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Friday, July 31, 2009

Watch West Indies v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI Live Streaming

West Indies v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, St Kitts

Bangladesh look for whitewash

Match facts

Friday, 31 Jul 2009


West Indies flag Bangladesh flag West Indies Vs Bangladesh

Venue :3rd One Day International, Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts
Live action starts from: 13:30 GMT (19:00 IST) ODI Bangladesh Tour of West Indies 2009 One Day International Match

Start time 9.30 (13.30 GMT)

Big Picture

Travis Dowlin switches gears, West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, Dominica, July 28, 2009
Can Travis Dowlin help prevent a clean sweep?

Bangladesh have wrapped up the three-match series by winning the first two matches and have a chance to complete a rare whitewash. West Indies will be kicking themselves for giving up the second ODI having had a good total to defend only to allow Bangladesh three crucial overs in their chase to seize the momentum. The home side should be ready to prove a point to their critics but Bangladesh's form and energy leaves them as clear favourites, and a cursory glance at the form of the two rival captains sums up the state of the two sides.

Shakib Al Hasan has led from the front in both the first two games, contributing runs with the bat - he is just behind Mohammad Ashraful in the run tally - picking wickets and inspiring in the field. Shakib's captaincy has been exciting and that has apparently rubbed off onto his batting. His decision to open the attack in the last game with the recalled Abdur Razzak's spin paid rich dividends.

West Indies will be aiming for a competitive effort to finish the series after they showed a marked improvement from the first ODI, but it's hard to see how Floyd Reifer can inspire. His batting hasn't clicked all series, two Tests included, and he has looked all at sea against spin, spooning catches to a packed off-side field in both ODIs. For Reifer, the goals are not only to win but also to give some of West Indies' lesser-known players a chance to shine. He will need to set the example and hope the rest follow.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)

Bangladesh - WWWWL
West Indies - LLNLW

Watch out for …

Tamim Iqbal: A powerful striker of the ball, Tamim will look to make a mark in the series against this West Indies attack. Tamim got a first-baller in game one, chasing a full-pitched delivery, and in the second his nervy innings of 29 was cut off by an enthusiastic fielder. Tamim is yet to impress in the series but a big one could just be around the corner. If Tamim can help set up a hefty total, it could give Bangladesh their best chance of a clean sweep.

Travis Dowlin: He missed a Test century by a whisker and his maiden ODI century proved in vain as Bangladesh won by three wickets to clinch the series. With the impending return of the leading players, Dowlin's opportunities at this level could be limited. He's in form and has shown his capabilities against this attack.

Team news

Bangladesh's desire to make absolutely certain of a 3-0 result means they are unlikely to tinker with their best XI.

Bangladesh: (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Syed Rasel, 11 Rubel Hossain.

Chris Gayle and other top players still find no place and the only change was the exclusion of fast bowler Nelon Pascal, who sustained a finger injury in the first ODI last Sunday. The wicketkeeper Devon Thomas didn't get a chance to bat in the second ODI but did grab two surpising wickets and should keep his place, but the pressure will be on Andre Fletcher who has yet to impress in the series. His place at the top could go to Kieran Powell, the left-handed batsman.

West Indies: (likely) 1 Devon Smith, 2 Andre Fletcher/Kieran Powell, 3 Travis Dowlin, 4 David Bernard, 5 Floyd Reifer (capt), 6 Devon Thomas (wk), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Rawl Lewis, 9 Nikita Miller, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Gavin Tonge.

Weather

It's forecast to be windy with scattered showers in the afternoon in Basseterre on Friday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watch England v Australia, 3rd Test Live Streaming

England v Australia, 3rd Test, Edgbaston

Australia have lost aura - Strauss

Match Facts

Thursday, 30 Jul 2009

Australia flag England flag Australia Vs England

Venue :3rd Test Match, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Live action starts from: 10:00 GMT (15:30 IST) Test The Ashes 2009 Test Match Match


Andrew Flintoff throws the ball during a training session, Edgbaston, July 28, 2009
Andrew Flintoff has an aura that few of the Australians can match

Andrew Strauss has provided a telling insight into the growing confidence within the England team by insisting Ricky Ponting's squad has lost its aura of invincibility. Ten days after England ended Australia's 75-year unbeaten streak at Lord's, Strauss leapt onto the offensive on the eve of the Edgbaston Test, suggesting Ponting's youthful band do not possess the intimidatory powers of their predecessors.

"I don't think this Australian side has got an aura about it to be honest with you and prior to this Test series starting we didn't feel they had an aura about them," Strauss said. "That's not disrespectful to the players they've got because they've got a lot of very good players but I think the aura came with the likes of Warne and McGrath and Hayden and Gilchrist, all those sort of guys.

"This [Australian] team over time might develop an aura, but right at the moment you've got a lot of guys who are at the start of their Test careers. It doesn't mean you are any more likely to beat them or anything like that but it feels like you are playing against any other Test team."

Strauss' comments are someway short of revelatory - Graeme Smith and Anil Kumble have previously commented on Australia's decline following the retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist, to name but a few - and even his opposite number, Ricky Ponting, conceded that there was a grain of truth in his sentiments.

"Any feeling of aura that you get against opposition sides is something that is built up over a period of time," said Ponting. "There are some reasonably fresh faces around our group who are just starting to find their feet at international level, so it's inevitable that the aura of our side is going to change. But it's okay for him to say that now, I'm not sure he was saying that after Cardiff - we had it well and truly over most of their batsmen down there."

Since last year's tour of India, Ponting's side has won five, lost six and drawn three Test matches, and is fighting to repel South Africa's bid for their No. 1 ranking. Australia's crown has already slipped in the shorter forms of the game - the South Africans are rated the world's top-ranked 50-over side, while Australia suffered an embarrassing first-round exit at the World Twenty20 - and Strauss insisted the rest of the world was fast reeling them in on the Test front.

"An aura is when the opposition teams, even though they are on top, are not confident they are going to beat you," he said. "They always expect something dramatic to happen that will bring your team back in the game and put them under pressure again.

"We certainly felt that in 2006-07. Even when we had good days, we were thinking what is going to happen now. Is Gilchrist going to blast a hundred or Warne take five wickets from nowhere? It only comes with a large consistent level of performance for a long period of time. Australia had that, personally I don't feel that's where they are right at the moment."

Strauss conceded England would not establish its own aura without a sustained period of success; a point that was met with agreement by Ponting at his ensuing press conference. "You create aura with a group of guys on top of their game, all heading in the same direction, and with stand-out performances," he said. "It's generated over a period of time with some excellent play, and England's current Test rating would probably indicate that they don't have one."

Key to England's hopes of achieving success in this series is Andrew Flintoff, a man who possessed an aura all of his own at Lord's, and despite not training on Wednesday, Strauss was confident his allrounder would be fit for the third Test.

In the lead-up to Lord's, where he took five second-innings wickets, Flintoff had scans on the injury and it has required regular pain killing to provide him with the chance of repeating his 2005 Ashes triumph. "He bowled two good spells [on Tuesday], one in the middle, one in the nets, and he seemed to come through those okay," Strauss said. "It's always the case, you've got to see how he responds to bowling more than actually what happens when he's bowling. But we are optimistic at this stage."

Given the overcast conditions, the only reasons England will have to change their second Test line-up are if Flintoff is injured or they are desperate to bring in Steve Harmison. "The guys who played at Lord's all performed pretty well so we'd have to be sure the conditions were going to help someone else if we were going to make that change," Strauss said. By confirming that Monty Panesar has been released from the squad, the likelihood of an unchanged attack has increased.

The England dressing room is a quieter place since Pietersen's foot surgery and Ian Bell has tip-toed back into the XI after being dropped during the West Indies tour. Strauss said the entry of Bell, who will bat in Pietersen's spot at No. 4, was reassuring.

