Lankans Seize Initiative

Lankans seize initiative
 

Colombo August 10:ῠ The pens will be out quicker than daggers in self-defence. Obituaries of the batting quartet are certain to appear as India sit embarrassingly close to another crushing defeat. It was such an insipid and inept batting display that even the pair who batted an entire day in Kolkata in 2001 to revive Indian cricket might not be enough at the crease to alter things here. V.V.S. Laxman, with Gautam Gambhir as runner, survived 32 nervy minutes in the company of Rahul Dravid as India hung on to fight another day. Dravid who is under tremendous pressure to live to the high standards was unbeaten on a polished 46.ῠῠῠῠ

After their tardiness allowed Sri Lanka to post 396 in their first innings, India were on tenterhooks, losing five wickets and ahead by only 14 runs. With two more days left the script looks firmly in favour of the hosts. The Delhi duo gave a cracking start, something they had done consistently this series. Their 50 came in 49 balls but soon Sehwag’s uppish square cut and Gambhir’s ill advised pull, both against Dhammika, proved fatal.

With two frontline batsmen on the injured list and the openers not taking up the responsibility fully, Sourav Ganguly walked in much earlier than expected at four. The only period of reasonable resistance came from the two men who had stated their Test career together at Lord’s 12 years ago. Rahul Dravid and Ganguly added 43 runs in 15.2 overs to offer a semblance of promise.

After surviving a referral, Ganguly paid the price for trying to effect the sweep to a delivery pitched within the stumps and fullish in length. Parthiv Patel, promoted in the order by compulsion, looked mystified during his short stay. Ajantha Mendis trapped him with the carom ball to draw level with Sir Alec Bedser as the highest wicket taker for a debutant in a three Test series. He surpassed that tally with the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar later. It was also the first time Mendis had the measure of Tendulkar in six innings.

Mahela Jayawardene went for the referral twice in the same over bowled by Muralitharan against Tendulkar. It was clear the ball pitched marginally outside the line of leg stump on both occasions. Tendulkar failed to learn and was sent back when he offered no shot to Mendis to a delivery that pitched on off stump.ῠ

Earlier India extended all possible help to Sri Lanka when they set out to further extend their two-run lead. The lack of intensity was appalling. Singles were allowed freely and there was hardly a fielder who looked like saving one. Kumar Sangakkara started the day with a few delectable square cuts while Prasanna Jayawardene proved why his batting is held in high esteem by the locals. Anil Kumble grew grumpy and there was nothing much left in terms of innovation he could usher.

The non-availability of Ishant Sharma, who could not recover in time from his injury, was a costly loss. The bite was lacking as runs were collected with a measure of comfort. The effort of Prasanna added to Sangakkara’s confidence. Two shots from the wicket keeper lit up the Stadium. A well controlled pull off Zaheer Khan followed by a splendid cover drive off Anil Kumble were the best that flowed.

Sangakkara was neatly pouched by Parthiv who looked safe enough behind the stumps. The centurion followed the wrong one and duly nicked it. The pair had added 80 runs to push India out of the match. The disciplined effort of Sangakkara who spent more than seven hours at the crease fully deserved the standing ovation he received from the knowledgeable Tamil Union clubhouse.

What followed was pure misery for India. Dammika Prasad used the long handle to good effect carting Zaheer and Kumble for a few boundaries. Prasanna who a well deserved half-century in sight timed his flick too well for his own comfort and Harbhajan Singh took a well judged catch at deep square leg.

Ajantha Mendis joined Dammika and the rubbing of salt into the wounds continued. A 29-run partnership for the ninth wicket was the last thing India would have wanted on a day on which nothing went right. Kumble wrapped up the innings by trapping Mendis in front. A lead of 147 was achieved and India quietly trooped of fully aware they had little chance of coming back to bowl with a competitive target in place.

