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Tuesday, Feb 18th

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Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been reported with a suspected illegal bowling action during his side’s seven-wicket loss in the first Test match against Sri Lanka at Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

The match officials’ report, which was handed over to Pakistan team manager Moin Khan on Sunday, cited concerns over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect and concluded that the bowler’s action needed to be tested.

Ajmal’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. He is required to undergo testing within 21 days, and, during this period, Ajmal is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known.

 

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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Pakistan have bounced back strongly after their defeat to India by beating Australia by 16 runs in an entertaining encounter in Dhaka on Sunday afternoon. It was Australia's first game of the ICC World T20 and skipper George Bailey won the toss and opted to bowl.

Pakistan posted a superb total of 191-5 in their 20 overs on the back of a magnificent 94 from just 54 balls from young Umar Akmal. Akmal spanked 4 sixes and 9 boundaries against an Australia side for whom only last minute call-up Doug Bollinger had figures of any respectability. Nathan Coulter-Nile did pick up two wickets for the Australians but went at 9 an over.

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In yet another low-scoring match dominated by the bowlers, the second ODI in Dubai on Friday was comfortably won by Pakistan by 66 runs, thus levelling the five match series at 1-1. South Africa would have been more than satisfied with their situation at the midway stage of the innings, as they confined Pakistan to 209 batting first – but their second half was a procession as they bombed to 143 all out.

The Proteas’ batsmen struggled to get to grips with the spinners, in particular, and, as in the Pakistan innings, significant partnerships were notably lacking. JP Duminy (25) showed glimpses of intent before being caught at first slip, while Wayne Parnell (21) looked similarly capable of wresting the initiative away from Pakistan before he nicked off to the ‘keeper.

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South Africa took four of the 10 second innings wickets they needed to complete victory over Pakistan by stumps on day three of the second Test match at Dubai on Friday. At the close Pakistan had reached 132/4 and needed a massive target of a further 286 runs to make the Proteas bat again.

Nevertheless it was Pakistan’s best day of the series to date. They finally won a session when they took the last six Proteas first innings wickets for 57 runs in the morning session although it was slightly tarnished by the fact that they lost both their opening batsmen for just two runs to Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander off the 11 balls that were bowled before the delayed lunch interval.

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South Africa completed a rousing, four-wicket victory against Pakistan on Sunday when they chased down a victory target of 182 at Sahara Park Newlands to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Sunfoil Test series with one match to play.

Vernon Philander once again played the lead role on his home ground when the tourists resumed their second innings on 100-3, a lead of 112. Philander claimed two wickets in as many balls to break the back of the batting resistance as a promising position was reduced to a total of 169 all out.

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Saeed Ajmal enjoyed a brilliant day with bat and ball as Pakistan took charge of the second Sunfoil Test match against South Africa after reducing their hosts to a precarious 139-5 – a deficit of 199 - by the close of the second day at Sahara Park Newlands on Friday. Ajmal starred with the bat as the tourists recovered from 268-8 to make an above average 338 all out in their first innings but then dominated with the ball, claiming all five wickets to fall as the Proteas top order failed to cope with his mixture of off spinners, top spinners and doosras.

The first half-hour of the day was the only period in which Pakistan struggled as they lost three quick wickets to Vernon Philander and appeared to have squandered their promising overnight position of 253-5. Philander’s haul of 5-59 was his ninth five-wicket bag in just his 15th Test and third at Sahara Park Newlands where his 26 wickets have cost just 12.3 runs apiece. But the end of his spell signalled the beginning of a ninth-wicket partnership of 64 between Ajmal (21*) and medium pacer Tanvir Ahmed who scored a swashbuckling 44 from 59 deliveries.

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