SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Gold: Koneru Humpy bags India’s first
Koneru Humpy shows the victory sign on winning the first gold for India in Doha on Monday.Doha, December 4
Chess Grand Master Koneru Humpy finished with a whopping eight points out of nine to grab India's first gold medal of the 15th Asian Games at the Al Dana Hall here today.

Koneru Humpy shows the victory sign on winning the first gold for India in Doha on Monday. — PTI

India thrash B’desh
Doha, December 4
Captain Dilip Tirkey slammed in three goals as India warmed up for the tougher battles in the Asian Games hockey competition by routing lowly Bangladesh 6-0 in their opening Group-B league match here today.
Maksud Alam of Bangladesh and Ajmer Singh fight for the ball during their preliminary round hockey match in Doha on Monday.
Maksud Alam (left) of Bangladesh and Ajmer Singh fight for the ball during their preliminary round hockey match in Doha on Monday. — AFP





EARLIER STORIES




Kabaddi: India beat Pakistan
Doha, December 4
After conceding an unexpected first half lead, India struck back with vengeance and a relentless ferocity to overpower arch-rivals Pakistan 31-20 to record their third straight win and assure themselves a place in the final of the Kabaddi tournament at the Asian Games here today.

Spikers record win in opener
Doha, December 4
India chalked out a stunning 25-18, 39-37, 25-23 win over Lebanon in their inaugural volleyball match in the Asian Games here late last night.

Rowers in double scull semifinals
Doha, December 4
The Indian rowing duo of Anil Kumar Mehrolia and Bajranglal Takhar won the Repechage to make it to the semifinals of the men’s double sculls event at the Asian Games here today.
Leander Paes lifts Rohan Boppanna after Rohan won a crucial quarterfinal match against Taipei in Doha on Monday.
Leander Paes lifts Rohan Boppanna after Rohan won a crucial quarterfinal match against Taipei in Doha on Monday. — PTI

Sanjay in last eight
Doha, December 4
India's Sanjay Kolte advanced into the quarter finals of the Asian Games boxing competition when he stopped his Macau rival Sou Weng Meng in the second round of their preliminary round light flyweight (48 kg) bout at the Asian Games today.

Dope Shame
AFI buries its head in sand
New Delhi, December 4
A day after the doping scandal involving discus thrower Seema Antil came to light, Athletics Federation of India was tight-lipped on the matter.

Tennis: India ousted
Doha, December 4
A rusty and ill-prepared duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi let the country down as they caved in meekly to Yeu Tzuoo Wang and Yen Hsun Lu 2-6, 3-6 as India lost 1-2 to Chinese Taipei to crash out of the men's team event of the tennis competition at the Asian Games here today. ''I feel bad for the team, we were not well prepared for this match,'' said Paes after losing the tie.

Thailand’s Pawina Thongsuk competes in the women’s 63kg weightlifting event in Doha on Monday. Pawina ends Thailand’s wait
Doha, December 4
Pawina Thongsuk set a world record to end Thailand’s 40-year wait for an Asian Games weightlifting gold medal today, ending China’s monopoly at the competition in Doha. The 27-year-old Olympic champion clean and jerked 142kg to beat the mark set by Russian Svetlana Shimkova by 1kg and take possession of all three records in the middleweight class.


Thailand’s Pawina Thongsuk competes in the women’s 63kg weightlifting event in Doha on Monday. — AFP

Flop show by Anjali and Co.
Doha, December 4
Star markswoman Anjali Bhagwat turned in a flop show on a bad day for Indian shooters at the Asian Games here today after two relatively fruitful days at the windy Lusail range.

Sepak takraw: losing streak continues
Doha, December 4
Indian men and women’s sepak takraw teams continued with their losing streak with defeats against Japan and Korea respectively, in the Asian Games here today.

Aussie Michael Clarke reacts after reaching his century on day four of the second Test against England in Adelaide on Monday. Clarke steers Aussies to safety
Adelaide, December 4
A stylish century by youngest team member Michael Clarke defused the prospect of a series-levelling victory by England in the second Ashes cricket Test at the Adelaide Oval today.


