Tuesday, November 29, 2011

India sneak in a 1-wicket win to take 1-0 series lead in thriller

At the half-way mark, it seemed as if 212 was an underpar score but West Indies fought hard to rip the top order apart. However, the middle and lower order hung around along with Rohit Sharma to steal a win in the penultimate over.

It was a contest between two young sides with India opting to go in with an inexperienced side. The toss was going to be crucial and Darren Sammy called incorrectly. Virender Sehwag had no hesitation and promptly elected to field given the dew factor later on in the evening.

The Windies got off to a poor start, losing Barath early and had a partnership between Simmons and Samuels. Just when the pair was setting into a good rhythm, they were dismissed in quick succession and the tourists ended the Quick Start Overs on 52/3. Bravo and Hyatt then settled into a nice little partnership. 
The duo saw off Powerplay 2, adding 22 runs and took their stand to 75 before a misfortune in the running led to Hyatt’s dismissal who was run out. That led to a collapse as West Indies lost their way. Just 11/1 came in Powerplay 3 and the visitors were reeling at 167/6 at the end of the 40th over.

They did not recover after that and limped to 211/9 at the end of 50 overs, managing just 44/3 in the Extreme Performance Overs. Darren Bravo top scored with 60 and ended up with a Batting Momentum of 73. Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron finished with 2 wickets apiece with the former gaining a better Bowling Efficiency of 170.
Have a look at the scorecard.
India got off to a rollicking start, reaching 37 inside 4 overs. But then, Roach struck twice in his 3rd over and then again in his 4th to dislodge three Indian batmen. Russell then ensured that West Indies had the better of the Quick Start Overs as India were reduced to 55/4, needing another 157 from 240 balls.

Raina departed as well and the next 5 overs yielded just 14 runs for the loss of a wicket and India needed 143 from 210 balls. But a partnership was brewing between Rohit Sharma and Jadeja. They added 83 for the sixth wicket before Jadeja fell for 38 and India needed 70 from 129 balls.

Ashwin followed quickly and suddenly India were back in trouble, needing 53 from 109 balls with 3 wickets left. Vinay Kumar then joined hands with Rohit Sharma and the pair batted sensibly, first seeing off Powerplay 3 without any damage and scoring 17 runs. 26 runs were needed in 60 balls and India were back on top.
However, with 11 runs needed West Indies struck twice in 2 overs to get rid of Rohit and Kumar with two successive wicket maidens and with 18 balls left, West Indies were the favourites. But the Indian tail held their nerves and eventually stole the game away in the 49th over, with 7 balls to spare.

Kemar Roach was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/46 but Andre Russell with figures of 2/29 finished with a better Bowling Efficiency of 218. For India, Rohit Sharma top scored with 72 and finished with a Batting Momentum of 81.

India finished with a Castrol Index of 50 to 46 that of the Windies. It was a close match and the visitors made a fist of it and won the departments of the Quick Start Overs and Powerplay 3. 

Rohit Sharma was named the Man Of The Match and bagged a value of 45 for his efforts. But the top performer of the evening was Andre Russell who finished with 61 points.

Source: http://www.castrolcricket.com/ee/index.php/castrol_match_review/ind_wi_112911

Sharma guides India to win over Windies

Rohit Sharma hit a responsible 72 under pressure as India survived a top-order collapse to post a thrilling one-wicket win over the West Indies in the opening one-dayer on Tuesday.

India were reeling at 59-5 following Kemar Roach's three-wicket burst and Andre Russell's double strike before reaching the 212-run target with seven balls to spare in front of 45,000 spectators at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack.

Sharma came to his team's rescue with an 83-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (38) in the day-night game, which was held up for nearly five minutes during India's innings due to disturbances in the stands.

Sharma, returning to the side after recovering from a finger injury, then added 42 valuable runs with Vinay Kumar (18) to help his team to a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. He cracked one six and three fours in his ninth half-century in one-dayers.

The hosts needed nine runs to win in the last two overs before Umesh Yadav hit the winning boundary off seamer Darren Sammy as India posted their 10th successive one-day win at home.

Paceman Roach removed Parthiv Patel, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in his sharp opening spell before Russell accounted for skipper Virender Sehwag (20) and Suresh Raina to put pressure on India.

India earlier put in a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the West Indies to a modest total despite Darren Bravo's impressive half-century. Left-handed Bravo, who hit two hundreds in the recent Test series against the hosts, top-scored for the West Indies with a 74-ball 60 for his sixth half-century in one-day internationals.

Bravo, who survived a difficult caught-and-bowled chance off off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on 26, was bowled by part-time spinner Suresh Raina in the 35th over after hitting six fours.

The West Indies were struggling at 52-3 before Bravo steadied the innings with a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket with Danza Hyatt (31). The tourists failed to build on Bravo's effort and they added just 44 runs in the last 10 overs, with tailender Russell making a 20-ball 22.

Indian pacemen Yadav and Varun Aaron each bagged two wickets. The tourists raced to 52 off 10 overs after being put in to bat but lost top-three batsmen Lendl Simmons (19), Adrian Barath (17) and Marlon Samuels (10) in the process, with Vinay Kumar, Yadav and Aaron each taking a wicket.

