GP crown for Saina
Lacklustre Anand finishes last
As always, Oz to rely on pace mantra
BCCI dismisses threat to Oz tour
Sourav ouster baffles Ponting
Nissar Trophy tie from today
Vettel wins Italian GP
EPL: Gunners shoot down Blackburn
Arsenal’s Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor (L) vies with Blackburn Rovers’ English defender Danny Simpson during the Premier league football match on Saturday. — AFP
IPSC girls tourney gets under way
Ghosal stuns 3rd seed, wins Ornano Open
GP crown for Saina
Taipei, September 14
The second-seeded Indian, who won the Philippines Open Grand Prix in May 2006, beat unseeded Malaysian Li Ya Lydia Cheah 21-8, 21-19 in the final of the GP Gold event here today.
Saina, who reached the Olympic quarter-finals a couple of weeks back in Beijing, played to a plan and attacked her opponent from the word go.
The tactics paid off well for the world number 14 who gave no chance to her Malaysian rival, a slow mover on the court, to bridge the gap in the first game.
The second game, though, saw a determined Cheah fight back but the Indian was up to the task and ran away with the match after some anxious moments.
"I guess this is perhaps my best performance so far. Of course my show in Beijing Olympics gave me a lot of confidence but I think I played here really well," Saina said.
Asked if she would rate today's win higher than her 2006 Philippines Open triumph, Saina said, "Philippines Open was a four-star event and this is five-star and it's unbelievable that I won this title." Looking ahead, Saina said she must keep the momentum going.
"Next I play in Japan and China Open, both of which are Super Series events and I have to continue the good work there," said the 21-year-old Hyderabadi girl.
An elated Badminton Association of India President VK Verma termed Saina's stunning victory a great achievement for Indian shuttlers.
"I congratulate Saina for her outstanding victory. Her career has been on the up now. She won the Philippines Open Grand Prix in 2006, then she reached the quarter-finals in the Olympics and now she has won a Grand Prix Gold event," he said.
"It was a formidable victory winning the final in straight sets and 21-8 in the first game was truly amazing." — PTI
Bilbao (Spain), September 14
Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria came up with a resounding victory over Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the final round to win the tournament with 17 points and is likely to regain the number one slot in the world rankings.
Following his eighth draw in the tournament besides two losses, Anand is likely to lose close to 15 rating points from his outing here and for the first time in recent years the Indian finished last in a high-category tournament.
With his scintillating display here, Topalov pocketed winner's purse of Euro 150000. The Bulgarian won more games -- four -- than any other player in the tournament and lost just one game.
Nearest rivals Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia who both ended on 13 points in the tournament and shared the second spot.
Carlsen had the better tie-break of the two and finished runners up.
Ivanchuk finished sole fourth on 12 points while a late charge against Aronian helped Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to finish fifth on 10 points. Anand with eight points finished last.
Ahead of the world championship match against Vladimir Kramnik next month, Anand's mediocre show casts a doubt on the form of the Indian, who now needs a change of fortune urgently before the match.
The game against Carlsen was no problem although. Anand employed the Slav defence and faced the exchange variation, kept Carlsen's pieces at bay and exchanged at regular intervals to reach a balanced position where the draw was agreed to after just 29 moves.
Topalov played a fine technical game to beat Ivanchuk who played black. The Semi-Slav defence by Ivanchuk did not help much as Topalov gained a small but lasting advantage after trading the queens in the middle game.
Final Standings: 1. Topalov; 2-3. Carlsen, Aronian; 4. Ivanchuk; 5. Radjabov; 6. Anand.
May lose top spot
The ace Indian is likely to loose his world number one status after finishing with eight points in this high-category tournament. He dropped 15 rating points
here. Anand’s prowess seems in doubt ahead of the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik next month. A change of fortune before the match can work as a saver for
Anand. Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria overcame Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the final round to pocket the winner’s purse of Euro 150000 with 17 points and is likely to regain the number one slot in the world rankings. — Agencies
The ace Indian is likely to loose his world number one status after finishing with eight points in this high-category tournament. He dropped 15 rating points here.
