A new record

The third match might not end in a win for Shah but the series will be remembered for his 14 wickets in the second Test and for this incredible record:

On the fourth morning of the final Test in Abu Dhabi against New Zealand, Yasir Shah did not merely break an 82-year-old record, he smashed it.

By dismissing William Somerville roughly half an hour into the morning, he picked up his 200th Test wicket in just his 33rd Test. That breaks the record for the fastest to 200 Test wickets, so long held by another legspinner, Clarrie Grimmett who reached the mark in his 36th Test.

Yasir Shah is averaging six wickets a Test. That's absolutely phenomenal.


Preparing for the third Test

Craig McMillan, the New Zealand batting coach, has urged his batsmen to come up with "precise and clear" plans against Yasir Shah ahead of the third Test against Pakistan, which begins on December 3 in Abu Dhabi. Yasir's match figures of 14 for 184 in Dubai were instrumental in Pakistan levelling the series after they lost a pulsating first Test by four runs.

The first innings for the Kiwi batting will be vital. The Paki scoring rate was incredibly slow in the second Test but the first innings Kiwi collapse was so swift that it allowed the opposition plenty of the time to go for a brutal win.

"From a batting point of view you just have to be so precise and clear with your batting plan, especially against Yasir Shah who was outstanding," McMillan said. "He's going to test you early on, he's going to test that defence, so your defence has to be so tight, has to be so spot on, because if you make a mistake it's pretty vital over here.


The Yasir Shah show continues

The last time someone had better match figures than Yasir Shah was 17 years ago.

14-184 - Yasir Shah's match figures in the Dubai Test. These are the second-best by a Pakistani, a shade behind Imran Khan's 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982. Yasir's haul is also the best in UAE, eclipsing Rangana Herath's 11 for 136 in Abu Dhabi last year.

2001 - The last time a bowler finished with a better match haul than Yasir's 14 for 184. Harbhajan Singh's 15 for 217 against Australia in Chennai bowled India to a magnificent series win.

New Zealand did fight hard in the second innings but a 327-run deficit against the glorious Shah was too much to overcome. After the comical collapse of the Pakistani batting in the first Test, this is a very serious thrashing. The Kiwis will have to play out of their skins in the last match to not lose this series.


The Yasir Shah Show

Yesterday, I thought that the declaration at 418 runs was too early. Going for a big, psychological 500 runs would have been better. Today showed that it didn't matter as New Zealand imploded from 50/0 to 90 all out. Yasir Shah just became the first bowler to take 10 wickets in one day of Test cricket in this century. He broke or equalled quite a few other records as well. They should have given him the Man of the Match award as he walked off the field.

New Zealand will have a tiny chance if they, somehow, manage to bat the entire fourth day. Otherwise, it's going to be an innings defeat.


Australian Cricket

Shane Warne, an Australian legend, is not amused by the current culture:

"Can I cut to the chase here? They need to find the best captain, find who's going to be the best captain for each form of the game and say 'guys, run with me'," Warne said while commentating for Fox Cricket during the first ODI against South Africa in Perth, where Australia suffered a heavy defeat. "Forget all the words, forget all the verbal diarrhoea and all that sort of stuff. That's all rubbish, seriously, it makes you vomit."

Warne is referring to the bizarre use of buzzwords in Australian cricket:

A 38-word Player Pact was unveiled, and on the eve of the Perth ODI, photos revealed words such as "patience", "pressure" and "elite honesty" emblazoned in the Australian dressing room. "Elite honesty," in particular, came under a lot of scrutiny on social media.

Let's see how badly they'll lose in the World Cup next year when they defend their title.


T20I no. 708

Pakistan scored the most in their last six games in the UAE by setting New Zealand 167 runs to win. The Kiwis had a nervous start but were at an acceptable 96/3 at 12.2 overs. Then, Pakistan showed why they're famous for their bowling.

After Williamson lost his wicket, these are the scores of the players who got out: 26, 2, 0, 0, 7, 1, 1. In fact, poor Williamson scored more runs than the rest of his team combined. He scored 60; the entire team was out for 119. They had to play scoring shots because the run rate was creeping up but they simply couldn't handle the bowling.