All eye on Rohit as India in tight chase

Cuttack: Ashwin also did not last long as he was run out for just 6.

Rohit Sharma marked his return to the ODI fold with a fifty under tremendous pressure. He needed 62 balls to reach the milestone with the help 3 fours and a six.

Kieron Pollard finally made the breakthrough when he ended Ravindra Jadeja’s resilient knock of 38, thus making the game wide open again.

Jadeja played cautiously and his 62-ball knock consisted of just 3 fours. But it was Jadeja, along with Rohit Sharma, pulled India out of the wood with a fighting 83-run stand.

Despite losing 5 wickets early, India rebuilt their innings through a patience partnership between Rohit Sharma and allrounder Ravinder Jadeja. They put up a fifty-run stand off 73 balls to help India cross 100.

Suresh Raina became the fifth Indian batsman to fall as he was fooled by an Andre Russell slower delivery that was taken at mid-off by Bravo. Raina made 5 off 7 balls. India were in deep trouble losing half the side for just 59 runs.

Skipper Virender Sehwag’s eventful stay at the crease came to an end as he was bowled by Andre Russell for 20.

Sehwag was looking visibly upset by the movements behind the sightscreen before he was cleaned up by Russell. He hit three boundaries during his 29-ball 20 knock.

Kemar Roach was on fire as he sent down a superb delivery to clean bowl Virat Kohli for 3. Kohli, who just joined Sehwag in the middle after the twin dismissal, was shocked by a fast delivery that came sharply from the off stump to disturb his stumps.

Parthiv Patel wasted another opportunity to cement his place in the Indian team as he threw away his wicket once again. Parthiv’s 13-ball 12 came to an end when he tried to cut an outside off-stump delivery from Kemar Roach over cover only to be caught at point by Anthony Martin.

Roach again struck in the same over as he dismissed No. 3 Gambhir for 4 off another outside off-stump delivery.

A fine performance by the Indian bowlers coupled with some terrible batting by the West Indian batsmen helped the hosts restrict the tourists for a below par 211/9 in the first ODI at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack on Tuesday. 

On paper every Indian bowler bowled well but Umesh Yadav (2/33) and R Ashwin were exceptional from the word go. Yadav bowled with a lot of fire and Aswin with guile to put West Indies in the back-foot.

Apart from them, Vinay Kumar (1/27), Varun Aaron (2/37), Ajay Jadeja (1/42)- all bowled well with Jadeja and Aaron being a touch expansive.

From the West Indies camp, the fast-improving Darren Bravo was the only batsman to put up a real resistance against the clinical Indian bowlers.

Darren Bravo continued his good show with the bat as he scored yet another half-century in the series. Bravo’s fifty came from 56 balls with 6 classical hits to the fence.

After losing 3 wickets for just 52, talented Darren Bravo and Danza Hyatt gave the West Indies innings a much-needed stability and helped them cross the hundred-run mark. They handled both pace and spin well and kept on stealing singles and doubles in between.

Bravo was more fluent of the two as he attacked the Indian spinners whenever they erred in line and length. Indian spinners also kept a tight line.

Ashwin (1/30) was again economical in his initial overs, giving no rooms to the batsmen to free their arms.

Just when it seemed that Bravo and Hyatt would take WI to safety and lay an ideal platform for them to put up a big score, Hyatt got out, courtesy of a terrible misunderstanding while going for a second run which resulted in his run-out. Hyatt played really well for his 54-ball 31 which consisted of 2 fours and a six off Jadeja.

Part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina then got the most important wicket as he sent the dangerous Darren Bravo to the pavilion for 60. Bravo’s 74-ball innings came to an end when he tried to drive a fastish delivery from Raina which slipped past the inner half of his bat and hit the off-stump.

Much was expected of Kieron Pollard, but he flattered to deceive again. His patience finally ran out as he tried to loft one straight over the head of long-off fielder but was holed out by Kohli at the boundary off R Ashwin.

Pollard played the shot immediately after Bravo’s departure and got out for 33-ball 13. This has been the tragedy of the T20 specialists like Pollard all over the world. They never understand the importance of building an innings in an ODI game!

Earlier in the day, Vinay Kumar drew the first blood for India as he dismissed Adrian Barath with a perfect outswinger for 17 after Sehwag won the toss and elected to field first. Kumar’s delivery kissed the outside edge of Barath’s bat and landed in the safe hands of wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Barath was looking aggressive during his 13-ball stay at the crease. He hit 3 fours.

Varun Aaron started in a sensational manner, getting Marlon Samuels with his very first ball of the match for just 10. Samuels, who was trying to force the pace ever since he joined Lindl Simmons in the middle, was bowled by the new pace sensation of Indian cricket.

Yadav, who was bowling consistently close to 150 kmp/h mark, made the life difficult for all the top-order West Indies batsmen. The pressure he created from one end also resulted in the fall of two wickets from the other.


