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Ajmal takes 7 wickets to rip England to shreds on Opening Day of Dubai Test

matt_priorSaeed Ajmal and his bowling mates put Pakistan firmly in the driver's seat on the opening day of the 1st between Pakistan and England in Dubai on Tuesday. The off-spinner bamboozled the England batsmen with his variations on his way to a career best haul of 7/55 including an impressive 3 wickets in the first session. At stumps on day 1, Pakistan were sitting pretty on 42 without loss after bowling out England for just 192. Apart from wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who made a fighting unbeaten 70, the rest of the English batsmen looked all at sea against a spin heavy attack.

The first session belonged solely to Pakistan after the England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and chose to bat. Pakistan brought on off-spinner Mohammed Hafeez as early as the 6th over of the match due to his extra ordinary success against left hand batsmen last year. Hafeez's reputation did not desert him as he struck instantly, removing Alastair Cook caught behind with a slippery delivery. The part time spinner's success prompted the Pakistan captain Misbah-Ul-Haq to bring on his frontline spinner and trump card Saeed Ajmal very early in the game, a decision that paid rich dividends later in the match. Jonathan Trott, who came in at No 3 looked good in his brief stay, before he was dismissed for 17, caught down the leg side off fast bowler Aizaz Cheema.

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India's Tour of Australia: It can only get better from here

There are many ways to look at a devastating loss in sport. It can be taken as the end of the world or it can be identified as a way to move forward with a view that things can only get better from here. There is a famous saying – “Realism is a dream Killer”. That doesn't necessarily mean that there is no space for rationality or practicality, but a fine balance of both worlds is the way to go.

India's current tour down under will be a collection of all such anomalies. There is bound to be a lot of emotional reactions to say the least as far as the mauling India has received is concerned. Emotions to a particular point are alright but at the end of the day, they are the biggest obstacles when it comes to devising future plans. So, a perfect blend of those two aforementioned ingredients is something we are looking at to resurrect Indian Test Cricket. For that to happen though some tough but thoughtful decisions will be the dish Krish Srikkanth & Co. need to prepare and the recipe needs to stay forever.

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India's Tour of Australia: Stop Blaming the Seniors

The Indian Cricket Team has been on the receiving end of some severe criticism over the last few months due to their unfathomable failure to work things out properly on foreign soil. Clearly, 7 losses in a row (on foreign turf) isn't a record that any team would like to boast of, especially if last year it was ranked No. 1 in the ICC Test Ratings. But the saga that had been troubling Indian Cricket in the late 20th century is back and all of a sudden a tsunami of critics have emerged calling for the heads of legendary senior cricketers and the captain himself.

It was not long ago when this team was much appreciated for showing class and for the aura it carried under the guidance of the holy trinity i.e. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid & VVS Laxman and under the leadership of perhaps the best captain present today, MS Dhoni. However, the inability to perform outside the subcontinent has really put these four under tremendous pressure. The situation is messy but these four aren't the only ones to be blamed. There always comes such a time in everyone's life and the service that these giants have done for India over the past decade can't simply be overlooked due a difficult and poor season.

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Opportunity for England to win jackpot in series against Pakistan

England will have a chance to the win the US$175,000 jackpot for topping the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when it goes head to head with Pakistan in a three-Test series starting in Dubai on Tuesday. The award is presented on an annual basis to the side which finishes the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date.

England is currently on 125 ratings points and is ahead of its closest rivals, India and South Africa, by seven and eight ratings points, respectively. With India all set to drop in the Championship table, which will be updated after the Adelaide Test, South Africa can rise to as high as 119 ratings points should it be successful in its series against New Zealand in New Zealand from 7-27 March.

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Dhoni banned for one Test as India are fined for maintaining a slow over-rate in third Test

The India team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third Test against Australia in Perth, Western Australia, and as this is the second offence within 12 months India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been suspended for the next Test match in line with the ICC Code of Conduct.

At its meeting in June 2011 in Hong Kong, the ICC Executive Board had discussed the issue of slow over-rates and accepted the recommendation of the ICC Cricket Committee that a captain of an international side should be suspended for one match if his side is guilty of two minor over-rate offences in the same format over a 12-month period.

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