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Rohit an asset to Indian cricket: Ganguly on his 100th T20

Rohit, India’s stand-in captain for the ongoing Bangladesh T20 series, became the second Indian from his country to play 100 T20I internationals.

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Rohit Sharma IND V AFG

Kolkata, Nov 7 : Sourav Ganguly, on Thursday wished Rohit Sharma on his 100th T20 international match and called the opener an “asset” to Indian cricket.

“Rohit Sharma 100 matches in t20… What an asset he is to Indian cricket,” the former India captain said in a tweet.

Rohit, India’s stand-in captain for the ongoing Bangladesh T20 series, became the second Indian from his country to play 100 T20I internationals.

The prolific batsman joined Shoaib Malik of Pakistan (111) and Indian women’s cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur (100) in becoming only the third cricketer to play 100 international matches in the shortest format of the game.

Speaking on achieving the milestone, Rohit had said: “Firstly, I never thought I would play so many games. I am grateful for the opportunity I got in the past and till date as well. It has been a long journey since I made my debut as there had been many ups and downs. I have now understood my game.

“Yes, I am very happy where I stand right now,” the skipper was quoted as saying by the bcci.tv.

He also admitted playing the 100th T20I game for India was a moment of pride for him.

Termed as ‘Hitman’, Rohit has slammed four centuries in the shortest format of the game. However, he said he is not very keen to term any particular knock as a ‘special’ one and whatever innings results in winning cause makes him happy.

“I can’t rate any of the knock as special. I have never been fond of rating any particular knock as I love all my knocks,” he expressed.

“I look forward to many more memorable knocks as well,” he added.

Rohit has been prolific in T20Is, scoring 2452 runs with four hundreds to his name and 17 fifties.

On Sunday, the Mumbai batsman reclaimed the top spot in the list of highest run-scorer in T20Is during the first game against the Bangla Tigers at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rohit has been trading the top spot with regular skipper Virat Kohli for some time now and it was the latter who was leading the chart with 2,450 runs to his name.

Rohit was eight runs behind Kohli going into the first T20I against Bangladesh, and he had closed the gap in the first over of the game.

Meanwhile, on the first ever Day/Night Test between India and Bangladesh from November 22-26, Ganguly said he expects a full house at Eden Gardens.

“Hopefully will be a sellout crowd. Preparations going on well,” he said on Thursday here.

The euphoria around India’s first-ever day-night test match is soaring with online tickets released till now for the first three days sold out in two days, a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) statement said on Wednesday.

“Thirty per cent of the online saleable tickets for the first three days (5,905 tickets) have been sold out while over 3,500 tickets for the fourth day of the second test between India and Bangladesh to be played at Eden Gardens from 22-26 November are sold,” CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya had said.

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Bengaluru ODI: Smith ton takes Australia to 286/9 vs India

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Bengaluru, Steve Smith slammed a magnificent century as Australia put up 286/9 in 50 overs against India in the third and series-deciding final one day international here on Sunday.

Former captain Smith brought up his ninth 100 in 117 balls, third against India and got out on 131 from 132 deliveries as he tried to change gears and was caught at deep midwicket by Shyreyas Iyer off Mohammed Shami who was India’s best bowler.

Smith had hit 14 fours and a six in his innings. Despite restricting Australia to a score below 300 on what is generally a batsman-friendly track in Bengaluru, India had given away as many as 27 extras.

Shami (4/63) came back for his second spell in the end and picked up four wickets to shave off Australia’s tail and rein in on their scoring to not allow them to get to 300. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was brilliant too although he went wicketless, giving away just 38 runs in 10 overs.

Besides Smith, fast-rising Marnus Labuschagne notched up his maiden ODI fifty as he scored 54 from 64 balls (5×4).

Smith and Labuschagne shared a 127-run stand for the third wicket which formed the visitors’ bedrock after electing to bat first.

India were dealt a blow early on as senior opener Shikhar Dhawan had to go for an x-ray with a call on whether he will take any further part to be taken once he is assessed.

Dhawan was taken off the field after he hurt his left shoulder in the series-deciding tie after he dived to save an Aaron Finch shot in the cover region before hurting his left shoulder in the fifth over.

India made early inroads as Mohammed Shami found David Warner’s outside edge to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul who was played ahead of fit-again Rishabh Pant. Warner was gone for just three with his captain Finch (19) following suit soon, albeit in frustrating manner as he was run out due to indecision on Smith’s part while taking a single in the 9th over.

