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Dec 10, 2009

India will play 2 Tests in 11 months is ridiculous

For a side which has just been coroneted world No.1 in Test cricket, it is ridiculous that India would be playing just 2 test matches in the next 11 months, feels Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.

"I read somewhere that in the next 11 months or so India will play only about two-odd Tests. How ridiculous is that? How can you judge India's performance over the next 11 months? You can judge them over the past few months - they have played very well and I have no problem with them being number one," said Geoffrey Boycott.

He said the ICC ranking system should not be believed precise unless all the Test playing nations play each other home and away equal number of times.

"Ranking system can never be taken literally or accurately. Doesn't matter which country is at the top, because there is no fair way at the moment of all the countries playing each other the same number of times. So don't get sucked into believing that the ranking holds true for whoever is number one," he said.

The cricketer-turned-commentator feels the top Test playing nations, including India, play each other more frequently only to make more money.

"Top sides want to play each other because they want to make more money out of it. India, England, Australia and South Africa are going to play each other more than they do some of the other lesser nations," Boycott said.

Dec 8, 2009

India in Bangladesh tour 2010 Schedule

DateMatch DetailsTimeVenue
Jan 17 - 21
India v Bangladesh, 1st Test
Jan 24 - 28
India v Bangladesh, 2nd Test

India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Tri-Series 2010 Schedule

Pakistan in Australia Tour Schedule, 2009-10

DateMatch DetailsTimeVenue
Dec 26 - 30
Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test
Aus won by 170 runs
Jan 03 - 07
Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test
Aus won by 36 runs
Jan 14 - 18
Australia v Pakistan, 3rd Test
Jan 22 - Fri
Australia v Pakistan, 1st ODI
Jan 24 - Sun
Australia v Pakistan, 2nd ODI
Jan 26 - Tue
Australia v Pakistan, 3rd ODI
Jan 29 - Fri
Australia v Pakistan, 4th ODI
Jan 31 - Sun
Australia v Pakistan, 5th ODI
Feb 05 - Fri
Australia v Pakistan, Only T20I

Dec 7, 2009

MS Dhoni takes India to No.1 in Test

India stormed to the peak of the ICC test rankings with a booming 2-0 series victory against Sri Lanka. This is the 1st time India are ranked No.1 in ICC Test cricket.

This win is India's 13th against Sri Lanka in Tests. In the 32 Tests they have played against Sri Lanka, India has 13 victories under their belt while ending up on the losing side only 5 times. 14 matches draw. This is also India's sixth series victory against Sri Lanka.

Nov 27, 2009

Gautam Gambhir unavailable for 3rd Test

India will be without the services of Gautam Gambhir for the 3rd cricket Test against Sri Lanka at Mumbai as the left-handed opening batsman will be attending his sister's wedding on December 3.

December is usually the wedding season in North India.

Gautam Gambhir's unavailability means a spot will be open in the team for an opener. The man expected to benefit is Murali Vijay who is part of the team and has played for India before when Gambhir was unavailable.

Murali Vijay had previous filled in for a suspended Gambhir against Australia, and looked solid in his debut match.

The Senior Selection Committee maintained the same side for the 3rd Test to be played from December 2-6 but said because of Gautam Gambhir's unavailability, the strength of the team will be fourteen.

"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has retained the same side for the 3rd Test of the ongoing series against Sri Lanka, to be played at Mumbai from 2 December 2009 to 6 December 2009," said BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

"Gambhir will not be available for the Test, on account of his sister's wedding on 3 December. The strength of the team for the Mumbai Test will thus be fourteen," he added.

Indian Team: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Pragyan Ojha and S Sreesanth.

India won by an innings and 144 runs

India produced a command show to win the 2nd Test against Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs - their 3rd largest margin of victory ever. It was India's 100th Test match win. It was fitting that the final moment belonged to India's newest participant into the Test arena - Pragyan Ojha.

India pretty much leaded throughout the test. India won the toss and batting first, India's top three scored big hundreds as India posted a very big 642. S. Sreesanth was the wrecker-in-chief yesterday, getting 5 wickets to give India a massive lead. Following-on, Sri Lanka started dreadfully losing their first four batsmen in one session. Samaraweera and Mendis delayed the predictable with a 73-run dogged stand for the ninth wicket. As far as Sri Lanka are concerned, their 1st win on Indian soil still remains exclusive and they want to pull up their socks before the final test.

Margin of VictoryOppositionVenueDate

inns & 239 runsv BangladeshDhaka25 May 2007
inns & 219 runsv AustraliaKolkata18 Mar 1998
inns & 144 runsv Sri LankaKanpur24 Nov 2009
inns & 140 runsv BangladeshDhaka10 Dec 2004
inns & 131 runsv PakistanRawalpindi13 Apr 2004
inns & 119 runsv Sri LankaLucknow18 Jan 1994
inns & 112 runsv West IndiesMumbai09 Oct 2002
inns & 109 runsv New ZealandChennai06 Jan 1956
inns & 106 runsv Sri LankaNagpur27 Dec 1986
inns & 101 runsv ZimbabweNagpur21 Feb 2002

The win here ensured that India couldn't lose the Test series, with only one Test left and left the team with many positives. The big one was the return of S. Sreesanth, giving India a strong new ball pair once again. Sreesanth's good show should also inspire Ishant Sharma to find again his form, rhythm and pace, and give India a very good seam attack. Pragyan Ojha also had a good debut, and exhibited wonderful control. He had the cushion of a vast total to bowl to, and there will be more challenging situations in the future, but the starting signs were tremendously encouraging. The batting has been in good hands for a while now, and when the team has wanted it, one or more batsmen have put their hands up and performed. Last, but not least, it was cheering to see Rahul Dravid back to his free-flowing best. He looked to have find again his touch in New Zealand, but now he was back to his best self, converting starts to massive scores and looking steady at the crease.

