Ravi Shastri retained as head coach of India, bags a new two-year contract

Sudhir Gupta 16/08/2019
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Ravi Shastri remains in the India hot seat.

Ravi Shastri has been retained as the head coach of India after he was announced as the preferred choice of the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on Friday.

Shastri beat competition from New Zealand’s Mike Hesson, Australia’s Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh after the five shortlisted candidates interviewed for the job before the Kapil Dev-led CAC on Friday.

Hesson was the second most preferred choice among the candidates for the CAC with Moody being the third preference.

The CAC had earlier shortlisted six candidates for the role including Phil Simmons but the former West Indies and Ireland coach pulled out of the running at the last hour citing personal reasons.

Shastri and Moody appeared for their interview with the CAC via Skype on Friday while Hesson, Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput made the journey to the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai to appear before the panel.

Shastri is currently with the Indian team in the West Indies after the support staff were given a 45-day extension for the ongoing tour and he will now sign a new two-year contract with the BCCI which is set to run until the 2021 T20 World Cup.

The rest of Shastri’s support cast including the batting, bowling and fielding coaches will be selected by the MSK Prasad-led senior selection committee.

Shastri was already being seen as a favourite to retain his job due to his excellent equation with skipper Virat Kohli and the former India all-rounder was given an automatic entry into the recruitment process after the BCCI invited applications for the role.

In Shastri’s previous tenure, India managed to bag their maiden Test series win on Australian soil while also reaching the top of the Test rankings. The Men in Blue recorded a maiden ODI series win on South African soil as well under Shastri but had to face a semi-final exit at the hands of New Zealand in the recently concluded 2019 World Cup.

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Ashes 2019: Jonny Bairstow finds form at last and other talking points from day two at Lord's

Ashish Peter 15/08/2019
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A fighting 52 from Jonny Bairstow.

An enthralling battle between bat and ball greeted a packed house at Lord’s on day two of the second Ashes Test between England and Australia after what had been a miserable opening day washed out completely due to rain.

Jofra Archer made his much-awaited Test debut for England on the second day but the Barbados-born pacer had to wait his turn to get into the action with Australia skipper Tim Paine electing to bowl first.

It was the Aussies who were on top in the first-half of the day with England struggling at 138-6 at one stage but the hosts persevered through a lower-order fightback to ultimately post a 258-run total in their first innings,

In reply, the visitors lost the wicket of David Warner and reached 30-1 before stumps were drawn.

Here, we take a look at the major talking points from day two at Lord’s.

Burns makes most of his two lives, Roy disappoints

Having cracked a gritty ton on his Ashes debut at Edgbaston, England opener Rory Burns followed it up with a half-century at Lord’s on day two although he did have to ride his luck again.

The left-hander was dropped twice on his way to a fifty with Usman Khawaja giving him the first reprieve at gully before Australia skipper Tim Paine spilled another catch behind the stumps.

In the end, Burns’ plucky knock was ironically brought to an end by a stunning catch by Cameron Bancroft at short-leg after the opener attempted to fend a short-ball from Pat Cummins.

Burns’ opening partner Jason Roy, however, did not fare so well with the right-hander caught-behind for a three-ball duck while trying to push at a delivery moving away from his body.

Burns was dropped early into his innings by Khawaja.

Burns was dropped early into his innings by Khawaja.

Hazlewood justifies his inclusion

Australia made just the one change to a winning combination with Josh Hazelwood coming in for James Pattinson and the seamer justified his inclusion with some excellent bowling throughout day two.

Hazlewood got the visitors off to a roaring start with Roy’s early dismissal and he then put Australia firmly on top by trapping England skipper Joe Root on the pads. While the other Aussie bowlers struggled to come to grips with the Lord’s slope initially, Hazlewood was completely at home with his lateral movement giving the batsmen plenty of trouble.

While it was an all-round effort from the Aussie bowlers in the end, Hazlewood was the clear pick among them and the one who troubled England’s batsmen the most. The 28-year-old sure loves playing at Lord’s and had picked up a five-wicket haul in his only previous Test appearance at the venue in 2015.

