Cheteshwar Pujara's century gives India upper hand in fourth Test against England

Cheteshwar Pujara struck a crucial century to keep the momentum with India in the fourth Test against England after a burst of four wickets in 16 balls from Moeen Ali threatened to give the hosts the edge on day two on Friday.

Finding support from tailenders Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, Pujara lifted the Indians from trouble at 195-8 by reaching his 15th Test century, and ended unbeaten on 132 in a total of 273 all out.

That gave India a lead of 27 runs, and England openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings negotiated four tricky overs before stumps.

England was 6-0, trailing by 21 runs, and a potentially series-defining match was finely balanced heading into the weekend.

England leads the five-match series 2-1 after winning the first two Tests.

Ali briefly gave England the initiative for the first time in the test by taking four wickets in an inspired spell either side of the tea interval, including two in two balls to remove Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami. That plunged India from 181-4 to 195-8.

In snaffling Sharma, the allrounder got his five-wicket haul and had final figures of 5-63 off 16 overs.

"I know deep down I am not a perfect spinner," said Ali, who was playing in this test only because of the late withdrawal of Chris Woakes through injury, "but I know on my day I can bowl a side out."

"We are really pleased," Ali added. "They were 140-2 and going well, and to bowl them out for just 20-odd runs ahead is fantastic."

It was one of the most important innings of his career by Pujara, who wasn't even in India's team in the first test at Edgbaston.

The tourists were 50-2 when Pujara and Virat Kohli came together, and they put on a third-wicket stand of 92. During that partnership, Kohli — playing his 119th test innings — became the second quickest Indian player to pass 6,000 runs in the longest format.

Sam Curran, who hit a valuable 78 in England's first innings, made another key intervention when he got the prized wicket of Kohli, who played at a full-length ball and nicked it to Alastair Cook at first slip on 46.

Ali's blitz of wickets began with what proved to be the last ball before tea by removing Rishabh Pant, who made a 46-ball duck to equal India's record for the longest innings without scoring in terms of balls faced.

Ali stayed in the attack at the start of the final session and dismissed Hardik Pandya (4) in his next full over, with Joe Root taking a sharp catch at short midwicket.

Ashwin (1) was the next to go when he misguidedly attempted a reverse sweep off Ali, and succeeded in only bottom-edging onto his stumps.

It was Ali's third wicket in 15 balls for the loss of eight runs, and when he bowled Shami the very next ball, England was in the ascendancy.

Pujara ensured that didn't last for long.

India's Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates getting 100 runs not out during play on the second day of the fourth cricket Test match between England and India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. England and India are playing a 5 test series. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
India's Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates getting 100 runs not out during play on the second day of the fourth cricket Test match between England and India at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England. Source: Associated Press


Spinners galore as White Ferns name side for T20 series against Australia

New Zealand will take a spin-heavy bowling attack into their three-match women's Twenty20 series against Australia.

Five players are proven international slow bowlers and should get plenty of overs during the series starting at North Sydney Oval on September 29.

Coach Haidee Tiffen has based selection on her belief slow bowling will be important at the women's World T20 in the West Indies in November.

One of the spin group is new skipper Amy Satterthwaite.

The allrounder takes over from Suzie Bates, who surprisingly relinquished the captaincy last week.

Bates is the most potent batting force in the New Zealand team and is ranked second in the world in the shortest format, just ahead of Australian pair Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney.

Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Amy Satterthwaite (capt), Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin.

New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr. International womens cricket, White Ferns v Australia, Blake Park, Tauranga, New Zealand. Sunday, 5 March, 2017. Copyright photo: John Cowpland /
New Zealand bowler Amelia Kerr. Source: Photosport


'You can always capitalise at the end' - Colin Munro reflects on record-breaking CPL season

Colin Munro has revealed the mindset he's maintained in a record-breaking campaign for the Trinbago Knight Riders which he capped off with a man-of-the-match performance today.

Along with winning the final against the Guyana Amazon Warriors today, the left-hander was also named in the tournament team and became the first batsman in tournament history to break the 500 run mark in a single CPL season.

Munro finished with 567 runs from 13 innings at an average of 51.54 while generating a strike rate of 140.

He finished 110 runs clear of the second best run producer - fellow Black Cap Glenn Phillips - by 110 runs.

The 31-year-old said after the match he's had a constant approach to the tournament which helped him generate the record numbers.

"On these surfaces you can't just go from ball one as I've done in the past.

"I just tried to get myself under way before I took too many risks, get myself set for 20-30 balls and you can always capitalise at the end."

Munro finished the CPL in Hollywood fashion, knocking the game-winning runs for Trinbago to backward point before getting swamped by his teammates.

He even took a moment to stand and appreciate the standing ovation from fans at Brian Lara Stadium who attended the final.

"There's a few more supporters out here for me than there is back home I reckon," he said.

Munro was selected in Black Caps' T20 and ODI squads to face Pakistan in the United Atab Emirates in November before a full summer at home.



Watch: Euphoric Colin Munro sprints to swarming teammates after blistering knock wins CPL title

New Zealand combo Colin Munro and Brendon McCullum have played starring roles in helping the Trinbago Knight Riders win their third CPL title in six years this afternoon.

Both Munro and McCullum starred with the bat at Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago, much to the dismay of fellow Kiwi Luke Ronchi who also had a strong showing for Guyana Amazon Warriors.

After Trinbago won the toss and elected to field, Guyana scored a total of 147 runs despite Ronchi's opening score of 44 off 35 deliveries.

But his efforts were countered by McCullum who opened the batting for the Knight Riders with 39 runs off 24 balls before Munro finished the job with a stellar 68  runs off 39 balls.

Munro drove a four to deep point to win the match with eight wickets and 15 balls to spare.

It caps a stellar campaign for the 31-year-old leftie who finishes as the top run-scorer in the competition with 567 runs.


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