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CHANDIGARH

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DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Chance for India to break jinx
Colombo, July 29
Call it jinx or term them chokers, the Indian team under Sourav Ganguly has won just one tournament in his five years at the helm. The Sunday’s Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka would promise them an excellent opportunity to force a win and herald a new beginning.

VVS Laxman Laxman declared fit for final
Colombo, July 29
Middle-order batsman VVS Laxman was today declared fit and would now be available for selection for Sunday's final against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup cricket tournament.

Inconsequential win for Pakistan
Colombo, July 29
Pakistan did not really sweat much to record a comfortable six-wicket win over Bangladesh in an inconsequential Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament here today.





Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik plays a stroke during the match against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup on Thursday. — AFP
photo
Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik plays a stroke during the match against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup

Sami’s over longest in ODIs
Colombo, July 29
Pakistani speedster Mohammad Sami entered the record books by bowling the longest over in the history of one-day international cricket when he sent down 17 deliveries in the last league encounter against Bangladesh in Asia Cup at R Premadasa stadium here today.

Shoaib Akhtar Shoaib’s contract
ISLAMABAD:
Pakistan are out of reckoning for the Asia Cup title and would be packing their bags on Friday but fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar would be held back in Sri Lanka for a few more days as part of his contractual agreement with an Indian news channel.




Tim Henman of the UK serves to Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina at the Tennis Masters Canada tournament in Toronto
Tim Henman of the UK serves to Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina during their match at the Tennis Masters Canada tournament in Toronto on Wednesday. Henman won 6-4, 6-1.
— Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 

Criticism of rule illogical, says Alam
Islamabad, July 29
Former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam has said national coach Bob Woolmer’s failure to draw up a proper strategy resulted in the team being knocked out of the title race in the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Colombo.

Harbhajan Singh Harbhajan finds chink in Jayasuriya’s armour
Colombo, July 29
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels he may have found a chink in the armour of batting dynamo Sanath Jayasuriya, as India gear up to take Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup cricket tournament on Sunday. "When Sanath sweeps, he turns his eyes away which is an encouraging sight to me," said Harbhajan.

Rahul DravidDravid tops Test ratings
London, July 29
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid has overtaken Brian Lara to top the international Test batting ratings after the West Indies skipper’s unimpressive show in the first cricket Test against England which ended this week.


Brian Lara, captain of the West Indies, fields on the first day of the second Test against England

Trescothick hits ton
London, July 29
Opener Marcus Trescothick scored a masterful century as England reached 204 for three at tea on the first day of the second Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston today.



Brian Lara, captain of the West Indies, fields on the first day of the second Test against England at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham on Thursday.
— Reuters photo

Odumbe met bookie 4 times
Nairobi, July 29
Maurice Odumbe made four trips to an Indian bookmaker in Mumbai before last year’s cricket World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal looking into the alleged inappropriate conduct by the Kenyan cricketer was told here.

Thorpe favourite to make big splash
Sydney, July 29
Australia’s Ian Thorpe ranks as one of the greatest swimmers of all time and he is favourite to make another big splash in Athens. Thorpe won three gold and two silver medals as a 17-year-old at the Sydney Olympics and is entered in six events in Athens, the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle plus three relays.

South African cricketers Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock and Herschelle Gibbs take a break during a practice session in Colombo South African cricketers Lance Klusener (left), Shaun Pollock (centre) and Herschelle Gibbs take a break during a practice session in Colombo on Thursday. The South African team is in Sri Lanka to play two Tests and five ODIs. — AP/PTI

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Chance for India to break jinx

Colombo, July 29
Call it jinx or term them chokers, the Indian team under Sourav Ganguly has won just one tournament in his five years at the helm. The Sunday’s Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka would promise them an excellent opportunity to force a win and herald a new beginning.

In 12 one-day series in which more than two teams took part, India have been the second best team on nine occasions, twice it has shared the trophy and only once has it been the winners.

The one crowning moment was at Lord’s in 2002 when India defied all odds to chase a target of 325 runs and claim the NatWest Trophy, even though Ganguly lost his shirt, literally, at the players’ balcony at the mecca of cricket.

In the opening year of his reign in 2000, India lost to South Africa in Sharjah, came a cropper against New Zealand in the mini World Cup in Kenya and then were hammered out of sight by Sri Lanka, again in Sharjah in November.

India strutted its stuff in Zimbabwe in 2001 and won all its games before the West Indies surprised them in the finals with aggressive tactics.

