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I was tricked into spot-fixing by Butt and Majeed: Aamir

News4u - Sports Desk : Disgraced Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Aamir has said that he was tricked into spot-fixing by Salman Butt and bookie Mazhar Majeed and that he did not bowl no balls against England for money.

Aamir, who recently returned to his country after spending three months in a British jail, said he was tricked into the dirty world of match-fixing by Butt and Majeed, who had fixed deals with an unidentified bookie called Ali.

Aamir said he had sent text messages to Ali with his bank account details. He also claims to have sent further texts to Ali trying to find out why he wanted them, but did not receive any money.

Aamir said Majeed later trapped him by saying that, “Oh bro, you’ve got yourself in big trouble, you’re trapped, and your career is at stake.”

“He told me that my calls and texts with Ali had been recorded and had reached the ICC,” the left-arm pacer said to former England skipper Michael Atherton in an interview.

Explaining further Aamir said Majeed told him that he was using his influence to stop the case and said: “Can you do me a favour? … Do two no balls for me.”

“At this point, I’d like to say how stupid I was. He had spoken about the whole ICC intelligence investigation, and on the other hand he was asking me to deliver no balls. I was panicking so much, it didn’t occur to me how ridiculous it was,” Aamir said.

“I knew that it was cheating cricket and that it shouldn’t happen. Then I thought on the other hand that they are helping me. I thought that they are saving me and, if I don’t do it, it might become a problem for me.”

“That’s what I was thinking at the time, then I did it. Everyone thinks that I did it for money. I want to clarify that is not the case,” Aamir insisted.

Aamir said Butt bertrayed him by involving him in such a muck.

“I’m so angry with Salman. He took advantage of my friendship. He used to call me ‘innocent one’, like how an elder brother would speak to a younger one. He should have helped me instead of involving me in all this,” he said.

Amir then apologised again for his involvement in spot-fixing.

“Bearing in mind the Pakistani culture, where my situation is concerned, it hits very hard. The public has such passion for the sport that you are recognised immediately, even if you are just walking down the road.”

“And from that you can see how much the sport is loved by the Pakistani public. When this happened, as the whole world found out, everyone was so angry,” he said.

“I had come onto the scene so young and, within a year, Allah (God) showered me with so much blessing - along with that was the love I received from the people. Therefore, I understand they were angry and will keep feeling that way, A Amir said.

“I apologise to them. I ask for their forgiveness. I messed up,” he added.

Having learnt his lesson, Aamir also had a word of suggestion for young cricketers around the world.

“I’d like to say a word of warning for young players out there. If anyone asks you to do something wrong, you must inform the authorities. Today it’s me in this situation, tomorrow it could well be someone else,” he said.

“I want to say there are people out there who will try and get you involved in fixing. And they don’t trap you by pointing a gun to your head. They befriend you. They try and give you gifts and establish a relationship with you,” Aamir said.

While Aamir has completed his jail term, Butt and another accused in the scandal Mohammad Asif are still serving their 30 and 12 months sentences in Britain.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif

Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif

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Asia Cup: Bruised India face resurgent Sri Lanka

News4u-Sports Desk-MIRPUR: Desperate to restore their battered reputation after the recent debacle in Australia, title holders India would be hoping for a positive start to their campaign in the Asia Cup when they take on Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

The Asia Cup will provide India a chance to make amends for their dismal performance in the triseries in Australia where they won just three out of eight matches.

After having flopped in two consecutive overseas tours in England and then Australia, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows the importance of a good start that will hold them in good stead in the regional tournament.

“Over the years the format has changed in the sense now there are four good sides. It is a very short series, and it is very important to start with a positive note because it’s not very often that you play in a tournament where all the Asian countries are playing together,” Dhoni said.

India are coming into the tournament with just a few changes in the squad that played in Australia with hard-hitting batsman Yusuf Pathan and pacer Ashok Dinda drafted into side, while Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav have been ‘rested’ due to injuries.

The Asia Cup is also an ideal platform for Sachin Tendulkar to record his much-awaited 100th international ton after having missed the feat in the Test series against Australia and the subsequent triseries.

The tournament will also provide another opportunity to young players like Rohit Sharma,Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja to prove their worth after producing a below-par performance in tough Australian conditions.

Young Virat Kohli, on the other hand, will be oozing with confidence following his impressive showing in Australia, which earned him the post of vice-captain in Sehwag’s absence.

