Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya claimed five wickets to put New Zealand on the back foot despite Ross Taylor’s unbeaten half-century in the first Test in Galle Wednesday.
Dananjaya, bowling with a remodelled action after being reported for a suspect action last year, trapped BJ Watling for one at the stroke of tea to register his fourth five-wicket haul in six matches.
New Zealand were 179 for five, having recovered from 71-3 at lunch as Taylor and Henry Nicholls put on 100 runs to lead the tourists’ fightback.
Taylor was unbeaten on 70 after New Zealand elected to bat first at the start of the two-match series.
Dananjaya, who took three wickets in the first session including skipper Kane Williamson’s prized scalp for nought, trapped Nicholls lbw for 42 to break the fourth-wicket century stand.
Taylor handled pace and spin with aplomb as he registered his 31st Test fifty.
Earlier, openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham put on 64 runs before Dananjaya struck on a pitch that is already offering big turn.
Latham was the first to go after being caught behind for 30 as Dananjaya got the left-handed batsman to poke at a delivery that was turning away.
Williamson fell three balls later when he flicked one straight into the hands of his opposite number Dimuth Karunaratne at short midwicket.
In the last over before lunch, Raval failed to pick a googly and was caught at first slip by Dhananjaya de Silva for 33.
Both Sri Lanka and New Zealand are playing their first match of the World Test Championship, which has nine top teams competing for supremacy in the five-day format.
The hunt for the new coach of the men’s Indian cricket team is set to draw to a close soon with six candidates being shortlisted for the final interview to be conducted buy BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC).
Current head coach Ravi Shastri, Tom Moody, Mike Hesson, Phil Simmons, Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput are the six men who have been shortlisted for the job according to a report by the Press Trust of India (PTI).
The six men will now be interviewed by the CAC comprising of Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy before the final selection is made on Friday.
“These six will give presentation for head coach before CAC. It has been learnt that these six have been shortlisted for interview with the CAC,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by the PTI.
Here, we run the rule over the six shortlisted candidates.
The former India all-rounder has been on the coaching circuit for more than 15 years now in various capacities with stints all across the globe. While he has previously coached the India U19 and the India A teams, Robin Singh has also held the role of the fielding coaching with the senior men’s team between 2007 and 2009.
He has coached the national teams of Hong Kong and the United States of America when it comes to international cricket while he has a wealth of experience of managing T20 franchises around the globe.
Singh has had coaching stints with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Barbados Tridents in the CPL, Khulna Titans in the BPL along with Kerala Kings in the T10 League held in the UAE.
The former Bombay and India opening batsman was the manager of the Indian team which went on to lift the inaugural World T20 championship in 2007 under the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
Rajput has previously coached Mumbai Indians in the IPL before taking up the Afghanistan job in 2016. It was in Rajput’s tenure that Afghanistan managed to pull off a shock ODI win over the West Indies before he was replaced by Phil Simmons in 2017.
Rajput has also held the role of Zimbabwe head coach subsequently and he was recently at the helm of Winnipeg Hawks in the 2019 Global T20 Canada.
The Kiwi has turned into one of the most sought-after coaches following a six-year spell with the Black Caps which saw the team go all the way to the final of the 2015 World Cup.
Hesson is widely credited with transforming the playing culture of the Black Caps alongside then skipper Brendon McCullum and was instrumental in the side notching up away Tests series wins in England as well as South Africa.
More recently, Hesson was in charge of the Kings XI Punjab franchise in the IPL but he has stepped down from that role after his name was linked to the India, Bangladesh and Pakistan jobs.
The Australian is no stranger when it comes to coaching in the subcontinent and achieved considerable success with the Sri Lankan team whom he led to the finals of the 2007 World Cup.
Moody has since had coaching stints in the Big Bash League, IPL, BPL, Pakistan Super League and the CPL. He was in charge of Sunrisers Hyderabad for seven IPL seasons in total and led them to the title in 2016 along with runner-up finish in the 2018 edition.
The former Australia all-rounder recently parted ways with the Hyderabad franchise and seems intent on landing an international job in the subcontinent.