West Indies (Playing XI): Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath, Danza Hyatt, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin(w), Darren Sammy(c), Andre Russell, Anthony Martin, Kemar Roach

India (Playing XI): Virender Sehwag(c), Parthiv Patel(w), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/sports/cricket/cuttack-odi-live-all-eye-on-rohit-as-india-in-tight-chase_733066.html

Monday, November 28, 2011

India should tie up loose ends in Windies ODIs

After the slow-burn thrills of the Mumbai Test, which ended in a draw with the scores level, the battleground is set for the 50-over format which will kick off with the first of five ODIs at Cuttack on Tuesday. Though most of the boxes are ticked as far as the Indian playing eleven is concerned, there is a thing or two that the team's think-tank needs to ponder about.

Ajinkya Rahane has done well when asked to open the batting in the absence of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in the England ODIs - both away and home. But with both regular openers back, it will be a brain-teaser for the team management whether to retain him at the top or fit him elsewhere in the batting order.

Having scored two half-centuries, with a best of 91 in Mohali, Rahane has looked very compact in every aspect of his batting. Whether executing pull shots on the seaming and bouncing tracks of England or applying deft touches on the spin-friendly decks in India, he appeared a cut above his peers who had been given similar tasks before.

And with Parthiv Patel, who was Rahane's opening partner during the England ODIs, set to don MS Dhoni's keeping gloves, and with that a place in the middle-order, it's Rahane who may be asked to bat at No. 3. The other option is for Gambhir to come down a spot, giving the youngster a chance to continue at the top.

If Rahane's conundrum is solved, then the rest of the batsmen select themselves, with the only exception being whether to choose Manoj Tiwary or Rohit Sharma for the No. 6 position. Tiwary has been exceptional for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy lately, scoring 132 against Gujarat and smashing a double-hundred (267) against Madhya Pradesh. Rohit has been similarly prolific since his return from injury. His back-to-back tons against Railways (175) and Rajasthan (100) earned him a Test recall for the third match against West Indies.

Another thing to watch out for in the coming games is the inclusion of Rahul Sharma. The Punjab leg-spinner has been travelling with the Indian team since England’s tour, but is yet to get a look-in.

It would have been a lot better for Rahul, 24, if he was allowed to increase a game or two in his thin-looking tally of first-class matches, instead of making him warm the benches when it became evident in the Tests that he would not get a match. A good showing in the domestic circuit would have been a morale booster for the youngster and given him much-needed match practice. It will be difficult for him to break into the eleven which already has offspinner R Ashwin and slow left-armer Ravindra Jadeja. And with the possibility of a fit-again Sehwag rolling his arm over in the middle overs, there is no easy passage for Sharma.

The team will miss Praveen Kumar for the first match due to a niggle. Vinay Kumar will lead the attack in his absence, with Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron battling it out for the other spot. Based on recent form and ability to bowl quick, Yadav is likely to get the nod.

On the other hand, West Indies would be keen to transfer the confidence they got from the nerve-jangling draw in Mumbai to the five-match ODI series. And with some new and exciting faces in the squad, along with the in-form Darren Bravo and dangerous Kieron Pollard, the Caribbean side is capable of giving India a shock or two.

India: Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel (wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar

West Indies: Darren Sammy (c), Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Danza Hyatt, Anthony Martin, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell

Source: http://cricketnext.in.com/news/india-should-tie-loose-ends-in-windies-odis/61910-13.html

Injured Harbhajan to miss Ranji tie vs Railways

Punjab skipper Harbhajan Singh has been advised rest for pain in his shin bone, which means he will miss Punjab's Ranji Trophy Elite Division match against Railways at the PCA stadium, Mohali, beginning on Tuesday. Uday Kaul will lead the team in his place.

Following his dismal performance in the West Indies and the Lord's Test in England earlier this summer, Harbhajan has been left out of the national team. Since then, he has missed the five-match ODI series against England and three-match Test series against the West Indies at home.

He has also been ignored for the five-match ODI series against the Windies and India's subsequent tour of Australia. Harbhajan also did not have a great run in the previous three Ranji matches.

Punjab will be playing their fourth match at home on Tuesday and Harbhajan will be replaced by Taruwar Kohli. Harmeet Bansal will replace Sandeep Sharma, while Ravi Inder Singh will be in for Sarul Kanwar for the game.

Punjab have six points from three outings with one win, one loss and a draw. While they managed only a point from their first game against UP in which they conceded the first innings lead, in the second game they registered eight-wicket win over Orissa to gain five points but lost the third match by an innings against Saurashtra.

Railways, meanwhile, have earned three points from equal number of outings with a draw and two losses.

Sehwag inspired Warner to push for Tests

David Warner, the Australian opener, has revealed that a candid conversation with India's Virender Sehwag inspired him to change his game.

Warner has been in irresistible form this year for his state New South Wales and Australia A and should make his Test debut against New Zealand at Brisbane on December 1.

Having played only 11 first-class matches, Warner has been pushed towards a baggy green due to an outstanding talent that first emerged via Twenty20 cricket. However, he has credited his Delhi Daredevils' captain and fellow opener Sehwag as the inspiration to realise his potential.

