India script imposing win over Australia

Captain Dhoni celebrates with Ravichandra Aswin. Both played instrumental roles in India's victory.
Captain Dhoni celebrates with Ravichandra Aswin. Both played instrumental roles in India’s victory.

It was an inevitable end to Australia’s second innings, and it all halted when Nathan Lyon inside-edged Ravinder Jadega to a simple catch at forward short-leg. Australia had managed to add just 9 more runs to their overnight lead of 40 runs, leaving India requiring just 50 runs for victory. Moises Henriques, on his debut, remained unbeaten on 81.

The Indian openers had started cautiously; the pitch still had a few demons in it. Nathan Lyon opened the bowling, following 10 wicket hauler Ravichandra Ashwin’s footsteps, and got thwacked for a six by Vijay. Soon after, the Tamil Nadu batsman was caught at mid-off by Henriques off the bowling of James Pattinson. Vijay was unsuccessful in the first innings as well.

Sehwag soon followed back to the dressing room, raising speculation about his own future. Cheteshwar Pujara held on end firm, while 39-year-old Sachin Tendulkar looked in immense hurry. The Little Master hammered consecutive sixes off Lyon from the first two balls he faced, pushing India to within a run needed to win.

Sachin Tendulkar was in imposing form during his 81 in the first innings.
Sachin Tendulkar was in imposing form during his 81 in the first innings.
Vice Captain Kohli scored a brilliant 107 in the first innings to get back among the runs.
Vice Captain Kohli scored a brilliant 107 in the first innings to get back among the runs.

Pujara nudged a single off Lyon and the fist-pumps went up in the air. A jubilant Indian dressing room stood up in applause along with the 25,00 strong Chennai crowd in appreciation.

Harbhajan Singh looked out of sorts in his 100th test match. He might be replaced with Pragyan Ojha in Hyderabad.
Harbhajan Singh looked out of sorts in his 100th test match. He might be replaced with Pragyan Ojha in Hyderabad.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was awarded the Man-of-the-Match for his superlative 224 in the first innings. Ashwin, too, was instrumental in registering the win. The offie plucked a haul of 12 wickets in the match – his first 10-for.

Micheal Clarke displayed good temperament to score a convincing 100 in the first innings.
Micheal Clarke displayed good temperament to score a convincing 100 in the first innings.

Australia captain Micheal Clarke told in the post match presentation that despite his team’s loss he saw a lot of positives in the players’ performances. He acknowledged that they had made some crucial selection errors, but he commended his fast bowlers in absolutely slogging it out in sweltering conditions.

James Pattinson was the most effective Australian bowler picking 5 wickets in the 2nd innings.
James Pattinson was the most effective Australian bowler picking 5 wickets in the 2nd innings.
Moises Henriques impressed on debut scoring a 50 in both innings.
Moises Henriques impressed on debut scoring a 50 in both innings.

The second test match begins on the 2nd of March in Hyderabad. The Board of Control for Cricket in India assured that the match was given a green light despite the latest bomb blasts that claimed the lives of 16 people.

The pitch in the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium provides good bounce and should offer a good contest between bat and ball.

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Ashwin spins his web, India on cusp of victory

Ravichandra Ashwin celebrates a wicket. He finished the day with 5 for 93.
Ravichandra Ashwin celebrates a wicket. He finished the day with 5 for 93.

Score Summary at the end of day 5: India – 572 all-out. (Lead of 192 runs). Australia – 232 for 9 (2nd innings lead of 57 runs)

Chennai, 25 February: A brave unbeaten last wicket stand of 57 runs between all-rounder Moises Henriques and offie Nathan Lyon delayed India’s chances of ending the 1st Test match at the Chepauk on the fourth day itself. Debutant Henriques, the second Portuguese-born cricketer ever, hit his 2nd 50 in the match to prolong the match into its 5th day.

Earlier, India Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni catapulted his team’s score past 550 with a magnificent 224, his highest test score. With a 192-run deficit, Australia lost both openers, Watson and Cowan within the first hour as play resumed. From there on Ravichandra Aswin continued to torment the batsmen, plucking 5 wickets on his way to a first 10-wickets haul in Test cricket. He was ably supported by Ravindra Jadega and Harbhajan Singh who took two wickets each.

Australia toiled hard on a pitch that looked like the surface of Mars, but Henriques showed that a little patience and ardent shot selection yielded positive results. Ed Cowan, David Warner and Aussie Captain Micheal Clarke failed to capitalize on their starts as India continued to chip away after tea.

It looked for a while as though an innings victory was just a moment of time for the Indians. However, from 175 for 9 wickets, the last Aussie pair ensured that India would bowl on day 5, finishing at 232 for 9.

Meanwhile, Ashwin’s 12 for 193 runs is the best figures by an India bowler in his home ground.

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Magnificient Mahi at Chepauk, India pile on lead

Dhoni hit his highest test score during his innings
Dhoni hit his highest test score during his innings

Chennai, 24 February – Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s (MSD) captaincy might have been under scrutiny, but over the past year his batting always remained nothing short of magnificient. Carrying an average of over 85 in One Day Internationals in the last calender year, Dhoni needed to silence his critics over his composure as an able Test batsman. At one time, the selectors had considered dropping him for Bengal stumper Wriddhiman Saha who had scored heavily in the Ranji season.

