India vs South Africa, Highlights, 2nd Test, Day 5: South Africa Beat India By 135 Runs, Win Series
Bhopal:MMNN: 17 January 2018
The Indian cricket team has lost three wickets in the second innings of the 2nd Test at Centurion, needing 252 more runs to win the match and they virtually need a miracle to pull it off from here. Hosts South Africa yet again rattled the Indian batting top order with their ferocious bowling as the visitors stared at a series defeat at the close of the fourth day in the second cricket Test against South Africa on Tuesday. Chasing 287 for a win, which will be the highest ever at this venue if successful, Murali Vijay (9), Lokesh Rahul (4) and captain Virat Kohli (5) were dismissed cheaply in the final session of day as India were reduced to 35 for 3 from 23 overs at stumps
Debutant Lungi Ngidi grabbed the wickets of Kohli and Rahul while Kagiso Rabada dismissed Vijay to rock the Indian second innings and place South Africa in a commanding position of clinching the three-match series with one Test to go in Johannesburg from January 24.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Parthiv Patel were batting on 11 and 5 respectively at the close of the day's play after an extended final session. The visitors now need 252 more runs on the final day on Wednesday to win the Test with seven second innings wickets in hand. It will be a tall task, if not an impossible one, for India as 249 is the highest total chased down successfully by any side at the Centurion, a feat achieved by England in 2000.
South Africa were 1-0 up in the three-match Test series after their 72-run victory in Cape Town. A series defeat would also snap India's nine-series winning streak.
Under-19 World Cup: Anukul Roy Shines As Ruthless India Thrash Papua New Guinea By 10 Wickets To Enter Quarters
Bhopal:MMNN: 16 January 2018
Anukul Roy and captain Prithvi Shaw on Tuesday helped India beat Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 10 wickets in their second Under-19 World Cup match at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui. With their second consecutive win, India also entered the quarterfinals of the tournament. Electing to field, India bowled out PNG for a lowly 64 in just 21.5 overs. Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy was the pick of the bowlers who took 5/14 in 6.5 overs. In conditions that aided swing and bounce, India fast bowler Shivam Mavi picked up two wickets, while Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Arshdeep Singh snapped one wicket each. In reply, India chased down the total in just eight overs of their innings with Shaw again leading the batting unit with his fabulous 57 not-out off just 39 balls. His partner Manjot Kalra remained unbeaten on 9.
The Prithvi Shaw-led side opened their World Cup campaign with a convincing win over the Australian U-19 cricket team. Papua New Guinea started their campaign with a loss to the Zimbabwe U-19 cricket team.
Earlier, the India U-19 skipper led from the front with a 94-run knock as India crushed Australia by 100 runs in their tournament opener. Shaw stitched together a 180-run stand with fellow opener Manjot Kalra (86) to power India to a challenging 328 for seven. Electing to bat, India rode on half-centuries from Shaw, Kalra and Shubman Gill.
Indian pacers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti then picked up three wickets each as the Australians were dismissed for 228 in 42.5 overs. The Indian pace trio of Mavi, Nagarkot and Ishan Porel clocked over 145 km per hour during their spells.
India will take on Zimbabwe next on January 19
India vs South Africa, Live Cricket Score, 2nd Test Day 3: Virat Kohli Falls For 153, South Africa Take 28-Run Lead
Bhopal:MMNN: 15 January 2018
Indian captain Virat Kohli notched up his 21st Test century on the third day of the second Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Monday. Kohli stood firm against a relentless South African bowling attack and scored an unbeaten 141 as India reached 287 for eight at lunch with Ishant Sharma (0*) on the other end. Kohli's 193-ball unbeaten known was laced with 14 boundaries. This was Kohli's second Test hundred in South Africa, the second-most after batting legend Sachin Tendulkar who has 5 Test centuries here. He also became only the second Indian skipper to score a Test hundred on South African soil, after Sachin Tendulkar at Cape Town in 1997. Starting from overnight 183/5, Kohli and Hardik Pandya (15) took their overnight sixth wicket partnership to 45 runs. In doing so, they helped India cross 200 in the 65th over.
However, Kohli's joy was cut short as another suicidal moment of running between the wickets gifted South Africa a breakthrough, as Pandya was run-out for not dragging his bat in. He had set off for a run in the 68th over, only for Kohli to send him back but Vernon Philander's throw from mid-on beat him by inches as Pandya didn't drag his bat or even grounded his foot. Kagiso Rabada (1-73) then bowled a testing spell spell to R Ashwin (38, 54 balls, 7 fours), but the batsman managed to survive a barrage of short balls, despite being hit on his left hand. He countered by taking three boundaries off Rabada in his next over.
Earlier, South African captain Faf du Plessis made 63 before the hosts were bowled out for 335.
Du Plessis battled for 217 minutes and faced 142 balls before he was ninth man out, bowled when he went for a big hit against Ishant Sharma.
South Africa added 66 runs to their overnight 269 for six.
Sharma took two of the four wickets that fell, finishing with three for 46, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took four for 113.
India dropped three catches, all off Ashwin. Kagiso Rabada, who made 11, was dropped by a diving Kohli at slip when he had one, with the batsman taking two runs.
He was then put down at point off the next ball when Hardik Pandya was obstructed by fellow fieldsman Mohammed Shami.
Du Plessis was dropped by wicketkeeper Patel off Ashwin when he had 54
Trent Boult Destroys Pakistan As New Zealand Clinch ODI Series
Bhopal:MMNN: 13 January 2018
A withering spell by Trent Boult saw New Zealand destroy Pakistan by 183 runs in the third one-day international to comfortably wrap up the series in Dunedin on Saturday. Boult rocked Pakistan with three wickets in five balls to take out the cream of their top order on his way to figures of five for 17. New Zealand, batting first, were restricted to 257, with their innings boosted by 11 off the final over before Boult was dismissed on the last ball. Then, after Boult's near unplayable overs, Pakistan were all out for 74 in the 28th over to give New Zealand an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
At eight for 32, Pakistan were threatening two unwanted records -- the lowest ODI score of 35, held by Zimbabwe, and Pakistan's own lowest score of 43 -- before Sarfraz Ahmed (14 not out), Mohammad Amir (14) and Rumman Raees (16) delayed the inevitable finish.
Boult was in action in the second over when Azhar Ali was caught by Ross Taylor at first slip without scoring.
Dangerman Fakhar Zaman was bowled for two and Taylor also caught Mohammad Hafeez for a duck in Boult second over and Pakistan were in a hole they were never going to get out of.
If New Zealand thought they were slow making 37 for one off the first 10 overs, Pakistan were in dire trouble at nine for three at the same stage.
But when struggling to stay afloat, Babar Azam was unnecessarily run out for eight to start another slide.
In the following over Shoaib Malik was caught by Taylor off Lochie Ferguson for three and seven balls later part-timer Colin Munro bowled Shadab Khan for without scoring and Pakistan were 16 for six in the 15th over.
With light drizzle falling, but not strong enough to send the players off the field, Faheem Ashraf gave Pakistan supporters something to cheer about when he top-edged Lochie Ferguson for six.
But on 10 Faheem was gone hooking Ferguson to Todd Astle at fine leg, before Boult came back to claim Amir and Rumman to end the innings.
Pakistan came to New Zealand on a nine-match winning streak and the promise of providing a more formidable opposition for New Zealand who had just swept a series against the West Indies.
After losing the first two matches they arrived in Dunedin needing to win and had their tails up when Munro went for eight in the second over.
But half-centuries to Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor plus 45 for Martin Guptill set New Zealand up.
Williamson never looked particularly fluent but reached 73 off 101 deliveries while Taylor made 52 off 64 deliveries.
Pakistan did look smart in the field and finished with a flourish taking seven wickets for 48 in the last eight overs.
Bopanna-Roger Vasselin lose in semifinal
Bhopal:MMNN: 12 January 2018
India's Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost the semifinal of the ATP Sydney International to world number one team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo here on Thursday.
In a closely-fought semifinal, the fourth-seeded Indo-French pair suffered a 4-6 7-5 8-10 defeat in the hour and 29 minutes-long battle.
Kubot and Melo will now lock horns against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff and Romanian Viktor Troicki, who had defeated second seeded Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5) 6-1 in an another semifinal. It was the last tournament in build up to the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.
Bopanna had played the season-opening Tata Open Maharashtra with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in Pune, losing in the quarter-finals.
Afghanistan Cricketer Baheer Shah Averages More Than Don Bradman
Bhopal:MMNN: 10 January 2018
The graph of Afghanistan cricketers has risen sharply recently on the international platform and as a team too they have surprised everyone with the transformation. Now under-19 cricketer Baheer Shah has come into the limelight for his exceptional batting average, which is even more than the legendary Sir Don Bradman. Surprisingly, he has the highest batting average in the world for players with more than 1,000 first-class runs. Baheer has played seven first-class games so far (12 innings) for Speen Ghar Region in which he has already scored 1,096 runs with an average of 121.77 -- the highest in the world.
In his debut first-class game, Baheer played a superb innings of unbeaten 256 against Amo Region at Amanullah, which is the second-best by any batsman on debut
He has already scored a triple hundred in the format and became the second youngest to do so after former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. The record is of 260 by Mumbai's Amol Muzumdar.
"That was an unforgettable moment for me. I stayed at the wicket for two days, staying very comfortable. I worked on my fitness before the tournament and the coaches taught me how to bat well. For everyone whenever they get the best score in their life it's a very enjoyable, exciting moment," Baheer was quoted as saying by icc-cricket.com.
"It's difficult to get the opportunity to play for our domestic sides, so I'm very thankful for my family and for my friends and my head coach for their support. I only thought I would try my best for my side, so to get 1,000 runs was amazing," he added.
Currently, he is part the Afghanistan team for the ICC Under-19 World Cup to be held in New Zealand from January 13.
"I've started very well in the warm-up matches in Napier. They were good sides with first class players, but we played four matches and won all four. It's a very good chance for every youngster to promote his career so I'm trying very hard to have a good performance at this World Cup," said Baheer.
"I like to play in different and challenging situations. There are a lot of changeable situations, but I only want to stay at the wicket and take the pressure on myself and away from my partners. My favourite player is Hashim Amla because he is very calm and plays very well in difficult situations. I just want to keep calm and go forwards
Yusuf Pathan Suspended By Indian Cricket Board For Doping Violation
Bhopal:MMNN: 9 January 2018
All-rounder Yusuf Pathan has been suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a doping violation, the Indian cricket board said in a statement. The BCCI stated that a urine sample provided by Pathan on March 16, 2017 was tested and found to contain 'Terbutaline'. However, Yusuf's suspension has been backdated and he will be eligible to play from January 14 onwards. "Mr Yusuf Pathan has been suspended for a doping violation. Mr Pathan had inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups," BCCI said in a press release.
"Mr Pathan had provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI's anti-doping testing program during a domestic T-20 competition on 16th March 2017 in New Delhi. His sample was subsequently tested and found to contain Terbutaline. Terbutaline, a specified substance, is prohibited both In & Out of Competition in the WADA Prohibited List of Substances."
"On 27th October 2017, Mr Pathan was charged with the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) under the BCCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) Article 2.1 and provisionally suspended pending determination of the charge. Mr Pathan responded to the charge by admitting the ADRV and asserting that it was caused by his ingestion of a medication containing Terbutaline that had been mistakenly given to him instead of the medication prescribed for him, which did not contain any prohibited substance," the statement added.
"The BCCI is satisfied with Mr Pathan's explanation that he had taken Terbutaline inadvertently to treat an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) and not as a performance-enhancing drug. Having considered all of the evidence and taken expert external advice, the BCCI has accepted Mr Pathan's explanation of the cause of his ADRV, and on that basis has agreed that a period of ineligibility of five months should apply, together with the disqualification of certain results."
"Under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.3, Mr Pathan is entitled to the full credit against that period of ineligibility for the provisional suspension that he has been serving since 28 October 2017. In addition, there is discretion under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.2 to back-date the start date of the period of ineligibility still further on account of Mr Pathan's prompt admission of his ADRV upon being confronted with it by the BCCI, and under BCCI ADR Article 10.10.1 on account of the delays in the results management in this case that are not attributable to Mr Pathan. In all of the circumstances, the five-month period of ineligibility will be deemed to have started to run on 15 August 2017 and end at midnight on 14 January 2018," concluded the release.
Meanwhile, Yusuf has said he was confident of being cleared of deliberate usage and vowed to be more careful in future.
"Competing for India and my home state Baroda has been a matter of immense pride and encouragement for me and I would never act in any manner to bring my motherland or Baroda, in any kind of disrepute," Pathan said in a statement.
"In hindsight, I should have been more careful and checked the status of the medications with BCCI's dedicated Anti-Doping Helpline," he added.
After Delhi pacer Pradeep Sangwan, Pathan is the second Indian cricketer to have failed a dope test. Sangwan was suspended for 18 months in 2013 after a test returned positive.
Pathan has played 57 ODIs and 22 T20 Internationals for India. However, Pathan has failed to get a book a berth in the Indian squad for some time now. He last donned the India jersey against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2012
The Ashes: Australia Rout England By An Innings And 123 Runs To Win 4-0
Bhopal:MMNN: 8 January 2018
Australia ruthlessly extinguished England's resistance to claim an innings victory in the fifth Ashes Test and complete a 4-0 series rout on the final day in Sydney on Monday. The beleaguered tourists, with skipper Joe Root weakened by a stomach bug and unable to continue batting, dissolved after lunch, losing their last four wickets for their fourth comprehensive defeat of the series. "It has been a great couple of months. The cricket that we have played in the last couple of months has been outstanding," Australia skipper Steve Smith said.
"We have just been able to get on top and win those key moments and not let them back in the game which is crucial." Pat Cummins led the Australian offensive in Sydney with four wickets for 39 to finish man-of-the-match and the leading wicket taker in the series with 23.
"To get through the five Tests and end the series here at home. I couldn't asked for much more," said an ecstatic Cummins.
England finished at 180 for nine off 88.1 overs as Australia won by an innings and 123 runs.
It followed comprehensive losses on the troubled five-Test tour in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The fourth Test was drawn in Melbourne. Stricken Root did not come out to bat after lunch as he continued to experience discomfort after his overnight stomach bug. "He is asleep. He has a gastro bug and he has not been too well through the night and the heat yesterday didn't help. He is asleep in the dressing-room trying to recover," said vice-captain Jimmy Anderson, deputising for Root at the post-match presentations.
"To be honest we have been outplayed in the key moments of each game," he added.
"We have been in the games to an extent but just not been able to capitalise on any opportunities. Australia have played great in this series."
-Chances disappear -
Cummins struck twice in three balls after lunch, trapping Jonny Bairstow leg before wicket for 38 and having Stuart Broad caught behind off a brutish bouncer for four.
Mason Crane got another Cummins bouncer which he gloved to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for two and Anderson was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood for two to end the innings.
Root went to hospital overnight with England Cricket initially saying he had "severe dehydration" after fielding and batting in intense heat on Sunday.
But team officials corrected earlier statements and said Root was instead weakened by the effects of a gastroenteritis bug.
He came out to bat on the dismissal of Moeen Ali for 13 an hour into the final day's play and reached his fifth half-century of the series, but was unable to convert any of them to a century.
England's remote chances of saving the Test disappeared when Root failed to appear at the crease after lunch.
Spinner Nathan Lyon claimed Moeen's wicket for the seventh time in the series when he trapped him leg before in the morning session, which Moeen did not review.
Lyon took three wickets for 54 off 35 overs.
The Australians took a grip on the final Test with a massive 303-run innings lead and then reduced the battle-weary tourists to 93 for four at the close on the fourth day.
All five Tests went into the fifth day.
India vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, 1st Test Day 2: Cheteshwar Pujara Key As India 4 Down At Lunch
Bhopal:MMNN: 6 January 2018
Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara resumed the Indian innings at 28/3 vs South Africa on Day two of the opening Test on Saturday at Newlands, Cape Town. The South African bowlers after getting off to a great start on the first day, were fired up and looked to take wickets early on day two. Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn started the proceedings as they produced beautiful deliveries to flabbergast the Indian batsmen. Rohit and Pujara struggled to counter the South African attack as they failed to connect the ball to the middle of the bat. There were many instances where the ball would just go past the outside edge of the bat and the batsmen were left clueless. However, Rabada got the first breakthrough by dismissing Rohit, who struggled throughout the day in front of the fiery bouncers and swinging away deliveries. Pujara, for India, resisted the bowling attack so far in the innings. It will be interesting to see India's approach post-lunch. With no surprise, Faf du Plessis will look to get more wickets
his was after Indian bowlers led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/87 in 19 overs) had South Africa 286 all out in 73.1 overs -- a total India would consider as 50 too many after the UP seamer had the Proteas reduced to 12 for 3 inside six overs. It was in the post-tea session where Keshav Maharaj (35) and Kagiso Rabada (26) took their 8th wicket partnership to 37 runs. This helped push South Africa past the 250-mark. Their stand was finally broken when R Ashwin ran out Maharaj in the 63rd over.
Shenzhen Open: Maria Sharapova Crashes Out After Semi-Final Loss
Bhopal:MMNN: 5 January 2018
Former world number one Maria Sharapova was dumped out in the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open, losing in three sets to holder Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic on Friday. The Russian will return to the top 50 next week with the Australian Open looming at the end of the month, but she failed to reach her second final since returning last April after a drugs ban.
Siniakova, the sixth seed, beat the 30-year-old 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and will face world number one Simona Halep in the final.
Halep cruised into the decider in southern China with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.
Sharapova was banned for 15 months for taking the performance-enhancing substance meldonium, and has been working her way up the rankings since returning to action, winning the Tianjin Open in October.
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic To Test His Fitness In Warm-Up Events, Kei Nishikori Ruled Out Due To Injury
Bhopal:MMNN: 4 January 2018
Injured Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Australian Open on Thursday, while Novak Djokovic says he will test his problem elbow at an exhibition before deciding whether to play. Asian number one Nishikori has not played competitively since last August after suffering a torn tendon in his right wrist during a practice session at Cincinnati. He said he still wasn't ready for a gruelling Grand Slam campaign.
"I am very sorry to announce that I will miss the Aussie Open this year," he said on his website of the opening major of the year, starting in Melbourne on January 15.
"The Aussie Open is my favourite Slam ... it's my 'home' Slam," he added.
"It's the Slam that takes incredible care of the players and their teams, and it hurts that I will have to miss it this year.
"My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100 percent to come back yet in best of five set matches."
Nishikori is not the only leading player struggling with injury, with a who's who of the top names in the game battling to be fit for Melbourne Park.
Former world number one Djokovic hasn't played since a right elbow issue forced him to quit Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in July.
He has already cancelled scheduled appearances at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and the Qatar Open, and said he will test the injury next week at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne and a Tie Break Tens tournament in the same city.
"Novak is travelling to Australia where he will take part in two exhibition tournaments," said a statement on 12-time Grand Slam winner's website early today.
"After the two events, the decision will be made about his participation at the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, where 'Nole' has been crowned champion six times."
- Writing on wall -
Another former number one, Andy Murray, is also struggling and withdrew from this week's Brisbane International as he works to overcome a right hip injury which has sidelined him since Wimbledon.
The Scot raised the prospect this week of surgery, but still holds out hope of playing in Melbourne, saying he will decide by the weekend whether to stay in Australia or fly home.
Also returning from injury but set to play at the Grand Slam are Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.
World number one Rafael Nadal, the reigning French Open and US Open champion, pulled out of Brisbane with a knee injury, but the Spaniard has said he still intends to be on court at the Australian Open.
The writing was on the wall for Nishikori, who also withdrew from Brisbane.
The 28-year-old, who reached a career high world number four in 2015, said in November he had chosen rehabilitation over surgery to repair the damage and was targeting a return to action in Australia.
His no-show is a major blow for the popular Japanese player, who concluded his 2017 season with a 30-13 match record.
The winner of 11 ATP Tour titles, he made the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, losing in five sets to eventual champion Roger Federer, who, aged 36, is one of the few top names to be fully fit.
IPL Player Retention 2018: Chris Gayle May Be A Spent Force For RCB
MMNN:3 January 2018
When you look at the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) line-up, you are often left wondering as to why they would be at the bottom of the heap, as they ended last year. Not just that, the fact that they haven't ever lifted the world's richest franchise cricket trophy would surely not go down well with the team management. Needless to say, so hard decisions are on the cards and some big names will be in the headlines, for sure. One such name would be Chris Gayle, as experts are beginning to think.
With the IPL 2018 Player Retention to be finalised, it may not be a big surprise if the West Indian superstar does not qualify as an automatic choice for RCB.
As things stand, three names look to be favourites for retention - skipper Virat Kohli is a no-brainer, while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has made a serious mark for himself in limited-overs cricket.
It is also inconceivable that AB de Villiers will be left out of the equation. He has the ability to change things single-handedly, and RCB desperately needs such senior players.
That would take care of the cap of the three players who can be retained. This would essentially leave Gayle in the Right to Match (RTM) list, at best.
There too, his form and fitness may be things of concern. While Gayle did hammer a massive century in the Bangladesh Premier League in December, he has struggled to stay in the playing XI of the West Indies squad.
Chris Gayle is still a big ticket, no doubt. But RCB have bigger concerns. This may well reflect in the 2018 Player Retention.
Ranji Trophy: Vidharbha's Rajneesh Gurbani Becomes Only 2nd Bowler To Bag Hat-Trick In Final
MMNN:30 December 2017
Rajneesh Gurbani today became only the second bowler to bag a hat-trick in the final of the Ranji Trophy. The Vidharbha pacer dismissed Vikas Mishra, Navdeep Saini and Dhruv Shorey to earn himself a slice of history. Gurbani's effort helped his side skittle out favorites Delhi for 295. B Kalyanasundaram was the first bowler to achieve this feat when he claimed a hat-trick for Tamil Nadu against Bombay in 1972/73 in final. Gurbani struck three balls after his hat-trick, cleaning up Kulwant Khejroliya to end Delhi's innings. With wickets of Rishabh Pant and Himmat Singh Day 1, Gurbani finished with a 6-wicket haul.
On the opening day of the final, Shorey's unbeaten ton helped Delhi score 271/6 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.
Put in to bat, Delhi started off on a poor note as openers Kunal Chandela (0) and Gautam Gambhir (15) failed to provide the start the team wanted. Chandela was dismissed in the first over by Aditya Thakare.
After adding 29 runs to the score, Gambhir was also sent packing by Akshay Wakhare in the 13th over.
Shorey then came in the middle but lack of support from the other end cost Delhi heavily.
Apart from Himmat Singh (66), no other middle-order batsmen -- Nitish Rana (21), Pant (21) and Manan Sharma (13) -- contributed much to the cause and thus only managed to get 271 on the first day
Watch: Usman Khawaja's Catch To Dismiss Stuart Broad Stirs Ashes Controversy
MMNN:29 December 2017
Alastair Cook might have taken all the accolades on Day Three of the fourth Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday but there was another incident that garnered huge interest and grabbed the headlines. Controversy erupted at the MCG when Australian opener Usman Khawaja dived forward to take Stuart Broad's catch at deep mid-wicket. However, video replays returned inconclusive with even the commentators completely divided over whether the catch was taken cleanly. Despite the inconclusive replays, the third umpire decided to give Broad out.
In the video replay, Khawaja gets his fingers under the ball correctly but as the momentum continues to take him forward, the ball bobbled out of his hands. The camera angle making it impossible to determine what happened next, but Khawaja came up holding the ball.
Broad, who scored 56 off 63 balls, to his credit walked off the field without showing any dissent, ending a demoralising 100-run stand off 110 balls with Cook.
Cook, who was at the other end when Broad was dismissed, decided to play down the matter.
"We were 80 yards away from it so we didn't have the best view. The catch looked inconclusive on TV. Uzzie (Usman Khawaja) is a pretty fair cricketer not that I have played a huge amount against him but he was pretty confident with the catch. Sometimes on those things you do have to take the player's words for it," Cook said.
"The technicality of the decision is that if the umpires had said it was not out then I think the decision would have changed and I'm not sure how they could see that being so far away as well. I don't think we really need to get drawn into those situations. I think sometimes you have to trust the player and he was confident straight away."
