Sunday, December 11, 2016


Test Match #2239: India vs England, Mumbai
Virat Kohli and Jayant Yadav put on a double-century stand (215 unbeaten at Lunch on Day 4), grinding down the English bowlers to put India into a commanding position in the 4th Test of the series. During the course of the innings they created a new Indian record for the highest 8th wicket partnership in Test cricket, breaking the old record of 161 between Azhar and Kumble made in 1996 against South Africa at Eden Gardens.

And what a game that was. Still have distinct memories of the game. Inspite of the fact that I was in school and only saw the highlights at the end of day's plays. And while the scorecard  says, South Africa won by a huge margin of 329 runs, this game still holds lots of wonderful memories for the Indian fan.

South Africa had galloped ahead and India were playing catch-up throughout the game. The openers put on a double century opening stand but were reined in by Venkatesh Prasad, probably the gentlest of medium-pacers, who took a 5-wicket haul in a space of five overs. This man had the ability to produce something special out of nowhere. (Never forget "THAT" response to Aamer Sohail!!!).

In response, the Indian top order collapsed. Nothing unusual in those days specially in the face of the top quality fast bowling. Azhar had to retire hurt, while Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, VVS (the last 3 in their 1st year of Test cricket) were all dismissed cheaply. A follow-on seemed imminent before Azhar returned and in Kumble's company just hammered everything in sight. Eden Gardens has witnessed many a spectacular performance and this certainly was one of them. Our class was updated of the score by the teachers and also one enterprising fellow who had smuggled in a pocket radio. The score certainly moved at T20esque pace with Azhar having taken a particular liking to the debutante Klusener. The highlight was Azhar hammering Klusener for 5 boundaries in a single over. 

Source: Cricinfo
The partnership brought India back into the game. Azhar recorded the fastest Test century by an Indian batsman. When he got going, it wasn't a flash in the pan but a lightning storm. But it soon got over. Meanwhile we willed on Kumble to get to his first Test century but that wasn't to be. (Kumble did eventually score one a decade later).

As is wont with the Indian fan, the partnership flashed hopes of an unlikely victory. But it wasn't to be as the ruthless South Africans put in a big score in the second innings and gave us an even bigger target in the second. And Lance Klusener had his redemption picking up 8 wickets in the second.

But for that glorious afternoon when Azhar got going and Kumble stayed on, What a wonderful passage of play that was. The ones which stay in your memory even twenty years later!

P.S. Jayant Yadav got to his maiden Test hundred and the partnership ends at 241.

P.P.S. End of Amit Mishra's Test career? Or he makes another comeback?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Assam

Match Summary: Jharkhand (316 &111/5) beat Assam (126 & 299 (f/o)) by 5 wickets  
Points: Jharkhand 6, Assam 0

Jharkhand recorded their 4 win of the season to seal a knock-out berth for a second year in a row. And with Karnataka losing to Saurashtra, they also leap-frogged to the top spot in the group.

Assam won the toss and put Jharkhand into bat. They were in early trouble before the experienced pair of Saurabh Tiwary and Ishank Jaggi built together a 149 run partnership for the 4th wicket. There wasn't any other substantial contribution as the team folded out for 316. This proved a big score as the Jharkhand seamers shot out Assam for 126 and enforced the follow-on. In the second innings Assam's top 3 wiped out the 190 run deficit but the rest could not add much as they collapsed form 225/1 to 299 all out leaving a target of 110. Jharkhand's chase was wobbly but Jaggi's brisk innings guided them to victory.

  • Team Changes: In - Rahul Shukla (playing his 1st game of the season) Out - Samar Quadri. 
  • 50 career wickets for Rahul Shukla who also received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 651 @65.10
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 32 @32.59
Player Count: 17

Points Tally - 32 after 7 games to move up to the top spot. And with this victory Jharkhand confirm their spot in the knock-outs. Meanwhile Assam drop down to the bottom of the group.

Coming Up Next - 3rd place Odisha for whom it is a very critical match. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Arbit Stats #60: Lower Order Muscle

Test Match #2238: India vs England

India suddenly find themselves in a spot of bother with half the team gone and trailing by 130 odd runs in the first innings. England start seeing a sliver of light for a Test win.

Enter the Indian bowling attack. But with the bat.
Ravichandran Ashwin (72), Ravindra Jadeja (90 and Jayant Yadav (55) pack in a lot of punch to take India to a a lead of 130 odd in the first innings.

And in the process becoming the first ever Indian batting (or maybe bowling trio) trio to score a fifty from positions 7, 8 and 9 in the same innings.

Certainly deserve a bonus with them doing all the bowling and batting.

