The Sri Lankan spinners look threateningly beautiful on the Glle wicket which was proving to be a graveyard for the West Indies top order. The ball which got the wicket of Jason, Holder which was also the last wicket to fall on day four of the first Test between the two sides, was a perfect example of a straighter one from an off-spinner. It straightened ever so slightly and clipped the off stump that Holder stood holding the pose in disbelief. It was indeed a beauty of a ball.
However, to Holder’s wicket, five other Windies batter had fallen to spin, a series of dismissals that started on the team score of only three runs in the fourth innings, chasing a target of 348. The first to go was the Caribbean skipper Kraigg Brathwaite who was trapped in front by Mendis. Jermaine Blackwood, the next most experienced pure batter in the team fell next as he was caught by Angelo Mathews off Lasith Embulduniya.
The second wicket fell on the fourth ball of the seventh over at the team score of 11, but what transpired in the next five overs threatened to get West Indies bowled out for probably the lowest total in Test history as they lost the next four wickets with just an addition of seven runs. Mendis was the wrecker in chief, claiming three out of the four wi kets. From 11-1, the Windies were 18-6 in a span of 30 balls.
However, after this storm, there was finally some resistance as Joshua da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner put up unbeaten 34 runs for the seventh wicket and saw the Windies through the fourth day. The day was called early due to bad light and Sri Lankan bowlers will get another go on day five of the Test. With only four wickets left, it would be interesting to see how West Indies fare in their resistance.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka bowlers rolled over the West Indian first innings with meagre addition of thor overnight total of 224-9. Batting in their second innings, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and experienced Mathews guided the team to 190 in just 40 overs and gave their bowlers a real shot at getting 10 wickets in the remaining overs. Karunaratne scored 83 off 104 balls while Mathews made an unbeaten 69 off 84 balls.
India will lock horns with New Zealand in the two-match Test series slated to begin on Thursday in Kanpur. The home side will be without the services of some key players like Virat Kohli (rested for only one game), Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul. Rahul was on Tuesday ruled out of the series due to a muscle strain on his left thigh and Suryakumar Yadav has replaced him in the squad. With the absence of both Rahul and Rohit now, the onus of opening the batting will be on Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal. The last time the two sides met each other in a Test fixture was the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship in Southampton earlier this year. The Kane Williamson-led side won that game and clinched the trophy. India would now look to turn tables in the longer format of the game. Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the side in absence of Kohli in this match. On the other side, Devon Conway will miss out on playing the series due to a hand injury that he sustained during the T20 World Cup. Match Details Match: IND vs NZ, 1st Test, New Zealand tour of India, 2021 Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021 - Monday, November 29, 2021 Time: 9:30 AM (Nov 25) Venue: Green Park, Kanpur Pitch Report The venue hasn’t really hosted many Tests in the recent past and in fact the last one was against New Zealand only where R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja scalped 16 wickets out of the 20. It is expected that the track is likely to assist the spinners again but the batsmen can have some help in the initial phase of the game. So, if you win the toss, elect to bat. Team News India: India batter KL Rahul was ruled out of the series with muscle strain on his left thigh and the selectors called up Suryakumar Yadav as his replacement. But stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane has cleared that Shreyas Iyer who has already been in the squad will make his Test debut against New Zealand in Kanpur. New Zealand: Devon Conway’s absence is likely to have Will Young in the opener’s role while Tom Blundell can be seen in the middle order. Captain Kane Williamson who had missed the T20I series to prepare for the Tests is also back in the side. But the bowling combination is a much bigger headache for the team management considering the spinners’ role. Coach Gary Stead has already said that the team might field three spinners in the XI. Probable XI India: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Wriddihman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav New Zealand: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell (WK), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville Probable XI Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson (C), Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, R Ashwin (VC), Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Kyle Jamiseson
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is aware of the spin that Indian bowler will generate and is ready to face that as well in the upcoming two-match Test series that begins with the first Test in Green Park, Kanpur from November 25. But it is the ball that straightens and doesn’t turn is the one that he and all other Kiwi batters will be looking out for. "I suppose on some of these surfaces, the condition of the ball - whether it is new or old - is definitely a big factor and I guess one of the challenges is when you see the ball spin in such a big way and then the next one goes straight. It's about trying to come up with a game plan to accommodate that as well as you can while looking to score,” Williamson said in a press conference prior to the first day of play. Recognising that a number of teams have come here in the past and faced similar challenges, Williamson said that New Zealand’s condition wouldn’t be much different either. “There'll be a large spin component throughout the series. So the guys have been trying to prepare as well as they can and they're looking forward to the challenge. We know the strength of the Indian spin bowlers. They've been fantastic for a long time,” said the 31-year-old. So to deal with the Indian spinners, the Kiwi skipper said that they would be looking to come up with different methods and ways to score and try and be effective and build those partnerships. “The ways will be slightly different from one another [for each player]. We're trying to prepare as well as we can for the challenges that are coming up," Williamson said.
New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson is excited to play for New Zealand again after a gap of almost five months in an international game. He last played an international in June 20221 which was also the final of the World Test championship which New Zealand won. “It certainly feels a long time ago. No better way to start than the challenge of India in India,” he said on being asked about the challenge to play Test cricket in India. “I haven’t played a whole lot of cricket over here. I had the first half of the IPL which was good, but this will be different again,” the Kiwi bowler was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. It is not sure whether Jamieson would find a place in the playing XI in the first Test starting at Green Park in Kanpur from November 25 onwards, especially with Kiwi coach Gary Stead saying that they might field three spinners against India. But given that, Jamieson has the advantage of height which could be useful if New Zealand win the toss. “If I do play and get the new ball, it’s trying to swing that and as the conditions change and the roles change throughout the game, try to focus on that,” Jamieson, who has picked 46 wickets in only eight Tests said. Talking about his role in the team, the six-foot-tall bowler, who can also handle the willow pretty well said, “I’ve got Wags (Neil Wagner) and Timmy (Tim Southee) here, so that’ll be good to bounce ideas off them, to get their expertise on how to bowl here. I think for me it’s not trying to change my game too much — still try and stick to my strengths but try and adapt to what the conditions give.”
South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi will miss the three-match ODI series against the Netherlands at home after he tested positive for Covid-19. Ngidi has been replaced by Junior Dala in the side. Ngidi has played 29 ODIs in his career so far and has scalped 54 wickets at an economy of 5.62. The Proteas will be led by Keshav Maharaj as the selectors have rested the senior players Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje for the series. The three-match series is scheduled to commence on Friday in Centurion and the second and third games will be played on November 28 and December 1 respectively at the same venue. Apart from Maharaj, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell, Tabraiz Shamsi are some of the prominent names in the squad. This series is part of the ICC ODI World Cup Super League where 13 teams are competing to get a direct birth at the 10 team tournament scheduled to take place in India in 2023. South Africa squad: Keshav Maharaj (capt), Daryn Dupavillon, Zubayr Hamza, Reeza Hendricks, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Junior Dala, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Khaya Zondo.