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Geoff Allott quits as New Zealand Cricket GM

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) general manager Geoff Allott said Monday he will step down at the end of the month, making him the first casualty of the Black Caps’ unprecedented series loss to Bangladesh.

Allot said the 0-4 whitewash to Bangladesh last month, described by local media as a low point in the team’s history, showed the NZC had to rethink its strategy and he was not part of the plan.

“I have effectively restructured myself out of a job, but I truly believe this to be in the best interests of cricket,” the former international bowler said.

“This was a difficult decision for me to make because I am passionate about the game that has given me so much.”

Allott had initially described the Bangladesh whitewash as a “bad hiccup” and insisted no management overhaul was needed for the Black caps to bounce back.

NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan said Allott’s decision to resign was selfless.

“Geoff has made an enormous contribution to cricket in New Zealand,” he said.

The New Zealand team is currently in India for a tour starting in Ahmedabad Thursday that includes three Tests and five one-day internationals.

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Butt, Amir remain suspended: Beloff

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday rejected the appeals of Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer against suspensions for spot-fixing.

The two, along with fast bowler Mohammad Asif, were provisionally suspended by the ICC over allegations they were involved in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s summer tour of England.

All three appealed, but Asif later withdrew his application.

ICC code of conduct commissioner Michael Beloff announced the decision after a two-day hearing which started early Saturday, saying the players will have to appear before another tribunal to further their cases.

“Salman (Butt) and (Mohammad) Aamer had appealed against the suspension imposed on them by the ICC on September 2 for various breaches of the code of conduct.

“Having considered every aspect of the case I dismiss their appeals and they remain suspended,” Beloff told reporters outside the ICC headquarters here.

The two cricketers arrived with their lawyers — Salman with Khalid Ranjha, a former law minister, and Aftab Gul, a former Pakistan player, and Aamer with his lawyer Shahid Karim.

Beloff said all three cricketers, including Asif, will have to appear before a ICC code of conduct commission which he will announce in due course.

“The players have denied the charges, but they will remain suspended before a code of conduct commission is formed to hear the case.

“It was not up to me to decide whether they committed any crime, the commission will establish their guilt and if they are found guilty then they will be given punishment as per the ICC code of conduct.”

The scandal broke after a report by British tabloid The News of the World prompted Scotland Yard to launch an investigation into allegations of spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test against England in August.

Police raided the team’s hotel in London and questioned Salman, Aamer, Asif and bowler Wahab Riaz, but they have yet to formally level any charges.

Owing to their suspensions, the trio have been excluded from Pakistan’s current tour of the United Arab Emirates, where South Africa is the opposition.

Pakistan Cricket Board legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said the decision was under the ICC jurisdictions.

“The decision is within the ICC’s jurisdiction but it will not affect the actual case which we hope will be heard soon,” said Rizvi.

ICC in its brief statement said: “The chairman code of conduct commission heard the case in which players had challeneged the suspension under the ICC Anti-Corruption code. After considering all the evidence Mr. Beloff has rejected the challenges.

“As such, the players remain provisionally suspended from all cricket pending the outcome of the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal which will hear their disciplinary case in due course.”

The ICC said Asif also remained suspended.

“As Asif chose not to challenge his provisional suspension, he also remains suspended.

The ICC will make no further comments.”The ICC code of conduct carries a minimum of five year punishment if corruption charges are proved. The maximum punishment is a life ban.

Salman’s lawyer Ranjha said his team was a little disappointed by the decision. “The decision has left us unhappy,” Ranjha told reporters. “The hearing was fair and thorough, and now we have 40 days to fight the disciplinary case and we will decide our course of action.”

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Confident England arrive in Australia for Ashes defence

PERTH: England flew into Australia ahead of the upcoming Ashes series on Saturday, arriving quietly confident about ending a 24-year English drought on Australian soil, but expecting a tough battle.

Led by captain Andrew Strauss, they arrived in Perth, where they will play their opening three-day tour match against Western Australia, starting Friday at the WACA.

Strauss is aiming to become the first English captain to win the Ashes on Australian turf since 1986-87.

He expects a spirited performance from the home team, but believes his team is in much better nick than when it suffered a hugely embarrassing 5-0 whitewash on its last visit to Australian shores in 2006-07.

Strauss has been buoyed by the blend of solidarity and depth in his squad, as well as the absence of some all-time Australian greats who picked England apart four years ago.

Speaking shortly after stepping off the plane, a relaxed Strauss said his side was in good shape for the defence of the Ashes title they won in 2009.

“Our greatest strength is that we are a pretty tight unit and we don’t rely on one or two players,” he said.

“All 11 guys have been putting their hands up and certainly in the crucial periods.

“We can’t afford any passengers in our side and you need all 11 to be performing.

The sides first go head-to-head in Brisbane on November 25, with Australia looking to reverse a slump in form which has seen them lose three successive Tests and slip to fifth in the world rankings.

“It will come down to who hits the ground running best and plays the best cricket in the crucial periods,” Strauss said, adding that “there is a relaxed excitement about the group.”

“Now we have touched down on Australian soil everything is a bit more at the forefront of our minds about what lies ahead of us and what massive opportunities there are.”

Where the Australian attack of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and company has dominated past Ashes series, Strauss said he believed the English attack was their trump card this time, capable of performing in all conditions.

“Our bowling unit has done well in England over the summer,” he said.

“The challenges here will be very different.

“What I like about our bowling unit is that they have complemented each other quite well.

“When it is turning Graeme Swann has been a great threat, when it is swinging Jimmy Anderson has been outstanding in the last 12 months and on wickets that have been a bit bouncy Steve Finn and Stuart Broad have done a good job.

“That balance to be able to adapt to different situations in games that is more crucial than one or two players having great series.”

Strauss said he expected the five-Test series would be a war of attrition.

“We have to be mentally very stable,” he said.

“Ultimately you have to grind Australia down and not many sides have been able to do it,” he said.

“But you can look at how South Africa went about things (South Africa won 2-1 in Australia in 2008-09) a couple of years ago and we’ve all learnt, particularly the guys that were here last time, lessons about the style of cricket you need to play and the mindset you need to have to be successful out here.”

Strauss, who commented during the last Ashes series that the Australians had lost their aura of invincibility, said despite the recent woes of their arch-rivals, the home team would not be underestimated.

“Their record here is very good, they are going to be a strong side and we need to be better than them.

“Australia doesn’t have those very experienced legendary players it once had, but it has some very good players and they’ll be massively motivated.

“We know them pretty well now, their strengths and weaknesses, and we need to be prepared enough to take advantage of those weaknesses.”

Strauss laughed off Australia’s Big Ben stunt this week, with an image of Ponting and Michael Clarke appearing on the famous London landmark reminding the English to bring the Ashes urn Down Under.

“I don’t stay awake at night looking at Big Ben,” he said with a grin.

“It is all part of the fun of the Ashes series and that is what makes the Ashes series so special.”

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Today's News 02/11/2010

Makhaya Ntini retires from international cricke

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini has formally retired from international cricket, the 33-year-old said in a statement on Tuesday.

The paceman, who played the last of his 101 tests in December 2009 but has been out of favour with the national selectors ever since, will make one final appearance in a Twenty20 international against India in Durban on Jan. 9.

“It has been a wonderful journey for me to represent my country,” Ntini said in a statement. “I have so many great memories, which I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Ntini made his South Africa debut in a one-day international in 1998 and retires having taken 390 test wickets, with best figures of 7-37, and 266 wickets in 173 ODIs.

Nicknamed the ‘Mdingi Express” after the village of his birth in the Eastern Cape, Ntini will continue to play domestic cricket.

“My career is by no means over; it just means that internationally my time has come to hang up my boots. Domestic cricket is thriving at the moment, and I want to be a part of the set up, as a player, for as long as possible,” he said.

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ICC did not properly consider appeals: Butt, Aamer

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir on Monday accused the ICC of not really listening to their appeals against provisional bans for an alleged involvement in spot-fixing.

The ICC’s code of conduct commission upheld the suspensions of Butt, Amir and teammate Mohammad Asif, who withdrew his appeal last week, on Sunday after a two-day hearing in Dubai.

Butt and the 18-year-old Amir returned to Pakistan on Monday and expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the hearing, which was overseen by code of conduct commission chief Michael Beloff.

”They heard us but (it was) as if ‘say whatever you want to say, we have come with a decision,”’ Butt said. ”Their decision was not based on a single piece of evidence against us.

”We requested from them the next date of the hearing but they didn’t give us (it).” Amir said he felt the ICC had made up its mind before the hearing that the suspension would remain in place.

”(Before leaving for Dubai) we felt the case will be in our favour, but when he gave the decision it looked as if he had written the decision before.”

Amir also requested that the Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan’s government come forward to help resolve the case.

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PCB, not ICC hurting Pakistan – Ehsan Mani

DUBAI: A former president of the International Cricket Council blamed Pakistan cricket authorities for the state of the game in the country and denied the ICC was picking on Pakistan.

“ICC is not against Pakistan, it’s Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which is against their cricket and has not sorted out their problems, forcing the ICC to take the matters in its hands,” Pakistani Ehsan Mani told AFP.

“The way PCB is being run, it is only to protect the position of one person,” said Mani, ICC president 2003-2006, without specifically naming under fire PCB chairman Ijaz Butt.

Pakistan’s recent tour of England was marred by newspaper allegations of spot-fixing during a Test at Lord’s in August, leading to the ICC suspending three key players.

The ICC on Sunday turned down an appeal from Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Aamer against the suspension. The third accused, Mohammad Asif, had withdrawn his appeal.

The ICC has ordered Pakistan to implement measures to curb alleged corruption and other problems, warning failure to clean up its act could result in sanctions.