Aussie Michael Clarke reacts after reaching his century on day four of the second Test against England in Adelaide on Monday. — AFP

Ending was predictable
South Africa beat India to win the one-day series 4-0 with the first game being washed out. Like Indian films, the ending was predictable, only the script was a bit different. This time, the South African skipper Graeme Smith, on winning the toss yet again, asked India to bat first. That may well have been to see how his side chased a target. Or to see if India were different in defending a target.

Punjab get two points in drawn tie
Mohali, December 4
It proved to be second ambush in succession and Punjab were the sufferers. In their first match against Bengal, Punjab were poised for a victory, but were undone by unheralded seamer Ashok Dinda. Virtually unknown Dinda rattled the strong batting line-up as Punjab, needing to overhaul a modest target, fell short by 14 runs.

Jeev breaks into top 50
New Delhi, December 4
Jeev Milkha Singh achieved another milestone in a remarkable career by finally breaking into the top 50 and the 47th ranked Indian became the first from the country to qualify for next year’s US Masters.

Football meet runs into controversy
Patiala, December 4
The ongoing Patiala District Sub-Junior Football Championship (u-16) ran into controversy when the organisers found themselves grappling with the age-old problem of overaged competitors playing in age categories not meant for them.

 


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Gold: Koneru Humpy bags India’s first

Doha, December 4
Chess Grand Master Koneru Humpy finished with a whopping eight points out of nine to grab India's first gold medal of the 15th Asian Games at the Al Dana Hall here today.

Stung by yesterday's late reverse, Humpy won all three matches today to stay atop in the women's rapid chess event.

In the ninth and final round, Humpy outplayed Dana Aketayeva of Kazhakstan and ensured a golden finish. Playing confidently and very fast she outplayed her much lower rated player.

"My only mistake was in the sixth round, but I made up with the other games," said Humpy, who will play with K Sasikrian and P Harikrishna in the team event next.

Zhao Xue of China was second and Zhu Chen, the Chinese-born Qatari came third for the bronze.

This is the first time chess has been held in Asian Games. The Individual events were played on the rapid format with 25 minutes for each play plus 10 seconds incremental time for each move.

The men, P Harikrishna and K Sasikiran, who like Humpy were top seeds, disappointed and finished 11th and 13th respectively.

The men's gold went to Murtas Kazhgaleyev (KAZ). Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam bagged the silver and Bu Xiangzhi of China was third.

The 19-year-old Humpy, who beat Irina Kharisma Sukandar of Indonesia in the seventh round added the scalp of Mahri Geldyyeva (TKM) in eight round. At that stage she was half a point ahead of her nearest rivals, which included Zhao Xue of China and Zhu Chen of Qatar who made a late surge.

The first Indian woman to win a world title, Humpy has won a string of world championships in various age group categories.

Humpy, coached by her father, Ashok Koneru and she is India's first woman to achieve a men's Grandmaster title.

She also won the World Junior championships and is currently ranked No. 1 in Under-20 players and No. 2 overall.

She was confident of the gold soon after her seventh round win. After beating Irine Kharisma of Iran she said, "It was an easy game. Psychology played an important role and I won comfortably." Speaking of her ambition at these Games, she added, "My ambition is to win two gold medals here." "I feel great and yes I am a Grandmaster and I am renamed No. 1".

The men did not figure among the medals. Krishnan Sasikiran, the top seed ended 13th and Pentala Harikrishna, the second seed, was 11th. — PTI

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India thrash B’desh
M. R. Mishra

Doha, December 4
Captain Dilip Tirkey slammed in three goals as India warmed up for the tougher battles in the Asian Games hockey competition by routing lowly Bangladesh 6-0 in their opening Group-B league match here today.

The Indians, seeking to regain the hockey gold which they had last won in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, were not really stretched by the hapless opponents in the lop-sided contest at the Al-Rayyan Stadium.

Apart from Tirkey’s three goals, Shivendra Singh, V Raghunath and Adam Sinclair scored a goal each for the Indians who adopted an attacking game.

“It was our first game and the boys are getting into the groove. I am quite happy with the performance, but there is always scope for improvement,” Indian coach Vasudevan Baskaran said.

The former champions shot into the lead as early as the third minute of the contest with Tirkey brilliantly converting a penalty corner, giving no chance at all to the Bangladeshi custodian Rasel Khan.

But after scoring the first goal, the Indians could not really step up the momentum and had to wait till the 24th minute before the Indian captain converted another penalty corner to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Shivendra Singh produced a stunning reverse shot to find the target after dribbling past a host of defenders and also beating the onrushing goalkeeper.

