Friday, July 30, 2010

Cricket-India 707 all out v Sri Lanka 642-4 dec - innings

India were all out for 707 in their first innings on the fifth day of the second test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday.

Scores: Sri Lanka 642-4 dec (T. Paranavitana 100, K. Sangakkara 219, M. Jayawardene 174) v India 707 (M. Vijay 58, V. Sehwag 99, S. Tendulkar 203, S. Raina 120, M.S. Dhoni 76)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dhoni does business the way he plays cricket

As builder flats go, C-158, Sarvodaya Enclave, is a typical construct of New Delhi’s post-partition colonies. The houses are stacked shoulder to shoulder. The big architectural idea is to create five houses in a space meant for three. A grilled gate, away from the main entrance, opens into a flight of stairs, which leads to the basement office of Rhiti Sports Management.

Forget elegance or sophistication, there's nothing to even announce its arrival. It looks nothing like an establishment that has recently committed to generating business of Rs 210 crore over the next three years for its most prized client.

Inside, on every wall of the three-room set, the client is framed: MS Dhoni. He’s there in sawed-off sleeves, with dreadlocks and the World T20 cup. He’s there in a water-colour, in a sherwani, looking like royalty.

When it’s not a picture, it’s a jersey: the back of his old India blue, number 7, with scribbles of fellow Indian players. When it’s not a jersey, it’s a calendar: Mak makes it possible. This time around, it’s the closest we will get to Dhoni to understand the inner workings of Brand Dhoni.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sri Lanka vs India 2nd Test Day 2 Live Score Updates

Sri Lanka vs India (SL vs Ind)Cricket Live Score Updates:

Sri Lanka score 587/3 at Tea time Day 2- Sri Lanka won the toss yesterday and elected to bat first against India. Sri Lankan Openers gave good start, Dilshan score 54 runs in 42 balls with 10 fours and was out by Ojha, Laxman took a nice catch. NT Paranavitana who score 100 runs was bowled by Sharma. Sri Lanka score 312 runs at the end of day 1.

Today Sri Lanka batsmen look more aggressively than yesterday, KC Sangakkara and Jayawardene done a great job.
KC Sangakkara played captain innings and crossed double century, in 123 over when sehwag bowled to Sangakkara he gave a catch to dravid and return back to pavilion, he score 219 runs.

Fall of wickets1-99 (Dilshan, 18.1 ov), 2-273 (Paranavitana, 71.6 ov), 3-466 (Sangakkara, 122.3 ov).

Indian bowlers fail to restrict Sri Lankan Batsmen, at tea time day 2 Sri Lanka score 587/3 (150.0 ov). DPMD Jayawardene with 143 runs and TT Samaraweera with 52 runs are in good touch

Ojha, Sharma and Sehwag took single wicket each.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cricket-India v Sri Lanka - second test scoreboard

Scoreboard at lunch on the first day of the second test between Sri Lanka and India on Monday.

Sri Lanka first innings 128 for one

T. Paranavitana not out 45

T. Dilshan c Laxman b Ojha 54

K. Sangakkara not out 18

Extras: (b-4, lb-4, nb-3) 11

Total (one wicket, 29 overs) 128

Fall of wicket: 1-99

To bat: M. Jayawardene, T. Samaraweera, A. Mathews, P. Jayawardene, D. Prasad, S. Randiv, D. Fernando, A. Mendis Bowling: Mithun 7-2-30-0, Sharma 6-1-39-0 (1-nb), Ojha 9-1-33-1 (2-nb), Singh 6-0-17-0, Sehwag 1-0-1-0. India: M. Vijay, V. Sehwag, R. Dravid, S. Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, S. Raina, M.S. Dhoni, H. Singh, I. Sharma, P. Ojha, A. Mithun

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flintoff close to cricket return

Andrew Flintoff says he "can't wait to get cracking" as he nears a long-awaited return from injury.

The Lancashire all-rounder has undergone two knee operations since playing his part in England's Ashes success last summer, his last competitive action.

But he hopes finally to force his way back into his county's plans in the coming weeks - and has revealed his rediscovered touch with the bat is offering him most hope.

"It's going well, there's light at the end of the tunnel," the 32-year-old said at the launch of Shell's new FuelSave initiative.

"It's been a long road with the rehab since then but I'm hoping to play again in the next few weeks. I'm back in the nets at Lancashire and from nowhere I've found the ability to bat again which is encouraging, I'm hitting the ball.

"I'm going to have to play in the second team first and force my way back into the first team but with the way I'm batting, I'm hoping to do that with the bat initially and then pick up the bowling from there."

He added: "It's only in the nets but with the break, I've come back playing and rather than worrying about where my feet go, my hands and my head and getting too technical, I've basically gone back to how I used to play when I was younger, just see the ball and hit it as hard as I can, and if I can't do that then I'll defend it.

"That's the way I tend to play, especially in the short form of the game, but I just can't wait to get cracking. It's been so long, and I'm now starting to get excited and chomping at the bit to start."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Muralitharan ends career with 800 test wickets

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan became the first bowler to take 800 test wickets on the fifth day of the first test against India on Thursday.

The 38-year-old Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in tests and one-day internationals, dismissed India's Pragyan Ojha to reach the milestone in his final test match appearance with his family watching from the stands.

Ojha, brilliantly caught by Mahela Jayawardene at first slip, was the final Indian wicket to fall in the second innings as the visitors made 338 in a desperate attempt to avoid defeat.

Muralitharan went into the final day of a 133-match test career needing two wickets to achieve the milestone and took just 15 deliveries to trap Harbhajan Singh lbw for his 799th dismissal.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

India 276 all out v Sri Lanka (520-8 dec) - innings

India were dismissed for 276 in their first innings shortly after lunch on the fourth day of the first test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka enforced the follow-on with India trailing by 244 runs.

Scores: Sri Lanka 520-8 dec (T. Paranavitana 111, K. Sangakkara 103, R. Herath 80 not out, L. Malinga 64; A. Mithun 4-105); India 276 all out (V Sehwag 109, Y. Singh 52, M. Muralitharan 5-63)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Afridi questions Test cricket ability of Pakistani players

Sparking off a new debate, former captain Shahid Afridi has stated that they were some players in the Pakistan team who did not deserve to be in the Test side but were still playing five-day cricket despite not having the ability or commitment for it.

Afridi also insisted that he had not quit Test cricket because of problems with fellow players in the team.

"It was my own decision and it was a spur of the moment decision. I didn't consult anyone," he said.

"I would advise all these players who don't feel comfortable or like playing Test matches to not become a burden on the team and just focus on playing one-day and T20 cricket," Afridi said.

Named captain for the entire tour, Afridi suddenly announced his retirement from the longer version of the game after the humiliating 150-run loss to Australia in the first Test at Lord's.

The flamboyant all-rounder reasoned that he decided to quit Tests because he had lost passion for the five-day game and wanted to concentrate on limited overs cricket.

Afridi said it was time for some non-performing players in the Pakistan Test side to ponder their future.

"As captain I tried to advise some players to avoid playing Test cricket and decide on a future but they insisted on playing Tests. They have not done justice to themselves or the team with their performances," he said.

"I think the time has come for us to decide who should be playing in the Test, one-day and T20 teams," he said.

Afridi said the PCB's selection committee would have to make its policy very clear on all the three formats of the game.

The former skipper was of the view that they were some very good young players in the side but they need time to settle down.

"I would advise everyone not to expect too much from this team in Test matches. It will take time. Salman Butt has become captain for the first time and he should seek advice and guidance from the coach and try to keep the team united. England would prove to be a tougher opponent then Australia because at the moment they are playing better cricket," Afridi said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sangakkara wants to win it for Murali

The Sri Lankan captain, Kumar Sangakkara, brought Muttiah Muralitharan — the team-man — to the fore here on Saturday.

“He needs eight more wickets to reach 800 but that would be furthest thing from his mind. Knowing him, he would be more keen to win the match for us,” said Sangakkara.

He quickly added, “If Murali gets those eight wickets in the Test, there is a good chance that we would go into the second Test 1-0 up.”

