Going into this grand home season for Indian Test cricket, many felt that India would find New Zealand the toughest team to beat. As it turned out, the New Zealand spinners were not all that potent and their batsmen did not quite measure up either. In the end it was a clean sweep for India, and with big margins too.To be fair, you could say New Zealand did the best with what they had. Not once during the course of the three Tests did you get the impression that they were giving anything but 100%.Their tactics were admirable. Throughout the series, you saw a definite, sensible plan in motion, one based on a sound study of Indian conditions and players. The problem was New Zealands quality of execution, and it eventually came down to ability. In these conditions, the Indians were just more able, more skilled than New Zealand, and that decides the fate of a contest.More than their bowling I was disappointed with the New Zealand batting, especially against spin. And this can be said of a few other teams too: the world is not playing spin too well these days.The first and most basic thought when facing up to spin, especially on a turning pitch, is to try and judge the length of the ball. This has to be the only thought occupying your mind, nothing else.Is this ball full or short? Depending on the length, you play forward or back. Watching batsmen play spin these days, I dont think enough importance is given to this thought. Maybe other ideas cloud their minds.There is a chance you will survive on a seaming pitch without moving your feet too much, but on a turning pitch against good spinners, if you are not moving your feet, you have no chance.The thing is, you cant attack your way out of trouble against spin. We saw this approach predictably fail when Ross Taylor tried it in the final innings of the series.Reading what is coming out of the hand is not as necessary as it is to judge the length, and depending on it, playing off the front foot or back. Kane Williamson was the best at this for New Zealand.The idea after that is to get the bat right to the pitch of the ball: even if you cant stretch forward too much to get your foot to the pitch of the ball, you need to get the bat right to where the ball has landed. Mohammad Azharuddin used to do this. He never stretched his front foot too far forward but ensured that the bat was still very close to the pitch of the ball. If you do this, you dont have to worry which way the ball is going to spin.When you are unable to get the bat to where the ball has pitched, you need to go right back deep inside the batting crease, a la Virat Kohli, and then watch the ball off the pitch - which you should have time to do, since you have gone right back.Despite your best intentions, there will be many occasions when you err in your judgement of the length and are caught half-forward, not quite to the pitch of the ball. This is when alarm bells must ring in your head, and you must become extremely wary of the ball, like you would with a deadly poisonous snake, for you have given it a chance to strike at you.You now have to make a small, critical adjustment with just the bat; its too late to do anything with your feet now. You have to be ready to quickly draw the bat away and not play the ball, open or close the face of the bat or simply change the original position of the bat depending on the behavior of the ball. Its like how a keeper changes his glove position when he is up to the stumps and there is a deflection off the bat.When not to the pitch, I found there were far too many New Zealand batsmen offering rigid bats that did not change their original position if there was a change in ball behaviour. They were hoping that the ball would hit the centre of their bats. This is a recipe for disaster.These limitations of the New Zealand batsmen should take no credit away from R Ashwin, nor should his performance be given less credit because it has come at home.To start with, this series didnt have rank turners where all a spinner had to do was turn up. The jury is out on how Ashwin will fare overseas, but his returns in favourable conditions are mind-boggling, and his performance in this series has been truly praiseworthy. If a batsman gets 20 hundreds in 39 matches we call it Bradmanesque; what do we call this? I stumbled on a remarkable difference between Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh with regards to their modes of dismissals.When Harbhajan was at the 200-wickets mark in his career, he had a total of 47 lbws and bowleds. Ashwin at the same stage had 90, almost twice as many as Harbhajan.This is no comment on who is better. Harbhajan will have had more bat-pad dismissals than Ashwin. But this is an important reason why Ashwin has a greater strike rate: along with bat-pad dismissals, he gives himself the opportunity to get lbws and bowleds too. He is willing to experiment and find new ways of getting wickets, while Harbhajan was quite one-dimensional and rarely had a plan B.Finally, it was a delight to see Virat Kohli maturing quickly as a captain, in keeping with his rapid growth as a batsman in international cricket.This observation does not come because he has just won a Test series; it is more to do with how he has been visibly more patient, when earlier his almost child-like exuberance seemed to get the better of him. The tendency to make frequent field and bowling changes seems to have gone now. Kohlis on-field tactics this series had the perfect blend of attack and defence; not once did it seem like he was over-attacking or ultra-defensive.His cheerleading to get the crowd to make some noise and back his team up when things were quiet was a nice touch. Why, some fans might come to the ground just to be cheer-led by him.Kohli was in the game every minute of the series.Above all, for someone who is very much a modern-day product, in the way he looks and plays the other formats of the game, he showed he cares deeply for the five-day game. And that is a boon in these times for Test cricket. Alec Martinez Jersey . He said Tuesday thats a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans. Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night. Los Angeles Kings Gear . It was just business as usual for the Thunder at home. Durant scored 32 points and the Thunder beat the Bulls 107-95 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win. http://www.nhlkingsauthority.com/authentic-trevor-lewis-kings-jersey/ . I cant pinpoint a date, but I do remember a player from my youth. Brian Downing was with the Chicago White Sox at a time when I listened to every game I possibly could on the radio. That particular season the late great Harry Caray was calling the White Sox games. Christian Folin Jersey . Cuban testified Thursday that he was upset when the companys CEO told him news that would reduce the value of his shares, for which hed paid $7.5 million. But he said he did nothing improper when he sold those shares over the next two days. Marty Mcsorley Jersey .C. Lions has come to an end. Banks told TSN on Jan 2 that he had no interest in playing out the option year of his contract with the Lions in 2014, and he again made that clear in a conversation with Lions GM Wally Buono last week.Its all-out war at Mercedes declared Mondays papers following Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosbergs race-ending collision at the Spanish GP. The Silver Arrows team-mates crashed on the run to turn four on the opening lap, leaving both cars damaged in the gravel.Lewis Hamilton was left seething with arch-enemy Nico Rosberg after crashing out of the Spanish GP, wrote Ben Hunt in The Sun. The warring team-mates, who sensationally clashed at Spa in 2014, will now be hauled in front of their Mercedes bosses and warned about their future conduct.Tensions between the pair have simmered beneath the surface since that infamous incident in Belgium and Hunt is unsure if Mercedes can continue to trust their two drivers.Hamilton and Rosbergs clash lit the touchpaper and this inter-team row sets up the Monaco GP perfectly after Hamiltons meltdown there last season, he wrote.It also raises serious questions about whether Merc chiefs can trust them to race fairly in the future. Anthony Davidson looks at the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg that wiped both Mercedes drivers out of the Spanish Grand Prix on lap one In The Times, Kevin Eason declared that Hamiltons relationship with Rosberg was at new low following their latest clash.The public faces were straight, but the inner turmoil was all too evident to those who watched Hamilton and Rosberg explain the circumstances of the incendiary accident that blew the Spanish GP wide open and detonated what was left of the pairs shattered relationship as Mercedes team-mates, he wrote.Eason described Hamiltons move as desperate and suggested there could be more clashes to come.According to some astute observers, both drivers have acquired a new personality trait: in Rosberg, there is a streak of aggression not seen before and which may have emerged in spades here yesterday; the word applied to Hamilton was bleaker - desperation, he added. Lewis Hamilton says he wont get involved in the blame game over who was responsible for his crash with team-mate Nico Rosberg in Spain The Daily Telegraph led their sports section with a picture of Hamilton stricken in the gravel under the headline Hamiltons stupid move.ddddddddddddThe stewards elected to punish neither driver, deeming it a racing incident. Tellingly, that was a verdict both Hamilton and Rosberg declined to endorse, wrote Daniel Johnson.The debate will rage just as fiercely as the pair fought over an ever-diminishing piece of track to the point of calamity.It began as soon as a furious Hamilton threw the steering wheel out of his car, mangled and beached in the gravel not far from Rosbergs and will go on and on as Mercedes face the tall order of keeping their two drivers from colliding again. However, Johnson believes the situation will be handled differently to the 2014 clash at Spa.Although it was more visually spectacular, the consequences of this crash for their feud are perhaps not as extensive as when they collided in the Belgian GP two years ago, he wrote.Then, Rosberg was forced to apologise and publicly humiliated. This time, the team will try to be more relaxed. What will define this season, however, is how both drivers respond.With both Mercedes eliminated, the F1 fans were treated to an exhilarating fight during the remainder of the race between the two Ferraris and two Red Bulls for victory in Spain.People here had seen enough Mercedes dominance to last them a lifetime and a change of pattern was welcome, wrote Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail.In The Sun Hunt added: This race was a thriller, just what the sport needed. The Mercedes clash somewhat overshadowed a maiden win for 18-year-old Max Verstappen, with only The Guardian leading on the Dutchmans victory.Under the headline of Verstappens fairytale victory shakes up F1 Paul Weaver wrote the delivery of the prodigy Max Verstappen, who became the youngest winner of a Formula 1 race, brought and iridescence to a sport that for too long has laboured in the single colour of the silver of Mercedes.Everyone apart from the stricken people at Mercedes appeared to be joyous. Many sagacious voices said he was too young but there can be no doubts now.The Suns Hunt declared Verstappen F1s newest superstar, while McEvoy described the Dutchmans drive as sure-footed precocity. 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jcy123, 31.10.2018 00:20