Monday, January 31, 2011

India hopes Sachin Tendulkar can cap phenomenal career with World Cup win

As Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar heads into his record sixth cricket World Cup, a nation of 1.2 billion are hoping he can cap a phenomenal career with a win for host India.

Tendulkar is the holder of virtually every major batting record in test and one-day cricket, including most runs and most centuries in either form, and most believe a World Cup win will complete his career of achievements.

Former West Indian batsman Vivian Richards said during a World Cup promotional event here last month that "the World Cup would be the icing on the cake for Sachin Tendulkar."

Just as Tendulkar's consistency has been credited with India's superb recent form, runs from the Mumbai player's bat have had a direct bearing on the team's fortunes in the World Cup.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cricket tourney in Israel to mark India R'Day

A cricket tournament for people of Indian origin was launched in Israel to mark India's 62nd Republic Day.

The Republic Day was celebrated at the India House in Herzliya Pituah Jan 26.

After unfurling the national flag and singing of the national anthem, Ambassador Navtej Sarna read out excerpts from Indian President Pratibha Patil's address that was delivered on the eve of the Republic Day.

This was followed by a short cultural programme.

Sarna felicitated Indian Hospice director Sheikh Mohammed Munir Ansari, who was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2011 for his contribution in maintaining the hospice as a symbol of India's heritage in Jerusalem.

The embassy also launched the 'India Trophy', a cricket tournament for the Indian-origin community in Israel.

A large number of Indians and friends of India attended the event.

There are approximately 70,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel, most of who are Israeli nationals. The main waves of immigration into Israel from India took place in the fifties and sixties. The majority are from Maharashtra and smaller numbers are from Kerala and Kolkata.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Test cricket is here to stay

Gentleman dressed in white wielding their willows or shining the red cherries always earned the respect of cricket enthusiasts. Test cricket has been trying to hold its own, with tough competition from ODI cricket and the even shorter format, Twenty20 cricket in its recent years.

Twenty20, introduced by England initially, began to extract large revenues from ticket sales and endorsements. It was started in order to attract the crowds towards the stadiums and was successful in doing so. People found this format entertaining, as the result was decided in a short span of 3 hours.

With the rise of Twenty20; test cricket took a back seat. Test cricket played during the calendar year began to decrease as twenty20 matches became a permanent fixture in any tour. The world began to witness how the Gentlemen's game fell into the nexus of the commercialized version of the game. Then the Indian Premier League and the Stanford League came into existence to capitalize on the growing popularity.

Test cricket began to lose its luster as crowds began to find the 5 day game longer and boring. Due to this fact, the International Cricket Council has come up with plans to make Test cricket exciting-there are even talks of staging a test cricket world cup! Test cricket still remains to be a top priority among international renowned cricketers.

Test cricket gets the best out of a player-it's an ultimate test for any cricketer. Playing for 5 days in a row demands immaculate concentration, determination, and temperament. So the hard-fought earned victory of over 5 days is much sweeter than any other victory.

One of the most thrilling aspects of test cricket is the 22 yards pitch where cricket is to be played over 5 days. These days the pitches are tailor made according to the wishes of the home team. The best cricket is played on those sporting wickets which have something for batsmen, faster bowlers and spinners too. Test cricket does not give batsmen the chance to score free and easy runs with strong fielding arrangements.

The vanishing art of Reverse swing bowling can be seen only in test cricket, where the same ball is used for a minimum of 80 overs. Its master exponent was Wasim Akram. Only good batsmen can handle these deliveries with perfection, else they will look totally helpless and lost. Three players who immediately spring in our minds are Malinga, Anderson and Zaheer Khan from the current list of players who are near to mastering it.

Test cricket is here to stay. Twenty20 cricket is like a baby, who will be loved by everyone initially. The 50 over game has to be nurtured and monitored regularly. Why do players first get a chance to represent their countries in the shorter format of the game, and then later the longest format of the game? It is because the players need to pass the "Test" of a Twenty and a Fifty over game before being declared fit to play the purest form of cricket-Test cricket.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Four arrested for betting on cricket match

The crime branch made a swoop on a hideout at Malad and arrested four bookies who were allegedly accepting bets on the one-day cricket match between Australia and England on Saturday.