Anand’s prowess seems in doubt ahead of the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik next month. A change of fortune before the match can work as a saver for Anand. Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria overcame Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the final round to pocket the winner’s purse of Euro 150000 with 17 points and is likely to regain the number one slot in the world rankings. — Agencies
Mumbai, September 14
The attack boasts of the world's top speed merchant Brett Lee, the accurate Stuart Clark, emerging left-armer Mitchell Johnson and the wet-behind-the-ears duo of Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle.
This quintet may not give the struggling Indian middle order sleepless nights, especially in their own backyard of slow-paced pitches offering low bounce, but it will be foolish to dismiss it, especially in the light of past experience.
There's no Glenn McGrath to tie up the top-order in knots with his relentless off stump attack and ability to extract disconcerting bounce, but in Clark the team has the right man to play the ideal foil to the searing pace of Lee.
With Johnson expected to be the third pacer in the playing eleven and all rounder Shane Watson filling in the shoes of the absent Andrew Symonds, the pace attack sports a healthy look.
Australia's chief selector Andrew Hilditch has said that though he expects the wickets to help spin bowlers the accent was on pace because the Aussies broke a 30-year Test series victory drought on Indian soil through fast bowling on their last visit in 2004-05.
"We think it will be the same this time," he said after the squad for India was chosen.
In the past too, teams visiting to India, including Australia, had chosen to rely on pace much more than spin to unsettle the home team.
On their first tour to India, the Aussies kept their faith in the combination of legendary fast bowler Ray Lindwall and leg spin great Richie Benaud in the 1956-57 tour.
The duo of Lindwall and Benaud, under the captaincy of Ian Johnson, captured 12 and 23 wickets, respectively, to be in the forefront of the 2-0 series victory against an Indian batting line-up boasting of Polly Umrigar, Pankaj Roy, Gulabrai Ramchand, Vinoo Mankad and Vijay Manjrekar.
It was Benaud, as captain, and the great left-arm pacer Alan Davidson who shared a stupendous 58 wickets equally when Australia vanquished India 2-1 three seasons later in a best-of-five rubber.
A similar script was written on the two Australian visits in the 1960s. On the first of these two visits under Bob Simpson in 1964-65, Graham (Garth) McEnzie did the star turn with the new ball (13 wickets) in the company of Alan Connolly and Neil Hawke with T Veivers (11 wickets) providing the spin support.
The series was deadlocked 1-1 with the home team scripting an exciting two-wicket victory at the Brabourne Stadium here in the second Test to bring parity before the final Test was drawn.
The story got repeated five seasons later with a much slower McEnzie and Connolly (21 and 16 wickets) getting early breakthroughs.
Off spinner Ashley Mallet (28 wickets) bowled beautifully against some fine players of slow bowling and the combination provided the visitors, led by the irrepressible Bill Lawry, a comprehensive 3-1 series victory in the five-match contest.
Interestingly Lawry and his men were thrashed 4-0 by South Africa immediately after.
It was after 10 years, in 1979-80, that an Australian squad, severely depleted by defections to the rebel Packer series, visited India with Kim Hughes as captain and lost the six-match series 0-2 to the home team.
The pick of the bowlers was 34-year-old left-armer Geoff Dymock (24 wickets) with pace support from the fiery Rodney Hogg (11) and spin bowlers -- off break bowler Bruce Yardley (10) and leggie Jim Higgs (14).
In the next series in 1986-87, remembered forever by the tied Test at Chennai, it was - for a change - off spinner Greg Mathews (14) and left arm spinner Ray Bright (8) who got the bulk of the wickets.
Another 10 years passed before a one-off Test between the two teams materialised in Delhi which India won and the next series, in 1997-98, saw Sachin Tendulkar's mastery over the pace-spin combinations dished out by Australia and piloted India to a 2-1 victory.
Michael Kasprowicz (8) wickets was the most successful bowler in the pace attack without Glenn McGrath while off spinner Gavin Robertson (12) took more wickets than leg spin legend Shane Warne (10) who said later he had nightmares following the spanking he got from Tendulkar and others.
McGrath (17) and the gangling Jason Gillespie (13) forged a potent pace combine with Warne (10) heading the spin angle.
The Aussies went down 1-2 after having whipped India in Mumbai in the opener and then enforcing the follow-on in the second Test at Kolkata only to see a stunning reversal of fortunes before India clinched the series 2-1 in Chennai.
