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Super Sunday puts India on top

Super Sunday puts India on top
Just when you thought Indian cricket couldn’t get any better, it did. Just when you thought city lad Unmukt Chand couldn’t match his illustrious predecessor Virat Kohli, he played a knock that became an instant classic.

Playing its first Test after a decade of domination by the ‘Fab-four’ which involved euphoric victories as well as gut-wrenching disappointments, India’s senior team reprised old magic in Hyderabad to crush a hapless New Zealand by an innings and 115 runs.

And before the senior brigade lit up a gloomy day in southern India, juniors scripted history in Townsville, Australia, as they handed the hosts a thumping six-wicket defeat to win the ICC U-19 World Cup in style. It was India’s third U-19 World Cup victory after Mohammed Kaif and Virat Kohli guided the nation to cup triumphs in 2000 and 2008, respectively.

Unmukt Chand led from the front with a cracking ton [111*, 130b, 7x4, 7x6] as India beat formidable defending champions Australia by six wickets in the final. The skipper stitched an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 130 runs with stumper Smit Patel [62*,84b, 4x4] while chasing a competitive 226 on a bouncy strip with 14 balls to spare. It was arguably one of the best knocks played at the U-19 level as Unmukt toyed with the Oz bowlers by hitting them at will all over the park. He completed his century with a six over extra cover to send the sparse crowd into a frenzy.

Though India lost four wickets while chasing the target, it never looked like an uphill task as Unmukt consolidated the innings during the middle overs before accelerating towards the end.

Earlier, calling correctly, India wasted early advantage to let Australia recover after having them on the mat at 38 for 4. Skipper William Bosisto [87no, 120b, 6x4] rebuilt the innings with help from Tavis Head [37, 56b, 5x4] and Ashton Turner [43, 50b, 3x4, 1x6]. Sandeep Sharma [4/54] was India’s most successful bowler.

Both teams named the same playing elevens that had got them through the knockout stages. While Australia, aiming for a record fourth title, entered the summit clash undefeated, India had lost one game in the first group stage to the West Indies.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram on Sunday lavished praise on India U-19 skipper Unmukt Chand and said that the opener is ready to play for the senior side.


ASHWIN SPINS TEAM TO TEST VICTORY


Ravichandran Ashwin produced a career-best 12-wicket haul as merciless India relied on the spinners to crush New Zealand by an innings and 115 runs to take 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.

New Zealand batting collapsed yet again as they lost the last seven wickets for 26 runs to get bundled out for a meagre 164 in the second innings to give the hosts an easy victory with more than a day to spare. Ashwin’s match figures of 12/85 is the best by an Indian in a Test against New Zealand, eclipsing S Venkatraghavan’s 12/140. The Tamil Nadu spinner foxed the inexperienced Kiwi batsmen by extracting a lot of turn and bounce from the strip as he capped 6/54 to follow up his first innings tally of 6/31.

Ojha returned with figures of 3/48 to lend Ashwin fine support at the other end, as the spin duo shared nine wickets between them to expose Black Caps’ vulnerability. India had a frustrating first session as the overnight duo of Brendon McCullum [42] and Kane Williamson [52] put up a brave front after resuming at 44 for one. But after Umesh Yadav [1/32] broke the 72-run second wicket partnership, New Zealand lost their remaining nine wickets in 34.4 overs.
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