SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Sehwag, Dravid on song as records tumble
Lahore, January 16
Virender Sehwag smashed a breathtaking unbeaten 247 and put on an epic unfinished 403-run opening stand with Rahul Dravid to frustrate Pakistan and restore balance on a record-shattering day of the first cricket Test here today.


Rahul Dravid raises his bat on reaching 100 while Virender Sehwag celebrates after completing 200 runs Rahul Dravid raises his bat on reaching 100 while Virender Sehwag celebrates after completing 200 runs.
— AFP photo

Sami, Shoaib resort to sledging
Lahore, January 16
Frustrated Pakistani fast bowlers today resorted to sledging as captain Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag led India’s strong reply to Pakistan’s score of 679 for 7 declared in the first innings of the first Test here.



EARLIER STORIES
 

BCCI wanted first Test in Lahore: PCB
Lahore, January 16
Pakistan Cricket Board today said it scheduled the first Test match in Lahore during winter to accommodate Indian cricket board’s request.

Pak retain same squad for 2nd Test
Lahore, January 16
Pakistan have retained the same 15-member squad for the second Test against India which will be played at Faisalabad from January 21 to 25.

Venus Williams reacts during an Australian Open first round match in Melbourne on Monday Venus, Moya shown the door
Melbourne, January 16
Venus Williams tumbled out of the Australian Open first round today, a shock victim of little-known Bulgarian Tszvetana Pironkova. Former French Open champion and 1997 finalist here Carlos Moya, seeded 32, crashed out to Romanian Andrei Pavel 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6. The 18-year-old from Provdiv stunned Wimbledon champion Williams 2-6, 6-0, 9-7, condemning her to her earliest grand slam exit since being bundled out of the 2001 French Open in the opening round.




Venus Williams reacts during an Australian Open first round match in Melbourne on Monday. — AFP photo

Sania to play Azarenka today
Melbourne, January 16
What a difference a year makes. Sania Mirza arrived at the 2005 Australian Open as a virtual unknown, ranked 166th and needing a wild card entry.

National Cycling
Punjab Police win gold

Patiala, January 16
Punjab Police garnered the gold in the men’s 1500 metre team time trial on the opening day of the BSA National Track Cycling Championship which commenced at the NIS velodrome here today.

Basketball included in Commonwealth Games
Chandigarh, January 16
Good news for basketball lovers. The sport has been included in the forthcoming Commonwealth games to be held in Melbourne in March. The Basketball Federation of India has selected 20 probables in both the men’s and women’s section during the 56th Senior National Basketball Championship held at Pune few days back.

Humpy scores big win
Wijk Aan Zee, January 16
India’s Koneru Humpy defeated Bulgaria’s Ivan Cheparinov while twice world champion Viswanathan Anand ended in a draw with Levon Aronian in the second round games of the Corus Chess Championship, being played in the Dutch Beach Town here in the Netherlands.
Top



 

 

 

 

Sehwag, Dravid on song as records tumble
S.S. Ramaswamy

Lahore, January 16
Virender Sehwag smashed a breathtaking unbeaten 247 and put on an epic unfinished 403-run opening stand with Rahul Dravid to frustrate Pakistan and restore balance on a record-shattering day of the first cricket Test here today.

The flamboyant Sehwag and Dravid (128) put themselves tantilisingly close to breaking the world record opening partnership as the visitors cruised to 403 for no loss in reply to Pakistan’s 679 for seven declared before play was called off early due to bad light on a truncated penultimate day of the match.

India’s new opening pair was just 11 runs short of breaking Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy’s long standing world record for opening partnership established against New Zealand in Chennai in 1955-56.

It was a stunning display of batsmanship as Sehwag eclipsed one record after another during his 240-ball knock which contained 40 boundaries and a six to completely annihilate the Pakistani attack on a placid track at the Gaddafi stadium.