Tirkey fetched his third goal, once again through a penalty corner attempt, to give India a comfortable 4-0 lead at the interval.

After the breather, there was a slight drop in the pace of the game with two-time Asian gold winners managing to score just two goals in the second session which saw Bangladesh also initiate some moves.

The fifth goal was the result of a fine penalty corner conversion by Raghunath as Tirkey hoodwinked the defenders by pretending to take the shot but leaving the ball for Raghunath instead.

The Indians sealed the fate of the Bangladeshis in the 54th minute when Adam Sinclar displayed deft dribbling skills to outwit the defenders and slot home from close range to give his team a resounding 6-0 triumph.

Baskaran’s men could have won by a bigger margin had they not frittered away a few scoring opportunities that came their way, particularly in the second session.

Tirkey said he was satisfied with the team’s performance but they would play a more attacking game against China.

“Today was our first match and the team played as expected. We are satisfied with our performance but we should focus more on attack. Against China our main aim will be to attack and maintain good defence,” he said. — PTI

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Kabaddi: India beat Pakistan

Doha, December 4
After conceding an unexpected first half lead, India struck back with vengeance and a relentless ferocity to overpower arch-rivals Pakistan 31-20 to record their third straight win and assure themselves a place in the final of the Kabaddi tournament at the Asian Games here today.

The Indians, who trailed 9-11 at the breather hit back with such fury that the Pakistanis had to run for the cover. It was an ill-tempered match watched by a packed hall and Pakistanis surprised the defending champions by taking an early lead.

The tactics turned rough as an Indian raider caught by the rival was crushed deliberately and umpire along with the lines men had a tough time controlling the proceedings of the game.

However Indians regrouped themselves in the second session, changed their tactics and raided the rival citadel with a plan. — UNI

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Spikers record win in opener

Doha, December 4
India chalked out a stunning 25-18, 39-37, 25-23 win over Lebanon in their inaugural volleyball match in the Asian Games here late last night.

In a thrilling encounter, India displayed their wares and strength at the net with the strong blocking pair of Tom Joseph and Y. Subbao Rao denying points to their rivals. Joseph, in fact, destroyed the rival defence with his crushing spikes.

Lebanon’s poor blocking helped India to successfully slot points through the middle and the latter won the first set rather easily (25-18).

But in the second set, Lebanon led 8-7 at the first technical break but their poor anticipation once again allowed India to deliver crashing winners down the middle.

However, the Lebanese, despite their flaws, kept fighting and brothers Elias and Jean Abi Chedid spearheaded their fightback providing firepower in the second set.

An inspired play by skipper Marwan Hosri started the rally that saw 12 changes in set points.

Jean Abi Chedid could have sealed the set but chose to tip the ball over, which wasted one of the rare opportunities India gave as they sealed the set 39-37.

In the third set India led 16-15 at the second technical time out. The Indians blocked well and powerful spikes unsettled their rivals.

Koneru Humpy maintains lead

Koneru Humpy took another step towards the gold medal with a comfortable win over Irine Kharisma Sukandar of Indonesia in the seventh round of the women’s chess competition at the Asian Games here today.

The 19-year-old Indian star, world’s second Grandmaster among women in the world, has six points out of a possible seven to lead the field by a half point with two rounds remaining in the competition.

Humpy’s closest rival Zhao Xue, who stunned her in the sixth round last night, also won her match beating Iran’s Atousa Pourkashiyan. Xue has 5.5 points.

In the men’s section, both Pentala Harikrishna and Krishnan Sasikiran won their seventh round matches to give themselves an outside chance of a medal.

Harikrishna beat match Meylis Annaberdiyeva of Turkmenistan and Sasi beat Utut Adianto with black pieces. Both Indians have 4.5 points each.

This is the first time Asian Games has chess on the programme and Indians started with top seedings in both men and women’s sections. — PTI

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Rowers in double scull semifinals

Doha, December 4
The Indian rowing duo of Anil Kumar Mehrolia and Bajranglal Takhar won the Repechage to make it to the semifinals of the men’s double sculls event at the Asian Games here today.

