Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cricket-England all out for 260 as Siddle shines

Australian paceman Peter Siddle destroyed England's first innings as he took a stunning hat-trick and ended with six for 54 as England were dismissed for 260 on the first day of the first Ashes test on Thursday.

Celebrating his 26th birthday, Siddle took the key wickets of Kevin Pietersen (43) and Alastair Cook (67) in two brilliant spells that pegged the tourists back just when they looked like taking control.

Ian Bell, who made a gutsy 76, was the last recognised batsman to fall as Xavier Doherty took his first test wicket on his debut and the left-arm spinner added his second to end the innings when he bowled James Anderson for 11.

Australia will face 11 overs before the close of play, anxious to avoid the early drama England suffered when, having won the toss, skipper Andrew Strauss was caught for a duck on the third ball of the match.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sri Lanka join Afghanistan in semifinals

Mighty Sri Lanka, the world's third-best Test team, looked distinctly second-rate on Wednesday when minnows Nepal came agonisingly close to pulling off a stunning Asian Games upset.

Despite boasting 11 players in their squad who have played international one-day cricket, Sri Lanka only squeezed past Nepal's amateurs by two wickets to set-up a semi-final clash with Bangladesh.

Thursday's other last-four showdown will feature Pakistan against Afghanistan who comfortably saw off Hong Kong by eight wickets in their quarter-final.

After Nepal had been restricted to 72 all out, with former Test player Jehan Mubarak claiming three wickets, Sri Lanka reached 31-1 before suffering a worrying middle order collapse, losing six wickets for just 11 runs.

Captain Paras Khadra, Basant Regmi and Amrit Bhattarai took two wickets each for Nepal, who play in the World Cricket League Division Four.

But Sri Lanka steadied themselves and Sajeewa Weerakoon hit the winning runs with seven balls to spare.

Earlier, Afghanistan restricted Hong Kong to just 63 in a one-sided contest.

Hong Kong had no answer to Afghan opening pair Shahpur Zadran and Merwais Ashraf, slumping to 15-6 in the eighth over.

Zadran grabbed 2-9 and Ashraf took 3-8 in their allotted four-over spells as the Hong Kong batsmen looked out of their depth on a pitch offering some encouragement to the bowlers.

Hong Kong's opening bowlers Aizaz Khan and Irfan Ahmed looked lively but failed to make the early breakthroughs required and Afghanistan reached their target in the 14th over for the loss of just two wickets.

Mohammad Shahzad and Nawroz Mangal both finished unbeaten on 20.

"We are a good bowling side. We have two fast bowlers and it's difficult to bat on this wicket as it's a seaming wicket," said skipper Mohammad Nabi.

"It's not going to be easy to play Pakistan. They are a good team, but we've played very well in the past three or four years and we have played together as a team."

Coach Rashid Latif, a former Pakistan Test player, said he was confident Afghanistan could beat Pakistan, predicting a low-scoring contest on the bowler-friendly pitch.

"On paper Afghanistan are stronger than Pakistan and I'm very hopeful because my players are mentally and physically tough.

"We have a good fast bowling and spinning attack and are agile in the field," he said.

Last year Afghanistan rose to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Division One, narrowly missing out on a place in the World Cup to be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh next year.

They qualified for the World Twenty20 held in the West Indies earlier this year by winning qualifying rounds in Dubai.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

India crushed New Zealand & win Test series

Finally the correct script reached the actors. The groundsman was the first person to get the revised lines: the ball turned and bounced, kicked and spat angrily, not from day one but the third evening onwards. With a big lead in the bag, the Indian bowlers got into character without wasting time. They were all over the New Zealand batsmen, who were surrounded by all kinds of close-in fieldsmen.

The arm balls arrived too to trap the unsure batsmen, who crumbled under the pressure, as almost everybody thought they were supposed to do right through the series. The umpires felt the heat too, which is expected with the ball dancing all over and a gang of fielders around the bat.

As the three spinners shared the wickets - Suresh Raina being the third - and Ishant cleared up the tail, the Test win that India had to wait for longer than expected arrived remarkably quickly, half an hour after lunch on the fourth day. This was also India's third-biggest win ever.

