Cleveland Cavaliers 98-129 Golden State Warriors: Twitter erupts as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green showcase their supremacy


The Golden State Warriors made the most of a second-quarter burst to eventually down the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-98. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green made several highlight plays to get the job done for the home side at the Chase Center.The duo didn’t even have to feature in the fourth quarter with six Golden State Warriors scoring in double digits to close out the game with ease. They even restricted the Cleveland Cavaliers well who shot less than 40% from the field.Cleveland Cavaliers get going early but Golden State Warriors eventually take controlIt was a fairly close affair in the first quarter. Stephen Curry stepped up for the Golden State Warriors and scored a quickfire 16 points but the Cleveland Cavaliers responded well. The likes of Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen kept them in the running.Things changed towards the end of the second quarter where the Golden State Warriors went on a 23-8 lead to finish the first half with a 10-point advantage. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t recover from there as the Dubs extended their advantage in the third quarter thanks to the playmaking of Draymond Green.The Warriors have held their opponent to 105 points or less, and 40.6% FG shooting or less, in 4 of the last 5 games— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 202128 games into the season, the Warriors are the 8th seed in the West with a 15-13 record.Not too bad for the projected 14th seed ahead of the season. pic.twitter.com/GYc8ifhLdt— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) February 16, 2021I’d say it’s not the Cavs night. But not their month might be more accurate— 𝙅𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣 𝙍𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙣 🇨🇦 (@Cavsanada) February 16, 2021

Weird to see the Cavs down 20 against the Warriors. Usually doesn’t happen until June— Rashad (@rashadalaiyan) February 16, 2021Whispers* the nets showed how to stop a lot of the warriors plays….. (continues to whisper) but hopefully the rest of the league didn’t watch— IN THE LAB (@DevInTheLab) February 16, 2021Stephen Curry and Draymond Green too hot to handle for Cleveland Cavaliers The two veterans rose to the occasion again

Stephen Curry continued his tremendous campaign with another outstanding performance. He had 36 points for the Golden State Warriors tonight on 13-of-19 shooting including seven made threes. He’s on course to become only the third player in NBA history to record a 5-40-90 clip in multiple seasons alongside Larry Bird and Steve Nash.Curry was aided in his efforts by Draymond Green who’s been flawless as the primary playmaker for the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaged 11.6 assists per game since the start of February and had 16 dimes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.Steph Curry is averaging 30/6/5 on 50/44/94 splits.He’s carrying a team missing Klay Thompson and ALL 3 big men to a playoff spot in the West. Stop saying he’s in the MVP conversation…he IS the MVP. pic.twitter.com/sXHbJSB6mA— Guru (@DrGuru_) February 16, 2021

Steph Curry and Draymond Green, it turns out, are good basketballers.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) February 16, 2021Curry is very nearly doing 50 40 90 on 30ppg while teams main goal is to harass him as much as possible since his star teammates are goneThis is going to be funny forever— Dom2K☘🤦🏾‍♂️ (@Dom_2k) February 16, 202110 straight games with 27+ points for Steph Curry is the longest such streak of his career— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 16, 2021Draymond’s passing x Steph’s gravity is the most lethal offensive combo in basketball— Antonin (@antonin_org) February 16, 2021

Draymond is avg’ing more assists (8apg) than points (5.2ppg). Who is the last qualified starter to do that?— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) February 16, 2021The Golden State Warriors will now take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to end their eight-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs.Also read: “Do you not think that affects someone mentally?” Draymond Green blasts the NBA for differential treatment of teams and players in trade situations
Published 16 Feb 2021, 12:08 IST

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Root: Pitch not to blame for England defeat


England captain Joe Root says team “outplayed” by India on tough surface as they lose second Test by 317 runs; skipper feels his men can learn from the way the hosts found control with the ball and batted calmly; third Test in Ahmedabad from February 24

Last Updated: 16/02/21 10:01am

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England captain Joe Root says his squad must not get too down about their heavy defeat in the second Test against India.

England captain Joe Root says his squad must not get too down about their heavy defeat in the second Test against India.