Sources in the Unit 8 crime branch, which conducted the raid, told Hindustan Times that they had received a tip-off about bets being accepted on the third one-day match between Australia and England.

The police raided a flat in Bhagran Nagar in Malad (W) from where they arrested the four men. A laptop, an internet modem, 16 cellphones and Rs3.65 lakh in cash were seized from the flat by the police.

The police are investigating the case and the records of the four arrested accused to check if they are linked to notorious bookie Junior Bandra in any way.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Muttiah Muralitharan plans to retire after World Cup

Legendary Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has confirmed that he will retire from international cricket after the forthcoming World Cup in Asia.

The 38-year-old quit Test cricket last July after taking a record 800 wickets.

But he has remained in his country's limited-overs side and will bow out after the World Cup, co-hosted by Sri Lanka, which begins on 19 February.

However, he will continue to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League after signing for new franchise Kochi.

Muralitharan, who helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup and was a losing finalist in 2007, has taken 517 wickets in 339 one-day internationals in a career which has spanned nearly two decades at the top level and left him as the world's leading wicket-taker in both the major formats of the game.

"I'm going to retire from international cricket, totally, after this World Cup," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Sri Lanka host West Indies in three one-day internationals before the World Cup, when they will face Canada, Pakistan, Kenya, Australia, Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Group A.

"Our preparation has been good, but I think we have a good chance because we're playing in Sri Lanka," said Muralitharan.

"There won't be a huge [home] advantage, but it will have a little bit of impact

"It's very difficult to compare the 1996 team to this team, as it's two different generations.

"We have experienced players and young players, and our side has done very well for the last two years in one-day cricket.

"England are a very good side, but it depends on how they play in sub-continent conditions, which are very different to Australia or England as it favours spin bowling.

"Graeme Swann has done really well for England, I think he's one of the best spinners in the world."

Meanwhile, he told reporters at a training session in Colombo that as well as signing to play in the IPL for the next two years, he was "also looking at similar work in New Zealand and perhaps England."

But he ruled out an immediate move into coaching, adding: "There are plenty of coaches and lots of talented people out there.

"I will take things as they come. For the moment, no coaching stints."

Born in Kandy, Muralitharan's unique bent-arm bowling action, caused by a deformity from birth, has meant that he has courted controversy at times during his career.

Some umpires and former players have questioned his action's legality - notably in Australia, where umpires Darrell Hair and Ross Emerson no-balled him for throwing.

The mechanics of his bowling action have been investigated and cleared on more than one occasion by the International Cricket Council, although in 2005 the ICC amended its rules to allow bowlers to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

Throughout much of his career, he battled with Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne for the title of the world's leading wicket-taker, but Warne retired from internationals in 2007 with 708 wickets from 145 Tests, and 293 victims from 194 ODIs - although he, too, continues to play in the IPL.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

World Cup victory in 1983 and all that

The contrast between the India of 2011 and the 1983 side is stark. Yet they won it 28 years ago. So they can do it again. But the deal is that I shall not be eating any unsavoury paper and ink.

It’s time to check out old memories, for another cricket World Cup is approaching. This inevitably brings back some electrifying thoughts of the 1983 event, which will forever stand very high in India’s collective memory.

And not just that. On a personal note, I was vilified for something I wrote about India’s prospects before that tournament, and then subsequently thanked for spurring them to victory.What a conflict of opinion.

So let me state the precise facts. Most people know that in the first two World Cups (1975 and 1979) the approach and the performance by India were dire.

It seemed clear that most of their players objected to the principle of having to hurry things along, in contrast to the measured pace of Test cricket, where time is often of less concern.

This was what actually made batsmen such as Sunil Gavaskar so very difficult to dislodge, and India so difficult to beat over five days.

In the lead-up period to the 1983 World Cup, my preview in Wisden Cricket Monthly included these words: “India can only hope to redeem their dismal record of past World Cup performances. They plodded against England in the most bloody-minded fashion in 1975 and managed to lose to the then-humble Sri Lanka in 1979.

If their pride is not important enough to spur them to whole-hearted effort this time, they might as well give way to other would-be participants in 1987.”

