The first Test between India and England dominated headlines in newspapers from both countries on Friday (November 11), with Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali – Thursday’s centurions – hogging the limelight. There was also some scrutiny of Virat Kohli, who faced possibly his first real test as captain on home soil.
Elsewhere, Australia were offered lots of suggestions to turn their fortunes around ahead of their second Test against South Africa – from looking to 1988 for inspiration, to seizing the big moments to batsmen being ruthless.
From silent era of captain MS Dhoni to technicolor of captain Virat Kohli (The Indian Express)
Kohli isn’t used to these, especially in home Tests. Six one-sided wins in seven home matches as skipper can make captaincy look easy. It can lead to over-estimation of self and exaggerations from others. It may make one wonder why they made ‘captain of India’ a big deal, called it the toughest job in the world. They say you have the Midas touch and even you start believing it.
Rajkot, so far, has made Kohli realise why this format is called a ‘Test’.
Big Ben Theory as Stokes goes from ‘bottle, bottle’ to bang, bang (The Indian Express)
On a dry hot July day in London in 2013, Ben Stokes sidled into the seats in the stands at Lord’s, and sat next to the psychologist Mark Bawden. He had struggled through the season, was feeling down with his performance, so much so that his captain at Durham, Paul Collingwood, had texted him, “Are you ok?” He wasn’t. But he didn’t want to share his heartache with his teammates as he didn’t want to short-change his boisterous tattoo-star image. But he realised he had to open up to someone, and he decided Bawden was the go-to man.
Harbhajan says spinners tried too many things (The Hindustan Times)
“They are all good spinners, and it’s alright to have an off-day. At times, when you try too many things, they don’t work in your favour,” said Harbhajan, India’s third highest Test wicket-taker with 417 scalps. The trio conceded 351 runs, 65.36% of England’s tally. Ashwin, the world’s top-ranked bowler and India’s trump card for over a year, managed just three maidens in 46 overs. Jadeja conceded 86 runs, the most by him in a home Test while Mishra was the least impressive.
Tourists are defying their underdog tag on the sub-continent (Independent)
After two days, England have shown against India that they can bat on the sub-continent after all. For three batsmen to take centuries off an attack including Ravi Ashwin et al is no mean feat and the only question remaining is whether England’s own bowlers will fare any better.
True, the pitch in Rajkot has been relatively benign, but it isn’t as flat as many which touring sides have encountered in the past. Moeen Ali was unlucky not to bowl Murali Vijay with an absolute snorter which ripped between bat and pad, while a delivery to Gautam Gambhir by the same bowler spat out of the rough and ended up leaping over Jonny Bairstow’s shoulder. Chances will come England’s way.
Nasser Hussain: The penny has dropped for magic Moeen Ali and he is becoming the batsman I always thought he could be (Daily Mail)
When I first saw Moeen for Worcestershire a few years ago I thought ‘crikey this lad can bat’ — I only viewed his bowling as a few part-time off-breaks — but people told me that he scored flashy 20s and 30s and then got out. It was the sort of thing people used to say about Michael Vaughan and he turned out to be able to play a bit. But I see what they meant with Moeen because at times with England he has been flashy and prone to giving it away.
Ben Stokes shows other side to his talents with century of graft and craft (The Guardian)
Ben Stokes has risen to prominence as a destructive cricketer but as he lifted his bat to the dressing room in celebration of his century on the second day at Rajkot, the huge smear of dirt down the front of his shirt and the sweat dripping from his brow told its own story.
The 25-year-old’s capacity to turn a match in a session is what makes him such an exciting talent, with his most jaw-dropping innings to date being the violent 258 in Cape Town in January when, on a true surface that saw the ball come nicely on to the bat, he was able to ignite the after-burners early and torment South Africa’s bowlers.
England legend Stokes Kallis comparisons (Cricket Australia)
Few players deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Jacques Kallis, but former England opener Geoffrey Boycott says Ben Stokes – who notched his fourth Test century against India on Thursday – reminds him of the legendary South African. In his maiden Test innings in India, the aggressive left-hander pounded 128 on the second day of the first Test to become England’s third century maker in their first dig and help them post 537.
Former India spinner Dilip Doshi feels the series will be interesting if pitches are good (Mumbai Mirror)
Dilip Doshi was born in Rajkot, grew up in Kolkata, played for India and finally settled in England. It is unlikely that there is anyone at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) ground who could be more neutral.
“I support quality cricket, sporting pitches,” the former left-arm spinner said of the five-Test India-England series that started yesterday. “It will be an interesting series. We’ll see a battle of attrition.”
Aussies need to identify big moments in Tests: Gilchrist (Press Trust of India)
“Australia shouldn’t be panicking. They were very much in the dominant position in that Test match (at Perth against South Africa). Even in at least two of the Test matches in Sri Lanka, they were really in dominant positions and then they let the opposition make a comeback. So that’s their biggest concern and they need to work hard on this aspect,” Gilchrist told PTI in an interview in Mumbai on Thursday.