Joe Root refused to blame the spin-friendly Chennai pitch for England’s thumping defeat to India in the second Test – and has urged his side to learn from the difficult conditions they faced.
England were spun out for 134 and 164 at MA Chidambaram Stadium on a dusty surface as India wrapped up a 317-run victory on day four to level the four-match series at 1-1.Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin completed hundreds for India and Root says the hosts showed England a template for scoring runs on unhelpful tracks for batsmen. Root says his side must learn from the challenging conditions they faced in Chennai (Pic credit – BCCI) “I wouldn’t say it was a good pitch but it made for very exciting cricket and it was not the reason we lost the game. We were outplayed in all three departments,” said the England skipper.”For us, it’s a bit of an education. It was a surface that spun a huge amount and bounced more than we anticipated but we should take that as a learning and be better for it the next time we experience conditions that are similar.”The toss was an important one to win – but it wouldn’t have guaranteed us a win either. India showed you can score runs and found a way of managing a very tricky surface.”Our batters need to learn from how India rotated strike, while what I took from how they played was how calm and unflustered they were. When a delivery really misbehaved, they didn’t waver from their game-plan.” Ravichandran Ashwin (pictured) and Rohit Sharma scored centuries for India in the second Test (Pic credit – BCCI) Root – whose side will be looking to bounce back in the day-night third Test in Ahmedabad from February 24 with their six-match winning streak in overseas Tests having been snapped – also felt his bowlers could have been more frugal on day one when India reached 300-6 after electing to bat.”We have to find ways of building pressure for long periods of time with the ball, bowling six balls at one batter, which India made very difficult for us.”Can we string maidens together and force wickets through very disciplined passages of play? I think India did that better than us.”On day one we could probably have been a bit tighter and squeezed the game, making it hard for them to score freely. The four-match Test series is tied at 1-1 heading into the third Test, a day-night fixture in Ahmedabad from February 24 “We have to learn from the opposition, who played very well, but we are 1-1 in the series and there are two very important games to come.”We are very excited about that because of how well we played in the first game. We are very much in this series. It’s set up very nicely.”We have to stay level. We don’t get above our station when we win and it’s not all doom and gloom when we have tough weeks.”It is very important we stay level as a team. We have to learn but that is one thing we have done well in recent times so hopefully we can take that into the rest of the series.” 0:52 Root says he understands Moeen Ali’s decision to leave England’s bio-secure bubble and return home to his family Root says he understands Moeen Ali’s decision to leave England’s bio-secure bubble and return home to his family Root – who also confirmed that all-rounder Moeen Ali will miss the rest of the series having opted to fly home – said Ben Stokes only bowled two overs in the game for tactical reasons, not due to injury.”Ben is fit and able to bowl but, on that surface, you look at the overs of seam bowled and it was minimal,” said Root.”I’m sure Ben will have an impact on this series with the ball as he did in the first game. He can grab big moments and turn them on their head.”Pressed on whether he wanted to include the rested James Anderson, who had starred with a scintillating spell of reverse-swing bowling on day five of the first Test, Root added: “It was discussed. “But we need to look at the series as a whole. The pink-ball game looks an exciting opportunity for someone like him to have a real impact.”Follow text commentary of the day-night third Test between India and England in Ahmedabad on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 8.30am on Wednesday, February 24.

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McGeechan’s Lions XV: Russell, Farrell the 10-12 axis


