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Saturday,06-March-2021

International

I let Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc down: Tim Paine

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Tim-Paine

Australia skipper Tim Paine has said he is not worried about the lack of wicket-taking form of Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc as he took the blame on himself for squandering opportunities to deny them wicket on the last day of the third Test against India in Sydney.

Lyon has taken just six wickets while Starc has taken nine in the three Tests of the series so far.

“I think he (Lyon) has bowled okay. I thought in the first Test match in Adelaide, he created heaps of chances and didn’t get a hand. I thought the other day he bowled beautifully. If I hadn’t dropped a couple, it would have been a completely different story. Nathan Lyon playing 100th Test match — that is not easy. Absolutely top of the tree, how good he is. I don’t think that has changed. I don’t think it will change,” said Paine on Thursday ahead of the fourth and final Test.

“No, I am not seeing any decline in him. Sometimes you get wickets, sometimes you don’t. It is still coming out of his hand beautifully. At times Indians have played him well, at times he has bowled well. Looking at the footage, he has created chances, some of which we have dropped. He will have a huge role to play in this Test,” added the Australia skipper.

Paine said that Starc is being his natural self — sometimes consistent, sometimes inconsistent.

“He is just that type of bowler. Some days he is what he is, he looks like he one of the great bowlers of the world and the next day he has a bad day like the rest of us. Even in the last day at Sydney, he had a nice spell. We know how good he is. We know on his day, he can rip the Test match apart. But that is not going to happen every day,” added Paine.

The wicketkeeper-batsman blamed himself.

“My role with him was to keep him nice and calm and keep him clear on what I and we expect of him and he is a type of bowler when he gets simple clear instructions that keep him clear, he normally brings the house down. My mood around Day 5 — that was the reason why he wasn’t at his best. Again it is me getting back to basics. Keeping him nice and relaxed. Keeping him clear on what we want him to do and when we do that, he more often than not does well,” said Paine.

The Aussie fast bowlers got a very little time for turnaround. They bowled 131 overs on the fourth and fifth days of the drawn third Test at the SCG and are getting just three days to recuperate from the toil.

“We tried to rejuvenate all three of our fast bowlers last week. It was a big Day 5 for them, big week and short turnaround. Those guys are very good at doing that. They are professionals. The reason why they are great cricketers is because they are extremely durable. They are about to play their fourth Test back to back,” said Paine.

The fourth match of the series beginning Friday at The Gabba will be broadcast on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.

International

4th Test: Rishabh Pant’s 101, Sundar give India 89-run lead

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Rishabh Pant’s third Test century (101 off 118 balls) and Washington Sundar’s unbeaten 60 on Friday took India to 294/7 wickets at close of the second day of the fourth Test against England — a lead of 89 runs. Axar Patel was the other unbeaten batsman with 11.

Pant played a typical counter-attacking knock. He and Sundar scored 113 runs for the seventh wicket.

Brief scores: England 205 all out (Ben Stokes 55, Dan Lawrence 46; Axar Patel 4/68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/47) India 294/7 wkts (Rishabh Pant 101, Washington Sundar 60 batting; James Anderson 3/40)

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Decision on lone Pakistani shooter for Delhi WC likely today

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A decision on granting visa to the lone Pakistani skeet shooter, Usman Chand, desiring to compete in this month’s New Delhi World Cup may come by the end of Friday.

National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) secretary general Razi Ahmed Khan said on Friday that the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had sent a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the NRAP on Wednesday and that the same was submitted to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on Thursday.

“We are expecting to get the visa on Friday. We had submitted the visa application form with the Indian High Commission last month so that there was no last-minute rush,” Khan told IANS from Pakistan on Friday.

The New Delhi World Cup, to be held from March 18 to 29 at the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges here, offers valuable ranking points for rifle and pistol events, but not for shotgun competition.

The issue of the Pakistani shooter competing at the World Cup could be a tricky one, considering what happened exactly two years ago.

For the 2019 shooting World Cup in New Delhi, India had not granted visas to two Pakistani shooters who wanted to compete in the men’s 25m rapid fire event. After Pakistan complained to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOC withdrew qualification status for the 2020 Olympic Games from the World Cup in that event. The Olympics was later postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition,” the IOC had said in a statement at the time, after a decision to this effect was taken at its executive board meeting in Lausanne.

Around 300 competitors from 42 countries have expressed their desire to compete at this month’s New Delhi World Cup. The process of issuing the visa to Chand, a 36-year-old shotgun exponent, is underway, said an NRAI official.

“The visa process is on. We hope he would get necessary documents to travel to India for the World Cup,” the official told IANS.

Chand, who has a personal-best score of 122 out of 150, is the lone shooter entered by the NRAP for the World Cup. His current world ranking is 108 as per International Shooting Sport Federation. Chand, who finished fifth at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, has been active on the global circuit since 2013.

The Pakistani skeet shooter expressed his desire to compete in India, as he missed out on the Egypt shotgun World Cup, held from February 22 to March 5. Despite the Cairo World Cup carrying global ranking points, the Pakistan shooter’s name was missing from the field.

When asked why Chand didn’t compete in the Cairo World Cup, Khan said: “He has a good chance to earn valuable points to improve his world ranking. He is a contender for individual quota. So, he wants to compete in New Delhi World Cup.”

The NRAI will have to safeguard shooters and officials’ health in times of the pandemic during the 10-day World Cup.

“All the shooters will have to follow strict bio-bubble guidelines during the World Cup,” said the NRAI official.

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England eye lead as India reduced to 153/6 at Tea

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Ben Stokes took the all-important wicket of Rohit Sharma (49) as England continued to chip away at the Indian batting order in the second session of Day 2 of the fourth Test on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium. India ended the session on 153/6 with Rishabh Pant (36) and Washington Sundar (1) in the middle.

The hosts started on 80/4 after lunch with Sharma and Rishabh Pant in the middle. India’s run rate had crawled to a snail’s pace in the first session and Pant and Sharma looked to up the ante.

The partnership ended when Sharma was denied a 13th Test half century by Stokes. The umpire raised his finger after England appealed for LBW and Sharma reviewed the decision. Replays showed that the delivery jagged in to beat Sharma’s inside edge after which impact was shown as umpire’s call. Ashwin (13) was then dismissed late in the session by Leach.

Earlier, the hosts lost Cheteshwar Pujara (17), captain Virat Kohli (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (27) to end the first session of the day on 80/4. Jack Leach struck first by dismissing Pujara for the fourth time in this series. It ended a 40-run partnership between Pujara and Sharma that had seen India through to the end of play on the first day.

Stokes then dismissed Kohli for a duck. The ball rose on the Indian captain who ended up edging it to the wicketkeeper. Rahane then tried to up the scoring rate and eventually succumbed to Anderson having made 27 off 45 balls.

Brief scores: England 205 all out (Ben Stokes 55, Dan Lawrence 46; Axar Patel 4/68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/47, Washington Sundar 1/15) vs India 153/6 (Rohit Sharma 49, Rishabh Pant 36 batting; James Anderson 2/19, Ben Stokes 2/33)

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