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Nov 23, 2010

Doherty will best Pietersen: Ricky Ponting

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting on Monday backed uncapped Xavier Doherty to best England batsman Kevin Pietersen during the Ashes series 2010/11, saying the spinner was ready for the tourists' top order.

Xavier Doherty was included in Australia's Ashes team over Nathan Hauritz - a decision retired spin legend Shane Warne slammed on micro blogging site Twitter as "very very harsh on Hauritz" who he said "deserved first break at poms".

Xavier DohertyBut Ricky Ponting said left-arm orthodox spinner Doherty, 28, had been impressive in recent Sheffield Shield domestic matches for Tasmania while Nathan Hauritz had "lost his action".

"Seeing him up close and personal for those couple of games probably gave me a bit more of an idea of how good he was because I haven't played much with him in the last few years," Ponting said.

"He's a good solid character as well and I think he'll handle the situation pretty well and I think we saw that in his 1st ODI Cricket Match at the MCG."

Doherty took four wickets on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at the MCG on November 3.

"I think he'll be ready for what the English batters try and do," Ponting said.

Pietersen has a patchy record against left-arm orthodox bowlers and was dismissed by Australia A spinner Steve O'Keefe, also a left-arm orthodox, during a tour match in Hobart last week.

Nov 17, 2010

Zaheer Khan ruled out of 3rd Test

India were dealt a big blow ahead of the 3rd cricket Test against New Zealand with pace head Zaheer Khan being ruled out of the final rubber because of a groin injury.

Zaheer KhanYoung left-handed pacer Jaydev Unadkat has been drafted in the team in place of him.

Zaheer suffered a groin injury during the 2nd cricket Test, which ended in a domestic draw at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.

"Zaheer Khan is injured and is unavailable for the 3rd Test against New Zealand, to be played at Nagpur from 20th November to 24th November," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a release.

"The All India Selection Committee has chosen Jayadev Unadkat to replace Zaheer Khan in the squad," it said.

Zaheer was off the field for a good part of the 4th day. The left-handed pacer bowled just 3 overs during the 5th day.

McCullum 225 secures draw for New Zealand

India made 68/0 at close after the visitors declared their 2nd innings at 448/8 at tea, setting the hosts an improbable target of 327 runs to win in 30 overs.

Brendon McCullumVirender Sehwag returned to hit an unbeaten run-a-ball 54, studded with six boundaries and a six, to bring up his 2nd half-century of the match. Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir stayed not out on 14.

Brendon McCullum (225) frustrated the Indian spinners with his quick footwork and clever reverse sweeps. He was dropped on 148 by substitute fielder Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg off Harbhajan Singh's bowling.

The stylish right-hander reached the coveted double hundred mark with a paddle scoop to the fine leg boundary off part-time spinner Suresh Raina.

"It was quite important for us to bat some time and score some runs, else we were in danger of losing the Test," man of the match McCullum told Neo Cricket channel.

Resuming on 237 for four, McCullum and Kane Williamson (69) added 124 runs for the 5th wicket before the latter was out, adjudged leg before to Harbhajan.

McCullum perished trying to hit paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (3-121) for the third consecutive boundary, skying a slower ball for Raina to take a well-judged catch.

The three-match Test series is tied at 0-0 after the first two tests.

Nov 16, 2010

Chris Gayle puts West Indies on top with triple-century

Chris Gayle became the first West Indies batsman to hit a triple-century in an away Test, putting Sri Lanka under pressure in the opening Test on Tuesday.

Chris GayleThe former skipper made a career-best 333 as the West Indies posted a massive 580/9 declared in their 1st innings on the second day at the Galle International Stadium.

Sri Lanka are 54/1 in reply at stumps, with debutant West Indies Fast Bowler Andre Russell dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan with his 2nd delivery in Test cricket.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (33) and Tharanga Paranavitana (10) were the not-out batsmen at the close.

Gayle, 31, also became only the fourth batsman to score two triple-centuries in Tests after Australian Don Bradman, India's Virender Sehwag and West Indies' Brian Lara.

Nov 9, 2010

Harbhajan Singh slams maiden century, match ends in draw

India found an unlikely batting hero in Harbhajan Singh, who produced a match-saving maiden Test century to turn his team to safety along with VVS Laxman as the first Test against New Zealand ended in a draw on Monday.

Harbhajan (115) notched up his only first class century and combined with experienced person, VVS Laxman (91) as the duo spoiled New Zealand's push for victory with a solid 163-run partnership for the 7th wicket.

Harbhajan SinghResuming their 2nd innings at a precarious 82/6, Laxman and Harbhajan saved India the blushes by batting carefully before the innings folded up for 266 shortly after the tea break for an overall lead of 294.

The Kiwis were 22 for one in their second innings before both captains decided to call off play.

It was Harbhajan who stole the spotlight on the final day's play and had it not been for his valiant batting effort, the story could have been quite different for the home team.

Harbhajan, who made his highest score of 69 in the 1st innings, achieved his dream of scoring a century in Test cricket. His 115 came off 193 balls and contained 13 boundaries and three sixes.

Harbhajan reached his maiden ton in style with a six off Vettori and held his bat in the air to return the applause of his teammates in the dressing room.

The stylish Laxman, who has bailed India out of many a crisis, was a picture of poise and concentration as he held the innings together and kept guiding Harbhajan.

Laxman was wrongly given out leg before wicket to rival team captain Daniel Vettori by umpire Steve Davis as TV replays showed the ball had deflected on to the pad off the inside edge of the bat.

Laxman and Harbhajan took India from a difficult 65 for six last evening at the fall of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wicket and were not separated till close to the tea interval when Vettori won the verdict against the former. The partnership was together for 10 minutes under four hours and faced 328 balls.

Man of the Match: Harbhajan Singh