Sir Ian McGeechan has selected his British and Irish Lions team to face world champions South Africa this summer.
The legendary Lions coach highlights who made the biggest impressions during the first two rounds of the Six Nations as competition for places in Warren Gatland’s squad intensifies…Back three: ‘You need gamebreakers in South Africa’It’s only been two weekends of the Six Nations, but in the back three there are some significant names and there have already been some very good performances in that area. Stuart Hogg scored twice against Wales on Saturday It has to be Stuart Hogg at full-back, he’s in outstanding form and he’s confident. He’s making fewer errors, he’s good under the high ball and I think against South Africa you need players who can break the game up.We know how good a player Elliot Daly is, he’s just not where he was a couple of years ago.I want to mention Liam Williams as well, because I think when he went to full-back at the weekend, it changed the Welsh attack. It helped Louis Rees-Zammit in what he did as we all. I like Williams in the backfield, I think he’s a genuine game-changer. 0:18 Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Louis Rees-Zammit after his match-winning try against Scotland Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Louis Rees-Zammit after his match-winning try against Scotland At the moment, I’d have Rees-Zammit on the right wing on form, and the other wing I’d have is Duhan van der Merwe.Then you’ve got the back-up of Anthony Watson who can be a winger or full-back, Williams, and James Lowe who comes into the equation.Warren Gatland’s going to be spoiled for choice in the back three. Duhan van der Merwe evades the tackle of Wales’ Leigh Halfpenny Midfield: ’12 is a position that’s open’Good team performances often highlight good players, but England aren’t firing on all cylinders so some of the players are not showing genuinely how good they are and can be.Henry Slade is a player who I really like watching, I think he’s got a lot of talent, but some of the England players at the moment have struggled a little bit because tactically they haven’t honed everything collectively.So I think Slade is there or thereabouts, but I think Chris Harris on form over the two games should be there at outside centre. Chris Harris hands off Wales’ Owen Watkin in Edinburgh The issue we’ve got is that 12 is a very open position in all the teams. Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are a settled combination in Ireland, whereas Wales have had disruption through injuries.Nick Tompkins I like, so there are players there who I think can make a statement in the remaining games of the championship, but I would put Owen Farrell at inside centre because I think you also need a goal kicker in a Test team.You’ve got to be prepared to win it by penalties as well as tries, if you need to. Farrell, with his experience, played very well in New Zealand for the Lions at 12 with Johnny Sexton at 10. Owen Farrell switched to inside centre for England’s win over Italy Half-backs: ‘Boks would be scared of a Lions team with Russell’Finn Russell at fly-half, you’ve got to go for him. I think South Africa would be worried if they saw a Lions team with Finn Russell in it.Yes, they may feel they could challenge him and cause issues with his decision-making, but I think he’s matured tremendously since he’s played with Racing 92, and all the messages coming out of the Scotland camp are about how good he’s been in training; talking to other players, getting ideas across and decision-making, which is so important for a 10. Finn Russell is playing his way into Lions contention Go back a few years and there was one Gregor Townsend who did the same.He’s a tremendous passer of the ball and is very good at running support lines and can take the first player on, but it’s the variety of his kicking game that could be so important on the highveld as well as at sea level.Gatland’s got some challenges at scrum-half. Dan Robson coming on actually showed a little bit of buzz and speed for England, and Ireland I think will go back to Conor Murray when he’s fit. Wales are still working out their scrum-half – there was a change almost at half-time which was interesting. Ali Price’s smart kick over the top created Scotland’s first try against Wales Over the last two weeks, I would go with Ali Price. He’s a natural link with Russell and he’s got a good kicking game, but he’s also quick and will have a go at forwards on the front foot. He’s not afraid of attacking the spaces either side of the breakdown.Front row: ‘You can’t be pushed all over the place in South Africa’In South Africa you have to have a good set-piece. Not necessarily dominant, but you can’t afford to be pushed back and be all over the place. You have to have parity at least. Kyle Sinckler has won 44 caps for England since making his debut in 2016 Tadhg Furlong is a player I really like, similarly Andrew Porter, but Kyle Sinckler gets in at tighthead prop for his impact.Sinckler is good with ball in hand, so you’ve got all the bonus of a very good footballer in open play, but technically you’ve got a good tighthead as well.I’ve gone with Wyn Jones at loosehead. I think technically, scrummaging wise, he can be challenged a bit, but given the form of the current props, it was between him and Rory Sutherland. Mako Vunipola needs to be playing games, he’s off the pace at the moment. George Turner outplayed Jamie George at Twickenham, says Sir Ian McGeechan George Turner carried well at the weekend. he tackles well and his game involvement is very high. I’ve been very impressed with him.He was good against England, if not better than Jamie George, and was again very positive against Wales at the weekend so he’s my choice at hooker.Second row: ‘Beirne benefitting from O’Connell’s influence’Alun Wyn Jones is an amazing player. I don’t think he’s the best second row, but for influence alone he’s so important to the Welsh team. Tadhg Beirne celebrates after scoring Ireland’s first try against Wales Along with Jones, you’ve got Jonny Gray, who’s going well with Scotland, and I’ve been impressed with Scott Cummings as well.Obviously James Ryan has been brilliant since breaking onto the scene, and Iain Henderson has been playing well.It’s an area where I think Gatland is going to be spoiled for choice, but for my second row I’ve gone with Tadhg Beirne and Maro Itoje.Itoje gave a lot of penalties away against Scotland which is back to what he was doing a couple of years back, but he was much better against Italy on Saturday. Maro Itoje wears the No 4 jersey in Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions XV There is a slight question mark over Itoje on form, but I think Beirne has had two good games for Ireland and I think he’s benefitted greatly from having Paul O’Connell on the coaching staff.Back row: ‘You want someone scrambling for the ball’I thought Rhys Ruddock almost put himself in the picture at blindside flanker with the way he performed against France. You need an aggressive one in the back row – CJ Stander, who can play there, has also been playing well. Will Jamie Ritchie be in the Lions’ Test XV against the Springboks? Jamie Ritchie didn’t play at the weekend, but he would be my frontline player. I think Ritchie as a young back rower has a very good presence; he’s physical, he’s big and he’s quick. I’d have Stander on stand-by, he’s been leading the way for Ireland with carries.Hamish Watson is my openside, without a doubt. Over two games he’s been outstanding, and the sort of player you want scrambling around the ball and on the floor against South Africa.I think Tom Curry will be there, I do like him as a seven, and the other one I like is Justin Tipuric, who I think is underestimated in the impact he has. In the last 20 minutes at Murrayfield, he was outstanding. Scotland openside Hamish Watson is McGeechan’s pick in the No 7 jersey Taulupe Faletau is my No 8. I thought he played well at the weekend, and the longer the game went on the better he got.At times he’s been a bit peripheral and not involved, but I thought he was dominant. He had double-figure carries and double-figure tackles against Scotland. That’s what you want from your No 8. Billy Vunipola won’t be far away when it comes to the final measure, but over those two games I think Faletau has been one of the influential players in Wales’ two wins.Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions XV: 15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Finn Russell (Scotland), 9 Ali Price (Scotland), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales), 2 George Turner (Scotland), 3 Kyle Sinckler (England), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 5 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 6 Jamie Ritchie (Scotland), 7 Hamish Watson (Scotland), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales).