SCOREBOARD India (1st innings): 249 all out

Sri Lanka (1st innings) (O/N 251/6): 391 all out Batsmanῠhow outῠrunsῠballsῠ4sῠ6s K Sangakkara ῠc Patel b Kumble ῠ144 ῠ288ῠ14 ῠ0 P Jayawardene ῠc Harbhajan Singh b Khan ῠ49 ῠ116 ῠ5 ῠ0 D Prasad ῠst P. Patel b Harbhajan Singh ῠ36 ῠ56 ῠ5 ῠ0 A Mendis ῠlbw Kumble ῠ17 ῠ28 ῠ2 ῠ0 M Muralitharan ῠnot out ῠ0 ῠ1 ῠ0 ῠ0 Extras (b 4, lb 14, w 2, nb 1) ῠ21 Total (134.2 overs)ῠ396 all out Fall of wickets: 7-324 (Sangakkara, 113.5 ov), 8-367 (P Jayawardene, 125.5 ov), 9-396 (Prasad, 133.5 ov), 10-396 (Mendis, 134.2 ov) Bowling ῠO ῠM ῠR ῠW ῠ(E)ῠ Z Khan ῠ32 ῠ5 ῠ105 ῠ3 ῠ(1nb) I Sharma ῠ15.3 ῠ3 ῠ33 ῠ1 Harbhajan Singh ῠ40.3 ῠ8 ῠ104 ῠ3 ῠ(2w) A Kumble ῠ41.2 ῠ4 ῠ123 ῠ3 V Sehwag ῠ2 ῠ0 ῠ2 ῠ0 S Ganguly ῠ3 ῠ0 ῠ11 ῠ0

India (2nd innings): 161/5 Batsmanῠhow outῠrunsῠballsῠ4sῠ6s G Gambhir ῠb Prasad ῠ26 ῠ43 ῠ3 ῠ0 V Sehwag ῠc Samaraweera b Prasad ῠ34 ῠ29 ῠ7 ῠ0 R Dravid ῠ(batting)ῠ46 ῠ88 ῠ4 ῠ0 S Ganguly ῠlbw b Muralitharan ῠ18 ῠ50 ῠ1 ῠ1 P Patel ῠlbw b Mendis ῠ1 ῠ2 ῠ0 ῠ0 S Tendulkar ῠlbw b Mendis ῠ14 ῠ22 ῠ1 ῠ0 VVS Laxman ῠ(batting)ῠ17 ῠ37 ῠ1 ῠ0 Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 2, nb 1) ῠῠ5 Total (45 overs) ῠῠῠῠῠ161/5 Fall of wickets: 1-62 (Sehwag, 10.4 ov), 2-65 (Gambhir, 12.2 ov), 3-108 (Ganguly, 27.4 ov), 4-109 (Patel, 28.1 ov), 5-131 (Tendulkar, 34.5 ov) Bowling ῠO ῠM ῠR ῠW ῠ(E)ῠ C Vaas ῠ3 ῠ0 ῠ18 ῠ0 D Prasad ῠ8 ῠ0 ῠ46 ῠ2 ῠ(1nb, 2w) M Muralitharan ῠ16 ῠ0 ῠ56 ῠ1 A Mendis ῠ18 ῠ5 ῠ39 ῠ2

Most difficult hundred: Sanga
 

Colombo Aug. 10: The series has seen a few good batting performances till now and there is nothing to beat the grand effort of Kumar Sangakkara in the final Test. The wicketkeeper-batsman with a committed effort ensured Sri Lanka hold all the aces at the end of day three. The centurion reflected on the day’s play and what is in store for the next two days.

Excerpts:ῠῠ On the match so far and plan for Monday: The thinking is to keep India down to the lowest total possible so that we don’t have much to chase in the fourth innings. I think Chaminda Vaas is the guy who set us up really well. Prasanna Jayawardene also batted brilliantly. It is a game where each run is crucial and it has been a great team effort.

On his innings: I was very happy to get the hundred. This was one of the more difficult hundreds to get. At the same time, when you are a batsman, that’s basically your job. To try and get runs when the situation and conditions are not at their best.

On the pitch: I don’t think this track is going to get terribly worse. It has held firm. So anything in the region of 230 is manageable. But we want to keep them well below a hundred when we go out there on Monday.

On Ajantha Mendis’ world record (Maximum wicket for a debutant in a three-Test series): I think it is a phenomenal achievement. It is a fantastic thing for a youngster to come into the side and start delivering straightaway. We were looking for a support bowler for Murali. Vaas has done it for so many years and it is time one more bowler shared the workload.

On the Indian batting: In my view, the Indian batting line-up is probably the strongest in the world. But it doesn’t really matter how many runs you have scored. How good you are on a particular day matters most in Test cricket.