No international teams have toured Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team’s bus in March last year, meaning huge financial losses and fears that interest in the sport will start to wane among the youth.

“The PCB should have taken the lead and sorted those things out,” Mani told AFP late Monday.

“It is because we are not capable of doing it that the ICC has said we will step in. I know some of the people on the (ICC) committee and they seriously have Pakistan’s cricket at heart, I’ve got no doubt about that,” said Mani.

Mani said the PCB had plenty on its plate.

“Domestic cricket, schools’ cricket, clubs’ cricket – I hear there are quite a lot of issues in domestic cricket in Pakistan which needed to be addressed,” he said.

“You will always find that the boards with the best systems, like Australia and India, their teams will always do better because the team selection, the selection of the selectors, is a whole process.

“At the moment our system… it is only at the whim of one person. You will only get a board as good or bad as its chairman.”

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Ponting to miss first Sri Lanka ODI for funeral

MELBOURNE: Australia captain Ricky Ponting will miss the opening one-day international against Sri Lanka to fly to Tasmania for his grandmother’s funeral.

Michael Clarke will replace Ponting as skipper for Wednesday’s match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which Australia are using as part of their preparations for the Ashes Test series against England.

“I will be flying out tomorrow morning to attend the funeral and then flying straight back to the ground tomorrow afternoon,” Ponting told a news conference on Tuesday.

“I wanted to be here yesterday and today to maximise my time around the team and get my preparation right for the coming games.”

Australia will also play the Sri Lankans in Sydney on Friday and Brisbane on Sunday.

The first Ashes test is also in Brisbane and begins on Nov. 25.

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Sri Lanka stun Aussies with remarkable comeback

MELBOURNE: Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga combined in a record 132-run ninth-wicket partnership to guide Sri Lanka to an extraordinary one-wicket win Wednesday that highlighted Australia’s falling status in international cricket.

Sri Lanka was reeling at 107 for eight in the 26th over chasing 240 to win when Mathews and Malinga combined. Together they ensured a tie before Malinga was run out for 56 with the total at 239-9.

No. 11 Muttiah Muralitharan calmly hit the winning runs in the next over, leaving Mathews unbeaten on 77 from 80 deliveries.

It was a sixth consecutive defeat for Australia in all formats of the game. Long ranked No. 1 in test and one-day cricket, Australia has now lost three consecutive tests _ one to Pakistan and two to India _ before an ODI defeat in India and a lopsided loss to Sri Lanka in Perth on the weekend in a Twenty20 International

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No tours to Pakistan possible before WC: Ijaz Butt

LAHORE: PCB chairman Ijaz Butt has said the current spot-fixing investigation has diverted resources away from organising tours to Pakistan, and that there is now no space left in the calendar to accommodate a visiting team.

“The ICC Task Force was well on its way to bringing a MCC XI team to Pakistan in which two players of each cricket board were to be included,” Butt said.

“Moreover, Zimbabwe were also interested in sending their national team to Pakistan.

“The current spot-fixing scam, however, has diverted attention to other issues as work of inviting some teams to Pakistan could not be materialised, and there is no appropriate time left for such activities due to hectic schedule of Pakistan till the World Cup.”

Giles Clarke, chairman of the ICC’s Pakistan Task Force, had called for Pakistan to resume hosting international matches back in August and suggested that an ICC World XI would tour the country “in due course”.

Following the floods that devastated the country earlier this year, Zimbabwe offered to tour Pakistan to help raise money for the relief effort, and their visit was tentatively scheduled for November and early December. No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since the March 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team. Last month the ICC decided to closely monitor the running of the game in Pakistan.

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Pakistan team still needs improvement: Afridi

Dubai—Skipper Shahid Afridi despite a grand fight put in by his team in the last two games against South Africa in 5-match series ,believed that Pakistan still have to improve their game for a better results.

“We have a lot of positives and negatives from this game but we have to learn from our mistakes and improve upon them,” he told reporters in a post match press conference after his team went down fighting by two-run in the third One-Day International at Dubai Sports City International Cricket Stadium late Tuesday night. “We got to get mentally more strong,”he said

“I am not satisfied with my own performance nor of the team. We must raise our game.Our fielding standard is also not good and we gave away 25-30 extra runs to South Africa,” he pointed out. He admitted that Abdul Razzaq’s match winning century has inserted a new lease of life in the team and they are performing better. “We should work more hard for winning results,” he commented.

Afridi said the main difference between the two teams was fielding. “South Africans fielded far better and that was the main difference between the two teams,” he stressed.

“Look at Hashim Amla the way he batted it was an example for the our players. He took up the challenge single handedly and scored a brilliant unbeaten hundred and guided South Africa to reasonable total,” he said.

He came hard on off-break bowler Saeed Ajmal. “His (Ajmal) performance is not up to the mark and we will come up with left arm spinner Abdur Rehman in the next game,” he said. Rehman is a good bowler and has done well in the past,” he added.

