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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Milne out; Pak great win at Sharjah ~ Maharashtra into finals

In the first one dayer Adam Milne bowled fast and threatened to blow the Indians away… now comes the news that he is out of the rest of the series due to injury and fast bowler Hamish Bennett is the replacement. According to a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) release, an MRI scan revealed a torn abdominal muscle will sideline Milne for approximately six weeks. Milne finished with figures of 1 for 40 in 7.3 overs before leaving the field midway through the 41st over with what appeared to be a side strain. Bennett, 26, has played one Test and 12 ODIs for New Zealand.  Hamish Bennett, a fast bowler for Canterbury, received his first New Zealand call-up for the tour of Bangladesh in 2010. He made his debut at Ahmedabad where Harbhajan made his maiden century.  
India made  487(Sehwag 173, Dravid 104, Harbhajan 69, Vettori 4-118) and 266 (Harbhajan 115, Laxman 91, Martin 5-63) drew with New Zealand 459 (Williamson 131, Ryder 103, McCullum 65, Taylor 56, Ojha 4-107) and 22 for 1 …… Bennet’s debut was not all that impressive.  Harbhajan Singh realised every bowler's dream of making a Test hundred and VVS Laxman burnished his already lustrous second-innings record to steer India to safety on the final day of the first Test. Chris Martin bowled so well and some point threatened to take Kiwis for a win – which eventually did not happen. Bhaji’s  maiden century in his 88th Test, is third in the list of most matches taken by a player to reach his first Test century, behind Anil Kumble and Chaminda Vaas who took 118 and 97 Tests respectively.

At Sharjah it was a great test … the match was a dull advertisement for Test but the entire thing changed towards the last half of the final day.  Pakistan turned a Test that had been an abysmal advertisement for cricket for four days and one session on its head, with an incredible batting performance after lunch on the final day, when they scored 302 runs in 57.3 overs to sucker-punch Sri Lanka and level the series. Their run-rate of 5.25 was the second highest in a successful chase of a 200-plus target, and the protagonists of this heist - Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed and Misbah-ul-Haq - proved that the soporific pace of the previous days was entirely by design, largely Sri Lanka's to protect their 1-0 lead.

At National level – Maharashtra beat Bengal by 10 wickets to reach Ranji finals again after 21 years. Wriddhiman Saha made a defiant 108, added 160 in 117 balls with Bengal's nine, ten and jack, and left Maharashtra's seamers nursing bruised economy rates. All that was never enough to challenge Maharashtra at Holkar stadium.  At Mohali, in the other Semis, Karnataka are in a strong position on day 3 – having scored 351 for 5 and having taken the all important first innings lead of 81 runs as of now. Karun Nair with his third successive century shone  to lead a day of substantial partnerships.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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