Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gambhir breaks into top 10

Opener Gautam Gambhir's stupendous year with the willow today helped him jump 10 spots to 10th in the ICC Test Rankings, making him the highest-ranked Indian batsman in the list.
The diminutive Delhi batsman has scored more than 1000 runs this calendar year, including three hundreds in his last four Tests.

Gambhir, who made 179 and 97 in the second and final Test against England at Mohali, amassed 361 runs in the two-match series against England at an average of 90.25.
The 27-year-old was in 37th place in October but had rocketed 27 places since then after scoring 824 runs in five Tests at an average of 82.4.
However, it is down-slide for his more famous team-mates.

Virender Sehwag (13th) and Sachin Tendulkar (18th), who scripted a memorable win in the first Test against England in Chennai, as also VVS Laxman (18th), have slipped outside the top 10.
Rahul Dravid , who ended his extended lean patch with a century at Mohali, climbed two places to 28th. The same is for another star performer in Chennai, Yuvraj Singh who jumped 10 places to 46th.

Among bowlers, India's player of the series against England, Zaheer Khan , has gained two places to 12th position while his team-mate Harbhajan Singh has gone also up two places to eighth.
Meanwhile, Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies has strengthened his hold on the top of the batting chart by becoming only the 25th batsman in the history of Test cricket and the sixth West Indian to reach the magic 900-point mark.

The 34-year-old Chanderpaul, who won the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2008 award at the ICC Awards in Dubai, reached the milestone while making 126 not out in the first innings against New Zealand in the Napier Test which ended in a draw.
There was no good news for Australia whose captain Australia captain Ricky Ponting has dropped three places to ninth -- his lowest ranking since October 2002.
Mike Hussey has slipped two places to sixth, Michael Clarke has dropped one place to 12th and Matthew Hayden has slipped three places to 16th.

England captain Kevin Pietersen has returned to the top five for the first time in 14 months and now sits in fifth place after jumping three places due to a magnificent innings of 144 at Mohali against India.
Another new addition to the top 20 is South Africa's AB de Villiers whose 63 and 106 not out was the cornerstone of South Africa's six-wicket victory over Australia in a record final-innings run-chase of 414.
This performance has lifted him seven places to 17th in the rankings.
The bowlers' list is still headed by Sri Lanka's iconic spinner Muttiah Muralitharan .
Australia's Mitchell Johnson has broken into the top five for the first time after his man-of-the-match performance in the Perth Test where he had match figures of 11 for 159.
South Africa's Makhaya Ntini recorded figures of 4 for 72 and 1 for 76 which have helped him rise to third place and is now just behind second-placed team-mate Dale Steyn who had figures of 4 for 162.

There is no change in the top five in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders as South Africas Jacques Kallis enjoys a commanding lead over New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori .

British media slams Indian team

The British media on Wednesday lambasted Team India's tactics on the final day of Mohali Test, saying the hosts 'killed' the match with their 'myopic' thinking by allowing Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh to bat on in search of personal achievements at the expense of a result.

"It is to everyone's credit that the series took place at all, and without off-field incident but it was a shame that, in the quest for individual glory, India killed the second Test by batting on after lunch on Tuesday. Test cricket has little hope of regaining a passionate following with such skewed priorities," a write-up in Daily Telegraph said.

The match ended in a tame draw after India decided to hand Gambhir and Yuvraj the chance to score centuries but both the batsmen failed to reach triple figures as Gambhir was caught off Graeme Swann for 97 and Yuvraj was run out for 86.
"The fact that neither Gautam Gambhir nor Yuvraj Singh reached their respective milestones underlined the Indians' myopic thinking. Other teams will argue they would have done the same thing. That does not make it right. In this performance-obsessed world, cricket is far too bound up with statistics," Simon Hughes wrote.

Meanwhile, The Independent said that although Indian cricket has progressed by leaps and bounds, their thinking resembles that of 1960's and will do no favour to the game in the 21st century.
"What India had was a 1-0 lead in the series and they did not see there was any obligation to take a semblance of a risk which might make that vulnerable," the newspaper said.
"In 1981-82 India won the first Test against England and ensured the next five were draws by slow batting, slow over rates and slow pitches - it is also one which will do it no good in the 21st century.

According to the newspaper, India should have instilled doubts in English cricketers' mind by showcasing Chennai Test attitude.
"What should India have done? Backed themselves as they had did in Chennai. Taken the game to England and instilled further doubt in their opponents minds as the breath of fresh air that is Yuvraj Singh at last did in the evening," it said.

England fined for slow over-rate

As if losing the Test series against India was not enough, England's cricket team was on Wednesday fined five per cent of its match fee while skipper Kevin Pietersen was docked 10 per cent of his earnings for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first match in Chennai.

England was handed a six-wicket defeat by India in the first Test in Chennai before the second match in Mohali ended in a draw.
Match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the fines after Pietersen's side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.

"In accordance with the ICC Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount," the ICC said in a statement.
"As such, Pietersen was fined 10 per cent of his match fee while his players received five per cent fines. The offence is contrary to Section J of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to slow over-rates. For such offences, the decision of the ICC match referee is final and binding," it added.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

India strike back after Pietersen century

England skipper Kevin Pietersen struck a majestic 15th Test century before India fought back to take two late wickets on the third day of the second and final Test on Sunday.

Pietersen stroked an aggressive 144 and all rounder Andrew Flintoff a patient 62 before both fell in the last two overs of the day to reduce England to 282 for six, replying to India's first innings 453 all out.
Off spinner Harbhajan Singh trapped Pietersen leg before with a straighter delivery from round the stumps.
Leg spinner Amit Mishra then had Flintoff caught off bat and pad at forward short leg to help the hosts, 1-0 up in the series, wrest the initiative.
Pietersen dominated the day's play with two crucial partnerships.
The 28-year-old shared a 149-run fifth wicket partnership with Flintoff after adding 103 runs for the third wicket with opener Alastair Cook , who made 50.

He also completed 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year for the third successive time.
Playing in his 45th Test since his debut in 2005, he became the third fastest England player to reach the 4,000 run mark, emulating Jack Hobbs. Only Herbert Sutcliffe (43) and Len Hutton (44) achieved the feat in fewer Tests.
Pietersen braved a cracked rib to play some fine shots, including a stunning switch-hit six against off spinner Harbhajan Singh over extra cover before completing his hundred before tea.
The England skipper struck 17 fours as well as the audacious six in his 201-ball effort spanning five hours.
It was his third Test century against India and second in only his third game as captain.
India finished the day as strongly as they began after Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma swung the ball and struck in the first two overs in a start delayed by 90 minutes due to fog.
Left-arm Zaheer trapped Andrew Strauss (0), who scored 123 and 108 in the six-wicket loss in the first Test in Chennai.

Ishant then forced the struggling Ian Bell (1) to play his very first delivery onto the stumps.
The number three batsman had almost lost his place in the side to Owais Shah after scoring 17 and seven in the first Test, and only notching one fifty in his last nine innings.
Pietersen cut loose as 154 runs flowed from 36 overs in the extended afternoon session after England resumed on their lunch score of 57 for two.
Zaheer struck a second time when he trapped Cook, aided by reverse swing. The left-hander hit eight fours in his 16th Test fifty and second in successive matches.

England were down to 131 for four when Mishra had Paul Collingwood (11), who scored 108 in Chennai, caught behind with a sharp leg break off his third delivery.
Pietersen then rebuilt the innings, often waiting on the backfoot and shuffling constantly to put the bowlers off their stride.
Indian opener Gautam Gambhir top-scored with 179 and Rahul Dravid hit 136, his 26th Test hundred, in the Indian innings.
The hosts won the first Test by six wickets.

South Africa beat Australia after record chase

AB de Villiers hit an unbeaten century to guide South Africa to a successful record-breaking run chase of 414 -- the second biggest run chase in Test history against Australia at the WACA in Perth on Sunday.

De Villiers was unbeaten on a cracking 106 and debutant JP Duminy was not out on 50 as South Africa produced a great batting display on the fifth and final day to win the opening Test by a comfortable six-wicket margin.

Captain Graeme Smith had given them a perfect start in their second innings with a magnificent 109, adding 153 runs for the third wicket with Hashim Amla (53).

Mitchell Johnson , who took eight for 61 in the first innings, continued chipping away at the wickets in the second innings but the South African middle order came to the party in fine style.

Resuming on 227 for three, veteran Jacques Kallis hit a timely half-century (57) and was involved in a 124-run partnership for the fourth wicket with de Villiers to give the visitors the upperhand.

But the wicket of Kallis, with South Africa needing another 111 runs for victory, left the match evenly poised.

De Villiers then took centrestage and he along with Duminy scored runs at will as the Australian bowlers seemed completely clueless.

De Villiers hit nine boundaries in 186 deliveries, his seventh Test century, as South Africa coasted to the victory target in 119.2 overs in the post lunch session.

Incidentally, the highest run-chase in Test cricket had come also against Australia when the West Indies chased down a mammoth 418 for seven at St John's in 2003.
Highest run-chases in Test cricket:

West Indies418-7v AustraliaSt John's2003
South Africa414-4v AustraliaPerth2008-09
India406-4v West IndiesPort of Spain1975-76
Australia404-3v England Leeds1948
India387-4v EnglandChennai2008-09

Monday, December 15, 2008

1st test INDIA Vs England Chennai test match Day5 highlights

Tendulkar dedicates century to Mumbaikars

Sachin Tendulkar dedicated his 41st Test century that powered India's sensational six-wicket victory against England in Chennai on Monday to Mumbaikars recovering after the terror attacks and provided the balm hoping his ton will give "some happiness to them."
"I dedicate this century to the people of Mumbai," the batting maestro said, adding "cricket cannot lessen whatever happened... I hope this 100 will give some amount of happiness to the people."