Sehwag notched up his fourth double century while Dravid was more sedate on way to his 21st Test ton as India scored at a phenomenal 5.37 runs per over, the Delhi marauder doing the bulk of the scoring.

India were still 77 runs short of the follow-on target although it counts for little as the match is destined to end in a tame draw with just one day left.

Sehwag led the run-feast by cracking the second-fastest ever double hundred in Test history, off 182 balls with 38 fours, while Dravid followed suit later as the openers waltzed their way on a featherbed of a pitch against a hapless Pak attack.

Another 11 runs added to their stand would also mean India's highest partnership for any wicket and against any opposition.

Sehwag once again made nonsense of murky conditions by smacking a whopping 46 fours and one six while Dravid’s 128 came in 227 balls.

During the course of his 11th Test ton, coming in his 40th Test, Sehwag also scored the fastest century by an Indian opener, breaking Sunil Gavaskar’s 23-year-old record by one ball by reaching his first 100 in only 93 balls. Gavaskar had reached his century in 94 balls against Clive Lloyd’s all-conquering West Indians in the Delhi Test of the 1983 series.

Runs came in cascades from Sehwag as he treated the home team’s bowling with utter disdain to help India race to 358 for no loss at tea.

The run feast of the Indians saw them add 192 runs in 38 overs in the extended second session on yet another weather-truncated day.

The opening partnership between the duo was also the best-ever for any wicket for India against Pakistan, obliterating the 336-run stand between Sehwag, who then made 309, and Sachin Tendulkar (194 not out) at Multan in the first Test of the last series played here in 2004.

Only New Zealand’s Nathan Astle, who scored a double hundred against England off 153 balls in 2001-02, has a better record than Sehwag in the number of balls taken to reach 200.

In seven Tests against Pakistan and during the course of this innings, he overtook Mohinder Amarnath’s run tally of 1080 runs in 18 Tests. Only Gavaskar (2,089 with five tons in 24 Tests and Dilip Vengsarkar (1284 with 2 tons in 22 Tests) stood ahead of Sehwag, who had 982 runs to his credit before the start of the series, in the amount of runs scored against Pakistan.

Sehwag continued to plunder runs at will after resumption of play in the post-lunch session, 15 minutes after schedule, while Dravid, who had added one run to his last evening's score in the first session, also started to open out and play strokes as the two accelerated the scoring rate to better than run-a-minute.

The duo raised the double century stand in only the 41st over and in 190 minutes before the partnership went past the earlier mark of 200 set by Krish Srikkanth and Gavaskar in the 1986-87 Chennai Test against Pakistan.

This was also India’s second double century stand for the first wicket, following the one by Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir against South Africa at Kanpur in November, 2004.

In the two overs that were possible before lunch, Sehwag struck three fours, including an overthrow, to race from 96 to 108, the lofted shots off Kaneria to mid off and extra cover setting the tone for the afternoon stroke-play.

He treated off spinner Shoaib Malik, who replaced Kaneria after lunch, with scant respect by punching him through the cover region for a boundary and followed that with a step-out loft to mid-wicket and a contemptuous straight-drive off successive balls for fours.

Dravid, content to wait and watch Sehwag’s pyrotechnics at the other end, finally showed some intention to take the attack to the rival camp by steering Shoaib Akhtar for his sixth boundary, and first of the day.

He then back cut Malik for another four after Sehwag had the audacity to run the bowler uppishly down to the third man fence through the legs of Pak captain Inzamam-ul Haq, the lone slip fielder.

When Mohammed Sami replaced Akhtar at the pavilion end, Sehwag greeted the pace bowler with a spanking on-drive that left fielders standing before reaching his 150 in 214 minutes, off 144 balls. It included 29 fours.

Scoreboard

Pakistan (1st innings) 679 for 7 decl.