Playing against Sri Lanka soon thereafter, India failed to come to terms with the hosts, or perhaps the absence of its star player Sachin Tendulkar, as it lay beaten in the finals.

India never stood a chance against South Africa in an away series and then ran into Australia in three consecutive series — 2003 World Cup, the TVS Cup at home followed by the VB Series finals Down Under last season.

The two shared trophies for India came in the TVS Cup in Dhaka when the final against South Africa was washed out. Then in 2002 Champions Trophy, India and Sri Lanka were declared joint winners as rain intervened again.

In tournaments involving two teams, India have done only marginally better. They defeated West Indies in 2002 and then beat Pakistan by a 3-2 margin in an exciting series earlier this year.

Even at home, their record is nothing to rave about. Since 2000-2001, India have twice triumphed against Zimbabwe in familiar conditions but otherwise they have either been beaten by Australia and the West Indies or held by England.

Ganguly opened his captaincy account with a 3-2 win against South Africa in 1999-2000 but since then the team has never been able to get past any other team except Zimbabwe. Though India have at least made it to the finals of all tournaments it has contested under Ganguly, the fact is unlikely to cheer up the ambitious left-hander. — PTI

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Laxman declared fit for final

Colombo, July 29
Middle-order batsman VVS Laxman was today declared fit and would now be available for selection for Sunday's final against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup cricket tournament.

Although the injury has not healed completely, Laxman would have no problems in playing in the final, physiotherapist Andrew Leipus said.

Laxman, who was hit in the same left knee, which had suffered an injury earlier, while batting during nets last week, would take three to four weeks to completely recover from the bad bruise, the physio said. "But he is fit for the final. He will have no problem in discharging his duties in that game. It's been functioning all right," Leipus said. — PTI

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Inconsequential win for Pakistan

Colombo, July 29
Pakistan did not really sweat much to record a comfortable six-wicket win over Bangladesh in an inconsequential Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament here today.

After bundling out the minnows for a paltry 166, the dethroned champions reached the target in 41 overs in the day-night encounter at the Premadasa Stadium.

Bangladesh's wicketkeeper batsman Khaled Mashud was the top scorer of the match with 54 but that could not prevent his team from suffering its 86th loss in 93 one-day internationals.

Shoaib Malik led the Pakistani chase with an effortless 48 and in the process became the first batsman in the tournament to have aggregated more than 300 runs, marking himself out as a top contender for the Man of the Series award. Yousuf Youhana was the other notable contributor with 39.

But all that would go down the drain as Pakistan had already been knocked out of the final, which will be played between India and hosts Sri Lanka on Sunday.

After today's win, Pakistan finished with 11 points while India tallied 12 and Sri Lanka 13 to book a place in the final.

Earlier, the four-pronged pace attack provided the inspiration for Pakistan as they ripped through the Bangladesh batting.

Shabbir Ahmed scalped three for 32 while Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq fetched two wickets each. Part-time offie Shoaib Malik grabbed the remaining one.

A defiant Mashud then hit a career-best equalling 54 in a show of typical lower order resistance.

For Bangladesh, who elected to bat in the day-night encounter, extras was the second highest scorer at 37.

Twenty-year old opening batsman Mohammad Ashraful, who has been impressive in the tournament, failed to score.

Rajin Saleh (23) and Mashfiqur Rehman (21) were the notable scorers but it was Mashud's counter-attack in the company of No 10 Tapash Baisya (14) that provided the brightest spark of the Bangla innings.

Razzaq was the bowler to bear the brunt as the two scored seven fours between them during the partnership.

Scoreboard

Bangladesh

Ashraful lbw Sami 0

Saleh c Younis b Razzaq 23

Bashar lbw Shabbir 10

Kapali c Younis b Shoaib 3

Hossain lbw Shabbir 0

Islam c Moin b Shabbir 0

Mashud b Sami 54

Rahman lbw Shoaib 21

Razzaq b Malik 2

Baisya lbw Razzaq 14

Aziz not out 2

Extras: 37

Total : (all out, 45.2 overs) 166

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-30, 3-41, 4-42, 5-42, 6-75, 7-118, 8-121, 9-147, 10-166

Bowling: Sami 8.2-2-38-2, Shabbir 10-2-32-3, Shoaib 9-1-33-2, Razzaq 8-0-41-2, Malik 10-1-19-1.