This sets up the ODI series really well. New Zealand has a lot of batting firepower while, now, Pakistan has a strong bowling unit and an improving batting lineup.


Potent bowling wins series

Pakistan sets a new T20I record:

A masterful chase from Pakistan helped them secure their 11th straight series win - and 11th consecutive win in a T20I chase. They might have taken it to the last over - to the final two deliveries - but make no mistake, Pakistan were in charge of it almost every step of the way.

New Zealand needed to put big runs on the board. They had a fantastic start but the middle order couldn't capitalize thanks to the spin bowling from Pakistan. The Kiwis scored 153/7; something close to 170 runs would definitely have challenged Pakistan.


It's a fight!

The game went to the end:

It isn't often that a series against Australia is termed an appetiser, but it has taken just one T20I against New Zealand to understand why this tour will be the main course of Pakistan's home season. They may have swarmed over Australia in the Tests and T20I series, but the little brothers in that trans-Tasman relationship look unlikely to be pushed over easily.

Pakistan still managed to sneak home, but it wasn't until the last ball that the outcome was secure, with 18-year old Shaheen Afridi keeping his composure to defend 17 off the final over. New Zealand fell two short, with Imad Wasim's big hits towards the end and Mohammad Hafeez's rescue act - 45 off 36 - after the openers fell cheaply proving to be the difference.

Strange, they didn't mention the extras. Pakistan gave away 3. New Zealand ... 5. 

Anyway, the spectators definitely got their money's worth.


Australia vs. Pakistan

Today, Australia started their innings with a bang when Carey scored an awesome 20 runs in the first over. It showed what they're capable of but then, again, they crumbled. What must be worrying for the administration is that the players don't last the entire 20 overs.

It is highly unusual for Australia to go winless in an entire tour and that too against Pakistan. For the Aussies, their best and most memorable performance was a tough draw in the first Test. Their T20I performances were so stunningly bad that their top scorer in the series is a bowler.

Let's see if the Kiwis can do better ...


The Titan delivers

Virat Kohli is the best Indian batsmen in the game today. His record stands pretty well against one of the greatest batsmen in history:

Given that they are arguably the two most iconic modern-day ODI batsmen, it was quite fitting that Kohli emulated Tendulkar in reaching the 10,000-run mark in style: Tendulkar had reached his landmark by scoring 139 against Australia in Indore in 2001; Kohli went past the landmark with an unbeaten 157 against West Indies in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. They are the only batsmen to reach this landmark with centuries. With Kohli smashing Tendulkar's record of fastest to 10,000 ODI runs in terms of innings, it is a good time to compare Kohli's current stats with Tendulkar's, at the time the latter reached the landmark.

The Little Master was ahead during his time:

During the period after he started opening the batting, Tendulkar scored a hundred every 6.86 innings when batting in the top four, compared to other top-four batsmen who scored one every 24.7 innings. That means Tendulkar was around 3.6 times better than the others batting in the top four during that period. For Kohli, that ratio is about 3.11, which shows clearly that scoring hundreds has become a lot easier now than in the first half of Tendulkar's era. These ratios indicate just how remarkable both batsmen have been in their rates of scoring hundreds, but Tendulkar was at an even higher level compared to his peers, than Kohli has been in the current era.

True.

Kohli will turn 30 next month. The World Cup is next year. Kohli's Indians are definitely serious contenders for the trophy.


The Aussies fold

Cricinfo:

Abu Dhabi really was nothing like Dubai. Over in the nation's most global city, Australia batted out 140 overs in blazing sunshine to thwart Pakistan's hopes of a win. Here in the capital under clouds and a slight drizzle, it took Mohammad Abbas and his teammates barely 50 overs to scythe through an Australian side that looked as feeble as the worst pessimist had feared a fortnight ago.

Australia scored an incredible 362/8 in the last innings to save the first Test. They were all out for a combined 309 runs in two innings in the second Test! Khawaja being injured didn't help but even he couldn't have changed the final outcome. Abbas was the chief destroyer. He should be getting his ODI debut soon.


