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Monday, December 15, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar hits a four and india win

Tendulkar guides India to record breaking win

Batting great Sachin Tendulkar hit an unbeaten 103 as India achieved the fourth-highest run chase in history to stun England by six wickets in the first Test on Monday.The hosts surpassed the seemingly improbable victory target of 387 on a wearing wicket with 20.3 overs to spare on the fifth and final day to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.Tendulkar swept off-spinner Graeme Swann to fine-leg for the winning boundary that also brought up his 41st Test century amid loud cheers from 30,000 home fans at the Chidambaram stadium.Tendulkar, showing the form that has made him the all-time leading scorer in both Tests and One-day cricket, anchored India's chase for five hours, during which he hit nine boundaries.

Monday, December 8, 2008

England go ahead with India Test series

England will go ahead with a two-Test series in India after receiving security assurances following the Mumbai terror attacks, it was England players during a training session in Abu Dhabi. announced at their training base on Sunday.

Officials also confirmed that England would be travelling with a full-strength squad following reports that senior players Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff were uncertain about whether to play in India.
"This is a very brave and courageous decision which will be respected around the world," England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Hugh Morris told a news conference on Sunday.

The series, which is due to start on Thursday in Chennai, had been called into question following last month's attacks in Mumbai, one of the original Test venues, left 172 people dead.
England, who were 5-0 down in the seven-match One-Day International series, then cut short the limited overs section of their tour with players flying home before going out to train in Abu Dhabi.

ECB security advisor Reg Dickason arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday from India to deliver his assessment to the players.
After an hour-and-a-half of discussions involving players, officials and Dickason, it was eventually confirmed that the Test series was going ahead. In response to the terror attacks, Indian officials have switched the venues for the Tests from Ahmedabad and Mumbai to Chennai and Mohali respectively.

The first Test is due to start on Thursday, with the second getting underway on December 19. However, doubts remain over whether Mohali will stage the second Test. Morris is due to visit the city before the first Test commences in Chennai with some reports suggesting the series finale could be switched again to either Bangalore or Delhi.

England's squad for the two-Test tour of India:
Kevin Pietersen (capt), Tim Ambrose (wkt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Amjad Khan, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior (wkt), Owais Shah, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The terror attacks in Mumbai on the night of November 26 that left more than 100 dead and 300 injured has also forced world cricket to tak e a backseat.

India, the financial hotbed for the sport across the world, were scheduled to host the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League in the first week of December with six teams from Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and England confirming participation.

However, the day following the attacks in Mumbai, the governing council of Champions League, headed by Lalit Modi, announced that the tournament has been indefinitely postponed.
"We held consultations among all the stakeholders including the founding members, the participating teams and members of the governing council after the unfortunate terrorist attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night. It was agreed that in the best interests of all concerned, the inaugural edition of the Champions League 2020 should be postponed," Modi said.

Middlesex were expected to arrive in Mumbai on Thursday night but cancelled their visit to India at the last minute after the attacks. Victoria Bushrangers and Western Australia Warriors the two teams from Australia were scheduled to arrive on November 29.

Shane Warne, the captain of the Rajasthan Royals team, cut short his travel to India via Dubai and spoke to the media in the Gulf capital. "No amount of money is worth the risk with what's going on over there (in Mumbai) at the moment," Warne said. The acclaimed leg-spinner was booked at Hotel Taj Mahal during his Mumbai stay, the worst affected place in the aftermath of the terror-strikes.

"I'm shocked," Warne told the media in Singapore. "Darren (Barry) and I got off the plane and saw the news on TV. It's unbelievable. The place is chaos. In Mumbai, that's the hotel (Taj) we are staying at. I don't think we will be going now. Why would you?"

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, though not a member of any of the participating teams, spoke in his capacity as an international cricketer, suggesting the tournament should be shifted to another country.
Cricket South Africa (CSA), meanwhile, have delayed any decision on the Champions League and are awaiting further advice from their department of foreign affairs. CSA's chief executive Gerald Majola said that as of now, CSA has advised their two teams Titans and Dolphins not to travel to India until further notice.

Modi later said that the tournament is now likely to be postponed until next year but will be definitely held in India and not anywhere else. To this, CA, CSA and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have not responded as yet.

"We are confident we can hold the tournament early next year and India will remain the venue, as there was never a problem with hosting it here. All the teams agreed that they wanted to come for the tournament. But we had a problem with finding a third venue after Mumbai. There was no way we could have shifted the venue to Bangalore or Chennai, considering the state of the wickets and the grounds would not have accommodated all the matches," he said.
N Srinivasan, whose team Chennai Super Kings were a part of the tournament, spoke in his capacity as board secretary.

"This unfortunate incident has forced cancellation of all plans. As of now, the tournament has been postponed and that's all I can tell you," he said.

India-Eng Test series on; ODIs cancelled

As Mumbai kept burning and the army tried rescuing hostages from the two five-star hotels in the southern suburb, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) office, not very far from those areas inflicted by terror attacks, managed to pull a stunt of its own.

The BCCI, after day-long talks with the England Cricket Board (ECB), managed to convince the latter to allow the Test series beginning next month to continue as per schedule. The remaining two One-dayers of the seven-match series have been called off but the Test series will go on, the ECB said in a statement.

However, the BCCI officials were still not ready to come on record about the issue and kept saying it was still for the governments to take a decision in the backdrop of the attacks. "A decision will be taken in the next 24 hours," said board secretary N Srinivasan.

However, Lalit Modi, in his capacity as the chairman of BCCI's tournaments and fixtures committee, confirmed just before the ECB sent its release, that the Test series was on.
Mumbai is one of the venues for the two-Test series where the second game will be played from December 16. The first Test is scheduled to be played in Ahmedabad from December 11.

It isn't, though, certain as yet whether Mumbai will host the match. Both the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Trident, which bore the brunt of the terror attacks, are regular haunts for visiting teams, officials and fans. Incidentally, the Brabourne Stadium, venue to the Cricket Club of India (CCI), where the Test was to be played, is just 200m from the Trident Hotel.

According to reports, the BCCI is also trying to find an alternate venue in the southern part of the country to host the second Test.
ECB managing director Hugh Morris refuted reports that the ECB had asked the BCCI to consider cancelling the upcoming two-Test series in India. "I can refute the report that we asked Mr Srinivasan to cancel the Test series," he said.

"We did not request the cancellation of the Test series. Whenever England play cricket, we act on security advice. If our security advice says that it is safe to play a two-Test series, then that is what we will do," he told the media back in London.
England's security apparatus, apparently, has given the go-ahead. On Thursday, the England team was stranded in Bhubaneshwar, where the fifth One-dayer was played. They cancelled their flight to Guwahati, the venue for the next ODI, and will now fly to Delhi on their way back to London.

The Indian team members, meanwhile, have been allowed to fly back home for the time being.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

India beat England by D/L method

India claimed a 16-run win over England under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a weather-hit third One-dayer on Thursday, taking a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series.

India, chasing England's 240 all out, were 198 for five after 40 overs when poor light forced the players off the field to abruptly end what was developing into a keen finish.

The hosts were 16 runs ahead under the Duckworth-Lewis method for weather-interrupted games and were declared winners in hazy conditions.
Poor light had forced a 45-minute delay in the morning, reducing the game to 49 overs per side.
Opener Virender Sehwag top-scored with 68 to lead the chase against England, who put up a vastly improved display after losing the first two games by 158 runs and 54 runs respectively.
All rounder Andrew Flintoff, who scored 26, grabbed the key wickets of openers Gautam Gambhir (14), Sehwag and the in-form Yuvraj Singh (38), who hit back-to-back match-winning hundreds in the first two games.

However, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29 not out) and Yusuf Pathan (12) hung on to make sure India held wickets in hand which kept them ahead when bad light intervened.
All rounder Ravi Bopara top-scored with 60 as makeshift opener and added 79 runs with Ian Bell (46) to lift a shaky England before they were all out with two balls left.
Bopara struck eight fours until he was fourth out, stumped against Yuvraj's occasional left-arm spin.

England's batting reshuffle largely failed to work, however, and off spinner Harbhajan Singh grabbed three wickets as slow bowlers once again kept a tight leash on the scoring.
The spinner removed skipper Kevin Pietersen (13) and out of form Paul Collingwood (1) off successive overs, returning three for 31.
He reached a career tally of 200 one-day wickets when he had Owais Shah (40) caught on the boundary.

Flintoff and fellow paceman Stuart Broad bowled superbly in tandem to reduce India to 34 for two in their reply.
The all rounder had Gautam Gambhir (14) caught at long on by Broad, who forced Suresh Raina (1) to play onto the stumps.
Sehwag reached his 31st one-day fifty before Flintoff had him caught by a leaping Collingwood at point, finishing with 3-31.

Dhoni and Yuvraj added 52 runs but struggled to break free as off spinner Graeme Swann impressed in his first game of the series, returning one for 47.
However, England new ball bowler James Anderson conceded 11 runs in one crucial over before India scored freely in the final five-over period of field restrictions.
The fourth One-dayer will be played in Bangalore on Sunday.

Sourav Ganguly to join BCCI technical committee

Just days after retiring from international cricket, Sourav Ganguly is set to make yet another comeback. This time the former Indian skipper has joined hands with BCCI as part of the technical committee. Sourav Ganguly will join the panel headed by Sunil Gavaskar and look into the technical aspects of the game in the country.

The Committee members will frame rules and regulations for all the domestic and international tournaments in India. The BCCI's technical committee is headed by former captain Sunil Gavaskar and also has former Test batsman Chetan Chauhan, national selector Kris Srikkanth among other members.

