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Test Cricket

Honours even in Abu Dhabi Test after a see-saw battle on Day 2

alastair_cookDay 2 of the second test between Pakistan and England in Abu Dhabi produced another fascinating day of test match cricket leaving the match hanging in the balance. England made short work of the three remaining Pakistan wickets early in the first session before putting forth their best batting display of the series and getting into a strong position in the test going into the third and final session. The last hour, however, produced a dramatic change in the state of the match as Saeed Ajmal came up a fine spell of bowling to dismiss 3 English top order batsmen before stumps, hence giving Pakistan a good chance to get back into the test match. At Stumps England were 207/5 having bowled out Pakistan for 257, within the first 15 minutes of play on the day.

Stuart Broad struck a big blow to Pakistan's hopes of posting a total in excess of 300 in the second over of the day as he trapped Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq plumb in front with a delivery that nipped back off a length into the right hander. That opening was sufficient for James Anderson as he removed the remaining two Pakistani tail enders in the next over. Firstly, he trapped Saeed Ajmal LBW, before dismissing Junaid Khan caught at second slip, looking to fend at a short rising delivery. The innings ended with Pakistan adding just a solitary run to their overnight score.

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Kohli hits ton, but Australia still 382 runs ahead in Adelaide Test

peter_siddle_2India had yet another poor day on their disastrous tour of Australia on Thursday as the visitors were bowled out for a paltry 272 in pursuit of Australia's first innings score of 604/7 declared Virat Kohli's maiden test century was the only bright spark in another dark day with Peter Siddle leading the Aussie bowlers on a merry rout today by taking an excellent 5-fer. The Aussies decided not to impose the follow on and struggled a bit on a deteriorating track, ending at 50-3 with first innings double centurions Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke holding fort. Many would argue that their present lead of 382 would be enough to win this test, but expect the Aussies to look for a more imposing score that would enable them to attack right through the last two days.

The Australians went into the 3rd day at the Adelaide Oval sensing a great opportunity to set the platform for a 4-0 whitewash of this star-studded Indian team. That opportunity was diligently taken by the Aussie bowlers as they exhibited astonishing consistency in line and length yet again in this series.

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Misbah holds off England charge on Opening Day of Abu Dhabi Test

The first day of the second test match between England and Pakistan played at the Sheik Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi belonged to the Poms after they restricted Pakistan to 256/7 at stumps. Three wicket hauls from Stuart Broad (3/47) and Graeme Swann (3/52) helped England take control after having lost the toss. The Pakistan captain Misbah Ul Haq top scored for the hosts with an unbeaten 83 that left the side in a respectable shape at the end of proceedings on Day 1.

Both teams made just one change to their line ups from the first test in Dubai, with Pakistan opting for the young left-armer Junaid Khan for the injured pacer Aizaz Cheema while England replaced the injured Chris Tremlett with left arm spinner Monty Panesar.

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India lose Sehwag and Dravid in pursuit of Australia's 604

rahul_dravidIts the tour that keeps on giving. Giving to the Australian batsmen that is. After hammering the Indian bowlers beyond recognition on the opening day of the Adelaide Test, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, duly drove home the advantage by brining up twin double centuries, thereby taking Australia to an imposing total of 604/7 declared on Wednesday. Ricky Ponting ended up with the honours of being the innings top scorer with 221 runs, while Clarke was finally dismissed for 210, having scored his runs at a strike rate of better than 75. India had an hour and a half to survive before the close of play, but failed to make it through with losing two key wickets. Virender Sehwag (18) and Rahul Dravid (1) fell to the Australian pace attack once again to lose the visitors in trouble at 61/2 heading into day 3.

After being taken to the cleaners on the first day by the dreaded pairing of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke on the first day of the final test between India and Australia in Adelaide, the Indian bowlers had something similar in store for them on the second day too. The captain and ex-captain duo kept the runs coming at a very brisk rate in the first hour on day 2, as the made 65 runs in just 14 overs during that period. Clarke got to his 150 in the 2nd over of the day with a lovely cover drive off Sharma. Ponting was fortunate on the one occasion as he nicked one from Ishant through the slip cordon for four. That was the only alarming moment in an otherwise relaxed session for the hosts. Ponting too got to his 150 in fine style just before drinks, straight driving Umesh Yadav splendidly past the non striker for four. Australia got to 400/3 at drinks effortlessly with both batsmen looking set to get to double hundreds.

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Mission Resurrection: What England need to do to bounce back

It is not rocket science for a rational cricket observer to be aware that for a team to prove its supremacy in any format of the game, especially tests, it is absolutely critical for them to prove their mettle in all conditions which span across different pitches, climate, crowd and other miscellaneous factors. In fact, this is the most amazing aspect about cricket – every country and team presents its own set of challenges that visiting teams need to conquer in order to get a shot at being crowned the World No 1.

If we look more closely at England's current case; they have the whole subcontinent to conquer before they can genuinely claim to be the undisputed best in test cricket. A failure to do so just puts them at the top of a flawed list, sailing to the pinnacle for being the least vulnerable amongst a group of unexceptional teams.

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