Shahid Afridi said Misbah-ul-Haq was dropped because was he not performing well with the bat. On Umar Akmal’s injury, he said, he was taken for X-ray after twisting his ankle and result is being awaited. Commenting on the condition of the pitch he said its new and different from Abu Dhabi, he said there will be small totals

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Today's news 04/11/2010

Anderson, Swann fit for Ashes tour match

PERTH: Bowlers James Anderson and Graeme Swann have overcome injuries to be included in a strong line-up for the opening match of England’s Ashes cricket tour to Australia, a three-dayer against Western Australia state starting Friday.

Paceman Anderson has been troubled by a rib injury and off-spinner Swann by a sore thumb, but both have been passed fit to be included in England’s 13-man squad for the match.

Test captain Andrew Strauss, who will lead an England team near full strength, said it was important for the tourists to quickly get into test mode.

“The last thing we want to do is approach these matches like warm-up games,” Strauss said. “If you use that sort of attitude, you’re always going to come unstuck.

“Preparation-wise, we want it as close to a test match as possible … and go out to win them. That’s the key – We want to achieve some winning momentum, good form and some good clinical cricket.”

Strauss said England could expect stiff opposition in its warm-up matches ahead of the first Ashes test starting Nov. 25 at the Gabba in Brisbane.

“In Australia, you generally come up against a good side who are very keen and intent to prove a point,” he said. “We don’t expect anything different from two good state sides and then Australia A, who should be very competitive, especially in conditions they are very comfortable in.”

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PCB suspends trio’s central contracts

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday suspended the central contracts of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir, the three players under investigation from the ICC in the infamous spot-fixing saga, dispatching the letters to the effect at the players’ respective addresses.

“Yes, the letters have been dispatched at the addresses of the three players in which their central contracts have been suspended with effect from Nov 1,” Zakir Khan, a senior official of the PCB, confirmed to Dawn.

However, Zakir was not ready to comment further on the matter but added that it was the duty of the PCB to follow its parent body ICC’s Code of Conduct under which a provisional ban had been imposed on the three players.

When asked whether Salman and Aamir would face any further sanctions for issuing statements against the ICC in the media after their appeals against the suspension were rejected, Zakir shied away from making any comments on the issue but advised the players not to violate the code of conduct any further.

Meanwhile, sources told Dawn that the ICC is quite unhappy with Salman and Aamir for issuing those hard-hitting statements in the media since the international body is yet to announce a final decision regarding the spot-fixing case.

“Obviously, the ICC will consider every aspect of the case before announcing its decision and it would be better for the ‘tainted’ players not to issue anymore statements on the matter,” the sources said.

They further disclosed that some lawyers had even advised the players not to appeal against the provisional suspension from the ICC as their case was not a very strong one.

The sources added that Asif, in fact, had made a wise decision of not challenging the suspension and that could well get the ICC to develop a soft corner for the pacer.

PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt has already taken the Governing Board’s approval on suspending the central contracts of the three players in a meeting held on Nov 1.

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Callum Ferguson to replace injured Shaun Marsh

SYDNEY: Australia batsman Shaun Marsh has been ruled out of the remainder of the one-day series against Sri Lanka after injuring his lower back in Wednesday’s opening defeat, Cricket Australia said on Thursday.

Promising middle order batsman Callum Ferguson will join the squad in place of lefthander Marsh for the final two matches against Sri Lanka – in Sydney on Friday and Brisbane on Sunday.

“It’s an unfortunate injury for Shaun,” chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a news release.

“However, it does create another opportunity for Callum Ferguson to come back into the Australian one-day team and press his claims.”

Australia have lost their last six matches in all forms of cricket and are desperate to return to winning ways before the Ashes test series against England begins in Brisbane on Nov.

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Today's News 05/11/2010

Sri Lanka beat Australia by 29 runs to win ODI series

SYDNEY: Sri Lanka claimed their first-ever series success in Australia with a win against Ricky Ponting’s team in the rain-marred second one-day international at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

The Sri Lankans won by 29 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after several rain interruptions and followed their stunning one-wicket victory in the opening match in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka condemned Australia to a seventh straight international defeat in all forms of the game by scoring 213 for three off 41.4 overs and then bowling the home side out for 210 off 37.4 overs.

“There’s a lot to be taken out of the way we played these games,” Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said.

“It’s fantastic. We played the way we believed we could coming here.”

“It was just a case of us fighting to convert every opportunity and tonight I thought it was a great all-round performance.”

Opening batsman Upul Tharanga was named man-of-the-match for his unbeaten top score of 86 while veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed two wickets to take his career ODI tally to 517 wickets.

Ponting’s team have one more chance to break their demoralising run of losses — the longest since the 1996-97 season — before this month’s Ashes Test series against England in the final match of the ODI series against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Sunday.

“I know its seven straight games but it’s over a long period of time in different formats,” Ponting said.