Pakistan

Hameed c Rana b Baisya 11

Nazir c Hossein b Aziz 27

Malik b Razzaq 48

Youhana c Rehman b Rana 39

Y Khan not out 16

Razzaq not out 16

Extras (b-2, lb-1, nb-3, w-4) 10

Total ( wickets, 41 overs) 167

Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-52, 3-118, 4-137

Bowling: Tapash Baisya 10-1-42-1, Tareq Aziz 7-1-32-1, Mushfiqur Rehman 6-0-26-0, Abdur Razzaq 10-0-29-1, Manjural Islam Rana 8-1-35-1. — PTI

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Sami’s over longest in ODIs

Colombo, July 29
Pakistani speedster Mohammad Sami entered the record books by bowling the longest over in the history of one-day international cricket when he sent down 17 deliveries in the last league encounter against Bangladesh in Asia Cup at R Premadasa stadium here today.

Sami, who opened the attack for Pakistan, had claimed the wicket of Bangladesh's most consistent batsman M Ashraful with the fifth ball of the innings.

However, in the next over, he went astray and bowled seven wides and four no balls and ended up conceding 22 runs in the 17-ball over.

The previous record stood against the name of Bangladesh bowler Hasibul Hossain, who had bowled 13 balls against England at Nairobi in the ICC knock out tournament in 2000.

Sami began his over with a wide ball, then Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar smashed him for a four and followed it up with a couple. At one time, his sequence read wide, no ball, wide, wide, wide, no ball and wide. The bowler ended up conceding 22 runs as Rajin Saleh drove him to the cover boundary in the last ball after the speedster shortened his run up for the last two deliveries.

After the prolonged over finally came to an end, a relieved Pakistan captain Inazamam-ul Haq removed Sami from the attack and brought in Shoaib Akhtar. Sami's analysis after that over read 2-1-22-1. —UNI 

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Shoaib’s contract

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan are out of reckoning for the Asia Cup title and would be packing their bags on Friday but fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar would be held back in Sri Lanka for a few more days as part of his contractual agreement with an Indian news channel.

“The Pakistan team is leaving on Friday as we are not playing the final. But Shoaib has informed us he will stay back for a few more days because he has to record interviews on the final for an Indian channel,” team manager Haroon Rasheed was quoted as saying in local daily The News. — PTI

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Criticism of rule illogical, says Alam

Islamabad, July 29
Former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam has said national coach Bob Woolmer’s failure to draw up a proper strategy resulted in the team being knocked out of the title race in the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Colombo.

Pakistan’s failure to deprive India of the bonus point in the win against India proved costly as the latter made it to the final after beating Sri Lanka in their last league match on Tuesday.

Alam, also a former coach, lashed out at Woolmer saying his criticism of the bonus point rule system was “unfair and illogical” since it applied to all the teams taking part in the tournament and it was his job to educate the players about its importance.

“The rule was same for all and it was up to the participating teams to work out their plans. Pakistan team did not collect even a single bonus point which shows the coach could not prepare any strategy for it,” Alam was quoted as saying in local daily ‘The Dawn’.

He said studying the rules of the tournament and deriving maximum benefits from it was the coach’s job, which Woolmer failed to do properly.

India got two bonus points in Asia Cup which showed they had worked out some plan for it, Alam said adding Woolmer should accept the defeat instead of moaning about the rules.

Media reports here also slammed Woolmer today after Pakistan were knocked out of the title race.

A report in the same daily said “Pakistan failed to make it to the final due to lack of knowledge of the competition rules on part of the expensively assembled foreign coaches and the captain during the crucial match against India.”

“Despite having India on the ropes, the ignorance of the team management of the bonus point rule led to Pakistan letting the Indians off the hook in the closing minutes of the match,” the report said.

“The coach, manager and the rest of the camp rejoiced over the thought of beating India as for them victory over their arch-rivals was the end of this world,” it added.

“Experts were flabbergasted over the Pakistan dressing room’s inability to relay the message to captain Inzamam-ul Haq during the last two overs that India must not be allowed to score more than 239 runs.” It also said the criticism of the bonus point rule by Pakistan coach and the captain have not gone down well with the game’s ruling body and “everyone thought these were in bad taste.” — PTI 

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Harbhajan finds chink in Jayasuriya’s armour

Colombo, July 29
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels he may have found a chink in the armour of batting dynamo Sanath Jayasuriya, as India gear up to take Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup cricket tournament on Sunday.

"When Sanath sweeps, he turns his eyes away which is an encouraging sight to me," said Harbhajan. "It is not the sweep of a Matthew Hayden who is looking at the ball while executing such strokes," said the bowler who put up a decent show against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, a match that India went on to win by four runs.

