Australian speedster Josh Hazlewood who took three wickets in the first Test match is currently racing against time to get fit for the second Test match.
Scheduled to be hosted in Adelaide between 16-20 December, Hazlewood does not have a lot of time on his hands to get match fit. Young paceman Jhye Richardson is primed as his replacement.
The right arm seamer had complained of soreness after the end of Day three’s play. He bowled just 14 overs in the second innings while the other pacers bowled 20 each. However, during his spell where he took the crucial wicket of Jos Buttler and did not look in visible discomfort.
Captain Pat Cummins spoke about the issue and stated that he was largely doing fine but it was a precautionary measure to not put much pressure on him. Hazlewood has flown to Sydney, and if fit, will join the team back in Adelaide.
Australia have other injury concerns going into the second match, with opener David Warner possibly having broken his rib against a short delivery in the first innings. While Australia have denied of any reports that Warner will be out of the second Test match, but things did not look okay when he could not take field or come out to bat with Australia needing just 20 runs to win the match.
Madhya Pradesh middle order batsman Venkatesh Iyer counter-attacked his way to safety in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday, 12 December. Playing against Chandigarh, Iyer came into batting with Madhya Pradesh in a precarious position having lost four quick wickets. Reeling at 56/4, Venkatesh Iyer and Aditya Shrivastava held the innings together with Iyer being the more attacking between them. While Shrivastava got run out at 70 off 80 balls, Iyer was at his best hitting 8 fours and 10 sixes. He scored 151 runs in just 113 balls at a tremendous strike rate of 133.63. He left the crease in the 49th over having taken MP over the 300 run margin. A late surge from Puneet Datey saw MP post 331 runs in 50 overs with Datey scoring an unbeaten 27 off just eight deliveries. Iyer has seen his stocks rise in Indian cricket after a stellar debut for Kolkata Knight Riders in Indian Premier League 2021, but before that he was very much a household name in the MP circuit having scored an incredible 198 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the 2020 season.
It was a riveting Super Smash 2021-22 encounter at the University Oval in Dunedin between the Northern Knights and home side Otago Volts as the latter emerged victorious in the last over with only three wickets to spare. Max Chu, the wicket-keeper batter and Angus McKenzie, a bowler who came to bat at number nine turned out to be the heroes even as experienced Neil Broom made a sincere effort with the bat, but was before finishing the job. It was Chu and McKenzie who kept their nerves and hit Scott Kuggeleijn, one of the most sought after T20 bowlers for two sixes in the last over when Volts required 10 to win off six balls. However, before that fateful over, Anurag Verma, the tall and slim fast bowler from Hamilton nearly won the Knights this game with his brilliant 19th over in which he gave only four runs and took key wickets of Michael Rippon and well-settled Broom, who was batting on 62 and looking to get his team over the line. In the previous over (18th) too, only four runs were conceded by Matthew Fisher and the wicket Llew Johnson was also taken to build the pressure on the Volts. The Volts didn’t really have a good start to the chase as they lost Hamish Rutherford and Josh Finnie early on. It was then that Anaru Kitchen got together with Broom and the duo added 45 for the third wicket. Though Kitchen departed, Broom continued to anchor the innings and found support in Llew Johnson. The pair added 46th for the fifth wicket as Broom also completed his fifty on the way. For Knights, apart from Verma’s two wickets, Fisher and Frederick Walker picked two each as well. Among these three bowlers, they conceded only 66 runs in their 12 overs while defending 146. However, Kugglein was the most expensive, giving away 51 runs in just 3.4 overs. Earlier in the day, Otago won the toss and asked Knights to bat first. Katene Clarke and Tim Seifert gave the team a rocking start, reaching 39 in the first four overs before Seifert was eventually removed. From there on it became difficult for Clarke to find support even though Henry Cooper made run a ball 24. Both of them getting out together didn’t help the cause of the team from the north. From 95-2, they were suddenly 95-4 with two completely new men at the crease. If it wasn’t for Verma and Kugglein’s run a ball 22 and 14 respectively, even reaching 146 would have been difficult for the Knights as they were reduced to 104-6 in the 14th over. For Otago, Josh Finnie and Michael Rippon picked two wickets each while Kitchen was economical to the core, giving away only 19 runs in his four overs and taking the wicket of Jeet Raval. This was Otago’s first win in the competition having lost one game and one match being washed out. For Knights, they are still to register a win as they have lost one game and one match has been washed out.
Three West Indies players Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers have tested positive for the Covid-19 on landing in Karachi, Pakistan where the team is scheduled to play three T20Is and three ODIs, the first one starting on Monday, December 13. The tests were done on December 9 when the Caribbean team arrived and along with the trio, a non-coaching member of the team management was also found positive for the virus. It has yet not been revealed whether the variant of the Covid was Omicron. The entire four members of the squad will undergo self-isolation and will subsequently be unavailable for the three-match T20I series. The unavailability of the three players, who were a sure shot selection in the playing XI given that the regular skipper Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell were already unavailable for the series, makes the West Indies’ prospect even slimmer against a string Pakistan T20 unit. The cases were done public on the confirmation from Johnny Grave, the CEO of Cricket West Indies. He said, "Our arrival testing protocols in Pakistan have confirmed four (4) Covid-19 positives.” “These were confirmed whilst the players and staff were still in room isolation, so despite this significant setback to our preparation plans, we are confident that the tour can continue as everyone else returned negative PCRs prior to their arrival in Pakistan and two negative PCRs since they have been in Karachi,” added Grave.
Sri Lanka spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has said that he wants to pick India Test skipper and his favourite player, Virat Kohli’s wicket. “I would love to get my favourite cricketer Virat Kohli’s wicket someday. I also want to pick Babar Azam and Glenn Maxwell’s wickets as well," Hasaranga said when asked to name the players he wishes to dismiss in his career. Talking about his bowling, Hasaranga said that he always tries to pick wickets whenever he has the ball in his hands and that is the reason for him being successful. “When I am bowling, I always try to take wickets. When I am in the national team, I always try to do my best for the team. That’s why I am successful," he said. Hasaranga has become a good household name and his comparisons are drawn with legends like Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath but the spinner is focused on his own game. “I am always motivated to perform. I don’t feel any pressure. I don’t want to be the next Muralitharan or the next Herath. I want to be the first Hasaranga," he said.