Chief Administrative Officer, BCCI, Ratnakar Shetty said, "There was a slot in the committee for a former Test cricketer and the board asked Dada whether he would like to fill in the space, for which Ganguly consented. I think Sourav's addition is a good one and I am sure that he will add more value to the game. He has played 15-16 years of international cricket and his inclusion in the technical committee is a good thing for Indian cricket."
With Sourav Ganguly retiring, BCCI will surely be looking at making the most of Ganguly's cricketing acumen.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yuvraj reigns over England again

Yuvraj Singh clobbered his second successive century and then scalped four key wickets as India maintained their stranglehold over England , thrashing the visitors by 54 runs, in the second One-Day International in Indore on Monday.
The home side rode on Yuvraj's scintillating 118 to post a competitive 292 for 9 and then bundled out England for 238 in 47 overs to take a 2-0 lead in the seven-match series.
The 26-year-old Yuvraj, who recovered from a back injury just in time to be drafted into the team, came up with a stunning all-round display to play the pivotal role in India's victory on a rather slow track at the Maharani Usharaje Trust ground.
Yuvraj, who had blasted an unbeaten 138 off just 78 balls in the first one-dayer in Rajkot to mark his return to form, not only notched his tenth century but also helped the hosts recover from an early slump, which saw them tottering at 29 for three at one stage.
He then proved his ability as a left-arm spinner by returning dream figures of 10-0-28-4, which included the prized scalps of Andrew Flintoff , Kevin Pietersen and Owais Shah.
The Punjab swashbuckler stitched 134 runs for the fourth wicket with the in-form Gautam Gambhir (70), while the lanky Yusuf Pathan provided late sparks to the innings with a savage unbeaten 50 off just 29 balls.
The England innings never really got the momentum to overhaul India's target as none of the batsmen really got big knocks needed to keep them in the hunt.
Owais Shah (58), Andrew Flintoff (43), Matt Prior (38) and Kevin Pietersen (33) got the starts but could not hang around long enough.
The two teams now travel to Kanpur for the third game, at the Green Park stadium, on Thursday.
England's innings began on a disastrous note as opener Ian Bell was run-out in the first over, thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Suresh Raina, whose direct hit at the non-striker's end gave India the first wicket.
Matt Prior and Owais Shah then steadied the innings to some extent with a 96-run partnership for the second wicket. The two batsmen were quite content in keeping the scoreboard ticking with pushes and nudges while hitting the occasional boundary.
The introduction of the spinners from the 16th over checked the runs for the visitors, resulting in the asking rate climbing beyond eight runs per over.
The tourists lost the wickets of Shah (58) and Prior (38) in the span of three overs to tilt the scale in India's favour at the stage.
Yuvraj accounted for both the wickets, first trapping Shah leg before wicket and then bowled Prior with a ball that turned a bit.
England opted to take the batting powerplay from the 32nd over and suddenly the runs started coming briskly with captain Kevin Pietersen and the dangerous Andrew Flintoff belting 59 runs in those five overs.
Just when England showed signs of coming back into the match with some lusty hits, Yuvraj came to the hosts' rescue by getting rid of Flintoff and Pietersen in the same over to change the complexion of the game.
With the visitors reduced to 185 for five after 38 overs following Yuvraj's dramatic over, the Indians had the game under control and it was only a matter of bowling tightly in the slog overs with the asking rate having climbed steeply.
Earlier, it was Yuvraj who stole the thunder for the second time on the trot. He struck two sixes and 15 fours and also cobbled a crucial century stand with Gambhir, who slammed his second successive half century in the series when making 70 off 76 balls.
Towards the end, birthday boy Yusuf Pathan, who failed at Rajkot, hammered an unbeaten 50 in only 29 balls by clobbering four sixes, including two in the last over bowled by Steve Harmison, and two fours to finish the innings on a high note.
The hosts lost the wickets of opener Virender Sehwag (1), Suresh Raina (4) and Rohit Sharma (3) in quick succession with Stuart Broad doing all the damage early in the morning.
While Gambhir continued to show his good form since the series against Australia , Yuvraj had to play differently, mostly with nudges and tickles, from what he had done at Rajkot where he carted the bowlers with impunity.
The Punjab batsman adapted well to the slower pace of the wicket here and still scored at a fast pace, completing his century in only 107 balls with the help of two sixes and 12 fours.
He finally fell to Broad, in the 44th over when trying to drive the England pacer during the batting side's Power Play taken between the 43rd to 47th over with the score reading 239.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tendulkar's ton puts India on top in Nagpur

Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar smashed his 40th century to put India in a healthy position in the fourth and final Test against Australia on Thursday.
The hosts reached 311-5 at stumps on the opening day with Tendulkar (109) putting on 146 run partnership for the fourth wicket with VVS Laxman, who made a solid 64 in his 100th Test appearance.
Sourav Ganguly, playing his final Test, was unbeaten on 27 with new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (4) not out.
India looked in trouble when they slipped from 98 without loss to 116-3 in the morning session, with debutant off-spinner Jason Krejza (3-138) grabbing two wickets and seamer Shane Watson one.
But Tendulkar, 35, and Laxman ensured their team did not lose the advantage of winning the toss on a good batting pitch. Both scored freely against pace and spin.
India lead the series 1-0 following their 320-run victory in the second Test in Mohali. The matches in Bangalore and New Delhi were drawn.
Australia, needing a win to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, failed to maintain pressure on the batsmen.
Pacemen Brett Lee (0-46) and Mitchell Johnson (1-54) bowled well only in patches, while leg-spinner Cameron White failed to test the batsmen on a first-day wicket. Krejza's three wickets proved expensive.
Australia also failed to make the most of the opportunities that came their way, with Johnson dropping Tendulkar on 85 off Krejza at deep mid-off when the batsman stepped down the track to attempt a big shot.
The Indian batsman offered another chance on 96. Lee ran back from mid-off to hold a skier but failed to judge it properly with Krejza again the unlucky bowler.
Barring these lapses, Tendulkar looked in command and executed handsome shots on both sides of the wicket. He hit 12 fours in his 188-ball knock before being trapped leg-before by Johnson, bowling with the second new ball.
India were off to a brisk start, with Virender Sehwag (66) dominating a 98-run stand for the opening wicket with Murali Vijay who made an impressive 33 on his debut.
Australia's first success came when Watson had Vijay caught behind off a lifting delivery. Krejza then took two wickets in three overs, dismissing Sehwag and Rahul Dravid for a duck.
The spinner, hit for a four and a six by Sehwag in his opening over, extended Dravid's poor run with the bat when he had the Indian caught by Simon Katich at short-leg with a delivery that turned and bounced.
Dravid has scored just one half-century in the series. Krejza, 25, celebrated again when he removed Sehwag, bowled off an inside-edge while attempting to cut. Sehwag hit one six and nine fours in a 69-ball knock - his 16th Test half-century. His third wicket came in the last session when he had the well-set Laxman caught behind.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gautam Gambhir to appeal against ban

Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has decided to appeal against the one-Test ban imposed on him for deliberately elbowing Australian all-rounder Shane Watson during the ongoing third Test match. Both Gambhir and Watson were found guilty of conduct contrary to the spirit of cricket by match referee Chris Broad during the hearing. The Australian player was fined 10 per cent of his match fee on Thursday for having a verbal duel with Gambhir, while the Indian was handed a one-match ban for a Level 2 Offence as per the ICC Code of conduct, this morning. "For Level 2 offences, the concerned players have the right to appeal against the adjudicator's decision within 24 hours of notification of the decision. Accordingly, Mr. Gambhir will be lodging an appeal," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, said. The ban rules the Indian opener out of the fourth and the final Test match of the series, to be played in Nagpur. "India opener Gautam Gambhir has received a one Test ban after being found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the third Test against Australia in New Delhi," the ICC said in a statement. Gambhir had elbowed Watson while taking a run on the opening day of the ongoing Test match after a heated exchange with the Aussie all-rounder. The Indian met match referee Chris Broad this morning before the start of third day's play where he was informed of the penalty. "The decision to fine Gambhir guilty of a level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that any degree of physical contact is unacceptable," Broad said. The hearing had been adjourned last evening to allow the match referee to review the evidence. The opener pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule C1 of the Code (Level 2) which states that "players shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game." Watson was found guilty of "verbally engaging" with Gambhir "in a manner that was not in keeping with the Spirit of Cricket" and fined 10 per cent of his match fee on Thursday. Broad said Gambhir could have been charged under a stronger code according to the rules, but he decided on a lighter sentence as umpires Billy Bowden and Aleem Dar had highlighted the provocation by Watson. "Had Gambhir been charged with and found guilty of a charge under 2.4, due to his previous offence, I would have been obliged to impose a minimum penalty of a two-Test match ban. In the view of the umpires, the facts of this case - the lightness of the physical conduct and the element of provocation - would not justify such a penalty," he added. Broad said Gambhir's punishment was decided after taking into account his past disciplinary record. "The ICC has repeatedly told the players that deliberate physical contact between players will not be tolerated. I have also taken into account the previous offences of Gambhir and therefore, I am satisfied that the penalty imposed is an appropriate outcome in the circumstances of this matter. I hope Mr Gambhir will learn from this," he said. Present at the hearing was Gambhir himself, Broad, umpires Bowden and Dar, third umpire Suresh Shastri and fourth umpire Sameer Bandekar, India coach Gary Kirsten and captain Anil Kumble. The penalty for a Level 2 offence is a fine of between 50 and 100 per cent of the player's match fee or a maximum ban of one Test match or two ODIs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

India romp to historic win over Australia

India completed a crushing victory over Australia by a record margin of 320 runs in the second Test on Tuesday to seize a 1-0 lead in the four -match series.

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan grabbed three wickets in four balls and Australia, chasing an improbable victory target of 516 runs, were dismissed for 195 before lunch. It was only Australia's second defeat in 28 Tests since their 2-1 loss in the 2005 Ashes series against England.

Both reverses have come against India. "We were outplayed," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said. "In batting, bowling and probably in fielding as well."

