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Since Rishabh Pant was released from national duties in Bangladesh on Sunday (December 4), speculation has been rife over likely disciplinary or Covid-19 situation as the possible reasons. It didn't help that teammate KL Rahul didn't explain the reason for the absence of the wicketkeeper from the ongoing ODI series. "I'm not very aware, to be honest," the India vice-captain, who had taken up wicketkeeping responsibilities, had said after the first ODI. "To be honest, I just found out in the dressing room that he was being released, I don't know what the reasons are, maybe the medical team will be in a better position to answer that question." However, Cricbuzz has learnt that Pant has requested the team management to be released from the ODI series. He spoke to skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid on arrival in Dhaka from New Zealand. More precisely, Pant was in Dhaka for a day and is learnt to have participated in the nets before seeking leave. Sources are not willing to discuss the exact reason for his request but what can be said with a degree of certainty is that there are no disciplinary issues, as are being speculated, nor is there a Covid-19 situation. The management is confident that Pant will be back for the Test series starting on December 14. The management did not seek a replacement because Ishan Kishan is part of the ODI squad and can be pressed into service anytime. For the record, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) statement said, "In consultation with the BCCI Medical Team, Rishabh Pant has been released from the ODI squad. He will join the team ahead of the Test series. No replacement has been sought." Another absence from the first ODI was Axar Patel, about whom the BCCI statement said, "Axar Patel was not available for selection for the first ODI." Axar, it is learnt, was hit on his ribs while batting at the nets and was not considered for the first ODI. He is expected to be available for the matches soon. Meanwhile, there is no clarity over the availability of Mohammed Shami for the Test series. The veteran pacer has not travelled to Bangladesh and has reported to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. He is suffering from a shoulder injury because of which his participation in the ODIs was ruled out. The team management is still awaiting feedback from the NCA.

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that transformation is the astonishing narrative of Saurashtra's white-ball success. Jaydev Shah, a record holder in captaincy in first class cricket, built a strong red-ball team and laid the foundation for the white-ball success and his successor Jaydev Unadkat has taken that and developed a robust a white-ball culture. Since 2018, when Unadkat took over the reins of the side, Saurashtra have been consistent in the shorter formats following their run to the final of the 2017-18 Vijay Hazare Trophy under Shah. They made the quarterfinals in 2020-21, semifinals in 21-22 and rounded off this resurgence with the a few days ago in Ahmedabad. "I want to differentiate between the red-ball Saurashtra team and white ball Saurashtra side," says Unadkat, who led the team from the front with 19 wickets in 10 games at an economy rate of 3.33, the best of the lot in the tournament. "We have been a formidable force in red-ball cricket for over a decade. The white-ball cricket was something which we wanted to get better at. When I took over the captaincy in 2018-19, we decided that we will be a force in white ball too. The consistency in white ball cricket is something we have been striving for. We made sure that the players are made aware of the mind-set change needed in the two formats," Unadkat, a left arm pacer, says. The batters have been given more freedom and more encouragement to play shots and the bowlers were told to attack from the first ball. Start well and strike early were the motto and no compromises have been made on the fitness side. The team management tried to eliminate the fear of losing wickets and allowed the batters to play big shots, something that was not a strong point of previous Saurashtra sides. Their batters have historically been hard grinders and builders of innings rather than blaze away in a trice. A prime example of this cultural change is Arpit Vasavada, who is, typically, a slow starter. After he was spoken to about his strike-rate, he started playing the lofted shots, so much so he started smashing sixes too, something he had hardly done before 2018. "He is a formidable red-ball batter but he would take his time. He is experienced and we had a word with him. If he were to be part of the white-ball side, he has to be more attacking. He had to develop those lofted shots. He did not hit a six before 2018. Now he has equal number of sixes as any other batsmen in the side if I am not wrong. That was evident in the style of play. They were doing well but did possess that sense of fear. My job was specially to eliminate the fear," Unadkat says. Saurashtra have also become a fitter side and Unadkat thinks they no longer think of themselves as second-best in any discipline when they go out to the middle. It was evident in the acrobatic catch that Prerak Mankad took off BR Sharath in the semifinal against Karnataka. And then there were crucial run-outs in the final against Maharashtra. "We are a much fitter team now and it has helped immensely in our fielding. The Prerak catch at third slip is the best I have seen in that position. Because it was a blinder, it shifted the momentum in the semifinal," he explains. "Then those run-outs in the final (of Pavan Shah and Mukesh Choudhary)... They gave us a huge advantage in the match." In his bid to change the approach in the shorter formats, Unadkat had the backing of the other Jaydev, now the president of the Saurashtra Cricket Association. "Jaydev is open-minded. The fact that we have played together has helped us communicate things better over what is happening in the team and the changes to be made. Because he has played so much of cricket, we can take his inputs as well. He is a friend rather than a president of the association, a teammate still. He cares about the side as much as he did when was playing for it," Unadkat, said of Shah, who holds the world record of leading a first class side in 112 matches. After Shah took over as the SCA president in 2019, he started the Saurashtra Premier League (SPL) which Unadkat says was a game-changer. "The association has done really well by organizing the SPL. It was a game-changer for us and became an integral part of our campaign. It has given the players exposure to pressure situations and taught them how to handle themselves. The SPL has made things easier for us in the SMAT and VHT. The players are that much more experienced," Unadkat says. Shah says the SPL was an inevitability. "The SPL has helped the players. We have invested in infrastructure development. If we are consistent in all formats across age groups, it is because we have spent money at the right place," the SCA president said. "Having played at the highest level in domestic cricket, I know what is needed for the side and same with Mr Niranjan Shah, who prioritised infrastructure development. All that is paying off now." This year the Saurashtra team has reached the knockouts of the Under-25, Under-19 and qualified for the quarterfinals in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy. This is primarily due to the cultural change that Unadkat emphasises upon although there are not many changes in the personnel playing for the side. The star performers in the successful Vijay Hazare campaign too were the usual suspects: Samarth Vyas (443 in 10 games), Harvik Desai (440 in 10 games), Vasavada (301 in 10 games), Sheldon Jackson (297 in 10 games including an unbeaten ton in the final), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (15 wickets in 15 games), Parth Bhut (12 wickets in seven games) and Chetan Sakariya (12 wickets in eight games).

