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Feature

In Case You Missed It: India's win, the IPL's big buys, Faf's goodbye

Our best content from the week gone by

Deepti Unni
21-Feb-2021
R Ashwin struck in the first session on the fourth day, India vs England, 2nd Test, Chennai, 4th day, February 16, 2021

R Ashwin was the hometown hero of the week, after picking up a five-for and scoring a hundred in the second Test  •  BCCI

The IPL auction churned out a fresh batch of millionaires this week as Chris Morris, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, K Gowtham made payday, snapped up for record numbers by their franchises. Elsewhere, India levelled the series against England 1-1 after winning the second Test; now the contest moves to Ahmedabad, where both teams will be fighting for a place in the World Test Championship final. West Indies have returned home victorious after beating Bangladesh in their backyard 2-0, their first overseas win since 2017. And it's PSL time again, as the 2021 edition kicks off this week. There's a ton to catch up on, so get stuck in.
Axar Patel five-for seals crushing India win to level series
India's spinners wrapped up the second Test a little after lunch on day four, cruising to a 317-run victory and levelling the Test series 1-1, with debutant Axar Patel picking up a five-for and R Ashwin landing his third five-wicket haul and a century in the same Test. England are now in a tight spot to make the World Test Championship final - they need both the remaining Tests to be able to qualify, while India need at least a draw and a win to make it. There has been talk about the Chennai pitch overly favouring Indian spinners, but Rohit Sharma made 161 off 231 in the first innings, the most of any batsman. George Dobell says it's not the turning pitches that are a problem, it's the English attitude to them that needs to change. And the ensuing kerfuffle from Moeen Ali sticking to his decision to go home after the Test - a decision that had already been taken - may have unfairly hastened the end of his Test career, says Dobell.
Bangladesh fall 17 short as West Indies seal 2-0 win
West Indies have found a subcontinent weapon in Rahkeem Cornwall, who led the charge in the team's first overseas series win since 2017. His accuracy, calm and ability to bowl long make the offspinning allrounder invaluable to the side, says Mohammad Isam.
Royals land Morris for INR 16.25 crore; RCB spend big on Maxwell and Jamieson
Multiple records were broken at the 2021 IPL player auction - here's a list - as South African allrounder Morris became the most expensive overseas player ever at the auction, and newly minted New Zealand Test sensation Kyle Jamieson secured a USD 2 million deal. There was also good news for Moeen Ali, who was snapped up by the Chennai Super Kings. Here are the main talking points from the big auction, and how the eight teams now stack up after plugging their major gaps. Why did the teams break the bank for Morris, K Gowtham and Riley Meredith? Nagraj Gollapudi and Gaurav Sundararaman have answers.
Sultans look strong, United have history on their side, and Gladiators bring promise
It's been just three months since the Karachi Kings claimed the PSL title but the 2021 edition has already come around, and this time everyone will be hoping for an uninterrupted season unlike last time. How do the Multan Sultans, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators stack up? Danyal Rasool has the preview, while Umar Farooq has the team by team guide to the Lahore Qalandars, Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi.
'Time is right to walk into a new chapter' - Faf du Plessis retires from Test cricket
The former South Africa captain made a surprise retirement announcement, calling time on the longest format, saying he was "making T20 cricket the priority in the short term", keeping in mind the two World Cups. Firdose Moonda recalls the greatest hits of his Test career.
A decade of Glenn Maxwell: is there another chapter to write? It's Maxwell's exploits with the white ball that dominate the narrative - he just went for a record price again at the IPL auction - but his first-class record should not be overlooked, says Daniel Brettig.
Good captaincy is partly about putting a player in a position where he's likely to succeed
Ian Chappell says you have to be lucky to lead a team of great players, but it takes skill to make the most of their talents.
Nobody knows anything about Test cricket. Thank god
Alan Gardner tries to make sense of Test cricket in the Light Roller. What's a good score to declare on? Haven't the foggiest.
These are the most unforgettable draws in Test history
Anantha Narayanan sorts through the biggest nail-biters that ended in draws: Adelaide 1960, Jo'burg 2013, Hobart 1997, Mumbai 2011, and more - teams fighting their way to safety from near-hopeless situations.
'I became a better player when I realised that my failures were my own fault'
A year into a comeback during which he has been in the top rung of T20 players in the world, Mohammad Hafeez looks at how it all came together again for him. Osman Samiuddin has the story.

Deepti Unni is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo