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Hosts announce squad for Ahmedabad Tests

Replacing Shardul Thakur, speedster Umesh Yadav will join the team after his fitness Test for the third and fourth Test against England. Shardul has been released for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) selection committee on Wednesday announced that pacer Umesh Yadav will join the team in Ahmedabad after his fitness Test for the third and fourth Test against England.

Umesh will replace Shardul Thakur in the squad, and the latter will be released for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. “Umesh Yadav will join the team in Ahmedabad and after his fitness assessment will replace Shardul Thakur, who will be released for Vijay Hazare Trophy,” BCCI tweeted.

Apart from this, the selection committee has decided to not make any other change in the squad and every other player has been retained who was in the squad for the first two Tests.

India squad for last two Tests: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj.

India achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands levelled at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings. Now both teams will lock horns in the day-night Test at Motera, beginning February 24.

Ravichandran Ashwin took an eight-wicket haul in the second Test, along with his 106-run knock in the second innings as India registered an emphatic 317-run win here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

In the second innings, Ashwin shared a crucial 96-run partnership with Kohli and this helped the hosts to post a healthy target in front of England.

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood has said he is hoping for England to stunning India in the ongoing four-match series so that the Tim Paine-led side manages to reach the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC).

Earlier, Australia’s three-match series against South Africa got postponed due to Covid-19, and as a result, the side is now dependent on England in order to play the WTC finals against New Zealand. If England wins the series 2-1 or the series stands level at 1-1 or 2-2, then Australia will make the WTC finals.

India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship after completing an impressive victory over England in the second Test to draw level in the four-match series. The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.

England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India.

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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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Argentina Open: Sumit Nagal stuns Christian Garinto to record biggest win of his career

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Buenos Aires [Argentina], March 4 (ANI): Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal on Thursday outclassed World no. 22 Christian Garinto in the Argentina Open and registered his biggest win of the career.
In the second round clash, Nagal defeated Chile’s Garinto 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament. The Indian had the upper hand in the game and dominated the match to secure an easy win.
This is his first-ever win over a Top 50 player. Nagal has faced top-ranked players like Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem in the past. He was even able to clinch the first set against Federer in the 2019 US Open. Nagal encountered Thiem in the second-round clash of the 2020 US Open.
Nagal will now face Albert Ramos Vinolas in the quarter-final on Friday.
Earlier, when being asked by ANI whether we could expect players outside the Big Three to win more Grand Slams going ahead, Nagal had said: “Tennis is a sport where anything can happen, to me if someone wins from the Top 3, it would not be a surprise as well.”
“To try to match what Federer does is very difficult. What I learnt from him is how he understands himself and how he reads the game. He will never make the same mistake twice, I felt that I learnt more when I played against Dominic Thiem. I would like to play the way Thiem plays, he is serving very smart, he has got a good forehand, I would love to have that in my game,” he had added. (ANI)

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Kohli equals Dhoni’s record of leading India in most Tests

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday equalled MS Dhoni’s record of leading India in most Test matches.
As Kohli stepped out for toss in the fourth Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium, it became his 60th Test as the skipper of India, and as a result, he equalled Dhoni’s record.
In the previous 59 matches, he has captained India in, Kohli has managed to register 35 victories and 14 losses. While ten matches have ended in losses for India.
Dhoni-led India in 60 Tests, and he managed to attain victories in 27 victories. In 2019, Kohli had surpassed Dhoni to become the most successful Test skipper for India.
Earlier, England won the toss and opted to bat first in the fourth and final Test against India. The hosts made one change to their lineup as they brought in Mohammed Siraj in place of Jasprit Bumrah.
On the other hand, England made two changes to their lineup as they brought in Dominic Bess and Dan Lawrence in place of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.
India playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj.
England playing XI: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Dan Lawrence, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Dominic Bess, James Anderson, Jack Leach.
This is the 50th Test for Root as England skipper in the longest format of the game.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners. But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen.
The four-match series is currently being led by India (2-1) and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC).
On the other hand, England is out of WTC’s final contention, and they would be playing just to end the four-match series 2-2. If England win the last Test, then Australia would qualify for the WTC final. (ANI)

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Swiss Open: Nehwal, Kashyap crash out; Praneeth, Sourabh advance to second round

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Basel [Switzerland], March 4 (ANI): Ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap had a humiliating start as they crashed out of the Swiss Open in the first round on Wednesday (local time).
Young prodigies Sai Praneeth, Sourabh Verma and Ajay Jayaram advanced to the second round of the tournament after winning their respective games in the opening round.
Olympic medalist Nehwal lost in a tough-fought clash against Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 16-21, 21-17, 21-23 that lasted for 58 minutes.
While Nehwal’s husband Kashyap lost to lower-ranked Pablo Abian of Spain 15-21, 10-21 in straight games.
Praneeth outclassed Isreal’s Misha Zilberman 21-11,21-14 in just 34 minutes to progress to the next round of the competition.
Verma won against Switzerland’s Christian Kirchmayr 21-19 21-18 in his first-round clash. He faces eight seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the Round of 16. Ajay Jayaram defeated Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 21-12 21-13 to enter the Round of 16 where he will face third seed Rasmus Gemke of Denmark.
Earlier, PV Sindhu got off to a winning start in the Swiss Open as she defeated Neslihan Yigit of Turkey. Sindhu secured a 21-16, 21-19 win over Yigit in the match to progress to the second round.
Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty started their campaign on a high as they outclassed Scottish pair Christopher Grimley and Matthew Grimley in the first round of the Swiss Open.
Also, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth defeated compatriot Sameer Verma in the first round of the ongoing Swiss Open here on Wednesday. Srikanth secured an 18-21, 21-18, 21-11 win over Verma to progress to the next round of the tournament.
However, HS Prannoy crashed out of the tournament after losing to Dutch badminton player Mark Caljouw 21-19, 9-21, 21-17. (ANI)

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