Pragyan Ojha has spent most of his young career bowling on slow and low tracks, and has duly come across as a restrictive and a robotic bowler. It might still be too early to call - given the buffer of runs and the assistance from the pitch - but Ojha showed today he can attack too. He started off by outsmarting Brendon McCullum who tried the old bullying tactic of hitting early boundaries and trying to get the fielders out of his face. Ojha kept pitching the ball up, flighting it, giving it the best chance to turn and bounce. McCullum played back, and Ojha did the thing to do on a turner, slip in the straighter one. Dead plumb.

However, because the pitch was offering so much turn, the decision to give Martin Guptill lbw was ordinary. Being Ojha's regulation offbreak, it could either have pitched within the stumps or hit the stumps. As the replays showed, it was hitting the stumps all right, but after having pitched outside leg.

Harbhajan, who set the template of mixing in the straighter ones yesterday, came to get nightwatchman Gareth Hopkins with a flighted, dipping offbreak. Gautam Gambhir, who showed signs of return to form with the bat during this match, made the lunging bat-pad catch to his right, two balls after he was hit a by a full-blooded sweep from Ross Taylor.

Taylor, who was troubled by the outswing from Sreesanth in the morning, decided there was no point in hanging around and waiting for the one that jumps at him and takes the edge. So he started moving across and throwing his bat around, along the way surviving one plumb lbw when he missed a sweep right in front of the stumps. As it turned out, he didn't have to wait for the one that jumps and takes the edge: he was given caught bat-pad off the pad.

Taylor was so bemused he laughed all the way back to the pavilion, and Guptill, Jesse Ryder's runner, was so stunned he found it tough to close his gaping mouth. Ryder was the only batsman who looked at ease against the turning ball, but he got out trying to dominate the part-time spin of Suresh Raina, the second time he has fallen to the bowler.

Raina was not done yet. In his second over, he bowled the straighter one too, trapping Daniel Vettori in front, the third time he has taken the New Zealand captain.

Tim Southee swung the bat a little bit, hitting three sixes, but he only delayed the inevitable. This game will also be remembered for Chris Martin's first duck against India in six Tests.

With the breaking of New Zealand's resistance complete, India have not lost any of their last nine series. However, given the big difference in the two teams' rankings, the 1-0 result earned India a one-rating-point penalty in the ICC Test rankings.

Read more>>

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pakistan wins first cricket gold at Asian Games

Nida Rashid's brilliant allround performance has helped Pakistan win the first cricket gold medal ever awarded at the Asian Games with a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the women's Twenty20 final.

After being sent into bat, Bangladesh was bowled out for 92 in 20 overs, with offspinner Rashid taking four wickets for 16 runs.

Rashid then scored a superb unbeaten 51 to guide her team to 93-0 in 15.4 overs. Javeria Wadood hit the winning boundary and was not out 39.

It was Pakistan's first gold at Guangzhou, after collecting silver in wushu and a bronze in snooker.

Earlier, Japan defeated China by seven wickets to clinch bronze. The men's competition starts on the weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sri Lanka forced to follow-on by West Indies

Spinner Shane Shillingford and pacer Kemar Roach shared seven wickets as the West Indies bowled out Sri Lanka for 378 in its first innings, forcing a follow-on in the first Test.


Prasanna Jayawardene and tailender Dammika Prasad shared a 72-run stand in 73 balls for the eighth wicket on Thursday and brought the host team close to avoiding the follow-on.

But after Prasad was dismissed for 47, Sri Lanka's remaining wickets fell with the hosts three runs short of the target. Jayawardene was last out for 58.

Shillingford took 4-123 while Roach returned 3-75. Captain Kumar Sangakkara top scored for Sri Lanka with 73.

Earlier, Sri Lanka resumed on 165 for three in response to the tourists' first innings total of 580-9 declared.

The hosts need a further 117 runs to avoid having to bat again.

On a bright and sunny morning, West Indies broke through in the sixth over when paceman Kemar Roach had Mahela Jayawardene caught behind by wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh for 59, ending a 61-run fourth wicket partnership with Thilan Samaraweera.

