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In Case You Missed It: Pakistan, Sri Lanka notch wins, New Zealand hold on for a draw, the Ashes loom

Our best content from the week gone by

New partnership: how will Pat Cummins and Steven Smith work together?, Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Sydney, January 10, 2021

New partnership: how will Pat Cummins and Steven Smith work together?  •  Getty Images

Less than a week to go for the Ashes and Australia have a brand new captain and vice-captain in Pat Cummins and Steven Smith to take them through it. New Zealand are looking for their first Test match win in India since 1988, and Pakistan are taking the fight to Bangladesh in their own backyard. It's a busy week of cricket and you'll need a cheat sheet to relive all the action. Dive into the weekly round-up here.
Ravindra, Ajaz frustrate India as New Zealand hold on for hard-fought draw
New Zealand's final pair saw out 52 balls in a tense last-wicket stand before bad light ended play 12 minutes before the scheduled close. Sidharth Monga examines the anatomy of the stalemate on a dead Kanpur pitch that defanged the bowlers, but who were good enough to deny the batters any adventure. As Rachin Ravindra took his spot in the New Zealand team, his best mates Devon Conway and Tom Blundell told Shashank Kishore how he's the cricketer you want, and the friend you need.
Abid Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi lead the way as Pakistan go 1-0 up
Pakistan turned around a match that threatened to get tricky on the last day with Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique's 151-run stand taking them all the way against Bangladesh. The 22-year-old Shafique had played just one first-class match at home before scoring an unbeaten half-century on his Test debut. Mohammad Isam says Bangladesh will have taken some solace from the form of Taijul Islam, whose battle with Abid Ali was one of the highlights as well as his 7 for 116.
Mendis, Embuldeniya spin out West Indies for 2-0 series win
Mickey Arthur ended his tenure as Sri Lanka coach on a winning note as Ramesh Mendis and Lasith Embuldeniya cleaned up West Indies who fell short by 164 runs. Mendis particularly stood out in the Test, holding fort in the first innings even as his team-mates faltered, while Dhananjaya de Silva held up the batting end of the bargain, making tough runs look easy and rescuing Sri Lanka in the process.
The time is right for a women's IPL (but does the BCCI agree?)
Rising interest in the women's game, Indian players making a splash in overseas leagues, and a shifting cultural landscape - the stars have never aligned better, says Annesha Ghosh.
Wake up and smell the Gabba
The Ashes are just days away, and as Mark Nicholas throws back, he asks if anyone needs reminding that England have not had a pretty time of it at the start of series down under in recent times - or even further back? Alex Malcolm weighs in on the contentious issue of Steve Smith's Australia vice-captaincy: it may not be universally popular, but it makes sense.
How blind cricket in the UK is finding its feet again
Andrew Miller meets the England Visually Impaired Cricket team who were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, forcing the cancellation of the Ashes and a home World Cup, but who are using the downtime to regroup and refocus. He also puts his batting "talents" to the test and discovers there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.
'An opportunity that can't be missed' - Morgan wants youngsters to play as much franchise cricket as possible
The England white-ball captain, who is at the Abu Dhabi T10, says "The USP of T10 cricket is that you can have an eight-ten-team tournament in the space of a couple of weeks."
Wahab Riaz: 'I am playing all around the world, but my country comes first'
Aadam Patel talks to the left-arm quick who last played for Pakistan almost a year ago but has his eyes set on the 2022 T20 World Cup and the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Dominic Drakes: 'I don't want to look back and say I had a better 2021 than 2022. I don't want to be stagnant'
The CPL winner, who's hoping to make his West Indies debut next month, wants to build on his experiences in the IPL, the T20 World Cup, and the T10.
When faultlines are too exposed, there's no easy way to rebuild after an earthquake
As a racism scandal rocked English cricket, the ECB unveiled their new anti-racism plan. Andrew Miller says ECB CEO Tom Harrison knows the importance of seizing what remains of the moment.
IPL retention in numbers: Venkatesh Iyer's 40x pay hike; uncapped Umran Malik's big contract
With the IPL franchises all announcing their final lists of retained players, Nagraj Gollapudi has all the interesting numbers from the IPL retentions on Williamson, Narine, Maxwell, and others.
'The big IPL auction has outlived its usefulness' - KKR and Capitals heads want change
Venky Mysore and Parth Jindal believe it's time to do away with the auction format for the IPL, and turn to other option: "You can do drafts for new players coming in, you can do trades, you can do loans and allow teams to build something for the long haul".
'Teams have caught up with West Indies' brand of bang-bang'
Mahela Jayawardene and Tom Moody talk T20: its evolution and future, the recent World Cup, and more.