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  • Players reluctant, BCCI may miss ICC deadline on WADA rules

    India's top cricketers are reluctant to sign a controversial anti-doping clause which, they claim, infringes on their privacy, leaving the cricket board in a fix. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked all its affiliated members to get their players to sign the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) form by August 1 which leaves a rattled BCCI with little time to negotiate with the reluctant players.

    The cricketers are unhappy with the clause which makes it necessary for them to give details about their availability

    for one hour every day for random out-of-competition testing by WADA officials. The players have been asked to fill their "whereabout update form" by August 1 but have they have not done so with most of them expressing reservations.

    The cricketers feel such a clause not only infringes on their privacy but also makes it difficult for them since theyare not aware of their programmes two months in advance during the off-season. According to the WADA rule, any sportspersons missing three doping tests in 18 months faces a two-year sanction. In the form, the cricketers are expected to give details about their residence, training and regular activity locations in advance.

    "The players have certain reservations about this clause. They have already expressed their concerns to the BCCI. We are seeing what can be done," a top BCCI official said.

    The BCCI has convened an emergency meeting of its all-powerful Working Committee in Mumbai on Sunday to work out a solution to this vexed issue. "The BCCI, on its part, has also conveyed the reservations of the players on the whereabout clause to the ICC. The ICC has been told about the specific reservations the players have on certain clauses of the WADA rule and it may be difficult for the BCCI to stick to the August 1 deadline," the official said.

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    Warne, McGrath to play in All Star T20 match against Aus XI

    Legends Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden will return to the field to launch the 2009-10 season in an All Star Twenty20 match at the Gabba in Brisbane, Cricket Australia and the Australia Cricketers' Association announced on Wednesday.

    The trio will line-up against a full-strength Australian XI on November 22 before the hosts take on the West Indies and Pakistan at home. The CA released its ticketing schedule for the 2009-10 international season yesterday and the All Star match boasts family friendly ticket prices starting at $20 for adults and $10 for kids. "I can't wait to be playing back on Australian soil with Pigeon and Haydos and the rest of the crew," Warne said. "As the All Stars captain I'm really looking forward to working with Australia's new and upcoming players. It will be a great experience to take on the Aussie team and should be a very fun and exciting match for all," he said.

    For McGrath, the chance to play with some of the most exciting players in Australia and raise awareness for charity at the same time was too good a chance to pass up. "The All Star match is a great start to the summer and I'm really looking forward to getting back out on Aussie soil. The match is going to support the Cricket Cares initiative so I encourage all cricket fans to get on board and come along to the match, or watch it on TV," McGrath said.

    The All Star Twenty20 match will support Cricket Cares partners The Shane Warne Foundation, McGrath Foundation and Movember Foundation. After his success in this year's IPL, Hayden is looking forward to stepping foot once again on his beloved Gabba. "I have really enjoyed my Twenty20 post retirement, and this is a great way to play a game I love in my home town. This match is the perfect way to launch the summer and a great way for me to support the ACA," he said.

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    Hero Honda bags title sponsorship for 2010 Hockey World Cup

    World's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Honda Motors Ltd was on Monday named the title sponsor for the 2010 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup to be held here in March. The announcement was made at a glittering ceremony here in the presence of International Hockey Federation President Leandro Negre, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi, Hockey India President AK Mattoo and the 1975 World Cup winning members of the Indian team. Negre said the mega-event would provide eight-time Olympic champions India the perfect platform to revive their past glory.

    "The World Cup is the most important event in the game of hockey and we want to showcase before the entire world that the FIH can hold a truly mesmerising and beautiful event," Negre said. "For global development of hockey, it is important that India should come up and play to it's potential. The FIH hopes that hosting the 2010 World Cup will give a tremendous boost to Indian hockey," he said. "I have been constantly travelling throughout the world and I must say many teams are eagerly waiting to be a part of the World Cup. Some of the teams have already qualified but qualifying tournaments are going on," he added.

