Time to rest seniors: Dhoni
Rayudu shines as India beat Pakistan
Pub brawl: Symonds denies involvement
‘England stubborn & short of solutions’
Flintoff should open: Boycott
India-England ODI series
Bolt, Isinbayeva win IAAF awards
Barca draw 1-1 with Getafe
Cesc replaces Gallas as Arsenal skipper
Bangalore, November 24
The Indian team for the fifth match in Cuttack is likely to undergo changes in order to rest some senior players, who have played a lot of cricket in recent months.
"You will see a few changes in the side in the next three matches. Some of the people who have not played in the series so far will play but we still look to win games," Dhoni said after leading his team to a 19-run win via Duckworth-Lewis method. "Three more matches to come and we want to win those games," he said.
With the match reduced to 22-overs-a-side following two rain-interruptions, Indian bowlers survived some anxious moments before taming the opponents and Dhoni said the task was not easy.
"Because of the wet outfield, the ball became soggy and it was not easy to grip the ball. We have one specialist spinner (Harbhajan Singh) and part-time spinners. It was really difficult for them to grip the ball.
"But then Zaheer (Khan) bowled very well, along with Ishant (Sharma) and Munaf (Patel). Overall it was a very good team effort," Dhoni said.
Asked how he was marshalling his bowlers in such tense situation, Dhoni said, "I was not giving much advice. First I like them to bowl to their own plans and if that does not work I ask them to bowl according to my plans.
"But Zaheer has been of great help throughout the series and has taken the
England captain Kevin Pietersen said his team lost to a formidable side. "India is playing fantastic cricket at the moment. It was a learning curve for the youngsters and also the guys who have been around. It's never nice to lose a series and we are now 4-0 down in the series. But it was against a side which has beaten the mighty Australia and now England," Pietersen said.
Trailing the seven-match series 0-4 and facing a possible whitewash, Pietersen said England attack lost its firepower in India's placid tracks.
According to him, the Indians are generally vulnerable to swing and bounce but the tracks here were quite unresponsive.
"It has been a totally different ball game here," Pietersen rued.
The England captain, meanwhile, was highly impressed by the Team India vice captain and said, "Sehwag is great to watch." — PTI
Ahmedabad, November 24
It was a good win for India, who kept Pakistan to gettable total, bar a few dropped catches, and their chase was aided by similarly sloppy display from Pakistan.
Ambati Rayudu did not finish what he started, but batted long enough to ensure those behind him didn't sweat too much.
Hemang Badani saw India through with an unbeaten 32 from 22 deliveries. India lost the explosive G Vignesh in the first over, run out by a direct hit from Shahid Yousuf when he harried down the track and did not pay heed to Ibrahim Khaleel's call to stay put. An entertaining partnership followed.
Khaleel and Rayudu, who was reprieved by Imran Nazir at backward point on 4, struck the ball confidently and with precision.
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was taken for 14 in his opening over, and Khaleel looked good for a few runs more before Arshad Khan drew a mishit on 36, scored from 27 balls.
Stuart Binny failed to convert a dropped catch and drove a return catch back to Arshad and Mohammad Sami got R Sathish cheaply as well. Rayudu continued to hit the ball well and crossed fifty from 36 balls with an inside-out slash.
Having just thumped a long hop through cover, Rayudu chased a lifting delivery from Abdul Razzaq and was brilliantly taken by the wicketkeeper, Humayun Farhat (132 for 5). At this stage India needed 34 from 28 balls.
Inzamam-ul-Haq brought back Sami and he uprooted S Abbas Ali's stumps when 13 were still required. Badani kept his cool and in the company of Reetinder Singh Sodhi, finished the match in the final over.
The success for India was laid by the start they had with the ball. Four balls
Nazir - who slammed 392 runs at 43.55 with a strike rate of 175.78 in the recently concluded tournament - signalled his intent with a four and a six off Jesuraj, but the bowler had the final say when Nazir went the same was Farhat in the third over.
Rana continued his free-hitting fun, smacking Binny and Sodhi's military medium-pace with disdain, even as Yousuf went pulling Vignesh to midwicket.
Imran Nazir c Vignesh b Jesuraj 16
Imran Farhat c Sathish b Jesuraj 0
Naved c Badani b Murtaza 44
S Yousuf c Jesuraj b Vignesh 13
Inzamam lbw Murtaza 24
A Razzaq c sub b Binny 15
H Farhat c Abbas b Jesuraj 12
T Mughal b Murtaza 16
Sami not out 19
S Nazir c Murtaza b E Ahmid 0
Arshad not out 0
Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 4) 6
Total (9 wickets; 20 overs) 165
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-23, 3-73, 4-79, 5-114, 6-118, 7-143, 8-153, 9-155.
