India need 381 runs on day 5 to win the first Test against England after Ravichandran Ashwin helped the hosts to end visitors’ second innings on 178 runs here at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.
At stumps on day four, India’s score read 39/1, with Shubman Gill (15*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12*) on the field. Ashwin picked six wickets, restricting England to a very low total in the second innings and with this, a target of 420 runs was set for the hosts. Apart from Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem picked two wickets while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah scalped one wicket each. India began their second innings brilliantly, with both Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scoring regular boundaries. However, Rohit’s 12-run innings was brought to an end by Jack Leach in the sixth over. Pujara then came out to bat.
Both Gill and Pujara played cautiously and ensured India do not lose more wickets on the day. India will now either have to score 381 runs on day 5 to win the match or bat for the whole day to draw the game.
Earlier, England witnessed a very dismal start to their second innings as Rory Burns was dismissed on the very first ball of the innings. He was caught by Ajinkya Rahane off Ravichandran Ashwin’s delivery. Opener Dom Sibley was then joined by Dan Lawrence on the field.
Sibley and Lawrence added a brief stand of 32-run before Ashwin struck again and dismissed the former in the 11th over. Sibley was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at leg-slip and departed after scoring 16 runs. Skipper Joe Root joined Lawrence in the middle and stitched a 26-run brief partnership.
Ishant Sharma picked the wicket of Lawrence (18) which was the pacer’s 300th Test wicket. Ishant trapped Lawrence (18) in front of the stumps. The batsman took the review but the third umpire stayed with the on-field umpire’s decision.
With this, Ishant became the third Indian pacer to do so after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan. Overall, Ishant is the sixth Indian bowler to take 300 Test wickets. Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and Ravichandran Ashwin are the other five bowlers who have taken 300 wickets in Test cricket.
Ben Stokes came in to bat at number four but in an attempt of adding quick runs to the board, he lost his wicket. Ashwin removed Stokes (7) in the 19th over. Bumrah then got hold of Root, reducing England to 101/5.
Indian bowlers did not let England batsmen settle and took wickets in regular intervals. Ollie Pope (28) was sent back to the pavilion by Nadeem in the 29th over. Jos Buttler was then joined by Dom Bess on the field. Buttler played a knock of 24 runs before Nadeem picked his wicket in the 42nd over. In the next over, Ashwin removed Bess (25), who was given LBW.
Resuming day four from 257/6, India’s Ashwin and Washington Sundar saw off the initial overs with relatable ease and the duo managed to move the scoreboard at a brisk pace. In the meanwhile, Sundar registered his second half-century in Test cricket.
After dismissing India for 337 in the first innings in first session and gaining a 241-run first innings lead, England added to their lead through the day. India, who lost the wicket of Rohit Sharma early, need a further 381 runs while visitors England need nine wickets.
Brief scores: England 578 and 178 (Joe Root 40, Ollie Pope 28, Ashwin 6/61); India 337 and 39/1 (Shubman Gill 15*, Cheteshwar Pujara 12*, Jack Leach 1/21).
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Ben Cox to stay with Worcestershire until end of 2023 season
London [UK], March 3 (ANI): Wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Cox has signed a two-year contract extension with English county Worcestershire, the club has announced.
Cox, who had one year remaining on his current deal, has committed his future at New Road until the end of the 2023 season. The 29-year-old is optimistic he will be part of a squad challenging for honours after the big strides he made in red-ball cricket last summer alongside his recent white-ball success.
“This club means the world to me, being a Worcestershire boy, and it means a hell of a lot to commit for another three years to the club. If you had asked me when I made my debut that you would have had a 15-year career, and the club had offered you a benefit year, I would have snapped your hand off,” said Cox in an official release.
“I’m over the moon to get things sorted for another three years, and I will still have more to give at the end of this contract, which excites me in itself. Fitness is always something I hold high regard too, so, as I get older, I don’t see that changing, and I just want to keep doing the best I can be every-time I go onto the field for Worcestershire,” he added.