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Led by an unbeaten stand of 80 runs by Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan, for the fourth wicket, Pakistan edged closer to the target, heading to Lunch at 169 for 3, in Rawalpindi, on Monday. In what was an attritional but watchful morning session of play in Rawalpindi, Pakistan added 89 runs for the loss of just one wicket - Imam ul Haq. The slow nature of the surface didn't allow for much action. Even as England had set an attacking field, and the pacers were bowling tight lines, the batters were in a comfortable position to see through the early trouble. The only success that they did get on the final morning was through a bit of luck, with Imam getting an edge to the 'keeper while attempting to flick a ball going the legside by James Anderson. His dismissal on 48, just over half an hour into the day's play, did open up doors for England to take the momentum. But chances were far and few. Rizwan was kept in check early on, and as the runs dried up - with only 30 coming in the first hour - he looked to attack. Much of that effort came in vain, and even the odd boundaries that he did find were either through edges and around numerous mishits. However, a couple of sixes down the ground, off Jack Leach and Will Jacks respectively, only helped Pakistan get much-needed runs. Joe Root, bowling from around the wicket to Rizwan, even attempted to tempt him into mistakes by bowling on the rough down the legside. It created opportunities but nothing that threatened to break the fourth wicket alliance. Moreover, as the partnership flourished, Shakeel only became more assured with his strokeplay as well as leaves, and changed gears in the second half of the innings, without taking too many risks to bring up his maiden Test fifty with a straight hit for a boundary against Leach. The spinners proved expensive but the pacers, with their disciplined channels of operation, were hard to get away. Shakeel went to Lunch unbeaten on 63, with Rizwan for company, and 174 runs needed in the last two sessions of the Test. To help Pakistan's case, Azahar Ali - who had retired hurt on Sunday evening - is fit and available to bat. : Pakistan 579 & 169/3 (Saud Shakeel 63*, Imam-ul-Haq 48; James Anderson 1-11) trail England 657 & 264/7 decl. (Harry Brook 87, Joe Root 73; Mohammad Ali 2-64) by 173 runs.

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Azhar Ali and Agha Salman survived late scares to head safely to Tea, with Pakistan at 257 for 5, only 86 runs short of the target on the fifth day in Rawalpindi. The duo stitched an unbeaten 59-run stand for the sixth wicket after the set batters - Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan - fell soon after Lunch. The 88 runs added in the post Lunch session, for the loss of two wickets, has set up an exciting finish to the contest, with all three results possible. Resuming on 169 for 4 after Lunch, Rizwan, who was scratchy yet effective with his approach to go ultra-aggressive, fell rather softly, poking at an away going delivery to the wicketkeeper and missing his half-century by four runs. Azhar Ali, who had retired hurt on Sunday evening, returned to bat at the fall of Rizwan's wicket. However, he lost his partner soon enough. Shakeel followed Rizwan back to the pavilion soon after, falling to England's plans. Lured by a widish delivery by Ollie Robinson, angling away from him, he chipped the ball to the right of the cover fielder, and Keaton Jennings took a fine diving catch. Pakistani batters were far more aggressive in picking their scoring shots, stepping out routinely against the spinners and looking to play down the ground. Even as they employed the sweep shot quite often, it was fraught with risks. Both Salman and Azhar were routinely beaten by the movement generated by the pacers - Anderson, Robinson and Stokes. Yet, against the latter, they kept finding run scoring opportunities and kept the scoreboard ticking. Towards the end of the session, Jack Leach managed to ping Salman on the pads. But a review by the batter suggested that the ball would have bounced above the stumps even on what has been an otherwise low-bounce surface. Soon enough, Azhar edged one down the legside, only for Ollie Pope to put down the catch while diving to his left. Earlier in the day, Pakistan got off to a steady start on the final morning despite losing Imam ul Haq early, two short of a fifty. The left-hander edged a delivery going down the leg, by James Anderson, to the wicketkeeper. The Pakistani batters went in a shell thereafter, managing to score only 30 runs in the first hour of play where the English pacer bowled in testing channels. Rizwan took an aggressive approach against the spinners. When his sweeps didn't prove effective enough, he went down the track, and even managed to crack two sixes, off Leach and Will Jacks. Joe Root also tried to use the rough and induce errors down the legside. Even as he threatened to find some luck, nothing came his way. : Pakistan 579 & 257/5 (Saud Shakeel 63*, Imam-ul-Haq 48; James Anderson 2-35) trail England 657 & 264/7 decl. (Harry Brook 87, Joe Root 73; Mohammad Ali 2-64) by 86 runs.