The current incumbent remains the favourite to retain his role with the team due to his excellent equation with skipper Virat Kohli.
It has been more than two years now in the role for Shastri in what is the second stint with India for the former all-rounder and the results have largely been positive.
India have established themselves as the top Test side under Shastri and are only behind world champions England when it comes to the ODI format. However, failure to win away Test series in England and South Africa slightly blots Shastri’s report card with India as does the team’s semi-final loss to New Zealand in the recent World Cup.
If Kohli has his way, it will be Shastri once again who will be in the dugout for India.
The former West Indies all-rounder is the surprise entrant in the six-man shortlist but he has one of the most enviable coaching resumes among them. Simmons started his coaching journey with the Zimbabwe side in 2004 but his major success came with Ireland in a memorable eight-year stint.
Under Simmons, Ireland were able to qualify for every major ICC event and pulled off shock wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup, England in the 2011 World Cup and the West Indies in the 2015 edition.
He then took charge of Windies in 2015 before leading them to the World T20 title in India in 2016. Simmons was most recently involved with the Afghanistan team before his contract came to an end after the 2019 World Cup in England.
The onus will very much be on England to take the game to Australia when the two arch-rivals meet in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s beginning on Wednesday.
Joe Root and his men trail 0-1 in the five-match series after being thrashed by 251 runs in the opener at Edgbaston and now have their task cut out for them if they are to regain the historic urn from the current holders.
Only twice in history have England gone on to win an Ashes series after losing the opening game and the most recent instance of that happening came in 2005 when the hosts bounced back to beat Australia in one of the most memorable Test battles of all time.
Starc or Hazlewood for Pattinson
Australia have announced their 12-man squad for the Lord’s Test with the omission of James Pattinson being the major surprise. The 29-year-old picked up two wickets in Edgbaston in what was his first Test appearance in over three years but the visitors are taking no chances with his fitness this time around by managing his workload carefully.
“In James’ case in particular he’s come back off a really long lay-off, a really serious operation, and we want to make sure he’s cherry-ripe for the next three or four years,” skipper Tim Paine said about the pacer.
“I think what we’ve done in the past with James is we’ve got him back, we know how good he is so we keep using him and keep bowling him and eventually he’s broken again.”
Pattinson’s absence won’t really hurt the Aussies much with both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood waiting in the wings after missing out on selection in the first Test. It is the latter who is looking likely to get the nod as the third pacer for Lord’s with Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle set to retain their spots.
Australia’s Lord’s stranglehold over England
If Edgbaston was a fortress for England prior to their defeat in the first Test, Lord’s has been anything but against the Aussies in the Ashes. It is the visitors who have reigned supreme in the previous Test meetings between the two sides at the ‘home of cricket’ and they recently beat England in a 2019 World Cup round-robin clash at the venue as well.
In the last 10 Ashes Tests at Lord’s, Australia have come out on top a staggering six times while England have been able to manage only two wins. The last time the two teams met at the venue in an Ashes Test, the Aussies crushed the hosts by 405 runs in the 2015 series with Steve Smith cracking a superb double ton.
With Smith looking in ominous form once again after his twin tons at Edgbaston, England will be hoping that history does not repeat itself at Lord’s.
All eyes on Archer’s Test debut
An injury to James Anderson and the menacing form of Smith means Jofra Archer is almost a certainty to make his Test debut for England on Wednesday. The Barbados-born pacer had a magnificent World Cup campaign where he picked up 20 wickets and his pace and bounce are what England will be hoping can do the trick against Smith who looks unstoppable at the moment.
The mind games have already begun with Australia coach Justin Langer expressing his reservations over Archer’s ability to make the step up to Test cricket. Archer has never been one to shy away from a challenge and the England pacer has responded to Langer’s jibe in strong fashion.
“I’m probably more ready than I’ve ever been. I think Justin Langer has another thing coming,” Archer hit back.
“I’ve played a lot more red-ball than I have white ball. I do think it’s my preferred format anyway.”
If the contest was lacking some spice so far, Archer’s introduction should change that and England will desperately hope he can translate his white-ball success to the Test format.
England XII: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Australia XII: Tim Paine (c/wk), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.