Man of the Match : Sreesanth

Nov 20, 2009

India has drawn the 1st test against Sri Lanka

India has drawn the 1st test match against Sri Lanka as Sachin Tendulkar celebrated his 20th year in test cricket with his 43rd Test Century.

A patient unbeaten 100 by Sachin Tendulkar helped India wipe out a huge first-innings deficit of 334 runs to finish at 412-4 in its 2nd innings on Friday.

Left-hander Gautam Gambhir hit 114 and shared a decisive 66-run stand with Tendulkar

Sri Lanka had racked up the highest innings total in India before declaring at 760-7. That was in reply to India's 1st innings effort of 426.

MS Dhoni: "We had to handle our nerves and that's what showed. We're proud of this achievement. The series will go close. We can bowl more disciplined lines, but apart from that the bowlers bowled their hearts out. It wasn't easy. We're not worried about the batting. We expected the track to have a bit more bounce for the spinners, but it favored the batsmen."

Kumara Sangakkara: "A bit disappointed but a few surprises. The Jayawardenes, Dilshan and Samaraweera played well. We showed a lot of fight and spunk. It was a pretty flat track. We were thinking positive and needed something to go our way today but that didn't happen. But we're not too disappointed. Welegedara having to step in on the morning of the match, did fantastically. Prasad showed a lot heart to bowl at 140 plus with a hamstring. It's nice to see people put their hands up."

Man of the Match: Mahela Jayawardene, for his 275, his 27th Test century

Nov 18, 2009

West Indies in Australia Tour 2009-10 Schedule

DateMatch DetailsTimeVenue
Nov 26-30Australia Vs West Indies, 1st Test00:01Brisbane
Dec 04-08Australia Vs West Indies, 2nd Test23:30Adelaide
Dec 16-20Australia Vs West Indies, 3rd Test02:30Perth
Feb 7 SunAustralia Vs West Indies, 1st ODI03:15Melbourne
Feb 9 TueAustralia Vs West Indies, 2nd ODI03:15Sydney
Feb 12 FriAustralia Vs West Indies, 3rd ODI03:15Sydney
Feb 14 SunAustralia Vs West Indies, 4th ODI03:15Brisbane
Feb 19 FriAustralia Vs West Indies, 5th ODI03:15Melbourne
Feb 21 SunAustralia Vs West Indies, 1st T2005:00Hobart
Feb 23 TueAustralia Vs West Indies, 2nd T2008:35Sydney

Nov 17, 2009

One of my most fluent innings: Rahul Dravid

Architect of India's brilliant turn in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka, Rahul Dravid yesterday described his elegant unbeaten knock of 177 as one of his most fluent efforts in recent times.

"It's one of my most fluent efforts in the last two-three years. My feet were moving well and I felt I was in control," said the wall.

Rahul DravidThe hosts were reeling at 32 for four before Rahul Dravid's 27th Test century, studded with 26 fours and a six, lifted them from the muddle and put them at a sound 385 for six at the end of first day.

"When we were 32 for four, the crumple for 76 against South Africa was at the back of our minds. But we knew it was just a question of having some partnerships going, hang in there till lunch and that's what we did," he said.

"The partnership with Yuvraj Singh steadied the innings in the 1st session, we consolidated in the second and then with skipper MS Dhoni the partnership set it up. Both are attacking players and we knew if they can bat for 150-160 balls then 100 runs would be scored," Dravid said.

Dravid first put the innings on an even keel with a stand of 125 with Yuvraj for the 5th wicket and then increased the stroke with a belligerent 6th wicket partnership of 224 in 306 balls with Captain Dhoni (110) who too notched up a hundred.

Dravid, who completed 11,000 runs and went past Steve Waugh in the leading run-getters lists.

Dilhara Fernando to replace injured Thilan Thushara

Sri Lankan left-arm Faster Thilan Thushara was today ruled out of the ongoing Test series against India due to a shoulder injury and will be replaced by pacer Dilhara Fernando in the visitors' 15-member squad.

Thilan ThusharaThushara has been announced unfit for around four weeks and would be sent home to undertake treatment.

"Thilan Thushara, will return back to Sri Lanka due to a shoulder injury, and as such he will not be match fit for approximately 2 to 4 weeks," the Sri Lankan Cricket said in a statement today.

"Thilan will be sent back and Dilhara Fernando will replace him," it added.

Sri Lanka is now playing the first Test of three-match series at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad. Thushara was not comprised in the playing XI for the 1st Test match.

Nov 13, 2009

Sri Lanka bank on bowling variety ahead of Tests

After experiencing a day of unseasonably rains that brought Mumbai to an idle, the Sri Lankan Cricket team woke up to a clearer sky on Thursday. But the rain stayed away, the killing it left behind ensured that the visitors could do little in terms of their preparation for the Three Test series against India. The Sri Lankans reached the ground more than an hour before the Board President's XI team did, but they had to sit around waiting for the umpires before heading indoors again. There was a pitch inspection at 1 pm, but it prove to be a mere procedure as play was called off again.

Team manager Brendon Kuruppu said that the visitors used the unexpected time off beneficially. "We have missed two full days of practice, but we've exhausted our time well, practicing indoors and utilizing the facilities," the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman said. "Going to Ahmedabad earlier than planned in order to get in an additional outdoor session before the first Test is an option," he said.

Sri Lanka have a very poor history in India, They never won the test Series. Particularly in the game's long format 14 Tests without ever really coming close to winning. But Brendon Kuruppu insists that the present lot not only has an extra spring in its stride, but also a venomous sting in its tail. "We've done well in Tests in the last two years all over the world. This young lot is full with confidence," he says. "Our batsmen have done well here on most occasions. But never before has a Lankan team landed in India with such a strong bowling attack," he says.

In Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka have three different spinners. While Muralitharan may not have the great record in India, he did return home with 16 wickets in 2005, and the Indian batsmen are well alert of the perils associated with Mendis. Herath, meanwhile, has reinvented himself in recent times, outperforming even Muralitharan during the recent home series against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Nov 11, 2009

Pakistan in New Zealand Test Series Schedule 2009

Match Details
Time (GMT)Venue
Nov 24 - 28
Pakistan v New Zealand, 1st Test
Dec 3 - 7
Pakistan v New Zealand, 2nd Test
Dec 16-20
Pakistan v New Zealand, 3rd Test

Mohammad Yousuf appointed Pakistan Captain

Pakistan on Wednesday appointed Mohammad Yousuf as Skipper for the Test tour of New Zealand after Younus Khan requested for a rest following the one-day series defeat against the same country.

Mohammad Yousuf"Yes, Younus Khan has asked for a rest so we have appointed Yousuf as Skipper for the three-Test tour," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt told AFP, adding, "It has nothing to do with the defeat against New Zealand."

Pakistan lost the three-match ODI series 2-1 after a slight seven-run defeat in the final on Monday.

Following the one-day series crush, Pakistani media reported that Younus Khan had lost the confidence of his players, who wanted him to be replaced.

Pakistan will fly from here on Sunday to play 3 Tests in New Zealand.

Nov 10, 2009

Indian Team announced, Zaheer and Sreesanth included

S. Sreesanth has been given a shock recall into the Indian team for the first two tests against Sri Lanka. He was amid the two pacers recalled to the side, with pace spearhead Zaheer Khan being the other one.

Zaheer KhanZaheer Khan returns to the team after recovering from a shoulder injury, which had kept back him out of India's recent assignments.

The team also includes Murali Vijay, who filled in as opener for Gautam Gambhir when India played Australia in a four Test series late last year, and Badrinath, who has yet to make his Test debut.

Ashish Nehra, who did reasonably well in the ongoing one-day series against Australia, failed to get the selectors' nod, as did Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar and Virat Kohli - who are all part of the current ODI squad.

As expected, the veteran batting pair of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retained their places.

S. SreesanthThe selection of S. Sreesanth raised eyebrows as the Kerala faster has not really done anything significant in the domestic circuit since recovering from a back injury.

The selection seems all the more baffling given the fact that the bowler, who has a history of disciplinary indiscretions, was only last month given a final warning by the Cricket Board to mend his ways. .

The 26-year-old Sreesanth will return to the Test fold after one-and-half year having played his last Test in April 2008 against South Africa in Kanpur.

Excepting the selection of Sreesanth over Nehra, there were no major surprises in the squad, which has eight specialist batsmen, three pacers, three spinners and only one wicketkeeper in Dhoni.

The recently out-of-sorts Ishant Sharma retained his place, while Pragyan Ojha - who has done well whenever he has got a chance to represent India - has been picked as the third spinner in the squad that includes Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra.

After the Test series, the Sri Lankans will play two Twenty20 matches and five one-dayers.

The squad:

MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, M Vijay, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra.

Oct 14, 2009

Jacob Oram announced to retire from Test cricket

Jacob Oram has announced his retirement from Test cricket, but said Oram remains committed to representing New Zealand in limited-over international Matches.

The retirement is effectual immediately. Jacob Oram said that after ongoing fights with injury he hoped a decreased workload would allow him to extend his international playing career.

Jacob Oram"I have decided to retire from Test cricket match. This decision has been a very hard one and has not been made without careful deliberation and discussion with those closest to me," Oram said.

"The last few years have exposed that my body cannot handle the strains and stresses that come with being an all-rounder, playing all three formats for up to 10 months a year.

"For the sake of longevity I have had to make a decision that will decrease my workload, so I can concentrate all my efforts on the shorter forms of the game.

"The decision to choose limited-overs cricket over Test cricket has a lot to do with playing chances. The BlackCaps play a lot more limited overs cricket than Tests, and there's also the chance to continue playing in world events such as the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy, as well as the IPL.

"The opportunity to expend more time at home with my family including my first child, due next month, is also a major motive for deciding to pull back on playing commitments and time away from home.

"I have attempted to delay any decision about my future career path for some time now. However in light of my latest injury at the Champions Trophy it has became clear to me that now is the time to give up something to try and stay in the game longer.

"I am hoping this conclusion extends my career. I do not want to put an exact time frame on that, as I have learnt that sometimes my body and my mind are on dissimilar wavelengths.

"The ICC World Cup in 2011 is a main focus for me and I am highly motivated to be fit and firing for that. Eventually, I would like to go for a couple of seasons after that, but as I said I am reluctant to put a fixed date on it.

Jacob Oram has played 33 Tests since his debut in December 2002, scoring 1780 runs at an average of 36.32. His record contains five hundreds and six fifties, with a high score of 133 against South Africa at Centurion in April 2006.

With the ball Oram has taken 60 Test wickets at an average of 33.05. His best Test bowling of 4-41 came against India at Hamilton in 2002. For a period in 2008 he was in the top five ICC rankings for Test all-rounders.

Aug 31, 2009

Victorious Sri Lanka turns focus on India

Having toyed with Pakistan & New Zealand, Kumar Sangakkara's Sri Lanka are eyeing India as their next scalp as the battle heats up to be the world's top Test team.

Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan & New Zealand by identical 2-0 margins at home to climb to the number Second spot in the official rankings with a rating of 120 behind number one team South Africa's 122.

With India just one rating point behind in Sri Lanka on 119 and Ashes Series losers Australia in fourth place with 116, the rush at the top could see a new number one by the end of the year.

Sri Lanka wants to win their three-Test series in India in November-December to overtake South Africa, while a 2-0 win for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will drive India to the top.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test match Series in India, let only a series, in seven previous visits across the Palk Straits, with 8 losses and 6 draws since their first Test there in Chennai in 1982.

It's a record Sangakkara, who has won 4 of his 5 Tests as captain since taking over from Mahela Jayawardene earlier this year, is firm to set straight.

"The Indian tour will test everyone, mentally, physically and skill wise," he told reporters.

"But if we do our homework right, be confident, prepare as best as we can and go out there looking to win, and if our attitude is positive, we will do well."

