Test Related Content
Former New Zealand Test captain, Daniel Vettori, who was originally selected only for the one-day and Champions Trophy legs of the tour to England, could play an unexpected part in the second Test of the series against England at Headingley later this week.
The 34 year-old, left-arm spinner, has joined his country's squad earlier than expected, and with Bruce Martin being forced to return home due to a calf injury, the way is now open for Vettori to take his place in the starting line up for the forthcoming Test. A match that the Black Caps need to win, in order to share the series, after their crushing defeat at Lord's.
Vettori has played 111 Tests for his country, taking 360 wickets, which leaves him second on his nation's all time list, behind only the legendary Sir Richard Hadlee, and the most successful left-arm spinner in test history. But he hasn't played Test cricket since July 2012, due to an achilles tendon injury.
In the wake of their defeat at Lord's, when they were dismissed just 68 in their second innings, the Kiwis would undoubtedly welcome back a player, who quite apart from the wickets he has taken, has also scored over 4,500 runs at an average of over 30
Mitchell Marsh had more than his fair share of disciplinary problems during the last year, but the young Western Australian player is adamant that he has learnt valuable lessons from the issues he has encountered.
Although he remains firm in his belief that the issues at the Centre of Excellence and the Champions League in South Africa were blown out of all proportion.
Initially, Marsh found himself sent home from Cricket Australia's academy in Brisbane. The reason given, being that he had turned up for a training session in no fit state to take part. He was then one of a number of players who were dropped by the Perth Scorchers from their team at the CLT20 in South Africa, after the celebration of Marsh's 21st birthday got out of control.
With a hamstring injury limiting his playing opportunities during the Australian summer, Marsh had plenty of time to consider his priorities, and his ambitions for the future.
The PCB and WICB have at last agreed to save Pakistan’s West Indies tour by cutting the Test matches from the schedule. Pakistan will now play five ODIs and two Twenty20s but no Tests against West Indies.
Due to their other commitments, the two boards were in trouble finding a window for a full tour. However, the dates for the revised, trimmed tour have not been finalized yet.
Michael Muirhead, the chief executive of the WICB, said in Port-of-Spain that it would not be fair to say that they had fully closed negotiations or final dates on the Pakistan issue. However, Muirhead was confident that they would do so very soon.
Muirhead confirmed that the Test matches had been removed from the schedule and they would now focus on five ODIs and two Twenty20s. According to him, the newly proposed tour has not been finalized yet because Pakistan is yet to sign off on the schedule provided by the WICB.
Dave Cameron, the president of the WICB, said that though he was not satisfied about trimming down the Test matches, little could be done about the schedule. Cameron said that they had to do so because of the ongoing circumstances. However, he hoped to arrange for a complete series between the two teams next year.
England have just about hung on to their second place in the ICC's Test match rankings, following their sub-standard performance during the 0-0 drawn series in New Zealand. However, they will point to their memorable series victory in India before Christmas as a true reflection of their ability.
Australia's form on the other hand, suggests that they have been papering over the cracks for some time now. A 3-0 victory at home against Sri Lanka, gave them 12 wins from 20 Tests, and Michael Clarke had suffered only one series defeat, by the No.1 ranked side South Africa, in seven series. However, a 4-0 mauling in India, exposed the team's shortcomings.
Many of England's winter touring party have been resting ahead of the two match series at home against New Zealand, a series that will now have added edge. England's cricket director, Andy Flower, will be grateful for the additional competitive element to the short series ahead of the Ashes series later in the summer.
Australia, have had a rare extended break from the rigours of international cricket, following the disastrous tour to India. Which has given coach Mickey Arthur, the time to try and establish a strategy that will enable his side to defend Champions Trophy, and then regain the Ashes.
After showing much improved performances against Sri Lanka in the two-Test series, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim pleaded for allocating more Test matches to his team. Though the visitors lost the series by 1-0, they showed better resistance against Sri Lanka. They even managed to secure a draw in the first match, which was their first in this country.
Bangladesh lost the second Test but there were several moments at the Premadasa when they were at the equal level with Sri Lanka. This certain and evident improvement has encouraged Mushfiqur to ask for giving them opportunity to play more Tests.
Mushfiqur pleaded to the authority for more matches. He said that they could create more chances in game and show everybody their ability to play good, consistent cricket had they been given more Tests to play.
