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Indians get down to business
Ramesh Powar delivers a ball in front of teammate Mahendra Dhoni during the team’s first full practice since landing in the Caribbean in Spanish Town, 30 km west of Kingston, on Sunday Kingston (Jamaica), May 15
With their body clocks settling into a kind of a rhythm, the Indian cricket team had its first full practice session ahead of their tour-opening game against a local eleven here tomorrow.

Dhoni trims tresses



Ramesh Powar delivers a ball in front of teammate Mahendra Dhoni during the team’s first full practice since landing in the Caribbean in Spanish Town, 30 km west of Kingston, on Sunday. — AFP photo

Sachin works out in MRF gym
Sachin Tendulkar takes part in a training session at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai on Monday Chennai, May 15
Sachin Tendulkar’s desire to get back into the team for the West Indies trip was evident by the way he took to the MRF academy gymnasium today and did a series of shoulder strengthening exercises.



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Sachin Tendulkar takes part in a training session at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai on Monday. — PTI photo

Windies wind up Zimbabwe
Port of Spain, May 15
West Indies completed a 5-0 series win over Zimbabwe when they clinched the seventh and final one-dayer by 104 runs. Dwayne Smith snared four wickets for 29 runs as Zimbabwe, chasing 267, were dismissed for 162 in 49 overs.

Lanka pull off great escape
London, May 15
Two magnificent innings from Sri Lanka’s tailenders together with continued gloom in the skies ended England’s chances of enforcing victory on the final day of the first Test at Lord’s.

Anand bounces back to crush Ponomariov
Sofia, May 15
After a loss to his old nemesis Gata Kamsky, Viswanathan Anand bounced back with a vengeance to crash through the defences of former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the fourth round of the Mtel Masters Chess Tournament here.



World Cup Countdown

Team profile:
Portugal


Spain’s Rafael Nadal bites the winner’s cup after defeating Switzerland’s Roger Federer at the final of the Rome Masters tennis tournament on Sunday
Spain’s Rafael Nadal bites the winner’s cup after defeating Switzerland’s Roger Federer at the final of the Rome Masters tennis tournament on Sunday. Nadal won 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6. It was the Spaniard’s 53rd successive win on clay, equalling the 29-year-old record set by Guillermo Vilas. — AP/PTI 

EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

4 Pak A players fined
Lahore, May 15
The Pakistan Cricket Board has fined four Pakistan A players, including captain Hasan Raza, who during the Eurasia Cup in Abu Dhabi had visited Dubai without the team management’s permission, with three of them ending up in a lockup there.

Sasikiran draws with Carlsen
Sarajevo, May 15
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran could not breach the defences of Norwegian super talent Magnus Carlsen and had to settle for a draw in the eighth round of Bosna International Grandmasters Chess Tournament here.

East Bengal runners-up in NFL
Kolkata, May 15
Medio Jayanta Sen’s spectacular strike enabled East Bengal to a solitary goal win over JCT Mills, Phagwara, and helped them finish runners-up in the ONGC 10th National Football League tie here today.

NIS coaching camps from June 1
Patiala, May 15
With SAI Director-General (DG) R.P. Wattal virtually ruling out the setting up of a defense university as was being envisaged by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the NIS authorities have gone into overdrive and opened the institute’s doors for budding local sportspersons.

Mahto bites the dust in JSCA poll
Bokaro, May 14
Jharkhand’s Home and Sports Minister Sudesh Mahto bit the dust as Inspector General of Police and former team India manager Amitabh Choudhury won the battle for the president’s post of Jharkahand State Cricket Association.

Haryana awards function on May 25
Chandigarh, May 15
The Haryana Government will honour outstanding sportspersons of the state at a ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here on May 25.

Hot weather cricket for U-13
Patiala, May 15
The 8th annual Hot Weather Cricket Tournament for U-13 boys will be held simultaneously at YPS and Black Elephant grounds here from May 21 to June 4.

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Indians get down to business
Ashish Shukla

Kingston (Jamaica), May 15
With their body clocks settling into a kind of a rhythm, the Indian cricket team had its first full practice session ahead of their tour-opening game against a local eleven here tomorrow.