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Shakib Al Hasan provided a as India were bowled out for a mere 186 after being put in to bat in the first ODI at Dhaka. On a pitch that was on the slower side, Shakib ended up with figures of 5 for 36, that included the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in his very first over. Bangladesh's stand-in skipper Litton Das wasted little time in introducing spin on the surface, and it paid early dividends from both ends. Before Shakib got into the act, offspinner Mehidy Hasan won his battle against Shikhar Dhawan, who attempted a reverse sweep after being tied down for a while and ended up dragging it onto the stumps. Shakib struck with just his second ball when he had Rohit completely missing an arm ball and bowling him through the gate. In the same over, Shakib also had Kohli beaten in flight and chipping a cover drive in the air, for Litton to complete a stunning diving catch. At 49/3 in the 11th over, India were in desperate need of a partnership. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer kickstarted that effort in earnest, but Bangladesh were spot on with their bowling plans. Ebadot Hossain took control of this phase with some well directed short balls against Shreyas. While the duo put on a 43-run stand, Shreyas eventually persihed trying to pull Ebadot and skying one to the wicketkeeper. Rahul provided some resistance for India and put on 60 in the company of Washington Sundar as he found runs coming in sharp bursts. A six and a four off Mehidy and a couple of cuts against Ebadot helped him to his 11th ODI fifty. But just as India were beginning their comeback, Bangladesh brought back their talisman and Shakib struck immediately having Washington caught off a reverse sweep. As India lost four wickets for six runs, Shakib was in the action right through. He took a good low catch at cover to get rid of Shabaz Ahmed, before striking twice to send back both Shardul Thakur (beaten on the outside edge) and Deepak Chahar (LBW off an arm ball). With figures of 5/36, he ended up with the best-ever figures for a left-arm spinner against India. The collapse notwithstanding, Rahul found a burst of boundaries again to push India ahead. But Ebadot had the last laugh, getting him out on the pull for 73 before wrapping India's innings for 186 with another short ball. : India 186 all out (KL Rahul 73; Shakib AlHasan 5/36, Ebadot Hossain 4/47) vs Bangladesh

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Another manic session of run scoring in Rawalpindi saw Harry Brook rain boundaries on Pakistan to swell England's lead to 342 before Ben Stokes offered a brave declaration of England's second innings.. Brook's 65-ball 87 was but one of the barrels in another all-out attack from the visitors, who also had Zak Crawley and Joe Root hit quickfire half-centuries as they continued to make the play on an otherwise benign pitch. The three half-centurions allowed England to add 218 runs in 28.5 overs of the post-Lunch session at a staggering run-rate of 7.56. England returned after the Lunch break with a lead of 124. They wasted no time in signalling their intentions of attempting to force a victory even from this stage. Zak Crawley opened up with an on-drive and a square drive while Root played an audacious reverse scoop off Naseem Shah for a boundary of his own. Crawley, who had begun the session on 24*, raced away to a 47-ball half-century to follow his first-innings ton. Almost immediately, however, he was strangled down the legside attempting to put away a short ball from Mohammad Ali. The umpires didn't pick up the glove and Crawley himself appeared to suggest the ball had hit his shoulder but Pakistan's ring fielders were convinced enough to ask for the DRS aid and get their third wicket. Harry Brook joined Root with the former captain seamlessly taking over as the tempo setter. He continued to play with the field, pushing the ball into gaps and running twos or using his famous dab to run the ball down to third man. Despite hitting only four boundaries, he had a 48-ball 50 of his own. Babar Azam, already hamstrung by the loss of Haris Rauf to an injury, brought the spinners on with the strategy to bowl from round the stumps and into the right-handers' blindspot. To counter and continue with his run-making ways, Root turned into a left-hander for a ball and then abandoned that move in favour of the reverse sweep. Boundaries continued to flow as Root raced into the 70s. Eventually, Zahid Mahmood and Pakistan's persistence paid off when Root eventually miscued a reverse sweep and was caught at short third man. Ben Stokes followed his former skipper into the dressing room in the same over, miscuing a shot to sweeper cover. Brook took over from there and launched an all-out offense on the legspinner, repeatedly slogging him over mid-wicket or stepping out and hitting him over his head. Will Jacks, promoted above the injured Liam Livingstone, hit three sixes off his own in a 13-ball knock of 24. It was Brooks, however, who marched on rapidly towards a second hundred of the game before he was out on the cusp of the Tea break, bowled off Naseem Shah while trying to swipe across the line. His 11 fours and three sixes, however, set up England for a declaration at the Tea break. That the pitch has continued to remain listless means a chase is not beyond Pakistan's reach. They will have about 100 overs accounting for the bad light situation in the final sessions. 246/7 decl. (Harry Brook 87, Joe Root 73; Mohammad Ali 2-64) & 657 lead 579 by .

