Second game, second draw
When religion of cricket and its deity lost followers
Gibson wants more from his batsmen
Embarrassing defeat for Punjab
Yuvraj Singh walks back to the pavillion on Day 4 of the Punjab-Mumbai Ranji tie at Cricket Stadium, Sector 16, on Sunday. — Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari
J&K beat Goa; Haryana lose to Vidarbha
Nadal overpowers Federer to reach year-ending final
Indian men finish fifth at Asian CT
Chowrasia misses by a whisker, Siddikur clinches Indian Open title
Chelsea survive, Liverpool and Saints shine
Chelsea's Eden Hazard (blue) scored a late goal to salvage a draw against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. — AFP
PPS Nabha lift athletics trophy
Second game, second draw
Kolkata, November 10
World number one Carlsen showed that he was made of sterner stuff and pulled back the attention on to himself with an easiest of draws against Anand, who played with his first white in the match. The first game, in which Anand played with black pieces, was also a drawn affair yesterday.
The scores are now tied 1-1 after two games and there are 10 more games to go under Classical time control in this Rs 14 crore prize money championship. Just like Anand's mesmerising work in the opening game yesterday, it was Carlsen all the way as Anand could not do anything. The local hero agreed that the opening was a surprise for him and even more the variation chosen by Carlsen. It was a repetition of a game played by Anand against Chinese Ding Liren some time back and Anand spent a lot of time thinking about various complicated variations but could not be sure of himself.
The easier way out was to play solid, as Carlsen did when posed with slightest difficulty and the draw was up for grabs for the Norwegian. While the first game lasted just 16 moves, this one went on till the 25th but the result of the game had been forecasted by many much before that.
Carlsen's surprise opening apparently took Anand completely off guard and the world champion will now have to look at some new options to figure out the Caro Kann.
The variation that Carlsen chose has tendencies to go for wild-play which is a major shift from the Carlsen camp according to general perception that the Norwegian plays well in dry positions.
The two players followed played games till move 17 and on his 18th turn Anand came up with a 'Novelty' by going for the trade of queens. However, the new idea was probably an over the board preparation rather than home work as white got nothing.
Anand found all natural and forcing moves thereafter and with his 21st move, the writing was already on the wall as the repetition of moves was quite evident. Just four moves later, the position had repeated thrice for a well-deserved draw for the Norwegian.
In the post match chat, Carlsen said white could have avoided the queen exchange to have a game on, but his later analysis proved that there was not much hope for white even though it looks optically it looked like a decent option.
Like in the first game, white spent more time on the clock.
Carlsen ended up spending just 25 minutes on the clock while Anand took 42 minutes to make his moves. If the deadlock continues and the scores are still tied after 12 games, games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner. — PTI
Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne has paid rich tribute to Sachin Tendulkar terming him the “best batsman” of his generation and said that there won't be another player like the retiring Indian great in years to come.
“Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman of my generation and it will be a privilege to be in Mumbai this week to commentate on the first two days of his final Test,” said Warne. Warne, the second highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket, had many interesting duels with the Indian legend and feels that Tendulkar was the “best in all conditions against all types of bowling” and also possessed a wonderful temperament.
“The pressure he was under from the India public was immense but he handled himself on and off the field in a way that was respected by all,” Warne wrote in his column for the 'Daily Telegraph'
Tendulkar, who is all set to become the first man to play 200 Test matches, has almost all the records in his kitty, including highest number of runs in both Tests and ODIs as well as 100 international centuries. But for Warne, Tendulkar's feats can't merely be measured by a few numbers. “There will not be another Sachin Tendulkar. I always teach young players that cricket is not about averages even if it is a stats-based game. It is about how and when you score runs or take wickets. The great players deliver when the team is up against it and statistics do not tell you the truth about such things. Sachin is far more than a man with great numbers to boast about.”
Warne termed the phase between 1994 and 2000 as the best years of Tendulkar. “His best years were between 1994 and 2000. He is still a very good player but it is hard to compare the Sachin of today to the man of 15 years ago.” “In the mid-1990s, he was phenomenal against quicks and spin. He judged the length of a ball so quickly, which enabled him to have a lot more time to play the shot or let it go.”
According to Warne, Tendulkar kept the basics of batting pretty simple.