The nets meandered along its routine way at Chadwin Park but for some lusty hitting by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and gingerly movement of Virender Sehwag.

Coach Greg Chappell took aside Sehwag and seemed to be giving lessons to the Delhi opener on how to play short-pitched deliveries.

It stoked the anticipation for the session ahead before disappointment set in. Sehwag, who recently dismissed suggestions that he was vulnerable to short-pitched bowling, padded up only at the very end; faced a couple of inconsequential local bowlers in complete disinterest before rounding up the day.

One searched for meaning in Sehwag’s gingerly movement across the field but in the present dispensation of Indian cricket, every little information is guarded with maniac zeal.

Otherwise, there was enough to be entertained about the visit to the venue and a little byplay that occurred between a few Indian cricketers.

The venue itself was a good 40-minute drive from the hotel and made one wonder if the local authorities could not arrange anything better close by. Locals claimed there were options aplenty nearer the hotel itself.

Still, a visit to Chadwin Park was worth the ticket if nothing else then for the fact that the great George Headley practised and honed his skills at this very venue.

Ramesh Powar carries enough deception in his portly frame and it seemed to prick the pride of Yuvraj Singh who earlier had seemed in sublime form against other bowlers.

Powar’s tantalising loop and dip clearly messed up Yuvraj’s footwork on one occasion. The two left the pitch, promising each other a more convincing round the next time.

Dhoni, at the adjoining pitch, batted as only he can presently. He once hoisted Harbhajan Singh clean out of the boundary walls of the ground past the running street. A few subsequent buck up calls from Chappell didn’t seem to have an assuaging effect on the otherwise ebullient Sardar.

Outside the ropes, biomechanist Ian Frazer tempted Mohammad Kaif and Irfan Pathan to leave the crease and meet lobbed deliveries on the pitch.

Skipper Rahul Dravid came in for some easy nets but found himself once bowled and then continuously presented with short-pitched stuff by a couple of local bowlers. Almost bored, he produced a few hook shots before retiring in the shade.

The young fast bowlers were the first ones to take control of nets as they bowled to get their line and length in order.

Irfan Pathan, clearly in a conservation mode, moved ever so slowly to his bowling mark and bowled only slightly above military medium-pace, it seems he has realised the virtue of spacing out on such a long tour.

The session carried on with good intent for nearly three hours before everyone in the Indian team fitted himself somehow inside a van and headed back to hotel.

Dhoni trims tresses

Mahendra Singh Dhoni today had less burden on his head, having trimmed his trademark flowing locks.

But for his innumerable fans back home, he had a reassuring message, the long hair would be back before he returns to India.

Why did he shorten his hair? “In this heat, it serves a practical purpose, but there is no reason for my fans to lose heart. It would be back to its normal length by the time I am back in India.” — PTI

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Sachin works out in MRF gym

Chennai, May 15
Sachin Tendulkar’s desire to get back into the team for the West Indies trip was evident by the way he took to the MRF academy gymnasium today and did a series of shoulder strengthening exercises.

Tendulkar, who is recuperating from a shoulder injury, spent around one hour in the MRF gymnasium here and did scapula and core strengthening exerices besides tubing, pilates and speed exercises.

“I am fine. I did some scapula and core strengthening exercises today,” Tendulkar told PTI.

Tendulkar, who underwent a shoulder surgery in March and is hoping to regain full fitness ahead of the Test series against the West Indies, is here to practice at the state-of-the-art academy from May 16 to 20 under the watchful eyes of trainer Ramji Srinivasan.

However, it was still not clear whether the master batsman would undergo the final fitness test here in Chennai or in Mumbai. The decision will be taken once Andrew Leipus arrives here.

Tendulkar, however said the fitness test is scheduled in his home city. — PTI

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Windies wind up Zimbabwe

Port of Spain, May 15
West Indies completed a 5-0 series win over Zimbabwe when they clinched the seventh and final one-dayer by 104 runs.

