Gambhir leads india to victory
India vs SA
Baek, Karlberg set up tantalising last round
President Patil greets Asian Games heroes
Davis Cup Final
Vadodara, December 4
Gambhir, who smashed 16 boundaries with his flicks and drives in the 117 balls he faced, put on 115 runs for the opening wicket with Murali Vijay who made a slow 30 in 50 balls before being run out.
The solid foundation laid by Gambhir, who notched up his ninth ODI hundred in 103 matches, with Vijay was carried forward by number three Virat Kohli, who continued his form from where he left in the previous two matches.
Kohli, who had scored a match-winning ton at Guwahati and a half century in Jaipur, remained unbeaten on 63 in 70 balls with six fours and two sixes. He also hit the winning runs, a six over long on.
The second wicket duo of Gambhir and Kohli put on 114 runs in 125 balls without being separated to help the home team score a comprehensive victory in front of a weekend, capacity crowd.
Today's win, India's ninth successive ODI victory over New Zealand, left the remaining two matches in the five-match series in Bangalore (December 7) and Chennai (December 10) just mere contests of academic interest.
The hosts won the opening match at Guwahati by 40 runs and then took a 2-0 lead with a thumping eight-wicket victory in the second ODI in Jaipur.
Chasing New Zealand's modest score, built around James Franklin's unbeaten 72, India were on the offensive from the first ball thanks to Gambhir who raced to his 50 in only 30 balls with nine fours and then got his next 50 in 58 balls with the help of four fours.
He struck left arm Andy McKay for three successive fours after having dispatched the other new ball bowler Kyle Mills for two in as many balls previously.
The manner in which the 29-year-old Delhi player batted blew away any hopes New Zealand might have nurtured to come back into the match after posting a modest score when conditions were slightly in favour of the bowlers.
Earlier in the morning, another left-hander, James Franklin, led New Zealand's revival with an unbeaten half century and helped the visitors recover from a poor start to post a fighting score.
The visitors made a disastrous start by losing their openers within the first five overs and were struggling at 106 for seven before Franklin (72 not out) and Nathan McCullum staged the recovery act with a stand of 94.
Left-handed Franklin batted sensibly after coming in at 49 for 4 in the 16th over even as continued to tumble from the the other end.
He top-scored for the Black Caps with the help of five fours and one six in 108 balls while McCullum made 43 in 53 balls with four fours.
Their eighth-wicket stand off 107 balls took the score to 200 after the Kiwis had lost half their side for 77.
Apart from the eighth wicket pair, only opener Martin Guptill (12) and Scott Styris (22) reached the double figures in a largely uninspiring display put up by the Kiwis after they were asked to bat first by the hosts.
For India, Zaheer Khan (2/31), Yusuf Pathan (2/37 and R Ashwin (2/49) shared six wickets among them while Munaf Patel chipped in with one scalp.
The pitch for the match was a major surprise at a venue that normally provides flat tracks. There was a lot of bounce for the pace bowlers and bounce and turn for the spinners.
New Zealand batsmen, having played on low bouncing tracks after coming to India in early November, were undone by the extra bounce.
Zaheer Khan utilized the bounce to the fullest extent in his splendid first spell of seven overs as he made early inroads into the Kiwi top order.
Coming off after a three-week lay-off, the left-arm paceman struck in the second legal ball of his first over when he prised out danger man Brendon McCullum, who also came into the series after missing the opening two ties because of a back problem.
India vs SA
Johannesburg, December 4
McLaren is the only addition to the squad that played in the two-Test series against Pakistan in UAE, last month.
"We want to keep the squad together that played against Pakistan. McLaren has impressed in both formats of the domestic game played so far this season and has also come back into our thinking," Cricket South Africa (CSA) selection convener Andrew Hudson said in a statement.
McLaren made his Test debut in the final match against England in January this year.
Hudson said they are hoping that captain Graeme Smith and batting mainstay Hashim Amla would gain full fitness before the Test series.