“Sachin also kept it very simple. He was still at the crease so, if it was pitched, up he drove it, if it was short, he pulled it. It was his judgment of length and clarity in his head with shot selection that made him so dominant against all opposition bowlers in all sorts of conditions,” Warne wrote.
As per Warne's assessment, next to Tendulkar would be West Indian Brian Lara, who according to the leggie was “more destructive than Sachin”.
“Second on my list would be Brian Lara. We all used to love watching Lara bat except when you had a ball in your hand and he was probably more destructive than Sachin. A third pool of players would include Jacques Kallis, Graham Gooch, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh and Kevin Pietersen but there is a fair distance between those guys and Lara and Tendulkar.”
For Warne, the two stand-out Tendulkar innings were his 155 on a difficult Chennai track in 1998 and 241 in Sydney in 2003-04 when he didn't hit a single cover drive for almost 10 hours.
“I saw Sachin play some great innings but two stand out. In the 1998 Test in Chennai I dismissed him fifth ball in the first innings. In the second, he hit me for six second or third ball and went on to make 155 in tough conditions to set up India to win the Test.
“Six years later at Sydney he made 241, his first Test double-century. I was injured at the time so was commentating but I had a great view of his innings from the box. He had been dismissed a few times in that series by Australia bowling full and wide. “He (Tendulkar) decided he would respond by not playing a cover drive. Now the cover drive is a fairly large part of a batsman's armoury. When bowlers are pitching it up and trying to swing it you tend to play a lot of cover drives, but he did not play a single one in more than 10 hours at the crease.”
“It summed up his mental strength.” — PTI
When religion of cricket and its deity lost followers
Kolkata, November 10
It was passion for religion -- for the goddess Kali, and then the Chhat Festival. These were preceded by Durga Puja, and are to be followed by the Jagaddhatri Puja. For a state that voted in the supposedly atheistically inclined communists to power for decades, the people are surprisingly fervent celebrators of god.
On the three evenings of the Test, and the evening preceding it, the street just outside the Eden Gardens ground was choked, teeming with revellers. They were on feet, pushing tableaus, or packed in small, medium or large commercial goods carriers. They were on their way to Babughat, 10 minutes on foot from Eden Gardens, to immerse the Kali idols in the river. God enjoyed tremendous popularity in Kolkata.
Not too many cared for the man often called cricket’s god, Tendulkar. The attendance for the Kolkata Test was shocking; the ground was no more than half full on the opening day (the figures given by the CAB were, very surprisingly, close to 50,000, quite contrary to the visual evidence); on the second and third days, the numbers were lower.
Thus, it turns out, that the Sachinmania that had seemed to strike the city was only perfunctory -- limited to putting up posters in the streets of Kolkata, or decorating the stadium with big pictures and cutouts of the man.
When it came to voting with their feet, the Kolkatans opted to vote for the invisible gods of the skies. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, had said that if stadiums are not packed for these two Test matches, they never will be for Test cricket in India.
Why did Kolkata ditch Test cricket, that too the most hyped Test match in decades?
The reasons are not too difficult to find. A large number of tickets (at least 20 percent is the norm) in every venue are reserved for the members. In Kolkata, the number is higher. Around 30,000 of 68,000-odd seats in the stadium are reserved for life, associate, annual and honorary members; around 24,000 were for the affiliated units; around 9,000 were for the dignitaries, the BCCI officials, delegates, current and former players.
That left around 5,000 tickets for sale to the general public. This is an amazing piece of mathematical skulduggery. The worst part of it is that the members didn’t really show up for SRT 199.
“They and their families are generally not too excited because they’ve seen so much cricket,” says a CAB member. “They don’t care to show up for the Tests.
They may have stayed away from this game also because the West Indies are not a formidable opponent, unable to present a thrilling contest.
Those who have the passion, they’re too far away from the centre of Kolkata, living in unfashionable places. They are unable to buy the tickets.”
Even if they are keen to watch the cricket, the non-wealthy fans are hesitant about coming to the Eden Gardens. “It’s so expensive now,” says Amit Roy, a manager of a trading company at Chowringhee. “Earlier we could take food and water into the stadium. Now that’s not allowed. Now a fistful of biryani is sold there for Rs 120, and a cold drink for Rs 30. People don’t want to spend that sort of money.”
The ticket sales were made online. How many of the commoners have the access and the ability to buy cricket tickets online, asks Roy.