However, England fans led by the 'Barmy Army' were having none of it and booed Khawaja when he came out to bat on Day 4. The fans were heard singing "same old Aussies, always cheating
India vs South Africa: Virat Kohli Says Team Has Nothing To Prove To Anyone
MMNN:28 December 2017
Winning Test matches outside the sub-continent has been an 'Achilles Heel' for the Indian teams over the years but skipper Virat Kohli made it clear that they have "nothing to prove to anyone" during the upcoming South Africa series, starting January 5. India have not won a single Test series in the 'Rainbow Nation' for the past 25 years. "We have got rid of all the mental pressures of touring abroad and wanting to prove to people. We are not wanting to prove anything to anyone and our duty is to go out there, give our 100 per cent effort for the country and get the result that we want to," Kohli said on Wednesday.
The skipper said that one needs to be realistic that "sometimes the team will get results and sometimes it won't".
Indian teams over the years have struggled with the bounce that South African pitches offer, having won only two Test matches over the years. The best result came during the 2010-11 series, which India drew 1-1.
"It all depends on the kind of mindset you get into as batsman. Any place, even Indian conditions can be very difficult if you are not in a good frame of mind, so cricket is played with ball and bat and if you are not there mentally, it does not matter the conditions you are playing in.
"You need to take up challenges mentally and then every conditions seem like home conditions. If you get accustomed to where you are going and you start feeling comfortable embracing the culture, people, it becomes easier," he explained.
He had scored a century in Johannesburg during the 2013-14 tour and he attributed it to his urge for embracing the challenge.
"I only played Test cricket once in South Africa but I was looking forward to it. (Cheteshwar) Pujara was as well, so was Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane). So we ended up doing well because we were excited about what we were going to do and that excitement is very important to maintain."
Kohli agreed that they haven't played a lot outside sub-continent of late but the current crop is confident of a good show.
"We are talking about a wholly different prospect over here, which we understand as a team and we are looking forward to it. Every tour is a chance, if you look at the teams which have gone to South Africa in the past, I mean you are talking about some of the biggest names in Indian cricket, it's not like that was not like a chance," Kohli sounded cautiously optimistic.
"You need to play really good cricket for a very long period of time to win series and that is something that we are pretty excited about and we want to go out there and express ourselves. The most important thing is that we are enjoying each other's company and that's exactly what we are looking to do," Kohli added.
The skipper did admit that the bowling attack of South Africa in 2013-14 with a much younger Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel was more experienced.
The current leader of the pace attack is young Kagiso Rabada with both Steyn and Morkel making international comebacks after lay-offs due to injuries.
"The bowling attack back then compared to now what South Africa has was more experienced and we did really well against them. We almost won the Test in Jo'burg (Johannesburg), it was a close game, we lost in Durban, but we played some really good Test cricket.
"The bowling and the batting has come a long way, all the guys are much more experienced now, but the hunger remains the same, we still want to go back and try to do what we couldn't do last time around," he concluded.
Rohit Sharma Better Than Virat Kohli In Limited-Overs Cricket: Sandeep Patil
MMNN:26 December 2017
Virat Kohli fans, cover your ears! While the whole world debates about who is the best batsman in the world -- Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root or Kane Richardson -- former chief selector of the Indian cricket team, Sandeep Patil, has boldly claimed that the Indian skipper is not even the best batsman in Team India, at least in limited-overs cricket. The former attacking middle-order batsman has said that Rohit Sharma is currently a better batsman than Kohli when it comes to limited-overs cricket. Patil said that Kohli undoubtedly is India's best batsman in Test cricket but in ODIs and T20Is, Rohit is ahead of him.
"Virat Kohli fans might not like it but I have to say Rohit Sharma is currently the better batsman," Patil was quoted as saying by ABP news.
In Kohli's absence, Rohit has taken to international captaincy like duck to water. Not just that, the stand-in India skipper set the stage alight in the ODIs by smashing his third double hundred -- the only batsman in the world to do so.
In the T20Is as well, Rohit was in top form and smashed the joint-fastest T20I hundred in Indore. His whirlwind knock of 118 off 43 balls is the highest individual score for India in T20Is, surpassing the unbeaten 110 by KL Rahul against the West Indies last year.
Rohit also became the first Indian player and fifth overall to score two centuries in T20Is after Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Ewin Lewis and Colin Munro.
"Virat is definitely a great batsman, no doubt about it. He is India's best Test batsman but when it comes to limited overs cricket, Rohit is ahead of him," said Patil.
"I'm sure Virat's going to come back from the break and score lots of runs in South Africa but when we talk about limited-overs cricket this year, Rohit has been unbelievable. People may say he has played more matches against Sri Lanka but so has Virat. Whether he is playing only as a batsman or as captain Rohit has proved he is best at the moment," remarked the former India cricketer.
However, the stats tell a different story. Forget looking at the overall numbers regarding how the two Indian stars stack up because Kohli is way ahead.
Just purely going by the 2017 stats, Kohli has been better than Rohit across all three formats.
In Tests this year, Steve Smith leads the scoring charts with 1,192 runs in 11 matches at an average of 74.50. Cheteshwar Pujara is second with 1,140 runs, having played the same number of matches as the Australian skipper, but averages 67.05.
Kohli, meanwhile, is fourth in the list behind third-placed Dean Elgar of South Africa. The Indian skipper, though, has the best average among the top 20 batsmen in the world this year. Kohli has scored 1,059 runs in 10 Tests at an average of 75.64.
In ODIs, Kohli has scored 1,460 runs in 26 matches and sits atop the run-getters list of 2017. He averages 76.84 and has six hundreds and seven half-centuries. In contrast, Rohit is second with 1,140 runs in 21 matches and averages 71.83. He also has six hundreds but has two less fifties than his captain.
In T20Is in 2017, West Indies' Evin Lewis leads the scoring charts with 357 runs in nine matches at an average of 44.62. Kohli is sixth in the list, having scored 299 runs at an average of 37.37.
Meanwhile, Rohit comes in at No.8 with 283 runs in nine matches and an average of 31.44.
Shahid Afridi, Virender Sehwag To Play Cricket On Ice
MMNN:25 December 2017
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Shahid Afridi have joined a plethora of former cricketers for the inaugural St. Moritz Ice Cricket in Switzerland on February 8 and 9, 2018. While Afridi is playing regularly post his international retirement, the two-day T20 event in St. Moritz will be Smith's first since featuring in the Masters Champions League in February 2016.
The matches will be played on a matting pitch.
The other big names confirmed for the event are former India swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif, Shoaib Akhtar, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum, Grant Elliot, Monty Panesar and Owais Shah.
Players will use the traditional cricketing gear including the red ball but will wear sports shoes instead of spikes. The weather is expected to be nice and sunny during the day but the temperatures can dip to as low as -20 degree Celsius.
"I don't know what to expect but I am really excited to play in a beautiful part of the world. I hope the event is a huge success," said former South Africa captain Smith.
On playing against his contemporaries, Smith added: "There are lot of brilliant cricketers involved. I have played against all these guys in international cricket. It will be nice to spend some quality time with them and put up a good show with the cricket
2nd T20I Preview: India On Verge Of Another Series Win vs Sri Lanka
MMNN:23 December 2017
India's stand-in captain Rohit Sharma produced an immaculate display of batting when he mauled the Sri Lankan bowling attack to reach a well deserved 118 off just 43 balls in the second T20I against Sri Lanka on Friday. Rohit is a difficult batsman to bowl at on a normal day but when he is in this sort of mood, it is next to impossible to stop him and the Sri Lankans have experienced that first hand. Rohit was awarded the Man of the Match for the second T20I match against Sri Lanka, which the hosts won by 88 runs to clinch the series 2-0. The Mumbai batsman was elated with his performance but made it clear that it was too much to ask for when asked about a possibility of a double hundred in T20Is.
Rohit is the only batsman to have scored three double hundreds in ODIs and the only Indian to score two centuries in the shortest version of the game. And with the way he is batting, a double hundred in T20I for Rohit is not a far-fetched thinking.
"That's too much to ask for. I was just thinking to score runs. I wasn't thinking of any particular target. In all the formats, I don't look to score runs to get to a particular milestone," Rohit said about the possibility of scoring a double century in T20I.
"My job is to go out there and score as many (runs) as possible. Not just 100s or 200s or 300s. I go out there to make sure I get my team into a good position," he further added.
"There are times when you don't get runs. There are times when you get runs. That is all part and parcel of the game. Never do I ever walk out thinking that I want to score a century or a double century. I just want to give my best and get the team a victory," the right-handed batsman remarked.
Rohit, who clears the boundary ropes with utmost ease and makes his sixes look extremely effortless, said that he relies a lot on timing the ball more than anything else.
"I definitely don't have so much power. I rely a lot on timing the ball more than anything else. I know what my strengths are as well as my weaknesses. I try to play to the field as much as I can, to be honest," Rohit conceded.
Rohit, who is leading the side in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, also spoke about the of captaining the Indian team.
"There is a lot of pressure, especially after the first match in Dharamsala. We were in such a position that we were on the verge of getting all out on our lowest score," he said.
"I thought a lot about my captaincy and team and that it is very difficult. We are representing 140 crore people and there is a lot of pressure of that.
"Since I am leading the side for the first time, there was pressure and there will be pressure when we play next match in Mumbai. I don't know when will I captain the side again, so every minute spent on the ground is important for me," he said.
2nd T20I Preview: India On Verge Of Another Series Win vs Sri Lanka
MMNN:22 December 2017
India are looking like overwhelming favourites in the 2nd T20 International against Sri Lanka, to be played at the Holkar Stadium at Indore on Friday. Following up on the massive 93-run win at Cuttack on Wednesday, India, led by Rohit Sharma in the absence of Virat Kohli, would be looking to seal off yet another series win against a Sri Lankan side that has by and large been out of sorts through the entire tour, barring a spell in the first Test in Kolkata and the first ODI at Dharamsala. However, they possibly would have the best opportunity in the T20 format, where things can change in a rush.
There seems no end to the woes of the visitors. While the Indian youngsters have put their hands up to deliver the goods, the Lankans are going through a terrible phase of transition during which they are badly in need of reliable performers.
This series has hardly proved to be a good preparation for the challenging South Africa tour that awaits India next month, considering the home team's domination in the absence of a good opposition in favourable conditions.
The absence of regular skipper Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan and a transformed Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not given any respite to the Sri Lankans, who overtly rely on seniors such as Angelo Mathews. However, even the senior Lankan players have struggled to counter the Indian bowlers and batsmen. A robust domestic structure coupled with Indian Premier League (IPL) has prepared good bench strength for the hosts.
Players such as Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have managed to carve a niche for themselves immediately after making their international debuts.
Sri Lanka need captain Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga and Mathews to lead by example. They have been a part of the side for long and only strong performances by them can infuse life and hope into this dejected side.
Players such as Dusmantha Chameera and Dhananjaya de Silva have shown promise and need guidance to be consistent.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose finishing prowess has been under the scanner for some time now, got some runs under his belt after being promoted to number four in Cuttack and is likely to continue in the same position so that he gets enough overs in a match situation before the ODI and T20 challenge in South Africa.
India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I: MS Dhoni Notches up 3 Records in Cuttack Win
MMNN:21 December 2017
Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday played a key role in India's biggest T20I win till date. The former India captain contributed in every department, helping the hosts register a crushing 93-run win over Sri Lanka in the 1st T20I at Cuttack's Barabati Stadium. Not only did the wicketkeeper-batsman provide a final flourish to India's innings with an unbeaten 39-run knock, he also went on to add four dismissals behind the stumps, taking his tally to 74. Not just that, the 36-year-old notched up three other records during the series opener against Thisara Perera's men.
Dhoni (39 not out + 4 dismissals) became the first Indian wicketkeeper to post 35 or more runs and effect four dismissals in the same T20I, joining South Africa's Quinton de Kock (twice) and Pakistan's Kamran Akmal.
Dhoni is the first wicketkeeper to effect four dismissals in T20Is involving India and Sri Lanka.
Dhoni (201 dismissals in 272 matches) has become the second wicketkeeper after Kamran Akmal (207 in 211 matches) to complete 200 dismissals or more in T20 cricket.
Captain Rohit Sharma applauded Dhoni, who was promoted up the order, during the post-match presentation."MSD (Dhoni), he's just class. No. 4 really paid off. He's played so many games for us, won so many games for us and moving forward, we feel making him bat at No. 4 is ideal," Rohit said.
Dhoni's batting record as number four player has been excellent - his aggregate being 244 in eleven innings (seven times not out), including a half-century - 56 vs England at Bengaluru on February 1, 2017. His strike rate of 134.01 is quite impressive at this batting position.
"For a long period of time, MS has been finishing games off, but we want him to bat freely now, without that pressure. We were not sure what the ideal score would be, with dew and the wicket playing weirdly. So I thought 180 was a great effort," he added.
Confident India eye another series win
MMNN:20 December 2017
Team India would aim to cap off their another ruthless victory in the first match of T20 International series against Sri Lanka played at Barabati stadium here tomorrow. Any result other than India's resounding win looks highly unlikely on Wednesday, considering as visiting team lost in the preceding Test and ODI series.
Rohit Sharma will remain as India's captain for the T20 series and Thisara Perera will captain Sri Lanka despite of their ODI series loss to India. The Indian team for this series has been selected keeping in the unavailability of certain players as well as with an aim to give the players on the fringe some game time. Shreyas Iyer, Basil Thampi, Washington Sundar, Mohammad Siraj, Deepak Hooda, and Jayadev Unadkat all find a place in this squad. Rohit Sharma will be the leading the team and be the guiding light for this bunch of IPL performers.
His own form has been brilliant as evidenced by the brilliant double century he hit. Rohit also had a good time in the T20's against New Zealand but getting off to faster starts has been something that he needs to work on. In absence of Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul will given the responsibility of opening the innings with Skipper followed by Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, and maybe Dinesh Karthik.
There is a case to be made for playing with both Washington Sundar and Deepak Hooda in the team but we don't think it is likely to happen Shreyas Iyer batted well in last two ODIs, he will hope to continue that in T20s. But the concern remains the same as Hardik Pandya hasn't batted well in 1st and 2nd ODI matches. His batting form will be crucial for India when they tour South Africa next month Currently, India has no problems with their bowling, the bowlers are the ones who look settled at the moment.
The bowling will be led by Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvebdra Chahal, two bowlers that have now established themselves as the first choice for India in limited overs cricket, and supported by Basil Thampi, Mohammad Siraj, and the all-rounders. Sri Lanka on the other hand will look to take some pride and win the 3 match T20 series, for that the visitors will have to sort their batting issues Sri Lanka has shown definite signs of improvement in the three matches after having an abominable 2017 with too many downs and almost no ups.
They had a good chance of beating India in India, but as Perera pointed out in the post-match interview of the third ODI, they were unable to execute their plans in any department after the first match. Thisara Perera impressed with his captaincy in the ODI's and showed that he is not afraid to take the game to India. He is hamstrung by the lack of top-quality resources at his disposal but he is ready to play the game with intent to win. Thisara is an all rounder, but he hasn't been performing well with the bat and he is too expensive with the ball. He needs to find the right line and length straight from the ball one on Wednesday
India Vs Sri Lanka 1st T20I, Preview: Dominant Hosts Eye Another Series Triumph
MMNN:19 December 2017
Rohit Sharma-led India are unlikely to lower their guard as they take on Sri Lanka for the first of three T20 Internationals at Cuttack on Wednesday. With the Test and ODI series in pocket, India will aim for another dominant performance and look to bag the T20 series as well. Without the services of skipper Virat Kohli, India did not have a dream start to their ODI series campaign at Dharamsala but bounced back in style as stand-in skipper Sharma took the attack to the opposition with his fearless batting. Having scored a record third double century in ODI, he will eye to seal off the T20I series as well.
Like their home series, Sri Lanka have by and large been outgunned by India, barring their lone brilliant bowling performance in Dharamsala ODI, which left the Indian batsmen widely exposed in seaming conditions.
Sri Lanka had their best chance in the last ODI at Vizag but they collapsed from 136/1 to be bundled out for 215.
A resilient India quickly got into the act after an inspirational stumping by MS Dhoni. After which, the new spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ran through the Lankan middle-order as they claimed three wickets each.
However, T20 is a different ball game and India would look for a smooth transition to the shortest format, having endured a batting disaster in the first one-dayer.
India do not have a happy memory of the solitary T20I at the Barabati Stadium. The Men in Blue had folded for 92 against South Africa in 2015 as crowd trouble brought infamy to the venue.
India lead Sri Lanka 7-4 on head-to-head count and are yet to lose against them in the last four outings, the hosts will aim to give a better account of their batting.
India's batting will heavily rely on skipper Rohit, who will have KL Rahul for company at the top.
Having lost his first match as captain, Rohit's record double hundred led a 141-run rout in Mohali and he will look to continue that form in the shortest format.
A good start will be crucial for India to minimise the workload on the middle and lower order, which will be steered by Dhoni.
The T20 squad will also see different players in action. Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who last played in a T20I against Zimbabwe in June last year, has been recalled and India have three first-timers in Washington Sundar, Basil Thampi and Deepak Hooda
Cricket fraternity among Sachin applaud Rohit for 3rd ODI double ton
MMNN:15 December 2017
The moment Indian stand-in captain Rohit Sharma scored his 3rd double ton in ODIs becoming the first cricketer to achieve this feat against Sri Lanka during the 2nd ODI on Wednesday.
Congratulatory messages started flooding in for Indian skipper with former and present cricketers applauding Rohit for his rare feat.
Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was the first to break shackles scoring the first ever double ton in ODI. "Way to go my friend. Always a joy to watch you bat ?? @ImRo45," Tendulkar tweeted.Tendulkar was the first to score ODI double-hundred against South Africa at Gwalior on February 24, 2010.
"What an innings Hitman, quite unreal. Many congratulations on the 3rd ODI double. 3 alone out of a total 7 ODI double hundred's. Take a bow @ImRo45," Laxman wrote.
"The man of double hundreds @ImRo45 You beauty ! World class brothaman," wrote Yuvi.
Congratulatory messages also poured in from other former team-mates Suresh Raina.
"LIKE A BOSS! THIRD double century in ODIs. The first man to scale Mt.200 on three occasions in ODIs. Stand up and Salute," BCCI tweeted.Rohit's 3rd double ton in ODIs came as a rejoice after he gifted it to his wife on their 2nd marriage anniversary.
India vs Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Mohali, Live Cricket Score: Visitors Lose 4 Wickets In Chase Of 393
MMNN:13 December 2017
Rohit Sharma-led Team India were in all their glory as they did not show any respite to the Sri Lankan bowling attack and posted a mammoth 392/4 in 50 overs. Rohit, who ended his innings on an unbeaten 208, got his name etched in history books as he became the only player to score three double centuries in ODIs. Rohit started his innings on a steady note but changed gears eventually to throw kitchen sinks at the bowlers along with Shreyas Iyer (88) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) to provide the hosts with a solid base. India's 392/4 is also the highest score by any team in Mohali. The right-handed batsman also registered the second highest individual score by a captain in 50-over format. He trails Virender Sehwag, who had scored 219 against West Indies in Indore in 2011. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Shreyas Iyer, on the other hand, played the role of a perfect partner as he took bowlers to task from the very first ball and scored his maiden international fifty. Iyer, who could not capitalise in his debut match in Dharamsala, made amends and took the Lankan bowlers to the cleaners, who had gone through the Indian batting line-up in the first ODI. If Sri Lanka get off to a solid start, it will be safe to say that this match will turn out to be a glorious 50-over game.
Rohit, leading the side in Kohli's absence, was not amused either in his first ODI as captain. Though, he promised that the team will learn from Dharamsala debacle and bounce back in the remaining two games. "It is important to thrive in these conditions and come out good. It is an eye-opener for all of us," Rohit had said after the seven-wicket loss. He is unlikely to tinker with the playing eleven but there is a possibility that Ajinkya Rahane is picked to shore up the inexperienced batting, especially the middle-order
Anura wins Gold, Silver at All India Badminton Ranking
MMNN:11 December 2017
Anura Prabhu Desai of Goa, who is the Brand ambassador of Geno Pharmaceuticals Ltd and plays for Airports Authority of India (AAI), won a Gold and a Silver at the All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament 2017 at Sikkim on Saturday.
In Women's singles Anura, the top seed, defeated Shruti Mundada 21-13, 21-17 in the semi finals. In the finals, she brought down Maharashtra's Vaishnavi Bhale  21-16, 18-21, 21-19 in a thrilling match.
In women's Doubles, Anura and Vasinavi, who were seeded 3, teamed up and looked all set to clinch the title after winning the first set, but fell short of closing it out, losing 21-18, 17-21, 17-21 to 4th seeds Dhanya Nair and Ashna Roy.
Earlier, Anura/ Vaishnavi had knocked out the top seeded pair of Agna Anto and Sneha Santhilal 21-17, 21-14 in the semi finals.
'For Anura, who has made Goa proud by attaining India number 1 ranking in both singles and doubles, this is another feather in her cap and yet another glorious moment in excellence in our Badminton history, being the first time a Goan has won a Gold medal in Senior Women's singles in the National Ranking circuit. Hearty congratulations to Anura on achieving this wonderful feat,' a statement from the association said
India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Preview: Ajinkya Rahane's Form A Worry As Hosts Eye Another Whitewash
MMNN:9 December 2017
With Virat Kohli being rested, Rohit Sharma will lead India in the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, starting Sunday at Dharamshala. After a commanding performance in the Tests, the Rohit-led side will eye yet another whitewash against the Lankan lions. However, the primary objective for chief coach Ravi Shashtri and Rohit will be to decipher the various combinations in both batting and bowling departments as star batsman Ajinkya Rahane is currently struggling with the willow. With cooler confines and bouncy conditions in play, toss could be a crucial factor in the opening ODI.
Having won five straight bilateral series apart from reaching Champions Trophy final, a 3-0 win will put India on top of ICC ODI rankings, overtaking South Africa.
The last time India faced Sri Lanka in the one-dayers, Kohli's men swept aside the Island nation 5-0.
Even without captain Kohli, a formidable batting line-up comprising Rohit, Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav could prove too hot to handle for the islanders. While the opening slot seems locked with Rohit and Dhawan at the top, Rahane is likely to get a chance at the number three position with Kohli given a much-needed rest.
However if Dhawan, who was down with viral fever yesterday, pulls out then Rahane could be seen opening the innings.
The stylish Mumbai batsman had scored three half-centuries and a hundred in the bilaterals against West Indies in June-July, before blasting four successive fifties against Australia at home.
The only ODI game that he played against Sri Lanka this year, Rahane scored just 5 before stumbling upon a rough patch in the Test series against Sri Lanka.
With the South Africa Test series round the corner, the team management would certainly want their favourite 'Jinks' to break the jinx.
Dinesh Karthik and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is likely to take the next two slots, before Kedar Jadhav comes at the number six. Karthik had scored a fifty in the two chances that he got in the West Indies series, while against New Zealand the wicket-keeper batsman hit scores of 37, 64 not out and 4 not out in the three games.
Dhoni, on the other hand, had faced criticism when he struggled to get going in the second T20I against New Zealand which the hosts lost by 40 runs and the former skipper will look to silent his detractors.
While Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey are also in the team, the duo will get a look-in if both Dhawan and Jadhav, who has a hamstring injury, are ruled out.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya will continue to be a vital cog in India's wheel as he completes what has been an exception year in international cricket for him.
One among orthodox leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav will be in the playing XI along with Axar Patel, whose primary job is to restrict runs.
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace department and the visitors will have a tough time dealing with them in the opening as well as at death overs.
Among others, it will be interesting to see if skipper Rohit decides to give rookie Siddarth Kaul a chance as a third pacer at the HPCA Stadium, which is expected to aid swing bowling.
Sri Lanka have shown the stomach for a fight in the Delhi Test after barely managing to save the first Test in Kolkata and losing the second at Nagpur and they would be eager to erase the ignominy of losing 0-5 at home in September.