"He's a proven Test performer, he's played in the Ashes before and he's done that spell out of the side that a lot of us have been through," he said. "It's not much fun when you are out of it but it makes you very, very hungry when you come back in. And also, you've got a kind of mindset that you've got nothing to lose. You've been out of the side, this is another opportunity for you. I expect him to grasp that with two hands and play some really good innings in the coming matches."

For Ponting, however, the absence of Pietersen provided an undoubted boost to his hopes of making in-roads into their batting. "They've lost some skill out of their middle-order," he said. "I think [Pietersen] is one of the better and more dominant players in world cricket, and I firmly believe England look to him to give them something with the bat, so we'll see over the next five days whether anything has changed.

"Bell is a good player, as we've seen through his career, but he hasn't played as well as he would like against Australia, so it's a great opportunity for us. If we can get the openers out early and get the middle-order out there against a relatively new and shiny hard ball, we can do some damage."

Strauss said it would be "massive" if England could enter the fourth Test in Leeds next week with a 2-0 advantage. "One thing we are very conscious of is not resting on our laurels now we are 1-0 up," he said. "We've got a fantastic opportunity this week to build on that. Complacency is the furthest thing from our minds at the moment. We are expecting a much harder Test match this week and we're ready for it."

Watch Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI Live streaming

Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Dambulla

First step towards 2011 World Cup - Sangakkara

Match Facts

Thursday, 30 Jul 2009


Sri Lanka flag Pakistan flag Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan

Venue :1st One Day International, Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
Live action starts from: 04:30 GMT (10:00 IST) ODI Pakistan Tour of Sri Lanka 2009 One Day International Match



Kumar Sangakkara celebrates a goal with team-mates during a game of football at the practice session, Dambulla, July 29, 2009
Kumar Sangakkara: "The best way to build strong sides is to win matches and win series"

Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, believes the five-match ODI series against Pakistan starting in Dambulla on Thursday will be the first step towards their preparations for the 2011 World Cup.

"We are trying to build as strong a side as we possibly can going forward, and looking at one-and-a-half years of cricket towards the World Cup," Sangakkara said. "The best way to build strong sides is to win matches and win series. This is going to be the first hurdle and the first step towards that goal. We hope to go out there and put up a great performance."

The batting, which has been the bane of Sri Lanka in recent ODIs, will once again be the key to their success. "We got a very good bowling set up and we've got to support it with good totals, or chase down targets clinically," said Sangakkara. "We've got new faces in the one-day side and all of them are capable of contributing towards a victory.

"We've done work on a bit of individual skills and a bit of technique work. What we've done more is really think about what role each player is going to play. Once every player knows what his role is it becomes a lot easier."

The hosts took the three-Test series 2-0 and Sangakkara pointed out that adjustments would be needed. "Test cricket and one-day international are two completely different formats of the game," Sangakkara said. "It's a fresh start - new combinations, new players coming into the side and a lot of regrouping to do. We had three to four good days talking about what we should be doing, practising it in the nets. But come tomorrow it's about going out there and putting it into practice. That's the key to all forms of the game, keeping your disciplines and playing good competitive cricket."

Sri Lanka have lost their last three bilateral home series, twice against India and once against England. Sangakkara hoped that they could get off to a winning start despite the uncertainty of the pitch in Dambulla. "Over the years it's been a tough wicket to read," he said. "It's had various scores on it from low to high, the highest being 282. The key is not having a negative mindset going out there. It's best to go out there with an open mind, assess the conditions very quickly and communicate it to the dressing room. Those few little basics that we talk about in building partnership are going to be the key."

Thilan Samaraweera and Lasith Malinga will be returning to the one-day fold in this series. Samaraweera was recalled after more than three years, thanks to his wonderful performances in Tests in the recent past, while Malinga, who was Sri Lanka's leading bowler in the World Twenty20 in England, will be making a comeback after a knee injury.

"Samaraweera is definitely in the mix," Sangakkara said. "There are a lot of hard choices to be made. We've got [Thilina] Kandamby whose been among the runs. Samaraweera has had great Test form, three to four bowlers are in great nick and with Murali coming back into the side a lot of tough decisions will have to be made. The expectations on Lasith haven't changed. He plays a unique role for us. We got to make sure we give him every opportunity to exploit his talents."

Sangakkara also said that it was a great opportunity for Upul Tharanga to prove himself as an opener and put some pressure on the others at the top. "We have [Tillakaratne] Dilshan on the sidelines," Sangakkara said. "He's had a great year with the bat in the opener's berth. We are looking forward to having him back in the side when he is fit, but until then two of the openers have to really put their hands up and do the job for us. Sanath [Jayasuriya] and Upul are very capable. Hopefully, Upul can get a consistent run and show us what he can do. "

Monday, July 27, 2009

Watch West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI Live streaming

West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, Dominica

Reifer concerned by top-order batting

Match Facts

Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009

West Indies flag Bangladesh flag West Indies Vs Bangladesh

Venue :2nd One Day International, Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica
Live action starts from: 13:30 GMT (19:00 IST) ODI Bangladesh Tour of West Indies 2009 One Day International Match


Abdur Razzak at the top of his run-up, West Indies v Bangladesh, 1st ODI, Dominica, July 26, 2009
Abdur Razzak: "I was out of the team for eight months, and now I am back in the side, I am looking to do well"

Floyd Reifer, the West Indies captain, has said while he is happy with the balance of the team, the top-order batting remains a concern following a 52-run defeat to Bangladesh in the first ODI in Dominica.

West Indies, who lost the Test series 2-0, were chasing 247 and lost their first four wickets for 42 runs in 12 overs before Devon Smith's 65 took them past 100. "We didn't get the start we wanted from the top, and this is something that is worrying us at the moment," Reifer said. "We are not getting enough partnerships at the top of the innings."

After the spinners had been successful in the Test series, it was expected the pitches for the ODIs would favour bounce and pace. The Windsor Park curator had said he would comply with West Indies coach John Dyson's request for faster tracks. However Bangladesh opened with left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, who took 4 for 39 - including two of the first four wickets.

Razzak, who was suspended by the ICC for a suspect bowling action in November and cleared four months ago, said the pitches in the Caribbean favoured spin bowling and he was not surprised when his captain handed him the new ball.

"When I played in the Caribbean in the 2007 World Cup, I also used the new ball, so it's normal," Razzak said. "But this was important for me. I was out of the team for eight months, and now I am back in the side, I am looking to do well."

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, who scored a half-century, said the team had been confident of the total on the board since the pitch was playing slow and there were four spinners in the XI. "I have been surprised by the nature of the pitches in the Caribbean," Shakib said. "I thought they would have had more bounce and pace. But it suited our spinners, and Razzak came back into the side, bowled well, and did a good job for us."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Watch West Indies Vs Bangladesh 1st ODI Live Streaming

Bangladesh in West Indies 2009

Devon Smith and Fletcher in ODI squad

Match Facts

Sunday, 26 Jul 2009
West Indies flag Bangladesh flag West Indies Vs Bangladesh

Venue :1st One Day International, Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica
Live action starts from: 13:30 GMT (19:00 IST) ODI Bangladesh Tour of West Indies 2009 One Day International Match


Andre Fletcher gives it a mighty whack, Australia v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20, The Oval, June 6, 2009
Adrian Fletcher replaces Chadwick Walton as wicketkeeper from the Test squad

West Indies have added a couple of new faces to their 14-member squad for the first two ODIs at home against Bangladesh following the 2-0 defeat in the Test series.

While the batting line-up will be boosted by the inclusion of left-hander Devon Smith, Andre Fletcher and the uncapped Kieran Powell, the bowling has been fortified with the selection of legspinner Rawl Lewis and the rookie fast bowler Gavin Tonge.