Reel forward three months. India have won the World Cup, to the surprise and delight of much of the cricket world.

The might of West Indies was tossed aside by Kapil Dev’s boys. Today’s chairman of selectors Srikkanth top-scored with a bold 38, “Jimmy” Amarnath (spinal innings of 26 off 81 balls and 3 for 12 off seven overs) received the Man-of-the-Match award.

Kapil’s outfield catch to dismiss Viv Richards (33 top score) was seen as the decisive moment, and that night the hotel across from Lord’s trembled from the rhythm of the dancing in the foyer as Indian fans mobbed their heroes.

The captain did a sinuous bhangra, and I stood in the corner, smiling and tingling with pleasure. What happened next?I received a letter from a mildly irate fandemanding that I now eat my words.

It was alleged that I was “one-sided” in my preview.(Of course, I preferred to see it as an impartial judgment which, if anything, had served as a spur to push the boys to greater effort.)

My correspondent very reasonably pointed out that “this one-day cricket, an English invention, took time to take root in India”. He therefore relished India’s “demolishing” of England in the 1983 semifinal.

But now he demanded that I “be a good sport and swallow the lousy paragraph you wrote”.

Being (I hope) a gentleman (Canterbury Boys’ High School, MCC member and all that), I set about meeting this man’s requirement.In the press-box at Lord’s, having carefully acquired some good wine to wash it down, I duly chewed up and swallowed that paragraph. It was a satisfying experience, though not without a lingering fear of the consequences of downing so much inked paper.

There is no longer any need to goad India into applying themselves to the task ahead.MS Dhoni’s team have won their share of limited-over matches in recent years and now approach the 2011 World Cup among the favourites.

To have beaten South Africa in South Africa is no mean feat, and must push India upwards in the forecasts. The impression given to one so far away is that India now have so many estimable players — for Test and for one-day demands — that they will hold their own against any opposition. And if spin bowling plays a big part in their success, cricket is the winner.

Cricket’s charm is based not only upon its visual appeal and its rhythms. It is one of the most unpredictable of sports.One recent surprise has been the batsmanship of Harbhajan Singh.India’s tail now seems fortified, always important in the shorter game.

Piyush Chawla’s leg-spin is a delight to behold.The fast attack seems in good order, with Zaheer Khan doubtless determined to make amends for India’s defeat in the World Cup final before last, when Australia beat India as well as the rain in the Johannesburg final.

I wrote only a few years back that India’s top six in the batting order was probably as good as any in cricket history.Now Virender Sehwag has added his powers to it. Captain Dhoni has drive and flair, and the contrast between the India of 2011 and the 1983 side is stark.

Yet they won it 28 years ago.So they can do it again. But the deal is that if my prediction (so very different to the 1983 version) fails to materialise, I shall not be eating any unsavoury paper and ink.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tendulkar is a genius, says Lara

A “rusty” Brian Lara gifted the sprightly youngster the moment of his life. The ball sneaked past the bat and grazed the pads before disturbing the stumps. Lara was bowled!

Many bowlers have treasured such moments on the cricket field in international cricket. But this was a non-descript under-19 seamer, part of the group of youngsters attending the hour-long cricket clinic organised at the Ferozeshah Kotla by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) in conjunction with the Trinidad Tourism here on Tuesday.

Lara, who is the Ambassador of Sport for Trinidad and Tobago, remained a cricketer to the hilt. “I enjoyed batting but I was a little rusty. I must say I saw quite a few good players today and was very impressed.”

Better pitches needed

And then he spoke of India's weakness when faced with quality fast bowling. “I wish the practice pitches could be a little more enterprising, conducive to pace.” Bounce was the reason, he said, why the Indian batsmen failed in the Test at the Centurion recently against South Africa.

Even as former Test opener Chetan Chauhan, as part of the organisers, requested “no questions on IPL (Indian Premier League)”, Lara was forthcoming. “I was not overly disappointed,” he said on being unsold at the auction.

“It (auction) is not the greatest situation any player would like himself to find in. I can understand the reservations the owners and the managers must have had but they missed the broader picture.