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    Sania wins Challenger title in USA, rises in WTA rankings

    Competing in only her second Challenger event, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza clinched the USD 50,000 ITF title in Lexington, USA after an upset win over top seed Julie Coin.

    The Indian, who was seeded second in the event, defeated France's Coin 7-6 (5) 6-4 yesterday. The last time Sania competed in a Challenger event was way back in 2003.

    There was more good news for Sania, who recently got engaged. The 22-year-old rose three places to 80th in this week's WTA singles rankings.

    However, she dropped 10 spots to 49th in the WTA doubles list.

    In the ATP rankings, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi held on to their sixth and eighth spot respectively in the doubles list.

    Bowlers these days are lazy, says Akram

    Pakistan fast bowling great Wasim Akram, in Delhi on a two-week trip as a bowling variation and strategy coach at a new pace academy, admits that he lacks the patience to work full-time. At the same time, he has a lot of patience while speaking on a subject that is close to his heart. In an interview with The Indian Express on Monday, Akram spoke at length about the nuances of pace bowling, how mastering swing is harder than reverse swing, and on how bowlers, of late, have become lazy. Excerpts:

    There’s a raging debate on Twenty20 eventually pushing out ODIs, and Test cricket losing spectator appeal. Do you endorse these views?

    I think ODIs will be phased out. The power plays have somewhat stretched the interest levels but even then, the middle overs are a bit boring from the spectator’s aspect. Having quit the game, and watching from outside, I realise how boring it can be to watch a one-day match. I get bored even commentating during a one-dayer. However, I can’t understand the fuss behind protecting Test cricket. You don’t need anyone to save Test cricket. The format is still revered by cricketers, and if you provide good tracks, people will watch it. I watched the Ashes, one match went so close and other was such a fascinating win. Contests like these will take care of Test cricket.

    Do you think having different types of balls add to the challenge in Test cricket, or are you in favour of standardising balls?

    I am totally against standardisation of the ball in Test cricket, and the ICC’s obsession with the Kookaburra. Using different types of balls is more like utilising home advantage. I remember the time we were playing the West Indies at home and Imran Khan told the curators to roll the wicket only on the two sides and leave the patch in between. The West Indies quicks used to hit that back-of-the-length spot and because the soil was loose in the middle, the ball never took off and our batsmen were protected. Similarly, when we came to India in 1990, we were told they would use only SG Test balls. We were curious to know about the SG ball, so we ordered a pack of balls from India and began practising. We realised it could reverse very well and it was a challenge to learn the nuances of bowling with that ball. I would want India to retain the SG balls, and let Duke and Kookaburra ball survive on their own turf

    Don’t you think the use of technology has blunted the bowlers’ minds, that they have stopped developing and exploring?

    I think bowlers nowadays are being pure lazy and are happy with whatever they are being given on a platter. They don’t want to be called greats, they are happy just being international cricketers. The use of technology is good but it shouldn’t stop the bowler from using his own mind. I remember Waqar and I used to hit the nets and try out various deliveries. We used to exchange our ball if one had been successful in getting reverse swing and then try again. We used to bowl with the wind, then switch to bowling against the wind. Bowlers nowadays don’t want to experiment and work hard. Over the past few years, I have only seen Zaheer Khan do the hard work. He put in a lot of work at Worcester and learnt some tricks. He’s the only guy in the Indian team who can move the ball in and out.

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    S.Africa to World Cup fans: enjoy, then go home!

    As South Africa gears up to host next year's football World Cup, it is taking steps to make sure the fans go home when it's over. South Africa, the strongest economy on the continent, has an estimated 3 million to 5 million undocumented African immigrants in a population of 47 million, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations, and their presence has already sparked bloodshed.

    Now some are predicting eased entry procedures for the monthlong tournament will make things worse. George Khola, 36, a Ghanaian who sells fruit and vegetables at a Johannesburg market, is sure that the migrants numbers will soar with the approach of the games. "This is the chance," he said. "The whole of West Africa will come."

