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.