But looking at India’s inconsistent showing in Australia, Dhoni has a lot to ponder ahead of his side’s tournament opener against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

“It’s not that we have done really badly. Of course, we had a patch where we have not done consistently well. Especially when it comes to the ODI format, I think we have done quite well. So we are hoping that we will stick to it and be consistent throughout the tournament,” Dhoni said.

The series will also see a keen contest between Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan for the lone all-rounder’s spot in the playing eleven.

“Unfortunately he’s (Virender Sehwag) not there. We will miss him, he is one of the most dangerous openers. But this means we have one space in the playing eleven right now. It may go to somebody like Yusuf Pathan so that we can balance the flair and the firepower and the stability that’s needed.

“I think it’s an opportunity for someone like a Yusuf or a Ravindra Jadeja to do well and grab that number six position,” Dhoni said.

On the bowling front, India boasts of a relatively young pace attack in R Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan, while the spin department will be led by Ravichandran Ashwin and will have leg-spinner Rahul Sharma for company.

On paper there is nothing much to differentiate between the two sides, but going by present form Sri Lanka undoubtedly hold an edge over the Indians.

Sri Lanka have been a resurgent side this year. They narrowly lost the five-match series in South Africa 2-3 early this year and reached the finals of the just-concluded triseries in Australia, only to lose it but not before giving a tough fight to the home team.

But the Sri Lankans have come here as a tired side after the long triseries in Australia, where they played five matches in the last 10 days.

“The intensity (of the CB series) was really high because we were performing at a very high level. Even though we lost the finals I thought the commitment of the players and the energy level was very good,” Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said.

“International cricket is such now, you need to adapt very quickly mentally and physically to the schedules that we have,” he said.

If the islanders wish to win their fifth Asia Cup title, they will have to rejuvenate themselves in no time as one bad day in office can hurt their cause.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt.), Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Rahul Sharma, R Vinay Kumar.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (Capt.), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne.PTI


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Dravid taught me to put price on my wicket: Rohit Sharma

News4u - Sports Desk : NEW DELHI: India’s next generation batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara paid rich tributes to recently retired Rahul Dravid stating that they would want to inculcate his “positive attitude, temperament and humility.” 

“I’ve learnt quite a lot from him. The first thing is putting a price on your wicket,” said Rohit Sharma, who has played 77 ODIs scoring 1889 runs at an average of 33.14 for India so far in his career.

“Secondly, no matter what condition and situation you are batting in, never give up. Just be there, feel the heat, feel the pressure. That is when your true character shows. He showed us that. That is the biggest thing I learnt from him,” Rohit was quoted as saying by a cricket website.

Promising batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has featured in 11 ODIs and two T20 matches for the national team, said: “He showed us how important your wicket is and to value it always. Another thing about him is how humble he always is on and off the field. That quality really stands out.”

“I had made 165 and 98 in the 2008-09 Duleep Trophy final in Chennai against South Zone. He [Dravid] was part of that side. I wanted to go and ask him about my batting but was feeling hesitant about approaching such a big player. Instead, he himself came up to me and told me that I was doing well and needed to continue playing the way I had been playing.

“He asked me to develop more confidence in my batting which is so important at the highest level. To have my idol, who I had grown up watching, reposing so much faith in me was a huge thing. I have had the privilege of sharing two dressing rooms with him - India and Rajasthan Royals,” he said.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who made his India debut in Bangalore Test against Australia in 2010 and had scored an excellent 72 in the fourth-innings, said he wants to inculcate Dravid’s positive attitude in him.

“I was 20 or 21. He was playing for Karnataka against Saurashtra in Rajkot. He is one of my idols. I just wanted to ask him that if I wanted to play at the international level, what should I do and how can I improve myself,” he said.

“He was very happy to talk to me. He was very friendly. He told me he had heard a lot about me scoring in domestic cricket and he was really impressed with that. After that, he gave me a few tips about succeeding at the top level.

Pujara also spoke how Dravid would point out the subtle things which can improve one’s batting.

“(One thing you would take from Dravid’s game) I would say his positive attitude towards the game. A bowler has to work hard to get his wicket. That quality I admire a lot. In the Durban Test, I played a pull shot and got out. He said that normally you don’t play those kinds of shots. ‘It is not your strength. You should play to your strength’,” he said.

Abhinav Mukund, who played his Test debut against West Indies in June last year and has featured in five Tests so far with one fifty, said he would like to have the temperament of Dravid.

