14 SPORT LIVERPOOL LOSE 1-3 AT LEICESTER THE SUNDAY EXPRESS, FEBRUARY 14, 2021 A sweeping statement TV umpire’s contentious call in focus SHAMIKCHAKRABARTY CHENNAI,FEBRUARY13 TV UMPIRE for the second Test, Anil Chaudhary,hadaforgettabledayattheoffice. IfhisdecisiontoruleaverytightstumpingdecisioninRohitSharma’sfavourwasdebatable, thecalltoadjudgeAjinkyaRahanenotoutwas a clanger. Jack Leach bowled the 75th over of thedayandhissecondballloopedoffRahane’s pad to Ollie Pope at short leg, brushing the glove on its way through. On-field umpire VirenderSharmadeclarednotoutandEngland instantly went for the DRS, absolutely certain thatRahanehadglovedit.India’svice-captain was batting on 66 then. Chaudhary, the TV umpire, checked the Ultra-Edge and bereft of a spike, told his colleague,Sharma,tostaywiththeon-fielddecision. Root wasn’t convinced. He insisted that the glove part be checked. This time, though, Chaudharycheckedif itwereavalidcasefora leg-before,whichEnglandneverappealedfor. Later, after replays showed the full sequence, England’s review was reinstated, confirming that the TV umpire made a bad mistake. “Weweretryingtogetthethirdumpireto roll it through, they were checking the LBW. We knew that would have been not out. We were just trying to get them looking at what happenedaftertheballhitthepad,”Leachsaid after the day’s play. Rahane’s was castled by Moeen Ali in the nextover,addingjustonemoreruntohistally. But in the context of the game, the umpiring error could have been costly for England. The visitors were also unlucky, when the TV umpiredecidedaverytightstumpingcallagainst Rohit (on 159) in India’s favour. The opener probably was given the benefit of the doubt, although replays from different angles didn’t ascertain any part of Rohit’s back foot behind theline. Umpiring sofarhasbeengood inthis series.NitinMenon,whowasanon-fieldumpire in the first Test as well, has been on top of hisgame.OnSaturday,onatrickysurface,both Menon and Sharma were first-class. Chaudhary, though, has not been having the bestofdays.InthefirstTestalso,wherehewas anon-fieldumpire,hemadeacoupleoferrors – meaty edges from Jos Buttler and Washington Sundar weren’t spotted, in a closed-doorsgame.DRSoverturnedSundar’s decision during India’s second innings, but Buttler survived during England’s first dig, for India had exhausted their reviews. Rohit uses the shot England employ liberally on turners as India put up a decent total on Day 1 SCORECARD SHAMIKCHAKRABARTY CHENNAI,FEBRUARY13 INDIA VS ENGLAND CHEPAUK OPENED its gate for fans. Cricket in Indiawelcomedbackspectatorsafterayearof Covid-forced hiatus and as toss time approached,queuesstartedtosnakearoundthe stadium.Fiftypercentoccupancywasallowed and those who got the first day’s tickets were entertainedbyaRohitSharmasonatainsharp (read, sweep) notes. Rohitwasresplendentinhis231-ball161; hisseventhTesthundredandarguablyhisbest. At the post-day press conference, the Indian openersaidthathedoesn’trankhiscenturies. But it was a pitch where the ball turned in the firstsessionof thefirstdayandmorethanthe bend, variable bounce was a major impedimentforbatsmen.Afterwinningthetoss,India finished the day on 300/6. As a batsman, Rohit is spoilt for choice. Very few in this Indian team and probably in the world can match his range of shots. On a dodgy surface, he unboxed the sweep shot to neutralise the England spinners, Moeen Ali in particular. It wasn’t a calculated risk. Far from it. In fact, the sweep shot helped him reduce the risk of being out leg-before on a pitch where someroughhasalreadybeencreatedoutside the right hander’s off stump at one end. Moeen targeted the rough and spun his offbreaksfromthere.Rohitswept,knowingfull well that his front leg would always be outside the line of the off-stump. Rohit also suggested that Ajinkya Rahane follow the method during their 162-run