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Sunday, December 26, 1999
|Onus on batsmen to counter Aussies
MELBOURNE, Dec 25 Determined to fight back after a huge defeat in the first match, the onus will be on the Indian batsmen to counter the all-conquering Australians with weather threatening to have the final say in the second cricket Test starting here tomorrow.
victory for Punjab
LAHORE: General Pervez Musharraf, right, shakes hand with Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, flanked by Ijaz Ahmed, left, and Wasim Akram, skipper of the Pakistan cricket team, on Friday Qaddafi stadium in Lahore. AP/PTI
aims at Lillees record & Tendulkar
win nine gold
Anikanova win opening ties
varsity retain hockey title
await injury verdicts
yoga meet begins
Onus on batsmen to counter Aussies
MELBOURNE, Dec 25 (PTI) Determined to fight back after a huge defeat in the first match, the onus will be on the Indian batsmen to counter the all-conquering Australians with weather threatening to have the final say in the second cricket Test starting here tomorrow.
The beleaguered Indians, under tremendous pressure after the 285-run defeat at Adelaide, are all set to bring in VVS Laxman as opener for Devang Gandhi and left-hander Hrishikesh Kanitkar in the middle-order for what is expected to be a challenging Test debut.
But poor weather, more than any heroics from Indian batsmen led by skipper Sachin Tendulkar or a sensational debut by much-talked about Aussie paceman Brett Lee, looks likely to dominate the traditional Boxing Day tie at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
India, who let their opponents off the hook after the opening session of the first Test before crashing to defeat, approach the match in a positive frame of mind, but a wicket predicted to offer steep bounce for the fast bowlers has left their task cut out to prevent Australia from clinching the three-Test series within the distance.
But weathermen have predicted thundershowers on four days of the match at the ground where the Indians hold their best record Down Under, winning two of the previous seven games, losing four with one ending in a draw.
Coach Kapil Dev felt it was time the batsmen came good while Tendulkar vowed to approach the match in a positive manner.
Steve Waugh, aiming to become only the second Australian skipper to lead the team to six straight victories, sought to pile further pressure on the Indians as he said the hosts were capable of completing another 3-0 sweep as they did against Pakistan recently.
But Waugh said he was aware of the potential of the Indian batting with the bowling also yet to touch top form.
We polished them off pretty well in Adelaide and if we can do it again here, then I think we have established that, he said commenting on his side being compared with the all-conquering West Indies of the 1980s.
But if they come back here and win this Test people will be saying well, you are not as good as you think you are, he said after both teams held nets on Christmas Day.
Indias batsmen, more than their bowlers, have struggled on the present tour with Tendulkar, David and Ganguly together managing just 200 runs in the Adelaide Test. All three have proven their class and have an average of over 50 in Tests.
In bowling, the pace trio of Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Ajit Agarkar are beginning to forge a good combine with leg-spinner Anil Kumble needing only five more wickets to move past former spin wizard Bishan Singh Bedi (266) as the second highest Test wicket-taker for India behind Kapil Dev (434) keen to improve his strike-rate on foreign pitches.
India will hope for a good start from openers S. Ramesh and Laxman, who batted at number three in Adelaide but will be playing his 16th Test and 11th as opener.
Kanitkar is set to make his Test debut after a gritty half century in the drawn four-day game against Tasmania at Hobart. His case appears settled since the first choice of the team management, Vijay Bharadwaj, seems to be suffering from lack of confidence.
There is unlikely to be any other change given the quality of the reserves, though the think-tank did toy with the idea of trying out young wicketkeeper M.S.K. Prasad as a makeshift opener.
The Australians are on a roll and feel only the weather can stop them from taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Leg spinner Shane Warne is just seven wickets short of overhauling pace great Dennis Lillees career haul of 355 scalps to emerge as the highest Australian Test wicket-taker. The Victoria star, who claimed six wickets in the first Test, will be keen to achieve the feat in front of his home crowd.
India: S. Tendulkar (capt), S. Ramesh, VVS Laxman, R. Dravid, S. Ganguly, H. Kanitkar, MSK Prasad (wk), A. Agarkar, A. Kumble, J. Srinath, V. Prasad.
Australia: (from): S. Waugh (capt), M. Slater, G. Blewett, J. Langer, M. Waugh, R. Ponting, A. Gilchrist (wk), S. Warne, D. Fleming, G. McGrath, B. Lee, M. Kasprowicz.
Umpires: David Shepherd (England) and Steve Davis (Aus).
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri lanka).
