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Australia vs India: Playing on ‘really good wickets’ in Sheffield Shield will help me against India: Ashton Agar | Cricket News

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MELBOURNE: Australia‘s spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar says the experience of out-thinking batsmen on “really good wickets” during the recent Sheffield Shield games would help him when he competes against India in the upcoming series.
The 27-year-old Agar had featured in both the limited-over formats for Australia last summer but missed his spot in the ODIs on their tour of England in September.
Now set to join his limited-overs teammates on Sunday after completing his engagements at the Sheffield Shield and undergoing a two-week quarantine in Perth, Agar is hoping his experience in the last few weeks will help him in the upcoming series.

“I bowled about 150 overs in three Shield games. I bowled on some wickets that were absolute highways,” Agar, who took 10 wickets in three games for Western Australia in October-November, was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“Trying to think batsmen out on really good wickets actually holds you in good stead going into an ODI and T20 series,” he added.
Agar hasn’t featured in any 50-over game since March in South Africa, with lack of local competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic robbing him of any chance to push his case.

“Yeah, I haven’t played white-ball cricket for a little while, but that’s nothing that worries me too much,” he said.
“The one-day side is a hard side to get into. Unless you’re going to pick two spinners, Adam Zampa has a run of it at the start anyway.
“I’ve done everything I can in T20 cricket to push my case. I feel really confident in that format and feel like I showcased my skills.”
Agar has taken 30 wickets in 27 T20Is, while capturing 10 scalps in 13 ODIs so far in his career.


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Champions League: Atletico held by Lokomotiv to leave qualification in doubt | Football News

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MADRID: Atletico Madrid‘s qualification for the Champions League last 16 remains far from secure after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday.
Atletico remain second in Group A, two points ahead of Lokomotiv but with a game against Bayern Munich at the Wanda Metropolitano still to come next week.
Bayern secured top spot with a 3-1 victory over Salzburg.
Lokomotiv have to visit the reigning European champions in the final game while Atletico finish away at Salzburg, meaning it would still be a surprise if Diego Simeone‘s side fail to reach the knock-out stages.
But this was a chance missed to take command of second place as Atletico created several chances against their Russian opponents but lacked a finishing touch.
Koke saw a goal ruled out for offside in the second half while the in-form Joao Felix and Marcos Llorente both went close.
Luis Suarez, who was absent after testing positive for coronavirus, and Diego Costa, who has suffered a blood clot in his leg, might have helped break down a determined Lokomotiv defence.
Llorente was everywhere in the opening half an hour. He pulled back for Joao Felix, who skewed his finish and then for Correa, who connected but was blocked.
Llorente then shot twice himself, the first palmed away and the second saved too after some nice work down the right from Kieran Trippier.
Lokomotiv offered little going forward, their best chance falling to Ze Luis, who slipped through, then slipped over at the crucial moment.
But Atletico’s momentum stalled in the second half, with Simeone bringing on Thomas Lemar and switching to three at the back, before a Koke rebound was ruled out for offside on review.
Felix went down over Vladislav Ignatyev’s foot but the referee was right to decide there was not enough contact to warrant a penalty.
Stanislav Magkeev had a chance to nick it for Lokomotiv on the counter-attack but dragged wide. Jose Gimenez headed just past the post. Neither side could find a way through.


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Champions League: Bayern reach last 16 as Lewandowski matches Raul goal tally | Football News

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MUNICH: Holders Bayern Munich booked their place in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday as Robert Lewandowski claimed his 71st goal in the competition in a 3-1 home win over Salzburg.
Lewandowski scored just before the break at the Allianz Arena to draw level with Real Madrid great Raul in third on the Champions League list of top goalscorers.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo, who has netted 131 times, and Lionel Messi with 118 goals, have scored more than Poland star Lewandowski.
Bayern earned their 15th straight Champions League win to qualify for the knock-out stage as Group A winners, as second-placed Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 with Lokomotiv Moscow.
Bayern doubled their lead just after the break when Kingsley Coman’s shot deflected in off Salzburg defender Maximilian Woeber.
Leroy Sane claimed their third goal just after Bayern were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Marc Roca was sent off on his Champions League debut.
Salzburg pulled a goal back when forward Mergim Berisha got in behind the Bayern defence to net on 73 minutes.
With Bayern defenders Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez sidelined, US international Chris Richards made his Champions League debut at left-back.
Roca lasted just over an hour on only his third appearance since joining from Espanyol in October.
The European champions won 6-2 when the sides met in Austria at the start of November when Bayern scored four late goals.
Just as they had done at home, Salzburg made a bright start and Hungarian rising star Dominik Szoboszlai wasted a golden chance in the 35th minute when he shot over with the goal at his mercy.
Just as they had in Saturday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at home to Werder Bremen, Bayern laboured early on, but did not waste the first chance which came their way.
When Thomas Mueller’s shot was only parried by Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stankovic, Lewandowski was on hand to turn in the rebound on 43 minutes.
It was 2-0 seven minutes just after the break when Leon Goretkza won the ball and passed to Coman, who beat a defender and fired in a speculative shot which took a wicked deflection off Woeber’s boot.
Having already been booked for an earlier foul on Zlatko Junuzovic, Roca was dismissed on 66 minutes for a late challenge on the Salzburg midfielder.
It made little difference as Bayern grabbed their third goal when Sane powered home a header from Coman’s cross.
Sane was at fault for Salzburg’s consolation when he gave the ball away in his own half which led to Berisha getting in behind the defence.
Bayern lived dangerously late on as Salzburg replacement Luka Sucic fired just wide.


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Australia vs India: KL Rahul looks to fill Dhoni-sized shoes | Cricket News

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KL Rahul is at an interesting stage in his career. For all his batting prowess, he has struggled to get a long run in any format, largely due to the prolific partnership of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. Wicketkeeping has given him an opportunity to cement his place in the Indian XI in the white-ball formats.
Two days before India’s first ODI in Australia, Rahul made it clear how much he values this opportunity. The Indian team is in the initial stages of building a core for the two ICC T20 World Cups and one 50-over World Cup in the next three years.
“Nothing has been told to me and we are not thinking that far ahead as a team. Obviously, World Cups are important and that is a long-term vision for every team and country,” Rahul said on Wednesday.

“It (him wicketkeeping) helps the team combination a little more and it’s something I would love to do. If the opportunity presents itself and I can keep in three World Cups, I would love to do it for my country,” he added.
Before it actually came his way in January this year, Rahul has been on the prowl to latch onto an opportunity of this kind. He has been carrying his wicketkeeping gear in his kit for a couple of years. He has kept wickets in every white-ball match beyond international cricket.
However, there is also the possibility of burnout while keeping in both formats.
“My batting position will depend on the format I am playing. The last ODI series we played, I batted at No. 5 and I kept wickets, so it is a role that I enjoyed and I am happy to play whatever role the team gives me,” Rahul pointed out.

Team India are looking for a suitable replacement to fill the void MS Dhoni has left behind. The pressure seemed to have got to Rishabh Pant, who has been dropped from the white-ball formats. Rahul knows it’s the expertise from behind the stumps that made Dhoni such an asset in the team.
“Dhoni has shown the way to the wicketkeeper-batsmen on how to do the role perfectly. I will probably go and give the spinners the feedback regarding what length can be bowled on different wickets.”
This is a fresh start for Indian cricket in the post-Dhoni world, a performing wicketkeeper-batsman in KL Rahul could just be the head-start Team India needed.


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