Team India to Quarantine for 14 Days Ahead of World Test Championship Final


WTC Final: Team India to Quarantine for 14 Days Ahead of World Test Championship Final

Team India will fly to the UK in the first week of June for the ICC World Test Championship final, and will undergo a 14-day quarantine, similar to what they did in Australia, according to a report in the Times of India. With Lord’s no longer in contention to host the match, the name that is cropping up is of the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, that has the Hilton Hotel in the stadium premises.

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The report further suggests that the ECB, that has the hosting rights, has blocked the entire hotel from June 1-26, and is working with the ICC to create a bio-secure bubble. The match will also have a reserve day keeping in mind the weather in the country. On the other hand, the Indian team, too has agreed for a 14-day quarantine.

“It’ll mostly be on the lines of the Australia tour where the initial three or five days will be in strict isolation, after which teams will be allowed to train while in quarantine,” said those in the know of developments.

Meanwhile, Team India could continue to stay in England after the conclusion of the final of the WTC, so that they acclimatise to the conditions before the start of the Test series against England.

“BCCI has taken the call not to ask the players to return to India after the WTC final. The idea is to stay there and acclimatise to the conditions before the Tests begin,” sources said.

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After that, the team will return to play a white-ball series against South Africa in August, followed by a series against New Zealand. Post that, the T20 World Cup would take place, followed by a Test series against New Zealand, After which India will tour to South Africa for a full-fledged tour.







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It’s Like Watching Sehwag Bat Left-handed: Inzamam-ul-Haq on Rishabh Pant


It's Like Watching Sehwag Bat Left-handed: Inzamam-ul-Haq on Rishabh Pant

In the last two series against Australia and England, Rishabh Pant has earned himself a few fans and former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq is one of them. The latter feels that he is watching a left-handed version of Virender Sehwag bat, when Pant is at the crease.

“Rishabh Pant, absolutely brilliant. After a long time, I have seen a player on whom pressure seems to have no effect. Even if six wickets are down at 146, the way he starts his innings, no one does. He plays his strokes, irrespective of the pitch or how many runs the other team has scored. He is equally good against spinners and fast bowlers. I thoroughly enjoy watching him. It’s like watching Sehwag bat left-handed,” Inzamam said on his YouTube channel.

Inzamam also pointed out the similarities between the two Indian batsmen. “I have played with Sehwag and he too didn’t bother about other factors. When he used to bat, it didn’t matter to him how the pitch behaved or what kind of bowling attack the opponent had. He just had to play his strokes, even if the fielders were on the boundary. After Sehwag, I have seen such a player, for whom nothing else matters,” Inzamam added.

“Ever since I’ve noted, it’s not that he’s only doing it in India, he did it in Australia too. He didn’t get to score centuries because he plays at his own pace. After a long time, I have seen such a player. India had Sachin, Dravid… now they have Virat and Rohit. But the way he plays, it’s amazing. The kind of self-confidence he has is surprising. I haven’t come across a player like him in cricket,” said Inzamam.







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Team India’s Bench Emerges Its Biggest Strength Again


India vs England: Team India's Bench Emerges Its Biggest Strength Again

What was a distraction ended up being an inspiration and a motivation. For the Indian team, getting to the final of the World Test Championship was a byproduct of playing the brand of cricket they have over the last few years. And yet, when the first Test against England was lost, the World Test Championship came into focus.

After all, this team has shown remarkable resilience home and away in the recent past. In Australia, they came back not just from being 0-1 down, but from being bowled out for 36. Here too, against England, in more familiar conditions, it was certain the team would bounce back. But, to qualify for the World Test Championship final, merely winning the series would not be enough. Rather, they had to win each of the remaining three Test matches.

In home conditions, giving the Indian team that kind of a target, that kind of a goal, is a dangerous one. The team is highly motivated and driven to begin with, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri being the kind of personalities they are. But, it’s not only in thought and intent that these things are achieved. For the team to pull off their stated ambition, different parts had to click into place.

