King and his deputy steady the ship to keep thrilling Perth Test

The captain and vice captain of the visiting team should be pleased with their effort as they walk back to the dressing room. After losing their openers cheaply, the experienced batsmen - Pujara, Kohli and Rahane - showed us why their side is top-ranked in the world. They lost just one wicket in the final session - the rock-solid
Pujara getting strangled down leg. Rahane came out throwing his bat at almost everything, but that was his way to get his eye in. The troika of the Indian batters batted patiently and weathered a testing spell from Cummins who was the pick of the bowlers for Australia, but has nothing to show in the wickets column.

Perth Scorchers cruise to victory over Stars

Villani and Graham lead Perth to comfortable eight-wicket triumph over Melbourne Star opener Elyse Villani led the way as WBBL heavyweights Perth Scorchers returned to form with a confident eight-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars. Last season's finalists suffered rare double defeats last weekend and were without injured skipper Meg
Lanning on Saturday but performed strongly with bat and ball at Casey Fields to ease to victory over the home side. Villani and Heather Graham shared an unbeaten stand of 73 for the third wicket as they eased past the Stars' modest 9-124 with an over to spare.

Rachel Priest powers Thunder to victory

Rachel Priest's fireworks outdoes the big-hitting of compatriot Suzie Bates at Blundstone Arena Despite a dazzling lone hand from Adelaide's Suzie Bates, Sydney Thunder have cruised to a six-wicket win over the Strikers in their Rebel WBBL clash in Hobart.
Despite struggling with a foot injury throughout her innings, the powerful opener carried her bat for 79 not out off just 60 balls on Saturday in a Strikers' total of just 132. Their innings was built around a whirlwind 74-run, third-wicket between Rachel Priest and Harmanpreet Kaur. Priest remained unbeaten on 58 off 46 balls, including two sixes.

Defiant Suzie Bates boosts Strikers

The Thunder were without rested Australian vice-captain Rachael Haynes but had no trouble mowing down the target, posting 4-134 off 17.3 overs. The slow-mo replay showed how Harmanpreet kept her eyes on the ball even as she put in the dive to catch it with both hands, a testament to her supreme fitness. The Strikers ended up setting a target
of 132 after Suzie Bates stood tall among the ruins with a superb unbeaten 79 off 60. She was named Player of the Match even though her team ended on the losing side. The Strikers lost wickets at regular intervals throughout their innings against disciplined bowling and some superb catching, notably from Belinda Vakarewa and Kaur.

Kaur takes a screamer in Hobart

India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur was the toast of the Women’s Big Bash League on Saturday as she took a stunning catch against Adelaide Strikers in Sydney Thunder’s six-wicket win at Hobart.
Harmanpreet ended the stay of Strikers’ opener Tahlia McGrath, who was trying to make the most of the Powerplay after being put in to bat. In the third over, she hit a length ball from Rene Farrell over mid-on.

Hazlewood absolute yorker knocks Rahul over

5.1 overs Hazlewood to Rahul, out Bowled!! Corker from Hazlewood. Rahul plays all around it and misses it to be cleaned up. India in deep trouble. That was right up there and the little movement in the air might
have done him in. 6th wicket of the day. Rahul stayed rooted inside the crease and his feet hardly moved to compensate for the line and the length. Rahul b Hazlewood 2(17)

Mitchell Starc with a peach to remove Vijay for duck

2.6 overs Starc to Vijay, out Bowled!! Told ya! It was coming - the big, booming inswinger. Goes straight through Vijay's defences to rattle the stumps and Starc roars in joy. Australia have struck early as Vijay departs for a duck. Full, pace and had danger written all over it. Swung back in menacingly,
Vijay's cemented feet has led to his downfall. Was late in bringing his bat down, expected it to move away but it came back in, goes through the bat-pad gate to disturb the furniture. It will also be lunch with the fall of that wicket. Vijay b Starc 0(12)

