England confirmed as top ranked Test side
England’s Test captain Andrew Strauss (L) and fast bowler James Anderson. This is the first time, since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003, that England has topped the table at the cut-off date.
Dravid taught me to put price on my wicket: Rohit
600th doubles win for Leander Paes
Everton down Tottenham 1-0
Everton's Nikica Jelavic celebrates after scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in Liverpool on Saturday. Everton won 1-0. — Reuters
Xuerui win All England Championship
India lose again, bow out of AFC Challenge
Bengal aim to break final jinx against Mumbai
Ganguly hopes to end 20 year wait
Sandhu: Would be happy if we can repeat 2008 Olympics show
Beat Bangladesh by 21 runs
Umar Gul puts in all round show
Hafeez, Jamshed shine for Pakistan
Shakib, Tamim hit valiant knocks
Mirpur, March 11
Chasing a possible 263 for a win, Bangladesh started cautiosly and opener Tamim Iqbal and Shakib-al-Hasan hit fighting half-centuries, but they ultimatley ran out of ideas and batsmen as the Pakistan bowlers took charge. Gul was the pick of the lot as his earlier heroics with the bat had bailed out Pakistan from a precarious situation and later he cleaned up Shakib to wrap up the proceedings.
Earlier, Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed struck half centuries but it was Umar Gul's hefty blows towards the end that lifted Pakistan to 262 for eight.
Hafeez (89 off 126 balls) and Jamshed (54 off 64) laid the foundation by putting on 135 runs for the first wicket in just 28 overs, but Shahdat Hossain (3/53) and Shakib Al Hasan (2/41) struck at crucial moments to help the hosts fight back into the match.
But Gul, somewhat, spoilt Bangladesh's plans with a brisk 39 off 25 balls.
Hoping that the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium would offer some assistance to his seamers early on, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim elected to field after the coin landed in his favour.
Things, however, didn't pan out the way Mushfiqur had hoped for as the two openers gave Pakistan a perfect launchpad. Both were not flashy but effective nevertheless.
Jamshed was the more aggressive of the two as he found the fence five times, besides hitting a six. Hafeez was content to rotate the strike while hitting the occasional boundaries.
Bangladesh then made a spirited fightback and the breakthrough came in the form of Jamshed's wicket in the 28th over, when Mushfiqur ran the batsman out after receiving a throw from Shakib. —PTI
Dubai, March 11
This is the first time, since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003, that England has topped the table at the cut-off date.
As such, England will receive the Championship mace and will also receive a cheque of $175,000 which is presented annually to the side that tops the table.
For the next three years, a total of $3.8m will be distributed in prize money with the side topping the table at the 1 April cut-off date in 2013 to receive a minimum of $450,000 rising to $500,000 in 2015. From 2016, there will be further increases in Test prize money.
Graeme Smith's men had entered the Test series against New Zealand needing to win all the three Tests to move ahead of England at the cut-off date. But after the draw in Dunedin, the best series result South Africa can now achieve is a 2-0 win, which will keep it at 117 ratings point, one behind England.
South Africa now needs to ensure that it doesn’t lose the remaining two Tests so that it can finish in second place on the Championship table and with it win an award of $75,000.
If the Proteas win by 1-0, it will finish on 116 ratings points while in case of a one-all drawn series, South Africa will end up on 113 ratings points – two ahead of India and Australia who are on 111 ratings points, each but Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side is ranked above Michael Clarke’s side when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
However, if New Zealand wins both the Tests, then South Africa will slip behind India and Australia on 108 ratings points, while New Zealand will gain 10 ratings points and will jump to 93 ratings points.
England has been holding on to the number-one position since toppling India from the top spot after inflicting a 4-0 defeat in the last English summer. At the end of the series against India, England led its closest rival and second-ranked South Africa by seven ratings points.
However, the Championship table turned on its head and become a two-way dogfight to the finishing line after South Africa, in its backyard, drew its series against Australia and then beat Sri Lanka 2-1, while in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan shocked England 3-0.
These results meant the gap between England and South Africa narrowed to one ratings point, with the Proteas having a real chance to finish as the number-one ranked side at the 1 April cut-off date.
While the weather has denied South Africa to keep its chances alive of moving ahead of England on the Championship table, it has set up a mouthwatering series in England this summer when these two sides go head to head in a three-Test series which starts at The Oval on 19 July. — PTI
New Delhi, March 11
"Secondly, no matter what condition and situation you are batting in, never give up. Just be there, feel the heat, feel the pressure. That is when your true character shows. He showed us that. That is the biggest thing I learnt from him," Rohit was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.