Smith, who last featured in an ODI back in April 2008, against Sri Lanka at home, was picked for the tour of England in April-May this year. Fletcher, who replaces Chadwick Walton as wicketkeeper from the Test squad, was dropped after disappointing performances in the World Twenty20. His 53 in the opening match against Australia was followed by 13 and three straight ducks.

Powell, 19, who hails from the tiny island of Nevis, has been rewarded for the promise he has shown in domestic competitions. He has the reputation of being a clean striker of the ball and was part of the West Indies squad for the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. He scored 253 runs at 42.16, with a strike rate of 124, which made him the second-highest scorer in the tournament.

Another consistent performer on the domestic circuit has been the 26-year-old Tonge. He has performed well with the ball for Leeward Islands, and is also a handy lower-order batsman.

Ryan Austin, Tino Best, Ryan Hinds, Kevin McClean, and Omar Phillips were among the other players who missed out from the Test squad.

The first two ODIs will be staged at Windsor Park in Dominica on July 26 and 28. St Kitts will host the third and final match on July 31, as well as the only Twenty20 international two days later.

Squad: Floyd Reifer (capt), Darren Sammy, David Bernard, Travis Dowlin, Andre Fletcher (wk), Rawl Lewis, Nikita Miller, Nelon Pascal, Kieran Powell, Dale Richards, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith, Devon Thomas, Gavin Tonge.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raqibul and Shakib Inspire First Overseas Series Win By White Washing West Indies

Raqibul and Shakib inspire first overseas series win


July 20, 2009

Bangladesh 232 (Rahim 48, Raqibul 44, Roach 6-48) and 217 for 6 (Shakib 96, Raqibul 65, Sammy 5-55) beat West Indies 237 and 209 (Bernard 69, Shakib 5-70) by four wickets


Darren Sammy is pumped up after dismissing Mohammad Ashraful, West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, 4th day, Grenada, July 20, 2009
Darren Sammy threatened to run through the Bangladesh line-up, picking up three wickets and taking a splendid catch

History was calling and Bangladesh showed they were all ears in Grenada. Raqibul Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan shared a thrilling 106-run partnership to charge Bangladesh to their first overseas series win. On an enthralling afternoon's play, Darren Sammy threatened to do the improbable but Raqibul lifted Bangladesh with a plucky innings before the equally aggressive Shakib joined him to clinch a euphoric win.

Set a target of 215, a counterattacking Raqibul, who had walked in at 29 for 2, was joined by Shakib at 67 for 4 and the pair batted bravely to seize back the initiative. Though Sammy took out Raqibul and Mushfiqur Rahim, 14 runs away from the win, Shakib held his nerve to steer the team home. The winning moment came at 5.38 pm and in some style, with Shakib lifting Kemar Roach over long-on.

Though Raqibul fell 42 runs short of the target, it was he who had set up the win with an inspired performance. He had never hit a Test fifty before and he had struggled in the first Test due to his penchant of playing away from the body. However, he had held his own in the first innings here and added a dash of bravado today to lift Bangladesh from a hole. It was a gem of a cameo under the circumstances. Every time, West Indies picked up a wicket and threatened to charge ahead, Raqibul counterattacked to keep the hosts on their toes. He chose to take the adventurous route and didn't waste a single run-scoring opportunity; in fact he created a few chances of his own.

It was risky at times but someone had to seize the initiative back from West Indies and Raqibul decided to shoulder that burden. Apart from Sammy's superb spell, Raqibul's battle against Kemar Roach was the highlight of the session. Roach v Raqibul was the turning point in the first innings as Roach successfully probed a weakness in Raqibul against the bouncers before proceeding to scythe through the rest of the line-up. He was in no mood to buckle down today.

He started with a fierce slash over point and remained audacious against anything that was pitched up to him. It was a tantalizing battle as Roach troubled him a bit with short-pitched deliveries and a couple of jaffas that left the bat late but Raqibul released the pressure with a couple of impish square drives. He flicked Sammy and guided him through to third man boundary and thus, preventing West Indies from deploying close-in fielders. And when Ryan Austin, the offspinner, was brought for the over before tea, Raqibul dispatched him over deep midwicket and in the last session, he unfurled a couple of peachy off drives to further calm the dressing-room nerves.

Thankfully, for Bangladesh, Raqibul found a willing partner in his captain Shakib, who too oozed intent through his knock. He started off a touch shakily with a stab past second slip, an airy drive past mid-off, and an edge past gully but soon settled down to blunt the attack. Now and then, he teased the slip cordon with his slashes but just when it appeared he was living on the edge, he would unfurl a meaty off drive, defend solidly or steal a single to frustrate the attack.

Shakib took on the dominating role in the final session, spanking boundaries almost at will, including a hat-trick of fours against Roach. The first one, an extra-cover drive that brought up his fifty, was followed by a crunching cut and a feisty pull as Bangladesh galloped towards victory. If the final session was almost serene, the second was a dramatic and event-filled. The day had started with a two-hour rain delay and Bangladesh took just 4.1 overs to wrap up West Indies for 209; it was the first time Bangladesh had bowled out the opposition for less than 250 in both innings.

Till Raqibul and Shakib took the bowling on, it was Sammy who stole the show. Every one knows that Sammy is not going to blow the opposition away; his is a gentle art. He builds pressure with cluster of seaming deliveries in the corridor outside off and gently nudges the batsmen into making a mistake. Bangladesh initially stumbled into making fatal mistakes under the pressure of the chase and perhaps, under the strain of making history.

Sammy struck in his very first over, inducing Tamim Iqbal into edging a delivery leaving him before turning his attention to Junaid Siddique. After bowling 14 deliveries - most of them in the off-stump channel - for just one run, he got the next one to curve away from the middle and off line and Siddique tried to flick it rather injudiciously across the line but edged it low to first slip where Floyd Reifer took a sharp catch. Sammy then produced a gem to take out Mohammad Ashraful, who has gifted his wicket previously in the series but was unlucky to get a very good delivery that shaped away from him very late.

Sammy was supported well by Roach, who has been the chief tormentor of Bangladesh in the series so far. Roach, who surprisingly didn't take the new ball, was introduced in the second session and immediately looked menacing with his cocktail of bouncers and full deliveries outside off stump. He followed a lifting delivery with the one angling away to coax Imrul Keyes into edging to slip where Sammy took a brilliant catch, leaping at second slip. For a brief while, when Roach and Sammy operated in tandem, the game appeared to be hanging in balance but Shakib and Raqibul ensured their fans won't lose too much hair or nails.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Flintoff ends England's 75-year wait

England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's, 5th day

Flintoff ends England's 75-year wait

July 20, 2009

England 425 and 311 for 6 dec (Prior 61, Collingwood 54) beat Australia 215 and 406 (Clarke 136, Haddin 80, Johnson 63, Flintoff 5-92, Swann 4-87) by 115 runs


Andrew Flintoff strikes a pose after his removal of Brad Haddin, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 20, 2009
Andrew Flintoff strikes a pose after dismissing Brad Haddin on his way to a five-wicket haul on his final Test appearance at Lord's


In his last Test at the home of cricket, Andrew Flintoff broke England's 75-year Lord's curse with his first five-wicket haul since the Ashes-clinching Oval Test of 2005. It was, unquestionably, a performance that will enhance his already mythical status within English cricket, but more pertinently for now, delivered England to a 1-0 series lead heading into Edgbaston.

Victory was sealed 17 minutes before lunch when Graeme Swann, another major contributor on Monday, pegged back Mitchell Johnson's middle stump with the Australian total at 406. The wicket prompted scenes of jubilation not witnessed at Lord's in decades, and a collective furrowing of brows in the Australian dressing rooms as the series momentum shifted sharply in the hosts' favour.

