India, Pakistan teams at Edens
Bangladesh shelves Pakistan tour over security concerns
Mithali to lead India in World Cup
Kiwis up against SA mountain
Australia fans urged to offer tributes to Tony Greig during Sydney Test
Punjab eves suffer another defeat
Karthik piles misery on Haryana
Gayle responds to Haddins criticism in Big Bash
Lampard rescues Chelsea in 2-1 win at Everton
Pervak ousts Wozniacki from Brisbane International
Bops drops hints of playing the Korea tie
Yukis campaign ends in Round 1
Deepika, Dola win medals in senior national archery.
McGrath to be inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
India, Pakistan teams at Edens
Kolkata, December 31
The players arrived by a chartered flight from Chennai and were taken to the team hotel amidst tight security. They will remain at the hotel and will be busy with private parties to usher in the New Year.
The teams are slated to practice at the Eden Gardens tomorrow afternoon, the local manager said. Down 0-1 in the three-match series, India must win the Eden one-dayer to keep their hopes in series alive. The third and final one-dayer is scheduled in Delhi on January 6.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli, who slipped while bowling and limped off the field in great pain, is going to be under observation before deciding if he'd play the second ODI in Kolkata.
"All his major ligaments are fine. There is minimal injury fluid in his knee," according to BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale. Jagdale said in a press release that Kohli's condition will be monitored and a decision about playing him in Kolkata would be taken over the next couple of days. The Indian cricket team capped off the year with another loss, going down by six wickets to Pakistan in the first ODI between the two sides at the Chepauk in Chennai on Sunday.
India, put in to bat in trying conditions, managed 227 for six, largely thanks to a superlative unbeaten century from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (113 not out).Nasir Jamshed (101 not out) and Younis Khan (58) made light work of the chase as Pakistan scored 228 for four with 11 balls to spare. Things though could have been different for the hosts had they held on to the catches and if a few decisions had gone their way. Nevertheless, it was a ruthless performance from a Pakistan side boasting of many youngsters. PTI
Dhaka, December 31
The two teams had been scheduled to play a Twenty20 and a one-day international on January 12 and 13 respectively, both in Lahore.
But Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan told reporters the proposed tour had been put off indefinitely amid fears over players' safety, in the wake of protests and a Facebook campaign opposing the visit.
"Bangladesh will not visit Pakistan for now. We've made the decision after considering the overall security situation in Pakistan and the concern that our people have expressed over the safety of their players," Hassan said.
"We made a commitment to visit Pakistan and it's almost mandatory for us to tour the country. But we believe safety of players and officials are of highest importance. It's a national issue."
Pakistan have had to play their "home" matches in venues ranging from Dubai to London ever since gunmen shot dead eight people and wounded seven Sri Lankan players in an audacious attack near the stadium in Lahore in March 2009.
The Bangladesh board had indicated two weeks ago that it was ready to send a team, albeit only after a final security review.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf had said on December 22 that Bangladesh had confirmed the tour was definitely on.
Hassan said Bangladesh had informed the Pakistan board of its change of heart and added that the team would visit Pakistan if security improves.
"We have noticed the security situation in Pakistan has not improved significantly, rather deteriorated," he said.
"We've sent a letter to Pakistan three days ago explaining our position. We've decided to wait and see." Bangladesh had earlier agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012 but the visit was blocked by the Dhaka high court.
Hassan said that he feared Pakistan might now bar its own cricketers from playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in response to the decision.
The BPL is the Bangladeshi answer to the Indian Premier League -- the hugely popular Twenty20 tournament which has fused cricket with show business.
In the first edition back in February, 20 Pakistani players featured in the tournament, with all-rounder Shahid Afridi fetching $700,000 in an auction of stars -- the highest amount paid.
More than 50 Pakistani players have already been bought at an auction for the second edition of the tournament, beginning on January 17.
Officials said the BPL would go ahead even if Pakistan did not allow its cricketers to play. AFP
New Delhi, December 31
Hosts India will play on the opening day of the tournament against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium.
Squad: Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami, Amita Sharma, Gouhar Sultana, M Thirushkamini, Sulakshana Naik, Ekta Bist, Mona Meshram, Rasanara Parwin, Niranjana Nagarajan, Punam Raut, Reema Malhotra, Karuna Jain, Shubhalaxmi Sharma. PTI
Cape Town, December 31
Not for generations have expectations been lower before a test series. The hosts hold a commanding five-point lead at the top of the world Rankings while New Zealand languish in eighth place, ahead only of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.The last time the Black Caps were in South Africa, in November 2007, they were humiliated in both test matches, failing to reach 200 in four innings and losing by margins of 358 runs and an innings and 59 runs.