When they last played a series in India in December, 2005, Sri Lanka lost the 2nd Test in New Delhi by 188 runs and the 3rd in Ahmedabad by 259 runs after the first game in Chennai was washed out.

"One likes to play against the best and India will absolutely be a tough side to conquer," said Sangakkara. "It is not easy playing Test cricket in India."

Both sides get a chance to gauge each other's powers when India join New Zealand and Sri Lanka in a limited-overs tri-series in Colombo from September 8-14.

India and Sri Lanka are wan in different group for the Champions Trophy in South Africa in late-September, but could meet in the semi-finals if they qualify after the preliminary round.

Aug 24, 2009

England regain Ashes with 5th Test win

England get backed the Ashes with a 197-run win over Australia in the 5th and final Test at the Oval here on Sunday.

Victory, reached with more than a day to spare, saw England win the five-match series 2-1.

Australia, set what would have been a world record fourth innings victory total of 546, were all out for 348 with Michael Hussey last man out for 121, when he was caught close in by Alastair Cook off spinner Graeme Swann.

"It's a special moment. It hasn't sunk in yet. We had to dig in and fight," said England captain Andrew Strauss.

"When we were bad in the series, we were very bad but when we were good we were very good."

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said: "We gave it all we could, but it wasn't enough. Full credit to England, they won the crucial moments and deserved to win the series.

"I think this series has shown that Test cricket is alive and well around the world."

From 327 for five, the end came fastly with four wickets going down for 16 runs in 32 balls, with fast bowler Stephen Harmison taking three for seven in 13 himself.

It was a remarkable turnaround for England, who'd lost the 4th Test by an innings and 80 runs at Headingley, and had only clung on for a draw in the series opener at Cardiff by a single wicket.

Australia had been making steady development at 217 for two before Ponting was run out by Andrew Flintoff's direct hit in the all-rounder's last match before his Test retirement.

Five balls later Michael Clarke was also run out, for nought, before England's progress was checked by a sixth-wicket stand of 91 between Hussey and Brad Haddin.

But just when England fans were starting to vex again, Haddin, on 34, went down the pitch to Swann, who took four for 120 in 40.2 overs, and hoisted a mistimed drive to Strauss at mid-wicket.

And 327 for six became 327 for seven when Australia lost another two wickets in quick succession.

Mitchell Johnson went for a seven-ball nought, brilliantly caught by diving second slip Paul Collingwood off his Durham team-mate Harmison.

Peter Siddle then got a leading edge off Harmison and Flintoff held a simple catch at mid-off.

Harmison made it two wickets in two balls when Stuart Clark was snapped up at short leg by Cook.

Ben Hilfenhaus survived the hat-trick but the end was nigh.

England had taken the new ball after tea with Australia 278 for five.

But Hussey's two off Stuart Broad saw him to a first Test century in 29 innings off 219 balls with 11 boundaries.

Flintoff and Strauss had amazed Australia with two run-outs, the first they'd suffered this series, before tea to dismiss Ponting and Clarke.

Aug 21, 2009

Yet another world record for Muralitharan

Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan today surpassed Australia's Shane Warne in creating a new world record by bowling the most number of maiden overs in Test cricket.

Muralitharan, playing in his 128th Test currently happening against the New Zealand, overtook Warne's record by bowling his 1752nd maiden over at the Galle Stadium. Shane Warne has bowled 1751 maiden overs in his 145-Test career.

Muralitharan set up the record when he bowled the 79-th over of the first innings during the first Test for a maiden.

It was the 27th over of Murali and the batsman on the crease against whom the deliveries were bolwed was Jacob Oram.

Muralitharan is the top wicket-taker in both Tests and in ODIs. He took the wicket of Gautham Gambhir in February this year in Colombo, to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets.

The 37-year-old Muralitharan became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he overtake the previous record-holder Shane Warne in December 2007.

Aug 19, 2009

We want to win it for Flintoff: Anderson

With England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff gearing up for his last Test, pace bowler James Anderson wishes to give his outgoing teammate a fitting farewell by winning the Ashes series.

The five-match Test Series is currently levelled 1-1 and England has to win the final Test, starting tomorrow at The Oval, to wring the urn from Australia.

"The team would like to give Flintoff something special to go out with. We want to win regardless, of course, but it would be fantastic if Flintoff could depart on a high," Anderson said.

"Having him back will help our ability of winning the game and give him opportunity to writing his farewell. After the Test career he has had that's what he deserves," he added.

After a knee injury forced him out of the fourth Test in Leeds, where the visitors handed England an innings and 80 runs mauling, Flintoff has been cleared for the decider.

"With Flintoff, you get a big spell out of him and sometimes, it can be a match-winning spell. He forced take only three wickets in the innings, and someone else gets the five-for, but it is Flintoff who made the difference," Anderson was quoted as saying in 'The Sun'.

The 27-year-old also feels he would miss sharing the England bowling assault with Flintoff.

"I love bowling in tandem with Flintoff. It benefits me as a bowler. He hits the deck and I swing the ball. It's a nice combination."

Aug 18, 2009

'Ravi Bopara's the future of English cricket'

After a run of poor scores that have seen him total 105 runs in 7 innings in the ongoing Ashes, Ravi Bopara has been drop for the deciding fifth Test at the Oval, but the batsman can take heart from the truth that the men who matter still see him as 'the future of English cricket'.

On Monday Bopara was named in three part limited-overs squads - which were also famous for the inclusion of injury-troubled all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and the uncapped Joe Denly, as well as the slip of key batsman Kevin Pietersen as he continues his revival from ankle surgery.

National selector Geoff Miller completed it clear how highly Bopara's talent was prized.

"Ravi Bopara is an exciting player," he told Sky Sports News.

"He has been released from this Test match but he is a quality player, and we see him as the future of English cricket."

England is hoping Flintoff's decision to focus solely on limited-overs cricket will pay dividends.