“We have to start playing the brand of cricket we know we can play and getting the winning feeling back again.”

“We haven’t had it for a while.” Tharanga showed steely powers of concentration to regroup after a lengthy rain delay to remain unbeaten in his 112-ball knock in Sri Lanka’s innings after winning the toss.

A 90-minute downpour reduced the match to 45 overs per side, but a much heavier shower later ended Sri Lanka’s innings prematurely.

Angelo Mathews, the hero of Sri Lanka’s astonishing one-wicket victory over Australia in Melbourne, remained 17 not out off 11 balls.

Sri Lanka’s openers put on 98 runs for the first wicket before Tillakaratne Dilshan was trapped lbw as he attempted to slog-sweep off-spinner Nathan Hauritz in the 20th over.

Up to that stage Dilshan had looked comfortable in compiling 47 off 57 balls with five boundaries.

All-rounder Shane Watson got a wicket in his first over when he had Mahela Jayawardene lbw for five as he attempted to pull.

After a rain delay, Sangakkara was out for 45 off 52 balls when he shaped for a square drive off Watson and top-edged to Clint McKay at third man.

Watson finished Australia’s best bowler with two for 34 off eight overs.

Sri Lanka began well with the wicket of Brad Haddin for one in the second over and then got the prized wicket of Ponting for 10 when the Australian skipper top-edged a pull shot straight to Chamara Silva at deep backward square-leg.

Watson looked dangerous before he was trapped lbw for 40 off 44 balls by the wily Muralitharan, who was playing in his 339th ODI.

Michael Clarke followed seven balls later to a tumbling catch by Muralitharan at third man off Thissara Perera for 25.

Mike Hussey (15) lofted to Mathews to give Muralitharan his second wicket of the innings.

Australia’s remote chance of pulling the game out of the fire vanished when big-hitting Cameron White was bowled off-stump for 35 by Kulasekara, leaving the home side at 155 for six.

Mitchell Johnson (23) and Steve Smith (33) went in the same over, bowled by Suraj Randiv as the game meandered to its inevitable conclusion.

Hauritz (4) and McKay (6) went cheaply as Sri Lanka rejoiced a milestone triumph.

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India in control in first New Zealand Test

AHMEDABAD: Tailender Harbhajan Singh struck a career-best 69 before India picked up two early wickets to put New Zealand under pressure on the second day of the first Test on Friday.

Harbhajan slammed three sixes and five fours in his 97-ball knock to steer India’s first innings to 487 after the hosts had been reduced to 412-8 on a deteriorating wicket at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

At stumps, New Zealand were 69-2, trailing the Indians by 418 runs with eight wickets in hand. Brendon McCullum (38) and Ross Taylor (18) were the not-out batsmen.

“I am pleased that I could contribute with the bat,” said Harbhajan. “Their bowlers bowled their hearts out, especially Daniel (Vettori) and (Jeetan) Patel, as the wicket had nothing much to offer.

“It was difficult to judge the flight and length of Dan’s balls. He kept things tight at one end. But we have got enough runs on the board. We just need to ensure that we bowl according to our plans and get the wickets.”

Paceman Zaheer Khan gave India an early breakthrough when he had opener Tim McIntosh (0) caught behind in the third over while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha pegged back the off-stump of BJ Watling to reduce the Kiwis to 27-2.

But McCullum, opening the innings for the first time in Tests, held on steadily, hitting seven fours during his two-hour stay at the wicket.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Vettori finished with the best figures of 4-118, sending back Mahendra Singh Dhoni (10), Khan (one) and Harbhajan after taking the wicket of Virender Sehwag (173) on Thursday.

Dhoni was running a fever and underwent tests for malaria, according to the local media manager, but returned to keep wickets.

New Zealand had fought back in the last 25 minutes before lunch to pick three quick Indian wickets, including that of star batsman Sachin Tendulkar for 40.

Tendulkar offered a simple return catch to Patel, disappointing a sizeable crowd that was expecting to celebrate his 50th Test ton on Diwali, the festival of lights.

Venkatsai Laxman (40) was trapped leg before by Patel (3-135) after he had shared 66 runs for the fourth wicket with Tendulkar.

“I am delighted to take Tendulkar’s wicket,” said Patel. “It is the biggest scalp of my career. I was probably trying too hard yesterday. I had also been bowling a little fast.

“I shortened my run-up and just told myself to keep believing that I belong to this level of cricket. My idea was to bowl as many dot balls as possible and apply pressure on the batsmen.”

The Indians were slow off the blocks after resuming at their overnight score of 329-3, putting on 63 runs in two hours of play in the first session.

Tendulkar, who scored the first of his six double centuries against New Zealand at the same venue in 1999, was uncharacteristically subdued during his nearly three-hour stay at the crease.

He hit five fours in his 133-ball knock.

New Zealand was hit by a groin injury to rookie paceman Hamish Bennett, who did not come out to bowl.

