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Asian Games: Sushil Kumar suffers shock defeat in wrestling



Sushil Kumar

Jakarta | In a major upset, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was today stunned by Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in the 74 kg category, as the Indian wrestling team’s campaign at the 18th Asian Games began on a sour note here. Sushil lost his qualification round 3-5 to Batirov.

Sushil led 2-1 after the first period with a take down but the Bahrini made a strong comeback to silence the Indian fans. The London Olympics silver medallist created two opportunities to score in the second period but could not convert while Batirov did not miss his chances. He led 3-2 with a take down and then pushed the Indian out for a win.

Sushil was not yet out of the competition and if Batirov makes the final, the Indian will be in with a chance to win bronze through repechage.

Meanwhile, Sandeep Tomar won his 1/8 round 12-8 against Turkmenistan’s Rstem Nazarov to move into the quarter-finals of the men’s 57kg freestyle event.


Indian batsmen have to be disciplined on day 2: Hanuma Vihari




Hanuma Vihari

Perth | All-rounder Hanuma Vihari says key for Indian batsmen will be to remain disciplined on a pitch which has got better for the fast bowlers after a good contest between ball and bat on the opening day of the second Test.

The pitch was slow in the morning, but it quickened up after lunch. The Indian bowlers adjusted well to take six wickets. Vihari took two for 53 as Australia finished day one at 277-6 after being 112-0 at one stage.

“For us the important thing is to not think about those aspects too much. If it is up and down, you can’t do much about it. If we can keep that out of mind, we will be successful. As batsmen, we will try to be as disciplined as possible, just how we did in the second innings of the last Test,” Vihari said.

“You have to play ball by ball. That’s what matters. If you are thinking about the previous ball, you won’t react perfectly to the next ball. Keep that ball out of your mind,” he added.

Indian bowlers were “disciplined” after an ordinary start on the opening day of the second Test and the target for day two is to restrict Australia to 320-odd in the first innings. “The first hour tomorrow will be very crucial. If we get them out for below 320, we are right back in the game. If we bat well, we have a good chance. The first hour is crucial,” said Vihari.

“Our only plan was to be disciplined. I think we did very well in that aspect. In all three sessions, we bounced back really well. They had so many plays and misses. It happens in the game. Overall we put in a good effort,” he added.

India went in with four pacers for only the third time in their Test history, and Vihari, who bowled 14 overs, said he understood the role of bowling a few overs through this match.

Vihari didn’t have the best start but tightened up enough to snare two crucial wickets, dismissing set batsmen Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh.

“I tried to bowl a little bit quicker because I was trying to hit the surface a little bit more and get the bounce out of the wicket. That was the main idea try to keep it tight and give the seamers a rest. I knew I would have to step up if required. Overall I was prepared for that. I was happy I could do a job for the team,” he said.

“I have done a bit of bowling, even in the Ranji Trophy level, but more in limited overs. I know the idea of where I can make the batsmen play. I try to play with the fields I have. I want to keep it simple and try to do the job for the country. I know my role very well in the team. I try to keep it tight. If the wickets come, it is a bonus. My job is to make the batsman play a loose shot for his runs,” he added.

When asked about the pitch, he said that it quickened up during the day. Further, he added that the Indian batting line-up will have to be disciplined and patient in similarly difficult conditions on day two.

KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were guilty of dropping catches, but a highlight for India in the field was Virat Kohli’s one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss Peter Handscomb.

“It was a blinder. Those are the moments that change the course of the game. We needed something after lunch to change the rhythm. It was a screamer. We were lucky he had come to slip in that very over. It was meant to happen, he said.

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Lyon will enjoy bowling with amount of bounce in Perth: Aaron Finch




Nathan Lyon

Perth | Australian opener Aaron Finch believes the second Test against India is going to be a “real grind” and off-spinner Nathan Lyon will play an important role considering the amount of bounce on offer at the Perth wicket here.

Finch and Marcus Harris put on 112 runs for the opening partnership after which Australia finished the day at 277-6. “It’s going to be one of those games that’ll be a real grind for both sides. The position we’re in we would have taken at the start of the day, no doubt, especially winning the toss and batting,” Finch told reporters.

“I think Nathan Lyon will enjoy bowling with the amount of bounce on this track, no doubt he will be excited to bowl here,” added the opener, who scored 50 in Australia’s first innings on Friday.

Finch said batsmen can become indecisive sometimes while playing on this wicket. “When the ball starts seaming off good parts of the wicket and quite dramatically at times, I think that’s when you know you need to tighten up,” he said.

“But you have to also be in a position to cash in on some balls that you can hit, otherwise you get stuck in two minds and end up letting the wicket get you out. “So you have to be really proactive and take that out of play as much as you can,” he added, on how he and Harris batted on this wicket.”  India struck back with three wickets each in the second and third sessions, but Australia seemed to enjoy slight advantage after being 277-6 at stumps.

Asked about making the Indian bowlers work hard, Finch said, “Our plan was to bat on this wicket regardless of what happened in Adelaide, the heat and getting miles into their legs. “That was our plan to bat first anyway and take that challenges head on. No doubt it might play a factor later in this game, or third or fourth Test, but it was always our plan to bat (after winning the toss).”

