Jaja Santiago. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJaja Santiago’s volleyball resume is already worth of anyone’s envy.The 22-year-old middle blocker has won the Rookie of the Year, Best Attacker, and several Most Valuable Player plums while playing in the club level.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Read Next Ross displeased after Miranda says groin kick ‘part of game’ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ And although Santiago won four titles with NU in the offseason tournaments, and two in the club leagues, the closest she got to the UAAP trophy was in her first two years when the Lady Bulldogs reached the Final Four.“Now that this is my last year I won’t allow myself to not get that title,” said Santiago. “And I won’t forgive myself if I will graduate without having led the team to the title.” View comments Santiago has also become a key figure for the Philippines in the international level having competed in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, Southeast Asian Games, and the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.Of all those accolades, however, Santiago still needs one more piece in her stacked trophy cabinet—the UAAP title.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd as she enters her final collegiate year, Santiago said only the championship will complete her Lady Bulldog career.“Of course that’s the one thing I’ve been searching for since I was a rookie, in the four years that have past I never got that,” said Santiago of the title in Filipino. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa
“We can’t change our offense and be too drastic,” Richardson said. “We just have to approach like any other day and be ready to work and fix what we do wrong.”Simmons and D.J. Augustin scored 16 points apiece for Orlando. Evan Fournier finished with 13 points.The Heat missed all 12 3-point attempts in the first half. But 16 points in the paint helped Miami build a 29-17 lead in the first quarter.Consecutive 3-pointers from Simmons keyed a 10-2 run the final 1:13 of the second quarter that got the Magic within 60-59 at halftime. Orlando then scored 34 points in the third.“It’s hard to explain what happened in that third quarter,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The first quarter and obviously the fourth quarter you love the way your team is competing and just laying it all out there to the end. I just don’t have an explanation for the third quarter — very uninspiring.”TIP-INSMagic: Leading scorer Gordon missed his fourth consecutive game because of a strained left hip flexor. The injury also forced Gordon to withdraw from the Slam Dunk contest during All-Star weekend. Gordon participated in the previous two Slam Dunk contests. Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell will replace Gordon.Heat: Kelly Olynyk left with a left shoulder strain midway through the first quarter and didn’t return. Olynyk fell hard to the floor after positioning for a charging foul on Biyombo. . Olynyk was scoreless, ending a streak of 11 consecutive games in double figures. . Miami made 20 free throws in the first two periods, a season high for a half.ANOTHER CLOSE CALLThe Heat have lost by six points or less in their current losing streak. The two-point margin against Orlando coupled the two-point deficit that started the streak in Cleveland Jan. 31. Miami also lost by six and four points against Philadelphia and Detroit, respectively.“Just a few small breakdowns. In the last few games they’ve been critical,” Richardson said.PHILY PROUDVogel received pregame congratulations for the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl championship. Vogel, who grew up in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, celebrated the Eagles’ victory over the New England Patriots, while watching Sunday’s game from the Magic’s team hotel in Miami. “It’s been a long drought and they finally won it,” Vogel said of the Eagles’ 57-year span between championships. “It’s something my father never experienced. I never experienced. It’s exciting.”UP NEXT: Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Orlando Magic guard Shelvin Mack, center, drives past Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic, left, and center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)MIAMI — The Orlando Magic found the right setting for a rare road win.Mario Hezonja scored 20 points and Jonathan Simmons made the tiebreaking dunk with 1:31 remaining as the Magic beat the Miami Heat 111-109 on Monday night.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises AFP official booed out of forum Magic: Host Cleveland on Tuesday.Heat: Host Houston on Wednesday. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Marreese Speights’ consecutive 3-pointers capped a 12-2 surge and his second one extended Orlando’s lead to 99-89 with 11 minutes remaining. Speights finished with 12 points.The Magic withstood a 16-2 Miami run late in the fourth quarter. Josh Richardson’s layup with 2:53 remaining tied it at 109 before Simmons’ dunk put Orlando ahead for good.