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Western Australia had to settle for a draw on the final day after coming very close to a fantastic win. Cameron Bancroft continued his good form and grew his overnight score (112*) to 164*, and he found good support from Ashton Agar (72 off 118) as WA racked up 427/7 declared. In reply, Queensland were reduced to 34/6 and staring at a loss, with Lance Morris (3-22) and Joel Paris (2-15) running riot through the top and middle order. But Jack Clayton (37* off 160) and Gurinder Sandhu (22 off 66), and later James Bazley (7* off 49) managed to hold on for a draw. Will Sutherland (5-58) and Todd Murphy (4-42) combined to spark a sensational collapse from NSW on the final morning and register their first victory of the season. Resuming on an overnight score of 58/1 in a 233-run chase, NSW lost seven wickets in the opening session and were tottering at 8-134 at lunch, with the match all but gone. They were bowled out for 163 shortly after the break.

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Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes had underscored their philosophy several times over: England will risk defeat in order to win Test matches. And so it proved . The visitors offered a brave declaration of their second innings, asking Pakistan to chase 342 for victory with about 100 overs left in the game, light permitting. At the end of another truncated final session, Pakistan had whittled down 80 runs from their target but lost two of their first-innings centurions Abdullah Shafique and Babar Azam along the way while experienced batter Azhar Ali had to retire hurt with a finger injury. Thankfully for the hosts, their other centurion from the first dig, Imam-ul-Haq, survived England's bouncer plan and moved along to 43 and added 55 runs for the third wicket in the company of Saud Shakeel. It was a tricky 20 over period for Pakistan before bad light ended play early once more. They were chasing leather for much of the day before Stokes and McCullum dangled the fourth-innings carrot. Given the pitch had continued to remain benign deep into the fourth day, a chase at a rate above three runs to the over wasn't going to be difficult. But, in it was England's best chance to force mistakes out of their excitable opponents. Stokes also began the final session by inverting all usual conventions. Test cricket's most prolific fast bowler, James Anderson, was not handed the new ball and instead Ollie Robinson and Stokes took it upon themselves to test out areas half-way down from the batters. The bouncer ploy worked. Shafique miscued a pull and was caught by Harry Brook at deep square leg. Ollie Robinson then around the stumps and got a ball to climb awkwardly on Azhar Ali and pinged him on the fingers, forcing the senior batter into retiring hurt. In walked Babar at No.4. He slapped one short ball over the off-side for four but then was caught in two minds against a Stokes short ball and inside-edged a ball to the 'keeper. At 25/2, Pakistan were wobbling. But the pair of Imam and Shakeel managed to work their way out of trouble. It helped that the ring of attacking fielders stationed by Stokes allowed for ready boundary opportunities. Jack Leach, for instance, when introduced into the attack bowled with a pair of catching mid-wickets, a slip, a forward short leg and a silly point. That meant Shakeel could simply chip the ball towards mid-on for a pair of boundaries. There was one nervy moment for Pakistan when a Shakeel clip went straight to Keaton Jennings at short leg but the reflex catch didn't 'stick' and Pakistan could go into the final day with no further damage and still with a realistic chance of victory. It is an intriguing place for them to find themselves having conceded 657 in the first innings and then again 264 in less than 36 overs on the fourth day. When it was their turn to bat, England's batters were in no mood to allow the game to peter out. Zak Crawley, Joe Root and Harry Brook all hit fifties at faster than a run a ball. The signs were not hard to read in that second session. Crawley, who was on 24 at Lunch, began with an on-drive and a square drive while Root played an audacious reverse scoop off Naseem Shah for a boundary of his own. Almost immediately after getting to a half-century to go with his first-innings ton, Crawley was strangled down the legside attempting to put away a short ball from Mohammad Ali. The umpires didn't pick up the glove and the opener himself appeared to suggest the ball had hit his shoulder but Pakistan's ring fielders were convinced enough to ask for the DRS aid and get their third wicket. Brook joined Root with the former captain seamlessly taking over as the tempo setter. He continued to play with the field, pushing the ball into gaps and running twos or using his famous dab to run the ball down to third man. Despite hitting only four boundaries, Root had a 48-ball 50 of his own. Babar Azam, already hamstrung by the loss of Haris Rauf to an injury, brought the spinners on with the strategy to bowl from round the stumps and into the right-handers' blindspot. To counter and continue with his run-making ways, Root turned into a left-hander for a ball and then abandoned that move in favour of the reverse sweep. Boundaries continued to flow as Root raced into the 70s. Eventually, Zahid Mahmood and Pakistan's persistence paid off when Root eventually miscued a sweep and was caught at short fine. Ben Stokes followed his former skipper into the dressing room in the same over, miscuing a shot to sweeper cover. Brook took over from there and launched an all-out offense on debutant legspinner Mahmood, repeatedly slogging him over mid-wicket or stepping out and hitting him over his head. Will Jacks, promoted above the injured Liam Livingstone, hit three sixes off his own in a 13-ball knock of 24. It was Brooks, however, who was marched on rapidly towards a second hundred of the game before he was out on the cusp of the Tea break, bowled off Naseem Shah while trying to swipe across the line. His 11 fours and three sixes, however, was perfect for England to set up a brave declaration. More earlier in the day, Jacks finished with a six-fer on debut, having known of his participation in the Test merely minutes before the start of the game. Pakistan had begun the day, trailing England by 158 in the first innings and had Agha Salman to thank for eating into his deficit by farming the strike with the tail. Salman though edged Jacks to first slip and the offie went on to dismiss Mahmood and Rauf for figures of 6 for 161. Little would he have known then that he would be needed to produce another strong show on the final day for that first-innings performance to not end up on a losing side. Pakistan 579 & 80/2 (Imam-ul-Haq 43*; Ollie Robinson 1-22) trail England 657 & 264/7 decl. (Harry Brook 87, Joe Root 73; Mohammad Ali 2-64) by 263 runs.