It was India's biggest ever Test win by runs, bettering their 280-run success over South Africa in Kanpur in 1996. Khan struck in the first over to dismiss Brad Haddin and snuff out any slim Australian hopes of salvaging a draw.

Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke top-scored with 69 before being the last man out, pulling leg spinner Amit Mishra to mid-wicket. Mishra finished with a match haul of seven for 106 after claiming five wickets in the first innings on his Test debut.

An off-colour Australia, reduced to 141 for five overnight, subsided against pace and spin on a slow Mohali pitch. Khan struck his first blow when he bowled Haddin on his overnight score of 37 with a perfect off-stump yorker.

In the next over, he forced Cameron White (1) to edge a drive to give wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni a low catch and he bowled Brett Lee first ball to be on a hat-trick.

Clarke, who added 84 runs for the sixth wicket with Haddin, put on another 50 for the ninth with Mitchell Johnson (26) before Mishra had the tail-ender caught and bowled.

Harbhajan Singh took five wickets in the match to leave himself one short of becoming the third Indian bowler to claim 300 Test wickets.

Sachin Tendulkar claimed the world record for most Test runs and Sourav Ganguly struck 102 in his farewell series to help India amass 469 in their first innings. The first Test in Bangalore ended in a draw. The third Test starts in New Delhi on October 29.

Some interesting facts

What a memorable Test match this has been, Sachin Tendulkar became the highest run scorer and the first batsman to reach 12000 runs in Test cricket.

Sourav Ganguly became the fourth Indian to score 7000 Test runs before notching up his 16th Test century. Amit Mishra became the sixth Indian to take five wickets on Test debut.

Dhoni became only the third wicket-keeper batsman and captain to make half-centuries in both the innings of a Test.

Gautam Gambhir got his first Test century in India. And of course India registering their biggest Test match victory ever in terms of runs and it tastes sweeter as it has come against Australia.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Australia 141/5 at stumps on Day 4, need 375 runs

Indians claimed five crucial wickets, as Australia required another 375 runs for victory on Day five of the second Test. Michael Clarke anHarbhajan Singh reacts after dismissing Australian Matthew Hayden on the fourth day of the second Test in Mohali on Monday. d Brad Haddin denied India any more breakthroughs after Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma reduced Australia to 58/5.

At stumps on Day four, Australia, chasing a mammoth victory target of 516 runs, were reeling at 141/5 with Clarke (42) and Haddin (37) at the crease. Both have added 83 runs for the sixth wicket.
Both Clarke and Haddin have played the Indian spinners well, mixing caution with aggression and have also used their feet well not only when they have charged down the pitch but also they needed to go back on the backfoot.
Lanky pacer Ishant Sharma joined the party with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh as he produced a gem of a delivery to send back Shane Watson to pavilion after contributing just two runs. Ishant's scorcher trapped Watson in front of the wicket to reduce Australia to 58/5.
Harbhajan had a great tea as he came back to dismiss Michael Hussey for one. Hussey tried to pull the delivery that stayed low and was trapped plumb in front of the wicket.
Ishant ably supported Harbhajan as he cleaned up Ricky Ponting (2) in the very next over to leave Australia in tatters.
Ishant's came up with a superb delivery that came in sharply and went through the gap between bat and pad of the Australian captain. This is the fifth time that Ishant has dismissed Ponting in as many innings.
Harbhajan Singh claimed two wickets before tea in one over to rock Australia on the fourth day of the second Test against India in Mohali. Australia, chasing a mammoth victory target of 516 runs, got off to an excellent start as openers Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich scored at more than six runs per over.
Both Hayden and Katich carted the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground with Zaheer conceding 32 runs in his eight overs and Ishant Sharma giving away 17 runs off his three. That forced captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bring Harbhajan in the attack, who struck on his second ball of his first over as Hayden (29) tried to sweep but was trapped plumb in front of the wicket.
Harbhajan struck again on the last delivery of the same over when Katich (20) edged to backward point where Sachin Tendulkar dived forward to take an excellent catch. At tea, Australia were 50/2 needing 466 more runs to win.
Earlier, India declared with a lead of 515 runs leaving Australia with a victory target of 516 runs on the fourth day of the second Test against Australia. India declared their second innings at 314/3 with Dhoni (68) and Sachin Tendulkar (10) remaining not out.
Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly carried on from where Gambhir and Sehwag had left and added 66 runs for the third wicket.
Dhoni hit his 11th Test fifty off just 61 balls and became only the third wicket-keeper batsman and captain to make half-centuries in both the innings of a Test. The first two are joined Andy Flower and Tatenda Taibu.
Dhoni, who came up the order at number three, hit three fours and a six in his knock, while Sachin hit one four.
Ganguly got out while trying to up the ante and mistimed a hit off Brett Lee high up in the air for Michael Clarke to take the catch in the covers. Ganguly hit two fours in his 37-ball knock 27.
Indian opener Gautam Gambhir slammed his second Test century as India extended their lead to 431 runs against Australia at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test in Mohali.
Gambhir completed his century shortly before lunch by flicking a full toss from Cameron White to the mid-wicket fence. But soon after, Gambhir (104) mistimed a hit to mid-off for Michael Hussey to take a simple catch.
Sourav Ganguly was promoted up the order perhaps to keep the right-left combination running. At lunch, India were 230/2 with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (26) and Ganguly (3) at the crease.
Sehwag missed his century as he edged a leg-cutter by Peter Siddle to keeper Brad Haddin for the catch. Sehwag failed to build on the birthday gift that he received by umpire Asad Rauf who gave him not out when edged a Mitchell Johnson delivery to Haddin on 88.
Sehwag and Gambhir continued to inflict misery on Australia after India started the fourth day's play of the second Test in Mohali holding the advantage having a second innings lead of 301 runs with ten wickets in hand.
Sehwag and Gambhir, who gave India a superb start on Day three hitting 100 runs resumed the second innings with one expecting India to pile on the runs quickly and declare with enough time on their hands to bowl out Australia and clinch victory.
Though he was tentative in the beginning, Gambhir soon regained his touch and reached his eighth Test fifty.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting was defensive from the word go and had fielders guarding the boundaries. But that didn't stop Sehwag from keeping the scorecard ticking as he was either hitting over the top or taking quick singles keeping the Aussies on tenterhooks. The Delhi opening pair took the Indian lead over 350 runs at a brisk run rate of over four and a half runs per over.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Congratulate Sachin Tendulkar

The long wait is over. Sachin Tendulkar is now Test cricket's highest run scorer.
At 1431 IST, on a sunny Friday afternoon in Mohali, the Mumbai batsman scripted his name in cricketing history, bettering Brian Lara's record of 11,953 runs, in his 152nd Test, before a small but appreciative crowd that applauded every run that took him closer to the landmark.

He achieved this landmark when he hit Peter Siddle to third man for two runs, erasing Lara's record that stood for nearly two years since the West Indian great played his final Test.
Fireworks, congratulations from every member of the Australian team, a hug from fellow-batsman Sourav Ganguly and a long look into the sky by the ace batsman, and the moment had come, and gone.
Tendulkar is also one-day cricket's leading run-scorer, with 16,631 runs.
The master blaster was expected to attain the feat in Sri Lanka recently, but he had a poor series there, scoring just 95 runs in three Tests.
However, it was befitting, that he achieved the record against World champions Australia.
Lara too achieved the world record against Australia, when he went past Allan Border's tally of 11,174 runs during the Adelaide Test in 2005.
They are the only three players to cross the 11,000-run mark in Tests. Now two players stand the best chance of bettering Tendulkar's record. They are Rahul Dravid (10,341 runs) and Ricky Ponting (10,239).
Fifteen runs was Tendulkar's first target when he came out to bat on Friday afternoon after the fall of Rahul Dravid's wicket, in the second Test against Australia, and each of them was counted down.
A single, a steered brace, a flick to leg, a straight push, a cover-driven four that upped the glacial pace of scoring and then a flicked two brought him within a stroke of Lara's aggregate.
Another single to square carried the batsman into double figures. Three runs later, it was time for the tea break.
The suspense thereafter was swift to end; a steered three off debutant Siddle took Tendulkar from 11,951 to 11,954, and gave him sole ownership of the title of Test cricket's highest run-scorer.
This was Tendulkar's 152nd Test, and 247th innings, which includes a highest of 248 not out.
Against this, Lara got his runs in 131 matches (232 innings) with a Test best of 400 not out. Tendulkar's average now is 54.02 against Lara's career mean of 52.88. What a record!

Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid hail Tendulkar's feat as phenomenal

Test skipper Anil Kumble and senior players Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly on Friday hailed Sachin Tendulkar as a "phenomenal player" after the master batsman became Test cricket's highest run-getter.
"It is a great effort for him and a great honour for all of us. It is a great moment for Indian cricket and I am happy that I have seen most of these 12,000 runs being scored by him from the dressing room," Kumble said while congratulating Tendulkar on his historic feat.
Ganguly, who will retire from the game after the four-match Test series against Australia, was fulsome on his praise of Tendulkar with whom he shared the dressing room for the last 13 years.
"It is a fantastic achievement, kudos to him. He is a phenomenal player. It has been a great honour to share dressing room with him for the last 13 years," Ganguly said.
Dravid hailed Tendulkar as a "great champion" who truely deserved the feat.
"It is a phenomenal achievement. He is a great champion and his achievement is truely well deserved," Dravid said.

