India skipper Virat Kohli believes that managing the workload of the pace battery will be key if the side are to make a big splash in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
Kohli and his men have made an excellent start to the maiden two-year cycle of the WTC with a massive 318-run win over West Indies in the first Test at Antigua. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was the chief architect of India’s big win on Sunday with the 25-year-old finishing with sensational figures of 5-7 in the second West Indies innings.
The India pacer had been rested for the preceding T20 and ODI clashes in the West Indies and Kohli feels India need to take a similar approach going forward with the fast bowlers in the side.
“That’s probably the most important thing for us right now, managing player workloads,” Kohli stated after India’s 318-run win in the first Test.
“That’s why he (Bumrah) didn’t play any white-ball cricket after the World Cup because we wanted him to be fresh for the Tests. He is going to be a key factor for us as long as the Test championship continues.
“We know how good a bowler he is. And the impact he can make in a spell.”
India’s formidable pace arsenal has impressed on successive overseas tours of South Africa, England, Australia and now the West Indies but Kohli stressed on the need of managing the workloads carefully if the performances are to be kept up.
“Mohammed Shami is the same (as Bumrah). Ishant Sharma is a banker for years now. And he can make an impact in any spell he bowls,” the India skipper said.
“Those three together are bowling really well. Umesh Yadav hasn’t had a game, and we have Navdeep Saini, who can bowl 150 clicks, waiting in the wings.
“We are pretty settled as far as our bowling options are concerned. Managing workloads and the number of overs we bowl is going to be a key factor for us.”
Kohli and India will now look to seal the series against West Indies when they take on the hosts in the second and final Test beginning at Kingston on Friday.
Australia skipper Tim Paine has revealed that he will delegate all future Decision Review System (DRS) calls to other players after he was left to rue his massive blunder in the third Ashes Test against England at Headingley.
Hosts England levelled the Ashes in dramatic style on Sunday with Ben Stokes’ unbeaten 135 helping them pull off their record final innings chase (359) in Test cricket with just one wicket to spare.
It could have been all so different for the visitors if they had a review in hand when Stokes was struck on the pads by a Nathan Lyon delivery with England still two runs away from victory. On-field umpire Joel Wilson turned down Australia’s vociferous appeals with replays then going on to show that a review by the visitors would have overturned the decision.
Unfortunately for the Aussies, they had wasted their final review in desperation in the previous over when Pat Cummins struck Jack Leach on the pads. That costly blunder was a bitter pill to swallow for Paine who also questioned Wilson’s decision to turn down Lyon’s appeal.
“I can’t fathom why or how that wasn’t given out at the time,” Paine told the Nine Network.
“Because England had … referrals left, so if it was (incorrectly) given out, the correct decision is then made from upstairs.
“But that’s OK, it happened. We’ve got to control what we can control. We’ve got to use our reviews better. But that one in particular is hard to take at the moment.”
The DRS error at Headingley was not the first one Paine has made in the ongoing Ashes series with the Australia skipper at fault in the preceding Lord’s Test as well. The wicketkeeper had failed to take a review against Stokes in the second innings of that drawn clash before the England all-rounder went on to slam an unbeaten ton. Stokes was batting on just six runs at the time and it was one among several notable non-referrals by Paine at Lord’s.
“I don’t think I’ve got a referral correct the whole series, so I can’t sit here and bag the umpires,” Paine rued.
“To sit down and single out an umpire is unnecessary. He (Wilson) is no different to everyone else, he is allowed to make mistakes.
“I’ve got every review wrong so far, so I’m going to give up and give it to someone else.”
A win in the Headingley clash would have seen Paine become the first Australia skipper to retain the Ashes series on English soil since 2001. With the five-match series now locked at 1-1, there is all to play for in the fourth and penultimate Test which will begin at Old Trafford on September 4.
Australia coach Justin Langer wants to see an improvement in the way they use the decision review system after Ben Stokes was given a lifeline en route to helping England level the Ashes.
Stokes anchored an England record fourth-innings chase of 359 with one wicket to spare as the all-rounder produced a breathtaking 135 not out at a sun-drenched Headingley to square the series at 1-1.
He was given a major let-off with two runs still required when Nathan Lyon struck his pad but, when umpire Joel Wilson kept his finger down, Australia were left counting the cost of burning their last remaining review in the previous over bowled by Pat Cummins when ball-tracking showed all three reds.
A deflated Langer lamented Australia’s use of DRS in recent weeks though he was reticent to criticise Wilson for his blunder following a breathtaking climax to the third Test.
The former Australia opener said: “We’ve been really poor at it this whole series. We’ve talked a lot about getting better at our reviews. Certainly we have control of that.
“We’ve got a way we go about it but sometimes you don’t quite get it right. The one off Pat Cummins was getting pretty desperate at the end and that often happens. That’s just how it works out.
“It’s 1-1 in the series and we’ve been so close – one more wicket and we’re 2-0 up and feeling pretty good about ourselves but that’s sport and we’ll pick ourselves up.
“We’re all feeling it. My gosh, you’ve got no idea how much that hurts losing, you have no idea. But whether you’re the captain, coach or a senior player, you’ve got to get up.”
Steve Smith is on course to make his return to Australia’s ranks for their tour match against Derbyshire later this week following a concussion that sidelined the talismanic batsman at Headingley.
Should he come through unscathed then he is certain to feature in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, which gets under way on September 4, having contributed 144, 142 and 92 in his three previous innings.
His replacement Marnus Labuschagne has contributed three successive half-centuries in Smith’s stead though the rest of Australia’s top six flattered to deceive in their last outing.
Langer said: “We can’t fit them all in, that’s one issue we’ve got.
“One thing I do know is that we’re not batting well enough at the moment. I said at the start of the series that the team who bats best will win the Ashes.
“We’ve got some real questions to ask for the practice game and for the fourth Test match.
“We’ve got to also work out after a long summer, we’re going to have to rest some players, just to give them a mental freshen-up more than anything.”
Usman Khawaja is under the microscope with a top score of 40 in six innings in this series though Langer was quick to defend a senior batsman who averages 40.66 in Tests.
Langer added: “Uzzy’s played a lot of cricket and averages over 40 in Test match cricket, he got a Test hundred seven innings ago, so we know he’s a very good player.
“He, like the rest of them, will be working hard to be ready for the fourth Test.”
Provided by Press Association Sports