Tendulkar however said that by no means he is trying to say that his 41st century and Indian victory will make "everyone forget what happened in Mumbai" especially after what the hapless Mumbaikars had to face after the carnage.
Tendulkar, who provided the finishing flourishes in a tension-filled match to score an unbeaten 103, said, "I think it was a very, very important hundred because, I always say that if the team wins, then the hundred becomes very special and today this hundred was very important."
"But cricket is a lesser thing compared to what happened in Mumbai and we are with those who lost their dear ones."
"What happened in Mumbai was extremely unfortunate and it will be hard to recover," Tendulkar said, adding, "we are right with the people who lost their near and dear ones."
The batting icon said he would like to thank England for coming back to play Test cricket and people are again enjoying cricket the way it is meant to be.

The Mumbai terror attacks cast it shadow over the two Test cricket series between England and India and the matches were nearly abandoned over security concerns raised by the visitors.
The English team flew back home after cancelling the last two matches of a limited-overs series it had already lost 5-0.

The Test series went ahead only after the Tests were moved to venues--Chennai and Mohali-- which were considered acceptable to England's security team.
"I don't think by India winning or my scoring 100 people who have lost their loved ones would feel better. I think it is a terrible loss for all of them and our hearts are with them. All I can say is whatever manner we can contribute to make them better we'll make that effort," said Tendulkar, the all-time leading scorer in both Tests and one-day cricket.
"I thank those who stood up to the terrorists and who made sure that they were captured or shot dead as the terrorists were many"

"I salute the NSG commandos, Taj hotel staff, police, public, firemen, navy and everyone," he said paying tributes to the terror victims and saluted those who saved the lives of others.

Tendulkar, Yuvraj steer India to victory

Sachin Tendulkar hit an unbeaten 103 as India scored a sensational six-wicket victory over England in the first Test in Chennai on Monday.

The ace batsman, who hit a boundary to not only notch his 41st Test century but also bring about the winning runs, and Yuvraj Singh (85 not out) stitched together an undefeated 163 for the fifth wicket as India, chasing 387 for victory, overhauled the highest fourth innings chase -- 276 by the West Indies at Delhi in 1987-88 -- on Indian soil on the fifth and final day to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series.

The West Indies hold the record for the highest run chase of 418 for 7, against Australia at St. John's in 2003. India is second in the list for successfully chasing 406 against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 1976. The only other team to score more than 400 runs in the fourth innings is Australia, who scored 404-3 against England at Leeds in 1948.

The teams now travel to Mohali for the second Test, beginning on December 19.
It was a remarkable victory, as the hosts had conceded a 75-run first innings lead on a track that did not show signs of any rapid deterioration even on the last day.

After four days of ding-dong battle, the Indians titlted the balance decisively with a professional batting display in the second innings. England were ahead for most part of the game but lost the plot on the last day. Perhaps, they must be ruing their decision to declare their second innings at 311 for 9.

It was man of man of the match Virender Sehwag's explosive knock of 83 off just 68 balls on Sunday that set up victory. Gautam Gambhir (66) was the other notable performer in the memorable run chase.
Tendulkar, who in the process crossed the 1000-run mark this year, played the sheet-anchor role. He used his experience to gather runs mostly through singles and twos, as the bowlers, particularly the spinners, pitched the ball in the right areas.

England heaved a sigh of relief when Graeme Swann scalped Laxman (42 balls, 4x4), who was out to a bat-pad catch by Ian Bell .
But Yuvraj, after reading the pitch for a while, continued with India's plan of counter-attack as Tendulkar played a good foil, keeping one end intact.

Resuming at overnight score of 131 for 1, India suffered an early setback when Dravid was out cheaply yet again, edging a delivery from Andrew Flintoff to wicketkeeper Matt Prior in third over of the day.
But Gambhir and Tendulkar took upon the challenge, and at one stage maintained a run rate of around five runs per over, attacking the England bowlers. The duo added 42 runs for the third wicket.

Gambhir (66, 139 balls, 7x4) and Tendulkar never looked under any pressure and took singles and twos while sending the odd bad ball to the ropes.
Tendulkar, in particular, enjoyed his batting as he punished the bowlers whenever they gave him width to play his shots. He survived a half chance soon after India crossed the 150 mark. With Graeme Swann hitting the right areas, the little master stretched to defend but the ball took a sharp turn and hit the outer edge of the bat. Luckily it fell inches in front of Ian Bell at silly point. Tendulkar was on ten then.

Gambhir added 24 runs with Dravid and 42 with Tendulkar, but one lapse in concentration saw him back in the pavilion.
After bowling two short-pitched deliveries in previous over, James Anderson kept up the pressure on Gambhir, attacking on the off side corridor. The Indian opener moved across and his halfhearted steer ended up to Paul Collingwood , who moved to his left at slips and took a good catch at gully.

Though there was a slight slump in the run flow after the fall of Gambhir, Laxman adapted to the conditions quickly but was in no mood to take any risk against Monty Panesar , who maintained a tight length. He and Tendulkar took the Indian score past 200 in 48.1 overs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Swann spell puts England in command

Spinner Graeme Swann became only the second bowler in Test history to claim two wickets in his first over on debut as England ripped through India's famed top-order batsmen to put themselves in the driver's seat in the first Test in Chennai on Friday.
After restricting England to 316 in the first innings, the Indians lost the plot completely, as a shocking batting collapse left them tottering at 155 for 6 at close on an eventful second day.
It was off-spinner Swann who started India's slide with sensational twin blows that accounted for the prized scalps of Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid and the Indians never really recover from those early jolts.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) and Harbhajan Singh (13) were unbeaten at stumps, with India still trailing by 161 runs.
Debutant Swann is only the second bowler to take two wickets in his first over in Test cricket. Richard Johnson of England was the first to achieve the feat, against Zimbabwe in 2003.
None of the Indian batsmen could hang around for long on the M A Chidambaram track which has started providing some assistance to the bowlers.
With the pitch expected to deteriorate further, the Indians will have to ensure that they don't concede a big first innings lead since they have to bat last.
Earlier, Indian spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra shared six wickets to bring down the curtain on England's first innings around 37 minutes after lunch.
Yuvraj Singh and Ishant Sharma claimed a wicket each as the visitors added only 87 runs to their overnight score of 229 for 5 before being dismissed.
Matt Prior (53 not out) waged a lone battle against some top quality bowling by the Indians.
The Indian innings began on a disastrous note as the in-form Virender Sehwag was dismissed cheaply and then Swann's two-wicket burst left India tottering on 37 for 3.
Perhaps taking the cue from rival captain M S Dhoni, whose ploy to persist with spinners in the first hour proved successful, England skipper Kevin Pieterson brought on Swann from the pavilion end in the 14th over with a few minutes remaining for the tea break.
Swann's first ball was dispatched to the cover fence by Gambhir, who then survived a confident appeal for a bat-pad off the very next ball, umpire Daryl Harper remaining unmoved. But then he had to walk back after being rapped on the pads by Swann.
Sachin Tendulkar then walked out to bat to a thunderous welcome on one of his favourite grounds. He took a single and gave strike to Dravid. The former India captain became Swann's second victim when he played forward to a turning ball from outside the off stump and was rapped on the pads in front of the wicket.
Tendulkar and the stylish VVS Laxman tried to retrieve the situation for the home team and looked quite comfortable in the middle. The experienced duo stitched 61 runs for the fourth wicket before left arm spinner Monty Panesar provided the vital breakthrough by getting rid of Laxman (24) with a brilliant return catch.
Tendulkar (37), who seemed in fine nick, joined Laxman in the pavilion soon after with Andrew Flintoff plotting his dismissal. He offered a simple return catch to Flintoff, who made no mistake.
Earlier, England new ball bowlers blasted their way for dot balls, using their shoulder power to lift the ball high to Indian batsmen, who were content to leave the deliveries without offering any stroke on many occasions.
Both Harmison and Anderson bowled with venom and bounced the ball shoulder high. Fishing outside the off-stump, Sehwag, who hit a triple ton in his last match against South Africa at the venue earlier this year, scored his first boundary, nudging Harmison's ball through the slips.
He showed his class while pushing one from Anderson in the sixth over to the long-off fence, but perished to the very next ball. Trying to guide a delivery that came in, he dragged it on his stumps with the team score on 16.
With Andrew Flintoff, who replaced Harmison in the ninth over, also extracting good bounce, Gambhir and Rahul Dravid played cautiously.
In the morning, England could muster just 65 runs from the 29 overs they faced in the first session, losing Andrew Flintoff (18), James Anderson (19) and debutant Graeme Swann (1) in the process.
When England resumed at the overnight scored of 229 for 5, Dhoni, who chose not to opt for the new ball, opened the second day attack with Ishant Sharma. But after the wicket started to offer bounce and movement, he swapped Amit Mishra for the pacer.
Mishra responded magnificently as he came up with a slower one to Flintoff, who played forward, but only to offer an inside edge. Gautam Gambhir, at forward short leg, did a neat job, diving to his right to collect the catch.
Both James Anderson and comeback batsman Matt Prior were looking to settle down but yet again were uncomfortable against Mishra.
England wilted under pressure and lost the wicket of Anderson, who was caught by Yuvraj Singh at midwicket off Mishra.
In fact, Anderson was lucky to have survived early in he day when Rahul Dravid dropped a sitter at slip. Anderson, who slashed Mishra, was on six, and his departure left England on 243 for six.
Harbhajan kept up the good work and scalped debutant Graeme Swann. The Indian off-spinner bowled a quicker one and Swann, in an evasive action, offered his gloves to it and this time Dravid made no mistake, taking a low catch.

