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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.