Image from ESPNCricinfo

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Saurashtra

Match Summary: Saurashtra (277 & 144) lost to Jharkhand (477) by innings and 46 runs 
Points: Jharkhand 7, Saurashtra 0

Saurashtra were knocked off quickly on the first day. Although their tail wagged a bit to take the score to 277. Ashish Kumar and Shahbaz Nadeem were the wreckers in chief. In reply the Jharkhand batsmen blazed away with Ishan Kishan and Ishank Jaggi blasting big 100s with Jharkhand scoring 477 at a run rate of 4.58! Saurashtra ere knocked over quickly in the second innings with Samar Quadri picking 4 and Ashish picking 3 wickets.

Jharkhand even got the bonus point as they recorded their 3rd win of the season and seem set to qualify for the knock-outs for second year in a row.

  • Team Changes: In - Ajay Yadav, Sumit Kumar Samar Quadri. Out - Virat Singh, Sunny Gupta, Vikash Singh. 
  • 14th first class century for Ishank Jaggi and his 3rd of this season. He also completed 4000 career runs.
  • 4th first class century for Ishan Kishan, who also recorded his third of the season. Maybe its a good idea to take the keeping gloves off him.
  • Ishank Jaggi received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan 595 @74.38
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 29 @33.79
Player Count: 16

Points Tally - 26 after 6 games to retain 2nd spot behind Karnataka (29 from 5). Meanwhile Saurashtra remain in last place. Chances of qualification looking very bright at the moment.

Coming Up Next - Jharkhand sit out the next round of games before taking on 7th place  Assam

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Delhi

Match Summary: Jharkhand (473) drew with Delhi (334 & 484/ (f/o)) 
Points: Jharkhand 3, Delhi 1

After the previous game against Vidarbha, I had posted that it would be interesting to see the side-battle between two 19-year-old left-handed wicketkeeper batsman. And Boy! was I right. The Jharkhand vs Delhi game was reduced to a Ishan Kishan vs Rishabh Pant affair.

Delhi won the toss and put Jharkhand into bat. Jharkhand were soon 80 for 4 before Ishank Jaggi and Ishan Kishan joined forces. Kishan put up big stands with Jaggi, Kaushal Singh and Nadeem to take the score to 404 for 7. At the fall of Nadeem's wicket he opened and smashed 86 of the last 89 runs to take Jharkhand to a formidable 493. In the process breaking many Jharkhand batting records.

Delhi replied with Unmukt Chand and Rishabh Pant scoring 100s but there wasn't much support from the others as they folded up for 332. Jharkhand imposed the follow-on but Delhi easily cut into the deficit. The match was heading towards a draw when in walked Pant. And smashed a 67 ball 135 for his second century of the game with 13 sixes. Delhi decided to bat on and the game ended in a draw with Jharkhand getting 3 points on virtue of the first innings lead.

  • Team Changes: In - Sunny Gupta. Out - Ajay Yadav. 
  • Ishan Kishan's records
    • 273 - Highest first class score by any Jharkhand batsman.
    • 14 - Joint most sixes in a single innings in Ranji Trophy
    • 3rd first class century and during the course of the innings completed passed the 1000 run mark as well.
  • Meanwhile Rishabh Pant blazed a faster than run-a-ball 100 in both innings and broke the record for fastest first-class century by an Indian in just 48 balls. And as for his first-class numbers his average is Bradmanesque and Strike Rate Sehwagesque.
  • Ishan Kishan received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan 459 @65.57
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 24 @35.67
Player Count: 15

Points Tally - 19 after 5 games to retain 2nd spot behind Karnataka (23 from 4). Meanwhile Delhi remain in 3rd place.

Coming Up Next - Saurashtra, who are at the bottom of the Group.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Arbit Stats #59: Un-out-able Kraigg

Test Match #2229: Pakistan vs West Indies

Kraigg Brathwaite became the first opening batsman ever to remain Not Out in Both innings of a Test Match.  A tremendous achivement which resulted in a rare West Indies Test victory.

To misquote Ian Bishop (and with apologies to Carlos) - "Kraigg Brathwaite! Remember the Name!!!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Vidarbha

Match Summary: Vidarbha (105 & 444) drew with Jharkhand (362/8d & 75/4)
Points: Jharkhand 3, Vidarbha 1

Well begun but just could not get over the line. Jharkhand won the toss and knocked out Vidarbha for 105 with debutante Vikash Singh being the pick of the bowlers. In reply Jharkhand grabbed a huge lead, bolstered by Jaggi's second consecutive century. They must have had their sights set on a bonus point victory but Vidarbha proved more difficult to dislodge in the second innings as they racked up 444 to set Jharkhand a target of 188. Jharkhand survived a wobbly start and closed down the shutters to gather 3 points from the game.

