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Virat Kohli misses out on century as India score 307/6 on Day 1

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Virat Kholi

Nottingham | Virat Kohli’s dogged determination was well complemented by Ajinkya Rahane’s application as India put up their best batting performance of the series reaching 307 for 6 against England on the first day of the third cricket Test.

The Indian captain missed out on a well-deserved by a whisker as his 97 came off 152 balls while Rahane also looked good for a three figure before Alastair Cook’s reflex catch brought about his downfall at 81.

Together, the Indian skipper and his deputy added 159 runs for the fourth wicket to lay a solid foundation.

After the batting debacle in first two Tests, a collective performance was the order of the day and Kohli-Rahane duo were helped by the fact that openers Shikhar Dhawan (35) and KL Rahul (23) added 60 runs to lay the foundation.

Kohli’s innings had 11 boundaries and with only three runs remaining for a coveted 23rd Test hundred, Kohli went for an expansive cover drive off a tossed-up delivery from leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1/46 in 9 overs) only to be snapped by Ben Stokes at first slip.

This is only the second time in Kohli’s career that he has been dismissed in the 90’s. He would feel more dejected because Rashid was the weakest link in the England attack leaking runs with rank long hops.

Before that Rahane, who got his first half-century in more than a year, found Cook standing at first slip taking a sharp one-handed reflex catch off Stuart Broad’s (1/64 in 21 overs) bowling.

Rahane’s 131-ball knock had 12 boundaries but more importantly, he seemed to have found his rhythm while batting. The square of the wicket shots, the cover drives were there to see,

Both Kohli and Rahane showed enough patience waiting for the loose deliveries, leaving a lot of deliveries outside the off-stump.

Jimmy Anderson (1/52 in 22 overs) bowled a probing spell but both the batsmen didn’t take any unnecessary risk against the senior fast bowler.

For Kohli, who has been troubled by back problem, was in his zone as he ran a lot of singles and twos. The duo always kept the scoreboard ticking despite the England bowlers maintaining a good channel.

The standout shot in Kohli’s innings would certainly be the bowler’s back drive off Chris Woakes (3/75 in 20 overs) while Rahane also hit the bowler through the covers in the same over.

Rahane hit a few square cuts as he prepared to play late at times, something that he didn’t do in the first two Tests.

One such square brought up his 13th fifty in Test match cricket. When he reached a personal score of 59, the Mumbaikar completed 3000 runs in longest format.

The biggest positive was how Kohli-Rahane resurrected the innings just when it looked that things will once again fall apart after a good start.

Woakes removed Dhawan, Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara (14) in quick succession as India from 60 for no loss went into the lunch at 82 for 3.

However Rahane-Kohli ensured that from lunch to tea, India didn’t lose a wicket and added 107 runs in that particular session. They played their shots, ran their singles and twos as India maintained a healthy run-rate of 3.52 pe over throughout the day.

In the final hour, debutant Rishabh Pant created some buzz with his first scoring stroke in Test cricket being a straight six off Rashid.

One of the most talked about youngster in Indian cricket, Pant (22 batting) clipped Broad through vacant mid-wicket region to show why he is so highly rated.

Hardik Pandya (14 off 58 balls) was ready to grind it out before Anderson snapped him up with the last ball of the day. After bowling an inswinger, Anderson bowled his traditional outswinger as Pandya pushed hard at the delivery. The edge was taken by Jos Buttler in the slips.

Earlier, Dhawan, dropped after the Birmingham Test, opened the innings and initially showed more patience as he played 65 balls hitting seven boundaries in the process.

Anderson and Broad bowled a tad short and the ball didn’t swing much in the first hour of play as India were well placed at 43-0.

But it didn’t take anything away from the solid job done by the opening pair. In fact, this was India’s highest opening partnership outside Asia and West Indies since December 2013.

India’s 50 came in the 17th over. After drinks break though, things changed as Woakes bowled a fuller length and started troubling the batsmen immediately.

Dhawan was caught at second slip by Buttler as he edged one off Woakes in the 19th over.

Two overs later, Rahul was trapped leg before as Woakes set him up beautifully. He bowled successive outswingers before bringing one back in. Rahul opted for DRS, but that didn’t work in his favour either.

Things looked to be going smoothly despite these twin blows before Pujara’s indiscretion could have cost India dearly but Kohli and Rahane were equal to the task.

