Proteas survive Malinga scare
McGrath, Hogg secure big win
Injury-hit Kiwis meet Windies today
WC is too long: Ian Chappell
Opting to field not backed by results
Dhoni, Viru arrive to cold response
Wisden rewards Yousuf
Anand ensures rapid title
Churchill rally to hold Sporting Clube
Georgetown, March 28
Captain Graeme Smith struck 59 before Jacques Kallis, dropped twice, hit 86 to help top-ranked South Africa tumble over the line with 10 balls to spare despite Malinga's unprecedented World Cup haul late on.
Fast bowler Charl Langeveldt earlier claimed a career-best five for 39 and Herschelle Gibbs produced a marvellous diving run-out to dismiss a disappointing Sri Lanka for 209 with three balls left of their innings.
South Africa, who failed to carry forward points from the group stage after losing to Australia, join Sri Lanka on two points.
Earlier, South Africa produced a clinical bowling performance to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest 209.
The free-stroking Sri Lankan batsmen struggled to get going on a damp wicket at the newly built Province Stadium before a record partnership between Tillekaratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold propped up the innings.
Dilshan and Arnold put on 97 runs for the sixth wicket which gave the Sri Lankans a target to defend which seemed unlikely after they were reduced to 98-5 in the 25th over.
The duo seemed to have pulled their side out of trouble and were preparing for a late assault when a lower order collapse cut the innings short with three balls to spare.
Tharanga c Kemp b Ntini 12
Jayasuriya c Kallis b Langeveldt 26
Jayawardene c de Villiers b Langeveldt 12
Sangakkara c Boucher b Hall 28
Silva run out 9
Dilshan c Kemp b Ntini 58
Arnold c Boucher b Langeveldt 50
Maharoof c Ntini b Langeveldt 5
Vaas c Gibbs b Langeveldt 0
Malinga not out 0
Muralitharan run out 1
Extras (lb-3, w-4, nb-1) 8
Total (all out, 49.3 overs) 209
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-45, 3-65, 4-90, 5-98, 6-195, 7-208, 8-208, 9-208.
Bowling: Pollock 8-0-46-0, Ntini 8-0-26-2, Langeveldt 10-1-39-5, Hall 9.3-0-33-1, Kallis 6-0-24-0, Peterson 5-0-22-0, Smith 3-0-16-0.
Smith st Sangakkara b Murali 59
De Villiers b Vaas 0
Kallis c Sangakkara b Malinga 86
Gibbs c&b Murali 31
Boucher lbw Murali 0
Kemp st Sangakkara b Jayasuriya 5
Pollock b Malinga 13
Hall c Tharanga b Malinga 0
Peterson not out 4
Ntini b Malinga 0
Langeveldt not out 1
Extras (b-5, lb-4, w-3, nb-1) 13
Total (9 wkts, 48.2 overs) 212
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-95, 3-160, 4-160, 5-182, 6-206, 7-206, 8-207, 9-207.
Bowling: Vaas 10-1-31-1, Malinga 9.2-0-54-4, Maharoof 7-0-41-0, Murali 10-0-34-3, Jayasuriya 10-0-34-1, Dilshan 2-0-9-0. — Agencies
McGrath, Hogg secure big win
St John’s, March 28
West Indies, began their innings in response to Australia 322 for 6 in sunny conditions this morning, and were all out for 219 in the 46th over.
Captain Brian Lara was at the centre stage of home resistance, carving out a classy 77 from 83 balls with eight fours and a six but at no stage his knock threatened to make any material difference to the game.
Lara didn't fall to his old nemesis Glenn McGrath in this game but the latter did more than his bit in wreaking damage elsewhere in the West Indian innings.
McGrath began by provoking Chris Gayle into mistiming a pull after the left-hander had pottered around for 23 balls for his two runs.
The next victim of 'Pigeon' was Marlon Samuels who was first rattled by a steepling bouncer that jammed onto his chin and then, flustered, ended up making an unnecessary dash and offering a catch to extra cover fielder.
McGrath, then came back to account for Dwayne Bravo (9) when it appeared that West Indies could still end up making a respectable response to Australia's mammoth total.