According to him, they should be given at least eight to ten Test matches per year. He also added that Test cricket was the ultimate means of improving skill as a cricketer no matter how many Twenty20s and ODIs a player had played. He said that every team built their character and confidence through the hard, long, and struggling way of playing Test cricket.
After cyclone Sandra arrived at the Basin Reserve in Wellington at lunchtime on the fourth day, it was almost inevitable that the second Test match would end in a draw, so there was little surprise when the final day's play was indeed washed out, leaving the series all square at 0-0.
England may still have been hoping for some sort of weather miracle to allow them to press for victory, with the hosts still trailing overnight by 49 runs, having closed the truncated fourth day on 162-2.
However, the rain that Sandra had brought with her, caused play to be finally called off at 01.00 GMT, sending the sides to Eden Park in Auckland on Thursday for the third Test, still level in the series.
Although the visitors will be dis-appointed to have been denied the chance to force a victory, they will have taken some solace in their improved performance on the first Test at Dunedin, when they fought a rearguard action over the final two days, to avoid defeat.
New Zealand could struggle to win a Test in the three-match Test series against England after missing out on that opportunity in the first Test
New Zealand had England on the ropes for most of the first Test in Dunedin, bowling them out for a meagre 167 in the first innings, and replying themselves with 460, giving them a massive first innings lead of 293. That they were unable to finish England off, and secure a victory that few had thought possible, may come back to haunt them, given England's history of improving in Test series, after making faltering starts.
Although there is some debate as to how the pitch in Wellington will play, it is generally accepted that it will certainly provide more assistance to England's seamers. Emphasising the home side's missed opportunity even more.
England's tour to New Zealand in 2008 is a typical example of how England's performances improve with subsequent matches. Back in 2008, New Zealand had won the opening Test in Hamilton, before England struck back to level the series in Wellington. The visitors subsequently went on to clinch the series by winning the third Test in Napier.
On Monday, the Australian team management axed four players including the vice-captain Shane Watson for the Mohali Test.
The management accused the players for ignoring the team orders after the Hyderabad Test. Other three players were Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson, and James Pattinson.
Watson was all set to go back home hours after Mickey Arthur, the coach of Australia, made the announcement. However, the Cricket Australia denied any connection between this incident and Watson’s leaving India. It rather said that the vice captain left early on the occasion of the birth of his first child.
The baby was supposed to be born right after the India our. The CA had already permitted Watson to leave early if necessary. It could not be confirmed yet whether Watson would return before the fourth Test in Delhi scheduled on Friday next week.
The players were totally unaware of what was coming on them. On Monday morning, the coach told them about the unprecedented decision.
What actually happened was that after the defeat in Hyderabad Test, the players were told by the coach to write three points about how to improve their individual as well as team’s performance. The players had three and a half days to perform the task.
It was almost inevitable that the ultra-thorough England Test coach, Andy Flower, would announce that he would be investigating England's continuing problems at the beginning of overseas tours, following their backs to the wall draw in the first Test of the New Zealand tour in Dunedin.
Although fought back to save the Test comfortably on the final day, their performance on day two, when they managed a woeful 167 all out, and then saw the home side rattle up 131-0, was probably the worst of all starts to an away Test series under Flower's leadership.
Defeating Bangladesh in 2010, was the only occasion since 2004-05 that England have won the opening game of an away series. England have played 14 series since they beat South Africa at Port Elizabeth, with nine of them beginning with a defeat, and only once in those matches did England have any amount of control over the game for any period of time, when they played India in Mohali in 2006.
The lack of a suitable warm up time prior to the Test series is often quoted as being the problem. However, Flower is known for his insistence that his side has sufficient preparation, although on this particular tour England played just one four-day warm up match against a fairly strong New Zealand XI. When England undertake an Ashes tour to Australia later in the year, they will play three first-class matches before the opening Test in Brisbane.
The third day of the opening Test was one of toil for England, as their hosts, New Zealand, strengthened their grip on the match in Dunedin.
Test debutant, Hamish Rutherford, took his overnight 77 to 171, in the process posting the seventh highest ever score by a player on his Test debut, and the second highest ever by a New Zealander, as the hosts finished the day on 402-7, giving them a lead of 235.
By the time bad light brought an early end to the day, shortly after the tea interval, Peter Fulton had also contributed a half-century, while the captain, Brendon McCullum, remained unbeaten with 44.
James Anderson was the pick of England's bowlers, claiming four wickets as he countered the kiwis with his skill and aggression. Anderson aside, England's attack was wayward, and conceded runs at an average of four an over.