On their last visit, Australia broke the three-decade-old hoodoo in India by wrapping up the series in the third Test at Nagpur, after surging into the lead in the opener at Bangalore followed by the rain-hit drawn second match at Chennai.
India won the dead third Test on a minefield of a track in Mumbai to narrow the margin of defeat to 1-2.
The main bowlers for Australia were the pace duo of McGrath (14 wickets) and Gillespie (20), with Warne (14) showing for the first time that he can be a potent force in India before missing the last Test because of a finger injury.
Fast men have, indeed, been the fulcrum around which the Australian success story in India has been scripted.
Present captain Ricky Ponting and company are also pinning their hopes on the pace bowlers, none of whom have played a Test in India, to help Australia complete a three-in-a-row win over the hosts in the series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The last four-Test rubber held between the two countries Down Under had been clinched by the Aussies 2-1. — PTI
BCCI dismisses threat to Oz tour
Rajkot, September 14 Reacting to the blasts, Cricket Australia (CA) said it was considering the option of sending a security team to India to review the security situation in India before the start of the four-Test tour next
month. BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, however, said the blasts last evening will not affect the tour. ''I have not heard about any communication from Australia and I don't think there will be any change to the tour schedule,'' Shah stated. ''I hope Australia also understands our position. The situation is normal and the Australian tour to India will go as per schedule,'' he maintained. When asked about CA's plan to send a security team to India, Shah said, ''If there are any concerns, a security team will come. I don't think there will be any problem in Australia coming to India.'' The national capital is scheduled to host the world champions for the third Test commencing on October 29. — UNI
Rajkot, September 14
Reacting to the blasts, Cricket Australia (CA) said it was considering the option of sending a security team to India to review the security situation in India before the start of the four-Test tour next month.
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, however, said the blasts last evening will not affect the tour.
''I have not heard about any communication from Australia and I don't think there will be any change to the tour schedule,'' Shah stated.
''I hope Australia also understands our position. The situation is normal and the Australian tour to India will go as per schedule,'' he maintained.
When asked about CA's plan to send a security team to India, Shah said, ''If there are any concerns, a security team will come. I don't think there will be any problem in Australia coming to India.''
The national capital is scheduled to host the world champions for the third Test commencing on October 29. — UNI
New Delhi, September 14
Although the Indian 'Fab Four' of Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman came a cropper in the Test series in Sri Lanka, Ponting did not read too much into it.
"Series to series is a different thing. You can go through one series not doing very well but in the start of the next series, you can start off and make a big score and suddenly you are back on track again. That is what cricket is all about. Things can change so quickly in the game," Ponting told 'CNN-IBN' in Dubai.
"But one thing I have noticed is that Sourav hasn't been named in the initial squad and that I think is going to be interesting for me during the tour," said the Australian, recovering from a wrist surgery.
Ganguly has been a thorn in the flesh for Australia since his captaincy days and the left-hander often rubbed them the wrong way with his nonchalance.
Ponting, meanwhile, predicted that it would be a re-building phase for the India team over the next 12 months.
"It will be interesting to see how they stand up with no Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman not being around.
"But they are there for this series and we are going to make sure that we get better of them under their condition," he said.
On his fitness, Ponting said, "I am doing okay. I had some six weeks off after the wrist injury and from last week I have started batting again. So, it is coming along pretty well."
Ponting said the forthcoming Test series would be intense but exuded optimism that animosity would not vitiate the atmosphere like it did when India toured Australia last summer.
"I know that there is going to be huge build up to this Australia-India Test series, especially after the last summer in Australia. Media will be all out there and the things will be all over the place.
"But it is up to us players to make sure that we do the right things about the game and hopefully put up a good spirited performance before the fans," he said. — PTI
Nissar Trophy tie from today
New Delhi, September 14
With seven national team players in the side, Delhi, which won the Ranji Trophy after a hiatus of 15 years, enjoys an edge over Quaid-e-Azam Trophy champions SNGPL, who have only three players with international experience.
The in-form Sehwag will lead the 15-member Ranji champions who are also banking on Gambhir he will look to make amends for his indifferent form in Sri Lanka and Ishant, returning from an injury lay-off.
Delhi's pace attack will be spearheaded by left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, who did not get a game in the domestic competitions last season.