Perhaps the younger fans can’t relate with Test cricket as much as the older generation did. The attendance for this match had a fair sprinkling of youngsters, but most of them were watching Test cricket for the first time, being drawn in by the Tendulkar hype.
A Kolkata newspaper conducted a survey during the Test match. The question was: Who is Sachin Tendulkar? Sixty percent of the respondents said that he’s the best Indian batsman ever; forty percent said he’s a Mumbai Indians player. It appears, then, that the Indian Premier League has introduced Tendulkar to a lot of young Kolkatans as not an alltime great, but as just another Mumbai Indians player. Perhaps, for this section, Tendulkar’s 199th Test held little relevance.
A few years ago, a book on Tendulkar appeared with the title: Cricket is my Religion and Sachin Tendulkar is my God. This title could be, unwittingly, subtle and deep -- the title might be right, after all. Cricket is entertainment -- perhaps religion is entertainment, too. It certainly seemed so during Kali puja celebrations and idol immersions. Vans upon vans with drummers, carrying families and neighbourhoods, were on their way to immerse the Kali idols at Babughat. Piety must have been in their hearts, but what was visible was a sense of fun, celebration and even rowdiness. There was competitiveness. Bigger idols, in bigger trucks, were accompanied by bigger crowds that seemed to demand the right of way in the roads.
It was like entertainment, a passionate pastime -- religion is that, perhaps.
In Kolkata, the religion of cricket, or at least the religion of Test cricket, seems to be losing adherents.
Gibson wants more from his batsmen
Kolkata, November 10
West Indies didn’t couldn’t compete in Kolkata, except for one session on the second day. The failure of the batting was spectacular — they lasted only 132 overs in two innings, against the 130 that India played in one innings. This after winning the toss and batting first, a big advantage.
Bowling to the Indian batsmen in India was a massive challenge. The West Indies did relatively better there, reducing India to 83/5 on the second morning. They did better against spin too, conceding only seven wickets to the Indian spinners in two innings.
It was their batting failure that hurt them, especially against the sensational Mohammed Shami.
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson, after supervising a three-hour training session at the Wankhede Stadium here, said that he felt helpless in Kolkata.
“There is only so much talking any coach can do,” Gibson said. “When you play five batsmen, and you sit down and stress the importance of those five batsmen, and you set yourself a challenge of batting a day and a half in the first innings, it is then up to those five batsmen to negotiate whatever the opposition bowlers throw at them.”
“But when you have a run-out and a couple of soft dismissals within those five batsmen then it puts pressure on everybody else. We have to learn those mistakes and try not to repeat them,” he added.
What must West Indies do now? “Try and bat three days,” Gibson said. “We won the toss in good batting conditions and we batted 70-odd overs. That is just not good enough. We know in India you have to bat long, put runs on the board, 400 minimum in the first innings really. So the 234 that we made was pretty average.”
Roach ruled out
Meanwhile, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has been ruled out of the rest of the tour of India due to his shoulder injury, due to which he’d missed the Kolkata Test. Roach will be replaced in the squad by Shannon Gabriel, a 25-year-old Trinidad & Tobago bowlers who has played three Tests. Roach was missed sorely in Kolkata -- at the 14th spot, he’s the highest ranked Test bowler for the team and has taken 85 wickets at 27.71 in 23 Tests.
Defending champs Mumbai crush home team by 180 runs in their own den
Chandigarh, November 10
From there on Vishal Dabholkar (4/87) took little time to send the lower order back in pavillion. He was declared man of the match for scalping 10 wickets in the match.
Punjab’s batting failure could be guaged from the fact that debutant Rajwinder Singh Golu,a left armer, was the second highest scorer for the team with 29 runs.
It was Punjab’s failure in all departments, be it their batting bowling or fielding. The planning and startegy too was illogical. Punjab coach Bhupinder Singh Senior admitted, “It was a collective failure. I expected much from Harbahjan and batsmen alike. We shifted the match to this venue from Mohali because we thought we will be able to gain upper hand in the spin department. But it was Dabholkar who made all the difference. We gave away 30-40 runs to many in the first innings.” Punjab’s decision to play on a spinning track was like forfeiting own strength to the opposition.
To make matters worse, they lost the toss and Harbhajan Singh and Co. utterly failed to enforce themselves on the team. When it came to batting, the home team batsmen played without any responsibility.
Mumbai, on the other hand, came with a clear cut plan. They kept the flow of runs tight when the wickets were not coming.