Dwayne Smith snared four wickets for 29 runs as Zimbabwe, chasing 267, were dismissed for 162 in 49 overs.

The West Indies, who go on to face a much stiffer examination against India, also completed back-to-back victories by five wickets and 98 runs in the first two matches at St John’s, an 82-run win last Sunday at Georgetown, and a 10-wicket triumph last Wednesday at Gros Islet.

The third ODI at Georgetown was abandoned without a ball bowled because of rain, and the rain-affected sixth match here on Saturday was also abandoned with no result.

Brendon Taylor struck five fours yesterday to top score for Zimbabwe with 43 from 82 balls and Vusimuzi Sibanda gave him support with 42 off 82 balls that contained two boundaries.

They added 59 for the third wicket, but there no substance and no stability from the rest of the batting which quickly folded.

Ramnaresh Sarwan had hit six boundaries in the top score of 91 from 114 balls, as the West Indies totalled 266 for eight from 50 overs after they chose to bat in ideal conditions.

The elegant right-hander added a vital 71 for the second wicket with compatriot Shivnarine Chanderpaul and put on 67 for the third wicket with West Indies captain Brian Lara.

Chanderpaul struck four fours and one six in 45 from 69 balls and Lara counted two fours and three sixes in 40 off 38 balls.

The West Indies now tackle India in a series of five ODIs and four Tests, and Zimbabwe contest a triangular ODI series in Trinidad, starting tomorrow, when they face Bermuda and Canada, two associate member nations that have qualified for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Scoreboard

West Indies

Gayle c Duffin b Mahwire 11

Chanderpaul c Utseya b Higgins 45

Sarwan c Chigumbura b Mahwire 91

Lara c Higgins b Utseya 40

Bravo b Higgins 17

Samuels c Chigumbura b Mupariwa 6

Smith c Chigumbura b Mupariwa 4

Baugh c Chigumbura b Mupariwa 19

Bradshaw not out 11

Taylor not out 4

Extras (lb-4, w-13, nb-1) 18

Total (8 wkts, 50 overs) 266

Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-99,

3-166, 4-197, 5-206, 6-214, 7-237, 8-250.

Bowling: Mupariwa 10-1-44-3, Mahwire 10-1-49-2, Meth 8-0-46-0, Utseya 10-0-54-1, Rinke 2-0-17-0, Higgins 10-0-52-2.

Zimbabwe

Duffin c Baugh b Edwards 2

Sibanda c and b Bradshaw 42

Rinke b Taylor 12

Taylor run out 43

Chigumbura lbw Smith 3

Strydom c Smith b Gayle 2

Meth c (sub) Morton

b Samuels 16

Higgins lbw Smith 2

Mahwire not out 10

Mupariwa b Smith 0

Utseya c (sub) Morton b Smith 6

Extras (b-3, lb-4, w-14, nb-3) 24

Total (all out, 49 overs) 162

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-34, 3-93, 4-102, 5-107, 6-141, 7-142, 8-151, 9-151.

Bowling: Edwards 4-1-17-1, Taylor 6-0-26-1, Bradshaw 9-0-27-1, Bravo 6-1-22-0, Smith 8-0-29-4, Gayle 10-2-17-1, Samuels 6-0-17-1. — AFP

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Lanka pull off great escape

London, May 15
Two magnificent innings from Sri Lanka’s tailenders together with continued gloom in the skies ended England’s chances of enforcing victory on the final day of the first Test at Lord’s.

Andrew Flintoff, who bowled a remarkable 51 overs, threw everything at Nuwan Kulasekara, who made 64 brave runs, and Chaminda Vaas who ended unbeaten on 50, to little avail.

And though Kulasekara was eventually dismissed, Muttiah Muralitharan survived 16 balls as Sri Lanka staged one of the more extraordinary fightbacks in recent memory.

Earlier, England captured two wickets on the final morning of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s today to move within sight of victory. At lunch Sri Lanka, who had been asked to follow on on Saturday, were 429 for eight in their second innings, an overall lead of 70.

The start was delayed by 20 minutes because of rain and the players then left the field 20 minutes before the scheduled lunch break when the rain returned.

