McCullum punishes India
Ishant happy at reaching the 150-wicket mark
KP prize catch in IPL-VII
World T20, Asia Cup team on Irani Cup eve
Rhinos dare Lancers at their home turf
What critics think of you is not your business: Gauti
For old times sake: Sachin vs Warnie one more time
Bullish Russia says Sochi sets standard for future
Sports wings wait for diet money
Real, Barca close in on Cup final
Somdev to face Yuki in semifinals
McCullum punishes India
Auckland, February 6
McCullum was 143 not out at the close of play, his eighth Test century, while Williamson was dismissed after tea for 113, his fifth Test hundred.
Williamson's century was his sixth score over 50 in succession against the tourists, having scored a half century in each of the five One-day Internationals that preceded the two-match Test series.
The pair combined for a 221-run partnership after the hosts had been reduced to 30 for three early in the first session when India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had won his sixth successive toss on tour and put New Zealand into bat. All-rounder Corey Anderson (42) was with McCullum at the close of play with Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan taking two wickets each.
Dhoni's three-pronged pace attack of Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma exploited the green drop-in pitch and cool, overcast conditions to knock the top off New Zealand's batting and expose their middle order before the break.
Sharma had Hamish Rutherford well-caught by a diving Ajinkya Rahane in the gully for six then Zaheer trapped Peter Fulton in front for 13 before Sharma had Ross Taylor caught by Ravindra Jadeja for three.
Taylor's dismissal put the hosts in a spot of bother before Williamson and McCullum consolidated, adding another 24 runs before lunch. India's bowlers were unable to sustain their disciplined line and length after lunch and were punished for bowling too short or too full, while their fielding, especially catching, was sub-standard. The New Zealand pair seized on the inconsistency and while the 23-year-old Williamson was dropped on 32 by Murali Vijay at first slip off Shami shortly after lunch, their counter-attacking style wore down the threadbare Indian attack.
The pair scored 125 runs in 27 overs in the middle session as Dhoni became more defensive in his field placings, pushing fielders deeper and wider, which allowed New Zealand to keep the scoreboard ticking over with easy singles.
They appeared to be in a personal race after tea to reach their century first with virtually identical strike rates before McCullum pulled away in the 90s and belted the first six of his innings to bring up the milestone off 135 balls. Williamson accumulated through the 90s before he punched Ravindra Jadeja through extra cover for two runs to bring up his century and continue a golden run of form. The right-hander has scored 817 runs at an average of 54.46 in the 10 test matches in the past 12 months with two centuries and seven half centuries.
He was eventually dismissed when he glanced a Zaheer delivery to Dhoni down the leg side before McCullum and Anderson put on an unbroken 78-run partnership with the hosts looking well set score in excess of 400 on Friday. — Agencies
Fulton lbw b Khan 13
Rutherford c Rahane b Ishant 6
Williamson c Dhoni b Khan 113
Taylor c Jadeja b Ishant 3
McCullum not out 143
Anderson not out 42
Extras (b 1, lb 5, w 3) 9
Total (4 wkts; 90 ovrs) 329
Fall of wickets: 1-19 2-23 3-30 4-251
Back on track
It's nice to put the score on the board ... but the most pleasing thing was getting the innings back on track. It's a very good batting track so we need to keep batting ... and make sure that we have a really good innings to bowl
Auckland, February 6
New Zealand had a disastrous morning session where they lost three early wickets for just 30 runs on the board and Ishant claimed two of those scalps: “We bowled in the right areas throughout the day, but you have to give credit to the batsmen. They played really well. The wicket got better as the day progressed, particularly after lunch. On such wickets you need to be patient and keep bowling in the good areas. That is what we did,” he said.
“Our intensity didn't drop throughout the day. We did not let their run-rate go high at any point. It was always under control. Even as the wicket got flat and the ball got old, we kept bowling in the right areas. When the wicket goes flat, you have to be patient and see how to create pressure,” Ishant added.
New Zealand's cause was helped by four dropped catches, including those dropped by Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay on either side of the lunch break. But Ishant played it down, saying that was part and parcel of the game: “Obviously, as a bowler you feel bad when catches are dropped off your bowling. But that is part and parcel of the game. You cannot control all these things,” he said. — PTI
Ishant gets to 150
Has second-worst average among Indians with 150 wickets
Player Tests Wkts Avg
Kumble 132 619 29.65
Kapil Dev 131 434 29.64
Harbhajan 101 413 32.37
Zaheer 91 304 32.77
BS Bedi 67 266 28.71
Chandrasekhar 58 242 29.74
J Srinath 67 236 30.49
Prasanna 49 189 30.38
Mankad 44 162 32.32
V’raghavan 57 156 36.11
Ishant 54 151 38.71
Shastri 80 151 40.96
Ishant in last 5 years
Averages shocking 41-plus in 39 Tests
Tests Wkts Avg Strike rate
39 107 41.64 73.3
New Delhi, February 6
The biggest draw of IPL VII auction — New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has been slotted at No 83 in the 10th set which has the second array of international all-rounders.