    Others say that with or without the World Cup, the migrants will keep coming in search of jobs, or as refugees from persecution and poverty. "We know that South Africa is a magnet for migration on the continent," said Morne Fourie of the government agency that regulates immigration. Dr. Darshan Vigneswaran, a migration expert at Johannesburg's University of Witwatersrand, says they'll keep coming because entry is easy enough by paying a bribe at the border

    The government says it is working on ways to balance welcoming the fans and making this an event for the whole continent, without compromising borders. "This is Africa's World Cup, not just South Africa's," Fourie said.

    South Africa is spending nearly $145 million to streamline entry for the games. It is the first World Cup host to offer an "event visa" for visitors from countries lacking visa-free arrangements with the host government. They will have to show a purchased match ticket, an address while in South Africa and a return ticket home. Immigration officials will run spot checks on the addresses and deport overstayers. But finding them could be difficult. Once inside South Africa, it should be easy to melt in among the illegal immigrants already here.

    Fourie acknowledged that corruption at border posts is a problem, said it wasn't unique to South Africa, and believed that machine-readable passports would help to curb it. Tensions were ignited in the spring of 2008, when mobs attacked shantytowns where immigrants live, killed more than 70 and scared thousands into leaving the country. "That powder keg is still there," said Vigneswaran. "In a year of economic downturn, as very wealthy people celebrate (the World Cup), there will be people being killed in townships for being foreigners."

    Nde Ndifonka of the International Organization for Migration said such violence is one of its biggest concerns, but doubted many migrants during World Cup would stay. Still, anti-migrant sentiment is evident, with many citizens blaming them for the 25 percent jobless rate and high crime. Sitaka Shange, an office worker, said that until the government addressed crime and deported illegal immigrants already in the country, she wouldn't consider South Africa ready to host the World Cup. "They come here and take jobs," Shange said. "They will agree to a salary that South Africans will never agree to." Kevin Sithole, who said he had fled economically devastated Zimbabwe a few months earlier, believed the World Cup was bound to attract illegal migrants, and he didn't think the government could prevent it.

    "When the time comes I want to be here," said Sithole, 21, a street hawker of gum and cigarettes in Yeoville, an inner-city Johannesburg suburb. "A lot of people will be making money." Despite the government's promise to curb the flow, Khola, the Ghanaian, seemed to think the World Cup meant open borders. "For the World Cup, they give a visa to everybody," he said. There are also those who apparently believe that Africa's borders, being the product of European colonial rulers, shouldn't even matter. On a wall near Khola's fruit stand, graffiti was scrawled on a wall: "Who Drew the Borders Anyway?"

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    Massa stable as FIA launch accident probe

    Felipe Massa was in a stable condition this morning following his big crash during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, his Ferrari team said in a statement. The 28-year-old Brazilian underwent successful surgery yesterday after suffering skull and eye injuries, as well as brain concussion, after his 275 kph accident at Turn Four of the Hungaroring circuit.

    His most serious head injuries were caused when he was struck by a spring that broke off compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car. Ferrari said: "After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa's condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night. "He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information."

    Massa, one of the sport's most popular drivers, was examined first at the circuit medical centre and then airlifted to the AEK Hospital in Budapaest where they carried out surgery and put him into an induced coma. Doctors at the hospital were said to be encouraged by his condition overnight, and reported that he had suffered no further complications.

    Barrichello, a fellow-native of Sao Paulo and a close friend of Massa, visited Massa at the hospital last evening. Massa's father, mother and pregnant wife were flying to Hungary from Brazil

    Formula One's commercial ring-master Bernie Ecclestone also visited the hospital to see Massa. Afterwards, he said: "We thought we had gone through all of these kind of problems. I have spoken to Sid Watkins (the sport's chief safety consultant and former chief medical officer) and he's looking into it." The sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), confirmed they will launch an investigation into the accident together with the Brawn team.