The first major one was Rohit Sharma. The manner in which he batted, always looking like he was playing on a different surface to the batsmen on either team, was a massive difference between India and England. Kohli acknowledged as much, saying that the innings Rohit played in the second Test, on a challenging pitch in Chennai, began the turnaround for India. Without Rohit’s runs, and his mastery of the crease, there was every chance that England could take the opportunities they created, ensuring that India could not dominate passages of play.

If Rohit was the spark, R Ashwin and Axar Patel were the fire. Ashwin, who Kohli referred to as a “banker” was relied upon, and he delivered a 32-wicket series, and took away his eighth Player of the Series award. For Ashwin, the last few months have been like a second wind. Although not old, at 34, he is no spring chicken. And, as Ashwin himself conceded, when he arrived on Australia’s shores, he was not a sure starter in the playing eleven.

But, just as Ashwin figured out ways to crack the Australia question, and his strength and passion came to the fore, his batting returned. It was not as though Ashwin had lost it with the bat, but the runs that should have been scored just weren’t forthcoming. When that aspect of his game returned, he looked like a younger, stronger man, and this was evident in the England series.

While the Test matches may not have gone the difference, it was still not a question of simply turning up and winning games. And, at no stage did Ashwin the spinner look like he was out of puff or that the zip was waning from his shoulder and fingers. Add to this the century he scored in Chennai, and you can understand why the off spinner describes this phase as one of the happiest in his cricketing career.

With Ravindra Jadeja out of the picture, the Indian team needed someone to play a double role. Keep the runs down and take wickets. Axar responded with a smile and a bagful of wickets. The tall left-arm spinner, long considered a short-format player, proved that the selectors and the team management were not wrong to repose their faith in him. The manner in which he picked up wickets early in his spell meant that the pressure on Ashwin eased. While Ashwin was plotting and planning the biggest wickets, twice flummoxing Joe Root, Axar was going at the rest of the batting with unrelenting accuracy and aggression.

The reaffirmation of two left-handers completed the perfect home script for India. Rishabh Pant, long under pressure for not having the same soft touch behind the stumps as Wriddhiman Saha, proved that he was improving fast enough to be in the team for his wicketkeeping and not despite it. Decisive footwork, smart anticipation, visibly improved fitness and a general sense of enjoying playing and succeeding made him irresistible.

As for his batting, this was never in doubt, but the manner in which he curbed his natural instincts in the final Test, buckling down and batting India out of trouble because creating a world of pain for England, was just remarkable. Pant had Washington Sundar for company and just when it was needed Sundar showed once more that he can play at the highest level purely as a batsman.

Just because he darts the ball in during power plays and death overs in Twenty20 cricket, the wider cricket watching world had been lulled into believing he is a bowling allrounder. The composure he showed in defence, and the panache he displayed when cracking the ball through the off side or swivelling on one leg to pull was a sight to behold.

India now have such a package of player, a pack of hunters numbering twenty-plus, that they will always be able to put a strong eleven on the park, irrespective of who was injured at any given time. The versatility and variation in the mix ensures that they will never be beaten by conditions alone. Here is a team that not only deserved to be in the final of the World Test Championship, but had earned it as well.







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Skipper Joe Root & Ben Stokes Congratulate Team India on Series Win


India vs England: Skipper Joe Root & Ben Stokes Congratulate Team India on Series Win

As the Test series between India and England is finally over, it is time for both the teams to go back to the drawing board and look at their performances. During the series, while there was a lot of talk about the pitch from the England camp, the latter might have realised their shortcomings too, by the end of the fourth Test.

ALSO READ – India vs England: Skipper Joe Root & Ben Stokes Congratulate Team India on Series Win

A lot to take and learn from this tour – we’ll keep pushing to improve as individuals and as a team.