Chamara Kapugedera was the first wicket to fall, gloving a catch to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones after an attempted hook off Andrew Flintoff. The 19-year-old debutant scored only 10 but resisted for 58 minutes as Sri Lanka fought to save the match.

Kapugedera should have gone without adding to his overnight score of five but instead he was the beneficiary of some more fallible England catching.

Six chances had already gone to ground and today it was the turn of captain Andrew Flintoff, one of the best slip fielders in the world.

Matthew Hoggard was again the unlucky bowler, catching the edge of Kapugedera’s bat.

Scoreboard

England (1st innings) 551 for 6 decl

Sri Lanka (1st innings) 192

Sri Lanka (2nd innings)

Mubarak b Hoggard 6

Tharanga c Jones b Panesar 52

Sangakkara c Jones b Panesar 65

Jayawardene c Jones b Flintoff 119

Maharoof c Pietersen b Mahmood 59

Samaraweera c Jones b Mahmood 6

Dilshan c Trescothick b Plunkett 69

Kapugedera c Jones b Flintoff 10

Vaas not out 50

Kulasekara c Pietersen b Hoggard 64

Muralitharan not out 1

Extras (b-9, lb-19, w-3, nb-5) 36

Total (9 wkts, 199 overs) 537

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-119, 3-178, 4-291, 5-303, 6-371, 7-405, 8-421, 9-526.

Bowling: Hoggard 46-11-110-2, Flintoff 51-11-131-2, Mahmood 35-5-118-2, Plunkett 31-10-85-1, Collingwood 9-2-16-0, Panesar 27-10-49-2. — Reuters

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4 Pak A players fined

Lahore, May 15
The Pakistan Cricket Board has fined four Pakistan A players, including captain Hasan Raza, who during the Eurasia Cup in Abu Dhabi had visited Dubai without the team management’s permission, with three of them ending up in a lockup there.

The board, however, gave a clean chit to the cricketers, saying that they were not guilty of speeding, an offence for which Taufeeq Umar, Misbah-ul-Haq and Zulqarnain Haider had to spent a night in a Dubai lockup before the team management rescued them.

Raza, who led Pakistan A to Eurasia Cup win against arch-rivals India in the final, and three others had gone to Dubai for shopping and they were travelling in a friend’s car which was booked for speeding.

Though there were reports that liquor, which is banned in Dubai, was found in possession of the players, the PCB vehemently denied such claims. — UNI

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Anand bounces back to crush Ponomariov

Sofia, May 15
After a loss to his old nemesis Gata Kamsky, Viswanathan Anand bounced back with a vengeance to crash through the defences of former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the fourth round of the Mtel Masters Chess Tournament here.

With his fourth decisive game on the trot, Anand also ensured that Russian-turned-American Kamsky, who cruised to a relatively quick victory over former Russian champion Peter Svidler, did not increase his lead.

The other game of the category-20 super tournament between Etienne Bacrot of France and world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria ended in a draw.

Kamsky took his tally to an enviable score of 3.5 points, while Anand had three points in his kitty in the 10-round event.

Despite the loss, Svidler retained his third spot in the standings on two points, while Topalov, with his third draw in four rounds, apart from a lone defeat against Anand, was fourth on 1.5 points.

The loss proved quite costly for Topalov as he now shares the last spot along with Bacrot in the six-player double round-robin tournament.

Anand was at his technical best against Ponomariov, who suffered his second defeat in the event. The Ukrainian adopted the Caro Kann defence as black against the Indian ace and could only manage a slightly inferior endgame after both players blitzed out the opening moves.

The game witnessed a flurry of exchanges early in the middle game and the queens, too, were off the board by the 17th move itself. Thereafter Anand was a treat to watch as he first found a brilliant plan that apparently dented his pawn structure beyond repairs but at the same time left enough holes in Ponomariov’s position.
PTI

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Sasikiran draws with Carlsen

Sarajevo, May 15
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran could not breach the defences of Norwegian super talent Magnus Carlsen and had to settle for a draw in the eighth round of Bosna International Grandmasters Chess Tournament here.

