With all the talk around the pitches and South Africas capitulation in the Test series last season, the failure of Indias frontline batsmen against spin didnt quite come under the scanner. Those were some of the toughest pitches to bat on, but if India continue with their strategy of playing on similar tracks, they cant always rely on Ravindra Jadeja and the tail to rescue them. Ajinkya Rahane, the only centurion in that home series, spoke of the need to bat better against the New Zealand spinners, who are a more formidable test than Simon Harmer, Imran Tahir and Dane Piedt.We dont take anyone lightly, Rahane said of the New Zealand spinners, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Mark Craig. While we respect them, our plan is to not let them settle down and dominate them.India began their training in Kanpur on Sunday before the first Test starting Thursday. After a surprise rain shower cut short their first training session, the Test squad had extended practice a couple of hours on either side of Rahanes press conference.New Zealands practice hasnt been ideal, partly because of the packed international calendar. Playing in the pre-season, New Zealand got just one three-day game to get some match time before embarking on what could become the toughest test in world cricket today. Even their practice match was played on a flat track in Delhi, far from what they will get in the Tests.On the second day of that match, Mumbai, the Ranji Trophy champions who were missing two of their best batsmen, raked up 400 runs. However, just like Siddhesh Lad, the Mumbai batsman who scored an effortless century against the New Zealanders, Rahane stayed away from trying to score any psychological points.When told of the New Zealand spinners performance in the warm-up, Rahane was quick to point out how Test matches have a different intensity altogether. Sometimes in practice matches, you are trying things, Rahane said. It is a different mindset. Tests mindset is entirely different. Their spinners are good, they have played with each other, and we will respect them.One of the reasons to respect the spinners will be that Rahane expects more turning tracks. Hopefully it [the Green Park pitch] will turn, he said. We all know wickets in India are helpful for spinners, and they will turn. That is our strength. It is important to play to our strengths. But as of now I am not sure how the wicket is going to be.Rahane also said it didnt matter how long it took to win as long as the wins kept arriving. We never go in thinking we have to win in three or four days, he said. We just want to win matches, doesnt matter if it is on the third day or the final session of the final day. That attitude matters.India last played a Test in Kanpur against Sri Lanka in 2009, where spinners accounted for 20 of the 30 wickets to fall, with the hosts winning in little under four days. Rahane will be hoping for a similar result no matter how much time it takes.We know we are playing 13 Test matches here [in India], Rahane said. The first Test will be crucial. This game will set the tone for the season. Yes we are playing ODIs as well but focussing on Tests first. The first Test of every series is crucial. You get that momentum from that. And I feel we all are ready for that. Nike Air Force 1 Clearance . Burris threw two TD passes, including a key 15-yard fourth-quarter strike to Bakari Grant that effectively countered a Toronto comeback bid and led Hamilton to a 33-19 victory. 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India Red 16 for 2 (Dhawan 14*, Pankaj 2-12) trail India Blue 693 for 6 dec (Pujara 256*, Jackson 134, Gambhir 94) by 677 runsScorecard and ball-by-ball details Having passed 700 in their last match, India Blue declared seven runs short of that mark in the Duleep Trophy final, with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring his tenth first-class double-hundred, before Pankaj Singh ripped into India Reds top order with wickets off successive balls in his first over.With just over ten days to go for Indias first Test against New Zealand, Pujara has made 166 and 256* in back-to-back first-class matches, suggesting a return to the insatiable ways of his best years. Pujara now has as many first-class double-hundreds as Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid; Vijay Merchant, with 11, is the only Indian batsman above him.For the majority of the day, Pujara was kept company by his Saurashtra team-mates Sheldon Jackson and Ravindra Jadeja. After a shaky start, and with the benefit of three lives along the way, Jackson settled into some fine strokeplay to bring up his 11th first-class ton. His 134 featured 15 fours and two sixes as he shared a 243-run fifth-wicket stand with Pujara. Jacksons dismissal brought Jadeja to the crease with the teams total at 605. Jadeja scored a free-spirited 48 off 66, hitting three fours and two sixes to put the finishing touches on India Blues marathon innings.But India Reds misery did not end there. Bowling over the wicket to the left-handed batsmen, Pankaj got the ball to cut back in sharply, trapping Abhinav Mukund plumb in front and sneaking one between Sudip Chatterjees bat and pad to clip the top of middle. His hat-trick ball to Yuvraj Singh did a tad too much and Yuvraj survived through to stumps for an unconvincing 0* off 26, his side tottering at 16 for 2.Though Pujara had begun the day on 111 with a well-set Dinesh Karthik for company, the first session was more testing than the batsmen might have anticipated. It opened with a wicket off the first ball, when Karthik, playing a loose drive away from his body, edged an innocuous delivery from Pradeep Sangwan onto his stumps.Throughout the first session, the India Red quicks showed substantial improvement from their day-one display, with Sangwan and Nathu Singh forcing the batsmen to play far more often and benefiting from occasional lateral movement when the ball pitched on one of the ever-widening cracks. Jackson, in particular, looked uncomfortable early on. His first 17 balls featured a number of plays and misses but not a sinngle run.dddddddddddd When he eventually got off the mark, it was courtesy an edge off Nathu that just evaded Yuvraj Singh at first slip.The fast bowlers improved showing seemed to rub off on the rest of the attack. Stuart Binny created the first genuine chance of the day when a length ball stopped on Jackson, who drove it in the air to the bowlers left. Though Binny got a hand to it, he was unable to hold on. Then Jackson, batting on 29, top-edged an attempted late cut off Amit Mishra and Yuvraj shelled a slip catch that ought to have been taken.Having got through the tough initial period, Pujara and Jackson began to impose themselves. In addition to his usual repertoire of strokes, Pujara unfurled a couple of neat reverse-sweeps against Mishra. After his two reprieves, Jackson gradually became more assured. Pujara brought up his double ton and Jackson his ton and, though the latter was reprieved once again when Dhawan dropped him on 108 off Kuldeep Yadav, the batsmen were now firmly in control.As the day wore on, India Reds intensity dropped sharply. After the tea interval, Gurkeerat Singh and Kuldeep dished out a number of unthreatening overs that enabled the batsmen to milk their way to a double-century stand. Both tended to drop short, allowing the batsmen to rock back to cut or pull or clip the ball through midwicket. Their slowness in the air also offered opportunities for Pujara and Jackson to skip to the pitch and smother the spin.It all seemed a bit too easy. The introduction of Yuvraj did little to change that. Nor did Mishras switch to bowling around the wicket. As the total ticked past 500 and then past 600, India Red spread the field and seemed content to let the game drift.Mishra had a better day overall, having cut out the rank half-trackers that were a persistent feature of his first-day effort. However, he only really settled into a decent rhythm after dinner, under lights, and was rewarded with the wicket of Jackson, who offered a return catch driving a ball that had stopped on him. The other spinners, though, remained too short, giving the batsmen time to adjust to the turn on offer.When Mukund was brought on in the 167th over to bowl his very occasional legspin, Pujara duly pulled a long-hop for four to bring up yet another milestone, his 250, with a boundary. Mukund, though, had Jadeja chopping on in his next over at which point India Blue declared. 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jj009, 14.08.2018 05:22