The visitors were also humiliated 0-5 by Pakistan in their last bilateral series in October and it will take really a special effort from Thisara Perera's men to tame India at their own backyard.
For Sri Lanka, Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne is returning to the team after recovering from injuries and a lot will depend on these players.
Sri Lanka will bank on young batsman Dhananjaya de Silva, who scored a fighting century in the third Test to force a draw at Delhi.
Teams: India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Sachith Pathirana, Kusal Perera.
Virat Kohli Could Claim Rare Batting Record During South Africa Tour
MMNN:8 December 2017
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli faces his biggest captaincy test during next month's South Africa tour. After his team's dominant run on home turf, Indian cricket fans are eager to find out whether similar performances can be replicated overseas. Apart from a test of leadership, Kohli's batting brilliance too is bound to be tested against the high-quality pace attack of the Proteas. If Kohli continues his superb run with the bat, he is likely to claim a rare record.
On Thursday, Kohli has moved up three places to grab second position among Test batsmen after registering his career-best score during the Sri Lanka series. The 29-year-old, who is already tops the limited-overs cricket rankings, is only 45 points behind Australia captain Steve Smith in Tests. The Aussie is now on 938 points while Kohli is on 893 points.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is the only batsman to have been at the top in all three formats at the same time - in December-January 2005-06, while his compatriot Matthew Hayden is the other batsman to have topped all three formats.
If Kohli overtakes Smith, he will become the first Indian and second in the world to be at the batting summit across formats at the same time.
The stylish right-hander, who has been rested for the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka, was categorical about his need for a break when he spoke after the final Test against Sri Lanka. Kohli also said it was the right time to rest considering the all-important South Africa tour early next year.
"Last time I took rest, it was difficult to handle. But my body is asking for it right now. The workload has been massive, I have been playing non-stop for the last 48 months, I need rest. My body has taken a toll in the last couple of years. Right now is the perfect time to rest before the tour of South Africa," he said.
FIFA Trial Hears of Dancing, Private Jet, Massages
MMNN:7 December 2017
A Brazilian businessman told a US Federal Court on Wednesday that he helped set up a huge bribe to South American football officials to secure the rights for a new tournament.
Fabio Tordin testified in New York at the trial of three South American football executives charged in connection with the largest graft scandal in world soccer history.
Tordin was one of 42 people indicted in the FIFA corruption mega-scandal. He pleaded guilty in 2015, agreed to return $600,000 and is now cooperating with the US government against the only three accused in the dock.
Their trial began last month.
Jose Maria Marin, 85, former president of Brazil's Football Confederation; former FIFA vice president Juan Angel Napout, 59, of Paraguay; and Manuel Burga, who led soccer in Peru until 2014, are charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
Tordin said that at a lavish farm on a summer night in Uruguay, three other top officials, from CONCACAF, the football federation for North and Central America and the Caribbean, accepted nearly $500,000 from Argentinian sports rights company Full Play -- but the tournament never saw the light of day.
According to Tordin, the deal was set up by him and Miguel Trujillo, a Colombian football consultant with links to Full Play's owners, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis.
His account matched Trujillo's, who earlier told the court that he helped set up bribes between Argentine sports marketing companies and CONCACAF.
Tordin said that after lunching at the beach he, Trujillo, and CONCACAF bosses Alfredo Hawit, Rafael Salguero, and Ariel Alvarado returned to Jinkis' "beautiful" country house.
The aim was to "convince the (CONCACAF bosses) that Full Play could be the marketing arm of CONCACAF," he said.
"Full Play agreed to pay $300,000 for the officials in exchange for them signing the document," said Tordin, adding Hawit, as president of CONCACAF, later said he "deserved" $150,000 more -- bringing the total payment to $450,000.
Later in 2011, after a night of dancing and dining in Buenos Aires, the three CONCACAF bosses enjoyed a trip to an ultra-exclusive resort via private jet, Tordin added.
He also revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes were paid via banks in Panama to former senior figures in Honduran, Costa Rican, Salvadoran and Guatemalan football.
Tordin said that he and Trujillo would sometimes exaggerate the amounts of the bribes to their bosses at events management company Media World, in order to keep a cut for themselves.
Another government witness was Nelson Sanabria, ex-assistant to Napout, a past president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
He told the court his former boss was fond of massages, manicures and pedicures -- appointments arranged by his discrete chauffeur.
The three accused have pleaded not guilty.
A total of 24 accused have already admitted their guilt in the case outlined in a 236-page complaint detailing 92 separate crimes and 15 corruption schemes to the tune of $200 million.
US prosecutors announced the indictments on May 27, 2015, exposing a quarter-century of endemic corruption in the heart of FIFA, soccer's governing body.
India Win Series 1-0 After Sri Lanka Draw The Final Test
MMNN:6 December 2017
Sri Lanka's unheralded youngsters, led by Dhananjaya De Silva, cashed in on the ineffectiveness of Indian spinners, holding on for a draw in the third Test even as the home team collected its ninth successive series victory on Wednesday. While the win in Nagpur ensured a 1-0 series win for India, it will certainly be a moral victory for a beleaguered Sri Lankan team, which also had to endure physical discomfort due to pollution in the national capital. Sri Lanka were never going to chase 410, but did well enough to bat as many as 102 overs in the second innings, finishing at 299 for five. The captains decided to shake hands after the end of seven mandatory overs.
En route his third Test hundred, De Silva battled severe muscle stiffness before retiring hurt on 119, but he instilled the self belief in debutant Roshen Silva (74 not out) and the maverick Niroshan Dickwella (44 not out), who displayed enormous determination while playing out the final session of the match.
The Roshen-Dickwella pair added invaluable 94 runs for the unbroken sixth-wicket stand as India did not get a single wicket in the final session.
Wriddhiman Saha bungled an easy stumping chance of Dickwella off Ravindra Jadeja (3/81 in 38 overs) in the final session and that, effectively, was the end of India's hopes to win the Test match.
The Test match once again proved that Indian spinners -especially Ravichandran Ashwin (1/126 in 35 overs), is not same bowler when there isn't much help in the wicket. The Kotla track didn't show any wear and tear throughout the five days, rendering Ashwin ineffective in the second innings.
He tried a lot of doosras, carom balls and altered the speed of his deliveries, but they were of no use. The trio of De Silva, Roshen and Dickwella used Ashwin's pace picked up runs easily. His stock delivery, which is the conventional off-break, never came into use save once when he had bowled rival captain Dinesh Chandimal.
If not getting turn was Ashwin's bane, Jadeja was at his restrictive best but again the 'x-factor' in his bowling, when there is some turn and grip on the surface, was missing. He was quicker through the air, hardly flighted the ball, depending on deliveries that straightened as batsmen played for turn.
De Silva, who had a problem using his feet during the later stages due to a muscle pull, was easily able to play him inside the crease. During the final hour of the day, a frustrated Jadeja at times was seen kicking the dust as breakthroughs were hard to come by.
This is the first time in six Tests this year that the islanders managed to stretch Virat Kohli's men to the last session of a match, deservingly earning a favourable result after all the mauling in the past few months.
De Silva's innings was the highlight of the first two sessions as he was hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers en route his third Test hundred. Towards the end, he started hobbling due to the cramps, having played 219 balls. His innings was studded with 15 boundaries and a six off Ashwin.
The range of his strokes was impressive as he cut and pulled with ease whenever the spinners dropped anything short. Anything pitched up was driven with disdain.
With the pitch offering little help, Ashwin didn't look as effective although he dismissed Chandimal (36). Jadeja, who completed most of his overs within 90 seconds, bowled quick and flat with the occasional delivery turning sharply.
Among the Indian quartet, he looked the most effective, keeping the batsmen pegged on the backfoot.
During the first session, Jadeja endured mixed luck with a couple of no-balls. The first one accounted for Angelo Mathews (1), with the umpires missing it altogether, while the second was a brilliant delivery to clean up Chandimal but the umpires were more cautious and promptly called him for overstepping.
First-innings centurion Mathews was dismissed when he edged one off Jadeja to the slips. But the left-arm spinner was lucky as he was not called for a no-ball even as replays showed that no part of his foot was behind the popping crease.
However, Jadeja was not so lucky when he bowled a classic left-armer's delivery that had Chandimal beaten all ends up. This time umpire Joel Wilson checked for the no-ball and the Sri Lanka captain got a reprieve.
It was a day when the Feroz Shah Kotla was bathed in bright sunshine, cutting through the haze that had forced the visiting players to don anti-pollution masks till yesterday. The pitch was as flat as it could have been, which made strokeplay easier, as De Silva and Chandimal added 105 runs in 33 overs for the fifth wicket.
Surprise win for Chilean, world records for Iran's Moradi
MMNN:5 December 2017
Chile's Arley Mendez returned from more than four years of international competitive exile to defeat Iran's Olympic champion Kianoush Rostami in the men's 85 kilogram class at weightlifting's World Championships on Sunday, while Sohrab Moradi broke two world records in the 94kg class.
Mendez, who never returned home after competing for his native Cuba in the Pan American Junior Championships in Santiago in 2013, posted a total of 378kg to win gold ahead of Poland's Krzysztof Zwarycz (359kg).
Italy's Antonino Pizzolato lifted 358 kgs to clinch third. Mendez was only granted citizenship by Chile this year. He could have also taken Rostami's clean and jerk world record had he not failed with his final attempt at 221kg. "My finger got stuck on the bar, a technical problem," said Mendez.
"Next year the records will come. I prepared well and I knew I would win here." Rostami, who injured his left knee last week, missed all three clean and jerk attempts and failed to register a total.
Moradi, who won gold in Rio last year, broke two world records in winning the 94 kilogram class, to take an easy win over Lithuania's Aurimas Didzbalis by 29 kilograms.
Iran's Seyedayoob Mousavijahari was in third place, three kilograms behind the Lithuanian. The 29-year-old Moradi jumped from 220kg to 233kg on his fifth lift to break the clean and jerk world record of 232kg set in 2000 by Poland's Szymon Kolecki, and better by four kilograms his own world record for the total, which he improved to 417kg."
I wanted to surprise everybody and I did," said Moradi. "I am proud to make every Iranian across the world very happy."
In the women's 75 kilogram class, Spain's Lydia Valentin, a medallist at the past three Olympic Games, was the clear winner on 258kg from Ecuador's Neisi Dajomes on 240kg with France's Gaelle Ketchanke a further three kilograms behind.
India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test: India On Top Despite Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal Tons
MMNN:4 December 2017
The Indian bowling attack was rewarded for its perseverance on a lifeless track as the hosts reduced Sri Lanka to 356 for nine after defiant hundreds from Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal in the final Test on Monday. Ravichandran Ashwin (3/90 in 35 overs), who has been Virat Kohli's 'Go To Man' in home conditions, got quick breakthroughs in the final session as the tourists ended the third day's play of the third Test 180 runs behind. Ashwin's victims included Mathews (111), Roshen Silva (0) and Niroshan Dickwella (0), as India wrested back the advantage from the islanders, who frustrated the bowlers in the first two sessions. The other highlight for India was Wriddhiman Saha asserting himself as the best wicketkeeper in world cricket with stunning catches off Ishant Sharma (2/93 in 27 overs) and Mohammed Shami's (2/74 in 23 overs) bowling.
Ravindra Jadeja (2/85 in 44 overs) bowled his customary tight lines, not giving batsmen much room to play their strokes. Having overpowered Sri Lanka throughout the year, this effort will give Indian bowlers more satisfaction considering the game was being played on a flat track.
Sri Lanka on their part, would be happy to have saved follow-on, which will ensure that they don't need to bat long enough in the second innings in order to save the Test match.
In the previous five Test matches which lasted 16 and half days out of 25, this was the first time that the Lankans put up some resistance courtesy their two senior pros.
The Indians will have something to worry about as this innings has been one of their worst fielding efforts with as many as five catches being dropped.
Under fire for his below-par show in the preceding games, Mathews dug deep into his reservoir of experience to score his eighth Test hundred and added 181 runs in 79.2 overs with the in-form skipper Chandimal, who hit his 10th ton.
Chandimal batted the whole day, scoring 147 off 341 balls with 18 boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka's senior-most batsman put his hand up when it mattered and was at the crease for six hours and 20 minutes while facing 268 balls. Mathews hit 14 boundaries and two sixes before Ashwin got one to drift away and as the former captain shaped up to play for an off-break, the resultant tickle was accepted by Saha.
Mathews was dropped thrice -- on 6, 98 and 104 by Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (both slips) and substitute fielder Vijay Shankar at mid-off. Chandimal was also dropped once during his innings.
In the recent memory, very rarely had an Indian attack got only a single wicket over two sessions like it happened today at the Kotla, where the Sri Lankan players had no complaints over pollution-related issues.
Ashwin was strangely underbowled in the first two sessions, considering that the two new ball bowlers sent down 51 overs between them.
Such had been the Indian dominance that Mathews and Chandimal put up the first century stand of the series in only the final match. It also helped that two of Sri Lanka's most experienced batsmen shouldered the responsibility under pressure.
The Lankan captain, who hit his third consecutive 50 plus score had till the tea break played 262 balls, hitting 13 boundaries.
Normally known for his flamboyance, Chandimal, who has often been referred as 'Rohit Sharma of Sri Lanka' for his immense talent, curbed his natural instincts and showed discretion in his shot selection.
The Indian bowlers could not be faulted despite little assistance from the track.
Ishant got some of the deliveries to rear up awkwardly, but the Lankan duo did not do anything impetuous, leaving most of them alone. Ishant, in particular, bowled a testing spell to Mathews, with some of the deliveries coming into him after hitting the seam.
However, his short deliveries most of the times could be left alone as they were not pitched in the right areas.
After the first hour, Kohli brought back Shami to make good use of the old ball, but there was not much reverse swing on offer.
Ishant got a reward in the final session when Sadeera Samarawickrama (33) nicked one for Saha to take a brilliant one-handed catch. Saha repeated the act, but that was a two-handed effort off Shami's bowling to dismiss Suranga Lakmal.
Mirabai wins India's first World Champs gold in 22 years
MMNN:1 December 2017
India won its first weightlifting World Championships gold medal since 1995 when Mirabai Chanu defeated the Thai favourite Thunya Sukcharoen in the women's 48kg on Wednesday.
Vietnam had a one-two finish in the men's 56kg, and Francisco Mosquera Valencia of Colombia became the first non-Asian winner at 62kg since 2003
Saeed Ajmal, Now Retired, Makes Sensational Claim About Bowlers in International Cricket
MMNN:30 November 2017
Pakistan's ace spinner Saeed Ajmal, who retired from cricket on Wednesday, hit out at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) protocol to assess bowling actions and made a sensational claim about bowling actions of international bowlers. After a successful but controversial career, off-spinner Ajmal finished with 178 wickets in 35 Tests, the last of which was at Galle in Sri Lanka in 2014, where his bowling action was reported for a second time. His action was first reported during an ODI series against Australia in the UAE in 2009.
His time in the limelight was cut short following a temporary ban for chucking, Ajmal returned to the sport in 2015 with a remodelled action but without much success.
"I am retiring today and at 40 years of age I thought it is now time for me to make way for younger players. I got this feeling I was being considered extra baggage even in domestic teams and I didn't want to go out losing my respect," Ajmal said.
"I am retiring with a heavy heart because firstly I think the ICC's protocol is too harsh and if all bowlers today playing international cricket are tested I am sure at least 90 percent will fail to clear this protocol," Ajmal said.
He felt that if the Pakistan Cricket Board had fought his case more vociferously at the ICC, he would have left a satisfied man.
"The board did support me after my bowling action was declared illegal but I think they could have done more at least using my case to challenge this protocol at the ICC level," he added.
Asked what issues he had with the ICC protocol, Ajmal said it didn't take into account the fact that some bowlers had natural medical issues with their arm while some may have developed problems after some accident.
"To be honest if you talk about the current extension of the elbow allowed I don't think many of the current bowlers meet the ICC standards all the time. Some relaxation has to be allowed on medical grounds."
Ajmal has always claimed that a road accident caused his arm to bend to some extent.
Ajmal, who called it quits after leading Faisalabad in the National T20 Championship, said he wished his last match was at the international arena.
"I always enjoyed the challenge of international cricket and it would have been ideal to retire with a match for Pakistan."
Ajmal said he had completed level two coaching and would remain in touch with the sport by coaching youngsters.
Ben Stokes, In Ashes Exile, 'Working On Golf Swing' In New Zealand
MMNN:29 November 2017
Suspended England allrounder Ben Stokes landed in New Zealand Wednesday, joking about "working on my golf swing" amid speculation he is set for a dramatic Ashes call-up. The fiery all-rounder was tight-lipped after touching down in Christchurch, where he hopes to play first-class cricket for the Canterbury in New Zealand's domestic one-day competition. Kiwi-born Stokes said he was looking forward to seeing his parents in the South Island city he left when he was 12.
"It's been that long since I've been back here, I'm 26 now," he told reporters, refusing to discuss the trolley full of cricket gear he was pushing and instead quipping about golf.
Stokes is barred from international cricket as British police investigate his alleged involvement in a late-night fight outside a Bristol nightclub.
But the suspension announced in September does not apply to domestic cricket, meaning Stokes could turn out for Canterbury as early as this Sunday.
His stint with the New Zealand side is widely seen as an attempt to stay match-fit if Stokes receives the call to travel to Australia and bolster an England side reeling from a 10-wicket defeat in the first Ashes Test.
Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported that England had contingency plans to fast-track Stokes back into the Ashes squad within 48 hours if police decide not to charge him over the fracas.
That could see him play in the Third Test in Perth starting December 14.
But first he has to sort out his immediate future with Canterbury, which is expected to discuss the issue at a board meeting on Wednesday night.
"The Ashes hasn't been discussed whatsoever... There's still a bit of water to go under the bridge," Canterbury coach Gary Stead told Australia's RSN Radio.
"I hope from a coaching point of view we can make this work.
"We've got a pretty young team here and to play alongside a premium world-class allrounder would be great for them."
Stokes was born in New Zealand but moved to England as a child when his father Gerard, a former rugby league international, took a coaching role.
Both his parents have since moved back to Christchurch.
The ECB has emphasised that Stokes is on a private trip that had not been set up by the organisation
Gareth Bale Wants Beyonce To Perform At His Wedding, But She Might Cost A Fortune
MMNN:28 November 2017
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale wants to hire American popstar Beyonce for his wedding next year, British media has reported. The Welsh international is set to marry his long-time girlfriend Emma Rhys-Jones and reports suggest that the couple want Beyonce to entertain their guests. They are expected to tie the knot in Italy. The wedding was reportedly delayed after Rhys-Jones' father was imprisoned for fraud in the United States.
The former 'Destiny's Child' star is rumoured to charge up to 1.5 million pounds for a private appearance and it is believed that Bales' representatives are in talks and negotiations to work out a date and come to a decision.
Bales' season with Real Madrid this season has been curtailed with injury. However, the 300,000 pounds-a-week man is expected to return for the Madrid club after a two-month long calf injury lay-off. He will feature against third-tier Fuenlebrada in the Copa del Rey.
The forward has not played since Real's 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund on September 26. Bale has scored 70 goals in 159 matches for Madrid, winning three Champions League and one La Liga title
The Ashes: Australia Crush England By 10 Wickets In 1st Test
MMNN:27 November 2017
Australia cruised to a crushing 10-wicket win over England to go one-up in the Ashes 2017 series in the opening Test at the Gabba on Monday, with captain Steve Smith praising his team's character. Openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft added to England's agony by peeling off the required runs without the loss of a wicket before lunch on the final day. Warner finished unbeaten on 87 off 119 balls with newcomer Bancroft hitting the winning runs to remain 82 not out off 182 balls in Australia's 173 without loss.
In the process, they broke an 87-year-old Test record for the all-time highest unbeaten opening partnership in a successful Test chase.
"We had to show some really good character throughout. Obviously losing the toss, and the wicket was a lot slower than we anticipated it would be. We had to work really hard," said Australian captain Steve Smith.
"I'm pleased with the way we have played. Bowling first at The Gabba, it's hard. The bowlers had to be on. The way we pulled it back to win from the position we were in it's extremely pleasing. I'm proud of the way the boys fought."
The Australians only needed 56 runs on the final morning go one up after England imploded on Sunday's fourth day.
England captain Joe Root said the result did not tell the full story.
"For three days we were excellent. Bar Steve's knock we were right in it," he said, referring to Smith's battling first innings century.
"It's frustrating. We have to move on quickly and make sure we don't make the same mistakes in Adelaide."
It was Warner's 25th Test fifty and ninth in the Ashes, while debutant Bancroft posted his first half-century in only his second Test innings.
"It was good fun, to share a good partnership was nice. To get the win in the end was good," said Bancroft, who was allegedly headbutted by England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow in a late-night altercation in Perth earlier in the tour.
An England and Wales Cricket Board statement confirmed team management have asked Bairstow about the alleged incident.
Warner said it was great to get the win without losing a wicket.
"That's what we cherish, coming out being disciplined to try and get the job done as best as possible," he said.
England's doleful defeat was played to the background sounds of the travelling Barmy Army supporters singing 'We'll Take the (Ashes) Urn Home' in the sparsely-populated Gabba ground.
It was an attritional battle between the traditional rivals over the first three days of the Test, raising England's hopes of a first win at the ground in just over three decades.
But skipper Smith's match-defining unbeaten 141 over eight-and-a-half hours to give Australia a 26-run innings lead and Josh Hazlewood's two late wickets on Saturday swung the momentum firmly Australia's way.
England were knocked over for 195 off 71.4 overs, losing their last six wickets for 82, to set Australia an unthreatening target to chase down in the remaining four sessions of play.
Australia stretched their unbeaten record at their Gabba fortress to 29 years since their last defeat to Viv Richards' West Indies team in 1988.
England have not won in Brisbane in 31 years, a stretch of eight Ashes Tests.
The five-Test series heads to Adelaide Oval for the first-ever Ashes day-night Test, starting on Saturday.
2nd Test, Day 2: Ton-Up Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay Put India In Command
MMNN:25 November 2017
Opener Murali Vijay added to the selection conundrum with a patient 128 and was ably complemented by 'Run Machine' Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten 121 as India grinded a mediocre Sri Lankan attack on the second day of the second cricket Test, on Saturday. Pujara and Vijay added 209 runs for the second wicket to set a platform from where India would look to bat the islanders out of the contest. Ending the day at a comfortable 312 for two, the hosts are 107 runs ahead of Sri Lanka's first innings total of 205.
Playing his first Test match after eight months, Vijay increased the 'happy headache' of the team management as they will be spoilt for choice during the third Test match in Delhi and more importantly, the Test series in South Africa.
With his compact technique, the Tamil Nadu opener is certainly going to have a headstart over his nearest rivals --- KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, when the team embarks on the tour to South Africa.
Pujara, who scored his 14th century has skipper Virat Kohli (54 bating) for company. Kohli is looking good for a big one on the third day and surely would be playing a more attacking role than Pujara, who took 246 balls to reach his century.
With the pitch not offering any assistance to the bowlers, Sri Lankan attack looked pedestrian as the seasoned Indian duo scored runs easily without taking any undue risks.
The Pujara-Vijay combination has been a nemesis for bowlers in the Indian sub-continent with their 10th century stand in longest version. Vijay hit 11 boundaries and a six off 221 deliveries before being dismissed while trying to sweep Rangana Herath.
Pujara batted through the whole day facing 284 balls in which he hit 13 boundaries.
Three more satisfying pieces of statistics is sure to bring smile in the Indian dressing room. Vijay-Pujara pair score at an average of 73 runs per partnership - highest among all Indian pairs across Test cricket and Saurashtra right-hander has completed 1000 Test runs in 2017.
Pujara-Vijay were also involved in their fourth successive century stand.
Vijay teed off with a glorious square drive off Eden Test hero Suranga Lakmal (0/58), who was far from his best with conditions not aiding his kind of bowling.
For someone who plays the drive fluently, Vijay was time and again provided with loose half-volleys both outside the off-stump and on his legs for him to make full use.
The shot with which Vijay brought up his half-century was a picture perfect straight drive off Dasun Shanaka.
