Meanwhile, Alastair Cook’s double-century on Friday put England in a commanding position against Windies in their first day-night Test at Edgbaston, but has Dawid Malan let an opportunity to cement his place go begging?
The Australians are keeping an eye on the action too, with Sydney Morning Herald discussing whether England’s vulnerable lower order could cost them the Ashes.
SL must forget the Test series quickly (The Times of India)
The third Test followed an all-too-familiar pattern for the Sri Lankans: huge Indian run fest, top-order collapse, large defeat. The 0-3 defeat on home soil has left many in Sri Lanka despondent and upset. We need to be careful, though, and give the team support. The players are trying their best. The truth is that India arrived as the No.1 Test team in the world and they played like it. They were impressive in all departments, writes Mahela Jayawardene.
Never felt Kumble was strict: Saha (The Hindu)
Like his wicketkeeping, Wriddhiman Saha is effortless in handling tough questions. Anil Kumble’s resignation from the post of head coach following his differences with skipper Virat Kohli is not an episode any current player would like to comment on. But Saha does note mind fielding any question. Asked whether Kumble was the stricter coach, Saha said, “I did not feel that way. As a coach, he has to be strict in some way or the other. Some have felt he is strict, some have not. I have never felt that way.”
For Sri Lanka, World Cup direct qualification on the line (The Indian Express)
Not very long ago, home venues used to be fortresses for Sri Lanka and international fixtures were always well-attended. Things, however, have changed. The humiliating 3-2 home series loss against Zimbabwe was followed by a 3-0 Test whitewash by India. Little wonder then that home fans seem to have started to lose interest, as empty stands during the recently concluded Test series would confirm. The ODIs, commencing in Dambulla on Sunday, are expected to be better attendance-wise — all the more because the hosts have a lot to play for in this five-match series.
Struggling to stay relevant for the past two years, the Duleep Trophy -a premier domestic tournament for 56 years -does not figure in the final draft of the Indian cricket board’s (BCCI) domestic programme for the upcoming season.
Dawid Malan conceded he did not look like scoring a run in the series against South Africa and so, after registering his maiden half-century in Test cricket, albeit against a less threatening West Indian attack, the England No5 is starting to feel more at home.
Alastair Cook remains absolutely vital to this young England side, particularly given the vulnerability of the top order. There is so much flair in this England batting line-up through the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali but they need someone around whom to bat. There is no one better suited to that role than Cook. What I particularly like about him is that Cook never changes as a person or as a batsman, as we saw yet again at Edgbaston on Friday with the latest of his record-breaking mammoth innings for England, writes Nasser Hussain.
Stuart Broad admitted earlier this week that this historic first day-night Test in the UK would be a “step into the unknown”. Well, we know a little bit more after the opening day at a packed out Edgbaston and the conclusions were rather a mixed bag. What cannot be denied is that there was a fantastic atmosphere here in Birmingham, especially when the floodlights came on after tea. The match itself, though, is panning out to be as one-sided as most had feared before this series began, with proving England proving they are a class above the West Indies in Test cricket.
Cricket Australia has changed the emphasis of its fast bowling policy from not over-bowling to bowling enough in a bid to reduce the number of back stress fractures among future quicks. Players are now being set “targets” to reach rather than “restrictions” as part of a raft of changes in Australian cricket’s new youth pace bowling guidelines. In some cases, juniors will be allowed to bowl more.
Soft England underbelly could cost them The Ashes (Sydney Morning Herald)
It’s grim to put it so bluntly, but whenever the West Indies play Test cricket these days, their opposition invariably sees it as preparation for something more meaningful. So while England may have been in Birmingham in August for the opening day of this series, the match is all about readying themselves for Adelaide in December.