Flintoff, who bowled unchanged for ten overs from the Pavilion End to claim three of the five Australian wickets to fall on Monday, broke first from England's celebratory huddle to shake the hands of the vanquished Johnson and his batting partner, Ben Hilfenhaus. It was a scene that mirrored the final act of the corresponding Test four years ago, and went far to reviving the spirit of cricket that had been battered at several stages in the match.

Having spent the better part of Sunday evening chasing leather to all corners of Thomas Lord's playing field, England could scarcely have began the final day's play more positively. James Anderson's first delivery of the morning cannoned into Michael Clarke's thigh and prompted a raucous lbw appeal from both bowler and slips cordon, which was turned down by Billy Doctrove. Two more unsuccessful appeals reverberated around the grandstands before the first over was out, as Anderson probed pads and off-stumps with pace, precision and just a hint of movement away from the right-handers.

Andrew Flintoff displayed similar menace steaming in from his favoured Pavilion End, as 25,000 screaming voices drowned out the pain of a knee that, after four years of numbing injections, now resembles a pin cushion. Only a famous exit from Lord's would do for Super Fred, and England's allrounder duly obliged with the wicket of Brad Haddin from his fourth ball of the day.

Haddin was seldom ruffled on Sunday, mixing punchy strokes forward of the wicket with deft glides behind, but a new ball and an inspired Flintoff would prove an irresistible combination. Fast and full, Flintoff coaxed Haddin into an edge that flew to Paul Collingwood at second slip, terminating his innings for an impressive 80 but placing Australia in precisely the position they had hoped to avoid. Flintoff, the victor, did not so much celebrate the dismissal as assume Nelson's Trafalgar Square pose. A candidate, if ever there was one, for the fourth plinth.


Michael Clarke is bowled by Graeme Swann, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 20, 2009
Michael Clarke was bowled by Graeme Swann for a magnificent 136

Johnson's early exchanges inspired little confidence that he would be the man to steer Australia to an improbably victory. Johnson half-ducked, half-stabbed at his first delivery from Flintoff and, as with his bowling, looked a shadow of the figure who compiled unbeaten innings of 96 and 123 against the South Africans four months prior. Edges off the bowling of Flintoff and Stuart Broad fell inches in front of the slips, and Johnson may well have found pavilion-bound had Flintoff not overstepped before wrapping him on the pads with a straight full-toss that struck in line.

Clarke, save for the odd Flintoff bouncer, was a picture of poise in the first half-hour of play, leaving judiciously outside his off-stump and driving with sublime placement and timing. The fluency of his batting contrasted greatly with the nervous Johnson, although the latter eventually found something resembling a groove as the hour progressed.

As the first drinks break loomed, Clarke might have entertained notions of bettering his previous highest Test score, famously struck on his Test debut five years ago, however a change of bowling prompted a change in his fortunes. Swann had spent much of the previous evening bowling a faster, flatter line, but found success with a slower, looping delivery that dropped under the bat of the advancing Clarke and spun just enough into the off-stump. Devastated, Clarke did not lift his head, nor raise his bat, despite a generous reception on his journey back to the Pavilion.

The loss of their sole centurion while still 165 runs in arrears of England appeared the death knell for Australia's aspirations of a world-record run chase. And when Nathan Hauritz was bowled shouldering arms to Flintoff the next over, an England victory was all but assured.

Johnson, by now, had found his batting form and blazed his way to a quick-fire half-century. But it would be in vain. Flintoff claimed his third career five-wicket haul by bowling Peter Siddle, and Swann rounded off the innings, and the match, by scything through Johnson's defences.

Manzoor and Yousuf steady Pakistan

Day 1 close Pakistan 289 for 7 (Manzoor 93, Yousuf 90, Thushara 3 for 77) v Sri Lanka

Mohammad Yousuf drives along the ground, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, 1st day, Colombo, July 20, 2009
Mohammad Yousuf played a composed innings but fell 10 runs short of his century

For vast swathes of the 86 overs bowled in the day, Pakistan's batsmen held sway, blunting a modest attack on a pitch that lost most of its moisture and bite after the opening session. But with stumps beckoning, the second new ball vindicated Kumar Sangakkara's decision to bowl first, with three wickets in the space of eight balls reducing Pakistan to 289 for 7.

That total owed much to Khurram Manzoor and Mohammad Yousuf, who added 167 for the third wicket after Thilan Thushara had taken two wickets in an over to stymie a promising start. Both Manzoor and Yousuf were dismissed in the 90s, and it was left to Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq to shepherd the side through to the close. They nearly managed to, until the new ball turned out to be the big bad wolf.

Malik, short of runs and form in the series, had struck some pleasing strokes on his way to 45, and the partnership with Misbah was worth 75 when Thushara arced one into his pads from outside off stumps. Malik missed, and that was that. Three balls later, Misbah lunged to drive Nuwan Kulasekara, and the thin inside edge was neatly taken by Tillakaratne Dilshan behind the stumps. When Umar Gul then chopped one back on to his stumps, the reversal of fortune was complete.

It may have been the last bow for Chaminda Vaas, a veteran of 111 Tests with 354 wickets to his name, but apart from that Thushara over in mid-morning, there was little for Sri Lanka to celebrate after they sent Pakistan in to bat under overcast Colombo skies. Fawad Alam, with a century on debut last week, had just struck his first four of the innings, when he edged one behind to Dilshan, and if Thushara was delighted with that, he was positively delirious three balls later. Younis Khan cut one back on to his stumps, and 34 for 0 had become 36 for 2.

As Yousuf walked out, wagers were probably placed on how quickly Rangana Herath would be brought on. As it was, Kumar Sangakkara waited till the 17th over before throwing the ball to Sri Lanka's surprise spin weapon of the series, but the impact wasn't what was desired. The first-session damage would have been greater than 103 runs but for a sluggish outfield that didn't give the batsmen full value for their strokes.

Once the nerves had settled, Yousuf lofted Herath over long-off for six, and with Thushara then conceding 11 in an over, the runs started to accumulate at a fair clip. Yousuf cut Herath for four, before driving Angelo Mathews beautifully behind square, and it was Pakistan that went into the lunch break with faith restored. After the slump that cost them the series though, complacency certainly wasn't on the menu.

A superb cut and a back-foot punch through cover took Manzoor to his half-century from 85 balls, while Yousuf required 15 balls fewer for his. The 100-run partnership arrived in 24.3 overs, and soon after, Manzoor thumped Herath over his head for four, a stroke that he was to repeat later in the session.

Sri Lanka's bowlers created few wicket-taking chances and struggled for consistency, though Vaas did staunch the run flow in the second hour after lunch. With Kulasekara short of pace, another edge fell short of slip and went for four. And the hosts' woes were compounded when Vaas missed a run-out chance with Manzoor on 65.

Manzoor was content to leave a lot of deliveries and the bowlers obliged by bowling poor lines. By the interval, Sri Lanka had endured the first barren session of the series. When Sangakkara gave the ball to Mahela Jayawardene after tea, it appeared to illustrate Sri Lankan despair, but once Vaas returned, the game changed.

A clearly nervous Manzoor poked at one that left him, and Yousuf was then run out off an overthrow after taking the single that had seen him complete 7000 runs. His 90 had spanned just 146 balls, and it was left to the aggressive Malik and the more sedate Misbah to repair the damage. Once again though, wickets falling in a heap undid much of the day's good work.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shoaib in doubt for Sri Lanka ODIs

Shoaib in doubt for Sri Lanka ODIs

Monday, 20 Jul 2009

Sri Lanka flag Pakistan flag Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan

Venue :3rd Test Match, Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo
Live action starts from: 04:30 GMT (10:00 IST) Test Pakistan Tour of Sri Lanka 2009 Test Match Match



Shoaib Akhtar walks back to his bowling mark, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Karachi, January 21, 2009
Will Shoaib Akhtar be included in the squad for the one-dayers against Sri Lanka?