Mongia refuses to offer comments
MUMBAI, Dec 25 (PTI) A glum-looking Nayan Mongia landed here last night from Australia, but refused to offer any comments about his brief stay with the Indian cricket team, now touring Down Under.
Mongia told reporters at the airport here: I cant talk because I am bound by the contract, according to which, I am not supposed to say anything to the press for two months.
Mongia had been sent to Australia at the request of the Indian team as a cover for the injured first-choice wicketkeeper Mannava Prasad.
The cricket board had on
December 22 taken the decision to recall Mongia from
Australia after receiving reports from the Indian team
management that Prasad has completely recovered from his
Easy victory for Punjab
NEW DELHI, Dec 25 (PTI) Defending champions Punjab and last years runners-up Bihar scored contrasting victories in their respective mens super league matches on the opening day of the 50th Senior National Basketball Championship today.
While Punjab, who beat Bihar for the title at Jaipur earlier this year, scored an impressive 83-49 victory against West Bengal in group A, Bihar had to quell a strong first half challenge from Uttar Pradesh in winning 77-64 in group B.
In a mens preliminary group match, Gujarat downed lowly Tripura 56-34 in group C. The golden jubilee edition was inaugurated by Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan at the Talkatora Stadium here.
In the womens section, Orissa lost to Uttar Pradesh 60-34 in group D, Gujarat defeated lowly Pondicherry 44-16, Karnataka thrashed Haryana 58-24 while West Bengal overwhelmed their Jammu and Kashmir counterparts 51-8.
Punjabs star pivot Parminder Singh (sr) showed early shooting form as he helped his team to an easy win against an erratic West Bengal in the first match of the day.
The skipper topscored with 34 points and with Vipin Kumar and Gagnesh Kumar contributing 12 and 11 points respectively, Punjab had it easy. The defending champions, 36-22 ahead by half-time, added 44 points to 27 of Bengal after the break.
Warne aims at Lillees record & Tendulkar
MELBOURNE, Dec 25 (PTI) Leg-spin wizard Shane Warne has set his sights on two goals - overhauling pace bowling great Dennis Lillees Australian record as highest Test wicket-taker and troubling Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar with his round the leg beauties - when the second cricket Test between the two countries start here on Sunday.
The blonde Warne, already the most accomplished slow bowler in the games history with 349 wickets to his credit, is seven short of Lillees all-time best for an Australian.
And, Warne wants to get there notwithstanding the fact that his tormentor in the sub-continent Tendulkar, will be charged up to prove his teams worth after receiving a 285-run drubbing in the first Test at Adelaide.
I would be encouraged by Tendulkar going to sweep me in the second Test. I have noticed whenever I bowl from round the wicket, he tries to go for a sweep, said Warne of the Indian captain.
I dont mind these tactics because on my big spinning deliveries and on bouncier Australian wickets, there is always a chance of a top-edge. I noticed a few of their batsmen were standing outside the leg-stump to counter my drift and big turn and probably to drive me offside, said Warne .
But he doesnt mind it.
I dont mind if the batsmen are going after me. It is the singles which annoy me. If batsmen are trying to hit me for fours and sixes, I feel encouraged... It is only when they block and try to push me around that I get frustrated and end up trying harder.
Warne, who contemplated retirement from the game soon after Australias World Cup triumph, said he has become cleverer and smarter than before.
I am lot more clever these days. I have got back my drift and big spinners but I also have more subtle variations these days, he said
I am not saying this as an excuse but when I toured India last year I knew my shoulder needed an operation and I wasnt in best of form.
Warne did not think the Indian batsmen had departed from their tactics of 1998 when they went after him.
It was different last year. They were 60 for none or 100 for one and Navjot Sidhu was on fire. The middle order was never under pressure.
In contrast, the bouncy Aussie pitches proved too hard to bat on for the Indians.
In the Adelaide game they lost early wickets and the rest were under pressure and thats why probably they were quiet, Warne said.
Patting himself, Warne said: Glenn McGrath and I bowled excellently in tandem on the second evening and did not give them much room. Later McGrath and Fleming knocked them over.
The spinner said though the MCG wicket looked batting friendly and pace bowlers expected to earn purchase early on, he was confident he would extract turn from the third day.
Going by the looks, the MCG wicket appears a very good track for batting. It looks a sensational batting wicket. The outfield is trimmed and should be faster than ever. It should be hard work for the bowlers, he said.
I reckon quick bowlers will have purchase on the first two days and the spinners will come into play because of usual wear and tear of a wicket, Warne said.
I feel the side batting first needs to bat really well in the first session here - like it was in Adelaide where we were four down for 52 at lunch, a sure sign of a good Test wicket... It would be no different here.