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Mehidy Hasan proved to be the hero of Dhaka after helping Bangladesh to a thrilling one-wicket win over India in the first ODI. With 51 needed for the final pair to get, Mehidy farmed the strike beautifully with Mustafizur at the other end, and ended up with an unbeaten 38 to help . Mehidy mixed taking his chances in every over and picked singles to farm the strike, and did so expertly. India crumbled under the pressure eventually, with KL Rahul dropping Mehidy once and then the bowlers faltering with no-balls, while overthrows and misfields added to Bangladesh's gain. The last-wicket pair stayed together for 39 balls and added the 51 runs out of which Mustafizur's contributions was 10 off 11. Mehidy found an ally in the width on offer from the Indian pacers. He hit two sixes an over against Kuldeep Sen with that shot and proceeded to take a few more boundaries in the same area as India slipped up. He found an able batting partner in Mustafizur, who did his role to perfection, even chipping in with a couple of boundaries himself at the crunch. The duo's association had come to be after multiple twists through the match, on a slow surface. Bangladesh had got off on the wrong foot in the chase when Deepak Chahar struck first ball to have Najmul Hossain caught at slip. Mohammad Siraj then had Anamul Haque caught to leave Bangladesh in a spot of bother at 26/2. However, the rescue act came in the form a solid Shakib Al Hasan, and an enterprising Litton Das. The latter, through a brisk 43, kept Bangladesh ahead in the chase even if the asking rate was not high. Bangladesh's stutter in the middle overs was triggered by offspinner Washington Sundar, who accounted for both Das and Shakib in quick succession. The experienced hands of Mushfiquar Rahim and Mahmudullah stayed put for 71 balls but could add only 33 runs in the process without a boundary. The choke was exacerbated when the duo became two of the five wickets that fell in the space of eight runs. India's turnaround had started on the back of their pacers' triggering the collapse. Shardul Thakur had Mahmudullah LBW off a full delivery, and Mohammad Siraj had Rahim chopping on off successive deliveries. This was followed by a double-wicket over from debutant Kuldeep Sen, who had Afif Hossain slashing to third man and Ebadot Hossain trodding onto the stumps. Having slumped to 136/9, Bangladesh looked down and out until Mehidy pulled off a miracle. It also made sure that all the good work that Bangladesh did in the first half did not go to waste. For earlier, Shakib Al Hasan had provided a masterclass in slow bowling as India were bowled out for a mere 186 after being put in to bat. On a pitch that was on the slower side, Shakib ended up with figures of 5 for 36, that included the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in his very first over. Bangladesh's stand-in skipper Litton Das wasted little time in introducing spin on the surface, and it paid early dividends from both ends. Before Shakib got into the act, offspinner Mehidy Hasan won his battle against Shikhar Dhawan, who attempted a reverse sweep after being tied down for a while and ended up dragging it onto the stumps. Shakib struck with just his second ball when he had Rohit completely missing an arm ball and bowling him through the gate. In the same over, Shakib also had Kohli beaten in flight and chipping a cover drive in the air, for Litton to complete a stunning diving catch. At 49/3 in the 11th over, India were in desperate need of a partnership. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer kickstarted that effort in earnest, but Bangladesh were spot on with their bowling plans. Ebadot Hossain took control of this phase with some well directed short balls against Shreyas. While the duo put on a 43-run stand, Shreyas eventually persihed trying to pull Ebadot and skying one to the wicketkeeper. Rahul provided some resistance for India and put on 60 in the company of Washington Sundar as he found runs coming in sharp bursts. A six and a four off Mehidy and a couple of cuts against Ebadot helped him to his 11th ODI fifty. But just as India were beginning their comeback, Bangladesh brought back their talisman and Shakib struck immediately having Washington caught off a reverse sweep. As India lost four wickets for six runs, Shakib was in the action right through. He took a good low catch at cover to get rid of Shabaz Ahmed, before striking twice to send back both Shardul Thakur (beaten on the outside edge) and Deepak Chahar (LBW off an arm ball). With figures of 5/36, he ended up with the best-ever figures for a left-arm spinner against India. The collapse notwithstanding, Rahul found a burst of boundaries again to push India ahead. But Ebadot had the last laugh, getting him out on the pull for 73 before wrapping India's innings for 186 with another short ball. : India 186 all out (KL Rahul 73; Shakib AlHasan 5/36, Ebadot Hossain 4/47) lost to Bangladesh 187/9 in 46 ov (Litton Das 41, Mehidy Hasan 38*; Mohammad Siraj 3-32) by 1 wicket

