The big news: Extreme measures underway in Chennai

On Wednesday, groundstaff at the Chepauk in Chennai were using burning coal to dry the pitch to be used for the fifth and final Test between India and England from December 16. Chennai, which was battered by Cyclone Vardah on Monday, and is getting back to normalcy, is playing host to final Test. Organisers were confident of hosting the match despite the damage caused.

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president Kashi Viswanathan assured that the square and the outfield were not been damaged owing to the cyclone. But, on Wednesday, dampness was seen on the ground and the groundstaff were forced to rely on the age-old formula of keeping coal trays on the wicket to dry the surface.

Other top stories:

  1. India’s Smriti Mandhana was the only Indian to be part of International Cricket Council’s Women’s Team of the Year 2016, which was announced on Wednesday. Mandhana had a stellar tour of Australia earlier this year, where she scored 157 runs in the three One-Day Internationals, including a maiden century.
  2. Pakistan’s performance in the five One-Day Internationals against Australia in January could define Azhar Ali’s future as captain with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who added that the board had lost its trust in him. He added that Sarfraz Ahmed, who leads the Twenty20 International side, was a “strong option” to take over the captaincy across all formats once Misbah-ul-Haq retires.
  3. Ravichandran Ashwin’s stellar performances have helped him cement his spot in the Test rankings. Ashwin opened up a 37-point lead over second-placed Rangana Herath after another 10+ wicket haul in Mumbai. Ashwin now has 904 points, the second best by an offspinner after Muttiah Muralitharan (920). 
  4. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first in the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba. The day-night Test will see Steve Smith’s men begin a back-to-back game with the pink ball.