Shoaib Akhtar's chances of making a comeback to the Pakistan team have suffered a blow after he failed to turn up for a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on Wednesday.

Interim chief selector Wasim Bari wanted to assess Shoaib's fitness before heading to Sri Lanka next week to discuss the composition of the squad for the upcoming one-day series with captain Younis Khan and coach Intikhab Alam. The five-ODI series starts on July 30 after the completion of the three Test matches.

"He has conveyed to us that since his mother is ill he can't leave Islamabad at this time," Bari said. Shoaib had missed last month's World Twenty20 due to a skin infection, and last represented Pakistan in the five-match ODI series against Australia two months ago. Last week, he had insisted he was back at full fitness, and claimed that he had "three to four good years left in him".

Shoaib, 33, has not been a regular member of the Pakistan side of late due to disciplinary issues and injury as well. He was involved in a tussle with the PCB after reportedly criticising the board publicly for not awarding him a central contract. Subsequently, upon his return to international cricket, he was dropped after a poor ODI series against Sri Lanka and again under-performed against Australia, taking three wickets with an average of over 50.

History beckons for Bangladesh

West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Grenada

History beckons for Bangladesh

Match facts

Friday, July 17, 2009


West Indies flag Bangladesh flag West Indies Vs Bangladesh

Venue :2nd Test Match, National Cricket Stadium, St George"s, Grenada
Live action starts from: 14:00 GMT (19:30 IST) Test Bangladesh Tour of West Indies 2009 Test Match Match

Start time 10.00am (14.00 GMT)

The Big Picture


Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah took eight wickets between them to derail West Indies, West Indies v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Kingstown, 5th day, July 13, 2009
Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmuddulah dominated the first Test without exactly breaking their backs to do so. Can they help clinch a rare series win?

Now this is a situation Bangladesh aren't accustomed to. Undoubtedly buoyant after beating West Indies in St Vincent, Bangladesh go into the second and final Test as favourites, something they have never been against Test opposition. Forget the ugly spat between the WICB and WIPA, forget that a second-string team was put together at the last minute. The ICC recognises this as a West Indies team and Bangladesh beat them fair and square. Bangladesh need only draw this game for their first series win overseas, and second ever.

They still didn't hit the heights in the first Test but Bangladesh were good enough in the end to seal the win they needed to take a 1-0 series lead. With momentum and the knowledge that conditions in Grenada could be subcontinental, the tourists have to be fancied to wrap up the series by winning the final Test. Shakib Al Hasan, who bowled superbly and captained exceptionally on the fifth day in St Vincent as the hosts threatened to pull off a gritty escape, will lead full-time in Mashrafe Mortaza's absence.

This is a situation West Indies aren't accustomed to either. As the dispute between board and players rumbles on, West Indies will again field a weakened line-up as they seek to drawn level with Bangladesh. The hosts let themselves down in the first innings in St Vincent and will need to bounce back strongly if they are to avoid a series defeat to Bangladesh. If its inspiration they seek, well then they can look at how on the fifth morning they ran through the Bangladesh tail, taking five wickets for 24 to give themselves an outside chance of winning. The rest will have to come from better application with the bat.

This series was never going to be the stuff of headlines, but there remains enough subtext - and plenty at stake - for this Test to be an intriguing battle.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies- LLLDD
Bangladesh - WLLLL

Watch out for ...

Mahmudullah Eight wickets on Test debut, a real bonus for Bangladesh. Mahmudullah, earlier considered a limited-overs specialist, stamped himself on proceedings in St Vincent with the ball, picking up five wickets in West Indies' second innings. He was relentless in applying pressure with his offspin and the home side need to watch out against him.

Omar Phillips Another debutant who made an impression in St Vincent. The young opener fell six short of what he described as "one of the easiest hundreds you will ever get at this level". Phillips' innings had laid a strong foundation for a sizable lead before Bangladesh struck back to limit the damage to 69 runs. His departure for 94, when he played a loose shot off Rubel to short cover, Phillips said, was a consequence of a change in tactics after he had reached the 90s. If he gets as far again and doesn't make any changes, watch out Bangladesh.

Team news

Bangladesh have replaced Mortaza with Enamul Haque jr, the slow left-armer who took 6 for 45 to send Bangladesh fans wild with an inaugural Test victory over Zimbabwe in 2005.

Bangladesh: (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mohammad Ashraful, 5 Raqibul Hasan, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Shahadat Hossain, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Nazmul Hossain.

The West Indies selectors have retained their new-look squad for the second Test, with batsman Ryan Hinds added to the team. Floyd Reifer, the captain, said after the first match that West Indies might play another batsman. In that case the likely candidate would be Hinds, who last played a Test in March in the home series against England. He will probably replace the offspinner Nikita Miller, who went wicketless. The rest of the bowlers from the first Test should pick themselves. If West Indies retain faith in Miller - who batted stubbornly for 63 minutes and 54 balls in the second innings - and decide not to play an extra batsman Hinds may still get the nod and replace Travis Dowlin who contributed only 22 and 19 in St Vincent.

West Indies: (probable) 1 Omar Phillips, 2 Dale Richards, 3 Floyd Reifer (capt), 4 Travis Dowlin, 5 David Bernand, 6 Ryan Hinds, 7 Chadwick Walton (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Ryan Austin, 11 Tino Best.

Pitch and conditions

Grenada has only hosted one Test, in 2002, and that was a three-innings, high-scoring draw. This is a track known to wear slowly and assist spin as the days go on. Scattered showers are forecast in the afternoon through the five days, however. The teams' training sessions were interrupted by rain.

"It [the pitch] was a touch wet when we saw it on Wednesday. A bit of moisture maybe on top. It will be interesting to see how it eventually looks," said Shakib. "We don't have a problem with the wicket. If it is slow, which I have heard it traditionally is, then that's okay and if it is quicker than Arnos Vale then I believe our bowling, especially spin, will be more effective."

Quotes

"Everybody knows I am not an out-and-out attacking bowler who will fire out batsmen. I like to build pressure and try to get among the wickets."
Darren Sammy calls it as is it.

"The boys are all keyed up. We know that our job is not finished. The best part is that we all know that it is possible."
Shakib Al Hasan knows where the momentum lies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kulasekara and Herath set up series win For Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day

Kulasekara and Herath set up series win


Sri Lanka 240 (Sangakkara 87, Gul 4-43, Ajmal 4-87) and 171 for 3 (Warnapura 54) beat Pakistan 90 (Kulasekara 4-21) and 320 (Fawad 168, Younis 82, Herath 5-99, Kulasekara 4-37) by seven wickets

How they were out

Rangana Herath was the pick of the bowlers again, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day, July 14, 2009
Rangana Herath picked up his first five-for in Tests

A match in which fortunes swung wildly finally ended in an emphatic seven-wicket win for Sri Lanka, as they sealed their first home series win against Pakistan with a convincing performance at the P Sara Oval. Pakistan were left to rue another batting collapse of monumental proportions, one in which they lost nine wickets for 35 to go from a commanding 285 for 1 to 320 all out. That left Sri Lanka with a target of just 171, which they knocked off in a mere 32 overs to ensure a three-day result.

That had seemed a remote possibility when play started this morning, and seemed even less likely when Fawad Alam and Younis Khan were motoring along during their 200-run second-wicket partnership in the morning. Pakistan had wiped off the 150-run deficit with aplomb, and were building a substantial lead of their own; the pitch was flat, offering little assistance for pace or spin, and the Sri Lankans appeared completely deflated. Sri Lanka got a very small glimmer when Younis gifted his wicket away, attempting a reverse sweep against the part-time offspin of Tharanga Paranavitana with the second new ball just two overs away, and from there it went horribly wrong for Pakistan.