Australia all out after losing their last four for 16

This was super quick, isn't it? After the fall of the two-set batsmen, the hosts rapidly sunk losing their last four wickets for 16 runs. It was all gloom for India in the first hour where the runs were flowing freely with Paine and Cummins motoring along. In fact, they failed to even bowl a single maiden in that passage of play which summed up
the dominance by Australia. But the break in play tilted the scales in the visitors' favour as Umesh Yadav broke open the doors dismissing Cummins with a snorter and then Paine followed him soon - getting trapped by Bumrah. It needed just two balls for Ishant to clean up the last two wickets and signal the end of Australia's innings. It's a healthy total, I would say because the pitch will start playing tricks as the day progresses and the batting will only get tougher.

India's struggles in finishing off the opposition tail in 2018

104.6 overs U Yadav to Pat Cummins, out Bowled!! What a peach from U Yadav. Needed
something special like this to remove Cummins. The 69-run stand has been broken. This was on a goodish length, Cummins was fatally caught in the crease - with feet rooted. Should've been forward. It just held it's line after pitching, Cummins was playing for the in-dipper and it beats the outside edge to kiss the off-stump. Beauty! Pat Cummins b U Yadav 19(66)

Paine and Cummins with the ideal start to the 2nd day for Australia

100.2 overs U Yadav to Pat Cummins, 2 runs, nicely tucked to the left of mid-wicket for a couple of runs, fifty partnership comes up So Australia beginning well like yesterday morning. For some reason, Kohli didn't bowl Bumrah
first up and as soon as he came, he beat the bat thrice in his very first over of the day. Shami and Ishant started well, but weren't consistent enough to take a wicket. Umesh has been a bit up and down as well. Cummins has shown exceptional commitment, while Paine is determined as well. Anything in excess of 350 will be a big plus for Australia.

Healy jabs critics again as Warne slams 'atrocious' Starc

Starc is yet to fire back at criticism from Test legends post-Adelaide but his wife and Australia women’s star Alyssa Healy has his back.But he has come under heavy criticism, including from Shane Warne, who labelled Starc’s work with the second new ball in both innings in Adelaide ‘atrocious’ in his News Limited column on Friday.
'It was atrocious, the worst I’ve ever seen Starc with the second new ball. ''Anyone can have a bad day, but for the whole Test, Mitchell Starc didn’t look at his best. And there is no excuse for anyone not to be at their best for the first Test of a summer.''

Nathan Lyon could turn Perth Test: Finch

Having lost Ravichandran Ashwin to an abdominal strain, India face the prospect of batting last on a deteriorating pitch which Nathan Lyon would be primed to exploit. "I think the bounce that Nathan will get will be crucial on this wicket," opener Aaron Finch said. "We saw when Vihari bowled that fuller length it was tough.
There were some chances created for the left-handers. "I think Nathan will enjoy bowling on that. He talks about how much more effective he is when you do have that bounce because you can get guys caught on the crease, it brings in your bat-pad and your leg slip. "Ash bowled beautifully in Adelaide, especially on the last day," Finch said. "He's pretty adept at bowling on any surface. No doubt he would have been a handful."

Tim Paine no answer for Bumrah's stunning delivery

Bumrah was the pick of the Indian pace battery in terms of the economy rate. He bowled 22 overs in the day, the maximum of the lot, and conceded just 41 runs and picked one wicket. He disturbed the hosts’ batsman throughout the day with one that took off surprisingly. However, it was two his consecutive balls in the 84th over of the day against Paine which got a lot of applause and even left the batsman wondering for an explanation.
The fourth delivery of the 84th over straightened off the seam and zoomed past Paine’s bat while the next one shot up from a good length and completely fooled the batsman who was trying to play it on the leg side. The unplayable ball then beat wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant as well, flew over his head to end up in four byes. Bumrah kept on looking in disbelief as to how the ball missed kissing the bat while Paine kept on staring at the wicket with once glance at the bowler in between.