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn began his ascent to the top of the world bowling rankings by taking 20 wickets at a little over 10 runs apiece. Steyn is still top of the world rankings but now he has two team mates for company in the top 10, Vernon Philander in second place and Morne Morkel in sixth. New Zealand's 38-year-old seamer Chris Martin is the leading Kiwi in 17th place.
A look at the batting rankings is even more bleak for the touring side. Not only do South Africa have another three men (Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers) ranked in the top 10 - with Graeme Smith at number 13 - but the tourists have just one, and he is not on the tour. The saga of Ross Taylor's embarrassing sacking as captain is still haunting the management team and further holes in the first-choice XI have been created by injuries to all-rounders Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee. Reuters
Sydney, December 31
Wide-brimmed hats were suggested to recall the memory of former England captain and television commentator Tony Greig, who died of a heart attack aged 66 on Saturday.
Fans will also be urged to don the trademark white nose-protective zinc sunscreen synonymous with retiring Australian cricketer Hussey, who will be playing his last Test starting Thursday.
Both teams will observe a minute's silence before the start of the game and will sport black armbands in honour of Greig.
Greig was instrumental in the formation of late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket from 1977-79, which sent shockwaves through the sport. Greig was also a strong supporter of Sri Lankan cricket and enjoyed a high profile in both countries.
"He was a great human being and a great voice for Sri Lanka," Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera said on Monday.
Hussey continues in good form at age 37, just months younger than Ricky Ponting who called it quits earlier this month. But Hussey has said he wants to spend more time with his four children, who are all aged under eight. The left-hander has scored 19 hundreds in 78 Tests and averages 51.52.
Australia have already clinched their series against Sri Lanka by winning the opening two Tests. PTI
Punjab eves suffer another defeat
Ludhiana, December 31
Similarly, in the women's section, Kerala overpowered Delhi 77-75 and Tamil Nadu quelled a strong challenge from Karnataka before emerging victors 70-60.
Besides, last years' losing finalists in the men's section, Tamil Nadu went down tumbling against Uttrakhand (70-96) and hosts Punjab were made to bite the dust in women's section by the currrent champions, Indian Railways 87-62.
However, the reigning champions in the men's section, Punjab warded off a stiff resistence from Services to wrap up the issue 86-66.
After some initial hiccups, Punjab men shot into the lead as ace player, Satnam Singh utilised his height and Ranbir feeded him well to drop a two pointer. The visitors too appeared a determined lot. They managed to surge ahead and maintained the lead for a while but by the end of first quarter, Punjab established four-point lead (22-18).
From there on, Punjab cagers gave no room to their rivals to gain an upper hand as they were leading 38-30 at half time and increased the gap to 62-48 at the end of third quarter. The home side eventually romped home victorious. In another match (men), last year's losing finalists, Tamil Nadu, after enjoying lead till first quarter aginst Uttrakhand, failed to keep up the momentum and finally caved in 70-96 in which Vishesh Raghuvanshi who excelled for India in the Asian Beach Games in China was the main contributor who dropped 40 points and for the losers, CV Dinesh played well and scored 21 points.
Results (Men)- Himachal Pradesh bt Odisha 87-57; Uttrakhand bt Tamil Nadu 96-70; Assam bt Chandigarh 71-66; Andhra Pradesh bt Haryana 65-64; Delhi bt Karnataka 95-79; Rajashtan bt Jammu and Kashmir 95-61; Chhattisgarh bt Madhya Pradesh 70-67 and Gurjrat bt Bihar 82-37; (women): Kerala bt Delhi 77-75; Indian Railways bt Punjab 87-62; West Bengal bt Himachal Pradesh 71-36; Odisha bt Gurjrat 51-12; Chhattisgarh bt Andhra Pradesh 95-46; Tamil Nadu bt Karnataka 70-60 and Rajashtan bt Uttrakhand 72-53.
Chennai, December 31
Resuming at 181 for three, overnight batsmen Dinesh forged 105 runs with Arun Karthik (54) for the fourth wicket and then starred in another 184-run partnership for the 6th wicket with Vijay Shankar (not out 100).
Dinesh blasted 17 fours and three sixes in his 296-ball innings. He was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal in the 158th over following a catch by Jayant Yadav.
Overnight batsman Arun was the first batsman to be dismissed today when he was caught by Nitin Saini off Mohit Sharma in the 93rd over. His 123-ball innings was studded with seven boundaries.
However, Dinesh continued his good work and added another 67 runs for the fifth wicket with Ramaswamy Prasanna (33), before the latter was dismissed by Sharma in the 115th over.