“He is a very, very meticulous man. He is very careful about all the cricketing gear in his kit bag. I saw it when I started playing alongside Dravid. He is a man of order, I think. He is known for his professionalism and his ethics so it comes alongside his character.

“There was one game where the ball flicked his shoelaces and he got out in England. You could notice the next day that he had changed his shoelaces and tucked them in deep. When you say that the man leaves nothing to chance, that is the biggest example of that,” he said.PTI

Rohit Sharma


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Dravid 30th in all-time best list: ICC

News4u- Sports Desk -  India’s batting great Rahul Dravid, who bid adieu to international cricket on Friday, holds 30th position in the rating list for the all-time best in the Test cricket.

The 39-year old Karnataka batsman spent a total of 35 Tests and 226 days at the top, with the highest-rating of 892 which he achieved in March 2005, an ICC release stated on Saturday.

Among India batsmen, only Sunil Gavaskar (916) and Sachin Tendulkar (898) have achieved higher career ratings than Dravid.

The Indore-born batsman signed off his meritorious 16-year international career in the 19th spot in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

After making his Test debut against England at the Lord’s in 1996, Dravid broke the 800-point barrier — a total which marks out players as outstanding — in March 1998 after scoring half-centuries in each innings of the Chennai Test against Australia.

Nine months later, Dravid topped the batting table after scoring 190 and 103 not out against New Zealand in Hamilton. However, his stay at the top lasted just 26 days when he was overtaken by team-mate Tendulkar.

Dravid regained the No.1 position after his match-winning double-century against Pakistan in the Rawalpindi Test in March 2004 and then spent six months on top of the ranking table from July 2004 to January 2005.

He achieved top spot once more, in March 2005, although that reign was the shortest of his career, lasting just a week before he was leapfrogged by South Africa’s Jacques Kallis.

Dravid was also the first recipient of the ICC Test Player of the Year and the ICC Cricketer of the Year (the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy) awards, presented in 2004 in London.

In the ODI arena, Dravid achieved a highest ranking of fifth spot in August 2007 and stayed inside the top 25 from May 1999 to October 2007. His highest rating was 749 which he achieved in May 2006.


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Indian squad leaves for Asia Cup

News4u-Sports Desk-MUMBAI: The Indian squad, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left by a morning flight toBangladesh capital Dhaka to take part in the four-nation 11th Asia Cup starting on Sunday.

Dhoni and his men came back from the disastrous tour of Australia only a few days ago where they were knocked out of the triangular series after having been thrashed 0-4 in the preceding Test series by the home team.

Hosts Bangladesh will take on Pakistan in the opening fixture of the Asia Cup which India have won five times in its history, including on the last occasion two years ago in Sri Lanka.

India open their campaign against Sri Lanka on March 13 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

The clash between two arch rivals India and Pakistan is set for March 18, which would be the first meeting between the two sides since last March in the World Cup semifinal at Mohali where India won before clinching cricket’s showpiece event for the second time in their history.

The Asia Cup, in which each of the four teams meets every other team once in the league stage, concludes on March 22.

Indian squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Virat Kohli (Vice Capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda.PTI

Indian Cricket Team Logo

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Rahul Dravid should have retired after England tour: Sourav Ganguly

News4u-Sports Desk- NEW DELHI: Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly feels that Rahul Dravid should have retired after his brilliant Test series in England and said Friday’s decision did not come as a surprise.

“I believe Rahul should have retired after the England series and not wait for the Australian tour. In any case this is a right decision and I saw it coming,” Ganguly told reporters at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium on Friday.

Ganguly, under whose captaincy ‘The Wall’ had played some brilliant knocks, felt the decision by Dravid is a statement to the selectors.

“With this decision Dravid has made a statement to the selectors that it is time for change in Indian cricket, as we have lost eight consecutive overseas Test matches. 8-0 is never a good sign.

“When Dravid came that was a period when Indian cricket was going through a transition phase and he is also leaving at a time when Indian cricket needs a change,” Ganguly said.

Asked whether there will be someone who will be able to replace Dravid at No. 3 slot, Ganguly replied, “You may not get anyone who will be able to replace Rahul Dravid but again you can not continue forever because it took 16 years and 13,000 runs in Test cricket to make a Rahul Dravid.”