"We are hoping he is going to be able to play as many of those games as possible, because that is what he has set himself to do," Miller said of Flintoff.

Pietersen's first sensible target now is the start of England's Test and ODI winter in the country of his birth.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior is back in the fold, after James Foster was preferred for the mid-summer World Twenty20 - and Owais Shah is retained.

Miller explained: "Matt Prior has showed himself as a very, very good all-round player. His wicketkeeping has improved, and he is a quality batsman."

Denly, meanwhile, is already hoping ODI cricket can prove a stepping stone for him.

"Test cricket is the ultimate for any cricketer," he said.

"I hope I can now push for a place in the Test squad."

Aug 5, 2009

Flintoff took sixth injection jab last night

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has taken six injections in the last 18 days to avoid his recurring knee injury from spoiling his dream run at the Ashes, in the last part of which the 31-year-old would bid farewell to Test cricket.

According to a statement in the 'Daily Mirror', "Flintoff is still confident about his chances of playing in Friday's fourth Test at Headingley, despite running repairs to his right knee which have turned him into an effective pin cushion."

Flintoff's fitness has become a main anxiety for England, which has a 1-0 edge in the series thanks largely to the all-rounder's heroic performances.

Flintoff had to take five injections during his man of the match winning heroic show in the Lord's Test and he took the sixth jab last night.

Flower, meanwhile, admitted that Flintoff did not look totally fit during the drawn Edgbaston match and is a doubtful starter for the 4th match.

"Fred personally is quite confident about playing, but he was moving gingerly in the field at Edgbaston," Flower said.

"We will have to leave our conclusion to the last minute again and trust him to give us good information about his own body, along with the advice of our medical staff. We all realize the situation and we know he is struggling, but we have our possibility plans ready and the people involved in those plans know where they stand.

"Although he is possibly less likely to play at Headingley than at Edgbaston in percentage terms, he is a strong bloke with a brawny mind and great willpower. If he is fit enough, he will play," he added.

Jul 31, 2009

Breaking news: Murali to retire from test match in 2010

Ace Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has set to date for his retirement from Test match cricket. Conversing at the end of the first ODI against Pakistan, he announced that he will retire from Test Match at the end of Sri Lanka's home series against West Indies in November 2010.

"I am not going to play for a long time. I am thinking of next year's West Indies series it will be the last two Test matches I will be playing. That's the right time for me because I will be 38 years old. The 2011 World Cup is my ambition, but I will enjoy playing T20 cricket for a few more years," Murali said.

"The toughest game in cricket is Tests. The hardest element is you have to take wickets and get batsmen out and sometimes you have to fritter two days on the field. You have to mentally prepare yourself for every game. In Twenty20, you look to hold the batsmen and he tries some shots and gets out. Fifty-over cricket is also the same. In Test cricket you have to read the batsmen, set the fields properly and get the wickets," he added.

"I put in a lot of stab in the last one month to be fit. I trained very hard with the physio Tommy and trainers Jade and Mario who helped me to get through the complicated period. I also enjoyed the break. I trained hard although I knew my knee was not right," mentioned Muralitharan, who missed out on the test series against Pakistan owing to a knee injury.

"The doctors said that I have to go through with it and train harder. I can't go for an operation because I will be out for six to seven months. That means my career is almost over and that I am not going to play for long. A torn tendon is a very big injury and it will take a long time to cure. The best suggestion was for me to rest for two to three weeks, train hard and play with a little pain. I was prepared to go through with it. The doctors said that I can definitely play with the injury for about one to two years but in the end when I finish I will have to operate on it," he added.

When asked about the possibility of reaching 1000 test wickets, Murali said, "If I am to get 1000 Test wickets we have to play Test matches regularly. These days we play fewer Test matches."

Jul 25, 2009

Victorious Sri Lanka edge closer to India

Thanks to their 2-0 triumph over Pakistan, Sri Lanka decreased the gap that separates it from third-placed India in the latest ICC Test Championship rankings.

With the win, Kumar Sangakkara's men merged their fourth position while Pakistan slipped behind England to sixth place.

Sri Lanka gained three ratings points & moved to 111, stretching its lead over fifth-placed England to 10 points and bringing it contained by just six of India, which currently occupies third position.

For its part, Pakistan had been just one ratings point behind England past to the series but is now six points adrift.

In the mean time, Australia still leads the table with South Africa in 2nd place.

Jul 24, 2009

Andrew Flintoff tread carefully

Ashes match-winner Andrew Flintoff will only play at Edgbaston if England is totally confident of him getting through the entire five days at full capacity.

Flintoff, 31, overcame the effect of his right knee injury to claim the man-of-the-match award.

Three injections in the worrying joint helped him retain his hostility with the ball throughout the challenge and his rampaging spell on the fifth morning sealed the result.

He has been painful in the aftermath, however, and is resting up, in an offer to be fully fit for the third test match starting next Thursday.

Andrew Flintoff is determined to get through the whole campaign before retiring from Test cricket, and says he will play during the pain, but neither he nor the management will put the good of the team in risk.

"I don't think that sort of decisions take an incredible amount of strength," said coach Andy Flower.

"If guys are fit enough to get through and contribute to winning Test matches then they'll be selected."

This series will be Flintoff's last test series, and the poignancy of the moment was improved by his first ever five wickets haul at Lord's.

"We know what a important contribution his was," Flower said.

"I think one of his main contributions to us over the five days was giving the side self-confidence and belief."

"Definitely with him leading the attack in that last innings, it gave us the belief we'd bowl them out."

England will already miss its premier batsman Kevin Pietersen for the final three matches of the series, with Warwickshire's Ian Bell prepared to fill in on his home ground next week.

Jul 21, 2009

Bangladesh seal a first ever series win away from home

Bangladeshi Standing Skipper Shakib Al Hasan led from the front with 96* as his side beat the West Indies in the 2nd and final test here on Monday and he declared the 2-0 series win was the biggest thing for the cricket side in nine years.