India (1st innings)

Sehwag batting 247

Dravid batting 128

Extras (b-2, lb-7, w-2, nb-17) 28

Total (for no loss) 403

Bowling: Akhtar 15-6-45-0, Naved ul-Hasan 15-1-88-0, Afridi 11-0-55-0, Sami 12-1-67-0, Kaneria 10-0-69-0, Malik 12-1-70-0. — PTI 

Top

 

Sami, Shoaib resort to sledging

Lahore, January 16
Frustrated Pakistani fast bowlers today resorted to sledging as captain Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag led India’s strong reply to Pakistan’s score of 679 for 7 declared in the first innings of the first Test here.

Fast bowler Mohammed Sami, who had just failed to catch or stop the ball off an uppish shot from the Sehwag, spoke to the Delhi batsman, who remained unbeaten on 247 in India’s 403 for no wicket at the end of day four.

Sehwag was seen on television saying a few words in reply and he also indicated to Sami with his right hand to go back to his bowling mark and bowl again.

When asked at the press conference as to what had been said out on the Gaddafi Stadium pitch, Sehwag refused to disclose details.

“That happened on the field, and let that remain on the field,” he said.

On another occasion, Pakistani pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar had a longer chat with Dravid, without getting a verbal reply, after the master batsman let go a delivery from the “Rawalpindi Express”.

Dravid, who was unbeaten on 128 at close, remained quiet but stared at Shoaib while the bowler said something to him.

All this happened right in front of Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who was coming to hand over Shoaib’s sweater to him.

It remains to be seen if the International Cricket Council match referee calls the players for a disciplinary hearing or ignores the incidents. — IANS

Top

 

BCCI wanted first Test in Lahore: PCB

Lahore, January 16
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today said it scheduled the first Test match in Lahore during winter to accommodate Indian cricket board’s (BCCI) request. PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan, when asked why Lahore was given the first Test which had been affected by the gloomy winter weather, said the itinerary was decided by the two boards. He reminded that the PCB had proposed the first Test at Karachi but Indian board didn’t agree.

“Indian cricket board wanted the first Test at Lahore because they were landing in Lahore and also playing the warm-up game here,” he said, hoping that weather would clear-up at Faisalabad where the second Test begins January 21.

Shaharyar said inclement weather that preceded the Test prevented the groundsmen from preparing a result-oriented wicket at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The PCB chief insisted that the groundsmen were only capable of preparing pitches close to what was the requirement but no curator in the world can provide exactly the same pitch that was demanded by the home team.

“I know the groundsmen worked extremely hard but they were hampered by bad weather. We had a couple of good sunny days but all changed in the last two days. Even before the Test, the wicket continued to change that didn’t allow the groundsmen to meet the demands of the home team,” Shaharyar said.

Interestingly, the PCB awarded cash awards of Rs 2 lakh to each of its curators for preparing result-oriented wickets against England last year.

Insiders said PCB chairman had a detailed discussion with chief curator and former Test cricketer Agha Zahid who shifted the blame on the weather.

If Metrological Department is to be believed, then another weather-affected match is on our hands. In 1998, not a single ball was balled in the third Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

Shaharyar continued that busy cricket schedules for both the teams did not leave scope to play around with the available dates. “This tour by India had to be squeezed between Pakistan’s tour of England and England’s tour of India starting next month,” he said.

Curator rushed to Faisalabad

Left red in the face over the flat pitch dished out for the first cricket Test against India, Pakistan Cricket Board has rushed its chief curator to Faisalabad to prepare a lively track for the second Test.

With the match here clearly headed for a tame draw, the PCB does not want a repeat at Faisalabad, where the second Test begins on January 21, and has instructed Agha Zahid to ensure there is bounce and life at the track there.

“There is nothing in it and clearly it is not the sort that is an advantage to the home side,” a PCB official was quoted as saying in ‘The News’ today.

“When you have some grass on the pitch the ball tends to hit the blades and deviates a bit and that is good for the pacers. But this pitch is totally flat, there is no movement or turn for the bowlers,” the official said adding they were also worried on account of the weather.