There was a lot of time at India's disposal and that's why the batsmen were in no hurry yet comfortably got their runs. The home team scored at a steady if not breakneck pace but always had control of the proceedings with the three seasons yielding - 301 runs in 90 overs.
The acceleration in the final session was largely due to skipper Kohli's flurry of strokes - he hit six boundaries facing 70 balls.
Dinesh Chandimal's decision to bring in his spinners hardly yielded any different result as both looked comfortable reaching to the pitch of the deliveries nullifying any help that they could have possibly got off the pitch.
When Herath (1/45) flighted one inviting Pujara to come out, he promptly did so by flicking it to the vacant mid-wicket boundary. His straight drive off Lakmal was regal as he hit nine fours having faced 183 deliveries.
Vijay on his part gave Herath the charge hitting him for a straight six. He completed his hundred with a push towards long-off of Dilruwan Perera's bowling. He achieved the landmark in 187 deliveries.
Dilruwan (0/117 in 21 overs) could hardly turn a single delivery and was the weaklink of the attack leaking runs from one end.
Worse, he was stationed at short mid-on for a specific uppish drive. Vijay did fall into the trap trying to flick Lahiru Gamage and the ball flew towards Dilruwan, who couldn't pouch onto the catch. The Tamil Nadu opener was batting on 61 then.
There wasn't a single wicket-taking delivery from the Lankan attack as they could hardly beat the bat. With no lateral movement on offer and the pitch offering reasonable good bounce and carry, strokeplay became relatively easier.
The fuller length deliveries did not seem to work for them while the trio of Lakmal, Shanaka (0/43 in 13 overs) and Gamage (1/47 in 22 overs) did not have enough pace to trouble the batsmen when they hit back of the length.
On a pitch like this and a toothless attack, Pujara would have always proved to be a handful as he batted with effortless ease. It seemed like he treated the Lankan attack like any other domestic team. There wasn't even a single delivery that could breach Pujara's defence.
2nd Test: Ashwin, Jadeja Skittle Out Sri Lanka For 205 On Day 1
MMNN:24 November 2017
Skipper Virat Kohli's decision to play only four specialist bowlers was vindicated as India bundled out a defensive Sri Lanka for a paltry 205 on the opening day of the second cricket Test, on Friday. At stumps, India were 11 for 1 with KL Rahul (7) back in the pavilion, being played on to a Lahiru Gamage delivery. With no demons on a sporting track where stroke-play wasn't too difficult, the visitors never got going as spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (4/67) and Ravindra Jadeja (3/56) along with comeback-man Ishant Sharma (3/37) shared the spoils. After the completion of first innings, Ashwin now has 296 wickets in his 54th Test. He will get another innings in this game plus the Delhi Test to get the remaining four scalps and break Dennis Lillee's (56 Test) record fastest to 300 wickets.
Sri Lanka were 160 for four at one stage during the final session looking good enough to stage a fightback before a batting collapse saw them lose six wickets for only 45 runs.
Their batsmen were ultra-defensive in their approach during the first session on a Jamtha track which had good bounce and carry but was far from the menacing green-top that was on offer at the Eden Gardens during the first Test match.
The lack of intent to get going in the second and third sessions affected their performance with only skipper Dinesh Chandimal (57) looked like in control till he was at the crease.
The other batsman with notable contribution was opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who was twice lucky in the first session -- being dropped once and stumped off a no-ball another time, but still he could not fully capitalize on the reprieves getting out for 51 in the post-lunch session.
The immensely talented Niroshan Dickwella (24) committed hara-kiri when things were starting to look up during the post tea-session. He tried to whip Jadeja through mid-wicket and the ball ballooned up for Ishant to take a simple catch at mid-off.
The trio of Ishant, Ashwin and Jadeja did not bowl anything exceptional but their unwavering consistency saw the Lankans buckle under pressure.
The best delivery undoubtedly was the one that Ashwin got Dasun Shanaka (2) with. Ashwin had previous bowled an off-break that made him uncomfortable and then fired an angular delivery that looked more like a leg-break clipping the off-stump.
Ishant, who normally bowls back of the length mixed it up with good full length deliveries that got him the wickets while Jadeja's armers proved to be very effective.
He was instrumental in dislodging the stodgy Karunaratne, who had by then already played 147 deliveries, hitting six boundaries.
His skipper Chandimal would have expected Karunaratne to help him in conjure a bigger partnership than the 62 runs that they added for the fourth wicket.
Ishant finally sent the dogged Karunaratne back with a delivery that looked to have straightened after pitching. Karunaratne went for DRS but the replays showed that the delivery would have hit the off-stump.
Chandimal showed more intent than his teammates to get the scoreboard moving, hitting four boundaries and a down the ground six off Jadeja.
Courtesy Chandimal, Sri Lanka managed to score 104 runs in 32 overs during the post-lunch session, losing a couple of wickets. All the hardwork was undone in the post tea session after Dickwella's dismissal. '
It also affected Chandimal's confidence as he was not the same player again.
Opting to bat, opener Sadeera Samarawickrama (13) and one down Lahiru Thirimanne (9) were out during the first session, where the visiting team went into a shell with a safety-first ploy in the 27 overs bowled during the period.
Ishant, playing his first Test since the home series against Australia, bowled his customary back of the length stuff with an occasional fuller delivery.
He set up opener Samarawickrama with a delivery that was on fifth stump. The right handed opener rightly left it but the very next delivery was fuller, angled in at a drivable length.
The batsman took the bait and the thick outside edge was pouched by Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip.
The seasoned Thirimanne was in a defensive mode from the start as his 58-ball stay at the crease would suggest. So intent he was on defending that he tried to play an ugly sweep shot to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery that hardly turned and missed the line completely to get bowled
The Ashes: David Warner Accuses Ben Stokes Of Letting His Country Down
MMNN:22 November 2017
David Warner, Australia's swashbuckling opener, has continued the war of words ahead of the first Ashes Test against England at The Gabba in Brisbane, starting on Thursday. Warner accused Ben Stokes of letting "a lot of people down" and emphasised on the fact that he will be a big miss for England during the Ashes 2017 series. Stokes was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm after being involved in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub. England will be without Stokes for the first Test in Brisbane, with the 26-year-old made unavailable for selection by the England and Wales Cricket Board "until further notice".
"I think it's probably disappointing for the England team and the country," Warner was quoted as saying in the British media. "He's let a lot of people down. I would have loved for him to be out here because I know what a competitor he is on the field. He is a world-class player.
"It's obviously up to the English police first to think that that's right, with punishment or no punishment," said Warner, who was included in Australia's playing XI despite suffering a neck injury.
There was chatter going around that Stokes could still play some part in the Ashes and that talk was further fuelled after the Englishman posted a video footage of him back in training at Durham.
"At the end of the day, he knows he's made a mistake and it's about him getting that respect back from his players and fellow countrymen. If he does come out here, we'll wish him well," said Warner.
"Hopefully he brings the fieriness that he does to the competition. I wish everyone well. We're all sportsmen and we're trying to achieve the same thing and that's to win. I wish everyone good luck."
The star all-rounder is currently cooling his heels in England and awaiting the result of a police investigation but that has not stopped him from firing verbal shots at his Australian counterparts.
Stokes on Monday lashed out at Australia's batting legend Matthew Hayden after he described England as a "rabble" and claimed he did not who "half" the team was. The English all-rounder took to Twitter and launched a scathing attack on Hayden for his comments.
The absence of Stokes from the tour of Australia would be a huge blow for Ashes holders England, who have lost two out of their past three tours Down Under 5-0 and are desperate to hit the ground running in Brisbane on November 23.
England enjoyed a good summer at home, with Test series wins against South Africa and the West Indies, but there are doubts about a number of positions at the top of the batting order.
Maria Sharapova Named In India Luxury Housing Fraud Probe
MMNN:21 November 2017
Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova is under investigation by Indian police for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed, a lawyer said Tuesday. The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions of dollars from homebuyers before the project folded. Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the buyers, told AFP that police had filed initial charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy against Sharapova as part of a wider case against the firm Homestead Infrastructure Development.
The 30-year-old tennis star travelled to India in 2012 to launch the luxury high-rise apartment complex -- named Ballet by Sharapova -- which prospective buyers were told would house a tennis academy, a clubhouse and a helipad.
The website of the project quotes Sharapova as saying her goal was to "make the owners feel like they own something special and different".
"Any celebrity who endorses any product technically becomes an agent for that company. No one would have invested in the project if Sharapova's name was not there," said Singh.
The project in Gurgaon -- a satellite city of the capital New Delhi -- was supposed to be ready in 2016 but, Singh said, construction work was abandoned after builders collected millions from homebuyers.
Police were not immediately available for comment on the case, which is being heard in a Delhi court.
Calls to the developers also went unanswered. Sharapova has not commented on the case.
The former world number one made almost $30 million in 2015, according to Forbes, with $23 million of that coming from endorsements like the project in Gurgaon.
She has had a stop-start season since her controversial return to the game in April, following a 15-month doping ban
Manik Banerjee and Lt. Col. RS Jamwal received IMF Awards
MMNN:20 November 2017
Veteran mountaineer and journalist Manik Banerjee and noted climber Lt Col R S Jamwal have been presented with "Nain Singh Kishen Singh Life Time Achievement Award" and "IMF Gold Medal" respectively constituted by Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) for the year 2017.
Mr Banerjee was presented with the Life Time Achievement award in recognition of his achievements in mountaineering over a period of four decades and invaluable contribution in promotion of mountaineering and allied adventure activities in various media besides his yeoman service in spreading the spirit of adventure activities among the under privileged.
Lt Col Jamwal was awarded the Gold Medal for his achievements in mountaineering and carrying out rescue work beside campaigning for environment awareness.
Veteran lady mountaineer Chandra Prabha Aitwal and Air Vice Marshall Ranjit Kumar gave away the awards in presence of IMF President Col (Retd) H S Chauhan and other leading mountaineers in the country during the Annual General Meeting of IMF in New Delhi on Saturday.
Apart from making first ascent of Kaburu Dome in Sikkim Himalaya and Jogin Two and first Indian ascent of Uja Tirche (both in Garhwal Himalaya) and participating in many major Himalayan expeditions including Mt. Everest, Nanda Devi, Tirsuli, Herdeol during nineteen seventees and eightees, Mr Banerjee is still continuing with the movement for spreading the spirit of adventure among the students and youths of the country.
Lt. Col Jamwal has the distinction of reaching the top of Mt. Everest thrice during 2013, 2016 and 2017 beside climbing many other peaks in Indian Himalaya.
He was also actively involved in rescuing many of the trapped climbers in and around Kumbu Ice Fall, the base camp for Everest Expedition from Nepal when earthquake struck that country during pre-monsoon period of 2015.
Earlier, during the annual general meeting of the IMF, the general body reelected Col H S Chauhan as its President for the year 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The Ashes: Australia Squad For 1st Two Tests Causes Uproar, Stuart MacGill Lashes Out At 'Morons'
MMNN:17 November 2017
The Ashes 2017 gets underway on November 23 with the first Test slated to be held at The Gabba in Brisbane. On Friday, the Australia announced their squad for the first two Ashes Tests, throwing more than a few surprises. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine was handed a shock recall after a seven-year Test absence and comes into the 13-man squad along with batsmen Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh. The selections caused a massive uproar on Twitter and were described as "bombshells" in Australian press, while former Test bowler Stuart MacGill lashed out at those concerned.
MacGill, who played 44 Tests for Australia, taking 208 wickets, took to Twitter to make his displeasure known.
In a stunning selection, 32-year-old Paine, who was once on the brink of retirement over a serious finger fracture, was preferred to Wade and Peter Nevill for his first Test match since October 2010.
Bancroft, a 24-year-old right-hander, is in line for his Test debut at the expense of opening batsman Matthew Renshaw following a prolific series of scores for Western Australia in this season's domestic Sheffield Shield competition.
Shaun Marsh, 34, makes yet another return to the Australian side and is slated to bat at number six to shore up the batting instead of all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Hilton Cartwright.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc
1st Test: Suranga Lakmal Rattles India's Top Order On Rain-Hit Day One
MMNN:16 November 2017
Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal wrecked the high-profile Indian top-order in overcast conditions to leave the hosts reeling at 17 for three on a rain-affected day one of the first Test at Eden Gardens on Thursday. Lakmal's sensational spell, in which he struck thrice without conceding a run in six overs, saw him removing opener Lokesh Rahul on the first ball of the match after play began three and a half hours late due to wet conditions. His other two victims were Shikhar Dhawan (8), who played a loose shot in testing conditions to play on to his stumps, and India captain Virat Kohli (0), who was trapped in front off a ball that came in sharply.
Bad-light and rain led to multiple interruptions before umpires decided to call off the day's play with just 11.5 overs being bowled.
In the second over after tea, skipper Kohli was trapped anticipating an away delivery when the ball sharply cut back in. Kohli went for the review but was given out on umpire's call to bring his innings to an end with zero from 11 balls.
Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on eight after playing 43 deliveries in an anxious stay at the crease with Ajinkya Rahane at the other end. Bad light and rain meant only an hour's play was possible in the day.
The first session was washed away due to drizzle and a wet outfield, and the second session began at 1.42 pm as play was possible only for 43 minutes.
The post-tea period began at 3.30 pm and there was no change to India's score in the session but the Lankans added the prized-wicket of Kohli in a 17-minute session.
Dinesh Chandimal won a fine toss and opted to bowl under overcast conditions as Lakmal made full use of the Eden greentop.
Relishing the conditions, Lakmal produced an unplayable delivery that pitched on middle stump line and went away to take a feather edge of Rahul.
It was an agonising end to Rahul's streak of seven successive fifties. He was picked in the eleven ahead of Murali Vijay but fell to a beauty.
Continuing his dream start, the Lankan new-ball bowler almost cleaned up Pujara with a fuller inswinger following Rahul's dismissal.
But luckily for the most dependable India batsman, the ball which darted back in went inches above the middle stump.
Touring here for a Test series for the first time since 2009, Sri Lanka has lost 10 matches and drawn six as they search for a maiden win on Indian soil
Christian Eriksen's Hat-Trick Takes Denmark To FIFA World Cup 2018
MMNN:15 November 2017
Christian Eriksen's magnificent hat-trick inspired Denmark to a 5-1 demolition of the Republic of Ireland in Tuesday's second leg of their play-off in Dublin to clinch a spot at next year's World Cup. Following Saturday's stalemate in Copenhagen, Ireland got their home leg off to the perfect start when Shane Duffy headed them into the lead after only six minutes, but Denmark struck twice before the break and three more in the second half to seal their place in Russia.
"It is an incredible feeling. We have been fighting for so long to get to the World Cup. We are very much looking forward to it," said Eriksen.
"It is not often I score any hat-trick so of course it is incredible."
The equaliser arrived in fortuitous circumstances on 19 minutes when Cyrus Christie helped bundle in Andreas Christensen's effort, but there was nothing lucky about Eriksen's thunderbolt for the second or his second-half brace.
Nicklas Bendtner, on as a late substitute, completed the rout in the final minute with a penalty after a clumsy trip on him by James McClean, extending Ireland's wait for a first World Cup appearance since 2002.
"We're really disappointed. We were well beaten in the end," said Ireland coach Martin O'Neill.
"The two goals we conceded within a couple of minutes knocked us. We had to chase the game and Denmark took advantage. They deserved to go through."
O'Neill, who had already agreed a new contact to lead Ireland into the qualifiers for the 2020 European Championship, will ship criticism for again selecting his team without the craft of Wes Hoolahan.
The 35-year-old, one of four Ireland players likely to retire from international football, was only introduced at the interval with Ireland needing three goals to redeem their cause.
Duffy will certainly be around for the next campaign and his role as a central figure was solidified by his second crucial goal of the campaign.
After Daryl Murphy earned a free-kick on the halfway line, Robbie Brady's delivery was telegraphed perfectly for the giant centre-back to arrive on cue to nod past the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.
That early breakthrough ensured the game opened up and Murphy nearly added a second only to ripple the side-netting with a volley.
- Eriksen magic -
Denmark began to take encouragement from the space they were finding behind the home side's rigid defence and a piece of magic from Pione Sisto conjured the equaliser.
His raid from the wing left Stephen Ward for dead and the left-wing cross found Christensen, whose close-range effort clipped the inside of the post and deflected in off the luckless Christie.
Three minutes later and the task deepened for Ireland. Ward was again exposed by losing the ball and Nicolai Jorgensen picked up Eriksen and he found the top corner past Darren Randolph with a first-time shot from 25 yards.
O'Neill's decision to ring the changes at the break did little to ease the pressure as Sisto forced a reflex save from Randolph with a shot from distance.
All Ireland could muster was the odd half chance from set-pieces, leaving space for Denmark and Eriksen to capitalise on.
After nearly grabbing his second on 56 minutes, the Tottenham talisman made no mistake on 63 minutes when he completed a flowing move between four players by curling a left-footed shot beyond the outstretched arm of Randolph.
While McClean and substitute Shane Long spurned openings for Ireland to try claim some respectability, they conceded again from another Ward error.
The Burnley man's feeble attempt at clearing a cross enabled Eriksen to dash in and rocket his shot into the top corner for his hat-trick.
To compound Ireland's woe, they conceded a late penalty which Bendtner gave Randolph no chance with by hammering into the top left corner.
Gianluigi Buffon Ends International Career, Says 'Sorry For Italy' After World Cup Failure
MMNN:14 November 2017
Veteran Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon expressed his sorrow as the four-time champions failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 following their 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat by Sweden. Italy were held to a 0-0 draw in front of 74,000 fans at the San Siro on Monday, as they were unable to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Stockholm. "I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football," said the 39-year-old Buffon, who confirmed his international retirement after missing out on the chance to appear at a record sixth World Cup. "We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes."
He added: "Those who've played know how hard these matches are. We weren't able to express ourselves at our best. We lacked the composure to score."
But the 2006 World Cup winner insisted the national team would rise again despite their absence from next year's tournament in Russia -- just the third edition without the Azzurri, after 1930 and 1958.
"There is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet," said Buffon.
"I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including (goalkeepers) Gigi Donnarumma and Mattia Perin. I thank the lads who were with us and, although it wasn't enough, I hope that we gave them something.
"In football you win as a group, you lose as a group, you divide the credit and the blame. The coach is part of this entire group."
It was a tearful farewell for Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon, who had dreamed of bowing out with another record in a stellar career -- a sixth World Cup finals appearance.
Instead, his career finished not in Russia but with a humiliating World Cup playoff exit against Sweden at Milan's San Siro stadium, as Italy missed out on the finals for the first time in 60 years.
The charismatic 39-year-old had solidly represented the Azzurri for the past 20 years, earning a record 175 caps, but this time not even he could lift a second-rate Italy side.
The Azzuri drew 0-0 on Monday to lose 1-0 on aggregate, ending Buffon's brilliant international career which included the 2006 World Cup title.
He follows another legendary Italy and Juventus goalkeeper, Dino Zoff, who also departed the international scene after a defeat to Sweden.
"I'm not sorry for myself but all of Italian football," an inconsolable Buffon told Italian broadcaster Rai.
"We failed at something which also means something on a social level. There's regret at finishing like that, not because time passes."
The defeat represents the end of a generation with Andrea Barzagli, 36, and 34-year-old midfielder Daniele de Rossi, who also lifted the 2006 World Cup, also retiring from internationals, along with Buffon's Juventus team-mate Giorgio Chiellini.
"My Barzagli, my de Rossi, my Chiellini... they will leave as well, I think Leo Bonucci will continue. I say thanks to everyone, I don't want to steal the spotlight from anyone," said Buffon.
- World Cup record -
Fatefully, Buffon's long adventure with the national side finished as it had started -- at a World Cup playoff.
Under the snow of Moscow in 1997, Gianluca Pagliuca was injured and coach Cesare Maldini had no choice but to turn to the young Buffon.
"Do you feel like coming on?" he asked. Buffon played, he was good -- as almost always since -- and he was a fixture from then on, first as a substitute, then number one goalkeeper and finally captain.
In addition to winning eight Serie A titles with Juventus, Buffon was key to Italy's World Cup triumph in Germany when he conceded just twice in seven games -- a record he shares with Spain's Iker Casillas and France's Fabien Barthez.
Buffon also remains the only goalkeeper to win the UEFA player of the year award.
His two desperate corner kicks in injury time on Monday are images that will be remembered, along with his tears and his manner of belting out the Italian national anthem, eyes closed and crushing the shoulders of his neighbour.
"I was lucky to play my entire career with him, at Juventus and the national side," said Chiellini.
"There's no doubt that sometimes I don't even realise what it means to be in front of such a strong goalkeeper. Sometimes it seems simple but it's only because it's him."
- Charisma and experience -
Despite his trademark stubble showing the odd fleck of grey, the advancing years are having little effect on the reflexes, and ambition, of the evergreen Buffon.
Buffon, whose mother was a discus thrower and father a weightlifter, made his Serie A debut with Parma, winning the Italian Cup, the Italian Super Cup and the UEFA Cup before joining Juventus for 51 million euros in 2001 and going on to become a club legend with his eight Serie A titles.
A true workhorse, he has constantly progressed technically and has lost almost none of his extraordinary physical capabilities.
He became a goalkeeper at only 12 years old, having started off as an offensive midfielder, and approaching 40 years, Buffon remains one of the best in the world in his position.
Above all, his charisma, his experience and his measured way of expressing himself have made him a senior figure in Italian football.
The Juventus captain, who has already said he will likely retire from all football at the end of this season, said Italy fans still have plenty to look forward to, with AC Milan's 18-year-old 'keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma set to take the international number one shirt.
"There is certainly a future for Italian football, as we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet," he added.
"I leave a squad of talent that will have their say, including Gigio Donnarumma and (Genoa 'keeper) Mattia Perin."
He has one final ambition with Juventus: to win the Champions League, after finishing runners-up twice in the past three years.
Kidambi Srikanth Pulls Out Of China Open Super Series
MMNN:11 November 2017
Star India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth has pulled out of the China Open Superseries due to a niggle but will be back in action after a week's rest at the Hong Kong Super Series where he will have the chance to reach the World No. 1 ranking. Srikanth, currently the second-ranked men's singles player, decided to take a week's rest after aggravating a leg injury during the Senior National Badminton Championships in Nagpur. "I am pulling out of China Open (November 14-19). It is a muscle strain and a doctor advised me to take rest for one week. It happened in the Nationals but because I kept playing it got a little worse. But I should be ok in a week," Srikanth told PTI today.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI), however, said that it was just a coincidence that Srikanth sustained the injury at the Nationals, the dates for which were pre-fixed in consultation with all the top shuttlers of the country.
"I think it is wrong to say Nationals were responsible for his injury and it is wrongly timed," BAI secretary general Anup Narang said.
"The dates were decided in consultation with the top players and they willingly participated in the event. In fact, if not Nationals, many players would have played at the Macau Open," he said.
"There has been no major injuries to any player. Srikanth has a mild injury which will be corrected with a week's rest. So he would be playing in Hong Kong, where he will have the opportunity to reach no. 1 ranking."
The BAI official said the National Championship is an integral part of the annual calendar and the federation will continue to organise the event in consultation with the players.
"The Nationals have been very well managed. It is very important to conduct the Nationals. We will keep organising it in consultation with the players, according to their comfort. If it is not done the next crop of players will not come up. It is an important event for the growth of Indian badminton," Narang said.
Srikanth, who lost to H S Prannoy in the final of the National Championship, has been playing non-stop badminton since October 18.
Ravi Shastri Comes Out All Guns Blazing In MS Dhoni's Support
MMNN:10 November 2017
Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri came out in support of former captain MS Dhoni, describing him as the 'ultimate team man'. Shastri's defense of Dhoni comes after captain Virat Kohli echoed a similar sentiment after India's 2-1 T20I series win over New Zealand earlier in the week. Shastri said some 'jealous' people wished to see the end of Dhoni's international career.
"Looks like there are a lot of jealous people around, who just want Dhoni to have a couple of bad days.... There are a few people who are waiting to see the end of MS Dhoni. But great players like him decide their own future," Shastri said.
