Johannesburg: Looking to salvage pride in the third Test beginning on Wednesday, team India got down to business at the Wanderers with a practice session that lasted just under four hours.
India had lost the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs and then were beaten in the second match at Centurion by 135 runs to surrender an unassailable lead.
The players enjoyed three days off after that hurtful loss, taking time to visit various safari and theme parks in and around Johannesburg.
They were back sweating in the nets, in a bid to end this series with their heads held high as the world’s No.1 Test side.
Noticeably, skipper Virat Kohli, who had a fiery press conference in aftermath of the Centurion loss, was in a jovial mood as he chatted around with his teammates and local net bowlers during practice.
After a customary warm-up game of football, the players got down to working on their skill sets.
Fielding coach R Sridhar was the first to put in a serious shift, with Parthiv Patel, KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane working together as the slip cordon. Later, Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik joined in as the trio moved to batting nets.
On practice wickets, Rahul, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara took first strike against the net-bowling duo of Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini, who were confirmed arrived at the team hotel late on Saturday evening.
The nets were arranged as pacers, throw-downs and spinners respectively, and Pujara duly smacked the local spinner for what can only be described as two sixes.
Vijay and Rahul also opened up in the spin-bowling nets and hit a few big shots. Prominently, Vijay hit Ravindra Jadeja out of the park and then was bowled the very next ball, with a bit of cheeky banter between the two.
R Ashwin bowled to them in the same nets as well. Rahul suffered a blow to his left knee during the first stint and put an ice pack on it. He batted again though, shrugging off any worries for the moment.
Interestingly enough, Rahane – left out of the playing XI for the first two Tests – padded up next and lined up along with Kohli and Hardik Pandya in what could be the suggestive middle-order in the coming third Test.
While the allrounder opened up with some big hits as per his natural style of play, both Kohli and Rahane looked solid against pacers. When they batted, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami even bowled with new Kookaburra balls.
Vijay, Pujara, Rahul, Kohli and Rahane had double stints in the batting nets. They took turns; whilst Vijay, Rahul and Pujara batted, Kohli and Rahane loitered around for a while before taking up turns against pacers and throw-downs again.
Dinesh Karthik later batted in tandem with Kohli, while Rahane finished up last against throw-downs from assistant coach Sanjay Bangar.
In the interim, Rohit – along with Shikhar Dhawan – was among the last group of batsmen to take strike. Patel batted ahead of Karthik in the roster order and worked on facing the short-ball with Pandya assisting him with throw-downs from a shortened distance.
Chahal registers best ODI bowling figures by a spinner Down Under
Mumbai :Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Friday recorded the best bowling figures by a spinner in an ODI clash in Australia, during the series-decider against the Aussies in Melbourne.
Chahal picked six wickets while conceding just 42 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), registering a dominant performance against the hosts, in a crucial clash. He also became the first spinner to pick six wickets in an ODI in Australia.
The bowler’s excellent performance certainly played a key role in India restricting Australia to a total of just 230.
The 28-year-old cricketer further equalled the best-ever ODI figures registered by any bowler in an ODI clash in Australia, alongside former Indian fast-bowler Ajit Agarkar.
Agarkar had accumulated the same tally as recorded by Chahal, against the hosts at the same venue, back in 2004.
Australian paceman Mitchell Starc enjoys a bowling tally, which trails the figures registered by the duo by a single run, having picked six wickets for 43 runs against India at the MCG, back in 2015.
English fast-bowler Chris Woakes is the fourth name on the list, after accumulating figures of 6/45 against Australia in Brisbane, 2011.
Phogat becomes first Indian nominated for Laureus Awards
Mumbai: Ace Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Monica on 18 February.
The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.
The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.
Also nominated are four inspirational Winter Olympic athletes; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, US ski racing legend Lindsey Vonn and Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.
The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.
Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
All foreign stars will play PSL ties in Pakistan, says Mani
LAHORE: All star cricketers will come to Pakistan to play in the eight matches of the fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani said.
The PSL matches will be staged from Feb 14 to March 17 at three venues — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — in the United Arab Emirates before the remaining fixtures move to Pakistan with Karachi staging five games, including the final, and Lahore three.
Talking to media on sidelines of a friendly cricket match between the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) and the UK-based Pakistani journalists at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mani said a good number of star cricketers had signed up in the six PSL franchises.
However, because of security concerns, prominent overseas players have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan. But with the passage of time, the number of prominent cricketers willing to visit Pakistan has risen. In the recent development the ex-South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers has already pledged to play two matches of Lahore Qalandars in Lahore on March 9 and 10.
To a query, Mani said the talks with Cricket Australia are still on to convince them to send their national side to Pakistan for two games of the five-match One-day International series in the UAE in March despite reports of Australia’s expressing their reluctance regarding playing here.
The PCB chief declared that he has persuaded CA to send a security delegation to assess the current situation in Pakistan before taking a final decision, which is expected to be taken before the PSL begins in the second week of February.
Mani further said that talks were on with the cricket boards of South Africa and England to send different age-group teams to Pakistan.