Zahid, who along with curator Haji Bashir prepared the surface for the first Test, claimed that the harsh winter weather hampered their efforts to prepare a lively track.

The report also said that some of the Pakistani players themselves were averse to any grass being left on the pitch, which put pressure on the curators.

“Last time when India toured Pakistan and there was some grass left on the surface for the three Tests, the Pakistani players were not happy at all with the curators. This time we were told we should avoid leaving grass on the surface,” a groundsman was quoted as saying in the report. — PTI

Top

 

Pak retain same squad for 2nd Test

Lahore, January 16
Pakistan have retained the same 15-member squad for the second Test against India which will be played at Faisalabad from January 21 to 25. A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release said here today that on the recommendation of the National Selection Committee, the PCB has decided to retain the same squad which was announced for the first Test match in Lahore.

Team: Inzamam-ul Haq (captain), Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved, Danish Kaneria, Imran Farhat, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Asif, Arshad Khan. — UNI

Top

 

Venus, Moya shown the door

Melbourne, January 16
Venus Williams tumbled out of the Australian Open first round today, a shock victim of little-known Bulgarian Tszvetana Pironkova. Former French Open champion and 1997 finalist here Carlos Moya, seeded 32, crashed out to Romanian Andrei Pavel 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6.

The 18-year-old from Provdiv stunned Wimbledon champion Williams 2-6, 6-0, 9-7, condemning her to her earliest grand slam exit since being bundled out of the 2001 French Open in the opening round. “I just couldn’t pull my game together. I don’t know what happened,” a dejected Williams said at a news conference.

Tenth seed Williams was one of five seeded women to lose on an action-packed opening day at Melbourne Park.

Ninth seed Elena Dementieva, a former French and US Open finalist, lost 5-7, 2-6 to Germany’s Julia Schruff. Tatiana Golovin, seeded 24, was beaten by Mara Santangelo 4-6, 6-4, 4-6.

Asia’s highest ranked player, 26th seed Ai Sugiyama, fell to Conchita Martinez Granados 4-6, 3-6 and 28th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues lost to Zuzana Ondraskova 3-6, 4-6.

The only seeded man to lose was big-serving American Taylor Dent, the 27th seed, beaten 6-7, 3-6, 6-7 by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Argentina’s Masters Cup champion David Nalbandian, one of just four men to beat Roger Federer last year, survived a tough scrap with Thai qaulifier Danai Udomchoke to win 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-7, 6-1 while his Davis Cup team mate, eighth seed Gaston Gaudio, had a much easier time against Razvan Sabau, strolling into the second round when the injured Romanian pulled out in the second set.

“It’s not the best way to start but it’s good always to win, the score doesn’t matter,” Nalbandian said.

World number one Lindsay Davenport had a short first day, crushing Australian wildcard Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour, while Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin-Hardenne also made light work of their opponents.

“I feel like I’m ready for the challenges,” said Davenport, Australian Open in 2000 and runner-up to Serena Williams 12 months ago.

Sharapova showed few signs of the shoulder injury that threatened to wreck her campaign as she breezed to a 6-2, 6-1 first-round win over Sandra Kloesel while 2004 Australian Open champion Henin-Hardenne beat Marta Domachowska 6-2, 6-1.

“That’s one of the first times I played a match without feeling anything,” Sharapova said.

Pironkova, playing in her first grand slam match, showed no sign of nerves or being intimated by the power of Venus Williams, frustrating her opponent by tenaciously running down every shot she played.

“I have known (about) Venus for a long time from the TV when I was a little kid,” Pironkova said. “I always loved her game.

“But when you go on court I am a professional player, so I should not think about that she was kind of my idol before.”

Jelena Dokic’s return to the Australian Open ended in disappointment when she was knocked out by Virginie Razzano 3-6, 7-6, 6-1.

Back in Australia after five years of self-imposed exile, Dokic squandered two match points before losing the second set and Frenchwoman Razzano went on to control the deciding third set, but said she had no regrets.