In the previous over, Jayawardene was dropped by Dwayne Bravo at leg slip off Shane Shillingford, who bowled a tidy but luckless spell.

The off-spinner also rapped the batsmen several times on the pads but West Indies were reluctant to make use of their last available referral.

Samaraweera completed his half-century off 69 balls but was unfortunate to be run out when backing up at the non-striker's end.

Dwayne Bravo stuck out his boot to block an Angelo Mathews drive and the ball went straight on to hit the stumps with Samaraweera (52) slightly out of the crease.

Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene appeared to be taking Sri Lanka to lunch without any further loss but West Indies captain Darren Sammy made a crucial change in the last over before the break.

The skipper brought Shillingford back on and the spinner duly obliged by dismissing Mathews for 27 when he edged a catch to Sammy at first slip.

Read more

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

India missing spinning tracks against New Zealand

Placid wickets dished out for the first two cricket Tests against New Zealand have put the spotlight back on India's waning home advantage.

Spin has been India's traditional strength while playing at home but both Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha have struggled for breakthroughs in the three-Test series so far.

Harbhajan, India's most successful off-spinner, has taken just six wickets while giving away 305 runs at an average of more than 50 and left-arm spinner Ojha has fared no better, managing seven wickets at the cost of 324 runs.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was scathing in his assessment of the wickets prepared for the first Test in Ahmedabad and the second in Hyderabad, both of which ended in draws.

"We might have to play 10 days instead of five to get a result on wickets like these," he said at the end of the Hyderabad Test on Tuesday.

"That's what I frankly believe. The wickets have been on the flatter side. Other than the one hour in the Ahmedabad Test when (Chris) Martin bowled that five-wicket spell, there has been nothing in the wickets for the bowlers.

"There has not been any turn for the spinners on even the fourth and fifth days. In fact, of the Test matches we have played lately, very few have been on turners.

"I can remember Ahmedabad against Sri Lanka (2005). After that, Kanpur (2008, against South Africa) to some extent. The wicket in Mumbai against Sri Lanka in 2009 also gave a bit of assistance in the morning."

India beat Sri Lanka in the Ahmedabad match by 259 runs with Harbhajan bagging 10 wickets and the now-retired leg-spinner Anil Kumble taking seven.

At Kanpur, India wrapped an eight-wicket win inside three days with Harbhajan again leading the way with a seven-wicket match haul.

The Mumbai match saw Harbhajan and Ojha share 11 wickets to help India win by an innings and 24 runs.

"As a foreign team coming to India, you think of how you are going to play the fourth and fifth days," Dhoni said. "But when there is no assistance for the bowlers, things change.

"I don't think visiting teams are under the same pressure that they were in the past when handling spinners. You used to see them practise throw-downs on scuffed surfaces with rough areas.

"I don't think it is like that any more."

Dhoni was praying the script would be different when the teams square up for the third and series-deciding final Test starting in Nagpur on Saturday.

"The wicket at Nagpur is known to assist bowlers and specially spinners. So, I am hoping for a result in the last match."

Harbhajan was at pains to answer why India have been so reluctant to cash in on their spin strength.

"I think you should ask those people who make the wickets because I don't know," said the bowler whose strike-rate with the ball this year is an embarrassing 97.4.

"In every country the conditions are different. In Australia, there is bounce. In India, I don't know when I last played on a turner. On the fourth and fifth days, if there is turn and bounce, what's wrong with it?"

Perhaps, it is the nature of the wickets that has turned Harbhajan into a batsman of sorts in this series. Batting at number eight, Harbhajan has aggregated 295 runs from three innings, including two centuries.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hyderabad Test ends in a draw

The second Test match between India and New Zealand ended in a draw after both captains agreed that the tie could not garner any other result. With the series tied 0-0 after two matches, all would be decided in the final rubber in Nagpur on November 20.

India had started the run-chase with the feisty opening duo of Delhi lads Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Sehwag in his typical style, spanked fours all over the park and raced to his 25th Test fifty in lesser balls.

New Zealand scoreboard had read 448/8 at tea time and the visitors subsequently declared their innings with a target of 327 runs and just a session to go for the home team.