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Reid and Hewett defend men’s wheelchair title


British duo Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett equal the domestic record set by brothers Laurence and Reginald Doherty, who won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles, all at Wimbledon, between 1897 and 1906 with Australian Open glory in the men’s wheelchair event

By PA Media
Last Updated: 16/02/21 6:15am

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett claimed more Grand Slam glory at the Australian Open

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett claimed a British record-equalling 10th Grand Slam doubles title as a team when they successfully defended their men’s wheelchair title in Melbourne.
The top seeds beat French pair Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 7-5 7-6 (7-3) to also extend to five their winning streak of victories in available Grand Slams.Hewett said: “To win back to back is an awesome feeling, especially with the situation at the moment, not knowing how many opportunities we’re going to have to compete this year.” Reid and Hewett equalled the domestic record set by brothers Laurence and Reginald Doherty, who won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles, all at Wimbledon, between 1897 and 1906. Reid added: “Obviously it’s been an amazing ride – when we started playing with each other Alfie was just a young kid coming up, finishing school, and I was number one in world doubles at the time.”It was a bit of a gamble to be honest, at that stage, obviously one I’m happy that I took, and it’s paying off nicely for us now.”Andy Lapthorne and American partner Dylan Wagner lost their quad wheelchair doubles final to top-seeded Australians Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson 6-2 3-6 10-7. Reid and Hewett pose with the championship trophy after winning the men’s wheelchair doubles title Lapthorne returned last month after announcing, having lost two French Open finals in October, that he was taking time away from the game in order to focus on his mental health.He said: “It was difficult, I’m not going to lie, especially in that 10-point tie-breaker when all of a sudden the pressure comes and the anxiety and all those feelings I had back at Roland Garros.”But I’m battling away, and I’m trying my best each day to work on myself and work on my mind and it’s small steps, and it was nice just to be back out there.” Lucy Shuker and South African partner Kgothatso Montjane lost their women’s wheelchair doubles final to Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot 6-4 6-1.Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/tennis, our Twitter account @skysportstennis & Sky Sports – on the go! Available to download now on – iPhone & iPad and Android

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WWE further restricting talents social media posts, issuing violations for naming third parties – Reports