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England bowlers off to good start in tour match

PERTH: England’s bowlers made an impressive start to their Ashes tour against Western Australia at the WACA Ground on Friday.

Sent into the field by WA captain and Australian Test batsman Marcus North for the three-day tour match, a full-strength England side made an immediate impact striking twice in the second over of the day through Stuart Broad.

Although fringe Australian one-day player Adam Voges made a stylish 72, every English bowler tasted success with Broad picking up three wickets as the home side battled to 242-8 before declaring late in the day.

England were 10-1 at stumps with captain Andrew Strauss on five and night-watchman James Anderson yet to score.

Opener and vice-captain Alastair Cook made an unlucky start to his tour, bowled by Steve Magoffin for just five after the ball struck him on the body as he attempted a pull shot and deflected onto the stumps.

Anderson, who bowled considerably better than his 1-48 suggest, said it was an encouraging start for the attack that Strauss has said will be his trump card in the Ashes.

“I think in general we are pretty happy,” he said.

“Swanny (spinner Graeme Swann) got better as the day went on.

“Broady bowled brilliantly up front and I was pretty happy with the way I bowled.

“Finny (Steven Finn) showed glimpses of form. In general, we are really happy with the day’s performance.”

Broad starred with the ball, claiming wickets with successive deliveries to be on a hat-trick in his first over of the tour and finishing the day with 3-47 from 18 overs.

Opener Liam Davis was the first WA batsman to fall, for a duck, well caught by a Swann at second slip, and Michael Swart was easily caught by Paul Collingwood from the next ball for a golden duck.

Broad deservedly claimed a third wicket in the penultimate over before lunch, picking up the prized wicket of North for 19 as WA slumped to 42-3.

North, looking to secure his spot in the Australian team for the first Test, starting on November 25 in Brisbane, had survived two confident early appeals for lbw of Broad.

However, he was unable to capitalise on his good fortune and slashed a delivery to Swann in slips to give Broad his third scalp.

Broad, Finn and Anderson relished the pace and bounce of the WACA and may consider themselves a little unlucky not to have claimed more early scalps, with several close lbw decisions going against them.

Voges and Wes Robinson (62) steadied the ship for WA, putting on 87 for the fourth wicket, but lacked support.

While Broad excelled, Anderson also impressed and could easily have had more than the solitary wicket from his 22 overs.

He was adamant he had Robinson caught behind for 13 when the score was 21.

Anderson and the English fielders celebrated the wicket of Robinson, convinced the ball had found the outside edge, only to find local umpire Ian Lock had turned down the appeal.

Finn (1-65) was the least impressive of the three, but claimed the wicket of the dangerous Luke Ronchi late in the day for 32, while Swann had Paul Duffield caught behind for three to cap a successful day in the field for the tourists.

Part-timer Collingwood (1-10) took a sharp caught and bowled to remove Robinson and end his partnership with Voges.

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Today's News 07/11/2010

Razzaq, Shoaib, Fawad asked to explain indisciplinary acts

DUBAI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has demanded explanation from three players including Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar and Fawad Alam over indisciplinary acts during the on-going one-day series against South Africa here.

Reliable sources said on Saturday that the players can be fined heavily for their breache of the contract.

“Razzaq has been asked to explain his comments after his century in the second match when he indirectly criticised the team management and the coaches while Shoaib and Fawad have been sent notices by manager Intikhab Alam for violating curfew hours on the tour,” the source said.

The new code of conduct clauses added to the players’ contracts stipulate that they have to adhere to every rule and no player will be allowed to break curfew timings or give statements against the team management.

PCB’s legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi said the action taken by Intikhab was in line with the new zero tolerance policy of the board on issues of discipline and the central contracts.

“The issue is that these clauses were there in the players contracts before also, but no one really implemented them. But now the board has given strict instructions to the manager that he has to enforce the clauses in letter and spirit and not tolerate any violations from anyone,” Rizvi said.

He made it clear that if the manager didn’t penalise the players, then the board would take action against him.

“The board now wants a definite culture of discipline in the team and would ensure the players and officials adhere to the code of conduct,” he added.

In the past the board has allowed players to get away with violations of their contracts such as giving interviews, appearing on television shows and breaking curfew hours.

But after the recent England tour where the image of Pakistan cricket took a beating after the infamous spot-fixing scandal, the PCB has got tougher with the players and officials on the instructions of the ICC.

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Spot-fixing investigation gathers pace as more evidence filed

LONDON: The probe into allegations that Pakistan cricketers accepted bribes for spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test against England gathered pace on Friday as a second evidence file was passed to prosecutors.

Scotland Yard said that there was a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers will be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Detectives interviewed four players under caution and arrested businessman Mazhar Majeed as part of the inquiry.

Majeed is accused of accepting 150,000 pounds to fix the actions of several players during the Lord’s Test.

Pakistan’s tour to England was overshadowed by the newspaper allegations of a betting scam that saw no-balls deliberately bowled in the fourth Test against England in August.