Congratulations to a top class India team on the series win and thank you for the hospitality pic.twitter.com/bkbFsKhuOK

— Joe Root (@root66) March 7, 2021

He wrote, “A lot to take and learn from this tour – we’ll keep pushing to improve as individuals and as a team. Congratulations to a top class India team on the series win and thank you for the hospitality,” Root wrote with a photo of himself and Virat Kohli.”

All-rounder Ben Stokes too congratulated the Indian team, “A tough series against a great team. Congrats to India! We move on,” he added.

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Meanwhile, head coach Chris Silverwood on Sunday confirmed that IPL-bound England players will be available for the entire tournament, which means those involved in the final stages are most likely to miss the opening Test against New Zealand. The IPL is slated to begin from April 9 with the final scheduled to be played on May 30, while the opening Test against New Zealand begins on June 2.

“We haven’t looked at selection for the Test yet, but, for me, playing for your country is a big thing,” Silverwood told the British media during a virtual press meet.”







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Indian Spinners Made Life Very Tough for Us, Says England Coach


India vs England: Indian Spinners Made Life Very Tough for Us, Says England Coach

England coach Chris Silverwood admitted that Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel with a combined 59 wickets made the lives of England batsmen miserable as this 1-3 defeat will certainly “hurt” them for some time to come.

Having started off with a big win on a flat deck in Chennai, the visitors stumbled on the turners as Ashwin (32 wickets) and Axar (27 wickets) clinically decimated the English batsmen who were more troubled by the straighter deliveries.





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WTC Final – Overall Record Favours India But Conditions in England Might Suit New Zealand


WTC Final - Overall Record Favours India But Conditions in England Might Suit New Zealand

India hammered England by an innings and 25 runs in Ahmedabad taking the series 3-1 and booked their place alongside New Zealand in the final of the 2019-2021 World Test Championship (WTC) in England in June this year. It will be a mouth-watering contest between the two teams who have both dominated in their home conditions for the last few years. While India have the advantage in terms of the Overall Record, New Zealand beat them 2-0 at home in the last series between the two sides in early 2020.

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Advantage India in Head to Head

India and New Zealand have played each other in 59 Test matches with India winning 21 of these encounters. New Zealand have won just 12 matches against India while 26 Tests have been drawn. In terms of series, India has been victorious in 11 of the 20 series played between the two sides while New Zealand has won 6. Three series have been drawn.

Both Teams Have Dominated At Home

India has dominated New Zealand at home winning 16 and losing just two of the 34 matches they have played against them in India. 16 matches have been drawn. India has won 9 of the 11 series at home against New Zealand while two have been drawn.

New Zealand has won 10 and lost 5 matches against India at home while 10 Tests have been drawn. In terms of series, India won their first Test series in New Zealand under the leadership of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi in 1968. They again beat New Zealand in an away series in 2009. Overall, New Zealand has won 6 series at home against India, lost two while one ended in a draw.

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New Zealand thrashed India 2-0 in the last series the two teams played in early 2020. They beat India by 10 wickets at Wellington as Tim Southee returned with 9 wickets in the match. Kyle Jamieson bagged five wickets in the first innings while Trent Boult returned with four in the second to give the hosts a seven-wicket win. India took a slender lead in the first innings but were routed for 124 in the second.

Tom Latham was the highest scorer of the series with 122 runs while Tim Southee the leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets at 13.14 apiece.

 

Last Series in India

India thrashed New Zealand 3-0 in a clean sweep in the last home series in 2016. All the victories were by massive margins – 197 runs in Kanpur, 178 in Kolkata and 321 in Indore. Cheteshwar Pujara was the highest scorer of the series with 373 runs including one hundred and three fifties. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane also aggregated above 300 runs in the series.

R Ashwin was the standout bowler of the series with 27 wickets at an average of 17.77 and strike rate of 32.5 including 3 five-fors and two 10-wickets hauls in a match.