“I would have made a difference with my knowledge. Private ownership is a good idea like club football. It would have given me an opportunity to continue my love with India but maybe some other time.”

Comforting message

Lara, 11953 runs in 131 Tests and 10405 in 299 ODIs, had a comforting message for Sourav Ganguly, who also remained unsold at the IPL auction.

“It didn't tarnish his message. He has been a great leader (of Indian cricket) and a good friend of mine.”

On Sachin Tendulkar's longevity in the game and the benchmarks set by his “dear friend”, Lara was generous in his praise. “It would be almost impossible for anyone to break his records. I feel great to referred to in the same breath but he is a genius and outstanding in all parts of the world. I didn't see Sir Don Bradman but I respect his averages.”

Hailing the great run by the West Indies in the 1970s and 80s and Australia thereafter, Lara observed that the trend of invincibility was not possible to return. “Can't really tell which team is the number one in the world! Each team has its time.”

Picks India, S.Africa

Lara rated India and South Africa as favourites to win the forthcoming World Cup. “India would counter home pressure but will be hard to beat. In the sub-continent, it is important to build a momentum.”

About South Africa, he said, “they have a bogey as far as World Cup was concerned.”

He picked Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Michael Clarke, Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen as the batsmen to watch.

He also picked Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gayle to overhaul his Test record of 400 not out. He also noted that the score of 200 was more likely to be scaled because, “T20 has changed the shape of the game.”

Looking ahead, Lara, 41, smiled, “I am still travelling, involved with the Zimbabwe team, coaching and mentoring, playing more golf, still being busy. The shine is not off the ball yet.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tendulkar named as World Cup squad

Injured Tendulkar named in India's cricket World Cup squad.

Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar has been included in his country's 15-man World Cup squad, despite doubts over the opener's fitness ahead of next month's competition.

Tendulkar was forced to withdraw from India's ongoing tour of South Africa on Saturday after straining his right hamstring.

The 37-year-old has scored a record 17,629 runs in 444 one-day internationals, but has played just four over the last 12 months in order to focus on Test cricket.

However, the world's leading one-day and Test batsman was named in the squad for the February 19 to April 2 tournament, which is to be jointly hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Cook not hopeful of England World Cup place

The south east Asian nation's one-day side -- currently level with South Africa at one game a piece in the best-of-five match series -- have also been missing batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir as well as fast bowler Praveen Kumar through injury.

"I am not worried at all about the injuries, these are part of the game," Krishnamachari Srikkanth, India's chairman of selectors told reporters in Chennai following the team announcement on Monday.

"I am confident the team will be fully fit when the World Cup starts," he added.

India hold second place behind Australia in the official one-day rankings, ahead of co-hosts Sri Lanka, England and South Africa.

Led by captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India have been drawn with England, the West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland, the Netherlands and South Africa in group B of cricket's 10th World Cup.

Defending champions Australia head group A with Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya completing the line up for the tournament.

Following the round-robin stages, four teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cricket is more than just a game in India

Guess who's taken their shirts off to wear their passion on their bodies!

Led by their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, leading Indian superstars, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli will sport a never-seen-before painted body look for Pepsi's path-breaking World Cup 2011 campaign to be launched soon.

Pepsi is one of the global sponsors for the World Cup and the body paint campaign is an attempt to bring alive the passion that these cricketers have for their game, says Sandeep Singh Arora, executive vice-president (Marketing), Cola, PepsiCo India.

"Cricket is more than just a game in India, it is like a faith and its followers include millions of passionate Youngistaanis. With our innovative Cricket World Cup campaign we wanted to reflect the same fervor and energy that the fans and the players have and what can be more passionate than wearing it on your body," he said in a media release.

The new body painted look is youthful, fresh and symbolic of the individual player's passion for the game. Covered only with a layer of colourful body paint, the cricketers' images reflect their energetic and unique persona on the field. Each design and choice of colour palette has a story behind it which mirrors the athlete's character.

The creator of these looks, Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Taproot India, comments on the individual designs:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cricket bosses back cricket Fridays

Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday gave Lead SA’s Cricket Friday initiative the thumbs up, urging all South Africans to back the Proteas and wear their cricket shirts on Fridays.

