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5th Test: Kuldeep, Ashwin, Rohit, Gill steer India to massive win over England, claim series 4-1 (Ld)

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Dharamshala, March 9 (IANS) Ravichandran Ashwin made his 100th Test match memorable with a five-wicket haul while Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah took two scalps each as India thrashed England by innings and 64 runs to emphatically win the fifth and final Test at the HPCA Stadium & win the five-match series 4-1.

On day three, India were bowled out for 477 in their first innings, taking a handy lead of 259 runs. Under pressure, England capitulated in stunning fashion as Ashwin took 5-77, his 36th five-wicket haul in the format, also the most fifers in this format for India.

He now joins spin legends Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble as the bowlers to bag a five-wicket haul in their 100th Test match. Kuldeep followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with 2-40, while Bumrah picked 2-38 and Ravindra Jadeja returned with 1-25 as England were bowled out for 195 in 48.1 overs, with India securing an impressive series win.

In the morning, off-spinner Shoaib Bashir took his second five-wicket haul in Tests while veteran pacer James Anderson became the first fast-bowler to pick 700 wickets in the format as England bowled out India for 477 in their first innings.

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Kuldeep and Bumrah added four more runs to the overnight total before Anderson picked his 700th Test wicket in the form of the former. Anderson lured Kuldeep into poking outside the off-stump and got a healthy nick behind to keeper Ben Foakes, ending the 49-run stand for the ninth wicket.

It made Anderson only the third bowler to pick 700 or more Test wickets after Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Warne (708 wickets). Bashir then got his five-wicket haul when he drew Bumrah forward on the front foot and had him stumped from behind to end India’s innings quickly.

Bashir also became the first England bowler to claim a five-wicket haul twice in Tests before the age of 21. Though India captain Rohit Sharma could not take the field due to a stiff back, as per the BCCI, with Jasprit Bumrah taking charge of the proceedings, taking a lead of 259 runs meant the hosts’ had done enough to put almighty pressure on England.

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That came true when Duckett tried to take the attacking route against Ashwin, but totally played down the wrong line after dancing down the pitch and seeing his off-stump being rattled. Crawley was next to fall for a 16-ball duck, with short leg catching his flick off Ashwin.

An unsettled Ollie Pope top-edged to a running square leg, giving Ashwin his third wicket of the innings. Jonny Bairstow was aggressive in his strokeplay to make 39 off 31 balls, laced with three fours and as many sixes. But he was trapped lbw after being unable to account for sharp turn from Kuldeep, with replays showing the ball clipping top of leg-stump.

Ashwin came back for another over and that move paid off when his slider castled Ben Stokes through the gate at the stroke of lunch. The post-lunch session saw Foakes and Root hanging around for 15 minutes, before Ravichandran Ashwin teased the former to go for a slog-sweep, which he did and castled him through the gate.

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Tom Hartley resisted by hitting four boundaries, before being trapped plumb lbw by Jasprit Bumrah. Two balls later, Bumrah trapped Mark Wood lbw for a two-ball duck with a straighter delivery. Root marched forward to bring up his fifty in 88 balls with a flick through backward square leg for four.

He and Bashir hit nine boundaries between themselves, before the latter saw his off-stump being rattled by Jadeja. Kuldeep ended the match by having Root hole out to Bumrah at long-on to secure a 4-1 series win for India.

Brief Scores: England 218 and 195 in 48.1 overs (Joe Root 84; Ravichandran Ashwin 5-77) lost to India 477 in 124.1 overs (Shubman Gill 110, Rohit Sharma 103; Shoaib Bashir 5-173, James Anderson 2-60) by an innings and 64 runs

–IANS

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West Indies storm to fourth spot in rankings ahead of Men’s T20 World Cup

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Dubai, May 29 (IANS) While India maintained their position atop the rankings, two-time World Champions West Indies moved up to fourth position in the ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings, their players showing some great form ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which they co-host from June 1-29.

West Indies, the winner of the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament, are ahead of New Zealand and South Africa after their 3-0 win over South Africa, who were pushed down to seventh position in the list led by India.

