The Ashes 5th Test Preview
New Zealand Tour of Sri Lanka
Lebanon stun India
swine flu impact
DDCA vs Players
World Athletics Championship
5th Test Preview
London, August 19
But unlike four years ago when, with Flintoff at the peak of his powers, they arrived at the south London ground 2-1 up against Australia, now they must win to regain the Ashes while the tourists need only a draw to retain them. Top-order batting has been England’s major weak spot this series, with only captain Andrew Strauss making a century for the hosts in the four Tests played so far compared to seven individual hundreds for Australia.
Spirited lower-order resistance helped paper over the cracks but England, who ever since Kevin Pietersen was ruled out after the second Test with an Achilles injury, have looked vulnerable to a batting collapse.
And so it proved at Headingley where in the fourth Test, with Flintoff ruled out because of fears the fast bowling all-rounder’s suspect right knee would not last the game, England were twice dismissed cheaply. Australia won by an innings and 80 runs to level the series, a win that bolstered Ricky Ponting’s chances of avoiding becoming the first Australia captain in over a century to lose two Ashes series in England.
Flintoff is now set to return while South Africa born Jonathan Trott is in line for a Test debut after struggling No 3 Ravi Bopara paid for a series of batting failures by being dropped. A movie script might have both Flintoff, whose knee problem has convinced him to retire from Test cricket at the end of this series after a career blighted by injury, and Trott both making big scores.
But the onus ought to be on the likes of under-performing top-order batsmen such as Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood. England must also decide how best to take the 20 wickets they need for victory. The Oval pitch has a reputation for providing good bounce and carry while offering turn later in the match.
Fast bowler Stephen Harmison, Flintoff's stand-in at Headingley, could well be retained at the Oval despite a tendency to waywardness. Conditions can tempt the unwary into bowling too short but errors in length against quality batsmen will be compounded by a fast outfield.
By contrast Australia, for all the talk of giving Brett Lee his first Test of a tour where he has been ruled out so far with a side injury or recalling off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, seem set to go in with the same team that won inside three days at Headingley. — AFP
New Zealand Tour of Sri Lanka
Galle, August 19
Tim McIntosh will resume in the morning on 36 batting with night-watchman Jeetan Patel on six. Samaraweera’s 10th test hundred, which spanned 277 deliveries and included 24 fours and a six, was also his first since he suffered a bullet wound during the attack on the team bus in Lahore in March.
The right-hander added 166 for the fourth wicket with Jayawardene and a further 86 for the fifth wicket with Angelo Mathews. The hosts seemed to be cruising towards a larger total but collapsed just before the tea interval, losing their last four wickets for just eight runs.
Pace bowler Chris Martin was New Zealand's best seamer with four for 77 from 23 overs and skipper Daniel Vettori claimed four for 78 from 37.4 overs. Sri Lanka, resuming on 293 for three, lost Jayawardene during the one-hour morning session - cut short because of early rain - and added 35 runs.
Jayawardene was dismissed in the second over, nibbling at an away-swinger from Ian O’Brien and edging to Taylor in the slips. After the interval, the fifth wicket pair upped the tempo, especially after Samaraweera reached his hundred. However, while off-spinner Jeetan Patel was getting punished, conceding 120 runs from 24 wicketless overs, Vettori held his nerve and started to chip away at the middle order.
Mathews was caught behind off a quicker arm ball and Prasanna Jayawardene pushed a catch to short leg. The tail collapsed meekly after Samaraweera was finally dismissed by Vettori. After tea Sri Lanka pressed hard for early wickets with Thilan Thushara bowling a penetrative burst, moving the ball both ways. — Reuters
Sri Lanka (1st innings)
Paranavitana c McCullum b Martin 0
Dilshan b O’Brien 92
Sangakkara c Flynn b Martin 8
Jayawardene c Taylor b O’Brien 114
Samaraweera c Patel b Vettori 159
Mathews c McCullum b Vettori 39
Jayawardene c Flynn b Vettori 7
Kulasekara c McCullum b Martin 18
Thushara c O’Brien b Vettori 0
Muralitharan c McCullum b Martin 8
Mendis not out 0
Extras (2-lb, 1-b, 2-w, 2-nb) 7
Total (all out, 117.4 overs) 452
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-16, 3-134, 4-300, 5-386, 6-408, 7-444, 8-444, 9-452.