‘Mendis made the difference’
 

Colombo Aug. 10: Even for the eternal optimist rooting for India, the third and final Test should look as good as over. The middle order failings have dogged India once again. Harbhajan Singh who played a pivotal role in the team bouncing back in the second Test noted it has been a disappointing show from batsmen who have performed meritoriously in the past. The off-spinner who scalped three wickets in Sri Lanka’s first innings acknowledged that the consistent show by Ajantha Mendis has been the main reason for the hosts’ stranglehold.ῠῠ

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t performed as a batting unit. The same batsmen have won games for the country. It’s just a matter of not clicking collectively. I don’t have the reasons as it is difficult to explain. But what we must not forget is that they have bowled exceedingly well, especially Mendis. He has changed the series for them. Without him, I think Sri Lanka would have really struggled in this series. He has been outstanding,” said Harbhajan.

He also insisted that Mendis has been lucky throughout the series. “He is new to international cricket and the more batsmen play against him the more they will get to see him and learn how to handle him. He does have variations but every bowler has variations,” explained Harbhajan.

The team will be turning to Dravid and Laxman for a major partnership to rescue India.ῠ The pair has done it in the past and Harbhajan hoped for a Kolkata-like turnaround and said it would be great for Indian cricket if that were to happen. The wicket has held no demons and Sangakkara showed the way for Sri Lanka. If batsman can apply themselves to their task, runs are there for the taking. “If you have patience you can score a lot of runs. The wicket is not doing much for the medium pacers and it is not assisting the spinners too. It’s a good wicket to bat on and I hope we bat well tomorrow,” said Harbhajan.

The pitch has not changed much according to Harbhajan. “It’s stayed the same over three days. It’s quite a hard pitch. Maybe it will play a bit differently on the fifth day. And we have to bat really well for the match to go to the fifth day.”

Torres shows age no bar for medal
 

Beijing Aug. 10: Twenty-four years after Dara Torres first dived into an Olympic pool for a freestyle relay, she took the plunge again. There would be no gold medal on Sunday morning to match the one she won with the American team as a teenager, but Torres, now 41, would have no problem keeping up with most of the younger set. Her much-anticipated anchor leg kept the US in second place behind the Netherlands, whose team set the world record in the 4x100m freestyle relay in March and who won the Olympic gold comfortably in a time of 3 minutes 33.76 seconds.

Torres and the Americans took silver in 3:34.33 and the Australians the bronze in 3:35.05. But for all but the delighted Dutch, Torres’s remarkable comeback was the keepsake from the event that concluded the morning session. The morning also featured the first South Korean gold medal in swimming, by Park Tae Hwan in the men’s 400-meter freestyle, and world records in each 400 individual medley, by Michael Phelps of the US and Stephanie Rice of Australia.

Torres was already the oldest Olympic female swimming medalist in history, after taking gold in the medley relay in Sydney in 2000. But she is now the oldest swimming medalist of either gender, breaking the century-old standard of Britain’s William Robinson, who was 38 when he won the silver in the 200 breaststroke in the 1908 Games. But training standards, swimsuit technology and women’s sports have evolved beyond the imagining of those from Robinson’s era. “I think there are a lot of middle-aged women and men who I know and who have contacted me or e-mailed me or stopped me in the street and told me I was an inspiration to them,” Torres said. “As I’ve said from the beginning of this, age is just a number.

“When we’re in the water, I know the water doesn’t know what age we are.” After deciding to return to elite competition last year, Torres has sculpted her middle-aged body into an instrument capable of swimming faster than in her younger years, raising some doubts along the way about her methods. Torres, well aware of such concerns in an era where doping has tainted too many sports, has submitted to extra drug testing in an attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she is beating the biological clock fairly. She has now won 10 Olympic medals and is the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics. She received her latest prize just before noon on Sunday with her teammates Natalie Coughlin, Lacey Nymeyer and Kara Lynn Joyce by her side.

It was a day when the gold was shared equally. Although Michael Phelps once again made the phenomenal look routine by winning the 400 individual medley in world-record time, the other three gold medals went to different countries: the Netherlands, Australia and South Korea.

Rice, a dark-haired extrovert whose duel with the American Katie Hoff in the individual medleys has been hotly anticipated, set a ferocious early pace in the 400 medley. and then held off surges by Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe and Hoff to win in a world-record time of 4:29.45. That smashed Hoff’s mark of 4:31.12 set in June at the US Olympic trials.

Coventry, a former star at Auburn University, took the silver in 4:29.89, which was also below the previous world record. Hoff, who is scheduled to compete in five individual events here, was third in 4:31.71. For the 400 men’s freestyle, the gold went to South Korea’s Park, a talented 18-year-old who broke through to win the 400 at last year’s world championships. The silver, in a surprise, went to Zhang Lin of China, and the bronze went to Larsen Jensen of the US.