A livid Finch stormed out of the ground with the visitors in a spot of bother at 46/2. But as has been the case so often of late in Test cricket, Smith and Labuschagne joined hands to bring the team on track.

Similar in their playing style, the pair used square of the wicket a lot to score runs and punished the bad ball although Labuschagne was lucky not to get run out after Kuldeep Yadav failed to collect a Yuzvendra Chahal throw from the deep.

Smith got to 53 in 63 balls as he looked as consistent as ever with Labuschagne also notching up his maiden half century in 50-over cricket as he got to 53 in 60 deliveries.

It took a breathtaking catch from Indian captain Virat Kohli to break the stand as Labuschagne looked to accelerate in the 32nd over. The 25-year old played an inside out drive off Ravindra Jadeja which Kohli plucked inches off the grass diving low to his right.

Mitchell Starc was sent to bat at No.5 in a bid to up the ante and score briskly, but the experiment failed as Jadeja had him caught at deep mid-wicket fence by substitute Chahal to complete a two-wicket maiden 32nd over.

Alex Carey (35) and Smith associated for a quickfire 58-run partnership before Kuldeep got a timely breakthrough as Carey holed out to Shreyas Iyer at deep cover.

Bumrah followed it up with a near-perfect 43rd over, just conceding one run off the final delivery as Ashton Turner huffed and puffed at the crease.

Smith brought up his hundred by running a Navdeep Saini delivery down to third man but his celebration said it all as the Aussies fell behind in their run-scoring with Turner struggling to eventually get out caught behind in the same over.

Shami then removed Smith, Pat Cummins (0) and Adam Zampa (1) with toe-crushing yorkers as India ended on a high. Ashton Agar was not out on 11.

Australia made one change to the side, bringing in Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson while India named the same team.

Brief scores: Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4/63) vs India.

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Tata Steel Chess: Anand draws with Jorden van Foreest

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

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Viswanathan Anand

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 18 : Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand was on Saturday held to a draw by Dutch Jorden Van Foreest in the sixth round of Tata Steel Masters.

Veteran Anand faced the Four Knights opening in the sixth round as black and unleashed an attack in the centre early by sacrificing two pawns.

Anand tried to make inroads as White’s king was stuck around the centre for a long time and
it was a cautious move by both players especially after white lost back one pawn.

The draw was agreed upon once Anand picked the second pawn.

Anand remained in joint sixth spot after three points from six games.

Anand needs a powerful finish to be in with a chance of finishing on the podium with seven rounds still remaining.

Meanwhile, World champion Magnus Carlsen’s got a sixth draw on the trot as his search for an elusive win continued.

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

Elsewhere, Anish Giri bounced back from his previous round loss to defeat Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Daniil Dubov thrashed his Russian compatriot Vladislav Artemiev.

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Sania scripts dream return, clinches doubles title in Hobart

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Hobart: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza along with Nadiia Kichenok came out with yet another brilliant performance as they defeated the China’s Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in straight sets to win the women’s doubles title at Hobart International on Saturday.

Former doubles No.1 Mirza and Kichenok defeated the second-seeded Chinese duo 6-4, 6-4 in a rather one-sided contest which lasted one hour and 21 minutes.

The Indo-Ukrainian pair were the first to break in each set, but ultimately needed to wrap up the match by delivering the deciding breaks late. The unseeded duo won the last three games of the opener, and eight of the last 10 points to seal victory, having nearly seen a double-break advantage slip away.

Though the duo won six straight games from 3-4 in the opener to lead 6-4, 3-0, the 33-year-old Indian was the one who saw her serve broken twice as the Chinese eventually restored parity at 4-4.

Nonetheless, Mirza and Kichenok finished the match off in style with their fifth break of the match, before the Ukrainian served out the match and the victory for the team.

It is Mirza’s first WTA title in just over two years and 42nd of her storied doubles career, while Kichenok won her fifth, and first since partnering her twin sister, Lyudmyla, to win the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in 2018.

The Indian star last won a trophy alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2017 season, one of three doubles finals she reached that year before announcing her pregnancy in April of 2018.

Three-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mirza was making a return to competition after a two-year hiatus away from tennis, initially due to injuries and then welcoming a son in October 2018.

The former world No.1 won the Australian Open doubles title in 2016 following a successful 2015 season in which she claimed the Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles, all paired with Martina Hingis.

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