Rishabh Pant continues to sledge Aussies

Unlike Adelaide, the fast bowlers were bowling from both the ends throughout the first session. The Australian openers Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch were looking comfortable in the middle as they notched up a fifty-run stand in the first 15 overs itself. Though this was the period when the visitors were tying things up by bowling consecutive dot deliveries.
This is when Pant found his voice to get into the ears of the batsmen. Despite standing way behind the stumps with the fast bowlers bowling, the 20-year-old came all the way to the striker’s end during the 16th over and tried to get under the skin of both the batsmen who were concentrating hard as easy runs weren’t on offer.Unfortunately, this effort from their wicket-keeper didn’t reap rich rewards for India. Australia’s opening duo went unscathed until the lunch and also registered their first three-figure score together in the whites. 

A year to remember for the Indian pacers

2 – For the second time in 2018, India took the field without a regular spinner in the playing XI. India went with five pace options including Hardik Pandya in the Johannesburg Test this year against South Africa. Prior to 2018, the 2012 Test match against Australia at the WACA, Perth is the only other time when India went without a proper spin option in their XI of a Test match. India had four specialist pacers in the 1992 Sydney Test against Aussies as well but the spin all-rounder Ravi Shastri was the opener in that game.
150 – Number of wickets for Indian pacers in Test cricket in 2018. This is the first time pacers of an Asian team have claimed as many as 150 Test wickets in a calendar year. Mohammed Shami (38), Jasprit Bumrah (35), Ishant Sharma (35), Umesh Yadav (19), Hardik Pandya (13) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (10) have contributed towards the feat.

Ponting says Fast-learner Finch has a bright future

Ponting and Finch worked closely together on match eve, both out in the middle of the colosseum-like stadium and the practice nets on its external perimeter.   The former captain, who has been a presence around the national side in the past 18 months, said he's sees the same technical issues in Finch as the ones he faced during his prolific career at international level – falling to one side and over-balancing on his front leg.  So Ponting was more than happy to pass on his vast expertise to Finch and continue the work Langer started in Adelaide.
"The way that he plays, looking to get forward and across his stumps, is sort of the way I played," he said.  "It was the little things that I had to work on right through my career, just to help out with my balance and 'un-weighting' my front leg if you like, to load up a bit of weight on my back foot and making one move into the ball rather than trying to make two or three movements.  "The most important thing with Aaron is that I'd rather see him being beaten on the outside of the bat, not the inside of the bat.  "If he thinks about staying leg-side of the ball and not over-committing to the line too early then I think he's got a very bright future at Test level."

Shane Warne has a bad news for India

And Shane Warne feels the hard, green, bouncy and fast pitch will help the under-fire hosts blow the world number one Test side away. The legendary spinner took to Twitter to predict the outcome of the game. Apologizing to his Indian fans, the former leg-spinner predicted Australia to win the game, writing,
“Good luck to both teams in Perth today for the second test ! Sorry to all my Indian fans, but given the pitch conditions, a hard, green bouncy & fast pitch – I think the Aussies will blow India away ! I hope Starc finds his form & gets 10 for the match & Finch gets a big 100”

Australia nose ahead on see-saw day

A fascinating day of cricket. On a green-ish track, with 0-1 down, the Australians decided to bat first and the openers remained unscathed in the first session. The new-ball bowlers didn't bowl in the right areas, and although Shami kept it tight, he was unlucky to not get any wickets. Post lunch, Bumrah broke the century opening
partnership and the visitors fought back by picking two more wickets in that session. Shaun Marsh, Australia's best batter in the second innings in the first Test was dropped on 24 by Pant and the home boy along with Travis Head threatened to take the game away from India. But, Australia decided to become generous hosts and both the well-set batters gifted their wickets away. Hanuma Vihari - the part-time bowler(?) - dismissed two left-handers who were looking in good touch.