The fourth-wicket stand of 71 runs between Ramnaresh Sarwan (29) and Lara was the only significant stretch of play for the hosts before left-arm spinner Brad Hogg began making his presence felt.
Hogg had Sarwan caught inside the ring and also accounted for Lara and Dwayne Smith (9) to break the back of West Indian resistance.
Lara who did enough to show his class by first weathering the storm and then launching himself into a memorable assault on the Australian bowlers, made an attempt to carve a full-pitched delivery past the keeper and was ruled out leg before wicket.
McGrath and Hogg finished with three wickets each but fast bowler Shaun Tait was similarly impressive in shaking up the home top order with his blistering pace and aggression.
All in all it was a consummate performance from the world champions who frankly have brooked no resistance in the competition so far.
Gilchrist c Ramdin b Powell 7
Hayden c Samuels b Bravo 158
Ponting run out 35
Clarke lbw Bravo 41
Symonds c Ramdin b Samuels 13
Hussey b Powell 9
Watson not out 33
Hogg not out 5
Extras (b-1, lb-9, w-8, nb-3) 21
Total (6 wkts, 50 overs) 322
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-76, 3-174, 4-208, 5-234, 6-297.
Bowling: Powell 10-2-53-2, Taylor 10-0-67-0, Collymore 10-0-56-0, Gayle 4-0-29-0, Bravo 7-0-49-2, Samuels 9-0-58-1.
Gayle c Watson b McGrath 2
Chanderpaul lbw Tait 5
Sarwan c Ponting b Hogg 29
Samuels c Symonds b McGrath 4
Lara lbw Hogg 77
Bravo c Ponting b McGrath 9
Ramdin c Gilchrist b Bracken 52
Smith lbw Hogg 9
Taylor lbw Symonds 10
Powell b Tait 5
Collymore not out 1
Extras (b-1, w-15) 16
Total (all out, 45.3 overs) 219
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-16, 3-20, 4-91, 5-107, 6-156, 7-172, 8-199, 9-217.
Bowling: Bracken 9-1-25-1, Tait 7.3-0-43-2, McGrath 8-1-31-3, Watson 7-0-31-0, Hogg 10-0-56-3, Symonds 4-0-32-1. — PTI
Antigua, March 28
One of the pre-tournament favourites, New Zealand are trying hard to put up a fully-fit team for this crucial game.
The West Indies too are also in a tight spot as they will now have to play for a third day on the trot as their match against Australia spilled over to the reserve day.
Having already lost opener Lou Vincent with a broken wrist and all-rounder Daryl Tuffey to an arm injury, the Kiwis are being forced to seek continuous replacements.
They are also having a problem with their batting order, and Peter Fulton, who has only opened once before on his one-day international debut, will now take Vincent’s place at the top.
New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming however exuded confidence that his team will perform well against the hosts saying that the squad had enough reserve depth to cope, especially with Chris Martin coming in for Tuffey and Hamish Marshall taking Vincent’s place.
Marshall is likely to play straightaway as he is slated to bat at number three position.
Talking to media persons after practice, Fleming said, “This changes our plans a little bit. We now go back to the teams that we put out the last 12 months. And Hamish is part of that, and Pete (Fulton) has played up and down the order now.” “Pete’s form is outstanding. To leave him out of the first couple of games was incredibly difficult. The positive is he gets a chance, and a consistent chance, to bat in one spot for a while.
Pete’s played up and down the order knowing he was going to be a utility bat.” He admitted that flying in and then being asked to play immediately would be tough on Marshall.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for Hamish and certainly the team realises that. We’ll do everything we can to make sure he’s ready to go.” West Indies Brian Lara too has his share of worries, particularly the manner in which strike bowler Jerome Taylor and economy man Corey Collymore were trashed by Matthew Hayden and later, by Shane Watson in the rain-hit game yesterday.
He simply cannot afford to let his bowlers bleed, especially when literally every game is life and death matter. — UNI
Bridgetown, March 28
The marathon 2007 tournament in the Caribbean lasts for almost seven weeks and features 16 teams. But Chappell believes it can be trimmed.
“I am quite happy with the globalising of the game, but I really think the World Cup is running too long at the moment,” Chappell said in his column cricinfo.
