Krunal Pandya ‘proud’ as brother Hardik makes Test debut for India

Hardik Pandya made his Test debut for India in the first match against Sri Lanka at Galle. He is the 289th player to don an India cap in the longest format of the game. It was almost a year and a half ago that Pandya made his debut in the T20 Internationals and he has since also become a mainstay in the Indian ODI setup. He now has an opportunity to make a mark at what India captain Virat Kohli calls the purest form of the game.

Hardik Pandya, krunal pandya, india vs sri lanka, sri lanka vs india, ind vs sl, cricket news, cricket, sports news indian expressHardik’s elder brother Krunal has never earned a cap for India but the two are known to share a close bond. They played a crucial role in Mumbai Indians’ successful IPL 2017 campaign. On Wednesday, Krunal posted a heartfelt message for Hardik on his social media accounts. “Hardik Pandya – Test cap no. 289 for India. To see you play Test cricket for our country makes me extremely proud. Well done, brother!” said Krunal in his tweet.

Krunal himself is busy with the India A side that is touring South Africa. Hardik meanwhile, is yet to play a role in the match. At Lunch India were 115/1 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan in the middle. Abhinav Mukund is the only man to have been dismissed thus far. India had won the toss and elected to bat first.

Shikhar Dhawan scores 5th Test century for India

Shikhar Dhawan gave Sri Lanka only one chance to get him out. Lahiru Kumara pitched one up to him and he drove it casually. The ball took the outside edge of Dhawan’s bat and flew to second slip where Asela Gunaratne put down the catch while diving to his left.

The left-hander did not let Sri Lanka bowler beat him again. He scored runs at will and in boundaries, a mode he used to reach his fifth Test hundred off just 110 balls with the help of 16 fours. This was his second Test century against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.

shikhar dhawan, india vs sri lanka, ind vs sl, india cricketThe opener took on the bowlers right from the word go and took no time to reach his fifty which came in 62 balls and went to Lunch unbeaten at 64. But, after Lunch, he just dealt in boundaries and in quick time reached his century.

India won the toss and captain Virat Kohli had no hesitation in electing to bat first on a good batting surface in Galle. Dhawan opened with Abhinav Mukund and gave India a steady start. His partner was dismissed when India had 27 runs on the board but it did not affect Dhawan, who continued to score runs at brisk pace.

When Cheteshwar Puajra joined him, they both punished the Sri Lanka bowlers. Dhawan in particular was more punishing as he not only put away the loose deliveries but used his feet to great effect against spinners to hit boundaries.

India vs Sri Lanka: Shikhar Dhawan dropped on 32 by Asela Gunaratne

Sri Lanka sprung a surprise in the first session of the Galle Test by bringing on the spinner in the seventh over. They were searching for an early wicket after India won the toss and elected to bat. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund provided a steady start despite the latter finding it difficult to middle the ball on a good batting surface.

Sri Lanka managed to get the wicket of Mukund when India’s score was 27 but the main threat remained in Dhawan who was striking the ball in a dominating manner. He was hitting boundaries at will and Sri Lanka knew they need to get him out early.

india vs sri lanka, ind vs sl, shikhar dhawan, pujara, india vs sri lanka 1st test, cricket news, indian expressThe chance came as well. In the 13th over, Lahiru Kumara almost sent him back to the pavilion. Kumara’s over was replete with misfields and even a beamer. He then pitched one up to Dhawan and the batsman played a casual drive, which was the only shot that looked sloppy in his innings. It took the outside edge and flew to second slip. Asela Gunaratne had to dive to his left to take the catch and he made contact with the ball. But despite getting both hands to it, Gunaratne failed to hold on to it. It also took a toll on Gunaratne who then walked off the field clutching his wrist that was already bandaged. It was later revealed that he had sustained a fracture to his hand.

Dhawan was batting on 32 at that moment and the extra minutes taken by Gunaratne seemed to let him get his focus back. By the end of the first session, Dhawan had made 64 and India were 115 for the loss of one wicket. He never took his foot off the pedal and cruised to a fifth Test century in the second session.

‘We’ll never forget the sacrifices,’ Indian cricketers honour soldiers on Kargil Vijay Diwas

India celebrates the 18th Kargil Vijay Diwas on Wednesday. The occasion is one that commemorates the country’s victory in the Kargil conflict. The Indian army evicted Pakistani intruders during the war and recaptured, among other important posts, Tiger Hill, as part of Operation Vijay.