"When I went to Delhi, Sehwag watched me a couple of times and said to me, 'You'll be a better Test cricketer than what you will be a Twenty20 player'," Warner said. "I basically looked at him and said, 'Mate, I haven't even played a first-class game yet'. But he said, 'All the fielders are around the bat. If the ball is there in your zone, you're still going to hit it. You're going to have ample opportunity to score runs'."

Sehwag’s career Test strike-rate of 82.12 is an outstanding facet which Warner, 25, was overawed by.
"(Sehwag) always says that the more balls that you see you're going to be tempted to try and score runs but you've just got to keep in the back of your mind what your zones are," he said.

"If it's in his zone, he backs himself. He's a great player that I've looked up to in the last couple of years, especially when I've been training with him and seeing how he goes about his stuff. He's always got this focus about scoring runs. When he opens, it could be 0 for 100 or 0 for 150 at lunch."

Warner hit a brisk 65 against the touring New Zealanders in Brisbane this week and, having been Australia's reserve batsman on each of their last two tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa, is primed for a Test debut.

Australia might beat India 2-1: Steve Waugh

Former Australia captain, Steve Waugh foresees Michael Clarke's men winning 2-1 against India in the Test series starting next month.

Australia will square off against India in a four-match Test series starting on December 26.

"It's a difficult one, but Australia might spring up a surprise and win 2-1," Waugh said.

Waugh, who was part of the review committee on whose recommendation changes were made to the team set-up, said Australia will take time to gel as a team after having a new coaching staff in place.

"We've got through a lot of change in the last six months in Australian cricket. I was part of the Argus review which made a lot of recommendations. Some of those are just being implemented," Waugh told a television channel.

"New coach Micky Arthur, new group of selectors with Clarke and Arthur part of it, so it's a period of change in Australian cricket and may have unsettled the team a little bit."

"So it's probably our biggest danger right now. I see guys out on the park being talented enough to beat any team, but they haven't been together for a long time," he said.

Asked if it is India's best chance to beat the Aussies in their own backyard, Waugh said at least that is the mindset Dhoni's men should have for the tough assignment.

"I hope they think that way because it wont be that easy. Australia still has world class players, some young players coming in and we are very difficult to beat in Australia, no matter what team we put out in front of our home crowds and home conditions.''

"It's a lot like coming to India and playing in Indian conditions, for any touring side it's always difficult to win away. And particularly in Australia. A hostile environment for opposition teams, spectators are very one sided and our pitches suit our bowlers more than in any other country," he said.

Recalling the infamous 2008 series in which the two sides were embroiled in 'monkeygate' scandal, Waugh hoped that the bitterness has been forgotten.

"Hope that it doesn't play on the minds of the teams."

It's good sometimes that you create some tradition and history and it wasn't the best thing to look back on.

"It created headlines, a lot of publicity, got people talking about cricket. It was unfortunate it happened and unfortunate the way it was handed and kept going on and on. But these are two different sides so its best to forget the past and move on," he said.

On whether India has become a more intimidating outfit since the 2008 series, Waugh said, "it has changed over the last 15 years, they have become a serious threat now. When I was playing, India and Australia were two top Test playing sides and that's carried on today as well."

"Two very competitive sides at the top of world cricket. The Border Gavaskar trophy is pretty special to the players, it's almost on par with the Ashes from an Australian point of view, so all of Australia is looking forward to it," he said.

Waugh felt if the injured Zaheer Khan, who has been provisionally taken in the squad, fails to turn up match fit, India could find themselves in a soup.

"Absence of Zaheer would obviously matter as it gives India the edge. He's been a world class quick over the last few years" he said.

Talking about the youngsters in the Indian team, Waugh said they bring with them the element of surprise which might be tough for the Aussies to handle.

"I think it's going to be the surprise element of your bowlers. Just recently watched a bit against the West Indies, so I liked the young quicks you got - Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron."

"I also liked the two spinners (R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha). They've done a good job and compliment themselves well. So, they are bowlers the Aussies haven't seen much, so as such they will be a danger," he said.

Source: http://content.cricketnirvana.com/news/international/2011/November/news-20111128-465.html

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brilliant Bravo Century As West Indies Bat Long

Darren Bravo scored a fluent 166 as the West Indies continued to bat their way to a huge total in the third and final Test against India in Mumbai.

Bravo's third Test century in four matches and half-centuries from Kieran Powell (81) and Marlon Samuels (61) helped their side close day two on 575 for nine.

Powell and Samuel passing fifty meant that the top six batsmen in the side reached half-centuries - for the first time in their history - before India fought back with Ravichandran Ashwin taking four wickets and Varun Aaron three.

Aaron dismissed Bravo, Carlton Baugh (4) and Darren Sammy (3) to pick up his maiden Test wickets.

Bravo extended his third-wicket partnership with Kirk Edwards (86) to 164 before Edwards was caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Ishant Sharma.

Powell then made his way to 81 in 165 balls, hitting 13 fours and putting on 160 with Bravo for the fourth wicket which was broken when Powell was caught by Dhoni off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.