India, winners of the inaugural edition in 2007, are on 264 rating points, 2021 champions Australia are second with 257 points, defending champions England third with 254 points and the West Indies two points behind them on 252. New Zealand are on 250 while Pakistan and South Africa are both on 244 points with Pakistan slightly ahead on decimal points, the ICC informed in a release on Wednesday.

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The West Indies players have reaped the benefits of their superb performances in the home series not long before their tournament opener against Papua New Guinea in Guyana on 2 June.

Opening batter Brandon King is up five places to eighth position after topping the series aggregate with 159 runs and Johnson Charles, who hammered 69 off 26 balls to be named Player of the Match in the third T20I, is up 17 places to 20th.

Kyle Mayers is another batter to move up, gaining 12 places to reach 31st position with an aggregate of 102 runs while left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie has advanced a whopping 84 places to 27th after finishing with eight wickets in the series.

–IANS

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French Open: Tsitsipas quells Altmaier fightback to reach third round

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Paris, May 29 (IANS) The 2021 Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece encountered some anxious moments but found a way to reach the third round in Paris for the sixth time, beating a resilient Daniel Altmaier under the roof on Court Suzanne Lenglen in the French Open here on Wednesday.

In a hard-fought second-round men’s singles match, Tsitsipas overcame his 25-year-old German opponent 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4 in two hours and 45 minutes.

Just as he did in his opening-round match, a 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-1 victory over talented Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, Tsitsipas was out of the gates fast against Altmaier, taking charge of the run of play from the first ball.

Tsitsipas broke in the fourth game of set one and dropped just six points on serve in the opening set. The Greek then pegged the accelerator, reeling off five games from 5-2 in the opener to lead 6-3, 4-0. He jumped to a two-sets-to-love lead in just about an hour. But just when it looked like he would romp to a straight-sets win, the German mounted a comeback, posing significant challenges for Tsitsipas.

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Just three days after defeating Laslo Djere in the longest match of the first round (5:04), Altmaier surged to life in the third set, summoning his very best to throw Tsitsipas off the victory trail. The 83rd-ranked Altmaier, who took out then-world No.8 Matteo Berrettini to reach the round of 16 in the 2020 French Open, struck gold in the third-set tiebreak, playing a series of breathtaking points to claim the stanza.

In the fourth set, the struggle continued, a trade of breaks leaving the antagonists on serve at 4-4, before Tsitsipas kicked into overdrive and powered through the finish line, finally dashing Altmaier’s hopes in two hours and 43 minutes.

With a 15-3 record on his favourite surface in 2024 (49-12 since the start of 2022), 2024 Monte-Carlo champion Tsitsipas has once again emerged as a threat to make a deep run in Paris. Add in the fact that he’s a former finalist who has made the second week in each of his last five appearances on the Parisian clay and you’d be remiss not to consider the Greek as a candidate to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires next Sunday.

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–IANS

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Bronny James to forego college eligibility and stay in the NBA draft

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Bronny James, son of the NBA’s all-time leading top scorer LeBron James, will be foregoing his college eligibility to stay in the NBA Draft according to his agent and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul.

“Bronny’s [draft] range is wide, he’s a really good prospect who has a lot of room for growth. It only takes one team. I don’t care where that team is, it can be No. 1 or 58 — [but] I do care about the plan, the development. The team’s strategy, the opportunity and the financial commitment. That’s why I’m not doing a two-way deal. Every team understands that,” Bronny James’ agent Rich Paul told ESPN.

A two-way contract is usually offered to second-round and undrafted prospects. It limits players to four days on the NBA roster with the player having to spend the rest of the season in the G-League, the lower division. Each NBA team has three two-way contracts in addition to 15 regular roster spots.

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Recent reports indicate that Bronny will be practising with the Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers as part of their team workouts with both teams feigning interest in the 19-year-old guard.

LeBron has already stated that he would love to play with his son and with ‘The King’ running out of contract, he could decline his $51.4 million player option for 2024-25 and enter free agency. Whichever team lands Bronny could see one of the greatest of all time join them as well.

