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India complete Windies rout as Umesh takes maiden 10-wicket haul

Anil Rajpurohit

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India

Hyderabad | A clinical India completed one of the most ruthless clean sweeps in recent times, demolishing a listless West Indies by 10 wickets in the second Test, inside three days, to clinch the series 2-0 on Sunday.

Umesh Yadav’s maiden 10-wicket haul (6/88 and 4/45) on a decent track was the highlight as India reached the meagre victory target of 72 in 16.1 overs, courtesy unbeaten partnership between openers Prithvi Shaw (33) and KL Rahul (33).

While any Test series victory is welcome, it hardly was an ideal preparation for the big away-series against Australia, starting December 4 in Adelaide.

West Indies were back to their worst despite showing signs of fight in the first innings as they couldn’t last two full sessions and were bowled out for 127 in only 46.1 in their second innings.

Out of the four innings in this series, West Indies couldn’t cross the 200-run mark thrice which was a testimony to their plight during the series.

For India, it was their 10th series win at home since their last defeat against England way back in 2012.

Virat Kohli’s side did an encore of 2013 series which India won by an identical margin in that year’s most lopsided contest with Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell taking limelight.

The second innings started with Yadav on split hat-trick but Kraigg Brathwaite (0) survived one delivery before gliding one into Rishabh Pant’s gloves.

Kieran Powell (6) edged one off Ravichandran Ashwin to Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.

Shai Hope (28) hit three delightful boundaries off Umesh while Shimron Hetmeyer (17) was trying to be more assertive against spinners in their 39-run stand.

However, a rush of blood saw Hetmeyer give Kuldeep Yadav the charge only to be caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at point.

From 45 for 3, there was not much resistance as Hope was snapped when he played a Ravindra Jadeja delivery for the turn to give Rahane his second catch.

West Indies’ biggest hope Roston Chase (6) got a sharp inswinger while Shane Dowrich (0) played on with Umesh getting his ninth wicket of the match.

The wicket had its share of wear and tear but it wasn’t a difficult track where surviving would be an arduous task. Yet, it was another instance of lack of application from the West Indies batsmen with opener Brathwaite and young Hetmeyer playing atrocious shots.

Jason Holder (19) and Sunil Ambris (38) added 38 runs for the seventh wicket but once Holder edged one to Pant off Jadeja, any chances of match going to fourth day slowly disappeared.

However, West Indies had started off well by dismissing India for 367, keeping the first innings lead down to a mere 56 runs.

In the process, they denied Rishabh Pant (92) and Ajinkya Rahane (80) from reaching their hundreds.

In a space of 16.1 overs, India lost five wickets for 25 runs to move from a comfortable 314 for 4 to 339 for 9 before Ravichandran Ashwin (35, 83 balls) made a useful contribution.

West Indies captain Jason Holder (5/56 in 23 overs) used the second new ball to good effect as he completed his fifth five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Shannon Gabriel after erratic performance on Saturday came back well to take 3/107 in 20.4 overs.

Holder first got one to rear up from back of length to shatter Rahane’s dreams of a 10th Test hundred. The Indian vice-captain was caught at gully for 80 off 183 balls to give the opposition captain his third wicket. His innings had seven boundaries.

Rahane-Pant duo added 152 runs for the fifth wicket and once the visitors got the breakthrough, the floodgates open.

Pant (92), who added seven more runs to his overnight score, got a short ball from Shannon Gabriel, which he pushed at only to be caught by Shimron Hetmeyer at cover point.

In two consecutive Tests, Pant has been dismissed for identical scores of 92. This time he played 134 balls hitting 11 boundaries and two sixes.

For the record, during the West Indies second innings, the new SG Test ball had to be changed twice inside 12 overs.

On Saturday, Mohammed Siraj and Hanuma Vihari were released to play Vijay Hazare quaryer-finals for their respective teams Hyderabad and Andhra.

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AIBA Women’s World Championships: ‘Magnificent Mary’ in quarters, Sarita bows out

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Mary Kom

New Delhi | Five-time champion M C Mary Kom punched her way into the 48kg quarterfinals while another veteran Sarita Devi made an early exit after losing a hard-fought 60kg bout in the AIBA Women’s World Championships here on Sunday.

Chasing a historic sixth gold and first medal since 2010, the 35-year-old Mary Kom registered a convincing 5-0 win over Aigerim Kessenayeva of Kazakhstan in her opening bout of the tournament.

The 36-year-old Sarita, who won a gold in the 2006 edition when it was also held in the Capital city, lost to 2016 World Champonships silver medallist Kellie Harrington of Ireland in a split 3-2 verdict. Sarita, who got a standing count against her opponent in the third round, later said the decision was wrong. She, however, said that she will accept the decision as she does not want another ban.  The Manipuri was handed a one year ban by the world body AIBA for refusing to accept her bronze medal in protest during the victory ceremony at the 2014 Asian Games.