Brief scores: Mumbai: 282 and 271 Punjab: 155 and 214 in 68.3 overs (Yuvraj Singh 40, Rajwinder Singh 29, Vishal Dabholkar 4 for 87, Iqbal Abdulla 3 for 37).
Nagpur, November 10
An unbeaten half century by Faiz Fazal (50) and skipper Shalabh Shrivastava (27 not out) guided the hosts to a comfortable victory at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
Resuming on 29 for two, Haryana batsman Harshal Patel (6) was dismissed by Wagh in the first over of the day without adding any runs to his overnight score of six. Sunny Singh (19) too was bowled by the 25-year-old pacer to peg the visitors at 41 for four.
Wagh was ably supported by off-spinners Akshay Wakhare (3/33) and Sumit Ruikar (2/12) as regular strikes by the trio scuttled the Haryana batting in 46.5 overs. For Haryana, who had a 42-run first innings lead, Avi Barot (24) was the highest run scorer followed by Singh. Chasing a modest target, Vidarbha lost wickets of Amol Ubarhande (21) and Wagh (31) before opening their season account with full six points. Fazal's fifty came off 97 ball including six fours while Shrivastava hit five boundaries in his 29-ball knock.
Brief scores: Haryana 329 & 102 (Avi Barot 24, Sunny Singh 19; Shrikant Wagh 5 for 30) lost to Vidarbha 287 & 145 for 2 (Faiz Fazal 50, Shrikant Wagh 31; Mohit Sharma 1 for 26) by 8 wickets; Points: Vidarbha 6; Haryana 0.
J&K earn 6 points with win over Goa
Srinagar: Hardeep Singh made a brilliant 95 and Samiullah Beigh scored 50 as the duo shared an unbeaten 124-run stand to take Jammu and Kashmir to a three-wicket win against Goa in their group C match. Set a target of 262 for victory, J&K went past the score riding on the match winning eighth-wicket partnership after they found themselves in a spot of bother with seven down for 148 on the fourth and final day. Earlier in the day, Goa's final batting pair of Amit Yadav (41 not out) and Gauresh Gawas (0) could add only a run to their overnight score of 245 for nine at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium.
Chasing a challenging total, J&K had a disastrous start losing Shubham Khajuria (12), Adil Rishi (8) and Ian Dev Singh (0) for just 26 runs on the board.
Skipper Pervez Rasool (39) and Manzoor Dar (37) looked to steady the ship with a 63-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But Goa spinners Shadab Jakati (2/96) and Amit Yadav (2/71) made further inroads into the J&K batting, raising hopes of their side's first win of the season.
However, the pair of Singh and Beigh took the game away from Goa with their gritty knocks to give the hosts full six points from their second match of the tournament.
For Goa, besides Jakati and Yadav, pacers Harshard Gadekar (2/32) and Saurabh Bandekar (1/23) were the other successful bowlers.
Brief scores: Goa 317 & 246 (Keenan 59, Ravikant 46; Rasool 4/65) lost to J&K: 302 and 262 for 7 (Hardeep *95, Samiullah 50*; Harshard 2/32) by 3 wickets. — PTI
London, November 10
The mid-afternoon clash was not one of the best in their 32-match series as Federer faded badly in the second set to hand Nadal his first victory over him on an indoor court. Nadal was thrashed 6-3 6-0 by Federer at the o2 Arena two years ago but after a tight first proved too strong for the 32-year-old Swiss who looked weary after his three-set victory over Juan Martin Del Potro.
The year could now have a mouth-watering grand finale with Nadal up against defending champion and world number two Novak Djokovic on Monday although Swiss Stansilas Wawrinka will be hoping to ruin the script in the second semifinal later.
Federer had the first chance on Sunday when he put the world number one in trouble on serve in the sixth game but Nadal held firm and broke Federer's serve to lead 5-4.
The Swiss played a scintillating point at 15-30 in the next game, ending an exhausting baseline exchange when he rifled a forehand down the line and Nadal ballooned out a forehand to hand Federer the break back. However, a third consecutive break of serve gave Nadal a second chance to take the opener and this time he made no mistake with a clinical love game. When a Federer forehand nose-dived into the net on break point at 2-2 the belief seemed to drain out of the 32-year-old and the end came quickly as Nadal extended his career record over the 17-times grand slam champion to 22-10.