"We are expecting both of them to be fit to take their places," he said. Smith had fractured the ring finger on his left hand while Amla had suffered a contusion to his left forearm while fielding during the Test series against Pakistan. —PTI
Adelaide, December 4
It was long hot day in the field with scant reward for the frazzled Australians as Cook continued to be the marathon man of the Ashes series with his second century.
England cruised past Australia's below-par first innings total of 245 some 23 overs before stumps and closed out the sweltering second day at 317 for two to hold a burgeoning 72-run lead.
Cook followed up his unbeaten 235 in Brisbane to be still there on 136 with Kevin Pietersen, not out on 85, threatening to unleash a big score on Sunday's third day.
The pair have put on an unbroken third wicket partnership of 141 runs.
Vice-captain Cook, displaying powers of concentration, has already amassed 438 runs in three innings in this series at an average of 438 and has spent all but 11 overs in the field in the first seven days of the series.
The Essex left-hander helped himself to four with a cut off ineffectual spinner Xavier Doherty to raise his 15th Test hundred and third against Australia.
Cook holds the revealing statistic of scoring his Test centuries before his 26th birthday, equal with Australian icon Don Bradman at the same age and only bettered by all-time leading Test runscorer Sachin Tendulkar of India.
The only time Cook looked in trouble came when he needed a review on 64 to bat on after he was given out caught behind attempting to hook Peter Siddle in the 43rd over.
Replays showed that the ball hit Cook's arm rather than his bat and umpire Marais Erasmus reversed his decision.
Australia had early joy with the wicket of skipper Andrew Strauss in the day's opening over, but apart from Jonathan Trott's dismissal for 78 before tea it was unquestionably England's day.
Cook and Trott put on 173 runs for the second wicket to kill off Australia's hopes of containing England's innings lead.
Trott had three lives before his luck finally ran out in the 49th over.
He flicked a Ryan Harris lifter to midwicket where Michael Clarke claimed a diving two-handed catch.
Trott was on course for his third century in as many Ashes Tests after his 119 at the fifth Test at The Oval last year and 135 in Brisbane last week. — AFP
Trott and Cook so far in this series have shared in partnerships totalling 502 runs after their record stand of 329 runs at the Gabba.
Trott survived after Doherty was well wide with his throw at the stumps from square leg when he was on six and he was dropped four runs later by Mike Hussey in the gully off Doug Bollinger.
Trott got his third life on 76 when wicketkeeper Brad Haddin fumbled a high two-handed chance down the leg-side off a Harris bouncer.
It continued Australia's wretched fielding in the series after putting down five catches in the drawn Brisbane Test.
The Australians, defending 245, their lowest Adelaide first innings total for 17 years, started well, removing Strauss.
Bollinger, recalled after being left out of the Gabba Test, struck with the third ball of his opening over when Strauss made a serious error of judgment and didn't offer a shot to be bowled for one.
Australia were dismissed off 85.5 overs after winning the toss on Friday's opening day, their worst performance in the first innings at Adelaide since being skittled by the West Indies for 213 in 1993.
England in their last two innings of the series have amassed 834 runs for just three wickets. — AFP
Baek, Karlberg set up tantalising last round
New Delhi, December 4
Baek needs to be complimented for his display today. Many golfers have caved in under the pressure of staying in front and there was a stint in his play when it looked like the Korean too would be pulled in by the relentless pursuers. He had begun the day with a six-under aggregate and got off steadily, before snaring a birdie on the third hole. But he promptly lost the stroke on the next hole, only to recover on the sixth.
Three pars followed as he finished the outward round before things began to get interesting. He parred the 10th and then blasted in off the fairway for a sensational eagle on the 11th. That seemed to somehow affect his flow as he promptly went on to lose a stroke on the 12th and then on the 13th, added a double bogey. It seemed like things were going downhill.
But Baek wasn’t to be denied. Four birdies out of the last five holes were enough to give him a one-stroke lead.