Aussies tumble

The Australians are having trouble scoring in the first innings:

Since the first Test of the series in Durban, Australia's first-innings tallies have been 351 in 110.4 overs, 243 in 71.3 in Port Elizabeth, 255 in 69.5 in Cape Town, 221 in 70 in Johannesburg, 202 in 83.3 in Dubai, and now 145 in 50.4 in Abu Dhabi.

After their stunning, record-breaking second innings a few days ago, this 145 all out is so bizarre. The Pakistanis slowly managed almost the same number of runs with a loss of only two wickets. If Asad and Babar click tomorrow and take the lead to 500 runs, then, again, Australia will have to fight like mad to save the Test. A draw is even more unlikely since the Aussies will have to survive for two days.


Test no. 2030

When I woke up today, Australia was at 87/0. I read a few news stories and checked the score again and it was 87/3. The Marsh Ducks were to blame.

I thought that Pakistan would push for a 500-run lead for the psychological edge but they declared with a 462-run target for Australia. It's still too much. The only question now is: for how long will Australia survive on the fifth day? Under 30 overs would be my bet.


Pakistan vs. Australia

142/1: a respectable start in a Test match. 202 all out is an excellent score ... for a T20 game.

60 Runs for which Australia lost all their ten wickets after the openers had put on 142. The collapse is the third-worst for any side after a century opening stand. The two worst such collapses were India's 10 for 46 against England at Old Trafford in 1946, and New Zealand's 10 for 51 runs against Australia at Auckland in 1974.

42 Runs by Australia's last nine wickets are the fewest in their first innings in the last 50 years. After the openers, the highest individual score was Mitchell Marsh's 12, and only two others got into double-digits.

What's really shocking is that the main architect of this destruction has never played a Test match before! On the flip side, these two Aussies had the worst start to their Test career:

6 Instances of two debutants in the top-six batting positions making ducks in the same innings. Australia's Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne got out for ducks to the debutant Bilal Asif in the same over. It was only the third instance when debutants at No. 5 and 6 got out for ducks.

Brutal. The Aussie batsmen will likely face the refreshed Paki bowlers at the end of day 4. If their openers don't survive, then it's game over for Australia.


Asia Cup final

Liton Das comes out of nowhere, opens the innings, and gives Bangladesh a dream start by scoring a fantastic century. Then, the team crumbles. Das scored 121 while the rest of the team combined scored 94 runs! Their fans must have gone from jubilation to feeling utterly shocked at the miserable end result.

Now, once again, the Indian team has a simple and comfortable chase ahead. Bangladesh has to conjure up their most magical bowling performance to win from here.

Updates
Bangladesh reduce India to 167/5. They're fighting hard. 

India need 36 runs off 42 balls with 5 wickets in hand. Pressure!

Now, 9 runs off 12 with 4 wickets.

6 runs off 6 balls with 3 wickets in hand. Damn. Bangladesh really pushed India.

Scores tied! 1 ball remaining!

The Bangladeshi guys have never won an Asia Cup. That didn't change today. One has to feel sorry for Liton Das. The man played the most amazing innings of his life but his team just couldn't capitalize. Though, they did manage to scare the crap out of one billion Indians.


Chaos and corruption

Steve Rixon gets a mild case of cultural enrichment from the Pakis:

Former Pakistan fielding coach Steve Rixon accused the PCB of "disrespect and stupidity", and said he had "not once" been paid on time. Rixon said that was the reason he quit his post after two years, deciding he "didn't need it that much", and opted to walk out than have to deal with what he believed to be a lack of professionalism on his employer's part.

Stupidity is the correct word to describe this behavior. Most sensible cricket teams don't tour Pakistan because of the constant threat of Islamic terrorism. On top of that, we've got these corrupt clowns who think they can fuck over a gora kafir and somehow replace him with another talented White guy without any consequences.