Captain Dhoni and Vice Captain Kohli during their partnership
Captain Dhoni and Vice Captain Kohli during their partnership

MSD put an end to that debate here on Sunday, and how. He walked in with batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar just departed after scoring an elegant 81, with an out-of-form Virat Kohli at the crease. The Chepauk pitch had few demons, although James Pattinson got the ball to reverse and Nathan Lyon had just begun to turn some sharp ones. Dhoni took a few balls to settle and within half an hour, he was off. The 45 minutes post lunch, the duo of captain and vice-captain plundered the Aussie bowling making it look more of a limited over games. Their partnership yielded 128 runs in quick time as India comfortably crossed the 300-run mark.

Virat Kohil fell for 107 runs but Dhoni continued his attack and reached a double century towards the end of the day’s play,  Bhuvneshkwar Kumar proving an able partner to Dhoni. The duo added an unbeaten stand 109 runs. India closed the third day at 515 for 8, 135 runs ahead of the opposition.

With the 200, MSD joins a list of elite batsman who have managed to go past 200 runs in a day’s play of a test match.

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Oscar Pistorius set free, gets bail on $113,000

Oscar Pistorius adheres to court’s decision granting him bail

‘Blade Runner’, Oscar Pistorius accused of shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day was granted bail on 22nd Feburary, 2013. The ruling that came on Friday was announced by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair after four days of rigorous arguments. The bail has been set at 1 million rand ($113,00) in cash and has been asked to turn in any other guns that he owns. Nail also announced that Pistorius cannot leave the district of Pretoria , South Africa as he is on probation.

 

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Captain Clarke passes spin test, India fail to capitalize

Michael Clarke, Captain of Australia celebrates his century.
Michael Clarke, Captain of Australia celebrates his century.

CHENNAI, 22 FEB: Captain Michael Clarke led from the front with a sparkling unbeaten century under pressure as Australia recovered from a precarious position to post a respectable 316 for seven on the opening day of the first cricket Test against India here today.

Clarke brought up his 23rd Test century off the second last ball of the day hitting left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja towards long-off to remain unbeaten on 103 on a day whih saw an engrossing battle between the bat and the ball.

Clarke negated all the good work done by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6/88) who took all but one among seven wickets that fell on the day at the Chepauk.

Clarke was well-complemented by debutant Moises Henriques (68) as the pair added 147 runs for the sixth wicket after Ashwin’s terrific post-lunch spell saw the visitors being reduced to 153 for five.

The Tamil Nadu offie finally broke the partnership by dismissing the impressive Henriques, trapping him leg-before much to the relief of his teammates.

India will look to capitalize by dismissing the Australians early tomorrow and bat out the rest of the day on a turning Chepauk pitch.

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Tough loss kept Quest winner motivated

Quest winner Allen Moore hugs lead dogs at finish line in Fairbanks
Allen Moore hugs lead dogs Quito, left, and Olivia after winning the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race on Monday morning, Feb. 11, on the Chena River in Fairbanks. Moore finished one-hour, 16-minutes ahead of second place finisher Hugh Neff of Tok. Sam Harrel photo/ Fairbanks Daily-News-Miner

Last year’s Quest finish brought 26-second heartbreak.

This time Allen Moore sank to his knees, hugging his lead dogs, as  champion of the world’s toughest sled dog race.

In this, his third Quest,  Moore, 55-year-old contractor from Two Rivers, Alaska, more than made up for last year’s close loss to Hugh Neff. With 11 dogs pulling his sled, he mushed out of the darkness into the lights blazing at the finish chute more than an hour ahead of the man who edged him out by less than a minute last year.

“You know it was a pretty good motivator,” Moore told KUAC radio reporter Emily Schwing. “You can stay motivated after losing by 26 seconds.  That’s the good thing about it.” Continue reading Tough loss kept Quest winner motivated

Rivals join staging rescue on Quest’s Eagle Summit

Quest mushers Brent Sass and Jake Berkowitz team up crossing Eagle Summit
Quest veteran Brent Sass plays lead dog helping rival musher Jake Berkowitz get his stalled dog team over Eagle summit. Sam Harrel photo/ Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

When dogs in the team ahead quit while climbing the Quest’s most punishing summit, race veteran Brent Sass once again put sportsmanship aside, lending a hand to another musher facing disaster.

The News-Miner has a fine story today recounting this most recent of many rescues operations recorded over the years atop Eagle Summit, the treacherous, windy mountain passage that often decides the outcome in the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest International sled dog race.

The action atop played out as Allen Moore and defending champion Hugh Neff swapped leads down the final stretch. Monday afternoon satellite trackers, (note this page takes time to load)  showed More about 3 kilometers ahead, with perhaps 90 yet to go. This final leg is fast and furious, traveling winding frozen rivers to the Quest’s finish line in Fairbanks.

Load the Quest's "Live Tracking" page for a real time glimpse of dog teams competing in the 30-year-old wilderness classic.
Load the Quest’s “Live Tracking” page for a real time glimpse of dog teams competing in the 30-year-old wilderness classic.

Baring disaster, Sass and the 17 other teams still on the trail are no threat to catch the two frontrunners.

Sass, these days regarded as a serious contender in any dog race, landed in similar trouble on the same Quest summit crossing during his rookie run in 2006. Since then he’s become the master of training leaders for any punch the mountain delivers. Read Mushing Magazine’s interview with Randy Chappel, a fellow rookie trapped with Sass the year race officials summoned military helicopters to rescue missing dogs and drivers.