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Monday,02-August-2021

International

India crush England in 4th Test, win series; enter WTC final

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Indian-team

England’s ineptness at playing spin ensured that India booked their ticket to the World Test Championship (WTC) final a bit early, sealing the fourth and final Test win by innings and 25 runs on just the third day of the fourth and final Test on Saturday.

The result ensured India won the series 3-1, coming back remarkably after losing the first Test.

After Rishabh Pant had tilted the scales in favour of the hosts with an awesome century on Friday, Washington Sundar (96 not out) and Axar Patel (43) rubbed it in further, staying at the crease for one-and-a-half hour that blew away whatever hopes England had of making a comeback on Friday evening.

The two batted for 91 minutes on Saturday morning and frustrated England for 20.4 overs to take the game further away as India finished on 365, which was 160 runs ahead of the visiting side.

The lead was too much for England, who had to face 67 overs on the third day. And they succumbed under pressure even though the surface didn’t play as many tricks as the ones during the previous two Test matches.

Between lunch and tea, India picked six wickets – three each by R. Ashwin and Axar Patel as England, starting the post-lunch session at six without loss, went to tea at 91 for six.

Their captain and batting mainstay Joe Root, who has failed to get even one fifty after his double century in the first Test, was also dismissed in the second session for 30 and with his dismissal, England’s hopes of making a match dissipated into thin air.

To the Indian bowlers’ credit, they maintained a tight line, not giving any room as England tried their best to get away but just couldn’t find any shot or area to score runs consistently.

Patel took a couple more wickets soon after tea to complete his fourth five-wicket haul in three Test matches. This was his third five-wicket haul in the two Tests at his home venue in Motera. His series haul stood at 27 in three Tests while Ashwin’s haul was 32 scalps in four Tests. Ashwin took his third fifer in the series on Saturday.

“I thought on this pitch – unlike the previous two pitches – you had to vary your pace a bit to get wickets,” said Patel after the match.

By the time the day meandered to an end and the shadows lengthened it was only the little-known Daniel Lawrence who was giving a tutorial to the other England players on how to play spin. After his 46 in the first innings, he made 50 — his half-century coming off 93 balls, in the second, trying to give England some consolation of making India bat again. With no support he failed.

England: 205 and 135 (Daniel Lawrence 50, Joe Root 30, R. Ashwin 5/47, Axar Patel 5/48); India: 365 (Rishabh Pant 101, Washington Sundar 96 not out, Rohit Sharma 49, Axar Patel 43, Ben Stokes 4/89, James Anderson 3/44)

Result: India won by an innings and 25 runs

International

Pakistan’s Azam Khan ruled out of two T20Is against West Indies

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Azam-Khan

Pakistan batsman Azam Khan has been ruled out of the second and third T20Is against West Indies after sustaining a head injury in a training session.

“A neurosurgeon has recommended an observation period of 24 hours. He will then be reassessed on Monday. His availability for the final T20I will depend on the reassessment done on Monday,” said a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday.
Azam, son of the former Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, made his international debut in the T2I series against England. The 22-year-old had modest scores of five not out and one in two matches before being dropped for the decider at Old Trafford.

In the ongoing series, he didn’t get a chance to bat in the opening T20I at Barbados against West Indies as the nine-over affair was called off due to rain.

The last three T20Is between Pakistan and West Indies will be played in Guyana from July 31 to August 3. The T20I series will be followed by two Tests starting August 12 and 20 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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Olympics: Boxer Amit Panghal crashes out

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India's-Amit-Panghal

Boxer Amit Panghal, the world No. 1 in men’s 52kg, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Yuberjen Herney Martinez Rivas of Colombia in a Round-of-16 bout on Saturday.

Panghal, India’s biggest hope in this section, lost 4-1 (rpt 4-1) on points, starting the day on a disappointing note for boxing after the high of Lovlina Borgohain reaching the semifinals and assuring a medal for the country.

Panghal, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist, had drawn a tough opponent in Martinez Rivas, the silver medallist at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 25-year-old Indian from Haryana started off well and won the first round. Starting with an open stance and moving around the ring, Panghal made Martinez Rivas come for him and make him work for his points.

Panghal counter-attacked on all possible occasions and landed some good combinations, winning a split decision 4-1 in his favour.

But Panghal changed his tactics inexplicably in the second round and became too defensive, maybe hoping to make Martinez Rivas work hard for points so as to tire down the Colombian.

Martinez Rivas won the second round, getting 10 points from all five judges.

Panghal, whose fitness looked suspect, looked totally exhausted and could not do much in the third and final round as he tried to go after his rival in the last 30 seconds but that was too late and too little as the judges had by that time seen Martinez Rivas attacking a lot in the right through the round.

Martinez Rivas bagged 10 points from all five judges and one judge gave Panghal eight points while others gave him nine each.

Panghal’s defensive approach — whether it was by design or due to lack of fitness — in the second round undid all his efforts of the last five years.

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Isuru Udana announces retirement from international cricket

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Isuru-Udana

Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday. The reason behind his abrupt departure from international cricket was not known.

The 33-year-old had recently featured in the limited-overs series against India. He played in the first ODI followed by the first two T20Is but had no wickets against his name.

“I believe the time has come for me to make way for the next generation of players. It is with immense pride and passion, and unfathomable commitment that I have represented and served my country,” said Udana in a press release by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Udana made his debut for Sri Lanka in the 2009 T20 World Cup where he took two wickets against Australia. In 21 ODIs and 34 T20Is for Sri Lanka, the left-arm pacer took 18 and 27 wickets at an average of 52.78 and 33.89 respectively.

As a batsman, he scored 237 ODI and 256 T20I runs at an average of 16.92 and 18.28 with highest scores of 78 and 84 respectively.

Udana was known mostly for his variety and changes of pace with the white ball, especially on slower pitches. He was capable of moving the ball off the seam and possessed a repertoire of slower deliveries, including the back-of-the-hand delivery.

He was also the only Sri Lankan player to feature in the 2020 edition of the IPL, representing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In RCB’s run to the play-offs, Udana took eight wickets in 10 matches at an average of 35.25 with an economy rate of 9.75.

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