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India opens medal count at Asiad with bronze in rifle mixed team

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India

Palembang | India opened its account in the 18th Asian Games with a bronze medal after Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar cracked under pressure to finish third in the rifle mixed team shooting event here today.

The Indians aggregated 429.9 after 42 shots in the 48-shot final and were in second spot for major part of the 48-shot finals before China overtook them to take the silver.

The strong Chinese pairing of Ruozhu Zhao and Haoran Yang ended with a score of 492.5. Chinese Taipei’s Yingshin Lin and Shaochuan Lu claimed the gold, scoring 494.1. Korea and Mongolia finished fourth and fifth respectively in the event held for the first time at the Games.

It was a maiden Asian Games medal for Chandela, who will be aiming for a better colour medal in the 10m air rifle. Chandela is also a multiple time World Cup winner and had bagged gold at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

World Cup bronze medallist Kumar, who is mentored by the great Abhinav Bindra, had won a men’s 10m rifle team bronze at last the edition at Incheon. Chandela, having won the first Games medal for the country, was satisfied with her performance.

“Our best finish together was fourth at the World Cup and we have improved on that. My first Asian Games medal and my first medal for India here. I am really happy about that but my focus is on main event (10m rifle) tomorrow,” Chandela told PTI. Asked about slipping to third from second in the elimination stage, Chandela added: “This happens in shooting. I think we shot alright.”

Kumar said, “This bronze has come only because of apurvi. The final was a disappointment after a decent qualification. We didnt get enough time to train together.”

After the first series, India were second with 102.9 while Korea led with 103.4. Indian remained in that position even after the third series but the Chinese improved drastically to steal the second spot.  Mongolia were the first to be eliminated, followed by Korea.

Earlier, Kumar and Chandela had finished second in the qualification with a total score of 835.3. Both shooters fired 40 shots each in the 50-minute session. South Korean pair of Hyeonjun Kim and Eunhea Jund had topped the session with 836.7. Mongolia were third with 832.1, China fourth with 831.1 and Taipei sealed the fifth and final qualification spot with 829.8.

There was disappointment in store for pistol mixed team of teen sensation Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma, who failed to qualify for the finals after being tied with Kazakhstan.

Both teams were tied at 759 points after 80 shots but the Kazakh sealed the fifth and final qualifying spot with more inners 10s than India (25 to India’s 14).

“Manu did not shoot to her potential. She was angry and agitated towards the end. She needs to work on controlling her anger. Abhishek needs to learn how to cope up with pressure in big events. It is new for him. They both will learn,” said pistol coach Jaspal Rana.

Bhaker had raised expectations after becoming the youngest Indian women to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 16-year-old had also won two gold medals at the Guadalajara World Cup earlier this year.

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To hell with the nets, boys need rest: Ravi Shastri

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Ravi Shahtri

Adelaide | “To hell with the nets,” was what Ravi Shastri said Monday after a memorable 31-run win in the opening Test against Australia, the India coach stressing more on resting his players.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats in South Africa and England, India began the Test series against Australia in earnest, winning the opening match Down Under for the first time in over seven decades. “We lost the first Test in England by 31, lost the first Test in South Africa by 60-70, so this is a very good feeling for the boys to come out on top. When you get off to a good start, there’s belief,” Shastri said.

The teams will be heading to Perth for the second Test that starts on December 14 and Shastri, who is confident that the fast bowlers will have a crucial role to play, hinted at ditching net practice ahead of the clash.

“They have to rest up, to hell with the nets. You just come there, mark your attendance and get away to the hotel. We know the Perth track is quick, it’s a drop in surface, there will be something there for the fast bowlers.”

A collective performance by the four-man Indian bowling attack — pacers Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin — helped India earn a 15-run first innings lead before they completed a rare win in this part of the world.

“The bowlers were brilliant in the first innings, defending 250, the discipline was magnificent. They’ve worked on it, it’s not come in overnight. As a bowling unit, when you show that discipline, it doesn’t matter which side you play against. You will be successful,” Sahstri said.

The coach also said he was hopeful that players had learnt from their mistakes in the first innings and commended Man of the Match, Cheteshwar Pujara, for his knocks in both the innings. “There was some rash shots played in the first innings, that was foolish cricket, but they learnt from it. Pujara was absolutely magnificent, we’ve asked him to be a little more upright to counter bounce in these conditions.”

On youngster Rishabh Pant, who equalled the world record of most catches in a Test by a wicketkeeper, dropping the catch of Nathan Lyon, Shastri said: “You have to allow him to play his game, but he has to be a little more sensible now. “He did the hard work in getting Lyon to spread his fields, so he has to be smarter. You make a mistake now, but don’t repeat it, then I’ll be in his ears.”

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India make statement of intent with 31-run win, lead series 1-0

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India

Adelaide | India gave wings to their ferocious ambition of winning a maiden series Down Under, beating Australia by 31 runs in the opening Test with an irresistible fusion of self-belief, hunger and talent here Monday.

Chasing 323, the hosts were bowled out for 291 in 119.5 overs shortly before tea on day five with Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami taking three wickets each for a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. Rishabh Pant finished with 11 catches, and equalled the record for most dismissals in a Test by a wicketkeeper, sharing it with England’s Jack Russell and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

Things went too close for comfort for India as Nathan Lyon (38 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (13) put on 42 runs for the last wicket and frustrated the Indian bowling. The sparse crowd at Adelaide Oval cheered every single as the duo edged closer and the odd boundary didn’t help matters. Finally, things came to a close as Ashwin had Hazlewood caught at second slip in the 120th over to register India’s sixth Test win on Australian soil.

