saw one of the most controversial encounters between India and Australia. On the 5th day of the match, Australia scored 333 runs and declared innings just before the lunch. With only two sessions left to chase that massive target, India lost 3 quick wickets including Laxman and Tendulkar with just 54 on the board, although one of those was on a No-ball. Dravid and Ganguly batted together for more than 15 overs and added 61 runs. Then Dravid was given out caught-behind when his bat was nowhere close to the ball. Few overs later Ganguly was given out caught in the slip but the catch by Michael Clarke was not at all conclusive. But instead of checking with the third umpire, Mark Benson checked with Ricky Ponting and gave out. India collapsed at the last moment and got all out with just 9 minutes of play remaining. Later in the post-match press session a visibly upset Indian captain Anil Kumble asked a question on Australian team’s integrity. In fact, BCCI made an official complaint about incompetent umpiring.

Trending: Dhoni is happy to bat any position

During the same match, Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds went into racism controversy. The entire scenario is known as the ‘Monkeygate’ saga almost threatened to affect the relations between the two countries.

Perth Test

When men in blue appeared for the Perth test match, they were definitely not in the best of their mental state. However, Indians were keen to prove their metal with an inspired performance which could have been the best possible reply to the yellow brigade. Elected to bat first India were soon 59 for 2 when Rahul Dravid took the charge. Rahul Dravid (93) and Sachin Tendulkar (71) with a steady contribution from lower order helped India to reach 330. The partnership of 139 between Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar was all that India required at that stage. In reply, Australia were all out for 212. Only Symonds (66) and Gilchrist (55) could perform decently against India’s outstanding bowling. Only RP Singh took 4 wickets in the first innings and secured a 118 lead for India.

Ishant Sharma Troubling Ponting, Perth Test 2008 (Image- AFP)

India were struggling in the second innings when VVS Laxman again showed his very very special skill against Australia and scored an elegant 79. Indians finally put a target of 413 for the mighty Australians.  Indian bowling side had everything in store to trouble Ponting and co. Irfan Pathan was devastating. He picked up the openers in Australia’s both innings and finished the match with 5 wicket haul. A young, 18-year old Ishant Sharma’s spell kept troubling Ponting and gave him memories that he would probably never forget. The angry Indian captain poured all he had on the track and took four wickets in the match and joined the club of 600 wicket takers along with Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. Australia kept trying to defend but in the end, on day five, 19th Jan, India won the match by 72 runs.

This was a much-needed victory for the Indian team after those couple of troubled weeks. This was even the first win for any sub-continental team at Perth and a memorable comeback for India in the series. In fact, this was the second time that India denied a consecutive 17 test win for Australia after they did the same in 2001 Kolkata test.

5 Talking Points- India Australia ODI Series

5 Talking Points- India Australia ODI Series

India got their first bilateral series win in Australia by beating the host 2-1. Barring the first match in Sydney, Indian team looked mostly untroubled as Australian batsmen except for Shaun Marsh in 2nd ODI failed to make big scores after getting set. 

Their bowling in last two matches also looked toothless. Whereas Indians kept their cool except some part of the first match and looked mostly set for the upcoming World Cup. Here are some of the key talking points from the series.

Re-emergence of MS Dhoni

Image Source – The Indian Express

MS Dhoni did not score a single ODI fifty in 2018. He scored just 275 runs with an average of 25 and a strike rate of 71.42. Many questions were raised, people felt the old Dhoni was gone and even a part of media and fans were not sure whether Dhoni deserved a place in 2019 World cup planning or not. But India’s senior statesman started 2019 with a bang. This is the first time when Dhoni started the year with three consecutive 50’s. Two of these 50’s are unbeaten and came in winning causes. Although in all the matches Dhoni started slowly but picked up the scoring rate at the last stage of the chase. It has to be mentioned that in both matches he got excellent support from Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav, however, Dhoni himself showed enough promise to prove everyone that the 37-year-old can still contribute to Indian cricket. At least till the mega event of World Cup in June-July.