Bowling: Jesuraj 4-0-30-3, E Ahmid 4-0-33-1, Binny 4-0-29-1, Murtaza 4-0-29-3, Vignesh 3-0-31-1, Sodhi 1-0-11-0.
I Khaleel c A Razzaq b Arshad 36
Vignesh run out 1
Rayudu c H Farhat b A Razzaq 65
Binny c & b Arshad 8
R Sathish c Inzamam b Sami 3
Badani not out 32
Abbas b Sami 4
Sodhi not out 5
Extras (b 1, lb 4, w 5, nb 3) 13
Total (6 wickets; 19.1 overs) 167
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-80, 3-99, 4-105, 5-132, 6-153.
Bowling: Sami 4-0-32-2, A Razzaq 3.1-0-27-1, S Nazir 4-0-29-0, Naved 4-0-44-0, Arshad 4-0-30-2.
Player of the match: Rayudu (ICL India XI). — Agencies
Melbourne, November 24
"It has been reported that last night I was involved in a pub fight and I would just like to take the opportunity to clarify this report," said Symonds, who returned to the Australia side for the ongoing Test series against New Zealand.
"A member of the public acted unreasonably towards me while I was with friends at which time I took steps to remove myself from the situation.
"The member of the public was subsequently removed from the premises as a result of his actions. I was sharing some drinks with other players and close friends and did not in anyway provoke this situation," the all-rounder clarified.
Media reports here claimed that Symonds, who has just returned to the national side after missing the India tour, was allegedly involved in a fight at a pub in Brisbane.
"Symonds was understood to have been drinking at the popular Normanby Hotel in Red Hill with several members of the Australian rugby league team when the fight commenced.
"The incident is believed to have occurred on Sunday evening, about six hours after the Australian cricket team sealed a 149-run victory over New Zealand in the first Test at the Gabba, and involved in a confrontation between Symonds and a member of the public," 'Sydney Morning Herald' reported.
Symonds also rubbished reports that he was undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction. "I would also like to take the opportunity to clarify reports last week that I am being treated for alcohol addiction. I am being treated for a stress related illness and I remain committed to dealing with these issues," Symonds said.
The all-rounder was also defended by hotel manager Mark Lassman who was present during the incident. — PTI
London, November 24
Leading British newspaper 'Daily Telegraph' felt the visitors were stubborn with their approach while also being "short of solutions" to lose four games in a row and lose the series at the earliest opportunity.
"England bowed out of this one-day series as they began, outplayed, outwitted, and out of ideas," the paper wrote after England lost at Bangalore in a rain-marred day/night match decided by the Duckworth/Lewis method.
"To lose four games over a seven-match series in India would not be unusual for many visiting teams, but to lose four in a row, even if two of them did involve the arcane Duckworth-Lewis method, suggests a side long on inflexibility and short of solutions," it added.
Another top daily 'The Times' noted that the England team had repeated their failure of last visit to India and advised Pietersen and Co to use the remaining three matches to make notes for the 2011 World Cup to be hosted by Asian nations.
"England have repeated their failure here of two years ago in losing the series at the earliest opportunity, 4-0 down... England must now use the remainder of the series to learn with the 2011 World Cup in mind, and try to gain some confidence ahead of the Test matches," it said. The paper also attacked the English think-tank for being conservative in their batting order.
"Unfortunately, conservatism in the batting order meant that they were always behind the target.
"The opening partnership of Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara should have been split. Bell is a good foil for a quick scorer - I always thought he would bat well alongside Marcus Trescothick - but not a crackerjack in his own right.
"And it was asking too much of Bopara - the number eight this time - to take on Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel from the start with the required rate standing at nine per over. An experienced hitter should have been promoted," it said.
The daily said yesterday was the best chance for England to show their Twenty20 experience gathered from playing in the Standford series.
"England had implausibly claimed that the Stanford week was part of their preparation for the India tour but, if the Antigua experience really was to be of use, then here was the opportunity to show it. The dash for runs was only a couple of overs longer than a Twenty20 chase."
England were given a revised target of 198 runs from 22 overs by applying the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-curtailed match.
'The Guardian' lashed out at the team for a 'demoralising' start. "England's start had been feeble, repressed and thoroughly demoralising. After every unproductive over, one thought "this must be the low spot" only to discover that another over later there was another.