“It’s important to stay calm. The odds were stacked up against them as soon as we got Pat Cummins out. I wouldn’t say I was cool as ice but you try not to show it,” Kohli said at the end of the match.

Post lunch, India had a big early breakthrough when Australian skipper Tim Paine (41) played an uncharacteristic pull shot off Bumrah and only managed to loop it up for Pant to take an easy catch. The visitors then were bothered by two lower-order stands. First, Mitchell Starc (28) and Pat Cummins (28) put on 41 runs for the eighth wicket and carried Australia past 200 in the 89th over.

While Shami broke through that partnership, things didn’t ease out. Pant could have had 12 dismissals but he dropped Lyon in the 105th over off Bumrah. Four overs later, Kohli didn’t make any mistake at first slip as he helped dismiss Cummins, albeit he was frustrated with his 31-run stand with Lyon.

In the morning session, India removed Travis Head (14) and Shaun Marsh (60) as Australia reached 186 for six at lunch. Starting from overnight 104 for four, the Head-Marsh partnership lasted only 7.4 overs before India forced a breakthrough with the old Kookaburra ball. Head was the first to go, with Ishant Sharma (1-48) bowling a sharp bouncer that followed the batsman and left him no room. The ball looped up to gully where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake. The duo had added 31 runs with the onus now on Marsh and Paine as the last recognized batting pair.

Marsh shouldered the responsibility and scored his first half-century in the fourth innings of a Test off 146 balls. It was his 10th Test half-century overall. He had looked comfortable at the crease all morning, but Bumrah removed him after the drinks break. The big moment came as the ball moved away just a tad and Marsh gave the slightest of edges to be caught behind in the 73rd over.

It was Pant’s ninth dismissal in the Test, equalling MS Dhoni (9 versus Australia, Melboure in 2014) as the second-best haul by an Indian wicket keeper in overseas Tests. He later equalled and went past Wriddhiman Saha’s Indian record for highest dismissals in a Test (10) against South Africa at Cape Town earlier in the year.

Cummins then helped Paine play out 10.5 overs, although he had a couple of hairy moments in the 74th over off Ashwin. India wasted a DRS review when they thought he had edged it.  Four balls later, a loud appeal for caught at short leg was turned down with Cummins reviewing it successfully this time. India scored 250 in their first innings with Cheteshwar Pujara anchoring with his 16th Test century.

Australia replied with 235 and conceded a 15-run lead. The visitors then finished at 307 in their second innings, including a collapse of five for 25, and set a competitive target on day four.

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Ranji Trophy: Jharkhand score thrilling 2-run win over Odisha

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Jharkhand

Ranchi | Jharkhand bowlers held their nerves as they guided their team to a nail-biting 2-run win over Odisha in the Elite Group C Ranji Trophy game here Sunday.

Subransu Senapati played a valiant unbeaten knock of 157 off 321 balls for the visitors, farming the strike beautifully in the company of the last two batsmen, but failed to take his team past the finishing line.

Chasing a stiff target of 260, Odisha were reeling at 8-154 when Senapati stitched two crucial partnerships with number 10 Basant Mohanty (4 off 38 balls) and number 11 Dhiraj Singh (7 off 43 balls) to take his side on the cusp of a memorable win.

But experienced pacer Varun Aaron (2-57) cleaned up Dhiraj Singh to dash off Odisha’s hopes as Jharkhand registered a heart-stopping win after conceding the first innings lead at the JSCA International Stadium.

For the hosts, Anukul Roy (4-51) was the main wicket- taker who was ably supported by Aaron, Rahul Shukla (2-43), Ashish Kumar (1-36) and Rahul Prasad (1-64). Senapati held the fort from one end but fell short of partners. But he was adjourned as the Man of the Match.

The close match brought back memories of the unforgettable 1991-92 final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai when Kapil Dev’s Haryana managed victory by a similar margin against Mumbai to lift the Ranji Trophy.

Meanwhile, at Agartala, Haryana clinched six points as they defeated hosts Tripura by 55 runs. At Porvorim, the Goa versus Services match ended in a tame draw with the hosts grabbing 3 points on the basis of their first innings lead.

Brief scores:At Ranchi:Jharkhand 172 and 288 (Saurabh Tiwari 132; Rajesh Mohanty 4-87) beat Odisha 201 and 257 (Subransu Senapati 157 not out; Anukul Roy 4-51, Rahul Shukla 2-43)by 2 runs. Jharkhand 6 points, Odisha 0 points.

At Agartala: Haryana 292 and 119 (H J Rana 64; A S Sarkar 3-15) beat Tripura 250 and 106 (Pratyush Singh 23; A R Rana 4-37, Tinu Kundu 3-19) by 55 runs.

Haryana 6 points , Tripura 0 points. At Porvorim: Services 184 and 332 (Rahul Singh Gahlaut 111, Rajat Paliwal 94; Amit Verma 5-39) drew with Goa 259 and 67/2 (Amit Verma 23 not out). Goa 3 points, Services 1 point.

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