Back in September, WWE came under fire from both its Superstars and the WWE Universe. The company announced that it would be restricting the use of third-party applications such as Twitch and Cameo.Unfortunately, despite the outrage it caused online, the company went through with it regardless. An official ban was subsequently put in place at the end of October.Vince McMahon and WWE then proved they were serious about the ban. WWE released Zelina Vega (Thea Trinidad) from her contract for her refusal to give up her Twitch account. Today it has been learned that WWE is taking things even further than before.Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. reports that WWE is now issuing violations to talent for social media posts that naming “any third-party business, person, brand, or charity.”WWE will issue warnings, fines, and even suspensionsWrestling Inc. reports that violations of these rules will start with a warning, but could progress to a fine and even turn into a suspension. The company claims a clause in WWE talent’s contracts grants it “exclusive use of their likeness.”Sources told Giri that talent who complained about the new restrictions were informed that the current “flexibility” WWE allows its talent to have online could be retracted.It was reported last week that the talent was unhappy backstage ahead of WWE SmackDown on Friday. With this news breaking now, it’s not hard to put the pieces together to find out where some of the recent unhappiness came from.A recent study from LoveUX shined a light on how beneficial these third-party ads can be for celebrities and athletes. It points out that both RAW Superstars Lana and Mandy Rose earned roughly half a million dollars from their sponsored posts in 2020.

While that is a lot of money, it really shouldn’t be anything WWE needs to concern themselves with. The company is doing well financially without actively restricting how its independent contractors earn additional cash.What do you think about WWE’s latest third-party restriction? Do the talent have a leg to stand on, or are they contractually bound to agree to such terms? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Published 16 Feb 2021, 05:27 IST

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Fan Controlled Football: How to watch the FCF League on Twitch



Fan Controlled Football is now streaming on Twitch. Twitch is a live-streaming platform for online gamers and other lifestyle casters supporting building communities around a shared interest in streaming.Gamers share their game screens with millions of viewers and interact with them while playing. Twitch is free, but when it comes to subscribing to a channel, that is where the cost comes into play.The online streaming platform is now the home of the Fan Controlled Football League. It is a professional football league that the fans control. The Fan Controlled Football League plays out based on how fans vote.With Twitch being the most prominent gaming streaming platform right now, FCF streaming its games on there is good news.Twitch is the home of the MCS (Madden Championship Series), which is watched and played by many NFL fans. With FCF streaming online, it eliminates the need for a cable service provider.Every football fan wants to know how to watch a professional game for free through live streaming. The FCF gives every professional football fan what they want for six weeks. Here’s how all football fans can tune into the live stream on Twitch.How can a Fan Controlled Football League fan watch the game on Twitch? Former Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel

If a football supporter wants to tune in and watch the Fan Controlled Football League, they will just need to create a Twitch account. FCF has its own Twitch channel where all the games are streamed live. Fans can get involved either on the Fan Controlled Football Twitch channel or the FCF app.One of the main attractions of the Fan Controlled Football League is former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Manziel is the starting quarterback for the FCF Zappers team. The main point of the FCF League is to get the fans more involved in the game itself.FCF fans have the ability to vote on the outcomes of the game. Whether it be the coin toss, two-point conversion, or penalties, fans control the league. With the first week down and successful, it looks like the Fan Controlled Football League may be around for a while.All Fan Controlled Football League games can be watched on any computer, laptop, mobile device, gaming console, or tablet. All fans have to do is download the Twitch app and create an account. Then, follow the league’s page and tune in when the games start. Enjoy!
Published 16 Feb 2021, 06:03 IST

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Brilliant Foakes reignites England wicketkeeping debate


Ben Foakes was superb with the gloves on a big-turning Chennai surface (Pic credit: BCCI)