Monday, December 8, 2008

England to resume tour of India

England's cricketers will return to India for a two-Test series after their tour was suspended following the attacks in Mumbai, the national board said on Sunday.
"The decision has been made and all the players will be travelling to Chennai in the next 24 hours to play the Test series," England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

"It's obviously been a very emotional 10 days or so since the atrocities in Mumbai," he added in an ECB statement.
"We've had a lot of discussions with the players following a number of security information audits we've had from the very highest levels of government and our own security team."
The one-day series was cut short following the terror attacks that killed at least 171 people in India's financial capital late last month.
The first test starting on Thursday was switched to Chennai from Ahmedabad and the second Test to Mohali (Dec. 19-23) from Mumbai.
The England announcement came after the players received a detailed security briefing by ECB officials in Abu Dhabi, where the squad were training until a decision was made.
Morris, security advisor Reg Dickason and Sean Morris, CEO of the Professional Cricketers' Association, travelled to Chennai to ensure England would receive foolproof security cover.
"This is a very brave and courageous decision that will be respected around the world," Morris said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) switched the Test venues and promised full security and International Cricket Council chiefs spoke to officials on either side to help push for a resumption of the aborted tour.
Although the ECB announced on Wednesday it would tour if the security report was clear, some media reports had said a few players were still apprehensive and could pull out.

"We provided all the evidence of the security arrangements to the players and gave them time to consult their families," Morris said.
Among those killed in the attacks were 22 foreigners and the teams would have stayed in one of the two hotels which were raided by the militants.
Indian board officials have secured most of the rooms in the team hotel in Chennai, media reports said. The Chennai police commissioner has said the players would get commando protection.

England returned home after the last two games of a seven-match one-day series were called off, with the hosts leading 5-0.
The Indian board also postponed the $6 million Twenty20 Champions League involving eight teams from five nations due to safety fears. England's return was also seen as crucial to convince tourists India remained a safe destination.

Dickason would inspect Mohali on Tuesday and submit a report before the second test, a Punjab state cricket official said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Chennai to host second Test vs England

Chennai was chosen as the venue for the second cricket Test against England instead of Mumbai as the BCCI on Friday insisted that the Test series will be held as per schedule.
A day after the remainder of the seven-match one-day series was called off following the terror attacks in Mumbai, the BCCI acceded to the ECB's request for shifting the Mumbai match to a venue in southern India.
"India's Test series against England will be played as per schedule. Chennai will host the second Test from December 10 to 23, instead of Mumbai", BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.
"The first Test will be played at Ahmedabad from December 11 to 15 as originally scheduled. Baroda will host the three-day game between the visitors and the Board President's XI from December 5 to 7 as scheduled", the statement said.

'We won't return to India unless...'

England captain Kevin Pietersen has made it clear that his side will not return to India for next month's cricket Test series unless their safety is guaranteed.
Pietersen also insisted that players should not be forced into going to India against their will.
England and Wales Cricket Board on Thursday called-off the remaining two one-dayers due to the terror attack in Mumbai but assured the BCCI that the Test series was still on as scheduled unless the situation in India worsens dramatically.
Pietersen said the safety of the players cannot be compromised and even though he is the captain he has no power to force any of his team-mates to return to India.
"We need to make sure the security's right -- but if it's not safe then we won't be coming back," he said.
"People are their own people, I'll never force anyone to do anything or tell them to do anything against their will. On the field I may ask people to do things in a certain way but people run their own lives. We'll have to see how the security is," Pietersen told Sky Sports.
England Professional Cricketers' Association Chief Executive Sean Morris said the team management will take advice from security officer Reg Dickason.
"They will look at it in the cold light of day and ask, is it safe to return or not?" said Morris.
"They will go with that advice assuming the situation in India does not deteriorate further. The players have full faith in Dickason and will be guided by him."

England v India one-day matches cancelled

England's last two one-day matches in India were cancelled on Thursday because of security concerns after Wednesday's militant attacks in Mumbai.
"The BCCI (Indian board) has accepted the request of the ECB (English board) to cut short the one-day series in light of the disturbing events in Mumbai," Indian board secretary N. Srinivasan said in a statement. "The last two ODIs have been called off as a result."

A group of militants armed with automatic weapons and grenades burst into luxury hotels, a hospital and a railway station late on Wednesday and fired indiscriminately, killing more than 100 people.

Monday, November 24, 2008

India to field reserve players in last 3 ODIs

With the series in pocket, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the hosts would field reserve players in the remaining three one-day matches against England .
Dhoni said the unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-match series allows the side to field players who have not got a chance to prove their mettle in the series.
But at the same time, there would be no change to the intensity to win, the Indian captain added.

"You will see a few changes in the side in the next three matches. Some of the people who have not played in the series so far will play but we still look to win games," he said.
"Three more matches to come and we want to win those games," Dhoni said after his team beat England by 19 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in Bangalore on Sunday.
With the match reduced to 22-overs-a-side following two rain-interruptions, Indian bowlers survived some anxious moments before taming the opponents and Dhoni said the task was not easy.
"Because of the wet outfield, the ball became soggy and it was not easy to grip the ball. We have one specialist spinner [Harbhajan Singh ] and part-time spinners. It was really difficult for them to grip the ball.
"But then Zaheer [Khan] bowled very well, along with Ishant [Sharma] and Munaf [Patel]. Overall it was a very good team effort," Dhoni said.
Asked how he was marshalling his bowlers in such tense situation, Dhoni said, "I was not giving much advice. First I like them to bowl to their own plans and if that does not work I ask them to bowl according to my plans.
"But Zaheer has been of great help throughout the series and has taken the extra initiative to help others. It has worked for us and we should be thankful to him," Dhoni added.
His opposite number Kevin Pietersen said though the series was lost, England would now play for pride.
"We have been done in by an Indian side which played fantastic cricket at the moment. We came here on a high after the 4-0 win against South Africa back home and I guess we have to adjust to this series defeat now," he said.
Asked how his team would approach the next three games, Pietersen said, "We have to make sure that this competition stays competitive. We have to win a few games. We came here to win the series but we have not won the series. So we have to make sure we win a few game at least."
Virender Sehwag was adjudged man of the match for his 57-ball 69 and the swashbuckling opener said he had decided to see through Andrew Flintoff's overs before going after other England bowlers.
"It was a good track to bat on. In the IPL, I scored some 40 runs off 17 balls at the same ground. So I backed myself here and knew if I can see through Flintoff's overs, I can play any other bowler," Sehwag said.
The hard-hitting opener was also happy with his on-side game and he attributed the improvement to long hours spent in the nets.
"I think I'm improving a lot. I have been spending time in the nets and the coach [Gary Kirsten] is also spending time with me. I have done well against Australia and now England also and I'm happy with the way I'm playing," he said.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No light at end of tunnel for England

India overcame a wobbly start and some anxious moments before beating England by 16 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method in the third One-Day International, to take a comfortable 3-0 lead in the seven-match series, in Kanpur, on Thursday.
Chasing 241 for victory, the hosts were less dominating but conscious of the Duckworth-Lewis requirement as they scored 198 for 5 in 40 overs before fading light forced an early end to the game.
India, needing a score of 183 for 5 in 40 overs under the D/L method, were well past the mark and thus declared the winners.
For the hosts, Virender Sehwag top-scored with 68, while Yuvraj Singh scored a brisk 38 off just 31 balls. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni , who remained unbeaten on 29, then steered the team to victory at the Green Park stadium.
After early morning haze delayed the start of the match, and reduced it to a 49-overs-a-side affair, England captain Kevin Pietersen won the toss and had little hesitation in opting to bat first.
India now needs to win the next match in Bangalore on Sunday to clinch the series by taking an unassailable 4-0 lead.
Earlier, England could not make the most of their best start in the series and were shot out for 240 in 48.4 overs.
A rejigged batting order saw Ravi Bopara (60) walk out to open with Ian Bell (46), and the openers put on 79 runs before England lost the plot.
For India, Harbhajan Singh scalped three for 31 in his 10 overs, joining the 200 ODI wicket club in the process.
It may not have been a flying start for the visitors but once the openers saw through claustrophobic opening spells by Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel , things looked quiet easy for them.
They remained cautious in the early phase when there was some juice in the wicket and sniffed an opportunity to free their arms when Ishant Sharma came as the first change bowler.
Bell greeted Ishant with two boundaries in the first over, upsetting the lanky pacer's rhythm by repeatedly stepping out of the crease.
Bell was not quite convincing when he nicked Ishant through the vacant slips but made amends with a fierce cut that raced to the boundary.
With Bell on song, Bopara chimed in, proving the perfect foil for his partner. Bopara, who got off the mark with a flicked four off Zaheer, inside-edged the pacer for another four before driving Ishant through covers for the same result.
The run-rate was nothing to shout about but England crossed the 50-mark in 11 overs without any loss. This was a marked improvement, considering the fact that their opening stands had yielded 12 and six runs in the last two matches.
Bell fell four runs short of a half-century he so thoroughly deserved, nicking an angling Munaf delivery to perish caught behind after a 47-ball 46 which had eight fours in it. It was double trouble for the visitors as Pietersen's (13) unbridled aggression did him in.
Having hoicked Yuvraj Singh over long on for a six in the previous over, Pietersen wanted an encore of the shot against Harbhajan but could only loft it straight to Zaheer at long-off.
The dismissal only whetted Harbhajan's appetite and the off-spinner foxed Paul Collingwood (1) with a doosra, luring him out of the crease and Dhoni did a smart job behind the stumps.
From 79 for no loss, England suddenly slumped to 106 for three.
In his next over, Harbhajan almost caught Flintoff off his own bowling but the ball fell little short.
India tasted another success soon and this time Yuvraj had Bopara stumped.
Bopara's patient 82-ball 60 included eight hits to the fence. England needed a big score from Andrew Flintoff (26) and he got the start as well but Yusuf Pathan trapped him with his second ball.
Owais Shah (40) added 36 runs with Samit Patel (29) before holing out in the deep, giving Harbhajan his 200th ODI wicket.
In an eventful over, in which Ishant followed two successive no-balls with a wide delivery that raced down the boundary, the Delhi pacer removed Patel and Matt Prior (5) off successive deliveries before sending down yet another wide.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

