We close out the year with a lot of stuff. The biggest news lately has been the Australia v. India Test series. India embarrassed themselves in Adelaide with a 36 all out second innings in the first Test and lost by eight wickets. Then, India captain Virat Kohli took paternity leave and the skipper’s hat was passed to Ajinkya Rahane. Things were not looking great for the visitors heading into the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne, but a sharp first innings by Jasprit Bumrah and Ravi Ashwin saw Australia held to only 195 runs. India countered with 326, led by Rahane’s 112. He was run out on a bad decision by Ravi Jadeja, or he could have had a lot more. A lead of 131 was good, but Australia always seems to bat well at Melbourne and the game was still on. Joe Burns and Steve Smith couldn’t get to double figures as Bumrah, Ashwin, and Rashib Pant continued their assault on the home batsmen, bowling them out for 200, which, even despite the India collapse at Adelaide, you knew would never be enough. India dispatched the lead in the 16th over of the fourth innings and tied the series. Two more riveting Tests are on the schedule, starting with Sydney on January 6th.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand is having quite an easier time with Pakistan. They took the T20I series 2-1, resting several players in the dead rubber, and are leading comfortably in the first Test at Mount Maunganui. They have the three sessions today to get seven more wickets, with Pakistan desperately trying to hold on for a draw or a very unlikely win. Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson’s 129 leads all scorers to date. They finish the series in Christchurch beginning January 2nd.
Sri Lanka and South Africa played a Test match at Centurion, and it was all Proteas. They won by an innings and 45 runs. Faf du Plessis came one agonizing run from a double century. They play another Test in Johannesburg, also starting January 2nd.
The BBL has Sydney Sixers on a roll, winning four in a row including last night’s thumping of Melbourne Stars by 75 runs. Sixers and the other Sydney side, Thunder, top the table at 4-1. Perth is still searching for their first victory.