“It’s a game of runs and we just were able to sustain their run long enough to win the game,” Simmons said. “I just made plays down the stretch. My teammates and coach trusted me with the ball and I just made a play.”Richardson scored 20 points for Miami, which lost its fourth straight. Hassan Whiteside added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Justise Winslow finished with 16 points.The Heat have now started their last two homestands with losses against the last-place teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences in Orlando and Sacramento.ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Read Next Nowitzki cherishes 20 seasons, content to help Mavs rebuild Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Starting for the injured Aaron Gordon, Hezonja shot 7 of 14 from the field and 4 of 9 on 3-pointers as the Magic won their third road game in the last 24. They dropped Miami to just 13-11 at home.“I’m not paying attention too much to my game because I know my game, I know what I can do, but as long as we are winning I am happy that I am helping my teammates,” Hezonja said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Heat appeared to tie the game after Tyler Johnson was credited with a basket when Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo was called for goaltending with 2.8 seconds remaining. A video review overturned the call.“I think they can’t review it unless the whistle blows so I think they’re told if it’s close, blow the whistle and we’ll look at it,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. “I didn’t think it was really close. I would have been shocked if they called it a goaltend.” LATEST STORIES View comments
Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games The Beermen had an early lead, 42-30, with a big first half, but TNT managed to get back into the game and even took a 70-67 lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter before the defending champions pulled away for good.Other Beermen joined the scoring party as Marcio Lassiter fired 20 points, five boards, two assists, and two steals, while Chris Ross contributed 13 points, seven dimes, three rebounds, and three steals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutArwind Santos finished with 15 markers, seven boards, four assists, four steals, and four blocks before being ejected for his second technical foul with 1:20 to play after his scuffle with TNT guard Jericho Cruz.“This is the hardest game we ever had against TNT because they’ve been through two knockout games and they blew them all out. I was worried, but I have to be credit to the boys, especially June Mar Fajardo,” said an emotional coach Leo Austria, who had his attentions divided after his wife underwent kidney transplant earlier in the day. “He was so focused in this game. We followed our game plan to the letter.” Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus TNT’s Tautuaa ejected in 3rd quarter of Game 1 vs SMB Read Next SAN MIGUEL 106 — Fajardo 35, Lassiter 20, Santos 15, Ross 13, Cabagnot 8, Heruela 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, De Ocampo 3, Pessumal 2, Espinas 1.TNT 93 — Castro 19, Rosario 19, Pogoy 17, Semerad 16, Williams 15, Cruz 3, Garcia 2, Torres 2, Carey 0, Paredes 0, Reyes 0, Tautuaa 0.Quarters: 31-23, 52-44, 77-72, 106-93.RELATED VIDEO John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netTNT had no answers for June Mar Fajardo as the four-peat-seeking San Miguel Beer progressed to the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals with a 106-93 thumping Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.The four-time PBA Most Valuable Player unleashed 35 points on an ultra-efficient 15-of-19 shooting from the field, while also gathering 11 rebounds and two blocks to aid the twice-to-beat Beermen in ousting the KaTropa.ADVERTISEMENT San Miguel now awaits its date in the best-of-seven semifinals against the victor of the Ginebra-Rain or Shine quarterfinals series.The Beermen broke away from a 79-all deadlock after Brian Heruela and a pair of Santos treys went down to establish an 88-83 lead.Though Kelly Williams and Anthony Semerad tried to bring TNT within two, 90-88, with 4:10 left, Santos was there again to hit a tough fadeaway before Fajardo followed it up with two more buckets, the last of which an uncontested jumper over Williams with 2:03 on the clock that virtually put the game out of reach.Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario led eight-seed TNT with 19 points apiece as the KaTropa made an early exit in the all-Filipino conference.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa MOST READ View comments
What ‘missteps’? He saw that in his Hotshots on Wednesday night as they advanced to the Final Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup following an 84-69 decision of Rain or Shine.The Hotshots churned the win out of pure desire after struggling in the first 42 minutes at Smart Araneta Coliseum.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We went through a battle out there,” Victolero said after his Hotshots left the enemy biting their dust in the last six minutes.Star turned a shaky four-point lead there to commanding bulges that eventually dethroned Rain or Shine. Marc Barroca scored 10 of his 12 points in the final period and helped key the Star breakaway.The victory dramatized how good the Hotshots are defensively after they held Rain or Shine to its lowest point total in the last eight conferences.Not only that, the Hotshots allowed just one player, import Duke Crews, to score in twin digits for the Painters with 12.