"In the first six overs of pace England did not middle a ball and scrambled to 21 for one in thoroughly embarrassing manner. Indians in the crowd laughed. The match felt lost," the report said.
The captaincy of India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni came for praise in 'The Independent', which said his field setting highlighted the gulf in class of the two teams.
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni positioned four slips and a gully for the final ball of this rain affected and enthralling 22 over contest. There are some who would construe that the actions of the Indian captain were disrespectful to his opponents but they were not, Dhoni is not that type of man. — PTI
London, November 24
Boycott feels England has suffered due to slow starts and hard hitting all-rounder Andrew Flintoff should be asked to open the innings.
Coming down hard on Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara, who opened the innings during the rain-truncated tie yesterday, Boycott said England needed a flying start but the openers failed to deliver.
However, Flintoff was impressive lower down the order with a quick-fire innings of 41 off 30 balls and Boycott feels the former England captain should open the innings.
''Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara are both good batsmen, pretty to watch, full of classy touches and nice timing. But are they the kind of players who can slog the ball out of the ground? Absolutely not.
They have trained themselves to play correct cricket shots, not to heave across the line,'' Boycott wrote in 'The Daily Telegraph'.
''We saw when Flintoff got going just what could be achieved with a more muscular approach, but his cameo came too late. If you get off to a bad start in a 22-over match, you will always be playing catch-up,” he added. — UNI
Youthful brigade adding to the edge
India held their nerve laying off a spirited effort by England, to win the fourth one-day international at Bangalore. England fell 19 runs short in the end, and they have to look at their openers who dawdled through the first six overs of power play, and thus increased the asking rate.
The late charge from Owais Shah and Andrew Flintoff would have given some anxious moments to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as he constantly tried to juggle his bowlers around in an effort to stop the duo.
India are clearly missing a fifth bowler, and though they have wrapped up the series it is something that they need to look at for the future.
In a scenario where the opposition is going to go hammer and tongs, the non regular bowlers are short of experience, as well as variety and confidence, and so leak runs very badly. But for the D/L method England would have won the game quite easily, and in fact they had crossed what India had actually made with the bat in the 5th ball of the 21st over.
The D/L method gave the Indians the license to throw their bats without worrying how many wickets they lost in the five overs that they had to play after the second interruption. To be fair there were some stunning shots played by Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan to take India to their final total.
Sehwag started with a boundary over cover off the first ball of the game as if he knew that rain was going to play a big part in the days proceedings. When he is in that mood not too many bowlers can stop him, and Gambhir egged him on simply by matching him stroke for stroke. It was exhilarating stuff till the rains came and played spoilsport. What it did was to convert the game into a T20 kind of situation, which made it an exciting one in the end.
The series win gives the Indians the chance to experiment and more importantly rest Zaheer Khan who was magnificent when England were going after the others. It was 'zak' who made sure that England did not get off to a flying start and then later stopped the pair of Owais Shah and Flintoff with some canny bowling and he was on hand at mid off or mid on to talk to Ishant and the others and guide them through a tricky period.
Harbhajan too benefited from that though if he looks back at his bowling he will realize that the slower he bowls the tougher it is for the batsmen to go after him. The wicket he got off Ian Bell was off a delivery bowled at 87 kph while when he fired it at more than 100 kph he was getting smashed all over the ground.
The win shows how improved the Indian team is in limited overs cricket and the youthful brigade is adding to the edge by their athleticism on the field.
These are certainly good times for Indian cricket and they must be aware that if they win all the games then they will be just behind Australia in the rankings and that should be a great incentive to keep the tempo up. — PMG
Monte Carlo, November 24
Bolt set world records in the 100 and 200 meters at the Beijing Games in August, and his third gold medal came in Jamaica's 400 relay, also a world record.
Yelena Isinbayeva successfully defended her Olympic title and remained undefeated in outdoor competitions in 2008.
Bolt will be remembered for his archer-like signature victory pose and for running 9.69 seconds in the 100 final to break the world record mark despite easing off 15 meters from the finish line and beating his chest in joy.
By contrast, the Jamaican had to run to the line to beat Michael Johnson's 200 mark by two hundredths of a second, crossing in 19.30. Isinbayeva cleared 5.05 meters (16 feet, 6 3/4 inches) in Beijing to set her 24th career world record and retain the Olympic title.
Cuban hurdler Dayron Robles and Ethiopian long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele were the other contenders in the men's category, while Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Kenyan teenager Pamela Jelimo were nominated on the women's side.
