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.