Zaheer threatens, conquers, leaves

London: Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan suffered a hamstring injury in the first day of the opening Test of the 4 match Test series. The fast bowler had to leave the field in his 3rd spell, having bowled 13.3 overs giving away just 18 runs. This is serious concern for the Indian camp as he looked unplayable in the seaming overcast conditions.

Before that Zaheer had dismissed both the England openers and was bowling superbly in pace friendly conditions. His spell of 13.3 overs has everything that a fast bowler can offer, moving the ball in and out at will, reverse swinging at times and bowling the odd short delivery which spelled the downfall of Andrew Strauss.

Before that he trapped Alastair Cook plumb in front, foxing him by bowling five out swingers before bowling the one that came in. Arguably the best fast bowler in world cricket today, Zaheer created all sorts of problems for the English batsman. Before going off the field he nearly got Trott caught behind the stumps, but the ball went through the wicketkeeper Dhoni and Dravid at slips.

There is no confirm news about the seriousness of his injury but if he is not available for the rest of the test/series it could turn out to be a huge blow to India's chances in the game and also in the series. As former England all rounder Andrew Flintoff tweeted soon after Zaheer left the ground, "If Zaheer doesn't come back on there goes the number 1 spot."

Lord's Test: Zaheer removes Cook early

London: England were 35 for 1 in 17 overs till reports last came in. Before that Zaheer Khan trapped Aliastair Cook plumb in front in the 11th over with England just 19 on the board. Captain Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott were on the field and weathering a tough patch of swing bowling. The match began half an hour late as slight drizzle delayed the start of play. Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and choose to bowl first in overcast morning conditions. Praveen Kumar and Suresh Raina were preferred over Sreesanth and Yuvraj.

Squads for the game:

England 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Andrew Strauss (capt), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 James Anderson, 11 Chris Tremlett.

India 1 Abhinav Mukund, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Praveen Kumar.

Let the game begin

London: It can’t get bigger than this; two of the top three Test sides bracing against each other at cricket’s most celebrated venue, the lord’s. And it just doesn’t stops here, the first Test between India and England begins today with all eyes on Sachin Tendulkar, who has the opportunity to mark the 2,000 test match with an unprecedented 100th international century. Incidentally it’s also the 100th Test between England and India.

But all the hype would settle down now as it’s time for both the teams to take the field and let their game do the talking. There’s not much to chose between the two sides when it comes to mutual strength, but England has a slight edge as they are playing at home and India is without Virendra Sehwag at the top of the order. India’s dismal show against Somerset also lowers their chances.

But the visitors have always been slow starters in away tours and they have the tendency to bounce back when the chips are down. Their most overseas wins in the last couple of years have come on bouncy wickets and when they had their backs to the wall. Skipper Dhoni has never lost a Test series as captain and he would want keep that record intact. Sachin, Laxman and Dravid must be knowing that it’s definitely their last England tour and therefore would want to make it a memorable one.

Suresh Raina has sealed the number 6 spot with his 103* in the practice game out placing Yuvraj singh who was out for a duck. Unless Dhoni prefers to open with a more experienced Yuvraj Singh rather than rookie Abhinav Mukund, the MVP of the 2011 World Cup will be left carrying drinks to the field.

Indian bowling looks potent with Zaheer Khan coming back, but it would be interesting to see that the Indian seamers could swing the Duke Ball or not and whether Sreesanth plays ahead of Praveen Kumar. The pitch may not turn to Harbhajan Singh’s liking but he may enjoy the bounce at Lord’s.

On the other hand, England, who thumped Australia emphatically in last year’s Ashes is going through a purple patch in test cricket with their eyes firmly on the number 1 test ranking spot, currently held by India. If they can beat the visitors by a margin of at least two tests, they can clinch the top spot. They have a formidable batting line up with the likes of Alaistair Cook and Jonathan Trott in the form of their life.

Captain Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pieterson who are not in very good form could be dangerous on any day. Ian Bell and Matt Prior too can score big runs. In the bowling department, they boast of a varied pace attack and have Graeme Swann, arguably world’s best spinner in their ranks. All this sets up for an intriguing battle of test cricket.

Weather forecast suggests that Lord’s may not have sunny conditions throughout the 5 days of play and might have a passing shower, but the rain would definitely not play a complete dampener as it looked a few days ago.

