Zone Blitz: How will the Windies fare against India in Antigua?

By August 21, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Finch and Smith to discuss run out over a beer Finch and Smith to discuss run out over a beer

    Aaron Finch was run out following a mix-up with Steve Smith as Australia lost the third ODI to India on Saturday and the captain said the pair would discuss it over a beer.

    Finch rushed for a single after Smith shot to short third man but the former skipper never fully committed and Ravindra Jadeja and Shreyas Iyer combined to send the ball to Mohammed Shami, who whipped the bails off at the non-striker's end.

    Although Smith went on to score a stunning 131, India limited the tourists to 286-9 in Bengaluru.

    Rohit Sharma (119) and Virat Kohli (89) formed a pivotal 137-run partnership and India went on to win by seven wickets with 15 balls remaining, sealing a 2-1 series triumph.

    "We haven't discussed it yet, maybe we will tonight over a beer," said Finch of the incident with Smith.

    "He played an exceptional knock, he rode the momentum when he had to, controlled the innings at various parts when we'd lose a wicket.

    "He really controlled that middle part which was really important to give us a chance at the back end. It was a top knock, real quality."

    Australia won a five-match series in India last March 3-2 and Kohli was proud to have atoned for that defeat.

    "We just want to go upwards and onwards. Getting one back given that we lost the series at home last year is really satisfying," said Kohli.

    "Australia were even better than last time. There's Steve, David [Warner] and Marnus [Labuschagne]. A quality bowling attack, and really intense in the field too.

    "We lost the last three in the last series and coming back and winning the last two games after losing the first one, is very satisfying."

    Shikhar Dhawan had to leave the field early in Australia's innings and was sent for an X-ray on his left shoulder, which he hurt while diving in the field.

    Kohli was proud of how India coped without Dhawan, who could be a doubt for their tour of New Zealand, which begins with the first of five Twenty20 games on Friday.

    "We're quite experienced, Rohit and I, and we were short of Shikhar's experience," said Kohli.

    "We got a good start. We expect openers of the quality of Rohit and KL [Rahul] to give us starts like that.

    "When KL got out it was a tricky situation. The ball was gripping and turning a bit, and this is where experience comes in.

    "We [Rohit and Kohli] spoke of stringing together a partnership and all Australia want are wickets and if we don't give them wickets we can chase seven or eight runs an over later on. We have that belief in our skill."

  • Boucher warns sorry Proteas must 'man up' Boucher warns sorry Proteas must 'man up'

    Mark Boucher warned South Africa must "man up" after they were "outskilled" by England on day four of the third Test at St George's Park.

    England captain Joe Root took 4-31 in Port Elizabeth after Mark Wood struck twice to ensure England require just four wickets on the final day to take a 2-1 lead with one match to play.

    The Proteas were all out for only 209 after losing their last four first-innings wickets for only one run early on the penultimate day and they were in deep trouble on 102-6 - trailing by 188 runs - following on at stumps.

    South Africa head coach Boucher offered a frank assessment of his side's shortcomings following a painful rain-affected day, which left them surely relying on the weather to save them on Monday.

    "I think we were outskilled, to be honest," he told Sky Sports. "You can blame different things for the situation but I've got to look at myself and find a way to get the players up mentally and upskill them in a short space of time.

    "I do think Joe Root was difficult to play at the end there. It's difficult to get down to the pitch of the ball - one slides on, one turns and it's like quicksand, the harder you try the deeper you sink.

    "But we've created this situation for ourselves. No excuses - we've got to man up now and take this forward and learn from these lessons.

    "When you're under the pump for a long time, every side has its breaking point and today we broke quite early, which is disappointing."

    Faf du Plessis went 54 balls without scoring at one point before he was sent packing by part-time spinner Root for 36, but Boucher insisted it is not time to discuss his future as captain.

    "That's not a call to make a this moment in time," Boucher said. "He's trying really hard and working really hard away from the game. 

    "If he's not scoring runs there's that extra pressure. The best way to answer that is putting runs on the board.

    "There's no hiding place in Test cricket. He's disappointed from a team perspective. He spent a bit of time in the middle, which is good for his confidence."

  • Ervine back in familiar routine for Zimbabwe Ervine back in familiar routine for Zimbabwe

    Craig Ervine demonstrated his liking for Sri Lankan bowling as he helped Zimbabwe enjoy the best of day one in Harare, where a two-Test series got under way on Sunday.

    The 34-year-old achieved his highest Test score against the Sri Lankans in Colombo back in July 2017, when his 160 in the first innings was overshadowed by a sensational run chase by the hosts.

    In that high-tempo match, Sri Lanka were set 388 for victory and reached the target with four wickets in hand, but this was very different Test cricket, with a pedestrian run rate seeing Zimbabwe take baby steps to 189-2 in 84 overs.

    This was the home side's first Test action since November 2018, and a first at home since a year previous to that.

    Openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza made 55 and 63 respectively to set a solid platform, their stand of 96 spanning 50.1 overs, with left-hander Ervine stepping up the pace slightly on his way to 55 not out by stumps, striking three sixes along the way.

    The trio claimed a slice of history - it was the first time Zimbabwe's top three have all scored fifties in the same innings of a Test.

    Ervine was unbeaten alongside Brendan Taylor (13 not out) at the end of the day.

    Sri Lanka are looking for a lift after losing in Pakistan last month, while Zimbabwe are impeded in this series by the lost of paceman Tendai Chatara to a bicep injury.

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