Tendulkar breaks Lara's record, crosses 12000-run mark

Sachin Tendulkar became the highest scorer in Test cricket after surpassing West Indian legend Brian Lara in the ongoing second Test in MoSachin Tendulkar in action during the second Test against Australia at the Mohali Stadium.
After breaking Lara’s record, Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman to reach 12000-run mark in Test cricket.
The Master Blaster needed just 15 runs today to overtake Lara's Test match tally of 11,953 runs and establishing a fourth world record in his illustrious career.
The 35-year-old batting maestro is already the world's top-scorer in One-Day International (16,361) and has the most centuries in Test matches (39) and One-dayers (42).
The Mumbaikar came close to surpass Lara's milestone in the drawn first Test in Bangalore but he fell short of just 15 runs after playing a gritty knock of 49 runs in the second innings to help India seal a draw.
Sachin made his Test debut at the tender age of 16 against Pakistan in 1989 in Karachi. From there on the little master of world cricket has never looked back.
The Mumbaikar came into limelight with his first Test century on a seaming Old Trafford track against a formidable English attack as he saved the match for India.
Tendulkar still remains the most admired cricketer from all quarters the world ranging from experts to cricket ardent fans despite not being in his best of form off late.
The body of the master blaster has taken its toll as he has been playing international cricket to close to two decades. Though several injuries marred his playing career time and again during the last five years but his never-say-die attitude still makes him the heartthrob of cricketing world. Congratulate Sachin Tendulkar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Zealand beat Bangladesh to clinch three-match series

Ross Taylor hit a fighting hundred to help New Zealand beat Bangladesh by 79 runs in the third and final One-Day International on Tuesday for a 2-1 win in the three-match series. The 24-year-old Taylor, who scored 103 for his third One-day century, carried New Zealand to a decent 249-7 in 50 overs before the visitors restricted Bangladesh to 170-8. Bangladesh were seeking their first series win over a major Test playing country before a 14,000 capacity crowd at the Divisional Stadium, but it was the tourists who took the honours. Only Tamim Iqbal (35) batted with some authority for the hosts as paceman Kyle Mills initiated the slump by removing opener Zunaed Siddique (one) before Jacob Oram dismissed debutant Imrul Kayes (12) and skipper Mohammad Ashraful (eight) in his incisive five-over first spell. Off-spinner Jeetan Patel then took over, dismissing dangerous-looking local boy Iqbal and then accounting for Shakib Al Hasan (one) to end all hopes of Bangladesh successfully chasing the target. From 98-7, Naeem Islam (46 not out) and Abdur Razzak (28) gave the score some respectability but it only delayed the inevitable. Earlier, it was Taylor who was the hero for New Zealand after the visitors won the toss and batted. The tall right-hander put on 125 runs for the third wicket with Jamie How (73) to rescue New Zealand from the early loss of openers Jesse Ryder (three) and Brendon McCullum (six). Taylor hit five fours and four towering sixes in his 119-ball knock, finally falling in the 47th over, caught behind off paceman Mashrafe Mortaza's full toss. How provided valuable support, hitting ten boundaries in his 82-ball innings -- his seventh half-century in One-day cricket -- before he was adjudged leg before wicket to off-spinner Islam. Jacob Oram, who scored 57 and 75 not out in the first two matches, was caught at deep mid-wicket for just three, while Scott Styris fell for 12 but Taylor continued the good work. Skipper Daniel Vettori (19) and Kyle Mills (18) remained not out. New Zealand now play Bangladesh in the first of two Tests starting in Chittagong from Friday. The second Test starts in Dhaka from October 25. SCOREBOARD New Zealand innings J.Ryder b Syed Rasel 3 B.McCullum lbw Mashrafe Mortaza 6 J.How lbw Naeem Islam 73 R.Taylor c Mushfiqur Rahim b Mashrafe Mortaza 103 S.Styris lbw Shakib Al Hasan 12 J.Oram c Tamim Iqbal b Shakib Al Hasan 3 D.Flynn c Naeem Islam b Abdur Razzak 5 D.Vettori not out 19 K.Mills not out 18 Extras: 7 (lb-4 w-3) Total: 249 for seven wickets in 50 overs Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-13, 3-138, 4-172, 5-179, 6-201 and 7-219 Did not bat: Jeetan Patel and Tim Southee Bowling: Mashrafe Mortaza 10-2-50-2 Syed Rasel 10-0-40-1 Abdur Razzak 10-0-52-1 Shakib Al Hasan 10-0-41-2 Naeem Islam 8-0-50-1 (w1) Shahadat Hossain 2-0-12-0 (w2) Bangladesh innings Tamim Iqbal c McCullum b Patel 35 Zunaed Siddique c Ryder b Mills 1 Imrul Kayes c McCullum b Oram 12 Mohammad Ashraful b Oram 8 Shakib Al Hasan c Ryder b Patel 1 Naeem Islam not out 46 Mushfiqur Rahim c How b Southee 15 Mashrafe Mortaza c McCullum b Mills 9 Abdur Razzak c McCullum b Ryder 27 Shahadat Hossain not out 12 Extras: 4(w4) Total: 170 for eight wickets Did not bat: Syed Rasel Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-49, 3-49, 4-57, 5-59, 6-77, 7-98 and 8-144 Bowling: Mills 8-1-24-2 Southee 10-0-40-1 (3w) Patel 10-3-29-2 Oram 8-2-16-2 Vettori 10-0-39-0 (1w) Ryder 3-0-16-1 Flynn 1-0-6-0

Jayasuriya, Mendis lead Lanka to Toronto T20 title victory

Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, with his trademark big-hitting, and new-boy Ajantha Mendis, delving into his bag of bewildering spin tricks, led Sri Lanka to a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the Canada Twenty20 final on Monday. Chasing 133 to win, Sri Lanka registered their first win over Pakistan in the new-style, wham-bang format with six balls to spare. He may be pushing 40 years old but Jayasuriya (40 runs) showed little sign of ageing as he and fellow opener Mahela Udawatte (25) put on 66 in 6.6 overs. They took advantage off a wayward Pakistan attack with Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul being hit to all parts of the ground in front of 9,000 fans at King City. Jayasuriya was particularly harsh on Akhtar, flicking the recalled quick for four in his first over and then pulling him for consecutive sixes over midwicket. Desperate Pakistan, who had won the group match between the two sides by three wickets on Saturday, turned to spin and Shahid Afridi dismissed Udawatte while Shoaib Malik accounted for Jayasuriya. But despite losing skipper Mahela Jayawardene for just five, Kaushalya Weeraratne (12) and Chamara Kapugedera (17 not out) saw Sri Lanka home. Earlier Mendis, 16 years Jayasuriya's junior, took 3-23 for a tournament total of 11 wickets as he put the brakes on the Pakistan middle order. Opener Salman Butt top scored with 44 before he fell to Mendis who also accounted for Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal. Zimbabwe trounced Canada by 109 runs to claim third place. Zimbabwe had needed a bowl-out to beat the hosts in the group stage on Saturday but there was no repeat of that drama this time as the African side piled up 184-5, the highest score of the tournament. Opener Hamilton Masakadza smashed 79 with useful contributions coming from Chamu Chibhabha (40), Elton Chigumbura (25) and Keith Dabengwa (16 not out). Masakadza had made a brave 53 in his side's seven-wicket loss to Pakistan on Saturday and he was in brutal form again on Monday smashing two giant sixes off Abdool Samad. Canada were immediately in trouble slipping to 10-3 by the sixth over as captain Ashif Mulla (2), Rizwan Cheema (2) and Sandeep Jyoti (0) all failed. Canada just managed to avoid the lowest Twenty20 score of all time -Kenya's 67 against Ireland in August - as they were skittled out for 75 with Zimbabwe's 23-year-old captain Prosper Utseya taking 3 for 26 with his off-breaks.

Australian media slams Ganguly for delaying tactics in 'farcical draw'

Intentionally or inadvertently, Sourav Ganguly continues to rub Australians the wrong way and the media here poured vitriol on the former
India skipper, accusing him of indulging in delaying tactics to ensure the Bangalore Test ended in a draw. The popular belief here is that Australia were destined to win the Bangalore Test but the existing light rule, coupled with Ganguly's delaying tactics, denied Ricky Ponting's men victory in the first of the four-match Test series. A member of the 'National Nine News' sports team took a potshot at anyone and everyone but was particularly harsh on Ganguly, whom he described as a "serial offender". "Serial offender Sourav Ganguly firstly persuaded the umpires to go off. Then when play resumed, Ganguly made Australia's fielders and partner VVS Laxman wait an eternity because he'd apparently 'forgotten to put his thigh pad on'. "Please! Can't you be timed out in this game?" he wrote. According to him, the spectators were the obvious losers in the entire exercise. "The players got something out of it. Pedantic officials got their moment of the glory. But billions of fans and more importantly -- the game itself -- got nothing out of this farcical finish in Bangalore," he remarked. Criticising umpire Asad Rauf and Rudy Koertzen, the writer said, "With the match in the balance, a crucial hour's play on the final day was lost, with not one, but two stoppages for bad light -- when at times the sun was shining! "Umpires strutted about like Emperor Penguins, holding out their light metres -- a device that like performance enhancing drugs should be banned." Asserting that such finishes would do no good to the game, he went on to say, "If Test cricket continues to produce farcical finishes like this one in Bangalore, this great game's Bradmans, Gavaskars, Tendulkars and Pontings will also be soon forgotten... Even by their mothers-in-law!" Meanwhile, a 'Fox Sports' cricket commentator went on to demand amendments in International Cricket Council's existing light rules. "I thought the light was fine and they really need to change the rules regarding that aspect of the game," he said. "There has to be some pressure placed on the ICC over this as there was no danger at all out there. I'm standing out here half an hour after play has finished, and while it's getting a bit dark now, it was fine half an hour ago and they first came off several hours ago. People come to the ground to watch Test cricket and the light was pretty good and not dangerous at all," he asserted. 'Fox Sports' also invited readers to comment whether poor light should be allowed to influence the outcome of a game and whether India played the match in the right spirit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sourav Ganguly to retire after Australia series