The country observes Kargil Vijay Diwas so as to commemorate those soldiers who died in the conflict. The Indian Army has organised several functions across the country to honour the war heroes on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modisaid that the day reminds people of “India’s military prowess and the great sacrifices our armed forces make while steadfastly keeping India safe.”

kargil vijay diwas, kargil war, virender sehwag, anil kumble, harbhajan singh, cricket news, cricket, sports news, indian expressIndian cricketers have, more often than not, been vocal about their support for the country’s armed forces. On this occasion too they paid tribute to the soldiers who died in battle. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble etc, were amongst those who paid their respects to martyrs on their social media accounts.

The Indian sports fraternity has on multiple occasions reiterated that the soldiers are the real heroes of the country

Manchester United better prepared for league title charge: Jose Mourinho

Manchester United are better equipped to fight for the Premier League title in the upcoming season but need to improve further to be a contender for the Champions League, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
In Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford, United won the League Cup and the Europa League but finished sixth in the English top flight, 24 points behind champions Chelsea.

“This season is going to be more difficult but I think we have better conditions to fight for the Premier League,” Mourinho told the BBC.

“I think this season we are a little bit better equipped. We are against fantastic teams, against amazing investments.

“But I believe in our group, in our spirit, in our empathy, in our togetherness. I trust my boys and we are going to try.”

Having lifted the Europa League in May, United secured direct entry to the Champions League group stage but the Portuguese manager believes they are still behind the continent’s top clubs.

jose mourinho, mourinho, manchester united, premier league, football news, sports news, indian express“We went to the Europa League as one of the top teams, we go to the Champions League and we are not one of the top teams,” Mourinho added.

“We have to be better, much better, for that objective. The base of everything is to find what I call a happy dressing room.”

Mourinho has added striker Romelu Lukaku and centre back Victor Lindelof in the current transfer window but is still hoping to sign two more players ahead of the new season.

“One midfield player would give me more options. The other is an attacking player through the wings to give me more attacking options,” he said.

The British media have linked United with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic and Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier as midfield options. Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic is Mourinho’s preferred choice to improve the attacking line, the reports have said.

United kick off their league campaign at home against West Ham United on Aug. 13.

Hugo Lloris frustrated by Tottenham Hotspur’s lack of progress in Europe

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has conceded he is frustrated by their lack of progress in Europe but says the club will be better prepared for the Champions League this year after going out in the group stage last season.

Lloris made it to the semis of Europe’s top club competition with Olympique Lyonnais in 2010 but his best European run with Spurs has been to the quarters of the Europa League in 2013.

The 30-year-old France international, who joined Spurs in 2012, said the squad under manager Mauricio Pochettino should be doing much better in Europe.

“It’s been five seasons now that I’ve been with Spurs and I’ve got a little bit frustrated about European competition, because I think we’ve got the talent to go further than we’ve done,” Lloris told reporters.

“Even in the Champions League, we have the potential to reach another level.

Hugo Lloris, tottenham hotspur, spurs, premier league, football news, sports news, indian express“Hopefully this season we can prove our real value, compete against the best teams in Europe and go as far as possible, even if the first target will be to get out of the group stage.”

Lloris said Spurs lacked experience when they were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League last season.

“For many of the players last season, it was their first experience of the Champions League,” he added.

“Every season the level has to be a step up — individually and collectively. We have a lot of ambition in our squad even if it’s still a young team.”

Spurs won two of their six games in Europe’s top tier tournament last season, losing twice at Wembley, where they will play all their home games next season.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho hits out at ‘strange’ transfer market

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has voiced his concern that the clubs are paying too much to sign players and are hence creating a ‘very strange and out-of-control’ transfer market.

“I always thought the problem is not what you pay for these kind of [top] players, I don’t think the problem is what you pay for Pogba, I don’t think the problem is going to pay crazy for Neymar,” said the Portuguese manager.

“I think the problem is with the other group which is a big group because players like Pogba, there is one or two [big] transfers [like that] per transfer window. The other ones are where you have 100 transfers and for me that is the dangerous area of the market.”

The 54-year old manager said that some clubs have to pay the price for this kind of a transfer market. “Some clubs are paying or they don’t buy because they don’t accept the numbers that are now ruling the market, or to do it they have to go the same levels and for me that’s what worries me a little bit because now we speak about £30 million, £40 million, £50 million in such an easy way,” he said.