India rise to third in ODI rankings

India moved up two places from fifth to third position on the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table after beating England in the opening two matches of the seven-ODI series currently taking place in India.
As a result, England now sits in sixth position, having slipped from third following the two comprehensive defeats. Having lost three ratings points, England is just behind New Zealand by a fraction of a point.

However, with five matches still remaining in the series and the ODI Championship ladder very closely packed, there is plenty of time for Kevin Pietersen and his men to make amends. On the other hand, if India can continue the way it is going, it can go second in the ladder by the end of the series.
Pakistan is the other big mover this week as Shoaib Malik's team moved up two places to fourth following its 3-0 series win against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi.

There are now just two ratings points separating India in third position from England in sixth with South Africa just another four points ahead. So expect to see plenty of movement in the coming weeks. Australia is still out in front, some 12 ratings points clear of the Proteas.
Meanwhile, India's players are already reaping the rewards of their early successes in the series. Yuvraj Singh , who scored centuries in both matches, has shot up the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers. The 26-year-old gained no fewer than 11 places and now sits in sixth position as he enjoys the highest rating of his career to date.
Despite losing its series with Pakistan, West Indies' batsmen have made big improvements in the latest rankings. Chris Gayle, who scored two typically entertaining hundreds in the three-match series in the United Arab Emirates, gained six places into fifth position while ICC Cricketer of the Year 2008 Shivnarine Chanderpaul is just ahead of him having jumped two places to fourth.
Ramnaresh Sarwan also had a good series with the bat and jumped seven places to 13th in the list.
Australia captain and former number-one batsman Ricky Ponting is the one to lose out in the top five as he is overtaken by Yuvraj, Gayle and Chanderpaul. The Tasmanian has been concentrating on Test cricket of late but will have ample opportunity to regain lost ground when Australia takes on South Africa and New Zealand in ODIs early in 2009.
Meanwhile, there are a number of batsmen hovering on the cusp of the top 20 after recent matches. Yunus Khan of Pakistan has gained four places to 21st position and now has the highest rating of his career so far while India's Gautam Gambhir has also progressed four spots and now sits just behind Yunus in 22nd place.
Also for Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq moves up 10 places to 31st position while wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal gains nine places to 51st after his heroics with the bat in Abu Dhabi.
Following its successful series against Bangladesh, South Africa's AB de Villiers (up three places to 14th) and Jacques Kallis (up two to 17th) are also moving in the right direction. Herschelle Gibbs , however, has slipped three spots in the latest rankings and now occupies 15th position.
The batting rankings are still headed by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni followed by Australia's Michael Hussey in second place and Graeme Smith of South Africa in third.
The big mover in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers is Sohail Tanvir , who has broken into the top 10 bowlers for the first time in his career after an impressive performance against the West Indies.
The 23-year-old has made rapid progress since making his ODI debut in October 2007 and his haul of seven wickets at an average of 15.14 and economy rate of 4.00 in Abu Dhabi has boosted him further to the tune of 12 places. He now sits in seventh spot, in between the Sri Lanka pair of Muttiah Muralidaran in sixth position and Chaminda Vaas in eighth.
West Indies speedster Jerome Taylor gains two places and heads into the top 10, underlying the fact that despite losing 3-0 with Pakistan, the series did not come without positives for the men from the Caribbean.
England's Andrew Flintoff loses five places to 13th position in the bowling rankings after taking just one wicket in the first two matches of the series at a cost of 116 runs and an economy rate of 6.10.
Chris Gayle's bowling has also been an important aspect of the West Indies game plan of late and with his batting really firing, he has moved up three places and back into the top five of the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders. That list is headed by New Zealand's Jacob Oram followed in second place by Flintoff.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gambhir, Sharma emerge top-performers

Young faces -- opener Gautam Gambhir and pacer Ishant Sharma -- gave ample proof that Indian cricket was in secured hands by emerging on top in the batting and bowling departments respectively in the just concluded Test series against Australia .

Left-hand opening batsman Gambhir topped the list of top run getters while Sharma emerged as the highest wicket-taker to help the hosts regain the coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Gambhir, despite being forced to sit out in the fourth Test in Nagpur, retained the top slot accumulating 463 runs from six innings with an enviable average of 77.16, followed by batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar with 396 runs and an average of 56.57.

The 27-year-old Delhi batsman produced a double ton -- only the second in the series besides an unbeaten 200 by compatriot VVS Laxman, who is on the fourth place in the list with remarkable 95.35 average -- during the third Test at Ferozeshah Kotla.

Gambhir, with his resilient stroke-play, has also struck 54 boundaries, which is the highest by any batsman during the high-octane series.

Besides the trio, India's opener Virender Sehwag (351), left-hander Sourav Ganguly (324), who retired from the international cricket after the series and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (307) also featured among the top-10 run getters of the series. Sehwag was on fifth place, while Ganguly has perched on the seventh spot, followed by MS Dhoni.

Among the Australians, left-handed Michael Hussey is on the third spot with 394 runs in his kitty, while Simon Katich (349) ranked sixth and skipper Ricky Ponting is on ninth place with 266 runs.

In bowling department, young pacer Ishant Sharma, who was adjudged Man-of the Series, bagged 15 wickets from four matches with an economy rate of 2.94. The lanky pacer was followed by two Indian spinners Harbhajan Singh , who has equal number of dismissals to his credit from three matches, and rookie Amit Mishra (14).

Left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan also had a good time during the series, who took 11 wickets from four matches to take the sixth spot in the top-10 wicket takers' list. Sehwag (5) was on the ninth slot.

But probably the best part of the list is Australian spinner Jason Krejza, who bagged 12 wickets for 358 runs in his debut appearance in the fourth Test in Nagpur to figure as the fifth highest wicket taker in the series.

Australia's bowling spearhead Brett Lee failed to live up to the expectation and could manage only eight wickets during the series, while left-arm Mitchell Johnson (13) emerged as the fourth highest wicket-taker.

Both the wicketkeepers left marks for their respective sides as Australia's Brad Haddin drafted 13 dismissals from four matches, while India's Dhoni had 11 to his credit from same number of matches.

India crush Australia

India crushed Australia by 172 runs to win the fourth and final Test and regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, in Nagpur on Monday.

Harbhajan Singh claimed four wickets for 64 runs, while Amit Mishra took three for 27, as Australia, chasing a record 382 for victory, were dismissed for 209 in 50.2 overs, handing India a 2-0 series triumph.

It was an emotional moment for Indian cricket as its most successful captain Sourav Ganguly bid farewell to the international game. The left-hander, who scored 324 in the series, at an average of 54, was even handed charge of the team for a while, after Australia had lost nine wickets.

Gautam Gambhir , who missed the match because of a ban, finished as the top scorer from either side with 463 runs in six innings at 77.16. Fast bowler Ishant Sharma, later named man of the series, and Harbhajan Singh emerged the top wicket-takers with a haul of 15 wickets each. Jason krejza was adjudged man of the match.

India had won the second Test in Mohali by 320 runs, while the first Test and the third were drawn.

Morning session: (98 runs, 21.3 overs, 3 wickets)

Defending a target of 382, India's plan was clear: set a defensive field and bowl wide outside the off-stump. With a 1-0 lead one would not blame them for doing so. It forced the Australian batsmen to come up with something out of the ordinary, something they have not been accustomed to over the years.

Simon Katich came out firing and swung at a delivery outside the off-stump to the leg side boundary in the fourth over of the innings. However, that was followed by a few moments of sheer madness as the two Aussie openers fished at everything wide and were lucky not to edge a few of those.

Katich's agony ended on 16 when he tried another wild swipe across the line off Ishant but holed it on the off-side and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni neatly pouched it.

Ricky Ponting survived a close chance when his edge off Zaheer fell short of Rahul Dravid at first slip. But five balls later the Aussie captain was run out for 8 at the non-striker's end by a direct hit from Amit Mishra at mid-off.

Michael Clarke survived a confident leg before wicket appeal off the third ball he faced, from Ishant. Closer looks at replays indicated that he was trapped in front and lucky to be given not out.

Clarke, who came in with a runner, then survived two more chances when his edges flew just wide off slips in the boundary in the 11th over of the innings, bowled by Zaheer.