The reception here is bigger than anywhere which I think is true for all those who play on local grounds in front of local supporters.
This year with Dennis Lillees record approaching it will be extra special. If the weather looks after cricket well and there is sunshine, the wicket could dry out and it would be great from a personal point of view, said Warne.
The forecast for the Test incidentally is for thundershowers on four of the five days.
Last year, the opening day of the Ashes Test here was washed out because of thundershowers.
Warne said he was looking to have a long spell here.
I like to keep the ball in my hand. I like to bowl long spells. Like in Adelaide where I bowled 40 overs in a stretch. The longer I bowl, the better I bowl.
Speaking of the possibility of him going past Lillee, Warne said it would be a dream fulfilled.
Like so many of us, I have grown up imitating past greats in my backyard keeping collars up like Ian Chappell and wiping out the sweat from my forehead as Dennis used to do.
Goan teams threaten to withdraw
MARGAO, Dec 25 (PTI) Three Goan soccer clubs Churchill Brothers, Dempo and Salgaocar have threatened to withdraw from the National Football League (NFL) if they cannot play matches on their home ground, Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.
The stadium might be closed from February 1 in view of the one-day India-South Africa international cricket match on March 14.
In a letter to the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) yesterday, the teams threatened to withdraw by giving a walk-over to their opponents.
The letter, signed by the secretaries of the clubs, Ciabro Alemao, Henry Britto and J.A. Botelho, said We will withdraw the teams gracefully and give a walkover to the opponents rather than suffer humiliation of being fined and even banned by the All- India Football Federation for failing to provide a proper venue and security if the home ground matches are shifted.
Shifting of the matches to any other venue will deprive the Goan teams of much required home-ground advantage against our opponents, an advantage which cannot be quantified and which is the essence of home-and-away football, they said.
Should the Goa Football Association (GFA) surrender under pressure, it will result in jeopardising the entire future of the teams as also their participation in the NFL in future, they said.
The Goa Cricket Association (GCA) is keen on hosting the one-dayer and there were plans to close the stadium for six weeks beginning February one as per the directives of the cricket board, the secretaries said.
In such a scenario, the NFL matches scheduled to be played at Fatorda from February 1 would have to be relocated to venues outside Goa in the absence of an alternative venue in the state where NFL matches can be played without risking the safety and security of players and match officials, the secretaries said.
Uzbekistan win nine gold
PATIALA, Dec 25 Barring the heroics Rajendra Prasad, the Uzbekistani juggernaut rolled on relentlessly, picking up nine out of 10 gold medals at stake in the apparatus championship (artistic gymnastics) in the first Central-South Asian Gymnastic Championships which concluded at the local polo grounds indoor gymnastic here today.
The gallant Rajendra Prasad of the hosts upset the Uzbekis calculations, today.
Prasad, who kept his nerves steady when it mattered the most, camp up with a terrific performance in the pummel horse event and in the process not only threw a spanner in the Uzbekistans game plan, but also ensured that his performance culminated in his pocketing a well-deserved gold medal.
Today, out of the six gold medals at stake in the mens section while Prasad won one, the individual brilliance of Olympian Valeiv Ildar saw him pocket the rest of the five golds. Similarly on the distaff side, out of the four golds at stake, the Uzbeks made a clean sweep, winning all four.
The results: Apparatus championships (all finals in mens section): Floor exercise: Valeiv Ildar 1, Vikas 2, EMPS Ekanyaka 3; Parallel Bars: Valeiv Ildar 1, Vikas Pandey 2, Parveen 3; Roman rings: Valveiv Ildar 1, Parveen Sharma and Vikas Pandey (joint 2nd), Wranjana Tharanga 3; Horizontal bar: Valeiv Ildar 1, Rajendra Prasad 2, Mohit Yadav 3; Pummel horse: Rajendra Prasad 1, Vikas Pandey 2, Valeiv Ildar 3; Vaulting horse: Valeiv Ildar 1, EMPS Ekanyanka 2, Parveen Sharma 3.
for women-all finals: Floor exercise: Alexsandra Gordeeva
1, Almira Kambekova 2, Poonam Chabbra
3. Balancing beam: Almira Kambekova 1, P.
Butakuz 2, Poonam Chabbra 3. Vaulting
horse: Alexsandra Gordeeva 1, Almira Kambekova
2, Jaswant Kaur 3. Uneven bars: Alexsandra
Godeeva 1, P. Butakoz 2, Tumpa Debnath
Suzuki, Anikanova win opening
CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 The qualifying matches for the $ 10,000 Bakemans ITF Tennis tournament began here today at the CLTA courts, with two women foreign players , Ayako Suzuki of Japan and Anna Anikanova of Ukraine winning their opening matches with ease. Today, the top seed of qualifying rounds, Tarminder Grover of India, bowed out of by losing to Vishika Chhetri also of India. The final of the qualifying rounds will be played tomorrow while the draws for the main rounds will be out in the evening.
