With Dean Elgar-led South Africa winning the second Test at Johannesburg, the three-match series against India is nicely poised and there is everything to play for in the decider set to be played in Cape Town, beginning Tuesday.
India skipper Virat Kohli who had missed the second Test due to back spasms is all set to make a return for the decider and this will be his 99th match in the longest format. Skipper Kohli will look to hit form and end his two-year century drought in a crucial game. Hanuma Vihari was given a chance in the place of Kohli in the second game, and the right-handed batter managed to score a crucial 40 in the second innings, but it is fair to say that with Rahane and Pujara hitting form, Vihari would be the one to get dropped if Kohli comes back into the side.
Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul have given good starts this series, and the management would just hope that the duo is able to capitalise on their starts and go big. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane also hit some kind of form in the second innings of the second innings and from here onwards, it will be about staying consistent and not throwing the wicket away.
Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant recklessness in the second innings saw him charging down into the third ball of his innings and he gave away his wicket, and this had head coach Rahul Dravid accepting that there is a need to have conversations with the batter regarding the shot selection. It would be interesting to see whether Pant takes learnings from a dreadful shot and whether he is willing to apply himself at the crease.
Another big point for the visitors is the fitness of Mohammed Siraj heading into the decider. The pacer had picked up a hamstring injury midway into the second Test and it needs to be seen whether he recovers in time. If not, one from Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav will come into the side, and going by the most recent form, it would be fair to say that Umesh clearly has an edge.
Coming back to hosts South Africa, the second Test set the template for the Elgar-led side to play. Everything in the match came together for the Proteas, and it saw a spirited bowling performance being backed by solid batting. If India wants to win, the main task would be to come up with a plan to dislodge Proteas skipper Elgar. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi have also hit their strides and India would be required to see out the spells of these two to have any chance of winning. Duanne Olivier also troubled the visitors, so it is fair to say that India has their task cut out if they want to register their first Test series win on Proteas soil.
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN: TSITSIPAS BEATS FRITZ IN FOURTH ROUND TO SET UP QF CLASH WITH SINNER
Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece beats Taylor Fritz of USA 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the men’s singles match of the fourth round that lasted for three hours and 23 minutes here at the Rod Laver Arena on Monday. Tsitsipas has set a quarter-final clash against Jannik Sinner of Italy.
In the opening set the 20th seed American Taylor Fritz broke fourth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the seventh game to nose ahead and went on to win the opening set 6-4. Despite being a set down Tsitsipas made a brilliant comeback in the second set as he broke him in the tenth game to win the second set 6-4 and make it one set apiece.
In the third set Taylor Fritz broke the Greek in the seventh game to take a lead and went on to win it 6-4 taking two sets to one lead.
Once again being down by a set the fourth seed Tsitsipas made a comeback breaking Taylor in the eighth game to take an important 5-3 lead and ultimately went on to win the set comfortably 6-3.
The fifth set was a neck-to-neck battle till 4-4 but in the ninth game Tsitsipas broke the American and held on to his next one to win it 6-4 and ultimately won the fourth round match to enter the quarter-final. Stefanos Tsitsipas went on to hit 19 aces and 53 winners enroute to his victory against Taylor Fritz to set up a quarter-final clash with Italy’s Jannik Sinner who defeated Australia’s Alex de Minaur in straight sets.
REPUBLIC DAY PARADE TABLEAU AND SPORTS
India became an independent nation on 15th August 1947 and declared itself sovereign and democratic republic with the promulgation of treaty, the Constitution of India on 26th January 1950. The first Republic Day Parade was held five years later at Rajpath, which become its permanent venue. This year being the 75th year of Independence, Indian citizens and government are celebrating it on the event of Republic Day. There are 28 states and 8 Union Territories in India and other progressive government and semi-government agencies who display their Tableau which is the main attraction of the event for each and every citizen. These tableau are themed on the achievement of the states/ union territories and other Government/ Semi-Government agencies.
This year Haryana state tableau at the Republic Day Parade is about its presence of Olympic, Paralympic, Defence personnel and Folk Dance. In Tokyo Olympics 2020, out of 126 players, 32 players were from Haryana state. Out of these 32 players, one got Gold, one Silver and there are two bronze medallists.
During Rio Olympics 2016, Fifty percent of the total medals were from the players originated from Haryana. Sakshi Malik created history by being the first one to win Bronze medal in 58 kg category at the Rio Olympics in Brazil on 17th August 2016 just after two days of our Independence day.
Till Olympic 2020, out of the total 20 medals won by India, 11 medals were contributed by Haryana alone. While in Paralympics 2020, out of 54 participants, 19 players from the Haryana State and out of 19 medals received in the country six medals are contributed by Haryana with a bifurcation of 2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.
The state is 44.212 square kilometres, shines brightly in terms of folklore and sports. This year’s Republic Day Tableau on 26 January 2022 is tribute to the sportspersons, fascinating glimpse into Haryana culture with Haryanvi Folk Dance and Defence Personnel. Rejoice Haryana at its greatest victories and rewind to milestones that shines above all.
‘Rahul will learn, he is just starting out as skipper’
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid said that KL Rahul did a decent job as a captain in the recently-concluded ODI series against South Africa. Half-centuries by Virat Kohli (65), Shikhar Dhawan (61), and Deepak Chahar (54) went in vain as India suffered a heartbreaking four-run loss against South Africa in the third and final ODI here at Newlands, Cape Town. With this win, the Proteas won the ODI series 3-0. “I thought KL Rahul did a good job, not easy for him. Not easy to be on the wrong end of the results. He is going to learn, he is starting out in his journey as captain, he is beginning and a large part of captaincy is the execution of the skills of your players and the quality of the side. I think we were a little bit short in the ODI side of the things,” said Dravid during a virtual press conference.