After India's triumph over the Kiwis, former cricketers like VVS Laxman, Ajit Agarkar and Aakash Chopra felt the team management needed to try out younger players in place of Dhoni in the T20 format.
Shastri said the Indian team knew well aware of Dhoni's worth and the criticism against the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman made no difference to them.
"It (the criticism) doesn't make a difference to me. In our mind we know where Dhoni stands within the team. He is an ultimate team man. He was a great leader and now an ultimate team man."
In a dig at some former cricketers and experts who have been critical of Dhoni of late and suggested he be dropped from the T20 side, he said: "Not so long ago I used to do television and people used to ask me questions. You need to answer questions to make a show happen.
"Dhoni is a superstar. He is one of our greatest cricketers. So he is always going to be a great topic. He is always going to be a topic because he is a legend. When you have a career as glorious as that, you become a topic on television."
Shastri pointed out that Dhoni, who has retired from Test cricket, has averaged over 65 in One Day Internationals over the last one year and helped India win matches during the series against Sri Lanka and Australia recently.
Saina Nehwal Beats PV Sindhu In Thrilling Final To Lift Senior Badminton National Championship Title
MMNN:9 November 2017
Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal came up with a spectacular show to defeat PV Sindhu in straight games in the women's singles final to clinch the Senior Badminton National Championship title on Wednesday. Saina, who is currently ranked World No. 11, won 21-17, 27-25 against her compatriot and Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu. Saina won the first game 21-17 with ease. But the second game went right down to the wire. After exchanging a few points, it was Saina who proved superior and clinched the thrilling clash 27-25.
Saina entered the women's singles final of the tournament after defeating fifth seed Anura Prabhudesai 21-11 21 -10.
In the men's singles final, Hyderabad's HS Prannoy defeated Kidambi Srikanth to clinch the title.
In a grueling three-game marathon final, Prannoy beat the Guntur player 21-15, 16-21, 21-7 to lift the men's singles title.
Mary Kom Enters Asian Boxing Championships Final
MMNN:7 November 2017
Five-time world champion MC Mary Kom remained on course for a fifth gold medal at the Asian Boxing Championships after she advanced to the final of the event on Tuesday being held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mary Kom defeated Japan's Tsubasa Komura in a unanimous 5-0 verdict to make the summit clash for the fifth time in her sixth appearance at the event. Should she go on to win the final, the Indian would be clinch her first Asian Championships gold medal in the 48kg category.
The 35-year-old Rajya Sabha MP, who is also a former Olympic bronze-medallist, returned to her preferred weight category after five years of competing in 51kg, which was made an Olympic category in 2012.
Once again, it was a bout fought largely on defensive tactics. The Japanese boxer seemed too wary to go near the Indian, who literally had to lunge at Komura for her right hooks to connect.
Mary Kom's patience with Komura's tactics ran out in the second round and she increased the pace and ferocity of her own attacks to unsettle the Japanese.
The shell guard to stave off Komura's feeble right straights ensured that the star Indian boxer hardly took any blow in what turned out to be a lopsided contest.
Indian Women win Asia Cup Hockey after 13 years
MMNN:6 November 2017
apan Indian Women's Hockey Team created history as they beat China in a tense shootout to lift the Women's Asia Cup 2017 after 13 years and qualify for next year's Women's World Cup as Continental Champions here at Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium in Japan.
It was India skipper Rani who scored the winning goal for India while Savita made a great save in sudden death to ensure India the 5-4 score in penalty shootout. Earlier, it was Navjot Kaur who scored India's lone goal in the 25th minute.
It was in 2004 when Indian Women's Team lifted the Asia Cup after beating Japan 1-0 in the final. It was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in only the second minute of the game.
However, Indian goalkeeper Savita was at her usual best to pad it away while an alert Deep Grace cleared the ball. Soon after, Indian forwards launched a swift attack with Navneet Kaur and Vandana working in tandem to find space in the Chinese D but an attentive Wang Na averted the danger.
China, meanwhile, won their second PC but Savita was spot on yet again to pad away Meiyu Liang's flick. It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal.
It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, Indian defenders were up to the task in denying success. Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past Chinese defenders but a second goal was not to come by even as the clock ticked away to the third hooter.
On China's part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a PC in the third quarter. The final quarter was tense as China won a PC through successful video referral in the 47th minute.
Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equalizer for China. The following minutes saw both teams play on par with each other not allowing either of them to stay in control.
With nine minutes left for the final hooter, India upped their attack desperately attempting to find a gap in the 15-yard mark but Chinese defenders were resolute not allowing any room for error.
Meanwhile China won their fourth PC of the match with little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle. But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in stalemate resulting in a shootout.
In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years. Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
It is a sweet double for both Indian Men and Women as they are crowned Asia Cup Champions this year. It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal.
It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, Indian defenders were up to the task in denying success. Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past Chinese defenders but a second goal was not to come by even as the clock ticked away to the third hooter.
On China's part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a PC in the third quarter. The final quarter was tense as China won a PC through successful video referral in the 47th minute.
Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equalizer for China. The following minutes saw both teams play on par with each other not allowing either of them to stay in control.
With nine minutes left for the final hooter, India upped their attack desperately attempting to find a gap in the 15-yard mark but Chinese defenders were resolute not allowing any room for error.
Meanwhile China won their fourth PC of the match with little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle. But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in stalemate resulting in a shootout.
In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years. Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament. It is a sweet double for both Indian Men and Women as they are crowned Asia Cup Champions this year.
PV Sindhu Slams IndiGo Staff After 'Bad Experience', Airline Counters Claim
MMNN:4 November 2017
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu took to Twitter on Saturday to speak about a "bad experience" when she was flying by IndiGo 6E 608 flight to Mumbai. The 22-year-old, in a series of tweets, named and shamed the airline ground staff, saying that the IndiGo employee had behaved "badly and rudely" with her. When he was approached by an air hostess and told to behave properly, he was rude with her as well, Sindhu wrote in a direct message to IndiGo. Twitterati came in their numbers and while some slammed the airline staff, others pleaded with Sindhu to not name the employee. Meanwhile, IndiGo came out with the statement, tweeted by ANI, refuting Sindhu's claim. The airline said that the badminton ace was carrying oversized baggage and that "member of the IndiGo ground operations remained calm
Sindhu first posted, saying she had a bad experience and named the employee
Before part two and three of her tweets could come, Twitter was flooded with pleas of users asking Sindhu not to name the airplane staff and to forgive him
This is not the first instance that a sportsperson has taken to Twitter to speak about their bad experience on a flight. Sachin Tendulkar, who was travelling with his family, blasted British Airways on Twitter after the cricket legend faced flight and baggage issues.
In a series of angry tweets posted in April this year, cricketer Harbhajan Singh brought attention to an alleged incident of racism and assault by a pilot from Jet Airways.
Josh Hazlewood Urges Nathan Coluter-Nile To 'Crack Open' England Batsmen
MMNN:3 November 2017
Josh Hazlewood is hoping fellow pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile can "crack open" England's batsmen and "create a few scars in their top order" ahead of the first Ashes Test starting on November 23. England start their Ashes tour on Saturday (November 4) with a two-day match against a Western Australia XI side, captained by Coulter-Nile, in Perth. Coulter-Nile was sidelined from Western Australia's Sheffield Shield game against NSW in Sydney, and will instead get a chance against the English tourists in the two-dayer.
Hazlewood, who is expected to lead the Australian new-ball attack with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the Ashes series opener in Brisbane later this month, told Coulter-Nile to go after the tourists' batsmen.
"Maybe he can crack open a few guys early and create a few scars in their top order and middle order," Hazlewood told reporters late Thursday.
"It's disappointing he's not playing in the Shield game against us but he's obviously had injuries in the past few years so they're easing him back into it."
The injury-jinxed Coulter-Nile bowled 15 overs in the opening Shield round last week in his first first-class game in more than two years.
Coulter-Nile took three for 18 from six explosive overs for WA as Tasmania were skittled for 63 in last week's Shield match in Perth.
"That top order, it will be their first real hit-out in Australia and to have a guy like Coults there to warm them up and to maybe create a few scars, would be nice," Hazlewood said.
"Obviously their plan is to jump straight into it on the bounciest and quickest wicket and get used to conditions that way."
Hazlewood said an Australian Test pace attack comprising Starc and Cummins would be a handful for England in the first Test in Brisbane, where the wicket traditionally rewards fast bowlers with bounce and movement off the pitch.
"They're not going to fear me or (off-spinner) Nathan (Lyon) but the other two guys obviously put fear into the batsmen," Hazlewood said.
Hardik Pandya Takes Breathtaking Catch To Dismiss Martin Guptill, MS Dhoni's Reaction Is Priceless
MMNN:2 November 2017
Hardik Pandya might have missed out with the bat in the first Twenty20 international between India and New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday night, but the all-rounder surely made his presence felt by taking an absolute stunner to dismiss Kiwi opener Martin Guptill. Pandya sprinted on the long-leg boundary and dived full length to send Guptill packing in the second over of New Zealand's innings. He was mobbed by his teammates but the most priceless reaction came from former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India had piled on the runs after being put into bat in Ashish Nehra's farewell match. Some electric batting by openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan helped the hosts post 202 for three.
Chahal bowled the second over and Guptill tried to attack the leg-spinner almost immediately but his plan failed to work as Pandya produced a brilliant effort to send him back to the pavilion on 4.
Earlier, Pandya had failed to deliver with the bat after being promoted up the order. The all-rounder came in at one-down after Dhawan's dismissal but fell prey to Ish Sodhi in just his second ball for a duck.
In the field, skipper Virat Kohli gave Pandya just one over with the pacer getting the big wicket of Kane Williamson.
Barring a solid knock from Tom Latham (39) and an unbeaten 27 from Mitchell Santner, other New Zealand batsmen failed to get going as the visitors were completely outclassed by the Men in Blue.
India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series as New Zealand lost the 1st T20I by 53 runs. India had won the ODI series 2-1.
Pooja Ghatkar, Shahzar Rizvi Win Gold at Commonwealth Shooting Championship
MMNN:1 November 2017
Indian pistol shooters on Wednesday pulled off a clean sweep in the 10m air pistol event at the Commonwealth Shooting Championship with Shahzar Rizvi, Omkar Singh and Jitu Rai winning gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.
In the 10m women's air rifle event, Pooja Ghatkar bagged a gold while Anjum Moudgil won the silver medal. The bronze in this event went to Martina Lindsay Veloso of Singapore.
India had a productive second day at the range winning as many as five medals, including two gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
Earlier, Heena Sidhu claimed the 10m air pistol gold, while Deepak Kumar fetched a silver in the 10m air rifle event to give India a fine start at the Championships yesterday. Sidhu shot a combined score of 626.2 (386+240.8) to claim the top honours.
This was Sidhu's second successive international gold after she, along with Jitu Rai, claimed the top position in the 10m air pistol mixed team event in the ISSF World Cup Finals in Delhi earlier this month
Rafael Nadal Prepares To Seal World Number One Status
MMNN:31 October 2017
Rafael Nadal said on Monday that he is ready to consolidate his year-end number one ATP ranking by winning his opening match at the Paris Masters. But the 31-year-old Spaniard - who is also trying to balance the delicate political situation in his native country with his status as an international sportsman - refused to hype up his potential coronation. "I need to win a match. I'm here to try my best - as in every tournament," he said before starting as top seed in the event which is missing Roger Federer due to fatigue.
"Hopefully if this (number one) happens, it will be something important for me.
"But the season is not over and it's not the moment to think much about that.
"I'll just try to think about trying to have the right preparation for the tournament and then try to be ready for the first match."
Nadal, who reclaimed the top ranking in August for the first time in three years, is due to start at Bercy against South Korea's Hyeon Chung, who opened on Monday with a 6-0, 6-2 first-round defeat of German Mischa Zverev.
Federer is skipping Paris after winning back-to-back titles in Shanghai and Basel and is resting to be prepared for the ATP Finals starting in less than a fortnight in London.
Nadal, who withdrew from Basel with a knee problem, does not fault his main rival for looking after personal interests.
"Everyone makes the calendar which he thinks will be the best for him," Nadal said. "For him, everything was working well that way. He had a little bit better chance, of course, if he came here. But you never know.
"You would think that he would have more points if he had played on clay. But you never know (that) if he played on clay if he would win Wimbledon or he would be able to play as well as he did.
"He took his decisions and he did it well. Probably after winning Shanghai and winning Basel he believes that will be better for his body and for his preparation for London to not be here, to rest."
Catalonia crisis 'sensitive'
Ten-time Roland Garros champion Nadal said that he is hoping to do well in "the most important city for my career".
Questioned about the political situation in his native Spain between Madrid and Catalonia, Mallorcan islander Nadal, also a Catalan speaker, was notably circumspect.
"In my situation it's very difficult to answer these kind of things because things are, let's say, sensitive in my country.
"Anything that I can say will not go the right way. The real thing for me (is that) it's a sad situation and at the same time a difficult situation; it's difficult (for me) to talk 100 percent freely.
"I want the things to get better. I don't want the fracture between people in Catalonia. I feel close to Catalonia. I love the people in Catalonia, and most of the Spanish people feel the same.
"Love from the rest of the Spanish country, it feels love for Catalonia and that's it. And that's the reason that's why we are sad about that situation.
Lewis Hamilton Claims 4th World Title, Max Verstappen Wins In Mexico
MMNN:30 October 2017
Lewis Hamilton clinched his fourth drivers' world championship in unexpected but dramatic fashion on Sunday when, after a first lap collision with title rival Sebastian Vettel, he finished ninth in the Mexican Grand Prix. The 32-year-old Briton, who would have needed to finish in the top five to be sure of the title if Vettel had won the race, battled from last position in his Mercedes after suffering a puncture that needed an opening lap pit-stop as Dutchman Max Verstappen won the race for Red Bull.
Vettel, already a four-time champion, came home fourth for Ferrari after driving through the field from 19th following his part in the early crash with Hamilton. He also pitted for a new front wing.
Hamilton's title triumph made him the first Briton to be a four-time champion, elevating him clear of Jackie Stewart, and alongside Vettel and Frenchman Alain Prost.
Only German Michael Schumacher with seven titles and Argentine Juan-Manuel Fangio on five have claimed more championships than the Englishman.
"I don't know what happened at turn three, I gave him plenty of room," said Hamilton.
"It doesn't feel real man. It's not the race you want when you're 40 seconds down, but I never gave up."
After five wins in the previous six races, it was a disappointing way for Hamilton -- who said he wanted to win the title in style -- to win the crown.
Verstappen won the race convincingly ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and his Finish compatriot Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
"I'd like to say a big thanks to everybody in this Mercedes team," said Hamilton. "What you've done the past couple of years is incredible. I'm so grateful."
- 'Start was crucial' -
Vettel finished fourth ahead of Frenchman Esteban Ocon of Force India, Williams' Canadian rookie Lance Stroll on his 19th birthday, and local Mexican hero Sergio Perez in the second Force India.
Dane Kevin Magnussen finished eighth for Haas ahead of Hamilton and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who battled hard to resist Hamilton before finishing 10th for McLaren.
Verstappen led from the first lap once Hamilton and Vettel had clashed.
"The start was very crucial, I went around the outside and from then on I was just looking after the car and the tyres," said the Dutchman after a third race win.
"Big thanks to Red Bull, without them it was not possible. After last week (when he received a five-second penalty in Austin which lost him third place), it was a perfect race."
Mercedes' non-executive director Niki Lauda, a three-time world champion, hailed Hamilton's achievement.
"Lewis won it, he deserves it," said Lauda who said Vettel was at fault for the opening lap collision.
"I don't know why Sebastian drove so aggressively to destroy his race. Lewis was in front and Vettel hit him with his front wing, I just don't understand it."
The race was run in near-perfect conditions at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with an air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius and the track at 24, Vettel making a decent start from his 50th pole position.
But with a long 890-metre straight run to Turn One, both Verstappen and Hamilton made attacks, the Dutchman fighting his way round the outside to snatch the lead.
Hamilton followed him and as he passed Vettel, the pair collided, the German's Ferrari running into Hamilton's rear right wheel and causing a puncture amid a flurry of flying debris.
Both had to limp back to the pits where Vettel took a new front wing and Hamilton, slower to complete the lap, took a new set of tyres.
They rejoined in 19th and 20th places with the Englishman a long distance from the field ahead.
"Simply, simply lovely," said a delighted Verstappen on his Red Bull team radio as he pulled out a comfortable advantage ahead of Bottas.
"Did he hit me deliberately?" asked Hamilton. "Not sure, Lewis," came the reply.
As a result of that collision, Hamilton's hopes of taking the title with a win were severely deflated, but not those of being champion - Vettel needing to win, or finish second, to keep his challenge alive.
Remarkably, for Hamilton, he was lapped for the first time since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix before he and Vettel began to pass their way through the field to set up a tense closing period.
Knowing Vettel was unlikely to climb to second, Hamilton knew he would be champion, but he fought hard to score points and took ninth place with a battling pass of Alonso in the closing laps
Women's Asia Cup: India Thump Singapore 10-0 To Start Their Campaign
MMNN:28 October 2017
Indian eves got off to a roaring start at the Women's Asia Cup 2017 with a dominating 10-0 victory over Singapore on Saturday. Navneet Kaur (3rd & 41st minutes), Rani (15th & 18th) and Navjot Kaur (30th & 50th) netted the ball twice, while Lalremsiami (18th), Deep Grace Ekka (25th), Gurjit Kaur (41st) and Sonika (45th) scored once each to ensure India notched up winning points in their opening match of Pool A. India began with positive intent by attacking Singapore's circle constantly, looking for an opportunity to score.
The effort worked as the team won back-to-back penalty corners in the first quarter. Though the first PC was saved by Singapore goalkeeper Felissa Lai, it hardly dented India's spirit as they were precise in their counter.
It was Navneet and Rani's goals in the 3rd and 15th minute that gave India a 2-0 lead in the first quarter itself. India continued their fine run in the second quarter as well, adding four more goals, to go into the 10-minute half-time break with an imposing 6-0 lead.
After Grace scored off a PC in the 25th minute, dragflicker Gurjit was fierce in her strike to score India's seventh goal through another PC in the 41st minute.
India stayed resolute as they continued to put pressure on Singapore's defense, pumping two more goals in the third quarter through Navneet and Sonika.
The final 15 minutes saw India win back-to-back PCs but Singapore defense averted conceding goals.
However, a quick-thinking Navjot scored a field goal in the 50th minute to earn her team a 10-0 lead.
India's defense, meanwhile, put up a strong display throughout the match.
1st T20I: Hasan Ali Powers Pakistan to 7-Wicket Win Over Sri Lanka
MMNN:27 October 2017
Medium pacer Hasan Ali finished with a career best bowling to once again anchor Pakistan's convincing seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Hasan, who took 14 wickets in Pakistan's preceding 5-0 whitewash of the one-day series, took 3-23 in 3.3 overs as Pakistan skittled Sri Lanka out for a paltry 102 in 18.3 overs.
Only Seekkuge Prasanna (23 not out) and debutant Sadeera Samarawickrama (23) put some resistance against a varied Pakistan bowling attack.
Pakistan did lose Fakhar Zaman (six), Babar Azam (one) and Ahmed Shehzad (22) but were seen through to the target by Shoaib Malik 42 not out and Mohammad Hafeez 25 not out with 16 balls to spare.
That gave Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Malik hit four boundaries in his 31-ball knock while Hafeez's 23-ball innings had three hits to the ropes as the pair added 39 for the unbroken fourth wicket stand.
It was again Pakistan's bowling which led them to victory.
Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals after looking to build the innings at 51-2 in the ninth over. But they lost their last eight wickets for another 51 runs and were bowled out for their second lowest Twenty20 total against Pakistan.
All six Pakistan bowlers took wickets with spinner Mohammad Hafeez (2-10) and pacer Usman Shinwari (2-24) supplementing Hasan to the best effect.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed praised his bowling.
"The basic aim is to get wickets and that we are doing," said Ahmed, whose team has now bowled the oppositions all out for the 23rd time -- the most by any team in all Twenty20 cricket.
"It was a complete team effort and we are doing everything well," said Ahmed, who now has ten wins in 12 Twenty20 internationas as captain.
Sri Lankan skipper Thisara Perera admitted his team was undone by Pakistan's superior bowling.
"If we look back we didn't score runs so we have to put a good total on the board to win, full marks to Pakistan's bowling which is one of the best in the world at the moment," said Perera, captaining Sri Lanka for the first time.
Sent into bat, Sri Lanka lost Dilshan Munaweera for nought off the third ball of the first over while Dashun Gunathilaka made 11-ball 18 with three boundaries.
Samarawickrama and Ashan Priyanjan (12) had added 22 for the third wicket but wicket started to fall in cluster and Sri Lanka could never recover.
Just like in one-day series, Hasan was at his best in taking wickets, removing Sachith Pathirana (four), Isuru Udana (nought) and Vikum Sanjaya (four) to improve on his previous best of 3-49 against the West Indies in Dubai last year.
Perera made six. It was left to Prasanna to hit two sixes in his run-a-ball 23 to get past 100-mark.
The second match is also in Abu Dhbai on Friday before the teams fly to Lahore for the last match on Sunday.
'Cheeku...', MS Dhoni's Gems To Virat Kohli Caught On Stump Mic Again
MMNN:26 October 2017
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has often been described as a cricketing enigma. During his successful tenure as captain, neither fans nor cricket experts could fathom how he arrived at some of the most important decisions on the field. The wicketkeeper-batsman rarely speaks to the media and isn't exactly social-media savvy. Nobody saw Dhoni's Test cricket retirement coming and that surprise element was visible again when he decided to step down from limited-overs captaincy. In a sense, the good old stump mic has become the only source for fans to get a peek inside Mahi's head.
The 2nd ODI between India and New Zealand offered fans another chance to gauge Dhoni's cricketing acumen when the stump mic picked up some interesting tidbits.
"Cheeku, do-teen jan ko idhar chhor de (Cheeku, keep 2-3 fielders here)," Dhoni was heard telling captain Virat Kohli as Kedar Jadhav bowled.
Dhoni was also heard asking Kohli whether he should re-set the field.
"Cheeku, ek ball aur rakhegaa, (Cheeku, will you keep it for a delivery more). Ek ball jo pehle rakhaa tha mein catch ke liye (A delivery ago as I had placed it for a catch)."
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had earlier, during an interview with NDTV, alluded to how Dhoni plays a key role in field settings.
"Dhoni bhai is still our captain," Chahal said.
"Sometimes, when Kohli bhai fields at mid-on or long-on, then we need someone who can guide us too. It is not possible for Kohli to come up and tell what needs to be done. Then, Dhoni takes over," Chahal said.
Chahal explained how Dhoni signals to Kohli and tells him to relax in whatever position he is fielding at.
"Dhoni signals Kohli to remain at his place. He says - tu wahi reh, mai dekh lunga (You stay there, I will handle)," Chahal added
Cristiano Ronaldo Eyes More FIFA Success as Real Madrid Dominate Awards, Gets Trolled
MMNN:24 October 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on a "lucky seventh" piece of FIFA silverware after collecting his fifth Men's Player of the Year award on Monday.
Ronaldo's Real Madrid side, who won both La Liga and the Champions League last season, dominated the 2017 Best FIFA football awards at a star-studded ceremony in London on Monday.
The Portuguese ace has scored 44 goals in just 48 games for club and country so far this calendar year, including two in a 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in Cardiff on June 3.
Ronaldo saw off competition from longstanding Barcelona rival Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, the world's most expensive player.
But, typical of a footballer who has enjoyed huge success at both Manchester United and Real, Ronaldo was not satisfied.
"I want seven. Five is good but seven is my lucky number so seven would be great."
Real boss Zinedine Zidane took the corresponding manager of the year award, with the Spanish giants providing five players in the FIFPro team of the year.
Ronaldo won the inaugural Best FIFA men's player of the year award last year following the end of a six-year merger between the FIFA honour and France Football's Ballon D'Or.
The 32-year-old previously won the FIFA World Player of the Year award, the precursor to the Best FIFA award, in 2008.