India has dominated New Zealand in the five-day game historically but were beaten comprehensively in the last away series. Conditions in England will be similar to New Zealand and that will make the task a tad more difficult for India. But as they displayed in Australia and at home against England, this Indian team is up for any challenge and do not be surprised if they pull one off against New Zealand in the final of the WTC in June.

India would like to make up for the loss against New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup in England. A win at the WTC Final in the same country will be the perfect retort.







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India vs England 2021: From Rohit’s Hundred to Root’s Dismissal in Pink Ball Test to the Pant-Sundar Partnership


India vs England 2021: From Rohit's Hundred to Root's Dismissal in Pink Ball Test to the Pant-Sundar Partnership - India's Fightback Moments in the Series

India beat England by an innings and 25 runs in the final Test in Ahmedabad to clinch the four-Test series 3-1 and with it secure a position in the final of the World Test Championship in England in June. The home team showed great resolve and character to come back from 0-1 down after losing the opener and win the remaining three matches in the series. India is making these great comeback fightbacks a sort of a habit of late. They were thrashed in the Day and Night series opener in Adelaide last year and fought back with an inspirational win at the MCG, then batted out of their skins to save the Test at the SCG before going on to take the series in the decider in Brisbane.

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This new courage and spirit of fightback defines the current Indian team which has a great mix of some senior legends and young talent. We look at 3 moments from the England series – one each from the second to the fourth Tests – where India showed character and fought back in tough conditions and match situations.

1. Rohit Sharma – 161 (231 balls), First Innings, Second Test, Chennai

India were 0-1 down in the series and at 86 for 3 with Pujara and Kohli back in the pavilion in a spot of bother in the first innings of the second Test in Chennai. Rohit Sharma then produced one of the best Test hundreds at home by an Indian batsman hammering 161 off just 231 deliveries – his knock included 18 fours and two sixes. He had scored almost 65% of his team’s runs at the time of his dismissal. Overall Rohit scored 48.94% of India’s first innings total of 329 and was the difference between the two sides on a wicket aiding spinners from Day 1. Clarity of thought, solid in defence, positive intent and clean striking were the hallmarks of his majestic hundred. On a wicket where most of the other top and middle order struggled to stay at the crease, Rohit not only scored big but did so at a very high strike rate in the context of the match.

His knock gave India the ascendancy in the match and took them past the 300-run mark. It gave the two Indian spinners, Ashwin and Patel the runs they needed on the board to torment the English batsmen. Rohit’s innings led India’s fight back in the series – a fact acknowledged by skipper Virat Kohli at the end of the series.

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2. Joe Root LBW R Ashwin, First Innings, Third Test, Ahmedabad

Joe Root was England’s star with the bat in their win in the series opener and their best batsman against spin in the first two Tests of the series. With the series tied at 1-1, England won a good toss in the Pink Ball Test at Motera and elected to bat first on what was expected to be a challenging wicket. They lost two early wickets but came right back into the contest with a fine rear guard action by opener, Zak Crawley and skipper, Root. The pair had brought England back into the contest and threatened to take the match away from India. A first innings total of above 200 on that wicket would have been advantage England.

But India’s ace spinner had other plans. Ashwin trapped Root leg before wicket from around the stumps with the England captain playing back in his crease to a delivery to which ideally he should have stretched forward and negotiated. That opened the floodgates for India as the visitors collapsed from 74 for 2 to 112 all out. They lost their last 8 wickets for just 38 runs. India had the upper hand thereafter and went on to win the match by 10 wickets.

3. Pant-Sundar Partnership, First Innings, Fourth Test, Ahmedabad

India were 2-1 up in the series but still needed to avoid a defeat not only to win the series but also book their place in the final of the World Test Championship in England in June. However, at 146 for 6, with all their specialist batsmen back in the hut, India were in deep trouble and still trailed England by 59 runs. They were in danger of being bowled out for a below-180 total which would have been doomsday for the home team given they had to bat last on a wicket assisting both the faster men and spinners.