“Let’s take the eight major teams as they are. I would then like to see two teams qualify to make it ten and then I would like to see those teams play each other once, so that everybody has played each other,” he added.
“The team that goes on to win the World Cup would have played all the other teams once, no one will have missed out and the tournament will come to an end much faster.” Chappell also thinks a shortened version would still involve the non-Test playing nations who, with the exception of Ireland, have been generally out of the depth here.
“For those who would then jump up and down and say that there is no encouragement for the minnows, what I would say is that firstly, they play in the qualifying tournament.” “We had these practice games before the tournament that all the major teams played in, which I thought was a good idea as it helps in getting used to the conditions.
“The minnows could be involved in those games as they could then play against the major sides. I think the most important thing is that it is not so much what you do with the minnows at the World Cup.
“I think it’s what you do in between the World Cups to make sure that these teams are getting an opportunity to get better, so that eventually down the line, we get a World Cup where there are 16 teams competing - they’re all competitive - and it is an elite tournament.” — AFP
New Delhi, March 28
Sharad Pawar, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has called a working committee meeting in Mumbai April 6 and 7 to discuss India’s shock first-round exit from the World Cup in the West Indies.
The team is yet to return from the West Indies.
In the text message sent to Rajan Bala on Feb 17, essentially praising an article written by the veteran cricket writer, Chappell wrote that he wanted more youngsters in the 15-member team but senior players had resisted his demand.
“Even in the last (World Cup) selection meeting, I fought for the youth.
Senior players fought against it,” Bala read out the message from his mobile phone in front of several television channels.
The message was sent five days after the squad was picked for the World Cup.
“(The) chairman of selectors (Dilip Vengsarkar) went with them out of fear of media, if they failed.” Asked why he chose to disclose the contents of a private SMS at this point, Bala said he did so to save Chappell from the harsh criticism following the World Cup disaster.
Chappell’s contract with the BCCI ended with the World Cup.
Chappell’s verbalisation of what he thought of the team composition could go against him as he has broken the confidentiality clause on selection issues, say his detractors.
But experts point out that Chappell cannot be censured or punished for three reasons.
First, they say, is the fact that it was a private SMS sent to a journalist with whom Chappell has very old ties. Bala has been covering cricket since Chappell’s playing days, so their association goes back many years. And it was not Chappell who disclosed the contents; it was the journalist who did so.
Second, they argue, if Chappell is eventually punished, former India captain Vengsarkar is equally guilty of breach of confidentiality for revealing that Virender Sehwag was picked for the World Cup only after captain Rahul Dravid backed him.
Vengsarkar made this revelation in a television interview soon after the team was picked. He also agreed with the interviewer that had it not been for Dravid, Sehwag would have been dropped.
Experts also point to the recent utterances of Goa Cricket Association president Dayanand Narvekar, one of the five BCCI vice-presidents who has also publicly sought the sacking of senior members of the team and Chappell.
Like all other board officials, except selection committee chairman and captain, BCCI vice-presidents also cannot speak on selection matters.
Whatever the motive of the disclosure of the contents of the SMS — exchange of text messages is a normal occurrence between journalists and coaches — the issue has inadvertently but inevitably forced its way into the agenda of the meetings April 6 and 7.
Pawar had said that on the first day, BCCI office bearers — the president, secretary, joint-secretary, treasurer and the five vice-presidents — will meet among themselves and then meet Dravid and Chappell in the afternoon.
Now, Chappell might be asked to explain why he commented, even though privately, on the World Cup team.
On April 7, the issues, including the World Cup reports from manager Sanjay Jagdale, Chappell and Dravid, will be discussed at the working committee meeting.
In the same message, Chappell had written that young left-handed Suresh Raina “is a must. But he was not wanted”.
About wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthick, the coach felt that he was “leadership material”.
Chappell also concurred with Bala’s article on the issue of Yuvraj Singh.
Bala had written in a newspaper column that including the left-handed batsman, who had just recovered from a knee injury, into the World Cup was a risk.
India lost two of the three Group B matches, including to Sri Lanka and minnows Bangladesh, to crash out of the 16-nation World Cup.