Hazlewood was the pick of Aussie bowlers.

Hazlewood was the pick of Aussie bowlers.

Bairstow finds form at last

With 16 runs in his last five Test innings and a batting average of less than 14 in 2019, the pressure was well and truly on Jonny Bairstow when he walked out to bat on day two.

The Yorkshire man walked in to bat with England reeling at 136-6 and then soon saw Ben Stokes dismissed at the other end as things went from bad to worse for the hosts. Despite surviving a testing period early on, Bairstow dug in this time around and banished his horrendous form with a well-crafted half-century.

The right-hander found an able ally in Chris Woakes with whom he forged a 72-run stand for the seventh wicket and his unbeaten knock was crucial in the hosts ultimately scaling the 250-run mark after being reduced to 138-6 at one stage.

His innings of 52 along with the early dismissal of David Warner will give England some semblance of hope ahead of a crucial third day at the home of cricket.

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Ashes 2019: Under-fire Jonny Bairstow comes to England's rescue at Lord's with battling fifty

Ashish Peter 15/08/2019
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A 21st Test half-century for Jonny Bairstow.

Jonny Bairstow’s form with the bat was under the scanner as England locked horns with Australia on day two of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s with the Yorkshireman struggling for runs in red-ball cricket in 2019.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman had managed just 16 runs in his last five Test innings while his red-ball average in 2019 stood at a dismal 13.78 heading into the Lord’s clash.

With the likes of Ben Foakes waiting in the wings, the pressure was on Bairstow to deliver if he wanted to retain his spot in the playing XI and he passed that test with a fighting half-century against the Aussies on Thursday.

The Englishman’s 52-run knock helped the hosts post a first-innings total of 258 after it looked like they would fold under 200 at one stage. Here, we take a closer look at Bairstow’s display on day two of the Lord’s Test.

STATS

Runs: 52

Balls faced: 95

Fours: 7

Sixes: 0

Strike-rate: 54.73

30-SECOND REPORT

Bairstow arrived at the crease with England reeling at 136-5 before Ben Stokes’ dismissal reduced them to 138-6.

The right-hander led the hosts’ fightback with Chris Woakes for company in the face of some disciplined Aussie bowling, and got the prize for his grit and determination in the form of a 21st Test half-century.

He started running out of partners at the other end and this forced him to go on the offensive but it also proved to be his undoing in the end. Bairstow was the last English batsman to be dismissed after he skied a Nathan Lyon delivery into the hands of Usman Khawaja.

GOT RIGHT

The right-hander had previously shown a vulnerability to the incoming delivery and the Aussies made sure to target that on day two. However, Bairstow was more resolute with his technique this time around despite the odd shaky moment and looked to mostly play straight down the ground.

He shunned his bad habit of leaving a large gap between his bat and the pads while playing at incoming deliveries and reaped the rewards with some thumping boundaries down the ground.

He was good with the on-drive and leg-side flicks against the pacers while he was also solid against the off-spin of Lyon for the most part.

GOT WRONG

While he did manage to grow in confidence as the innings wore on, Bairstow did have some nervy moments at the start. He was late to react to the very first delivery he faced with Pat Cummins nearly ratting his stumps while he was lucky that an outside edge off Peter Siddle fell just short of David Warner at first slip.

Despite all his hard work prior to getting to his half-century, Bairstow will be disappointed to not add some more runs to his name. The ball was getting older and there were some easy runs on offer if the England wicketkeeper had been more patient instead of trying to hit Lyon out of the ground.

VERDICT 8/10

It was a much-needed innings for the Englishman and it will do his confidence a world of good for the remainder of the Ashes series. His place in the squad was very much in question coming into the Lord’s Test despite the show of support from the selectors and team management.

His excellent knock on Thursday has not only helped him regain a footing in the Test squad but also given hosts England something to fight for in the Lord’s clash when things could have been a lot worse for them on day two.

A much needed knock for Bairstow.

A much needed knock for Bairstow.

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