Nehra, who recovered from an ankle injury, made the cut following an impressive performance at the inaugural Indian Premier League where playing for Mumbai Indians, he picked up 12 wickets in 14 appearances.
Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya looked pleased with the return of the big guns and said his wards will continue from where they left off last season.
"With this trophy, our 2008-2009 season is starting early. We will be eager to play outright aggressive cricket," Dahiya said after monitoring a three-and-a-half hour practice session of the team here today.
Delhi: Virender Sehwag (captain), Gautam Gambhir (vice-captain), Aakash Chopra, Mayank Tehlan, Mithun Manhas, Virat Kohli, Rajat Bhatia, Puneet Bisht (wk), Ishant Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashish Nehra, Chetanya Nanda, Amit Bhandari, Narender Singh, Gaurav Chhabra.
SNGPL: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Adil Raza, Adnan Akmal (wk), Asad Ali, Azhar Shafiq, Imran Ali, Imran Khalid, Khurram Shehzad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Saleem Mughal, Samiullah Khan, Tauqeer Hussain, Umar Akmal and Yasir Arafat.
Umpires: Sudhir Asnani, U L Dubey. — PTI
Monza, September 14
Vettel, also the youngest driver to start a grand prix from pole position, gave his Ferrari-powered team their first win with a remarkably assured drive through the spray and slippery conditions.
It was a stunning result for Formula One’s smallest team, formerly tail-enders Minardi, who are co-owned at least until the end of next year by Red Bull energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz and Austrian Gerhard Berger.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who started 15th after losing a gamble with the weather in qualifying, retained his championship lead by a single point after overtaking a string of rivals to finish seventh.
Ferrari’s Brazilian Felipe Massa, Hamilton’s closest rival, failed to make the most of starting nine places ahead of the Briton and finished sixth in a wet race that began behind the safety car.
With four races remaining, Hamilton has 78 points to Massa’s 77 and Robert Kubica’s 64 for BMW-Sauber, pending an appeal into the result of the Belgian Grand Prix where the championship leader was demoted from first to third for cutting a chicane.
Fisi crashes out, Sutil 19th
Giancarlo Fisichella could not cash in on his 12th place start and crashed out while his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil came a lowly 19th in the wet Italian Grand Prix here today. Having helped the side realise its dream of making it to the second qualifying session yesterday, a lot was expected of Fisichella, especially with the wet track throwing up all sort of possibilities. But the veteran Italian rammed into the barriers after his brakes failed and crashed out in the most tragic manner. — Agencies
Giancarlo Fisichella could not cash in on his 12th place start and crashed out while his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil came a lowly 19th in the wet Italian Grand Prix here today. Having helped the side realise its dream of making it to the second qualifying session yesterday, a lot was expected of Fisichella, especially with the wet track throwing up all sort of possibilities. But the veteran Italian rammed into the barriers after his brakes failed and crashed out in the most tragic manner. — Agencies.
London, September 14
Newcastle, meanwhile, compounded its woes with a shock 2-1 defeat at home yesterday against newcomer Hull in the first game since Kevin Keegan resigned as manager.
Arsenal took the lead in the eight minute when Theo Walcott ran down the right flank and squared the ball to Robin Van Persie, who finished with his right foot from 12 meters (yards) out. Adebayor then scored his first in first-half stoppage time, turning in Denilson’s cross following a string of delicate passes. The striker got his second on a penalty in the 78th minute after Emmanuel Eboue was tackled in the area by Stephen Warnock, and completed his hat trick in injury time after an assist from Jack Wilshere.
At Newcastle, talks between owner Mike Ashley failed to produce a reconciliation and hundreds of supporters protested against Ashley and director of football Dennis Wise outside St. James Park before kickoff. A reported boycott didn’t materialise, with over 50,000 fans attending the game. The fans’ mood darkened further when Nicky Butt brought down Peter Halmosi in the penalty area in the 33rd, and Marlon King converted the spot kick to give Hull a 1-0 lead. King then made it 2-0 in the 55th before Xisco pulled one back for Newcastle with an 81st-minute strike.
But Newcastle couldn’t salvage a point and Danny Guthrie was shown a straight red card in injury time for kicking at Craig Fagan. Thousands stayed in the stadium to protest after the game. West Ham failed to impress new manager Gianfranco Zola, who was watching from the stands as the team lost 3-2 to newcomer West Bromwich Albion.