Suarez powers Uruguay into Copa final

La Plata: Luis Suarez helped Uruguay reach the Copa America final with his double strike in the quarterfinal against Peru. The Liverpool star scored in the 53rd and 58th minute to give Uruguay a chance to win their record 15th Copa America title on Sunday.

“It was a very tough game in the first half and we lacked a little clarity though we kept trying to make chances,” said Suarez, who went level in the scoring stakes with Argentina’s Sergio Aguero on three goals.

After a couple of upsets in the tournament, normal proceedings were restored at La Plata as Uruguayans pressed for early lead while Peru sat back calmly to deny them any territory, their game plan seemed to work as Paraguay couldn’t score by the end of the first half.

But things changed in the second half. Diego Forlan, the 2010 World Cup's best player, shot left-footed from outside the box forcing goal keeper Raul Fernandez to make a diving save, but Suarez was up there to net the rebound from close range. Five minutes later Suarez doubled the lead when he dodged the offside trap and slipped into the open net before sidestepping the goalkeeper.

Peru then tried to come back into the game but it seemed all but lost as their captain Juan Vargas was red carded in the 69th minute for elbowing Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates in the face. This win gave the 2010 World Cup semifinalist a final berth in the oldest tournament of the world.

Brazil, Chile crash out of Copa

La Plata: Giant killing at Copa America continued, 8 times champion Brazil and red hot Chile were ousted from the tournament. Another heavyweight and hosts Argentina have already exited the tournament.

Brazil pay the penalty

Brazil lost to Paraguay 2-0 in penalties after they failed to convert any of their spot kicks.

Throughout the game, Brazil was the better team as a number of attempts by Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Neymar were saved by the goalkeeper Justo Villar. Both the teams were down to 10 men for most of the extra time as Lucas Leiva and Antolin Alcaraz were red carded for touchline fracas.

Earlier any of the teams failed score throughout the 120 minutes. However there were repeated attacks from the Brazilian forwards but none of them culminated in a goal. The quarterfinal game went down to the penalties were Brazil’s Elano, Andre Santos and Fred kicked the ball off target while Thiago Silva's spot-kick was saved by the impressive Villar.

"It was a match dominated almost entirely by Brazil. We had to take refuge a lot of the time at the back and, well, the penalties are a lottery which we took well and they failed with theirs," Villar said.

"You need more than will to win matches, you need goals and all Brazil lacked was goals," Brazil coach Mano Menezes told a post match news conference.

Chile powdered by Venezuela

San Juan: Venezuela’s dream run continued as Cesar Farias’ mean defeated Chile 2-1. Venezuela took the lead in the 34th minute when Oswaldo Vizcarrondo headed a free kick past Oswaldo Vizcarrondo.

But Chile struck back with their star striker Humberto Suazo in the 69th minute. But Gabriel Cichero scored in the 80th minute to give Venezuela their first ever semifinal berth in the Copa America.

Semi-final Line up:

Uruguay v/s Peru

Paraguay v/s Venezuela

World Test Championship final may be a 'Timeless Test'

London: ICC’s World Test Championship final could be a “Timeless Test” –A test which only ends when one of the team wins- ICC CEO Haroon Logart said here in a press conference.

The latest ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) comprises a Test league running over 4 years with the top four teams at the end of this four year league will enter a play-off event. The first ever ICC Test Championship play-offs are to be held in 2013 in England.

ICC doesn’t want those play-offs to end in a conventional draw and is looking to find out ways to have a clear winner. A “Timeless Test” is one of the options being mulled by the ICC committee headed by former South African wicketkeeper Dave Richardson.

"We've still got to decide how we determine a winner in case of a draw or if the draw will be the end result. I would favour a winner because you want somebody to be a Test champion," Lorgat said.

"That is what Dave Richardson and the committee is currently on working on because it is not a good idea to end up with a drawn Test match.

"You have got to determine a winner - whether it is on the first-innings basis, or the runs (scored) in the game - they will come up with a viable formula to determine a winner in case of a drawn Test match. The final may well be a 'timeless' Test," he added.

"We don't know that yet but we are looking into the mechanics of that. Although looking at the statistics today most of the games have ended in results."