The Sri Lankan batting powerhouse is causing sleepless nights to Indian bowlers after his majestic 130 in that Super League match and another encore from the left-hander on Sunday would surely put India on the mat in the final.

"I will have five fielders on the onside for him -- one at short fine leg, the other at deep fine leg, one fielder right in front of square leg umpire, the fourth one at deep midwicket and the fifth at mid-on, drawn a little inside the right," said Harbhajan, hoping an uppish sweep from the left-hander could end up in any one of these fielder's hands.

While Harbhajan has decided to feed Jayasuriya on the sweep stroke, he also has decided he would stick to over-the-wicket approach in his bowling strides.

"I would not bowl round-the-wicket to him. He has such a brilliant tap shot which is defensive in nature but still goes for a four."

"By bowling over the wicket, I would also not be giving him room for his strokes. He is unstoppable when he gets room to play his shots," said the 'Turbanator'.

While Harbhajan plans against Jayasuriya, he is already encouraged by his dismissal of Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu in Tuesday's match against the hosts.

"I really enjoyed that success against Marvan. For me, it was my ball of the tournament. He came forward to me, was beaten in the flight and picked up by Yuvraj Singh in front of square leg umpire." Harbhajan and Yuvraj, close buddies and team-mates for home state Punjab, have developed a special rapport in this Asia Cup -- the position in front of the square leg umpire is increasingly becoming regular for Yuvraj when Harbhajan is bowling.

"It caused the dismissal of Inzamam in last Sunday's game. When Inzi sweeps, he doesn't hit it for singles. He likes to hit it hard and for fours. The trick was to bowl him flatter deliveries for sweep. This way his sweeps would not have gone over the ring fielders. Yuvraj caught him before the shot could elevate and elude him.

"The funny thing is I kept telling Yuvraj to watch out for it two overs before Inzamam was dismissed. We could have got Shoaib Malik to a similar stroke but Yuvraj could not react to it in time."

Though Harbhajan has bowled well in this tournament and got key wickets, he feels he could have done better.

"Since I am returning to international cricket, I am a bit cautious in my approach. I just want to stick to the basics. I feel I didn't bowl as well against Pakistan as I could have. When I came back for my second spell, I gave two or three free hits to the batsmen." India were beaten by 59 runs in their Super League match against Pakistan on Sunday but still managed to get a bonus point, which eventually cost Pakistan a place in the final.

Harbhajan is feeling his way into international cricket after being on the sidelines for eight months because of a finger injury.

"I am now doing things which I never bothered about in my pre-injury phase of career. I now regularly give it (finger) ice-treatment once the match is over. I have three different equipment to strengthen my bowling fingers. The one is a plaster-of-paris kind of stuff with which I squeeze to strengthen my fingers from the inside.

"Then there is a loop which I tie to two fingers and expand it to strengthen my fingers from the outside. Then there is a ball which I keep sponging." Harbhajan though finds it difficult to stop himself from twirling the ball at the start of his run-up.

"I used to twirl the ball four times at the start of my run-up. It meant I was putting the pressure of five deliveries on my fingers for just one ball. I now consciously avoid it.

Sometimes when the urge is irresistible, I turn it backwards, a kind of leg-spinner's action." — PTI

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Dravid tops Test ratings

London, July 29
Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid has overtaken Brian Lara to top the international Test batting ratings after the West Indies skipper’s unimpressive show in the first cricket Test against England which ended this week.

Lara, with an aggregate of 55 runs in the Lord’s Test, slipped down two spots to be now placed third on the list on 881 points behind Dravid (892 points) and Australian Matthew Hayden (885), according to the latest ratings by PriceWaterHouseCoopers here.

The top-ten Test batsmen in the rankings included two more Indians — Sachin Tendulkar (784) and Virender Sehwag (782), placed eighth and ninth, respectively. — PTI

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Trescothick hits ton


England opener Marcus Trescothick acknowledges the crowd's applause after completing his century on the opening day of the second Test against the West Indies in Birmingham
England opener Marcus Trescothick acknowledges the crowd's applause after completing his century on the opening day of the second Test against the West Indies in Birmingham on Thursday. — AP/ PTI photo

London, July 29
Opener Marcus Trescothick scored a masterful century as England reached 204 for three at tea on the first day of the second Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston today.

Trescothick hit 19 fours including a superb pull through mid wicket off Pedro Collins on his way to an unbeaten 103 at the interval with Graham Thorpe not out on 26.

The West Indies snatched two wickets in the afternoon session with Robert Key (29) edging a good length Collins ball to Brian Lara at second slip and Dwayne Bravo taking a juggling catch to dismiss Michael Vaughan caught-and-bowled for 12.