Refusing to point the finger directly at anyone, Rixon said the PCB needed to learn to treat overseas staff well. He pointed to the fact that the PCB's conduct had put off Darren Berry from replacing Rixon as Pakistan's fielding coach - the PCB's clear first choice - and forgoing the services of such professionals was "stupidity".

Did the PCB apologize and promise to do better? Of course not.

"The PCB is disappointed by the baseless allegations made by former fielding coach Steve Rixon in a recent interview," the statement read. "The PCB spokesman wishes to clarify that the Board has enjoyed cordial relations with all current and former foreign staff attached with national teams.


ODI no. 4047

Why was Shadab Khan sent in at 4-down? He consumed 24 balls, scored 4 runs, and got out. Anyway, as long as Inzi's tenacious nephew survives, Pakistan will win.

18 overs left. 120 runs to win for Pakistan. Required run rate? 6.66.

Imam out for a not-enough 83. Bangladesh will win from here. If they do so, then this will become the first time that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka got knocked out of the tournament before making the finals of an ODI Asia Cup. In each of the previous 12 finals, one of these teams always made it.

Afghanistan and Bangladesh caused quite a few upsets.

India will demolish Bangladesh on Friday to win the final game.


ODI no. 4046

There was little chance of Afghanistan winning against India. The Afghanis made sure that India didn't win either. It's a tie! India rested their best players and the Afghanis fought till the end and managed to bowl out the entire Indian team. Minus the Indian openers, the rest of the players simply didn't hang around; worse their strike rates were too low. 

Afghanistan deserves a lot of credit. They consistently put runs on the board (min: 249 and max: 257) and pushed their opposition in all five games of the tournament. They have certainly made the case for playing the stronger ODI teams in the world. Perhaps, ahem, Sri Lanka can offer them a tour.


India crush Pakistan

ODI no. 4044 ends with India posting their highest 1st-wicket partnership against Pakistan -- an absolutely epic 210 runs. It's funny that the one Indian wicket to fall was because of an error in judgment by an Indian batsman. So, the Pakistani bowlers didn't even get a single wicket! The Pakis were bad in every department: batting, bowling, and fielding.

If the other matches go as expected, then we'll see an India vs. Pakistan final at the same ground in five days. India will definitely have the psychological edge.

0- Number of times India had defeated Pakistan by nine or more wickets before this game. This nine-wicket win is their biggest in terms of wickets against their arch-rivals.

Yup. I can't remember the last time Pakistan got destroyed so badly by India ... because this is their worst defeat.


ODI no. 4043 - Fight!

Afghanistan dragged the Pakistani batsmen all the way to the last over of the innings. They just couldn't get Malik out who methodically won the game for Pakistan. His wicket would have been crucial since he has been playing the game for almost two decades! Malik used to play the 1-down position but nowadays his experience is more valuable in the lower order.

Afghanistan deserves a lot of credit. They played the most competitive match of the tournament. Hopefully, the India vs. Pakistan final will be even better.


KHHAAANN!

That would be Rashid Khan who on his 20th birthday destroyed the Bangladeshi cricket team. He scored a stunning 32-ball 57 and then had the best bowling figures: 9 overs, 3 maidens, 2 wickets.

Afghanistan is looking very dangerous. (Apparently, it's not just the US that has trouble beating them.) They already knocked out the team that has won the most Asia Cups five days ago. Today, the tiny tigers got a thrashing. It would be so hilarious if the Afghanis end up winning the tournament. At the very least, the next few matches will be very competitive.


ODI no. 4040 - Lame surrender

The Indians couldn't get the "Hong Kong" batsmen out for 34 overs yesterday. Today, the similar bowling ripped through the Pakistani team in 43 overs. The Indians conceded an impressively low total of 162 runs. Now, they are 91/1 with 37 (!) overs remaining. This will be a steady, low-risk, demolition of Pakistan. It'll be a shocking miracle for Pakistan if India lose this one.

It's kind of sad for the spectators who bought expensive tickets to sit in the Arabian heat only to watch a boring match. Anyway, the same teams will likely meet again in the final of the tournament. Undefeated India vs. Hungry Pakistan. That should be a better contest.

