India vs South Africa: Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja clinch victory on final day of first Test

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India stormed to a 203-run victory over South Africa in the first Test thanks to nine wickets between Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja in the second innings.

Set a target of 395, the away side were bundled out for 191 on the final day of the first Test on Sunday to give India a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Shami returned figures of 5-35 while Jadeja took four wickets.

Dane Piedt (56) and debutant Senuran Muthusamy (49 not out) frustrated the Indians with a defiant stand of 91 runs for the ninth wicket after the visitors had slipped to 70/8.

Shami however got the job done, removing Piedt before claiming the final wicket of Kagiso Rabada.

TEAM EFFORT

In another match, Rohit Sharma’s back-to-back tons would’ve made his performance the undisputed match-winning one. And it will still be largely credited for the victory, but the same argument could be made for Mayank Agarwal’s double century in the first innings or Ashwin’s figures of 8/190.

That’s just the sort of performance it was from India with a number of players excelling. A 317-run opening stand between Rohit and Agarwal on the first day put India in the driving seat. Any hope of victory might have evaporated though had it not been for Ashwin’s wickets when South Africa took to the crease.

Rohit then pressed home the advantage in the second innings with another ton, breaking records along the way in his first match as a Test opener. Meanwhile Jadeja was a consistent performer with bat and ball – he scored 70 runs in 78 balls during the match and took six wickets.

The timing of those wickets, particularly in the second innings were crucial in chasing victory. He got the ball rolling by dismissing Dean Elgar at the end of day four before three quick wickets – two off successive deliveries – put the visitors on the ropes.

Of course, Shami’s five-for was then the story of the final day, even picking up the winning wicket.

ASHWIN MILESTONE

Prior to this Test, Ashwin hadn’t featured for India in 10 months. His selection has been limited to red ball cricket since July 2017 given the plethora of spin bowling options available to the team in the likes of Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvender Chahal.

He even failed to feature in the recent tour of West Indies with India opting for only one spinner in Jadeja.

After picking up his 27th five-wicket haul during the first innings at Vizag, it seems preposterous that such an accomplished player remains so limited. It’s even more ludicrous that he is now on par with an all-time great in Muttiah Muralitharan as the fastest to reach 350 Test wickets.

Like the Sri Lankan legend, Ashwin has taken 66 matches to reach the milestone. His form on home soil, where turning wickets are abundant, means his place for the next two Tests against South Africa and then the series with Bangladesh should be secure. But what can he accomplish in that time to force selectors to pick him beyond that?

FOR PIEDT’S SAKE

The South African batsmen must take a long hard look at themselves. After doing superbly in the first innings and racking up 431, a tame second effort at the crease was as surprising as it was inexcusable.

India deserve credit for their bowling on the final day and Shami will naturally take the plaudits. The seamer had no business taking a five-wicket haul on this track but with the pitch breaking up, he used the uneven bounce to his advantage and took out some of the big-hitters.

That said, the manner of some dismissals were poor on a wicket that had plenty of runs in it. Faf du Plessis was the big one. Granted the ball nipped back remarkably but he didn’t pick up the line well and watched as his off stump was dislodged. Temba Bavuma was unnecessarily on the back foot for his dismissal and had no way to improvise when the ball kept low.

Quinton de Kock, after top-scoring with 111 in the first innings, also had his stumps knocked over as he allowed a huge gap between bat and pad.

After being reduced to 70/8, Piedt and Muthusamy put the top order to shame with their 91-run stand for the ninth wicket. Yes, the new ball was long gone but they showed how comfortable things could get if only you spent a little time out in the middle.

Piedt’s innings in particular was especially defiant as he went after the bowling and pushed fielders back before Muthusamy then followed suit.

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India v South Africa LIVE: Hosts go in for the kill on final day of first Test

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Rohit Sharma’s second hundred on his debut as a Test opener helped India set South Africa a daunting 395 to win on Saturday in the opening match of their series.

The hosts declared their second innings on 323 for four in the final session of day four in Visakhapatnam.

South Africa were 11 for one at stumps with Aiden Markram, on three, and Theunis de Bruyn, on five, at the crease.

The visitors needed another 384 runs and India nine wickets on the final day to get ahead in the three-match series

Follow the ball-by-ball LIVE commentary from Vizag below.

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Pakistan v Sri Lanka: Brilliant visitors crush hosts in first T20I as Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad flop on return

Waseem Ahmed 5/10/2019
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Gunathilaka's half-century set up a comprehensive win for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s young guns stunned Pakistan at Lahore in the first T20I between the two sides despite teenage pacer Mohmmad Hasnain claiming an excellent hat-trick for the hosts.

Riding on a superb 57-run blitz from in-form opener Danushka Gunathilaka, Sri Lanka romped their way to competitive 165-5 after being put in to bat first by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. In reply, the No1 ranked hosts were bundled out for a measly total of 101 to hand the visitors a 64-run win and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Despite a struggle of an innings from his opening partner Avishka Fernando, the visitors made a rapid start with the bat as Gunathilaka continued from where he left off in the final ODI at Karachi a few days ago.

His 38-ball stay at the crease was marked by eight boundaries and a humongous six before leg-spinner Shadab Khan finally got the better of him to break an 84-run opening stand. While young Hasnain did come back strongly for Pakistan in the death overs with a superb hat-trick, entertaining cameos from debutant Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dasun Shanaka helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total.

In response, Pakistan were put on the back-foot straight away by Nuwan Pradeep who dismissed star batsman Babar Azam and Umar Akmal off consecutive deliveries in the second over of the innings.

From there on, Pakistan’s innings never really recovered with a 46-run stand between skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed being the only vital contribution. Pakistan’s woes in the match were summed up by the comical run-out which ended that promising stand with both Sarfraz and Iftikhar running towards the same end ultimately.

Isura Udana turned out to be the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers with the seamer ending with figures of 3-11.

Sarfraz and his men will now hope to bounce back strongly in the second T20I between the two sides which takes place on Monday at the same venue.

Pakistan’s discards flop on international return

Head coach Misbah-uul-Haq had thrown a lifeline to the discarded Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, and Faheem Ashraf by giving them international recalls, but the trio failed miserably on their comebacks.

While Umar was dismissed for a golden-duck, Shehzad’s comeback innings lasted just nine deliveries while fetching four runs. Meanwhile, Faheem had an expensive outing with the ball after conceding 31 runs in his three overs while also going wicket-less.

Even hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali’s return to the squad failed to deliver the required impact with the right-hander perishing for just six runs after attempting a wild slog.

Stat of the Day

With his consecutive dismissals of Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka and Shehan Jayasuriya, 19-year-old Hasnain became the youngest bowler in T20I history and second youngest overall across all three formats to claim a hat-trick.

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