But the young duo of Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar then turned the match on its head and against all odds put together a match-changing and defining partnership of 113 off 158 balls. By the time Pant was dismissed for a scintillating 101 off 118 deliveries, India were already in the driver’s seat with the team score at 259.

It was the ideal combination for India as Sundar held up one end when Pant went for the counter-attack at the other. While Pant was the aggressor with 71 off 66 balls in the partnership, it was Sundar who farmed the strike facing a majority 92 deliveries in a way shielding Pant from the bowling in his high risk game.







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Ravi Shastri is Not Offended Despite Meme Attacks


Enjoy Your Drink, Yaar: Ravi Shastri is Not Offended Despite Meme Attacks

India head coach Ravi Shastri is quite popular on social media because of  his no-holds-barred attitude. Shastri minces no words when it comes to expressing opinion about something which often doesn’t go down well with the fans. He is also quite frank about his attitude towards liquor. He on several occasions have said publicly that he doesn’t hold back when it comes to drinking. As a result, he has been the prime subject of quite a few memes. After going viral as a meme recently, Shastri has addressed the issue head on.

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So much cricket is played. It all revolves around performance, if you do well, you will get the accolades. If you don’t, you would be criticised,” he added. Earlier he revealed that how WTC rule tweak had taken him aback.

“I am sitting at home during Covid-19, right in the month of October-November. You have got more points than any other team in the world. 360 at that time, suddenly, a week later without playing any cricket, there is a rule that comes stating that the points would be decided on the percentage system and go from number one to three. Fine, that’s because of countries not wanting to travel, all acceptable and fine,” Shastri had said.







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India vs England: India’s Lucky 13, Ashwin’s 32 & Axar’s Sensational Performance on Debut


India vs England: India's Lucky 13, Ashwin's 32 & Axar's Sensational Performance on Debut - 10 Numbers That Stand Out From the India-England Test Series

India hammered England by an innings in the fourth and final Test at Motera in Ahmedabad to take the series 3-1. It was a great performance by the home team to come back after losing the series opener and outplay England in the remaining three matches. There were many heroes for India in the series – from Rohit Sharma’s magnificent hundred in the second Test which led to the transformation to R Ashwin’s and Axar Patel’s brilliance with the ball, from the discovery of a new batting all-rounder Washington Sundar to the genius of Rishabh Pant – these players gave in exceptional performances to help India secure a place alongside New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship in England in June.

We look at 10 numbers that stood out from the series.

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13: Number of Home Series Wins on the Trot for India

India registered their 13 consecutive home series win when they beat England 3-1 in the four-match series. They have not lost a series at home since losing to England in 2012. Such domination in home conditions has seldom been witnessed by any team in the history of Test cricket. India broke the record of the great Australian team of the 1990s and 2000s which had won 10 successive home series from 1994 to 2001 and then from 2004 to 2008.

32: Number of Wickets Taken By Ashwin in the series

R Ashwin returned with 32 wickets in the 4 Tests at a brilliant average of 14.71 which included three fifers. Ashwin became the first Indian bowler to take 30 or more wickets in a series twice in his career. The off spinner had picked 31 wickets (in 4 Tests and 7 innings) against South Africa at home in 2015.

30: Number of Five-Fors by Ashwin in Test Cricket

Ashwin returned with 5-47 in 22.5 overs in the second innings of the final Test at Motera. This was his 30th fifer in Test cricket tying him with James Anderson as the joint sixth-highest on the all-time count. 24 of Ashwin’s five-fors have at home in India, second only to Anil Kumble who had 25.

27: Number of Wickets Taken By Axar Patel in his Debut Series

Axar Patel became the joint-highest wicket-taker for an Indian bowler in his debut Test series as he returned with 27 wickets in just three Tests against England at a stunning average of 10.59 and strike rate of 28.3. His exploits included four fifers and one ten-wickets in a match haul. Dilip Doshi claimed 27 wickets in the six-Test home series against Australia in 1979.