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES “(Our) mental toughness was the key,” he added.Star showed how formidable it could be when things aren’t really working well as it scooted away from a 67-63 game to seal its place in the semifinals against powerhouse San Miguel Beer.“We stayed positive despite bad shooting,” Victolero said. “I just told my players that we would eventually be making our shots, somehow.”The Beermen made short work of Phoenix Petroleum on Tuesday, 115-96, before Barangay Ginebra followed the Beermen to the next round after trampling over GlobalPort, 96-85.Ginebra will have to wait for its semifinal opponent after Meralco forged a KO duel for a Final Four berth by nipping TNT in overtime, 103-100, in the second game.ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Star coach Chito Victolero has always preached about the need for mental toughness.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Game 3: BaliPure battles Creamline; Pocari faces Power Smashers BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games View comments
Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ “Jeff fought the right fight and took Manny to places he’d not been before … he made it a bit dirty.”Pacquiao returned home to General Santos City on Monday and just smiled when asked by reporters whether he was considering retirement.“I’m so happy, thank you for your warm welcome my kababayan (fellow Filipinos),” Pacquiao said.A float had been prepared to take him on a motorcade around the city, but Pacquiao begged off and thanked the city government for the preparation.He also apologized to his fans who had waited to see him, saying he needed to rest.A sense of Pacquiao’s declining powers is that the Philippine senator hasn’t stopped an opponent in eight years.Roach, however, called for an investigation into the scoring of American judge Waleska Roldan.She had the bout 117-111 to Horn, giving Pacquiao only three of the 12 rounds, despite Horn finishing the fight badly bruised and with a shut right eye.Horn ‘out on his feet’According to CompuBox statistics, Pacquiao landed almost twice as many punches as Horn—182 to 92.“I respect the judges’ decision,” Pacquiao said. “He was much tougher than I expected. Much, much tougher.” He told Philippine television: “We thought that we won this fight.”But Top Rank veteran supremo Bob Arum, who was at ringside, felt the win was fair. “It could have gone either way,” he said.“A couple of close rounds, but you can’t argue with the result. I scored a lot of the early rounds for Jeff. Then I had Manny coming back in the middle.“The 12th round, Jeff really won. If you give Manny the 11th, you have it a draw. You give Jeff the 11th, it’s 7-5.”In Manila, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it was time for Pacquiao to quit boxing and become “a full-time public servant.”“Lesson learned: It is best to leave the stage while the audience is applauding,” Lacson tweeted on Monday. “Great day for Australians; sad day for Filipinos.” —REPORTS FROM AFP AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO IN MANILA AND EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ IN KORONADALSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Fight for PSL 5th-8th places on Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong What ‘missteps’? But Pacquiao, (59-7-2), who insisted on a Brisbane rematch as stipulated in his contract for the fight, declared that he would “absolutely” return for a rematch.“We have a clause for a rematch. No problem,” Pacquiao said in the ring after the judges’ decision.‘Go relax’But Australian boxing great and three-time world champion Jeff Fenech also called for Pacquiao, who retired briefly last year, to hang up his gloves for good this time.“If they let Manny fight again, that’s stupid,” Fenech said.“He should go relax and enjoy the money he has made. He’s got nothing to prove. Retire.ADVERTISEMENT BRISBANE, Australia — Manny Pacquiao’s trainer on Monday advised the Filipino legend to quit boxing after his sensational defeat to unheralded Australian Jeff Horn.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera While controversy raged over the scoring of Sunday’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout in Brisbane, after all three judges awarded it to the unbeaten Horn, there were doubts whether the 38-year-old Pacquiao would return for a possible rematch.Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said he would consider advising Pacquiao to retire after a glittering 22-year professional career in which he won world titles at an unprecedented eight weight divisions.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“I’m going to talk to Manny about maybe calling it a day, maybe this is it,” Roach said.Given no chance by most observers, the 29-year-old Horn’s ultra-aggressive style rocked Pacquiao, with the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to the Australian before 51,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium. LATEST STORIES View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ “The team worked very hard and it paid off because the match was very, very tough,” said Belgira of the game which saw the Philippines groped for form in the entire first half.READ: PH football squads send strong message to SEA Games foes“I’m very happy we helped each other,” said Belgira who flung the goal—with the versatile Javier Gayoso as decoy—against a five-man wall.