In other matches, Ivan Ljubicic, seeded seven, beat Australian wildcard Chris Guccione 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in 2 hrs 6 min and will play Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the next round.

Argentine eighth seed Gaston Gaudio only played 13 games before his Romanian opponent Razvan Sabau retired with a right elbow injury.

Ljubicic’s Davis Cup teammate Mario Ancic, the 18th seed, accounted for Argentina’s Agustin Calleri while American 20th seed James Blake, the winner of Saturday’s Sydney International, downed another Argentinian, Jose Acasuso, after a tiebreaker in the fourth set. — Reuters, AFP

Top

 

Sania to play Azarenka today

Melbourne, January 16
What a difference a year makes. Sania Mirza arrived at the 2005 Australian Open as a virtual unknown, ranked 166th and needing a wild card entry. This time, the 19-year-old Indian is seeded 32nd following a year in which she had to keep raising her goals because she kept surpassing them, landed lucrative endorsement contracts and had to deal with controversy.

“It’s been a phenomenal year. To be honest, I did surprise myself to some extent,” Sania said yesterday, a day before the season-opening Grand Slam tournament starts. “I really didn’t think it was going to happen so fast.”

Sania, a former Wimbledon junior doubles champion who turned professional in 2003, became the first Indian woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event a year ago, losing here to eventual champion Serena Williams. She went on to better that by making the fourth round of the US Open, and later won a tournament in her hometown of Hyderabad.

Despite her rapid rise, increasing confidence and dreams of winning a Grand Slam title someday, Sania said her immediate goal remains modest, to win her first-round match on Tuesday against qualifier Victoria Azarenka. “Obviously people are going to expect a lot more from me,” she said.

“Expectations just come with the package. Sometimes you need to shut out some things and go on court and play your 100 per cent.” While she has become a hero and role model to many, which Sania said motivates her; she also has had to deal with the negative side of fame.

As a Muslim, Sania generated criticism at home by wearing the short tennis skirts that are standard attire on the women’s tour. “I think everything has got its pros and everything’s got its cons,” Sania shrugged. “The way you take wins, you need to take the losses. The way you take all positive things, you need to take all negative things.”

She’s been working on improving her game, recently spending four weeks in Sydney with Tony Roche, who coaches the top-ranked man Roger Federer. — AP

Top

 

National Cycling
Punjab Police win gold
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, January 16
Punjab Police garnered the gold in the men’s 1500 metre team time trial on the opening day of the BSA National Track Cycling Championship which commenced at the NIS velodrome here today.

Hosts Punjab too had a good day as their girls peddled to glory in the 1500m team time trial event. The Punjab cyclists, riding on the home advantage, also finished a creditable third in the men’s 1500m team time trial.

The Punjab Police quartet comprised Sarabjit Singh, Pavittar Singh, Prabhjit Singh and Gurpreet Singh. They clocked 1 minute 46.31 seconds to pip Railways to the second spot.

The cops managed to win the gold without the services of two of their top riders, Kulbir Singh and Sukhjinder Singh. However, they could not better the timing of 1 minute 43.9 seconds they clocked in the last nationals held at Hyderabad.

Railways represented by K.H. Probin Singh, Sukhjinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and O. Bikram Singh clocked 1 minute 46.85 seconds. Punjab, who were represented by Harpreet Singh, Abhishek Rana, Raninder Singh and Sarpreet Singh, clocked 1 minute 47.56 seconds to finish third.

On a day when light drizzle threatened to play spoilsport, Punjab girls produced a heart warming performance when they bagged the gold in the 1500 meters team time trial in the under-19 age section.

The hosts were well served by the talented Malveen Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, Maninder Kaur and Ravika who clocked 2 minutes 14.58 seconds. The Maharashtra quartet comprising Nisha Kolhe, Prajakta Nalawade, Priyanka Desai and Nikita Bhate timed 2 minutes 21.42 seconds to be placed second while Kerela represented by Deepa Chandran, Mable Anthony, P.O Sayona and Megha Krishnan clocked 2 minutes 21.66 seconds to finish third.