“I think he did a decent job as someone who is touring, definitely he will get better as a captain. Without signalling out the spinners, in the middle overs, we probably need to improve our wicket-taking options. Spinners do play a big role in that, with quicks coming back and the kinds of balls we bowl, that is an area of the game we have been behind in. There are many learnings from this tour. The good thing is we have some time in ODI to correct those things,” he added.
Talking about giving people a long rope in the playing XI, Dravid said: “We are trying to do that, we are trying to give them as extended run as possible. That was the whole idea of this trip, you can see we did not change the middle order that much. Suryakumar Yadav got a game in the last one, but otherwise, we did not really change the batting order at all.”
“We certainly want to give the middle-order consistency and we want to give them that security. Once you give people consistency, security, you also have to demand performances because that is an expectation when you play at this level and country. The idea is to give as much stability as we can. Rohit was not here, it gave someone else an opportunity to open,” he added.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen played knocks of 124 and 52 as South Africa posted 287 runs on the board. For India, Prasidh Krishna returned with three wickets.
When asked for clarity on the role of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, Dravid said: “The idea is to develop Venkatesh Iyer as sixth bowling option or if it is Hardik when he potentially comes back. That will give us various options. When you are the sixth bowler in a team, it can happen that you are not required to bowl. It can happen, the thing is we have been clear with him that in our team, we were looking for someone at number six and who can be the sixth bowling option.” India had lost the Test series 1-2 against South Africa as well. After that, Virat Kohli had decided to step down as the Test skipper. India will next lock horns West Indies in three ODIs and three T20Is.
WORKLOAD MANAGEMENT OF JHULAN IMPORTANT, WE WANT HER TO BE AT PEAK IN WC: R. POWAR
India women’s cricket team head coach Ramesh Powar on Sunday said that the workload management of senior bowler Jhulan Goswami would be really important in the New Zealand series as the side wants her to be at her peak when the 50-over World Cup starts.
India will depart for New Zealand to lock horns with the White Ferns in one T20I and five ODIs, beginning February 9 in Napier. And then the Mithali-led side would compete in the 50-over World Cup. “Workload management of Jhulan Goswami would be important. Not just Jhulan, but everybody. When you look at the New Zealand series and World Cup games, in all it will be 14-15 games so we have planned accordingly right from the Australia series. I think the medical staff of our team is doing a fantastic job, they are looking after each and every player,” said Powar while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.
“There is always a special eye on Jhulan because we want her to be at her peak when World Cup starts. We are managing as per we play games, the medical team is doing a fine job,” he added. After the game against Pakistan (March 6) in the Women’s World Cup, India will square off against New Zealand (March 10), West Indies (March 12), England (March 16), Australia (March 19), Bangladesh (March 22), and South Africa (March 27) in the group stage.
When asked whether he had communication with the dropped players (Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shikha Pandey), Powar said: “I think every player in the scheme of things knows where they stand and what is their present and future. I think everyone knows on this team where they stand. We do not have to communicate differently to them, they know where they stand.”
RAFAEL NADAL DECIMATES MANNARINO TO STORM INTO QUARTER-FINALS
Sixth-seed Rafael Nadal decimated Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6 (16-14), 6-2, 6-2 in a match that lasted for two hours and 40 minutes to enter the quarter-finals of men’s singles here at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
The opening set started off on a competitive note with both the players holding their serves to take it to a tie-break. The tie-breaker turned out to be an even intense battle where both Nadal and Mannarino saved three set points each. Ultimately the 20-time grand slam champion held his nerve to win the tie-breaker 16-14 in the seventh set point of the set. Unlike the first, the second set turned out to be a completely different story with the 2009 Australian Open Champion Nadal dictating terms right from the word go by breaking Frenchman Mannarino in the very first game. The Spaniard looked unstoppable and broke his opponent again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead and ultimately winning the set 6-2.
In the third set as well, the 20-time grand slam champion Nadal started on a similar note by breaking Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the opening game. In the very next game Mannarino broke back to level the score 1-1 in second set. But that break hardly affected the Spaniard as he broke his opponent in the next game and never looked back.
He broke him again in the fifth game to take a convincing 4-1 lead and bagged the third set with a similar score line of second. Rafael Nadal hit 16 aces and 42 winners enroute to his entry in last-8.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN: SANIA MIRZA, RAJEEV RAM CRUISE INTO MIXED DOUBLES QUARTER-FINALS
Mix doubles team of India’s Sania Mirza and USA’s Rajeev Ram cruised into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.
Playing at Court 3, the Indo-American pair defeated the duo of Matwe Middelkoopa from the Netherlands and Australian Ellen Perez in the second round. It took Mirza and Ram one hour and 27 minutes to defeat the Dutch-Aussie pair by 7-6(4), 6-4. The wild-card duo who had defeated the third-seeds Robert Farah-Nicole Melichar in the previous round started the match at a good pace against Mirza and Ram. But Indo-American pair gained the upper hand after taking the first set in a critical tie-breaker.
With momentum on their side, Mirza and Ram upped their ante and cruised to a straight-set win after they broke their opponents early in second. The unseeded Sania Mirza – Rajeev Ram, both former Grand Slam champions, won the first-round match 6-3, 7-6(3). Both Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna were ousted from the women’s and men’s doubles, respectively, in the opening round.
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