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony “I do free kick over and over again that when I got the chance to do it I was very happy I executed it well,” said Belgira in halting English.READ: SEA Games: PH booters score first win, deny Cambodians ‘bonus’FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingBorn to a Japanese mother and Filipino father, Belgira was brought here when he was 18 and went on to become one of the rising stars of the sport.He plays for Japan-Philippines-Voltes Marikina FC in the Philippines Football League. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side View comments Kouichi Belgira. Photo by Marc ReyesKUALA LUMPUR—I made that shot many times in practices.That’s what 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese midfielder Kouichi Belgira said of the Philippines’ second—and more emphatic—goal against Cambodia Tuesday night in the Southeast Asian Games football.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo ‘Third is better than nothing:’ Creamline salvages bronze in PVL
After sporting a short pixy hairstyle for long, cricket commentator and television host Mandira Bedi says that she now wants to look like a girl again and is growing her tresses back.”I have experimented a lot with my look. Now I am planning to grow my hair again. Since my hairs grow sideways, it will take a few months to take proper shape. But I promise that I am headed there,” Bedi said.Once called the ‘first lady of Indian cricket’, her noodle strap blouses and colourful saris hogged more spotlight than even the most professional cricket commentators, as she debuted as a commentator during the 2003 World Cup matches.However, for the past couple of years, she has seen her once soaring popularity dip after being replaced by new faces on the hosting circuit.On what prompted her to change the in-vogue pixie look, Bedi said she wanted to look feminine.”It is because I want to look like a girl again. I want to have a feminine look. My husband also teases me by saying that I have become his younger brother,” said Bedi who walked the ramp during the Kolkata leg of the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour.
South Africa’s batsman Jacques Kallis plays a shot off India’s bowler Zaheer Khan, unseen, during the third day of the second Test match at the Kingsmead stadium in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday Dec. 28, 2010. APSouth Africa needed 192 runs with seven wickets in hand while India fancied their chances of a remarkable series-levelling victory when bad light forced early stumps on Day 3 of the second Test at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Tuesday. SCOREJacques Kallis and AB de Villiers were at the crease trying to stabilize the innings after early assaults had left them in disarray with 82/3 on board.Harris accuses Sreesanth of getting personal with SmithIndia’s bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, right, looks at South Africa’s batsman Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, left, as he walks in to bat on the third day of the second Test match at the Kingsmead stadium in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday Dec. 28, 2010. APS Sreesanth accounted for South Africa opener Graeme Smith in the 13th over of the final innings. He kept the ball short luring Smith for a pull. The ball took the aerial route off his bat as Sreesanth and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni ran for a catch. Dhoni pouched it near the square leg and the Proteas skipper departed on 37 just before tea.In the third session, Harbhajan Singh, who had taken four wickets in the first innings conceding just 10 runs, took the other opener Alviro Petersen by surprise. It wasn’t his spin that foxed him but the bounce as Petersen trying to push it from the back foot ended up giving a catch to Cheteshwar Pujara. He fell on 26 as the South Africa scoreboard read 82/2.advertisementWe’ve to dismiss Kallis quickly in order to win, says LaxmanVVS Laxman scored 96 in Durban on Tuesday. AP PhotoThe spin-pace combo worked well for India as it disrupted the opposition batsmen’s concentration. And it was Hashim Amla, who fell a victim to this ploy with Sreesanth getting the better of him in the very next over. He could only manage 16 as the South Africa score read a poor 82/3.Earlier, VVS Laxman’s 96-run innings helped India put 228 on board, taking an overall lead of 302 runs. He batted on with determination even as India’s tail emerged on a track that is offering no help to the batsmen.Finally, Zaheer Khan stood in the face of the challenge to provide Laxman with the support and the duo put on 70 runs for the eighth wicket.Their tenacious batting finally succumbed under pressure. Immediately after lunch Paul Harris accounted for Zaheer on 27 then Jacques Kallis sent Ishant back. Finally, Dale Steyn accounted for Laxman’s wicket with wicketkeeper Mark Boucher performing the final honours as India got out for 228.