Portsmouth beat Middlesbrough 2-1, Fulham beat Bolton by the same score, and Wigan drew 1-1 against Sunderland.
Meanwhile, in the “Clash of the Cash” Russian money proved stronger than Arab as Chelsea prevailed over Manchester City. Robinho, the Brazilian Man City snatched from under the noses of Chelsea, marked his debut by opening the scoring with a curling free kick after 13 minutes. Chelsea equalised through Ricardo Carvalho three minutes later and they dominated from then on. Frank Lampard started and finished a sweeping 70-metre break before Nicolas Anelka got the third. — AP
IPSC girls tourney gets under way
Solan, September 14
While this is the first such tournament played in Himachal, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association has provided its umpires and officials for the tournament.
The participating teams include Mayo College, Ajmer; YPS Patiala; YPS Mohali; Ashok Hall, Nainital; Maharani Gayatri Devi, Jaipur; Modi School, Lawrence School Lovedale, Nilgiris (TN); Daly College, Indore; Scindia School, Gwalior besides the host Pinegrove School.
Sarveen Chaudhry, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, who was the chief guest while declaring the tournament 2008 open said, “You children are also very lucky to be part of the IPSC, which has a permanent seat in the SGFI Games. Hence, you girls have the opportunity of directly playing the nationals. It is an honour bestowed upon the IPSC because of the wonderful facilities available in IPSC schools.”
Ghosal stuns 3rd seed, wins Ornano Open
Bordeaux, September 14 The sixth seeded Ghosal dominated Italian Bianchetti, world number 30, throughout to win 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 in the final of the $ 15,000 PSA Tour event yesterday. ''I entered my name in the tournament because I wanted to see France, a place I have never been to. I didn't care about the draw. I knew I was facing some really tough players but I have been playing pretty okay for a while,'' Ghosal told mediapersons after the match. — UNI
Bordeaux, September 14
The sixth seeded Ghosal dominated Italian Bianchetti, world number 30, throughout to win 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 in the final of the $ 15,000 PSA Tour event yesterday.
''I entered my name in the tournament because I wanted to see France, a place I have never been to. I didn't care about the draw. I knew I was facing some really tough players but I have been playing pretty okay for a while,'' Ghosal told mediapersons after the match. — UNI
New Delhi, September 14 DAV Centenary Public School (Haryana) put up a strong fight before going down 1-0 to BKSP (Bangladesh). Tomorrows Fixtures (P. Quarters round): Sub-juniors: BKSP (Bangladesh) vs Khowang Higher Secondary School (Assam), St John’s High School (Chandigarh) vs St Ignatius High School (Jharkhand). — UNI
New Delhi, September 14
DAV Centenary Public School (Haryana) put up a strong fight before going down 1-0 to BKSP (Bangladesh). Tomorrows Fixtures (P. Quarters round): Sub-juniors: BKSP (Bangladesh) vs Khowang Higher Secondary School (Assam), St John’s High School (Chandigarh) vs St Ignatius High School (Jharkhand). — UNI
Powell defends Bolt after Lewis attack
6 Bangla playersto join ICL
DHAKA: Bangladesh cricket plunged into a crisis on Sunday with six players quitting the national team to join the ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League (ICL). Former captain Habibul Bashar and five of his colleagues -- Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Mosharraf Hossain, Farhad Reza and Dhiman Ghosh -- conveyed their decision to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, according to Prothom Alo. The embattled BCB has convened an emergency meeting to discuss the scenario after the player resigned, citing “personal reasons”. According to the daily, these six current national players are among the 14 Bangladeshi cricketers who will form a new team -- “Dhaka Warriors” -- in this year’s ICL to be played in venues across India beginning on October 10. Retired spinner Mohammad Rafique, Alok Kapali, Nazim Uddin, Manjurul Islam, Tapash Baishya and Mohammad Sharif are among the 14 cricketers who took the ICL plunge. The newspaper also claimed that current captain Mohammad Ashraful was approached to lead the team but he turned down the offer. — PTI
Guru Tegh Bahadur Hockey from today
Raju likely to coach
Orissa Ranji squad