New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has confirmed his availability for the 3rd Test of the ongoing three-match series against England, which begins on June 23 at Leeds in Headingley. The Kiwis skipper was forced to miss the second Test after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Nottingham Test. England went on to win the match by five wickets to claim an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Former England Test skipper Joe Root has stated that captaincy had begun to have an “unhealthy effect” on his daily life, which is why he took the decision to quit. The 31-year-old stepped down as England captain in April and passed on the baton to experienced all-rounder Ben Stokes.
England’s new Test captain Ben Stokes has stated that the team will head into the Test series against New Zealand, which begins on Thursday (June 2) at Lord’s, with a ‘blank canvas’ and not look at the game as a ‘red-ball reset’. He is also hopeful of his partnership with new head coach, Brendon McCullum, making the players in the team comfortable and confident.
A day after becoming only the third player in the history of Test cricket to claim all 10 wickets in an innings, Ajaz Patel created another record on Sunday. He claimed four wickets in India’s second innings on Day 3 of the Mumbai Test. With match figures of 14 wickets for 225 runs, he is now the new record holder for having taken most wickets against India in a Test match.
Team India opener Mayank Agarwal has admitted that he made a genuine effort to attack New Zealand’s left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel because he knew he couldn’t allow the bowler to settle in. Agarwal was India’s star performer on Day 1 of the Mumbai Test. He notched up his fourth Test hundred and was unbeaten on 120 when stumps were called on a weather-hit day, which saw only 70 overs being completed.
Team India skipper Virat Kohli will be back to captain the team when the second Test of the two-match series against New Zealand begins at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. Kohli was rested for the three-match T20I series as well as the first Test in Kanpur. While Kohli will be back for the Mumbai Test, he stressed on the importance of mental break for cricketers in COVID times.
Team India’s head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that the management would like veteran middle-order batter Ajinkya Rahane to score more runs. At the same time, he asserted, like Cheteshwar Pujara at the start of the Kanpur Test, that Rahane is only one match away from finding form again.
Despite yet another failure for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the Kanpur Test, Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour backed both the veteran batters to come good in the future. Pujara was dismissed for contrasting 20s in both innings of the Test match against New Zealand while stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane registered scores of 35 and 4.
Indian left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in his fourth Test on Saturday, said that he has never seen himself as white-ball specialist. Axar claimed 5 for 62 on Day 3 of the Kanpur Test against New Zealand to bring India right back into the contest.