In Repechage 2, the Indians timed 3:53.91 ahead of Zohaib Zia Hashmi and Muhammad Akram (4:05.49) of Pakistan and Mohammad Sabti and Read Alfailakawi (4:52.16) of Kuwait.

The Indian pair clocked 1:54.59 in the first 500m but slowed down and timed 1:59.32 in the next half kilometer.

The semifinal is scheduled for tomorrow at the West Bay Lagoon.

Handball: India crush Macau

India dominated both the sessions to tame Macau 31-14 in the Men’s Preliminary Group A league match of the handball competition in the 15th Asian Games here today.

India finished the first half with a 17-5 lead before Macau put up an improved show after the breather and the second half scoreline read 14-9. — UNI

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Sanjay in last eight

Doha, December 4
India's Sanjay Kolte advanced into the quarter finals of the Asian Games boxing competition when he stopped his Macau rival Sou Weng Meng in the second round of their preliminary round light flyweight (48 kg) bout at the Asian Games today.

Kolte had taken a huge 16-0 lead in the opening round and the bout was stopped soon into the second round by Chinese referee Li Qingsheng to save his opponent from further punishment. He will meet Zou Shiming of China for a place in the semi finals on Dec 8. But two other Indian boxers bit the dust.

Akhil Kumar and Jai Bhagwan were knocked out by much superior opponents from the erstwhile Soviet Union in their preliminary round bouts.

Kumar was stopped inside the distance by strong Uzbekistan fighter Orzubeh Shayinmov when the referee stopped the one-sided bantamweight (54 kg) contest at 1 minute, 46 seconds into round three of the round of 16 bout.

Later Jai Bhagwan went down after putting up a brave fight against his Kyrgyzstan rival Asylbek Talasbaev on points (33-22) in their lightweight (60kg) class preliminary round contest. — PTI

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Dope Shame
AFI buries its head in sand

New Delhi, December 4
A day after the doping scandal involving discus thrower Seema Antil came to light, Athletics Federation of India was tight-lipped on the matter.

“It is difficult for me to comment on this at the moment. I can’t say anything right now,” AFI general secretary Lalit Bhanot said today.

All the top brass of the federation had gone incommunicado after the news of the scandal spread yesterday, but Bhanot said the AFI was not to blame if Seema was indeed guilty of taking any banned substance.

“We have nothing to hide. We conducted the tests only and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not come into the picture here. We will tell everyone when we get the results,” Bhanot told PTI.

“There is nothing I can tell you at the moment. As soon as we are in a position to provide any more details to you, we would communicate the same to you,” he said.

The AFI general secretary also denied that Seema’s name had been struck off the athletics contingent for the Doha Asian Games after reportedly testing positive for a banned steroid in an out-of-competition check during the training camp in Muscat, Oman.

“Seema is very much on my list for Doha, as of now,” Bhanot said.

Seema had tested positive after winning the gold medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Chile in 2000 and under WADA rules, a second offence can lead to a life ban.

The athlete, who won the silver medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March this year, had returned early from the camp, but Bhanot had claimed that it was due to her father’s ill-health.

The AFI had claimed before the Games that it had made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the country did not have to face the dope shame, which has become a regular feature during major sporting events now.

Bhanot had said athletes were made aware of what they could take and what they could not. Regular testing was also done to prevent cheaters from boarding the flight to Doha, he had said.

Another senior AFI official, while expressing surprise at the news, admitted that Seema would be out of the Asian Games if the positive dope test was confirmed.

“Her name would be cut off from the list if she has tested positive,” the official told PTI.

“The squad for Doha may take some time to be finalised after this setback,” he said.

The official claimed that the news of the positive dope test came as a bolt from the blue for the federation, which was not expecting such a turn of events at all.

Seema, who threw the discus to more than 60m in Melbourne to claim second place at the Commonwealth Games, had struggled to repeat those feats, but the official refused to see a connection there.

After Neelam Jaswant Singh exited the scene in a similar pall of shame, Krishna Poonia and Harwant Kaur were the major rivals for Seema on the national circuit.

But the Haryana girl had failed to reach the marks achieved by them in the recent past. “Seema was suffering from a leg injury in the recent past, but that was not serious enough for her to resort to such measures,” the AFI official said.