fourth-wicket partnership, which turned the tide in India’s favour. Rahane scored 67. Shoe on the other foot England have traditionally enjoyed a ‘sweeping’upperhandintheircontestsagainst India.FromGrahamGoochinthe1987World CupsemifinalinMumbaitoJoeRootinthefirst Testoftheongoingseries,themenfromBlighty have consistently used the shot to good effect against Indian spinners. On Saturday, Rohit beatthetouristsattheirowngame.Hisinnings had18foursandtwosixes,buthedidn’tsweep everything that came his way. Rohit started off with a gorgeous cover drive against Stuart Broad. He used his feet against Moeen to hit a six over long-off. He stood tall and unleashed a square cut against the impressive Olly Stone. A trademark pull sent a Ben Stokes delivery over the deep square-leg boundary. A bowler’s back drive wasexquisite.ButRohitusedthesweepshotas hisfirstlineof attackagainstMoeen,whowas spinning the ball into him. Against left-arm spinner Jack Leach, he swept against the turn onlywhenmeetingtheballonthefull.Rohit’s proactiveapproachputEnglandunderserious pressure and Root erred a bit with his field placements. Two legside fielders near the boundary, when Moeen bowled, were far too deep, giving Rohit the leeway that top-edges, if any, would fall in no man’s land. Bowlers under pressure TV umpire Anil Chaudhary didn't check the roll-on sequence that showed the ball brushed the glove. TV grab Slumping champion Liverpool fell to a third straight loss in the Premier League after a dramatic late collapse against Leicester, conceding three goals in seven minutes in a 3-1 defeat at King Power Stadium on Saturday. Leading 1-0 through Mohamed Salah's league-high 17th goal of the season, Liverpool was pegged back in the 78th when James Maddison's low free kick crept in and then went behind after another blunder by goalkeeper Alisson Becker. England had a good start to the game. Stone,whoclocked150kphattimes,dismissed Shubman Gill in his first over of Test cricket in India.Gillmisjudgedagoodlengthball,shouldered arms and was caught plumb in front. CheteshwarPujarawasbuildingapartnership with Rohit before he pushed at a Leach delivery and was caught by Stokes at slip. The ball CHEPAUK, CHENNAI Toss: India, chose to bat INDIA FIRST INNINGS 300/6 RSharma cAlibLeach 161(231b,18x4,2x6) SGill lbwbStone 0(3b) CPujaracStokesbLeach 21(58b,2x4) VKohli bAli 0(5b) ARahane bAli 67(149b,9x4) RPant notout 33(56b,5x4,1x6) RAshwin cPopebRoot 13(19b,1x4) APatel notout 5(7b,1x4) ■ Extras 0 ■ Total(88Ov,RR:3.40) 300/6 ■ FoW::1-0(ShubmanGill,1.3ov),2-85 (CheteshwarPujara,20.2ov),3-86(ViratKohli,21.2 ov),4-248(RohitSharma,72.6ov),5-249(Ajinkya Rahane,75.2ov),6-284(rAshwin,82.3ov) ■Bowling: SBroad OStone JLeach BStokes MAli JRoot 11-2-37-0 15-5-42-1 26-2-78-2 2-0-16-0 26-3-112-2 8-2-15-1 was dying on this surface. A couple of edges fromRohitdidn’tcarrytotheslips.Pujarawas probably in two minds, whether to steer the ball to the vacant third man region or play a defensiveshot.Indecisioncosthimdear.Then, Kohli departed for a duck, bowled by Moeen, andIndiaweresuddenly85/3.ThatRohitwas going at a rate of knots at the other end didn’t allow England to attack aggressively. Rohit reached his half-century off just 47 balls. India reached 100 in the 25th over and theopenerwasbattingon75off76deliveries. England resorted to a moderately defensive fieldagainstRohit,butthebatsmanwashappy to play in lower gear for a while. His hundred came off 130 balls and 150 in 208 deliveries. Also, after Root came into the attack from the Pattabhiraman End, things started to happen from England’s point of view. Root’s roundarm action was proving to be more effective on this surface compared to the two frontline spinners – Moeen and Leach. Missing Anderson After surviving a stumping appeal, Rohit holedoutatdeepsquare-leg.Foronce,hedidn’ttimehissweepagainstLeachtoperfection. HehadbattedforoverfivehoursintheChennai