India’s next assignment is a tour of the Bangladesh in May, followed by a visit to England and Scotland starting June. — IANS
Opting to field not backed by results
Antigua, March 28
Early moisture in the wicket is the reason why teams are reluctant to gamble with the toss and inviting the opposition to bat to exploit the condition.
West Indies putting in Australia to bat in the opening match of the Super Eight stage has conformed with the norm of ‘field first’ in the World Cup.
With matches scheduled for an early 9.30 am (local time) start, most teams have sought to exploit the early moisture and West Indies at the brand new Sir Viv Richards Stadium were no exception.
As many as 19 of the 24 group matches witnessed teams opting to field first after the spin of coin. Interestingly, statistics indicate that this method has not been a overwhelming success.
Just over half of these games were won by the side winning the toss.
Teams who were put in to bat won 10 of these 19 matches.
Their average score in these games was 258 runs.
In contrast, in five matches teams batting first on winning the toss, two resulted in wins and three in losses.
The most debilitating one of course was the defeat India suffered at the hands of Bangladesh after captain Rahul Dravid chose to bat in their opening group B match on March 17.
The average score of teams opting to bat first on winning the toss was 246 at the group stage.
Most teams who have chosen to bat first on winning the toss have lost on an average more wickets. It could be that batsmen set their sights unreasonably high and thus end up losing more wickets, thereby scoring less runs.
The average total in this World Cup has been on an all-time high and that could be because the Power Play now extends to 20 overs. Also because so many top teams were contesting against some of the lesser teams.
Smaller grounds and shorter boundaries have no doubt contributed to this largely bat-dominated World Cup.
South Africa emerged as the team which has scored most runs in the first 10 overs. Their average is 66 and only marginally behind them is Australia with 65.56. Sri Lanka with 57.33 is third in the list. India averaged 43 in their three games.
In terms of wickets lost in the first 10 overs, the least damage has been suffered by two top teams of the world Australia and South Africa.
Indeed, the first Super Eight game against West Indies was the only time when world champions Australia lost a wicket inside the first 10 overs.
In all 10,339 runs and 344 wickets from a total of 12,347 balls. There have been 10 hundreds, 68 fifties and 131 maiden overs.
Matthew Hayden scored the fastest century in World Cup history when he slammed a century off 66 balls against South Africa the eighth fastest of all time.
Brendon McCullum scored the fastest WC fifty of all time off just 20 balls against Canada.
Herschelle Gibbs became the first man in World Cup history or a one-day international to hit six sixes in an over.
Among other records, Jeremy Bray became only the sixth batsman from a non-Test playing nation to score a hundred in the World Cup and only the fourth to do so against a full member tie.
Zimbabwe’s tie against Ireland was the third tie in WC history and 22nd in ODI history. The previous two WC ties were South Africa-Australia in WC 1999 and South Africa-Sri Lanka in 2003.
The event also saw the retirement from ODI cricket of Inzamam-ul Haq whose 11,739 runs leaves him second on the all-time run-scoring list. — PTI
Antigua, March 28
According to reports, Kumble has already taken his colleagues into confidence before the team left Port of Spain for India and Karnataka State Cricket Association would arrange for a formal announcement in the next few days.
The 36-year-old cricketer, who is India’s highest Test wicket taker, had made clear his intention of quitting from the limited overs version before the World Cup.
During his long career of 113 Tests and 271 One-Day Internationals, Kumble has won many matches for India, claiming 547 Test wickets and 337 in ODIs.
But Kumble, in his fourth and last World Cup, was played in just one of the three games, that too against minnows Bermuda. Offie Harbhajan Singh was part of the squad in more important matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, both of which India lost.
Kumble will also be remembered for becoming the second bowler, after Englishman Jim Laker, to have claimed all 10 wickets of an innings during a 1999 Test match against Pakistan in Delhi. — PTI
New Delhi, March 28 Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were the first to touch down, an hour before midnight at the Indira Gandhi international airport here. The two were quietly whisked away by the security personnel through an exit gate without the waiting media being aware. Unlike four years ago when they returned to a hero’s welcome after reaching the final in South Africa, there was neither a huge fan gathering nor a board official to receive the players. Instead, present at the terminal were hordes of mediamen and security personnel who were there to give adequate protection to the players against irate fans. Some of the players including Sachin Tendulkar were to land in Mumbai by midnight and others including captain Rahul Dravid in Bangalore early morning tomorrow. Earlier, fearing a backlash from irate fans following Team India’s pathetic World Cup show, security has been beefed up at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were the first to touch down, an hour before midnight at the Indira Gandhi international airport here.