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India crush NZ by 8 wickets in first ODI after sun-induced stoppage

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Virat Kohli and Shami batting at today's match in Napier, New Zealand

Napier | India produced cricket of the calibre that has become synonymous with Virat Kohli’s men to crush New Zealand in the first ODI but a bizarre and unprecedented sun-induced interruption overshadowed the on-field action here Wednesday.

Entering the five-match rubber following maiden Test and ODI series triumphs in Australia, India signalled their intent with a clinical display, which saw them chase down a revised target of 156 by eights wickets in 34.5 overs.

The Duckworth-Lewis method came into the picture for an interruption which was not caused by rain for the first time.

On a near-perfect day, the only thing that didn’t go their way was the toss. But India made light of that by bowling out the home team for a paltry 157 in 38 overs.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4/39 in 10 overs, while seamer Mohammed Shami finished with an excellent 3/19 in six overs. There were also two wickets for leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Captain Kane Williamson top-scored for the hosts with 64 off 81 balls.

In response, Shikhar Dhawan began the innings with a flurry of boundaries, eventually finishing as the top-scorer with 75 off 103 balls.

The left-handed opening batman, battling indifferent form, studded his innings with six boundaries.

India were comfortably placed at 44 for one when, in a bizarre turn of events, players walked off the ground after dinner because the setting sun made it difficult for them to spot the ball at McLean park.

This led to an interruption that has never been seen in international cricket before.

Because of the nearly half-an-hour delay, the target was revised to 156 in 49 overs, which the visitors chased without much ado.

While Rohit Sharma may have lost his focus after the dinner break, Kohli and Dhawan didn’t let the sun-induced stoppage distract their minds when play resumed. Kohli, though, got out five short of a fifty.

The Indian captain hit three boundaries in his 59-ball knock before pacer Lockie Ferguson had him caught behind with a quick delivery that caught the batsman by surprise.

In the course of his 26th ODI fifty, Dhawan became the joint fourth fastest batsman to reach 5000 runs. Dhawan needed 118 innings to reach the mark.

This knock will bring some relief for Dhawan as he hasn’t scored a half century in his last nine innings.

Earlier, opting to bat, the New Zealanders were off to an inauspicious start, losing both openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro within the first five overs with just 18 runs on the board.

By sending back Guptill in his 56th match, the 28-year-old Shami became the fastest Indian to reach 100 wickets in ODIs.

Coming into the series after a hugely successful 2018, Ross Taylor looked good in his 41-ball 24, but he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Chahal, who lured the batsman to dance down the pitch a tad too early with his change of pace.

Till Taylor was there alongside Williamson, things looked good for New Zealand, as the duo played a few delightful shots, especially the skipper whose trademark backfoot punch through the covers stood out.

Tom Latham was dismissed in similar fashion, with leg-spinner Chahal being the bowler.

Henry Nicholls and Mitchell Santner came, swung their willows for a six and a couple of boundaries, and got out to Jadhav and Shami respectively as New Zealand stuttered at 133 for six in the 30th over.

By that time, Williamson too had had enough, and got out while trying to hoick Yadav over long-on.

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Karan Johar apologises for Pandya-Rahul ‘Koffee with Karan’ episode

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Mumbai | Breaking his silence on the controversy following comments by cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul on his chat show, filmmaker Karan Johar says he apologises for what happened and admits the conversation “may have crossed boundaries”.

The filmmaker also said he feels very responsible for the remarks made on “Koffee with Karan” and has spent sleepless nights wondering how to “undo this damage”.

Pandya and Rahul were widely slammed for their remarks labelled misogynistic and sexist and have been provisionally suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), pending an inquiry.

“I’m not justifying the conversation that happened on the episode. I’m saying that perhaps things were said that may have crossed boundaries and I apologise because it was my platform where it happened,” Johar told ET Now in an interview.

The filmmaker, who is in Davos for the World Economic Forum, said the boys have “paid the price” for what happened on the episode.

“I haven’t spoken about it really… I feel very responsible because it was my show and my platform. I invited them as guests and so the ramifications and repercussions of the show are my responsibility.

“I have had so many sleepless nights, just wondering about how I can undo this damage. Who is going to listen to me? It has now gone into a zone that is beyond my control,” Johar told the channel in the interview posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

Calling himself a feminist who has been brought up by strong women, Johar said he asks the same questions to everyone.