  • Team Changes: In - Vikash Singh. Out - Sunny Gupta. 
  • Vikash Singh made his first class debut and picked up a 4-wicket haul in the first innings.
  • Pratyush Singh got his first  highest Test score with his first fifty in just his second game. 
  • 13th First Class century for Ishank Jaggi.
  • Ajay Yadav reached 50 first class wickets at an average of under 19. Maybe a good time to move to a higher level.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 296 @49.33
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 19 @31.63
Player Count: 15

Points Tally - 16 after 4 games to drop down to 2nd spot behind Karnataka. Meanwhile Vidarbha move up 1 place to 6th.

Coming Up Next - Delhi, who are currently 3rd in the Group. Interesting to watch the relative performances of India U-19 graduates Ishan Kishan & Rishabh Pant.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Rajasthan

Match Summary: Jharkhand (209 & 277) beat Rajasthan (207 & 237) by 42 runs 
Points: Jharkhand 6, Rajasthan 0

Second outright win of the season propelled Jharkhand to the top of Group B and in pole position for one of the knock-out berths.

Jharkhand won the toss and were all out for 209 with Kaushal Singh adding a fifty his century in the first game. Other batsmen got starts but no one capitalized on it with Pankaj Singh taking 5 wicket. Rajasthan had a great start with the openers putting on a 100 partnership but then Shahbaz Nadeem had other ideas as he ran through the Rajasthan line up and Jharkhand got a slender 2 run lead. In the second innings Jharkhand were in trouble with 7 wickets down for 163 before Ishank Jaggi and Nadeem put up a 99 run stand for the 8th wicket. Jaggi went on to get a round 100 as Jharkhand were all out for 277. Nadeem was once again amongst the wickets as Rajasthan lost 8 wickets for 137 in the chase. However, then came an irritating 87 run 9th wicket stand. But Jharkhand were finally able to break through and register a well deserved win.

In the end it was a fighting win as the team kept fighting hard and did not give up.

  • Team Changes: In - Ajay Yadav, Sunny Gupta, Pratyush Singh. Out - Varun Aaron, Shiv Gautam, Samar Quadri. 
  • Saurabh Tiwary lead the side in place of Aaron.
  • Pratyush Singh made his first class debut. Decent outing having got starts in both innings but couldn't capitalize on it.
  • 12th First Class century for Ishank Jaggi.
  • 2nd 10-wicket match haul for Nadeem which included his 10th & 11th 5-wicket hauls. Nadeem picked up the Man of the Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Kaushal Singh 193 @48.25
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 18 @27.06
Player Count: 14

Points Tally - 13 after 3 games. Right at the top of the table. Meanwhile Rajasthan drop down to 4th place.

Coming Up Next - Vidarbha, who are currently at 7th place in the Group but have played one game less.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Arbit Stats #58: Big Gaps

Test Match #2225: Bangladesh vs England
It could turn out to an extra-ordinary one or it could be just another Test but for one player, this game is special.

Gareth Batty returns to the England Test side after having missed 142 Test matches in between over a period of 11 years. And in the process breaking compatriot Martin Bicknell's 124 game missing streak by a whopping 28 Tests. (Full list)

Lets hope he gets a better run this time around.

P.S. Wondering how would the likes of Kepler Wessels (who played for Australia and South Africa be accommodated in such lists)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Karnataka

Match Summary: Karnataka (577/6d & 162/3) drew with Jharkhand (374)
Points: Karnataka 3, Jharkhand 1

The kind of game where one team decided that it doesn't want to win. Otherwise there is no obvious reason for Karnataka not enforcing the follow-on on the last morning and giving themselves a shot at earning 3/4 additional points.

Karnataka batted first and rode Samarth's double hundred to overcome an initial wobble and pile on a big score. Jharkhand were in trouble but managed to extend their first innings just enough to ensure that Karnataka did not enforce the follow-on. Ishan Kishan played a blistering innings to spare Jharkhand the blushes and secure one point from the game.

  • Team Changes: In - Samar Quadri. Out - Ajay Yadav.
  • 2nd first class century & career best score for Ishan Kishan. Comparisons with another Jharkhand keeper will become a norm if such performances continue. 
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan 163 @81.50
Most Wickets: Ashish Kumar 9 @19.78 

Points Tally - 7 after 2 games. Currently lying in 4th place in the group, well in hunt for a knock-out berth.

Coming Up Next - Rajasthan, who are currently at the top in the Group.

Swapnil Gugale & Ankit Bawne put on an unbeaten 594 stand before Gugale declared, leaving themselves just 30 short of the highest partnership record in first class cricket. Apparently they were not aware of the record! Although not similar but reminds of the BB Nimbhalkar's first class epic where he missed out on the highest  first-class score at the time because the opposing Kathiawar team refused to take the field anymore!!!

Coming back to the game, even this huge score almost did not prove enough because young Risabh Pant hammered a triple hundred at near run-a-ball but Delhi just fell short.