In a Test where Harbhajan (111*, 5 wickets), Gautam Gambhir (54, 14*), Brendon McCullum (225), Tim McIntosh (102, 49), Virender Sehwag (96 and 54*) and Martin Guptill (85) had a good run, the real credit would go to the pitch that offered most to the batsmen while giving a bit of a chance to pacers only in the initial one hour of the day.

From the time when Daniel Vettori won the toss and decided to make India play the last innings and perhaps crumble under pressure to the time when Harbhajan’s innings almost took the game away from them to the final double centurion song of McCullum, the balance of either sides tilted to and fro.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cricket-India v New Zealand - second test scoreboard

Scoreboard at the close of the opening day of the second test between India and New Zealand at
Hyderabad on Friday.

New Zealand first innings
T. McIntosh b Khan 102
B. McCullum c Dhoni b Sreesanth 4
M. Guptill lbw b Ojha 85
R. Taylor c Dhoni b Khan 24
J. Ryder not out 22
G. Hopkins not out 0
Extras (b-1, lb-15, w-1, nb-4) 21
Total (four wickets; 90 overs) 258

To bat: K. Williamson, D. Vettori, T. Southee, C. Martin, B.
Fall of wicket: 1-4 2-151 3-206 4-253

Bowling (to date): Khan 18-7-41-2, Sreesanth 15-1-60-1 (4nb,
1w), Harbhajan 27-6-66-0, Ojha 23-4-60-1, Raina 7-2-15-0.

India: V. Sehwag, G. Gambhir, R. Dravid, S. Tendulkar, VVS
Laxman, S. Raina, MS Dhoni (captain), H. Singh, Z. Khan, P.
Ojha, S. Sreesanth.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

South African cricket's flag was at half-mast

South African cricket's flag was at half-mast on Wednesday as it mourned sporting great Herbert Roy "Tiger" Lance, who died at the age of 70 of complications following a car crash.

"He was both a powerful cricketer and a powerful personality and was a legend in his own lifetime," said Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola.

Lance dislocated his right hip, sustained internal bleeding of the lung, and possibly a perforated diaphragm in a head-on collision near Leeuwkop Prison, in Sunninghill, on October 15.

At the time, police said Lance's car was hit by a woman driving on the wrong side of the road. She was critically injured in the crash.

"South African cricket mourns the loss of Tiger Lance in such tragic circumstances," said Majola.

Born on June 6 1940 in Pretoria, Lance played 13 Test matches for South Africa between 1962 and 1970, scoring 591 runs at an average of 28,14 and taking 12 wickets at 39,91.

He played 103 first-class games for North-eastern Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and Transvaal. He scored 5 336 first-class runs at an average of 34,87 and claimed 167 wickets at average of 25,65.

"Tiger was always a most-valued VIP guest in the CSA's Presidential Suite at the Wanderers during international matches in recent times, and we are shocked and dismayed at his passing in these tragic circumstances," said Majola.

"CSA extends its condolences to his family and friends at this sad time and South African cricket's flag is now at half-mast in tribute to him."


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Indian cricket team to get a Toss Coach

Mumbai: Under the helm of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India may be the number one ranked Test team in the world. But the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) seems to see a big chink in his captaincy armour —- his continued lack of form with the all-important toss. And with a view to addressing this lacuna, the BCCI today announced the most radical plan of appointing a Toss Coach for the Indian team.

'This is the first of its kind in the history of sports. As a cricketing administrative body with a modern outlook, we have shown the way for others,' a BCCI spokesperson crowed.

Explaining the rationale behind the appointment of the Toss Coach, the BCCI spokesperson, who was not Rajiv Shukla because he was able to speak in full sentences, said: 'The most important thing in a cricketing contest is, of course, the advertising revenue. But after that the toss is the most vital aspect. India may have been winning matches but we cannot overlook the fact that we have been also losing tosses with alarming regularity.'

'What's the point in winning the war and still losing the battle', the BCCI spokesperson said, not minding the fact that he had completely mixed and messed up a popular idiom.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cricket World Cup on display as countdown begins

The cricket World Cup trophy was displayed by South African players Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the Dubai aquarium as the 100-day countdown to the event began here Tuesday.