“It's the perfect way to finish one of the best seasons of my career to have the chance to win a title I've never won,” Nadal, who has won everything in the sport apart from the season-ending tournament,” said on court. — Reuters
New Delhi, November 10
In a fifth-sixth place match, India dominated from the word go, scoring three goals in each half. Kothajit Singh converted a penalty corner in the sixth minute of the match to give India an early advantage. Five minutes later, Gurjinder Singh doubled the team's lead by converting another penalty corner.
In the 24th minute, Akashdeep Singh gently tapped in Mandeep's pass from a difficult angle to place India in a comfortable position at half time.
Akashdeep then made it 4-0, scoring from close range after pouncing on a loose ball in the 40th minute.
Oman, however, pulled one back in the 58th minute from a penalty corner through Mohammad Hoobais Al Shar, whose low drag-flick beat Indian goalkeeper Harjot Singh. In the 66th minute, Malak Singh scored with a fierce hit from top of the circle before Akashdeep scored his third goal of the day just two minutes minutes from the hooter to hand India comprehensive victory. — PTI
New Delhi, November 10
Chowrasia (69, 68, 66), who finished runner-up twice in the Indian Open, could come up with an even-par 72 to finish with a total of 13-under 275 and shared the second spot with compatriot Anirban Lahiri, who carded a two-under 70.
Lagging by just one stroke going into the last hole, Chowrasia's approach shot landed just four feet away from the pin, but the Kolkata golfer could not make the much-needed birdie to push it to the play-off as Siddikur held on to his one-stroke lead after parring the 18th hole.
One stroke behind Chowrasia and Anirban were the quartet of Rashid Khan (72), Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea (68), Chiragh Kumar (68) and Angelo Que (72) of Phillipines.
The punishing Delhi Golf Course bared its fangs to overnight leader Siddikur as he stumbled upon five bogeys and a triple bogey against five birdies to almost see his title hopes going up in smoke.
Siddikur faltered for the first time in the tournament as he suffered a slump after carding 66 66 and 67 in the first three rounds but none of the golfers from the chasing pack including Chowrasia, Anirban and Angelo, could grab the opportunity. In fact, the only time, the scores were levelled was when Siddikur had dropped a bogey at the 16th that made it a four-way tie among Siddikur, Chowrasia, Angelo and Anirban, but a birdie on the next hole turned up to be the turning point. — PTI
London, November 10
Referee Andre Marriner was surrounded by furious West Brom players after Brazilian midfielder Ramires went down under what appeared to be an innocuous challenge from Steven Reid. Belgian international Hazard, fined and left out of the squad for the Champions League match with Schalke 04 by Mourinho for losing his passport, returning from France late and missing a training session, made amends by keeping his cool to score.
The draw took Mourinho's unbeaten home league record at Stamford Bridge to 66 matches following 60 unbeaten games in his first spell there between 2004 and 2007.
However, his team could hardly have left it any later with West Brom seconds away from their first league win at Stamford Bridge since 1978. Although Chelsea blew the chance to close the gap on leaders Arsenal to two points, Liverpool made no mistake, crushing a woeful Fulham side 4-0 at Anfield to move up to second.
Southampton were the other big winners, beating Hull City 4-1 at St Mary's to go third.
Arsenal, who play Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, top the table with 25 points from 10 matches, followed by Liverpool on 23, Southampton with 22, and Chelsea on 21. Everton, who drew 0-0 at bottom side Crystal Palace, and Tottenham Hotspur, who play Newcastle United at home on Sunday, both have 20 points.
While Chelsea were grasping for a point, Liverpool sailed serenely to all three, crushing Fulham 4-0 with Luis Suarez scoring twice to take his tally to eight in six league matches since returning from suspension.
An own goal by Fulham's Fernando Amorebieta opened the scoring, Martin Skrtel, whose last goal for Liverpool was against Fulham in December, made it 2-0 after 26 minutes before Suarez sealed the points with the first of his double in the 36th. — Reuters
PPS Nabha lift athletics trophy
Patiala, November 10
The March Past Trophy was shared between The Lawrence School, Lovedale School, Ooty and Welham Boys’s School, Dehradun.
Adarshpreet Singh from Sri Dashmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib was adjudged the Best Athlete while in the girls’ category the honour was shared between Sween Khullar from PPS, Nabha and Khushbeen from YPS, Patiala. BS Sidhu, DGP, Uttarakhand, an alumnus of the school, was the chief guest.
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