Asked about a possible replacement of Dravid, Ganguly said, “Virat Kohli is playing well and Rohit Sharma has the talent, but he needs to translate into performance, also there is Manoj Tiwary and Cheteshwar Pujara. There are names but you have to give them a chance to know how they perform.”

Asked to pick a favourite Dravid inning, Ganguly said, “180 at Calcutta (now Kolkata) against Australia tops my list. 148 at Headingly was also good but the situation in Calcutta was far more difficult.”PTI


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Clint McKay five-for helps Australia clinch tri-series title

News4u - Sports Desk : Australia clinched the cricket tri-series title as they relied on a spirited bowling display to beat Sri Lanka by 16 runs in a low-scoring thriller in Adelaide on Thursday.

After posting 231 all out on a difficult Adelaide Oval track, the hosts rode on pacer Clint McKay’s five-for to stop Sri Lanka at 215 in the third and deciding final.

Upul Tharanga hit 71 to help the islanders recovered from early jolts and almost put his side on track for a win but the Sri Lankans lost the plot after his dismissal to give the Australians a victory with seven balls to spare.

McKay was Australia’s hero, making a critical 28 batting at number nine and then claiming five for 28 which broke the visitors’ back.

The Sri Lankan top order failed and hard as the other batsmen rallied, it was not enough to win them the day. They lost too many wickets up front and were 53 for four in the first powerplay of 10 overs itself.

Brett Lee (3 for 59) and McKay wreaked havoc in this period by sharing these wickets and leaving too much for the rest of the batters to achieve in the remaining overs.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (8) got a leading edge while trying to work a delivery on the onside in Lee’s second over and fell to a soft dismissal, caught in the covers, in the third over.

Kumar Sangakkara (19) was off the block in a jiffy, striking three fours in his nine balls, before he became Lee’s second victim, driving a catch to slips in the seventh over.

Things were only to turn worse as McKay claimed two wickets in seven balls to leave Sri Lanka tottering at 53 for four. He first won a LBW shout against Dinesh Chandimal (5) and in his next over, cleaned up skipper Mahela Jayawardene (15), who played down the wrong line and having his stumps in a disarray.

The fifth wicket stand between Lahiru Thirimanne (30) and Tharanga broke the pattern with a 60-run fourth wicket stand before the former sliced a drive to point off Shane Watson.

Sri Lanka lost their sixth wicket on 142 when Chamara Kapugdeara (7) tried to steer McKay but only thick-edged a chance to wicketkeeper Wade.

Nuwan Kulasekara’s (15) presence at the crease brought some excitement but today was not his day as he made room to smash Lee but the bowler followed him on the legside and he could only lob it for mid-on to take an easy catch.

Left-handed Tharanga, all this while, kept one end going, playing slowly but surely, as he raised his half century from 94 balls with three fours.

Pressure began to mount as the Lankans reached their 200 for the loss of seven wickets in the 45th over, requiring only 30 runs from the final five overs.

Watson earned a critical wicket in the 46th over when Tharanga edged a slower delivery to wicketkeeper Wade for 71, made from 122 balls with three fours and a six. Lanka needed 28 runs from the final four overs with two wickets in hand.

It proved too much for the visitors as they lost their final two wickets to McKay in the form of bowled dismissals to leave the hosts winner by 16 runs.

Earlier, the Australian middle-order collapsed like a pack of cards as Sri Lanka restricted the hosts to 231.

The hosts were cruising along at 115 for 1 before a middle-order slump saw them get all-out in 49.3 overs.

Things could have got worse but for Lee (32) and McKay (28) who added 40 valuable runs for the eighth wicket.

The islanders were well served by nearly all five bowlers, none better than medium-pacer Ferveez Maharoof (3 for 40) and Rangana Herath (3 for 36) who triggered the collapse with six wickets between them.

Put into bat, Australian openers Matthew Wade (49) and David Warner (48) raised 75 runs inside the first 14 overs.

Warner, fresh from his two successive centuries, was the early aggressor as he slammed 48 off 45 balls with five fours and a six before being caught behind off Maharoof.

Wade, then found an able partner in stand-in skipper Shane Watson (19) put on 40 runs in next six-odd overs before the wheels came off the Lankan innings.

Once Watson fell to the off-spin of Dilshan, Maharoof and Herath wreaked havoc on the hosts on a slow pitch, mixing up their deliveries, and costing Australia five more wickets for 58 runs in a space of 15-odd overs.

