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In Case You Missed It: A busy end to a dizzying year

Our best content from the week gone by

Will a Kohli-less India be able to turn the series around?  •  David Mariuz/Associated Press

Will a Kohli-less India be able to turn the series around?  •  David Mariuz/Associated Press

You'd better not shout, you'd better not cry (even if you're 36 all out) and we're telling you why - three Tests are on today. Last week India found themselves on Santa's naughty list and were handed the proverbial lump of coal by Australia as they fell to their lowest Test total ever in the first match. They have three Tests to make it up in, but they're also without key players. South Africa will be dreaming of a whitewash to end the year with at home, but Sri Lanka come into the Test series with the confidence of past wins against them. Pakistan have much to prove but they're also up against a New Zealand side that's a hair's breadth away from the No. 1 Test ranking. Irrespective of the results, cricketers and fans alike will be grateful for such a busy end to the year - a year in which it feels like a minor miracle that any cricket happened at all. Here's your catch-up of the week that was.
Australia romp to victory after India's lowest total in Tests
It was India's game to win after the first innings of the first Test, with the bowlers restricting Australia to 191 before collapsing to their lowest ever Test total, courtesy Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Missed the carnage? Here's a blow-by-blow. How bad was it? Well, not a single Indian batsman made it to double figures - and Steven Lynch knows how often that's happened before. Sidharth Monga, though, says you can't really fault India - there's little they could do in the face of such flawless fast bowling.
Mohammad Rizwan's 89 off 59 the centrepiece of Pakistan victory
Pakistan lost the T20I series against New Zealand 2-1, but the blitz by Rizwan, who was previously considered unsuited to T20, took the tourists to one of their best-ever T20I wins and the fourth-highest successful chase in the format.
From the Galle demolition to the Durban miracle
South Africa will be looking for some Christmas cheer at home but they might not find it, says Andrew Fidel Fernando. They have met Sri Lanka four times in Tests since 2018 - and Sri Lanka have won all four matches. The Proteas are pumping their side with some new blood - seven newcomers are expected to be given chances in the two Tests; Firdose Moonda profiles the young 'uns. For South Africa, is Aiden Markram ready to repay their faith?
BCCI approves teb-team IPL from 2022 at AGM in Ahmedabad
The 2021 edition, though, scheduled for April-May, will have the same eight teams as this year given the short lead time.
Ajinkya Rahane eyes captaincy spark to stamp over plateauing career
With Virat Kohli on paternity leave, Rahane takes over the Test captaincy at a difficult time for India. Sidharth Monga has a take.
Aakash Chopra, meanwhile, bats for beleaguered India opener Prithvi Shaw, and says he may move in mysterious ways, but he should still have the opportunity to succeed or fail before he's written off. Incidentally, Shaw has been replaced in the Boxing Day Test by Shubman Gill, India's Test cap No. 297. Also on debut, Mohammed Siraj took 2 for 40. Here's everything you need to know about the tennis-ball cricketer turned India bowler.
While we're on the topic, which do you think is the best Australia-India Test played down under? Melbourne 1981? Adelaide 1992? Adelaide 2003? Our panelists Sambit Bal, Andrew McGlashan and Siddhartha Vaidyanathan debate.
Wade and Green look to leave stamp on series as Warner return looms
For Australia, Matthew Wade and Cameron Green showed glimpses of their potential but not for long, given India's abbreviated innings in Adelaide. Wade will be after a strong display either to hang on to his opener's spot or return to the middle-order berth currently occupied by Green, says Daniel Brettig. One person who has hit his stride and shows no signs of slowing down is Australia captain Tim Paine, who has defied the gloveman's curse that afflicts wicketkeeper-batsmen in their mid-thirties. Paine, though, only seems to be improving.
Don't ban the bouncer, fix batting technique instead
As incidences of concussion grow in cricket, Ian Chappell says the focus needs to shift from the concussion-sub debate to batting technique.
Earl Eddings: 'We need 10-20 strong Test playing nations, not three or four'
Daniel Brettig has a long year-end chat with the Cricket Australia chairman about the dramas of 2020, the new ICC chair, future of Test cricket, the BBL, succession issues and the rapidly changing media landscape.
Steven Finn: 'The length Ambrose was bowling looked so uncomfortable to face'
In our new series, Wish I'd Done That, the former England fast bowler talks about a performance from history he'd like to have against his name.
Space invaders
This month's photo feature looks at how spectators have spilled onto the field of play over the years.
The Mumbai hand in Mahmudullah's batting rejuvenation
Mahmudullah's star turn with the bat gave the Bangabandhu cup to the Gemcons Khulna in the final last week. Performance analyst Chandrasekaran helped him get there by making minor tweaks that brought immediate results. Mohammad Isam tells the story.