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Day 3: SA poised to win, Pant hits century

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South Africa lost their skipper and the star of the last match Dean Elgar just before stumps on day 3.

Keegan Petersen is still unbeaten on 48 runs as South Africa requires only 111 runs more to win both the match and the series.

India     1st innings    223 all-out 

Kohli 79               Rabada 4-73                                                                                                                                       Pujara 43             Jensen 3-55                                                                                                                                              

South Africa   1st innings  210 all-out 

Petersen 72            Bumrah 5-42                                                                                                                                     Bavuma  28             Shami 2-39 

India    2nd innings      198 all-out 

Pant 100*           Jensen 4-36                                                                                                                                                  Kohli 29               Ngidi 3-21

South Africa    2nd innings    101-2

Petersen 48*          Shami 1-22                                                                                                                                    Elgar 30                   Bumrah 1-29    

The star for South Africa in the 1st innings Keegan Petersen is also looking good in the second innings as well and he is still unbeaten on 48 runs.

He will be a key player for South Africa tomorrow in their chase.

South Africa earlier dismissed India for only 198 runs that also included a magnificent hundred from Rishabh Pant.

Pant and Kohli rescued their side as they lost 2 wickets in the first 2 overs of the day.

India had a horrible start with the bat today as they lost both of their senior batters Pujara and Rahane in only the first 2 overs of day 3.

Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant rescued their side and built up a brilliant partnership of 94 runs for the 5th wicket.

Kohli played a patient innings while Pant batted aggressively and smashed the bowlers for boundaries.

When the score reached 152 runs, the knock from Virat Kohli came to end when he nicked the ball into the hands of 2nd slip.

Virat was dismissed by Ngidi after scoring 29 runs, he took 143 balls for this innings.

After losing Virat none of the Indian batters was able to support Pant from the other end.

Ashwin and Thakur failed to score some good runs once again in this match.

The whole Indian team was all-out on just 198 runs, giving South Africa a small target to chase in the 4th innings.

Marco Jansen picked up another 4 wicket haul in this series today while both Rabada and Ngidi picked up 3 wickets each.

Pant’s magnificent century 

Rishabh Pant played an unbelievable knock to rescue his side after that poor start..

Out of the total 198 runs, Pant scored 100 runs out of them and this shows how important the knock was for India.

This was the 3rd overseas hundred for Pant while it was the 4th overall hundred for him.

Pant had a good partnership with Kohli that helped India to drag this total to 198 runs.

He also became the first Indian keeper to score a Test hundred against 3 test playing nations.

South Africa also lost 2 wickets before stumps but still, they are in a commanding position.

They need only 111 runs with 8 wickets in hand tomorrow.

Markram was looking good but after smashing 4 superb boundaries, he nicked one delivery towards KL Rahul.

Petersen and Elgar had a vital 78 runs stand but just before stumps.

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Harsha Bhogle gives major update on Dharamshala’s weather for fifth Test between India and England

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Harsha Bhogle

Harsha Bhogle gave a major update on Dharamshala’s weather for the five days of the commencement of the 5th Test between India and England. The popular commentator and analyst took to his X account and claimed that he is set to go to the venue in the coming days and claimed to have checked the forecast for the Test between India and England.

“I am due to go to Dharamshala in a week,” wrote Bhogle on X. The fifth Test of the series will be taking place from the 7th of March to the 11th of March. Harsha claimed that just reading the forecast made him shiver. “I checked the forecast today and just reading that makes me shiver,” wrote Harsha on his social media handle. The tweet of Harsha has gone viral on X.

The analysts further added that the temperature in Dharamshala is likely to be 10 degrees centigrade at maximum. While Bhogle hoped it would change, he added that the temperature at the morning in the venue would be two degrees centigrade. The maximum temperature forecast for March 07 (at this stage, hopefully, it will change) is 10°. The temperature forecast at 7 am is 2°! Snow??” added Bhogle on X.

Will England have any advantage?