Update
Read this funny bit in the Cricinfo commentary:

Shahrukh: "Listen, I have been watching Pakistan play since before I could walk. I could tell by their faces during the national anthems they were in no mood to put in a performance for this game. We dont waste energy on inconsequential games so Relax! When the stakes are higher, then the Real Pakistan will turn up, and you all will know it. Good night!"

I've to say that there's some truth to that. It's the exact opposite of the Aussies who show up in a murderous mood in every tournament game. No wonder that they have won 4 out of the last 5 world cups.


ODI no. 4039

Hong Kong played Pakistan two days ago. The Pakis got them all out for 116 in 37.1 overs. Today, Hong Kong is playing India. Somehow, they managed to score 174 runs without losing a single wicket!

We'll find out just how weak India's bowling is when they face Pakistan tomorrow.

The "Hong Kong" team manages to survive the entire 50 overs and scores 259 runs. They lose by 26 runs. The fact that noobs scored 91% of the runs of the second-best team in the world is quite impressive. At the very least they scared India for 34 overs. On the basis of this performance, India is going to have a very tough time in 15 hours.


The epic comeback at Eden Gardens

Cricinfo: The top 25 Test batting performances of all time.

I don't know about all time but the greatest Test performance of this century was by VVS Laxman in 2001. Australia had crushed Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup plus they had won 16 Tests in a row. India had lost the previous match and they were staring at a humiliating defeat by an innings at home. That result would have also meant losing the series. The mighty Australian juggernaut was unstoppable!

Under such tremendous pressure and utterly hopeless conditions, Laxman scored an epic 281 runs which won them the match. India won the next match as well which meant that they won the series. This was all done against the greatest Test team of the era.


Two painful days left for England

India finally put up a fight. England need over 500 runs in the fourth innings to win -- it'll be a miracle if they manage a draw. 

440- Virat Kohli's aggregate in this series, which is the highest by an India captain in a Test series in England. [...] He has already set the record of highest series aggregate by an India captain in series in Australia and South Africa on the last two tours.

Kohli is a run-making machine. His talent and value in one statistic:

While Kohli has scored 200 runs each in the first and third Tests of this series, none of the other India players have aggregated 200 runs in three matches combined.

The authorities might as well give him the Man of the Series award right now.


Test no. 2315 - India crushed

The eleven Indian players combined put up the following figures.

1st innings: 101 runs

2nd innings: 118 runs

Chris Woakes, one English player in one innings, scored 137 runs. His highest score before this match? 66 runs. England didn't need a second innings.

This was a stunningly weak performance for India which is ranked number one in the world. Nobody put up a fight. Worse, their prolific captain has a sore back. What answer will they have for England if Alastair Cook unleashes a double century in the next match?


Compared to greatness

Virat Kohli is definitely the MVP for India in the past five years:

In the 10-year period between November 1991 and December 2001, Tendulkar played 23 Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, and his numbers in those matches are very similar to Kohli's stats in the 17 Tests he has played in these countries since the start of the South Africa tour in December 2013.

Kohli has the slightly better average, but there is little to choose between their conversion rates, or the manner in which both dominated their batting line-ups, scoring a fifth of their team's runs off the bat.

The big difference today is that India is #1 in the Test rankings. Their overall batting inconsistency makes for more close and interesting matches.


No support for Kohli

One feels sorry for Virat Kohli who scored a mammoth 200 runs in the Test and still lost the match! The fact that the rest of the Indian team combined scored a measly 214 runs in two innings tells the story.

England also didn't perform well. The seasoned players, with the exception of Root, didn't step up. They should be grateful for the young noob who smashed just enough runs to turn the tide.


Lots of brawn

Fakhar Zaman broke multiple records in the recently finished series against Zimbabwe.

515 Runs scored by Fakhar in this series - the second-most by any batsman in a bilateral series. He was dismissed only twice and averaged an incredible 257.50.

That's the most runs scored by any batsman in a five-match series.