Talking about his partner young Harris, who scored his maiden Test half-century at his home ground, Finch said, “I think what everyone’s seen from him so far, not a lot fazes him. He’s a pretty chilled out character who just goes with the flow and that’s the way he’s always been.  “He’s a great guy, but I think the tightness of his technique he covers his off stump, looks to hit down the ground and for such a short guy that can be quite unique at times.

“He’s definitely got all the shots, but I think the way he adapts his game and his game plan depending on the wicket, depending on the attack, I think that’ll hold him in great stead.”

Finch said playing together with Harris at Victoria in Sheffield Shield helped their partnership. “We’ve also played quite a bit of cricket together for Victoria so when you have a good relationship with somebody that stuff takes care of itself,” he said. “Batting out in the middle is always good fun with him. He keeps it pretty simple pretty relaxed. We just keep reminding each other to focus on what our game plan is and what our strengths are.”

Under-fire after flopping in the opening Test, Finch scored his second Test half-century on day one on Friday and spoke about the influence of Ricky Ponting with whom he had worked before the start of this game. “It (talking to Ponting) was really good because it was so simple. It was basically around covering my off stump and lining up slightly different my alignment and where I want to hit the ball,” he said.

“…it was good to have someone to chat to who’s had to work through that and alignment and things like that. It wasn’t anything I went out in the game with as such. It was more just moving my guard slightly further over,” he signed off.

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India bounce back but Australia still on top





Perth | India recovered from a patchy start to reduce Australia to 277 for six on the opening day of the second Test but the hosts still walked out with advantage considering the bowler-friendly conditions, here on Friday.

A 112-run opening stand between Marcus Harris (70) and Aaron Finch (50) vindicated their decision to bat on green top before Indian bowlers made a decent recovery by taking three wickets each in the last two sessions. With the pitch offering better assistance from the post lunch session and the Indian bowlers managing to rectify their line and length, the visitors made in roads into the Australian batting line-up.

Skipper Tim Paine (16 not out) and Pat Cummins (11 not out) were unbeaten at stumps after enduring a testing spell from Jasprit Bumrah.
Pacer Ishant Sharma (2/35) and spinner Hanuma Vihari (2/53) took two wickets apiece while Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) accounted for one batsman each.

Following a good start, Shaun Marsh (45) and Peter Handscomb (7) looked to extend their fourth-wicket partnership but could only manage to add three runs as Sharma broke through early in the final session.

Handscomb looked to cut away too close to his body, and Virat Kohli held a stunning one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss him in the second over after tea.
Marsh and Travis Head (58) then added 84 runs for the fifth wicket, and in doing so took Australia past 200 in the 69th over. India could have broken through early, but Rishabh Pant put down a regulation catch from Marsh (on 24) off Vihari in the 67th over.

India were looking in bother again when Marsh fell against the run of play, trying to cut Vihari and edging to first slip where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake.
Head reached his third Test half-century off 70 balls but threw it all away as he square cut a wide delivery off Sharma six overs later and was caught at wide third man. Earlier, India struck thrice post lunch as Australia were reduced to 145-3 at tea.

Jasprit Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) struck during a tight spell in the second hour of play after lunch, as Australia lost three wickets for 22 runs.
Post lunch, Marcus Harris had brought up his maiden Test half-century off 90 balls as he took his opening stand with Aaron Finch (50) to 112. Their 100-stand had come up in the 34th over, with India leaking another 48 runs in the hour’s play after the break. Mohammed Shami (0-63) conceded 23 runs in his four-over second-spell after lunch.

Finch too reached his second Test half-century off 103 balls as Australia reached a position of strength. But things turned thereafter as Bumrah struck first up in the 36th over, trapping Finch lbw with a fuller delivery.

KL Rahul dropped Harris (on 60) off Shami in the 45th over, with the fielder failing to time his jump at second slip. It didn’t cost India too much though as four overs later, he hit a surprise bouncer from Vihari straight at Rahane at slip.

In between, Yadav used the pressure built and etched out Usman Khawaja’s (5) wicket, out caught behind in the 46th over as India gained the fruits of their hard work in this second hour of play.

In the morning session, Australia defied a green-top wicket and made steady progress to reach 66-0 at lunch. The Perth wicket at the Optus Stadium was talked up a raging green-top wicket, but the Australian openers defied all that speculation. For their part, Indian pacers chipped in with all possible help and bowled a poor first spell with the new ball.

Sharma started with a delivery down leg as the first Test ball to be bowled at this ground. It didn’t change much for this first spell of four overs as he sprayed the ball all over. He seemed to be more concerned about not bowling any no balls, than maintaining an attacking line first up. At the other end, Bumrah was bowling short of length, even if he bowled quicker than Sharma. This new ball pairing proved expensive and wasteful as Yadav came on as first change in the ninth over.

Shami was India’s best bowler of the first session as he bowled with immaculate control from the very beginning. He came on to bowl in the 12th over and immediately troubled the batsmen. Finch survived an lbw shout on account of height as India wasted a DRS review. They had another loud shout turned down on the very next ball, but this time no review was taken.

India bowled better in the second hour of play and conceded only 19 runs in 13 overs. But the damage had already been done as the duo were set and the new ball had been wasted on a fresh pitch.

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