Lorgat said a decision would be taken on the matter "before the end of the year".

"I'm confident that as we produce context in a Championship for Test cricket and we get better contests, as we have seen in the last few series, you will get back the interest and then see what the World Test Championships can do for us. People back winners when they see challenging matches," he said.

Dhoni’s WC bat sold for 72 lakhs

London: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s bat which he used in the WC finals to play a match winning 91 against Sri Lanka was auctioned at a whopping 100,000 pounds here. A total of around 4,50,000 pounds were fetched at the charity function where cricket gears of various star cricketers and original Artwork of Sacha Jafri went under the hammer.

Dhoni also launched his charitable foundation, 'Winning Ways Today for Tomorrow', at the function. Sacha Jaferi’s painting which has signatures and hand impressions of cricketers like Ricky Ponting, Andrew Flintoff, Allan Border and Lasith Malinga, went for 250,000 pounds.

Dhoni will be building a new sports academy at Ranchi for which a plot has already been allotted by the Jharkhand government. The academy will also have housing facilities, where children from all sections of the society can come and hone their skills.

Sachin, Sehwag, Gavaskar and Kapil in ICC’s Dream Test Team

Dubai: Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, Pocket Dynamite Virendra Sehwag, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar and 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev has been chosen in the ICC’s All Time Test Eleven. Cricket lovers from across the world cast more than 2.5 lakh votes this month to choose their Greatest Test team of all time.

Fans were asked to choose 2 openers, 3 middle order batsman, 1 all-rounder, 1 wicket-keeper, 1 spinner and 3 fast bowlers out of the 60 shortlisted players. Four Australians, four Indians, two West Indians and one Pakistani have been named in the people's' Dream XI.

Fans voted on the ICC's official website,, using a short list provided by the game's governing body, to pick their leading eleven, as part of the activities to commemorate the 2000th Test Match, which will begin at Lord's between England and India on Thursday.

Fans favoured modern players: Haroon Lorgat

ICC Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat reflected on the whole procedure and said that the current day fans favoured choosing contemporary players. "Selecting from such greats is no easy job, and not surprisingly, the selection mainly reflects modern players seen by present day supporters. There are many greats from the past who would have easily merited selection in this team, but it is nevertheless interesting to see the fans view on their greatest eleven of all time," said Haroon Lorgat.

"It would have been quite special to see this team take the field of play given the array of batting and bowling talent contained within the playing eleven,” he added

The Dream Team is as follows:

Virender Sehwag

Sunil Gavaskar

Donald Bradman

Sachin Tendulkar

Brian Lara

Kapil Dev

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

Shane Warne

Wasim Akram

Curtly Ambrose

Glenn McGrath

History beckons @ Lord’s

The first Test of the four match Test Series between India and England is going to be a piece of history. First, it’s the 2000th match in the history of the game, second, it’s the 100th Test match between India and England. And to add an icing to the cake, Sachin Tendulkar is at the verge of scoring his 100th international century. The little master hasn’t scored a hundred at Lord’s before, and he would want to set that record straight by smashing his ton of tons at the Mecca of cricket.

The first Test was played in 1877 at Melbourne between Australia and England, Australia won that inaugural Test by 45 runs. It took 106 years to reach the 1000th Test, but the next 1000 Tests took just 26 years. The 1000th Test was again played at Melbourne between West Indies and Australia, the game ended in a draw. This time, Cricket comes back to its home, The Lord’s to celebrate its 2000th Test which is all set to be played between India and England.

It’s a great coincidence that the 2000th Test ever is also the 100th Test between India and England. Again the two teams played their first Test here itself 79 years ago from June 25-28, 1932. It was also India’s Test debut which they lost by 158 runs.

In the 99 Tests between England and India, the English team leads by 34 to 19 with 46 drawn. Playing at home, England’s record is even more impressive, leading 23 to 5 with 20 drawn out of 48 played. But beating India at home has never been easy, as the records confirm; 14 to 11 with 26 drawn out of 51.

For Sachin it couldn’t get better and bigger than this to score his 100th century. The occasion is huge and what better way to celebrate it than conquering the never achieved feat of a ton of tons. SRT has so far hit 51 in 177 Tests and 48 in 453 ODIs. Coincidently, Sachin scored his first century against England back in 1990 in his second Test appearance when he scored 119* at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester.