Besides Mary Kom, three other Indians — Manisha Moun (54kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Kachari Bhagyabati (81kg) — also made it to the quarterfinals with 5-0, 5-0 and 4-1 wins on points in their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts.  Five Indians took the field on Sunday and only Sarita lost her bout. They are now just one step away from clinching a medal.

Mary Kom began with a watchful approach in the first round but she got to her rhythm with a left-right combination on her opponent in the second round. There were no many clear punches from both sides but the Manipuri, a mother of three, was clearly the better boxer with all the five judges giving their nod. Four judges gave 30-27 each while one awarded 29-28 in favour of the Indian.

“It was a tough fight and there was a bit of pressure as it was my first bout of the tournament. I have been handling the pressure of expectation from the people of my country for the last 16 years and I am happy to face this pressure,” said the Olympic bronze medallist. Mary Kom next face Wu Yu of China in the quarterfinal on Tuesday. “I think she is an intelligent boxer and fast also. I have to think about which technique I have to use,” she said.

A win on Teusday will assure Mary Kom of at least a bronze medal which will be her first since 2010. Sarita and Harrington traded a lot of punches in their lightweight pre-quarterfinal bout which was a fast and intense affair. The veteran Indian, who also competed in the inaugural World Championships in 2001, expressed surprise when the Irishwoman was declared the winner.

“I am not happy with the decision (of the judges). The decision has gone ‘ulta’ (opposite), I thought I had the upperhand in all the three rounds. But what do I do, I was banned for one year after the 2014 Asian Games controversy. So, I cannot say anything now,” she said after her bout. “I don’t know why these things happen to me only.”

About the standing count against her in the third round, she said, “It was not a standing count. My opponent was a southpaw and her legs got entangled in between mine and I slipped and fell.” The day began on a happy note for India with Manisha sending reigning world champion Dina Zhalaman of Kazakhstan packing with yet another authoritative win in 54kg to place herself just a step away from grabbing a maiden medal.

The 20-year-old Manisha won a 5-0 unanimous verdict against her more experienced rival in a pre-quarterfinal bout in her maiden World Championships. This was the second win of the Haryana girl against Zhalaman as she had defeated the Kazakh boxer in the Silesian Women’s Boxing championship in Poland earlier this year.

In the quarterfinals, Manisha faces top seed and 2016 World Championships silver medallist Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria. “For me, once I am inside the ring it does not matter whether my opponent is a world champion or a silver medallist. So, my approach will be the same in my next bout also,” she said. “Today, like on my first bout, I played from a distance but I played faster and more aggressive. It was a good bout.”

Borgohain, an Asian Championships bronze medallist last year, had a tougher fight against 2014 World Championships gold medallist Atheyna Bylon od Panama. It was a physical and aggressive fight and both the boxers fell on the floor on more than one occasion. The 21-year-old Assamese next faces Scott Kaye Frances of Australia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

For Bhagyabati, it was even tougher against a taller opponent Irina-Nicoletta Schonberger of Germany. But the Indian also turned out winner in her debut World Championships bout. She now faces Paola Jessica Caicedo of Columbia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

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No team travels well nowadays, why pick on India, questions Ravi Shastri

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Ravi Shashtri

Brisbane | India are yet to shed their “poor travellers” tag but head coach Ravi Shastri feels that it’s unfair to pick on one particular side when most of the nations have fared poorly on away tours.

India have lost two away Test series in 2018, against South Africa (1-2) and England (1-4). This was after both tours were seen as best chance for Virat Kohli’s men to set the poor overseas record straight.

Asked how important it is for India to win the series in Australia, Shastri said:”You have got to learn from your mistakes. When you go overseas and when you look at teams that travel around now, there aren’t too many sides (that travel well).  “Australia did for some time in the 90’s and during the turn of century. South Africa did it for a while and other than these two,in the last five-six years, you tell me which team has travelled well. Why pick on India?” questioned Shastri.

Questioned whether he or skipper Kohli has spoken to the team as to why they lost in South Africa and England, Shastri said that it was all about “seizing big moments”. “We have spoken about seizing the big moments. If you look at the Test matches, the scoreline really doesn’t tell you the real story. There were some real tight Test matches and we lost some big moments badly, which cost us the series at the end of it. “It could have been an hour in a session over four days whether it was SA or England. Either as a batsman or a bowler and see what happens after that,” the coach said in his team’s defence.

Shastri refused to believe that Australian team has lost its aura after what all happened during the past few months. “I don’t think so. I think once you have a sporting culture in you, you will always have that. I have always believed that no team is weak at home. We might have three or four players not playing when a team comes to India God forbid but if anyone thinks it’s a weak team, you will be surprised. “Similarly, we are taking no prisoners and we want to go out and put our best foot forward, focussing on our game rather than focussing outside,” he sounded cautious.

