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England keep hopes alive of making WTC final with Chennai win

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], February 9 (ANI): England’s winning start against India in their ICC World Test Championship series has kept alive the visiting side’s hopes of making the final of the nine-team competition.
The victory at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted England to first place and 70.2 percentage points on the points table and they’ve improved their chances of securing one of the three series results in their favour that could see them through to the final – 3-1, 3-0 or 4-0.
New Zealand has already qualified for the final winning 70.0 per cent of their matches (with no other series scheduled) while India and Australia remain in contention for the other place along with England.
India, who have slipped to the fourth position with 68.3 percentage points, cannot afford another loss in the four-match series and will be looking to win at least two of the remaining three matches to secure a 2-1 or 3-1 result and a place in the final.
Australia will get to feature in a Trans-Tasman summit clash if the India-England series is drawn or if England wins 1-0, 2-1, or 2-0.
Pakistan’s 2-0 home win over South Africa sees them finish the series in the fifth position with 43.3 percentage points, while South Africa slip to the sixth position with 30.0 percentage points.
West Indies are seventh with 23.8 percentage points after their epic victory in the first Test against Bangladesh, who are last on the table and yet to win a point. (ANI)

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India qualifies for WTC final, to face New Zealand at Lord’s in June

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Ahmedabad [Gujarat], March 6 (ANI): Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.
Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London.
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.
“That victory against England means India finish the league phase of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship with a fine view from the top of the table,” read a tweet on the official Twitter handle of the International Cricket Council.
The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Ashwin and Axar bowl hosts to innings win, seal series 3-1

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Criticised by former English cricketers for spinning a web over the England batsmen on a rank turner in the third Test of the series, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel shut them with a top-class display on a regular Indian wicket in the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on as the hosts won by an innings and 25 runs.
While Ashwin picked his 30th five-wicket haul during the course of the England innings on Saturday, Axar picked his fourth as India stormed into the final of the World Test Championship after sealing the series 3-1 on the third day of the Test.
He might not have impressed with his batting but Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane was spot on with his low catches. If Axar and Ashwin starred with the ball, it was a masterclass display of slip catching by Rahane.
It was a no-show from the English batsmen once again as they looked completely clueless after walking into the middle in the post-lunch session with the score on 6/0.
Dan Lawrence (50) was the only player who had some answer to the duo of Ashwin and Axar as none of the other batsmen seemed to have the technical acumen to dig in, barring skipper Joe Root (30).
But once Ashwin sent back Root, it was all about delaying the humiliation for the English batsmen. Ashwin picking up Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck only added to England’s misery.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who had scored a gritty half-century in the first innings, came in with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but he could manage just 2 before Axar had his number.
Earlier, resuming the third day on 294/7, India managed to pick a substantial 160-run lead as they scored 365. Rishabh Pant (101) and Washington Sundar (96 not out) were the top scorers while Rohit Sharma and Axar made useful contributions of 49 and 43 each.
Brief Scores: England 205 and 135 (Daniel Lawrence 50, Ravichandran Ashwin 5-47, Axar Patel 5-48); India 365 (Rishabh Pant 101, Washington Sundar 96*) (ANI)

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Boxam International: Pooja Rani defeats world champion as nine Indian boxers storm into finals

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Asian Championship gold medallist Pooja Rani (75kg) defeated World Champion Atheyna Bylon of Panama in the semi-final bout as 9 Indian Boxers stormed into the final of 35th Boxam International Boxing tournament in Castellon, Spain on Friday.

Pooja dominated her opponent from the beginning and looked unfazed throughout and assured a unanimous win. She will now square off against Melissa Graham of USA in the final. Other women boxers joining Pooja in the final are debutant Jasmine (57kg) and Simranjit (60kg).

Young Jasmine, who is playing her first senior international tournament showed great composure and played from distance to ensure a comfortable 4-1 win over Italy’s Sirine Charaabi. She will be up against European Champion Irma Testa in the gold medal bout.

World Championship Bronze medallist Simranjit was up against veteran Puerto Rican Boxer Kiria Tapia and in a close encounter which saw both the boxers trade a series of punches, some intelligent ring craft by the Indian ensured a close 3-2 win over her senior opponent. Simran will take on World Championship Bronze medallist Rashida Ellis in the final bout.

However, it was a flawless day for the Indian male boxers as all 6 of them marched into the finals.
CWG bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg) continued his fine run and displayed technical superiority over Panama’s Orlando Martinez to win 4-1. He will be facing Puerto Rico’s Paul Rivera in the final.