The two were quietly whisked away by the security personnel through an exit gate without the waiting media being aware.
Unlike four years ago when they returned to a hero’s welcome after reaching the final in South Africa, there was neither a huge fan gathering nor a board official to receive the players.
Instead, present at the terminal were hordes of mediamen and security personnel who were there to give adequate protection to the players against irate fans.
Some of the players including Sachin Tendulkar were to land in Mumbai by midnight and others including captain Rahul Dravid in Bangalore early morning tomorrow.
Earlier, fearing a backlash from irate fans following Team India’s pathetic World Cup show, security has been beefed up at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. — PTI
Kingston, March 28
Mark Shields, Jamaica’s Deputy Police Commissioner, told reporters here that the second post-mortem would pre-empt any claims by a defence lawyer at a murder trial that the Indian-origin pathologist Era Seshaiah had made mistakes in concluding that Woolmer was throttled.
The second post-mortem, likely to be done by a pathologist who may be called in from the US, will also enable the police to release Woolmer’s body for burial in South Africa without waiting for an inquest.
Rejecting the theory that the burly coach may have died of natural causes after Pakistan’s shock defeat at the hands of Ireland, Shields said he was in possession of evidence from the crime scene that has not been made public and that clearly indicated it to be a case of murder. “There is very clear evidence of murder,” he said.
Shields also denied claims that the Pakistani players had been ruled out of the inquiry as potential suspects. The claim had been made by Pakistani team spokesman Pervez Mir who had stated that the team were not suspects in the case.
“That is a pretty inaccurate statement because nobody at this stage can be ruled out of the inquiry,” he said.
Shields confirmed that a possible match-fixing link to the murder “keeps coming to light.” “One of those that keeps coming to light, it looks like, is around match-fixing and bookies, so therefore that’s the clear line of inquiry, but it is not the only one,” he said.
Shields also sought to dispel suggestions that he was under pressure to slow down investigations into Woolmer’s murder.
“At no time has anybody put any pressure on me to slow down the investigation. My intention is to catch the killer or killers of Bob Woolmer as quickly as possible,” he said.
Inquest into Woolmer’s murder has been delayed with the Coroner’s office still awaiting a police report five days after the inquiry was ordered.
Meanwhile, publishers of Woolmer’s autobiography said in Cape Town that the book did not contain any “explosive revelations” about match-fixing.
“There are no explosive revelations in the book which Bob had co-authored with Professor Tim Noakes and Helen Moffet,” said New Africa Books Managing Director Brian Wafawarowa.
“No proofs of the book have gone missing, nor does the book contain any explosive revelations about cricket and match-fixing. The book is the expression of Bob’s philosophy of playing and coaching cricket, and is the product of a lifetime’s involvement with the game,” he added. — PTI
London, March 28
The world cup winning captain, meanwhile, rubbished as “nonsense” the rumours that Green Shirts’ tie against minnows Ireland was fixed.
“Absolute nonsense,” Imran was quoted as saying by The Times.
“I cannot believe it. Firstly I think match-fixing disappeared with Hansie Cronje. I don’t think teams are throwing away matches.
“No one would dare to throw a World Cup game. The World Cup is the one place you would want to perform. Once every four years, you’re walking on to the field with the world’s eyes on you, and the last thing on your mind is the money,” the former all-rounder, who had guided Pakistan to the ultimate glory in 1992, said.
He squared the blame for Pakistan’s flop show on Inzamam saying that the tyrannical skipper never allowed coach Bob Woolmer to take decisions even though he “doesn’t have a clue about cricket strategy” and was “one of the worst captains in that World Cup”.
He recollected his interview with Inzamam during a chat show where the burly Multan batsman admitted being the sole decision-maker in the team.