Below is the list of landmark Tests:

First Test: Australia vs. England, Melbourne, March 15-19, 1877. Australia won by 45 runs.

Centenary Test (Test number 803): Australia vs. England, Melbourne, March 12-17, 1977. Australia won by 45 runs – What a coincidence!

100th Test: Australia vs. England, Sydney, February 21-27, 1908. Australia won by 49 runs.

500th Test: India vs. Pakistan, Madras (now Chennai), January 13-18, 1960. The match ended in a draw.

1000th Test: Australia vs. West Indies, Melbourne, December 22-27, 1984. The match ended in a draw.

2000th Test: England vs. India, Lord’s, London, from July 21 to 25, 2011.

MSD to auction his WC winning bat

Whenever one thinks of India’s World Cup triumph, the first thing that catches our imagination is the six smashed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni of Kulasekhara to seal the match. Now the bat with which Dhoni packed that knockout punch at the final against Sri Lanka is up for sale.

The bat will be auctioned with other cricket gear that Dhoni used in the April 2 final. The event will take place at a dinner gala in a five star hotel in London on July 18. The funds raised from the auction will be utilized by the Sakshi foundation headed by Sakshi Dhoni for the underprivileged children in India.

The gala dinner will be a high profile event as a number of celebrities from both the cricket world and Bollywood are expected to grace the occasion. Dhoni’s bat is going to be the biggest draw, as the crunching sound that the willow made when Dhoni dispatched the ball into the stands is still alive in every cricket fan’s mind.

Before playing that match winning knock of 91 of just 79 balls, Dhoni had a lean patch in the World Cup. But standing up to take the responsibility in the finals, the skipper promoted himself ahead of an inform Yuvraj Singh and helped India chase Sri Lanka’s 275 at the loss of just 4 wickets with 10 balls to spare.

England announces squad for Lord’s test

England’s T20 captain Stuart Broad made it to England’s Test squad for the upcoming Lord’s Test which begins on July 21. Broad was earlier dropped of England’s one day side for the final game against Sri Lanka following poor form. Tim Bresnan was preferred over Steven Finn.

Broad got spared of the axe for his ability with the bat as well and a match haul of 6 for 162 against Somerset, where he seemed to strike form. The lanky bowler finished with just 8 wickets in the three match test series against Sri Lanka followed by a poor performance in the ODI series. Tim Bresnan, who is returning from a calf injury, was also selected. He was instrumental in England’s Ashes win down under last year.

"Following the successful Test and ODI series against Sri Lanka we're pleased to be able to include Tim Bresnan in the Test squad after his excellent return from a calf muscle injury," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "Tim adds further bite to our pace attack along with James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad, who has greatly benefitted from getting overs and wickets under his belt for Nottinghamshire during the week."

The squad is almost the same which beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the recently concluded Test Series.


Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Chris Tremlett, James Anderson, Tim Bresnan

Uruguay ‘shootout’ Argentina’s Copa dream

Buenos Aires. Argentinean hopes of winning a major tournament after 1993 were shattered yet again as Uruguay defeated the hosts 5-4 in penalty shootout. Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved Carlos Tevez's spot kick to give his side a place in the semifinal against Peru who defeated Colombia 2-0 in another quarterfinal clash on Saturday.

"Today we had to fight more than play ... These are two teams that came here to be champions, but this was only a quarter-final and there's still a long way to go," Uruguay's captain Diego Lugano told reporters.

Argentina coach Sergio Batista told the post-match news conference that he was disappointed but was satisfied by the player’s efforts. "I can't be content because no-one likes to be eliminated but I'm satisfied with the players," he added.

Uruguay drew first blood as they took lead in the fifth minute through Diego Perez. But Argentina soon equalized with Gonzalo Higuain heading a curling free kick from Messi. Thanks to foul play, both the teams were down to ten men by the end of stipulated 90 minutes. First Uruguay’s midfielder Diego Perez was sent off seven minutes before half time, and then the Argentinean skipper Javier Mascherano was red carded in the 86th minute for a bad tackle on Luis Suarez.