Bravo, who faced 284 balls and hit 17 fours, was finally dismissed when he too was caught by Dhoni as Aaron struck for the first time in his Test career.

Samuels then played watchfully as he notched up his 12th Test half-century but after Baugh, Sammy and Ravi Rampaul (10) were dismissed cheaply, he was out caught by Rahul Dravid at slip off Ashwin.

Unbeaten at stumps were Fidel Edwards on seven and Devendra Bishoo on two.

India lead the three-match series 2-0 but on a placid pitch have struggled to make much impression on this match after West Indian openers Adrian Barath (62) and Kraigg Brathwaite (68) set the tone on day one.

Marsh's injury may hand Ponting a Test lifeline

Sydney, Nov 23: Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting's Test career remains uncertain, but Shaun Marsh's back injury could save his Test future despite a year of poor form.

Since the Ashes last December, Ponting has averaged just 14.15 from 13 innings.

While Marsh is doubtful for Western Australia's Sheffield Shield clash with New South Wales this week, Shane Watson too could be missing from the XI at the Gabba in Brisbane.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the new panel headed by John Inverarity convenes this week to pick its debut Test squad.

Meanwhile Ricky Ponting is determined to play in Test cricket and keep his place. "Of course I want to keep playing. I really enjoy it and always have. It's a great team to be a part of at the moment," the Herald Sun quoted Ponting, as saying.

"I want to be around and hopefully be able to have some sort of impact on the way the team plays. If I keep doing my job, then hopefully I keep getting picked," he added.

Failure of the ageing batting line-up against South Africa will be one of many items on Inverarity's agenda, but there are more problems than solutions being presented.

Selectors would rather ignore Ponting knowing they have enough reinforcements to call upon.

With Marsh and Watson doubtful for the Test against New Zealand, its a test for the batting talent waiting in the wings.

Marsh was confident last week he would be fit to play in Brisbane but was sent back home due to a back injury. His injury prone career is a concern for selectors as they pick their first senior squad.

The first Test starts in Brisbane on Thursday, December 1.

Source: http://www.thatscricket.com/news/2011/11/23/marshs-injury-may-hand-ponting-a-test-lifeline.html
She is the hottest, sultriest and the most in-demand lass in India at the moment. She teases and pleases. In one of her first exclusive no-holds-barred interviews, Poonam Pandey bares all to Zeenews.com’s Vineet Sharma. Here are a few excerpts:

What makes you choose the internet over TV as a medium to connect to the masses?

The internet helps me connect with my worldwide fan base. It is faster and more ‘today’, as far as technology and connectivity are concerned.

Tell us the secret to your super fit self? What fitness regime do you follow?

(Giggles) To honestly tell you, I’m not an avid gym goer and neither do I believe in hardcore diets. I am naturally fit and I keep it that ways with moderation in my eating habits. I’m a foodie and eat everything, albeit in moderation.

Yoga and meditation are the two keys to my fitness as I find them most rewarding and rejuvenating.

We all know of your liking towards cricket. Have you played the game or are you an avid follower? What got you hooked on to the game?

I have played a lot of cricket. In fact, I can surprise many with my batting abilities. Being born in India, where cricket is a national passion, it is but natural to be a follower of the sport. I was always interested in cricket and Sachin Tendulkar’s game got me hooked on to the sport.

How do you find the attention of the masses? Are people more receptive of you after you’ve made it big on the popularity front?

The World Cup did wonders for me. I am an easily recognisable face today because of the tournament and I am loving every bit of the attention I get. It is just fabulous that people walk up to me for an autograph or just remark among themselves - ‘This is the World Cup girl’. People certainly hear me after I have become popular.

From the current lot of cricketers, which one is your favourite?

I can’t name one. (Upon further prodding), I think it would be right to say that Sachin Tendulkar is my favourite. He is a god for the followers of cricket in India and I have utmost respect for him and his game.

Moving on to the saucy side of fantasy, if you had to be on a three-way date with cricketers, which two players would you like to be with?

Ah, I want them all! It would be great to go out with all of them, only if it was for a coffee. Anything more is an added advantage (wink wink).

Stripping is an art often neglected in India? How do you plan to bring it into the mainstream with more acceptance?

From an age of kurtas to jeans and then skirts, it is just a matter of evolution. Earlier, raunchy moves would get you a bad label, but now they are a part of dance forms. Similarly, I’m trying to evolve the taste of Indian audience to the art of stripping.

It is not to say that I’m against traditional thoughts, but let me make one thing clear, I’m a modern girl who wants to be in tune with times rather than blow an old trumpet.

There have been scathing attacks on your ways of expression. Recently someone even morphed your photo with Sachin Tendulkar. This must upset you quite a bit I’m sure. How do you keep a positive mind frame despite all this?

Personally, I would have laughed it off had it not been the image of Lord Vishnu in the picture. That was wrong. On the picture itself, I was surprised that a fan would undergo so much of work to morph my picture and post it. I have seen the picture for hours. It is truly baffling!

Apart from modelling, what are your other passions?

I am in love with myself and love to watch my body in front of the mirror. For hours... Honestly Vineet. I am a girlie girl at heart, painting my nails, trying new styles and mostly checking myself out in the mirror. Perhaps that’s why I don’t mind when other people check me out.