The cricket ground in Galle has geared itself for a fitting farewell to Muralitharan from Test match cricket. Hoardings, banners and paintings will celebrate the off-spinning giant's contribution to the game. And the Sri Lankan Cricket Board has planned a series of felicitations here.

Mental toughness

Sangakkara highlighted Muralitharan's mental toughness. “It would be interesting to see how many other bowlers around the world could go through such rigorous testing, bowling with a cast on their arm, whether they can stand up to that scrutiny and come back from it with a stronger mind.”

The Sri Lankan captain said, “He (Muralitharan) has done so much for the team over the years. I think we can all do our little bit and win the Test for him.”

In the same breath, Sangakkara warned against his team from being distracted by the events surrounding Muralitharan's final Test. “We should focus on the job, not get overwhelmed by the occasion.”

Legendary cricketers go away but they leave the game enriched, Sangakkara said.

Looking ahead, he said Ajantha Mendis would figure in the second Test against India; Mendis had impressed in the tour game against the Indians.

“Bowlers llke Mendis and Malinga add something different to the mix. They have a lot to offer to the side.”

Sangakkara said Malinga had worked hard on his fitness and welcomed the paceman into the Test match scheme of things.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Muralitharan was not just a great bowler, but a wonderful human being. “Just having him around in the dressing room is great fun. He gets everyone going. He lifts spirits,” said Dhoni who captained Muralitharan in the Chennai Super Kings side during the IPL.

‘Mystery spinner'

Dhoni revealed, “During the first few matches I played against Sri Lanka, he was the mystery spinner. It is so hard to pick him.”

Turning his attention to the Indian attack, Dhoni hoped spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh would recover completely from a viral flu.

Despite their unflattering returns, Dhoni felt pacemen Ishant Sharma and Abhimanyu Mithun had bowled well in the tour game ahead of the first Test. “We had exaggerated fields for most part and they went for runs. But they did bowl in the right areas for most part.”

Dhoni admitted that the side would miss the experience of Zaheer Khan and the swing of S. Sreesanth. In their absence due to injuries, Dhoni also saw an opportunity for the younger pacemen.

“They must learn to use the conditions. There is some assistance early in the morning and in the evening due to the breeze from the sea.”

To pick 20 Sri Lankan wickets in the Test is a big ask for a depleted Indian attack.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jayasuriya denied central contract

The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has decided not to hand veteran all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya a central contract although off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was included in the 20-man list even after announcing he would retire from Test cricket after the first match against India at Galle in three days time.

The 41-year-old swashbuckler though has no regret at missing the contract. “I have no regrets. Those who perform well, get contracts. I can’t comment on who has taken this decision, but even without a contract, I can play for the country,” he told this paper from Worcestershire on Thursday.

Jayasuriya will not be able to witness Murali’s farewell Test as well. “I am returning (to Sri Lanka) by the end of this month and will miss watching him at the stadium. However, I have already sent him a good luck message for his last Test. He is a great player who has done lot for the country and not only we, as teammates, but the entire nation will miss him,” Jayasuriya added.

Jayasuriya, a veteran of 110 Tests and 444 ODIs, has witnessed an extended slump in form and possesses an average of under three in the last six Twenty20 matches he played for the country. “We had discussions over the last few weeks with senior players, Sri Lanka Cricket, selectors and team management to try and put a value on the national contracts. In that regard we decided we will try and reduce the number of national contracted players to 20 from 30,” chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva said.

The SLC, however, included two newcomers — off spinner Suraj Randiv and batsman Dinesh Chandimal — in the contract list and have placed the duo in Category Six.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We are beginning a new era in Pakistan cricket: Aamer

Pakistan's young pace sensation Mohammad Aamer feels the back-to-back wins in the Twenty20 Internationals against Australia will give his side an edge over Ricky Ponting's men in the two-Test series which began at Lord's on Wednesday.

In the run up to the Test series, Pakistan defeated Australia in two Twenty20 matches at Birmingham last week and Aamer was instrumental in both the victories, scalping six wickets.

"The T20s went well for the team and me personally. However, as we all know Test cricket is a completely different game. Of course, the confidence we were able to gain from the T20s will be an advantage for us," Aamer said.