heat and fatigue probably had crept in. InhistwoTestsinAustralia,Rohitgotstarts beforegettingout.Someof hisshotselections drew flak from several quarters. But Rohit backedhimselfandspokeaboutnotchanging his way of playing. He has now scored 864 runs, including four hundreds, in nine Tests since he started as a long-form opener in October 2019. In the first Test, he got good deliveries in both innings. On Saturday, he was rewarded for his preparation and planning. Rahane also scored a well-deserved halfcentury.ThetwoMumbaibatsmengelwellin the middle. Throughout their partnership, Rohit and Rahane were talking, helping each other out. They ensured that India capitalised ontheadvantageofbattingfirstonthiswicket. For England, resting James Anderson turned out to be a selection error. The ball started to reverseintheafternoonandtheirfinestexponent of reverse swing was cooling his heels. It didn’t augur well for the tourists. Rohit Sharma was resplendent in his 231-ball 161; his seventh Test hundred and arguably his best. BCCI When Ali landed the knock-out punch SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 13 JUSTBEFORElunchonthefirstdayof thesecond Test, Chepauk witnessed a piece of connoisseur’s cricket. Moeen Ali kept the cover region vacant, bowled a tossed-up delivery outside off and induced Virat Kohli to play a cover drive, his bread-and-butter shot. The ball drifted away, turned sharply after pitching and went through the gate to hit the top of off-stump. The India captain was flummoxed to the extentof disbelief.Hestoodthereforalongtime despite being out bowled. Even the on-field umpires went for a referral. Butthere was no doubtwhatsoever.Kohlifellintothetrapand was out for a duck. Kohli came out to bat wearing a cap, not a helmet. On air, former India batsman SubramaniamBadrinathmentionedthatKohli wearingacapmeanthewasunlikelytosweep. Playing the sweep on such an up-and-down pitchisfraughtwithdanger.Thebatsmanruns the risk of being hit in the face off a top edge. England captain Joe Root loaded the legside with fielders, which minimised run-scoring opportunities in that area, playing with the turn. For Kohli, possessing arguably the best coverdriveinthebusiness,thevacantoff-side spot was too big a temptation to resist. Handy upgrade MoeenreplacedDomBessinthisTestand fromEngland’sperspectiveitwasanupgrade, although the 33-year-old off-spinner was a The dismissal brought back memories of Michael Vaughan’s off-break to Sachin Tendulkar at Trent Bridge in 2002. BCCI littleshakytostartwithinhisfirstlong-form international fixture since August 2019. Kohlibattedbeautifullyonadifficultpitch in the second innings of the first Test, albeit inalosingcause.Also,181Testwickets(before this game) notwithstanding, Moeen is no Graeme Swann. The India skipper backed his strengths, but Moeen came up with a beauty. The dismissal brought back memories of Michael Vaughan’s off-break to Sachin Tendulkar at Trent Bridge in 2002. Vaughan wasonlyapart-timespinner,butproduceda moment of magic against the master batsman – the ball pitching in the rough and breaking back sharply to sneak through between bat and pad and hit the off-stump. Tendulkar, batting on 92 then, looked stunned. “Getting an Indian legend bowled through the gate isn’t that difficult as an off spinner !!!” Vaughan tweeted after Kohli’s dismissal on Saturday. On Saturday, Moeen became the first spinner to dismiss Kohli for a duck in Test cricket.Overall,itwasthe11thtimeKohliwas out for nought in the longest format. LIKE PLAYING ON ‘ICE’ Fognini tames De Minaur How faster courts in Aus benefit big-servers & power-hitters to set up Nadal clash slow, 30-34. The medium rating is 35-39, followedbymedium-fast(40-44)andfast,which is45orgreater.AccordingtoHawk-Eyestatistics, in 2017, the Australian Open CPI was 