Surprisingly, it was Rangana Herath who took the new ball, and equally surprisingly, he struck immediately, removing Mohammad Yousuf with his second ball. That triggered a spectacular collapse, as seven more wickets fell in the next 92 deliveries. Pakistan had recovered brilliantly from their first-innings debacle, but there was no escape route this time around.

Nuwan Kulasekara had struggled for seam and swing in the first 80 overs, but armed with the new ball in overcast conditions, he suddenly found exaggerated inswing, trapping four batsmen lbw. Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Abdur Rauf and Saeed Ajmal all got their front foot too far across, though Misbah was unlucky as the ball seemed to be missing leg stump.

Herath, meanwhile, was as effective with the straighter one as he was with the one which turned. The lack of turn accounted for Yousuf, Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul, while turn and bounce ended Fawad's outstanding innings of 168, the second-highest by a Pakistan debutant. His four wickets with the new ball gave him figures of 5 for 99, his first five-for in Tests, and a series which had already seen several twists had another monumental, and decisive, one.

At lunch, though, no one could have seen the end coming, as Fawad and Younis reduced Sri Lanka's bowlers and fielders to a completely dispirited lot, adding 116 in 28 overs for the loss of just one wicket. More than the runs themselves, it was the ease with which Fawad and Younis batted that would have worried Kumar Sangakkara. Fawad, especially, showed excellent concentration, knocking the ball in the gaps, driving fluently through the covers, and cutting and pulling whenever the bowlers pitched it marginally short.

Sangakkara's tactics were perplexing - the second over of the day was bowled by Paranavitana - and when he did turn to his main bowlers, the results weren't much better. Ajantha Mendis had a shocker, either dragging the balls too short or serving half-volleys, and leaked 38 in six overs, including five fours.

As the runs piled up, so did the records: Fawad became only the fourth Pakistan batsman to score 150 on debut, while the partnership was the highest for the second wicket at this ground, and for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Tests.

It was all going exactly as Pakistan would have wanted it to, till Sangakkara gave the second new ball to Herath. The collapse that followed seemed to completely take the fight out of Pakistan, for when they took the field to defend 170, they were flat and uninspired. Gul and Mohammad Aamer bowled on both sides of the wicket and got none of the movement that Kulasekara had managed earlier in the afternoon. The aggressive Malinda Warnapura cashed in, getting a flurry of boundaries with pulls and flicks to ensure that Sri Lanka never felt the pressure of chasing an uncomfortable target against an attack known to trigger collapses.

The opening partnership added 60 in a mere ten overs, and even when that pair was separated, with Paranavitana playing a careless sweep, Pakistan were never in the contest as Sangakkara carried on from where he had left off in the first innings. Younis brought back Gul for a late spell, hoping for some reverse swing and inspiration, but Gul managed neither. A lofted six by Sangakkara off Malik brought down the target to just 11, but he wasn't in the middle to celebrate his first series win as captain, falling off the next delivery. With Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera around, though, that hardly mattered.

Flower optimistic about Flintoff's fitness

England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's

Flower optimistic about Flintoff's fitness

Match Facts

Thursday, 16 Jul 2009

England flag Australia flag England Vs Australia

Venue :2nd Test Match, Lord"s, London
Live action starts from: 10:00 GMT (15:30 IST) Test The Ashes 2009 Test Match Match


Andrew Flintoff talks to Andrew Strauss, Lord's, July 14, 2009
Andrew Flintoff didn't bowl in the nets at Lord's on Tuesday but will have a go on Wednesday

Andy Flower, England's coach, is optimistic that Andrew Flintoff will be fit to play in the second Test at Lord's, starting on Thursday, despite reporting soreness and swelling in his right knee after falling awkwardly in the field during last week's first Test in Cardiff.

Given his recent injury concerns, which forced Flintoff to miss 25 of England's 48 Test matches since the 2005 Ashes, the news of his latest injury setback had been greeted with concern, especially as the injured knee was the same one that required surgery back in April, after Flintoff tore his meniscus while playing for Chennai Superkings in the IPL.

Flower, however, sought to play down the extent of the latest injury, and told reporters at Lord's that Flintoff's surgeon, Dr Derek Bickerstaff, had suggested "he should be okay to play", having received a cortisone injection on Monday to assist with the recovery.

"He [Bickerstaff] was quite optimistic about him [Flintoff] playing in this game," said Flower. "He won't bowl today, but he'll have a bat and he'll have a bowl tomorrow, and we'll assess it tomorrow. We'll let it settle today."

Despite finishing with disappointing figures of 1 for 128 in 35 overs, Flintoff bowled with pace and hostility in his first Test outing of the summer in Cardiff, and with his batting showing signs of returning consistency, England still retain the hope that he might yet rediscover the form that made him such an irresistible force in the 2005 Ashes.

Nevertheless, Flower was wary of getting too hopeful about his long-term fitness. "I think with Fred and his injury record we're always concerned, to be honest," he said. "His body is in that sort of state, at this time of his career, when he seems vulnerable a lot of the time. We can't get away from that, but he's a hell of a player and we want him in our side if fit."

The statistics of Flintoff's recent form and impact on the Test side, however, are not flattering. Since the 2005 Ashes, he has averaged 28.25 with the bat and 34.68 with the ball in 23 Tests (both figures down on his overall Test record), and he has not managed a century or five wickets in an innings in any series since then.

Most damning of all, however, is his record as a match-winner. Although some leeway has to be made for the quality of the opponents - Flintoff has often been recuperating during low-key series in preparation for the marquee events - the statistics paint a sorry tale. In the 25 matches that Flintoff has missed since 2005, England have won 12, drawn 10 and lost on only three occasions. In the 23 matches in which he has been present, those numbers are almost exactly reversed - won 3, drawn 7, lost 13.

What is more, there is a growing suspicion that the unpredictable nature of Flintoff's fitness record has an adverse impact on the balance of the side, and the role of the less-vaunted players. James Anderson, for instance, who recently admitted it is hard to avoid feeling like a second-fiddle when Flintoff is in the side, averages nearly 10 runs higher when his Lancashire team-mate is also in England's bowling attack.

Flower, however, does not have any time for such suggestions that Flintoff overawes his team-mates. "I don't think that's something that should distract any of our boys, whether or not Fred's playing," he said. "The guys will just get on and prepare, as professional sportsmen do. Frustrating or not, that's how it is, there's no point in getting too het up about it."

In the meantime, Flintoff could either be replaced by, or joined in the same line-up as, Steve Harmison, who was understood to have frustrated the England management with his poor fitness and attitude on their recent tour of the Caribbean. His form this summer brooks no equivocation, with six wickets in a fiery performance for England Lions against Australia at Worcester earlier this month, and a five-wicket haul for Durham in his most recent Championship outing against Yorkshire.

Despite suggestions that Flower had been the most ardent critic of Harmison's attitude, he disputed it on the eve of the second Test. "I never drew any line under Steve, that wasn't the case at all," he said. "If that was the perception elsewhere, there's nothing I can do about it. Steve was always in the frame, because he's a hell of a fast bowler with a very good record for England."

Spinners seal historic Bangladesh win

West Indies v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Kingstown, 5th day

Spinners seal historic Bangladesh win

July 13, 2009


Bangladesh 238 (Mortaza 39, Roach 3-46) and 345 (Tamim 128, Sammy 5-70) beat West Indies 307 (Phillips 94, Bernard 53, Mahmudullah 3-59) and 181 (Bernard 52, Mahmudullah 5-51, Shakib 3-39) by 95 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Shakib Al Hasan dented West Indies early in their chase, West Indies v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Kingstown, 5th day, July 13, 2009
Shakib Al Hasan, the stand-in captain, led from the front to hand Bangladesh a historic win

Four years and six months after their solitary Test win, Bangladesh sealed a historic second victory when they beat West Indies by 95 runs in St Vincent. Bangladesh's spin twins Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah weaved a tantalising web to shove West Indies to defeat. Spare a thought, though, for David Bernard who thwarted everything thrown at him for 134 balls to remain unbeaten on a fine 52. The win, as special it was, would come with an asterisk that this was a second-string West Indies team.

