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Cricket Australia names Dimuth Best Test captain

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Dimuth Karunaratne

Cricket Australia, on Friday, December 31, named their best Test XI for the year 2021. Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne was named as Captain for this Test X1 while Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne feature as the openers in the line up. The other team members are Marnus Labuschagne of Australia, , Joe Root the England skipper, Fawad Alam from Pakistan Rishabh Pant (wk) from India , Ravi Ashwin the spinner from India , Kyle Jamieson of New Zealand , Axar Patel from India , Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi from Pakistan . However Indian Test skipper Virat Kholi didn’t find a place in this line up.

No opening batter has scored more Test runs in the past seven years than Karunaratne and the left-hander enjoyed another prolific year at the top of the order having taken over the captaincy. Having started 2021 with a rear-guard 103 out of 211 against South Africa in Johannesburg, Sri Lanka’s skipper produced a match-saving four-hour knock in Antigua before a prolific campaign at home, highlighted by a score of 244 against Bangladesh, as he led his side to series wins over the Tigers and the Windies.In seven Tests in 2021, the southpaw notched 902 runs from seven matches at an average of 69.38 with a top score of 244.

Rohit Sharma has emerged as an opener in Tests since 2019 and earlier this year, he also notched his maiden Test ton overseas soil. Marnus Labuschagne started weaving magic since August 2019 after being roped in as a concussion substitute of Steve Smith during the Ashes against England. Having dominated white-ball cricket in home conditions for years, Rohit Sharma conquered his final frontier last year by showing he can score big Test runs outside Asia. And a strong 2021 that saw him finish behind only Joe Root for most runs could have been even better if the classy right-hander had translated multiple strong starts into big hundreds. He reached 20 or more in 14 of his 19 completed innings but posted two centuries – 161 in a total of 329 to set up a win in Chennai and a patient 127 at The Oval, his maiden Test hundred away from home.

England’s Joe Root has had a terrible time as a skipper, but he has been excellent as a batter. In fact, he is currently the leading run-scorer of the ongoing Ashes that England are trailing 0-3. Fawad Alam had to wait for 11 long years to make a comeback to Test cricket, but he has grabbed the opportunities with both hands.

It’s a measure of just how good Marnus Labuschagne was last year that he wins a spot in this side despite Australia playing just five Tests in 2021. The right-hander passed 50 in six of his nine innings, highlighted by hundreds against India in Brisbane and England in Adelaide, as he surged to top spot in the ICC’s Test batting rankings. While Labuschagne’s run of scores immediately after he came to the Test side two-and-a-half years ago could have been passed off as simply a purple patch, an average of 70 from 16 Tests . He’s undisputedly one of the best batters in the world and appears to be only getting better.

The Test X1: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root, Fawad Alam, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Kyle Jamieson, Axar Patel, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi (D.R)

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – 01:00

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