Cricket Sports
Shahid Afridi has shown some good form in practice sessions

Flamboyant Shahid Afridi who was not included in the names announced for ODI series against India has shown some good form of late during the practice sessions. He scored 52 runs off 40 balls and 92 off 64 balls on Monday and Wednesday respectively during practice sessions. There was more control and composure seen in his shots as he played a variety of strokes including sweep, cut and straight bat drives rather than hitting wildly and blindly. According to the skipper Misbah Ul Haq, Afridi could be considered in the ODI squad if he continued performances like that. He has shown a lot of confidence and improvement during the training and conditioning camp at Lahore for the India tour.

shahid afridi

Misbah added that the Pakistan team definitely needed senior players to perform well and Afridi has always been a key senior player in ODIs as well both with bat and ball. If he performs well with the bat as well, the team definitely needed him and would definitely be given a consideration. Afridi is already in the squad for the T20 series although he had performed poorly with bat in T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, scoring just 30 runs in six matches. Even in the national T20 championships, he was unable to impress with bat and the rusty performance continued. However, his recent form is a good omen for the skipper as well as for the country.

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England Win Series in India After 28 years

It took England 28 years to win a test series in India under the captaincy of Alistair Cook. The visitors did that convincingly winning 2-1, with the final test ending in a draw. The brilliant batting display from Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell ensured that the visitors do not lose any more wickets and the match ends in a draw. Both had a stand of 208 runs with both scoring centuries.

England test series

The first innings score of both the teams was almost even. In the second innings, England lost her 3 wickets early on in the final day of the test. Then there was a brilliant partnership featuring Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell which saved the day for the visitors. Trott scored his eighth century and first in nine month. He was however, supporting the team by chipping in precious runs in almost all the tests. For Bell, it was his first test hundred in India and had to wait more than a year for that.

Both the players had a difficulty job to do early on which they did expertly and developed a much needed partnership to ensure that the draw is confirmed. The pair was just 7 runs short of breaking the record of highest 4th wicket partnership for England in India held by Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood in Chennai in 2008 when he was caught out at slip off Ashwin. Bell who was not out in the innings at 116 also displayed true character as he came in at 94 for 3. He was however lucky as Sehwag dropped his catch at slip when he was 75 and at 97, a direct hit could have run him out. No wickets fell for England and it was a frustrating moment for India and a happy one for England. The final score was:

England 330 (Pietersen 73, Root 73, Prior 57, Swann 56, Chawla 4-69) and 352 for 4 (Trott 143, Bell 116*) drew with India 326 for 9 dec (Kohli 103, Dhoni 99, Anderson 4-81)

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Injured Broad Awaits Scan Results
Stuart Broad who had suffered left heel injury before the start of India’s tour has again got himself injured while practicing in nets for the final test against India. He had to leave the field due to discomfort and had to take medical treatment before coming back again for brief moment. He had a scan of the injury during the second test. However, he played all the three tests. He now awaits the scan results and is highly unlikely to play the fourth test starting from December 13, 2012.
Broad, who is the England Twenty20 captain, is also likely to miss the two T20 matches if the scan results are not satisfactory. The team management is worried about fitness issues of the T20 skipper. The two T20 matches will be played in Pune and Mumbai on December 20 and 22 respectively. If Broad misses the T20 matches, Eoin Morgan who is England’s Twenty20 vice-captain would be the stand in captain. The selectors may need to replace Broad in an inexperienced 13-man squad which contains only three other specialist seamers.
Cricket Sports
Shahid Afridi Axed from Pak ODI Squad for India

Pakistan has announced its one day and T-20 squad for the Indian tour this month. Flamboyant Shahid Afridi has been dropped from ODIs, however he has been included in twenty20 squad. Afridi only scored seven runs and took one wicket in two ODIs against Australia in UAE this September.
Shahid Afridi Axed from Pak ODI Squad for India
A total of 6 changes have been made in the ODI squad that was selected against Australia. Similarly, there are also 6 changes in T-20 squad which was selected for world cup played in Sri Lanka. Other five players to be dropped from the ODI squad are left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, fast bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Sohail Tanvir. Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq have been dropped because of injury. They have been replaced by Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, and Zulfiqar Babar. Batsman Sohail and left-arm spinner Babar will be making their debut for the greens. Fast bowler Wahab Riaz last played for the country in Asia Cup.
Those dropped from T20 squad are allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat, opening batsman Imran Nazir, Shafiq and left-arm spinner Raza Hasan. Shafiq and Hasan were axed because of injuries. Those who have made to the team are fast bowler Junaid Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar, Asad Ali, Mohammad Irfan and Umar Amin.
Pakistan will play two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs against India from December 25 to January 06. The squads of ODIs and T20 are:
ODI squad: Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq(C), Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar.
T20 squad: Mohammad Hafeez(C), Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Asad Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Ahmed Shehzad.
England in Control of Match final test 509 for 6