And last but not the least, what’s next for Poonam Pandey, the heartthrob?

I have an atom bomb of an item for my fans, that’s a promise. It will be something that no one could have thought of from an Indian model. When I come out with it, you’ll be the first one to know!

Source: http://zeenews.india.com/sports/exclusive/poonam-pandey-on-sachin-stripping-and-more_732757.html

Monday, November 21, 2011

Australia hold nerve to win thriller

Pat Cummins, the man most likely, and Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin, two of the least, delivered the most magnificent victory to Australia as the tourists chased the highest ever fourth innings total at the Wanderers, to square the series with South Africa on the final day.

At 215 for 6, Australia seemed to have as much of a chance to win as Haddin and Johnson had to make runs, based on their horrendous records this past year. Yet, somehow they forged a partnership of 72 to erase the bulk of the deficit, and after Haddin's exit was followed by that of Peter Siddle, Johnson and Cummins ran down the final 18 required.

No 18-year-old in cricket history could have enjoyed a debut as extraordinary as Man-of-the-Match Cummins, who followed seven wickets for the Test with a batting contribution of wondrous composure. He offered one chance, a sharp return-catch to Dale Steyn when nine were still required, and the resulting boundary was critical. Steyn, so often South Africa's salvation, will curse his drop.

Australia's victory was a rare triumph in a close Test match - in recent years, they have made an unfortunate habit of losing the epics. Adelaide 1993, Sydney and Karachi 1994, Kolkata 2001, Edgbaston 2005 and Mohali 2010 all trigger painful recollections, but this result will do an enormous amount for a young team and a fledgling leader in Michael Clarke, so soon after the traumas of Cape Town.

The result does not extinguish debates about the shape of the team, and injuries will also force changes for the home series against New Zealand. But Australia have now won the sort of match that can build a team and a tradition, and Cummins was right in the middle of it.

South Africa will ponder plenty of what ifs, and are still without a home series victroy over Australia since readmission. But in Vernon Philander, the Man of the Series, they have at least found a seamer of high quality, and it was he who seemed on course to deliver victory.

Philander's relentless line with a hint of seam movement either way had accounted for Clarke and Michael Hussey, either side of Morne Morkel's dismissal of Ricky Ponting, leaving Haddin, Johnson and the tail to confound conventional expectation and collect the remaining runs.

Clarke was bowled early, Ponting chased a wide delivery into the slips, and Hussey was pinned in front of his stumps in the penultimate over of an extended afternoon session. Ponting, Haddin and Johnson are all at the mercy of Australia's newly-formed selection panel.

Dogged rain and heavy cloud delayed play until after lunch had been taken, and at 1pm local time the contest resumed. The moisture appeared to have freshened the surface somewhat, and added to the swing available to bowlers all match, making it a difficult scenario that confronted Clarke and Ponting.

Their response was tentative, and Clarke's careful forward push proved fatal as Philander found a fraction of seam movement on a perfect length to find the gap and flick the top of the stumps. Hussey may have been out to any one of his first few balls from Philander, who nipped the ball away with dastardly intent.

At the other end Ponting was careful, plotting his way through each delivery with the careworn approach of a man weighing up his cricket mortality. For 33 balls on the final day he battled, but there were no boundaries forthcoming to get him going, and it was in belated search of one that Ponting departed. Morkel fired one short and wide, Ponting reacted a little too late, and the ball diverted off the toe of his bat into the slips. He lingered for a brief moment to survey his bat, then marched off to the most generous applause a tiny crowd could muster.

Next man in, Haddin, reached the crease under arguably greater scrutiny for his spot than Ponting, Australian minds still reeling from the sight of his widely deplored second-day demise in Cape Town. This year Haddin had averaged 14.70 in 10 innings, and his keeping at the Wanderers lacked assurance. Yet he and Hussey had combined for Australia's most lengthy Test partnership in the past 18 months, an epic 307 against England at the Gabba last November, and together they began to establish a bridgehead.

Neither was entirely comfortable, Haddin beaten outside off stump a few times and once struck flush on the helmet by a Steyn ball that turned out to be more skidder than bouncer. Hussey had 31 when he pushed at Imran Tahir and edged behind, only for Mark Boucher to parry the chance beyond the reach of Jacques Rudolph at slip.

A Tahir full toss and a Hussey cover drive brought the target within 100 runs of Australia, but Philander's return brought perhaps the critical wicket. His first ball pitched on leg stump and caught Hussey on the crease, winning an lbw that was referred out of desperation and nothing else. Though Johnson's first few balls were negotiated soundly enough, the second new ball was only nine overs away.

Mindful of this fact, Haddin and Johnson attacked boldly on resumption, heaping four boundaries from the first two overs and quickly whittling away the target. Johnson was stopped momentarily by an apparent spike through his boot, but otherwise sailed on with a clean-striking approach. Haddin showed even more panache, driving Steyn straight and Morkel over cover and, notwithstanding an optimistic DRS referral against Haddin from Morkel, the 50-stand flashed by in 54 balls.

