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Australian Open to continue despite five-day lockdown

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Melbourne [Australia], February 12 (ANI): The Victorian government has announced a five-day lockdown in the state commencing at 11:59 pm (local time) on Friday to contain a new coronavirus outbreak. The ongoing Australian Open in Melbourne will continue as planned but without spectators during the lockdown.
However, sessions on Friday will continue as planned with “COVID Safe protocols” in place.
“We are notifying ticketholders, players and staff that there will be no fans onsite at the AO for five days, commencing from Saturday 13 February. Full refunds will be available for anyone who has tickets for these sessions and they will be advised on how to apply as soon as possible,” Australian Open said in a statement.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday confirmed Melbourne would be locked down from midnight.
“AFLW or that event or any number of other large and small professional sports events, they will function essentially as a workplace,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Andrews as saying.
“But they will not function as an entertainment event, because there will be no crowds. And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be COVID-safe and safe in lots of other contexts,” he added. (ANI)

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Today was my day: Pollard after hitting six 6s in an over

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St John’s [Antigua], March 4 (ANI): West Indies limited-overs skipper Kieron Pollard entered the very rare list of players who have achieved the milestone of hitting 6 sixes in an over on the international stage.
Pollard achieved the milestone in the first T20I against Sri Lanka. He became just the third batsman to do so after former Proteas swashbuckling opener Herschelle Gibbs and former Men in Blue all-rounder Yuvraj Singh.
Pollard hit Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over of the innings as the hosts’ were chasing a target of 132 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.
The right-handed batsman hit the first ball over the long-on fence, the second ball was dispatched straight down the ground while the third was hit to the long-off fence.
Continuing the carnage, Pollard dispatched the fourth ball to the mid-wicket boundary, the fifth ball was once again hit down the ground and the final ball of the over was hit to mid-wicket. After hitting the final ball of the over into the stands, Pollard bowed down to acknowledge the roaring reception he was receiving from his teammates.
“After the third one (on when he thought about hitting six sixes in the over) — I felt after hitting a couple of sixes, I understood how the pitch plays, it was important to be positive and play your shots on that pitch, back yourselves to clear the boundary — just happy that I managed to contribute to the team’s cause at that point of time,” Pollard said after the game.
Pollard explained what he felt before facing the last ball of Dananjaya’s over.
“A couple of things went through my mind before the sixth ball — before the last ball, I thought should I go for the six or take the 30 runs in the over, he went around the wicket and bowled it onto my pads, I told myself ‘Wait Polly, take a chance’. That’s how I have played my cricket all along, especially against the spinners. Today was my day, unfortunate for him, but this was a good win for our team,” he added.
Chasing 132, the hosts got off to a blazing start as the openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons put on 52 runs in the very first three overs. However, Sri Lanka staged an emphatic comeback as spinner Akila Dananjaya took a hat-trick in the fourth over to send back Lewis (28), Chris Gayle (0), and Nicholas Pooran (0).
Simmons also departed soon after and West Indies was reduced to 62/4 in the fifth over. However, skipper Pollard provided real entertainment in the sixth over as he dispatched Dananjaya for six 6s in over and the hosts’ score read 98/4 after the conclusion of the sixth over.
Pollard departed after playing a knock of 38 off just 11 balls, but in the end, Jason Holder (29) and Dwayne Bravo (4) guided Windies to a four-wicket win with 41 balls to spare. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Tempers flare as Kohli and Stokes engage in heated exchange

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Tempers flared on the first day of the ongoing fourth Test between India and England as Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes clashed in the middle with umpire Nitin Menon having to intervene.
The chat between Kohli and Stokes heated up at the end of the 13th over. The Indian skipper was visibly unhappy with something Stokes said to pacer Mohammed Siraj and as a result, he decided to have a lengthy chat with the swashbuckling English all-rounder.
After the final ball of the 12th over, Stokes came down the wicket and he had a word with Siraj. Kohli was not happy with the turn of events and decided to take it up with Stokes. In the end, on-field official Menon had to intervene to separate Kohli and Stokes.
In the very next over, Siraj was also seen in an aggressive mood and he had a go at Stokes.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s twin strike and Mohammed Siraj’s prized scalp of English skipper Joe Root on Thursday morning helped India gain an upper hand against England going into the lunch break at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
At the break, England’s score read 74/3 in 25 overs with Jonny Bairstow (28*) and Stokes (24*) at the crease. The duo has added 44 for the fourth wicket and is looking to bring the visitors back into the game after early inroads from the Indian bowlers.
England have made two changes to their playing XI which last featured in the third Test. They have brought in Dominic Bess and Dan Lawrence in place of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Axar’s twin strike puts hosts ahead at Lunch

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s twin strike and Mohammed Siraj’s prized scalp of English skipper Joe Root on Thursday morning helped India gain an upper hand against England on Day One of the fourth Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
At the lunch break, England had reached 74/3 in 25 overs with Jonny Bairstow (28*) and Ben Stokes (24*) batting at the crease. The duo has added 44 for the fourth wicket and are looking to bring the visitors back into the game after early inroads from the Indian bowlers.
Electing to bat, England openers Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley saw off the first five overs bowled by the Indian pacers — Ishant Sharma and Siraj, who has come into the side in place of Jasprit Bumrah. However, the introduction of Axar in the sixth over brought immediate reward for the hosts as the spinner clean-bowled Sibley (2), reducing England to 10/1.
The 27-year-old struck again in his second over as he had Crawley (9) caught at mid-off. The right-handed batsman tried to go over the top to create more pressure on the bowler, but ended up mistiming the ball and handed a simple catch to Siraj. Immediately after the first drinks break, England skipper Root (5) was trapped in front by Siraj and the visitors got reduced to 30/3 in the 13th over.
Stokes and Bairstow, however, then got together at the crease and the duo resurrected the innings. Both batsmen played cautiously and in between made sure they collected runs at a decent pace to not get under pressure. The duo have stitched an unbeaten partnership of 44 and the England team would hope that they continue to bat for as long as possible.
England have made two changes to their playing XI which last featured in the third Test. They have brought in Dominic Bess and Dan Lawrence in place of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
Brief Scores: England 74/3 (Jonny Bairstow 28*, Ben Stokes 24*, Axar Patel 2-21) vs India (ANI)

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PSL 6: Three more players test positive for Covid-19

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Karachi [Pakistan], March 4 (ANI): The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday confirmed that three more players from two different franchises in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) have tested positive for Covid-19. PCB said that all the positive cases will now isolate themselves for 10 days.
“The three players were not part of the sides that featured in Wednesday’s Pakistan Super League 6 double-header, and had been tested in the afternoon after showing symptoms,” PSL said in a statement.
“PSL 6 organising committee will hold a virtual meeting with the team owners and managements later on Thursday, following which a further update will be provided,” it added.
Earlier, England wicket-keeper batsman Tom Banton also tested positive for coronavirus after Australia leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed contracted COVID-19 in the ongoing sixth season of the PSL.
Banton revealed that he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and is now in isolation. The English cricketer, who plays for Quetta Gladiators in PSL, is feeling “OK” and thanked his fans for the support.
“Thanks a lot for all the messages and well wishes. Unfortunately, I received a positive Covid-19 test yesterday and I am now isolating and following the PSL protocols,” Banton informed on Wednesday in a statement on Twitter.
“Fortunately I am feeling OK so far and I have been well looked after by the PCB and Quetta Gladiators. Thanks for the support, look after yourselves and stay safe,” he added.
The PCB has decided to offer coronavirus vaccine doses to all participants of the PSL 6.
“Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to offer SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League 6, becoming the first cricket board to use the vaccine that produces protection against the Covid-19 virus,” PCB said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The decision has been made in the line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event, which concludes on 22 March,” it added.
PCB said the vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble. However, it will solely be the players’ and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots, the board said. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Santner tests negative for Covid-19, to be available for 4th T20I

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 4 (ANI): Left-arm New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has tested negative for COVID-19 and will be available for selection for the fourth T20I of the ongoing five-match series against Australia.
Santner was ruled out of the third T20I after he woke up with a head-cold. He was put under self-isolation as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test. Adam Milne was added as his cover for the third T20I.
“Team update| BLACKCAPS all-rounder Mitchell Santner has returned a negative COVID test this afternoon. He is feeling better and available for selection for T20 four against Australia at Sky Stadium on Friday night,” New Zealand Cricket informed in a tweet on Thursday.
Santner had returned with the figures of 4/31 in the second T20I played at the University Oval in Dunedin.
The host currently lead the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Aaron Finch-led side were able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium here.
The fourth match of the series will be played at the Sky Stadium here on Friday night before the last game slated to be played at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.
After that, the Kiwis will take on Bangladesh in three ODIs and as many T20Is between March 20 to April 1. (ANI)

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Annabel Sutherland ruled out from Australia squad for NZ series

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Melbourne [Australia], March 4 (ANI): Cricket Australia on Thursday confirmed that the all-rounder Annabel Sutherland has been ruled of the upcoming tour of New Zealand and the remainder of the Women’s National Cricket League season after suffering a stress reaction in her femur.
Off-spinner Molly Strano has been named as her replacement in the Australian side.

Australian Team Doctor, Philippa Inge said: “Annabel presented with some vague posterior thigh pain following the last round of WNCL matches, with further imaging confirming a stress reaction in her femur.”

Shawn Flegler, Cricket Australia’s Female High Performance Manager and National Selector said: “It’s unfortunate that Annabel has been ruled out of the series, but our medical team were able to identify the issue early which allows her to go away and get herself right with a busy period coming up.”

“Molly comes into the squad off the back of strong performances for Victoria in the WNCL, where she’s the current leading wicket-taker. We’ve got plenty of pace-bowling options in the squad, so Molly gives us another spin option should we need it,” he added.

Australia will take on New Zealand in three T20Is from March 28, before the coveted Rose Bowl Trophy goes on the line in three ODIs from April 4.
Australia departs on March 13 for New Zealand where players and staff will complete two weeks of managed isolation ahead of the first T20I.
Squad: Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck. (ANI)

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