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Saturday,06-March-2021

International

Joe Root now 4th highest Test run-getter for England

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England skipper Joe Root has gone past Kevin Pietersen and David Gower to become the fourth-highest run-getter for his country in Test cricket.

On Sunday, Root played a 186-run knock, with the help of 18 boundaries, during England’s first innings in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.

The right-handed batsman has amassed 8,238 Test runs in 180 innings he has played so far and is fourth on the list of leading run-getters for England.

Former captain Alastair Cook is the all-time highest run-getter for England with 12,472 Test runs in 161 matches he played. He is followed by Graham Gooch, who has 8,900 runs. Alec Stewart comes third in the list with 8,463 runs.

Root is followed by Gower (8,231) and Pietersen (8,181).

Overall, former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for being the highest run-scorer in Test cricket. Tendulkar scored 15,921 runs in 200 Test matches he played for India.

He is followed by Ricky Ponting (13,378), Jacques Kallis (13,289) and Rahul Dravid (13,288).

After the culmination of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, the Joe Root-led side will face India in a four-match Test series beginning February 5 in Chennai.

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

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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

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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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