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We believe we can do well in SA: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

The Indian pacer spoke positively about the team’s build-up to the first Test and believed the pace attack is capable of doing well in South Africa

First, it was cloudy, then it drizzled and then it felt like the monsoon had hit Cape Town. You could sense the smell of fresh rain water mixed with mud almost giving a feeling of home back in India. Conditions on the ground though were different to what it would have been at home. There was some nip in the air, juice on the centre pitch and lots of bounce and carry for the keeper as India took on the field later in the noon after they were forced to practice indoors for the first half of the day.

The bowlers were snaring pace and it proved to be a good contest between bat and ball. The Indian pace attack during practice - Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah - rejoiced the conditions on offer and made full use of it.

India have had two intense days of practice with two sessions each that will hold them in good stead, believed pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “We did two sessions, just to get into the Test match groove. We bowled twice and wanted to bowl as long as possible before and after Lunch. It’s the same as in bowling in Test matches,” Bhuvneshwar said. “We know the general conditions in South Africa, so we are preparing according to that. We just want to prepare to the best of our abilities. We have to give our best in every department on all five days. We are confident we will do well in these conditions.”

Talking about things the bowling attack would need to counter in South Africa, Bhuvneshwar added, “The first thing that comes to our mind when it comes to South Africa is bouncier wickets, seaming wickets but that’s not a sure thing. When it comes to batsmen there is bounce and those unplayable deliveries but when it comes to bowlers, the Kookaburra is one of the toughest balls to bowl with. It doesn’t do too much after 25-30 overs. These are the kind of situations we are tackling with. Bounce is something ever fast bowler enjoys. That is something we want to cover. If there is extra bounce what are the kind of fields we can set for that. These are the little things we are doing in the practice sessions.”

This is an exciting pace attack on offer and India captain had said earlier that he believes this side can take 20 wickets. Every pacer in this line-up has his own skill set and brings that facet of his game to the fore. For the pace attack, it was all about learning from each other and putting them to practice. “We have different strengths, so we pick few things that could help our bowling. Like if I pick something from Umesh, Ishant or Shami; that’s reverse swing. They pick swing from me so it definitely helps us to get better.”

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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Vidarbha lift their maiden Ranji Trophy title in Indore

Faiz Fazal-led team trounce Delhi by nine wickets in the 2017-18 final

Vidarbha sailed to a nine-wicket win over Delhi to lift their maiden Ranji Trophy title in Indore. Experienced campaigner, Wasim Jaffer who was playing in his ninth Ranji Trophy final and was won the coveted trophy every time he has appeared in a final struck Kulwant Khejroliya to the fence to claim victory.

Having bowled Delhi out for 280, Vidarbha needed 29 runs to win. The skipper and the highest run-getter for the team through the season, Faiz Fazal was adjudged lbw in the first over. Jaffer then overhauled the paltry target with SR Ramaswamy in five overs to finish the game with a day to spare.

The day began with Vidarbha adding 19 runs to their overnight total before being bowled out for 547 on the fourth day with a whooping 252-run first innings lead. All the three remaining wickets fell with the score on 547. Siddhesh Neral’s chancy innings ended for 74. The batsman edged Navdeep Saini to the wicketkeeper while Akshay Wadkar departed taking the aerial route.

Although Wadkar returned on his overnight score of 133, it was his innings that helped bat Delhi out of the game. In the next over Aditya Thakare was sent back by Saini to bring curtains down on the Vidarbha innings.

With the match tipped heavily in Vidarbha’s favour, the Delhi openers Kunal Chandela and Gautam Gambhir came out to the middle.

However, with just 32 runs on the board Chandela departed taking the aerial route off A Wakhare. The left-handed opener who had struck some delectable drives was then trapped lbw by Rajneesh Gurbani leaving the team on 50 for two a bit later.

The first innings centurion, Dhruv Shorey was then joined in the middle by Nitish Rana. Chipping away at the opposition the pair put together 114-runs for the third wicket until the No 3 bat edged A Sarvate to the wicketkeeper leaving the side on 164 for three.

With Rishabh Pant, Nitish Rana then continued to carry the innings forward until Rajneesh Gurbani drew an edge from the latter through to Wadkar at the stroke of Tea leaving the side wobbling on 189 for four.

With a run added to the tally Himmat Singh was castled for zero by A Wakhare upfront in the final session of the day. From there on it was all downhill for the Pant-led team. A bit later with Delhi still trailing by 30 runs the skipper departed swinging his bat at a Siddhesh Neral delivery leaving his side on 222 for six. Six runs later Manan Sharma was bowled Wakhare.

Vikas Mishra and Akash Sudan then averted a innings defeat as they added 45 runs to the tally until the former was removed by Sarvate. Off the last ball of his over, the bowler sent back Akash Sudan to wrap-up Delhi’s second innings for 280.

The Faiz Fazal-led team were set a meagre target to lay their hands on the trophy which then attained with ease.

Man of The Match: Rajneesh Gurbani


BCCI Staff

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