Virat Kohli calls for India calm ahead of Pretoria Test

India's captain Virat Kohli looks on during their training at Centurion Park in Pretoria. (AP)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Virat Kohli calls for India calm ahead of Pretoria Test

PRETORIA: Virat Kohli has called on his India side to keep clam as they aim to bounce back from their 72-run defeat in Cape Town last week.
Kohli will lead the tourists out on the field for the second Test at Supersport Park in Centurion, a stronghold where South Africa have won 17 and lost just one of 21 matches.
As if that was not daunting enough India know they have to improve against the world’s best pace attack having been skittled out for 209 and 135 at Newlands.
But the India captain said this was not the time to panic and that playing an extra batsman wasn’t necessarily the answer. “People need to apply themselves much better whether we are playing five batsmen or six,” Kohli said.
“If you are playing six batters, it doesn’t mean you can afford to go out and play loose shots.
 “We might do something different, but there is definitely no need to panic. As a batting line-up, we have played well for a long time. We just need to adapt and apply ourselves better when we go out to bat.”
Shikhar Dhawan, who made 16 and 16 last week, is almost certain to sit this one out, but there was no clarity on which two openers India would go with. KL Rahul alongside Murali Vijay is the obvious choice, but given the team management’s preference for a left-right combination, there could even be a shock recall for Parthiv Patel, who last played against England in December 2016.
 If he does play, then India can afford to add an additional middle-order batsmen, with Ajinkya Rahane likely to be pencilled in at No. 5. That would mean the axe for Wriddhiman Saha, fewer than five days after he completed an Indian record of ten catches in a match.
For Faf du Plessis and South Africa, it is a straight choice between Chris Morris, the all-rounder, and Lungi Ngidi, a promising tearaway fast bowler, to replace the crocked Dale Steyn. Morris would strengthen the batting, but tends to leak runs with the ball.
“Before yesterday, I hadn’t seen him bowl at all,” said Du Plessis when asked about Ngidi. “I believe there is a lot of talent there. He bowls a heavy ball, and I’m excited to have him in the group.”
Du Plessis, who grew up in the area, expected the pitch to be fast and bouncy, but accepted that the harsh sun of the past week had burnt off much of the grass. He was also not about to discount India’s chances. “Their bowlers took 20 wickets, the only part when we were a little bit better was we got more runs in the first innings,” he said of the first Test. “I expect another huge performance from them. For us it’s about making sure we don’t take a step back. If you do that against a strong team like India, they will pounce on you.”


India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup clash

Updated 59 min 22 sec ago
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India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup clash

  • Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan collapsing
  • Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday

DUBAI: India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their long-awaited Asia Cup match which failed to live up to its hype in Dubai on Wednesday.
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all out in 43.1 overs at Dubai Stadium.
Skipper Rohit Sharma then struck three sixes and six boundaries in his 39-ball 52 while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a six and six fours in his 54-ball 46 as India romped home in 29 overs.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik both finished on 31 not out as India exacted some revenge for their humbling 180-run defeat against their arch-rivals in the final of the Champions Trophy in London last year -- the most recent match between the teams until Wednesday.
Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan meet in Abu Dhabi in the last Group B match on Thursday, having already qualified for the second round after Sri Lanka crashed out.
The top two teams from the Super Fours will play the final in Dubai on September 28.
Once Pakistan's unpredictable batting crumbled, Wednesday's match turned into a damp squib for a near-capacity crowd comprising of Indian and Pakistani expats living in the United Arab Emirates.
Kumar ran through the top order by dismissing openers Imam-ul-Haq (two) and Fakhar Zaman (nought) inside five overs, before Babar Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43) rebuilt the innings during their 82-run stand for the third wicket.
But after Azam was dismissed in the 22nd over, bowled by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for 77 runs.
Azam hit six boundaries in his 62-ball knock while Malik, dropped on 26 by MS Dhoni off Hardik Pandya, cracked one six and one four in a vigilant innings which lasted 67 balls.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (six) became Jadhav's first wicket, holing out to long-on where substitute fielder Maneesh Pandey completed a brilliant catch, throwing the ball back into the field to avoid running over the rope and completing the catch.
But it was Malik's run out which derailed Pakistan, sent back by Asif Ali after setting off for a quick single.
Paceman Jasprit Bumrah took 2-23 but India lost all-rounder Hardik Pandya to injury.
Bowling his fifth over, Pandya fell in his follow through and was stretchered off with a lower back injury, the extent of which was being assessed by the India team's medical staff.