Only 10.3 overs were bowled in the first hour of play, with Australia scoring 52 runs and losing two wickets. It was clear India were in no rush to bowl their overs just like Australia did the day before.

Harbhajan Singh came into the attack in the 13th over and was smashed for a boundary by Hayden. The very next ball Hayden, on 30, tried another cut short but the straight forward edge was dropped by Dhoni.

Australia were surely having a dash at the target with Hayden even attempting a reverse sweep off Harbhajan that fetched him a boundary. But their hopes suffered a setback when Ishant claimed the big wicket of Clarke for 22, caught behind by Dhoni, as Australia were reduced to 82 for three.

Hayden, on 35, attempted another reverse sweep off Harbhajan but this time hit it straight to Dravid, at first slip, who failed to hold on to a sharp chance.

At lunch on the final day, Australia were 111 for 3 in 23 overs. Hayden (46 not out) and Hussey (14 not out) are looking to attack at every opportunity, but the target seems a huge mountain to climb.

India's over-rate, as expected, was pathetic at around 10 overs per hour, but, as Dhoni said on Sunday, their first aim is winning the series, and for that even a draw would do.

By the look of things, they are just playing for that.

Post-lunch session: (98 runs, 7 wickets, 27.2 overs)

Hayden completed his half-century in the first over after lunch when he thumped Sehwag through mid-wicket for a boundary. The left-hander then launched into Harbhajan in the 27th over with two powerfully swept boundaries and followed it up with a big six off Sehwag in the following over.

35 runs had come off the first five overs after lunch, as Australia tried to step up a gear. Immediately Dhoni reacted and his bowlers bowled negative lines and fielders were all back on the boundary.

Mishra was introduced into the attack and the young leg-spinner struck in his very first over. He got one to bounce from the rough, which Hussey could only fend to Dravid at first slip for 19.

In the following over, Harbhajan claimed the big wicket of Hayden for 77. The left-hander walked across his stumps to play on the leg-side but missed the shot and was trapped plumb in front. He hit eight boundaries and a six in his 93-ball knock and his dismissal took India closer to victory.

Brad Haddin also perished cheaply, caught at mid-on by Tendulkar off Mishra for 4. Incidentally, that catch saw Tendulkar achieve another landmark as he completed 100 catches in Test cricket.

Whatever hopes Australia had of at least saving the match were all dashed by their collapse after lunch which saw them lose three wickets for 11 runs in the space of four overs.

Shane Watson prodded around for a while before he was caught behind off Harbhajan for 9.

Jason Krejza could not do much damage with the bat as he was stumped off Mishra for 4, trying a huge shot down the ground.

Interestingly, in a rare goodwill gesture, Dhoni gave Ganguly the perfect farewell by allowing him to lead the team at the fall of the ninth Australian wicket. It brought back memories of the Ganguly of yore as he moved around his fielders and chatted with the bowlers while Dhoni stood and watched for a few overs.

Mitchell Johnson was the final dismissal, trapped leg before wicket by Harbhajan for 11. Australia were out for 209, giving India a huge 172-run victory.

It ensured India their first series win against Australia since 2001.

Defensive tactics or not, Australia were comprehensively outplayed in this Test and had no answers to Dhoni's quick thinking.

Harbhajan was the star performer for India with the ball as he ended with four for 64 in 18.2 overs, while Mishra claimed three for 27.

Immediately after the victory, Ganguly was chaired to the pavilion by his team mates. Even Anil Kumble and Gautam Gambhir joined in the celebrations.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tendulkar's 40th Test ton gives India the edge

Sachin Tendulkar completed his 40th Test century but Australia's bowlers struck at regular intervals to reduce India to 311 for 5 by close on Day 1 of the fourth and final Test in Nagpur on Thursday.
Tendulkar was lucky to get to the three-figure mark, having been dropped twice in the nineties, on both occasions off debutant spinner Jason Krejza. He was finally dismissed leg before wicket for 109 -- inclusive of 12 boundaries, off 188 deliveries -- by Mitchell Johnson late in the day.
Krejza went for runs but ended up with three wickets -- those of Rahul Dravid (0), Virender Sehwag (66) and VVS Laxman (64) -- for 138 in 28 overs in his very first innings in Test cricket.
Earlier, Sehwag hammered 66 from 69 deliveries, including nine boundaries and a six, and put on 98 runs for the opening wicket with debutant opener Murali Vijay, who scored 33.
India were in a tight spot after losing three quick wickets for the addition of just 18 runs, but Laxman and Tendulkar staged a rescue act in a 146-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
India lead the four-match series after the 320-run victory in Mohali.

Morning session: (122 runs, 24 overs, 3 wickets)
Brett Lee started off proceedings at the Vidharba Cricket Association's posh new stadium with a wide delivery to Virender Sehwag, who then crashed him for a boundary two balls later to get off the mark in style.
The 24-year-old Vijay, fresh from a double century in the Ranji Trophy, looked quite composed and tried to make full use of a good batting wicket.
Sehwag appeared in a mad rush from the start as he smashed two boundaries off Mitchell Johnson in the second over. In the next over, Vijay showed some of his class, hitting a cracking boundary through covers off Lee.
Sehwag continued flirting with danger in his quest for quick runs, smashing his way to 28, as India raced to 50 in the 10th over of the innings. The signs were ominous for the visitors as the pitch looked a dream track for batting and even debutant Vijay appeared quite comfortable and keen to cash in.
With the pacers looking ineffective, spin was introduced in the form of Jason Krejza. Immediately Sehwag took him to the cleaners. In the fourth ball of his first over in international cricket, the off-spinner saw Sehwag thumping him straight for a boundary followed by a huge six over wide long-on.
The Delhi opener brought up his half-century in the 15th over off just 45 deliveries, including seven boundaries and a six.
Even Vijay had a ball as he tried to emulate Sehwag by stepping down the wicket and lofting Krejza straight for a boundary.
Sehwag continued the onslaught with two more boundaries in Krejza's next over as the debutant looked completely clueless.
However, the visitors bagged a wicket against the run of play when Shane Watson dismissed Vijay, caught behind for 33. The opener failed to keep down a short delivery and edged it behind after a blazing 98-run partnership for the opening wicket with Sehwag.
As it usually happens in cricket, one wicket results in a few more, handing the initiative to the visitors.
Rahul Dravid's wretched run in the series continued as he fell to the second ball he faced, to Krejza for a duck. The right-hander hit one straight to the short-leg fielder to give Krejza his first international wicket.
After the half-century in the first innings of the first Test, Dravid's batting has witnessed a sharp slide, just 117 runs aggregated in six innings at 19.50 in the series so far.
Sehwag then tried to cut Krejza but edged it on to his stumps. He was bowled for 66. His 69-ball knock included nine boundaries and a six, but his wicket gave Australia a chance to pull back things.
At lunch on the opening day, India were 122 for 3 in 24 overs, with Sachin Tendulkar unbeaten on 16 from 16 deliveries, including three boundaries. VVS Laxman, playing in his 100th Test, was not out on 4.
Krejza brought some respectability to his figures with those two wickets, for 48 in six overs. Watson was the other wicket-taker, with took one for 19 in six overs.
India need to avoid giving away wickets cheaply in the post-lunch session and build towards a huge first innings score.

Post-lunch session: (80 runs, 27 overs)
India continued to progress smoothly post-lunch as both Tendulkar and Laxman scored runs at will. Tendulkar looked particularly comfortable as he kept the scoreboard ticking and ensured that the scoring rate did not drop despite the fall of three quick wickets.
Laxman was struck on the right shoulder by a fast, rising bouncer from Lee in the 34th over, but he replied with a cracking pull shot for a boundary in the pacer's next over.
In between, Tendulkar continued giving Krejza a rough time as he smashed him for two boundaries in one over � the first lofted over midwicket and the next straight down the ground.
The two batsmen brought up their 50-run partnership off 63 deliveries in the 37th over.
Tendulkar completed his half-century, his 52nd in Tests, off 65 deliveries, hitting eight boundaries in the 41st over. He relished facing Krejza, whom he hit for 36 runs in 43 deliveries. It was not long though before Cameron White was introduced and he resorted to defensive tactics looking to contain rather than attack.
At the other end, Laxman provided the calming influence as he just concentrated on playing it safe. But India progressed at an acceptable rate despite Australia trying their best to restrict the scoring.
Eighty runs were scored in 27 overs in the second session as India coasted to 202 for three in 51 overs at the tea break.
Tendulkar was unbeaten on 65 from 88 deliveries, with eight boundaries, while Laxman was not out on 34 from 95 deliveries, including three boundaries.
endulkar looks quite comfortable in the middle, while Laxman also seems intent on playing another big knock. The pitch is full of runs and the two senior pros are making sure they don't let the opportunity slip.