7: Number of Five-Fors By Indian Bowlers in the series

India accounted for 7 five-fors in an innings in the series against England setting a joint-record. The only other instances when an Indian bowling unit has picked 7 five-fors in a series came back in 1954-55 in Pakistan and 1977-78 in Australia.

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4: Number of Times England were Bowled Out for Less Than 150 in this series

England were bowled out for 134 in the first innings of the second Test in Chennai, 112 and 81 in the Pink Ball Test in Ahmedabad and 135 in the second innings of the last Test at the same venue. Not since 1909 against Australia has England been routed for below 150 in an innings four (or more) times in a series. In fact this has happened only three times in any series for England in their Test history – such poor and miserable were their batsmen against the likes of Ashwin and Axar Patel!

18.63: England’s Batting Average in the series

England’s Batting Average of 18.63 in the series was their lowest in any series in India – so poor and shambolic was their performance with the bat. England were bowled out for less than 200 in six of the 8 innings they batted in the tournament. Barring Joe Root and Ben Stokes none of their batsmen had an average of above 25 (min. two Tests) in the series. England’s previous lowest batting average of 24.33 in India came in 1993 when they were swept 3-0 by the trio of Kumble, Raju and Chauhan.

345: Rohit Sharma’s Aggregate in the series

Rohit Sharma was India’s best batsman in the series and the second-highest scorer overall amongst both teams with 345 runs in 4 Tests (7 innings) at an average of 57.5.

His brilliant 161 off 231 deliveries in the first innings of the second Test, with India 0-1 down in the series, was one of the best centuries by an Indian batsman at home in Test cricket. While others failed around him on a difficult wicket, Rohit not only scored big runs but scored them at a high strike rate. Rohit scored nearly two-thirds (65%) of his team’s total when he was dismissed. His hundred marked a transformation in India’s fortunes in the series.

45.26: Rishabh Pant’s Batting Average in Test Cricket

Rishabh Pant is fast emerging as one of India’s greatest match-winners with the bat in Test cricket. From his match-saving effort at the SCG to his series-winning performance in the decider at The Gabba to his sensational hundred in the last England Test in Ahmedabad – Pant has matured into a fine lower-order Test batsman capable of winning matches for India single-handedly with the bat. He has already aggregated 1358 runs in 33 Test innings at an average of 45.26 including three hundreds and 6 fifties.

Pant’s batting average places him at number 4 on an all-time list for wicketkeeper batsman (min. 1000 runs) only behind AB de Villiers, Andy Flower and Adam Gilchrist.

3: Number of Fifties for Washington Sundar in his First Six Test Innings

India have discovered a new star batting all-rounder in their last two Test series – in Australia and against England in India. Washington Sundar has produced three monumental performances with the bat in his first six Test innings. He had recorded a match-defining 62 in a match-changing stand with Shardul Thakur when the top and middle order had failed in the series decider in Brisbane on Test debut.

He produced a classic unbeaten 85 in the first innings of the series opener in Chennai. Sundar then registered an unbeaten 96 in the fourth and final Test against England in Ahmedabad coming out to bat at 146 for 6 with his team under pressure and changing the match on its head being involved in two back to back century partnerships.







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India vs England: Going to Ask Dinesh Karthik to Make Washington Sundar Bat at No.4 for State


India vs England: Going to Ask Dinesh Karthik to Make Washington Sundar Bat at No.4 for State - Ravi Shastri

Team India coach Ravi Shastri is known to speak his mind, and the former all-rounder just did that once again, when he interacted with the media after a 3-1 triumph over India. The coach spoke on various topics and was full praise of the way youngsters like Rishabh pant & Washington Sundar performed throughout the series.

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Talking about Sundar, the head coach stated that India could have found a gem at number 6. “I think I’m going to ask either the selectors or Dinesh Karthik, to make Sundar bat in top four for his state team. He is that good a batsman, and in future we will have a very good number six for us. I think the innings he played here, is perhaps better than the one he played in Australia.”







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