The claims, published in the News of the World, led to the suspension of Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif by the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The trio, together with Wahab Riaz – who was not suspended, were all being interviewed by police in connection with the allegations, although they deny any wrong-doing.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police has today delivered a second file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in connection with the investigation of alleged offences in relation to the fourth Test at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 26 August. The file will now be subject to CPS consideration.”

The ICC’s code of conduct commission rejected appeals by Butt and Aamer against their suspensions last Sunday, while Asif had withdrawn his appeal.

The next stage will be a hearing by the anti-corruption tribunal into details of the fixing case.

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Smith, Waqar praise exciting one-day cricket

DUBAI: South African skipper Graeme Smith and Pakistan team coach Waqar Younis bothdescribed the fourth one-day match between their two teams as having been exciting and good for 50-over form of cricket.

Pakistan pulled off a sensational one-wicket win on the penultimate delivery of the match after being set a challenging 275-run target on Friday, to level the five-match series at 2-2 and set an intriguing fifth match for Monday.

Smith, whose 98 was the cornerstone for the South African total, termed the series as having been ultra competitive.

“The four teams that are playing one day cricket at the moment are doing a good job keeping people on the edge of their seats,” said Smith of the Pakistan-South Africa and Australia-Sri Lanka series.

South Africa won the first match by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi before the next three games went to the last over.

Riding on a belligerent 72-ball, 109 not out by Abdul Razzaq, Pakistan clinched the second match – also in Abu Dhabi – by one wicket. South Africa survived a last over scare to win the third match in Dubai by two runs.

Smith said close matches are good for one-day cricket.

“Games like these are good things. Cricket is competitive no matter what the format is but it is exciting and good for the game,” said Smith, who missed the second and third match after suffering a hand injury.

Smith said his team had a good chance of winning after taking the wickets of Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq, but failed.

“The wickets of Afridi and Razzaq led us back in the game and we managed to create a lit bit of pressure from then on. We had a chance to win but we did not take it and that was disappointing,” said Smith.

Afridi’s robust 25-ball 29 and Razzaq’s 33 brought Pakistan within 31 runs of the win before tail-enders Zulqarnain Haider (19 not out) and Wahab Riaz (18) put on a match-winning 28-run stand for the ninth wicket.

Waqar described it as “a hell of a game” and “good for the health of one-day cricket.”

“A win is always a boost to the team and now we will try our best to win the series in the last game,” added Waqar.

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Today's News 09/11/2010

Pakistan lost Hong Kong Sixes final to Australia

Karachi: In spite of posting a huge total of 132-6, Pakistan lost to Australia when the later managed 50 runs off the last nine balls to end 135-4 in Hong Kong Sixes final in Hong Kong.

Ahmed Shehzad scored a brilliant 92-run knock coming off 28 balls. However, Australia conquered the target of 133 runs with impressive innings from their captain David Warner (35no), Glen Maxwell (34) and Ryan Carters (31no) to storm to an improbable victory.

Imran Nazir conceded 48 runs in the last over, which he did not even complete after bowling 12 wides and 9 no-balls

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Pakistan fine three cricketers on discipline violation

DUBAI: Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam on Sunday revealed three cricketers were fined for disciplinary reasons, saying there remains no tolerance on the rules implemented in the new code of conduct.

Opener Shahzaib Hasan, spinner Abdul Rehman and wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider were fined 500 dirham (136 dollars) for breaking curfew timings during the ongoing one-day series against South Africa, played in the United Arab Emirates.

“We have reminded the players that there will be no tolerance on discipline and after these three players returned late to the team hotel by five minutes they have been fined and issued show-cause notices,” team manager Intikhab Alam told reporters.

Alam said the players have been told of severe consequences if they breach the code of conduct again, with double fines and other sanctions.

Pakistan introduced a new players’ code of conduct with stricter punishments last month, following problems of discipline and corruption which rocked their cricket recently.

Three Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last month after allegations of spot-fixing against them.

Alam said no disciplinary problem will be tolerated.

“All the players have been told about their responsibility and that Pakistan cricket is first and foremost, so we think that stricter steps will bring good results,” said Alam, also a former Pakistan captain.

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PCB sends legal notice to Mickey Arthur

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday warned former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur not to repeat his controversial allegations of match fixing against the Pakistan cricket team in his upcoming biography.

The PCB sent a three-page legal notice to Arthur through its lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi warning Arthur against publishing the claims.

“Give your written undertaking that your biography (Taking the Mickey) will not contain such or similar libels and disparaging statements against Pakistan team or any of its members,” said the legal notice, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

Arthur was also asked to give a proposal for the payment of a “substantial sum in damages to compensate them (PCB) for the harm and distress.”

Last month, Arthur told South African website News24 that his team suspected match fixing when Pakistan collapsed dramatically to lose the fifth and decisive ODI to South Africa in Lahore three years ago.

