Good morning cricket fans, and welcome to Monday’s live cricket blog.
The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest cricket news from around the world. We will be bringing you all the news from the deciding Test between Pakistan and New Zealand which gets under way today in Abu Dhabi.
We will also be looking ahead to the four-match Test series between Australia and India which begins from Thursday.
7:30 pm – Mixed emotions for Walsh
Bangladesh coach and former West Indies bowling great Courtney Walsh confessed to having mixed emotions after his compatriots were routed by an innings by the team he now guides.
For more, click here.
6:00 pm – Pakistan spinners on song
Pakistan spinners Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif shared five wickets between them on the opening day of the third and final Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi to give the hosts the upper hand.
2:00pm – India’s bowlers backed to shine despite tour game display
While India’s bowlers might have conceded 544 runs in their warm up game against a Cricket Australia XI, batsman Cheteshwar Pujara remains confident that they can do the job in the upcoming four-match Test series against Australia.
Read what Pujara had to say on India’s bowling unit here. The need for India’s bowlers to adapt is among our three things needed for the tourists to win a maiden Test series in Australia. Read more on that here.
1:00pm – Chris Gayle lands big payout in defamation case
The 39-year-old had been accused of exposing his genitals to masseuse Leanne Rusell in a series of articles published by Fairfax Media-owned Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and The Age in 2016.
Read more on this story here.
9:45am – New Zealand elect to bat first in decider against Pakistan
New Zealand will bat first in the third and final Test against Pakistan after skipper Kane Williamson won the toss at Abu Dhabi.
Will Pakistan complete a come-from-behind series win or will the Kiwis attain their first Test series win on Asian soil since 2008? Do not miss any of the action from the decider at Abu Dhabi by following our ball-by-ball coverage here.
9:30am – Shakib Al Hasan hails Bangladesh’s landmark win
Bangladesh star all-rounder and skipper Shakib Al Hasan has hailed his side’s ‘special’ series clinching win over the West Indies in the second Test at Mirpur.
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan picked up a 12-wicket haul as Bangladesh beat the Windies by an innings and 184 runs inside just three days.
Read what Shakib had to say on Bangladesh’s landmark win here.
9:00am – ACC chief bats for more India v Pakistan clashes
Newly appointed Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief Nazmul Hasan has called on India and Pakistan to play more bilateral matches between themselves in the interest of the game.
Bilateral cricket relations between the two Asian arch-rivals remains at a standstill and matches remain limited to ICC and ACC events like the recent Asia Cup held in the UAE.
Read Nazmal Hasan’s quotes in full here.
8:30am – Northern Warriors storm to T10 title
Northern Warriors gave another glimpse of their awesome hitting power as they stormed to a 22-run win in the final of the T10 League against Pakhtoon in Sharjah on Sunday.
The Warriors posted an imposing 140-3, with Caribbean batsman Rovman Powell leading the way with 61 from just 25 deliveries, an innings that included eight hits to the fence and four over it.
Read more on the Warriors’ title win here.
8:00am – Shaheen Afridi to make Pakistan Test bow
Pakistan will hand a Test debut to teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi when they take on New Zealand in the series decider in Abu Dhabi from Monday.
The 18-year-old was expected to make his Test bow after a shoulder injury to seamer Mohammad Abbas.
Read what Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed had to say about Afridi’s potential debut here.
Pakistan spinners took control of third and final Tests against the Kiwis in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
New Zealand batted first in the third Test after Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson won the toss at Abu Dhabi. Shaheen Afridi struck early in his Test debut for Pakistan by trapping Tom Latham lbw.
Following a promising stand between Jeet Raval and Williamson, Yasir Shah wrecked havoc on the Kiwis by picking up three wickets in no time. The Pakistan leg-spinner accounted for Raval, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls as New Zealand went to lunch at 73-4.
Williamson led a fine response but was dismissed on 89 by Hasan Ali in the third session. Thereafter, off-spinner Bilal Asif struck twice as the Kiwis were reduced to 215-7. The visitors went to stumps at 229-7.
Do not miss any of the action from the decider at Abu Dhabi by following our ball-by-ball coverage below.
Virat Kohli and his No1 ranked Indian team have been pegged as the favourites by many to attain their maiden Test series win on Australian soil.
However, winning a Test series Down Under, despite the hosts missing the services of Steve Smith and David Warner, will not be an easy challenge.
Here, we look at three things India need to do to in order to multiply their chances of a series win.
BATTING SUPPORT FOR KOHLI
India’s batting failed massively in the tour of South Africa and then England, with Kohli the only one to come out with any credit. The India skipper was almost a one-man army in the batting department with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay flattering to deceive.
In Australia, India cannot afford a similar display from the batting department if they are to win a maiden Test series. While Kohli can be expected to continue his astonishing 2018 form, he will need at least two other batsmen from his side to have a prolific series.
The bowling line-ups of the two sides are more or less evenly matched with Australia having the slight edge. Hence, it will come down to the batsmen on either side to provide the decisive impact.
While Rishabh Pant can be India’s wild card in the batting department, it will really have to be the senior batsmen like Rahane and Pujara who will need to step up big time.
GET ON TOP OF LYON
There was a time when Indian batsmen were feared for their prowess against spin bowling. Not anymore.
The current Indian squad has displayed a vulnerability against spin time and time again, with Moeen Ali’s man-of-the-match display in the Southampton Test being the most recent example.
While India will be definitely put through a rigorous examination by Australia’s fearsome pace trio, how they handle off-spinner Nathan Lyon will have a huge bearing on the series.
The offie was the highest wicket-taker during India’s 2014-15 tour of Australia with 23 scalps in the four matches. He has an excellent record against India and has managed to dismiss Kohli five times previously, the joint most by any bowler in Test cricket.
To top it all, Lyon’s record at the Adelaide Oval (venue for the first Test) is terrific with 37 wickets in his previous appearances.
PACE ATTACK ADAPTING TO AUSSIE PITCHES
India’s pace battery has been getting plenty of rave reviews for the past year or so and many former players and pundits alike have described it as the best in the country’s history.
However, while the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma looked excellent on the swinging pitches of England and South Africa, they will not enjoy the same helpful conditions in Australia.
Pace and bounce has traditionally been the way to go for bowlers in Australia and India could find themselves struggling in that aspect. A lot will depend on how Bhuvneshwar and Shami adapt to the conditions given the fact that they will not enjoy as much seam movement as they would like.
While Ishant can be a threat with his sharp bounce and Bumrah can be effective with his unorthodox action, the swing bowlers will need to show something different if India are to consistently pick up 20 wickets in the four matches.
If the tour match against a Cricket Australia XI was any indication, then there is plenty of work for the bowlers still to do.