The Caribbean Premier League is approaching its business end with Trinbago Knight Riders topping the points table as the fight intensifies for a spot in the knockout stages.
As is the case with many T20 leagues across the world, wrist spinners are having a ball. The slow and dry surfaces in the West Indies have helped slow bowlers make a big impact. No surprises then that this season, the top two bowlers are leg-spinners.
Knight Riders’ Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed tops the charts with 15 wickets from nine matches at a superb economy of 6.5. His consistency has helped Trinbago register seven wins from nine matches. This is one of the most dominant performances in Pakistan-born Australian spinner’s career and will serve a reminder to the Australian management that he still has it in him to deliver at the top level.
Right next to him on the wickets table is South African spinner Imran Tahir. The Guyana Amazon Warriors spinner also has 15 wickets from nine matches at an even better economy of 6.1.
Tahir is still going strong at the age of 39 and his wicket-taking skills are not showing any signs of slowing down. Just goes to show that quality wrist spin will always be a potent weapon in T20 cricket.
England finished Day Three on 114-2 to lead by 154 runs in the fifth and final Test against India at The Oval.
Opener Alastair Cook was batting on 46 in his final Test innings and captain Joe Root on 29.
The hosts lost opener Keaton Jennings and Moeen Ali in the final session on Sunday. Jennings was bowled by Mohammed Shami while Ali’s stumps were rattled by Ravindra Jadeja.
Earlier, India resumed their first innings from their overnight score of 174-6 on day three of the fifth and final Test at The Oval.
Hanuma Vihari and Jadeja took India past the 200-run mark with the former registering a maiden half-century on his debut.
Post lunch, Moeen struck once again with Ishant Sharma following the same mode of dismissal as Vihari. Jadeja, meanwhile, reached fifty and was looking good for a ton despite having only Jasprit Bumrah for company. However, an ill-judged single cost Bumrah his wicket with Jadeja left stranded on 86 as India folded for 292 runs in their first innings.
Joe Root’s men currently lead the five-match series 3-1 and will be looking to finish the English summer on a high with another win.
Do not miss any of the action from day three by following the live ball-by-ball updates in the link below.
The visitors were in big trouble of bother at the end of the day two after being reduced to 160-6 but showed tremendous fight in the opening session on Sunday in which only one wicket fell.
At the forefront of the fightback was Vihari with the 24-year-old scoring 56 runs in his maiden innings in Test cricket. Here, we take a closer look at the debutant’s performance.
BALLS FACED: 124
It was an eventful maiden innings for Vihari who arrived at the crease on Saturday in treacherous conditions with India under pressure. He survived a leg-before appeal which should have been given out before overturning another leg-before decision with the help of review. Surviving some anxious moments on both days along with numerous close calls, Vihari brought up a hard-fought half-century with the help of some streaky boundaries combined with composed batting. After negotiating a hostile spell from James Anderson and Stuart Broad on day three, the batsman perished to the off-spin of Moeen Ali.
Hanuma Vihari 26th Indian to register a 50+ score in debut innings.— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) September 9, 2018
The last Indian before him was Hardik Pandya who made 50 at Galle in July 2017.#EngvInd
While he lived dangerously at times during his stay at the crease, Vihari’s determination and focus cannot be faulted. He came in to bat when England’s pacers had their tails up with the ball moving prodigiously off the deck but remain composed despite playing and missing umpteen times with edges flying wide off the slip fielders or just short of them. What worked in his favour was that he always looked to play with soft hands. Having survived the difficult period, Vihari profited when the bowlers erred in their lengths and a maiden Test fifty on debut was just reward for his endevours.
Vihari displayed good composure for most part, nerves were clear to see in his batting especially on day two. After being constantly beaten by the swing of Anderson and Broad, Vihari fell into the trap of taking on the short ball against Ben Stokes. He miscued two pull shots in the same over but luckily for him the ball sailed to the boundary on both occasions. Will need to control that rush of blood but that should come with more experience.
VERDICT – 7/10
After being tested by Anderson and Co, Vihari ultimately survived the challenge with his reputation enhanced greatly. He had his fair share of luck during his 124-ball stay but stuck around despite being made to look as an amateur at times with the seam-movement on offer at The Oval. His 77-run stand for the sixth wicket along with Ravindra Jadeja kept India’s chances alive in the final Test. His selection was questioned by many at the start of the Test but Vihari’s maiden innings has ensured that those calls will dissipate for the time being.