42, which was faster than Wimbledon (37) and the US Open (35.4). Last year, the Slam in Melbourne fared 43 on the ratings, or Medium-fast. According to news website Explica, the courts this year are rated at a speedy 50. FEBRUARY 13 ON WEDNESDAY, Novak Djokovic set his personalbestformostaces ina match, when he beatFrancesTiafoe26timesonserve.The serve is Djokovic’s weakest shot, and for him to notch up such a figure is the biggest indicator that the courts at the Australian Open have become faster, a sentiment many players have shared. “There were 23 aces from (Tiafoe) and 26 from me, that’s probably the most aces I’ve servedtosomeoneandsomeonehastomein alongtime,”hesaidinhison-courtpost-match interview. “The surface has changed over the years. This is probably the quickest speed of thecourtthatIhaveeverplayedoninRodLaver Arena. You obviously need a big serve. If you have a big serve, it helps.” In another interview, Djokovic likened playing on the show court to playing on “ice.” To put the number into perspective, according to Djokovic’s ATP profile, he’s played 1260matches(singlesanddoubles) inhiscareer (including at the ongoing major), and served a total of 5962 aces – at an average of 4.7acespermatch.Butinhissecond-roundtie against Tiafoe, he served 26, followed by 15 againstTaylorFritzonFridayinthethirdround. Since the 2020 edition, Tennis Australia entered into a partnership with a new court manufacturer – GreenSet, whose CEO happens to be former women’s World No 1 ArantxaSanchezVicario’sbrotherJavier.Even last year though the courts were said to have Djokovic, in the second-round tie vs Tiafoe, served up 26 aces, followed by 15 against Taylor Fritz on Friday . become faster than what was normal for an otherwise typically slow Australian Open hard court surface. But now that Djokovic is an unlikely name in the top 10 list of most aces in the tournament, it’s clear the courts have become even speedier. Istherearatingtomeasureacourtspeed? The International Tennis Federation (ITF) hasputinplacetheCourtPaceIndex(CPI).To measure it, a ball is released by a machine to aspecificspotonthecourtat108kmph,with a 16-degree angle and no spin. The resulting CPIratingsdeclarewhatcategoryofspeedthe court is in. Category 1 is a slow court, with a rating of 29orbelow.ThesecondcategoryisMedium- andthetemperaturehasbeenrelativelywarm intheAustraliansummer–meaningitwillzip through the air. Howwillthecourtspeedimpactthelikes of RafaelNadal,DjokovicandThiem? The top three ranked players in the world are all defensive baseliners and are suited to slower courts – although they have proven their mettle on fastersurfacesaswell.Thiem,last year’sfinalistand2020USOpen champion,hassofarstruggledto acclimatise to the pace. “I just needed some time to adjust.Imean,Iliketohavetime, so the fast court takes it away a little bit for me, so that's not perfect,” he had saidafterhisfirst-roundmatchagainstMikhail Kukushkin. Nadal and defending champion Djokovic meanwhilearestrugglingwithinjuries–aback strain and “muscle tear” on the right side respectively. It’s led to echoes that, with the fast conditions, there may be a new Grand Slam champion this term. E EXPLAINED SHAHID JUDGE Whatcanaffectthespeedof thecourt? The amount of sand put into theacrylicmixtureofthecourtdeterminesthespeedtheballgenerates upon bouncing. More sand means slower courts, because of the traction the sand creates. “If you put your hand on the surface of a hardcourt,it’sveryrough,likecoarsesandpaper,” 2017 ATP Coach of the Year Neville Godwin had said to The Indian Express in an earlier interview. “Now after the bounce, the ballsitsupbecauseitgripsmorewiththecourt. So it’s very difficult to get much pace off the surface.” Accordingly, it’s assumed that less sand was added into the mixture when the courts were relayed ahead of the year’s first