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said on Tuesday that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the upcoming four-Test Series
Sourav Ganguly gestures during the fourth day of the third Test match against Pakistan in Bangalore.
More Picturest series against Australia. I have decided to quit and told my teammates about it. Australia series will be my last series,” said Ganguly. Chairman of selectors K Srikkanth said Ganguly had made the right decision. “Ganguly wanted to play with a free mind and now he can,” said Srikkanth. Player Profile: Saurav Ganguly India’s most successful captain dismissed suggestions that his inclusion in India's 15-member squad for the first two Tests against Australia was part of a compromise formula to give him the opportunity to retire gracefully. Asked specifically if the selectors had made a compromise with his selection in the team, Ganguly quipped 'absolutely not'.
Matches Runs Ave S.R 100 50 ct
311 11363 41.02 73.71 22 72 100
TEST 109 6861 41.84 52.38 15 34 71
Ganguly's floundering Test career received a big boost when the newly-appointed selection panel headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth named him in the squad for the first two Tests against Australia beginning October 9. The former captain reckoned the series against the Australians will be tough and said he was prepared for the challenge. "It will be a tough series. We will have to fight it hard", he said at the Eden Gardens. Ganguly's career was at crossroads after he was ignored by the previous selection panel, with Dilip Vengsarkar at the helm, for the season-opening Irani Cup tie, touted as a virtual selection trial, at Vadodara late last month. However, a change of guard with the complete overhaul of the selection panel saw the return of Ganguly and he seems certain to play the series opener at Bangalore barring injury. The former Indian captain also met Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Jagmohan Dalmiya during the day. It was his first meeting with Dalmiya since he was re-elected to the post. Skipper Kumble over retirement issue Test skipper Anil Kumble had rubbished reports that the Indian cricket board had drawn up a retirement plan for senior players. "We have never discussed that among ourselves. All the talk is only in the media," Kumble said. Justifying the selection of former captain Sourav Ganguly for the upcoming series against Australia, Kumble said the senior players have never performed badly and it was only the media that was casting doubts on their performance after one bad series in Sri Lanka. Kumble said there should have been no debate over Ganguly's inclusion since he was part of the Test team. "He was a part of the last Test series as well. I don't see a change. Age does not matter at all as long as a player is doing well, otherwise I would have retired long ago." "I can't divulge what happened in the selection meeting, but I don't see any change: he was a part of the last Test team, he is a part of this series as well," Kumble contended. Shane Warne’s take on Ganguly Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne describes Sourav Ganguly as "an intelligent bloke, with some interesting ideas on all sorts of subjects" in his self-written book and pays tribute to Sourav's batting, fighting qualities and self-confidence. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, is among 11 Indians named by Warne in his list of 100 greatest cricketers. The list of greats, which forms a new book called "Shane Warne's Century", is headed by Sachin Tendulkar and includes all members of the famed Indian batting quartet dubbed the Fab Four - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

India Times

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sachin unveils 'Wall' to mark Dravid's 10,000 Test runs

Rahul Dravid's 10,000 Test runs were celebrated at Chinnaswamy stadium with Sachin Tendulkar unveiling a wall of 10,000 bricks. It was a wall of commitment, consistency and class written all over it to describe the former India skipper. Built by Bangalore-based realtor Skyline group, the Wall projects Dravid in metal statue playing his trademark cover-drive and features the legendary batsman's finest cricketing moments in both forms of cricket. Dravid is popularly considered to be 'the wall' of Indian batting for his impenetrable technique and diligence. Unveiling the Wall, Tendulkar said Dravid truly deserved such recognition and would remain a testimony for all his achievements. "It is a great credit to his family. More than a great cricketer and a great batsman, Rahul is a perfect gentleman on and off the field. The Wall will inspire every budding cricketer to emulate Rahul and his batting skills," Tendulkar said. A live electronic unit in the top corner on the right displays Dravid's current score -- 10,246 runs in Test cricket. The unit will keep ticking as Dravid scores runs in Tests played in India or overseas, Skyline group managing director Avinash Prabhu said at a simple ceremony, graced by former and present cricketers. Dravid is the brand ambassador for the Skyline group. His parents - Sharad and Pushpa - were present on the occasion. Located strategically outside the pavilion-end, the Wall is visible from the famous MG. Road in downtown and a few yards away from Kumble circle, christened after Indian Test skipper's 10-wicket haul in second Test against Pakistan in February 1999 in Delhi. "The Wall is a tribute to Dravid's legendary contribution to Indian cricket and his outstanding achievements on and off the field. The tall structure will be a new landmark in India's IT hub and serve as an immortal reminder of Dravid's great feats," Prabhu, a classmate of Dravid, said in his brief address on the occasion. In his remarks, Dravid said though he was humbled by the honour, he felt embarrassed to be present in the midst of legendary cricketers like Sachin, former off-spinner EAS. Prasanna, yesteryear spin bowler BS Chandrasekhar, former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani and others. "For me the greatest thing is to play for the country and be in the company of a legendary cricketer who also scored over 10,000 plus runs. I am sure this Wall will inspire budding cricketers. I am also touched that the Wall is erected where I began my cricketing career," Dravid said amidst applause. Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) secretary and former Indian batsman Brijesh Patel said it was a momentous day for the Chinnaswamy stadium. "Dravid is ranked along with former legendary cricket Gundappa Vishwanath and former Indian badminton champion Prakash Padukone who also hail from Karnataka. By scoring 10,000 plus runs in both forms of cricket, Dravid is counted among the world's top six legendary batsmen, including Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and Allan Border," Patel said. Having watched Dravid from his younger days, Patel said the Bangalore-born lad was level-headed, intensely focused and good student of the game. "Dravid has an outstanding batting average in Test cricket. It is not for nothing he is considered the 'Wall' for his commitment, consistency and class," Patel said.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lanka ICL 'rebels' can play domestic cricket

In a move that is bound to irk the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to allow players aligned with the rebel Indian Cricket League to compete in the country's domestic tournaments.
Even as the Bangladesh Cricket Board banned players for joining the ICL, the SLC interim committee decided to soften its stand on the 'rebels' at a meeting in Colombo a couple of days ago.
SLC chief Arjuna Ranatunga moved the resolution to lift the ban on players like Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold and Upul Chandana.
"Arjuna felt that it was unfair to keep these players out for long," SLC secretary K Mathivanan said.
"These bans have to stop somewhere," he added.
Apart from Sri Lanka, only England and New Zealand have allowed ICL players to compete in their domestic tournaments

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Australia to tour India despite bombings

Australia will go ahead with their four-Test tour of India after a security review following a series of bombings in New Delhi , Cricket Australia (CA) said on Tuesday. CA said on Sunday it would review security arrangements after five bombs went off in the Indian capital on Saturday, killing at least 20 and injuring more than 90 others.
"We have done a review of our security advice and it has not changed since last week," CA public affairs manager Peter Young said. "The safety and security advice for India is broadly speaking to exercise caution."
Young said the organisation would upgrade security for the senior team and the Australia A side which is currently in India.
"We will have security in place around the senior team, which is what we always were going to have," he added.
Young said CA had consulted with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which would also upgrade security in and around the dressing rooms and provide escorts for the team to and from the ground.
Players will still be allowed to venture outside of the team hotels "within prudent guidelines".
The Test side are due to leave Australia on Sunday and start the tour with warm-up matches in Jaipur and Hyderabad.
Both cities have been the targets of bombings within the past 13 months.
The first Test begins in Bangalore, which was also the site of a bomb attack in July, on Oct. 9.
The third Test begins in Delhi on Oct. 29.
Australia pulled out of a tour of Pakistan because of security fears and withdrew from the Champions Trophy due to be held in Pakistan this month for the same reason. The tournament has since been postponed.
Young, however, said the assessment of the security risk was different for each of the countries.
"In very broad terms the advice we have is in sharp contrast to what we had for Pakistan, which was that it was not safe to travel (in Pakistan) because the attacks there were targeting westerners," Young said.
"The problems (in India) are completely different in intensity and of a different nature."

'I will pay to watch Dhoni bat'

Adam Gilchrist knows all about winning in India.
After all, he led Australia to the historic victory in Nagpur in 2004, when the Aussies conquered the 'Final Frontier', beating India by 342 runs in the third Test to clinch their first series win on Indian soil since 1969.