Cox, who made his debut for the club in 2009, reached 500 dismissals in his career last summer — including 343 in first-class cricket. The 29-year-old has also scored 4,764 first-class runs. In white-ball cricket, he played a significant part in Worcestershire Rapids 2018 T20 Blast triumph with the man of the match performances in the semi-final and final at Edgbaston.
Worcestershire chairman Fanos Hira said: “It is pleasing that Ben will be with us until at least 2023. He is an impressive, popular player who has performed at a high level as a wicketkeeper since making his debut as a local schoolboy. He has the ability, ambition, desire and potential to improve further.” (ANI)
4th Test: India face last hurdle to WTC final, England look to spoil the party
Ahmedabad [India], March 3 (ANI): While the debate over the pitch has taken the centre stage in the ongoing Test series between India and England, Virat Kohli’s men will be setting their eyes on only one thing — securing a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final — when they take the field for the fourth and final Test which begins here at the Narendra Modi Stadium from Thursday.
India only needs to draw the final Test against Joe Root’s men in order to seal a spot in the WTC final where will then take on New Zealand at the Lord’s from June 18-22.
The hosts will be riding on the confidence following their back to back wins in the last two Tests after suffering a massive 227-run defeat in the first game in Chennai.
In the last Test played with the pink ball in Ahmedabad, India registered a 10-wicket win within two days.
Bowlers from both sides delivered stand-out performances in the game as 30 wickets fell within a little over five sessions in the third Test. On the other hand, almost all the batsmen, barring Rohit Sharma and Zak Crawley, were found wanting as they struggled against the turning and skidding balls. The pitch for the fourth Test is expected to once again assist the spinners, thus making it more difficult for the visitors.
If England, somehow, manages to win the final Test and thereby draw the series, the WTC final will then be contested between New Zealand and Australia.
Other motivation for the England team going into the final Test would be to gain some much-needed confidence ahead of the limited-overs leg of the tour.
Root has already said that if his side manages to win the final Test then it would be one of his greatest achievements as a captain.
“You look at India’s record at home in recent times and it’s incredible. So, for us to come away with a drawn series would be a really good achievement, especially off the back of the last two games. We’ve had two challenging weeks but that doesn’t define us as a team. We need to look at this as a real opportunity to do something special. It would be a brilliant achievement to leave here two-all. It would be a monumental effort from this group of players. So there are loads to play for,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Root as saying.
“It would certainly be up there with my greatest achievements as captain. The progress we’ve made over the last couple of years has been really pleasing, especially away from home. If we end up winning this game it’d be four wins out of six Tests on this tour. It would be a phenomenal achievement from the players to have found a way in some very foreign and difficult conditions. So it’s a great motivator for us as a side and I’d be extremely proud of everyone involved if we managed to do that,” he added.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Md. Siraj, Umesh Yadav.
England: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes (wicket-keeper), Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Mark Wood. (ANI)
Wouldn’t have done that: Warner on playing Tests against India with injury
Sydney [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Australia opener David Warner admitted that he “would not have” played with the injury in the Test series against India which extended his return back to the field.
Warner had played the last two Tests against India while still being hampered by the groin injury he sustained in the ODI series at the end of November 2020.
“I made the call to play those Test matches, felt like I needed to be out there and help the guys. Looking back in hindsight I probably wouldn’t have done that, where I am with the injury it put me back a little bit,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Warner as saying.
“If I’m thinking about myself I probably would have said no, but I did what I felt was best for the team and me being out there opening the batting was I felt the best thing for the team,” he added.
On Tuesday, Warner was named in New South Wales’ (NSW) squad for the upcoming Marsh ODI Cup match against South Australia.
The opening batsman will be returning to cricket for the NSW Blues on Thursday after six weeks recovering from a groin injury.
Warner will be taking the place of Daniel Hughes, who has a shoulder complaint, while Nick Larkin comes in for Steve Smith, who is still rehabbing his elbow injury.
Pat Cummins will again captain the One Day Cup squad that won their season opener against Victoria at North Sydney Oval last month by 59 runs. (ANI)
Pele gets Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, urges people to maintain social distancing
Brasilia [Brazil], March 3 (ANI): Brazilian football legend Pele has got himself vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine and has urged people to adhere to social distancing norms.
On Tuesday local time, Pele took to Instagram to post a picture of him receiving the vaccine jab.
“Today is an unforgettable day – I received the vaccine! The pandemic is not over yet. We must keep the discipline to preserve lives until many people have taken the vaccine. Please continue to wash your hands and stay home if possible,” Pele wrote as the caption.
“When you go out please don’t forget your mask and maintain social distance. This will pass if we can think of others and help each other,” he added.
As per John Hopkins University, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil currently stands at 10,646,926 while 2,57,361 people have lost their lives in the country due to the deadly disease.
Pele is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and he was also labelled “the greatest” by FIFA. The former Brazilian star was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.
During his playing days, Pele was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century.
The same year, Pele was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Pele registered a total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, and this is a Guinness World Record. (ANI)
NZ vs Aus: Santner ruled out of 3rd T20I, Milne joins as cover
Wellington [New Zealand], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the third T20I against Australia, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of Wednesday’s clash after “waking up this morning with a head-cold”.
“He is self-isolating as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.
“Wellington-based Adam Milne will join the team for today’s match at Sky Stadium as squad cover,” it added.
Santner returned with the figures of 4-31 in the second T20I that New Zealand won by four runs.
Hosts are currently leading the five-match series 2-0 after outclassing Aussies in the first two games. On Monday, NZC had announced that the final T20I between New Zealand and Australia will be shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval.
Australia is set to make a few changes in the upcoming third T20I of the five-match series, assistant coach Andrew McDonald confirmed on Tuesday.
Wellington’s Sky Stadium will be hosting the final three T20Is between Australia and New Zealand and the visitors are likely to include Ashton Turner or D’Arcy Short in their starting XI.
All-rounder Ashton Agar can be left out of the team as he has conceded 50 runs from five overs bowled in the first T20Is against New Zealand.
“We haven’t got those middle overs right. That may be a reason for us to reinforce that area or make some changes that potentially strengthen that area with both bat and ball. They’ve played spin well at this stage. Agar has played two games in the last three and a half months as well so he’s going to be better every game that he plays,” cricket.com.au had quoted McDonald as saying.
“Zampa at this stage hasn’t gotten into the games but his quality over the last two years suggests that the next game he probably will have an impact. It is an area that we do need to improve in if we’re going to compete and beat this Kiwi side,” he had added. (ANI)
Wasn’t expecting to be picked up in IPL auction, says Moises Henriques
Melbourne [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Australia all-rounder Moises Henriques has said that he did not expect to be picked up by any franchise in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ mini-auction.
Henriques was picked up by Punjab Kings in the mini-auction held on February 18 and he was bought by the franchise for Rs 4.2 crore.
The all-rounder would now be sharing the dressing room with the likes of fellow Australians Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
“I was not expecting to get picked up at all. It wasn’t until I woke up to go to the bathroom that I noticed I saw a couple of messages saying congrats on the pick-up and I thought, ‘That’s nice,’ and tried to go back to sleep as soon as possible,” cricket.com.au quoted Henriques as saying.
“I just assumed I would have been picked up at base price. Then it wasn’t until I woke up properly in the morning that I realised how much I went for,” he added.
Henriques has played 57 matches in the IPL so far and he first played the tournament way back in 2009. The all-rounder has now said that is hopeful of making into Australia’s T20 squad if he has a good showing in the IPL.
“There’s no secret I was gutted when you fight your way into the international white-ball teams and then you get selected to go to South Africa and that tour doesn’t go ahead, and you don’t get your opportunity to defend your spot in that (T20) team when it goes to new Zealand,” Henriques said.
“By not playing, someone else gets that opportunity – and deservedly so. But the IPL is more T20 cricket, more white-ball cricket for me to play and learn from. If I do get that opportunity (for Australia) in the future, then I’d be ready to go,” he added. (ANI)
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