India has a 1-0 series lead against New Zealand after easily defeating Sri Lanka. KL Rahul’s absence from the New Zealand series owing to personal matters and Shreyas Iyer’s injury have led to the addition of Ishan Kishan as the Indian middle-order opener to replace Suryakumar Yadav. Notably, Suryakumar only played in the final match of the ODI series against Sri Lanka whereas Kishan was absent from all of them. Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Indian batsman, urged that Virat Kohli give up his No. 3 spot to ease India’s selection dilemma.
He believes Kohli should bat at position four, as he did in 2014 to make room for Ambati Rayudu, and allow the in-form opener Shubman Gill to take Kohli’s place. “It’s going to be still tricky. One guy is going to be really upset. I have got an idea to sort this mess out. Have Shubman Gill bat at No. 3, he seems like he can handle that position, and then Virat Kohli sacrifices his No. 3 for a No. 4. He has done that before to Ambati Rayudu once, many years back against Sri Lanka. So that could be a way to sort it out. Ishan Kishan after his double hundred, left and right-handed combination at the top is not such a bad idea,” Manjrekar said on Star Sports.
In the first One-Day International, India held on to defeat New Zealand by 12 runs in Hyderabad on Wednesday despite a magnificent century from Michael Bracewell, who hit 208 in the match. With New Zealand in serious difficulty at 131-6 and chasing 350, India appeared to be coasting to win when opener Gill recorded just the 10th double hundred in ODI history. All-rounder Bracewell responded by scoring 140 runs off 78 balls before he was caught by Shardul Thakur’s leg-before wicket in the last over. Before Bracewell’s late fireworks offered New Zealand hope of a thrilling victory, India’s fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj restrained them with disciplined early spells.
At the top of the order, Finn Allen scored a relaxed 40, but after Siraj dismissed Latham for the sixth wicket, New Zealand was in serious trouble. When left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner joined Bracewell, they shared a remarkable 162-run partnership while hitting 57 of 45 balls together. However, Siraj eventually broke their partnership. Despite hitting 12 fours and 10 sixes, Bracewell lost the match because Siraj, the best Indian bowler, had stats of 4-46. The 23-year-old Gill earlier contributed to India’s impressive 349-8 total with an inning that lasted 149 balls and had 19 fours and 9 sixes.