The battle for the top place in the high-category event heated up as tailender German Arkadij Naiditsch came up with a brilliant effort to beat overnight leader and top seed Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania, while Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Malakhov cruised to an emphatic victory over Borki Predojevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With Sasikiran’s game needing the lone draw of the eighth round, Malakhov emerged as the new sole leader on five points and he was followed by Carlsen and Nisipeanu on 4.5 points each.

Predojevic was on the fourth spot with four points in his kitty, while Sasikiran and Naiditsch were tied fifth in the six-players tournament being played on a double round-robin basis.

With each passing round, Sasikiran’s comeback is becoming more difficult and the Indian is now certain to lose at least a few rating points from the event. — PTI

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East Bengal runners-up in NFL

Kolkata, May 15
Medio Jayanta Sen’s spectacular strike enabled East Bengal to a solitary goal win over JCT Mills, Phagwara, and helped them finish runners-up in the ONGC 10th National Football League tie here today.

The hard-working Sen followed up a Guy Endem square pass from the right and fired a snap right footer that went in off the hands of JCT custodian Kalyan Choubey, to boost the Kolkata club’s points tally to 31 from 17 matches.

East Bengal wrapped up their NFL engagements behind Mahindra United (32 from 15 games), who have already won the crown. However, more importantly, the red and yellow brigade have now taken an unassailable seven-point lead over closest challengers and traditional rivals Mohun Bagan (24 from 15 games), who can at best hope for a third place finish.

The Salt Lake Stadium tie saw the two teams dish out a fast, entertaining variety of foootball in the first half, before losing steam post breather. The visitors, who have one game left, remained on 20 points from 16 matches. — PTI

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NIS coaching camps from June 1
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 15
With SAI Director-General (DG) R.P. Wattal virtually ruling out the setting up of a defense university as was being envisaged by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the NIS authorities have gone into overdrive and opened the institute’s doors for budding local sportspersons.

According to Mr L.Ranawat, Regional Director of the NIS, in order to provide an opportunity to local talented boys and girls and to enable them to take coaching under the supervision of senior NIS coaches, the institute has decided to conduct summer sports coaching camps from June 1 to 21 for under-16 boys and girls. The camps will be held in basketball, fencing, football, handball, tennis and volleyball.

According to Mr Ranawat, the campers will be provided with sports equipment and playing-field facilities at a nominal fee of Rs 150, while for tennis, the fee for the sportspersons will be Rs 300.

Trials to select the children will be held at the NIS on May 25 and 26, said Mr Ranawat.

The NIS has also extended the scope of the immensely popular “pay and play” scheme by adding eight disciplines to the six already being run by the institute. From now on, the facility will also be available in boxing (6-19 years), cycling (5 to 17 years), fencing (eight years or above), gymnastics (5 to 21 years), handball (10 years or above), Judo (8 to 19 years), Wushu (9 to 25 years) and yoga (six years or above). The sportspersons will have to pay Rs 100 per month to avail the “pay and play” facility. The institute is already successfully running the scheme for badminton, conditioning, cricket, tennis, swimming and table tennis.

Mr Ranawat said a six-week certificate course in sports coaching, meant for local physical education teachers, would also be held at the institute from May 17 to 25 in hockey (women), swimming, wushu, yoga and fencing (all for men and women).

The NIS authorities are leaving no stone unturned to see that the institute is further strengthened and these latest schemes are part of the management’s endeavour to see to it that local talent is harmonised in a professional manner.

Mr R.P. Wattal, DG of SAI, at a press conference held at the NIS on Saturday, had termed the institute as a Mecca of sports in India. Mr Wattal had also announced a two-pronged five-year plan to improve the facilities at the institute.

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Mahto bites the dust in JSCA poll

Bokaro, May 14
Jharkhand’s Home and Sports Minister Sudesh Mahto bit the dust as Inspector General of Police and former team India manager Amitabh Choudhury won the battle for the president’s post of Jharkahand State Cricket Association (JSCA).

Choudhuri retained his post, beating the minister by a margin of 101 votes yesterday.