On the 18th, Karlberg recovered from a pretty poor second shot to snap up a 15-foot birdie to draw level with Baek. The Korean however nailed his third shot six inches from the hole and from there it was certain that he would return to his hotel with a lead.
However, in terms or recoveries, Karlberg was ahead. He dropped strokes on the third and fourth holes and had to wait till the sixth before recovering one stroke, followed by two more on the eighth and ninth. Then there were birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th as the Swede finished at four-under 68 for the day, and nine-under on aggregate.
Manav Jaini and Mukesh Kumar kept the home fans hopeful. Jaini returned a one-under card to stay at joint third while Mukesh had a two-under to be there with Jaini, South African Jbe Kruger and Australian Unho Park.
Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa weren’t far either. With identical two-under 70 cards, they were sharing 12th spot with three others. Though they need six strokes to catch up with Baek, stranger things have happened in the sport.
Atwal had a rollicking round, and two double-bogeys were instrumental in ensuring that he stayed where he is now. An eagle and five birdies were dented by two double-bogeys on the 9th and 13th and one more dropped shot to keep him at two-under. Randhawa was less adventurous with a bogey-free three-under card.
New Delhi, December 4
During a felicitation ceremony here at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Patil congratulated the Asian Games gold medal winners and greeted them with flowers.
However, a notable absentee on the occasion was the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief and Commonwealth Games Organising Committee President Suresh Kalmadi.
It is important to note that earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also given him a royal snub after the Delhi Games when he met the CWG medal winners.
Meanwhile, talking to the reporters during the function athletes said they were overwhelmed by President's gesture and would like to further improve upon their performances to put up a better show during the London Olympics 2012.
"It is a dream come true. I had never even imagined that I would meet the President some day.
The gesture puts an added responsibility on our shoulders to improve our performances and make the country proud in the forthcoming Olympics," said Joseph Abraham, who etched his name into record books after becoming the first Indian to grab a gold in men's 400m hurdles during the recently concluded Games in China.
Ashwini Akkunji, who raced to glory with her exemplary golden double in the women's 400m hurdles and was also a part of the women's 4x400m relay, expressed her gratitude to the people of country and said that without their support she would not have been able to attain the feat.
Davis Cup Final
Belgrade, December 4
Gael Monfils had never won a Davis Cup rubber on foreign soil but the 24-year-old Frenchman yesterday chose the perfect occasion to break his Monfils outclassed Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6, 6-0 in just over two hours.
Monfils, who has never been beaten in home ties, was always likely to play a crucial role as France went in search of their 10th victory in the competition. The highest-ranked player in Guy Forget's team may yet have to win his reverse singles match tomorrow against Novak Djokovic, who was attempting to level the tie in last night's second rubber against Gilles Simon.
Serbia, playing in their first final, had the benefit of huge support in the 16,200-capacity Belgrade Arena, but the occasion seemed to get to Tipsarevic, who had been the key figure in his team's semi-final victory over the Czech Republic. The world No 49, who had not played a competitive match for a month, never recovered from a dreadful start, when he hit double faults on his first two service points.
Monfils, whose natural talent and athleticism have never been in doubt, has added more subtlety to his play in the last year, during which he has reached four tour finals, winning one of them. A big hitter with a huge forehand and potent serve, the world No 12 troubled Tipsarevic with his sliced backhands and clever drop shots, as well as his power. Tipsarevic, who had been named as the home team's second singles player in preference to the higher ranked Viktor Troicki, looked nervous from the start as Monfils made two early breaks of serve.
The atmosphere in the arena, in which many of the fans were wearing red Serbian shirts, had been electric at the start, but the home supporters' drums were soon being beaten with less conviction.
Nevertheless the second set was much tighter and Tipsarevic had his chances.
But trailing 4-5 in the tie-break, the Serb missed a volley following a big Monfils return and then hit a forehand long. Tipsarevic had come back from two-sets down on four previous occasions in his career, including three times in the Davis Cup, but faded fast after dropping serve with a double fault at the end of a marathon game at the start of the third set. — AP
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