With two days left in Chennai, it is a matter of when rather than if an England defeat is confirmed.
Joe Root’s side need another 429 runs to win with only seven wickets remaining on a raging turner against an India side with three high-quality spinners in their ranks.So, yes, when that final wicket goes down, you can expect plenty of discussion over the tourists’ rotation policy that saw them make four changes to the XI that claimed a famous win in the first Test. India have comprehensively outplayed England over the past three days but of the four players brought into the visitors’ side, it is arguably only Stuart Broad – England’s player of 2020 and a man with 517 Test wickets – who has struggled to make an impact in the game, and that is as much due to the conditions restricting his involvement as anything else.Olly Stone has impressed after coming in for the injured Jofra Archer and while Moeen Ali would admit he was not at his best in India’s first innings, he was much improved second time around, removed Virat Kohli in both innings and finished with eight wickets in the match. Moeen Ali dismissed Virat Kohli in both innings after being recalled to the England XI (Pic credit:- BCCI) Then, there’s Ben Foakes.The Surrey wicketkeeper’s inclusion for this game was the most pre-determined of all the changes, it was essentially confirmed the moment national selector Ed Smith revealed that Jos Buttler would return to the UK following the first Test, missing the next three before returning for the white-ball leg of the tour.Putting aside all discussion over whether key players should be taken out of the side for three-quarters of such a big series, the timing actually seemed to work quite nicely.The long-running debate over who should keep wicket for England had died down following Buttler’s efforts with both bat and gloves since the start of last summer.The Lancashire man was established as first choice and was doing well enough that even though some might still prefer Foakes, or perhaps Jonny Bairstow, it was not a pressing issue. Additionally, Foakes getting his chance in India was a convenient way of keeping a good player, and excellent gloveman, involved at the start of a hectic year in which he may well need to be called upon again. Jos Buttler returned home after the first Test as part of England’s rotation policy (Pic credit: BCCI) Instead, Foakes has spent much of the Test trying to get the whole debate raging once more with a faultless display with the gloves in India’s first innings, an assured unbeaten 42 as England slumped to 134 all out in their first dig and then, on day three, producing a morning session masterclass behind the stumps that included two fantastic stumpings.It was Foakes’ 28th birthday but it was Jack Leach receiving the presents as the wicketkeeper’s lightning-fast hands caught Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant out of their ground as great keepers of the past purred on social media. This is an absolute master class from Ben Foakes behind the stumps 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #INDvsENG— Matt Prior (@MattPrior13) February 15, 2021 Of course, it is worth remembering that Buttler did not put a foot wrong behind the stumps either in Sri Lanka or in the first Test in Chennai and has proven himself to be extremely reliable when stood back in home conditions, too.However, if it came down purely to glove work then Foakes would be donning the gloves for England in every Test – well perhaps not in this year of rotation. He is the superior gloveman and it is when you see displays like the one on day three that you appreciate why Alec Stewart has repeatedly labelled Foakes the best pure wicketkeeper in the world. Keepers with 5+ stumpings in their first 6 Tests for England:Edward Tylecote 1882-86Les Ames 1929-31Ben Foakes 2018-21— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) February 15, 2021 … and Ben Foakes is the first keeper to take 2 stumpings on his birthday in a Test match.— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) February 15, 2021 Foakes did blot his copybook with a couple of missed stumpings, tough though they were (the second may actually have taken an edge which negates the stumping chance somewhat but then becomes a dropped catch, so take your pick).This is not to say that he isn’t the best, only to highlight that even picking your best man with the gloves – even if he is the world’s best – does not guarantee that every catch will be taken or every stumping completed.In any case, the days of wicketkeepers being able to stay in the side based only on what they offer behind the stumps are long gone, they need to be contributing with the bat as well. “He’s the best gloveman England have had for a number of years… but we’ll always come back to the fact that it’s a full package with batting.” Steve Harmison on Ben Foakes (Pic credit: BCCI) The reason Buttler found his spot in the team under threat at the beginning of last summer had nothing to do with his wicketkeeping and everything to do with a lack of runs.Equally, once he found his form with the bat – playing a match-winning knock against Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford before making a century at the Ageas Bowl later in the series – he was never in danger of being dropped after a couple of blemishes with the gloves.Buttler averages 52.76 with the bat in his last nine Tests following a barren series in South Africa last winter, compared to a career average of 34.53 in 50 Tests, and after years spent trying to find the best way to bring his explosive white-ball game to the longer format, he has finally looked at home in the red-ball arena.By comparison, Foakes is halfway through his sixth Test and boasts an average of 46.74. Four of those matches have been in the subcontinent and even in his short international career, Foakes has shown himself to have the game and the temperament to succeed in spin-friendly conditions. Foakes showed his ability to produce with the bat in England’s first innings (Pic credit: BCCI) You only have to look at England’s first innings in this match to see how valuable that is.It is actually against seam bowling that Foakes has struggled so far at Test level. He is yet to play a home Test but he was dropped two games into the series in the Caribbean early in 2019 after averaging just 13.75 against the West Indies’ four-pronged pace attack. In his Test career so far, Foakes has been much more comfortable against spin, than pace. He’s averaged 64.75 against spinners, compared to just 22.25 against quicks – he’s fallen every 43 balls to the latter. #INDvENG— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) February 14, 2021 Judging him by such a small sample size would be unfair but it might explain why England were less keen than some to throw Foakes in for Buttler last year when the latter was out of sorts with the bat.The pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad may give Foakes more of an opportunity to show what he can offer when the ball is doing a bit for the pace bowlers and with home series against New Zealand and India before the Ashes in Australia, he will have to do so soon enough if he wants to displace Buttler long term.England do have the option of playing them together and using Buttler as a frontline batsman, but with Ollie Pope set to continue his development at No 6 for a while yet, it is highly unlikely they will consider such an option any time soon. How good has Ben Foakes been! Such a joy to watch a top performer on a tough pitch. Just imagine, he couldn’t have played on too many pitches like this one and still, he is at home on it.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 15, 2021 In all likelihood, Buttler – who it should not be forgotten is also considered a hugely valuable member of the leadership group within the squad – will reclaim the gloves for the Tests against New Zealand. I would say that given his form and that, strictly speaking, he is the man in possession, you cannot argue with that but, of course, plenty will.That is credit to Foakes and all he can do is continue to show his class with the gloves, contribute with the bat and make sure that there is still a debate to be had by the end of this series. Oh, and just to make it interesting, Bairstow is back in contention for the third Test, too…Follow text commentary of day four of the second Test between India and England in Chennai on skysports.com and the Sky Sports app from 3.50am on Tuesday.