Meanwhile, out of the top eight seeds of the main draw, the participation of Hong Kong player Ka-Po Tong ranked 473 (WTA points) is doubtful, according to Mr Dushan Deo, the ITF observer for this championship.The winner of the Lucknow leg of the ITF which concluded today, Urska Vesenjak, will also feature in the Chandigarh meet. The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by Manisha Malhotra, second seed, Sai Jayalakshamy, third seed, and Rushmi Chakarvorthy, fifth seed among others. Doordarshan Sports will be giving live coverage on December 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. , when the pre-quarter final matches will be in progress, revealed CLTA sources. Most of the players arrived by late evening and the rest are expected by tomorrow morning.
Shruti Dhawan, a product of Chandigarh who has created many upsets at the national level, is ailing and has, thus opted out of this championship .
matches: Vishika Chhetri (Ind) b Tarminder Grover( Ind)
6-0, 6-0; Isha Chopra( Ind) b T. Srisharanya (Ind) 6-0,
6-0; Anna Anikanova (Ukr) b Anita Gupta (Ind) 6-3, 6-2;
Neetu Batra (Ind) b Ridhi Sharma (Ind) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5; T.
Yamini (Ind) b M. Vishnu Preetham (Ind) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6
(4); Stutti Smit (Ind) b Pragya Yadav (Ind) 6-0, 6-1; C.
Nandita (Ind) b Monika Goel (Ind) 6-2, 6-1; Ayako Suzuki
(Jpn) b Satvika Saboo (Ind) 6-4, 6-1.
Urska lifts title
LUCKNOW, Dec 25 (PTI) Unseeded Slovenian Urska Vesenjak lifted the ITF womens circuit tennis title with an upset victory over top seed Katarina Daskovic of Yugoslavia here today.
Urska, who conquered second seed Manisha Malhotra of India in the semifinals yesterday, rallied brilliantly to overpower Daskovic 4-6 6-2 6-1 in the summit clash today.
Southpaw Urska, however, failed to realise her dream of a grand double when she and her twin sister Masa lost in the final match of doubles tournament.
GND varsity retain hockey
LUDHIANA, Dec 25 In an evenly contested final, holders, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, scraped past hosts, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, 1-0 to retain the trophy in the second Prithipal Singh Memorial Punjab State Inter-Varsity Hockey Tournament for men at the Astro Turf hockey stadium of PAU here today.
The final began on a brisk pace with GND varsity initiating the first move in the second minute but Kirpal Singh missed the target by inches. Two minutes later Amritsars full back Manjit Singh got a pass from Jaswinder Singh who beat two PAU defenders but Manjits ball rolled aside.
PAUs defence functioned adequately to ward off whatever danger the GND varsity men posed to their citadel. PAU men retaliated with equal ferocity and forced their first penalty corner in the 15th minute but failed to take any advantage of it.
After a barren first half, both the teams were unduly cautious and wasted a number of good moves. GND varsity men came close to gaining the lead when they earned four penalty corners in quick succession (48th, 51st, 52nd and 53rd minute) but failed to capitalise on these chances.
PAU forwards too repeatedly raided the GND varsity territory but muffed easy scoring chances. Just two minutes before the final whistle, GND varsitys Jaswinder Singh initiated a move from the left flank, passed the ball to full back Manjit Singh who gave it to Kuljinder Singh whose rasping hit sounded the board. GND varsity hung on to this lead to edge out the hosts 1-0 and thus emerged winners.
Earlier, in the last league fixture, GND varsity defeated Panjab University, Chandigarh 6-5. The match was decided via the tie breaker since both the teams were locked 2-2 at the end of regular period.
Mr Kuldip Singh, SSP, and president, District Hockey Association, Ludhiana gave away the prizes.
England await injury verdicts
DURBAN, Dec 25 (Reuters) England await injury verdicts while South Africa face a selection dilemma on the eve of the third Test at Kingsmead tomorrow.
Another problem for both sides has been this weeks flash floods in Durban, which have killed at least 23 persons and left thousands homeless.
England have been understandably wary about another under-prepared pitch after they were thrashed by an innings and 21 runs in the first Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
However, the sun was shining today and latest reports said the pitch was drying fast.
