Bad light yet again forced an early end to another day of Indian dominance as South Africa lost both their openers Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock after India ended their first innings on 497 for 9.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were the stars for the hosts as the former became the first batsman to score a maiden Test double century after scoring double hundreds in ODIs, while the latter broke his three-year jinx to register a century at home.
Rahane strokes his way to an elegant ton
The fourth-wicket duo rescued India in style last afternoon by attacking the spinners, George Linde and Dane Piedt, and adding 134 runs in 29 overs. It was much of the same on the second morning as India piled 133 runs in the first 27 overs of Day 2.
Rahane notched his 11th Test century and his first at home since 2016. The middle-order batsman was in complete control during his 192-ball stay in the middle, managing 17 boundaries and one maximum. This was also the first time in 12 years that two batsman from Mumbai had scored centuries in the same Test match, since Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer scored tons against Bangladesh in 2007.
The 31-year-old has eight centuries for India whilst batting at No5, which is two more than what Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman managed batting at the same position.
Rohit comes into his own as an opener
Rohit started his opening stint in Tests with a bang, scoring twin hundreds at Vizag. On Sunday, he was determined to convert his third century at the top of the order to a double and did so in style. A short of length delivery from Lungi Ngidi was pulled away with disdain over the square leg for six by the 32-year-old to reach his maiden double century. The languid batsman got to his double hundred off 249 balls, having hit 28 boundaries and four maximums.
His innings was wonderfully constructed as he took his time initially before laying into the hapless South African spin-attack. Sharma became the first Indian opener since Virender Sehwag in 2005 to score 500+ runs in a series. In the 12 Tests he has played at home, he averages 99.84.
India’s lower order packs a punch
With two all-rounders and a wicket-keeper to complement a strong top-order, India’s decision to play five specialist batsmen was once again justified at Ranchi. Not only did they recover from a tricky situation at the start of the innings, but they were also able to consolidate after the departure of the top-order batsmen to post a huge total.
Ravindra Jadeja’s patient fifty and an explosive cameo from Umesh Yadav provided a fine end to the innings. Umesh smashed five sixes in his 11-ball stay to record the fastest ever 30+ score in Tests. After the departure of the double centurion, India’s committed lower order added 127 runs in 28 overs.
South Africa rattled in fading light
As light began to decline rapidly, Virat Kohli chose to declare with the team score at 497. India could manage only five overs before stumps was called and still prized out two important wickets in the brief period of play. Indian pacers, Mohammad Shami and Umesh, were able to generate unnerving bounce with the new ball and helped themselves to a wicket each.
Dean Elgar tentatively hung his bat at a delivery that rose sharply, took the edge before being pouched by Wriddhiman Saha. In the very next over, Quinton de Kock was undone by a snorter of a bumper from Umesh. The southpaw couldn’t get his gloves out of the way and ball looped over to the keeper who completed his second catch in two overs.
Faf du Plessis and rookie batsman Zubayr Hamza were the unbeaten batsmen at the crease when the umpire brought the day to a close due to poor visibility.
With South Africa struggling on a crumbling pitch after an Indian opener scored a double ton, this Test seems to be following the same script as the previous Test.
Day 2, Stumps : South Africa 9 for 2 (Shami 1-0, Umesh 1-4) trail India 497 (Rohit 212, Rahane 115, Linde 4-133) by 488 runs
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Wrist-spinners, with their knack for wickets, their variations and their guile make themselves invaluable in T20s. In the past five years, nine of the 15 most successful T20I bowlers are wrist spinners.
No wonder teams are desperately trying to find one for their squad before the ICC T20 World Cup next year in Australia.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have come up with a strange strategy to find their very own Rashid Khan. Just as the Indian Premier League has helped India identify young talents, the BCB is trying to twist rules of its own T20 league to unearth a leg-spinner.
According to the new rules of the Bangladesh Premier League, each of the seven teams for the upcoming season of the T20 tournament must have an overseas quick bowler who bowls above 140kph and a leg-spinner, who has to bowl four overs in each game.
This hasn’t gone down well with one of the finest cricketers Bangladesh has ever produced – Shakib Al Hasan – the most successful T20I bowler outside the spectrum of wrist-spinners, picking up 48 wickets in the past five years.
The all-rounder believes that the BPL isn’t a tournament to develop players and that with only a robust first-class structure can talented players emerge.
“I think that legspinners should bowl a lot of overs in first-class cricket to gain confidence and consistency,” Shakib told the Bengali daily Samakal.
“The BPL is an international-standard competitive tournament where you will face scenarios that you are likely to face in international cricket. You share the dressing room with overseas cricketers. It is not the place to make a player.
“For so many years we couldn’t select a legspinner for the senior team, but suddenly we made plans to include seven legspinners in the BPL. This decision does come as a bit of a surprise, but I would still state that the board has taken a decision that it thinks is good.”
The 32-year-old also weighed in on the poor remuneration for the domestic players and that the players are “being suppressed”.
“[First-class match fees] is very unacceptable,” Shakib said. “It is a very small amount for a cricketer to maintain the minimum standard of living in Bangladesh. Things are getting costlier. Government officers get increments every year, but we see that it is same for us every time. It even gets reduced. BPL and DPL are big examples of this.
“I always get a feeling that cricketers in our country are being suppressed. This is not right. Everyone should have equal opportunity. A player should be left to earn what he feels he deserves. If the team doesn’t want to take the player at that payment, the player will deal with it. But to stop him from [freely naming his price] is not right.
“If the decision-makers don’t think that they need to sit with us, then we don’t have much to do. I think that discussion with players or a group of players will help cricket’s development.
“But I am glad that they are focused on cricket development. Like, the concern shown towards fitness, although they could have announced it earlier. Papon bhai (Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president) did say that fitness tests will become tougher but they will announce it earlier.”
The upcoming edition of the BPL will not be a franchise-run affair and, instead, be owned by the BCB. This is due to a clash between the board and six of the seven existing team owners, Dhaka Dynamites being the only exception.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers threw up yet another upset as Papua New Guinea (PNG) cantered to a 10-wicket win over Bermuda in their opening game of the tournament.
The star of the show was right-arm pacer Norman Vanua who picked up a hat-trick in his first over of the match.
Bermuda, put into bat, were in trouble early, losing two wickets in the first two overs. It only got worse from there when the 25-year-old fast bowler picked up three wickets off the final three deliveries of the third over to have them tottering at 11/5.
Skipper Dion Stovell was the first of Vanua’s three victims as he was castled by a pinpoint yorker. Southpaw Kamau Leverock was the next to go, nicking a short delivery through to the keeper.
Deunte Darrell walked out without a helmet to face the fast bowler’s hat-trick ball. PNG skipper Assad Vala saw an opportunity for a double bluff and set the field for a bouncer by putting a fielder at deep square leg. He then signaled for Vanua to bowl a yorker, who delivered the perfect toe crusher to trap the batsman plumb in front of the stumps.
This is the fifth T20I hat-trick in 2019 with Rashid Khan, Lasith Malinga, Mohammad Hasnain and Khawar Ali bagging hat-tricks in the shortest format, earlier this year.
11/2 ➡️ 11/5— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 19, 2019
A stunning hat-trick from Norman Vanua laid the platform for a convincing 10 wicket victory for PNG earlier in the day.
How good was that last yorker?! #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/Wn0rxLRD7P
Vanua finished with figures of 2.2-1-14-3.
Bermuda were bowled out for 89 in the 18th over and PNG chased the target down in style with 58 deliveries and 10 wickets to spare. Vala was the top scorer for the victors, helping himself to an unbeaten half-century in an easy victory.