I've been following cricket for nearly three decades and I've never seen such a thorough demolition of an international cricket team in five consecutive matches. If Zimbabwe don't get their top players in the team, then we'll unfortunately see such boring destruction again very soon.

Also, it has been a very long time since Pakistan had truly competent top three batsmen. Zaman, Haq, and Azam form an excellent trio which should give Pakistan a fighting chance against the powerful batting strength of England and India in the World Cup next year.


The annihilation continues

On June 9, 2018, I wrote a post about Fakhar Zaman titled The next Saeed Anwar.

Saeed Anwar was a left-handed opener for Pakistan. He was a supremely elegant batsman who scored 194 -- the highest score ever by any Pakistani batsman.

Today, Zaman broke that 21-years-old record by smashing 210 not out. The eleven Zimbabwe players combined managed 155 runs in response. That shows just how competitive the match was.

A few other ODI records:

  • Highest total by Pakistan: 399-1
  • Highest opening partnership for any team.
  • Most fours scored by a Pakistani batsman in one innings.

Soon, Fakhar Zaman will become the fastest batsman to 1,000 runs in ODIs. He has definitely cemented his position in the team for a few years.


ODI no. 4019

Another massacre:

Fakhar Zaman smashed 43 off 24 balls as Pakistan hurtled towards the target in record time; never before have Pakistan chased down a target with over 40 overs to spare.

When he smashed the 59th ball of the innings through midwicket for four, the target had been achieved and the game was over, half an hour before the scheduled lunch break.

Wow. Zimbabwe scored 67 all out which can't be defended by any bowling side. The only shock was that Pakistan didn't win by 10 wickets.


The next Saeed Anwar

Fakhar Zaman destroyed India in the Champions Trophy final last year. Yesterday, the Australian T20 team got the same treatment. Usually the cool Aussies crack the Pakistani batsmen under pressure (see 1999 World Cup final) but Zaman marched on as his team lost two batsmen in the very first over.

Also, who had the bright idea to throw this noob into a tournament final? The Aussies got him for a grand contribution of zero! What the hell was the coach thinking?

Anyway, Zaman's impact and damage was so severe that they handed him both the big awards: Man of the Match and the Tournament.


Mother of God!

England massacres Australia:

England thrashed the highest score in the history of ODI cricket to set up the most crushing defeat - in terms of runs - ever inflicted upon Australia.

It's hard to believe that Australia won the last World Cup.

As this series has progressed, it has become hard to fathom how roles have reversed since the 2015 World Cup when one of these sides lifted the trophy and the other was humiliated. It will amount to little until England do it in a global tournament but you can be sure that no side - and certainly no bowling attack - will relish facing them in conditions like this.

On the basis of this series, England are strong contenders for the World Cup next year.


The champions slip

Cricinfo: Australia slip to 34-year low in ICC ODI rankings.

Australia's rankings situation reflects their downturn as an ODI side since beating Pakistan in a home series in January 2017. Thereafter, they have lost 13 of their 15 completed ODIs, in which time they have lost three successive bilateral series - to New Zealand, India and England - and exited the Champions Trophy at the group stage.

What's stunning about this decline is that they won the last World Cup.


Abraham Benjamin de Villiers

The most magnificent cricketer in the game today has decided to retire.

Former South Africa Test captain AB de Villiers said he had "run out of gas" as he announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 34-year-old has played in 114 Test matches, 228 one-day internationals and 78 Twenty20 matches for the Proteas.

He sums it up here:

"I've had my turn and, to be honest, I'm tired," he said.

AB de Villiers had the best combination of genetics, attitude, and performance. The most stunning display of his immense talent, power, and timing was on Jan. 18, 2015. He scored 149 runs off 44 deliveries. My initial reaction upon reading that was: Silly website, that must be 144 not 44. No one in the history of cricket has ever scored that fast. So, it can't be--HOLY SHIT! That's not an error!

You can watch him murder the West Indies bowling here:

Of course, it had to end one day. What's truly sad is that such a glorious athlete never lifted the World Cup. Of all the players, he deserved it the most.


