World test championships is really hotting up across the globe as 3 Test matches played simultaneously are delicately poised. Srilanka and New Zealand are slogging it out at Colombo, India showing their mettle vs West Indies at Antigua and Australia proving to be lethal on day 2 of the high profile Ashes 3rd test at Leeds.
In the Leeds test , Jofra Archer’s inflicted scars on the Aussies at Lords followed by brilliant fuller length bowling with limited number of bouncers (unlike Lords) proved deadly for a fragile batting lineup of Australia on 1st day as they collapsed sensationally from 136/2 to 179 allout after a resolute century stand between a fast improving Marnus Labuschagne (74) and a scratchy David Warner(61). Archer was brilliant cutting down slightly on his pace to concentrate on length ,direction and movement which paid rich dividends in overcast conditions throughout the day. Archer got 6/45 and Broad ,who was equally brilliant but enjoying lesser luck took 2/32 .
The 2nd day produced brilliant sunshine and ideal day for batting but the Australian pace trio of Hazlewood, Pattinson and Cummins had other ideas. They were lethal with their pace, bounce and movement and the England batting lineup up was inadequate to the task with their technique against seam movement brutally exposed. Both Roy and Root are going through the horrors. Burns increasingly getting found out by short stuff. It was a horror show as England were blown away for 67 with Hazlewood taking 5/30 . Cummins and Pattinson , both generating pace took 3 and 2 wickets respectively. However it was not easy either for the fragile Australian batting in the 2nd innings as wickets fell whenever they looked like getting hold of things. Khawaja and Harris failed to loose shots just as a good partnership was looming, Warner’s struggles against Broad continued and Head failed to make good yet another start. Labuschagne rode on his luck with two easy dropped catches as he scrapped hard to get another fighting fifty and remained unbeaten with Australia at 171/6 with a lead of 283 and 3 days to go for the test with good weather predictions.
At New Sound Antigua, West indies won the toss and fielded to extract early life off the pitch against a good Indian batting lineup. They made significant inroads with Roach moving the ball skillfully to scalp Mayank and Pujara as Gabriel bounced out Kohli to leave India at 25/3. However solid middle order contributions from Rahane (81), Vihari (32) and earlier opener KL Rahul (44) stabilized the innings. Later Ravindra Jadeja played a superb knock of 58 showing his gradual batting improvement at test level to guide India to 297—a fine recovery from 25/3 after first 45 minutes. In reply West Indies batting struggled against a tight Indian bowling . Ishant Sharma ,once again showed his class and experience in the 5 day format with his accurate off stump line and good variations to take 5/42 well supported by others as West indies struggled to reach 189/8 by close of 2nd day with none of their batters been able to make good their starts. With the fragile nature of their batting , it will be a battle for survival for West indies from here on in this test.
Rain weather however affected the much awaited 2nd test between Srilanka and New Zealand with Srilanka at 144/6 as Karunaratne was on verge of another good score after 2 rain curtailed days as the Blackcaps will be hoping the weather to hold on for them to make a big effort to square the series in remaining 3 days of the test.
So with fast bowlers ruling all around and with all the tests reaching their pivotal 3rd day, we are in for some real good test cricket accross the globe.