Australia’s cricketers can look to ’88 for inspiration (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Amid the drama of Perth and the subsequent selection and injury fallout, it’s been pointed out the last time Australia lost a home season-opening Test was in 1988. There was no shame in that, for the West Indies of that summer were still in their pomp as world champions, loaded with such superstars as Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, and unleashed their latest fast bowling weapon in Curtly Ambrose.
Australia would trail 3-0 in the best-of-five series. That third defeat, at the MCG, came after volatile West Indian quick Patrick Patterson famously stormed into the Australian dressing room after the fourth day’s play and declared he would kill them all out in the middle the next day. Why? Because Steve Waugh had had the temerity to bounce tailender Patterson on that fourth day.
Why Kagiso Rabada is the perfect South African cricketer for these times (The Sydney Morning Herald)
If you tried to synthesise the ideal South African cricketer for these times, you could not come up with any better than Kagiso Rabada. He is a fast bowler, with the emphasis on fast, the latest in a trademark line from the republic. Whether or not Dale Steyn makes it back from his latest injury for one last hurrah, Rabada stands at the ready to become his country’s spearhead. Bowlologist Damien Fleming says it is the nature of the beast that every attack needs a main man, others to work off and around. South Africa have been blessed in the way theirs have interlinked from generation to generation. When Steyn gingerly had to set down the baton in Perth, Rabada was there to pick it up.
Jason Gillespie: Australia’s batsmen need to be ruthless (Cricket Australia)
The performance from Australia’s batsmen, the middle order in particular, just simply wasn’t good enough in Perth, and questions are quite rightly being asked. We’ve seen too much of it in Australia’s recent history, after the Sri Lanka tour in the winter and now this, and the batsmen need to take responsibility. Now, I don’t mean they are playing irresponsibly, but I mean they need to stand up and find a way to get through those tough periods and really be ruthless. That is what Test cricket is all about. Get in and go big. We can’t have players doing all the hard work to get to 20 or 30 and then give their wicket away.
Cricket’s television ratings plunge as Australia struggle against South Africa (The Sydney Morning Herald)
The Australian team is underperforming and fans are switching off at an alarming level, with the prime-time television audience for the first Test against South Africa evaporating by one-quarter from the corresponding clash in Perth last year against New Zealand.
In a concerning development for Cricket Australia as it prepares to begin formal negotiations with networks over the rights to broadcast cricket from 2018 to 2023, OzTAM ratings show viewer numbers have dropped off a cliff since last summer.
Embrace the change to grow (The Hindu)
Embracing the change is the only way to grow. All the talks about experimentation in Test cricket like the usage of pink ball or a four-day Test is meaningless in the Indian context till the real play-to-finish Test match between Justice Lodha Committee and the BCCI gets over. The Apex Court from time to time is attacking with variety of deliveries and the Board of Control for Cricket in India is trying to defend it steadfastly.
What’s Yusuf Pathan like off the field? (The Hindu)
He ruthlessly dismisses bowlers out of the park. Yusuf Pathan’s onslaught borders on cricketing violence. Off the field, though, Yusuf is a peace-loving affable person who has a variety of animals and birds as his pets. In his sprawling Baroda home and farmhouse, Yusuf spends time with a horse, a cow, goats, parrots and cats.
Dennis Lillee’s search for his greatest inspiration: his primary school teacher (The Sydney Morning Herald)
As Australia searches for its next great fast bowler, one of the most feared tearaways of all time Dennis Lillee, is searching for something else: his primary school teacher. Lillee had a reputation as an uncompromising competitor on the field so you’d be a brave person to bet against the paceman tracking him down (if he’s still alive)
Regular Tests the key: Mushy (The Daily Star)
Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim believes that the Tigers will be able to reach a certain level of competence within the next two years if given enough opportunities in the format. The Tigers have been enjoying the T20 entertainment in the ongoing BPL but it seems that the afterglow of their scintillating success in the Test series against England is persisting. And why not when the tour of New Zealand is knocking on the door and there is a lot of promise surrounding Bangladesh’s Test cricket. And yesterday was November 10; a day on which, 16 years ago, the Tigers had started their Test journey against India at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Mbaks has a wobble, transformation in cricket thrives and more (Daily Maverick)
The biggest shining light of this sporting week is, without a doubt, South Africa’s mind-blowing comeback against Australia to claim one of the most impressive wins in Test cricket. Between Temba Bavuma’s magic fielding and Kagiso Rabada’s brilliant bowling, transformation in cricket is in rude health. Wayde van Niekerk won the first round of the IAAF’s popularity contest and has made the shortlist for Athlete of the Year, alongside Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.