All-rounder Shakib hit the winning runs in style with a six to seal a first ever series win away from home - admittedly against a diluted and inexperienced West Indies side after the senior players boycotted the series over a pay disagreement - and the first time they have won two successive tests.

Shakib & Raqibul Hasan made 65 - both career bests - to set things up for the Tigers, as they successfully chased 215 for victory to win by 4 wickets and claim only their 2nd ever series win.

"In our nine years, this is the biggest thing that has happened to Bangladesh cricket," said Shakib.

"This series win will give a boost to our confidence, and will help to take us to the next level, and with God's help, we shall go forward. There was not too much stress on us, since the boys have been playing really well. It was a good victory."

Bangladesh were struggling on 67 for four about half-hour before the tea break, but Shakib joined Raqibul and they put Bangladesh firmly on course for victory with a stand of 106 for the 5th wicket either side of tea. Raqibul reached his 50 from 74 balls. About 25 minutes later, Shakib arrived at his landmark, when he troop Kemar Roach for his seventh boundary and the first of three in succession in the fast bowler's 11th over.

But Raqibul became the 4th of five wickets for 55 runs in 16 overs for Darren Sammy, when he gave an easy return catch with Bangladesh still needing 44.

Tiny wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim joined Shakib and inched Bangladesh closer in the 40 minutes he depleted at the crease before he too, drove back a simple return catch to Sammy to leave the Tigers 14 short of the magic number, but they had no last-minute jitters and duly crossed over the threshold.

"We had a good chance to win the game in the second innings, but we did not bat too well," said West Indies Skipper Floyd Reifer.

"We always knew we needed around 280 runs to have a fighting chance to win the game and we fell way short.

"It is pretty hard to defend a victory target of 215. All they needed was one good partnership to have a good chance. But I felt Sammy bowled well, and our guys tried very hard, but it was a tough game."

About the frailty of West Indies' batsmen against spin, he said: "In our domestic first-class competition, the spinners get the most wickets every year. This is something we will have to examine closely as players, as coaches, and try to work out the best way to play spin bowling.

"There are many positives we can take away from the Tests, and take into the One-day International series, so we shall be positive and look to win the ODI series."

Before lunch, Bangladesh had made a good start and reached 17 without loss, after they completed the demolition of the West Indies batting, following a delayed start.

Man-of-the-Match & Man-of-the-Series : Shakib Al Hasan

Jul 20, 2009

England beat Australia to win second Test

Andrew Flintoff got five wickets as England finally broken their 75-year wait for an Ashes victory at Lord's with a 115-run win over Australia on the fifth day of the second Test.

Victory saw England take a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series having stick on for a draw in Cardiff.

Australia set a massive 522 to win - a target that had they achieved it would have surpassed the fourth innings Test world record victory total of 418 for seven made by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2002/03 - were bowled out for 406 shortly before lunch on the Last day.

Fast bowler Andrew Flintoff, who before this match announced he would retire from Test cricket at the end of this Ashes Series, took five wickets for 92 runs in 27 overs, including three for 43 in 10 overs Monday.

It was only the 3rd time in the 31 year old all-rounder's 77-Test career he had taken five wickets in a Test innings. Off-spinner Graeme Swann gave good support with 4-87.

Michael Clarke did his best to deny England with a excellent innings of 136 but ultimately could not stop the hosts beating Australia in a Test at Lord's for the first time since 1934, when they won by an innings and 38 runs.

"To win an Ashes Test match at Lord's feels very special but we're not going to get carried away," England skipper Andrew Strauss insisted.

His Australian complement Ricky Ponting was magnanimous in defeat. "We are disappointed to lose in this type of venue but we were outplayed from the first ball to the last ball.

"Now we have to jump back, regroup and hit the ground running for the next Test at Edgbaston."

Australia resumed on 313 for five, 209 runs adrift of their target, with Clarke 125 not out and Brad Haddin 80 not out.

But starting again is never easy and they were powerless to add to a stand worth 185 with Haddin out for his overnight score.

Haddin edged the 10th ball of the morning, fast bowler Flintoff's 4th, straight to Paul Collingwood who took a good low catch at 2nd slip.

Andrew Flintoff was on fire and hit Clarke on the head with a bouncer, as the batsman took his eye off the ball, before beating him on the outside edge. New batsman Mitchell Johnson was providential on four, after being completely deceived by a Flintoff slower ball that strike him on the pad, that veteran umpire Rudi Koertzen, standing in his 100th Test, had correctly called no-ball.

But it was Swann who, with his second ball Monday, took the wicket England crave when he beat Clarke in the air as the batsman went down the pitch and bowled him off-stump to end the Australia vice-captain's innings of above five hours.

Andrew Flintoff then bowled Nathan Hauritz for one as the batsman shouldered arms and Australia were 363 for eight.

Andrew Flintoff, the star of England's 2005 Ashes series win, though then finished only the third five-wicket haul of his Test career when he bowled Peter Siddle, and celebrated by going down on one knee with his arms extended after leaving his side on the brink of victory.

Fast bowler Johnson, who'd struggled with the ball, defied England with a 62-ball fifty.

But Swann, who dropped a tricky caught and bowled chance off Johnson, bowled him for 63 to seal England's victory.

Jul 15, 2009

Flintoff retire from Test cricket at end of Ashes

Andrew Flintoff to quit Test cricket at the end of the ongoing Ashes series against Australia, the injury-flat England all-rounder announced here on Wednesday.

The 31 years old, who has played 75 Tests for England since his debut in 1998, will though persist to make himself available for selection for One-Day Internationals & International Twenty20 fixtures, report issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.

Andrew Flintoff was the big star of England's 2005 Test series win over Australia as the team recovered the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

But injuries have shattered his career and he now has to overcome a knee problem, continued in last week's drawn first Test against Australia, if he is to play in the 2nd match of the current Ashes series starting at Lord's here on Thursday.