He also believes that the Test series against Australia will mark the dawn of a new era for the team, especially after the recent changes in Pakistan cricket.

"We are beginning a new era in Pakistan cricket which I am really excited about," said the 18-year-old left-arm pacer.

Aamer took 21 wickets in the first eight Test matches of his career, including eight wickets in the two games against Australia.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

England cricket coach has faith in Kieswetter

Andy Flower still believes Craig Kieswetter can be England's answer to Adam Gilchrist despite his recent run of low scores in one-day internationals.

Australia great Gilchrist, who retired from international cricket two years ago, was both a dashing opener in the one-day format, capable of big scores as well as a sound gloveman, and increased the pressure on his fellow keepers to match his runs in the Test arena too.

Many countries have tried and failed to find an equivalent to Gilchrist but England think they may be onto something with the South Africa born Kieswetter.

The 22-year-old, who plays for Somerset, struck a hundred in only his third one-day international and made his name globally with a man-of-the-match winning 63 in England's World Twenty20 final win against Australia in Barbados in May.

But given a chance to open in the one-day, as well as Twenty20 format, in England this season, the Somerset batsman has struggled for runs.

He could only manage 69 in five one-day innings against Australia, whose quicks repeatedly burst through his defences while in three matches against the somewhat less intimidating Bangladesh attack he was out for for 32, 20 and nought in a series England wrapped up 2-1 at Edgbaston on Monday.

But England coach Flower intends to keep faith with Kieswetter, who is set to feature in September's home one-day series against Pakistan and is still on course to be in the squad for next year's World Cup in Asia.

"He's had an interesting time of it recently, scoring a hundred in his third ODI, getting man of the match in the World Twenty20 final, being a World Cup winner," said Flower, himself once a wicketkeeper/batsman with Zimbabwe.

"A lot of English players haven't had that, so he's up there doing that and achieving things but then he's had a bit of a hard one-day series.

"I think international cricket can do that to you. It can teach you some lessons and perhaps expose a few doubts.

"I think in the long run for Craig it might be a very healthy thing to have happened, in that by the time he plays for England again, he'll need to make his package stronger.

Kieswetter has said he sees his role as scoring quickly at the start of the innings and Flower added he saw similarities with both dynamic Sri Lanka opener Sanath Jayasuriya and Gilchrist.

"I don't really use the word pinch-hitter myself, but he's an aggressive opening batsman for us, pretty much in the mould of Jayasuriya or Gilchrist," Flower explained.

"He's very, very talented and he hits the ball beautifully, as well as I've ever seen anyone hit the ball.

"But he's got to work out how to score runs.

"He's got a good coach at Somerset in Andy Hurry, and some good people to work with like Marcus Trescothick and, in our set-up, Graham Gooch (both former England openers). They might help, but it's up to Craig to find his method."

Someone who has taken his chance recently is Ravi Bopara.

Dropped for the climax of England's Ashes series win against Australia last year and omitted from subsequent tour squads, the Essex all-rounder took himself off to New Zealand provincial side Auckland and was later picked for the Kings Punjab XI in the Indian Premier League.

Monday saw Bopara mark his recall to England duty with 45 not out off just 16 balls and four wickets in a 144-run thrashing of Bangladesh.

He's a very classy player and we think a lot of Ravi," said Flower.

"Ravi hasn't played international cricket for a little while but got a little sniff of a chance and did really well."

Flower added: "I think it's a very healthy thing he got off his butt and went to New Zealand and wasn't pushed to do that.

"That shows the right independent mindset."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dhoni and Sangakkara hope for result-oriented series

With both sides weak in their respective fast bowling departments, Indian captain MS Dhoni and Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara have pledged to make the Test series more interesting and enterprising by aiming for results. The three-Test series beginning in Galle on July 18 is expected to be a very high-scoring one due to the imbalance between the batting and bowling strengths for both sides.

India, currently the No.1 team in Tests, have been hit by injuries to opening bowlers Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth, both of whom have been ruled out of the series. Even their key spinner Harbhajan Singh is also struggling for fitness, battling with a bacterial viral infection which ruled him out of the ongoing three-day practice match against a Sri Lanka Board President's XI.

