India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia
Rohit Sharma is talking a good game ahead of the Test series in Australia beginning in next month. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018

India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia

India confident they can end Test series duck in Australia
  • India have never won a series Down Under, but are hopeful they can end that run.
  • Four-match series starts on Dec. 6

SYDNEY: India have warned Australia they are in confident mood ahead of the their Test series Down Under, starting in December.
The Indians have never won a series on Australian soil and hitting that stat for six is the main aim of the tour.
“It’s the one place that we want to leave our mark and do well as a unit,” India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma said.
“The last time we played test series here — although we lost two games and we drew one game — I thought there were a few close games being played.
“We want to make it count this time around. There’s a real good feeling inside the group.”
India top the current Test rankings, while Australia have slid to No. 5 in a year overshadowed by a ball-tampering scandal in March that ended in test captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner being suspended for 12 months from international and first-class cricket and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft barred for nine months.
India are No. 2 in the one-day international and Twenty20 international rankings, while five-time and defending World Cup champion Australia have slumped to No. 6 in the ODI rankings and No. 3 in T20s.
As far as Sharma and the India contingent are concerned, Australia cricket has never been more susceptible to losing at home. India have won only five Tests in Australia — three in the 1970s and early 80s — one in 2004 and one in 2008.
The four-Test series starts in Adelaide on Dec. 6 — a break with tradition from a regular first test venue at Brisbane’s Gabba ground — and will include matches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Sharma knows that going from a relatively predictable Adelaide wicket to what is expected to be a bouncy, fast pitch in Perth could be the biggest challenge of the series.
“Australia has bowlers who are very tall and extract those conditions, use them to their advantage,” Sharma said of the Perth Test. “Indian batsman generally are not that tall.
“Obviously it’s not that easy for us but, again, all the guys are quite determined to change things around this time.”
A rebuilding Australia squad is coming off back-to-back series losses to Pakistan and South Africa in the limited-overs formats, following a Test series loss to Pakistan in the UAE.
The fallout from the ball-tampering episode in March at Cape Town, when Bancroft’s awkward attempt to change the condition of the match ball by rubbing it with sandpaper, has gone way beyond Australia’s playing XI.
Coach Darren Lehmann quit at the end of that series in South Africa, and has been replaced by Justin Langer. Cricket Australia’s chairman, chief executive and high-performance manager have also quit and been replaced in a period of destabilization for the national game.


West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win

West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win
Updated 17 January 2021

West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win

West Brom sink Wolves to seal Allardyce’s first win
  • Allardyce had failed to win any of his first five matches since replacing the sacked Slaven Bilic

LONDON: West Bromwich Albion won for the first time under new boss Sam Allardyce as Matheus Pereira’s penalty double clinched a 3-2 Premier League victory at local rivals Wolves on Saturday.

Allardyce had failed to win any of his first five matches since replacing the sacked Slaven Bilic.

But the former England manager was finally able to celebrate after a pulsating Black Country derby at Molineux.

Pereira put Albion ahead from the spot before goals from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly put Wolves in the driving seat at half time.

Semi Ajayi equalized after the interval and Pereira’s second penalty sealed West Brom’s first win in eight league games.

Albion remain second bottom of the table after their second league victory this term, but are now just three points from safety.

Wolves are winless in six league games and have not beaten the Baggies in 10 years.

It was the first time these two local rivals had met since 2012 when West Brom won 5-1 at Molineux and this was an equally memorable success for the visitors.

West Brom were hit by Covid-19 this week, forcing keeper Sam Johnstone and winger Matt Phillips into self-isolation after positive tests.

David Button replaced Johnstone in goal, while new signing Robert Snodgrass made his Albion debut in Phillips’ absence.

Wolves had won just one of their eight league games since Mexico striker Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal in November.

They fell behind in the eighth minute with a self-inflicted wound.

Boly caught Callum Robinson with a rash challenge and, after a VAR review confirmed the foul was just inside the area, Pereira stepped up to convert the penalty.

That made it nine consecutive league games in which Wolves had fallen behind.

Silva’s leveler came in the 38th minute when Albion failed to clear a Romain Saiss cross and Boly’s deft backheel found the teenage forward, who slotted home from close-range.

Sloppy defending was Albion’s downfall again as Wolves went in front five minutes later.

Joao Moutinho’s corner wasn’t cleared by Jake Livermore and Boly slammed his shot past Button from seven yards.

Boly was the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist a goal and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in 2011 — also against West Brom at Molineux.

Albion equalized in the 52nd minute when a long throw was flicked on by Kyle Bartley and Ajayi looped his header over Wolves keeper Rui Patricio into the far corner.

A dramatic game took another turn when Conor Coady conceded a penalty with a trip on Robinson and Pereira stepped up to score from the spot again.

Wolves should have finished with a point, but Silva miscued after Moutinho set up a potential equalizer before the unmarked Patrick Cutrone shot over from close-range.