Aussies out to defend Athens gold
 

Beijing Aug. 10: Resurgent Australia hope to mark the centenary of men’s hockey at the Olympics by defending their gold medal against a strong field in the 12-nation competition starting on Monday. The Kookaburras, who won their first Olympic gold at Athens four years ago, reclaimed the number one ranking at Germany’s expense by lifting the elite Champions Trophy in the Netherlands in June. The victory revived Australia, who had struggled to build on their Olympic success after losing to Germany in the final of both the 2006 World Cup and the 2007 Champions Trophy.

But Australia coach Barry Dancer said the tag of being the world’s number one would mean little when the tournament, expected to be one of the closest in the sport’s history, starts. “Teams such as Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are all quality teams who, along with a number of other countries, are all capable of winning gold at Beijing,” said Dancer, who resigns from the post in December. Former masters India will miss the 100th year of Olympic hockey after the eight-time champions failed to qualify for the first time. India reigned supreme on grass with six consecutive titles from 1928 to 1956 and two more in Tokyo in 1964 and Moscow in 1980.

But with the switch to astroturf in the 1980s, they fell on such hard times that they lost to Britain in the Olympic qualifier in March, adding to the misery of a failed Asian Games campaign in Doha in 2006. “No one wanted to see India out of the Olympics but the reality is that the best 12 nations have qualified for Beijing,” said International Hockey Federation chief Els van Breda Vriesman. “But I am confident they will come back stronger and ready to take on the world again.”

Field hockey was first played at the Summer Games in London in 1908 with six teams drawn from England, Ireland and Scotland, but it was not until the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928 it became a regular medal sport. Germany, meanwhile, are looking to end a 16-year drought and wrest the Olympic gold medal they last won as a unified team in Barcelona in 1992 and, before that, as West Germany in 1972. The Germans were embarrassingly confined to a bronze medal in Athens four years ago despite being the reigning World Cup champions, but have conjured a remarkable revival since then.

The Netherlands will be looking to play in their fourth successive final, having won the gold at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Skillful Spain, unpredictable Pakistan and the speedy Koreans will fancy their own chances, making this event “too close to call” in the words of Spanish coach Maurits Hendriks.

Phelps inspires Blake to cross first hurdle
 

Beijing Aug. 10: US number one James Blake dodged heavy rain and thunder to secure a quickfire win but other stars were not so lucky as the Olympic tennis tournament faced serious weather disruption on Sunday. Blake, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez waited out a two-hour rain delay before booking their place in the second round, but top US women’s seed Serena Williams was frustrated by a series of showers. Williams was on and off Centre Court and was leading Belarus’s Olga Govortsova 6-3, 2-1 when the heavens opened with a vengeance, forcing a halt until at least 6:00 pm (1000 GMT).

Only nine of 18 matches in the morning session were completed, giving officials a headache as they juggle the packed singles and doubles schedule. Outgoing world number one Roger Federer was among those affected with his evening match against Dmitry Tursunov already delayed. Blake drew inspiration from Michael Phelps’ world-record 400m medley swim as he shrugged off the initial rain delay to beat Australia’s Chris Guccione 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Athens bronze medallist Gonzalez of Chile eased past China’s Sun Peng 6-4, 6-4 while Russian fourth seed Davydenko overcame dangerous Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-2. “It was very exciting. Sitting there this morning watching Michael Phelps set a world record was special to me because it made me realize how many people are inspired by him,” said Blake. “Now I’m in the position to have that opportunity, to go out there and get a medal for my country. Today was hopefully the first step towards that.” Czech player Tomas Berdych beat China’s Yu Xinyuan and Frederic Niemeyer of Canada retired to send Argentine Guillermo Canas into the second round.

Archers off mark, shooters misfire
 

Beijing, Aug. 10: India suffered a near total wash-out on the second day of the Beijing Olympics as shooters spearheaded by world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and the women’s archery team bowed out of the competition. The dismal show by the shooters continued with Sandhu, world title holder in trap event, wilting under pressure and compatriot Mansher Singh too failing to make it to the finals. Tipped a medal prospect, Manavjit could manage only 116 our of 125 to finish 12th at the end of the five-round qualifying sessions spread over two days at the Beijing shooting range.