After Diego Forlan and Messi’s free kicks were converted both the teams failed to break free till second half’s whistle blew. The same score line persisted even after extra time and the match went down to penalty shootout, where Argentina’s third penalty by late substitute Carlos Tevez was saved by Fernando Muslera to extend Argentina’s big tournament draught further.

Sehwag may miss second and third test too

India’s hopes of beating England in an away Test Series may be seriously dented as Sehwag may not be able to play at least in the first two tests.

The mercurial opener who went through a shoulder injury earlier this year was expected to join the team by the second Test, which begins in Tent Bridge on July 29. Slectors gave him an extra fortnight to recover from surgery and join the rest of the team ahead of the second Test.

But now it is learnt that he may not be fit before the second Test and could even miss the third Test. "We've heard that he'll be over here for maybe the third and fourth Test, so we're crossing our fingers for that," Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, said at the eve of India’s practice game against Somerset.

This means India Abhinav Mukund will be opening the innings with Gautum Gambhir, another Indian who is returning from injury. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that he will miss Sehwag but banked on young Abhinav Mukund and come back man Gautum Gambhir.

"As far as Virender Sehwag is concerned, there aren't many cricketers in the world who can have the impact he can. Of course we'll miss him, but the good thing for Indian cricket is it gives a chance to a youngster like Mukund who can have a look at international cricket and see what areas he needs to improve. Viru will be back at some point, but it's good to have Gautam back as well."

Argentina beat Costa Rica, reach quarters

Buenos Aires. Messi and Argentina salvaged pride as the hosts thumped Costa Rica 3-0 to make it to the last 8 in the Copa America Cup. Argentina, hosting their first major tournament after the 1978 World Cup, were staring at an early exit if they would have failed to beat Costa Rica by a reasonable margin.

The hosts and their star footballer Lionel Messi were facing intense flak for a below par performance after they drew their first two games with Bolivia and Colombia. Finally Argentina pulled up their socks with Atletico Madrid star Sergio Aguero scoring two goals while Angel Di Maria finished things off with one just after the clock ticked the hour mark.

Argentina found some much needed spring in their tale after Coach Batista bit the bullet, benching Carlos Tevez and putting Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain up front, allowing Messi to do what he does best, setting up goals.

Messi, who almost free flowingly scores for Barcelona, didn’t score himself but created ample opportunities for others, if Real Madrid star Higuain haven’t had missed a couple of chances, the score line must have at least been double.

Horse beats bull at British GP

Silverstone. It seems that the revised technical constraints have taken a toll over Red Bull and Ferrari has hugely benefitted from it. Fernando Alonso won the first race for Ferrari this season through a controlled drive and a few slices of bed luck for the other drivers.

"A fantastic day, fantastic day," said a delighted Alonso on the team radio as he finished ahead of Vettel.

Weather Gods added some spice to the race as dry-wet conditions made life tough for the strategists and teams have to opt for intermediate ‘wet’ tyres for initial parts of the race. Red Bull were amazing in those conditions as runaway race leader went ahead of Mark Webber who started the race from poll position.

When the race track dried down, Red Bull slowed down and Alonso and Massa took charge aided by a pit stop disaster for Vettel. Towards the end of the race it was high drama as Lewis Hemilton was told by the team that he may run out of fuel if he presses for a full throttle approach.

On the team radio, Hamilton thanked the team for being so brave. "Thanks for the courage," he said.

For the Red Bull, it was a close fight between Vettle and Webber for the second place as a frustrated Webber denied to obey team orders and tried his best to take over his younger team mate.

Reluctant India wraps series 1-0

Dominica. After Kirk Edwards’ ton, Veteran batsman Shivnarain Chandrapaul smashed another second inning century to deny India a 2-0 series victory. The visitors still managed to win the series by virtue of their 63-run triumph inside four days in Jamaica.

After Chandrapaul and the West Indian tail frustrated India for more than half of the day, the Indian batsman were set to chase 180 in the fourth inning, India finished on 94 for three, deciding to bring the match to a close with the statutory final 15 overs remaining on the last day of the third test of the series.

Chandrapaul and company ensured that India don’t run away with a 2-0 series victory but couldn’t prevent them from to record their second straight series win in the Caribbean and become the first team to beat the hosts both in the Test and one-day series here.