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“Last time I was sweeping, I was 19” – Ravichandran Ashwin reflects on memorable hundred


After scoring his fifth Test hundred on Day 3 of the second Test against England in Chennai, Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that playing sweep shots against the spinners was a well thought out strategy.Ashwin scored 106 from only 148 balls in India’s second-innings total of 286, on a surface that some experts deemed unfit for Test cricket.Speaking at the end of the day’s play, the 34-year-old stated that he will sleep well through the night to recover. On his plan to use the sweep shot to counter England’s slow bowlers, Ashwin explained:“Even after the last Test, we spoke about how we are going to counter (Jack) Leach and probably bring sweep to the game. Last time I was sweeping, I was 19 years old, and was dropped from the first XI after I got out. I hit a bit of sweep shots well today. I am thankful the plan has paid off. Sort of had a very good day. I don’t know when I will play my next Test here, but I’m very pleased.”Ravichandran Ashwin was the last man out as India set England an improbable 482 to win the Test.Credit to Vikram Rathour for improvement in my batting: Ravichandran AshwinDuring his innings, Ravichandran Ashwin featured in a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket with Indian captain Virat Kohli. He notched up his first Test hundred since August 2016, and first against a team other than the West Indies.The veteran off-spinner credited batting coach Vikram Rathour for the significant improvement in his batting over the last few matches, including the Sydney blockathon. Praising Rathour, Ravichandran Ashwin said:“I have started practicing the sweep; I can’t say if it has just been happening over the last three days. Vikram Rathour has been helpful in exploring new options. I’d love to credit him for how I’ve played with the bat in the last few months.”

On the discussion between him and Mohammed Siraj as he approached his hundred on his home ground, Ravichandran Ashwin said it was a bit light-hearted. He revealed:“In the past, he’s (Ishant Sharma) been with me when I got hundreds at home and once Siraj came, I knew how to approach. I was just telling Siraj to look at the line of the ball and go wherever he wants. It was a funny thing and it was exciting to see how he [Siraj] celebrated and that says a few things about the dressing room. The moment I got the runs and looked up at the balcony, the applause was thunderous. I can’t thank the crowd enough, they have been very supportive.”England crumbled to 53 for 3 at stumps on Day 3 of the Test. Axar Patel picked up two wickets, while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped one.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 18:37 IST

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Watson withdraws ‘poor’ criticism of Fagerson red