Post-Tea session: (109 runs, 36 overs, 2 wickets)
Tendulkar brought up the 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Laxman in the 55th over. On 74, in the next over, he escaped a close run-out chance as Krejza missed hitting the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Krejza then came into the attack in the 57th over and was immediately taken on by Laxman, who hit a slog sweep over midwicket for a boundary.
Tendulkar repeated the dose in his next over for his 10th boundary and moved into the 80s. On 85 he had another big reprieve -- this time Johnson dropped a simple skier at mid-off in the 63rd over. The veteran batsman stepped down to loft Krejza straight down the ground but could not get enough distance. However, to his relief, the catch was spooned by Johnson, running backwards.
Laxman made his 100th Test memorable by completing a half-century off 126 deliveries, including four boundaries, in the 63rd over.
But Krejza delivered another big blow in the final session when he claimed the Hyderabad batsman's wicket. The stylish right-hander tried to cut a wide delivery, but ended up edging it behind for 64, that included five boundaries in 141 deliveries. He added 146 runs for the fourth wicket, off 271 deliveries, with Tendulkar to help India recover from an early spot of bother after they lost three quick wickets.
Sourav Ganguly walked out to a rather subdued ovation from the sparse gathering inside the stadium.
It seemed that Tendulkar was destined to reach the three-figure mark as he was dropped yet again, on 96. He tried to lift Krejza down the ground again and this time Brett Lee, running back, failed to hold on to a sharp chance.
The master batsman completed his 40th Test century when he cut Krejza for a boundary in the 75th over. It took him 166 deliveries, 12 boundaries, and around four hours to score the first century at the new VCA stadium.
Like all his teammates before him, Ganguly also took a special liking to Krejza's gentle off-spin and lifted him for boundaries in consecutive overs through the leg-side.
Australia took the new ball after 81 overs and it paid off soon after. Johnson (1 for 54) got the big wicket of Tendulkar leg before wicket for 109 (188 deliveries, 12 boundaries) at possibly the worst time for India with just eight overs left for stumps.
Ganguly (27 not out) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (4 not out) negotiated the final few overs successfully as India closed the opening day on 311 for five in 87 overs.
Tendulkar's wicket was a big blow for India as it gave the Aussies a sniff of a chance. However, wickets are still difficult to come by and India will be hoping to stitch a few big partnerships on the second day and score well in excess of 500.
Krejza must be thrilled to claim three wickets on debut though he ended up giving away lot of runs for figures of three for 138 in 28 overs.
Watson ended the day with figures of 1 for 35.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Anil Kumble Perfect 10, His best Performance!!!

Anil Kumble Announces Retirement A Tribute !!!!!

'It's the end of an era'

The Indian and international cricket community on Sunday paid glowing tributes to Anil Kumble , calling him a great competitor, role model and a true fighter and his decision to retire as an end of an era.
Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth summed up the reactions, saying he was an extraordinary cricketer and a role model not only for youngsters but also for future generations.
"He must have decided [to retire] during the course of the day. He spoke to me during tea time and said that he has decided to call it quits. It's the end of an era," he said.

"A lot of players in the team, I cannot tell you the names, were in tears when he told them his decision.
"It was an emotional moment for the team and me. He was an extraordinary cricketer, a great role model, not only for the youngsters but also for the future generations," Srikkanth said.
Former India captain Kapil Dev described Kumble as a "true gentleman" and a "true fighter".
"Anil Kumble is a true fighter, always had this never-say-die attitude and is thoroughly a true gentleman," Kapil said.
"He never got involved in any controversy and whatever he did he did it to the best of his abilities," he said adding that he is "great ambassador of cricket."
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting lauded Kumble, saying that he was proud to have played against a celebrated opponent like him.
"I would like to congratulate Anil for his long and successful career. He is a great competitor and every single player of my team, who has played against him, is proud of the cricketer," Ponting said after the third Test, which ended in a draw at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi on Sunday.
"I wish he will enjoy his time after the game," Ponting added.
Meanwhile, Kapil rubbished suggestions that there was pressure on Kumble to quit.
"I think it is time when we talk about what he has done for the country. He played the game most professionally."
On the void which will be created by Sourav Ganguly and Kumble's exit, Kapil said one will have to wait and see what the future has in store.
Legendary off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna described Kumble as one of the finest spinners that India has produced.
"He is a thorough gentleman, very strong minded, man of integrity and one not to be influenced by external forces," Prasanna said.
"I think he pre-poned his decision in view of his injury problem," the 68-year-old spinner said.
Former Australian captain Allan Border said the Kumble's decision has come as a shock to him and described it as a sad day for Indian cricket.
"He is a fantastic a cricketer and a human being who played his game in the right spirit throughout his career. It is a sad day for Indian cricket. It actually came as a shock to us. We will have to wait and watch, how India copes up without Kumble," he said.
Echoing the sentiment, another ex-Aussie captain Ian Chappell said the void left by Kumble would be hard to fill.
"It is very difficult for somebody to get into his shoes. He is a cricketer who never compromised his dignity and always played with determination," he said.
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri felt the timing of Kumble's retirement is just perfect but the champion bowler would be missed.
"Kumble was a real, out and out professional. It is definitely a sad day for Indian cricket. You won't realise the impact of his retirement now but when you won't hear his name after some days, you will feel his void," he said.
"He decided to retire absolutely at the right time. A few days back I wrote in a column that you don't have to tell Kumble when to retire because being a true gentleman he knows when to take the call."
"Kumble left the game with utmost respect. He showed his true sportsmanship in Australia ," he added.
Legendary Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi also felt that Kumble timed his retirement well and said the whole of country would be proud of his contribution to the game.
"I think the writing was in the wall. I could feel it was coming. It think he could have played the Nagpur Test but injury might have expedited his decision.
"Anyways, India is proud of you and I wish you happy retirement but I think although he has retired from International cricket, he has lots to offer in other aspects of the game," he said.
Ex-India stumper Syed Kirmani said Kumble has been an exceptional servant of the game.
"It is the right time for him to retire, the best time that Kumble would have looked for. He has done a great job for India and is leaving on a high," he said.
"He has made his debut under me in the state. He has been a dedicated, sincere, honest, disciplined and good thinking and a great champion cricketer and on the basis on these I can say that I have literally seen him grow and establish himself as a icon and a legendary cricketer both on the field and off it," he added.
Former pacer Madan Lal, who was part of the 1983 World Cup winning team, said he was surprised by Kumble's decision and did not expect him to retire in the middle of the ongoing Test series against Australia.
"It has taken me by surprise. He could have played the Nagpur Test and could have gone after winning the series against Australia or even after the England series. It is a difficult decision for any player and he has taken it.
"Nobody is going to be his successor, no one can replace Kumble. He is one of the finest leg-spinners in the world. Over the years he had developed variety in his bowing by working hard. I rate him very high," Madan Lal said.
Lal, however, also refused to believe that it was pressure by media and the experts of the game that forced Kumble to quit.
"I do not think it was because of any sort of pressure. Media is going to be with you every time. If your play well they will praise you and they will criticise you if you play badly. And I think, Kumble has taken it well in his stride. At the end of the day he is a gentleman," he said.
Former Test cricketer and Yuvraj Singh's father Yograj Singh was also of the view that Kumble is not the one to take decision "under any kind of pressure".

Jumbo quits international cricket

India Test captain Anil Kumble announced his decision to quit international cricket at the end of the third Test against Australia at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi on Sunday.
He was given a guard of honour by his team mates before entering his favourite ground to bowl for one last time in Australia's second innings in the afternoon. The fans at the Kotla too gave him a standing ovation.
"Delhi has been special for me and I thought it fitting to finish my career here," he said of his decision.

It was at this venue that Kumbke took all 10 wickets in an innings, against Pakistan in 1999, to become only the second bowler to achieve the feat after Englishman Jim Laker.
The 38-year-old finished as the third highest wicket-taker in the world with a haul of 616 wickets in 132 Tests that included eight 10-wicket hauls and 35 five-wicket hauls.
The veteran leggie was struggling to find his peak form recently and struck with fitness problems.
Kumble was taken to hospital during the third day of the third Test after suffering a deep cut on his left little finger while attempting a sharp catch at short midwicket. He was discharged on Saturday after surgery, after which he bowled in Australia's first innings and somehow claimed three wickets.
He also missed the second Test in Mohali because of a shoulder injury sustained during the first Test in Bangalore.
Incidentally, Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the team to a convincing 320-run victory and since then pressure has mounted on Kumble to call it quits. The Indian wicketkeeper and ODI captain will now lead the side for the fourth and final Test against Australia in Nagpur, beginning on November 6.
There were several calls for Kumble to end his Test career, including one from former chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, who believed the leggie was past his prime.
"Kumble has been a great servant for the country for the last 18 years but he has not done anything of note in the last few matches. His time is up now. Kumble looked completely off colour in the third Test in Delhi and I don't see him captaining the side after the final Test in Nagpur," Vengsarkar told Indian television channel News 24.
The leg-spinner made his Test debut, against England at Manchester in August 1990. He was appointed Indian Test captain in November last year and led the team with great distinction during the controversy-marred tour of Australia.
He retired from One-Day Internationals last year after India's early exit from the 2007 World Cup. He played 271 ODIs, claiming 337 wickets with a best of six for 12.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has already announced that he would be retiring from international cricket after the fourth and final Test against Australia at Nagpur.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gambhir handed one-Test ban

Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir was handed a one-Test ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee on Friday for breaching the spirit of the game in the third Test against Australia .
Gambhir, 27, was found guilty after he was charged for elbowing Australian all rounder Shane Watson while taking a run on the first day of the third Test in Delhi on Wednesday, an ICC release said.
Both players were summoned for a hearing by match referee Chris Broad on Thursday, where Gambhir pleaded guilty and Watson was fined 10 percent of his match fee.