Chanderpaul reached his century by flicking Ishant Sharma for two and his milestone arrived in 356 minutes off 255 balls, inclusive of five fours.

The Guyanese batsman frustrated the Indians with his 38-run ninth wicket stand with Fidel Edwards (16 batting) as the pair batted for nearly two hours and 22 overs together.

Chasing a victory target of 180 in 49 overs, Edwards trapped Abhinav Mukund leg before wicket off the very first ball after the hosts were dismissed for 322 in their second innings.

India went into tea at 19/1, still requiring another 161 runs in the last session to wrap up the series 2-0.

Murali Vijay and Rahul Dravid kept the Windies bowlers at bay by adding 73 runs for the second wicket before Vijay fell to Ravi Rampaul for 45.

When Rampaul caught Suresh Raina off his own bowling at 8, Indians chances of forcing a result faded.

Chanderpaul was declared as the man of the match while Ishant Sharma received the man of the series award for his 22 wickets.

India at the verge of historic Windies win

Dominica. Neither has India won more than one test in West Indies nor does it had won both the One day series and Test Series of a tour in the last 58 years. But if everything goes right and the rain gods permit, this Indian team is all set to achieve these feats.

After India piled on a healthy lead of 143, West Indies were 224 for 6 at stumps on day 4. Despite a magnificent ton on debut by Kirk Edwards and a fighting innings by Shivnarain Chandrapaul, West Indies are just 81 runs ahead of India with just 4 wickets in hand and a full day of test cricket to negotiate.

Earlier, starting the day at 308 for six, Indian batsmen didn't last long and were all out for 347 as Fidel Edwards (5/103) ran through the lower order picking three of the last four wickets which also included top scorer Mahendra Singh Dhoni (74).

With their tail up, India's new ball bowlers, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar struck early by removing the West Indian openers in the opening session. While Adrian Barath fell to Kumar for six, Kieron Powell was snapped up by Sharma after making just four.

Kirk Edwards and Chandrapaul then stitched together a partnership and kept India at bay but as Edwards fell to Harbhajan, the Windies slumped to 201 for five, from a comfortable 201 for three in no time. Baugh's dismissal in the final over was also a blow for the home team as it now depends on Chanderpaul to delay the inevitable.

India wins 3 bronze in Kobe

Kobe. India begged three bronze medals on the second day of the Asian Athletics Championship. Bharat Inder Singh in decathlon, OP Jaisha in women’s 1500 meters, and Harwant Kaur in Women’s discus throw were placed third in their respective games. India’s star athlete and CWG gold medal winner lost the chance of a podium finish by a whisker as she finished fourth.

Bharat Inder Singh won India’s first medal in decathlon in 30 years. OP Jaisha had a tough fight for the third place from a Japanese girl, while Brunei's Genzeb Regassa (4:15.91) and Thanh Hang Trouong of Vietnam (4:18.40) were too good for her. She finished 4:21.41 to win the bronze medal.

In the discus throw event almost all competitors managed mediocre performances. India ‘s gold medal hopes were drowned when Krishna Poonia returning from a long injury lay off could only manage a 56.32 m throw and finished fourth. Harwant too could only manage a below par performance with 57.99m to take the bronze.

Costa Rica dents Argentina’s hopes further

Jujuy. Costa Rica defeated Bolivia 2-0 in a Group-A tie of Copa America out placing Argentina from the number 2 spot in the group and further denting their chances of reaching the next stage of the tournament hosted by the Args.

Costa Rica is now second on the group table with three points, one behind the leaders Colombia. Argentina have drawn both their games so far with Bolivia and Colombia, and are reeling at number three with just 2 points.

Striker Josue Martinez put Costa Rica ahead on the hour when he netted the rebound after Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Arias parried a shot from Allen Guevara. The 19-year-old Campbell made it two in the 79th shooting from the left under the advancing Arias.

It could have been an even greater victory but Bolivian keeper Carlos Arias saved a 71st-minute penalty from Allen Guevara.

Bolivia’s defender’s had a bad day at office and their cause was not helped either as they were down to nine man for the most of game, as Ronald Rivero at Walter Flores were shown red cards.

Colombia too holds Argentina for a draw

Buenos Aires. A star-studded Argentina has been a flop show so far in the Copa America Cup. After playing a 1-1 draw with Bolivia, Argentina failed to win their match against Colombia, as they were held for a 0-0 draw.

