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Thursday, Dec 05th

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India will commence the defence of their ICC World Cup trophy with their match against arch rivals Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Cricketing encounters between these two countries have always been fiery ones, with Pakistan having the edge in the head-to-head record in the One-Day International format of the game. Out of the 126 times that these two teams have met in ODIs, the Pakistanis have triumphed on 72 occasions. However, the Men In Blue enjoy a landslide record as far as World Cup matches are concerned, having won all 5 of their meetings in the elite competition.

 

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Celebrating 200 years of Lord’s definitely proved to be a runfest as Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh starred on the ‘legend-filled’ day with individual tons as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) beat Rest of the World Xl (RoW) by 7 wickets.

RoW skipper Shane Warne won the toss and elected to bat first as Yuvraj Singh responded with a fine century to help his side post a target of 294 on the board. However, the MCC batsmen eased to the total thanks to Aaron Finch who played most of his 145-ball 181 in overdrive mode.

Adam Gilchrist and Virender Sehwag, two of the world’s deadliest batsmen in their careers, opened the batting for RoW and they were up against a fiery Brett Lee and Umar Gul first up. Gilchrist looked the same old attacking player as he raced to 29 off 21 balls with four consecutive boundaries off express pacer and fellow countryman Shaun Tait as RoW posted 50 on the board inside just 6 overs. Sehwag looked steady at the other end before Lee knocked over his middle stump for 22, leaving the scoreboard showing 54-1.

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India named a shockingly large touring party for their shortened safari to South Africa, picking a 16 man ODI squad and a 17 man Test squad for a series which includes just 3 ODIs and 2 Test Matches after having been chopped down controversially to accommodate Sachin Tendulkar's retirement.

India's excessive test squad includes as many as 5 pacers, suggesting that India may even head into a match lining up with 4 fast bowlers with Ravichandran Ashwin featuring potentially as an allrounder and MS Dhoni batting at no.6. Given their track record of breaking down overseas, it is perhaps understandable why so many medium pacers have been selected, but surely a large number of players for such a short series are simply going along for the ride. That list includes Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, both of whom bring some much needed overseas experience to the Indian bowling unit, but surely given their recent form and the fact that Zak doesn't even have a central BCCI contract, are not going to play.

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The Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) David Richardson has paid tribute to Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket today.

Mr Richardson, who played 10 Tests and 26 ODIs against Tendulkar between 1991 and 1998, said: “He was an exceptional cricketer who earned the utmost respect of his peers, team-mates, opponents and fans all over the world through his talent, performances and fierce competitiveness.

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India wasted little time in wrapping up the second test of this short 'Farewell Series' against the West Indies, winning the game as early as the third morning by an Innings and 126 runs. The result was more than a little embarrassing for the once dreaded Windies, who collapsed like 9 pins for the second time in three days, losing all seven of their remaining wickets in the first session of play to offer little in terms of competition in this test match.

Resuming from their overnight score of 43-3, the West Indies were bowled out for 187, doing 5 runs better than their effort on the first day as Pragyan Ojha ran through the middle order for the second time, taking 5 wickets in the second innings as well, to end the match with impeccable figures of 10-89. He was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match, while Rohit Sharma strolled away with the Man of the Series award.

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A billion eyes turned towards their television sets in India on Friday morning with mass leave having been reported across the corporate world as fans the world over tuned in to see their hero Sachin Tendulkar walk out to bat for quite possibly the last time. India resumed their innings at 157-2 with Tendulkar unbeaten on 38 and kept company by young Cheteshwar Pujara, also in his 30s.

The duo continued their excellent partnership on the second morning in Mumbai with Tendulkar surviving a hostile spell of fast bowling from Tino Best, who ran in with tremendous energy and consistently hit the 90mph mark. The Master responded though by getting to his half century with a searing straight drive of his own and looked good for a lot more before he fell to the massive disappointment of his fans for 74, caught brilliantly at slip by Darren Sammy off the innocuous part-timer Narsingh Deonarine, attempting a late cut.

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Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and Final Test match kicked off in Mumbai this morning with India winning the toss and inviting West Indies to have a bat. The pitch had a tinge of green and a bit of life in it and the West Indies top order was in for a testing first session at the very least. India was predictably unchanged for this game while the Windies bolstered their batting by adding batting allrounder Narsingh Deonarine to their line-up in place of spinner Veerasammy Permaul while left arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell made way for 25 year old paceman Shannon Gabriel.

India struck early in the morning with Mohammad Shami continuing his dream introduction to test cricket by getting rid of the dangerman Chris Gayle, caught in the gully for just 11. The Indian seamers were beating the bat with monotonous regularity and Bhuvneshwar Kumar should have added his name to the wicket takers column only to see R Ashwin spill a regulation catch at first slip granting Kieran Powell a second life. The youngster made the most of the opportunity and batted out the opening session to end unbeaten on 45.

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