Ashish Bagai and Jimmy Hansra put 132 runs for the fourth wicket as Canada beat Kenya by five wickets in their World Cup Group A match at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium inNew Delhi on Monday. ScoreChasing 199, the duo helped Canada reach the total in the 46th over. This was after team-mate Henry Osinde scalped four wicket to bundle Kenya for 198. Osinde earned the Man-of-the-Match award for his efforts.In the fourth over of the innings, Elijah Otieno scalped Canada opener Rizwan Cheema when the score was 19. Cheema tried to play a pull shot on a short ball from Otieno but missed the line and was completely beaten as the ball crashed into his stumps. he fell for 17.In the 10th over Zubin Surkari got run out and Kenya lost their second wicket on 37/2. He scored 10. An over later Ruvindu Gunasekera was stumped out in James Ngoche’s over with keeper Maurice Ouma performing the final rites. He fell for 18 and Canada to 48/3.Three wickets down and the score not too impressive, it was time for the Canadian batsmen to forge a partnership. And that’s when skipper Ashish Bagai and Jimmy Hansra into into the picture. Batting impressively and patiently the two helped Canada cross the 100-run mark in the 25th over. Deep into their partnership the two decided to go according to the book. While Hansra upped the tempo hitting boundaries and over the fence shots, Bagai chose to go steady and provide Hansra with support from the other end. The two batted on to put 132 runs for the fourth wicket before Hansra fell to Nehemiah Odhiamboin the 43rd over of the innings. He went for an aerial shot but James Ngoche in the deep claimed a fine catch to send him back on 70. Canada score at the stage was 180/4. His 70-run innings was punctuated with seven fours and two sixes.advertisementBut skipper Bagai was still at the crease and he batted on to help Canada win by five wickets. Bagai remained unbeaten on 64, scoring six seven fours on the way. Canada reached the target in the 46th over when an Elijah Otieno ball was driven towards the boundary by Bagai and Canada score read 199/5 in 45.3 overs.Canada innings Canada’s Henry Osinde scalped four as Kenya were bundled out for198. Earlier, Kenya won the toss and elected to bat. But, the decision didn’t really go in their favour as they lost their opener Maurice Ouma to Henry Osinde on the second ball of the innings.Soon the other opener Seren Waters too departed with Osinde claiming him in the fifth over. Kenya fell to 7/2.But that wasn’t the end of the misery for Kenya as they lost two more wickets with Osinde claiming David Obuya on the last ball of the seventh over and Harvir Baidwan scalped Collins Obuya in the 12 over to reduce Kenya to 41/4. Experienced batsman Steve Tikolo (12) too could not stay at the crease for long. As Rizwan Cheema accounted for his wicket on the last ball of the 15th over to push Kenya to 57/5.After these assaults, Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande and Tanmay Mishra tired to revive the innings with their partnership. The duo batted on to help Kenya cross 100-run mark. But their partnership came to an end when a Balaji Rao’s turner got the better of him on 109/6. He got out for 22 after a 52-run partnership with Mishra.But their innings was far from over as soon Mishra forged a partnership with Thomas Odoyo. Mishra took the onus of pushing up the run-rate. He dealt in singles and doubles to counter the Canadian attack. But, no sooner had he crossed his half-century that he fell.John Davison lured Mishra into playing a big hit with a flighted delivery. He took the bait and went for an aerial shot but ended up giving a catch to Zubin Surkari at mid-off. He fell for 51 and Kenya went a wicket down to 166/7 in 42.1 overs.From here on it was easy for the Canadians, who went for the kill and wrapped up their innings in good time. Thomas Odoyo scored 51 before being bowled out by Harvir Baidwan on the last ball.
