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IND Vs SA: South Africa beat India by 72 runs in first Test

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Cape Town, Jan 9: South Africa bowled out India for 135 in their second innings, registering a 72-run victory on the fourth and penultimate day of the opening cricket Test here on Monday.

Indian bowlers had given India big hopes after bowling out South Africa for 130 in their second innings, setting a target of 208 to win the match. But the visiting batsmen capitulated, with paceman Veron Philander scalping six wickets.

All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin top-scored for India with 37. Captain Virat Kohli was the second-highest scorer with 28 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

It could very well have been 1-0 in favour of the visitors had their batsmen shone like the bowlers did. Resuming from Saturday’s total of 65/2 as the third day’s play was completely washed out, the hosts failed to get going and could only manage to add 65 runs before losing the final eight wickets.

Former skipper AB de Villiers (35) was the lone batsman offering some kind of resistance even as the Indian pacers led by Mohammed Shami (3/28) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/39) took full advantage of the conditions.

The tone was set by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/33) and Shami early on before Bumrah came into his own. Wickets kept falling as the Indian seamers continued their dominance on the fourth morning.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya (2/27), who grabbed a couple of wickets on the second day, however could not add any more wicket to his kitty.

During the Indian chase, local boy Vernon Philander led the Proteas’ fightback with the quick dismissals of skipper Virat Kohli (28) and his deputy Rohit Sharma (10) before Kagiso Rabada joined the party with the wickets of Wriddhiman Saha (8) and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (1).

Philander, who had started the proceedings with the wicket of opener Murali Vijay (13), came back for his second spell to break the brief 32-run fourth wicket stand between Kohli and Sharma.

At the beginning, India survived a few early calls before losing the opening duo of Vijay (13) and Shikhar Dhawan (16) after a 30-run stand.

Dhawan was the first one to be back in the hut after being caught at gully by substitute fielder Chris Morris off a steeply rising delivery from Morkel.

Vijay then departed while trying to defend an outswinger from Philander, only to manage an edge for de Villiers to complete the catch at third slip.

Morkel then came back to reduce India to 39/3 after No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara (4) nicked an almost unplayable length delivery back to the stumper Quinton de Kock.

Kohli looked good during his 40-ball stay in the middle, striking four boundaries before Philander’s full ball caught him plumb in line with middle.

In his very next over, the pacer jolted India with the wicket of Sharma, who dragged a good length delivery on to his stumps.

Reduced to 76/5, India once again hoped for another Pandya show, similar to his 93 in the first essay which took the visiting side to 209, but a brilliant catch by de Villiers off Rabada proved fatal for the all-rounder.

Just before tea, Saha perished to a lbw decision in favour of Philander, with India at 82/7, still 126 runs behind.

Thereafter, Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar (13) resisted the South Africans for a while, stitching together a 49-run stand but it was quite evident that they were waging a losing battle.

Ashwin edged behind off Philander, with the dismissal marking eighth for 131. The right-arm pacer then sent packing Shami (4) and Bumrah (0) to seal the victory for South Africa.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Brazil edge past brave Costa Rica with last gasp goals

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Sochi, June 23: Philippe Coutinho and Neymar Junior scored late in the second half as Brazil ensured their passage to the second round with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Costa Rica in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup here on Friday.

Both Brazilians struck in the second half added time at the Saint Petersburg Stadium to hand the five-time World Cup winners their first victory in the tournament.

Costa Rica managed to hold fast for the full 90 minutes of normal play thanks to a solid display from goalkeeper Keylor Navas but one minute into stoppage time, Barça’s Coutinho rescued Brazil, driving through the defense to attack a loose ball in the penalty area, smashing it home between the legs of the Real Madrid man between the posts.

Then, in the dying embers of stoppage time, of which there were six minutes, Neymar, who was yet to score at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, connected to a simple cross to tap home and seal the game.

At the final whistle, the most expensive player in the world broke into tears of relief in the center of the pitch.

Brazil, one of this year’s favourites to win the trophy, all but secured its place in the knockout stages of the competition, recovering from a 1-1 draw in its opening match against Switzerland, who in turn is to meet with Serbia in the evening kick-off.

Costa Rica put on a tough display in the first half knowing that a loss would essentially resign them to booking an early ticket home, but the players tired towards the end of the 90 minutes and succumbed to the relentless attacking tactics of the Brazilians.

Brazil, who now top the table with 4 points, is set to play Serbia on Jun 27 in its final Group E match.

IANS

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Ahmed Musa double downs Iceland to keep Nigeria’s World Cup dreams alive

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Volgograd (Russia), June 23: Two brilliant strikes by Ahmed Musa propelled Nigeria to a 2-0 win over Iceland in a Group D match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup here on Friday.

Musa (49th, 75th minutes) scored both his goals in the second half as Nigeria revived their chances of advancing to the second round.

The Africans, who had lost 0-2 to Croatia in their campaign opener, now have three points from two matches.

They now face a must win clash against Argentina in their third and last group encounter.

Iceland have two points from as many matches. They had held mighty Argentina 1-1 in their first match.

The result also helps the chances for Lionel Messi’s Argentina to advance, as they can move from bottom of the table into second with a win over Nigeria, so long as Iceland do not beat Croatia by an equal or larger margin.

In the first half of the game, chances were few and far between. While Nigeria dominated possession, Iceland got the better chances to take the lead.

The best of them all was a Gylfi Sigurdsson effort which was tipped over the bar by Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.

Nigeria nosed ahead four minutes into the second period when Victor Moses sprinted down the right wing and crossed towards Musa. The Nigerian controlled beautifully, before slamming home to give his side the lead.

Musa could have grabbed a hattrick had his attempt from 20 yards not come off the crossbar.

Musa then sped past Iceland right-back Kari Arnason on the wing to round goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and score his second of the evening.

Iceland were handed a lifeline when Tyronne Ebuehi was late on a challenge on Alfred Finnbogason, and the referee gave a penalty — though only after reviewing the play on video.

But Sigurdsson sent his shot high over the bar and into the stands after a short run-up and Nigeria held on to take the three points.

IANS

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World Cup: Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 in Group E tie

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

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Switzerland vs Serbia

Kaliningrad (Russia), June 23 (IANS) A late goal by Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland 2-1 win over Serbia in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium here.

Aleksandar Mitrovic handed Serbia the lead in the fifth minute during the match on Friday.

Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).

Shaqiri (90th) found the winning goal in the final minute of regulation time.

Switzerland now have four points from two matches.

Serbia have three points from two games.

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