He has now won the last two FIFA men's trophies as well as three of the last four Ballon D'Or awards.
"Thanks a lot for voting for me," said Ronaldo after receiving his trophy from Argentina great Diego Maradona and Brazil's Ronaldo at the London Palladium theatre.
"I mention Leo and Neymar, great to be here. Real Madrid supporters, my team-mates, my coach, they all support me all year.
"We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards," he added. "This is a great moment for me. I have fans all over the world."
Zidane won out ahead of Chelsea's Antonio Conte and Juventus's Massimiliano Allegri to be crowned men's coach of the year after becoming the first man to oversee a successful defence of the European Cup in the Champions League era.
"I'd like to thank all of the players for making this possible," said Zidane. "This is a very special prize."
Real's superb campaign was recognised in a FIFPro team that featured Ronaldo and club-mates Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.
The XI also included FIFA's goalkeeper of the year, Gianluigi Buffon.
AC Milan's Leonardo Bonucci and PSG's Dani Alves were in the defence, with Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta in a side also featuring Messi and Neymar.
Giroud wins best goal
Juventus and Italy shot-stopper Buffon topped a three-strong shortlist for the goalkeeper award ahead of Real's Keylor Navas and Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.
Monday also saw the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2017 go to Arsenal's Olivier Giroud.
The France striker received the award named in honour of Hungary great Ferenc Puskas for a spectacular 'scorpion-kick' against Crystal Palace in January.
The Frenchman's flicked volley with his left foot that went in off the crossbar won ahead of goals from Venezuela's Deyna Castellanos, 18, and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.
Meanwhile tournament hosts the Netherlands' achievement in winning their first major female football title, the 2017 Women's European Championship, was recognised with Women's Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards for Sarina Wiegman and Lieke Martens respectively.
Supporters of Celtic won the Fan Award for the way they marked the 50th anniversary of the Glasgow club's European Cup triumph.
The Fair Play award went to Francis Kone for saving the life of goalkeeper Martin Berkovec, who nearly suffocated as a result of swallowing his tongue during a Czech league match in February.
India vs New Zealand: Dean Jones Tries To Downplay Virat Kohli Milestone, Gets Trolled
MMNN:23 October 2017
Dean Jones seems to get a kick from riling up Indian cricket fans and the former Australian batsman was once again up to his mischief following the first One-Day International between India and New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. India skipper Virat Kohli completed a few milestones on the day, one of which was that he became the fastest to score 1000 runs in ODIs against New Zealand, leapfrogging none other than Dean Jones to top spot. Jones had taken 19 innings to reach the landmark while the Indian run-machine got there in 17 innings. Jones took to Twitter to congratulate Kohli but had a sly message on the side.
Replying to a Indian fan's post, Jones wrote: "Well played @imVkohli !! But then again .. it's only New Zealand!"
Most fans on Twitter understood that Jones was just making some mischief and decided to have some banter with the Australian
Kohli leads the list of fastest to 1000 ODI runs vs New Zealand ahead of Dean Jones. Another Indian, Virender Sehwag (21), is third while Jacques Kallis, who took 23 innings to achieve the feat, is fourth. Mark Waugh and Brian Lara (24) share the fifth spot.
Besides becoming the fastest to 1000 ODI runs vs New Zealand, Kohli struck his 31st hundred to become the second-highest century-maker in One-day International cricket. Kohli went past Ricky Ponting's 30 centuries and is now behind only Sachin Tendulkar, who has 49 ODI hundreds to his name.
Earlier, the Indian skipper completed double century of ODI appearances and became the 13th Indian cricketer and 72nd overall to play 200 ODI matches.
Kohli's century, however, was overshadowed by Ross Taylor (95) and Tom Latham (103 not out). The duo put on a record stand and helped New Zealand earn a clinical victory. Both the batsmen batted with a lot of purpose, chasing down a target of 281 in 49 overs with minimum fuss
Kuldeep Yadav Cements Place in Indian Bowling Attack
MMNN:18 October 2017
India's rising star, spinner Kuldeep Yadav, believes bowling on concrete has made him battle-ready for any surface that a rival cricket power can lay out for him.
Kuldeep, who claimed a hat-trick in his country's triumphant one-day series against Australia, has become a household name at 22 and with just two Tests and 11 one-day internationals to his name.
He played a big part in India's 4-1 win over Australia, but many believe the real test will come in tours of South Africa and England next year.
Ahead of India's series against New Zealand, starting Sunday, Kuldeep told AFP in an interview that his varied left-arm wrist spin will be a weapon on any track.
"It doesn't matter to me where I am playing because since my childhood I have bowled on cemented wickets. So if you can turn the ball on concrete then you can spin it anywhere," Kuldeep said.
"If you have skill, good variation and are beating the batsmen in the air then you can find success anywhere," added Kuldeep, who hails from the northern city of Kanpur.
Kuldeep started as a pace bowler but at the age of nine he switched to wrist spin at his coach's insistence.
"I started my career in 2004 as a fast bowler. After practising for a few months my coach advised me to switch to spin.
"I did not like it at the start, but the first ball I bowled was wrist spin and I had no idea what it was. So, he must have thought I have a talent and he worked on it.
"Initially it was tough but when I got down to it, the hard work paid off."
Kuldeep has made his mark in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
But his rise as a top-class spinner has been instrumental in India becoming top of the world Test and one-day rankings.
The latest addition to India's rich spin tradition made an instant impact with four wickets in his debut Test against Australia in Dharamsala this year.
He impressed in Sri Lanka in September and then bamboozled Australian batsmen, including star opener David Warner, with his wrist spin, winning many more fans.
"Australia are a good team and compared to other sides always play dominating cricket. Their batsmen don't allow you to settle and just want to dominate a bowler," Kuldeep said.
"Australia are a dangerous side because they play freely and put you under pressure. I played in the West Indies and then in Sri Lanka but they don't play as attacking as the Aussies."
Kuldeep grew up watching videos of spin legend Shane Warne and still calls the Aussie great his reference point in learning the rare art.
Warne recently compared Kuldeep to Pakistan's established Test spinner Yasir Shah, saying the Indian can become "the best leg-spinner" if he remains patient.
'I don't plan much'
"It's great to be compared to a top spinner like Yasir Shah. It's heartening to see praise coming from my idol. It reassures my belief in my talent," said Kuldeep.
"It makes me happy that he (Warne) backs me and I feel there is some more talent in me."
Kuldeep has formed a partnership with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and they are providing competition for veterans Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
"You cannot replace anyone. Ashwin and Jaddu bhai are the number one and number two spinners of India and I will always look up to learn from them," Kuldeep said of his seniors.
"They have done extremely well in Test, ODI and T20 cricket. We are very young and have to play much more cricket to even get close to them," he added.
Kuldeep insisted that individual success comes out of the team's hard work and praised skipper Virat Kohli for nurturing young talent.
"It has been a team effort and especially the way Virat Kohli has led the team and backed us youngsters. It has made all the difference and been the biggest factor for our success," he said.
"I don't plan much. I just think that every game is important and the more I keep performing, the better my chances of enjoying a long run with team India
Asia Cup 2017: Red-Hot India To Play South Korea In Super 4s On Wednesday
MMNN:17 October 2017
An unbeaten India would start as overwhelming favourites against an under-performing but dangerous South Korea in their first match of the Super 4 stage in the 10th Asia Cup hockey tournament on Wednesday. India, who finished the pool stages with an all-win record, looked the most dominating team in the tournament so far in all aspects of the game. Korea, on the other hand, were far from impressive as they finished second in Pool B behind the ever-improving Malaysia. Playing under a new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, the Indians rose to the occasion and have displayed beautiful one-touch hockey, which they are known for.
The Indian strike force comprising Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Upadahay and Chinglensana Singh has been the most impressive, scoring field goals at will with their deft stick work.
The Indian midfield has been controlled well by talismanic Sardar Singh in the company of skipper Manpreet Singh.
The backline, too, have shown bright under the watchful guard of Amit Rohidas, Harmanpreet Singh and young Dipsan Tirkey.
What would be a matter of concern for Marijne is the penalty corner conversion rate even though Harmanpreet has been on target on a few occasions.
But going by India's performance so far -- 5-1 win over Japan, 7-0 thrashing of Bangladesh and 3-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan -- they are expected to prevail over Korea with consummate ease.
In terms of world rankings as well, the Indians start as favourites. While India are placed sixth in the world, Korea occupy the 13th spot.
In the absence of the experienced PR Sreejesh, two young Indian custodians -- Suraj Karkera and Akash Chikte -- have risen to the occasion and have shown that they are no pushovers at the international stage.
But all said and done, the Indians can't afford to relax and be complacent, especially against a side like the Koreans, who are known for their fast, counter-attacking play.
The nimble-footed Koreans will be eager to prove a point, especially after a unimpressive showing in the pool stages, and can rattle any opponents with their pace on their given day.
Having said that, the Indians are expected to win the encounter with ease, but they can't afford to relax, especially at this stage where all the four top teams will play against each other and the top two sides will eventually progress to the final.
Meanwhile in the other Super 4 match of the day, Pakistan will take on Pool B toppers Malaysia, who have turned out to be the surprise package from the pool stages.
India vs Australia: Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni Cheer Fans With Left-Handed Batting
MMNN:14 October 2017
Fans had thronged the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad to witness an electrifying third Twenty20 International match between India and Australia to decide the winner of the series. After handing a 4-1 defeat to the Aussies, India were the clear favorites to win the T20 series. The hosts had won the first match and were looking to win the remaining two. However, David Warner-led side roared back in the second T20 to level the series and set up a virtual final on Friday. But due to wet outfield the match was called off and left the fans disappointing. However, in between all the chaos and field inspection, India batting stars, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya took to the field to try left-handed batting, giving fans a reason to cheer.
The official Twitter handle of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) uploaded photos of them batting left-handed.
Hyderabad had been receiving heavy rains for more than a week which left the outfield unfit for play. According to the umpires, the outfield was so sodden that there was no real chance of play despite the fact that it did not rain for quite a while. After the match was delayed, the ground at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium was inspected three times but despite all efforts from the groudstaff play was not possible.
BCCI uploaded a photo of both captains, Kohli and David Warner, sharing the trophy as the series ended in a 1-1 draw.
With the Australia series done and dusted, India now shift their focus to a three-match ODI and T20 series with New Zealand, commencing October 22
International Cricket Council Confirms Test Championship And ODI League
MMNN:13 October 2017
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has approved the much-talked about Test Championship and One-Day International League, the global cricketing body's chief executive Dave Richardson said on Friday. The Test series league will see nine teams play six series over two years - three home and three away, while the ODI league will be a direct qualification pathway towards the ICC Cricket World Cup and will be contested by the 12 Full Members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship.
The ICC gave the green light to a nine-team Test league and a 13-team ODI league aimed at bringing context and meaning to bilateral cricket during its board meeting in Auckland. The schedules of the leagues, due to start in 2019 and 2020 respectively, will now be finalised.
In the first edition of the ODI league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three matches moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.
"I would like to congratulate our Members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first. Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on," ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said.
"This means fans around the world can enjoy international cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup," Manohar said.
"This is a significant point in time for ICC Members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for international bilateral cricket. The approval of both leagues is the conclusion of two years of work from the Members who have explored a whole range of options to bring context to every game," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
"The ICC Board decision today means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule for the first edition as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms," Richardson said.
"Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena. This has been delivered and every Test in the new League will be a five-day Test format," Richardson added.
"However throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket. The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by Members," he said.
"Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams," he added.
A number of decisions around event hosts were taken by the ICC Board in Auckland. The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier will be held in Zimbabwe in March 2018.
The process for the appointment of the ICC female independent director was also confirmed in the meeting.
Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez Could Leave In January, Says Arsene Wenger
MMNN:12 October 2017
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded on Thursday he may have no option but to sell star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window. The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and are yet to agree new deals. As things stand, they will be able to leave the Emirates Stadium for free, meaning January will be Arsenal's last opportunity to cash in on their two most high-profile players. "It is possible," Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side's trip to Watford on Saturday. "Once you're in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes."
Asked if Arsenal had set a deadline for contract negotiations with the pair to conclude, Wenger replied: "No. Not at the moment."
Chile forward Sanchez, 28, joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014, a year after 28-year-old Germany playmaker Ozil's arrival from Real Madrid.
The signings electrified Arsenal's fan base, but for all their quality, the duo have thus far been unable to end the club's 14-year wait for the Premier League title.
Sanchez has been linked with a number of major clubs, among them Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Ozil, meanwhile, is reported to have attracted interest from Manchester United, who are managed by his former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.
Earlier this week, Ozil's agent, Erkut Sogut, indicated talks with Arsenal were progressing positively.
"That's my understanding, yes," said Wenger.
"I always said the fact that we didn't find an agreement last year doesn't mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around."
- Wilshere in 'best form' -
Ozil could feature at Watford, having returned to training following a knee injury.
But Sanchez is due to be assessed after playing in Chile's 3-0 loss to Brazil on Wednesday, which ended their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.
"I will have to speak to him," Wenger said. "Yesterday afternoon I watched the whole Brazil against Chile game to see how difficult the game was.
"I must say he got some special treatment -- it was a very physical game and mentally I will have to assess the situation when he comes back tomorrow."
Centre-back Shkodran Mustafi also endured a miserable international break, the Germany international suffering a thigh injury against Azerbaijan that will sideline him for four to six weeks.
But his absence will soon be offset by the return of Laurent Koscielny, who is closing on a comeback from an Achilles injury.
"Koscielny has a definite final test tomorrow," Wenger said.
"At the moment, he's not available. He trained on his own and the first signs are positive, so we decided to give him a test tomorrow."
Striker Danny Welbeck is back in contention after a groin injury, while left-back Sead Kolasinac faces a late fitness test on a hip complaint.
Jack Wilshere is yet to play a minute of Premier League football and has lost his place in the England squad, but Wenger believes the midfielder is on course to go to next year's World Cup in Russia.
"I believe that Jack at the moment is in the best form I've seen him in for a long time," Wenger said.
India vs Australia, 2nd T20I: Virat Kohli, Out For Zero, Sets A World Record
MMNN:11 October 2017
India had a forgettable outing in the 2nd T20 international against Australia on Tuesday as the visitors bounced back in the series with a crushing 8-wicket win at the Baraspara Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday. Jason Behrendorff (4/21) ripped through the high-profile Indian batting to restrict the home team to a below-par 118, which the visitors chased down in just 15.3 overs. The 27-year-old Western Australian swung the ball both ways on a helping pitch and had Rohit Sharma (8), Shikhar Dhawan (2) and Virat Kohli (0) among his high-profile scalps. The India captain departed after getting a faint inside edge while attempting a flick and the looping ball was caught by the left-arm pacer himself. Interestingly, it was the 28-year-old Kohli's first duck in T20I cricket.
It was also the first duck by an Indian captain in 85 T20I matches
Behrendorff was also responsible for handing legendary Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid their last ducks
I don't think we were good enough with the bat. The wicket was bit sticking to start with. It was difficult for them as well, but after the dew set in, they got away," said Kohli after the loss.
"But we speak about when the situations are not in our favour is when we have to put 120 percent on the field. It is the attitude that matters most and it is something the team embraces," he added.
He was all praise for Behrendorff.
"I thought the ball to Rohit was very good. His line and length was very tight. He made us think. Credit to him for hitting the right areas. He definitely had a top class day today," said Kohli.
FIFA U-17 World Cup: Jeakson Thounaojam Creates History, Colombia Sweat Hard To Win 2-1
MMNN:10 October 2017
A bright India provided hope for a brighter future but their dream ended in a heartbreak following a 1-2 defeat to Colombia on Monday in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, leaving the many heads totting the stands teary-eyed.
So near, yet so far. India's striker Jeakson Thounaojam created hopes for the Indian flag to fly high in the 82nd minute of the game by scoring an equaliser against Colombia in India's second group match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. To the surprise, and delight, of the sizeable crowd at the stadium, Jeakson became the first ever Indian player to score a goal in the World Cup. But, the dream ended in a heartbreak following a 1-2 defeat to Colombia on Monday leaving the many heads totting the stands teary-eyed.
When defensive midfielder Jeakson Thounaojam neutralised Colombia's lead, India were moments away from securing their maiden draw in only the second attempt. But that was not to be as Juan Penaloza (83rd) scored his second of the night on the counter to leave the home players, as well as the crowd, crestfallen Nonetheless, a charged up India produced one of their finest performances before going down in front of disappointed but proud group of spectators, who witnessed a historic first ever FIFA World Cup goal.
India scored when Jeakson, the tallest player in the side, headed in a Sanjeev Stalin corner, sending the whole stadium into a state of delirium.
The move to make four changes by coach Luis Norton de Matos proved to be a wise one as the taller Indian players ensured they were equal to the task, when it came to the aerial battle against the well-built Colombians.
It was a very different India that turned up after the 0 -3 loss to USA three nights ago.
They were on the ball from the word go and even though the Colombians had more of possession, India very much managed to make their presence felt.
There was heightened activity in the Colombian box, with Ninthoinganba Meetei initiating surging runs down the right flank, each steps raising hopes for the improbable. This was in the in the beginning of the Group A match.
To the surprise, and delight, of the sizeable crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, India had Colombia at their mercy in the 16th minute.
But, to the disappointment of the thousands occupying the stands, Abhijeet Sarkar, having found a clear view of the goal, shot over.
India's hopes went up in smoke after coming agonizingly close to scoring their first ever World Cup goal. In the cut-throat world of international football, Colombia may be many, many rungs above India, but the host nation had the momentum on this night. And they used it to rattle the Colombians on a few occasions.
India came close again, closer would be appropriate, but Rahul Kanoly's volley thudded against the post instead of finding the back of the net. The pain on coach Luis Norton de Matos was palpable as the Indians once fumbled after coming so close.
With both teams failing to break the deadlock, India went into the breather with their heads held high, but cursing their fate.
The two chances would haunt them for long. Hitting the framework, they say, is bad omen in football and the saying stayed true as Colombia broke the deadlock, and Indian hearts, with a fine strike after the change of ends.
It was Juan Penaloza who put Colombia ahead in the 51st minute. The midfielder ran to the edge of the box and kept the Indian defenders guessing with his deft footwork, before unleashing a rasping left-footed volley to the bottom left corner of Dheeraj Singh's post.
The assist was made by captain Thomas Gutierrez, and as the ball found the back of the net, the Latin Americans ran towards their dugout and celebrated. They were relieved to have opened their account after suffering a reverse against Ghana in the opening encounter.
India's number one goalkeeper, on this occasion, had no chance even though he had another brilliant night under the bar pulling off a couple incredible saves, showing nice anticipation.
Down by a goal in this crucial encounter, India looked eager to respond as Meetei delivers a cross from the right flank, only to find Rahul Kanoly's shot wide off the target.
FIFA U-17 World Cup, Preview: Another Acid Test Awaits As India Face Colombia
MMNN:9 October 2017
The longingness to be noticed will again be the main driving force for India as they brace up to face another mighty opponents in Colombia in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Monday. In the country's maiden appearance in any World Cup game, India got a taste of the cut-throat world of international football as they were blanked 3-0 by USA in the tournament's opening night at a nearly packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. India showed heart but lacked in skill and quality against a much superior United States of America. And a similar task awaits the host nation as well.
Midfield lynchpin Suresh Singh felt India would need to improve their final pass, but an improvement in department would not be enough against Colombia's all-round superiority.
The hosts would like to take some inspiration from Niger, another World Cup debutants, who kicked off their campaign in the tournament with a win over North Korea last night. If the African nation can, so can the Indians. Though it is easier said than done.
First up, India tried, but could not really show the world that they belong to this league in a tournament that has produced players who would go on to become stars.
Coach Luis Norton de Matos was not happy with the outcome of the opening game, and he would be hoping that his players put up a better show against the South American giants.
"Colombia are tough opponents and they possess the necessary elements to hurt us. We have to be on our toes all throughout and have to focus on the task at hand. They (Colombia) will also give us a tough physical fight but we are ready for it. We will play to win," Matos said.
Against USA, the team showed sparks on occasions, but the Portuguese would want his players go beyond that tomorrow.
India did create chances and impressed with the skills, once also coming agonisingly close to scoring their first-ever World Cup goal. But USA was clearly the better of the two teams, dominating throughout the game in front of a strong home crowd egging them on.
Komal Thatal, the striker with a blond hairdo, caught the eyes with his runs down the left and dribbling skills. Thatal, who hails from Bhaichung Bhutia's state Sikkim, created quite a few openings for India. Though he was once guilty of wasting a chance in the second half when his lob was off target.
His partner up front, Aniket Jadhav, also impressed with his game, and both have a bright future. The defensive duo of Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh tried their best to keep USA at bay, but the gulf was too much for India to bridge.
Physically as well as technically, India lagged. But for some brilliant saves and fine anticipation by goalkeeper Moirangthem Deeraj Singh, India would have lost by a bigger margin.
Playing in their maiden FIFA tournament, rank outsiders India were outclassed by a side that was a few notches above the 'Boys in Blue'.
India were way behind as far as the accuracy in passes, the first touch, positional sense were concerned against USA. India were pushed back in their own half most of the time in the face of incessant US attack.
Tomorrow will be a different day with a different opponent, but the raids are likely to continue. More or less, it is going to be the same against Colombia.
Outside the field of play, Matos will hope that a sizeable crowd will again turn up to cheer them on.
Having tasted defeat against Ghana in their first game, Colombia will be desperate to open their account and will certainly go all out. They will look to score as many as possible to bag full points and improve their goal difference.
Colombia have so far competed in five editions of the tournament, finishing third on two occasions. They hustled and bustled their way to India with a last-ditch victory over continental rival Paraguay, but they will still be a handful for the Indians.
The first to land in India for the tournament, Colombia have acclimatised themselves with the conditions, though they started the tournament with a reverse
India vs Australia: Steve Smith Ruled Of T20 Series In Massive Setback To Struggling Visitors
MMNN:7 October 2017
The Australian cricket team was dealt a massive blow on Saturday as captain Steve Smith was ruled out of the Twenty20 series against India due to a shoulder injury. Cricket Australia confirmed that vice-captain David Warner will stand in as captain for the three-match series. Marcus Stoinis will replace Smith in the squad for the remainder of the series. Smith will return home and is expected to be fit for next month's Ashes.
"Smith landed awkwardly on his right shoulder while diving in the field during the fifth ODI against India last Sunday," team doctor Richard Saw stated in a Cricket Australia release.
Australia lost the fifth ODI in Nagpur by seven wickets as India completed a 4-1 series win over the world champions to reclaim the number one spot in the ICC rankings. "Following the match he complained of shoulder soreness, which has not settled and is restricting his ability to bat and throw," Cricket Australia stated.
"Subsequently he has had an MRI scan which has excluded serious injury, but we believe the best course of action is for him to not continue to aggravate his shoulder and allow it to recover."
Smith will return to action in the domestic Sheffield Shield competition.
"He will have further investigation upon his return to Australia but we remain confident he will be available for the start of the Sheffield Shield season."
Smith had attended Australia's practice on Friday as it took place after afternoon showers forced India to abandon their session for a second successive day.
Australia have looked out of sorts in the limited-overs series and with the skipper being ruled out, it will be a big task for Warner to salvage some pride ahead of next month's Ashes.
FIFA U-17 World Cup: Sachin Tendulkar's Inspiring Message For Indian Team
MMNN:6 October 2017
Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar joined the chorus in wishing the young Indian team for their campaign in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup that kick starts on Friday against the formidable USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Tendulkar took to Twitter and wrote, "My best wishes to the @IndianFootball U-17 team for the World Cup! Enjoy your game & chase your dreams because dreams do come true! @FIFAcom."
Just like in his playing days, when the former Indian batsman inspired a generation of players to pick up a cricket bat and play, the 44-year-old uploaded a video on the social networking site where he spoke extensively on the importance of not only playing well on the field but also prove to the world that our country is capable of hosting tournaments of such stature and can be greats hosts as well.