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    Beckham slapped with fine for confronting Galaxy fans

    Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham was slapped with a 1,000 dollar fine on Friday for provoking his own team's fans during the Galaxy's 2-2 draw with AC Milan at the Home Depot Centre.

    Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber fined the Galaxy midfielder for his part in an ugly halftime scene where he allegedly challenged abusive Los Angeles fans to come down onto the field.

    "We support our players interacting with fans, whether it is at clinics, charity events or by high-fiving their supporters in the stands while celebrating a goal," Garber said.

    "However, our players should never engage in conduct that can be interpreted as encouraging fans to come out of the stands and onto the field, regardless of the reason."

    Video footage of the incident of the July 19 exhibition game also apparently shows Beckham trying to climb over a sideline railing before being stopped by security guards.

    Police arrested a fan who left the stands to meet Beckham's alleged challenge.

    Beckham has incurred the wrath of Galaxy fans who say he is overpaid and refer to him a part-time player because of his side-trips to Europe to play for other teams.

    India Emerging Players loses

    Batting let India Emerging Players (IEP) down as it suffered a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Australian Institute of Sports in their 50-over match of the Emerging Players tournament here on Thursday.

    Put in, IEP was all out for just 139 in 41.3 overs and AIS rode on an unbeaten half century from Tom Cooper (72) to easily overhaul the target in 35.3 overs at the Peter Burge Oval.

    For IEP, Virat Kohli top-scored with 35 while Naman Ojha (24), Murali Vijay (19), Manoj Tiwary (17) and Ajinkya Rahane (15) were the other contributors. IEP was never allowed to build any substantial partnerships by the Australian bowlers led by leg-spinner Steven Smith (three for 13) and Jon Holland (two for 39).

    Quick strikes

    The Indian opening pair of Rahane and Vijay put on 40 runs but once the duo was separated, the visitor slumped to 59 for three before Ojha and Kohli stitched a 40-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

    But once Ojha and Kohli were out, it was like a procession of the Indian lower order batsmen to the pavilion. From 118 for five, India was all out for 139.

    The Indian team had little chance of defending the small total despite economical bowling by Amit Mishra (one for 19), Dhawal Kulkarni (one for 21) and Sudeep Tyagi (one for 21).

    IEP had lost its first match against its South African counterpart on Tuesday. The Indians had beaten AIS in their tournament opener T20 match by seven wickets on Monday.

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    Cricket is resilient, strong and still developing: ICC

    Cricket has emerged stronger and more diverse than ever before as it coped with "substantial challenges" over the century, observes the International Cricket Council.

    ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said when the two-day ICC History Conference looked back at the past 100 years of the game as part of its centenary year celebrations, it was clear that the sport was "resilient, strong and still developing".

    "Exploring the history of the ICC and cricket over the past 100 years has been a fascinating and educational experience. What I believe it has shown us is that cricket is resilient, strong and still developing," Lorgat said at the end of the conference.

    "The conference showed that our great sport has faced challenges and some of those challenges have been substantial. However, it also showed that cricket has always coped with those challenges and has adapted to the extent that it is now stronger and more diverse than ever before," he said.

    We have three formats, the ICC has more members than ever before - 104 of them - and within those members there are more people playing the game than at any time in our history," he added.

    Reflecting on the gathering, which had leading administrators, players, academics, historians, statisticians and the media as speakers, Lorgat highlighted the endurance of the game.

    "It illustrated the enduring importance of the game way beyond the boundary rope and as stakeholders we have to ensure it retains that importance as we take guard for our second century," he said.

    The experts included ex-ICC President Ehsan Mani, the organisation's first Chief Executive David Richards and Don Neely, the President of New Zealand Cricket, as well as former international greats Bishan Bedi, Angus Fraser, Sourav Ganguly, Clive Lloyd and Bob Willis.

    Women's cricket past and present was represented by former England captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who lifted the inaugural women's world cup in 1973, as well as current captain Charlotte Edwards and her team-mate Ebony Rainford-Brent, the latter duo part of the squad that holds the ICC Women's World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20 trophy and the Ashes

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    Indian teams post expected victories

    The script followed an expected course as India posted anticipated victories in the league stage of all four sections and inched closer to qualifying for the second stage of the 15th Asian junior table tennis championship on Wednesday.