Haddin's first Test half-century of 2011 arrived in the final over of the old ball, and only 34 runs remained to be gleaned from the new. Philander's first over brought a boundary, as did Steyn's. However, Philander then had Haddin nicking a late away swinger behind, with 23 still to be made.

The clouds had returned and the ball was hooping, the light also beginning to die. Siddle flicked one accomplished boundary, before Steyn claimed his first wicket of the innings when Australia's No. 9 attempted a hasty repeat of the stroke.

Cummins entered this match with a total of 27 runs in first-class and limited-overs cricket, and reached the crease with 18 still to get. A leading edge brought a precious three, and a series of nudges took the requirement into single figures.

Second ball of Steyn's next over and Cummins' mis-hit drive flew through the bowler's hands. The ball trickled down to the long-off boundary and Tahir was ruled to have touched the rope's imprint - five to win. Cummins swung giddily for the remainder of the over, but survived, to leave Johnson on strike. Graeme Smith, gambling, brought back Tahir.

Johnson pushed a single, and Cummins groped around a googly that struck him millimetres, at most, outside off stump. The DRS referral was duly denied by the umpire Ian Gould. Cummins left the next, a leg break, then collared a shorter googly through straight midwicket to raise the winning runs. Australia erupted, and the series was squared. Who but administrators would deny them a decider?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Windies batsman Edwards in awe of Tendulkar

West Indies Batsman rapid increase Kirk Edwards admitted Sunday that finds it difficult to concentrate on his fielding when Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar was at the crease.

Tendulkar, the world's leading scorer in Test and one day cricket, needs just one more hundreds of completing a century of unprecedented centuries, having already done in 48 tests and 51 one day internationals.

"Sometimes, I find myself focusing on him (Tendulkar) so much that I'm not concentrating on my fielding," Edwards told reporters ahead of the third and final Test against India Tuesday in Mumbai.

"I think it's the same thing for yourself, as it is for me. The guy is a legend, so we are all in awe of him, to see him bat.

"I admire (Rahul) Dravid and Laxman (VVS). I admire most of those guys, but a game with Sachin was something special. Is a memory that I will live with forever. "

Edwards hit with his consistency by making a century on Test debut against India in the third and final match drawn in Dominica in July.

So far scored two hundreds and as many half-centuries in five tests, his best coming in the second and last match against Bangladesh in Dhaka when he cracked 121 and 86 just before the tour of India.

Edwards also caught the eye in the second Test against India in Calcutta as he scored a half century in batting performance to strong second innings of his team.

"Every time I go out to fight, I try to lay a solid platform for my team. You must try to understand how the plots play and try to adjust your game. That is what I'm doing in the learning process, said Edwards, 27.

The batsman the West Indies said team morale was high in the last Test, especially after their impressive batting display to Calcutta where they posted 463.

"I think we were quite confident as a team even before the second inning. Of course, we will Test this match with confidence as well, "said Edwards.

The West Indies trail 2-0 in the three Test series after losing the opening match in New Delhi by five wickets and the second by an innings and 15 runs.

4th ODI: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, Nov 20, 2011

Pakistan team  
Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq*, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema
Sri Lanka team
WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan*, KC Sangakkara†, LD Chandimal, DPMD Jayawardene, AD Mathews, BMAJ Mendis, NLTC Perera, S Prasanna, SL Malinga, CRD Fernando
Match details
Toss Pakistan, who chose to bat
Player of the match tba
Umpires RK Illingworth (England) and Zameer Haider (Pakistan)
TV umpire M Erasmus (South Africa)
Match referee AJ Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Reserve umpire Ahsan Raza (Pakistan)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

India vs West Indies: statistical highlights

Kolkata: highlights game statistics for the fourth day in the second cricket test between India and the West Indies on Thursday.

# West Indies haven't tasted a series victory abroad over the last 15 years against an opponent important--their only WINS were against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Their last triumph series away from home against a strong opponent was 1-0 against New Zealand in February 1995.

# India recorded their second victory by an innings against the West Indies. India had won the Mumbai test 2002-03 by an innings and 112 runs.

# India's triumph by an innings and 15 runs is their XIV against the West Indies contested-success of 87% 16.09 (30 lost and drew 43).

# Win superb of India in the garden of Eden is their 30 with a margin of innings in tests-their third at Eden Gardens – one against the West Indies, Australia and South Africa.

# Win of India is their 75th test in India in 231 (49, lost 105 designed and tied 1). Overall, India have won 112 tests of 457 (143, lost 1 and tied designed 201). 24.50% success.

# India recorded their second win in nine tests against West Indies at Eden Gardens, Kolkata--their first was by 85 runs in December 1974.

# VVS Laxman was adjudged Man of the Match for the second time at Eden Gardens. He received the first prize in this venue against Australia for recording 59 & 281 in 2000-01.

# Laxman has received six awards at MOM – his second test against the West Indies. Before he had received the mother against the West Indies to record an undefeated 69 74 & in Port of Spain 2001-02.

# Laxman in India WINS Record is quite impressive, with an average of 55.90-3410 runs in 47 tests, including hundreds of sects.