"Most of the teams playing today want a result in a five-day game. That intent is more than enough to make the game interesting. We are hoping we can get results in all the games," said Dhoni. "It's not about targeting just one bowler, we have to think about the whole bowling department of the opposition.

"They've got experienced campaigners who are playing Test cricket for the past ten years or so. Our preparation level is quite good. When you are playing in the subcontinent and playing a side that has got a batting order that is really experienced and knows the conditions really well it always better to have fast bowlers who have played Test cricket under the circumstances and who have got plenty of experience under them and who know how to bowl in those conditions.

"That experience always comes when you play more and more games. It's a bit of concern that we are missing fast bowlers quite regularly in important series. The good thing is we have somehow been able to do well in all the series we have played. Hopefully we'll have a bench strength of a minimum of five to six bowlers who are always available and who are at the top of their form."

Although Sri Lanka are not affected by injuries, their fast bowling line-up for the Galle Test doesn't have much experience with Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga, who is making a comeback to Test cricket after two-and-a-half years, being the most experienced pair with 33 and 28 Test appearances respectively. Another seamer who has performed well in recent home Tests, Nuwan Kulasekara, has been dropped. From the Indian side, Ishant Sharma, with 23 Test caps is the most experienced.

"As a team we are going to play as hard as we can on the field to make sure that we come out on top. India will be doing the same so if that is not going to make it an interesting tug of war I don't what is," said Sangakkara. "We are looking forward to an interesting Test match and a result at the end of five days or even before."

The Galle Test marks the end of world's leading Test and one-day wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan's illustrious career who will be retiring after the match.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Simmons backs Ireland to beat Bangladesh

National coach Phil Simmons was today still trying to confirm a replacement for Andrew Poynter for the two one-day internationals against Bangladesh at Stormont on Thursday and Friday.

Poynter travelled home from Ireland’s successful World League Division One campaign yesterday with his arm in a sling after falling on his shoulder when fielding during their six wicket victory over Scotland in Saturday’s final in Amstelveen.

He is not only ruled out of contention for Ireland’s most important games of the summer, but also the last two games of the European Championships which start tomorrow in Jersey. Poynter was due to captain the Ireland A team at the tournament

“We have a lot of selection problems, but while Bangladesh will expect to beat us at home, we have the edge over here. We play well at home and we look forward to that,” said Simmons, who was delighted with the response of his understrength team as they swept through the tournament with a 100% record.

“We knew we needed the big players to perform and they consistently came up at the right time, so we ended up successful. The pressure was on the batters to come to the fore because the bowlers didn’t bowl as well as they have been, but the batsmen did it two or three times in the tournament.”

Poynter, who scored 77 in the victory over Afghanistan in the round-robin stage, wasn’t missed in the final because of a superb fourth wicket stand of 162 between Kevin O’Brien and Andrew White. Only the retired Kyle McCallan has played more Ireland games than White and only the injured Andre Botha and Trent Johnston more than O’Brien’s 124 and their experience stood them in good stead as they rescued Ireland from 51 for three, in pursuit of Scotland’s 232.

It needed a stunning one-handed catch by Richie Berrington to dismiss White for 79 — his best in an ODI — but O’Brien went on to finish 98 not out. The fact he scored only seven boundaries — three of them sixes — underscored his disciplined innings while White, 10 years after his debut, continues to prove why he should be one of the first names on any Ireland teamsheet.

And Ireland didn’t need John Mooney either. Surely, the best No 7 in associate cricket, Mooney had a wonderful tournament, even performing with the ball when required and although a big call to put the 28-year-old on a full-time contract, Simmons has again been proven right.

Of the other contracted players, Paul Stirling ended up as Ireland’s leading run-scorer with 230 but, frustratingly he was out four times in the 30s and thanks to his five-for against the Afghans, Cusack ended up as Ireland’s joint leading wicket taker, with 10, the same as George Dockrell who continues to perform on the big stage.

Ireland A’s first game is against Italy tomorrow.