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Favourites England, India start WC preparation with losses

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, May 26 England and India, both touted as favourites for the ICC World Cup 2019, began their preparations for the showpiece event on a losing note, something which they must not be hoping for.

The Virat Kohli-led India were thrashed in their first warm-up game against New Zealand at The Oval on Saturday. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult wreaked havoc on the Indian batsmen as they were bundled out for a mere 179 which the Black Caps chased down easily losing four wickets.

Ross Taylor (71) and captain Kane Williamson (67) both spent useful time in the middle as New Zealand crossed the line with almost 13 overs to spare.

Earlier, having won the toss, Kohli elected to bat on a wicket with a fair amount of grass in order to test his batsmen in challenging conditions. However, his decision backfired as none of the three opening options – Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul – managed to make a mark. Even Kohli, the number one batter in the world, couldn’t provide much resistance to his struggling team and was cleaned bowed by Colin de Grandhomme. After his wicket, India were left reeling at 39 for 4 in the 11th over.

Hardik Pandya managed some quick runs while MS Dhoni hung around for a while but by the time Ravindra Jadeja walked out to bat, they were reduced to 77 for 5, and three balls later, slid to 81 for 6. Boult snared a four-fer while James Neesham snared three wickets as India folded up for 179, batting less than 40 overs.

However, despite the poor batting performance, Jadeja said there was no need for the team to press the panic button.

“This was our first game, there’s nothing to worry about as a batting unit. It’s just a matter of one game. You can’t judge a player from one bad innings. We just need to work harder and focus more on our batting skills. Nothing to worry, everyone has a lot of experience… Hopefully, during the (world cup) matches, we get a different wicket, better wicket to bat on,” said Jadeja who scored 54 runs.

India would aim to amend their batting mistakes and get into the groove when they take on Bangladesh in the second warm-up match before beginning their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5.

In the other warm-up game, England, in absence of their regular skipper Eoin Morgan, failed to come out with their usual powerpacked performance as they lost to arch-rivals Australia by 12 runs. Chasing 298, England were bowled out for 285 in Southampton.

Earlier, Steve Smith announced his pending return to international cricket with a flawless century as Australia put in a solid bowling performance without gun quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to hand a hobbled England outfit a rare defeat on their home turf.

Smith scored 116 runs (102 balls, 4×8, 6×3) as Australia posted 297/9 in their stipulated quota of 50 overs.

For England, stand-in skipper Jos Buttler (52 off 31), James Vince (64 off 76), Chris Woakes (40 off 44) and Liam Plunkett (19 off 20) put up a valiant fight. However, they could not help their side get across the line as the hosts were eventually bowled out for 285 with three balls to spare.

Openers Jason Roy (32 off 36) and Jonny Bairstow (12 off 17) failed to give England the start they would have hoped chasing the total.

Having lost Morgan on the eve of the match, England’s injury worries mounted further as pacer Mark Wood left the field during his opening spell and was sent for scans on his foot, before Liam Dawson also exited late in Australia’s innings after hurting his finger collecting a return throw. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid too was on the sidelines with a shoulder niggle.

At one stage of the game, the hosts were so short of reserves that they had to call on 42-year-old assistant coach Paul Collingwood to come onto the ground at stages during Australia’s innings.

“I thought we were in a position to win the game but disappointing when you get out,” said Buttler after the game.

England would be hoping that Morgan gets fit for the second warm-up game against Afghanistan on Monday.

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Diego Maradona’s personal doctor under investigation

The medical psychiatrist and one other person who was in the house when Maradona passed could also be investigated.

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diego maradona

Leopoldo Luque, Diego Maradona’s personal doctor, is under investigation in Argentina over the football legend’s death.He has been named by prosecutors in San Isidro, in Buenos Aires, and the judge has ordered for the doctor’s house and clinic to be searched, with 30 police officers at each site.

There is a suspicion of medical negligence in the final days of Maradona’s life and, therefore, a potential culpable homicide.It has been claimed that Maradona didn’t have the medical permission to leave the clinic where he had surgery for a subdural hematoma earlier in November. But, he did leave on November 11 to return to his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires.

The medical psychiatrist and one other person who was in the house when Maradona passed could also be investigated.

This legal investigation could go on for some time as the prosecutors look to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in the final hours of Maradona’s life.

They’ll look to work out if he had permission to be at home, why there wasn’t a specialist doctor present 24/7, why there wasn’t an ambulance at the house, if he had the right medicine, if the general medical protocols were followed, why there wasn’t a defibrillator in the house and how the final hours were managed.

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India vs Australia: We were ineffective with the ball: Virat Kohli

Kohli with 89 runs and KL Rahul with 76 were India’s highest run scorers and both fell to sharp catches.

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Virat Kohli

Sydney: Indian captain Virat Kohli admitted that the team was ineffective with the ball on Sunday and outplayed by Australia in the second ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground which they lost by 51 runs.

A second consecutive 62-ball century from Steve Smith helped Australia reach 389/4 and India were restricted to 338/9.

“They have outplayed us. We were ineffective with the ball, and didn’t hit the areas. They have a strong batting line-up, they know the conditions and the angles well,” said Kohli after the match.

Kohli with 89 runs and KL Rahul with 76 were India’s highest run scorers and both fell to sharp catches.

“The chase felt steep, and one or two wickets would have taken the required rate up so we had to keep hitting. They took the chances that they created in the field, which was the difference,” said Kohli.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya bowled four overs and got the wicket of Smith. “Hardik felt okay to bowl. Initially just thought of trying for a couple of overs but he felt good and bowled a couple more. And he gave away a bit of a bowling plan with his off-cutters (smiles), but credit to them, they used the dimensions well. Even Rahul or Shreyas, if they carried on, it could’ve gotten us across the line with Hardik to come,” said Kohli.

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India fall to 51-run defeat; Australia win series

Rahul and Hardik Pandya then put up 63 for the fifth wicket but both succumbed to the pressure that came with the rising required run rate.

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Steve Smith

Sydney: Australia beat India by 51 runs in the second ODI on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The hosts have thus sealed victory in the three-match series, having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Chasing a mammoth target of 390, India were restricted to 338/9 after another century from Steve Smith took Australia to 389/4 batting first.

India started with a 58-run stand between openers Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan. The pair departed within a few balls of each other after which captain Virat Kohli anchored the middle order. Kohli and Shreyas Iyer steadied the ship for the visitors and just as they were looking to shift gears, the latter fell to Moises Henriques thanks to a stunning catch by Smith at deep midwicket.

Kohli soldiered on with KL Rahul at other end before falling to a brilliant catch, this time by Henriques himself, at midwicket again off Josh Hazlewood. Kohli made 89 off 87 balls, putting up partnerships of 93 with Iyer and 72 with Rahul.

Rahul and Hardik Pandya then put up 63 for the fifth wicket but both succumbed to the pressure that came with the rising required run rate.

Earlier, Smith smashed 104 off 64 balls, reaching three figures in just 62 balls for the second consecutive time in this series. He put up 136 runs with Marnus Labuschagne, which was the second century partnership for Australia in the match after the 142-run opening stand between captain Aaron Finch and David Warner.

Smith finally fell to Pandya, who was handed the ball for the first time since making his comeback from a back injury after which Glenn Maxwell smashed 63 off 29 balls to take Australia within 11 runs of the 400-run mark.

The third and final ODI will be played in Canberra on Wednesday.

Brief scores: Aus 389/4 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 104, David Warner 83; Mohammed Shami 1/73) vs Ind 338/9 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 89, KL Rahul 76; Pat Cummins 3/67).

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