Also Read: Dhoni is happy to bat at any position

India’s middle order conundrum

Image Source – India Today

With ICC Cricket World Cup less than six months away, all these ODI matches are important to test various combinations to get a set team to take to the World cup. Despite a stable top, three India’s middle order is still not set and in this series also we saw them to try different combinations. In the last two years, India have given chance to players like Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Yuvraj Singh etc. All the above-mentioned names were not part of this tour as India trusted Ambati Rayudu for the number four spot based on his heroics in the 2018 IPL and also good showing in home ODIs against Windies. However, with two not so flattering performance, Rayudu was replaced by Kedar Jadhav who played a solid knock and looked solid to seal his spot for next few matches. Dinesh Karthik performed pretty well as a finisher in limited chances he got. He needs to produce some more decent performances in upcoming New Zealand tour then India’s 4-5-6 can be Dhoni-Kedar-DK with Rayudu as back up option. Interestingly the selectors have included the young talented Shubhman Gill in the Squad for the New Zealand tour and given a chance if he can display some part of his domestic/under-19 form, then that would give a happy headache to the selectors.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

India’s bowling reaches

Image Source – sportskeeda.com

In recent times, Indian bowlers are one of the best performers in world cricket. With around 10 world class bowlers with everyone offering something different, Indian bowling has great depth and gives various options to the captain. A big credit should goes to India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun, especially considering that bowling was India’s Achilles’ heel for the ages. In this series, India rested Jasprit Bumrah and with Hardik Pandya out due to unfortunate circumstances, India had to move away from the preferred combination of two wrist spinners to maintain balance. They played Ravindra Jadeja as an all-rounder and only one of Kuldeep or Chahal could play. Where Kuldeep Yadav was preferred for his recent performances and was steady in first two matches, Yuzvendra Chahal got a chance in the 3rd ODI and promptly delivered a man-of-the-match performance. His bowling analysis of 6-42 is the best bowling analysis for a spinner ever in ODI’s on Australian soil.

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who could not break into the eleven during the test series, was the leading wicket-taker in the ODI’s from both team and kept giving good starts to India. He got Australian captain Aaron Finch during his first spell in all three matches and ensured that Australia could not take the game ways from the beginning. Mohammed Shami provided much-needed stability during the middle and end overs with his control and a hint of reverse swing. Although both Khaleel and Siraj were not great they would get more chances and mostly be the backup options once Bumrah is back. India also has bowlers like Umesh Yadav, Deepak Chahar, and Siddarth Kaul to fall back on in case they need more bowling options.

Australia far from settled

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In the World Cup, Australia will go as defending champion, but in one of the rare occasions not as favorites. The absence of Steve Smith and David Warner has impacted their batting. Although their bans will be lifted before the World Cup, both have complained about injuries and their participation is not guaranteed. Without them, Australian batting looked weak and unsettled. Finch is out of form since the test series. Their experiment of opening with Alex Carey was not successful, Usman Khawaja kept getting starts but could not push towards big scores and Glenn Maxwell’s batting position looks one spot too low. Shaun Marsh is their best batsman currently and needs to lead the batting pack and control the innings especially towards the end.

In the bowling department, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were rested and with another back injury for Hazlewood, his chance of participating in World Cup looks bleak. Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff looked promising but have combined experience of 9 ODI’s among them and Australia will look to test various other options in their road to World Cup. They recalled Peter Siddle which looked like a failed move as Siddle ended with just 2 wickets with a bowling average of 81. Australia won just 4 of their last 26 ODI’s with this scenario even a semi-final spot looks unlikely for them

Kohli showing class

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If we go by the recent social media trend of #10yearchallenge, for Indian cricket it is how the mantle has passed from one Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli in the last ten years. Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in the world in all formats currently and he showed enough class to score another hundred in his favorite Adelaide cricket ground. This was ODI century number 39 and with 10 more ODI’s leading to World Cup and at least 9 matches during the World cup, Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries is looking ever so close. His captaincy was solid and mostly without any blemish. But we can say that he was not challenged much by Australia and mostly played the ODI series in a calm, relaxed manner unlike his passionate self displayed during the test series.