In comparison, Mansher did better, tallying 117 to finish eighth. Mansher in fact came close to qualifying for the finals but in the end, a place in the top six just proved elusive for him. After his rounds of 23,23,24 on day one, Manavjit needed something special on the day to put himself back in contention for a top-six place but his final two rounds of 22 and 24 saw his hopes go up in smoke. In contrast, Mansher was more consistent as he fired twin 24 but Saturday’s 20 in the third round proved costly. But for that wretched round, Mansher could well have managed a place in the final.

A dejected Manavjit later admitted he has not been at the best of his form this year and here too, he could not conjure up anything special. “Unlike 2006 and 2007, I have not been in great form this year. I know people had expectations but form does fluctuate. I think there was no point coming here as anything but a contender,” he said.ῠ In archery, the Indian women’s team, comprising L. Bombayla Devi, Dola Banerjee and Pranitha Vardhineni was done in by the inexperience of Vardhineni against a formidable China after going neck and neck initially. Pranitha went haywire and shot a five as the Chinese grabbed the lead and went on to win it 211-206.

China in gold rush as medal race hots up
 

Beijing Aug. 10: Powerhouse China piled up more success on Sunday in their Olympic medal race with the United States, clinching golds in shooting and diving and a silver in the pool. After two gold medals on the opening day in shooting and women’s weightlifting, Guo Wenjun added another when she finished on 492.3 points to claim the women’s 10m air pistol title. Diving queens Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia successfully defended theirῠ synchronised three metre springboard crown while Zhang Lin grabbed an unexpected silver in the men’s 400m freestyle.

It leaves them with four gold and one silver to the American haul of two gold, two silver and four bronze as China looks to topple the mighty US in the medal standings for the first time. Guo’s score bettered the previous Olympic record of 490.1 set by Russia’s Olga Klochneva in 1996. “I am satisfied,” she said.ῠ “Actually, I didn’t adopt any specific measures. I think just the training was important.” Alongside Wu, Chinese superstar Guo collected the first of the two medals she is bidding for here as the pair retained the Olympic title they won in Athens.

Having also won the solo three metres springboard title four years ago, Guo is the hot favourite in the individual event of her third and final Olympics, having said she will retire after the Games. American superstar Michael Phelps grabbed the headlines by smashing his own 400m individual medley world record to claim the first of a possible historic eight golds, although Zhang’s accomplishment was also notable.

Chinese divers go gold
 

Beijing, Aug. 10: China leapt and twisted to gold in the women’s synchronised 3 metre springboard on Sunday, claiming the first diving medals in a sport which the host nation hopes to dominate. China’s “diving diva” Guo Jingjing and younger partner Wu Minxia lived up to their billing as favourites, compiling a total of 343.50 points to beat Russian duo Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyakova, who took the silver with 323.61. The Chinese pair, cheered on by an ecstatic capacity crowd, steamed into the lead on the second round with a beautifully executed back dive that won them perfect 10s for synchronisation from several judges, and strengthened their position with their next three dives.

The bronze medal went to Germany’s Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fischer who executed a strong last dive to pull out of a tie with the U.S. duo and finish on 318.90 points. Asked if the roaring home crowd had made them more nervous, Guo said: “We have prepared really well beforehand. We had all kinds of simulations in training, including those designed to help us deal with distraction and concentrate on the match.”

These will be the last Olympics for world champion Guo, who is hoping to claim the gold in the individual springboard as well to match her performance in Athens where she won top place in both events. If she does she will become the most successful female Olympic diver ever, narrowly topping the haul of compatriot Fu Mingxia.

Ronaldinho fires brace as Brazil sink Kiwis
 

Qinhuangdao, China Aug. 10: Ronaldinho scored twice as Brazil strolled to a 5-0 win over New Zealand at the Olympics on Sunday, while a delightful goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi gave Argentina a late win over stubborn Australia.ῠ The wins left the South American pair with 6 points from two games in their respective groups and guaranteed both a quarterfinal place with a match to spare.ῠ Italy joined them, beating South Korea 3-0 with a refreshingly positive display to chalk up their second straight win by the same score. Giuseppe Rossi and Tommaso Rocchi scored in the first half and Riccardo Monolivo added the third near the end.