England 509 for 6 (Cook 190, Trott 87, Compton 57, Pietersen 54) lead India 316 by 193 runs
  India might have thought of a change in fortunes on the third day of the final test. However, the feeling of helplessness gripped the Indian team for most part of the day as England continued to pile up runs and took a commanding position in the test. They have a lead of 193 runs with 4 wickets remaining.
Resuming the day’s play on 216 for 1, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, continued to assault the bowling attack. Cook was close to scoring a double ton when at 190, he was give run out while trying to evade the ball thrown by Virat Kohli as his bat hadn’t touched the ground. This was for the first time that Cook was run out in tests. Cook made another 173 runs partnership with Trott. Trott was out on 87.
After the departure of two set batsmen, it was Kevin Pieterson’s turn to take charge of the situation. He took full control and scored runs with a quick pace. He was literally toying with Indian attack. He was out lbw for 54.
The last couple of hours proved even more disappointing for India. Matt Prior and Graeme Swann scored 56 runs in the last 13 overs. England is now 509 for 6. Its going to be a very crucial day for India.

SA defeated Australia with a convincing 309 runs to win 3 test match series 1-0 and retain their ICC test ranking top spot. SA had given a record chase of 621 runs to the Australians to win and achieve the top spot in the rankings.  
In order to chase the total, the Australian start was not good. Their 2 wickets fell early on. That brought Ricky Ponting to the crease. In order to honour the great batsmen, SA players welcomed him on to the ground with a guard of honour like welcome. He started off with quite an authority using his trade mark pull shot. The crowd expected a big score from him. However, he was out at eight off Peterson. The whole WACA crowd was up on their feet to bid him farewell. All the SA players bade him good bye as well. Ponting raised his bat in response to their support and applause.
After Ponting, rest of the batsmen including Clarke and Hussey also did not show quite resistance. Only Mitchel Starc, the No 10 batsman and Ed Cowan showed some resistance and scored half centuries. Starc was the top scorer with 68 not out on 32 balls. Australia looked like a team that had used all its cards in the first two tests. Some were left to think that probably, Ponting’s exit had affected Australia’s performance. It was Michael Clarke’s first series loss as captain. 
The score card of the was: South Africa 225 (du Plessis 78*) and 569 (Amla 196, de Villiers 169, Smith 84) beat Australia 163 (Wade 68) and 322 (Starc 68*, Cowan 53) by 309 runs 
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South Africa in Cruise Control in Final Test
Having bowled out for 225 on the opening day of the third and final test between SA and Australia, SA bowlers were quick to settle the score and bowl out the opposition for 163 to take 67 run lead.
Resuming at play at 33 for fall of 2 wickets, Warner and night watchman Lyon were unable to give hosts a good start. First, Warner fell to Steyn to bring in Ponting to the crease and later, Lyon fell shortly to him. Philander took the wicket of Ponting. The only decent resistance from Australians was shown by Matthew Wade. Dale Steyn was the most successful bowler taking 4 Australian wickets that also included the wicket of in form Michael Clarke.
SA start to the second innings was a bit nervous. Soon after tea, Alviro Peterson was out by a classic ca particular, but all 10 wickets remained intact when tea was called. Alviro Petersen would be lost shortly after the resumption when he popped up a botch by Johnson. That brought in the in form Amla at the crease. He and Smith had a partnership of 177 runs to take control of the match. Amla is not out at 99. Smith was out at 84 and deserved a century but a missed hook gave a chance to Nathan Lyon who made a stunning catch.
The third day is going to be make or break for the Australians as SA already has a lead of 197 runs.