As soon as Bhogle gave the update on X, the fans started claiming that England could have an advantage given the weather. There has been an opinion that the lack of sunshine could help their pace attack more than that of India. England possess a serious weapon in James Anderson who is known to get unreal swing in overcast conditions.

In addition to the experienced pacer, England has three more talented pacers. While Mark Wood can be effective with his express pace, the likes of Ollie Robinson and Gus Atkinson could prove handy as well. The fans also felt that India had an attack to counter that of England. Either way, the 5th Test is set to be a no-dud, as it could be valuable for the teams keeping in mind the points for the WTC.

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Former Under 19 winning captain claims Big Bash league similar to Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

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Unmukt Chand

Unmukt Chand has made a huge claim on the Big Bash League. The former Under19 World Cup-winning captain of India claimed that the BBL is similar to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The fans are divided over the statement of the USA player. While some believe that his context is right, others feel that he has exaggerated his opinion on the BBL. Many consider it to be a top league in cricket.

Unmukt did accept the fact that BBL is big in its own way. But he felt that the IPL is on a different level altogether. Chand felt that the best players in the world take part in the IPL. The former DC player claimed that the management in the league is different from that of the other leagues. Chand claimed the IPL to be ten times bigger than the other leagues.

The former U19-winning WC skipper played a lot in the BBL. He represented Melbourne Renegades in the league. Having played in the league in the past, he added that BBL in Australia is good in its own way. Unmukt was of the opinion that Australia is a great place to play cricket. He felt that Australia has people who love the sport a lot.

Unmukt Chand’s comparison of BBL with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Chand felt that Australia had good ground, wicket, and stadiums. “I mean playing the Big Bash in Australia is anyways great. It is a great place to play cricket where you know you have your sport, you have your sports-loving people, they come and watch and good grounds, good stadiums, good wicket,” added Chand in his statement on Australia and BBL.

Chand claimed that BBL is similar to India’s Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. He claimed BBL to be more of its top T20 tournament than a big T20 league like the IPL. “But Big Bash was more like it’s Cricket Australia’s premier tournament like you know we have a Syed Mushtaq Ali in India. So, it’s that but obviously done at a bigger stage,” said Unmukt Chand.

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Will Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer remain in contention for national selection? Explained

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Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

In a major move, the Indian Cricket Board has decided to terminate the central contracts of Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan and Mumbai batter Shreyas Iyer. This decision can be seen as walking the talk by the board, as players were seen avoiding crucial instructions from both the board and team management.

Now, a major question arises: will Kishan and Iyer remain in contention for further national selections? This is important as both have been key members of the Indian cricket team in the last few months. Kishan’s participation in the Asia Cup 2023 and Iyer’s in the ODI World Cup 2023 have been phenomenal for India. So, will they be in contention?

The answer is yes. Despite being omitted from the Board’s central contracts for the 2023–24 season, both will remain eligible for selection to the national team. The duo’s exclusion from the annual contracts was a result of their reported defiance of directives to participate in the Ranji Trophy. It prompts the board’s decision not to consider them for the prestigious contracts.

However, the national selection depends on various factors, which certainly do not include the central contract. Players like Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel are playing for India without a central contract. Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s comeback will depend on the team’s needs and their performance in the domestic and the Indian Premier League in 2024.

Who has received central contracts for India?

The central contract announcement revealed that the Grade A+ category, which houses elite players, included stalwarts such as captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja. In the Grade A category, veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, as well as batters KL Rahul and Shubman Gill, secured central contracts.

Hardik Pandya, who led the Indian T20I squad in 2023, earned a Grade A contract, emphasising his crucial role in the team. On a positive note, the central contracts did introduce new faces like Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma, securing places in the Grade C category alongside 15 players. The category also welcomed the comeback duo Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shivam Dube, who showcased strong performances in the Indian T20I team.

The Grade B contracts included Rishabh Pant, alongside Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Pant’s return is anticipated in the upcoming Indian Premier League, while Suryakumar continues to shine as a promising batter in the T20 format.

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