Ravi Shastri says he has seen Sachin get angry but not Dhoni

Ravi Shastri says he has seen Sachin get angry but not Dhoni

Former India player and current India men’s team Head Coach Ravi Shastri said that he has seen Sachin Tendulkar get “angry at times” but not Mahendra Singh Dhoni. 

Former India captain, MS Dhoni, who was going through a rough patch throughout the last year, started this year brilliantly. He scored three consecutive half-centuries in their three-match ODI series against Australia. He scored 51 off 96 in the first ODI but India failed to register a win but his stable innings n the next two matches helped India to win their first bilateral ODI series win by 2-1.

While talking about him to the Daily Telegraph, Shastri mentioned Dhoni as a “legend”. He further said that Dhoni is a once in a generation player who will be difficult to replace after his retirement. Moreover, he said that Indians should enjoy his presence until he is there.

Also Read: 3rd ODI as it happened

“He is a legend. He will go down as one of our great cricketers. I have never seen an individual so sound. I have seen Sachin at times get angry. Not this man,” Shastri said the Daily Telegraph.

“You can’t (replace him). Such players only come once in 30 or 40 years. That is what I tell Indians. Enjoy while it lasts. When he goes you will see a void that will be very hard to fill,” he further added.

Shastri further said that Dhoni has not given any proper cricketing interview after the World Cup win in 2011.

“Whether he gets a zero, gets a hundred, whether he wins the World Cup or loses in the first round, MS is the same man. He is simply consistent with his body language and composure. It amazes me how he does it. Since 2011 he has not given one interview.”

Prior to the series, many doubted Dhoni’s capabilities and his ability to finish the match. Some of them asked for his replacement as well. Many favoured Rishabh Pantas India’s wicket-keeper batsman for the upcoming World Cup who can give stability to the lower batting order. But Dhoni played match-winning knocks and shut his critics.

When former England captain Michael Vaughan asked if Rishabh Pant could be Dhoni in the next 20 years, Shastri replied, “I would love to. He has the talent. His hero is MS. Every day he is on the phone to MS. I think during the Test series he must have spoken more to MS than anyone else.”

Dhoni is not only a keeper-batsman in the team but also guides Kohli and others from behind the stumps. His experience, master strategies always help Kohli in every step and everyone in the team has immense respect for him.

“That is because he has the best angle. He sees things. He is great with the guys, they all worship him. This entire team has been built by him because he was captain for 10 years. To have that kind of respect in the dressing room and experience is massive,” said Shastri.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

While talking about the comparison between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, Shastri replied that Tendulkar was “more composed” who stayed in a zone while Virat Kohli is more “in your face”.

“Yesterday someone asked me if there are any similarities between Sachin and Virat. I said there were plenty. Let’s start with work ethic,” he said. “It is doing the hard yards, looking ugly in the nets and sacrificing important things for your cricket. It is staying in the zone. No excuses. No pointing fingers at others. If you make a mistake, then own up. They do that,” Shastri further said.

“Virat can be in your face. He is the closest a player has come to Vivian Richards in the way he bats. That ‘in your face’ approach with fast bowlers and any opponent. He is also prepared to do hard work and be ugly. That is part of his batting he learned in England,” said coach. “He is very caring with his team-mates and just a fantastic role model. He has achieved greatness but to still be in the zone and being humble and hungry and wanting Test cricket makes my admiration for him grow more and more.”

Shastri also expressed his thought over listening to criticism also.

“You expect it (the criticism). I am one of those that if it is constructive, then fine. If I find it is agenda-driven, I don’t care who the individual is, then I will throw a punch back straightaway. I mean it. I don’t care if he is a legend or a normal person. If I feel I have to punch back I will.”