Players like Messi and Tevez failed to breach a weak Colombian defense throughout the game and the team paid the price for it. Argentina's two big-name forwards were outplayed by Colombia strikers Radamel Falcao and Dayro Moreno, who had more chances and deserved a winning result.

Argentina had a number of attacks on the Colombian goalpost but without much luck. The match ended in a tie after entire 90-minutes. If Argentina has to stand any chance of making the second round of the Copa America they would have to win their final Group C game against Costa Rica with a decent goal difference.

Athletes knowingly take drugs: Saina

Mumbai. India’s badminton star made some stunning revelations on Wednesday about the latest doping scandal which has shook the Indian sports fraternity. The world Number 6 said that she knew about many of the athletes consuming banned drugs knowingly.

Her remarks came after eight of the top national athletes failed in dope tests at the NIS, Patiala. "I also know many athletes and weightlifters who themselves tell me that "we take it"," Saina said.

In the last fortnight or so 8 star athletes who have won medals at the Delhi CWG and Asian Games have failed to clear dope tests ahead of the Asian Champions to be held in Japan, they are; Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose , Jauna Murmu, Mary Thomas, Hari Krishnan Muralidharan, shot putter Sonia Ashwini Akkunji and Priyanka Panwar.

When asked about the banned drugs easily available outside the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Her reply was flat, "I don't know whether it is available or not. I don't take it." She also added that the main reason behind the athletes taking these drugs is the lack of awareness about these issues.

"It's really sad they don't know what they are taking. I'm sure everyone knows WADA rules, it’s very common. They have a website which mentions which medicines are banned and which are not. I think it’s just that they don't know. Many athletes and weightlifters are not very educated so whatever their coaches give they take that," she said.

MSD: India’s Genie turns 30

Jaipur. Yes, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is our very own Genie. One who fulfilled a whole generation’s long denied dream of seeing India win the World Cup. Beating Australia in their own backyard, being the number one test team in the world all these have been some dreams we have lived with.

He brought home the prestigious World Cup trophy after a long 28 years, joined 30s club today. With the World Cup triumph and IPL victory for the Chennai Super Kings, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a remarkable year in 2011.

Since making his debut in December 2004, Dhoni has come a long way to become India’s most successful captain.

When a call-up to the national side duly came, MS Dhoni wasted no time in asserting himself, smashing 148 runs against Pakistan in his fifth ODI and his fifth Test. His audacious approach at the crease, and the success he achieved with that intent, immediately drew comparisons with Adam Gilchrist.

Only three years into international cricket, Dhoni was appointed India's one-day and Twenty20 captain. He took to leadership as duck to water, leading India to victory in the Twenty20 World Cup and the CB Series.

He took over the Test captaincy in 2008 and oversaw memorable series wins over Australia, England and New Zealand, and India went on to become No.1 in the format. His batting underwent a transformation post-captaincy - he cut out the manic hitting and relied more on aggressive running between the wickets.

In the first IPL auction in 2008, Dhoni was the most expensive player, bought by the Chennai Super Kings for US$1.5 million. He led the side to the final that year and to the title in 2010 and 2011, but his crowning glory has been taking India to the World Cup title in 2011.

India makes early inroads before rain spoils day

Dominica. The day began with a great surprise as neither rain nor a fiery pitch was on the cards which were expected at this venue. Bright sunshine and a placid pitch greeted both teams as Mahendra Singh Dhoni invited West Indies to bat first sighting some early moisture in the pitch.

Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar stood up to the captain’s call and reduced West Indies for 35 for 3 as another West Indies collapse looked certain. But old horse Shivnarain Chandrapaul (17), who is playing his 133rd test, joined forces with Darren Bravo (22) to rebuild the innings.

West Indies were 75 for 3 in 31.1 overs before rain came calling allowing no further play in the day.

Earlier Kieren Powell scored just 3 in his first test before edging out to Laxman in the slips of Praveen Kumar’s bowling. Next to go was Adrian Barath, who was trying to pull Ishant into the stands but ended chopping the ball onto the stumps.

Another debutant, Kirk Edwards was a bit unlucky as he was given out caught behind of a snorter from Ishant. Replays suggested that the ball has kissed his helmet and not the bat before Dhoni pouched it.