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A somewhat scratchy in the ongoing League 2 tri-series at Windhoek was enough to take Scotland to the top of the table in the ICC's second-tier ODI competition, drawing level with Oman on points and well ahead on net run rate. Chris Sole was the stand-out with the ball in a fine collective performance by the Scottish attack that saw Nepal bundled out for just 137 on a slightly two-paced but largely blameless Trusco-United surface, but the Scots would make a meal of what looked a straightforward chase. Newcomers Christopher McBride and Brandon McMullen would ensure they got over the line however, the former putting them in a commanding position with a 47-ball 43 and the latter holding together the tail after a late collapse threatened to hand Nepal and improbable comeback win. Scotland had Nepal on the back foot throughout the first innings, only Gyanendra Malla ever looking to have the measure of the deck as the Scottish seamers kept up the pressure well after inserting Nepal. McMullen found the first breakthrough nicking off Aasif Sheikh early, and the first of two run-outs effected by skipper Richie Berrington did for Arjun Saud. Malla looked to have settled after the powerplay, taking McMullen for two boundaries in the 11th, but fell for 25 to a diving catch from Coetzer off Watt in the 17th. It was Sole's three consecutive wickets that broke the back of the innings however, taking two in two by nicking off Aarif Sheikh before Kushal Bhurtel fended a short ball back for a return catch, then rushing Neapl captain Rohit Paudel on the pull as Nepal slid to 83-6. Gulsan Jha sought to muster a late counter, targetting Hamza Tahir especially but was pinned in front by Michael Leask missing a slog sweep for a run-a-ball 29 as Nepal slumped to 137 all out with ten overs unused. Nepal would find the early inroads they needed, George Munsey chopping on to Sagar Dhakal before Kyle Coetzer and Richie Berrington both drove Jha into the hands of cover, but McBride would keep initially the Scots on track. Yet when he got himself stumped for 43 dancing past an innocuous delivery from Rajbanshi in the 17th with Scotland barely halfway to the target, nevers seemed to set in. A series of reckless shots saw McMullen lose three more partners before the end, but the 23 year-old held his nerve to close out the win in company of Safyaan Sharif, slog-sweeping Dhakal over midwicket for six to finish the match in style with three wickets and 17.5 overs in hand. Scotland return to action tomorrow looking to extend their lead at the top when they face hosts Namibia in the fourth ODI of the series, while Nepal will take on the home side on Wednesday.

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When it comes to ODI cricket, the hearts in Bangladesh beat as one. In front of a full-house crowd at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium , Mehidy Hasan showed how comfortable Bangladesh are in a format they so dearly love. India seemed to be cruising to victory before Mehidy Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman came up with a rearguard act. When Mustafizur, the last batter, walked to the middle, Bangladesh still needed 51 runs to script a historical win and the duo did not disappoint the home crowd, picking a win from the jaws of defeat. Mehidy struck an unbeaten 38 off 39 balls and shared an unbroken 51-run tenth-wicket stand with Mustafizur (10 not out) to complete a brilliant victory over India. "Look we are playing good cricket in ODIs for quite sometimes and it's a matter of belief and if you do something the belief is bound to come," Mehidy said after the win. "We are playing so good (in ODIs) since 2015 that our belief system is very good and we are quite clear about what we want to do in ODIs while in T20s and Tests we are a bit confused." Mehidy's clarity reflected in how India's bowlers lost the plot in the last few overs, misfielding, bowling no-balls and even dropping the catch that could have been the end of the match. Mehidy was dropped on 15 by KL Rahul when tried to slog Deepak Chahar and mistimed it to short fine leg. The catch proved costly as from then on, Mehedy took his chances and in the company of Mustafizur took the game away from the visitors. More than anything, the performance once again proved why Bangladesh are a different unit altogether in ODIs compared to other formats. You just knew that they could keep their nerves despite their backs against the wall. Mehidy revealed that Mustafizur allowed him to stay calm, play his natural game and not panic about the match situation. "Mustafizur always gave me the assurance that I don't have to worry about him and it gave me a self-belief that we can win this game. This assurance from Mustafizur was a huge boost, he was saying that he won't get out even if he is hit on his body. "If I thought that we would lose or we won't be able to get the remaining runs, it wouldn't have worked out like this. It was definitely a do-or-die situation. There was no problem getting out while trying to hit. "When we needed 50 (51) runs, I took a chance. But when we needed 14 or 10 runs, then I got really excited. We have lost a lot of close matches, but Mustafizur kept giving me encouragement. He told me not to hurry and not to hit a six. You bat along the ground, we will get the runs. "I was very clear with my game plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I think that helped out also. "We have lost matches from a similar condition in the past but I think from now onwards we will be winning games from this kind of position," he said, adding that he feels that it is a new beginning for them. KL Rahul admitted that the hosts are a tough opposition in this format. "This is their home. They understand the conditions a lot better. "Whatever we watched on TV and how they played well at home, they used the conditions really well. They are a really good team at home and even away, they have always been a competitive team and always challenging. Every team at this level is always a good team and challenging," Rahul further said. What works for the host in this format is the fact they can spend time in the middle when things go against them. And their win in the opening game against India will certainly give them more confidence as they crossed the line without their prolific ODI run-scorer Tamim Iqbal, who has been an integral part of their 50-over batting. Bangladesh will be keen to keep this momentum going, for there's a forthcoming ICC World Cup which will be played in very similar conditions.