Dinesh and V Shankar then took the onus on themselves and started scoring runs in a fast pace. The two picked up boundaries regularly. Shankar's 162-ball innings contained 10 fours and three sixes. Replying to TN's first innings total, Haryana were seven without loss in three overs. Saini (2) and Rahul Dhawan (5) were at the crease at the draw of stumps at the India Cement Limited Guru Nanak College Ground.
Delhi pushing for an outright win
Delhi bowlers produced a collective effort as they enforced follow-on upon Vidarbha on the third day of their crucial final group B league encounter of the Ranji Trophy at the OLD VDCA ground in Vidarbha. In reply to Delhi's mammoth first innings score of 523 for nine declared, hosts were all out for 257 thereby conceding a huge lead of 266 runs. Being put into bat again, Vidarbha were one for no loss at stumps. Today, none of the Vidarbha batsmen save veteran Hemang Badani (68) could make an impact. Pacers Sumit Narwal, Pradeep Sangwan, left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra and all-rounder Rajat Bhatia took two wickets apiece. Brief Scores: TN first innings 570 /6 decl in 170.3 overs (D Karthik not out 187; M Sharma 2/77); Haryana first innings: 7 for no loss in 3 overs. PTI
Delhi bowlers produced a collective effort as they enforced follow-on upon Vidarbha on the third day of their crucial final group B league encounter of the Ranji Trophy at the OLD VDCA ground in Vidarbha.
In reply to Delhi's mammoth first innings score of 523 for nine declared, hosts were all out for 257 thereby conceding a huge lead of 266 runs. Being put into bat again, Vidarbha were one for no loss at stumps. Today, none of the Vidarbha batsmen save veteran Hemang Badani (68) could make an impact. Pacers Sumit Narwal, Pradeep Sangwan, left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra and all-rounder Rajat Bhatia took two wickets apiece.
Brief Scores: TN first innings 570 /6 decl in 170.3 overs (D Karthik not out 187; M Sharma 2/77); Haryana first innings: 7 for no loss in 3 overs. PTI
Sydney, December 31
A key player in the West Indies World T20 title triumph, Gayle has scored 70 runs in five matches this season for Sydney Thunder, which lost to Haddin's Sydney Sixes on Sunday. Haddin suggested in a television interview after he was dismissed by Gayle that Thunder fans weren't getting value for money from their star import.
The tall, left-handed Jamaican batsman responded via Twitter on Monday, advising Haddin to "stop watch my money and watch himself!!"
"Not my fault he ain't good as I am even if I bat right hand!!!" The tweets had been removed by late Monday. AFP
Liverpool, December 31
Having fallen behind to Steven Pienaar's goal after just 63 seconds, Chelsea had the 34-year-old Lampard to thank for securing a fourth straight win to maintain the momentum under interim manager Rafa Benitez.
The England midfielder, who has yet to be offered an extension to a contract that expires in June, headed in a 42nd-minute equalizer from Ramires' cross and grabbed the winner in the 72nd by turning the ball high into the net from close range after Juan Mata's shot was saved by goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The double will undoubtedly increase speculation about the future of Lampard, a mainstay at Chelsea since joining the London club in 2001. Injury has restricted him to 11 league appearances this season, but Chelsea hasn't lost any of them and he has now scored six times.
"I know there is a lot of speculation and talk but I just want to continue playing," said Lampard, one of the most prolific midfielders in Premier League history. "I will always have Chelsea in me for life."
Everton lost its unbeaten home record this season but deserved at least a point, with Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic twice hitting the goal frame and missing a golden chance in stoppage time to equalize. The hosts, who last lost at Goodison Park in March to Arsenal, could have gone above their opponents with a win.
Chelsea, though, showed its improving resilience under Benitez to stay third - four points behind second-place Manchester City and 11 adrift of Manchester United with a game in hand on both."It was huge, especially after the sloppy start," Lampard said. "This is always one of the most difficult games of the season. The lads dug in, held their own, and we made our luck." AFP
Brisbane, December 31
In a titanic battle lasting 2hrs 48mins, left-handed Pervak eased past Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) in the first shock of the season-opening WTA tournament.
Eighth-seeded Wozniacki had looked in control as she reeled off the first set in just 29 minutes. But the Russian-born Pervak found her range in the second set and had the Dane constantly under pressure with her swinging left-handed groundstrokes.
She won the set to level the match then stunned Wozniacki in the deciding set with an all-out attack.
"I had a really tough match yesterday, we played for three hours and I was tired in the beginning," Pervak said.
"But then I got into the game (and) it was easy. I won a few games and I felt that I can do it and I started to fight more." Pervak said she knew she could not give the more experienced Wozniacki any cheap points in the tiebreak.