However, the day undoubtedly belonged to the 23-year-old Rutherford, who having batted with such authority on the second evening, continued in the same vain on day three. He deserved ever bit of the the standing ovation he received when he left the field, with 22 fours and three sixes in his locker, and having made two-thirds of his side's runs.
India crushed Australia in the second Test at Hyderabad to go 2-0 up in the series.
While India have been on the receiving end of thrashings in England and Australia over the past two years, they have sought some refuge of consolation in the outstanding home record. Though Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shook that confidence to the core, as they outspun India's own slow bowling attack before Christmas.
Only the most staunch of Australian supporters expected their side to take the second Test into a fifth day, but few predicted the way that they would capitulate on the fourth day. However, the turning ball once more mesmerised the visiting batsmen, as they again appeared like rabbits caught in a car's headlights when faced with India's spinners on a helpful pitch.
Australia's almost non-existent chances are the start of play, disappeared with two deliveries of differing quality. Ishant Sharma dismissed Shane Watson with a harmless leg-side ball which was caught by the wicketkeeper, while Ravindra Jadeja produced an unplayable delivery that had drift and spin to beat Michael Clarke's forward defensive.
Australia's dismal recent record in India continued as they slipped to defeat in the first Test of the series at Chennai. The tourists have now gone eight Test matches in India without a victory, and have lost their last two series in the country without so much as a solitary victory.
India required less than a single session on the fifth day of the opening Test to clinch victory by eight wickets. The tourists had resumed the last day just 40 runs ahead, and with their last pair, Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyons, at the crease. The pair survived for nine overs, during which time they managed to add a further nine runs to the total.
Henriques, who was making his Test debut, had struck an assured 68 in the first innings, and there were those optimists amongst the Australian supporters who had hoped that he might complete a century on the last day, and thereby help to set the home side an awkward target.
However, the debutant was to be left stranded on 81 at the end of the innings, as the result of over confidence on the part of his partner, Lyons. With each passing over, the spinner had become more and more assured of his ability to play his Indian counterparts, and he chose to take a single off the last ball of a Ravichandran Ashwin over, retaining the strike against Ravi Jadeja.
When the first Test between India and Australia starts in Chennai, Moises Henriques will become the 432nd player to represent Australia at the highest form of the game, having won the allrounder's berth against stiff opposition from offspinner Glenn Maxwell.
Henriques reaps the reward for performing impressively with the bat and ball during his team's warm-up games since they arrived in India.
Australia took the unusual step of naming their starting XI two days before the Test match begins, and while the home side is expected to name as many as three slow bowlers in their side, the visitors have included only one specialist spinner, Nathan Lyon.
Henriques will hope that he can be as successful as he was during the warm up matches, when he found reverse swing and bowled a challenging length far more constantly than his fellow seamers. In the first warm up game he took 4 for 12, while the second game saw him take 1 for 30 and score 33 from 41 balls. The significance of his innings in which he struck three sixes, was that he played in the same aggressive manner that the Australian's plan to effect against the Indian spinners in the Test matches.
Dinesh Chandimal has been given the reins of the T20I team.
Mathews will become the Test and ODI captaincy of Sri Lanka, taking over from Mahela Jayawardene for their upcoming home Test series against Bangladesh.
Apart from leading the side in the Twenty20 format, Dinesh Chandimal will be in the role of Mathew’s deputy in both the formats. Lasith Malinga will be the deputy of Chandimal. All the appointments will be effective for the next 11 months.
It was almost decided that Mathews would take over Jayawardene after the latter’s resignation from captaincy at the end of Australia tour.
The two-Test series will be started from March 8. The selectors have included a lot of fresh faces into the 20-man Test squad apart from making some surprising drops. Wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, opener Tharanga Paranavitana, and batsman Thilan Samaraweera were dropped while all of them were in the Australia tour.
On the other hand, off-spinner Ajantha Mendis made his Test comeback. He last donned Test Jersey for Sri Lanka against England in May 2011.
India will play Australia in a four-Test match series starting February 22.
Just after completing a five-match ODI series against West Indies on February 10, Australia will head to India for participating in a four-match Test series. The series will be started from February 22 and will be ended on March 26.
Before the main series, Australia will play two practice matches against Indian Board President’s XI and India A on February 12-13 and February 16-18 respectively.
A couple of changes have been made in the schedule of the series. According to earlier plan, the first Test was supposed to be held in Delhi but now it would take place in Chennai.