"From tomorrow, the U-17 World Cup will be played in India. It is a big moment for all of us. The kind of response the tournament has garnered, it is simply incredible. I am very happy about it. But here, India have a great opportunity to prove something on and off the field. Off the field we need to show that we are good hosts and how we have responded to such a big tournament and on the field how tough a opposition we are to play against.
I am so sure that the boys are going to go there and give their best. Come on India. Dikha do. All the very best boys," he said in a video uploaded on Twitter.
Tendulkar called time on his international career in the year 2013 and till date is regarded as one of the best cricketers to have ever played the game. The Mumbai-born star has more international runs than anybody in the history of cricket and it is highly unlikely that his century of centuries will be ever broken.
South Africa Bank On Kagiso Rabada, Bangladesh Aim To Avoid 2-0 Cleansweep
MMNN:5 October 2017
Having failed to take advantage of favourable first Test conditions, the Bangladesh batsmen have a chance to make amends against the least experienced bowling line-up South Africa have fielded in many years. But conditions are likely to be more bowler-friendly in the second Test starting at the Mangaung Oval on Friday and, on the evidence of Potchefstroom, the tourists are ill-equipped to counter even a South African attack stripped of four front-line fast bowlers because of injury. Morne Morkel could not finish the first Test because of a side strain, adding to a casualty list which includes Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris.
It leaves Kagiso Rabada, 22, as the leader of the attack.
His tally of 92 wickets in 21 Tests dwarfs those of his likely pace partners, Duanne Olivier (13 in four Tests), Wayne Parnell (13 in five) and Andile Phehlukwayo, who took a single wicket in his debut appearance in Potchefstroom.
Balanced against that is the emergence of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who is being hailed as South Africa's best spin bowler of the modern era.
Maharaj picked up seven wickets in Potchefstroom to take his total to 50 in just 12 Tests.
Despite a convincing 333-run win in the first Test, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was unequivocal in calling for a pitch with more pace and bounce.
"When you play countries like Bangladesh it is important to get whatever you can (in conditions) to get an advantage," he said.
Weather conditions, though, could play a role.
South Africa only recently emerged from winter and Bloemfontein, 280 kilometres (174 miles) from Potchefstroom, is similarly susceptible to cold overnight and early morning conditions which affect grass growth and pitch preparation.
In the only first-class match played at the Oval this season, 11 wickets fell on the first day, but only another nine went down while 1,010 runs were scored on the next three.
Bangladesh's misreading of conditions in Potchefstroom was extraordinary for a team with an experienced player in captain Mushfiqur Rahim and a coaching staff headed by Sri Lankan Chandika Hathurusingha and former West Indian bowling great Courtney Walsh.
Not only did Rahim pass up the opportunity to bat first in ideal conditions after winning the toss, but Bangladesh picked only one spin bowler in Mehidy Hasan.
Their three seam bowlers, with the exception of left-armer Mustafizur Rahman, were largely ineffectual on an easy-pace pitch.
Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, whose 54 Test wickets are the most of any member of the touring squad, would probably have been more effective and may well be picked for Bloemfontein, even if conditions are not spin-friendly
India Women's Team Remain Unchanged At No.4 But Gain Three Points
MMNN:3 October 2017
India have remained static at No.4 position but gained three significant points to reach 116 in the ICC Women's Team Rankings for the first time following the annual rankings update. The Indian women's team, which had reached the final of the ICC Women's World Cup in July, has closed in the gap to third-placed New Zealand. New Zealand maintained their third position with their pre-update tally of 118 points. India captain Mithali Raj said her team is aiming to climb up to No. 3 position.
"Gaining these valuable points is no mean achievement and have come after some fine performances over the past year, including at the World Cup. I'm sure this will inspire our team in matches ahead," said Mithali.
"We are now close to New Zealand in the rankings and will aim to be number three," she added.
The table is headed by England, who have dethroned Australia from the top position.
England are now level with Australia on 128 points but ahead on decimal points after the annual update, following which results from the 2013-14 season are no longer included.
The rankings now take into account 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons at 50 per cent each while the 2016-17 season accounts for 100 per cent.
England and Australia are the only sides to see a change in the rankings.
The Windies are in fifth position but have lost four points to be at 101, South Africa at sixth are on 93 points, Pakistan have lost one point and are on 72 while Sri Lanka too are unchanged in points to be at eighth position.
Arsene Wenger Savours 21st Anniversary as Arsenal Sink Brighton
MMNN:2 October 2017
Arsene Wenger celebrated the 21st anniversary of his arrival at Arsenal in winning style as the Gunners cruised to a 2-0 victory over Brighton on Sunday.
There are many reasons for Arsenal fans to look back fondly on the day Wenger was hired but, after several years of underachievement, the Frenchman finds himself engaged in a fight to restore his tarnished reputation.
It is too early to predict whether Arsenal can end their 13-year wait to win a fourth Premier League title under Wenger, but there were some encouraging signs as Brighton were put to the sword at the Emirates Stadium.
Nacho Monreal opened the scoring in the first half before Alex Iwobi, converting Alexis Sanchez's majestic assist, wrapped up the points after the interval.
Arsenal's sixth win from their last seven matches in all competitions moved them to within six points of leaders Manchester City heading into the international break.
Fittingly, Wenger marked his milestone date with a notable record of his own.
Brighton are the 45th different Premier League club to be defeated by Arsenal since Wenger took over in 1996, breaking the record he shared with Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson.
Just 64 hours after winning at Belarus's Bate Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday, Arsenal were back in action and Wenger freshened up his side by making nine changes.
Wenger this week claimed Arsenal are a more unified team since the transfer window closed just after their humiliating 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.
There was ample evidence to support that theory as his team tore into Brighton right from the start.
Alexandre Lacazette almost gave them the perfect start after just 65 seconds when his fierce drive flashed past Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan, only to cannon back off a post.
Albion striker Tomer Hemed was serving the first of a three-game suspension, so Izzy Brown started up front and the youngster went close with a header from Pascal Gross's free-kick.
That effort aside, it was one way traffic as Wenger's men left Brighton trailing in their wake time and again.
Sanchez and Iwobi tested Ryan from long-range before Monreal gave Arsenal the lead in the 16th minute.
Granit Xhaka's free-kick to the far post was headed back by Lacazette and after Shkodran Mustafi had his shot cleared off the line, Monreal chested down and fired home from 10 yards.
It was Monreal's first league goal for Arsenal since March 2013 and the Spanish defender celebrated with a fist-pumping roar of delight.
Solly March nearly silenced Arsenal's cheers moments later when he unleashed a powerful 20-yard shot that crashed back off a post.
The Gunners should have doubled their lead before half-time when Brighton defender Lewis Dunk slipped, putting Lacazette through on goal.
But Lacazette let Brighton off the hook with a tame shot straight at Ryan, while Aaron Ramsey saw his low strike repelled by the Australian keeper following an incisive Arsenal counter.
Those misses didn't prove a source of regret as Sanchez produced a sublime contribution to set up Iwobi's first goal since January in the 56th minute.
Exchanging passes in a blur of movement, Ramsey and Lacazette worked the ball smoothly into Sanchez inside the penalty area.
Faced with three Albion defenders, Sanchez knew a shot would be blocked, so he instinctively guided a back-heel towards the unmarked Iwobi, who had the simple task of firing home from eight yards.
Sanchez was in irrepressible mood and it took a combined of Dunk and Ryan to keep out his goal-bound shot, before Sead Kolasinac's header was cleared off the line by March.
Cristiano Ronaldo Has A 'New Animal' And It's Worth An Eye-Popping USD 3 Million
MMNN:29 September 2017
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has a fleet of exquisite cars and the Real Madrid icon has added another "animal" to his collection. Ronaldo took to Instagram to share a video of his new Buggati Chiron, priced at a whopping USD 3 million. In the video, Ronaldo can be seen driving his new Buggati with son, Cristiano Jr, giving him company in the passenger seat. "New animal in the building Bugatti Chiron," Ronaldo wrote on Instagram. Chiron which is seen as a successor to the Buggati Veyron, the one-time fastest car in the world, has been personalised for the former Manchester United forward and features a CR7 logo on the headrests.
Ronaldo unveiled the latest addition to his amazing collection of cars after making his 400th appearance for Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old is already well-versed with what a Buggati offers, having already owned the Veyron but the Chiron could be the most expensive of the lot.
In February this year, Ronaldo had also featured in Bugatti's promotional video for the Chiron.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo scored twice on his 400th Real Madrid appearance as the Champions League holders defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Ronaldo, without a goal in his last two outings following his return from a five-match domestic ban, took his Real haul to 411 on what was also his 150th career appearance in Europe.
Lionel Messi's Barcelona eke out win vs Sporting Lisbon at UEFA?Champions League
MMNN:28 September 2017
Lionel Messi will have to wait for his 100th goal in Europe after Barcelona eked out a 1-0 win at Sporting Lisbon thanks to an own-goal in the UEFA?Champions League on Wednesday.
Center back Sebastian Coates was the unlucky scorer when Messi's free kick deflected off another Sporting defender and Barcelona's Luis Suarez. The ball then hit Coates and bounced into the net four minutes after halftime.
We ended up losing to a freak own-goal," Sporting coach Jorge Jesus said
Barcelona offered little else in attack, other than a couple of shots each by Messi and Suarez, and needed goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to ensure the points with a key save as Sporting hemmed the visitors into their area.
The ugly slog of a match was interrupted in the 90th minute when a fan invaded the pitch to approach Messi, before being escorted off.
"We knew that to get a win here we would have to dig in. The stadium has a great atmosphere and the adversary was very strong," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, whose first season in charge has produced an eight-match winning streak and first place in both the Spanish league and the Champions League group.
Barcelona took the lead in Group D with six points from two matches after beating Juventus 3-0 in their group opener. Juventus and Sporting have three points. Juventus beat Greek side Olympiakos 2-0 in the group's other game Wednesday, with Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic scoring for last year's finalist.
The match at Jose Alvalade Stadium was that rarest of wins for Barcelona, one that depended more on its defense anchored by the solid Ter Stegen than its vaunted attack.
Newcomer Nelson Semedo continued to impress on Barcelona's right side, and Samuel Umtiti has consolidated himself as Gerard Pique's partner in the center of the back line. The only trouble spot was on the left, where Jordi Alba had trouble keeping the speedy Gelson Martins in check, but his fellow defenders were there to cover.
Limited to a long-range attempt by Cristiano Puccini and the crosses of Martins, Sporting's Seydou Doumbia tried to draw a foul on the edge of the area when he went down after contact with Pique. The referee booked the striker, who also injured his left leg as he fell. Doumbia was replaced not long after by Bas Dost just before halftime.
Barcelona broke through after Sporting's Marcos Acuna earned a yellow card for fouling Semedo on the right side of the area. Messi crossed the resulting free kick into the packed area, where it was grazed by a Sporting player before ricocheted off Suarez and Coates.
"It was a very good free kick by Messi," Valverde said. "It was touched and we know what can happen when the ball gets into the area."
After Messi and Suarez both threatened again, Sporting had its best moments of the game.
The hoem side went close to an equalizer in the 71st when Dost deftly let a pass run through to the unmarked Bruno Fernandes, only for Ter Stegen to save his shot.
Barcelona substitute Paulinho had a great opportunity to seal the win late, but goalkeeper Rui Patricio denied him in a one-on-one.
Messi, who is on a scoring run this season with 12 goals, was left on 99 career goals for Barcelona in European competitions. The Argentina star has scored 96 in the Champions League.
Hardik Pandya Is Better Than Me, Says Former India Captain Kapil Dev
MMNN:27 September 2017
Hardik Pandya has been making the headlines off late due to his performances and has impressed one and all with praise coming in from all corners for the Baroda all-rounder. A recent notable addition to that list of admirers is former India captain Kapil Dev. Speaking about Pandya in a press conference, Kapil said that Pandya has the ability to become a far better cricketer than what he is now with a lot of hard work but also sent out a warning of not putting added pressure on the youngster.
"Hardik Pandya is better than me. But he has to do a lot of hard work. It is still too early. We should not create unnecessary burden on him. He has the talent and ability to be a great player," the 58-year-old said.
Earlier, former India captain Rahul Dravid said that Pandya has turned his career around by playing as the situations demanded in the ongoing One-day International (ODI) series against Australia. Dravid further added that he hoped that the current India A players are able to emulate Pandya's batting approach.
"A good example about Hardik from my perspective is, he's willing to play situations and not just the natural game we often speak about. Credit goes completely to him. It's not about playing just the one way you want to play," Dravid was quoted by PTI as telling ESPNcricinfo.com.
Pandya has been instrumental in India taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the ongoing 5-match ODI series against Australia. In the first match, he scored 83 off 66 balls and added 118 runs along with MS Dhoni to take India to a challenging total of 281 for 7 after the hosts found themselves in a spot of bother, having lost half their side with not too many on the board.
In the third ODI, Pandya's blistering 78 off 72 balls took the game away from the Aussies and helped India clinch the series with still two matches to play.
The fourth ODI will be played on Thursday, September 28 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
That's Cheating', Tony Pulis Rounds On Alexis Sanchez After Arsenal Win
MMNN:26 September 2017
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis branded Alexis Sanchez a cheat after accusing the Arsenal star of diving to win a free kick in Monday's Premier League clash. Pulis was furious that Sanchez went unpunished after winning a first-half free kick on the edge of the Albion penalty area with a theatrical fall after a challenge from Craig Dawson. Referee Bobby Madley later turned down Albion penalty appeals when Jay Rodriguez was brought down by Shkodran Mustafi with the scoreline at 0-0, and also gave Arsenal a spot-kick which was converted by Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal won 2-0 thanks to Lacazette's brace and Pulis was quick to make it clear he was unhappy with Chile forward Sanchez.
"The disappointing thing is Sanchez falls for the first free kick, that's cheating," Pulis said.
"Jay is very honest and does not get rewarded. Everyone saw what happened. Sanchez actually dives for the first free kick and he should be booked for diving.
"Then you see the tackle in the box. The referee had a great view. Everyone has seen it and can make their minds up."
Earlier, Lacazette stole the spotlight from record breaker Gareth Barry as the Arsenal striker's double clinched a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Albion midfielder Barry broke Ryan Giggs' Premier League appearance record by playing in his 633rd game, but it was Lacazette who ended the night as the centre of attention at the Emirates Stadium.
The France forward opened the scoring with a first-half header and stroked home a penalty after the interval to give him four Arsenal goals since his club record £52 million ($70 million, 59 million euros) move from Lyon.
Lacazette is the first Arsenal player to score in his opening three home league appearances since Brian Marwood in 1988.
The Gunners are up to seventh in the Premier League after extending their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions since their humiliating loss at Liverpool.
"He gets stronger in every game. Good first touch and movement," Gunners manager Arsene Wenger said of Lacazette.
"West Brom disturbed our build up in the first half but in the second half we controlled the game and did not give anything away."
With Sanchez starting for just the second time this season in the Premier League, it was the first time the Chile forward had been on the pitch at the same time as Lacazette following the striker's pre-season arrival.
It took only seconds for the pair to combine to good effect as Lacazette's pass put Sanchez into a dangerous position just outside the Albion penalty area.
Craig Dawson responded by fouling Sanchez, who took the free-kick himself and fired just wide of Ben Foster's goal.
Barry has never been much of a creative force, even in his heyday, but the 36-year-old almost ushered his side into a shock lead when his sumptuous pass sent Jay Rodriguez into the Arsenal area.
Rodriguez cleverly cut back on Shkodran Mustafi and looked certain to win a penalty when he was up-ended by the Arsenal defender.
But Rodriguez clambered back to his feet and, with referee Bobby Madley not punishing the foul, the Albion forward unloaded a shot that Petr Cech pushed against the far post before Arsenal scrambled clear.
- Dominance -
Albion manager Tony Pulis was furious no penalty was given and his frustration only mounted as Arsenal took the lead in the 20th minute.
On his first league start since the collapse of his desired move to Manchester City, it felt inevitable Sanchez, making his 100th Premier League appearance, would be at the centre of Arsenal's opener.
Jonny Evans conceded a free-kick right outside the area with a foul on Mohamed Elneny and Sanchez stepped up to curl the set-piece goalwards.
Foster managed to tip the shot against the crossbar, but Lacazette alertly followed up to head into the empty net from close-range.
The absence of Mesut Ozil, languishing on the bench after being ignored by Wenger, was hardly noticed as Sanchez went close to doubling Arsenal's lead with a low free-kick that flashed wide.
But Albion immediately raced down the other end and should have equalised.
Rodriguez met Grzegorz Krychowiak's cross with a far post header that beat Cech, only for Nacho Monreal to scamper back just in time to acrobatically clear off the line.
Albion went close again before the interval when Barry's shot was pushed out by Cech and Rodriguez scuffed wide.
Pressing for a killer second goal after the interval, Lacazette saw his shot deflected wide off former Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs.
Arsenal's dominance was rewarded in the 67th minute when Aaron Ramsey surged past Allan Nyom on the touchline and the Albion defender responded by barging over the Welshman.
Madley pointed to the spot and Lacazette clinically dispatched the penalty.
Lacazette could have bagged his hat-trick in the closing stages but, despite his wayward finish, Arsenal were already home and dry
PV Sindhu Nominated For Padma Bhushan By Sports Ministry
MMNN:25 September 2017
Shuttler PV Sindhu was on Monday nominated for the prestigious Padma Bhushan -- India's third highest civilian award. The Indian ace's career graph has been on an upward curve since last year, when she became the first Indian to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games. In March 2015, Sindhu became the youngest recipient of the Padma Shri. Following her brilliant performances last year, the Indian shuttler has gone from strength to strength this year. Sindhu became only the second Indian to win a silver at the World Championships after Saina Nehwal.
"Yes, we have recommended Sindhu for Padma Bhushan," a Sports Ministry official told PTI.
Besides her World Championship silver at Glasgow, Sindhu became the first Indian to clinch the Korea Open Superseries title to add to her 2016 China Open Superseries Premier and India Open Superseries titles.
"Very happy that my name has been recommended for Padma Bhushan. I would like to thank the govt and the sports ministry," said Sindhu.
Sindhu now has three Super Series, three World Championship medals, an Olympic silver and a host of other podiums finishes.
Sindhu is the second sportsperson to be recommended for the prestigious award after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), earlier this month, nominated Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the Padma Bhushan.
A senior BCCI official confirmed that the Indian cricket board had only sent one name for the Padma awards this year and it was a unanimous decision to nominate India's former captain.
The 36-year-old has scored 9737 runs in 302 ODIs besides 4876 runs in 90 Test matches. He has also played 78 T20 Internationals, notching up 1212 runs.
He has 16 international hundreds (6 in Tests and 10 in ODIs) along with 100 international half-centuries.
As a wicketkeeper, Dhoni has held 584 catches across formats (256 in Tests, 285 in ODIs and 43 in T20 Internationals). He has also effected 163 stumpings.
Dhoni is already a recipient of the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Padma Shri award.
If Dhoni is conferred with Padma Bhushan, he will become the 11th Indian cricketer to get the third highest civilian honour.
Former Australian Bowler Defends Virat Kohli In Squabble With Matthew Wade
MMNN:22 September 2017
In the all the mayhem unleashed by Kuldeep Yadav on the Australians in the second ODI at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, a feud between India skipper Virat Kohli and Australian wicket-keeper Matthew Wade went under the radar. Kohli, who has a history of run-ins with the Aussies, was once again involved in a confrontation with an Australian player. The incident took place when the Indian captain decided to run a bye with Wade down injured. The Australian wicket-keeper and the bowler, Marcus Stoinis, took exception and confronted Kohli.
Wade, who was already struggling in the Kolkata heat, was struck in the arm by a Stoinis delivery. Kohli, who was at the non-striker's end at the time, took off for a run.
Both Wade and Stoinis confronted Kohli at the end of the over.
However, the Indian captain has received support from the unlikeliest of sources -- another Australian.
Former Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark, dubbing the incident as 'piddly crap', came out in support of Kohli.
"He (Wade) misfielded one. Whether the Indian batsman knew he was injured or not was probably a secondary question," Clarke was quoted as saying to Sky Sports Radio by the Herald Sun.
"It's one run. Is this the biggest issue this team has got? If I'm Matthew Wade and I'm Marcus Stoinis -- and full credit to him for standing up for Matthew Wade -- I'd be worrying about my own cricket, rather than all this other stuff.
"This is piddly crap."
Kohli is not one to back down from a fight and the Indian skipper was seen giving Wade a grand send-off after he was dismissed by Yadav.
Wade was the first wicket in Yadav's hat-trick and Kohli was seen giving him a mouthful after he was castled by the left-arm wrist spinner.
India went on to win the second ODI by 50 runs in Kolkata to take a 2-0 series lead. The hosts will look to wrap up the series when the two teams clash in the third match in Indore on Sunday.
A Message From Virat Kohli For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sports Minister
MMNN:21 September 2017
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday launched the revamped 'Khelo India' initiative, which earlier focused on infrastructure development but will now look to ensure all-round growth. The government has approved Rs 1,756 crore for a period of three years for revamping the initiative, launched by the ministry last year by merging three schemes - Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and National Sports Talent Search Programme. The programme aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sportspersons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
Reacting to this new development, Indian cricket captain applauded the effort of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sports Minister.
"'Khelo india' a much awaited initiative by our hon'ble PM & Sports Minister. Surely this will catalyse sports in India," tweeted Kohli.
A holistic approach has to be taken and there will be a seamless network which will enable a pathway from schools to Olympics," Rathore, who recently took charge, said after a cabinet meeting.
"In the age group of 10 to 18, health and education will be mapped and schools will be graded. Sports facilities will also be mapped with geographical location. Sports and education will be mixed."
Rathore said very soon, sports-specific mobile apps, equipped with relevant information, will be launched.
"The apps will have tips for athletes and information of Indian and international athletes."
The winner of the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games said under the scheme, efforts will be made to upgrade and educate coaches at the community level.
Asked about the impending Sports Code and efforts to bring sports in the Concurrent list, Rathore said he was taking a "step by step" approach.
Responding to a query if he was satisfied with the standard of coaching in India, he remarked, "best is required, good is not enough
BCCI Nominates MS Dhoni For Padma Bhushan Award
MMNN:20 September 2017
The Indian cricket board has nominated Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the country's third highest civilian award -- the Padma Bhushan -- for his contribution to the game. A senior BCCI official confirmed that the Board has only sent one name for the Padma awards this year and it was a unanimous decision to nominate India's most successful captain. "Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been nominated by the BCCI for the Padma Bhushan award. It was a unanimous decision by the members. He has been one of the greatest names in contemporary cricket and the most appropriate choice of the Indian cricket board," BCCI acting president CK Khanna told PTI.
Dhoni's credentials are impeccable and as the only Indian captain with two World titles (2011 50-over World Cup and 2007 World T20), the BCCI did not have to ponder over likely names. " He is one of our greatest ODI cricketer with nearly 10,000 runs. Not many players have played 90 Test matches.
There is no one better than him, who could have been nominated," Khanna added.
The BCCI has not sent any other nominations for the Padma awards this year.
The 36-year-old has scored 9737 runs in 302 ODIs besides 4876 runs in 90 Test matches. He has also played 78 T20 Internationals, notching up 1212 runs.
He has 16 international hundreds (6 in Tests and 10 in ODIs) along with 100 international half-centuries.
As a wicketkeeper, Dhoni has held 584 catches across formats (256 in Tests, 285 in ODIs and 43 in T20 Internationals). He has also effected 163 stumpings.
Dhoni is already a recipient of the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Padma Shri award.
If Dhoni is conferred with Padma Bhushan, he will become the 11th Indian cricketer to get the third highest civilian honour.
Some of the notable international cricketers, who have been the recipients of Padma Bhushan award are Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Chandu Borde, Prof DB Deodhar, Col CK Nayudu, and Lala Amarnath.
The lesser known names include Raja Bhalindra Singh of Patiala, who played 13 first-class matches, and Vijaya Anand -- the Maharaja of Vizianagram, who was India's captain during their 1936 tour to England.