It comes ahead of the Cricket World Cup which begins on the February 19.

“We support the initiative taken by Lead SA and we hope that all South Africans support it. I will also be wearing my Proteas shirt every Friday,” said Cricket SA’s CEO Gerald Majola.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and SuperSport have also endorsed cricket Fridays.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame "recognises the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket's long and illustrious history". A hall of fame, it was launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on 2 January 2009, in association with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), as part of the ICC's centenary celebrations. The initial inductees were the 55 players included in the FICA Hall of Fame which ran from 1999 to 2003, but further members are added each year during the ICC Awards ceremony. The inaugural inductees ranged from W. G. Grace, who retired from cricket in 1899, to Graham Gooch, who played his last Test match in 1995. Living inductees receive a commemorative cap; Australian Rodney Marsh was the first member of the initial inductees to receive his. Members of the Hall of Fame assist in the selection of future inductees.

There are more English players in the Hall of Fame than players from other countries. Only ten of the 64 inductees played for nations outside England, Australia and the West Indies. South African Barry Richards played the fewest Test matches during his career with four, before South Africa were excluded from participating in international cricket in 1970. Australian Steve Waugh, inducted in October 2009, played the most Tests with 168 in an international career spanning 20 years. In 2010, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, former England women's cricket team captain who led the team to victory in the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1973, became the first and only woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Aussies will absorb defeat

So another of this country's great sporting cathedrals has been turned into something resembling a mausoleum. I was at the Sydney Cricket Ground this morning, having been given the task of finding crestfallen Aussie fans. Yet on the road outside, which on test match days is normally crammed with Aussies wearing green and gold, with zinc cream smeared across their faces like tribal decorations, brandishing inflatable marsupials and waving boxing kangaroo flags, there was hardly a local in site.

This, for us Poms, is cause for double celebration. The taste of cricketing victory is always sweet, and never more so than when laced with Australian suffering.

Of course, we, as Brits, are almost pre-programmed to gloat. We have also come to expect that Australia experiences great national convulsions whenever it loses to the English. Ideally, we would like to see news anchors breaking down, Walter Cronkite-like, on air, flags at half-mast atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House not only enveloped in darkness but hosting concerts funereal in tone. In Austerity Britain, perhaps we not only like to think that is how Australian reacts but almost need to think it.

Alas, we are dealing here with Assumed Australia rather than the real thing: a kingdom of the mind where the historical arithmetic is always being recalculated on some imaginary tally board, where ledgers perpetually need to be balanced, and where wrongs always need to be righted.

True, Aussies never enjoy losing to the English. For some, it hurts bad. But the truth is that the country will absorb this defeat without sinking into a nationwide funk. Its self-esteem, buoyed by an almost recession-proof economy, simply isn't that fragile. And then there is the beach.

So in the absence of streets filled with weeping women and newspapers edged in black, what should we be telling London about Australia's response to England's lop-sided Ashes victory?

For a start, it is worth pointing out that the present side has not got a particularly enthusiastic home following. This is partly because when Australia lost its best players, like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist, it also lost its most likeable stars. After Shane and his technicolour dreamcoat, the present crop are vanilla in comparison.

Ricky Ponting is not hugely popular, though I have long thought he gets an unfair press. He is much better than his headlines would suggest - although, as with his outburst in Melbourne, he sometimes brings them on himself. Certainly, he does not have the standing of Allan Border, Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh, his three predecessors. Nor does his temporary and perhaps long-term replacement Michael Clarke. In a country that has always respected workhorses, I suspect many think the New South Welshman is a bit of a show pony.

Sports fans here are also realists rather than sentimentalists or fantasists. After the retirement of Warne and McGrath, they knew cricket would no longer be a unipolar world with Australia as its sole superpower. Even if the sharp gradient of its downward trajectory has taken many by surprise, the national team was never going to withstand such a heavy depletion of resources.

My hunch is that Aussie spectators are more sporting than we give them credit for - although the mass evacuation of the MCG last week when England started to get on top adds weight to the counter-veiling view. "Well earned" reads the headline on the ABC News website this afternoon, and I do not think that there is a single serious-minded cricket follower in this land that thinks that Australia deserved to win. Other than a couple of days in Brisbane and the test match in Perth, England were by far the better and more balanced side.