The wicket-keeper batsman will not be around this time to guide his team from the massive stare a tour to India is subjected to, nor the unpredictable conditions they will play under. Most of the players, who scripted that victory, have stepped into retirement, but Gilchrist is hopeful that the Aussie greenhorns can still do some damage.
"This is the most inexperienced (Australian) side to tour India," the former captain said, of the upcoming series, in Mumbai on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a promotional event for the University of Wollongong.
"And they will be taking on probably the most experienced team in world cricket.
"The Australian players are new in international cricket, but it doesn't mean they haven't played in these conditions before. The cricket board has over the years sent them to the sub-continent to educate our players of the conditions here and the team will draw that experience."
Gilchrist, who led the team in the first three Tests on the 2004 tour due to the absence of Ricky Ponting , said that the Aussies will again have to rely on their fast-bowling firepower to unsettle the Indian batsman.
"I don't think the perceived lack of a spinner is a big deal. Even in 2004 the fast bowlers did a fantastic job and were ably supported by Shane Warne .
"Brett Lee is our bowling spearhead and we will expect him to get some wickets. But Mitchell Johnson is also going to be a crucial player, especially when the ball is old and starts reversing. A lot will depend on (Ricky) Ponting and his determination.
"Shane Watson is just the sort of batting all-rounder we were looking for. He had a great IPL (Indian Premier League ), and when you have done so well in these conditions it automatically gives you confidence."
While saying that the India-Australia series will be "hard-fought", Gilchrist added he doesn't expect any more acrimony among the players.
"I don't think the events in Sydney or after that did any permanent damage to the relations between the two countries. The IPL came at the right time, and mended any differences that might have cropped up. I don't expect any more fireworks in this series, than any other.
"Sure for Australians, historically the Ashes have been the most important, but the India-Australia series has also grown and gained an iconic status.
"It had become very important to us prior to 2004, and I guess that's why we lost our focus a bit in the 2005 Ashes series. We were unable to realign our focus to the Ashes and were exposed badly."
The 37-year-old, who retired from international cricket early this year but found an ally in the IPL to keep his passion for the game going, heaped praise on Mahendra Singh Dhoni ,saying he would "pay to see Dhoni bat."
"As a player, the biggest compliment for me is when people say they pay to see me bat. I would like to say the same for Dhoni.
"In India, you talk about the big four, but I think with Dhoni it's becoming the big five! He is an exciting cricketer and what's amazing is that he has been able to match his batting stats with his wicket-keeping.
"He has the calmness and has a galvanizing effect on the team. He is a very good ODI captain and I'm sure down the track, it is inevitable that he will take over as the Test captain too."
As part of the group that saw a mass exodus in the Australian team, Gilchirst said India has to be prepared for a "generational change" too and the exclusion of Sourav Ganguly from the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy could only be the beginning.
"We thought Ganguly was finished about eight months ago also before he made a superb comeback.
"I think the players know best whether they still have the passion to come back and continue for the team. I can't comment on that, but all I can say is there are a lot of youngsters waiting to be picked.
"Like Australia, India is going to experience a generational change, it's going to happen. But I have been exposed to the talent here, during the IPL, and am very impressed by the youngsters. They are ready to fill in the void and we should encourage them."
Gilchrist, who has also been voicing his support for cricket at the Olympics, said the Twenty20 version was a "perfect fit" for the competition and wouldn't burden the already crammed international schedule.
"For the longevity of cricket, I think it is important that it should become an Olympic sport," the Australian said. "There are so many countries who don't even know what the game is about and the Olympics will be a great platform for them to get involved.
"It's also a two-way street. India got one gold medal at this Games; it's a number that suggests that the Olympics are not important. The Olympic movement could gain importance here, and what better vehicle than cricket!"
Gilchrist had traveled around India as the brand ambassador for the University, and if he ever gets tired of the IPL, he reminded everyone again that he can be a great spokesperson for cricket.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dhoni named ODI Player of the Year, Yuvi best T20 player

On a night of mixed fortunes for Indian cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named the ODI Player of the Year, Yuvraj Singh won the Twenty20 International Performance of the Year Award but pacer Ishant Sharma failed to win the Emerging Player honour at the annual ICC awards function in Dubai.
West Indies' 'Mr. Dependable' Shivnarine Chanderpaul was adjudged Cricketer of the Year following a fine performance in Tests as well limited overs' cricket while South African fast bowler Dale Steyn earned the Test Cricketer of the Year award.

India ODI captain Dhoni beat off tough competition from team-mate Sachin Tendulkar , Australian fast bowler Nathan Bracken and Pakistan stalwart Mohammad Yousuf to take the prestigious award.
Yuvraj was deservedly honoured for his stupendous six sixes in an over off Englishman Stuart Broad in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa last year.
Ishant lost out to Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Medis, who took the Emerging Player of the Year Award.
During the voting period, Dhoni played 39 ODIs and scored 1,298 runs at an average of 49.92 and at a rate of 82.46 runs per 100 balls faced. In that time, he hit a century and nine fifties making sure he led his team from the front.
Dhoni also effected 62 dismissals (46 catches and 16 stumpings) as wicketkeeper, which is almost twice as many as the next best, albeit having played more matches than any other keeper.
He is currently ranked number one in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen.
Tendulkar, however, found a place in the 12-man World ODI Team of the Year for the second year running, along with his captain, Dhoni.
Tendulkar was chosen along with Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa for the openers' slot in the team, led by Australia's Ricky Ponting , who got the leadership position for second year in a row and named in the team for third year running.
The 12-man squad was chosen by a specially-appointed selection panel, chaired by West Indian batting legend Clive Lloyd .
Virender Sehwag is the only Indian included in the 12-man World Test Team of the Year, led by South African Graeme Smith .
In other awards, Simon Taufel of Australia won the Umpire of the Year for the fifth year in a row, the Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate was declared Associate Player of the Year, England captain Charlotte Edwards was chosen Women's Player of the Year while the Spirit of Cricket Award went to Sri Lanka .
Yuvraj beat off tough competition from his captain Dhoni, Chris Gayle of the West Indies and Australia's Brett Lee , who became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa.
On 19 September last during a Twenty20 World Championship match against England in Durban, Yuvraj smashed every delivery of the 19th over off England's Stuart Broad beyond the boundary rope, in the process registering a 12-ball half-century and putting his team on course for victory.
It was the first time a player had hit six sixes in a single Twenty20 International over. Herschelle Gibbs did it in an ODI during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies while Garry Sobers became the first batsman to achieve the feat during a first-class match back in 1968.
For the best cricketer award, Chanderpaul had to fight off tough competition from Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardena as well as South Africans Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn to become the fifth player to win the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.
The West Indian crisis man follows in the footsteps of India's Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005) and Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006, 2007) to take the top award.
During the voting period, the left-hander from Guyana played eight Test matches, scoring 819 runs at an average of 91.00, including three centuries and six fifties, all of which were against the top seven teams in the world.
He also played 13 ODIs during that time, finishing top of the averages with 74.75 having scored 598 runs, a haul that included a century and five fifties.
He is currently ranked number one in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen and is sixth in the rankings for ODI batsmen.
For the Test Player of the Year, Steyn beat off Chanderpaul, Jayawardene and Proteas team-mate Jacques Kallis to win the first ICC award of his career.
During the 12-month voting period, Steyn put in some remarkable performances, taking 86 wickets at an average of just 18.10 in the 14 Test matches. He was the only bowler to earn an average less than 21.50 (of those who played more than three matches).
The 25-year-old had the best strike-rate with a wicket every 31.9 deliveries and he boasted two 10-wicket matches and six five-wicket innings.
List of winners:
Cricketer of the Year Award: Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI)Test Player of the Year Award: Dale Steyn (SA)ODI Player of the Year: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Ind)Women's Cricketer of the Year: Charlotte Edwards (Eng)Emerging Player of the Year: Ajantha Mendis (SL)Associate ODI Player of the Year: Ryan ten Doeschate (NL)Twenty20 International Performance of Year: Yuvraj Singh (Ind)
Spirit of Cricket Award: Sri Lanka
Umpire of the Year Award: Simon Taufel
World Test Team of the Year (in batting order): Graeme Smith (SA, captain); Virender Sehwag (Ind); Mahela Jayawardena (SL); Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI); Kevin Pietersen (Eng); Jacques Kallis (SA); Kumar Sangakkara (SL, wk); Brett Lee (Aus); Ryan Sidebottom (Eng); Dale Steyn (SA); Muttiah Muralitharan (SL); 12th man: Stuart Clark (Aus)

ICC World ODI Team of the Year (in batting order): Herschelle Gibbs (SA); Sachin Tendulkar (Ind); Ricky Ponting (Aus, captain); Yunus Khan (Pak); Andrew Symonds (Aus); Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Ind, wk); Farveez Maharoof (SL); Daniel Vettori (NZ); Brett Lee (Aus); Mitchell Johnson (Aus); Nathan Bracken (Aus); 12th man: Salman Butt (Pak).


BCCI says no to Champions Trophy in October 2009

The Indian Cricket Board on Wednesday rejected the holding of the Champions in October 2009 becuase of clash of date with the home ODI series against Australia .
According to the cricinfo, the BCCI made their opposition to the Champions Trophy dates in the ICC's Chief Executives meeting today and the matter will be discussed in the ICC Board meeting on Thursday.
"We have said that the Champions Trophy in October will not be possible for us since we are hosting Australia at that time," BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah was quoted as saying by the website.
"The one-day series against Australia is a very important fixture for us. It has been scheduled and we can't do anything about it. All the boards will have to find another solution or window for the Champions Trophy."
The BCCI is tentatively planning to hold the first match of the seven-match ODI series against Australia on October 13, three days after the conclusion of the Champions Twenty20 League, which it is organising along with Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa (CSA).
The ICC Board had, on August 24, decided to postpone the Champions Trophy that was originally scheduled to be held in Pakistan from September 12 after five of the eight participating nations expressed security concerns about the host country.

Tendulkar is most prized wicket: Mendis

Sri Lanka's unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis has said that during his meteoric rise in international cricket, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was the most prized wicket, while Virender Sehwag the toughest to bowl to.
Mendis, who notched up from just three Tests wsith 26 wickets apart from pocketing 33 wickets from 13 One-dayers, is one of the nominees for the International Cricket Council Emerging Player of the Year award.
Asked whose wicket does he cherished the most, Mendis said ''Sachin Tendulkar's wicket is the best among all. I could not get his wicket in the first two matches and felt I might not be able to get him out. Finally, I got him in the second innings of the last Test and thus, stopped him from making a world record.''
In his opinion, the master blaster was however, not the toughest batsman to bowl to. Instead, he rates Sehwag the toughest among all the Indians, who are generally good players against spin.
''Sehwag tried to take too many chances against me and I had to bowl at good areas to contain him,'' he told the Gulf News.
He added that the series against India added to his confidence.
''Before the series, everyone told me that Indians are the best players of spin. So, it turned out to be a big challenge for me.
When I got the Indian batsmen out, it added to my confidence.
''My goal now is to try and work hard and go on to do well against all countries,'' he added


Monday, September 8, 2008

Ganguly left out of Rest of India team for Irani Trophy

Sourav Ganguly was not included in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Trophy match against Ranji Trophy champions Delhi, to be played in Baroda, from September 24-28.
Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma were also left out of the 14-man squad, announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in Mumbai on Monday.
Sachin Tendulkar , who has recovered from an elbow injury, was included in the squad along with Mahendra Singh Dhoni . Parthiv Patel, who is the second wicketkeeper in the squad may be handed an opener's slot, while Dinesh Karthik was also left out after a poor showing in Sri Lanka .
Ganguly struggled in the three-Test series in Sri Lanka, where he scored just 96 runs in the three outings, at an average of 16. His omission from the Rest of India squad is a clear indication that the national selectors are unhappy with the former India captain's recent showing and considering other options for the four-Test series against Australia next month.
Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar will also be hoping to get back among the runs after a below-par performance against Sri Lanka.
Mohammad Kaif and Wasim Jaffer have been given another chance to impress the selectors ahead of the Test series against Australia.
Meanwhile, 24-year-old Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda is a surprise inclusion in the squad.
Delhi will field a strong side, featuring the likes of Virender Sehwag , Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma.
The season-opening domestic fixture has assumed importance following a poor showing of some senior batsmen on the just-concluded tour of Sri Lanka, which saw India lose the Test series 1-2.
Rest of India squad: Anil Kumble (captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (vice-captain & w/k), Sachin Tendulkar, V V S Laxman , Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer, Mohammad Kaif, Harbhajan Singh , Zaheer Khan , Munaf Patel , Parthiv Patel (w/k), R P Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda.