All the contenders won Olympic gold and achieved extraordinary feats: Robles broke the world record in the 110 hurdles, Jelimo collected the $1 million Golden League jackpot, and Bekele and Dibaba remained undefeated throughout 2008.
Robles won the men's Performance of the Year award for running 12.87 to set a world record in June in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Dibaba and Czech javelin thrower Barbora Spotakova shared the women's award.
Dibaba ran 14:11.15 to smash the world record in the 5,000 by more than five seconds in Oslo in June 6, while Spotakova threw 72.28 meters in Stuttgart in September to improve the world mark by 58 centimeters. — AP
Madrid, November 24
Barcelona leads the Spanish league standings by three points despite not winning at home for the first time in more than two months. Barcelona has 29 points, Real Madrid has 26, followed by Villarreal on 25. Valencia and Sevilla are both on 24.
In yesterday’s other games, Real Betis won 2-1 at Sporting Gijon; Osasuna beat Almeria 3-1; Deportivo La Coruna was a 3-1 winner over Athletic Bilbao; Mallorca drew 2-2 with Malaga; and Racing Santander beat Espanyol 3-0.
Madrid scraped past lowly Recreativo Huelva 1-0 on Saturday, while Villarreal lost its first home game in nearly a year in an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Valladolid. Valencia drew 0-0 at Sevilla.
Fabian Monzon and Achille Emana led a second-half rally that saw Betis win its third straight game to go seventh with 17 points. Monzon fired a free kick from 30 meters off the inside of the post in the 52nd minute, and Emana slotted home Jesus Capitan’s short pass seven minutes later to round off the win.
Almeria took an early lead against Osasuna through Alvaro Negredo’s penalty, but was reduced to 10 men moments later after Guilherme Oliveira Santos elbowed Juan Francisco Torres in the throat.
Walter Pandiani headed Javan Nekounam's long ball home in the 14th to level. An own-goal by Hernan Pellerano at Reyno de Navarro stadium gave Osasuna the lead, and Krisztian Vadocz scored in injury time to give Osasuna its first win of the season, lifting the team off the bottom of the standings.
Ze Castro scored from a loose ball in the area in the 20th and Joan Verdu added a penalty before halftime as Deportivo ensured it would climb to seventh on 18 points thanks to Andres Guardado's injury-time score.
Javi Martinez's header in the 72nd wasn't enough and Athletic remain in the relegation zone in 18th with just nine points. Mallorca twice rallied through Josemi Gonzalez and Pierre Webo, who coolly controlled the ball inside the area to score in the 78th minute to earn the hosts a point.
Mallorca defender Ivan Ramis swept Sergio "Duda" Barbosa's dangerous cross into his own goal in the 13th, before Josemi equalized five minutes later. Nabil Baha scored Malaga's second in the 24th.
At El Sardinero, Ivan Marcano took advantage of a goalkeeping error by Carlos Kameni and Oscar Serrano volleyed home a poor defensive clearance to give Racing a 2-0 lead at halftime. Jonathan Pereira made it 3-0. — AP
Cesc replaces Gallas as Arsenal skipper
London, November 24 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dropped Gallas from the team which lost 3-0 to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and the Frenchman has now been stripped of the captaincy. Wenger told a news conference today that Gallas would return for Tuesday’s Champions League Group G match against Dynamo Kiev. Asked if he would be captain, Wenger replied: “No it will be Fabregas.” He declined to elaborate on Gallas’s demotion but confirmed that Fabregas, 21, would be a permanent appointment. “William is a player that I rate. He was working as a captain in a very difficult media environment and was under pressure from the press,” Wenger said. “I do not to have to explain to you why I make the decisions. When you don’t win nobody jumps off the roof and the frustration kicks in when your team doesn’t win. This is a good opportunity to show that we have strength and ability. You know how the media works, you go from catastrophe to fantastic. “Even if we are the moment frustrated it’s not all doom and gloom. We have a strong belief in our ability and we have a good opportunity to show we care about the club. We believe in our strengths and we believe we can qualify tomorrow.”
London, November 24
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dropped Gallas from the team which lost 3-0 to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and the Frenchman has now been stripped of the captaincy.
Wenger told a news conference today that Gallas would return for Tuesday’s Champions League Group G match against Dynamo Kiev. Asked if he would be captain, Wenger replied: “No it will be Fabregas.”
He declined to elaborate on Gallas’s demotion but confirmed that Fabregas, 21, would be a permanent appointment.