Aussie sports fans can spot mediocrity a mile off, and have witnessed it for years in its now highly fallible cricket team. After losing to South Africa two years ago, last summer they struggled even against the West Indies and Pakistan.

To put the Ashes into some kind of wider sporting and cultural context, perhaps it would be worth pointing out that Australian sports administrators are increasingly looking to establish a bridgehead in Asia. Aussie Rules has just held an exhibition game in China. The Bledisloe Cup is now contested in Hong Kong and Tokyo. The Australian World Cup bid also tried to turn the old tyranny of distance argument on its head by trying to persuade Fifa that Sydney and Melbourne were gateways to Asia.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

India will not accept UDRS, says BCCI

The Indian cricket board has ruled out using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and also rejected an offer to travel to Australia and watch its Ashes application.

The clamour to use the technology aimed at reducing umpiring errors has been growing but India have opposed UDRS as they are adamant the ball-tracking tool is not accurate enough.

UDRS was not used in India's recent series against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary N Srinivasan said there was no real chance of the world's richest cricket body changing its stance.

"We don't accept this technology. We are not going to use it in any bilateral series," Srinivasan told Reuters over the phone.

Cricket South Africa could not convince BCCI to use UDRS in the ongoing series and an annoyed Proteas captain Graeme Smith said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should make it mandatory.

"The ICC needs to take responsibility and lead the way when it comes to the review system," Smith said after losing the Durban test against India where a couple of dubious decisions hurt his team.

"They can't just let the boards decide and negotiate it. Using the UDRS once every seven series is not going to help anybody."

Australia's stand-in captain Michael Clarke shared Smith's view on uniformity.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

IND VS SA 3rd Test Cricket Live Score

Newlands Ground in Cape Town is witnessing one of the finest test matches. Its India v South Africa and we are now in the 4th day’s play but still the two teams are even. We still do not know which team will win.

The game is currently poised on the razor’s edge and how South Africa bat in the first session on the fourth day will go a long way in deciding which way the game turns. There was nothing between the two teams in the first innings and with the South Africans getting to 52/2, it could still be anybody’s game.

On the fourth day of the India v South Africa third Test, there are many possibilities. One, India can look to run through the South African batting, in much like the same manner as they had done to India at the same venue four years ago. A score of 200 all out will mean that the Indians will have enough time to get to the target with Dale Steyn being the one man between them and the 2-1 series win.

While the possibility of a draw cannot be ruled out, India have an edge over South Africa in this final test match. The match will start at 1330 hrs IST and you all can watch the live cricket match on TEN Cricket. We believe that Harbhajan will turn around this match for India. He is bowling well and I am sure Harbhajan will remove the South African top order.

Yesterday was a mix day for India. Tendulkar and Gambhir started off well but then Gambhir missed his century. He got out on 92. Spinner Harris must be very happy to take his prized wicket. Laxman was very unlucky to get run out when he looked good with the bat. However, man of day 3 was Sachin Tendulkar.

He scored his 51st century at Cape Town. He made sure that India at least make the same score as South Africa. He played great cricket shots and his partner Harbhajan Singh gave him a good company. Harbhajan too batted well and scored 40 runs for his team. He always scores when it is required the most. If you missed Tendulkar’s century do watch the highlights of India v South Africa on TEN Cricket sports channel.

If South Africa can get to 250, then the Indians will find it difficult to chase down the target on a fifth day track against the likes of Steyn and Harris.

The other option for South Africa is to bat the day and score 325 and ask India to bat 90 overs on the last day. If one were to look at the run-rates in the game, it sure will be difficult for the Indians to chase down that total but they can look to bat out the fifth day for the game to end in a draw.

The question is who will blink first tomorrow.

Its bright a sunny in Cape Town and the temperature is roughly 25 degree Celsius. Just the right conditions to play full day of cricket. South Africa have already lost their captain and night watchman Harris.