    The opening day’s action of the team championship at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here was without the Chinese juniors, the Korean boys and the Hong Kong girls who were seeded into the quarterfinals by virtue of being the finalists of the last championship. With three teams from two groups joining the seeded teams in the last-eight stage, the junior boys from Japan, Iran, Chinese Taipei and India kept alive their chances of qualifying.

    India, having already beaten Thailand 3-0, is expected to easily beat last-placed Bahrain and join Taipei and DPR Korea as the qualifiers from Group ‘B’.

    In the junior girls’ section, India, Korea and Thailand are through to the last-eight stage from Group ‘B’. In the cadet sections, where the two group toppers go into the semifinals, while two teams from each group play the quarterfinals, the Indian boys just about managed to beat Sri Lanka 3-2 and now need to beat Singapore to qualify. The Indian cadet girls will have to beat Thailand to retain their place in the knock-out stage.

    The results (League, Team championships): Junior boys: Group ‘A’: Japan bt Pakistan 3-0; Japan bt Singapore 3-0; Iran bt Hong Kong 3-1; Iran bt Pakistan 3-0; Hong Kong bt Kazakhstan 3-0; Singapore bt Kazakhstan 3-1.

    Group ‘B’: Chinese Taipei bt DPR Korea 3-2; India bt Thailand 3-0; Thailand bt Bahrain 3-0; DPR Korea bt Bahrain 3-0.

    Junior girls: Group ‘A’: DPR Korea bt Japan 3-1; Chinese Taipei bt Singapore 3-0; Singapore bt Sri Lanka 3-0; DPR Korea bt Sri Lanka 3-0.

    Group ‘B’: Korea bt Thailand 3-0; Korea bt Kazakhstan 3-0; India bt Kazakhstan 3-0; Thailand bt India 3-1.

    Cadet boys: Group ‘A’: China bt Iran 3-0; China bt Bahrain 3-0; Japan bt Hong Kong 3-2; Japan bt Bahrain 3-0; Hong Kong bt Thailand 3-0; Thailand bt Iran 3-2.

    Group ‘B’: Korea bt India 3-0; Chinese Taipei bt Singapore 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-2; Sri Lanka bt Singapore 3-2.

    Cadet girls: Group ‘A’: China bt Hong Kong 3-2; Korea bt Singapore 3-0; Singapore bt Kazakhstan 3-0; Hong Kong bt Kazakhstan 3-0.

    Group ‘B’: Chinese Taipei bt Thailand 3-2; Japan bt India 3-2; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Thailand bt Sri Lanka 3-0.

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    Sri Lanka face record chase to win final Test

    Sri Lanka will need to set a world record to sweep the Test series against Pakistan 3-0 after the tourists piled up the runs in the final Test in Colombo on Thursday.

    Shoaib Malik made 134 as Pakistan amassed 410-9 in their second innings by lunch on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club, an overall lead of 476 runs with one wicket in hand.

    Pakistan are expected to declare soon after resumption to leave themselves with enough time to bowl Sri Lanka out and earn a consolation win after losing the first two Tests.

    The highest successful fourth innings chase in history is by the West Indies, who scored 418-7 to beat Australia at St John's, Antigua in 2003.

    The most runs scored in the fourth innings to win a Test at the SSC here is 326-5 by Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe in 1998.

    Pakistan added 19 runs to their overnight score of 300-5 when Kamran Akmal was snapped up in the slips by Mahela Jayawardene off Nuwan Kulasekera in the day's fourth over.

    Akmal hit 74 with eight boundaries and a six during a sixth-wicket stand of 133 with Malik. Tailender Umar Gul showed there were no hidden demons in the pitch as he helped Malik add 52 for the seventh wicket, himself contributing 22 in the partnership. Malik fell after a six-hour vigil at the crease when he holed out in the deep off spinner Rangana Hearth, but not before Pakistan had built a 437-run lead.