Seema could not be contacted for her version of the story for the second day in running. — PTI

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Tennis: India ousted

Doha, December 4
A rusty and ill-prepared duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi let the country down as they caved in meekly to Yeu Tzuoo Wang and Yen Hsun Lu 2-6, 3-6 as India lost 1-2 to Chinese Taipei to crash out of the men's team event of the tennis competition at the Asian Games here today. ''I feel bad for the team, we were not well prepared for this match,'' said Paes after losing the tie.

Second seed Chinese Taipei took the encounter seriously as they feared the famed ''Indian Express'' which, however, got derailed even before the contest started.

India did not get a good start as Karan Rastogi lost to Yeu Tzuoo Wang 1-6, 3-6 in 67 minutes. But in the second singles, Rohan Bopanna staged a fine rally coming from behind after losing the first set to beat much higher ranked Yen Hsun Lu 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in 138 minutes to make it 1-1 for India.

Bopanna played his role to perfection with the hope that his senior duo will get the side the winning lead, but the Busan Asian Games Gold medal-winning doubles pair put up such a dismal show that it even surprised their rivals.

It looked as if Paes and Bhupathi were not expecting Bopanna to win because they never had any warm up before the start of their match. Paes remained glued to his chair throughout the two singles.

To start the match at this level of competition without any warm up is a sign of either arrogance or it is the height of casualness.

The Indians went to play on the basis of their reputation and the Chinese Taipei duo took just 76 minutes to tear apart that reputation.

Paes and Bhupathi never clicked, they looked totally out of sync with each other. The two had arrived here a couple of days back but never had practice together and that showed in their display. In fact, they had not played for the past two weeks due to injuries and thus were not fully ready for the battle. Mahesh never held his serve in the two sets while Paes managed to hold on to a few. In the first set, Wang and Lu took a staggering 5-0 lead before the Indians managed to prevent the wash out. The set lasted 34 minutes.

It was slightly better show in the second set as Paes held on to his first serve but after that Bhupathi was broken. The Indians managed to break the rivals in the fourth and Paes held his serve but that was not enough to stop the Chinese Taipei pair from romping home in style.

''I am not happy the way we played, Boppana played well and he brought us back in the tie but we did not click,'' Paes said and added ''Hopefully we will do well in the open events.'' — UNI

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Pawina ends Thailand’s wait

Doha, December 4
Pawina Thongsuk set a world record to end Thailand’s 40-year wait for an Asian Games weightlifting gold medal today, ending China’s monopoly at the competition in Doha.

The 27-year-old Olympic champion clean and jerked 142kg to beat the mark set by Russian Svetlana Shimkova by 1kg and take possession of all three records in the middleweight class.

In claiming Thailand’s first women’s weightlifting gold at the Asian Games, Pawina also became the first non-Chinese to win a title in the three days at the Al-Dana banqueting hall.

“I’ve been at the Asian Games three times and this is my first gold medal so I’m very pleased,” said Pawina, who completed a set of Olympic, world championships, Asian championships, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games gold medals.

China’s world champion Ouyang Xiaofang had to be carried from the stage after crumpling to the floor during her attempt to clean and jerk 137kgs.

Unable to return for another go, Ouyang had to settle for silver ahead of Myanmar’s 20-year-old Faw Thaw Yae, who only took up the sport a year ago and was competing in her first international competition.

Ouyang’s coach Ma Wenhui said the referee had refused to allow her to reduce the weight and so the 23-year-old from Liaoning had rushed onto the stage to make her attempt, subsequently straining her right knee.

“I’m more concerned about injuries to our athletes than gold medals,” said China’s weightlifting chief Ma, adding that the lack of a gold medal would not stop China competing in the class at the Beijing Olympics.

Pawina confirmed she had been suffering from a knee problem herself and described her physiotherapist as the “author” of her success.

“I would have won anyway,” Pawina smiled when asked if her rival’s injury had won her the gold.

Pawina won Athens Olympic gold at middle-heavyweight and was named Best Female Weightlifter by the International Weightlifting Federation when she became the first woman in over a century to set world records at three weights in 2005. — Reuters

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Flop show by Anjali and Co.

Doha, December 4
Star markswoman Anjali Bhagwat turned in a flop show on a bad day for Indian shooters at the Asian Games here today after two relatively fruitful days at the windy Lusail range.

