Pandya, Kuldeep put India on top in 3rd Test

India's Hardik Pandya celebrates his century next to his teammate Umesh Yadav. (Reuters)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Pandya, Kuldeep put India on top in 3rd Test

PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka: A blazing century from all-rounder Hardik Pandya and four wickets from spinner Kuldeep Yadav left India in total command of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Kuldeep led an inspired bowling display with his left-arm wrist spin to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 135 in response to India’s 487, before the visitors enforced the follow-on in Pallekele in search of a series whitewash.
The hosts were 19-1 at stumps on day two, still trailing India by 333 runs. Dimuth Karunaratne on 12 and nightwatchman Malinda Pushpakumara on nought were at the crease.
Paceman Umesh Yadav had opener Upul Tharanga trudging back to the pavilion for seven after the left-handed batsman dragged a delivery which was going away onto his stumps.
But it was Kuldeep who flattened the Sri Lankan batting in the hosts’ first innings, returning impressive figures of 4-40 in just his second Test.
He turned on the heat to rattle the middle order and combined with fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to wipe out the tail in the final session.
Off-spinner Ashwin took two wickets including the prized scalp of skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who top-scored with a gritty 87-ball 48.
Pace spearhead Mohammed Shami also contributed two wickets, removing the Sri Lankan openers in the first five overs of the innings.
The 23-year-old Pandya also chipped in with his pace bowling to have former captain Angelo Mathews lbw for nought.
Pandya, playing his third Test, was the star of the day with his 96-ball 108 that lifted India to a commanding first innings total after the visitors resumed on 329-6.
Pandya was finally out to spinner Lakshan Sandakan, who claimed his first five-wicket Test haul, on the third ball of the second session as India’s innings ended without adding to the lunch total.
India are eyeing their first-ever series sweep in Sri Lanka after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in Colombo.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.