major.Meanwhile,weatherconditionsandaltitude affects the pace and bounce of the ball. Humid and cold conditions make the ball heavierandslower,andplayingatahigheraltitudemakestheballbouncehigherandfaster. Melbourne however, is 31m above sea level and so altitude won’t have any effect on the ball.Therehasn’tbeenmuchhumidityeither, ● Whobenefitsfromthefastcourts? The likes of Matteo Berrettini, Rublev, Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas – powerful hitters with strong serves – will become even more difficult to defend against. World No 4 Daniil Medvedev isn’t the biggest hitter, but hethrivesinfasterconditions.Inthewomen’s section,NaomiOsakaandSerenaWilliamsare both powerful strikers and may use the pace to their advantage. REUTERS/AP MELBOURNE, FEBRUARY 13 ITALIAN 16TH seed Fabio Fognini put in a clinical performance to stroll past Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-3 6-4 into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday, ending the host nation’s challenge in the men’s singles draw. Two days after saving a match point to beat compatriot Salvatore Caruso in five sets, the 33-year-old Fognini raised his level a notch in his first meeting against the 21st seed De Minaur, the highestranked men’s player in Australia. With Victoria entering a five-day lockdown from Saturday to contain the spread of COVID-19, there were no home fans present at the Margaret Court Arena to bolster De Minaur’s spirits or his performance as Fognini proved too strong. “I knew since the beginning that it was going to be a really tough match,” Fognini said in his on-court interview. “Tonight it was better for me without a crowd, of course. He is Australian, it was tough. “He is really young. I am almost 34, so for sure he is a really good player, already top-20. He has everything to improve.” Fognini, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both ankles last year, crunched one winner after another from his double-handed backhand and aggregated 25 in all compared with 13 for his opponent. A few errors crept into his game towards the end when De Minaur saved two match points to win a break back, but the Italian was not to be denied on the third and he sealed the contest with a strong serve. “I played a really solid match,” Fognini added. “I got a bit tired at the end of the match, but I think it is normal. I need these kind of matches.” Fognini broke De Minaur’s serve five times across the three sets while conceding two breaks on his own. Next up for the Italian will be 20time Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal, who eased past Britain’s Cameron Norrie with a 7-5 6-2 7-5 victory in Saturday’s other late match. Djokovic in trouble Novak Djokovic's Australian Open hopes are in the balance due to a torn stomach muscle. On a night of high drama in Melbourne on Friday, world number one Djokovic was leading Taylor Fritz by two sets before suffering an injury to his right side which left him barely able to muster a forehand. R.N.I. No. WBENG/2005/20789 VOL. XVI No.44 Printed by V.Srinivasan and Published by V.Srinivasan on behalf of The Indian Express (P) Limited and Printed at Saraswati Print Factory Pvt.Ltd, 789, Chowbhaga (West), Kolkata-700105 and Published at The Indian Express (P) Ltd JL No.29 & 30, N.H.-6, Mouza Prasastha & Ankurhati, P.O. - Salap, P.S.-Domjur, Howrah - 711 409. Ph: (033)66043800 Fax: (033) 66043825 & 66043847. Chairman of the Board : Viveck Goenka, Chief Editor : Raj Kamal Jha, Editor : Unni Rajen Shanker, Editor ( Kolkata): Rakesh Sinha* (*Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act)Copyright : The Indian Express (P) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner,electronic or otherwise,in whole or in part,without prior written permission is prohibited. The Indian Express(R) Kolkata
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