“I don’t defend myself when I say this, the questions I asked the two boys are the questions I ask everyone, including women. When Deepika (Padukone) and Alia (Bhatt) were on the show, I asked them those questions.

“I have no control over the answers that come my way. And post the show, I have a control room of about 16-17 girls. The show ‘Koffee with Karan’ is run entirely by women. I’m the only man there. None of them came up (with issues).”

According to Johar, some of them thought Pandya was wild, “crazy or cracked” and some said he was funny too.

“No one came and told me that ‘Karan, this is was inappropriate’,” he added.

Asked if he has any regrets about the episode, Johar said he regretted what has happened to them.

“And then there was talk about me actually enjoying the TRP. I don’t care about the TRPs. This is a spin-off… It’s not my career, it’s theirs. I don’t care about the ratings. People don’t understand that an English language show is never dependent on its ratings. We are nowhere in the radar of ratings.

“It was not ratings, it was meant to be my show and I want to say it is frivolous. It is sometimes completely borderline ridiculous, irreverent, candid and stops making sense… That’s the show,” he added.

After the controversy, the episode featuring the two cricketers was taken down by Hotstar.

“Certain remarks/comments made by the guests on the episode 12 of Koffee with Karan may hurt the sentiments of our users/viewers. As a responsible platform, we have removed the episode from Hotstar with immediate effect,” Hotstar had tweeted.

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CWG gold medallist weightlifter Sanjita’s provisional suspension revoked

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New Delhi | The International Weightlifting Federation has revoked the provisional suspension on weightlifter K Sanjita Chanu for a failed dope test, a major reprieve for the two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist who has claimed innocence.

In a case that has dragged on for almost a year and has been marred by an “administrative” goof-up in Sanjita’s sample number, the IWF informed that a final decision on the matter is expected in the coming days.

“On the basis of the information at its disposal, the IWF has decided that the provisional suspension of the athlete (Khumukcham Sanjita) shall be lifted as of today (22 January 2019),” IWF’s legal counsel Eva Nyirfa said in an e-mail sent to the national federation and Sanjita.

“The IWF Hearing Panel will render its decision on the athlete’s case in due course,” it added.

The 25-year-old Sanjita, who had won a gold in the women’s 53kg category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, had tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone. Her urine sample was taken prior to the World Championships in United States in November 2017, and she was put under provisional suspension from May 15 last year.

A final decision of the IWF panel is yet to come but Sanjita said her assertion of innocence has been vindicated.

“I have got a mail from the international federation and our national federation has also called me up this morning informing about the lifting of the (provisional) suspension. I am relieved and happy. I am innocent and I have never taken any banned substance in my career. I am vindicated now,” she told PTI from her native place in Manipur.

“At the same time, I experienced mental trauma during these past 8-9 months (since May 15 last year) due to the mistake of the international federation. I hope nothing like this happen to any athlete in future. An athlete’s reputation is very precious,” she added.

Sanjita said the Indian Weightlifting Federation had asked her to join the national camp immediately if she wants.

“The federation official told me today to write if I want to join national camp. I am doing that. I missed the Asian Games and World Championships in 2018. I want to compete in the World Championships this year and qualify for 2020 Olympics. For any athlete, Olympics is the ultimate,” she said.

The international body informed about her doping offence only in May last year. That meant the Manipuri weightlifter participated in the Gold Coast CWG, where she finished top of the podium. She had also won gold in the 48kg in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The IWF had, in July last year, admitted to committing a mistake in giving the exact sample number of Sanjita in its report. The world body had mentioned two different urine sample numbers in its communication of her dope flunk.

The urine sample of Sanjita was taken out-of-competition on November 17, 2017 and the laboratory results of the tests conducted in the United States was handed to the international body on December 20. The communication of her failed dope test was given to Sanjita only on May 15 last year and her ‘B’ sample returned positive on September 11.

Her representatives then appeared before a IWF hearing panel on October 19 in Budapest, Hungary. She presented her submissions on October 19 itself and on November 1.

In a communication to Sanjita — a rare instance while a doping procedure is ongoing — the IWF hearing panel had said that “the case appears to be complicated”.

Sanjita’s doping issue even reached the Prime Minister‘s Office which directed the Sports Ministry to look into the matter.

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