“Inzamam told me, ‘Look, I take all the decisions.’ So my immediate question was, ‘What is Woolmer’s role?’ He said, ‘What I make him do is fielding practice and he creates harmony in the dressing-room.’
“Suddenly it all made sense because I couldn’t understand a lot of the team selections. Before they left for the World Cup, I said publicly that I had never known a team going into a World Cup so badly prepared. Inzamam took the field petrified of losing. He didn’t pick Danish Kaneria, a leg spinner, against Ireland. It was the most elementary mistake,” Imran said. — UNI
London, March 28
The British cricket magazine ‘Wisden’ yesterday announced the names of five best cricketers of the world based on the their performances during the calendar year 2006.
Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan has been included in the ‘coveted’ list along with Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, Paul Collingwood, Monty Panesar and Mark Ramparkash, all from England.
Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka has been declared the leading cricketer of the year 2006.
The 32-year-old Pakistani batsman, who has till date scored 6553 Test and 7908 ODI runs, was the most prolific scorer during the calendar year of 2006. He made 1,788 runs at an outstanding average of 99.33 with nine hundreds during the year, saw him set a new world record. — UNI
Karachi, March 28
On their return from the West Indies via London, Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Sami faced barracking at the Karachi airport with the jostling crowd asking all sort of uncomfortable questions.
“Why have you come back?” asked one from the melee, while another irate fan shouted “Afridi, go and sell lentils”.
Part of the crowd shouted “Go to hell” as policemen escorted Afridi, helping him to get into his car and drive away.
Kaneria was evidently nervous when people raised slogans against him and sensing the public mood, the spinner retreated into the arrivals lounge. Same happened with pacer Mohammad Sami and eventually police had to whisk them away through another gate.
The 200-odd crowd shouted “Shame! Shame!” at Akmal, who took a connecting flight to Lahore.
Earlier on Monday, vice captain Younis Khan had also been subjected to similar treatment by an agitated crowd.
Someone from the crowd suggested to parade Younis on a donkey, which made the cricketer furious and he retorted, asking who it was.
His friends and relatives, however, controlled Younis and escorted him out of the airport.
His team-mate and co-passenger Mohammad Yousuf, however, escaped the such humiliation. He did not come out of the airport terminal and took a direct flight to Lahore. He was not easily identifiable either for Yousuf had his face half-covered with a scarf.
The police, meanwhile, have assured that they would provide heavy security for the cricketers and escort them home if needed.
Pakistan had a miserable World Cup as they crashed out in the first round and then their coach Bob Woolmer was murdered in his hotel room. — PTI
Key Biscayne, March 28
Guillermo Canas upset top-ranked Federer for the second time this month, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 7-6 (5) in a fourth-round epic.
Serena Williams beat Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in a rout reminiscent of their Australian Open final two months ago.
With that, Key Biscayne’s two No. 1-seeded players were eliminated yesterday.
Two weeks ago, Canas ended Federer’s 41-match winning streak at Indian Wells. The Argentine showed the victory was no fluke, extending points by repeatedly chasing down shots and forcing a frustrated Federer into 51 unforced errors.
The upset ended Federer’s bid for a third successive Key Biscayne title, while Canas improved to 3-0 this year against top-10 players.
He was ranked as high as No. 8 before serving a 15-month doping suspension, and he had to qualify for the Key Biscayne draw. He’s the first qualifier in nine years to reach the quarterfinals.
Williams, who defeated Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 in the Australian Open final, this time won even more easily. She bristled when asked if she expected such an easy rematch.
“Haven’t you learned that I expect the best of myself?” she said. “If I’m playing well, then anything can happen. I believe there could be a similar score if I’m playing well.” — AP
Monaco, March 28
But the Indian ace’s aspirations of winning the sixth title here in combined standings took a jolt as he suffered another setback in the blindfold section against Aronian earlier in the day.
Anand has a huge 2 points lead in the rapid section but he is as many points behind Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the combined standings and with only two rounds remaining it seems quite difficult for Anand to bridge this gap.
For the records, Kramnik continued to lead the blindfold and combined standings and looks set to win both barring a debacle in the last two rounds.
The Russian was held to a draw by youngest participant Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the blindfold but came back strongly in the rapid game to extend his lead in combined standings.