The champagne moment arrived at 4.40 pm local time when the stand-in captain Shakib nailed last man Tino Best in front with a dipping full toss with only ten overs left in the day. Best put up his bat as if to suggest he had edged it but the finger was up and the Bangladeshi fielders moved into a huddle of joy. A limping Mashrafe Mortaza hobbled to the middle to join in the celebrations.

It was an enthralling last couple of sessions in the beautiful Kingstown stadium ringed by sea. The cricket in nature was almost sub-continental in its elements. Spinners operated with several close-in men prowling near the batsmen waiting for a mistake, and an over-excited chirpy wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur Rahim, applying immense pressure on the batsmen and the umpires with his appeals and adding drama with his oohs and aahs. And when the seamers came on, it wasn't seam but reverse swing on view with the slinging Rubel Hossain and the grunting Shahadat Hossain trying their best to break through.

And the plot thickened in the last session, as Bernard found a willing partner in Nikita Miller, taking the minds back to Cardiff where England pulled off a great escape yesterday. But Mohammad Ashraful, who failed in both innings with the bat, stamped his presence in the game by removing Miller, who hung on his backfoot to defend stoutly for 54 balls, with one that straightened to get the edge. Mahmudullah returned to trap Ryan Austin and take out Kemar Roach before Shakib sealed the finish.

Until then, Bernard had proved to be a huge headache to the visitors as he stood solidly between them and history. His CV describes him as a stylish batsman but today he added grit to the existing grace. Even under tremendous pressure, he managed to bat almost elegantly, using his wrists skillfully to ride the turn and the bounce on the final-day's wicket. While the rest around him pushed hard at the ball, he played with soft hands and defended confidently. The contest between Shakib and him was high-quality, with the bowler shifting angles and trying everything in his arsenal - the left-arm breaks, the straighter one, the arm-ball, the round-arm delivery, over and round-the-wicket - but he was in a zone of his own. He moved forward or back, as the length demanded of him, using his wrists to drop the ball down short of the fielders. When the spin strangle got tighter, he had the courage to play the pressure-relieving strokes like the lofted drives and the cuts. He survived a close lbw shout in the 44th over against Shakib when a ball straightened to hit the pad in front of the stumps but that blemish apart, he was pretty solid.

However, Shakib and Mahmudullah ensured no other batsmen would deny them a slice of history. Shakib, hailed by the former Australian spinner Kerry O' Keefe as the "best finger spinner in the world", turned in a suffocating spell of left-arm spin to relentlessly force the pressure on West Indies. Shakib was slightly slow through the air in the first innings and couldn't pose too many problems on a slow track. However, today, he ripped it slightly quicker and immediately looked threatening. He varied his pace, even his angle, by lowering the arm on occasions, and, unsurprisingly, was the better of the two spinners, despite finishing with fewer wickets. He occasionally got the ball to straighten and slipped in a few with the arm.

In his first over Shakib harassed Omar Phillips before going past an attempted sweep to trap the batsman. Later, when Darren Sammy and Bernard added 37 in 11.3 overs, he struck, removing Sammy with a little bit of help from the batsman. Suddenly, against the run of play and just before tea, Sammy jumped out and sliced an ambitious square drive straight to point.

Even when he was not taking wickets, Shakib kept the pressure on and by keeping the batsmen on a leash, allowed Mahmudullah the space to wreak some damage. At one point in the chase Rahim shouted out to Mahmudullah: "Just keep hitting the right areas; the pitch would take care of the rest buddy". Mahmudullah did exactly that to pick up three quick wickets after lunch before he returned to take another two in the last session. He tightened the stranglehold by being accurate and making the batsmen play at every ball. It paid off and how.

Floyd Reifer, who was tormented by Shakib, showed himself to be a prime lbw candidate. Time and again, that front leg was pressed dangerously across but he managed to stab and jab his way out against Shakib. But Mahmudullah broke through finally with one that landed and straightened to strike that front leg. His next victim was Travis Dowlin, inducing a nervous prod straight to short-leg. Chadwick Walton walked in and started off with a second-ball six but was done in by one that kept low from Mahmudullah and was struck in front of the leg stump.

The slide had started with a moment of madness from the opener Dale Richards who added 20 runs in two overs before he had a brain freeze. He ambled out of the crease after being hit on the pad by Shahadat Hossain, all the while looking anxiously at the umpire for the verdict on the lbw appeal, which went in his favour, but was run out by a direct hit. That allowed Bangladesh the opening and they stormed through.

When the day started, it looked as if Bangladesh were dawdling with the bat and not showing enough urgency to either go for quick runs or leave many overs as possible to bowl out West Indies. However, Darren Sammy took a five-for to bowl them out and that proved a blessing in hindsight as it allowed their spinners enough time to bowl them to a euphoric triumph.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sri Lanka search for historic series win

Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Colombo

Sri Lanka search for historic series win

July 11, 2009

Match facts


Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan

Venue :2nd Test Match, P Sara Oval, Colombo
Live action starts from: 04:30 GMT (10:00 IST) Test Pakistan Tour of Sri Lanka 2009 Test Match

July 12-16, 2009
Start time 10.00 (04.30 GMT)

The Big Picture

Umar Gul celebrates Mahela Jayawardene's wicket, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lahore, 1st day, March 1, 2009
Umar Gul had a disappointing time in Galle, and will need to lift his performance considerably in the second Test

Two hours of poor batting undid three days of excellent work for Pakistan in the first Test in Galle, and they now have the onerous task of needing to win two back-to-back Tests to take the series, or win one and draw the other to ensure their record of not losing a series in Sri Lanka remains intact. For Sri Lanka, on the other hand, it was a fantastic result, considering the match situation going into the fourth day and the absence of Muttiah Muralitharan. The momentum is with the home team, but no international side is more unpredictable than Pakistan, and Kumar Sangakkara will be wary of a backlash as he searches for a series win in his first attempt as captain.

The end result was bitterly disappointing for Pakistan, but they can take heart from the fact that their bowlers restricted the home team's formidable batting line-up to less than 300 in both innings in Galle. The batting, though, presents more problems, especially at the top of the order. That's been a worry for a long time for Pakistan, and neither Salman Butt nor Khurram Manzoor inspired much confidence in the first Test. A three-Test series leaves little time for a comeback, and Pakistan need to believe they can still extricate themselves from the hole they are in.

The Sri Lankans are in a happier situation, but they were lucky that their batting lapses in both innings didn't cost them the game. Despite several big names in the line-up, the batting has been patchy of late, and the P Sara Oval presents an opportunity for Sangakkara and Co to repay the debt they owe the bowlers, who were quite outstanding in a high-pressure situation on the fourth day in Galle. The absence of Murali remains a worry for the home team - and an opportunity for Pakistan to exploit - despite the poise with which Rangana Herath filled that gap in the first Test.

Test form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka - WDDWW
Pakistan - LDDDD

Watch out for ...

Ajantha Mendis: In his only previous Test here, against India last year, Mendis took 8 for 137, including a five-for in the first innings. He hasn't been at the top of his game lately, but with Murali absent, this will be the perfect moment for him to step up again.

Kumar Sangakkara: In six previous Tests at this ground, Sangakkara has scored 548 runs at an average of 78.28. His last three innings here read 200 not out, 144 and 4. He had a quiet game with the bat in Galle, but his past record here, coupled with the opportunity to seal his first Test series win as captain, could inspire him on to greater deeds here.