Anjali, the one-time icon of Indian shooting, performed dismally in the 50m air rifle prone event for women by ending up a lowly 21st with a modest average score of 9.650 and thus ended her outing in the quadrennial extravaganza without a medal.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games four-gold winner, recipient of India’s highest sports honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, in 2003, was unable to focus her sight on the target and was the poorest among the Indian women performers in the event.

Anjali was a flop at the Asian Games four years ago at Busan managing to bag a lone silver as part of the 10m air rifle team after her four-gold haul at the Manchester Commonwealth Games had raised false visions that she would rule the Pan-Asian Games too.

The 37-year-old Maharashtra shooter had managed a lone pairs gold medal with Anuja Jung in 50m rifle 3-position at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March perhaps an indication that her best days are behind her.

Her lesser known team-mate, youngster Tejaswini Sawant, was the best of the women’s trio and came up with an average score of 9.683 (98, 98, 96, 97) in the four rounds to be placed 15th while the third Indian woman in the fray - Deepali Deshpande - also finished a rung above Anjali at 20th.

Kazakh shooter Olga Dovgun, who had finished fourth in 10-m air rifle event held two days ago, won the gold while the silver and bronze medals were grabbed by Chotpaibunsin Thanyalak of Thailand and Wang Chengyi of China.

The men shooters also put up a dismal display in the same event.

Surendra Singh Rathod taking the 12th position in the qualifications with a score of 586.

His team-mate Sushil Ghalay finished in the 17th spot with 583 and Imran Hasan Khan brought up the rear by finishing a distant 34th with 579.

The team gold medal in the men’s 50 m rifle prone went to Kazakhstan while Korea took the silver and China had to be content with the bronze.

Wind hampers shooters’ chances

The gusty winds sweeping across the majestic Lusail shooting ranges have become a major problem for the Indian shooting contingent, which believes that it has hampered the team’s medal prospects.

World champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, who was tipped as a strong gold medal contender, was done in by the winds in the final of the men’s trap event.

Sandhu finished with a silver medal but had the conditions been a little better, things could have been different.

Indian coach Sunny Thomas admitted the difficult conditions were preventing his shooters from putting in their best performances.

“I do admit that the conditions are tough, the winds are very strong. We are not used to such conditions, but we cannot complain as it’s the same for all competitors,” Thomas said.

He felt the events held indoors should not create such problems but India’s performance in the men’s 100m air pistol event was quite disastrous.

Manavjit seemed shattered by missing the chance to bag an Asian Games gold medal.

“The winds were very strong and the left targets were being swept away. I had prepared hard for the Games and so I am quite disappointed for not being able to win a gold,” he said. — PTI

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Sepak takraw: losing streak continues

Doha, December 4
Indian men and women’s sepak takraw teams continued with their losing streak with defeats against Japan and Korea respectively, in the Asian Games here today.

The Indian men put up a slightly decent show this morning before bowing out to Japan 1-2. This was the first match of the tournament in which they were able to snatch a regu from the rivals.

The women team, however, could not do even that and was blanked by Korea 3-0.

Overall, Indian men's performance was marginally better than the previous matches and they lost to Japan 89-121.

In the women section, the Koreans outclassed India 126-53 (42-15, 42-18, 42-20). — UNI

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Clarke steers Aussies to safety

Brett Lee fined

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was fined a quarter of his match fee for an excessive appeal in the second Ashes Test against England. Lee was cited by match referee Jeff Crowe when he began celebrating after striking English batsman Kevin Pietersen on the pads without checking to see whether he was out.

West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor ruled in the batsman’s favour and Crowe found Lee guilty of excessive appealing for not first checking with the umpire.

Lee said he thought Bucknor had given the batsman out but Crowe disagreed.

Australia’s players normally receive a match fee of 12,500 Australian dollar 9,842 dollar for each Test, meaning Lee is likely to lose 3,125 Australian dollar.

Adelaide, December 4
A stylish century by youngest team member Michael Clarke defused the prospect of a series-levelling victory by England in the second Ashes cricket Test at the Adelaide Oval today.

Clarke claimed his third Test century and first in Ashes cricket with 124, as Australia whittled England’s innings lead down to just 38 runs after batting for almost 12 hours and 165.3 overs on the most benign of Adelaide pitches.

At today’s close, England, batting a second time, were 59 for one with Andrew Strauss not out 31 and Ian Bell on 18 to hold an overall lead of 97 runs.

