England has India on the ropes in Nagpur Test

Updated 15 December 2012
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England has India on the ropes in Nagpur Test

NAGPUR: England tightened their grip on the Nagpur Test as they reduced India to 87 for 4 on day two yesterday. After posting 330 on a tough wicket, the tourist bowlers got the start they needed with James Anderson getting through the defenses of Virender Sehwag off the third ball of the innings.
Gautam Gambhir and Chesteshwar Pujara played positively for a stand of 64 runs before Graeme Swann saw the back of Pujara for 26 as Ian Bell dove to his right to take a low catch at short leg. However, replays showed that the ball hadn’t come off his bat and that umpire Rod Tucker got it all wrong. Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir’s wickets in quick succession then put India in a miserable position.
Tendulkar after an uncomfortable stint at the crease played on off Anderson. It was the ninth time that the England pacer removed the batsman in Tests, the highest by any bowler. Gambhir, who completed his 4,000 Test runs during his innings of 37, edged one straight through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior to leave India reeling at 71 for 4. Virat Kohli (11) and MS Dhoni (8) were at the crease at the close of play.
Earlier in the second session, Piyush Chawla hoovered up the English tail and returned with career-best figures of 4 for 69. The leg-spinner, playing his first Test since April 2008, sprung into action with the wicket of debutant Joe Root as the 21-year-old gave a simple catch to the bowler while attempting a drive on the leg-side. Root made 73 and impressed one and all with his technique during his 202-ball innings.
After the end of a 60-run partnership with Root for the eighth wicket, Graeme Swann cut loose and hit a few big shots and completed his fifth fifty. However, soon after his fifty he was trapped lbw by Chawla as he tried to reverse-sweep a flipper. Swann made 56. Anderson was the last English wicket to go as Pujara took a simple catch at short-leg. Ishant Sharma took 3 for 49, debutant Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 58, while R Ashwin finished with 1 for 66.
In the morning session, India picked up two wickets in quick succession but it was still England who finished it in good cheer.
The visitors went into lunch at 277 for 7. The tourists, resuming the day on 199 for 5, threatened to take the game out of India’s control with the partnership between Matt Prior and Root. They batted with extreme caution on a tricky pitch and completed their fifties to take their team to 241 when Ashwin broke their threatening 103-run partnership.
The Indian offspinner cleaned up Prior with a straight one as the England wicketkeeper played for turn. Ishant, who picked up two wickets on day one, then sent packing Tim Bresnan for a duck in the very next over. The ball cut back in viciously and Bresnan found himself trapped in front of the wickets.

 


Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

Updated 24 min 12 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah threatens Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or stranglehold

  • Messi and Ronaldo have won the award for the past ten years
  • Salah has emerged as a genuine rival after scoring 43 goals this season

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah could be the man to finally break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly at the top of world football after the Liverpool forward burnished his soaring reputation with a mesmerising Champions League performance against Roma.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi have locked down the Ballon d’Or award for a decade, winning five gongs apiece — for the past seven years they have occupied the top two slots.
But Salah is now second favorite behind Ronaldo for this year’s award after scoring his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season in a thrilling 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the Champions League semifinal first leg.
After his first strike against his former club on Tuesday, the man dubbed by fans as the “Egyptian King” stood motionless, hands raised in apology, as bedlam broke out on a night for the ages at Anfield.
Salah’s curling effort arrowed into the top corner with such accuracy his manager Jurgen Klopp labelled it “a genius strike.”
Soon after came the forward’s signature finish, a cute dink over advancing Roma goalkeeper Alisson for his 43rd goal in 47 games for Liverpool.
When Salah, 25, made the move from the Italian capital back to the Premier League just 10 months ago for €42 million ($51 million), there were plenty who felt Roma had got the better deal. Salah after all was a talented player, but who often lacked an end product.
It also came just a few weeks before Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million revolutionized the transfer market.
The Brazilian’s desire to leave the Catalan giants was tied to his ambition to beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or by stepping out of Messi’s shadow.
Now, though, it is Salah who has emerged as the pretender to end the Messi-Ronaldo domination by not only scoring the quantity of goals that have become the pair’s trademark but doing it when it really matters, in the latter stages of the Champions League.
“If you think he is the best in the world, write it or say it,” urged Klopp, who has been credited with bringing out Salah’s previously untapped potential.
“To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period I think, and there are a few others that are not so bad.”
Heavily left-footed, small, speedy and with a low center of gravity, Salah’s characteristics are far more like those of Messi than the muscular goal-machine Ronaldo.
“In a certain light, at certain points, it is possible to glimpse in Salah a little of Messi’s afterglow,” wrote Rory Smith in the New York Times.
And he demonstrated another Messi-like quality in showing no mercy to Roma.
Chasing his first hat-trick in the Champions League, Salah would have been forgiven for going for goal as he bore down on Alisson once more after half-time.
But he showed why he is considered one of the game’s more unselfish superstars by instead creating another two goals for strike partners Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
When Salah left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time, Liverpool led 5-0.
“Unstoppable (when Salah’s on the pitch),” said the back page of The Times.
Two late Roma away goals have at least given the Italians hope of recreating the incredible comeback they staged from a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Barca in the quarter-finals.
For once it is Salah’s turn to lead the way where Messi faltered on his return to the Eternal City next week.
Messi is almost certain to win a La Liga and Copa del Rey double and Ronaldo could lead Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League after another bucketload of goals this season.
But Salah is the coming man and after bagging the African and English players’ player of the year crowns, it is hard to back against him also conquering the world.