Watson and Wade fell within an over of each other —the skipper brilliantly caught at the deep midwicket fence when he swept Dilshan fiercely and Herath flung himself to his right to bring off an outstanding catch.

It appeared to have shell-shocked Wade who steered Nuwan Kulasekara to short point and as non-striker Mike Hussey dashed down from the non-striker’s end only to find Dilshan’s direct throw catching him well short off his ground.

Two overs later, it was Wade’s turn to trace his steps back home, cutting Herath into the hands of Sangakkara who took a juggling catch. Wade’s 49 off 74 balls didn’t last the distance as he wanted to and left the innings in the hands of two new batsmen.

Herath struck with scalp of Peter Forrest (3) who played the wrong line to see his off-stump disturbed in 27th over.

Australia’s misery was far from over. David Hussey (19) was ruled out by umpire Asad Rauf off Maharoof though the ball appeared to have hit his pads a shade above the stumps.

Dan Christian (19) got couple of boundaries off Herath but was fooled by a slower Maharoof delivery, mistiming a drive straight into the hands of Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene at mid-off.

The smart recovery for the eighth wicket which added 40 runs and took the innings to 46th over, was not good enough to see through Herath. The left-arm spinner struck with his second last ball, fooling McKay into hitting one into the deep. McKay made 28 off 32 balls with three fours and six and Australians were now 217 for 8.


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Why can’t Facebook and Twitter say the A-word?

News4u - Business Desk : What’s the most uncool word in social media?


Just look at the pains the top social networking companies take to avoid uttering the dreaded term.

Twitter started the trend when it rolled out itsadvertising products in 2010, which it dubbed “promoted Tweets.” Chief Executive Dick Costolo (who was COO at the time) insisted that the marketing pitches coming to Twitter were not ads at all - they were simply standard Twitter messages that companies could pay to promote.

Now Facebook, which derived 85 per cent of its revenue from advertising last year, has developed a similar aversion to the A word.

At a splashy marketing event in New York on Wednesday, the company introduced a new ad format that will allow big brand marketers to push information directly into users’ newsfeeds and onto other prominent on-screen real-estate. The word “advertising” was conspicuously absent from the somewhat vague name of the new ad format: “Premium on Facebook.”

Facebook executive Mike Hoefflinger (pictured, right) even delivered a whole on-stage spiel about why Facebook’s new ads were in fact not ads, but “stories.”

“Ads come from anyone at anytime, stories come from people and things you’re connected to,” he said. “Ads get shared once a year at the Super Bowl. Lots and lots of little stories get shared on Facebook all the time.”

Is this penchant for euphemisms a sign that the Web’s new businesses are in denial about their actual businesses? Or is it indication that these companies are once again ahead of the cultural zeitgeist?

Perhaps other industries will soon follow the lead of Facebook and Twitter.

For example landlords could start charging tenants monthly mortgage supplementary enhancements while gasoline companies could offer drivers “transportation narratives” at the pump.Reuters


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Veterans fail, Kohli only batsman to sparkle

News4u-Sports desk-ADELAIDE: India on Saturday succumbed to its second successive overseas series whitewash and the bulk of the blame should go to its famed batting line, which failed miserably in what has turned out to be a disastrous Test series against Australia. 

Most of the batsmen, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, veterans Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, cut a sorry figure in the series.

While Dhoni managed 102 runs from six innings at an average of 20.40, Sehwag (198) and Gambhir (181) turned out to be disaster at the top averaging mere 24.75 and 22.62 respectively.

Dravid, known as “The Wall” of Indian cricket, crumbled time and again throughout the series and scored just 194 runs at an average of 24.25.

Laxman was no better as he averaged a dismal 19.37 and managed to score just 155 runs from his eight knocks.

But young Virat Kohli, who made his debut in the series, turned out to be the top performer for India with the bat, scoring 300 runs from eight innings at an average of 37.50. He also scored India’s lone century in the rubber with a gutsy 116 in the fourth and final Test.

Kohli’s was closely followed batting ace Sachin Tendulkar, who was the second highest scorer for India with 287 runs at an average 35.87.

Even off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (163 from 6 innings) fared better than some of his fancied batting colleagues, averaging an impressive 32.60.

On the bowling front, veteran Zaheer Khan impressed all and sundry in his comeback series by emerging as the highest wicket-taker for India with 15 scalps at an average of 31.80, though he did not have the same sting.

