New Zealand relish being underdogs against India - Kane Williamson

By July 08, 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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    Steve Smith is backing Melbourne Cricket Ground curator Matt Page to deliver an acceptable wicket for the Boxing Day Test between Australia and New Zealand.

    The final match at the MCG before that contest - the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and Western Australia - had to be cancelled on Saturday due to an unsafe pitch.

    Umpires called off day one after Western Australia batsmen Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis were struck multiple times amid unpredictable bounce.

    Cricket Australia promised to ensure there is a wicket of "international standard" for December 26, though, and Smith has no doubt Page will do the necessary hard work.

    "I'm sure they'll produce something good for us on Boxing Day," the Australia superstar said ahead of the first Test in Perth this week.

    "It's a really fine line with that wicket. Pagey is a very good curator - he'll be working as hard as he can to try to get a wicket that is suitable for bat and ball.

    "These guys have a really tough job. They've tried a lot down in Melbourne but not been able to get something that is a bit more bowler friendly.

    "They're going to work hard over the next couple of weeks to get us a good wicket for Boxing Day."

  • Yohan Blake to quit track in two years, hopes to play in IPL Yohan Blake to quit track in two years, hopes to play in IPL

    Yohan Blake, the second-fastest man in history, could be set to play T20 cricket for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), once he hangs up his spikes.

  • 'Old-school' Simmons revels in victory as Kohli laments fielding woes 'Old-school' Simmons revels in victory as Kohli laments fielding woes

    Lendl Simmons revealed his "old-school" approach had been pivotal to his match-winning knock in West Indies' Twenty20 victory over India in Thiruvananthapuram.

    Simmons' unbeaten 67 from 45 balls helped the Windies to an eight-wicket triumph, ensuring the series will go to a decider as he capitalised on being dropped with just six runs to his name in one of several fielding errors to irk India captain Virat Kohli.

    Despite a slow start, Simmons soon accelerated through the gears and his eye-catching outing included four fours and the same number of sixes.

    As he was presented with the player of the match award, Simmons said the pacing of his innings was all part of the plan.

    "I like playing against India, it's a good challenge," he said, having been ably assisted by Evin Lewis (40), Nicholas Pooran (38 not out) and Shimron Hetmyer (23).

    "I haven't played international cricket for a while, so I'm enjoying it. I didn't start how I wanted to. My partners can go from ball one, but I am a bit old school.

    "With experience, you know your game, and I understand my role. It was easier to bat after the powerplay, getting the odd boundary.

    "Pooran and Hetmyer were getting boundaries easily so I played the different role."

    A frustrated Kohli conceded his side had come up short with their total of 170-7 but felt their complacency in the field had been telling.

    "I think we were good for 16 overs while batting, but then in the last four overs we got only 30. We need to focus on that," he said.

    "But if we field so poorly, no amount of runs will be enough. We were poor in the field in the last two games.

    "We dropped two catches in one over. Imagine if they lost two wickets in the same over.

    "Everyone saw we need to be braver with our fielding. Do or die game coming up in Mumbai [on Wednesday]."

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