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Exciting fast bowler Lance Morris and Michael Neser have been added to Australia's squad ahead of the pink-ball Adelaide against West Indies. Australia's selectors have decided to bolster the pace unit in light of Pat Cummins' injury in Perth as well as the back-to-back Test matches coming up this later this month. While Neser has been on the fringes of the Test squad and even made his debut in Adelaide last year against England, Morris's inclusion is slightly left field. The 24-year-old Western Australia quick burst onto the domestic cricket scene only in 2019-20 when he turned out for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. He made his Sheffield Shield debut next season and had a fine 2021-22 campaign, taking 20 first class wickets at 27.05. He's pushed his game even further this season and currently sits atop the wicket-takers list with 27 wickets from five games at an average of 18.40. "Michael (Neser) has been with the squad on a regular basis in past seasons and was simply outstanding in Adelaide last summer," said selection chair George Bailey. "He has continued to perform incredibly consistently since and will be warmly welcomed back. Lance is another of the outstanding young fast bowlers coming through the ranks. He has genuine pace and his ability to create opportunities for wickets is a real drawcard. It will be a great experience for him to come into the environment." The fast bowling reinforcements are a product of both injury concerns as well as precautionary due to the hectic schedule that awaits Australia in the season and the first half of 2023. Australia captain Cummins is under an injury cloud after not bowling on the fifth day in the victory over West Indies in Perth owing to a thigh strain. While he is confident of shrugging off the injury ahead of the Day-Night Test, Australia have a further three Tests against South Africa to follow, as well as a big tour of India and the Ashes to come next year. Mitchell Starc (45 overs) and Josh Hazleweeod (43 overs) too had big bowling loads in the first Test of the summer while all-rounder Cameron Green will have to be managed over the course of the season. Australia also have seamer Scott Boland in the squad and will be the likely inclusion in the XI for Adelaide if Cummins doesn't pass fit. Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Michael Neser, Lance Morris

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England will be without allrounder for the remainder of the Pakistan tour due to an injury. The England debutant hurt his knee while fielding on Day 2 of the ongoing Test in Rawalpindi. Following scans on Sunday, he was deemed unfit to resume and is set to fly back home to UK on Tuesday (December 6). After the injury, Livingstone wasn't on the field for the rest of Pakistan's first innings but did bat in England's second. However, he walked out a spot lower than usual at No.8 and hobbled his way to an unbeaten 7 off 8 balls on Day 4 before England declared and set Pakistan a target of 343. In the first innings, he made 9 off 10 and wasn't called up to turn his arm over. England instead, put Jacks's offspin to good use, as he picked a six-fer in the first innings. It remains to be seen if England seek a replacement for the allrounder. For the next Test in Multan from December 9, England are likely to welcome back regular 'keeper Ben Foakes. They could turn to Mark Wood if he regains full fitness or even offer an opportunity to the impressive 2004-born leg-spin allrounder Rehan Ahmed, who has turned heads while plying his trade for Leicestershire. If picked, Rehan will become England's youngest-ever Test cricketer.