The high-voltage election generated huge interest as Mahto had been pitted against Choudhury, the incumbent.

Choudhuri polled 400 votes against Mahto’s 299, while three votes were nullified. A total of 703 votes were cast out of 955 members of the JSCA.

People in this region had never witnessed such a high-profile election of the erstwhile Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) in the past, which has been rechristened as JSCA.

Former Test player Saba Karim, campaigning for Mahto, expressed displeasure over the arrangement after casting his vote. — UNI

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Haryana awards function on May 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Haryana Government will honour outstanding sportspersons of the state at a ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here on May 25. The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R.Kidwai, would confer the state sports awards and Bheema Puruskar on sportspersons. The Chief Minister, Mr Bhupender Singh Hooda, will also be present at the function.

Stating this here today, the Haryana Sports Minister, Mr Phool Chand Mullana, said Bheema Puruskar, the highest sports award of the state, would be given to five players — Jasjeet Kaur Handa (hockey), Sunil Kumar (athletics), Sanjay Kumar (volleyball), Archana (judo) and Neha Rathee (wrestler). Thirty other players would be honoured with cash prizes. Mr Mullana said the winners of the Bheem Puruskar would get Rs 1 lakh each, besides a blazer, tie, scarf, etc.

He said Akhil Kumar, Vijender Kumar and Jitender Kumar of Bhiwani district, who had won the gold, silver and bronze medal, respectively, in boxing at the Commonwealth Games, would also be awarded. Silver-medal winners Seema Antil (discus throw) and Rajvinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur, Surender Kaur, Rajni Bala and Mamta Kharab (all members of the women’s hockey team) would also be awarded on the occasion.

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Hot weather cricket for U-13
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, May 15
The 8th annual Hot Weather Cricket Tournament for U-13 boys will be held simultaneously at YPS and Black Elephant grounds here from May 21 to June 4.

According to Mr H.S. Arora, sports secretary, 10 teams will take part in the tourney. The teams have been divided in two pools. DAC, Panchkula , NICS, Patiala, MES Black Elephant, DMW, Patiala, and DCF, New Delhi, have been grouped in pool A while YPS, Patiala, SCA, Bahadurgarh, Sunny Cricket Club, Amritsar, Stadium XI, Agra and Kanpur Nursery, Kanpur, have been clubbed in pool B.

The matches will be played on a league-cum-knock out basis.

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Graphic: Gaurav Sood; Compiled by Pankaj Vasudeva

 
 BRIEFLY

Sania moves up
New Delhi:
A resting Sania Mirza’s ranking continued to soar on the WTA charts as she climbed two places to be on the 35th spot in the latest ratings announced on Monday. However, India’s star Fed Cup player Shikha Uberoi slipped one place to No. 179. Ankita Bhambri moved three places to No. 332, while another Fed Cup player Isha Lakhani was static at No. 363. — PTI

Ritwik bows out
Mumbai:
National squash champion Ritwik Bhattacharya went down fighting to Canada’s Shawn De Lierre 10-12, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 7-11 in a riveting quarterfinal in the Atlanta Open. Looking to repeat his superb performance in the Liverpool 08 Open last week, Bhattacharya came up just short in the marathon encounter. — PTI

Soma Biswas 13th
New Delhi:
Soma Biswas, gold medallist in last year’s Asian Championship in Korea, came up with a below-par show to finish 13th, while her Bengal colleague Sushmita Singha Roy stood 23rd in heptathlon at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge at Desenzano, del Garda, Italy. Polish Karolina Tyminska won the gold totalling 6,178 points, Ukrainian Hanna Melnychenko (5,952) got the silver, while Italian Elisa Trevisan (5,784) claimed the bronze in the event on Sunday. — UNI

Cricket tourney
AMRITSAR:
Randev XI edged out United Cricket Club, New Delhi, by two runs in the opening match of the All-India Young Master’s Cricket Tournament at Gandhi ground here on Monday. Batting first, Randev XI were all out for 152 runs. Chasing the total, United Cricket Club were dismissed for 150. — OSR

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