    The right-hander hit 13 fours and two sixes to shore up Pakistan's innings after they had collapsed to 67-4 before lunch on the third day.

    Gul helped himself to his highest Test score of 46 from 50 balls, which included three sixes off Herath, before he was caught by a diving Chaminda Vaas at deep square-leg attempting another big hit against the same bowler.

    Herath returned with 5-144 from 44 overs, his second successive five-wicket haul in the series.

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    England players surge in ICC rankings after Ashes victory

    England captain Andrew Strauss returned to the top-20 of the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen after leading his side to victory in the second Ashes Test at Lord's with a hundred in the first innings.

    The 32-year-old left-hander, who also achieved some personal landmarks this week such as crossing the 5,000-run mark and scoring his 18th Test century during the match, has gained seven places in the latest rankings and now occupies 14th position.

    Strauss's team-mate Kevin Pietersen slipped out of the top-10 following the second Test, allowing South African Jacques Kallis to be back in the rankings, which is still headed by India's Gautam Gambhir, followed by Younus Khan of Pakistan in second place and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara in the third.

    Australian Michael Clarke's heroics in the second innings have been recognised in the latest rankings as he gained two places to sixth position, overtaking his captain Ricky Ponting in the process.

    Strauss's opening partner Alastair Cook has gained three places in the rankings and has returned to the top 20 at the expense of Australia's Michael Hussey who dropped to 22nd place.

    Another Australian to suffer in the latest rankings is opening batsman Simon Katich who loses three places to 17th position, level with VVS Laxman of India.

    Further down the batting list, it has been a good week for Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, who scored an unbeaten 96 in the second innings leading his side to victory by four wickets over the West Indies in Grenada. Shakib has gained 13 places in the batting rankings and now sits in 43rd position.

    Shakib's bowling performance in the match has also pushed him into the top five of the Rankings for Test all-rounders. The 22-year-old took match figures of 8-129 and jumps seven places to fourth in the table.

    Kallis still leads the all-rounders' list with Mitchell Johnson of Australia second and New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori third.

    On the bowling front, England's Andrew Flintoff has leaped four places to 14th in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers following his man-of-the-match performance at Lord's.

    Having taken the new ball in the second innings, the big Lancastrian took 5-92 as England won by 115 runs giving him a welcome boost in the rankings.

    Further down the list, West Indies' young seamer Kemar Roach gained 20 places to 47th position after his efforts in Greneda. The 21-year-old took 6-42 in the first innings and he now has 13 wickets from just two matches in what is an excellent start to his Test career for the man from Barbados. The bowling rankings are still led by South Africa's Dale Steyn with Muttiah Muralidaran of Sri Lanka in second place and Johnson third.

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    Historic win for Bangladesh

    Captain Shakib-al-Hasan hit an unbeaten 96 on Monday to guide Bangladesh to its first overseas series win with a four-wicket victory over West Indies in the second Test.

    Shakib, who earlier completed a five-wicket haul with his left-arm spin, guided his team to its target of 217-6 late on day four.

    The 22-year-old Shakib, in his first test as skipper, stroked 13 fours and ended the match with a six over long on. His innings spanned 97 balls and 162 minutes.

    Shakib and right-hander Raqibul Hasan shared a match-winning partnership of 106, which revived Bangladesh from the peril of 67-4 midway through the day.

    Medium pacer Darren Sammy led a spirited effort from the strike-weakened West Indies team with a haul of 5-55 and a brilliant catch.

    ``This is the best day for Bangladesh cricket,'' Shakib said after collecting the series trophy and the Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards. ``This will boost our confidence and we hope to take it to the next level and go forward.''

    Shakib claimed 13 wickets in the series and also scored 159 runs.

    ``It was a good series for me, although I didn't score in the first Test. But I came good in the second test,'' he said. ``The boys have been supporting me really well, all the coaching staff have been supporting me, so I don't have any pressure.''