“Everybody speaks about the dimension of the investment at Man City, but there is another team that I feel the dimension of their investment is also phenomenal — Tottenham.”

Praising the dimension of Tottenham Hotspurs’ investment, Mourinho said, “I think until now they spent zero pounds, right? For me the dimension of their investment is amazing. They keep everybody they want to keep. They keep Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld, they keep Eric Dier, they keep everyone they want to keep.”

India through to quarters in world junior squash

India finished runners-up in pool C to qualify for the girls’ team event quarterfinal in the WSF-World junior squash championship.

India will play the Pool D winner Hong Kong in the quarterfinal Thursday.

In its last pool league match, India defeated lower ranked France 2-1 to get the second place behind England. The margin could have been 3-0 but Akanksha Salunkhe, playing the French girl Fanny Segers in the inconsequential third match of the tie, had to retire midway with muscular pain in her legs.

As Coach Surbi Misra said Akanksha had begun confidently and went two games up when suddenly she developed pain.

Mahesh Mangaonkar, Welsh Open, Malaysia, Eain Yow Ng, PSA tournament, Sekisui Open“In great pain, she went down in the third game and at that point we decided she will not be able to continue,” Misra said.

Earlier, Misra said Sunayna Kuruvilla had given a good start with a fluent win over Maelle Fuhrer in 17 minutes. Ashita Bhengra was the next to make appearance.

The Chennai player faltered to start with, lost the first game but regained confidence to win the next three against Chloe Mourier to give the winning margin.

The results: India bt France 2-1 (Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Maell Fuhrer 11-5, 11-6, 11-2; Ashita Bhengra bt Chloe Mourier 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8; Akanksha Salunkhe lost to Fanny Segers 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, retd).

Yaya Toure backs Benjamin Mendy to make impact at Manchester City

Manchester City’s new signing Benjamin Mendy has the potential to make a big impact next season but the defender must adapt to the demands of playing in the Premier League as quickly as possible, midfielder Yaya Toure has said.

The French left-back joined City on a five-year deal earlier this week from Monaco, where he helped them win the Ligue 1 title and reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Mendy is the third full-back to arrive at Man City in the close season following the arrival of Danilo from Real Madrid and Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur.

City are almost certain to rotate their full backs, with Danilo, who can play on both sides, acting as a cover for Mendy and Walker. Manager Pep Guardiola is also reported to be in the market for another right back to complete a very expensive set.

Benjamin Mendy, manchester city, Benjamin Mendy manchester city, yaya toure, premier league, football news, sports news, indian express“I know Mendy, because he’s French and he’s been playing for my former club Monaco. I think he’s a fantastic player,” Toure told Sky Sports.

“You will see in the Premier League how powerful he is, how much energy he has. This guy is very exciting to see.

“I hope he’s going to be fine in the Premier League, because it is such a tough league, and we all know you need to adapt for a month or so, or some players go on straight away.

“I hope he can adapt as much as possible because we don’t have time.”

Mendy, 23, has joined his new team mates in Los Angeles and could make his City debut in a pre-season friendly against Real Madrid later on Wednesday.

India vs Sri Lanka: Asela Gunaratne ruled out of Test series after thumb injury

On the first day of series, Sri Lanka suffered a big blow as middle-order batsman Asela Gunaratne was ruled out of the entire India-Sri Lanka Test series. According to Cricbuzz, Arjun de Silva, member of the Sri Lanka Cricket medical staff, has confirmed that the batsmen won’t take any further part in the series.

“Asela will be taken for surgery soon. After this kind of injury, a player requires about six weeks to recover and play again. He is definitely out of the Test and ODIs. Maybe he stands a chance for the T20 International,” De Silva said.

asela gunaratne, india vs sri lanka, ind vs sl, sri lanka cricketGunaratne was ruled out after he fractured his left thumb while trying to take a catch at second slip during India innings of the first Test at Galle. He sustained the injury while fielding at second slip when tried to take a catch off Shikhar Dhawandiving towards his left. Though he got two hands to it, he dropped it and was in pain.

Asela went off the field after the drop, seemingly in pain before scans revealed that he has a fractured thumb. According to reports, Gunaratne has been rushed to Colombo for an operation. Now, Sri Lanka have to play the first match in Galle with only 10 batsmen which could affect their chances of winning or drawing the match.

Dhawan scored 190 runs before getting out while Cheteshwar Pujara has made an unbeaten century for India as the visitors piled on misery and took control of the Test.