Under pressure India out to stop big Mohali shock

Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep, second left, celebrates the dismissal of India's Shreyas Iyer during their first one-day international cricket match in Dharmsala, India, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Under pressure India out to stop big Mohali shock

LONDON: Sri Lanka have the chance today to surprise both India and the cricket world and claim series victory in the second ODI in Mohali.
The tourists ended a 12-match losing streak in one-day cricket with an impressive thrashing of India in Dharamsala on Sunday, winning by seven wickets.
The loss came as a huge shock to the hosts who have been dominant against Sri Lanka in both Tests and ODIs.
With an 11:30a.m. start it is expected that the ball will once again move a lot off the pitch. On Sunday the hosts were undone by both the seam movement and Suranga Lakmal’s brilliant four for 13 as they were bowled out for just 112. Rohit Sharma, leading the side in Virat Kohli’s absence, was not amused in his first ODI as captain. Though he did promise that the team will learn from the Dharamsala debacle and bounce back in the remaining two games.
“It is important to thrive in these conditions and come out good. It is an eye-opener for all of us,” Rohit had said after the seven-wicket loss.
Meanwhile Kohli wed Bollywood actress and former model Anushka Sharma at a private ceremony in Tuscany, Italy, with the Indian media going mad for the marriage.
“Officially India’s First Couple,” screamed the front page of Mumbai tabloid Mid-Day — a day after the pair tied the knot.
“Clean bowled!” read the Mumbai Mirror’s headline, one of several newspapers to report the much-anticipated news using a cricket theme. Another publication wished them the best in their “new innings.”


LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

Updated 11 min 52 sec ago
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LIVE: Saudi Arabia 1 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah scores, Al-Faraj equalizes

6.45PM: Great camaraderie between the Egypt and Saudi Arabian fans in the stands. The Mexican Wave is going round the stadium, which is never usually a good sign. But this has been a solid performance from both teams.

6.40PM: The Green Falcons have had a couple of free-kicks in promising positions in the last 5 minutes...both have been wasted, however. 10 minutes left...

6.30PM: That early bright start to this half is fading for Saudi Arabia as Egypt look to take control of the game, and Hector Cuper urges them on.

But what's this? Another two top saves from El-Hadary keeps Saudi Arabia at bay. They're not done just yet...

6.24PM: That's the end of the World Cup for Mohsen as the Egyptian No. 9 is replaced by Ramadan Sobhi.

Meanwhile, Aburadeah Aseri comes on for Bahebri for the Green Falcons.

25 minutes left.

6.21PM: Both of Egypt's goals at this World Cup have been scored by Salah, but Trezeguet came awfully close to joining the party as his towering header flashes just past the post with Al-Mosailem in the Saudi goal well beaten.

6.15PM: The intensity has just dropped out of this game now, and is beginning to look like the "dead rubber" we thought it would be. Saudi Arabia seem content to knock it around the middle just now, and Egypt are happy to let them.

6.08PM: Much better from Saudi Arabia who are attacking with a lot more intent at the beginning of the second half, they're pinning Egypt back into their own half at the moment.

5.45PM - HALFTIME: What a story for Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who pulled off a fantastic save to keep Egypt ahead. Magical moment. But the second penalty gives Saudi Arabia hope for the second half. 

The Salah goal opened the game up much more, and the Green Falcons produced some much better football to create opportunities. 

One last push in the second half could see them claim a famous victory.

5.48PM: After VAR review, the penalty is confirmed and Salman Al-Faraj buries it! GOAL FOR SAUDI ARABIA! At last...

5.45PM: A SECOND PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA...

5.40PM: PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA - And Fahad misses it...the wait for a goal at this World Cup goes on for the Green Falcons!

5.36PM: Salman has a glorious chance for Saudi Arabia, but his shot inside the box is blocked on the line and goes out for a corner. Green Falcons' best chance of the game.

5.30PM: That's given the thousands of Egyptian fans in this Volgograd Arena something to cheer about, and they're the ones making all the noise now.

5.22PM: GOAL - Who else? Mohamed Salah with a wonderful touch chips it into the net to give the Pharoahs a 1-0 lead...

5.20PM: As we've seen for the majority of this tournament, Saudi Arabia keep the ball reasonably well in the first two-thirds ... but they are just lacking that quality needed in the final third to turn possession into goals.

5.12PM: There's one glimmer of hope about this World Cup for Saudi Arabia - according to the statisticians, they boast some one of the best passing accuracy figures at the tournament. Having made 1,107 passes in their two games before today, they boasted an accuracy of 83.9%, just behind Spain on 91.3%. Iran were at the bottom with 61.3%.

5.07PM: Saudi Arabia win their first corner of the match... and it is comfortably cleared by the Egyptian defense. But that was better from the Green Falcons.

5.00PM: Here we go, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's final game of the 2018 World Cup is under way...

4.50PM: Al-Ahli's Alexis Ruano is watching the game and is hoping for a Saudi Arabia win by the looks of it...

Meanwhile, the Egypt fans are in good voice in the stands too...

4.40PM: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match: "It's very easy with hindsight, after the results that we have had, to come up with situations that you'd like to change. But unfortunately we coaches have to take most of our decisions before things pan out.

"We've seen that certain concepts work, we've seen alternatives, we've tried to bring in new players as well, and this experience that we have had specifically in the run-up to this World Cup has been very important."

4.15PM: This must be some sort of record because there is 45 minutes to go until kick-off and we have not spoken about Mohamed Salah yet. The news El-Hadary will start and enter the record books has taken the spotlight away from the "Egyptian King". We reckon that both for him and the rest of the squad that will come as a huge relief. Cominginto this match there were reports Salah was ready to quit international football, such was the circus that his playing/non-playing created — the latest episode of which saw both player and team management deny that rumor.

4PM: EL-HADARY SET TO MAKE HISTORY —  So the last matches of Group A have arrived and while hosts Russia will be battling it out with Uruguay to see who goes though as group winners, the Green Falcons and Egypt have little but pride to play for in Volgograd.

The big team news that has come out so far is that Hector Cuper has had a heart and will start Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. That means El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup. Aged 45 years, five months and 12 days he will smash the record currently held by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

This may be a dead rubber, however, both sides will be keen to get a win. Saudi Arabia are looking for their first World Cup victory since 1994, while the Pharaohs are searching for their first win in the tournament ever.