From the initial list of 651, the IPL governing council has pruned it down to 514 with 219 capped players featuring in it. Among the 219 capped players (who have played some form of international cricket), 169 are Indians while 50 are overseas players.
This will also be the first time in IPL's history that 292 uncapped players which has 255 Indian first-class cricketers will be auctioned.
The cricketers have been divided into 53 sets with each lists ranging from eight to 10 players.
The first list that consists of some of the biggest stars of Indian and international cricket named as Marquee 1 or M1. While Pietersen's international career may have come to an abrupt end, but the maverick England batsman will be in demand as he is set to be the fourth player to be auctioned on the first day at the ITC Gardenia.
Along with Pietersen, the likes of Sehwag, Yuvraj, David Warner, Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson and Mahela Jayawardene, recently retired Jacques Kallis will also go under the hammer at the first go.
Murali Vijay is also present in M1 list where all players have a base price of Rs 2 crore save Warner (Rs 1.5 crore). The second list of marquee player or M2 as they are slotted consists of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, Australian ODI and T20 captain George Bailey, veteran speedster Zaheer Khan, South African batsman Faf Du Plessis, Australian batsman Michael Hussey and West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy to name a few. — PTI
* A total of 651 players will be auctioned, 219 capped and 292 uncapped. Of the capped players, 169 are Indians, 50 are overseas players.
* The cricketers have been divided into 53 sets with each lists containing eight to 10 players. The first list, named as marque 1, consists of some of the biggest names like Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen.
* Like previous years, there are no Pakistan players in the list.
* Corey Anderson, the hottest player this season, has been placed in eighth set, placed at 83rd number.
Mumbai, February 6
“The squad for World T20 championship and the Asia Cup are to be picked during the Irani Cup match in Bangalore (from Feb 9-13 between Ranji champions Karnataka and Rest of India) where all five selectors would be present. The deadline to choose the World T20 team is February 15,” BCCI sources told PTI today.
The preliminary probables' list for the March 16-April 6 World T20 Championship has already been announced. India, who won the inaugural World T20 Championship, will open their campaign against Pakistan on March 21. — PTI
New Delhi, February 6
After a tough draw with Mumbai Magicians on Tuesday, the Rhinos are practising with a fresh approach and new strategies. They have played three out of their four matches on home ground which has helped them to understand and implement tactics well in front of their home crowd.
Currently sitting in fourth position with 13 points, the Rhinos will try to showcase their best game and go up on the points table.
“We are looking forward to play our first game against the Lancers in this tournament. Our team is trying to improve themselves compared to our last match against the Magicians. With the support of home crowd, we will win this game. After a slow start, the Lancers have improved a lot and one can't underestimate any team,” said Rhinos head coach Gregg Clark.
On the other hand, if the Lancers win, it will boost their future prospects. With a win, they will get five points which will give them hope to vie for the fourth slot by winning forthcoming matches. Although the Lancers are debuting in the HIL, their overall performance has been a successful spell. — PTI
What critics think of you is not your business: Gauti
Chandigarh, February 6
In Chandigarh to witness the final of the Red Bull college cricket tournament, Gambhir said he had played enough cricket to understand that it's important for a cricketer to focus on his game, rather than think and get swayed by the others' opinions.
"Critics are full of opinions... their job is just to point out your flaws. But it's the player who knows the best about his life, game and performance. So just don't let any loose opinion distract you... just ignore it all and play to the best of your abilities."
Talking about India's tour of New Zealand, the left-handed batsman said any team need to start off well on foreign soil, or else it becomes difficult to catch up. "The Indian side has gone through rough phases on this tour so far but they, hopefully, will fight back in Tests. I will not comment on individuals but the team has the potential to fight back," he said.
Gambhir is looking forward to playing the Irani Cup match. "It's an important game and I hope I could turn around things for myself with this game," he said.
London, February 6
Tendulkar, who was awarded Honorary Member of MCC in 2010, will lead a side that will also have another Indian batting great Rahul Dravid in his side. Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar also played a competitive game after his Test retirement, where he scored a fabulous 188 for Rest of the World against MCC in a bicentenary Test match at Lord's back in 1987.
The famous Tendulkar vs Warne rivalry will be renewed for a day as the Aussie legend leads a team that will also have former South African captain Shaun Pollock in its ranks.
This is the second time Tendulkar will appear at Lord's in such a fixture, having captained the Rest of the World side - scoring a majestic century in the process — in the Lady Diana Memorial Match in 1998. “It is an honour to be asked to captain the MCC side in such a prestigious fixture, and I am delighted to accept it,” Tendulkar said in a statement released by the MCC.
“Lord's is such a special place to play cricket and I am very much looking forward to help celebrate its bicentenary by taking part in this match. I was delighted to be presented with an MCC Honorary Life Membership in 2010, and it will be a privilege to play at the Home of Cricket once again,” Tendulkar added. Warne, on his part also sounded excited, to be playing the festival fixture. “I always enjoy playing at Lord's and as an Honourary Life Member of MCC I'm really excited about coming back,” Warne said in the statement.