Hamish Watson described the decision to send off Zander Fagerson for a tackle on Alun Wyn Jones at a ruck as “absolutely dreadful”; the flanker changed his stance on Monday, explaining his “emotions were very high” after Scotland’s loss to Wales

By PA Media
Last Updated: 15/02/21 12:28pm

Hamish Watson says his original comments on Zander Fagerson’s sending off were made when “emotions were very high”

Hamish Watson has described his comments about Scotland team-mate Zander Fagerson’s sending off against Wales as “poor”.
Prop Fagerson was dismissed by referee Matthew Carley 13 minutes into the second half of Saturday’s Six Nations contest at Murrayfield, which Scotland lost 25-24.The decision came after Fagerson had made a shoulder-led challenge into Alun Wyn Jones at a ruck. After the match, Scotland flanker Watson said the call was “rubbish”, “absolutely dreadful” and “not rugby”.On Monday, replying to a tweet featuring a video of him making the remarks, Watson said: “Poor comments from me, emotions were very high after losing a very tight match. Players’ health is paramount.”A week on from their victory over England, Scotland led Wales 17-8 at the interval before things turned around in the second half. Fagerson leaves the field after being shown a red card against Wales When asked after the match about Fagerson and his red card, Watson said: “That was a rubbish call. An absolutely dreadful call. That’s not rugby, that call.”Zander is absolutely fine. We’ve already got round him. He’s a great player and a big part of everything we do with Scotland. He can hold his head high, I think.”We lost that game in the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 of the second. We lost that game when we had 15 on the field. ‘Z’ has nothing to worry about.”He added: “I haven’t heard the comms from the TV but I’ve heard from other people that the TMO said it wasn’t a red, then the ref has overruled him.”The ref has the right to do that if he thinks that’s the right call. We as players strongly disagree with that call. As soon as I saw it on the TV, I was thinking, ‘That’s not even a penalty’.”There’s not much else we can say. We don’t think it’s a red, a yellow or even a penalty. But that’s the way the game is going.”Hogg: We’ll learn from ill-disciplineSkipper Stuart Hogg has vowed there will be no repeat of the ill-discipline that cost Scotland against Wales. Skipper Stuart Hogg was disappointed with the manner of Scotland’s 25-24 defeat to Wales Gregor Townsend’s team conceded a mere six penalties as they recorded their first victory at Twickenham in 37 years in their championship opener.But they almost doubled that tally against the Welsh, allowing Wayne Pivac’s side far too many opportunities to apply pressure. Hogg said: “It’s little things that are costing us. But the pleasing thing is we know exactly where we’re going wrong – there’s been times in the past where we’ve made mistakes and keep making them, whereas now I believe that’s a one-off in our ill-discipline.”We’ll be much better prepared for the France game in two weeks in terms of our discipline and we’ll get excited for that challenge.”

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Kohli-Ashwin partnership helps India take 351-run lead into Lunch on Day 3


A solid 50-run partnership between captain Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin helped India take firm control of the 2nd Test against England. At lunch on Day 3, the hosts are placed at 156/6, and hold a massive 351-run lead.India began the day 249 runs ahead of England, and they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Cheteshwar Pujara was run out for 7 in bizarre fashion early in the piece as his bat got stuck in the pitch. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant failed to occupy the crease for long, leaving Kohli and Ashwin to steady the ship.Ashwin pulled out a wide range of sweeps against the England spinners, and has moved to 34 off just 38 balls. He was handed a repreive by Ben Stokes, who spilled a sharp catch at first slip off Stuart Broad.Kohli, on the other hand, was circumspect throughout his innings. Trusting his defence and playing with a straight bat, the Indian skipper has notched up 38 off 86 balls. He put away the bad balls and ran hard between the wickets, and appeared assured on what is certainly a tough pitch to bat on.India in prime position to level the series 1-1 Ashwin swept and reverse swept confidentlyWith 8 sessions left in the Test match, India are firmly in the driver’s seat. If Kohli and Ashwin can stretch this lead by another 50 runs or so, England will be set a target of over 400.Given that they scored only 134 in the first innings, it will be an impossible task for them to chase down the target and take a commanding 2-0 lead. As things stand, Kohli’s men are in prime position to level the 4-match series 1-1.This Test is important in the context of the World Test Championship, as India need to beat England in this series to make the final against New Zealand.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 11:49 IST

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