Promising batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has featured in 11 ODIs and two T20 matches for the national team, said: "He showed us how important your wicket is and to value it always.
Another thing about him is how humble he always is on and off the field. That quality really stands out." "I had made 165 and 98 in the 2008-09 Duleep Trophy final in Chennai against South Zone. He [Dravid] was part of that side. I wanted to go and ask him about my batting but was feeling hesitant about approaching such a big player. Instead, he himself came up to me and told me that I was doing well and needed to continue playing the way I had been playing.
"He asked me to develop more confidence in my batting which is so important at the highest level. To have my idol, who I had grown up watching, reposing so much faith in me was a huge thing. I have had the privilege of sharing two dressing rooms with him - India and Rajasthan Royals," he said.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who made his India debut in Bangalore Test against Australia in 2010 and had scored an excellent 72 in the fourth-innings, said he wants to inculcate Dravid's positive attitude in him.
"I was 20 or 21. He was playing for Karnataka against Saurashtra in Rajkot. He is one of my idols. I just wanted to ask him that if I wanted to play at the international level, what should I do and how can I improve myself," he said.
"He was very happy to talk to me. He was very friendly. He told me he had heard a lot about me scoring in domestic cricket and he was really impressed with that. After that, he gave me a few tips about succeeding at the top level.
Pujara also spoke how Dravid would point out the subtle things which can improve one's batting.
"(One thing you would take from Dravid's game) I would say his positive attitude towards the game. A bowler has to work hard to get his wicket. That quality I admire a lot. In the Durban Test, I played a pull shot and got out. He said that normally you don't play those kinds of shots. 'It is not your strength. You should play to your strength'," he said.
Abhinav Mukund, who made his Test debut against West Indies in June last year and has featured in five Tests so far with one fifty, said he would like to have the temperament of Dravid.
"He is a very, very meticulous man. He is very careful about all the cricketing gear in his kit bag. I saw it when I started playing alongside Dravid. He is a man of order, I think. He is known for his professionalism and his ethics so it comes alongside his character.
"There was one game where the ball flicked his shoelaces and he got out in England. You could notice the next day that he had changed his shoelaces and tucked them in deep. When you say that the man leaves nothing to chance, that is the biggest example of that," he said. — PTI
Indian Wells, March 11
Seventh seeds Paes and Stepanek outplayed unseeded Spaniards David Ferrer and Albert Ramos 6-3 6-3 in their opening round.
However, fifth seeds Bhupathi and Bopanna, who had recently won Dubai Open, lost 4-6, 3-6 to Julien Benneteau and Jo-wilfried Tsonga in their first round match.
Paes and Stepanek, the Australian Open champions, await winners of the other first round match between the pairs of Eric Butorac and Bruno Soares and Juan Monaco and Kei Nishikori.
Paes and Stepanek converted six of their eight break point opportunities for victory in 67 minutes.
The Indian, who turned pro in 1991 and will be 39 on 17 June, has a 600-311 record overall. Paes won the 2007 Indian Wells title with Martin Damm. — PTI
London, March 11
A first-half goal by Nikica Jelavic was enough for Everton to condemn Spurs to a third consecutive league defeat, raising question marks about their top-four credentials just weeks after
Harry Redknapp's side were trumpeted as title contenders. Chelsea began the post-Andre Villas-Boas era in the league with striker Didier Drogba sealing a 1-0 home victory over 10-man Stoke City to put them level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal who host Newcastle United on Monday. Both sides are now only four points behind Tottenham Hotspur who almost snatched a draw at Goodison Park when former Everton stinker Louis Saha stabbed a late chance against the post.
Liverpool's slender hopes of a top-four finish diminished with a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland for whom Nicklas Bendtner scored the winner while Aston Villa earned a 1-0 victory over Fulham that moved them away from the danger zone.
The title race resumes on Sunday when Manchester City travel to Swansea City and Manchester United, two points behind their neighbours, host West Bromwich Albion.
Tottenham, after consecutive defeats at Arsenal and at home to Manchester United in which they conceded eight goals, had their hopes of getting back on track undermined by a lethargic first-half performance at Everton.
The hosts took the lead after 22 minutes when Jelavic steered in Leon Osman's cut back to score his first goal for the club following his move from Rangers and although Spurs dominated after the break they could not find an equaliser.
It is the first time they have lost three league games in a row since Redknapp took over in October 2008. "We battered them second half but couldn't get a break in front of goal," he told ESPN.
"It was one-way traffic second half ad they couldn't get out of their half."