“I'm sure the match will be a lot of fun and it will be a pleasure to be part of the bicentenary celebrations of the most famous cricket ground in the world,” he added. — Agencies
It is an honour to be asked to captain the MCC side in such a prestigious fixture, and I am delighted to accept it — Sachin Tendulkar
I'm sure the match will be a lot of fun and it will be a pleasure to be part of the bicentenary celebrations of the most famous cricket ground in the world — Shane Warne
Sochi, February 6
The build-up to the Games in Sochi has been dominated by criticism of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, security concerns and gripes in the last few days about unfinished hotel rooms and the fate of the city’s stray dogs.
However, bad publicity and last-minute panics are part of the package for cities staging an Olympics.
London had to draft in thousands of extra soldiers for the 2012 Games after a private contractor failed to provide enough security guards. The death of a Georgian athlete in a training crash on the luge track overshadowed the opening of the Vancouver Games in 2010. The mood shifted swiftly for both cities, with athletes, media and television viewers hailing them as a success.
Where Sochi differs is the sheer scale of the investment. A bill of $50 billion makes these the most expensive Olympics ever - summer or winter - and raises questions about whether it was money well spent. “The picture is wonderful,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the local organising committee, after snowboarders began the action on the eve of Friday’s opening ceremony.
“Russia has created a wonderful example to follow for future organisers of Olympic Games,” he added, citing the compact nature of the event in the Black Sea resort and nearby mountains and plans to turn develop Sochi’s tourism industry.
Chernyshenko said a record 88 nationalities were competing for another Winter Games-record 98 medal events.
Jean-Claude Killy, the head of the IOC’s coordination commission, said Sochi had delivered on its promise. “The transformation is astounding. All of the promises made in 2007 have been kept. Thanks for treating us like associates, partners and family, without forgetting the quest for excellence.”
IOC President Thomas Bach tried to keep organisers’ feet on the ground. “We have all reasons to be very confident but there is no reason to be complacent. We are sure it will be a success, but we have to make it one.” — Reuters
Sports wings wait for diet money
Jalandhar/chandigarh, Feb 6
Under the scheme, a daily diet allowance of Rs 100 per person is given to these wings, which are responsible for training around 3000 budding sportspersons at the school level.
These wings (over 30 across the state) have not received any money for the 2013 session, which started in August. “They released the final list only in August even though the trials were held in February-March and on 31st December the scheme was stopped for the year. Already the duration has been reduced and even for that period we have not received any money,” said a coach at one of these wings.
The government while amending the sports policy last year had decided to deposit the diet money directly into the bank accounts of the players. Despite giving the account details twice to the department, the wings have not received the money.
Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, Director Sports, said that the bills have been approved by the department but the money would be released by the local district treasuries. “We will take up the matter with them and try to get the money released within a week’s time,” said Dhaliwal.
Even if the money is released in a week, what will be the use of it now, when the point of the scheme is to provide daily nourishment?
“Even if they pay the kids now, what good is it? Do they expect the athletes to eat five months of diet in one day?” the coach added. “The daily after-training nourishment is very important for any athlete, especially a kid. We have over 30 trainees, most of whom can’t afford to pay for the diet. We (the coaches and local sports enthusiasts) try to help out with the really needy ones, but can’t pay for everybody’s diet.”
Are the kids supposed to pay for their own diet till the money is released? SL Lottey, Deputy Director (Sports), avoided a clear answer.
There are speculations that the government is planning to abolish the concept of diet money for the day scholars. Though Dhaliwal denied the reports, a source in the department said that the government felt that the nutritional requirements of the players were being taken care of by their families.
“The government thinks that most of the day scholars will not use the money for their nutritional needs. So it is planning to abolish the entire concept from this year onwards,” the source said.
Madrid, February 6
Real thumped holders Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu, gaining a measure of revenge for the 2-1 defeat in last year’s final at the same stadium, while record winners Barca beat 10-man Real Sociedad 2-0 at the Nou Camp. Barca and Real last met in the final in 2011, when a Cristiano Ronaldo header in extra-time secured the trophy for the Madrid club, and if they successfully negotiate next week’s return legs they will meet on April 19 at a yet-to-be determined venue.
Atletico climbed to the top of La Liga at the weekend but their first defeat in 25 matches in all competitions since October brought Diego Simeone’s side down to earth with a bump. “We tried but we just couldn’t find a way tonight,” Simeone said. “They had the good fortune to open the scoring with a shot that was going out of play and that helped them settle.”
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said it was possibly his side’s best performance since he took over in the close season. — Agencies
Chennai, February 6
Montana, who was suffering from stomach cramps and vomiting, offered a walkover to Somdev while seventh seed Yuki Bhambri put up a superb performance to come from behind and get the better of unseeded Louis Pouille of France 3-6 6-2 6-2.
The other semifinal will be played between unseeded Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia and his second seeded compatriot Evgeny Donskoy. — PTI
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