African trio Cameroon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast won for the first time, Cameroon beating Honduras 1-0 with a harmless-looking Stephane Mbia shot which was misjudged by goalkeeper Kevin Hernandez.ῠῠ Nigeria overcame Japan 2-1 and Ivory Coast beat Serbia 4-2 with Salomon Kalou among the scorers.ῠ Gerald Sibon scored in the third minute of injury-time to give the Netherlands a 2-2 draw with the United States and Belgium beat China 2-0 to pick up their first points and leave the winless hosts on the brink of elimination.ῠ Argentina, with Juan Roman Riquelme controlling the midfield and Lionel Messi tormenting the Australia defence, dominated their game but failed to convert a string of chances.

China lead US in qualifiers
 

Beijing, Aug. 10: The Chinese women’s gymnastics team displayed a rare bout of nerves but held on to lead the Beijing Olympic qualifiers on Sunday when arch-rivals the United States made their own mistakes. Head Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen wanted more from his charges, rating their performance at only 70 percent after a number of errors gave a glimpse of the immense pressure the Chinese face in winning gold in Beijing. But the world champion Americans failed to capitalise when their own gymnasts committed uncharacteristic faults.

China led the qualifications after two of four rounds on 248.275, with the United States on 246.8, Japan 233.175 and Romania 238.425. Chinese’s He Kexin drew gasps from the 18,000 crowd at the National Indoor Stadium when she fell on her final apparatus, the uneven bars, then a rousing ovation upon completing her routine. “It’s a big shame, we felt very sorry for her,” Lu said through an interpreter.ῠ “It was just a small mistake, it’s quite normal for the young athletes who lack some experience. We took a risk on the uneven bars except for He, the other athletes were good.”ῠ He appeared close to tearsῠ but still received 15.725, the third highest score of the round.

Go Guzzi Go triumphs
 

Pune Aug. 10: Go Guzzi Go (Suraj Narredu up) won the Mayor’s Cup, the main event of the races held here on Sunday. 1. The Nelson River Plate 1200m: Shaktiman 1, Sudden Impact 2, Discover 3, Modesty 4. Won by: 4-1/4L, SH, 1-1/2L. Time: 1:13.92. Trained by: Dr. Anil Kumar. Favourite: Modesty. 2. The Radiant Plate 1400m: Siberian Siren 1, Expensive Affair 2, Gold Biscuit 3, Red Cloud 4. Won by: 3-1/2L, 2-3/4L, 2L. Time: 1:28.24. Trained by: H. Daji. Favourite: Siberian Siren. 3. The Albertini Plate 1000m: Forbes List 1, Fighting Fantasy 2, Sophie 3, Zen 4. Won by: 2-1/4L, 3L, 8L. Time: 1:01.84. Trained by: M.K. Jadhav. Favourite: Fighting Fantasy. 4. The Kia Ora Plate 1000m: Blue Blaze 1, Aegina 2, Needforspeed 3, Nuncio 4. Won by: 1-3/4L, Neck, 5L. Time: 1:01.50. Trained by: Shroff. Favourite: Blue Blaze. 5. The Strengthtostrength Trophy 1200m: RACE CANCELLED. 6. The Club Solaris Turf Club Trophy (Grade-III) 1400m: The Hurricane 1, Hugo 2, Aquilo 3, Beyond Belief 4. Won by: 2-1/2L, 3/4L, 1-1/4L. Time: 1:24.75. Trained by: C.D. Katrak. Favourite: The Hurricane. 7. The Mayor’s Trophy 1800m: Go Guzi Go 1, Western Challenge 2, Bourbon Queen 3, Name For Fame 4. Won by: 2-3/4L, 2-1/2L, 2-1/2L. Time: 1:55.25. Trained by: Todywalla. Favourite: Western Challenge. 8. The Goodness Gracious Plate 1400m: Sara Jahan 1, Black Warrior 2, Mubarras 3, Fire Queen 4. Won by: 1L, 1-3/4L, 5-1/2L. 1:28.95. Trained by: A. Siddiqui. Favourite: Black Warrior.

Archipenko lived up to expectations
 

Bengaluru Aug. 10: Archipenko, the second highest rated horse after Fleeting Arrow, lived up to the expectation of his followers by winning the Usha Stud Bangalore Summer Million in spectacular fashion on Friday (August 1).  The Darius Byramji trainee, Archipenko, was a bit lazy at the start but Christopher Alford improved the position to be up with the front-runners.

Southern Summit brought the field into view as Archipenko gained momentum from outside. Once alerted to the task, the son of Born To Dance (by China Visit), Archipenko swiftly sped past Southern Summit to register a facile win over hard-pressed Fantastic Quest. Chimerique came on well to deprive Endu-ring Star the third slot.

