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‘Absolute rubbish’: Justin Langer goes into bat for Tim Paine, Steve Smith | Cricket News

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BRISBANE: Australia coach Justin Langer gave under-fire skipper Tim Paine his “100 percent” support and blasted criticism of Steve Smith as “absolute rubbish” Wednesday after a backlash against the pair’s behaviour in the drawn third Test against India in Sydney.
Paine’s captaincy has been questioned after he launched an ugly verbal tirade at India’s Ravi Ashwin and Smith was accused of foul play after appearing to scuff up batsman Rishabh Pant’s guard at the crease during a tense final day.
But an indignant Langer was having none of it.
“Do I have faith in Tim Paine? You have no idea how much faith I have in Tim Paine,” he said.
“He didn’t have his best day, no doubt about that, but after three years he has hardly put a hair out of place.
“He has been outstanding as the Australian captain in everything he does. He had a frustrating day and we have got to cut him some slack, surely.”

Wicketkeeper Paine, guilty of dropping three catches on the final day, has apologised and admitted frustration got the better of him when he tried to unsettle Ashwin, who held out for more than three hours for an unbeaten 39 as the tourists salvaged a draw.
Stump microphones picked up Paine making a series of barbs, including calling Ashwin a “dickhead”.
Paine had already been fined for dissent after an expletive-laden rant at umpire Paul Wilson on day two, with the incidents undermining Langer’s drive to revamp the team’s toxic culture after the “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

While backing Paine to continue as captain “for some time yet”, Langer also acknowledged criticism would come if anyone deviated from the high standards the team now set themselves.
“When you set a standard as high as he does, and we do, we understand we get criticised when you fall below that. It’s not what we are about,” he said.

“But Tim is an outstanding leader and will continue to be for some time to come yet. He has my 100 percent support.”
Footage of Smith, who was Australia’s captain during the sandpaper scandal and banned for year, suggested he deliberately interfered with Pant’s batting guard — a mark made at the crease to know where your feet are in relation to the wicket behind you.

The number four is renowned for his quirks, including shadow-batting while fielding, and strongly denied doing anything wrong.
“As for Steve Smith, I literally cannot believe some of the rubbish I’ve read — absolute load of rubbish,” said Langer.
“I mean, anyone who knows Steve Smith, he is a bit quirky… and we have all laughed about it for the last couple of years.
“What Steve Smith does at the crease he does it probably most games, he’s just thinking about the game. Anyone who suggests for one millisecond he was trying to do something untoward, they’re way out of line.
“On that wicket, that was that flat, and it was like concrete, you’d need 15-inch spikes to make an indent on the crease and he went nowhere near the crease,” Langer added.
“So seriously, I thought that was absolutely ludicrous.”
The fourth and final Test gets underway on Friday in Brisbane, with the series locked at 1-1.


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Simi Singh on song as Ireland crush UAE to square series | Cricket News

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ABU DHABI: Leinster all-rounder Simi Singh produced a career best one-day international performance with bat and ball to steer Ireland to a crushing 112-run win over United Arab Emirates on Monday which levelled the series at 1-1.
Coming in with Ireland struggling at 99-5, Singh made 54 not out from 57 balls and shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 91 with Curtis Campher who made 56.
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UAE made a good start in the chase to reach Ireland’s 228 with the openers Zawar Farid and Vriitya Aravind adding 46 before off-spinner Singh, in his second over, had Farid caught by Gareth Delany at deep square-leg on the sweep.
Shortly after, Chundangapoyil Rizwan and Aravind both hoiked the 33-year-old spinner down the throat of Craig Young at long-on before Singh had Basil Hameed caught behind by Lorcan Tucker and Muhammad Usman leg before.

Singh, who was born in India but has lived in Ireland since arriving as a student when he was 17, picked up the first five wickets as the hosts crumbled and finished with an astonishing five for 10 from his 10 overs.
It is the second-best performance by an Irish bowler in ODIs after Paul Stirling‘s six for 55 against Afghanistan in 2017.
UAE won the opening encounter on January 8 without vice-captain Chirag Suri and uncapped left-arm spinner Aryan Lakra who both tested positive for coronavirus.
The next two games, in what had been scheduled as a four-match series, were then axed despite a series of attempts to reschedule as the home squad were hit by a wave of Covid-19 positive tests.
After losing the toss and being put in, Ireland made a poor start to their innings as Kashif Daud removed Kevin O’Brien, playing in his 150th ODI, in the second over.
When Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie fell in quick succession to Zahoor Khan, the Irish were in deep trouble at 10-3.
Harry Tector, who made 33, and Tucker, 42, began the rebuilding process before Campher, who was named man of the series, and Singh joined forces in a vital sixth-wicket stand.
Ireland will remain in the UAE to play a three-game ODI series against Afghanistan.



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Indian players have been tested to the cricketing and mental limits every turn, every minute: Gavaskar | Cricket News

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BRISBANE: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar on Monday heaped praise on the Indian team for showing “something extraordinary” in the ongoing Test series against Australia.
Gavaskar said the Indians are truly proud of the team for showing great character irrespective of the result of the fourth Test at The Gabba. The visitors need 324 runs on the final day with 10 wickets in the bag to win a Test at Australia’s fortress — The Gabba.
A win will see the ‘injury-ravaged’ Indians register back-to-back series wins on Australian soil and a draw will see them retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against all odds. But the pitch isn’t getting any better at The Gabba and with the odd-ball misbehaving after hitting the cracks, the Indian batsmen need to ensure that they keep the scoreboard moving at every given opportunity.

“It doesn’t matter what happens here at the Gabba… We Indians can and will be truly proud of our cricketers. I have led Indian teams on tours of Australia and know first-hand just how challenging it can be. But what we have witnessed in the series is something extraordinary,” Gavaskar said while commentating on Channel Seven.

“Resolve, fortitude and fighting spirit displayed by the team have been inspiring. Most have been away from home and in quarantine for over five months. They have been routed in the most crushing way with the world watching. They have seen friends battered and broken. They have been tested to the cricketing and mental limits every turn, every minute. Even under the most intense strain, they have never stopped fighting. And they may still somehow manage to take the trophy home,” he added.

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4th Test: Siraj, Shardul bowl with fire, take 9 wickets between them to keep India in the hunt

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<p>From not going to attend his father’s funeral and then being subjected to racial abuse in Sydney to becoming the only Indian bowler to register a five-wicket haul in this series, Mohammed Siraj has made sure that he is taken very seriously as a Test bowler now. (AP Photo)</p>

With rain playing spoilsport, the Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill could face just 1.5 overs on the fourth evening before the umpires decided to call for early stumps. With Rohit unbeaten on 4 off 6 balls and Gill yet to score from the five balls he has faced, it will all be about starting afresh for the visitors on the final morning.
Earlier, it was poetic justice that Mohammed Siraj picked his maiden fifer as India dismissed Australia for 294 in their second innings.


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Davis Cup Finals to take place over 11 days, three cities | Tennis News

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LONDON: The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will be held over 11 days rather than seven and most likely across three cities, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed on Monday.
The change was proposed by the ITF’s event partner Kosmos Tennis, the Spanish-based investment firm who are pumping in $3 billion over 25 years, and agreed by the ITF Board.
This year’s event will take place from Nov. 25-Dec. 5.
The ITF also confirmed that two more European cities are being sought to share the staging of the 2021 Finals with Madrid which hosted the first edition of the revamped event in 2019.
Another proposal agreed by the ITF will be to trim the Finals from 18 to 16 teams from 2022 onwards.


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