Monday, September 1, 2008

India sign off with humiliating defeat

A spineless batting display provided an anticlimax to a historic series win, as India suffered a humiliating 112-run loss to Sri Lanka the Duckworth-Lewis method, in a rain-affected fifth and final One-Day International, in Colombo, on Friday.

Though India won the five-match Idea Cup series 3-2, Friday's defeat was their heaviest in Sri Lanka

Chasing a revised target of 216 from 44 overs after rain interrupted the match for 90 minutes when India were wobbling at 70 for 3 in the 15th over, the visitors were skittled out for just 103 in 26.3 overs, their lowest score in Sri Lanka, after the hosts had put up 227 for 6 in 50 overs.

None of the Indian batsmen offered resistance to Lankan bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis , who shared eight wickets between themselves.

Virat Kohli top-scored with 31 as seven batsmen were out for just 33 runs in 12.1 overs.

Kulasekara ran through the Indian top order, claiming four for 40 from nine overs, including the scalps of openers Gautam Gambhir , Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, while Mendis claimed another four for 10 from 4.3 overs. Dilahara Fernando chipped two wickets for 24 runs.

The Indians began on a cautious note, with openers Gambhir and Kohli scoring just three runs after three overs, the first and third overs bowled by Kulasekara being maidens.

But two fours by Gambhir off Thilan Thushara and a huge six by Kohli off Kulasekara eased off the pressure and India were 20 after the fifth over and the run-rate of four was maintained till Gambhir was out to the last ball of the ninth over after scoring a mere 11 from 16 balls, which included two fours.

The senior of the Delhi openers edged a Kulasekara delivery while playing away from the body and Kumar Sangakkara did the rest behind the wicket to reduce India to 38 for one.

Kohli paid the price for playing across for too many and was LBW nine balls after Gambhir's departure though after making a useful 31 off 46 balls which included three fours and a six.

India were in a spot of bother at 45 for 2 but Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina began the repair work with some lusty blows.

Raina, however, was to be blamed for getting out to a poor shot. The Uttar Pradesh youngster tried to play a pull shot off Kulasekara to a ball which was not short enough only to hole out at mid-off to Dilhara Fernando for 10 (13 balls; 2x4).

Rohit Sharma, who came after the 90-minute rain interruption, did not last long and was out LBW to Kulasekara for 3 though he was unlucky to have got the verdict as the ball was outside the line at the point of impact.

Nine balls later mystery bowler Ajantha Medis claimed Yuvaraj's wicket with his first ball which hit the stumps after having an inside edge and India were looking down the barrel at 79 for 5 then.

Any hopes of fightback went up in smoke after Dhoni was out for one in the 20th over with Fernando cleaning up the Indian captain's stumps for just one off seven deliveries to reduce the visitors to 85 for six.

Pathan (7), Zaheer Khan (3) and R P Singh (4) and Pragyan Ojha (5) went back to the pavilion in quick succession.

Earlier, gritty unbeaten knocks by Thilan Thushara (54) and Jehan Mubarak (47) down the order helped Sri Lanka post a respectable 227 for 6.

Sri Lanka were gasping at 133 for 6, but the pair combined to maul the Indian attack and post an unbeaten 94-run stand, off just 78 balls, that lent respectability to the total.

Relieved to have finally won the toss, Mahela Jayawardene did not hesitate to bat, but the home side suffered a jolt in the second over when run-machine Sanath Jayasuriya (1) perished, much to the dismay of the crowd at the Premadasa Stadium.

The 39-year old slashed at a Zaheer Khan delivery only to see the top edge flying to Pragyan Ojha at third man.

Malinda Warnapura (30) and the new-man Mahela Udawatte (43) then tried hard to consolidate the innings but runs proved hard to come by. In fact, the first 10 overs produced only 28 runs and the pressure started mounting on the batsmen.

Warnapura was lucky to be dropped by Rohit Sharma at cover point from a tough chance, while Udawatte gained in confidence as he smashed a Zaheer delivery through the cover.

Despite their best efforts, Sri Lanka's 50 runs came off 79 balls before both decided to up the tempo.

Zaheer gave away 33 runs in his first spell of seven overs while Munaf Patel was more economical, conceding just 15 runs in his six-over spell.

The Indians then fought back as Irfan Pathan induced a top edge from Warnapura and Gautam Gambhir ran back from cover to take a well-judged catch.

The Baroda bowler struck again, trapping the well-settled Udawatte.

R P Singh then joined the party, as Kumar Sangakkara (1) again flopped with the bat and perished at first slip, when Gambhir took his second catch of the match.

Jayawardene (12) got a life of sorts when Pragyan Ojha failed to catch him off his own bowling. But he could not make the most of it as the Indian spinner had the last laugh.

Jayawardene turned his bat to a dipping delivery from Ojha and ended up lobbing the ball tamely towards cover, where an agile Yuvraj Singh took the sitter.

Chamara Kapugedera (26) and Mubarak then pushed for singles as Sri Lanka reached 126 for five in 35 overs. Kapugedera's heroics, however, came to an end in the 37th over when he holed out to R P Singh off Ojha.

Sri Lanka averaged less than four at 143 for 6 even after 40 overs, suggesting the effectiveness of the Indian bowlers.

Thushara, however, had other ideas. After edging Pathan to the third man boundary, he launched the left-arm seamer into the gap at deep cover boundary much to the delight of the flag-waving spectators.

Jehan Mubarak, on a comeback trail, also chipped in with the odd boundary as the two toiled and took the islanders to a meaningful total.

R P Singh came in for some beating as both the batsmen swatted him for boundaries in the 44th over. But, by then, it was too late. The batsmen were unable to take Sri Lanka near the 250-run mark.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

India beat Sri Lanka by 46 runs, pocket ODI series 3-1

A spirited India on Wednesday night recorded their first-ever bilateral ODI series triumph against Sri Lanka in their backyard as they spanked the hosts by 46 runs in the fourth cricket one-dayer in Colombo on Wednesday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
After putting a competitive target of 259 before the Lankans, Indian bowlers skittled out the hosts for 212 in 46.3 overs.
With this win India pocketed the five-match series with one match to spare which is scheduled for Friday and avenged their Test series drubbing.
The Indian bowlers had their task cut out right from the word go as comebackman Munaf Patel (2/48) once again impressed with the new ball, scalping the first two wickets. Malinda Warnapura (0) was the first man to go without scoring after he was caught in front of the wicket by Munaf. However, TV replays showed the ball might have gone over the stumps.
Out-of-form Kumar Sangakkara (6), dropped to the No 3 position following his woeful run in the tournament, failed once again as he played on a Munaf delivery.
However, veteran Sanath Jayasuriya (60 of 52 balls) was at his explosive best and with skipper Mahela Jayawardene (16) he put up a crucial 74-run stand for the fourth wicket to steady the Lankan innings.
Jayasuriya's dominance can be gauged from the fact that in the 74-run partnership, Jayawardene contributed only six runs.
However, an important bowling change by Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 17th over, bringing in offie Harbhajan Singh (3 for 40) in place of Praveen Kumar, saw Jayasuriya's downfall.
In the third ball of his first over, Harbhajan picked up the crucial wicket of Jayasuriya after the Lankan edged a turner and Suresh Raina made no mistake in the first slip and reacted sharply to pounce on the opportunity.
The Lankans received yet another blow when the in-form Jayawrdene was caught short off the crease by Virat Kohli following a terrible mix up with Chamara Kapugedera (30) to leave the hosts reeling at 106 for 4 in 24.3 overs.
Most of the Lankan middle-order batsmen got a start but failed to capitalise on that and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Next to go was Tillekeratne Dilshan (12), who was wrapped on the pads by Harbhajan in his seventh over which brought an end to his 25-run stand with Kapugedera, thereby exposing the Lankan tail.
Four overs later, Kapugedera followed suit after he was caught in front of the wicket by Yuvraj (2 for 53).
The Indian vice-captain made up for his batting failure with the ball as Vaas became his second victim. The Lankan pacer feel lbw to Yuvraj.
Thilan Thushara, soon after his arrival, tried to turn the fortunes for the Lankans with his big hitting. He clubbed Yuvraj for two consecutive sixes in the 38th over and made a quickfire 40 off 29 balls and was the last man to depart, caught by Raina off Zaheer Khan (1 for 27).
Dhoni's bowling changes seemed to work wonders for the visitors, as after being brought back into the attack, Harbhajan lured Nuwan with a doosra, only to see the Indian skipper completing an easy stumping.
Earlier, skipper Dhoni (71), Raina (76) and Kohli (54) struck half centuries before India got all out for 258 with two balls to spare.
For the hosts, Thushara took five wickets for 47 runs and India lost their last seven wickets for just 34 runs to be skittled out in 49.4 overs.
Having slumped to 81 for three, Raina and Dhoni took control of the situation and judiciously mixed cheeky singles with big shots forcing Sri Lanka skipper Jayawardene to rework his strategies.
The 143-run partnership between the two took India to a position of comfort from where on the remaining batsmen only had to score at a consistent rate.
Not allowing Ajantha Mendis to get into a rhythm, Raina decided to attack the bowler as he lofted his off-break to the long-off boundary.
With the onus of responsibility once again falling on Dhoni, the Indian captain tried to settled down quickly as he forced a Thushara delivery past the cover boundary.
Raina matched Dhoni's aggression and India raced to the 150 mark in 185 balls as the two decided to unnerve the Sri Lankan bowlers.
In no time, Raina reached a well-deserved half century -- his seventh -- in 56 balls as he came down the track and lofted Muttiah Muralitharan to the extra cover boundary.
His front-foot hit over the deep-midwicket boundary for a six of Murali was a beauty.
Dhoni got to his 50 in 60 balls and it included three boundaries.
A visibly tired Raina then tried to hit Thushara over the long off and was caught by Nuwan Kulasekara, his 76 runs coming off 78 balls and including six boundaries and one six.
Dhoni, playing with a runner, followed suit, caught by Jayasuriya at covers off Thushara for a well-compiled 71 runs.
Earlier, the Indian openers looked confident and after a cautious start, Kohli steered a swinging delivery from Kulasekara through the slip for four runs to get into the groove.
Partner Gautam Gambhir (17) preferred hitting the bowlers over the fielding cordon but he perished soon, slashing Kulasekara straight into the hands of Dilshan.
India got another rude jolt as Yuvraj, who was tentative right from the beginning, became Chaminda Vaas' 400th victim before he could even opened his account.
He was smartly caught by skipper Jayawardene at short mid-wicket as Yuvraj failed to keep the ball down.
An unperturbed Kohli, however, kept going and hit Kulasekara to the mid-wicket boundary on the way to his half-century.
His maiden 50 came in 81 minutes and 62 balls and included six hits to the boundary. He, however, could not stretch it further as Thushara castled him for 54.
S Badrinath, who was required to play a cameo in the dying overs, only managed six runs before Jayawardene caught him at short mid-wicket.
India lost wickets in a heap as Harbhajan was run out for two, while Rohit Sharma was caught by Warnapura off Ajantha Mendis for 18.
Thushara went on to complete his five-wicket haul by removing Praveen Kumar and Zaheer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'100 years on, Sir Don still the greatest'