The hosts had made two changes to their team for the third and final test, debutants Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards replaced out of form Ramnaresh Sarwan and Lendl Simmons. Munaf Patel joined the Indian ranks, coming in place of Abhinav Mukund and bowled economically without any success.

Suarez rescues Peru, Chile too hot for Mexico

Buenos Aires. It was the first match of the Copa America cup where two teams of equal strengths locked horns. Chile came back from a goal down to beat an under strength Mexico 2-1. The match was heading towards a draw before Arturo Vidal scored a late goal in the last minutes of the game.

In the other game of the day, world cup semifinalist and top contenders to win the tournament, Paraguay had a tough time in salvaging their pride against a below par Peru. Playing with stars like Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, Paraguay was everybody’s favorite but the Peruvians drew first blood as they took the lead in the 24th minute through striker Paolo Guerrero.

Paraguay kept probing and finally equalized through Suarez in first half’s injury time.

Uruguay's draw meant all the top three sides at the tournament have failed to win their opening matches. Hosts Argentina were held 1-1 by Bolivia, while Brazil drew 0-0 by Venezuela.

Rain scare looms as India look to end on a high

Dominica. The Windsor Park at Roseau, Dominica, is set to become Test cricket's 106th home when it hosts the third test between India and West Indies, but the significance of the match is much more than that for the visitors. India has never won two tests in a series against Windies, and they have not won more than one test in an away series since 2004 in Pakistan. While the Indians would like to improve on that record, the islands notorious rain may play spoilsport.

Dominica Island is a place where you can’t forecast rain, it downpours even on an absolutely clear sky and it would be a miracle if the game is not halted due to rain during the match. But rain is not the only throne in India’s way, the juicy pitch and the windy conditions can be a big scare for an apparently inexperienced Indian batsman. Except Dravid, Laxman and Raina none of the Indian batsman have made a mark in the two tests so far.

It would also be interesting to see how Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay flare out after they have been dumped ahead of the England tour. In the bowling department Ishant and Praveen have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and will definitely be the main weapons for Mahendra Singh Dhoni despite a freakish injury due to soccer game collision in the practice session.

A fit Munaf Patel may come back for Abhinav Mukund, while ace spinner Harbhajan Singh will look to improve on his poor show so far in the Caribbean.

West Indies will know that they need to put up a better batting performance if they want to give the visitors a run for their money. Dropping Sarwan has been a big step, especially as Gayle is already missing and Chandrapaul not playing at his very best. But Marlon Samuels, Barath and Darren Bravo have been chipping in with some steady runs, it’s just a question if they can apply themselves and make big scores.

Fidel Edwards, whose return to international cricket has been fantastic, has taken 13 wickets in this series so far and gave the Indian batsman some serious trouble through his pace and bounce. Ravi Rampaul has been a revelation and so has been Bishoo, captain Sammy hasn’t played too badly even.

But taking everything into account India definitely have their nose ahead of the final test of the series.

Djokovic sinks Nadal to clinch maiden W title

London. Serbian supernova Novak Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title by stamping his authority over defending champ Rafael Nadal. Making it a double celebration, Djokovic has also taken over as the new world number one.

Djokovic beat Nadal in four sets – 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, ending the Nadal-Federer era on grass court.

The 24 year old produced a staggering display to take the first two sets before reigning champion Nadal fought his way back in the third set showing why he has won his last 20 matches.

However this was little more than a blip for the new world number one Djokovic who traded breaks with his opponent at the start of the fourth set before seizing the momentum again and closing out the contest for his first Wimbledon title.

Djokowic was on cloud nine when he clinched on the match point as Nadal went long with a backhand in the fourth set. He hurled racket after racket into the racket before chewing a few grass twigs out of the ground. “I felt like an animal; I wanted to see how it tastes,” Djokovic said. “It tastes good.”

“It is hard to find the right words. This is the best day of my life and a tournament I have always dreamt of winning, the first I ever saw on TV. I feel I am still dreaming,” Djokovic said after the presentation ceremony.

“When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa, who has won two of the last three Wimbledons and always beaten me in the grand slams, I had to be at the top of my game and I think I played my best game on the grass courts ever.”