–IANS

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FC Barcelona appoint Hansi Flick as head coach on a two-year contract

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Spanish giant FC Barcelona have announced the appointment of Hansi Flick as the new head coach of the football club replacing the outgoing Xavi Hernandez. The German international has signed a two-year deal till the end of the 2025/26 season.

“FC Barcelona and Hansi Flick have reached an agreement for the German to become men’s first team football coach until June 30, 2026. The new coach has signed a contract at the Club’s offices accompanied by FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta, the first vice-president responsible for the sporting area, Rafa Yuste, and the Club’s sporting director, Anderson Luis de Souza, Deco.

By bringing Hansi Flick as the head coach, FC Barcelona have chosen a man well known for his teams’ high pressing, intense and daring style of play which has brought him great success at the club level and international level, winning pretty much all there is to win in the world of football,” read the statement posted by the club on their website.

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Hansi Flick is best known for his tenure with the Bavarian giants FC Bayern Munich. The 2020 season saw Hansi Flick win the sextuple with Bayern in a season which also saw Bayern beat Barcelona 8-2 in the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona also announced the official exit of Xavi on Wednesday after both sides reached an agreement to sever the contract.

“The Club wishes to publicly thank Xavi and the rest of his coaching staff for their commitment, dedication and generosity, and for their help in reaching an agreement to sever the contract. Furthermore, we wish him success in the future on both a personal and professional level,” read the statement.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics will be played on the world’s first carbon-zero hockey turf

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Lausanne (Switzerland), May 29 (IANS) The hockey competition at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games will have something unique about it — the matches will be played on the world’s first carbon-zero hockey turf which is setting new standards for sustainability in sports surfaces.

The carbon-zero turf being used in Paris is made from 80% sugarcane and manufactured using green electricity, thus having a lesser impact on the environment. It also requires less water to irrigate it before every match.

Besides being a thrilling showcase of skill, strategy, and athleticism, with the best teams from around the globe competing at the highest level, the hockey competition at the XXXIII Olympiad aims to leave a lasting legacy not just in sporting achievements but also in advancing environmental consciousness within the realm of global sporting events.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has made a strict commitment to make hockey a globally sustainable sport and Paris 2024 will represent another step taken towards achieving that goal. The initial steps were taken with a steady reduction in water usage, showcased by the turf used at the Olympic Games in Tokyo requiring 39% less water for optimal performance than the turf used in Rio only four years earlier.

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At the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the boundaries will be pushed further, as hockey will be played on the innovative ‘Poligras Paris GT zero’ hockey turf, which is setting new standards for sustainability in sports surfaces.

Developed by Sport Group and installed in Paris by Polytan, this advanced turf is the world’s first carbon-zero hockey turf, aligning with the Paris 2024 Games’ commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, the FIH informed in a release on Wednesday.

Carbon-zero Poligras Paris GT zero is made from 80% sugarcane and manufactured using green electricity. The production process emphasizes low emissions and energy efficiency, ensuring that the turf’s lifecycle—from creation to disposal—adheres to the highest environmental standards, the FIH release said.

This eco-friendly turf doesn’t compromise on performance. Athletes can expect the same high-quality playability, ball speed, and consistency that Poligras surfaces are known for, which have been trusted at 8 Olympic Games and many World Cups. The Paris 2024 Olympics Hockey will aim to showcase that sustainability and top-tier athletic performance can go hand-in-hand.

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Moreover, ‘Poligras Paris GT zero’ is designed to conserve water. It requires significantly less irrigation than traditional synthetic turfs, aligning with global efforts to preserve water resources, particularly relevant as the world grapples with water scarcity issues.

The introduction of Polytan’s ‘Poligras Paris GT zero’ at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 marks a significant advancement in sustainable hockey technology. By utilising renewable resources and focusing on environmental impact, this new turf not only supports elite athletic performance but also sets a precedent for future hockey events to prioritise sustainability, which has long been an aim for the FIH.

–IANS

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