Shame for Shami

In a startling revelation that could land Indian pacer Mohammed Shami in serious trouble, his wife has accused the cricketer of having extramarital affairs and torturing her mentally and physically.

In a series of posts shared on the social media, Hasin Jahan attached screenshots of Shami's alleged chats with many women. She also posted photographs of some women and claimed they were "Shami's girlfriends".

More:

Jahan further claimed, Shami tortured her after returning from South Africa, where the 27-year-old was there with the Indian team for the three-match Test series in January.

“Shami abused me and started beating me even after returning from South Africa. He has been doing this for quite some time now and now I have had enough.”

A guy named Mohammed beat his wife? Inconceivable! Seriously, the adultery part is likely true and also easy to prove. The torture and beatings? Maybe. In this day and age, a sensible wife would have made a audio or video recording and then gone to the court.


South Africa vs. Kohli

South Africa, not long ago, were the team to beat in ODIs. Now, they have trouble lasting the entire 50 overs. They were all out for a mediocre 204 runs.

Afterwards, it was another episode of The Virat Kohli Show. He smashed 129 runs to seal victory. In doing so, he also set a new record: the most runs scored by a batsman in a bilateral ODI series. Kohli has definitely become the MVP for India.

The World Cup is next year. It should be interesting to see how smart bowlers deal with him.


The modern Titan

Virat Kohli has hit six double centuries in 32 Tests. That's the best ratio in cricket history. Kohli just put Don Bradman into the second spot! That's not the only record he holds:

Kohli set a new record for most double-centuries by captains in Tests - six - going past Brian Lara who had five. Considering the period between 1932 to 2015, no Indian captain had hit more than one double-century. MAK Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni had hit one each in their time leading the side.

Kohli was very good when he started playing for India but he has turned into an absolute beast in the last two years.


Eights defeats in a row

Shoaib Malik scorched his way to a 23-ball fifty, Mohammad Amir scythed through Sri Lanka's chase to claim his best T20 figures, and Pakistan gave a raucous home crowd an evening to remember, as they trounced Sri Lanka by 36 runs, and swept the series 3-0.

5-0 in ODIs and now 3-0 in T20Is. It has been an atrocious month for Sri Lanka. They only really came close in the second T20. They could have won that but their batting order was shattered by the strong opposition bowlers.


The Land of Pace

Pakistan have always prided themselves on the quality of their pace attack, but recently that reputation has been under some threat, in ODIs at least. In the three years, between January 2014 and December 2016, Pakistan's fast bowlers collectively averaged 39.57 in ODIs. Among the 19 teams that played ODIs during that period, only four had poorer averages: Zimbabwe (41.29), UAE (42.14), Kenya (44.12), and Canada (45.12).

That was atrocious.

In 2017, Hasan has been the stand-out bowler in ODIs: from just 18 games, he has picked up 45 wickets - easily the highest for the year - at an exceptional average of 17, and a strike rate of 20.3.

That's how they won the global tournament.

Those numbers have transformed the stats for Pakistan's quick bowlers in 2017. From languishing at the bottom of the table between 2014 and 2016, they have moved to the top in 2017: their average of 25.61 is the best among fast bowlers from the top nine teams this year, while their strike rate of 28.6 balls per wicket is their best in any calendar year.

Why can't next-door India bottle this magic? Anyway, it should make for an interesting contest when they meet in the near-future. 


The magical assembly line

One of the great sports mysteries is how Pakistan churns out a never-ending supply of world-class bowlers. Such players have been instrumental in winning a World Cup and a Champions Trophy. If next-door India had those kinds of bowlers, they would rule the cricketing world.

Usman Khan, in his second ODI game, got 5 batsmen in his initial 21 deliveries -- that's the most efficient performance of any Pakistani bowler in this century. The guy is a noob and yet he just annihilated his opponents. He could have taken even more wickets ... if the rest of the bowlers weren't so damn good.

Sri Lanka all out for 103. This is the third time in a year they'll lose an ODI series by a 5-0 margin. No team in history has managed such a miserable feat.