Bowling: Martin 23-5-77-4, O’Brien 21-1-125-2, Oram 7-1-25-0, Vettori 37.4-9-78-4, Patel 24-3-120-0, Ryder 5-1-24-0,
New Zealand (1st innings)
McIntosh batting 36
Guptill b Thushara 24
Flynn b Mendis 14
Patel batting 6
Extras (4-b, 3-nb) 7
Total (two wickets, 29 overs) 87
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-80.
Bowling: Kulasekara 4-0-21-0, Thushara 8-1-29-1, Mendis 11-3-26-1, Muralitharan 6-2-7-0.
Lebanon stun India
New Delhi, August 19
Lebanon came by the only goal of the match in the fifth minute when tall defender Ali Al Saad neatly struck home a free kick from about 25 yards out. The streaked in past a wall of Indian defenders and custodian Subrata Paul to neatly bulge the net.
Lebanon earned the free kick when Climax Lawrence felled Lebanese striker Mohamad Ghaddar. Ali Al Saad’s conversion of the kick was a fine art in quiet efficiency. In the rest of the match, the visitors were content in falling back and defending their citadel, barring an occasional foray into the Indian goalmouth. They were superior in both aerial and ground balls, yet they preferred to play it percentage.
Had they made a serious attempt to add to their tally, they could have easily got a couple more. But they allowed the hosts to hold the ball, and have a ball, but neither captain Baichung Bhutia nor the other forward Sushil Kumar Singh could shatter the defence of Lebanese custodian Lary Mehanna, who stopped many an aerial ball, and tipped over a couple of other attempts to keep his goal safe.
The Lebanese were so laid back in their attacks that in the whole of the second half, they managed just one corner kick. Nothing could work for India against the tall and sturdy Lebanese, and even when they got empty goals to score, the hosts were unequal to the task.
Bhutia and Sushil Singh seemed to have very little co-ordination, and even when Sushil gave way to the not-fully-fit Sunil Chettri in the second half, there was no change in the hosts’ fortune. After the Lebanese opened their account, India could have evened the score in the ninth minute, when N.S.Manju sent a cross from the left. But Bhutia was a wee bit late in reaching to the ball.
Steven Dias kept the ball moving down the flanks to unsettle the Lebanese defence, and in the 31st minute, his perfect floater from the left corner was almost connected by Sushil Singh with a vicious header, but the ball hit a defender and went out. And just before the interval, Dias’ free kick from the middle was headed to the far post by N.P.Pradeep, which could have been a goal with a little more precision. As the ball dipped in front of the goal, Bhutia, roaming around, could not connect the ball. Sushil Singh made another attempt to score when his drive off a free kick from 40 yards was caught by the custodian. Krygistan meet Syria on Thursday.
Patiala , August 19
Born and brought up in Tarn Taran, a land famous for churning out world-class wrestlers, Navjot till the age of 15 had no idea that her destiny would take her so far when her teacher Shanti Sharma encouraged her to take up wrestling because she had a very robust structure. She started training under coach Ashok Kumar in 2005 and won her first bronze medal in the very first year during the Cadet Wrestling Championship at Pune. After that, there was no looking back.
She then won medals at various cadet and junior nationals and created a sort of record and became three-time junior national champion in a row - in 2007, 08 and 09.
Navjot who is currently a BA-Ist year student at Baba Buddha Sahib College, Chhabal village, near Amritsar, on being questioned about her performance at the Junior Championship said, “It was not an easy target but I had to do it for my coaches and fellow players because they had high hopes on me.”
She added, “Though I was very nervous because one by one my friends were losing, I just tried to keep my cool. My coaches O.P. Yadav and Anita Choudhary, who had accompanied us, also helped me a lot during the competition. I had decided that I had to win at least one medal and I am glad I could live up to my coaches expectations”, she added.
Talking about Navjot’s performance, Yadav said she had done a remarkable job and so had the other girls. He said, “All wrestlers who clear the qualifiers are equally good. Its just that how you perform on a particular day that matters. Navjot has a lot of potential and I expect lot more from her.”
She is currently training at NIS, Patiala, under national wrestling coach P.R. Sondhi for the 2010 CWG. Sondhi feels that her future is really bright but she has to be very careful in future. “It is hard to make a place for yourself in the national squad. But it is harder to maintain it. Navjot is extremely talented and I am sure that if she works with same dedication, there is no stopping her. Wrestling is a very demanding sport and one has to be really focused in order to be consistent,” he added.
swine flu impact
New Delhi, August 19
The nationals, last held in Jalandhar three years back, was scheduled in Pune from September 13-27 under the aegis of Maharashtra Hockey Association. Hockey India secretary general Mohd Aslam said with the situation looking grim in Pune, epicentre of the pandemic, there was no question of hosting the event there.
“The position is very bad in Pune. Everyday there are reports of new cases emerging. In such circumstances, we cannot take the risk of exposing the players to the virus by conducting the tournament,” Aslam said.
Swine flu has already claimed 13 lives in Pune. “We will have to sit and figure out all the options, but at this juncture the tournament remains postponed indefinitely,” Aslam said. Asked if the nationals could have been shifted to some other state, he said, “It is impossible for us to shift the nationals to some other place at such a short notice. To shift the tournament, we would have to check the infrastructure and the facilities. If situation improves, we will reschedule the tournament but I cannot assure you.”
Pune was scheduled to host the event originally in December last year but Hockey India had to defer the tournament because of the court case against the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation. —PTI
New Delhi, August 19 However, DDCA Vice-President and Selection Committee chairman Chetan Chauhan insisted that the players were absent because of other engagements. “All the players are here and those who are not, have informed me about their engagements. Gambhir and (Ashish) Nehra have told me that they would join tomorrow,” he said. “Sehwag is in Kochi for an ad shoot, while a couple of others are playing in England,” he added. Apart from the revolting quartet of Sehwag, Ishant, Gambhir and Nehra, others missing from the camp were Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas and Chaitanya Anand. Sehwag, who has threatened to quit the Delhi team for Haryana, is likely to meet DDCA President Arun Jaitley on August 26 or 27 and officials said a resolution would be worked out. “Everything will be sorted out when Jaitley meets Sehwag. There is no question of DDCA letting these players go. They are world-class players. Jaitley is in Shimla right now but he has been briefed about the situation,” a DDCA source said. Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya sought to play down the issue. “The players are happy. It was a good first practice session and everyone enjoyed it. We are looking forward to a good season ahead,” he said. —
New Delhi, August 19
However, DDCA Vice-President and Selection Committee chairman Chetan Chauhan insisted that the players were absent because of other engagements. “All the players are here and those who are not, have informed me about their engagements. Gambhir and (Ashish) Nehra have told me that they would join tomorrow,” he said. “Sehwag is in Kochi for an ad shoot, while a couple of others are playing in England,” he added.
Apart from the revolting quartet of Sehwag, Ishant, Gambhir and Nehra, others missing from the camp were Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas and Chaitanya Anand. Sehwag, who has threatened to quit the Delhi team for Haryana, is likely to meet DDCA President Arun Jaitley on August 26 or 27 and officials said a resolution would be worked out.
“Everything will be sorted out when Jaitley meets Sehwag. There is no question of DDCA letting these players go. They are world-class players. Jaitley is in Shimla right now but he has been briefed about the situation,” a DDCA source said.
Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya sought to play down the issue. “The players are happy. It was a good first practice session and everyone enjoyed it. We are looking forward to a good season ahead,” he said. — PTI
World Athletics Championship
Berlin, August 19
Richards clocked a season’s best of 49 seconds to beat home Jamaica’s Shericka Williams, who ran 49.32, while Russia’s Antonina Krivoshapka took the bronze in 49.71. Defending champion Ohuruogu failed to find her traditional finishing speed and finished fifth in a season’s best time of 50.21sec.
British woes were eased a little when Phillips Idowu won the men’s triple jump gold, beating defending Olympic and world champion Nelson Evora of Portugal. Idowu, the 30-year-old Olympic silver medalist, landed in the sand pit at 17.73 metres - the best in the world this season - while Evora (17.55) was second and Alexis Copello of Cuba (17.36) was third. Earlier, Olympic champion and world record-holder Bolt breezed through to the 200m semifinals. — AFP
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