Seamer Stuart Clark claimed the only wicket to fall in the 19 overs to stumps of Alastair Cook for nine in his first over, caught behind.

Matthew Hoggard produced the best English bowling performance at Adelaide Oval for 77 years with his lionhearted 7-109 off 42 overs in Australia’s first innings.

Australia in all probability have killed off England’s winning chances after they batted themselves into an unbeatable position with 551 for six declared in their first innings over the first two days.

Australia are one-up in the series after a crushing 277-run victory in the first Gabba Test and are likely to head to Perth for the December 14-18 third Test having prevented England from cashing in on their massive first innings.

Scoreboard

England (1st innings) 551 for 6 decl

Australia (1st innings)

Langer c Pietersen b Flintoff 4

Hayden c Jones b Hoggard 12

Ponting c Jones b Hoggard 142

Martyn c Bell b Hoggard 11

Hussey b Hoggard 91

Clarke c Giles b Hoggard 124

Gilchrist c Bell b Giles 64

Warne lbw Hoggard 43

Lee not out 7

Clark b Hoggard 0

McGrath c Jones b Anderson 1

Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-1, nb-7) 14

Total (all out, 163.5 overs) 513

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-35, 3-65, 4-257, 5-286, 6-384, 7-502, 8-505, 9-507.

Bowling: Hoggard 42-6-109-7, Flintoff 26-5-82-1, Harmison 25-5-96-0, Anderson 21.3-3-85-1, Giles 42-7-103-1, Pietersen 9-0-32-0.

England (2nd innings)

Strauss batting 31

Cook c Gilchrist b Clark 9

Bell batting 18

Extras (lb-1) 1

Total (1 wkt, 19 overs) 59

Fall of wicket: 1-31.

Bowling: Lee 5-1-13-0, McGrath 4-1-12-0, Warne 5-1-20-0, Clark 5-2-13-1. — AFP

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Ending was predictable

South Africa beat India to win the one-day series 4-0 with the first game being washed out. Like Indian films, the ending was predictable, only the script was a bit different. This time, the South African skipper Graeme Smith, on winning the toss yet again, asked India to bat first. That may well have been to see how his side chased a target. Or to see if India were different in defending a target.

If anything, the loss was as bad as the first one at Durban, where the Indian team had barely batted 30 overs. Here, having got first use of the pitch, they did bat the full 50 overs, but at no stage did they look like putting any pressure on the South Africans.

Once again, they got off to a poor start, losing Sehwag and Laxman in quick succession. It was not an easy pitch to bat on, as there was a bit of bounce, and Pollock got some movement as well, but it certainly wasn’t a pitch that was impossible.

Sehwag likes to flash outside the off-stump, but so well have the South Africans studied him that they have hardly given him any room where he likes it, and if they have, then it’s to the short, rising ball where he can only play the uppercut, which is not an easy shot to control, and ends up more often than not in thirdman’s pocket. And because he likes to open the face of his bat, he is going to be a candidate to be caught behind, which is exactly what happened here.

VVS Laxman’s selection after the injury to Dravid made people hope that he would be the saviour, but of what use was his coming in to South Africa when he could play only one game, and that too without too much practice? He has the habit of poking his bat outside the off-stump at the start of his innings, and before his feet start moving, he is vulnerable in that area.

Sachin Tendulkar was kept quiet by some superb bowling by Pollock and Ntini and it’s not often that one sees the little champion kept quiet like he was. He did get a fifty, but it wasn’t his most fluent, and he also copped a painful blow on the elbow, which prevented him from fielding. He and Mongia did steady the innings, but once the ball stopped moving, one thought that they would get a move on, but it didn’t quite happen, as the Indians would have liked.

Tendulkar is quite clearly searching for form and his famed touch, while Mongia was keen on cementing his place even if it meant that the scoring dropped to virtually nothing. This is what happens when there is experimentation, which leaves the players wondering what exactly is expected of them and makes them play for their places in the side rather than the needs of the team.

The Indian bowlers were disappointing simply because they did not try to bowl a fuller length with the new ball and were guilty of banging the ball in mid-pitch. Now, if one has the pace then its fine as the ball will in all likelihood bounce higher, but at the pace at which the Indian seamers are bowling, it is only an invitation for punishment.