On Virat Kohli's 30 Centuries, A Question From Steve Smith
MMNN:19 September 2017
The ongoing limited-overs cricket series is as much a battle between the two captains as it is between their respective teams. Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, considered two of the finest batsmen in the world at the moment, are not just leaders of their teams but also chief run-getters. In the limited-overs format, Kohli holds an edge over the Australian. In 99 ODIs, Smith has 8 centuries to his name, while Kohli has notched up 30 tons in 195 ODIs. Hence, it came as no surprise when Smith was asked about Kohli's record in the post-match press conference in Chennai on Sunday. While Smith said his counterpart was a very good player, he also had a little query for the reporters.
"I think India play a lot more ODI cricket than we do. I'm not sure how many games Virat has played. He is a very good player," he said.
The 28-year-old added that he wasn't concerned about personal records.
"I am not worried about personal accolades. I am here to try and win a series. The Indian team has a very good top seven and all guys are capable of scoring big runs. Our bowlers have to be on the top of their game to keep them quiet this series," Smith said.
Ahead of the series opener, Kohli had echoed a similar sentiment when it came to personal milestones.
"I don't play for the three-figure mark. For me winning is most important. I can be 98 or 99 not out but if the team wins then I am happy," said Kohli.
The stylish right-hander has had a brilliant run with the bat in the shorter format of the game for the past couple of years. Kohli added a new feather to his cap in the ODI series against Sri Lanka by notching up his 30th ODI century, equalling the great Australian batsman Ricky Ponting and now only has Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him who has scored 49 ODI centuries.
Kohli's men eased to win over the visitors in the 1st ODI after impressive performances from Hardik Pandya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Thanks to Pandya's blistering career-best 66-ball 83 and Dhoni's 79 off 88 balls, India posted a competitive 281 for seven despite losing the top half for less than 100 after opting to bat. However intermittent showers during the break played spoilsport as Australia were set a revised target of 164 off 21 overs via Duckworth-Lewis method.
The young wrist spinners -- Kuldeep Yadav (2/33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/30) then ran through the middle and lower order as India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
MS Dhoni Gives Kedar Jadhav The Death Stare After Run Out Scare
MMNN:18 September 2017
Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced yet another magical innings to dig India out of a massive hole and inspire the team to a 26-run (DLS) win over the visiting Australians in the first ODI of the five-match series at Chennai on Sunday. In the process, Dhoni became only the fourth Indian -- after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly -- to score a century of fifties in international cricket. However, things could have been very different if Australia had taken the chance to run out the former India skipper after he was left stranded in the middle of the pitch by Kedar Jadhav. Dhoni, known for his calmness on the field, wasn't too pleased and what followed next can be dubbed as a rarity.
In the 22nd over of India's innings, things were looking bad for the hosts but Kedar Jadhav had held one end up and was joined by Dhoni. Dhoni on 7, at the time, played the ball to cover and set off for the run but got no response from his partner.
Dhoni turned to get back but slipped a little and was left stranded, Hilton Cartwright got to the ball and hastily tried to throw down the stumps but missed. It resulted in an overthrow and the two Indian batsmen completed the run but right after that Dhoni turned and gave Jadhav a death stare and shook his head that surely must have ruffled Kedar's feathers.
The very next ball, Jadhav, batting on 40, tried to pull a Marcus Stoinis short delivery but only managed to give an easy catch to none other than Cartwright, who was standing at short mid-wicket
Dhoni now has 9,737 runs in ODIs and requires 263 more runs to complete the 10,000-run milestone in the 50-over format.
Earlier, Dhoni received a rousing welcome from the crowd when he came into bat to pull India back from troubled waters. India lost three quick wickets and were reeling at 11 for 3 and 87 for 5.
Dhoni's innings helped India reach a competitive 281 for seven. Chasing the target, Australia did not have the best of starts and kept losing wickets at regular intervals with Pandya (2/28) helping himself with a couple of wickets.
The young wrist spinners -- Kuldeep Yadav (2/33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/30) then ran through the middle and lower order as India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
PV?Sindhu enters Korea Open Superseries badminton semi-final, Sameer Verma exits
MMNN:15 September 2017
PV Sindhu defeated Minatsu Mitani 21-19, 16-21, 21-10 to enter the semi-finals of the Korea Open Superseries being held in Seoul.
PV Sindhu raced to an early 5-2 lead in the first game, but Minatsu Mitani fought back, managing to take an 11-9 lead at the break.
The back and forth nature of the match continued after the break, with neither player managing to take a convincing lead. PV Sindhu eventually found her rhythm and edged her Japanese opponent 21-19 in the first game.
Minatsu Mitani started the second game well, taking a 5-1 lead and pushing PV Sindhu on the back foot. Sindhu then won a flurry of points and took an 11-9 lead going into the break.
But just like in the first game, the player who led in the break ended up on the losing end of the game. Sindhu was forced onto the backcourt as Nitani dominated the nets and won the second game 21-16.
PV?Sindhu came out all guns blazing in the third game, although Mitani's unforced errors certainly helped. She took an early 6-2 lead before entering the break with a formidable 11-3 lead.
Mitani did manage to reduce the deficit to six points just after the break, but Sindhu maintained her composure and won the final game 21-10 to enter the semi-finals of the Korea Open Superseries.
Sameer Verma exits
Sameer Verma's campaign at the Korea Open came to an end after he lost to World No 1 Son Wan-Ho of Korea 20-22, 21-10, 21-13 in the quarter-finals.
Sameer Verma started the match well, fighting hard to win the first game. However, Son Wan-Ho easily won the next two games to move into the semi-finals.
Son Wan-Ho had previously beaten Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap to enter the quarter-finals.
India vs Australia: Mohammed Shami Working On New Plans For Steve Smith, David Warner
MMNN:14 September 2017
Mohammed Shami has been recalled to the India side for the first three ODIs against Australia and is ready with all his plans in place for the visiting side. The Indian speedster has chalked up some strategy which he wants to effectively implement against top Australians like rival skipper Steve Smith and senior batsman David Warner.
"We have some plans for each of their batsmen -- (especially Smith and Warner). There's always some new plan in place. The key is about executing it on the field," Shami told reporters at the Eden Gardens on the sidelines of the Bengal Ranji team's training session.
India will take on Australia in the first ODI of the five-match series on September 17 at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
India will play their second ODI against Steve Smith's men at the Eden Gardens and the pacer is excited to play his career's maiden ODI at the historic venue. The Bengal pacer, who has played 49 ODIs, has never played an ODI at his home venue.
"It's a matter of pride to play an ODI at my home ground. I hope to make it count and deliver for my team," Shami, who last played an ODI against West Indies in July, said.
Close on the heels of their 9-0 clean sweep in Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli-led Team India would be eyeing another dominating display but Shami felt it would not be easy.
"Australia are a strong team. It's difficult to say that (clean sweep) but we will try our best for a good show. The conditions will play a big role," he added.
Kohli and boys will play five ODIs against Australia followed by three Twenty20 Internationals.
Chennai, Kolkata, Indore, Bengaluru and Nagpur will host the ODIs while the T20Is will be held in Ranchi, Guwahati and Hyderabad.
Pakistan vs World XI: Darren Sammy Applauds Hassan Ali After Being Knocked Down By Him
MMNN:13 September 2017
Pakistan on Tuesday took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match in front of excited crowds amid tight security. The Twenty20 match, accorded international status by the International Cricket Council (ICC), is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff. Long before the match started, around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the area, cordoning off the team's hotels and stadium. But the large security presence did little to temper the enthusiasm of fans in the cricket-mad country.
The match was marked by moments of friendship, camaraderie and warmth between the two sets of players. One particular incident during the World XI innings captured the spirit of the occasion. Hassan Ali's toe-crushing yorker resulted in Darren Sammy lying flat on his back. The West Indies all-rounder applauded the bowler, who then helped Sammy get back up on his feet
Pakistan, sent into bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had ten boundaries and two sixes.
The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings. Despite Skipper Faf du Plessis and Sammy's best efforts towards the end, the visitors were unable to see their team through.
The second game is scheduled for today and the third on Friday -- both in Lahore.
US Open: Best Season Of My Career, Says Rafael Nadal After 16th Grand Slam Title
MMNN:12 September 2017
Rafael Nadal described the year 2017 as "one of the best of his career" on Sunday after winning a third US Open and 16th Grand Slam.
World number one Nadal defeated South Africa's world number 32 Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in a brutally one-sided final during which he did not face a break point.
Nadal also claimed an unprecedented 10th French Open in June after finishing runner-up to Roger Federer at the Australian Open.
"In terms of results, this has been one of the best seasons of my career, of course," Nadal admitted of a year in which he won at least two Slams for the fourth time in his career.
Had he gotten the better of Gilles Muller at Wimbledon, where he lost the final set of his fourth-round clash 15-13, the year might have been even more memorable.
"I have been winning titles, playing three finals of Grand Slams, so that's a lot. That's so difficult. The other slam that I was not in the final, I lost the match 15-13 in the fifth to be in the quarterfinals.
"So was very competitive year for me. And on clay, I won almost every match. Of course is an emotional season because I have been through tough moments in terms of injuries."
Nadal's win on Sunday was the latest chapter in an epic story of domination by the sport's superstars.
From Wimbledon in 2003, an incredible 53 of 58 Slams have now been claimed by just five men -- Federer (19), Nadal (16), Novak Djokovic (12) and Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka with three apiece.
Only Andy Roddick, Gaston Gaudio, Marat Safin, Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic have broken the spell.
"We are are in an era that is not nice to say, because I'm part of it, but we are in an era that some players make incredible things in this sport," said Nadal.
"It's difficult to win a lot of titles. We should be very happy. Probably even Roger and me and Novak, much more than we ever dreamed."
To hammer home their enduring appeal and dominance, Federer and Nadal shared the four Slams in 2017 -- Federer winning the Australian Open before capturing a record eighth Wimbledon.
Federer's mark no big deal
Despite his success, catching the 19 majors of Federer is not particularly high on Nadal's list of priorities.
"I really never thought much about that. I just do my way. He does his way. Let's see when we finish," he said.
"I have 16. So three is big difference. I really don't think much about these kind of things.
"Well done for Roger that he is having an amazing season, too, and well done for me because I'm having a great season, too.
"Tennis is not all about the Grand Slams, so there are tournaments to come and I'm excited about this last part of the season."
It's all a far cry from the end of last year when Nadal was ranked at nine in the world and Federer was 16.
It was also a 2016 season that saw the injury-hobbled Nadal lose in the first round at the Australian Open, withdraw after two rounds of the French with a wrist problem, skip Wimbledon and exit the US Open in the last 16.
However, in 2017, Federer and Nadal have won five titles apiece and on Monday they will be back at number one and two in the world for the first time since 2011.
"I was surprised in January. Now I am not that much surprised," said Nadal.
"There are things that probably Roger and me share -- that is passion for what we are doing, passion for tennis, passion for the competition and the spirit of improvement all the time."
India vs Australia: Fans Slam BCCI For Picking Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav Over Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina
MMNN:11 September 2017
The 16-man squad failed to impress die-hard Yuvraj fans, who asked the Indian cricket board and its selectors whether Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav were better than the World Cup winner
The national selection committee last week picked up a fourth string 14-member Board President's XI squad for the warm-up game against Australia, giving out a clear signal that Yuvraj Singh is no longer among the country's top 74 cricketers. The selection pattern suggested that the squad, which crushed Sri Lanka, was bound to be retained for the Australia series with some minor changes. The Duleep Trophy forced the selectors to name the next 45 players for the day/night pink ball experiment.
Another veteran Suresh Raina found a place in that 45, which meant he was on the selectors' radar. That made it top 60 players in the country, which left the selectors with no option but to pick youngsters who did well in the Indian Premier League and Vijay Hazare Trophy. Yuvraj did not even find a place in that batch of 14.
Hence, it come as no surprise when the star left-hander failed to make the cut to Virat Kohli's squad for the first three ODIs against Australia. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav made their way back to the national side with Shardul Thakur missing out on a spot. All-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were given a rest. The 16-man squad failed to impress die-hard Yuvraj fans, who asked the Indian cricket board and its selectors whether Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav were better than the World Cup winner. Fans also questioned the exclusion of Suresh Raina from the team.
The first three ODIs will be played in Chennai, Kolkata and Indore. The teams then travel to Bangalore and Nagpur for the final two games, before they take part in a three-match T20I series.
Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
US Open: Rafael Nadal Downs Juan Martin Del Potro To Enter 23rd Grand Slam Final
MMNN:9 September 2017
Rafael Nadal moved one win away from a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Saturday when he defeated weary Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2. The 31-year-old Spaniard, the 2010 and 2013 champion in New York, will be playing in his 23rd Slam final and third this year, looking to add the US title to his record 10th French Open. In Sunday's final, the world number one will face 32nd-ranked Kevin Anderson, the first South African in the championship match in 52 years.
Anderson reached his maiden final at the majors by beating 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
For 2009 champion Del Potro, Friday's match was one too many as the physical and emotional toll of seeing off Roger Federer in four sets in the previous round left him spent.
"I have had an amazing season after some tough moments with injuries in recent years," said Nadal, who started 2017 by finishing runner-up to Federer in Australia.
"It's a very emotional year for me. I am in the final again and get the chance to fight for another title which is very important."
Nadal said the key to Friday's win was a change of tactics after the first set.
"I played too much to his backhand and I felt he was waiting for me there," said Nadal after his 15th successive Grand Slam semi-final win.
"I changed it and it worked very well. I made him move more and make it all more unpredictable."
Nadal finished with 45 winners and 20 unforced errors to Del Potro's 23 and 40.
Despite a 4-0 winning record over Anderson, Nadal said he will not underestimate his opponent on Sunday.
"He is a very dangerous player with a big serve and plays very well on this surface. I have known him since we were 12.
"He's had many injuries but the way he has come back is a great example to the kids."
Del Potro, who saved two match points against Dominic Thiem in a last-16 tie from which he almost retired with illness, gained the only break of the first set in the fifth game off a fortunate net cord.
'Been long road'
However, few would begrudge Del Potro a little luck after he was pushed to the brink of retirement by four wrist surgeries that saw his ranking slip as low as 1,045 and forced him to miss 10 Grand Slam tournaments.
Nadal hit back with venom, gathering three breaks to take the second set in just 26 minutes as the Argentine suffered a power cut of staggering proportions.
The Spaniard, watched by Tiger Woods in his player's box, then raced into a 3-0 lead in the third before Del Potro stopped the rot, having lost nine games in succession.
The Argentine saved two set points in the eighth game but Nadal soon wrapped it up at the next time of asking, pushing his opponent into desperate defense before the delivering the killer blow into an open court.
Nadal, beaten by Del Potro at the same stage in 2009, tightened the noose with two breaks for 4-1 and easy hold for 5-1.
It was all over in the eighth game when Nadal buried unleashed a backhand winner.
Anderson, 31, will attempt to become his country's first Slam champion since Johan Kriek at the 1981 Australian Open.
Cliff Drysdale was the last South African man in the US final in 1965 but he was defeated by Manuel Santana.
"It has been a long road. This means the world to me," said Anderson, whose career was at a crossroads in January when hip problems forced him out of the Australian Open and his ranking slumped to 80.
"This is why we work so hard. I was pretty nervous with it being the first time on the sport's most famous stage."
Carreno Busta, also playing in his first semi-final at the Slams, had not dropped a set at the tournament, helped by playing four qualifiers, and he was a set to the good on Friday, breaking in the seventh game.
The Spaniard had pocketed the opener hitting just two winners and only one unforced error.
But 6ft 8in (2.03m) Anderson eventually imposed himself much to the approval of watching Hollywood star Robert Redford and Microsoft founder Bill Gates
T20 Global League: Kings XI Punjab's Preity Zinta to own Stellenbosch team
MMNN:8 September 2017
Preity Zinta, who is a co-owner of IPL team Kings XI Punjab, will now own the Stellenbosch team in the T20 Global League of South Africa that starts later this year
Preity Zinta has become the third Indian after Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders and GMR's Delhi Daredevils to own a team in the T20 Global League of South Africa. Preity, who is a co-owner of Indian Premier League team Kings XI Punjab, will own the Stellenbosch franchise.
The ownership of the Stellenbosch franchise was up for grabs after Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited had decided to end their interest in pursuing ownership early August. It was the only team among the eight to take part that did not have an owner.
"I am extremely proud to announce and warmly welcome Preity Zinta to South Africa and the T20 Global League family," said Cricket SA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
"The introduction of a Bollywood star like Preity Zinta speaks volumes for the T20 Global League and finalises an eminent and enviable group of owners. Her experience and stardom will add value to the T20GL," said Lorgat.
"I firmly believe that this is the most exciting time for young South African cricketing talent. This league will give them an opportunity to take the leap from becoming the best in the country to becoming the best in the world," said Preity Zinta. No Indian cricketers will be involved in the league.
South African marquee player for the Stellenbosch franchise, Faf du Plessis, expressed delight at learning about Preity Zinta being his new team owner.
"I'm very excited to see that Preity Zinta has come on board. I have heard from my team mates that she is very good to work with, so I'm looking forward to working with her and seeing how she impacts our team space. She is also very passionate about the sport and I am sure local fans will have an awesome time at Boland Park," Du Plessis said.
The Stellenbosch team plays its first home game on Saturday, 4 November at Boland Park, Paarl against the Jo'burg Giants.
No Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer at US Open as Juan Martin del Potro stuns Swiss
MMNN:7 September 2017
Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, beat Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 to set up a semifinal clash against Rafael Nadal, who breezed past Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals
So much for the first US Open match-up between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Federer failed to live up to his end of the bargain.
Hours after Nadal did his part with an easy-as-can-be victory to get to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows, Federer was unable to join him for what would have been the most-anticipated showdown of the entire two weeks, wasting chances to take control and missing makable shots in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 loss to 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday night.
Federer entered the quarterfinals with an 18-0 Grand Slam record this season, including titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon to raise his record count to 19 Major championships.
But he tweaked his back at a tournament last month, curtailing his preparation for the US Open, and he was not quite at his best for stretches. He needed five sets to win each of his first two matches - and Wednesday, he succumbed to the same formula of massive forehands and booming serves that del Potro used when he upset Federer in the final eight years ago.
Before the tournament began, Nadal was honest as can be when asked whether he hoped to face Federer at the only Grand Slam tournament where they've never met.
The answer, the No. 1-seeded Nadal said earnestly, was no - because he'd rather go up against someone easier to beat.
Well, as it turns out, he'll go up against del Potro on Friday, when the other semifinal features two men who have never been this far at any major: No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain vs. No. 28 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Nadal, who has won two of his 15 Grand Slam trophies in New York, overwhelmed 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, then had to wait hours to see what Roger Federer would do under the lights
Arthur Ashe Stadium was packed, and both men had loud groups of supporters. Federer's fans would cheer for del Potro's faults, considered bad etiquette in tennis. Del Potro's faction would break into raucous, soccer-style songs of "Ole, ole, ole, ole! Del-po! Del-po!"
"Well, I think it's my home court, too," del Potro said in an on-court interview.
The 2-hour, 51-minute contest was filled with some sublime shotmaking by each player, and some real moments of shakiness for the 36-year-old Federer, whose forehand in particular was problematic. The turning point was the third-set tiebreaker, which Federer was a single point from winning on four occasions.
At 6-4, Juan Martin del Potro hammered a good return that caught Federer off-guard, resulting in a forehand into the net. At 6-5, del Potro delivered a service winner. At 7-6 - set up by a double-fault from del Potro - Federer missed a backhand, and his wife, Mirka, put her hands to her temples, before standing to offer encouragement. At 8-7, Federer's fourth and last set point, del Potro hit a huge forehand winner.
That began a run of three points in a row for del Potro to claim that set, the last when Federer pushed a backhand volley long.
The suspense in the fourth set was brief: At 2-all, Federer dumped an overhead into the bottom of the net to gift a third break point of the game, which del Potro converted with a stinging cross-court backhand return winner to nose ahead for good.
Del Potro showed no ill effects from his 3 1/2-hour, five-set comeback victory in the fourth round - or the illness that's been bothering him and had the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Argentine coughing into a towel late in the second set. His forehands were powerful and precise, including one reflex pass hit so hard and so close to Federer's head that he ducked out of the way.
Roger Federer was uncharacteristically off at moments, including a very bad forehand volley that was way off the mark and set up del Potro's match point.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, strolled past the 53rd-ranked Rublev.
"He gave me a lesson," acknowledged Rublev, the youngest U.S. Open quarterfinalist since Andy Roddick in 2001
Rublev didn't put up much of a fight, with seven double-faults among his 43 unforced errors.
"I will try now to practice harder to improve everything for the next time if we play each other," Rublev said, "to try to compete better."
Truth is, the way Nadal is playing at the moment, few would be able to offer much in the way of a challenge.
He has won his past three matches in straight sets, his uppercut of a forehand at its dangerous best.
"He's been playing better and better every day," said Carlos Moya, the 1998 French Open champion who is helping coach Nadal. "The last couple of matches have been very good. He is confident. He had a few doubts at the beginning of the tournament that I believe now are gone and he is able to play his best tennis."
US Open: Venus Williams Edges Petra Kvitova, to Face Sloane Stephens in Semis
MMNN:6 September 2017
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams became the oldest semi-finalist in US Open history at age 37 on Tuesday by defeating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2).
US ninth seed Williams, seeking her third US Open crown, advanced to a Thursday matchup for a spot in Saturday's final against 83rd-ranked compatriot Sloane Stephens.
Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning at Wimbledon, matched her best Grand Slam showing by outlasting Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).
Williams, who improved to 2-4 all-time against the Czech 13th seed, will return to the world top five for the first time since January 2011 after dominating the tie-break.
"I'm so fortunate to have won that match. It came down to the wire," Williams said. "I try to tell myself enjoy the competition, enjoy the battle and I think I was able to do that."
Williams, the oldest Slam semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994, won the 2000 and 2001 US crowns.
She was runner-up this year at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and could reach three Slam finals in a year for the first time since 2002.
Kvitova battled back from a five-month absence after a knife-wielding home intruder injured her left hand last December.
Williams swatted a backhand winner to break for a 5-3 edge and held to take the first set but Kvitova led 3-0 when rain forced a closure of the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof.
Kvitova fought off two break points in the fifth and seventh games to hold on the way to a third set, then broke to lead 2-1 only to double fault away a break to set up the tie-breaker.
If Americans Madison Keys and CoCo Vanderweghe win Wednesday, they will produce the first all-American US Open semi-finals since 1981.
"That would be huge," Williams said. "I'd love that."
"This is amazing," Stephens said. "I hope there are four Americans in the semi-finals."
Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who has not dropped a set, cruised into his first Grand Slam semi-final by defeating Argentine 29th seed Diego Schartzman 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Carreno Busta, the first player to face four qualifiers in any Grand Slam, booked a Friday semi-final against the later winner between South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson and 17th-seeded American Sam Querrey.
"Incredible," Carreno Busta said. "It's something that I always dreamed about but something I never thought was going to arrive here. It's a great feeling."
While legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are each one win from their first US Open meeting in an epic semi-final, this side of the men's draw is guaranteed to produce a first-time Slam finalist.
"It would be fantastic to play him in the final," Carreno Busta said of Nadal. "But we have to play step by step."
Stephens has won 13 of her past 15 matches and matched her 2013 Australian Open semi-final run for best Slam effort.
"This is just incredible," Stephens said. "When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could never have dreamed of coming back and having these results. It's indescribable."
'I'm not a robot. Sorry.'
Sevastova, who matched her best major run from last year at New York by ousting Maria Sharapova to reach the last eight, led 3-1 in the third set before Stephens rallied.
"I just told myself to keep fighting and stay consistent," Stephens said. "I knew if I just stick with it and stayed in every point I'd have my opportunity and I did.
"I was able to play loose and 'Bam', here we are."
In the tie-breaker, Stephens took four of the last five points, three on Sevastova errors before hitting a down-the-line backhand winner ensured her win gto reach the top 35 in next week's rankings.
Sevastova admitted nerves got to her in the tie-breaker, saying, "It's normal. You play for semi-finals of US Open. I'm not a robot. Sorry."
Czech reigning number one Karolina Pliskova, last year's US Open runner-up, must reach the final or lose the top spot to already-ousted Garbine Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion.