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Champions League: Juventus suffer 2-1 defeat against Porto

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Porto [Portugal], February 18 (ANI): Juventus suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Porto in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie here Thursday.
Juventus were left stunned after 70 seconds on the clock when Porto grabbed an early lead through Mehdi Taremi. Interestingly, with this, Taremi became the fifth Iranian player to score in the UEFA Champions League and the first in the knockout stage.
The visitors then lost the services of Giorgio Chiellini in the 34th minute due to injury, resulting in Merih Demiral being brought on. Porto defended well against Juventus and successfully maintained their one-goal lead through to the first half.
Porto extended their lead soon after the beginning of the second half after Moussa Marega collected Wilson Manafa’s cut-back and fired a brilliant goal.
That finally seemed to spark Juventus but Porto, seeking a sixth consecutive clean sheet in the competition, remained resilient until Adrien Rabiot’s cross was expertly turned in by Federico Chiesa, taking the scoreline to 2-1.
Juventus and Porto will take on each other in the second leg on March 10. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test: Want the wicket to remain same for final Test, says Axar

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): After guiding India to a comprehensive 10-wicket win in the third Test against England, Axar Patel said he would want the wicket to remain the same for the fourth and final Test of the series.
Axar finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game.
“When it happens, it feels so easy. I am not thinking much. I want to continue this form. I am happy that if I am not contributing with the bat, I am doing it with the ball. My strength is to bowl wicket-to-wicket and not give batsmen room,” Axar said after the match.
“The mindset of batters is they play out couple of maidens, they either go for a sweep or try to hit over the infield. They call me Wasim bhai (Wasim Akram) because they feel my arm ball is very lethal. Ajju Bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) called me that and Pant has picked it up. I would want this wicket to remain the same for the final Test as well as I am picking up wickets,” he added.
England is out of the race for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship after losing the third Test against India.
England, who are now 2-1 down in the four-match series, needed to win the four-match series 3-1 to play the final against New Zealand. England has dropped to 64.1 percentage points on the points table, which is now led by India with 71 percentage points.
New Zealand is assured of a place in the final with 70 percentage points. India need to either win or draw the last Test to stay ahead of Australia, who is in third place with 69.2 percentage points. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test: Bizzare that 21 of the 30 wickets fell to straight balls, says Kohli

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): While critics did raise eyebrows with the pink-ball Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium ending in two days, India skipper Virat Kohli brought forward a relevant point that the quality of batting was to be blamed as most of the batsmen got out to balls that didn’t turn.
“To be honest, I don’t think the quality of batting was up to standards. We were 100 for 3 and then got bowled out for less than 150. It was just the odd ball turning and it was a good wicket to bat in the first innings. It was bizzare that 21 of the 30 wickets fell to straight balls, Test cricket is about trusting your defence. Lack of application ensured it was a quick finish,” he explained at the end of the game.
With the spin bowlers doing the maximum work, Kohli said that the pacers in the team were joking as they weren’t being given the ball by the captain.
“(Jasprit) Bumrah said I am getting work load management while playing. Ishant (Sharma) said I am playing my 100th game and still don’t get to bowl. I have never experienced this before. A bizzare game which got over in 2 days,” he said.
Commenting on third Test hero Axar Patel, Kohli said: “Bowls it quicker and from a bigger height as well. I don’t know what it is with Gujarat and producing so many left-arm spinners. You just cannot sweep this guy but you also can’t keep defending as he would just keep bowling at you. If the wicket has something in it, Axar is very lethal.”
The skipper also praised spin spearhead R Ashwin as he reached 400 Test wickets on Thursday. “I think we need to stand up and take notice of what Ashwin has done. In Tests, he is a modern day legend. As a captain, I am so pleased he is in my team. We have to be ready for the hard grind. Few days extra off with a hectic schedule is welcoming,” he signed off. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test: I think it sums up the wicket, if I am getting a fifer, says Root

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): The pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium has raised quite a few eyebrows as the third Test between India and England finished in two days. And while England skipper Joe Root didn’t directly criticise the wicket, he said that him bagging a fifer summed things up.
“I think it sums up the wicket, if I am getting a fifer. Congratulations to Ishant (Sharma) for 100 Tests and (Ravichandran) Ashwin for 400 Test wickets,” he said at the end of the game.
Root was also critical of the effort of the English batsmen in the first innings as they won the toss, looked on top at 74/2 before throwing it away.
“We were 70 for 2. But we didn’t really capitalise on it. 250 on that wicket would have made it different. We will come back using this hurt and come back as a better team,” the England captain said.
Commenting on the ball and how it skidded on, making it difficult for the batsmen, Root said: “The plastic coating on the ball gathered pace off the wicket. It was high-quality bowling as well. Both sides struggled on that wicket. We don’t define ourselves on a performance like this. We shouldn’t have any baggage from the previous games going into the last game. We have seen with the ball in hand, we can pick up wickets.”
Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. In the end, English skipper Joe Root winning the toss and batting first meant nothing as the visitors were completely outplayed in the game.
Chasing 49 for a win, India raced home with 10 wickets in the bag as Rohit Sharma (25) and Shubman Gill (15) looked in a hurry to finish proceedings. Rohit finished it off in style by sending Root into the mid-wicket stands. But the star of the show was hometown boy Axar as he finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game. (ANI)

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WTC: India claim top spot, England out of contention for place in final

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): England is out of the race for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship after losing the third Test against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Thursday.
England, who are now 2-1 down in the four-match series, needed to win the four-match series 3-1 to play the final against New Zealand. England has dropped to 64.1 percentage points on the points table, which is now led by India with 71 percentage points.
New Zealand is assured of a place in the final with 70 percentage points. India need to either win or draw the last Test to stay ahead of Australia, who is in third place with 69.2 percentage points.
Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. In the end, English skipper Joe Root winning the toss and batting first meant nothing as the visitors were completely outplayed in the game.
Chasing 49 for a win, India raced home with 10 wickets in the bag as Rohit Sharma (25) and Shubman Gill (15) looked in a hurry to finish proceedings. Rohit finished it off in style by sending Root into the mid-wicket stands.
But the star of the show was hometown boy Axar as he finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game. (ANI)

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Had a chat with Shastri and Kohli in Australia, they felt I was bowling well, says Ashwin

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): Axar Patel might have stolen the show in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium, but senior partner Ravichandran Ashwin constantly guided him as the duo spun a web over the English batsmen. While Axar had 11 wickets to show for his efforts, Ashwin finished with 7 to enter the 400-wicket club.
Ashwin overtook New Zealand legend Richard Hadlee and South Africa’s Dale Steyn to become the second-fastest to reach 400 wickets. The pacers had taken 80 Tests while Ashwin scalped his 400th wicket in only his 77th match. Muttiah Muralitharan had reached the milestone in 72 games. Ashwin is also the fourth Indian bowler in the club after Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
Speaking after the game, Ashwin said that it was a pleasant experience to enter the club and said that the spinners bowled well to ensure India ended on the winning side.
“Pleasant experience (on reaching 400 Test wickets). Good that it happened in a winning cause. We were worried after getting bowled out for 145, didn’t think we didn’t have many runs on the board. We then bowled beautifully on a wicket assisting us,” he said.
Ashwin has been bowling well in recent times, but the spinner said that he wasn’t sure that he would start in the series against Australia. “At the start of the Australian tour, I didn’t think I would be starting, but then (Ravindra) Jadeja broke down and it might have had to happen.
“I think my bowling is coming beautifully, I thought I was bowling well in the IPL. In Australia, I had a chat with Ravi (Shastri) and Virat (Kohli), they felt I was bowling well. I worked a lot on my fitness, this body is aging, it has looked upwards for me since the lockdown. I have been having a lot of chats recently — it’s incredibly difficult watching the game from the dressing-room, you don’t know how things work. We lost the first Test and it’s extra special to come back and win,” he pointed.
Asked on the road ahead, Ashwin said: “People are asking the same question. I want to keep improving, that’s what motivates me a lot.” (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 3rd Test: Hosts ride Axar, Ashwin show to script 10-wicket win, take 2-1 lead

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 25 (ANI): Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. In the end, English skipper Joe Root winning the toss and batting first meant nothing as the visitors were completely outplayed in the game.
Chasing 49 for a win, India raced home with 10 wickets in the bag as Rohit Sharma (25) and Shubman Gill (15) looked in a hurry to finish proceedings. Rohit finished it off in style by sending Root into the mid-wicket stands. The win has taken India one step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
But the star of the show was hometown boy Axar as he finished with 11 wickets in the game (six in the first innings and five in the second). Senior partner Ashwin wasn’t to be left too far behind as he picked four wickets to finish with 7 in the game. Interestingly, the off-spinner also became the second-fastest to 400 Test wickets during England’s second innings when he trapped Jofra Archer plumb in front.
Root and Jack Leach’s domination in the opening session on the second day was indication enough that the English batsmen would have their task cut out in the second innings. And that is exactly how it panned out as Axar picked his third consecutive fifer in Test cricket.
It all started from the first ball of England’s second innings as Axar took the new ball and immediately sent back first innings’ top-scorer Zak Crawley for a duck. The flow of wickets didn’t stop from thereon with only Root (19) and Ben Stokes (25) looking like they were in with a chance to take England’s total past the 100-run mark.
But clearly the Indian spinners had other ideas as they kept picking wickets in quick succession to ensure that the game didn’t roll out of their comfort zone for a second. Washington Sundar picked the last England wicket as he sent back James Anderson (0) to see the visitors’ innings fold up for 81 — their lowest in Test cricket against India.
Earlier, India lost seven wickets in 20.2 overs in the first session of the second day as the visitors rode on skipper Root’s maiden fifer. In the end, the hosts managed 145 in their first essay — a lead of 33 runs.
Root became the first England skipper since Bob Willis in 1983 to take a Test fifer as he finished with figures of 5/8 from 6.2 overs. Leach finished with figures of 4/54 from his 20 overs as Rohit Sharma (66) was the best batsman on display for the hosts. The rest had no answer to Root and Leach on a wicket that was turning square at times on the second afternoon.
Interestingly though, the ball that didn’t turn caused much damage on the first two days as the batsmen have found it tough to adapt to the skidding pink ball.
Starting the day on 99/3, Rohit did not have Ajinkya Rahane’s company for long as India’s Test deputy was out for 7 minutes after passing England’s first innings total. His lack of consistency will be a concern for the team management.
While Leach got the ball to skid onto Rahane and the batsman faltered by going back to a full ball, Rohit was the next to go as he missed a sweep off the left-arm spinner.
It was the Root show after that as he started with the wicket of dangerman Rishabh Pant. While Pant pushed away from the body and was caught by keeper Foakes, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel went back in quick succession without bothering the scorers.
While Sundar was a classic off-spinner’s dismissal for Root, Axar tried to attack the spinner from the word go and ended up giving a simple catch to Sibley at short extra cover. Ashwin and Ishant Sharma did try their bit as they hit 17 and 10* respectively, but it was clearly Root’s afternoon as the Indian lower-order had no answer to his disciplined effort.
This after England was bundled out for 112 in the first innings with only Zak Crawley managing to hit 53. Of the 30 wickets that fell in the game, 28 were picked by spinners with Ishant Sharma and Jofra Archer picking one wicket apiece.
Brief Scores: England 112 and 81 (Ben Stokes 25; Axar Patel 5/32); India 145 and 49/0 (Rohit Sharma 25*, Shubman Gill 15*). (ANI)

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