Morkel and Steyn, who were later joined by members of the South African and Pakistani teams, dived into the aquarium to start the ceremony which was also attended by officials of International Cricket Council (ICC).

The opening ceremony of the World Cup will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 17. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka jointly host the 10th World Cup from February 19 to April 2.

"It was spectacular to watch the 100-day countdown ceremony and the ICC and the three host countries are gearing up for the World Cup," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters.

Pakistan were also due to co-host the 2011 party, but were stripped of their rights due to security concerns in the volatile nation in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in March last year.

Lorgat said he feels for Pakistan's fans.

"Due to unavoidable circumstances we had to shift the matches from Pakistan and I welcome all the fans there to come to Sri Lanka and support their team as they always do," said Lorgat.

Pakistan will play all its group matches in Sri Lanka.

The 43-day, 49-match tournament will be played under a new format with India hosting a majority of matches (29), including the final at the new-look Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 2.

Lorgat said the ICC had learnt lessons from the past World Cup, especially the problem of low turn outs due to the high prices of tickets in the last event held in the West Indies three years ago.

"I hope lessons learnt from the 2007 event will help us and we have done everything to make this event in the sub-continent a special one," said Lorgat, who also hails from South Africa.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis hoped Pakistan do well in the World Cup.

"It was nice to begin the 100-day countdown here," said Waqar, who was Pakistan captain in the 2003 World Cup. "We still have one series to play in New Zealand and hope that we remain focused to win the mega event."

South African captain Graeme Smith said he hoped the World Cup will be a success.

"The World Cup is a prestigious event and being held in the sub-continent, where cricket is a passion, makes it a special event," said Smith whose country has never won the mega event since re-admitted to international fold in 1992 after a lengthy ban due to aparthied.

"Every team wants to win the World Cup and we will also make extra effort to win it," said Smith."

Read more>>

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Kumble, Srinath to lead Karnataka cricket

At a time when the BCCI is in direct confrontation with one of India's greatest players Sunil Gavaskar over IPL payments, there is a change being ushered in here at the Karnataka State Cricket Association with former greats Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad all set to make the transformation from the pitch to the boardroom.

Just a day after KSCA secretary and former Test player Brajesh Patel said in a statement that he will do everything to facilitate the election of Kumble and Srinath as new chief office-bearers for the 2010-13 term, the three at a joint press conference on Wednesday said it was "important for cricketers to be a part of the association and the KSCA has led the way".

"Cricketers of our generation must get involved in governing cricket. Our motive is to improve Karnataka cricket and hope to make more international cricketers," said Kumble.

"We will give our hundred per cent for Karnataka Cricket. Our attempt will be to make Kartnataka Association the number one in India," he added.

Former pacer Srinath, who is now an ICC match referee, said: "Under the leadership of Kumble, we are ready to serve Karnataka cricket."

Patel said he had served the KSCA as secretary for 12 years and "contributed to the growth of the association with all my might putting my heart and soul. I have now decided not contest the election.

"With the changing times I firmly believe that fresh energy, new ideas and young feet are good for any institution," Patel said.

The KSCA election is slated to be held on November 21.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cricket: Indian team arrives in Ahmedabad for Test against NZ

The Indian team arrived here on Monday for their first match of the three-Test series against visitors New Zealand, starting November 4 at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera.

The players including Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, coach Gary Kirsten, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, spinner Pragyan Ojha and others arrived at the Ahmedabad airport on Monday morning.

The Indian team is likely to practice at the stadium later in the afternoon, officials of the Gujarat Cricket Association said.

For Tendulkar this venue has always been a happy hunting ground. He had scored his career's first double century at Motera stadium against New Zealand in 1999.

He also celebrated his 20 years in Test cricket at the same stadium by scoring a century against Sri Lanka in November 2009.

The batting maestro, who is just one ton short of scoring his 50th Test century, would be looking forward to setting up one more record during the Test match here.

Tendulkar has 49 Test and 58 half centuries, and has the highest number of runs 14,240, in the longer format of the game.