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  •   Samson century helps Board President's XI salvage draw
    Kolkata: Indian Board President's XI skipper Sanju Samson led from the front with a fine century against Sri Lanka as the two-day warm-up match ended in a tie.After Sri Lanka accumulated 411 on the first day at the Jadavpur University campus ground in Kolkata, Samson presented his case for a Test call-up with a scintillating ton as Sri Lanka failed to force a result.​Samson struck a century in India's strong response with the bat on Sunday. The wicket-keeper batsman's knock of 128 came off 143 balls and included 19 boundaries and a six.Tanmay Agarwal and Jiwanjot Singh gave Board Presidents XI a decent start but Sri Lanka struck early.Lahiru Thirimane gave the visitors an early breakthrough by trapping Agarwal and soon removed Akash Bhandari to reduced BPXI to 39/2.However, Samson and Jiwanjot rebuild the innings and resisted Sri Lanka's attack with Samson being the aggressor.Both the batsmen made sure that they respect the good balls and although Jiwanjot's strike-rate was below 50, it was Samson who was scoring quick runs.Samson and Jiwanjot ensured BPXI don't lose further wickets and entered Lunch with 372 runs still behind.Soon after Lunch, Dilruwan Perera broke the stand as Jiwanjot was caught fishing outside the off-stump.Meanwhile, Samson brought up his half-century but Sri Lanka kept chipping away as Dhananjaya de Silva trapped Rohan Prem. BPXI entered Tea break at 203/4 with Samson holding one end and nearing his century.Minutes after the tea break, Samson brought up his century to keep the visitors at bay. Sadeera Samarawickrama finally cut short Samson's innings but his 128 helped BPXI salvage a draw.With the final hour of play coming up, B Sandeep and Jalaj Saxena had to play sensibly and the dup did exactly that to help BPXI salvage a draw. Earlier, Sri Lanka batsmen made merry against a docile bowling attack by Board President's XI, posting 411/6 declared at stumps on the first day.Opener Sadeera Samarawickrama (74 off 77; 13x4) top-scored for the tourists, who tackled the third-string Board President's XI bowlers with ease with as many as four batsmen scoring half centuries.Kerala medium-pacer Sandeep Warrier returned best figures of 2/60 with leg-spinner Akash Bhandari also bagging two wickets.What should augur well for the Dinesh Chandimal-led side is the fact that fit-again Angelo Mathews got back into the groove although he was not very fluent during his 93-ball 54.The former captain, who could not take part in the recent Pakistan series due to a calf injury, hit six fours and also got a reprieve on 53 when Jiwanjot Singh dropped him at first slip off Jalaj Saxena's bowling just before tea. Mathews retired after the break.Before Mathews, openers Samarawickrama and Dimuth Karunaratne got off to a good start, engineering a 134-run stand for the first wicket.Samarawickrama looked good for his fluent 74 off just 77 balls, his innings studded with 13 fours before Avesh Khan removed the right-hander who tried to hook the Madhya Pradesh pacer to fine-leg where Tanmay Agarwal took the catch.Karunaratne hit seven boundaries before retiring on a 62-ball 50 while Lahiru Thirimanne (17) missed out on a big score, leggie Bhandari getting his wicket.Chandimal -- in the thick of runs coming into the India series having amassed 224 runs in four innings against Pakistan at an average of 74.67 -- took his time in the middle playing 65 balls for his 29 before retiring.The big-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella struck a quickfire 38-ball 53 before retiring while all-rounder Dilruwan Perera tonked a couple of sixes en route his 44-ball 48 before Warrier got his wicket.Dickwella was back towards the end of the day to continue his surge and end the day unbeaten on 73 off just 59 balls.Warrier's second scalp was the promising Dhananjaya De Silva who could manage only 10 off 17 balls. Pacer Suranga Lakmal went for three with Bhandari getting him trapped in front. Saxena also got a wicket, that of Dasun Shanaka who contributed just two runs to the total.

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  •   Kohli needs to speak to Dhoni separately: Ganguly
    Former India captain Sourav Ganguly advised the under-fire MS Dhoni to approach Twenty20 Internationals "differently" after former cricketers opined that Dhoni should make way for youngsters in the T20 format. Former India bowler Ajit Agarkar and legendary batsman VVS Laxman questioned Dhoni's place in the T20 side after the World Cup winning skipper failed to guide India home in the second T20I against New Zealand."His record in T20I is not that good compared to ODIs. Hope Kohli and team management will speak to him separately. He has an immense ability. If he approaches T20Is differently, then he will be successful," said Ganguly.Ganguly, however, feels Dhoni has a lot of cricket left in him, especially in the ODI format."Definitely not for One-dayers. I think he should keep playing One-day cricket, but he has to play differently in T20Is. He has to play T20Is freely. It depends on the selectors and how they would like to play him," Ganguly said.The former India skipper was surprised to know that all-rounder Hardik Pandya was rested for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka."I'm surprised. I don't know if he's injured. He has played only three Tests... This is the age to play. I don't know the exact reason. Hope he's fit."India won't play with three spinners, definitely not at the Eden Gardens as the pitch here is different. They will play with two spinners and now since they don't have Hardik Pandya they may have a different combination for the all-rounders slot."Ganguly hoped Sri Lanka would give India fight after their confidence-boosting 2-0 win over Pakistan in the Test series last month."Of course India are the favourites. They are a much better side than Sri Lanka. Recently they won in Sri Lanka across all formats. I hope it won't be a one-sided series. The recent (limited overs) series against New Zealand was competitive. Hope Sri Lanka will play well," he said.