"My body has told me it's time to stop," Andrew Flintoff, who had to have an operation of his right knee after injury in April cut short his stretch in the profitable Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL), said in an ECB statement.

"Since 2005 I've had two years when I've done nothing but rehab from one injury or another," added Flintoff, who awaiting last week's Test had not played for England this season because of injury.

"It's been something I've been thinking about for a while and I think this last problem I've had with my knee has confirmed to me that the time is now right."

England skipper Andrew Strauss, still waiting on Flintoff's fitness before he knows his team for the 2nd Test, said he'd been expecting the Lancashire star's decision.

"From a player point of view, this is not that surprising - it has been coming for a while, with the injuries he has had," he said.

"We are obviously very disappointed and feel for him, because he is still an attractive young guy. But he knows his own body better than anybody.

"We respect his decision and hope he can go out with a bang."

Former England skipper Michael Atherton praised Flintoff's input to his country's team but questioned the timing of his decision.

"It's curious timing because apparently if Flintoff didn't play in this game and England did well and won, what do they do?

"Do they go back to Flintoff with the end of the series looming when he's not going to be playing beyond that? It's not yet certain he'll get a grand ending or farewell."

Even so, Atherton said Flintoff will feel "absolutely fulfilled" when he looks back on his career.

"He has been a very good Test match cricketer, not a great one but a very good one who had a great series in 2005. His career's not over because he'll want to play some more one-day international cricket. I think he'll feel absolutely fulfilled."

Another former England captain, Graham Gooch, said Flintoff's retirement from Test cricket likely a "big loss" but said the modern workload of Tests, one-day and Twenty20 cricket was a big load.

"It is a big loss for English cricket, because he has a presence about him. He's not been the biggest power on all the Test matches he's played. But he does have a presence, and that brings others along with him," Gooch told BBC Radio.

"He has the aptitude to be able to get big players out. Certainly that was shown at the height of his career when England won the Ashes in 2005."

Sri Lanka first home series win over Pakistan

Sri Lanka sealed the three test match series with a seven-wicket victory in the 2nd Test on Tuesday after the unpredictable tourists suffered a spectacular collapse.

Pakistan, sitting good-looking at 285-1 just before lunch on the third day, collided to 320 all out after the break to leave Sri Lanka a winning target of 171 on a good batting pitch at the P. Sara Oval.

Sri Lanka sailed home with two days to spare to record their first home series win over Pakistan after losing three of their five previous series & drawing the other two Series.

Sangakkara, 31, took over as a Skipper after Mahela Jayawardene stepped down in March to focus on his batting and allow his successor to build a team for the 2011 World Cup.
Sangakkara, a long-time assistant to Jayawardene, showed he was cut out for the job with creative leadership in the two Tests.

His utilize of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in the two Tests in the absence of the injured Muttiah Muralitharan bordered on a reckless risk, but it paid off handsomely both times.

On a seamer-friendly wicket in the first Test at Galle, Sangakkara throw the ball to Herath on the 4th morning when Pakistan needed only 97 runs to win with eight wickets in hand.

Rangana Herath eradicated the two overnight batsmen, Mohammad Yousuf and Salman Butt, with his first four balls and finished with a career-best 4-15 as Pakistan lost their last eight wickets for 46 runs.

On Tuesday, Skipper Sangakkara handed the new ball to spinner Rangana Herath, instead of his fast bowlers, and the left-armer once again dismissed Yousuf with his 2nd delivery to trigger another Pakistani collapse.

Herath completed with 5-99 and seamer Nuwan Kulasekera took 4-37 as Pakistan lost their last nine wickets for 35 runs after debutant Fawad Alam's superb 168 and Younus' 82 had put the tourists in an excellent position.

"We expected the spinners to get some bite off the new ball because if it landed on the glossy side it would slip through and hopefully hit the pads," said Sangakkara.

"We walked onto the ground idea of starting with the fast bowlers from both ends, but I throw the ball to Rangana, who came up with a wicket in his first over.

"No matter who bowled, we wanted someone to stand up and do something special for us. happily we had two people, Kulasekara and Herath, who bowled superbly in partnership."

Sangakkara, whose team lost to Pakistan in the World Twenty20 final in England last month, hopes to complete a 3-0 rout when the 3rd Test starts at the Sinhalese sports club here on July 20.

But he said he was concerned that Sri Lankan batting had not touched 300 in the four innings so far.

"We have got a lot of work to do with the batting," he said. "Everyone is batting well, but we just want to go on and bat for hours and hours."

Jul 14, 2009

Bangladesh's second Test victory ever

Mahmudullah finished a memorable debut Test, when he brutally exposed West Indies' frailty to spin, and bowled Bangladesh to a historic 95-run victory in the 1st Test on Monday.

The 23-year-old Mahmudullah captured five wickets for 51 runs from his 15 overs, as WI, chasing 277 for victory, were all-out for 181 in their second innings about 20 minutes before the scheduled close on the fifth and final day at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex.

All rounder Shakib Al Hasan formalised Bangladesh's second Test victory ever, when he attentive Tino Best lbw plumb in front for nine with a dipping full toss, and ended with three wickets for 39 runs from 28.1 overs.

The result means that Bangladesh lead the two-Test series 1-0 with the final match start on Friday at Grenada's Queen's Park Stadium Complex.

Bangladesh's victory which came about 4-1/2 years after their solitary Test win against Zimbabwe on home soil in Chittagong was made more remarkable because their new Skipper and primary fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza spent the entire West Indies innings off the field nursing a knee injury he aggravated earlier in the match.

"I feel much better now following this victory," said captain Mortaza. "Special thanks to Shakib for deputising for me, and the way he knob the side.

"It was probably a blessing in costume when we got bowled out which gave us more time. We were looking to bat until lunch and get a lead of about 300 or more, but we lost five wickets quickly.

"But we included good spinners like Shakib and Mahmudullah and they bowled really well, so special thanks to them and the rest of the bowlers because we were operating one bowler short because of my injury - and we still won."