“William is a player that I rate. He was working as a captain in a very difficult media environment and was under pressure from the press,” Wenger said. “I do not to have to explain to you why I make the decisions. When you don’t win nobody jumps off the roof and the frustration kicks in when your team doesn’t win. This is a good opportunity to show that we have strength and ability. You know how the media works, you go from catastrophe to fantastic.
“Even if we are the moment frustrated it’s not all doom and gloom. We have a strong belief in our ability and we have a good opportunity to show we care about the club. We believe in our strengths and we believe we can qualify tomorrow.” — Reuters
Gurgaon, November 24
The match between BP and the Bank men was ill-tempered and rough with players going after each other rather than the ball, and the umpires had to show five yellow cards to keep the proceedings under control. Earlier in the first semifinal, Indian Colts thrashed ONGC XI 4-0.
Danish Mujtaba struck a brace for the Colts while drag-flicker Diwakar Ram and Jai Karan scored the remaining two goals. The match between PSB and BP started on a fast pace with both the teams having several internationals in their ranks.
The Bank men could have grabbed the lead in the ninth minute but Ranjodh Singh failed to beat the rival goalkeeper. The defending champions were left to rue the missed chance as Bharat Petroleum’s Ravi Pal (24th min) slammed in a penalty corner and that turned out to be the winner.
The goal prompted PSB to up the ante and the pace of the match increased. However, they failed to grab the equaliser as BP was happy to sit back and defend their lead, especially in the second half.
Towards the end, Sarvanjit Singh unleashed a through for Navpreet Singh who dribbled past a BP defender but his shot hit the left post.
In the earlier match, the Indian Colts dominated the game from the beginning and gave little leeway to their opponents. The speedy Colts ran their rivals ragged. Many of the ONGC XI players were clearly not in the best of shape.
Mujtaba could have grabbed a hat-trick but he missed a golden chance in the 12th minute. An accurate through from Jai Karan found him clear in the rival penalty area with just the goalkeeper to beat. Mujtaba, however, failed to tap in.
India Colts went into the lead in the 20th minute when the hardworking Mandip Antil found Mujtaba, who made no mistake this time round, finding the target with a reverse flick.
Diwakar (26th min) doubled the lead with a powerfully taken penalty corner. Karan (52nd min) made the issue safe for his team, scoring a field goal off a fine move. Mujtaba (54th min) completed his brace just a couple of minutes later as India Colts won in a comprehensive fashion. — UNI
Chandigarh, November 24
Not out on one overnight, Mullick played a responsible knock. He was unbeaten after reaching the three-figure mark as the innings folded at 352, but not before Orissa had extended their first innings lead to 292 runs.
Young Das played a scintillating knock and struck 11 fours and two sixes during his 119-ball stay at the wicket.
Leg-spinner Sarabjit Ladda acquitted himself well taking three
Punjab were off to a poor start losing in-form Sunny Sohal to seamer Debashish Monty, trapped lbw when the batsman was batting on two. Ravi Inder steadied the innings and was unbeaten on a confident 35 at close.
Punjab (1st innings): 60
Orissa (1st innings):
Pati c Kohli b Gagandeep 0
Das c Kohli b Gagandeep 9
Behera lbw b Gagandeep 74
Biswal b S Kaul 54
D Mohanty c R I Singh b Gagandeep 1
Mullick not out 100
Jayachandra c Dharmani b Ladda 17
H Das lbw b Gony 80
S Khatua c Kohli b Gony 0
B Mohanty lbw b Ladda 0
Dhiraj c Gony b Ladda 4
Extras (b 4, lb 4, nb 5): 13
Total (all out; 125.3 overs): 352
Fall of Wickets: 1-0, 2-19, 3-146, 4-146, 5-147, 6-186, 7-329, 8-329, 9-332, 10-352.
Bowling: Gagandeep Singh 31-15-45-4, MS Gony 29-8-78-2, S Kaul 24-4-71-1, S Ladda 32.3-3-102-3, A Kakkar 6-1-22-0, T Kohli 2-0-9-0, K Goel 1-0-17-0.
Punjab (2nd innings):
S Sohal lbw b D Mohanty 2
K Goel not out 17
R Inder not out 35
Extras (lb 2, nb 3): 5
Total (1 wicket; 24 overs): 59
Fall of wickets: 1-7.
Bowling: D Mohanty 8-2-18-1, B Mohanty 7-2-22-0, S Khatua 4-1-14-0, Dhiraj Singh 5-2-3-0.
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