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  •   Dhoni plays down criticism, opens up on calls to quit T20Is
    Mahendra Singh Dhoni has played down criticism and calls for his retirement from T20 Internationals, saying "everybody has their own views in life".A few former India cricketers, including Ajit Agarkar, recently raised questions about Dhoni's T20 future, creating quite a storm in the country's cricketing circles.Even former batsman VVS Laxman seemed to be on the same page as Agarkar on Dhoni's T20 career.However, the two-time World Cup winning captain, as is his wont, seemed unperturbed."Everybody has views in life and it should be respected," Dhoni said when he was asked to comment on Agarkar's remarks.Dhoni, who won the 2007 inaugural World T20 as captain with a young India team and the 2011 ODI World Cup, struggled to get going as India lost by 40 runs in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rajkot.The 36-year-old, though, still finds enough motivation wearing the India colours."The biggest motivation is being a part of the Indian cricket team. You have seen cricketers who are not god-gifted, but even then, they have gone far. That's because of the passion. The coaches need to find that out. Everybody doesn't play for the country."Dhoni was in the UAE to launch his global cricket academy, inaugurating the M S Dhoni Cricket Academy his first international academy, in association with Dubai-based Pacific Ventures"I have always believed that process is more important than results.I never thought about results, I always thought what is the right thing to do at that point of time whether it's 10 runs needed, 14 runs needed or 5 runs needed."I was always so engrossed in the process that I never took the burden of thinking what if the result don't go my way."Asked to talk about his trademark helicopter shot in front of the excited kids and their parents, Dhoni said that he would not want a youngster to try such shots due to the chance of getting injured."(It is) something I learnt while playing tennis ball cricket on the roads of India. It is difficult. In tennis ball cricket even it's hit from the toe of the bat the ball still travels a lot but in normal cricket it has to be the middle part of the bat, so it requires a lot of work. I don't want them to play helicopter shots because they could get injured."Dhoni retired from Test cricket during India's tour of Australia in 2014/15 before stepping down as skipper of the limited overs side in 2016, allowing Virat Kohli to take on the mantle of Indian captaincy in all three formats of the game.Stay updated on the go with Sify Live Scores App. Click here to download it for your device

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  •   Mercedes F1 team robbed at gunpoint in Brazil
    Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton has alleged that members of his team Mercedes were robbed at gunpoint in their minivan on the eve of the Brazilian Grand Prix.Shaken by the incident, Hamilton took to Twitter and wrote, "Some of my team were held up at gun point last night leaving the circuit here in Brazil. Gun shots fired, gun held at ones head. This is so upsetting to hear. Please say a prayer for my guys who are here as professionals today even if shaken."The four-time world champion also urged Formula One to pay more head to security issues."This happens every single year here. F1 and the teams need to do more, there's no excuse!" his tweet read.No injuries have been reported in the accident which took place on Friday, reports Sports24.Meanwhile, Mercedes confirmed that only valuables were stolen and no one was injured in the accident.However, the Sao Paulo Police said they had not received any such reports.Earlier, Jenson Button was also threatened by gunmen in Sao Paulo ahead of the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.

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  •   Aamir praises Kohli for supporting young sportsmen
    Mumbai: Superstar Aamir Khan, who had earlier appeared on a chat show with Virat Kohli, praised the India cricket captain for supporting young sportsmen in the country."I think what Virat is doing and his entire effort to support to young sportsmen across the country is a wonderful idea," Aamir said on the sidelines of the first edition of Indian Sports Honour Awards organised by the Virat Kohli Foundation on Saturday here.Apart from Aamir, choreographer-filmmaker Farah Khan along with some of the cricket personalities attended the event.Kohli and his girlfriend and actress-producer Anushka Sharma stole the limelight as they walked together on the red carpet.Actor Sidharth Malhotra said that a lot needs to be done when it comes to sports. "Today, it's a great thing that we are honouring all sport personalities for their contribution to the country."I have just come here to support them. While growing up, I used to play rugby, football and basketball so, I think a lot has to be done when it comes to sports. Today's event makes it more important because they are supporting other sports apart from cricket. It's a great initiative," he added.Tennis star Sania Mirza admired Kohli's efforts. "Virat is doing an amazing job. We all know, the amazing batsman he is and the amazing captain we have. But it's really nice, as an athlete what he is trying to bring in sports and trying to give exposure to every other sport in our country."Farah, a close friend of Mirza, was also excited for the awards."I feel a film should be made on Sania Mirza's life. She has a great story. I don't know if I can make it because I am not sporty, but if possible I would love to because she is one of my best friends. As of now, I don't have such plans," said the "Happy New Year" director.

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