Kramnik, with 13.5 points in his kitty in the combined standings, is followed by Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine who both have 11.5 points apiece. Aronian stands fourth here on 10.5 points.
In the blindfold, like Anand, Kramnik, 8 points, has a two points lead over nearest rivals Boris Gelfand of Israel, Peter Svidler of Russia and Ivanchuk and a draw is now enough for the world champion to win the title in this section.
Anand’s score in the blindfold is just 4 points out of a possible nine and he currently stands seventh here.
In the rapid section Anand has 7.5 points in all and Kramnik, Aronian and Ivanchuk are the only players in pursuit 2 points behind. A draw is enough for the Indian to lift the title in this section once more.
Anand’s off-form in the blindfold came to fore once more in the game against Aronian. Playing the black side of a Slav defense, Anand was slightly worse in the middle game but Aronian effortlessly increased his advantage thanks to his superior center control and penetrated Anand’s camp when the opportunity presented itself. Anand lost vide a tactical stroke in 38 moves.
In the rapid section, it was a different story altogether as Anand came back in style. Anand sensed his chances in the middle game and exchanged at will to reach a better endgame which was slowly converted with fine technique. The game lasted 57 moves. — PTI
Melbourne, March 28
He was joined in the world record parade today at the world swimming championships by fellow American Leila Vaziri and Laure Manaudou of France.
Phelps broke the 200-metre butterfly in a time of 1 minute, 52.09 seconds. It bettered his own mark of 1:53.71 set on Feb. 17 of this year in Columbia, Missouri.
“I surprised myself, I went so fast,” said Phelps. “I wanted to go 52.00 but I didn’t expect to swim 52.00.
“I’m showing I’m in solid shape now. I had a really good swim earlier in the season where I broke the world record. I wanted to take it out tonight, so I’m pretty happy.”
Wu Peng of China took the silver and Nikolay Skvortsov of Russia was third.
Vaziri set the world 50-metre backstroke record in a semifinal. Her time of 28.16 seconds broke the previous mark of 28.19 set by Janine Pietsch of Germany in Berlin on May 25, 2005.
Manaudou, who won the 400m freestyle gold Sunday, set her new mark in the 200-metre freestyle, finishing in 1:55.52, breaking a 24-hour-old record set by Italian Federica Pellegrini of 1:56.47 in yesterday’s semifinals.
Second-place finisher Annika Lurz of Germany also bettered Pellegrini’s record, finishing in 1:55.68 today. Pellegrini took third place in the final in a time of 1:56.97.
Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine won the men’s 50m breaststroke, an event that is not in the Olympics. He finished in 27.66 seconds, beating out American Brendan Hansen by 0.03 seconds. — AP
Margao, March 28
After striker Dudu Omagbemi put Sporting Clube De Goa in the lead in the 41st minute, Churchill Bros Odafe Onyeka Okolie restored parity in the 78th minute.
With this draw, Sporting Clube De Goa remain on fifth place with 13 points from 10 matches. While Churchill Bros, who drew their sixth match, are on sixth place with 12 points from as many matches.
Mumbai: Former champions JCT started off their second-leg campaign in the 11th National Football League on a bright note, recording a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory over Kolkata outfit Mohammedan Sporting here today. Enjoying the better of the exchanges for a major part of the game, JCT got their campaign back on track courtesy first-half goals from Baldeep Singh and Sunil Chettri. JCT, by virtue of this result, have taken their tally to 12 points from ten matches while Mohammedan, who remain on seven points, continue to remain in the shadows of relegation. Baldeep, who started on the right side of the midfield and later shifted to the wing-back position was named the man of the match.
Mumbai: Former champions JCT started off their second-leg campaign in the 11th National Football League on a bright note, recording a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory over Kolkata outfit Mohammedan Sporting here today.
Enjoying the better of the exchanges for a major part of the game, JCT got their campaign back on track courtesy first-half goals from Baldeep Singh and Sunil Chettri.
JCT, by virtue of this result, have taken their tally to 12 points from ten matches while Mohammedan, who remain on seven points, continue to remain in the shadows of relegation.
Baldeep, who started on the right side of the midfield and later shifted to the wing-back position was named the man of the match. — PTI