Even though he lacked consistency at times, young Umesh Yadav also did reasonably well, picking up 14 wickets with five for 93 being his best bowling figures.

Ashwin has nine wickets to his credit, but lanky pacer Ishant Sharma turned out to be the big disappointement for India, managing just five wickets in the entire series.

Australia, on the other hand, sparkled in all departments of the game in the series.

With 626 runs to his kitty from six innings, including an unbeaten 326 in the second Test inSydney, Australia captain Michael Clarke finished as the top-scorer in the series.

Clarke averaged an impressive 125.20 with the bat and also picked up a wicket in the series, that too of India’s batting ace Sachin Tendulkar.

Just behind Clarke was his predecessor Ricky Ponting, who amassed 544 runs with an average of 108.80 with best score of 221.

Another senior pro Mike Hussey also shone with the bat scoring 293 runs, followed by explosive opener David Warner (266) and his partner Ed Cowan (206).

The home team also ran away with the top honours on the bowling front with Ben Hilfenhaus emerging as the highest wicket-taker in the series with 27 scalps at an average of 17.22

Pace spearhead Peter Siddle was closely behind with 23 wickets at an average of 18.65, followed by James Pattinson (11 wickets), who was played the first two Tests, off-spinner Nathan Lyon (7) and Ryan Harris (6). PTI

Veterans fail, Kohli only batsman to sparkle

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3rd ODI: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 4 runs (D/L method)

News4u-Sports Desk-BLOEMFONTEIN: Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis made the top score and pulled off a spectacular run out as South Africa clinched a series victory in the third one-day international against World Cup finalists Sri Lanka at Chevrolet Park on Tuesday. 

Mainly due to Du Plessis making 72 off 74 balls, South Africa were four ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score when rain stopped play.

The home side were on 179 for five after 34 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 266 for nine and the result gave South Africa a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series and extended the tourists poor run to six successive one day defeats.

Run outs played a crucial role in both innings.

Sri Lanka made a competitive total but it might have been considerably higher if their two star batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, had not been run out, both by direct hits.

Upul Tharanga (58) and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) put on 94 for Sri Lanka’s first wicket.

Sangakkara, batting at number three, looked set to take full advantage of the good start on an easy-paced pitch as he stroked his way to 38 off 37 balls.

But Sangakkara fell to a superb piece of fielding by Du Plessis, who dived far to his left at backward point to stop a cut by Dinesh Chandimal, then hit the stumps at the batsman’s end with Sangakkara stranded after the batsmen hesitated.

Jayawardene was run out for 15, four balls into the batting powerplay in the 36th over, when he was sent back by Chandimal, slipped as he turned and could not recover to beat an accurate throw from Colin Ingram at mid-off.

“Mahela’s and Sanga’s run outs cost us 20 runs,” said Dilshan, who added that some sloppy fielding by his team had cost another 20 runs when South Africa batted.

Lasith Malinga made two early strikes in the South African innings, bowling Graeme Smith and Colin Ingram, and South Africa slumped to 52 for three when Alviro Petersen missed a reverse sweep and was leg before wicket to Dilshan.

Du Plessis and JP Duminy put on 61 in a fourth wicket stand marked by aggressive running between wickets before Duminy fell to a direct hit by Nuwan Kulasekera from mid-off.

Du Plessis went to a career-best score before he became another run out victim, with Angelo Mathews making a quick pick-up and throw from cover.

Rain started to fall in the 33rd over, at the end of which South Africa were one behind according to the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Dilshan brought Malinga back into the attack but the unorthodox fast bowler conceded eight runs to South African captain AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel before the rain intensified and play was halted.

On a pitch which offered no assistance to the bowlers, Tharanga and Du Plessis were the only batsmen to achieve half-centuries.

The left-handed Tharanga dominated the opening stand with Dilshan and reached a stylish 50 when Dilshan, who failed to score in the first two matches, was on 18. Tharanga made his 58 off 65 balls with five fours and two sixes.

Dilshan, who had less of the strike during the partnership, scored 33 off 49 balls with two fours.

Despite senior batsmen Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis having been released from the South African squad, Du Plessis was promoted to number four in the South African order as part of a rotation policy with De Villiers and Duminy.

He responded with some crisp strokeplay in an innings which included seven fours. He was suffering from cramp towards the end of his innings which he admitted contributed to him being run out.

De Villiers said he would have preferred the match to have gone the distance.

“I thought we were in a good position although the game was in the balance,” he said.AFP


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