    Play was delayed more than two hours because of morning rain, but Bangladesh wrapped up the West Indies second innings for the addition of just 17 runs on resumption.

    The home team, overnight 192-8, was bowled out for 209 just before lunch.

    David Bernard Jr., overnight 61 not out, launched a six over straight long off but added just eight runs. The elegant right-hander was neatly stumped by wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim as he missed an on-drive at a big turner from Enamul Haque Jr., who ended with 3-48. The Jamaican hit six fours and two sixes in his topscore of 69 off 76 balls.

    Tailender Tino Best himself lofted a six but fell two balls later as he gloved a paddle sweep at Shakib, who collected his fifth five-wicket haul in his 14th test.

    Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes provided an opening partnership of 27 either side of lunch before West Indies dominated the second session.

    Fast bowler Kemar Roach made the breakthrough as Imrul (8) slashed off the back foot and Sammy leapt high at second slip to haul in the catch.

    Two runs later, Tamim departed as he nibbled at Sammy and provided a catch to wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton.

    Raqibul and left-hander Junaid Siddique nervously added 20 for the third wicket before Sammy maintained the home team's grip with two more wickets.

    Siddique (5) played across the line and deflected low to Floyd Reifer at first slip at 49-3.

    Mohammad Ashraful's lean tour continued when he edged a fine leg-cutter to Walton at 67-4.

    Raqibul and Shakib played a few streaky strokes early on in their innings before settling down to forge their match-winning stand.

    They took tea at 103-4 and completely dominated after the break as the West Indies wilted in the bright sunshine.

    Raqibul, who hit 44 in the first innings, brought up his maiden test half century off 74 balls with his seventh four.

    Shakib soon followed with his landmark, off 72 deliveries, as he crunched three successive boundaries off first innings destroyer Roach.

    Sammy kept West Indies' fading hopes alive by claiming Raqibul to a juggled return catch at 173-5. The St. Lucian added the scalp of Mushfiqur Rahim in almost identical fashion at 201-6.

    But Shakib was in no mood to endure any nervous moments and hurried his side to victory with two magnificent off-side boundaries and a big six off Roach. —AP


    West Indies — 1st innings: 237.

    Bangladesh — 1st innings: 232.

    West Indies — 2nd innings: D. Richards lbw b Shakib 12, O. Phillips c Ashraful b Shakib 29, T. Dowlin lbw b Enamul 49, R. Hinds c Mahmudullah b Shakib 2, F. Reifer lbw b Mahmudullah 3, D. Bernard Jr. st. Mushfiqur b Enamul 69, D. Sammy c Raqibul b Enamul 22, C. Walton c Mahmudullah b Shakib 1, R. Austin c Tamim b Shahadat 3, T. Best c Mushfiqur b Shakib 12, K. Roach (not out) 1; Extras (lb-2, nb-4): 6. Total (in 70.5 overs): 209.

    Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-72, 3-84, 4-95, 5-110, 6-166, 7-167, 8-187, 9-201.

    Bangladesh bowling: R. Hossain 9-1-34-0, S. Hossain 4-0-18-1, Enamul 17-3-48-3, Shakib 24.5-3-70-5, Mahmudullah 15-1-37-1, Ashraful 1-1-0-0.

    Bangladesh — 2nd innings: T. Iqbal c Walton b Sammy 18, I. Kayes c Sammy b Roach 8, J. Siddique c Reifer b Sammy 5, R. Hasan c and b Sammy 65, Ashraful c Walton b Sammy 3, Al-Hasan (not out) 96, M. Rahim c and b Sammy 12, Mahmudullah (not out) 0. Extras (b-1, lb-3, w-2, nb-4): 10. Total (for six wkts. in 54.4 overs): 217.

    Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-29, 3-49, 4-67, 5-173, 6-201.

    West Indies bowling: Best 9-0-38-0, Bernard 9-1-33-0, Roach 13.4-4-68-1, Sammy 16-1-55-5, Austin 3-0-13-0, Hinds 4-0-6-0.