Gurpreet Singh of Punjab Police struck gold in the newly introduced ‘Devil takes hindmost race’ which turned out to be an interesting event in which the last placed rider at the end of each lap has to drop out. In the final lap only two cyclists were left and Gurpreet pipped K.H. Probin Singh of Railways to the first place position.

Earlier, the championship was inaugurated by the Regional Director of the NIS, Mr L.S Ranawat, in the presence of CFI officials and other dignitaries.

Top

 

Basketball included in Commonwealth Games
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, January 16
Good news for basketball lovers. The sport has been included in the forthcoming Commonwealth games to be held in Melbourne in March. The Basketball Federation of India has selected 20 probables in both the men’s and women’s section during the 56th Senior National Basketball Championship held at Pune few days back. The probables include five men and three women from Punjab. They are Talwinderjit Singh, Damandeep Singh, Snehpal Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Yadwinder Singh. Women: Kamaljeet, Kiranjit and Paramjeet Kaur.

The basketball matches will be held from March 17 to 23. The teams that would take part in the Commonwealth Games are: men: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Barbados and Scotland; women: Australia, England, India, Malta, Malaysia, New Zealand, Mozambique and Nigeria.

Wrestlers are, however, disgusted that their sport has not been included in the Commonwealth Games. Indian wrestlers will be at loss because it was at 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester that the Indian grapplers had shone. Palwinder Singh Cheema, the ace Indian wrestler who had won a medal in the last Commonwealth Games, said maybe the Australians were not sure of winning any medals in the sport, so they might have decided to drop this discipline.

Top

 

Humpy scores big win

Wijk Aan Zee, January 16
India’s Koneru Humpy defeated Bulgaria’s Ivan Cheparinov while twice world champion Viswanathan Anand ended in a draw with Levon Aronian in the second round games of the Corus Chess Championship, being played in the Dutch Beach Town here in the Netherlands. Humpy, who began as 13th seed among the 14 players, was at her best with white in tackling the positional intricacies that ensued from a Queen Pawn game and raced to victory after 47 moves.

Meanwhile, in the GM Group ‘A’ games yesterday, second seed Anand met a tough competitor in the reigning World Cup champion Aronian. Playing with White Anand opened with e4 while Aronian replied with e5 and the game then followed Ruy Lopez pattern. Aronian played very cautiously and had no opening problems. The match ended in a draw. — UNI

Top

 
 BRIEFLY

Badminton camp
Jalandhar:
As many as 14 men and nine women players have been shortlisted for the preparatory coaching camp for the badminton players who will participate in the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup world badminton championships. The camp would be held at the Raizada Hans Raj Stadium in Jaipur from January 18 to February 8.
A special coaching clinic will also be being organised during the camp for the players and coaches from Punjab. The clinic will be conducted by the Indonesian coach Hadi Sugiato and Indian national coach Vimal Kumar. — TNS

Hockey tourney
AMRITSAR:
Government School, Sarhali, beat Spring Dales School 3-2 in the junior category of the district hockey championship played at Guru Nanak Dev University hockey ground. In another match, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Academy thrashed Pakharpura Club team of Pakharpura village 6-0.
In the senior category, Attari Club got better of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Academy 1-0 and team of Kaleghanupur village defeated Pakharpura Club 3-0. — OSR

Punjab win
NAHAN:
On the second day of the Northern Zone Women Hockey Tournament being played here Punjab defeated PEPSU 1-0 on Monday.
In the second match of the day Chandigarh registered a convincing 6-0 win over Himachal Pradesh. Himachal girls who had defeated Jammu and Kashmir (10-0) on Sunday were at the receiving end against Chandigarh. Chandigarh was leading 4-0 at half time. – OC
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |