India fall flat on the face
‘Sachin’s passion is same even after 21 years’
Our bowling is an area of concern, admits Dhoni
It was a dominating performance: Smith
Former Pak cricketers praise Tendulkar
Real beat Sevilla, stay second
IPL players’ auction to be held in Bangalore
Hawks beat CISF 3-1
Ponting hurting Oz: Chappell
India fall flat on the face
Centurion, December 20
Centurion, December 20
After they finished the penultimate day staring down the barrel at 454 for the loss of eight wickets, India's hopes, more than Tendulkar's broad shoulders, rested on the weather gods. While Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 111, there was no rain interruption on the fifth and final day as the South African pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel sealed the issue in their team's favour in no time. Resuming at 454 for eight, India could manage just five runs to their overnight total, four of them coming off Tendulkar's blade.
S Sreesanth was the first casualty of the day, falling vitim to Morkel's accuracy. The India pacer nicked one to a delivery that had a hint of away movement and AB de Villiers made no mistake at third slip.
Last man Jaidev Unadkat lasted just 10 balls for his one run before offering a simple catch to Ashwell Prince at gully as Steyn brought the curtains down on India's stiff second-innings resistance.
After the collapse in their first innings, India rode on Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir's half centuries in their second essay. But four quick wickets pushed the visitors on the brink again before Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stage a recovery with a spirited 172-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
It was Tendulkar's historic ton and his association with skipper Dhoni that helped India delay the inevitable. While the batsmen dished out a much better performance in the second innings, India's bowling lacked the bite in the absence of spearhed Zaheer Khan. The two teams now move to Durban for the second Test starting December 26.
With Tendulkar content to give Sreesanth and Unadkat the strike after both teams woke up to clear skies on the final morning, it was just a matter of time before the hosts inflicted on India their fisrt innings defeat on South African soil.
Despite the presence of a certain Tendulkar at the crease, India were never in with a chance to save the match. The visitors, however, owe it to the champion batsman who yesterday became the first cricketer to score 50 Test centuries. With India almost on the brink of defeat after losing the wikets of Dravid, Laxman, Raina and Ishant Sharma at the start of fourth day, Tendulkar played a sublime chanceless innings and along with Dhoni, frustrated the South African attack for more than three hours while adding runs at a brisk pace.
Tendulkar and Dhoni, who joined forces when an innings defeat was staring on India at 277 for six just before lunch on the penultimate day, were at ease while dealing with South African bowlers. Tendulkar reached the milestone with a single off Steyn, a perfectly placed drive that pierced through cover and extra cover midway into the final session. — PTI
India 1st innings: 136
South Africa 1st innings: 620-4 dec
India 2nd innings:
Gambhir lbw Steyn 80
Sehwag c Smith b Harris 63
Dravid c Boucher b Morkel 43
Ishant c Amla b Steyn 23
Tendulkar not out 111
Laxman c De Villiers b Tsotsobe 8
Raina c Harris b Kallis 5
Dhoni c Boucher b Steyn 90
Harbhajan c Kallis b Harris 1
Sreesanth c De Villiers b Morkel 3
Unadkat c Prince b Steyn 1
Total (all out in 128.1 overs) 459
Bowling: Steyn 30.1-6-105-4, Morkel 31-6-94-2, Tsotsobe 24-3-98-1, Harris 30-5-88-2, Kallis 13-3-56-1.
Although scored in a losing cause, the second inning score of 459 is India’s highest in a Test in South Africa.
It is also India's highest ever score in an innings defeat.
Harris and Morkel get memento (refrigerator) for getting 100 wickets in Tests.
Kallis is third on most Test tons list with 38.
Centurion, December 20
"As far as Sachin is concerned, he is a legend. Getting his 50th hundred is a milestone, but the passion he has got for cricket after 21 years of cricket is the same," Dhoni paid rich tributes to the senior-most member of Team India.
"I made my debut in 2004 and I saw him practice during net sessions. The intensity with which he used to practice then is the same even after five years. Dhoni agreed that the passion Sachin has for the game is something unmatchable and will be agreed by most of the players.
"Twenty years down the line, I think most fo the cricketers who have played with him feel that he has got the passion to continue and keep going. That's what is great about Sachin Tendulkar." Dhoni said that one media conference isn't enough to talk about the greatness of the maestro.
"A lot of other things we often talk about him, I don’t want to repeat it because then the press conference won't be over. I think it was a great innings under pressure." — PTI
Centurion, December 20
"Bowling is an area of concern. To win a Test match, we needed to take 20 wickets and that didn't happen. We were not able to get them out. Agreed that track became easier for batting on the second and third day but we are used to bowling on flatter tracks," composed looking Indian captain told the mediapersons at the post-match press conference.
On the positives that have emerged from the first Test, the captain said, "Most of the batsmen got good starts, which we will need in Durban. Another area of worry is the over-rate because we were five and a half overs down at one situation. We need to step-up on that front. We need to bowl our quota in the time allotted."
On losing an important toss, Dhoni said,"The wicket was very different during the first two sessions. As I said that the toss will be crucial. Winning the toss is only half the job done. They bowled well after winning the toss. They got us out quickly and then got a good wicket to bat on.
"Even if we consider that they batted on a good strip, still their openers got them off to a good start and the midlle order capitalised. Kallis along with Amla and De Villiers did well in the second part. Overall they performed really well in all three departments."
Dhoni admitted that it was the high scoring rate of theSouth Africans which made the difference. "You're supposed to either take wickets or not let the opposition score at five runs an over in a Test match. Of course the conditions are difficult out here, it's not like in India where it's turning and the ball doesn't come on to the bat.
"But over here scoring is quite easy. Once you’re set, the ball comes on nicely and you can score on both sides of the wicket. So that's also an area of concern. Even our scoring rate despite us losing wickets was quite good. So that means the only way out is more often than not to take wickets."
Dhoni stressed on the fact that the main endeavour will be to level the series. "As far as the task is concerned, the first and foremost priority is to level the series. Then think about the last Test. The next Test is very important, we'll look to win the Durban Test." — PTI
Centurion, December 20
"It was a pretty dominant performance. We controlled the game throughout the four days. I think the partnership between Sachin and MS was the only time that we really needed to put in the yards," Smith told the reporters at the post-match media conference. Smith showered accolades on Sachin, saying,
"The guy has scored 50 Test hundreds so it's a bit hard to rate this one. He's scored a few hundreds before I can even remember. Under pressure, being able to score runs is a feather in his cap.
"I was a bit surprised that he made life for us so easy this morning. I think MS needs credit for the partnership as well, if he didn’t hang around, Sachin wouldn't have got his 50th," he added.
"The wicket flattened out a lot. It was hot and windy and the guys showed a lot of character, especially Dale's spell at the end. We were ahead for the whole part of the match. We scored runs at a good pace which gave us a lot of time to bowl India out,"
Smith stated. Smith isn't too worried about the fact that India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan will make a comeback in the next Test match. When asked to comment on the possible return of Zaheer for the next Test, Smith said, "I don't personalize things too much. I prepare for Zaheer the same way, I prepare for everyone else. He's a new ball bowler and I'm an opening batsman, so it's a natural challenge. He has obviously bowled well to left handers, so it's an exciting prospect."
Although Smith agreed that it was a good toss to win but at the same time he thought that Indians read a bit too much about the strip which was under covers for four days before the Test match started. — PTI
Former Pak cricketers praise Tendulkar
Karachi, December 20 Another former captain Javed Miandad, who played in the Test match at Karachi in 1989 in which Tendulkar made his debut, said he was happy for Tendulkar. "It was clear to us even when he walked out to bat in that Test as a teenager that he had talent. The fact that he has been around for 21 years and done justice to that god gifted talent in both forms of the game is an achievement any cricketer would be proud off," Miandad who played 124 Tests, said. Miandad also said he didn't see Tendulkar's record of 50 Test hundreds being broken by anyone in the future. "It would be very difficult for anyone to reach this pinnacle of Test cricket." Pakistan's Hanif Muhammad who would turn 76 tomorrow paid the tribute to the veteran batsman, saying that he make it a point to watch cricket when Tendulkar was batting in Test matches. "I try to watch the matches in which he is playing because I have not seen anyone gifted with such natural technical batting excellence, which he has combined with his hardwork and commitment. He is indeed a phenomena and a role model for every young batsman," Hanif said. — PTI
Karachi, December 20
Another former captain Javed Miandad, who played in the Test match at Karachi in 1989 in which Tendulkar made his debut, said he was happy for Tendulkar. "It was clear to us even when he walked out to bat in that Test as a teenager that he had talent. The fact that he has been around for 21 years and done justice to that god gifted talent in both forms of the game is an achievement any cricketer would be proud off," Miandad who played 124 Tests, said.
Miandad also said he didn't see Tendulkar's record of 50 Test hundreds being broken by anyone in the future. "It would be very difficult for anyone to reach this pinnacle of Test cricket." Pakistan's Hanif Muhammad who would turn 76 tomorrow paid the tribute to the veteran batsman, saying that he make it a point to watch cricket when Tendulkar was batting in Test matches.
"I try to watch the matches in which he is playing because I have not seen anyone gifted with such natural technical batting excellence, which he has combined with his hardwork and commitment. He is indeed a phenomena and a role model for every young batsman," Hanif said. — PTI
Barcelona, December 20
The Argentina winger threaded a shot from a tight angle on the left flank past goalkeeper Andres Palop in the 76th minute just as a scoreless draw seemed to be the most likely outcome yesterday.
Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo caused problems for his former club's defense throughout, and drew two yellow cards from defender Ricardo Carvalho to leave Madrid with 10 men from the 63rd minute.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game, and after the dismissal (of Carvalho) it was even tougher," said Di Maria, who had scored five goals this season. "It was a good-looking goal, but the important thing is that it gave us the win." Madrid has won all eight matches this season at Bernabeu stadium, while 11th-place Sevilla has now lost five straight games.
Without forward Frederic Kanoute and wingers Jesus Navas and Diego Perotti due to injury, Sevilla turned to Negredo and Luis Fabiano in attack. Real Madrid had defender Sergio Ramos returning from injury, but Xabi Alonso's absence was noticed in the middle of the pitch.
Madrid threatened early with the speed of Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo's long-distant shots on goal.
Ronaldo blasted a free kick that Palop came close to spilling five minutes in. Madrid striker Karim Benzema drew Palop out of the area but his pass to Ronaldo, who would have had an open goal, was cut out by the Sevilla defense.
Sevilla responded by sending long balls to Negredo, who had his team's first clear chance to score in the 23rd.
Two minutes later, Sevilla defender Julien Escude headed a corner from Diego Capel just wide of goalkeeper Iker Casilla's post.
Sevilla pressed forward and Madrid center back Pepe had to scramble to rob Negredo near the area and clear a dangerous rebound in the area before the half ended.
Luis Fabiano put Negredo through in the 53rd, but the Spanish striker sent his shot well over the crossbar in Sevilla's best chance to score.
Madrid tired in attack and lost its composure when Carvalho was sent off. The tension grew in the stands until Di Maria appeared to claim the three points for his team. — AP
Mumbai, December 20
"The auction is to be held in Bangalore and a total of 416 playes would go under the auctioner's hammer," IPL sources said. Under the IPL Player Regulations, each of the founding franchises could retain up to four players (of which only three could be Indian) in advance of the player auction - against fixed deductions from the $9 million salary cap. Only Chennai Super Kings, the 2010 champions, and runners-up Mumbai Indians have retained the full compliment of players.
CSK have retained captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel. MI held on to batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Sri Lanka's sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga and West Indian powerhouse Kieron Pollard.
By retaining four players, MI and CSK are each left with only USD 4.5m to spend either in the auction or in buying Ranji players outside the auction. Delhi Daredevils retained swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals decided to keep their two Australian stars Shane Warne and Shane Watson.
Rajasthan Royals will have $5.9 mn available to spend while Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore will each have a balance of $7.2mn available. The remaining franchises have the full $9mn available to spend. This is the second time in four years that the T20 franchise-based League's players' auction is being held outside Mumbai where the inaugural one took place in 2008. Goa was the venue of the second players' auction in February 2009. — PTI
Hawks beat CISF 3-1
Patiala, December 20
In the opening encounter Ropar Hawks, who were trailing in the initial minutes, came from behind to get past an experienced CISF Chandigarh side 3-1 in a close contest. The security-men started the proceedings in a whirlwind fashion and went in to an early 1-0 lead through veteran centre-forward Prateek Kumar, who deceived the opposition defenders outside the circle and scored off a deflection.
In the second half international Dharamvir Singh, who represented India at the recently-concluded Asian Games in China scored parity for the Hawks 1-1 with a solo effort from the 25 yard line. They went ahead 2-1 in 58th minute through Manpreet Singh, who combined effectively with Gagandeep Singh to score with a hard hit from the left corner of the net. Ropar Hawks completed a 3-1 win in the last minute of the game when speedy winger Varinder Singh shot home from near the goal line.
Strong contenders Punjab National Bank, New Delhi made an emphatic start to their campaign overrunning Artillery Centre Hyderabad 5-1. Inside-left Damandeep Singh scored the first goal for PNB in the 9th minute. The Armymen hit back with an equaliser in the 15th minute through Pawl Lakra who converted an indirect hit following a short corner.
Thereafter PNB went on a scoring spree with field goals by Lakhwinder Singh (25th minute), Yudhvir Singh (42nd minute) and Rajwinder Singh scoring in the 50th minute from a short corner. The misery of the Hyderabad team ended when Yudhvir again scored with a fine effort from the left wing two minutes before the final whistle to complete a 5-1 cakewalk.
In the last match of the day Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala shunted out young outfit Kurukshetra University 3-1 in a fast paced match in which both teams exhibited fine skill.
Tomorrows Fixtures: Western Central Railway Jabalpur VS Spots Hostel Lucknow; JK Police Jammu VS PNB New Delhi; SSB New Delhi VS RCF Kapurthala.
Perth, December 20
"The fact is that Ponting's captaincy is starting to hurt the Australian team. In what appears to be an attempt to prove the critics wrong, Ponting has become impatient for success and his constant changes to the field placings only served to distract the bowlers from their task. He looks like a captain trying too hard to prove he's worthy, rather than a steady one with a firm grip on the levers," Chappell said.
"If it hadn't been for Johnson's remarkable revival, the series could have been England's for the taking. If the pattern of the game had continued to follow that of the first day, Ponting's captaincy would now be under immediate threat. It hasn't helped that Ponting went cheaply in Perth after failures in the first two Tests. He's currently a batsman out of luck rather than out of form," said Chappell.
On Michael Clarke, he said: "If Clarke doesn't arrest this slide before the end of the series, the selectors will be loath to appoint him captain with such an ominous cloud hanging over his head." — ANI
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