Indian QuartetBoy, that was quick. The moment India learnt its senior most batsmen had opted out of September’s Twenty20 World Cup, there was a stampede. Not towards the nearest street corner for a ritual round of protests, but to hammer out the tributes and order the bugler to sound the,Indian QuartetBoy, that was quick. The moment India learnt its senior most batsmen had opted out of September’s Twenty20 World Cup, there was a stampede. Not towards the nearest street corner for a ritual round of protests, but to hammer out the tributes and order the bugler to sound the Last Post. Quick, before they change their minds.The Twenty20 World Cup, cricket’s ode to the microwave, is for young legs, quick wits and short attention spans. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have decided that their wits and skills are in good condition but their inner athlete is unlikely to rise and shine. With thinning pates and growing children, who needs more reminders about the generation gap? Who needs to dive, slide, and produce physiology-defying shots? Not such a tough choice, is it? Between the judgment of history and a verdict by popularity contest. Thanks guys, the microwave is all yours. The pressure cooker is more our thing.It was as if relief was ringing out from rooftops in stereo. It had happened. The baton had been exchanged, thank god. The torch has been passed.Not yet.Soon it will be, but not just yet. In between that day and this, the light will slowly fade on a quartet like no other in Indian cricket history. Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly are top of the mind today, but ignore VVS Laxman and their collective mojo vaporizes. These four, India’s most successful generation middle-order batsmen, perhaps its greatest ever batting generation are in England now at the start of what could be their last season together.advertisementClick here to EnlargeIndia has had many luminous batsmen, and a few great line-ups, but these four stand apart. Not merely because all feature amongst the top 10 Indian Test run-getters (300-odd more runs for Laxman in England and they will be four of the top eight). Their real distinction lies in their impact: at their peak, their runs and partnerships led to more Test victories than any other foursome India had ever fielded.Click here to EnlargeWhen the Tests in England begin, the group will be thrown up into the familiar swirl of affection and aggravation, kinship and rivalry. In the middle, they will try to rediscover the sync that builds when the scoreboard is hostile, the skies grey, the ball swinging, when all they have is each other. Eventually, one may keep going longer than the other, but every man knows he will never keep such company again.Before the Lord’s Test, they are being paid a few cursory compliments but being told, in a very English way, that they are frankly a little pass. Ever since the World Cup, they have grown attuned to the impatient hissing.Pataudi on the Quartet: They were the greatest Indian middle order ever when they were the top of their game two-three years ago- only Viswanath and Vijay Manjrekar come into the frame.When told about this article, one of them laughed and gave it a title, “The old boys’ last stand, eh?” Their last two seasons have witnessed a tumult in fortunes, a spiraling of batting form and a jangling of confidence. Cool, green England, where cricket is organic entity rather than a shrill modern sport, is a place to check whether their multiplier effect still works. India will hope it does, for that is a well-trodden route to success and redemption.Each of them have the means. To expert and peer, the core of their qualities lies beneath the surface and beyond glib brand names. Tendulkar’s stroke play comes from a clutter-free creativity, says Javagal Srinath. His gift- carving out an extra instant by first concentrating on reading length alone before making his decision-forward or back. Unlike ordinary batsmen, Tendulkar does not think about where the bowlers arm come from or judging how the ball would swing. Length first, action in the next instant. “That sort of batsman,” says former India spinner V.V. Kumar, “is a miracle. It is like he has a sixth sense, one of shot-making.”Dravid’s defense is immaculate and his technique sound, but below the accumulated layers of learning and training, at his core, he is a master of the mind. A formidable mind player who brings his preparation to the crease well before the precision tool of his technique comes into play.Dravid with GangulyAfter his early flourish, Ganguly’s Test cricket has been played before the scrutiny of scowling pundits who say he can’t play fast bowling, can’t play the pull, doesn’t have an onside game, doesn’t have patience, doesn’t have the bottle. Still, he does have 5,000-plus Test runs and a signature six over long on that is an offering to the Gods. Tendulkar says, “See, Sourav knows his strengths very well. Singles are not his style, he likes boundaries. He knows how to set up bowlers.” Only three batsmen in history have a better ODI record and Srinath says, “His game is about domination. Either you overpower Sourav or he overpowers you.”Laxman is the juniormost but his skills seem the most unfathomable. No one can define the meeting point of his technique and his temperament, how he makes his physical art and his mental craft work. “His success,” says Kumar, “lies between the extremes of the improbable and the probable.” Laxman has often batted as if the scoreboard is irrelevant. He seems more careworn these days but India hopes England will uncork the magic.advertisementJohn Buchanan on India: Between 2000-2004, they were the best batting side we ran up against, not just in depth but in their skills-they could play pace and spin, they could attack and defend.Each knows what he would like to borrow from the other. Laxman’s wrist-work, says Tendulkar. Dravid’s temperament, says