Younis Khan: Pakistan's captain had a disappointing match too in Galle, scoring 25 and 3, and offering little support to Mohammad Yousuf. Younis has usually led from the front, and if past performances in crunch games is any indicator, expect him to get a truckload of runs over the next five days.

Team news

Both teams are undecided on their playing XI. The only question Sri Lanka need to answer is the wicketkeeping issue: Tillakaratne Dilshan was adequate in Galle, but he was also helped by the fact that Pakistan didn't bat very long. Murali's absence means they'll probably go in with five bowlers, with Dilshan most likely to keep wickets again.

Sri Lanka (likely) 1 Malinda Warnapura, 2 Tharanga Paranavitana, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan (wk), 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Thilan Thushara, 11 Ajantha Mendis.

There was also much criticism in Pakistan over the exclusion of Fawad Alam and Abdul Razzaq from the squad, and one quick-fix solution for the second Test could be to open with Shoaib Malik, drop a regular opener, and fit in either Alam or Razzaq. The rest of the bowling attack will probably remain the same, but Pakistan will need a much better display from Umar Gul, who returned figures of 2 for 107 from 24 overs in the first Test.

Pakistan (likely) 1 Salman Butt/ Khurram Manzoor, 2 Shoaib Malik, 3 Younis Khan (capt), 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Kamran Akmal (wk), 7 Fawad Alam/ Abdul Razzaq, 8 Abdur Rauf, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Mohammad Aamer, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the P Sara is hard and has a bit of grass on it, and should have good bounce. Spinners have traditionally done well at this ground, and they can look forward to some assistance from the track from the fourth day onwards.

It has been hot, humid and mostly cloudless over the past three days, but the forecast is for rain over the next week.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have won their last four Tests at the P Sara Oval, though two of those were against Bangladesh. Their overall record here is six wins and two losses, one of which was against Pakistan in 1994.
  • Pakistan have won and drawn once each against Sri Lanka here, but their last Test at this ground was against Australia in 2002, which they lost by 41 runs.
  • Mahela Jayawardene has only scored one century in eight innings at this venue, and his average is a relatively modest 42.42.
  • Fast bowlers average 35.11 per wicket in the seven Tests at this ground since 2000, with only three five-wicket hauls. Spinners have done better, averaging 30.97 for their 100 wickets, with six five-fors.

Quotes

"If you see the history of Pakistan cricket, if we have lost one match we come back in a very big way. I have enough confidence in these boys, that they have the courage and the character to come back."
Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach

"When you win one, you always have that edge for the next game, but it's a new Test and a new start. What happened a week ago will really not matter when the first ball is bowled."
Kumar Sangakkara

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Watch Scotland Vs Canada live Streaming

Wednesday, 08 Jul 2009

Scotland flag Canada flag Scotland Vs Canada

Venue :2nd One Day International, Mannofield Park, Aberdeen
Live action starts from: 09:45 GMT (15:15 IST) ODI Canada Tour of Scotland 2009 One Day International Match

England v Australia, 1st npower Test, Cardiff

England v Australia, 1st npower Test, Cardiff

Test of character for both teams

Match facts

England flag Australia flag England Vs Australia
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Start time 11.00am (10.00 GMT)



Venue :1st Test Match, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Live action starts from: 10:00 GMT (15:30 IST) Test The Ashes 2009 Test Match Match

The Big Picture


Kevin Pietersen pulls at the nets, Cardiff, July 6, 2006
Kevin Pietersen, the player Australia most fear

England's turn to host the Ashes always results in an extended build-up and after 31 months the talk stops on Wednesday and a pair of teams with many fresh faces continue a 122-year rivalry. Both sides have changed line-ups considerably since the past two series and the chest injury to Brett Lee, who is out of the Cardiff and Lord's games, takes further experience away from Australia while increasing the comfort of the local batsmen.

The home side has a new Ashes captain in Andrew Strauss and two match-winners in Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff. All three have beaten Australia and lost heavily to them. In the baggy green corner sits Ricky Ponting, a leader on his fourth tour of England, and he is in charge of an outfit that can no longer rely on Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist et al. After losing to India and South Africa, they crossed the Indian Ocean and beat the Proteas to retain the game's top spot earlier this year, but doubt remains over their status. On the rankings page this is a battle between No. 1 and No. 5, but for Australia and England it is much more than that. The history of the competition is so detailed that the players will be told to break it down to a simple, clutter-free contest. It will be impossible for the Ashes debutants and how they cope with the initial stages could determine the result of the first Test.

Instead of Lord's or Edgbaston or Old Trafford staging the opening game, the players have stepped into Wales for the series welcome in Cardiff. It is the city's first Test match and there are still rumblings that it has been given a chapter of Ashes history. Australian supporters have tried to move on from the gripping 2005 defeat and England fans seem to have slept through the 2006-07 whitewash. Both sides want this version to be unforgettable.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)

England - WWDDD
Australia - LWWWL

Watch out for ...

Kevin Pietersen is the player Australia feared most when they had Warne and McGrath, a world-beating pair which could not stop him from taking 963 runs at 53.50 in the two previous series. An Achilles injury threatens to be Pietersen's Achilles and he has only started running in the past week. A hobbling Pietersen could derail England's hopes, but his swagger is the most pronounced during the biggest contests and he will do anything to make it through to The Oval.

In South Africa Mitchell Johnson turned from a sometimes meek and wayward operator into the most frightening bowler in the game. He forced Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis to retire hurt while taking two wickets in the same opening spell in Durban, his potent short deliveries backed up by a new-found ability to swing the ball in as well as moving it away. Throw in his silky yet powerful batting and his performances could determine the series.

Team news

All of England's players are fit so they have to trim two men from their squad. Ian Bell should remain on the fringe and the final choice for the bowling place will be between Monty Panesar and Graham Onions. Panesar had a much longer workout in the nets than Onion on Tuesday. England (possible) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Andrew Flintoff, 7 Matt Prior, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Graham Onions.

Lee's stomach injury has seriously disrupted Australia's plans and leaves a delicate choice for the tourists. Picking Nathan Hauritz alongside Johnson, Siddle and Clark is the most orthodox option, even though the offspinner has found county batsmen a challenge in the two warm-ups. Ben Hilfenhaus and Andrew McDonald will also have their cases pushed and all the combinations carry an element of risk. Australia (possible) 1 Simon Katich, 2 Phillip Hughes, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Stuart Clark, 11 Peter Siddle.

Pitch and conditions

Ponting expects the pitch to have some moisture at the start, providing "slow-ish seam and trampoline" bounce, but he believes it will turn. The pitch spent most of Monday morning under the covers and when it was revealed in the afternoon there was not much green on the strip. Less colour was on show on Tuesday.

Andrew Strauss said it looked like a good pitch, but one that would not offer much pace or bounce. "There will be a little bit in it for everyone," he said, "and that's the sort of wicket we were hoping to see." The weather has been unpredictable, with rain and sun fighting for attention, and more wet conditions are predicted for the end of the week.

Stats and trivia

  • In 300 Ashes Tests England have won 95; Australia have been successful in 121
  • It is 1410 days since England won their last Ashes Test, at Trent Bridge in 2005
  • None of Australia's fast bowlers have played a Test in England
  • Allan Border was the last Australian captain to lose two Ashes series when his sides were beaten in 1985 and 1986-87
  • Australia must win the contest to keep the No. 1 Test rating

Quotes

"We know the type of cricket we need to play to win this series and we've got good ideas as to the type Australia are going to play too. We have to keep nice and calm and controlled."
Andrew Strauss

"Their side reads pretty good and I think if you matched both sides up on paper it would be pretty hard to pick the winner."
Ricky Ponting

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