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Kraigg Brathwaite will not go down as one of the greatest players to have played Test cricket for the West Indies. He will not have Calypsos written about him. He is not likely to get a mention in any of Dwayne Bravo's songs either. He will not be glorified the way his predecessors are. His achievements will not be treated with that heightened air of reverence exclusively associated with cricketers of renown from the Caribbean islands. This is not to argue that he should be added to that venerated list or that the cricket world should start looking at the West Indian Test captain with more awe than it does. To start with, neither does his style of play lend to it nor does the fact that his career has been played out during arguably one of the least successful eras of West Indian cricket. But it is safe to say that Brathwaite certainly deserves more than he gets. He certainly has given more to West Indies cricket than he's got back from them. He certainly has done enough in his career for his performances to be divorced from those of his team with regards to how they're looked at and celebrated. For, while everyone else around the islands and around the world has constantly kept looking in the rear-view mirror in hope, Brathwaite has kept steering his team forward, in his own measured and steady fashion, with belief. at the Perth Stadium on Saturday (December 3), putting his heart and body on the line to keep his team alive. It was his maiden Test century in and against Australia. It was classic Kraigg Brathwaite, defying the odds and a rather challenging pitch, to ensure that he was there to defy the opposition. It's what he's done from the day he began his Test career as a teenager over a decade ago. To put his hand up and get the job done for his team, even if the spotlight rarely falls on him, or stays there anyway. He'd made his rather anticipated entry into international cricket in the West Indian summer of 2011. Unfortunately for him, the focus around West Indies cricket was elsewhere, on someone who wasn't around. This was the height of the Chris Gayle versus the West Indies Cricket Board debacle of course. Brathwaite only needed a few Tests to start looking the part at this level, but already by then the attention had started to shift towards finding a long-term opening partner for him, a quest that has remained unanswered largely ever since. To the extent that the slightly-built 30-year-old's omnipresence at the top of the order in Test cricket started to get taken for granted at some level by those running the show in the Caribbean. Not that it's ever had a bearing on how he's gone about his business on and off the field. Except that dramatic loss of form early last year, when the only way he held on to his place was by accepting to lead the West Indies on a Bangladesh tour that most of the senior players avoided due to the Covid pandemic, he's been such an irreplicable constant that not many really have noticed his evolution as a batter. Like has been on show during this Test. What stood out most about his 10th Test ton was the way he took on Nathan Lyon, very different to the way he played spin for more than half his career. Not only did he use the sweep shot a lot, he used it so well and so effectively that neither Lyon nor the boundary riders on the on-side were allowed to settle. There was also the effortless shift in gears, which for years was a drawback of his batting displays. Looking back, they perhaps had as much to do with his own game as it did with the onerous load he forever has had to carry as the one providing stability to the West Indies from the top. What hasn't changed about Brathwaite though has been how succinct and reserved he's been with how he talks about his cricket. Much like everything else about his cricket, including how he moves his feet while batting. Less is always more with Kraigg Brathwaite. It also means that even on days he is the headline act, it's someone else who walks away with the headlines. And even on a day he produced arguably his finest rear-guard effort in difficult conditions, the West Indian highlight of the day for many was a couple of overs bowled by Alzarri Joseph to Marnus Labuschagne. When the fastest West Indian bowler on show had the prolific Queenslander, who went on to score a century to go with his double in the first innings, rattled with a barrage of ripsnorters. Brathwaite isn't done yet. In his own restrained fashion, he'll believe that the West Indies have a chance of batting through the day. And if he does, then maybe even the Caribbean will start looking at him differently. Not that he doesn't deserves to be already. For over 11 years now, Brathwaite has kept rallying around the West Indies. He's also ensured that rallying around them has been worth it during some of the toughest times Caribbean cricket has ever faced. And it's high time the West Indies started rallying around him.

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Deepak Chahar becomes the left-arm spinner's fifth victim. He lunges out to defend, but Shakib's delivery goes straight on and traps him plumb in front. Chahar opted for a review but to no avail. Shakib all over India at the moment. Shabaz Ahmed falls prey to the slowness of the pitch, andends up hitting a short ball from Ebadot straight to Shakib at cover. The latter strikes with the ball again as he gets one past Shardul Thakur's outside edge reducing India to 156/7. Washington Sundar too was struggling to up the ante. He tries to reversesweep Shakib but finds the man at short third man. He's suddenly raced away after getting a good hang of the pitch. He hits Mehidy Hasan for a six and a four, and then cuts Ebadot for two boundaries in an over to get to his 11th ODI fifty, off just 49 balls. India nearly lost their fifth when Washington Sundar ended up chipping a drive wide of long off. Ebadot Hossain ran across and got two hands to it, but drops as he slides. The pitch showing more indications of being slow in nature. Ebadot Hossain had troubled him with an assortment of short pitched deliveries but Iyer had tackled them reasonably well, leaving all of them. However, he finally tries to go for a pull but ends up top edging it to the 'keeper. Bangladesh continue to keep India in check after ending that 43-run stand. The spinners have made use of the slowness of the surface, and the pacers have bowled to their strengths. Both Ebadot Hossain, with his extra pace, and Mustafizur, with his left-arm angle, have troubled Shreyas Iyer in his short stay so far. Batting hasn't been easy for India until the first drinks break. They are 80/3 after 17. The crowd finds its voice as Litton Das takes an absolute screamer at cover. Kohli went for the drive against a loopy Shakib delivery but hits it in the air. Litton flies to his right and takes a stunner. Shakib strikes twice in his first over, and two bigges at that! He strikes with just his second ball. It's a signature Shakib slider and it beats Rohit all ends up and bowls him through the gate. After an early boundary, Dhawan was struggling to get off the blocks on what appears to be a slow surface. After 7 off 16, he tries to reverse sweep Mehidy Hasan but it lobs off his pad and glove to roll onto the stumps. Rohit Sharma says he was not sure how the pitch would behave. So India will bat first in the opener. They have KL Rahul slotting in the middle-order with Pant released from the squad. They have a couple of spin bowling all-rounders in Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed with Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar offering batting pedigree as well lower down the order. (Playing XI): Litton Das(c), Anamul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Ebadot Hossain (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Sen Axar Patel was not available for selection for the first ODI. The road to the 2023 ODI World Cup begins here, at least for India, who welcome back usual suspects at the top of their order and in the coaching staff. The T20 World Cup didn't quite go to plan last month despite all the planning over the last 12 months but the Indian cricket juggernaut keeps rolling. Theirs more to plan, more ideas to explore as it continues to search for an elusive ICC trophy. Bangladesh will also offer fairly representative conditions of the kind of ODI cricket India want to play next year at home. Bangladesh, as a team, too will offer a good test for India. It is the Tigers' favourite format, after all. Get yourself up to speed for this series by reading - . You can then hop across to read the here. Toss and teams coming up shortly.

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