Ganguly. Tendulkar’s balance, says Dravid. Ganguly’s attitude, says Laxman. “When Sourav is at the crease, it’s all happening. Whatever shot he has just played on the previous ball, he’s still staring the opposition in the eyes.”Batting together, they have built an understanding of each other’s tempo and a mutual confidence, unshaken despite a run out or two dozen. Like a long-assembled, much-rehearsed string quartet, their cadences complement rather than compete. Dravid says, “Having them at the other end has helped me play in the rhythm I like.” In turn, Dravid has been the solid presence, the steady bass player, around whom the others could fly free and improvise knowing that the backbeat would always hold.The equal music of their batting together is actually conducted through long silences. Their partnerships punctuated by the occasional tap of the gloves, a few muttered words: “Have faith, have faith,” says Laxman and Dravid’s trademark “Keep going, you’re okay, you’re good, mate.” The only stream of chatter comes from Tendulkar and sometimes reserved, especially for Ganguly, in Bengali: “All the time, it’s the wrong Bengali-11 years and he still speaks it wrong.”There are parts to their old partners they still cannot understand: Sachin’s obsession with cars, Sourav’s obsession with his bats (he is alleged to have carried 15 on one tour), Laxman’s propensity to rush in for showers even at tea and pad up at the very last possible minute. And the perennial mindbender: why is Rahul so serious?Tendulkar on his Mates: If I could take a quality from their games, it would be Dravid’s patience, Sourav’s ability to calculate and pick and choose in an innings and Laxman’s wrist-work.They are secure enough to banter about each other but ask them if they think they form the India’s greatest ever batting generation and they palpably baulk. Tendulkar and Laxman opt for the safety of “one of the best”. Dravid says comparing eras is “silly, and I don’t want to do that.” Ganguly, never one for shy understatement says, “I would put it this way, in that period, we have contributed immensely to Indian cricket.”advertisementClick here to EnlargeFormer India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi places these young men in the historical context of the middle order batsmen he has seen from the 1950s onwards. “Only G.R. Viswanath and Vijay Manjrekar would enter the picture with them in terms of ability and effectiveness.” In his mind there is no argument, “When they were at the top of their game two-three years ago, they were the greatest middle order India has ever had.”Click here to EnlargeThey all know what time he is talking about. Between 2000 and the end of the 2004 season, when India played 41 Tests and won 16, exactly half of those away from home. There were Test wins in the West Indies after 26 years (series lost), in England after 16 years (series drawn), in Australia after 21(series drawn) and for the first time ever in Pakistan, where after many noshows, India kept its date with destiny, winning a series away from home. In that time, between them, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman scored 12,367 runs, 32 centuries (11 each to Tendulkar and Dravid), and shared 27 century partnerships.Ganguly on the Streak: There’s a lot of ability in our group-you’re talking tens of thousands of international runs. But mostly, at that time we played freely. There was no pressure on us.Why did it happen then, that hot streak when the phrase “best batting line-up in the world” meant what it said. When it was applied to Indian batsmen without the mockery loaded on? “It’s hard to give a reason,” says a smiling Tendulkar shaking his head, “but you’re talking about a lot of quality there.” Laxman includes runs from the top order like Virender Sehwag and his partnership with Akash Chopra in Australia, and believes, “it was a great team, everyone was gelling. It was amazing, we were all in great nick, getting runs for ourselves and the team.” Dravid’s dissection is more precise, “It coincided with the fact that we raised our games. We are the same age, we had similar experience, we peaked at around the same time.” Ability and freedom, says Ganguly, “we played freely, there was no pressure on the four of us.” Down a phone line from Christchurch, their coach at that time, John Wright, offers an odd-ball explanation, “They batted in a functional way,” he says.Throughout their history, Indians have never been functional cavalrymen. Swashbuckling yes, suicidal, very often, but functional? Like household gadgets? Wright explains. “They set some very clear goals-batting five sessions, batting in partnerships. Batting was our strength, if we could bat five sessions, put on runs, we knew we could control games.” So, these batsmen knew exactly what was expected of them? “No,” says Wright, “they knew exactly what was needed of them.”Tendulkar with LaxmanIndia was able to dominate in opposition territory, says Srinath on the back of this clutch of batsmen operating together. “I just wish,” he says with something sounding like longing, “these four guys had been in alignment for longer.”They are together again in England and what they will do will not be governed by the motion of the stars, but by their hunger and drive. If there was a single common chord in these diverse players, it lay in their intent to be the master of their destinies. Just like they orchestrated the perfect storm, maybe they can work out how to script the perfect finale. Despite the fact that Indian cricket doesn’t do fond farewells, only bitter and angry ones. If they could pull that off, it would perhaps be their ultimate victory. But the hours before contest commences in England are not for the anticipation of brute reality but for dreaming. They provide the perfect pause. To acknowledge these remarkable batsmen. To will them to suddenly perform in full-blooded chorus again.To say thank you for the music.