Trescothick put on 77 with Andrew Strauss for the first wicket before Strauss (24) chased a wide Jermaine Lawson delivery and edged to wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs.

Paceman Lawson, who replaced Fidel Edwards in the West Indies line-up, bowled two neat spells going for 38 runs.

Corey Collymore, only called into the squad last week, was named in place of the injured Tino Best and bowled a consistent line early on in the Birmingham sunshine. He and Pedro Collins produced some movement away with the new ball but Vaughan's decision to bat first still looked sound on a pitch that is just as flat as last week's track in the first Test at Lord's which yielded over 1,500 runs.

Scoreboard

England (1st innings)

Trescothick batting 103

Strauss c Jacobs b Lawson 24

Key c Lara b Collins 29

Vaughan c and b Bravo 12

Thorpe batting 26

Extras (lb1, nb9) 10

Total (3 wkts, 55 overs) 204

Fall of wickets: 1-77, 2-125, 3-150

Bowling: Collins 14-1-71-1; Collymore 13-3-47-0; Lawson 14-3-38-1; Bravo 9-3-29-1; Banks 5-0-18-0. — Reuters

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Odumbe met bookie 4 times

Nairobi, July 29
Maurice Odumbe made four trips to an Indian bookmaker in Mumbai before last year’s cricket World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal looking into the alleged inappropriate conduct by the Kenyan cricketer was told here.

The claim was made by Martin Hawkins, one of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit officers, who gave evidence at the hearing yesterday.

Hawkins said he investigated Odumbe’s telephone calls, travels and hotel accommodation between January and December, 2002.

He told the inquiry he interviewed the player in his hotel room in Johannesburg during the World Cup in South Africa over his friendship with the bookie, Jagdish Sodha, andhis trips to Mumbai.

“Odumbe said he had been introduced to Sodha as someone he would do business of solar lighting with, when he retired from cricket. Sodha would also provide medicine for his mother, who had hypertension,” Hawkins said.

“It was the year before the World Cup and it was unusual for a player to make four trips to Mumbai and be entertained by Sodha,” he added. Hawkins said his investigations had proved that the player had received money and had his accommodation in Mumbai paid for by his host.

But Odumbe’s lawyer Ishan Kapila claimed the ICC investigators had infringed on his client’s private life by giving detailed reports on his girlfriends and other personal affairs.

“The code of conduct is dramatically fraud in the context,” said Kapila, in his cross-examination.

Another ICC investigator, Niranjan Singh Virk, told the inquiry that he had interviewed Sodha in 2000 when he was still working for the CBI and at the time, he confessed he had been a bookmaker. He said Sodha had never been charged or convicted for the offence. — AFP

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Thorpe favourite to make big splash

Sydney, July 29
Australia’s Ian Thorpe ranks as one of the greatest swimmers of all time and he is favourite to make another big splash in Athens. Thorpe won three gold and two silver medals as a 17-year-old at the Sydney Olympics and is entered in six events in Athens, the 100, 200 and 400 metres freestyle plus three relays.

Thorpe burst on to the world stage in 1998 when he became the youngest male world champion in history with victory in the 400 metres freestyle.

He is unbeaten in his favourite event since then and hasn’t lost a 200m race since finishing second to Pieter van den Hoogenband at the Sydney Olympics. — Reuters

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 BRIEFLY


Felix Magath, coach of German Bundesliga soccer club Bayern Munich, talks to goalkeeper Oliver Kahn during a training session in Bonn
Felix Magath (right), coach of German Bundesliga football club Bayern Munich, talks to goalkeeper Oliver Kahn during a training session in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday. — Reuters 

HP trials
Kangra:
The Himachal Pradesh Women’s Hockey Association will hold trials at the Paddal ground in Mandi on Sunday for selecting the state team for the 17th National Sub-Junior Women’s Hockey Championship, scheduled to be held at Kapurthala from August 17 to 23.
Stating this here on Thursday, Ms Lalita Sharma, vice-president of the association, said players born on or after January 1, 1989, were eligible for the trials, which would begin at 10 am. She said interested girls should bring their date of birth certificate, besides a kit and light bedding.
— OC

Hockey meet
Chandigarh:
The 17th National Sub-Junior Women’s Hockey Championship will be held at Guru Nanak Stadium, Kapurthala, from August 17 to 23. Over 25 teams are likely to take part in the championship. Players born on or after January 1, 1989, are eligible. — TNS

 

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