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September 19, 2020
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Root, Moeen put England on top against InBdia

first_imgBy Sudipto Ganguly RAJKOT, India(Reuters)-England’s Joe Root hit a sparkling century and Moeen Ali was unbeaten on 99 as the tourists finished the opening day of the first Test against India in a strong position on 311-4.Root was out for 124 after putting on 179 for the fourth wicket with left-hander Moeen after England were 102-3 at lunch.Moeen was one run short of his fourth Test hundred at the close yestertday with Ben Stokes unbeaten on 19.England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on a Rajkot pitch he regarded as a traditional Indian wicket that would assist the slower bowlers as the game progressed.A nervy Cook lived a charmed life against India’s new-ball pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav when the left-hander was dropped twice in the first two overs behind the wicket.The opener seemed to have overcome his jittery start and moved to 21 by the end of the first hour’s play before he was adjudged out leg before wicket to spinner Ravindra Jadeja.Cook was unfortunate to be given out off an incorrect decision from the umpire, with replays showing the ball missing leg stump, and his new opening partner Haseeb Hameed offered little assistance by advising against asking for a review.FAILED REVIEWIt was the first time the Decision Review System (DRS) was being used for a bilateral series in India and England erred a second time when they eventually opted to use the technology.The 19-year-old Hameed, who became England’s youngest opener on his debut, wasted one of the two reviews available to his team when he failed to overturn a leg before decision off Ravichandran Ashwin after compiling a composed knock of 31.Ben Duckett, who opened for England in last month’s series in Bangladesh, was pushed down the order to accommodate Hameed and made a brisk start by hitting Ashwin for three boundaries in four balls.But India’s spearhead gained revenge in his next over when Ajinkya Rahane stooped to complete a smart low catch at slip to send Duckett back to the pavilion for 13 and bring the players in for lunchThe 25-year-old Root hit 11 boundaries and a six in his 180-ball knock and looked largely untroubled until Yadav struck his pad in the penultimate over before tea with the batsman on 92.India captain Virat Kohli made his first use of DRS but failed to overturn the on-field not out decision after replays showed the ball was clipping the leg stump.Root, whose ton was his 11th in tests and third against India, was finally out to Yadav though it needed confirmation from the television umpire after the paceman seemed to have lost control of the ball while celebrating the return catch.Moeen provided good support and hit nine fours in his unbeaten knock in the first Test of the five-match series.ENGLAND 1st inningsA. Cook lbw b Jadeja 21H. Hameed lbw b R. Ashwin 31J. Root c&b U. Yadav 124B. Duckett c Rahane b R. Ashwin 13M. Ali not out 99B. Stokes not out 19Extras (b-1 lb-2 nb-1) 4Total (for 4 wickets, 93 overs) 311Fall of wickets: 1-47 A. Cook,2-76 H. Hameed,3-102 B. Duckett,4-281 J. RootTo bat: J. Bairstow, C. Woakes, Z. Ansari, A. Rashid, S. BroadBowling:M. Shami 12.1 – 2 – 31 – 0, U. Yadav 18.5 – 1 – 68 – 1,R. Ashwin 31 – 3 – 108 – 2, MR. Jadeja 21 – 2 – 59 – 1(nb-1)A. Mishra 10 – 1 – 42 – 0last_img read more

September 16, 2020
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Grinding Gears: USC hoops can still make it to March

first_imgEric He | Daily TrojanAfter practice one day before the season began, senior guard Jordan McLaughlin talked about the heightened expectations that came with being ranked the preseason No. 10 team in the country.“We’re not going to be ranked No. 10 and blow it all away,” McLaughlin said.With seven games left in the regular season schedule, the jury is still out on pretty much everything for USC men’s basketball. A season that began with its hype train at full speed ground to a halt with three straight nonconference losses, a defeat to Princeton and then a lackluster Pac-12 opener against Washington.But then the Trojans caught fire, winning eight of their next nine games, their only loss coming on a halfcourt buzzer beater by Stanford. They beat Colorado, Utah and Cal by double digits. They pulled off close wins over Oregon and Oregon State, and then redeemed themselves against Stanford. And they took a huge step toward solidifying their NCAA Tournament bid.Still, there is work to do. USC lost to UCLA last Saturday in a game they should’ve won, if not for immaturity on the part of sophomore forward Nick Rakocevic and poor late-game execution. With or without De’Anthony Melton, it is clear at this point that the Trojans are not as strong as the No. 10 ranking they were handed preseason.They can, however, do their best not to “blow it all away.” Right now, the best case scenario for this team would be to make the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, and go from there. Expectations can shift over the course of the season, and considering the start to this year, simply making the tournament would be a win. To do that, USC must get through this pivotal weekend ahead against the Arizona schools in the desert.On Thursday, the Trojans will play an upstart Arizona State program that has faded in Pac-12 play but burst onto the scene early in the season with several impressive wins. On Saturday, they face No. 13 Arizona, the Pac-12 favorite.These two games, combined with last Saturday’s loss to UCLA, constitute perhaps the most important stretch of USC’s remaining schedule. The Sun Devils may be faltering in conference play, but still sport the most dynamic offense the Trojans will see this season. They lead the Pac-12 in scoring offense, while the Wildcats, after a poor start, have won 16 of 18 games, lead the Pac-12 in field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage and have emerged once again as a Final Four hopeful. History does not bode well for USC on this road trip. The Trojans have been swept on their last five sojourns to the desert and seven of the last eight years. The last time they beat both Arizona teams in the same season was in 1985. This history underscores just how big these two games are. At the very least, USC needs a split — and if it can’t pull the upset at Arizona, at least make it a close game. Because if the Trojans lose both games, there are few opportunities left to climb back up in the tournament picture.Heading into Thursday, the Trojans rank 45th in RPI. That should be good enough to qualify for the tournament — both ESPN and CBS currently project USC as an 11th seed. Both opponents this weekend rank ahead of USC in RPI — Arizona State is 44th, Arizona is 16th. After these two games, the Trojans won’t have a chance to really build on their resume. Their only big test will be the season finale against UCLA, which is 56th in RPI. Otherwise, games against Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado and Utah won’t move the needle.USC has been through a lot this season — the preseason hype, the early struggles, the injury bug that has hit star junior forward Bennie Boatwright again. And, of course, the ongoing FBI investigation that led to the firing of assistant coach Tony Bland and the absence of Melton all season has lingered in the back of everyone’s minds.Perhaps this team, which some thought would be a sleeper to make the Final Four, won’t be the one that brings USC hoops back to glory. The Trojans won’t fully live up to their No. 10 preseason ranking. But they can’t blow it all away, and a couple of wins this weekend would go a long ways toward avoiding that.Eric He is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Thursdays.last_img read more