Several members of the South African squad have played in the domestic limited overs competition since the second Test ended almost two weeks ago, but England have been largely inactive. A four-day tour match against a Border-Eastern Province XI in East London at the weekend was reduced to just five sessions of playing time by rain.
The weather has also
hampered efforts to get left-arm pace bowler Alan
Mullally fully fit following a side strain. We want
Mullally fit for selection, but theres no way we
can test his fitness until he gets out on the grass and
bowls, said England coach Duncan Fletcher.
Bowling indoors doesnt help.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 25 (DPA) Brazilian football superstar Ronaldo married his girlfriend Milene Domingues yesterday in a civil cerermony in Rio De Janeiro and later celebrated with a small circle of friends at the home of his mother.
Ronaldo 23, and Milene, 20 began their relationship last July after the footballers liaison with a Brazilian model ended after three years. The newlyweds are expecting their first child, a boy, next April or May. Next June, they are to hold a church wedding in Italy.
The Inter Milan footballer was wearing a black suit and his bride an ivory-coloured silk dress, both donated by fashion designer Giorgio Armani, whom Ronaldo calls my Italian godfather.
National yoga meet begins
PANIPAT, Dec 25 Eighteen teams from various parts of the country are participating in the three-day 18th National Yoga Championship which started here today.
Inaugurating the championship, Principal Secretary to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Vishnu Bhagwan, said yoga should be recognised as a full fledged sport all over the country.
The president of the Haryana State Yoga Association (HSYA), Mr Dharam Vir, while speaking on this occasion said players from 15 countries were expected to participate in the international yoga events which would be organised at New Delhi next year.
Boxing meet results
CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 The seventh All-India Invitational A.K. Misra Memorial Boxing Championship began here today at the skating rink, Sector 10, with local pugilists Anand Kumar in flyweight and Mandeep Singh in bantamweight sailing into the next rounds. Naveen Dev of Haryana in flyweight and Amrinder Singh of Punjab in bantamweight were the other winners in their section. The tournament being organised in the memory of the late AK Misra, an IAS officer of Punjab who was gunned down by militants at Patiala a few years back. Ms Indu Misra, wife of the late AK Misra, inaugurated the five-day meet.
Results: Lightfly weight - S.B. Thapa (Assam Rifles) b T. Dailova (9th Assam) (WP); C.S. Ashok (TN) b Arun Kaushal (HP) WP; Flyweight: Anand Kumar (Chd) b Narinder Saini (N/Rly) R.S.C. (OC) Ist round; Malkit Singh (Pun) b Mahesh D. Bhamre (Guj) R.S.C.-OC Ist Rd; H. Baite (9th Assam) b Sanjeet Chauhan (HP) WP; Naveen Dev (Haryana) b Roshan Nathaniyal (Delhi) WP ; R.S. Chhina (P.F.C.) b Bipul Kumar (BEG- R) WP.
Bantam weight: Anish
Kumar (JBC) b Om Parkash (Chd) WP; Mandeep Singh (Chd) b
Sumit (Haryana) WP; Amrinder Singh (Punjab) b M. Senthil
(TN) WP; Ravinder Singh (Beg) R b Bhupinder Yadav (UP)
WP; Naveen Debas (P.F.C.) b Ram Khilari (Dli) WP; Basant
Mala (9 Assam) b Pramod (HP) WP.
school clinch trophy
CHANDIGARH, Dec 25 Hosts PML SD Public School, Sector 32, clinched the second CBSE National kho-kho trophy in the boys section overpowering Guru Teg Bahadur School, Patiala, by nine points on the concluding day of the CBSE National Kho-Kho Championship here at school grounds. In the girls, section, Guru Harkishan Public School, Sector 38, were the winners when they got the better of Bokaro Ispat Vidyalaya by one turn and two points.
Mr P. Kumar, Controller of Examinations, CBSE, New Delhi was the chief guest and gave away the prizes. Mr KD Gautam, Chairman, Kho-KHo Federation of India, and Mr Yog Raj Sachdeva, Regional Officer, CBSE, also graced the occasion.
A cultural programme was presented by school children attired in colourful dresses.
HISAR, Dec 25 The
22nd National Junior Handball Championship for boys will
be held at Ludhiana in Punjab from January 6 to 11,
according to Mr Rammehar Singh, secretary of the Haryana
State Handball Association trials to select the Haryana
team for this national will be held at Government College
here on December 31 at 12 noon, boys born on January 2,
1980 or after are eligible to take part in the trials.
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