Drogba's 100th Premier League goal made it a satisfying week for Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, upgraded after Villas-Boas last week paid for a poor run of form with his job after just eight month at the helm.
Di Matteo relied on the old guard of Drogba, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry, back after injury, to see off Stoke who played three quarters of the match a man light after Ricardo Fuller was red-carded for a stamp on Branislav Ivanovic.
"Today was a step in the right direction, we got three points, and sometimes in a season you have to win like this to get the three points, it is not always going to be easy," Di Matteo, whose side had an average age of 28-1/2, told Sky Sports. — Reuters
Xuerui win All England Championship
Birminghmam March 11 It was by far the biggest win in the career of 21-year-old Li who was following up success in last week's German Open and is emerging swiftly as a major force in the game. She controlled the first set but trailed 14-7 in the second only to level at 18-18 with some strokeplay of the highest order and then close out the contest in 45 minutes. Wang could have done without her previous two games in the tournament both going to three sets and having to save four match points against Denmark's Tine Baun. Li told a media conference: "I'm so happy, it's amazing. Once I was through this far I always believed I could win." — Reuters
Birminghmam March 11
It was by far the biggest win in the career of 21-year-old Li who was following up success in last week's German Open and is emerging swiftly as a major force in the game.
She controlled the first set but trailed 14-7 in the second only to level at 18-18 with some strokeplay of the highest order and then close out the contest in 45 minutes.
Wang could have done without her previous two games in the tournament both going to three sets and having to save four match points against Denmark's Tine Baun.
Li told a media conference: "I'm so happy, it's amazing. Once I was through this far I always believed I could win." — Reuters
Kathmandu, March 11
This was India's second defeat in the tournament — they lost to Tajikistan by a similar margin in their opening match on Friday.
Philip James Younghusband, who was part of the Chelsea squad for three years from 2005, struck both the goals as India struggled for the second consecutive time at the Dashrath Stadium.
Younghusband struck in the 10th and 73rd minute to keep his team's chances of advancing to the knockout stage alive, while India are out of the tournament following two successive losses.
Savio Medeira's boys play defending champions North Korea in an inconsequential final match. Both the teams resorted to counter-attacks in the initial moments. But it was Younghusband of Philippines who was able to cash in on the opportunity and put his team in the lead. — PTI
Bengal aim to break final jinx against Mumbai
New Delhi, March 11 Bengal, having lost three successive one-day finals against Saurashtra (2008) and Tamil Nadu (2009, 2010), will try to win their second senior national level title in two years having won Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship last year. Call it coincidence, but current Bengal coach W V Raman was in charge of Tamil Nadu during the two successive finals that Bengal lost in Agartala and Ahmedabad, respectively. — PTI
New Delhi, March 11
Bengal, having lost three successive one-day finals against Saurashtra (2008) and Tamil Nadu (2009, 2010), will try to win their second senior national level title in two years having won Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship last year.
Call it coincidence, but current Bengal coach W V Raman was in charge of Tamil Nadu during the two successive finals that Bengal lost in Agartala and Ahmedabad, respectively. — PTI
New Delhi, March 11
"I have played so many years for Bengal but this is the first time I am leading the side for a full season. We have been playing well and would like to continue the good work," Ganguly said after a 90-minute net-session at the Kotla.
Ganguly was part of one of the three one-day finals that Bengal lost and when reminded, he said, "We would like to change that tomorrow". Incidentally, Ganguly has played two Ranji Trophy finals against Mumbai (1993-94, 2006-07) having scored 88 and 90, but ended on the losing side on both occasions.
"Mumbai are a very strong side and you need to play really well to beat them. They have top class batsman in Wasim Jaffer and I don't know why he isn't playing for India.
Ajinkya Rahane is a current India player and you have a bowler like Ajit (Agarkar)." Asked whether the absence of Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda would hurt Bengal's chances, Ganguly smiled and said,"Mumbai doesn't have Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Rohit Sharma playing for them! You have got to play with what you have." — PTI
New Delhi, March 11
In 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vijender Singh created history when he won the country's first-ever medal in boxing by bagging a bronze medal in the middleweight category. Two other Indian boxers — Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar — missed a medal by a whisker after going down in the quarter-finals in their respective weight categories.
"All said and done, I am hoping for a better performance from the boys. But I would be happy if we could repeat our performance of the Beijing Olympics." Four Indian boxers — L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg) — have already qualified for the London Olympics. At best, India can qualify for six more slots as there are 10 weight categories in all during the April 4 to 13 Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Kazakhstan. — PTI