# India, for the first time, have won four straight series wins against the West Indies-their three previous series WINS were 2-0 in 2002-03 in India; 1-0 in 2006 and 1-0 in 2011, both the West Indies.

# Darren Bravo (195) recorded his second test hundred-his first against India.

Record # bravo in tests this year is impressive – 735 runs in nine tests at an average of 43.23, including two centuries-the highest by an Indian in tests in West 2011.

# Marlon Samuels (84) recorded his second highest innings against India in the garden of Eden-its highest is 104 in 2002-03.

# Excellent fifty in tests 12 Samuels has his third against India.

# Shivnarine Chanderpaul took his count 216 runs at an average of 54.00 in current series--the highest score by a West Indian and the second highest overall, ahead only for counting VVS Laxman to 235 averaging 235.00.

# Umesh Yadav (4/80) had recorded his best bowling performance in Test cricket, surpassing 3 to 23 in the first inning of the Kolkata test.

# Figures of 7 for 103 Yadav are its best in a test match. In his two tests, Yadav has captured nine wickets at an average of 21.22.

# Indies (463) recorded their highest total in the second innings of a test match against India, 443 for seven declared in Kanpur in December 1958.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspirational Dhoni leads India to win the 126-run emphatic

A young India finally broke his prolonged defeats as they defeated England by 126 runs in an unbalanced first one day international in Hyderabad on Friday.

India rode conduction 87 blistering knock of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 61 55-ball of Suresh Raina to post a mammoth 300 for seven and then skittled out visitors for only 174 runs 36.1 overs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, to take a 1-0 lead in the series of five meetings.

This was the first victory of India after a losing streak of 10 international matches which includes five ODIs (last two ODIs in the West Indies), four tests and one T20 international.

The wicket got slower as time passes and more recently India's spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja tightened the noose on England's batsmen, sharing six wickets between them.
The margin of victory should come as a breath of fresh air for Dhoni and Co now certainly feel optimistic with the remaining four ODIs.

Craig Kieswetter (7) was the first to leave when he nicked a delivery going away by Praveen Kumar.
Kevin Pietersen (19) hit three boundaries, but direct shot of Ashwin from mid-on found him short of his crease.

Skipper Alastair Cook (60) joined hands with Jonathan Trott (26) and added 71 runs for the third wicket. Did the score for a very lively rhythm, but maintained a decent run rate, going for the team.
It was the spin of left-arm slow Jadeja who started the slide. The all-rounder Saurashtra Cook and Trott dismissed within the space of nine runs to a middle order collapse effect.
While Cook holed deep mid-wicket trying to give Jadeja charging, Trott played an unusual slog-sweep, only to be clean bowled.

The dangerous Ravi Bopara then offered a tame return catch to Ashwin, while Jadeja got his third scalp when young Jonathan Bairstow was dismissed in an identical manner.
From 111 for two, England slumped to 126 for six and the writing was on the wall.
Jadeja (3 to 34) and Ashwin (3 for 35) had almost identical figures, while Umesh Yadav (2 for 32) has also had a couple of wickets at the end.

The next day, however, belonged to the captain of India, who smashed an unbeaten 87 off 70 deliveries on a track where strokemaking wasn't exactly easy. He found an able supporter in Raina, who shot a 61 55-ball after India opted to fight for the conquest of space.

The last 15 overs resulted in a huge 150 runs as one got a glimpse of vintage Dhoni. The now famous ' helicopter ' shot recovered him a lot of races, as he hit 10 boundaries and a six enroute his 42nd half century in ODIs.
The innings took importance considering the amount of which was under pressure after the tour to England.

India were scoring runs at a sedate pace in the first 35 overs, partly due to the dual nature of the surface and also some disciplined bowling by visitors, before the duo started to hit the England bowlers, adding 72 runs for the fifth wicket in just 10 overs.

Once Raina departed, Dhoni took it upon themselves to punish English, who suddenly lacked discipline after bowling well for the better part of the innings.
Raina batting in the counter-attack, from mandatory Powerplay over 36th-40th, opened its doors, as India scored 59 runs in five overs.
Hit his usual aerial shots over between extra cover and mid-wicket while Dhoni also hammered Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan with consummate ease.

Raina completed his half century with a six off the bowling of Bresnan and was out trying to hit a slog shot. His 61 was studded with five fours and two sixes.

A wicket that offered variable bounce the Pacers England batsmen of India, especially Ajinkya Rahane (15), made a mess of the first mandatory Powerplay, during which India scored just 47 runs, losing wickets by Parthiv Patel in the process.

Parthiv argued a little too far, after Rahane hit a drive straight off bowler Steven Finn but got a hand to it on his follow through. Parthiv scored only nine.
The stage was set for Rahane fire after she had a life in the second over, as Jonathan Trott, at first slip, he left bowling to Finn. Rahane was yet to open his account.

However, the young in Mumbai went into a shell and even found it difficult to push through the gap to a single.
Gautam Gambhir, playing his first international match after a long period, hit a couple of crisp shots, including a square drive off Bresnan. The left-hander of Delhi