India told to win ugly if they have to, as vital third Test against England approaches

India have depended a lot on the runs of their captain Virat Kohli this series. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2018
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India told to win ugly if they have to, as vital third Test against England approaches

  • Shastri wants side to show backbone as they aim to come back from 2-0 deficit in the series.
  • Virat Kohli's back is on the mend and should be fine to play in third Test at Trent Bridge.

India coach Ravi Shastri has called on the tourists’ batsmen to show “resolve” even if it means they look “ugly and dirty” at the crease, as they try to fight back against England.
Shastri’s men are 2-0 down in a five-match series heading into the third Test at Trent Bridge starting on Saturday after a thumping innings and 159-run defeat at Lord’s last week.
They were dismissed for just 107 and 130, while captain and star batsman Virat Kohli — who made exactly 200 runs in a 31-run loss in the first Test at Edgbaston — was in evident pain from a back injury.
India badly needed some of the defiance that former spin-bowling all-rounder Shastri showed with the bat in a career that yielded 11 Test centuries, including hundreds in the Caribbean against the formidable West Indies pace attacks of the 1980s, as well as scores of 107 and 187 against England at Lord’s and The Oval respectively in 1990.
Shastri’s competitive spirit remains intact off the field, with the 56-year-old telling reporters at Trent Bridge: “Batsmen from both teams have struggled.
“When the occasion demands, it’s a case of mental resolve, how you put mind over matter and mental discipline will be the key as far as batsmen are concerned going forward in this Test match.”
India had the worst of the conditions at Lord’s, batting under overcast skies and on a pitch freshened by pre-match and in-game rain — an environment made to order for England new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Shastri, however, added: “Conditions have been tough as you have seen right through this series. But that’s where character and discipline comes into play, the resolve to know where your off stump is, to leave a lot of balls, be prepared to look ugly and dirty and show some grit.”

KOHLI BACK ON THE MEND
Shastri said it was vital India did not brood on what had happened at Lord’s as they looked to regain a foothold in the series.
“Just believe in yourself,” he said. “You have been in this position couple of times before and you have responded.
“One thing for sure in this unit, there is no negative bone.
“In spite of what happened in the last Test match, conditions favored England and that is no excuse whatsoever, it can happen to any side.
“We are here without a negative bone, wanting to play to win, as simple as that.”
As for Kohli’s fitness, Shastri said: “He is feeling much better. You saw him in the nets, he is moving much better and improving by the day.”


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.