Bangladesh had pushed their claims almost from the start of the West Indies innings, and had limited the hosts to 66 for two at lunch.

They got the breakthrough quite unexpectedly, when Raqibul Hasan ran Dale Richards out for 14 with a direct hit from gully, after umpire Asoka de Silva turned down an lbw appeal from Shahadat Hossain, and the batsman absentmindedly walked out of his crease.

There was added success for Bangladesh, when Shakib had left-hander Omar Phillips lbw for 14 to go West Indies 33 for two, but the Tigers could make no more headway, as West Indies captain Floyd Reifer joined Travis Dowlin, and they batted out the remainder of the session.

Bangladesh also play three One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International on their five week tour of the Caribbean.

Jul 13, 2009

Ashes: England to escape from the first Test

England last pair Jimmy Anderson & Monty Panesar proved their country's unlikely batting heroes when the hosts defy the rules of probability by drawing the first Ashes test against Australia on Sunday.

Australia, who had dominated the match in all sections for the first four days, were moving inexorably to what emerged an inevitable 1-0 lead in the five-match series as the England batsmen found new ways to gift their wickets.

Ex-Skipper Paul Collingwood was the exception, fighting a single battle for the best part of six hours. But when he was out for 74 England still needed six runs to make Australia bat 2nd innings with a minimum 11.3 overs left in the day's play.

Panesar was greeted with the vast cheer he gets whenever he chases a ball in the field or comes out to bat as England's last man. Unlike his fielding, however, Panesar can bat and he played determinedly straight to everything the Australian bowlers could hurl at him.

"I was pretty anxious but Jimmy and I were communicating pretty well," Panesar told a news conference.

"We just said to each other play the ball directly and watch the ball hard. Now we're sitting here with a draw."

Two boundaries to Anderson off destructive paceman Peter Siddle persuaded Australia captain Ricky Ponting to bring on occasional off-spinner Marcus North to accompany the specialist Nathan Hauritz.

Ponting protected his decision by saying both men spun the ball away from the left-handers and would get their overs finished quickly in the final hour.

But England captain Andrew Strauss said he think left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson would have been a better choice & Anderson did not hide his relief at facing North rather than a fast bowler.

"Certainly when Marcus North came on we thought we had a great chance," he said.

Jun 30, 2009

Former England Skipper Michael Vaughan announced his retirement

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan announced his retirement from all professional cricket with immediate effect here at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Yorkshire batsman said the time was right for him to step aside and allow a new generation of players their chance to shine.

"It's been a hard decision," Vaughan, who as captain led England to their 2005 Ashes series triumph, told a news conference at Edgbaston here on Tuesday.

"The decision came two weeks ago at Worcester when I realised there were younger players around the Yorkshire team, and certainly England, who need to be given a chance to move the game forward.

"I wanted to give it one last effort to get into the Ashes squad. I've given it that shot but haven't been playing well enough. I've had a great career."

Vaughan, England's most successful Test captain, has not played for his country since tearfully resigning the captaincy in August during the home series loss to South Africa.

His career has been blighted in recent years by a knee injury and speculation about Vaughan's future intensified after Vaughan failed to win a place in England's squad for the Ashes series against Australia which starts next week in Cardiff.

"It was always a long shot to get me back in ," Vaughan added. "The last thing players like Ravi Bopara needed was for me to get a 100 for the media to build up my chances.

"Wherever I've played this year I felt that warmth and crowd reaction to try to give me one more chance. I now move on and wish the team all the best in an Ashes series they can win."

Vaughan said he'd known for a while his time was up. "I was getting 30 or 40 and suddenly I was getting out - in the past that wasn't happening.

"It's very hard to explain when you know it's time to move on but it felt right to go before what's going to be a great Ashes series. I started emotional here today but it almost feels like I've been released."

He added: "Two weeks ago in the garden my little lad Archie bowled a ball that hit a weed and knocked my off-stump out. If a three-year old is bowling you out, it's time to move over."

Reflecting on his career, Vaughan said: "The Ashes in 2005 was the pinnacle. "We captured the nation and cricket hadn't captained the nation for a long time."

Asked what the key to his captaincy was, Vaughan replied: "I was a good actor. Captaining your country is a very special moment and the skill is making sure no-one knows what you're thinking."

Vaughan, who stressed he'd made no plans yet about his future, said he was encouraged by the way in which England under coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss were developing as a team.
"I like the job Andy Flower and Andrew are doing. Andrew is a great leader and so far he seems to be dealing with it in a similar fashion. I'm sure he'll do a similar job."

Vaughan said he'd been proud to play in an era of rapid change in cricket.

"I started at 16 in Yorkshire's second team and there was a can of lager at the table. Now it's smoothies, ice baths and Twenty20 cricket - and it's been a privilege to come through it."

Paying tribute, Strauss said: "I learned a great deal from watching him captain the side for five years at close hand and his ability to identify a new strategy for outwitting the opposition or bring the best out of his own players was a priceless asset.

Vaughan's record as captain during his five year spell in charge from 2003-2008 of 26 victories, 11 defeats and 14 draws, make him England's most successful skipper in terms of overall wins.

England's 2005 Ashes series win - which included a nailbiting two-run win at Edgbaston - was the crowning achievement of Vaughan's time as captain with his knee problem leaving him sidelined for months at a time.
Unsurprisingly, his form as a batsman - which had seen him touch the realms of greatness during the 2002/03 tour of Australia when he made three hundreds - also began to decline.

Desperate for one last series against Australia, Vaughan vowed to regain his place through sheer weight of runs but so far this season he has managed just 147 runs in seven County Championship innings for Yorkshire.

Meanwhile the emergence of Bopara, who this year has made hundreds in three successive Tests against the West Indies, at No 3, also dented Vaughan's hopes of a recall.

Vaughan scored 5,719 Test runs in 82 matches at an average of 41.44 with 18 hundreds and a best of 197 against India at Trent Bridge in 2002.