Praising the batting style of Don Bradman, Australia's modern-day 'Mr Cricket' Mike Hussey is adamant that the legend would have been twice as good as any other batsman if he were playing today.
As Australia prepared to celebrate the centenary of The Don's birth, debate inevitably turned to how the country's greatest sportsman would have fared in the 21st-century game.
''In my view, if Don Bradman were playing today, he would still have an average twice as good as any other batsman in the world,'' Hussey said.
''He is by far the best batsman ever and would still be in today's game.''
Bradman, whose batting average of 99.94 is still celebrated, died seven years ago, but tributes and recollections have started flowing in as a nation pauses to remember.
Some amateur cricket lovers even claim to have found the missing four runs that Bradman would have needed to boast a career average of 100.
Not that the records will be changed now.
Events will be held in Australia today to commemorate the centenary of Bradman's birth - with Test skipper Ricky Ponting to deliver a speech at a gala dinner in Sydney.
''It's almost like he's separate from the game,'' Ponting said.
''His name and what he achieved, it's so far out of any player's reach, in his time or any player who has played since, it's almost like he played a different game to what we're playing.''
Another tribute came from former Pakistani batsman Zaheer Abbas, considered the Bradman of Asia.
''During my trip to play for the World Eleven against Australia in 1972-73, Don Bradman came specially to meet me at Adelaide Airport,'' Abbas said.
''I consider it the happiest moment and great honour of my life.
I have preserved this picture and shall cherish it throughout my life.''
The New South Wales townships of Cootamundra, where Bradman was born, and Bowral, where he grew up, are celebrating the Don's centenary in a big way.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Statistical highlights: India - Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI

Statistical highlights of the second One-Day International between India and Sri Lanka in Dambulla on Wednesday.
# Sri Lanka's 142 is their lowest completed innings total against India in Sri Lanka. Their previous lowest against India at home was 181 at Colombo, SSC on 1.8.2001.

# Sanath Jayasuriya established a record for appearing in most number of games (418) in ODIs, bettering Sachin Tendulkar's tally of 417.
# Zaheer Khan's excellent bowling performance (4/21) is his second best against Sri Lanka in ODIs -- his career-best of 5 for 42 is also against Sri Lanka at Margao,Goa , on February 14, 2007.
# Zaheer, for the fifth time in his ODI career, was adjudged Man of the Match.
# Zaheer became the first Indian bowler to take four wickets in an innings at Dambulla.
# After producing his career-best 5 for 42 against Sri Lanka at Margao on February 14, 2007, Zaheer produced his best bowling figures in 30 ODIs.
# Thilan Thushara (44) posted his best ever score in ODIs, bettering his 28 against Pakistan at Karachi on June 29, 2008.
# India registered their first win against Sri Lanka at Dambulla.
# India won an ODI against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after four years. Their last win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka was by 4 runs at Colombo, RPS, on July 27, 2004.
# Overall, India's triumph by 3 wickets is their third at Dambulla International stadium -- their first two being by 116 runs against UAE on July 16, 2004 and by 6 wickets against West Indies on July 31, 2005.
# Overall, India have won 10 ODIs against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka out of 36 played (Lost 20 and NR 6).
# Virat Kohli (37) registered his highest score in ODIs, bettering his 12 against Sri Lanka on debut at Dambulla on August 18, 2008.
# Virat became the second Indian fielder after Sourav Ganguly to take three catches in an innings against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

India post nervy victory in second ODI

India went through several anxious moments before registering a three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in a low-scoring second One-Day International in Dambulla, on Wednesday.
Pacers Zaheer Khan (4 for 21) and Praveen Kumar (3 for 24) ripped through Sri Lanka's batting to bundle them out for a paltry 142 in 38.3 overs before the Indians also recovered from a top-order slump to cruise home with 10.2 overs to spare.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) played a pivotal role, batting cautiously to help India overhaul the target and make amends for the humiliating eight-wicket thrashing in the first one-dayer at the same venue on Monday.
Dhoni, who has now taken up the role of finisher, was bowled by Dilhara Fernando with India needing only eight runs for victory. But the small target still seemed quite daunting as the visitors lost the wicket of Harbhajan Singh before S Badrinath (27 not out) hit the winning stroke much to the delight of his teammates.
Chasing Sri Lanka's modest target, the Indians plunged into trouble straightaway and were reduced to a precarious 16 for 2 within five overs, makeshift opener Irfan Pathan (5) and Suresh Raina (1) returning to the pavilion cheaply.
The going got tough for the visitors as Virat Kohli (37), Yuvraj Singh (20) and Rohit Sharma (0) also perished in quick succession, leaving India's hopes in tatters.
Paceman Nuwan Kulasekara provided the early breakthroughs for Sri Lanka, accounting for Pathan and Raina, while Thilina Tushara also chipped in with two wickets in his first spell.
With the Indians reeling at 75 for five, captain Dhoni and S Badrinath, drafted into the team in place of an indisposed Gautam Gambhir , steadied the innings by batting sensibly on a track that provided assistance to the pace bowlers.
Dhoni was content in curbing his natural strokeplay and kept the scoreboard moving with gentle nudges and pushes. He found good support from Badrinath, who looked quite composed at the middle.
As the duo took the score closer to the victory target, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was forced to turn to his spin trump cards, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis , to break the partnership.
The teams will now travel to Colombo, where the third match will be played at the Premadasa stadium on Sunday.
Although Dhoni and Badrinath saw the team through, the victory was far from convincing as the top order of the batting again fell apart.
Earlier, Dhoni invited the Sri Lankans to bat first, and the pace duo of Zaheer and Praveen Kumar backed his decision in fantastic fashion.
Left-arm paceman Zaheer triggered the Lankan collapse by clean bowling Kumar Sangakkara off the last ball of his first over.
Sangakkara's lazy waft without movement cost him dearly as the ball landed outside the off stump, seamed back and rattle his stumps.
Zaheer followed it up with the wickets of Jayawardene (2) and Chamara Kapugedara (0) before Praveen dismissed Chamara Silva (0).
Sri Lanka never recovered from the early blows and, to rub salt on their wounds, Zaheer scalped explosive opener Sanath Jayasuriya (13), leaving the hosts reeling at 33 for five.
Zaheer kept troubling the Lankans with good pace and a teasing line and length while Praveen tested the hosts, his swinging deliveries often inducing edges.
Runs were hard to come against such a disciplined attack and the hosts reached the 50-run mark only after 21.2 overs.
Out-of-form Irfan Pathan tasted his first success when Tillakaratne Dilshan (16) pulled a short-of-length delivery in the air. Debutant Badrinath ran as fast as his legs could carry him and held a good diving catch to make it 44 for six.
It required a special effort to reach a respectable total and a 74-run seventh-wicket partnership between Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara helped avoid a complete rout.
Thushara hit a very useful 44, inclusive of seven boundaries, and was ably supported by Kualsekara, who scored a 25-run cameo after being dropped by Rohit Sharma at an individual score of 13.
Praveen then ended the frustration by dismissing both batsmen in the 34th over.
Harbhajan Singh then made it 122 for 9 when he had Ajantha Mendis caught and bowled for no score.
Dilhara Fernando was the last to go, caught by Kohli off Harbhajan for 12.