Travis Head brings up his third Test half-century

82.1 overs Ishant to Head, out Caught by Shami!! Can you believe it? Head has holed out at third man. The umpires want to check if it's a legal ball. Yes, no problem with that and Head has to depart. Early Christmas
gift for Ishant Sharma. It was full and outside off, Head plays away from his body and flashed his bat hard at it. The ball flies off the outside edge and settles into the hands of Shami. Head c Shami b Ishant 58(80) [4s-6]

Shaun Marsh falls just before the new ball can be taken

76.6 overs Hanuma Vihari to Shaun Marsh, out Caught by Rahane!! Big wicket for India and they have broken the partnership. Vihari kept plugging and was very consistent with his lines. Finally, gets his reward. Pant will breathe easy and Marsh doesn't capitalize much on the reprieve. It was quick and zipped off the deck,
the trap was set for the cut shot and the southpaw fell into the trap. Took it almost off the keeper's glove, gets a thick outside edge which deflected off Pant's thigh and traveled quickly to Rahane at first slip - who takes a sharp catch. Australia five down now. Shaun Marsh c Rahane b Hanuma Vihari 45(98) [4s-6]

Kohli takes a Blinder to remove Handscomb

54.1 overs Ishant to Handscomb, out Caught by Kohli!! That is a stunner from the Indian captain. Poor shot played and Kohli plucks out a blinder. That was Venom-like from the Indian skipper. Short ball,
disconcerting bounce and Handscomb looked to steer it and was caught at second slip. That was moving at the pace of knots and Kohli leapt up, threw his right hand in the air and took it. Tell me things which he can't do? Handscomb c Kohli b Ishant 7(16)

India fight back with double strikes

This session: 79 runs | 3 wickets. After an ordinary morning session, India have come back strongly, thereby putting those selection debates to rest for the time being. Both the Australian openers raised their respective fifties and it was the first century opening stand against India in 46 innings. Bumrah bowled a fiery spell and got the
breakthrough in his first over post-lunch. The Indians kept applying pressure and Khawaja was nipped out by Umesh Yadav - thanks to a lazy shot from the Australian No. 3. And then, came the surprise package, Hanuma Vihari dismissing a well-set Marcus Harris. The pitch has quickened up and India have found the right lines and lengths. How will the hosts counter this Indian attack who now have their tails up? 


Finch falls after well made half century

35.2 overs Bumrah to Finch, out Lbw!! Woah. That's out of the top draw. Bumrah has consumed Finch, who perishes after his fifty. Much needed boost for India because this partnership was looking ominous. The seeds of doubt was already created in the batsman's mind. If last ball was shorter, this was full and it seamed in sharply.
Finch's head was falling away as he tried to play it across the line. Gets pinned low on the pad and in front of the pad. Dead duck and doesn't bother to waste the review. It was crashing the middle of middle. What a bowling for India, it has worked wonders and Bumrah is over the moon. Finch lbw b Bumrah 50(105) [4s-6]

Maiden Test half-century for Marcus Harris

29.5 overs Shami to Marcus Harris, 1 run, maiden Test fifty for Harris. Round of applauses ring around the stadium and Australian dressing room are on their feet. With coach Justin Langer in all smiles.
Back of a length and on middle, Harris tucks it wide of mid-on and brings up his milestone. Raise of the bat and mind you, he was born in Perth but moved later to Victoria

A great start from the Aussies as they go for a feed

A green track? A 'misnomer' is the answer. The wicket never had demons in it and the openers are unscathed after the first session on day 1. The Indian bowlers missed the mark in the first hour and gave away 47 runs. Though they tightened the screws in the second half and made the opening duo toil hard for every run.
India's theory of going in with four pacers also looks questionable now given that the wicket despite being little green does not seem to have the fizz to trouble the batsmen. If not flat, it is still a pretty good wicket to bat on. Australia for sure will feel their lunch is more delicious and we shall dictate the recipe for both the teams after 35 minutes.