Gambhir had faced a penalty ranging between a fine of 50 percent to his full match fee and/or a maximum ban of one Test or two one-dayers, with a right to appeal within 24 hours.
He would miss the fourth and final Test starting in Nagpur on November 6, the ICC release added.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement the player would lodge an appeal against the decision.
The batsman top-scored with 206 for his second consecutive hundred following his 104 in the second Test in Mohali.
"The decision to find Gambhir guilty of a (rule C1) level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that any degree of physical contact is unacceptable," Broad said in an ICC release.
He escaped a harsher ban of a minimum of two Tests for a second offence within a year, having been fined 65 percent of his match fee for clashing with Shahid Afridi in a one-dayer against Pakistan last November.
Broad said the lightness of his contact with Watson and the provocation of the Australian player helped Gambhir's cause. He is the second Indian player to be penalised in the series which has witnessed a series of verbal exchanges between players from both teams.
Paceman Zaheer Khan was fined 80 percent of his match fee in Mohali after his verbal send-off to Australian opener Matthew Hayden was walking back to the pavilion after his dismissal.

Sehwag spoils Aussies day out

Patience pays. Perseverance has its returns. And mental fortitude is a blessing in disguise.
We are not preaching from a holy book, and neither are these phrases meant to spread the message of peace and virtuosity.
Instead, these are the attributes that helped Australia dominate the third day's play in the third Test at the Ferozshah Kotla on Friday.
This was important considering they were on the backfoot on the first two days. They added 288 runs during the day to their overnight total (50), losing just four wickets.
At stumps on Friday, the visitors were 338 for 4, still 275 runs behind the Indian total and needing 76 runs to avoid the follow-on.
On the positive side, they had achieved a mental victory over the Indians and probably did enough to ensure that they save the Test at least -- a possibility that looked remote after the first couple of days.
Michael Clarke and Shane Watson were still batting, on 21 and four respectively.
But Virender Sehwag , with figures of 3 for 66, ensured that India have a lot to look forward to on Saturday.
Morning Session: (Runs: 101, Overs: 26, Wicket: 1)
Resuming at their overnight score of 50 for no loss, the Australian openers began at a steady pace and, for once, seemed comfortable with the Indian bowling. There was a conspicuous change in the mental approach.
Instead of just trying to be defensive, the visitors kept the scoreboard ticking with cheeky singles interspersed with well-timed boundaries. The Indian bowlers were getting a taste of the medicine that their Australian counterparts had had for two successive days.
Simon Katich soon reached his tenth Test fifty, his sixth against India (in 12 Tests), with a tentative single off Anil Kumble . And his partner, Hayden, hit a huge six off Amit Mishra to bring up the 100-run partnership for the opening wicket -- the first time it happened in this series for the visitors. It came in just over two hours off 175 balls.
The duo looked set for a long haul when Katich did something that has become a characteristic feature of his batting in this series. He came charging to a tossed up delivery from Mishra, missed the flight completely and witnessed his middle stump get uprooted. Katich scored 64, which included ten hits to the fence.
The 33-year-old Australian has had starts in all the five innings in this series -- scores of 66, 34, 33 and 20 are a case in point. Only if he had the patience to build on those starts his team would have been served better.
On this occasion though a promising opening wicket stand was cut short on 123. Hayden, on the other hand, kept up the momentum and soon completed a half-century -- his seventh against India and 28th overall.
After scoring three hundreds in successive Tests -- Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide -- Hayden, who turned 37 on Tuesday was having a woeful run with the bat and had scores of 0, 13, 0 and 29 before things innings. This wasn't a vintage innings but should have done his confidence a world of good.
Post-Lunch Session: (Runs: 86, Overs: 29, Wickets: 1)
The session started with an invasion that stopped play for about four minutes. It wasn't the over-excited crowds but a swarm of bees. The players were forced to duck for cover and the shutterbugs had a whale of a time. In fact, one of them caught Sachin Tendulkar trying to use his hat to cover his face.
When play did resume, the Australian batsmen resumed their respective roles. Matthew Hayden was increasingly growing in confidence but at the same time also living dangerously.
He survived a loud appeal off Anil Kumble, when he was on 66, and it appeared that he had nicked to Rahul Dravid at first slip. However, umpire Billy Bowden thought otherwise, and the television replays suggested he was right. Soon after, Kumble himself dropped him (when on 70) at short mid-wicket off the bowling of Amit Mishra.
Hayden's drive was hard. The physio had to rush to the ground and, subsequently, Kumble left the field, handing over the reigns to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and headed straight to Apollo Hospital.
The 37-year-old batsman continued with his generosity. He nicked Virender Sehwag but the ball fell short of Dravid at first slip. For once, fortune was smiling on Hayden -- he had been unfortunate in both the innings of the opening Test in Bangalore. But then Hayden was guilty of being greedy and eventually paid.
Sehwag finally had the measure of him, trapping him plumb in front. Australia 202 for 2.
Nonetheless, it was reassuring to see Hayden back among the runs. He scored 83, inclusive of 13 hits to the fence, and one over it. More importantly, he was involved in a 79-run second-wicket partnership with Ponting.
The latter went on to complete his half century -- his sixth against India and 41st overall. More importantly, the Australian captain got himself out of the hole that he had let himself into after that majestic 123 at Bangalore and was hitting the ball with his characteristic confidence.
Final session: Runs: 101, Overs: 35, Wickets: 2
The Australian looked at consolidation with caution. Consequently, runs came in a trickle as the emphasis was more on saving wickets.
An otherwise dull session, this one was characterized by a spectacular delivery by Sehwag that accounted for Ponting (87). It was a perfect off-spinner. Sehwag tossed the ball up, induced Ponting to come forward for the drive and the ball, after pitching, generated considerable turn and hurried in viciously to castle the batsman's stumps.
Without doubt, it was the highlight of the day's play -- and we are only talking from an Indian perspective. Australia 284 for 3.
Michael Hussey went on to complete his 11th Test fifty -- a dogged innings coming off 134 deliveries and consisting seven boundaries.
The new ball was taken with seven overs left in the day. And, instead of the fast bowlers, it was Sehwag again who got the breakthrough, cleaning up Hussey (53) on this occasion. Australia 326 for 4.
The 30-year-old part-timer was India's best bowler on the day and the fact that he managed to generate so much turn was the positive factor for the hosts.
To sum up, it would suffice to say that the Australians deserve to be in the position they are in. There was a certain amount of patience in their batting, they were very much aware what their target for the day was and, more importantly, they mostly rendered ineffective the Indian bowlers, completely neutralizing the persistent attacks with a resolute defense.
On second thoughts, Sehwag was an aberration.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nielsen speaks on Ponting-Lee spat

Breaking his silence on the on-field clash between Australia skipper Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee , coach Tim Nielsen said a poor over-rate wasn't the main reason the strike bowler was not used in the first session on the fourth day of the second Test in Mohali.
Lee argued with Ponting on a morning when part-time medium pacer Michael Hussey, debutant Peter Siddle, regular Mitchell Johnson and spinner Cameron White were all preferred over him.
Ponting and Michael Clarke both justified the decision by saying the team was about five overs behind the required rate -- they also wanted to slow the speed of the ball down -- but Nielsen said they were only three behind. It's not a level that would cause any player to fear a fine.
''We made a decision to take pace off the ball,'' Nielsen said.
''You don't see Hussey bowl too often. We changed things around because things weren't working for us. The over-rate wasn't crazily out of control: three down at the time. In the end it was a tactical decision.''
The team believes the incident, which featured heavily in Australian papers, was blown out of proportion and Ponting and Nielsen said there was no lingering resentment between the players.
However, Nielsen's explanation shows how worried Ponting was over the form of his main bowler, who he did not want to risk when India resumed their target setting at 100 for 1.
''When you're losing Tests, there's a lot of things being made of little issues,'' Nielsen said. ''When you're winning, that's not the case.''
Nielsen said Lee was ''frustrated'' but was fine mentally after a difficult off-season, which included separating from his wife.
''He's come from a 15-month period where he's had real impact every time he's been required,'' he said. ''In some regards, we've built this series up, it's got a bigger status than normal.
''Brett was keen to have a real impact and when that happens it is easy to get impatient and search for results. He's working hard, he's come off a break from his personal issues and has had a break from not playing in Darwin. All those things have added up to him being a little bit off the boil.''
Nielsen felt the bowlers were too impatient in Mohali, where India's batsmen worked the side into a position to set Australia 516 runs for victory.
''We were searching for results quickly because we felt like we were under pressure,'' he said. ''These conditions are unrelenting; if you're not quite right with your skills you get shown out.''

