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Thursday, Sep 24th

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An impressive performance in the third Test against the West Indies lifted Indian middle order mainstay Ajinkya Rahane to his career-best eighth spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings, released on Monday.

Rahane, who went into the Test at joint 11th spot with Pakistani veteran Younus Khan, scored 35 and 78 not out to guide India to a 237-run win over the hosts at St. Lucia. With the win, India also took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

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After scoring his seventh Test century, Indian Test team's vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane says that he sticks to his usual process to prepare him as a batsman, irrespective of whether he is playing at home or abroad.

Rahane was unbeaten on 108 at stumps on Day 3 of the second cricket Test against the West Indies here on Monday, which helped India gather a vital 304-run first innings lead against the hosts at the Sabina Park Stadium.

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Indian middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane displayed loads of grit and patience to take India to 456/6 on the third day of the second cricket Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park before the weather forced the players off the field. Rahane was unbeaten on 83 having hit 11 boundaries and a six during his 200+ ball battle in the middle. India were leading by 260 runs at the break.

Saha, on the other hand, was unlucky to miss out on what would have been an extremely well-deserved half-century as he was dismissed on the last ball before tea. The Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman scored 47 runs before being outfoxed by a delivery from fast bowler Jason Holder that stayed a bit low after pitching.

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Fifty players were up for grabs on Tuesday afternoon as the braintrust of new IPL teams Pune and Rajkot were allowed first grab at 5 players each before the 'real' IPL auction gets underway in February next year.

Pune, by virtue of bidding higher for the rights to their team, were given the right to choose first, and unsurprisingly they opted for Skipper MS Dhoni. Rajkot followed suit by buying IPL legend Suresh Raina, who might finally get a chance to show his leadership potential in this format.

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The Indians began their England tour on a very positive note as they finished on a strong 333-4 at stumps on Day 1 of the first of their two warm up games against Leicestershire, as their batsmen got some important exposure to alien conditions, and plenty of runs!

MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first, but the Indian openers struggled initially with Shikhar Dhawan afforded a reprieve in the very first over of the day when he was dropped in the slips. Dhawan and Murali Vijay looked to settle in for a bit, but Vijay was dismissed by Anthony Ireland for 20, with the scoreboard reading 46-1.

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India bid adieu to the Asia Cup in style today, winning their dead rubber against Afghanistan by 8 wickets in a one-sided contest at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Stand in skipper Virat Kohli won a rare toss and invited Afghanistan to have a bat. The rookies capitulated miserably against India's spin trio with Ravindra Jadeja running through the side, picking up 4-30 in 10 overs. He was well assisted by Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra, who had figures of 3-31 and 1-21 from their respective 10 over spells. Samiullah Shenwari batting at no.8 scored a battling half century for Afghanistan to add some respectability to the scorecard, though India really should have knocked over their opponents sooner had it not been for another poor catching effort.

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India have given themselves every chance of levelling their 2-match Test series against New Zealand, not to mention registering their first win on what has been a diabolical tour, thanks to a fantastic stroke filled century from Ajinkya Rahane at Wellington today. The rookie right hander notched up his first Test ton and in the company of skipper MS Dhoni (68) added 120 runs for the 7th wicket to rescue India from a perilous position of 228-6 to take a first innings lead well in excess of 200 runs.

Resuming the day at 100-2, trailing the Kiwis by 92 runs, India had a stop start morning with Shikhar Dhawan (98) and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (26) frustrating the hosts, taking the score to 141 before Boult had Sharma caught behind. Dhawan fell to Tim Southee a few overs later, also caught behind, two short of back to back test hundreds.

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