Shikhar Dhawan becomes Afghanistan's maiden Test dismissal after record century

Sudhir Gupta 14/06/2018
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While expectations were sky high for Afghanistan’s maiden Test, Shikhar Dhawan didn’t adhere to the script as the debutants were given a rude awakening.

After stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat first, the India opener struck a rapid 87-ball century before lunch as the hosts piled on the runs at a brisk pace in the first session.

In the process, Dhawan became only the sixth batsmen in Test cricket history to register a ton before lunch on day one. He is the first Indian batsman to do and only the second in the world after Australia’s David Warner to achieve the feat in the last four decades.

Dhawan was his usual attacking self as he cut and drove fiercely. He had formed an unbeaten 158-run partnership with his opening partner Murali Vijay by the time lunch was taken on day one at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.

Dhawan entered the record books once again, this time post lunch as he became Afghanistan’s maiden Test wicket.

The left-hander fell shortly after lunch while attempting to drive pacer Yamin Ahmadzai through the covers. He could only find a thick edge as the ball flew towards Rahmat Shah at second-slip who failed to grab on to the chance. However, Mohammad Nabi was alert at first-slip and pounced on the rebound to complete Afghanistan’s maiden Test dismissal.

With that, 25-year-old Amhadzai ensured that his name will remain etched in the history of Afghanistan cricket just as Boyd Rankin had done for Ireland in their maiden Test against Pakistan recently.

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Sarfraz Ahmed becomes most successful Pakistan T20I skipper after Scotland clean sweep

Waseem Ahmed 14/06/2018
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The Pakistan side pose with the trophy after their 2-0 series win.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s personal form was the subject of heated debate as Pakistan beat Ireland in a one-off Test before squaring the two-match Test series against England at 1-1.

However, the Pakistan skipper roared back into form with a stupendous innings of 89 not out off just 49 deliveries in the first T20I against Scotland at Edinburgh on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Sarfraz’s men thumped Scotland by 84 runs in the second and final T20I to sweep the series 2-0. With this win, the 31-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has become the joint-most successful skipper in the T20I format in Pakistan’s history.

This was the 19th win under Sarfraz’s captaincy in just 22 matches since he took charge in September 2016. This puts him level with Shahid Afridi who also led Pakistan to 19 wins as skipper although the former all-rounder’s victories came in 43 matches.

Sarfraz's men proved to be too good for the Scots.

Sarfraz’s men proved to be too good for the Scots.

With a success-rate of over 86 per cent, Sarfraz has made Pakistan into a fearsome T20I outfit, which is reflected in their rise to the top of the ranking chart.

The right-hander has now presided over 11 wins in the last 12 T20I matches. Under his leadership, Pakistan have won all eight T20I series they have played. This run includes wins over England, West Indies, ICC World XI, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and now Scotland.

Pakistan have now not lost any bilateral T20I series since the start of 2016 when they lost 2-1 to the Blackcaps in a three-match series.

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T20 champions West Indies target rare Test series win against Sri Lanka

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West Indies are not considered the strongest teams in Test cricket. Franchises and T20 teams across the world make a beeline for their top cricketers. But when it comes to Test cricket, the focus moves away from West Indies cricket.

Not a competitive Test team you say? Well if you look at their record since 2016, the West Indies have registered some highly impressive wins.

They have defeated Pakistan twice – by five wickets in Sharjah in 2016 and 106 runs in Barbados in 2017. There was a five-wicket win over England in Leeds 2017 as well. And that was a first-choice fully fit England side.

When the Sri Lankans entered the three-Test series against the Windies, they might have hoped for some positive results. After all, they had blanked Pakistan 2-0 in the UAE last year before registering a thumping 215 run win in Bangladesh. They even managed to draw two Tests in India in November and December.

But this Windies team led by Jason Holder was not going to to roll over. The Sri Lankans were delivered a stunning blow in the first Test in Port of Spain as the hosts sailed to a 226-run win.

West Indies’ pace attack of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins and Holder did not concede an inch as the Lankans were shot out for 185 and 226.

And as the second Test between the two sides begins in St Lucia on Thursday, the Windies will be even more confident of securing a series win in the three-match series.

Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews and fast bowler Lahiru Gamage have returned home, adding to the visitors’ woes. Gamage fractured a finger while batting in the first Test while Mathews withdrew due to a “personal reason”.

With the Lankans already missing opener Dimuth Karunaratne due to a finger injury, the West Indies will be even more aggressive as not only have the visitors lost a premier batsman in Mathews, their bowling have been weakened considerably.

If West Indies do manage to taste success, it will be a moment to cherish in the country that has ‘lost’ more players to T20 franchise cricket than any other country.

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