Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Monday, 11 July 2011

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India lose points, but still No.1 in Tests

Dubai: India maintained their number one status in the latest ICC Test Rankings but lost a couple of rating points after drawing two matches in their 1-0 series triumph over a lower-ranked West Indies.
Leading the points table, India now have 126 points while the seventh-placed West Indies (88) have gained two rating points despite losing the three-match series which concluded on Sunday.

South Africa (117) is the second-placed team, followed by England (116).
Among the players, Harbhajan Singh has moved one place to seventh. The offie took 11 wickets and interestingly replaced teammate and Man-of-the series Ishant Sharma, who had an impressive tally of 22 wickets in three matches.
The off-spinner took six wickets in the final Test and in the process passed the 400-wicket mark.
Praveen Kumar broke into the top 50 for the first time.
The medium-pace bowler from Uttar Pradesh walked away with four wickets in the final Test and is now ranked 42nd.
West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards achieved his career-best ranking 16th, a gain of two places. He holds the 16th place jointly with South Africa spinner Paul Harris.
The top three remain unchanged with Dale Steyn of South Africa still leading the way ahead of England's Graeme Swann in second position and James Anderson in third.
Among the batsmen, West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul rose to seventh following his match-saving 116 not out in the second innings at Roseau.
The top five remain unchanged with Jacques Kallis of South Africa still leading the way ahead of India's Sachin Tendulkar in second position. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Tendulkar, who did not play in the West Indies series, have fallen back because a player loses one per cent of his ratings points for every Test he misses.
There was no change in the top five of the player rankings for Test all-rounders with Kallis leading the way, followed by New Zealand's Daniel Vettori.

Sammy happy with team's effort in third Test

Roseau: West Indies captain Darren Sammy has praised his team for showing a fighting spirit in the third cricket Test against India that ended in a draw.
Sammy and his counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni agreed for a draw on day five with India needing 86 runs off minimum 90 balls in their chase of 180.

India looked set for a 2-0 series win at the close of play on day four but Shivnarine Chanderpaul's unbeaten 116 in the West Indies' second innings the next morning changed the equation.
However, it was also contributions from debutant batsman Kirk Edwards (110) and a five-wicket haul from speedster Fidel Edwards that helped West Indies get a result that seemed improbable at one stage.
"That's exactly what the coach and the public have been asking for," said Sammy.
"Even if we are not winning games, as long as we go and show the fight that we showed in this Test … the batsmen saw how hard the bowlers worked to get the wickets, so that was motivation enough for them to go out and give them some rest and more time in the dressing room. The way we batted in the second innings: Shiv, Kirk and even Fidel who faced more than a 100 balls. It was really pleasing to see the fight shown by both the batting and the bowling departments."
The crowd at Windsor Park gave a standing ovation to the home team for hanging on till the end. Sammy said it was heartening to see the fans supporting them though they eventually lost the series 0-1.
"As you saw, the crowd, who are very understanding, treated the drawn result as a win for us because we got out there and fought."

3rd Test: No. 1 but can't make 86 off 90

New Delhi: MS Dhoni can sense an opening and he instinctively pounces on it. But at the Windsor Park on Sunday, he chose not to crouch and attack his prey. Instead, he let West Indies run away with a draw when a win was all but on a platter for India.
Only 86 runs to get in 15 overs with seven wickets in hand! Any team would have risked that for a Test win. Ironically, the No. 1 Test team chose not to, more out of fear than sanity.

A run-rate of less than six runs per over, albeit in a Test, can be swallowed by hitters like Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and captain Dhoni himself. And Rahul Dravid is still eager to play the IPL. So why didn't they go for it?
It goes without saying that Virender Sehwag's presence would have made a difference. But it was still doable, even without Sehwag's roller-coaster start. Probably, it was the fear of drawing a series that prevailed over the sanity of winning it 2-0. And Dhoni was honest enough to admit it.
"Not disappointed about stopping the run-chase. We were risking a series win going after the target," said captain cool in the post-match conference.
Though a honest admission, it sounded like the old cliche 'better safe than sorry'. But that's not how you keep your Test No. 1 status intact, by withdrawing when you should have attacked. One doesn't associate such tactics with a team that sits on top of Test rankings, and is incidentally also the ODI champion.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cook trumps critics after Sri Lanka triumph

Although 26-year-old left-handed opener Cook managed just 31 in this match, his runs came in 35 balls.
Only a few months earlier he had been left out of the World Cup squad on account of supposedly being unable to score quickly enough.
Cook then found himself labelled a "plodder" by former England captain Michael Atherton when promoted to the one-day leadership following Test skipper Andrew Strauss's decision to quit the shorter format.
Yet the 26-year-old left-handed opener's series return against Sri Lanka of 298 runs at 74.50, including a career-best of 119 at Lord's, and at a strike-rate of 96.75 backed up cricket great Sir Garfield Sobers's assertion that "Alastair Cook can play as good as any one-day player".
However, Ashes star Cook insisted barbs from the likes of Atherton had not provided him with additional motivation.
"I don't do it to prove anyone wrong," Cook said after a hard-fought victory in front of a capacity 19,000 crowd at a sun-drenched Old Trafford.
"I do it for the satisfaction that we got in that final half-hour of the game, and you can't replicate that. That's why you play the game."

We could have played better: Dilshan

It was much closer contest at Old Trafford on Saturday where a match of fluctuating fortunes saw England recover to make 268 for nine after Cook won the toss.
Sri Lanka then collapsed to 29 for three in reply, with opener Dilshan out for just four, before a sixth-wicket stand of 102 between Angelo Mathews (62) and Jeevan Mendis (48) gave the islanders hope of victory.
But it was not to be, seamer Jade Dernbach striking twice in two deliveries as England won with 10 balls to spare.Dilshan, who made 193 in the drawn second Test at Lord's only to have his thumb broken that innings, was deeply dejected by his own one-day series return of just 17 runs in five matches.
But he took heart from the likes of 21-year-old Dinesh Chandimal, who made 54 at Old Trafford and topped Sri Lanka's one-day series batting averages with 164 runs at 54.66 including an unbeaten 105 in a six-wicket win at Lord's.
"As a captain I didn't get any runs and I'm really disappointed with that," he said.
"We had a big issue in the last three or four years with the middle order not doing well for Sri Lanka.
"The top order was always getting runs but now we have more confidence in the middle order and that is good for the future. We can look forward to the upcoming series with the youngsters."
Cook was named man-of-the-series for a return of 298 runs at 74.50 including a career-best 119 at Lord's.
"He's scoring a lot of runs in Test cricket and he's come into the one-dayers with confidence," said Dilshan, whose side conclude their tour with one-day internationals against Ireland and Scotland in Edinburgh next week.
"He isn't a bad one-day player and batted really well for his man-of-the-series award."
England's next challenge sees them at home to India, the world's number one ranked Test side and the team that beat Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, for Test and one-day series starting later this month.
"India are playing good cricket in the last couple of years and England are also playing well," said Dilshan. "It will be a good series and I think it's a fifty-fifty call who will win."