In the light welter-weight category, World Championship bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (6kg) found the going tough in the first round against France’s Lounes Hamraoui but made a strong comeback in the last two rounds to notch up a close but strong 3-2 win. Kaushik will be fighting for the yellow metal against Denmark’s Nikolai Terteryan.
Vikas Krishan (69 kg) who defeated Olympic bronze medallist Vicenzo Mangiacapre in the quarter-finals, continued his dominance and defeated two time World bronze medallist Ablaikhan Zhussupov in a busy bout which saw both the boxers playing an attacking game. However, Vikas ended on the winning side with a split 3:2 verdict in his favour. He will face local boy Youba Sissokho in the final.
Other Indian male boxers to shine in the semi-finals were Ashish Kumar (75kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (91+kg) as they outclassed their respective opponents and sailed into the final comfortably.

Earlier, six-time World Champion Mary Kom (51kg) went down against USA’s Virginia Fuchs. With 10 medals already confirmed, 9 Indian boxers — 6 men and 3 women — will be in action as they look to win the gold medal later on Saturday. (ANI)

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BCCI chief Ganguly congratulates Gavaskar and team of 1971 for contribution to Indian cricket

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): As former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar celebrates the 50th anniversary of his Test debut, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly on Saturday said this is the time to thank the team of 1971 for their contribution to the game in the country.
BCCI felicitated Gavaskar for his contribution to Indian cricket as Secretary Jay Shah honoured the batting great during the lunch break on day three of the ongoing fourth Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Taking to Twitter, Ganguly wrote, “This day marks the 50th Anniv of Mr. Gavaskar in international cricket and the team of 1971.. It is time today to once again congratulate them for what they have for Indian cricket. The game is as strong as it is today because they made a start then against all odds. @BCCI.”
Gavaskar made his Test debut on March 6, 1971, against West Indies in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Over his career, Gavaskar went on to break many batting records and established himself as one of the finest batsmen to ever play the game.
India toured the West Indies during the 1970-71 cricket season for a five-Test series. The series turned out to be one of the most memorable ones as India won its first-ever Test series against the West Indies.
India, led by Ajit Wadekar, emerged victorious 1-0 in the five-match series and Gavaskar finished as the leading run-scorer, registering four centuries including one double ton. In his career, Gavaskar played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs for India. He was also a part of the 1983 World Cup win and 1985 World Championship of Cricket victory. (ANI)

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IPL 2021 to start on April 9, final on May 30 subject to GC approval

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is likely to be played from April 9 to May 30 subject to the approval of the Governing Council (GC). In another development, while the date of the all-important GC meeting to decide on the venues for the 14th edition of the league is yet to be finalised, it is most likely to be held next week.
Speaking to ANI, a GC member on conditions of anonymity said while the final approval will be given in the GC meeting, the league is expected to start on April 9 and a call on the venues will be taken next week.
“We haven’t yet decided on the day of the GC to decide on the venues, but the meeting will take place next week. As per the proposal, the IPL will get underway from April 9 and the final will be played on May 30,” the GC member said.
Progressing from the initial idea of hosting the 2021 edition of the IPL in one city, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is exploring the option of playing the league across four to five cities. While the logistical part will need further discussion, the idea has been floated and is being discussed by the senior officials of the board.
A BCCI official in the know of developments said the idea has indeed been discussed and while it is still early days, the 14th edition of the league could well be played in more than one city if things go as per plan and the GC gives an approval.
“We are exploring the possibility of conducting the IPL at more venues than originally planned. The intent is to take it to more fans as the situation is moving towards normalcy. The feasibility of the bio-secure bubble and logistics will of course be crucial to determine the venues finally. It is a fluid situation and the health of the participants is our primary concern,” the official had said.
Some of the cities that have been discussed are Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.
While the tournament is still some time away, franchises too are open to the idea of having the league in more than one city as that will help to stay flexible with an eye on the COVID-19 situation.
While the BCCI is keen to take the most successful domestic league to as many fans as possible, the board is also clear that the bio-bubble restrictions will be made keeping the safety of the players in mind as was the case when the tournament was moved to UAE in 2020. (ANI)

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Ashwin first Indian cricketer to pick 30 wickets in Test series twice

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday became the first Indian cricketer to have picked 30 wickets or more in a Test series on two separate occasions.
In the ongoing four-match series against England, Ashwin’s wicket-tally stands at 30 while in 2015, the spinner had registered 31 wickets in the four-match series against South Africa.
Bishan Singh Bedi, Harbhajan Singh, BS Chandrasekhar, Kapil Dev are some of the former India stars to have taken more than 30 wickets in a single Test series.
In the third Test of the ongoing series against England, Ashwin picked the wicket of Jofra Archer in the second innings, and as a result, he registered 400 wickets in the longest format of the game.
Ashwin is just the fourth Indian to take more than 400 wickets in the longest format of the game.
With this performance in the third Test, Ashwin also rose to the number three spot in the ICC Test bowling rankings.
In the first innings of the ongoing fourth Test against England, Ashwin returned with three wickets as he dismissed Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, and Jack Leach. (ANI)

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