The spinners were still the ones to make an impression, but the target was too small as well as the ground, and so there was no tension for the South Africans. Smith did not play more than a dozen deliveries from Zaheer and showed that there is no harm in shedding ego for the team’s sake by opting to bat at number two, instead of taking strike against his nemesis in the series.

De Villiers also used the chance to belt his highest score in limited overs cricket, and in the end, it was as comprehensive a win as any.  The Indians will have to pick up the pieces quickly if they are to be competitive in the Tests, else that series will be as hopeless for Indian cricket lovers as this one-day series has been. — PMG

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Punjab get two points in drawn tie
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 4
It proved to be second ambush in succession and Punjab were the sufferers. In their first match against Bengal, Punjab were poised for a victory, but were undone by unheralded seamer Ashok Dinda. Virtually unknown Dinda rattled the strong batting line-up as Punjab, needing to overhaul a modest target, fell short by 14 runs.

In the second round Super League Ranji Trophy (Elite Group B) match, the hosts again did all the hard work on the first three days. Bowlers were on target, while Ravneet Ricky and Gaurav Gupta notched up fine centuries. Having piled up mammoth 503 after bowling out the visitors on 208, Punjab were in the driver’s seat with 295-run first innings lead.

The script seemed to be unfolding along the expected lines before suddenly going haywire. As ill luck would have it, the weather took a turn for the worse on the last day of the match as much of the day’s play was lost to bad light.

Though it did not rain, the clouded sky and the fading light ensured that the light was bad enough to nullify the chances of full day’s play which thwarted the hosts from going all out for a possible win.

In the 11.3 overs that were possible during the day, Gujarat, resuming from the overnight score of 86 for 1, progressed to 125 losing another wicket of Timil Patel. The batsman could add six runs to his total and was snapped by Gagandeep.

Opener Nilesh Modi had just completed his half century when the light faded again forcing the stoppage of the play. By virtue of the first innings lead, Punjab got two points from the game. They will now meet Mumbai in the next game at the same venue.

Scoreboard

Gujarat (1st innings) 208

Punjab (1st innings) 503/9 decl

Gujarat (2nd innings)

Modi not out 52

Christian lbw Gagandeep 16

Timil c Dharmani b Gagandeep 39

Damani not out 13

Extras (nb-3, lb-1, lb-1) 5

Total (2 wkts, 43.3 overs) 125

Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-97.

Bowling: Ablish 15-2-36-0, Gagandeep 14.3-2-43-2, Rajesh 9-0-27-0, Malhotra 3-0-7-0, Goel 2-0-10-0.

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Jeev breaks into top 50

New Delhi, December 4
Jeev Milkha Singh achieved another milestone in a remarkable career by finally breaking into the top 50 and the 47th ranked Indian became the first from the country to qualify for next year’s US Masters.

Ranked 55th last week, Jeev’s triumph at the Nippon Series JT Cup—his second straight win on Japan Tour—saw him leapfrog eight rungs to 47 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings issued today.

Compatriot Jyoti Randhawa, the only other Indian in top 100, remains static on 80th, while Shiv Kapur—who defends his Volvo Masters of Asia title later this month—slipped a rung to 172.

Seasoned Gaurav Ghei, who tasted triumph in Taiwan this year, too slid a rung to 215, while US-based Arjun Atwal, whose hopes to secure a full PGA Tour card seem over, lost five places to finish at 260, according to information received here today.

It was a double delight for Jeev yesterday when he became the first Indian to qualify for the US Masters after claiming his fourth title of the season at the Nippon Series JT Cup in Tokyo. — UNI

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Football meet runs into controversy
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, December 4
The ongoing Patiala District Sub-Junior Football Championship (u-16) ran into controversy when the organisers found themselves grappling with the age-old problem of overaged competitors playing in age categories not meant for them.

The result of the match played between Ropar and Kapurthala, which for the record was won by the former 6-5 on tie breakers, was kept in abeyance. The organisers, Patiala District Football Association (PDFA), have decided to declare the result only after the verification of age proof documents to be submitted by both teams tomorrow.

In the other quarterfinal matches, Jalandhar downed Nawanshahr in a tiebreaker 3-1, Gurdaspur downed a spirited Ludhiana while Mohali beat Fatehgarh Sahib 1-0 in an insipid encounter.

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