"I just told myself that I needed to be focused on every point and just play my game as aggressively as I could," she said.
Wozniacki will play in Sydney next week in a last-ditch bid to find some form ahead of the January 14-27 Australian Open in Melbourne. "Obviously you're a competitor so you want to win and you're not happy about it when you lose, no matter who you lose to or how you lose," she said.
"I fought until the end today. Maybe I didn't play my best tennis today, but it's tough to expect that from yourself in your first match back. "Hopefully I can now play some practice matches with some of the other girls here and then go to Sydney and hopefully get a couple more there."
It was 21-year-old Pervak's first win over a top 10 player and the first time she has been past the first round in Brisbane in four attempts.
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber survived a tough three-setter against Georgia's Anna Tatishvili, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, while German compatriot Sabine Lisicki had a more straightforward 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.
French Open runner-up and fifth seed Sara Errani thumped Russia's Olga Puchkova 6-1, 6-3.
Djokovic dodges injury as Serbia thrash Italy
Perth: World number one Novak Djokovic escaped serious injury in an incident with over zealous fans after helping Serbia beat Italy at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth on Monday.
Djokovic, who only arrived in the city on Sunday evening after winning an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, was too good for Italian Andreas Seppi, defeating him 6-3, 6-4.
After the match, Djokovic made his way to sign autographs for youngsters at the side of the court. But as fans clamoured to get the Serbian star's attention the barrier holding them back fell onto his legs. Reuters
Chennai, December 31
Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were banned by AITA for defying the London Olympics selection but Karnataka High Court had stayed the ban when the players appealed against it. Both Bhupathi and Bopanna had refused to team up with Leander or the London Games. "I have made myself available. AITA had sent me an email asking me whether I am available for selection and I have said that I am available.
"Court case has been stayed for months and months ago. As far as I know, the AITA has sent me an email asking me whether I am available for selection. I have said that I am available, he said. PTI
Chennai, December 31
Amritraj came from a set down to edge past Briton James Ward 5-7 6-4 6-4. Playing under humid conditions, Yuki fought tooth and nail in the first set but made a crucial double fault in the 12th game to give one-set advantage to his rival.
In the second set also Yuki played extremely well as he the returns so well but Haase was equal to the task.
Haase led 4-3 and then shifted gear to bring in his forehand shots in to play to gain four game points to break Yuki in the eighth game, which was enough for the Dutch to hold his serve to win the match. Yuki had four break chances in the match but could convert none.
Meanwhile, Vishnu Vardhan and Sanam Singh exited from the doubles event after getting beaten by Benoit Paire of France and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland (2-6 7-5 7-10). In another the final qualifying match, India born American Rajiv Ram got the better of Kenny De Schepper of France (7-6 4-6 6-1). In another match, Go Soeda of Japan breezed through to the second round with a clinical 6-1 6-2 win over Russian Evgeny Donskoy. PTI
Chennai, December 31
Representing SPSB, Deepika won two gold medals (70m, Olympic round), three silver (50m, 60m and team) and two bronze (30m and mixed pair) in the women's recurve section. Olympian Dola as the Railway archer came back from a long injury lay-off to pick two gold (50m, team), two silver (mixed pair, olympic) and two bronze medals (60m, 70m). In the men's section, Kapil won the individual Olympic round, even as Rahul Banerjee had five medals one gold (team), two silver (30m, mixed pair) and two bronze (70m, 90m). PTI
Dubai, December 31
McGrath will join Enid Bakewell and Brian Lara to become third inductee of 2012-13, the ICC said in a statement.
"McGrath becomes the 68th male member of the Hall of Fame and joins fellow 2012-13 inductees West Indian Brian Lara and England's Enid Bakewell in being recognized by the ICC and the living members of the Hall of Fame."
While Lara and Bakewell were inducted in September at the ICC Awards, McGrath will be inducted at his home ground of the SCG. A fourth and final inductee of 2012-13 will be announced next summer.
McGrath represented Australia in 124 Test matches between 1993 and 2007 and claimed 563 Test wickets at an average of 21.64. He took more Test wickets than any other seam bowler currently in the game or retired.
He also represented Australia in 250 ODIs, claiming 381 wickets at an average of 22.02, and was part of the Australian side that won three successive World Cups 1999, 2003 and 2007.
He still holds the record for most wickets in World Cup competitions, with 71 scalps and his figures of 7-15 against Namibia are the best in the competition's history. "I am honoured that the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame voting academy, which includes all the current living Hall of Famers, have nominated and voted me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," McGrath said of the induction.
"I am very much looking forward to celebrating the occasion on 4 January with not only my friends and family, but all those at the SCG which is of course is like a second home to me," he added. PTI