Delhi curator to gift Kumble spinning track

The Ferozshah Kotla, India Test captain Anil Kumble's lucky ground, is host to the third Test between India and Australia , and its curator, Radhey Shyam Sharma, says he will prepare a track that will suit 'Jumbo's' bowling style.
Kumble has an outstanding record at the Kotla: in six Tests there, he has picked 55 wickets, including all ten in an innings against Pakistan, at an average of 15.42.
Sharma has prepared pitches at the Kotla since 1996 and the wicket for the upcoming match will be the last he will prepare for a Test.
In his final Test in-charge of the pitch, he wants to give Kumble the kind of pitch he relishes bowling on.
"This will be my parting gift to Kumble. Even though he has risen to great heights as a cricketer, Kumble is a lovely human being at heart. Whenever he comes to Delhi , he always takes time out to sit and chat with me.
"I've always made wickets that suit Kumble, and this time it won't be any different," he added.
Speaking about the wicket for the forthcoming Test, Sharma said, "This wicket against Australia will give some assistance to seamers initially but the spinners can come into play as early as on third morning. There will be no dust on the wicket but the ball will tend to grip the pitch and get more turn. There'll be a bit of uneven bounce with the wear and tear."
The 73-year-old also warned all those who questioned Kumble's ability saying, "There's no way he will miss the match. This venue is very special to him and he'll play, come what may. In fact, for all those people who believe that Kumble is now a spent force, he will bounce back here in Delhi."
The Kotla has been a favourite hunting ground for the Indian team too; they won seven consecutive Tests at the Kotla. The last time they were beaten there was more than two decades ago, in 1987.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

India complete final rites in Mohali

In Indian conditions, they say, if you win the toss half the battle is won.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ensured that at the outset in the Mohali Test. The other half was a team effort.
To give the home team their due, Indian outplayed Australia in every department of the game. India dismissed Australia for 195 runs on the fifth morning to register thumping 320-run victory. It was one of the heaviest defeats for the world champions and the biggest win for the hosts (not including innings wins).
The visitors never remotely looked like the world's best team, a pedestal they have been perched at for eternity.
The thrashing they received at Mohali was suggestive of the fact that they are no longer the dominant side they used to be.
The point we are making is that Australian cricket is now entering a new phase (a rebuilding phase) and it will take at least a few more years for them to reassert their supremacy. Other teams can seize this opportunity for sure.
Morning Session: 54 runs, 5 wickets, 18.4 overs
The script had been written on day four and it was bound one (no scope for last minute changes).
The first two hours of the movie (read last session on Day 4) was over and only the climax remained.
Resuming at 141 for six, the Australians suffered a jolt on the last ball of the day's opening over when Zaheer Khan had a length ball that move in to rip the stumps of Brad Haddin (37). The batsman was yet to add to his overnight score.
Khan was even more destructive in his next over-- Tuesday's third.
The second ball found Cameron White's outside edge and the third cleaned up Brett Lee . Australia 144 for eight, having lost three quick wickets early on the fifth day with the addition of the just three runs.
Michael Clarke (69) went on to complete his half century-- his fifth against India and his ninth in Tests.
The 27-year-old relishes playing against India and this innings was yet another proof of that. However, on this occasion even he was aware that only the last rites remain and time could not be an impediment.
On their part, Clarke and Mitchell Johnson (26) prolonged the end, delivering competent performances-- a 50-run partnership for the ninth wicket. But it only ensured ennui, the viewer's were not keen on any more histrionics but only wanted to see the end credits roll.
Johnson's character understood the audience plight and offered a soft return catch to Amit Mishra. Peter Siddle proved to just a sidekick and Clarke, the last man standing, perished at last, caught by Sehwag of Mishra.
India, on the other hand, was celebrating the one of the biggest blockbuster in their box office history.
India lead the four-match series 1-0. The first Test in Bangalore ended in a draw.

Monday, October 20, 2008

India Won Mohali Test with Record margin!!!

India Won the Mohali test match with with record margin of 320 runs. This is India's Highest Ever win in terms of run, previous was 280 runs against South Africa in Kanpur...
Details will come soon1!!!!

BCCI said close ICL, then talk: Kapil

"BCCI told us to first close down Indian Cricket League and then only they (BCCI) shall talk to us," said an agitated Kapil Dev , explaining why the ICL's meeting with the Indian cricket board failed.
"There was hardly any meeting. They told us to close down ICL first before they begin talks," the former India skipper, currently chief of the ICL, told mediapersons in Ahmedabad .
The ICL had applied to the International Cricket Council for recognition but a decision on the issue was deferred during its Board meeting. Instead, the ICC asked BCCI president Shashank Manohar to meet ICL representatives and submit a report on the discussions.

Following ICC's directive, both parties met in New Delhi last week but failed to make any headway on the contentious issue.
"We have again applied to the ICC, as we have hopes from the world body. They have asked us to wait for 21 days. We shall wait for their decision," Kapil said.
Asked if he plans to take legal action against the BCCI, Dev replied, "Of course, but it will be the ultimate step."
Dev drew comparison between the South African cricket team during the apartheid period and BCCI, saying the latter is acting like the former.
"During the apartheid period we were ready to play with South Africa , but they refused to play with us. The same thing is being done by BCCI with ICL. We are ready to play, but they are not," Kapil, captain of India's 1983 World Cup-winning team, said.
"How can you restrict somebody from playing cricket. Cricket is for all. There are hundreds of young and talented boys who want to play cricket for India. It is wrong to stop anybody from playing according to his will," he said.
He asked, Should there be only one government school in the country? What if some private schools come up and provide education to few more?
"Playing cricket is like education. Young players need more platforms to show their talent, and restricting them is awfully wrong. We have not restricted any of our players. They are free to play anywhere," Kapil added.
Asked about his impression of Ahmedabad as a venue for ICL matches, Kapil said he is satisfied with the response and also plans to reschedule the final of ICL's second season to Ahmedabad.

Australia heading for destination defeat

Disastrous! That's how Australia's performance in the Mohali Test can be described in one word.
With winning the match ceasing to be an option after India set them a mammoth 516, the least they could have done was play sensibly to ensure a draw, which would have given their otherwise vapid performance in the match a semblance of respectability. But therein lay their failure as a team.
Before you jump the gun, it is imperative here to state that the visitors are yet to lose the Test, but defeat is the destination they are heading towards, albeit the pace has slackened a bit after the initial acceleration.
An aggressive, and to an extent reckless start, was followed by a shocking collapse that witnessed Australia slump from 49 without loss to 58 for 5. Half the battle won for Team India. The other half has been extended to the final day of the Test -- thanks to an 83-run sixth wicket stand between Michael Clarke (42 not out) and Brad Haddin (37 not out). Both batsmen hit six boundaries apiece.
At stumps on Monday, Australia was 141 for 5, still 375 runs adrift of the Indian target, and, to put it bluntly, staring defeat, with the fifth day's play being a mere formality.
Morning Session (26 overs, 130 runs, 2 wickets)
Resuming at the overnight score of 100, Sehwag (90) dropped anchor and allowed Gambhir (104) to let loose.
The southpaw soon completed his eighth Test half century and then hit Cameron White for a huge six to long on, the ball making its way straight into the gutter.
Gambhir was certainly enjoying the role of the aggressive partner, but it was not for long that Sehwag, who turned 30 on Monday, could curb his natural instincts. He soon cut loose and that essentially spelt double trouble for the visitors.
The 150 of the Indian innings came in just 145 minutes, off only 31.5 overs. The duo continued to pile on runs and put on 182 runs for the opening wicket before Sehwag edged a Peter Siddle delivery to Brad Haddin for 90.
It was a disappointing end for Sehwag, as he definitely deserved a birthday gift (read century). Nonetheless, his aggressive 122-ball knock was punctuated with eight hits to the fence.
The dismissal prompted skipper Dhoni to promote himself up the order palpably with an eye on scoring at a faster rate.
And his Australian counterpart, perhaps frustrated at the non-performance of his regular bowlers, handed Michael Hussey the ball. Not that it did much but it was certainly easy to witness a part-time bowler struggling than the regular bets.
Gambhir soon completed his second Test century with a boundary off White -- he had earlier scored 139 against Bangladesh at Chittagong in December 2004 -- to go with his 67 in the first innings. His knock was laced with seven hits to the fence and one over it.
He was dismissed in the same over, caught at mid-off by Hussey. India 224 for 2.
Post-lunch session: (India: 16 overs, 84 runs, 1 wicket; Australia: 8 overs, 50 runs, 2 wickets)
Matthew Hayden (29) and Simon Katich (20) put on 49 runs for the opening wicket before Harbhajan Singh trapped the former plumb in front.
Hayden's 20-ball knock comprised four strokeful boundaries and was his most confident innings on this tour. In fact, it wouldn't be wrong to say that he paid the price for over confidence.
A run later, Katich paid the price for being over ambitious, hitting a wide delivery off Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar taking a brilliant catch at short point. Katich's 26-ball 20 included four hits to the fence. That ball happened to be the last before tea.
Earlier, India declared their second innings at 314 for three, setting Australia a target of 516 runs to win the Test.
Captain Dhoni (68 not out) and Tendulkar (10 not out) were at the crease when the innings was declared.
Dhoni's 84-ball knock contained three boundaries and a six and was his second half century of the match, following his 92 in the first innings.
Sourav Ganguly was the lone Indian wicket to fall in the post-lunch session. He was caught by Michael Clarke of Brett Lee for 27. India played 16 overs after lunch and put on 84 runs in that period.
Post-tea session: (38 overs, 91 runs, 3 wickets)
After the twin strikes, those of Hayden and Katich just before tea, the Indian bowlers rocked the Australian boat again immediately after it, taking two more wickets.
Harbhajan took his third wicket of the innings in the shape of the in-form Michael Hussey (1), the latter paying the price for playing a rash, and rather unnecessary shot. Harbhajan is now just one short of 300 Test wickets.
Ricky Ponting's woeful record against Ishant Sharma continued when the latter cleaned him up with a beautiful incoming delivery for just two runs. Australia's captain has now been dismissed on five occasions by the 20-year-old Indian speedster this year, and thrice in his last three innings.
More importantly, the Aussies had seen four of their frontline batsmen fall for the addition of just three runs and despite an aggressive start, the visitors were forced to retreat to a defensive cocoon -- statistically speaking, from 49 for no loss to 52 for 4.
There was no relief coming their way. Just six runs had been added to the total when Shane Watson (2) was adjudged leg before off Ishant. Australia 58 for 5.
But when disaster strikes preventive measures are bound to follow. Clarke and Haddin employed themselves to continue with the disaster management. And it is because of them that Australia were able to avert an impending defeat by a day and extend the game into the fifth day.