Amla is batting on 0 and Petersen is not out on 22. The live cricket score of India v SA is 52/2. They have already taken a lead of 50 runs and India will be looking to wrap up this SA side at a score of not more than 250. Lets all watch TEN Cricket Live and see how the match progresses.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Sreesanth, the fastest mouth in South Africa

Theatrics and S Sreesanth have always gone hand-in-hand. He is capable of somehow always turning the spotlight on himself. Sreesanth went wicketless in the first Test in South African but managed to hog the attention in the second by annoying none other than the host captain, Graeme Smith.

The South African batsman waved his bat at Sreesanth in anger as the latter appeared to make some personal comment. Smith soon lost focus and hit Sreesanth only to get caught, triggering a batting collapse that gave India a series-levelling win.

The heat generated by Sreesanth’s remark forced India skipper MS Dhoni and Smith to step aside during an ICC function to sort out the controversy. Smith made it clear Sreesanth the only unwanted element in the Indian team. Dhoni also made his frustration plain before the third Test began at Cape Town, saying Sreesanth was difficult and needed to be restrained.

But Sreesanth never seems to learn. He taunted Smith again on Sunday, the first day of the third Test, saying Smith’s comments had woken him up.

He sure was sharp on Monday. Bowling with the second new ball, he ran through the South African batting to grab five wickets.

The hosts still reached 362, thanks to a magnificent 161 by Jacques Kallis. At the end of play, India were 142 for 2 with Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar in an unbroken 114-run stand.

Monday, January 03, 2011

3rd Test: India win toss but lose initiative

The setting was surreal for a Test match. Almost an entire day's cricket was played under lights as dark, grey clouds hung lazily over Newlands Stadium, and the Table Mountain which stands in the west.

It was only during the final hour of play that the colour blue, along with the sun, made an appearance on the horizon. Those who want ICC to introduce day-night Test matches would have been happy.

Conditions were not easy but the players from both sides stood up to contrive an intense, engaging day's play. With the series at stake, did they have any option? It was cricket at its attritional best, sometimes a bit staid but fascinating nevertheless as the two teams tried to pull away on the first day of the third Test on Sunday.

It was a stop-start day and play was interrupted twice due to light drizzle. Thankfully, play resumed quickly on both occasions. When the umpires finally called stumps, at 7.04 pm local time, South Africa were 232/4 off 74 overs. The peerless Jacques Kallis is providing leadership once again as the hosts look to bounce back from the stunning loss in Durban.

Once Kallis makes up his mind that he is going to stay at the wicket, he is almost impossible to dislodge. He seemed to be in that zone on Sunday, having played 169 balls for his industrious 81. He now has 1783 runs at this ground (in his 18th Test) and looks set for many more.

It does not take rocket science to understand that India need to somehow get rid of this man first thing on Day Two. Dhoni had said on Saturday that the toss would be important as it would give the seamers a chance to utilize helpful conditions.

Well, he won the toss, for a change. Surprisingly, though, the ball did not appear to do much despite the overcast conditions, though it later emerged the players thought otherwise. The Indian pace trio had to work hard to extract purchase from the wicket.

Probably, the ball getting wet due to a soggy ground negated attempts to swing it, a repeat of what happened to South African bowlers on the first day of the second Test at Durban.

Harbhajan Singh, who was pressed into service in the 34th over, struggled to get any spin from the pitch. He was more a stock bowler on the day than a shock one.

Zaheer Khan gave India a headstart by consuming Graeme Smith again - the regularity with which he does that is becoming ridiculous - with a beauty which came in just a bit. Ishant Sharma complemented the effort by snaring Alviro Peterson with another superb delivery which swung away.

With the openers gone for 34, India had landed some hard opening blows. But Kallis and Hashim Amla weathered the storm and brought back balance into proceedings.

It was a delicate phase of play as another wicket and India would have been on top. What the Kallis-Amla duo also did was to soon start looking out for runs.

It was Amla who took the lead and played some wristy drives and flicks, even hitting Zaheer for three fours in an over. He undid the good work by trying one hook too many, this time off Sreesanth while on the front foot, and top-edged to Pujara.

Sreesanth gave India another fillip by producing one of his vicious outswingers to get rid of AB de Villiers. At 164/4, it was nicely poised before Kallis and Prince gave the hosts some hope.

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