The PCB has given Arthur one week to respond to the legal notice.

Arthur told News24 that “the South African cricket team had a strong suspicion that that there was match fixing involved in a decisive one-day international against Pakistan three years ago and it took some of the gloss off the series win.”

However, the PCB in its legal notice claimed the statements were made by Arthur to “sell” his biography.

Arthur conceded he had no proof of match fixing, ”but when you have been involved in the game long enough, you know when something is not right.”

Pakistan looked set to beat South Africa in 2007, and also clinch the series, but slipped from a strong positions at 149-2 and 209-6 to 219 all out in pursuit of a 234-run target.

“….allegations leveled by you (Arthur) are whimsical, frivolous, defamatory, disparaging, denigrating, libelous, slanderous and derogatory,” the notice said.

The PCB has also asked Arthur to unconditionally and publicly retract his defamatory statement.

Three Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are currently suspended by the International Cricket Council over spot-fixing allegations.

The ICC’s code of conduct commission has already rejected appeals from Butt and Amir, while Asif did not appeal against the suspension.

The suspended players are due to appear before the anti-corruption tribunal of the ICC on dates yet to be set.

On Sunday, the PCB prevented Danish Kaneria from traveling to United Arab Emirates despite the legspinner being cleared by Essex police in September of criminal charges over allegations that he was involved in spot fixing during a county match against Durham last year.

The ICC’s Pakistan Task Team said Sunday it was impressed by the PCB’s measures to ensure the integrity of its cricket after it developed a new anti-corruption code for the players, proposed a plan to regulate agents of players and enhance a countrywide anti-corruption education program.

“PCB has clearly recognized that it is imperative to protect the integrity of cricket and we are indeed impressed by the progress reported,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

“Their (PCB) willingness to play such an active role on the integrity issue is vital to the future of international cricket. They have shown a clear determination to tackle their challenges.”

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PCB stops Kaneria joining test squad in Dubai

KARACHI: Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria has been refused clearance from the country’s cricket board to join the squad in Dubai for the test series against South Africa.

“He has not been cleared and we have nothing more to say,” Zakir Khan, Pakistan’s director of international operations, told reporters.

Kaneria was due to leave with a batch of four other players on Sunday to join the squad for the two tests starting from Nov. 12.

“I don’t know what has happened,” Kaneria told reporters. “I just got a call from a board official saying I shouldn’t go to the airport.”

Kaneria, who has taken 261 wickets in 61 tests, was cleared in September of betting during an English county match last season.

Pakistan cricket was hit by spot-fixing allegations during their tour of England this year. Three players – test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – were provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council.

Scotland Yard and the ICC anti-corruption unit are investigating the case.

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Adnan Akmal, Hafeez added to Pakistan’s Test squad

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday, announced the addition of two players to the national squad for the Test series against South Africa.

Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal will join the squad in Dubai after Zulqarnain Haider left the Pakistan team on Monday, ahead of the fifth one-day international against South Africa.

Meanwhile all-rounder Muhammad Hafeez, already part of the Twenty20 and ODI squads, will replace leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in the side. Kaneria was mysteriously stopped by the PCB from joining the team in UAE on Sunday

Adnan Akmal, younger brother of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and batsman Umar Akmal, will make his Test debut for Pakistan in the series after a string of impressive domestic performances.

Hafeez was Pakistan’s top scorer in the recently concluded ODI series with 203 runs, averaging 40 in five matches.

Pakistan will face South Africa in the first Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium starting Friday, November 12.

The second Test will be played at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium from November 20.

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Sreesanth gets McCullum early but New Zealand recover

HYDERABAD: Fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth picked an early wicket as New Zealand reached 75-1 at lunch on the first day of the second Test against India on Friday.

Sreesanth bowled an impressive opening spell in overcast conditions and ended the session with figures of 1-23 from six overs at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, hosting its first Test.

At the break, Martin Guptill was batting on 36 and Tim McIntosh was on 25 after New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat.

The tourists were off to a shaky start, losing opener Brendon McCullum (four) in the fourth over of the morning when he edged Sreesanth to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Guptill, ignored for the opening Test in Ahmedabad, was given out by Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena after he was caught behind the stumps in Sreesanth’s fourth over.

But Dharmasena consulted with TV umpire Amiesh Saheba, who ruled the delivery to be a no-ball, and Guptill was called back.

Lucky Guptill grew in confidence and twice drove Sreesanth for fours in the same over before lofting off-spinner Harbhajan Singh over the long-on boundary for a six.

McIntosh, who bagged a pair in the drawn first Test in Ahmedabad, also appeared at ease, having hit three fours so far in his two-hour stay at the wicket.

India earlier retained the squad that played in Ahmedabad while New Zealand made three changes, including Tim Southee and Brent Arnell for a three-pronged seam attack spearheaded by Chris Martin.

Guptill was picked ahead of number three batsman BJ Watling.

The third and final Test will be played in Nagpur from Nov 20-24.

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