Ashwin, Clarke shine in opening Test

Updated 23 February 2013
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Ashwin, Clarke shine in opening Test

CHENNAI: Michael Clarke resumed his love affair with India’s bowling attack by scoring his 23rd Test century but India wrested control of the opening day of the series thanks to R Ashwin’s six-wicket haul on Friday. Ashwin’s fifth and sixth wickets were separated by a 151-run stand between Clarke (103*) and the debutant Moises Henriques (68) that threatened to give Australia the day’s honors, but two wickets just before stumps allowed India to leave the field with a spring in their step.
Having opted to bat on a bone-dry Chennai surface, Clarke had looked on as Ashwin spun out the first five wickets, but found an able accomplice in Henriques. Clarke ensured he cashed in on a life on 39 to stay not out with his fourth century in the last three months, but a total of 316 for 7 meant India had pulled matters back.
Australia had lost two wickets in the space of eight runs when Clarke walked out, and the skipper was at the non-striker’s end when Ashwin removed Shane Watson (28) and David Warner (58) in successive overs after lunch. When Matthew Wade (12) became Ashwin’s fifth wicket with the score at 153, matters looked grave for Australia but up stepped Henriques with a confident first innings in Test cricket, giving Clarke the confidence to be himself.
Clarke and Henriques put a premium on taking singles and were adept at knocking the ball into the gaps. Harbhajan Singh, in his 100th Test, was decidedly lackluster while Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin was also milked with ease. Clarke — who on 12 crossed 7,000 Test runs — and Henriques ran well and assuredly kept runs ticking over following a drop in scoring with the wickets of Watson, Warner and Wade after lunch.
Clarke, however, was afforded a huge slice of luck on 39 by umpire Kumar Dharmasena, who failed to spot an inside edge when the batsman thrust his pad at Ashwin. Clarke brought up his 50 with a lovely six over mid-on off Ashwin, and never looked back. As always, his footwork to spin was deft and this positivity gave Henriques the confidence to play his own game. Henriques was firm off front foot and back, and cut with precision. He slowed after crossing 40 with a pull for four off four — he played 29 balls for his next eight runs — but reached the fifty-mark with a quick single, much to his captain’s pleasure.
A steady tempo was maintained to turn the heat back on India, and apart from Ashwin no bowler left a mark. Ishant Sharma, the spearhead of the attack, struggled to locate a length and was not helped by very defensive open fields from M.S. Dhoni.
The debutant seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was given a brief spell with the new ball (4-1-15-0) and then called back for the 66th over. Thereafter he found a bit of reverse swing but never looked threatening, mostly because he bowled too wide of off stump. Harbhajan finished with figures of 19-1-71-0 and looks like being stuck on 100 Test matches.

His poor outing made India’s decision to drop their No. 1 Test bowler, Pragyan Ojha, a very puzzling one.
The run rate picked up in the final session as Clarke and Henriques played their shots, but a moment of overconfidence did for Henriques on 68. Just two balls into another Ashwin spell, the 90th over of the day, Henriques missed a sweep and was given lbw. Moments later, Jadeja spun one past Mitchell Starc to hit off stump, giving India some lift late in the day. Clarke reached three figures off the penultimate ball of the day with a thumped four down the ground, but will rue the lack of support from his batting partners.
Earlier, Australia were given a positive start from Ed Cowan and Warner. The pair put on 64 before Cowan, having just hit only his second six in 14 Tests, attempted a big shot off Ashwin and was stumped for 29. Soon after, Ashwin had his second when Phillip Hughes edged an attempted cut onto his stumps. Watson and Warner combined for a 54-run stand that took Australia to 126 for 2 at lunch, but Ashwin’s swift strikes undid the hard work.
With the fourth ball of the afternoon session, Ashwin skidded a short ball into Watson’s pads and won an lbw appeal. Ten deliveries later, Warner went back to a full delivery and was hit in front of middle and leg. Wade’s jittery innings lasted 35 balls before Ashwin rapped his pads in front of the stumps to claim his sixth five-wicket haul in 13 Tests. Suddenly there were visions of an Australian capitulation to spin, but Clarke and Henriques revived the innings with an excellent partnership.


Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

Updated 21 May 2018
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Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, California: Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting over James Harden and driving past the Houston star as the Golden State Warriors made a second-half statement to beat the Rockets 126-85 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Kevin Durant added 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Draymond Green grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 10 points and six assists. The Warriors won an NBA-record 16th consecutive home postseason game, surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ mark of 15 in a row from April 27, 1990-May 21, 1991.
The defending champions got defensive — and maybe a little mad — after a 127-105 Game 2 defeat Wednesday night at Houston, determined to make stops to ignite the transition game and open up 3-point shooters.
And they eventually got Curry going with 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the third quarter.
Harden had 20 points and nine assists, while Chris Paul added 13 points and 10 rebounds as they combined to shoot just 12 for 32.
Game 4 is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
Curry and Durant each scored five quick points as Golden State opened the third quarter with a 10-0 burst to go ahead 64-43.
Under pressure from Paul, Curry swished a 3 from way back with 5:06 left in the third. He struggled with his long-range shot again early but drove through the paint at every chance.
Curry hit a baseline 3-pointer at the 9:02 mark of the first but missed his next five 3s before going 4 for 5 in the second half. He is now 7 of 25 from long range — he made one in each of the first two games.
The Warriors’ five starters all scored in double figures, the first time they’ve done so this postseason.
Trevor Ariza and Green received a double-technical with 6:49 to play when Ariza shoved Green as they traded words.
Both potent offenses were slow getting rolling as the teams played strong defense.
Harden and Paul began 3 for 14 with Paul missing six shots before getting his first basket on goaltending against Andre Iguodala 2:39 before halftime.
Golden State began getting the looks it liked after halftime. The Warriors faced more stingy, in-the-face pressure from Houston, making it hard to get any early flow shooting. Durant hit his first 3 6:27 before halftime then missed from the deep the next time down.
A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for victims of the Houston school shooting.

TIP-INS
Rockets: The Rockets surrendered 10 fast-break points in the first period while getting none of their own. ... They were outrebounded 49-41 and shot 32 for 80 from the floor.
Warriors: Kevon Looney had two key blocks off the bench in the first. ... Durant notched his 20th straight postseason game with 20 or more points. ... Golden State is 36-5 at home in the playoffs since the 2015 postseason. ... Thompson (1,786) moved past Rick Barry (1,776) for second place on the Warriors’ career postseason scoring list. ... Curry (712) moved past Barry (699) into sole possession for most postseason baskets in franchise history. ... The “Run TMC” trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were honored with a standing ovation during a first-quarter timeout. On Monday, Richmond will introduce Hardaway as he goes into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame of which Richmond and Mullin are already members.


PAUL’S HEALTH
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni made the point once again about Paul being healthy: “There’s nothing wrong at all.”
“We’re not going to win without him,” D’Antoni said. “So if he’s got to limp and drag his leg to the finish line, so be it. And he’s ready to do that.”


ORACLE AURA
That deafening, bright yellow sellout crowd was imposing once again.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Is Oracle tough to play?’ Yeah, because the Warriors play here,” D’Antoni said. “There’s a certain energy that their fans will give them and moments they hit two or three 3s you can get a buzz going that helps the home team. You just have to try to keep that crowd out as much as you can.”