Lakmal strikes give Sri Lanka hope on final day

Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal, left, celebrates the dismissal of India’s Lokesh Rahul, right, during the fifth day of their first test cricket match in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Updated 20 November 2017
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Lakmal strikes give Sri Lanka hope on final day

KOLKATA: Paceman Suranga Lakmal took three key India wickets on Monday’s final day of the first Test to give Sri Lanka hope of claiming a historic victory.
India were 251 for five at lunch, stretching their second innings lead to 129. Skipper Virat Kohli was on 41 with Ravichandran Ashwin yet to score.
The hosts were bowled out for 172 in their first innings at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, while Sri Lanka, who have never won a Test in India, made 294.
India resumed their second innings on 171-1 Monday and the batsman played positively, going for boundaries, but Lakmal soon bowled Lokesh Rahul for 79 to check the surge.
Lakmal tested the batsmen with his probing line and length and was rewarded with the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara, who added 20 to his overnight two.
Pujara was taken by surprise by an awkward bouncer and gave a leading edge to gully where Dilruwan Perera took a sensational catch diving forward.
Ajinkya Rahane became Lakmal’s third victim when trapped lbw for a duck as the hosts slipped to 213 for four.
Off-spinner Perera then sent back Ravindra Jadeja for nine.
Kohli, after a tentative start, remained solid during his 71-ball stay.
India’s 166-run opening stand between Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, who made 94, enabled them to bounce back after conceding a 122-run first innings lead on day four of the rain-affected match, the first in a three-Test series.


Juan Antonio Pizzi happy with Saudi Arabia progress despite Jordan draw

Updated 22 November 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi happy with Saudi Arabia progress despite Jordan draw

  • Juan Antonio Pizzi said he was happy with his players and satisfied with Asian Cup preparations
  • Pizzi said it was good to play a team with a different style to his Saudi Arabia side

LONDON: Juan Antonio Pizzi said he was happy with his players and satisfied with Asian Cup preparations after Saudi Arabia earned a 1-1 draw with Jordan this week.
The Green Falcons were pedestrian in a goalless first half but Fahad Al-Mouloud’s goal broke the deadlock in Amman before Jordan’s Ahmed Samer equalized for the home team.
Pizzi said: “I am satisfied with the result in general, it was a tough and competitive game, but we controlled most of the game.
“The level of opponent was more important to me than the performance, as although it was a friendly, it is part of our training stages for the Asian Cup,” he added.
Pizzi said it was good to play a team with a different style to his Saudi Arabia side.
“We a play a style that suits us, all about winning back the ball and putting passes together in the middle. Jordan play more of a high-ball game.
“In general, I am satisfied with what we offered, because we managed to control and play a lot of the game in the opponent’s half.”
The match served as a decent warm-up for the Asian Cup in January where Saudi Arabia will face Lebanon, North Korea and Qatar.
As well as a win over Yemen last week, the Green Falcons have had a strong preparation for the tournament in the UAE in January — with a 2-2 draw with Bolivia and a good performance against Brazil in Riyadh last month.
And the success of the U-19s earlier this month bodes well for Saudi Arabian football, something that AFC Technical Director Andy Roxburgh told Arab News earlier this month that will develop the national team in the future.
Elsewhere, the UAE continued their own Asian Cup preparations with a 2-0 win over Yemen in Dubai, with Al-Sharjah’s Said Rashid opening the scoring in the first half and Ali Salmeen of Al-Wasl sealing the win with a goal midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, an ill-tempered match in Rades saw Morocco seal an away win in Tunisia, with Youssef En Nesyri, who plies his trade at Spanish club Leganes, getting the only goal of the game in the first half, to seal Morocco’s first win in Rades in their history.