Adil Rashid's dismissal of KL Rahul brings back flashbacks of Shane Warne's 'ball of the century'

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Adil Rashid dismissed KL Rahul with a ripper of a delivery.

Adil Rashid evoked memories of Shane Warne‘s ‘ball of the century’ as he helped England win the fifth Test against India at The Oval.

The tourists were threatening a world-record chase when opener Lokesh Rahul and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant put on 204 for the sixth wicket.

But leg-spinner Rashid got one to pitch outside leg stump and clip the top to remove Rahul for 149.

England went on to win by 118 runs, with James Anderson breaking Glenn McGrath’s record for the most Test wickets by a fast bowler with the game’s final delivery, but Rashid’s ball will also live long in the memory.

Australian Warne’s delivery at Old Trafford back in 1993 – his first in an Ashes Test – also pitched outside leg and clipped the top of Mike Gatting’s off stump.

And former England opener Geoffrey Boycott was quick to compare Rashid’s delivery to Warne’s.

As it happened, BBC Test Match Special pundit Boycott said on air: “Shane Warne ball! It pitched two foot outside leg stump, into the bowler’s footmarks.

“That turned a long, long way. Rahul was just trying to angle it for a single.”

Others using social media also likened Rashid’s delivery to Warne’s, with journalist @StocksC_cricket writing: “Ball of the century MkII.”

Rashid was humble about his delivery when asked about it after the game.

He told TMS: “It did go miles. I was just trying to spin it hard, into the rough. Luckily that went quite a bit and hit the top of off.”

Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow added to Sky Sports cricket: “That ball from Rash, people talk about balls of the century, that is up there. It has turned about three or four foot, I reckon.”

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Kapil Dev backs India to win Asia Cup in UAE despite Virat Kohli's absence

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Former India captain Kapil Dev.

Former India captain Kapil Dev insists India are the favourites in the upcoming Asia Cup even though they don’t have regular captain and prolific batsman Virat Kohli in the side.

Rohit Sharma will lead the Indians in the UAE in a tournament also featuring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong starting September 15 in Dubai.

India lost their most recent ODI series in England and enter the Asia Cup with a few questions about their finishing skills. They were also defeated emphatically by Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and now will be without their main batsman in Kohli in the UAE.

However, former India captain and coach Dev said India are still the better team and are favourites in the Asia Cup.

“I¬†feel yes (India are favourites). On paper, India one-on-one is far better than any¬†other team,” Dev told Sport360 in Dubai. He was present as Channel 2 Group announced their partnership with the Asia Cup where they will be providing live commentary.

The UAE is like a¬†second home¬†for Pakistan who have been playing in the country for the best part of a decade. They have an incredible record on the slow and dry surfaces of the UAE and have a full-strength squad to chose from. Moreover, the¬†Champions Trophy final win is still fresh in the minds of Pakistan players like Hasan Ali. However, Dev believes a lot of time has passed since that result and added Pakistan¬†can’t be seen as the favourites.

“I don’t think Pakistan are favourites. I don’t think past results will have a bearing on this tournament. These days you move on in life. No one keeps that in mind for more than six to¬†eight months,” Dev added.

The legendary all-rounder believes the presence of wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the India line-up gives them a big edge as Pakistan and some other teams haven’t faced them.

“With a new wrist spinner it takes time to understand them. They are wicket-taking bowlers. They can be very effective and that is what a team looks for.”

OPPORTUNITY LOST IN ENGLAND

The Indian team is staring down the barrel in England at the moment, having lost the Pataudi Trophy 3-1 with the prospect of finishing the series 4-1 at The Oval.

India had golden opportunities to win the Birmingham and Southampton Tests but the world No1 team squandered them. Dev said that India must learn from the mistakes.

“Winning didn’t come (in England) but otherwise they played good cricket. They had chances where they could have won the series but they didn’t grab those chances. And this is what cricket is all about. Whoever has better nerves that moment (wins),” he added.

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Ravindra Jadeja should now be picked as India's main Test spinner ahead of Ravi Ashwin

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Ravindra Jadeja.

India were handicapped by the injury to off-spinner Ravi Ashwin in the fouth Test against England at Southampton and that cost them the series.

On a pitch¬†conducive¬†to spinners and where England’s Moeen Ali scalped nine on the Test, Ashwin struggled to land the ball in the same area consistently as he struggled with a hip injury he carried from the third Test. Why the Indian team decided to pick an unfit¬†Ashwin in a¬†decider is a pertinent question but the fact is Ashwin aggravated his injury and India lost the Test by 60 runs and with it the Pataudi Trophy.

It was believed left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja would have been a better option as on wickets that offer sharp turn, he is a lot more lethal than regular off-spinners as he has a strong action and can get the ball to zip off the surface.

That belief was proven to be true in the fifth and final Test at The Oval as Jadeja showed the management what could have been. In the first innings, Jadeja kept a tight line and got the ball to turn appreciably at times to pick up four wickets from 30 overs while giving away just 79 runs. For comparison, Ashwin took one wicket from 37 overs in Southampton while giving away 84 runs on a pitch that was borderline minefield.

Then with India down and almost out in their first innings in London, Jadeja rose to the occasion and in the company of debutant Hanuma Vihari (56) dug India out of a hole and took them from 160-6 to 292 with an unbeaten 86.

His six down the ground off James Anderson with the second new ball was a sight to behold and spoke as much about his intent as it did about his ability.

Ravindra Jadeja (l) and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ravindra Jadeja (l) and Ravichandran Ashwin.

Jadeja offers a strong bowling action, consistency in line and length, world-class fielding skills and quick runs down the order. Ashwin, as good as he is, does not exude consistency. He has chopped and changed his action, switched to leg-spin bowling, and has failed to remain fit during what should have been the defining series of his career.

Moving forward, India should look to give Jadeja the first crack when it comes to away Tests. There will generally be just one spot for spinner, especially when India tour Australia later in the year, and the¬†character that Jadeja has show in London this week will be a lot more valuable than the uncertainty that surrounds Ashwin’s brilliance.

What also works in Jadeja’s favour is he is fitter than Ashwin and can be trusted to play the holding role. All these factors should¬†put the left-arm tweaker ahead of Ashwin in the pecking order for away Tests.

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