India Thump England
- India spinners once again held the centrestage as the hosts produced a clinical performance to cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over England on the fourth day of the third cricket Test and thereby take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. The trio of Ravichandran Ashwin (3/81), Ravindra Jadeja (2/62) and Jayant Yadav (2/21) shared bulk of the spoils to dismiss the visitors for 236 in their second innings. Comeback man Parthiv Patel then made a mockery of the target of 103 runs, smashing his way to an unbeaten 67 off 53 balls studded with 11 fours and a six. Fittingly he finished the match with a boundary over extra cover in company of Virat Kohli. Parthiv and Cheteshwar Pujara (25) added 81 runs in only 15.2 overs in what turned out to be an easy chase completed in 20.2 overs. Parthiv was in a mood to display his "T20 skills" as he took on the pacers and spinners alike with minimum fuss. The 50 came off 39 balls with eight boundaries and a six.
- His prowess at the top of the order will give Kohli and coach Anil Kumble another option for opening slot. Credit should be given to young Haseeb Hameed for his gritty unbeaten 59 off 156 balls coming in at No. 8 due to a finger injury that helped England cross 200-run mark. He hit six fours and a six off Ashwin to complete his second Test half-century. It was because of the teenager that India had to chase a 100 plus target. It was a match where England were outbatted and outbowled by an Indian side that has been plagued by injuries. But Ashwin as usual put up a lion-hearted performance once again scoring a 72 and bagging four wickets. Equally creditable was the all-round effort of the other two specialist spinners -- Jadeja (90 run and 4 wickets) and Jayant (55 runs and 4 wickets). Having polished off the top-order save Joe Root, the question on fourth day was not how but when will India finish the match. The only wicket that would have seriously bothered them was that of Joe Root.
- But post Root, Hameed did put up a fight but it was always for a losing cause. Root, who was standing between India and victory, was dismissed for 78 by Jadeja (2/39 in 23 overs), who got one to turn away sharply as the edge was taken by an alert Ajinkya Rahane, who reacted quickly to stretch his right hand. Root played 179 balls hitting six fours in the process. Root got an able ally in young Hameed as the duo added 45 runs in 119 balls for the seventh wicket stand. It was this pair that erased the 134 run deficit. Once Jadeja removed the gutsy Root minutes before lunch, the writing was there on the wall. But Hameed delayed the inevitable and showed that he is one for the future with correct technique and a temperament to match with it.
- The foundation for the victory was set up after the Indian bowlers managed to skittle England for a below par 283 runs in the first innings, with pacers Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav sharing 5 wickets among themselves. Vijay's diminishing returns since his century in Rajkot continued when he fell for a duck, edging a short ball from Woakes to slip, but Parthiv led India's surge to the target - in the process creating a potential selection-poser should Wriddhiman Saha be fit - while Cheteshwar Pujara was content to play within himself, avoiding a regular diet of bouncers, until top-edging a sweep with 15 required. It was noticeable how England"s quicks went for a concerted short-pitched attack early in India's chase, something that had been missing with the game in the balance on the third morning, but barring Ben Stokes" herculean efforts they were out-bowled by the India pacemen.
Sindhu Qualifies For World Super Series Finals, Saina Misses Out
- India's sizzling stroke-maker PV Sindhu finished strongly in the last two qualifying events to surge into the prestigious season-ending World Super Series Finals for the first time. The tournament will be played in Dubai from December 14 to 18. The event features the best eight singles players and doubles pairs of the year's World Super Series tour. And it was not until the last of the 12 stops - Hong Kong Open - that some athletes secured their places in the lucrative $1 million event, reports NDTV.com. Qualification seemed a distant dream for Sindhu who was 16th in the Destination Dubai Rankings with just two events left.
- The 21-year-old's victory at the China Open earned her 11,000 points and revived her chances. However, competition for the last women's singles spot was tight with Sindhu's Indian compatriot Saina Nehwal, Japan's Sayaka Sato and Minatsu Mitani, and Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the reckoning as players gathered in Hong Kong. When the dust settled, it was near six-footer Sindhu who stood tall, clutching the last plane ticket to Dubai; her runner-up finish at Hong Kong Coliseum seeing her past the other hopefuls.
- "I did not think too far ahead. I knew that if I did well, I would qualify for Dubai. I'm looking forward to it," Sindhu said. "It's an honour to play in Dubai, it's an event that I have always wanted to qualify for. My form is good and hopefully it will continue in Dubai. I'm happy that I did well the last two weeks. I'm a bit upset I didn"t win Hong Kong, but Tai (Tzu Ying) played better than me."
Harmanpreet's allround display floors Pakistan
- Captain Harmanpreet Kaur led from the front with an all-round show as India outplayed arch-rivals Pakistan by five wickets to remain the sole unbeaten team in the Women's Asia Cup T20 tournament in Bangkok. Kaur bagged two crucial wickets helping India restrict Pakistan to 97 for seven in 20 overs before taking her team over the line with an unbeaten 26 off 22 balls. She was batting alongside Anuja Patil (2 not out) when India overcame the modest target with four balls to spare.
- Mithali Raj's 36 off 57 balls at the top of the order were also of high value and so were the three wickets from left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht. There was suspense till the end whether India would face Pakistan in the tournament considering the escalated tensions at the border. Earlier this month, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had docked India six points for not playing Pakistan between August 1 to October 31 as per the ICC Women's Championship. As it turned out, India took the field in the keenly followed clash and emerged on top, avenging their narrow defeat in the World T20 at home in March.
- The win was also India's third in as many games. They now sit on the top of the table with six points followed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The other teams in the competition are Bangladesh, Thailand and Nepal. India were in control for the major part of the match after they won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat.
Astronomers Observe Transit Of Earth-Like Extra-Solar Planet
- In an important step towards the search for extra-terrestrial life, astronomers in Japan have observed the transit of a potentially habitable Earth-like extra-solar planet known as K2-3d. A transit is a phenomenon in which a planet passes in front of its parent star, blocking a small amount of light from the star, like a shadow of the planet. While transits have previously been observed for thousands of other extra-solar planets, K2-3d is important because there is a possibility that it might harbour extra-terrestrial life, the researchers said.
- The group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and University of Tokyo, among others, observed the transit using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope. K2-3d is an extra-solar planet about 150 light-years away that was discovered by the NASA K2 mission (the Kepler telescope's "second light').
- About 30 potentially habitable planets that also have transiting orbits were discovered by the NASA Kepler mission, but most of these planets orbit fainter, more distant stars. Because it is closer to Earth and its host star is brighter, K2-3d is a more interesting candidate for detailed follow-up studies, the researchers said.
Advani Bags Bronze At World Snooker Meet
- Fifteen-time world champion Pankaj Advani suffered a 2-7 loss in the semifinals against Andrew Pagett of Wales to settle for a bronze medal at the IBSF World Snooker Championship here. After a hard-fought four-hour quarterfinal that went down to the wire, defending champion Advani had to return to the table for the crucial semifinal without much of a break. His opponent Andrew kept the pressure and reached the final after notching up a 14-74, 8-71, 0-87, 78-64, 0-81, 70-37, 7-80, 37-68, 19-74 win.
- Advani now heads back to Bangalore to switch to the 3-ball game in preparation for the World Billiards Championship that commences from December 5. The Indian is the only player in the world to compete at the world championship level in both sports and be successful in all the formats of both billiards and snooker. Results: Andrew Pagett (Wales) beat Pankaj Advani (India) 7-2: 14-74, 8-71, 0-87, 78-64, 0-81, 70-37, 7-80, 37-68, 19-74.