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Saturday, Sep 26th

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Test Cricket

Ponting, Clarke destroy India on 1st Day of Adelaide Test

ricky_ponting_test2The venue might have changed, but the tone of the series certainly didn't as Australia continued to make merry at the expense of the visiting Indians, plundering 335 runs for the loss of just 3 wickets on first day of the fourth and final test at Adelaide. Unbeaten centuries from Ricky Ponting (137*) and Michael Clarke (140*) meant that a repeat of the Sydney test looks on the cards where the pair shared an excellent stand of 288 runs for the fourth wicket. Their current stand worth 251 already looks all set to break more records, and with the likes of an in form Michael Hussey still to come, Australia could well bat India out of this game too by tea tomorrow. The Indian bowling was once again made to look rather pedestrian with the visitor's only bright spark in Perth - Umesh Yadav going for well over 7 an over as the Australians took a particular liking to the ball coming on quickly to the bat.

The fourth test 'dead rubber' test match between India and Australia got underway at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday amidst bright sunshine as Michael Clarke, the Australian Captain, won the toss and chose to bat first on a flat looking pitch. The Australians announced their playing XI a couple of days prior to the test match and made just 1 change to the team that played in Perth with local boy Nathan Lyon getting another game in place of the left arm pacer Mitchell Starc. The Indian team made 2 changes, one of which was forced with Wriddhiman Saha making an appearance in place of the suspended Indian captain MS Dhoni while Ravi Ashwin was called back into the team in place of Vinay Kumar who played in Perth. That meant a reprieve for the veteran Indian batting line-up, and sadly no test debut for a very much in form Rohit Sharma, who sepent the entire tour thus far carrying drinks.

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India's Tour of Australia: Losing a series, not as bad as losing everything

The famous Clive Lloyd once said about losing – "there is no pride in being a good loser, as it implicates that you are a loser". That was one of the most insightful statements made by the leader of the great West Indies team of the 70's. Although most of the anterior holds true, there is always room for respectability and genuine competitiveness in sport which gives both teams a chance to earn points for commitment and performance that do not necessarily hinge on the end result.

Gautham Gambhir's statement on preparing rank turners when foreign teams especially Australia, England and South Africa tour India is very pertinent to the thoughts that have been portrayed in the first stanza. There is an understandable logic behind Gambhir's statements – A player's quality can truly be measured only when he performs different conditions. So, the superiority of the Poms and Kanagaroos over India can only be engraved as a benchmark when these guys can actually stand on the same stead when they travel to the sub-continent. TRUE.

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What to expect from the Don's backyard?

The first thing that comes to mind on the mention of Adelaide Oval is vivid images of Sir Donald Bradman. The breeding ground of the greatest soul to grace the game, the Adelaide Oval arguably packs more nostalgia than the historical venues of MCG, SCG or Lord's. While that maybe a slight exaggeration, bordering on hyperbole, one cannot disagree to the fact that the Don put Adelaide on the cricket map. But for Bradman, the quaint region would be known solely for its splendid vineyards.

The 22 yards at this historical ground does invoke images of the sub-continent. The high rise buildings awning the capital "D" shaped ground add to the beauty. The high rise buildings do resemble south Bombay or central Delhi barring the fact that they are a little orderly kept.

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Bowlers set up emphatic 10 wicket win for Pakistan in Dubai Test

trott_kpThe Pakistani bowlers ruled the roost for the second time in a row against the clueless English batsmen as they a set up a thumping win for the underdogs against the world No.1 test side. Pakistan, resuming the 3rd day with a healthy lead of 96 runs and still 3 wickets in the bag, extended the lead to a sizeable 146 thanks to an innovative 61 from rookie wicket keeper batsman Adnan Akmal. The 26 year old keeper played an adventurous knock filled with some pre-meditated reverse sweeps and flashy drives to get Pakistan to a handy 338 despite wickets tumbling at the other end. England's reply was shoddy yet again as they faltered against pace and spin alike, unable to come to grips with a versatile Pakistani attack. Apart from Jonathan Trott (49), none of the top 6 six made a significant contribution in a team score of 160 all out on a flat pitch owing to a some fine bowling from Umar Gul (4/63) that broke the back of the England batting line up. Pakistan needing just 15 runs to complete a thumping victory, did so in fine style without the loss of a wicket and took a 1-0 lead in the 3 match series.

The first session marked considerable progress for the victors as Adnan Akmal and the tail frustrated the English bolwers and snatched 50 runs from the last 3 standing wickets. Though Stuart Broad struck early, dismissing Umar Gul for nought, Saeed Ajmal (12) coming in at no.10 added a useful 30 runs with Akmal before he was controversially dismissed caught at short-leg as the Hot-Spot was unavailable due to technical difficulties meaning the review from Ajmal went in vain despite the replays showing that the ball might have missed the glove on its way to Alastair Cook. Adnan Akmal's was the last wicket to fall after playing a fine knock as he was stumped down the leg-side off Graeme Swann, bringing the Pak innings to a close.

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England fight back on Day 2 of Dubai Test, but Pakistan still on top

james_anderson3The second day of the 1st cricket test between Pakistan and England being played at the Dubai International stadium belonged to the Poms as they stuck at it with great diligence and grit, restricting Pakistan to a manageable 288/7 at stumps. England had collapsed for just 192 runs in their first innings on the opening day, and the hosts had wiped off 42 runs for no loss at stumps. A collective effort from England's bowlers today saw Pakistan's scoring rate dip drastically after the first session as the Pakistanis managed just 246 runs in the entire day on what looked like a very flat wicket.

Pakistan started the day very brightly as Mohammed Hafeez (88) and Taufeeq Umar(58) looked at ease against the English bowlers, putting up 114 runs for the opening wicket. England clawed their way back into the match with two splendid strikes from Stuart Broad before lunch, including the one of the well set Taufeeq Umar. He dismissed Taufeeq with a peach of a delivery that pitched on and hit off stump from round the wicket. Azhar Ali, Pakistan's No.3, was also dismissed a few overs later courtesy another beauty from the lanky fast bowler, one that just moved enough off the seam from outside to catch the outside edge. Pakistan went into lunch still in a strong position, courtesy that opening stand, at a 138/2.

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