He is confident that his pacers will enjoy bowling on Australian pitches.  “I think they (pacers) should enjoy bowling on these pitches if it’s like the pitches we have seen in the past. It’s important to stay fit as a unit.”

Shastri broadly dropped a hint that injured Hardik Pandya’s absence robs them a chance to play an extra bowler. Even former Australian batsman Mike Hussey recently spoke about how Pandya’s absence can hurt India.

“One player we will miss is Hardik Pandya, who has had an injury. He gave us that balance as a bowler as well as batsman, which allowed us to play that extra bowler. Even now we have got to think twice. Hopefully, he will get fit soon and if fast bowlers do well, we might not miss him then,” the former all-rounder said.

Asked if this is the best chance for India’s fast bowlers, Shastri said it will depend on if they can maintain “sustained intensity” for a long period of time.

“It doesn’t matter what line-up they play as long as they are consistent. In the past, we have had one or two bowlers doing well in spells, but bowling as a unit for three, four or five hours with sustained intensity, if that comes into play, no matter which batting line-up you are playing against, you will be tested,” he added.

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Women’s World T20: Mandhana hits 83 to set up India’s 48 run win over Australia

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India

Providence (Guyana) | Opener Smriti Mandhana smashed a career-best 83 before Indian slow bowlers spun their web against Australia to continue their invincible run with a 48-run win in a group B match of the ICC Women’s World Cup here on Saturday.

Mandhana blasted 9 fours and 3 sixes in her 55-ball innings and shared a 68-run third wicket partnership with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (43 runs off 27) to power India to a competitive 167 for 8 at the Providence Stadium here.

The spinners then got into the act with Anuja Patil (3/15) taking three wickets and Poonam Yadav (2/28), Radha Yadav (2/13) and Deepti Sharma (2/24) snapping two each to restrict Australia for 119-9 in 19.4 overs. Alyssa Healy was absent hurt following a collision with Megan Schutt in the Indian innings.

India thus notched up their fourth victory in as many matches to top group B. They will now take on either England or West Indies in the second semifinals. Both India and Australia were already in the semifinals after winning the first three matches in group B.

Chasing 168 to win, Beth Mooney (19) and Elyse Villani (6) opened the innings after in-form Healy didn’t come out to bat following a collision during the Indian innings which left the wicket-keeper batsman with mild concussion. Mooney and Villani gave Australia a decent start, sharing 27 runs in 4 overs.

However, Deepti Sharma struck twice in successive balls, removing both the openers as Australia slipped to 27 for 2 in 4.2 overs. A few overs later, Australia lost their skipper Meg Lannings (10) with Krishnamurthy taking a good catch at deep midwicket off Radha Yadav’s bowling.  Poonam Yadav then got rid off Ashleigh Gardner (20) with Veda Krishnamurthy taking another catch at long-off when the batsman tried to play another big shot.

India continued to put pressure on the Australians before Perry blasted three boundaries in the 15th over off Harmanpreet to ease the pressure. Poonam then returned to pick up another wicket when she deceived RL Haynes with her flight and wicket-keeper Taniya Bhatia did the rest. The Australia innings crumbled after that even as EA Perry scored an unbeaten fighting 28-ball 39 laced with three fours and a six.

Earlier, Mandhana became the second fastest Indian to compete 1000 runs in T20 internationals after Mithali Raj as she anchored the innings with a superb fifty. Mandhana gave India a good start after her fellow opening batswoman Taniya Bhatia (2) was dismissed in the second over, being caught by Lanning at midwicket off Gardner’s ball.

Australia picked up a second Indian wicket in the 7th over when Delissa Kimmince dismissed Jemimah Rodrigues (6). Skipper Harmanpreet then joined Mandhana in the middle as the duo dominated the bowlers. Harmanpreet smashed Molineux over midwicket for her first six, while a beautiful-looking sweep shot helped Mandhana to complete her fifty in 31 balls. Harmanpreet then hoisted one over extra cover off Gardner to pick up her second six as India reached 83 for 2 in 10 overs. The Indian skipper continued to find boundaries, making life difficult for the Australian bowlers. In the 14th over, Harmanpreet slapped one over extra cover before depositing a full toss by Kimmince over short fine leg.

However an attempt to go for another big shot proved fatal as she was caught by Haynes to leave India at 117 for 3 in 13.3 overs. In the next over, Mandhana too was on her way back to the hut when she was adjudged LBW by the on-field umpire but she survived after a video referral showed the ball pitched outside leg. India however lost a bit of ground in the end following the quick wickets of Veda Krishnamurthy and Dayalan Hemalatha within a space of four balls.

In the 18th over, Mandhana hit a six and a four off Kimmince as India amassed 17 runs but Schutt removed the opener in the next over. There was also an unfortunate collision in the 19th over between Megan Schutt and wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy as both went for a catch, following a miscued hit by A Reddy.

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