S. Padmanabhan-trained Western Command completed a hat-trick of wins with a narrow victory in the K.N. Chennabasappa Memorial Cup. Taken to the front by Wayne Smith from a forward position 300m from home, the Alnasr Alwasheek-Amantran progeny held on to the slender lead in straight to emerge victorious in a four-way finish involving late comers Royal Ambassador, who was lethargic at the start, Jet Fire and Mothers Pride.

Jockey Malesh Narredu rode a neat race on Leopardino in the Bold Gesture Plate. After biding his time in between horses for most part of the trip Malesh drove the Irfan Ghatala trainee through the shortest way to surge ahead of Royal Chief and Royal Bank close home to score by a comfortable margin.  The favourite, Mind Me, ended up fifth behind Don Cherry after setting a good pace till passing mid way up the stretch. Irfan Ghatal earned a fine double as his Freemason got stron er at the finish to edge out favourite Win-prettybaby at the post in the Ifllookscouldkill Plate. ‘

S.S. Attaollahi-trained Agassiz relished the soft underfoot conditions to claim the Patrons Cup with a start to finish bid. While Hidalgo improved places in straight to finish third ahead of late moving Star Of Excellence the course favourite, Star Speed, never found the foot and put up a dismal show. Consistency proved decisive for Glorious Princess – after finishing second in all her four starts this season – to lift the opener.

The favourite, Desert Rule, was the first to pack up after doing all the running while Pelikano rallied along the fence to pip Super Sha for the runner up slot. Note Pelikano over extended trips. In the Udhagamandalam Stakes, Word To Word picked up momentum right on time to win convincingly from hard-ridden Royal Zen. Flying Jet set a good pace until collard by the eventual winner in straight and ended up a long way third. The favourite, Simply Scintillate, was a dismal fifth.

Mathias clinches title
 

Bengaluru Aug. 10: Having virtually sealed his victory on Saturday, Sunday’s Super Special Stages were a mere formality for Vikram Mathias (co-driver P.V.S. Murthy) at the 34th IMG Karnataka-1000 rally championship. At the Gayathri Vihar Ground here, the Red Rooster driver eased to his second successive INRC, but first Karnataka -1000 championship title.

As the rolling wheel veered on the track, the Sunday morning crowd cheered him on. Mathias clocked one hour, 32 minutes and 21 seconds. He was ahead of his teammate Amitrajit Ghosh (Co-driver Ashwin Naik), who took the second spot, timing 1:33.50. MRF’s Gaurav Gill (Co-driver Moosa Sherief) clocked 1:41:07 to finish third. It was a commendable recovery for Gill considering he was placed 29th after the opening day.

Incidentally, both Ghosh and Gill, took the top spot in the Super Special Stage, with a time of one minute, 35 seconds.  Meanwhile, the father-son duo of Sanket Shanbhag and Ramesh Shanbhag won the 1600cc category clocking 1:42:31. Winspeed’s Mazdayar Vatcha (Vinayaka) came first in the 1400cc category while the Rally Star Cup, the beginners category, went to Final Results: Overall: 1 Vikram Mathias/ PVS Murthy (Red Roosters, 1:32:21); 2 Amitrajit Ghosh/ Ashwin Naik (Red Roosters, 1:33:50); 3. Gaurav Gill/ Moosa Sherief (MRF, 1:41:07). 1600cc: 1. Sanket Shanbhag/ Ramesh Shanbhag (1:42:31); 2. Chetan Shivaram/ Sangeeth (1:49:14); 3. Biju Anthony/ Uday Kumar (1:50:13). 1400cc: 1. Mazdayar Vatcha/ Vinayaka (Winspeed, 1:42:20); 2. S Sujay/ SM Bharath (1:43:10); 3. Sourabh Chaudhari/ Nirav Mehta (1:48:56)  Rally Star Cup: Vikram Devadasen/ Raymond (1:45:03); 2. Deepak Paul Chinnappa/ Chandrasekar M (1:45:47); 3. Shailendra Hegde (1:46:23). Gypsy Cup: 1. Sandeep Sharma/ Rashid Raza (1:52:41); 2. Surendra Babu/ Naveen YG (1:56:50); 3. Kamaljit Virdi/ Manoj Talwar (1:59:13).

Deccan Chronicle

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