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    Bangldesh beat depleted Windies to win first overseas series

    Bangladesh claimed their first overseas test series win when Shakib Al Hasan's fine all-round performance guided them to a four-wicket victory over West Indies in Grenada on Monday.

    Al Hasan, acting skipper in the test, struck a majestic unbeaten 96 from 97 balls and Bangladesh, after an early scare, comfortably surpassed the target of 215 with a day to spare. In a series blighted by the boycott from first choice West Indies players, who are in dispute with their board over contractual and payment issues, Al Hasan provided genuine test quality with bat and ball. The slow left-armer ended with figures of five for 70 as Bangladesh bowled out the weakened West Indies side for 209 in the morning session after picking up the final two wickets.

    In reply, Bangladesh wobbled at 67 for four after fine bowling from Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy but Al Hasan and Raqibul Hasan (65) put on 106 for the fifth wicket to take the tourists close to their target. The pair played with little sign of nerves, despite the precarious position of their team, picking off the bad balls with ease and punishing without mercy, particularly Al Hasan, whose timing was perfect.

    Sammy removed Hasan with a smart caught and bowled to offer a glimmer of hope to the West Indies and he got rid of Mushfiqur Rahim in the same fashion near the end. But Bangladesh comfortably secured just their third test win in style when Al Hasan smashed Roach for a six to finish on 96 not out, a spectacular and emphatic end to what has been a low-key and at times poor quality test series.

    The two tests have largely been ignored by the Caribbean public with pitifully low attendance on each day in both St.Vincent and Grenada and West Indies fans will hope the dispute between the players' union and the board can be patched up quickly. The only positives for coach John Dyson will have been the bowling of Sammy and paceman Kemar Roach along with the all-round play of Dave Bernard, who scored three half-centuries and delivered some more than useful medium pace. But West Indies' upper order batting, without any recognised test players, was incapable of playing the canny spin they faced and Bangladesh thoroughly deserved the series. Bangladesh's achievement may be undermined in some eyes by the weakness of their opposition but they deserve credit for excellent spin bowling, particularly from Al Hasan and Mohammed Mahmudullah and very enthusiastic and quality fielding.

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    Ronaldo makes quiet Real debut as Benzema steals show

    Cristiano Ronaldo wore the white of Real Madrid on Monday for the first time since his record move from Manchester United, playing 45 minutes in a 1-0 friendly win over lowly Irish side Shamrock Rovers.

    But it was fellow big-money signing Karim Benzema who spared the Spanish side's blushes, striking three minutes from time against a team who flirted with bankruptcy four years ago and whose highest earner pockets around 1,000 euros a week.

    Ronaldo's every touch was booed by the 10,915 fans squashed into Rovers' Tallaght Stadium, where capacity was trebled to see Real's Galacticos who had trained for a week on the outskirts of Dublin.

    Some tried to catch a glimpse of the world player of the year from nearby apartments, many with 190,000 euro for sale signs attached, roughly what Real's new number nine earns a week.

    The Portuguese received a hostile reception and Rovers centre-half Pat Flynn sent the winger clattering to the floor after his first touches had sent him speeding past defenders in trademark style.

    With Kaka in Madrid alongside Real's other Confederations Cup representatives and Benzema starting on the bench, Ronaldo provided the only first-half evidence of Real's audacious spending spree of more than 200 million euros.

    Despite resting five leading players, the hosts matched their opponents in the first half, allowing only fullback Marcelo a clear sight at goal.

    Ronaldo drew the biggest cheer of the first half when his free kick went well wide and when a second effort tamely struck the wall 15 minutes later, the crowds taunts of "who are ya" grew louder.

    Ronaldo played no further part as new Real coach Manuel Pellegrini made nine changes at halftime.

    Former Lyon forward Benzema was among the changes and after having a scuffed shot cleared off the line, he controlled a long ball expertly and coolly finished in the 87th minute to seal victory.