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Wednesday, Apr 01st

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A much changed Pune Warriors side stunned a complacent Chennai Super Kings outfit by 24 runs in a match that was widely tipped to go the other way. The introduction of young Aussie superstar Steve Smith energized the Warriors as they scripted an unlikely win against the former champions in a match they dominated right from the off.

Pune under the new leadership of Ross Taylor, due to Angelo Mathews' inability to play in Chennai due to political tension in the city, and without star player Yuvraj Singh were expected to be easy fodder for the superstars from Chennai. The Super Kings in fact decided to rest veteran superstar Mike Hussey for the game and the move backfired horribly as they struggled to cope with the Pune bowling unit, which restricted the hosts to an ordinary 135-8 in their pursuit of 160.

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Once regarded as the fastest wicket in India, the PCA Stadium in Mohali was regarded as the one venue in India where the seamers would get some joy and an even contest between bat and ball could be expected. Those days appear long gone as a dream third day for batting witnessed in excess of 400 runs being scored for the loss of just 3 wickets. The morning session belonged to Australia, as the visitors notched up a morale boosting 408 runs in their first innings with Mitchell Starc (99) and Steve Smith (92) producing some excellent counter attacking cricket to give Australia a lifeline in the series. That ray of hope was extinguished in some style by debutant Shikhar Dhawan, as he scored an incredible unbeaten 185 from just 168 balls with the help of 33 boundaries and 2 sixes to power India to a position of strength at 283-0. Dhawan's partner in crime Murali Vijay scored a very respectable 83 but was overshadowed by his new teammate, who rewrote the record books with some genuine class, albeit on a docile pitch.

Australia made a positive start on the third morning of the Mohali Test with the overnight batsmen Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc continuing from where they left off last evening, taking Australia comfortably past 300. The duo were looking increasingly comfortable out in the middle, and India had their work cut out for them to break this crucial 8th wicket stand which was threatening to make it hard for them to force a result from this game.

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South Africa were unable to deliver the performance Graeme Smith would have wanted on the occasion of his 100th Test as captain as the home side were bundled out for just 253 after the winning the toss and batting first in the Sunfoil Test match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

All seven of the Proteas’ specialist batsmen made a start but all were dismissed between 20 and 50 and six wickets fell in the final session as the innings subsided from a promising 199-4 to 254 all out with off spinner Mohammed Hafeez claiming career best figures of 4-16 in just 7.2 overs.

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Ryan McLaren hit the final ball of the third One-Day International for an outrageous six to secure an astonishing one-wicket victory for South Africa against New Zealand and avoid an unprecedented series whitewash on home soil at Senwes Park on Friday.

The Proteas threatened to repeat the meltdown from a winning position which cost them victory in the second match in Kimberley on Tuesday when they crashed from 174-3 to 251-8 in reply to the Black Caps competitive total of 260-9 but McLaren spared the batsmen’s blushes by playing an outrageous ‘ramp’ shot against James Franklin which flew over the fine leg boundary with three runs required for victory.

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South Africa will reach a notable landmark in its history on Friday when Graeme Smith leads the Test squad out on to the WACA in Perth for their 200th Test match since unity.

"This is a signal moment for CSA and particularly for the 79 cricketers who have carried the Proteas emblem into the Test match arena," commented CSA Acting CEO Jacques Faul. "It is particularly fitting that it should happen in a match where there is so much at stake and where there is such eager anticipation around the cricketing world with the No. 1 Test match ranking at stake between ourselves and Australia.

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jacques_kallis_tRory Kleinveldt led yet another fight back by South Africa on the third day of the second Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday as the hosts closed on 111-5 in their second innings, leading by 273. The Proteas endured a torrid morning session with the bat after resuming on 217-2 with high hopes of challenging Australia's formidable first innings score of 550. But five wickets tumbled for the addition of just 17 runs as the tourists collapsed to 250-7, still 300 in arrears.

An eighth wicket stand of 93, featuring an injured Jacques Kallis batting at number nine, restored some respectability to the innings with Faf du Plessis looking as assured and confident as any Proteas debutant in recent years during a stylish, yet resilient, innings of 78 from 159 balls with 13 fours and a six.

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graeme_smith_testGraeme Smith's 26th Test century capped a day of remarkable comeback cricket on the second day of the second Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Friday with the tourists finishing on 217-2 and the Proteas captain unbeaten on 111. Despite winning the day comprehensively, South Africa still trail Australia by 333 runs in the first innings, and aren't quite out of the woods just yet. The good news for them though is the Adelaide track remains terrific for batting, and they are likely to get the best conditions possible on day 3.

The home side resumed on the record-breaking first day score of 482-5 with captain Michael Clarke unbeaten on 224 and most pundits expecting a cruise to a total in excess of 600 and a declaration sometime after lunch. But Morne Morkel had other ideas and claimed three wickets in rapid time to hasten the demise to 504-9 and finish with figures of 5-146 in 30, feet-blistering overs. It was his sixth five-wicket haul and one of his best given the quality of the opposition and the paucity of assistance offered by the pitch.

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