India clinches series win, Lionel Messi sees red, and more…7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Here is the round-up of all the action from the world of sports last week.
India’s newbies steal the spotlight and clinch series win!
With both teams winning a Test each and India hanging on for a draw at Sydney in the third Test, the series was to be decided in the fourth Test at the Gabba, Brisbane.
Australia had never lost at this venue for 32 years. India were without their best batsman (Virat Kohli), their best pacer (Jasprit Bumrah), their best all rounder (Ravindra Jadeja) and best spinner (R. Ashwin).
An Indian victory seemed improbable.
The visitors forced to field a rookie bowling attack that collectively had the experience of five Test matches. However, what they lacked in experience, they compensated with spirit.
India not only managed to bowl out the hosts twice in the game but also chased down a target of 328 on the final day of the Test with few overs to spare.
There were heroes all over the team sheet.
Shubman Gill scored a classy knock of 91 to set up the chase. Rohit Sharma took a record five catches in the slip cordon. Cheteshwar Pujara was grit personified as he held the innings together with a slow yet significant half-century.
Ajinkya Rahane’s astute captaincy, Rishabh Pant’s daredevil batting, Shradhul Thakur and Washington Sundar’s efforts with both bat and ball, Mohammad Siraj’s splendid five wicket haul, all contributed to this magnificent victory.
Watch the highlights of the thrilling final day here:
Joe Root stars in England’s win
England eased to a seven-wicket victory at Galle against Sri Lanka in the first of the two-Test series. After dismissing Sri Lanka for a low total of 135, skipper Joe Root smashed a superb double century to put his team in a commanding position. Though the hosts fought back to drag the game to the final day, England finished the game with quite a few overs to spare.
Spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach bowled exceedingly well to complement their captain’s efforts, picking 14 wickets between them in the game.
Murray tests positive for Covid-19
After Roger Federer pulled out of the Australian Open due to injury, another star might miss the opening Grand Slam of the year 2021. Andy Murray tested positive for the novel coronavirus recently and his participation in next month’s Australian Open is in doubt. However, the former Wimbledon champion who was awarded a wildcard to play in the main draw still hopes to compete.
Meanwhile, health authorities in the state of Victoria have reported nine infections among passengers who arrived on charter flights for the Grand Slam that is set to begin on February 8 and officials believe that more cases may come to light as testing continues.
Messi sees red
Athletic Bilbao beat Barcelona 2-3 to win the 2021 Spanish Super Cup, this past weekend.
After 753 games in all competitions for Barcelona, Lionel Messi received his first red card in a Barça shirt for violent conduct on the pitch. Reportedly, Messi could now face at least a four-game ban for his actions, depending on a review from the Spanish FA.
Marcelino Garcia Toral, Bilbao’s manager has become the first manager in history to win two consecutive one-legged finals against Barcelona across all competitions, winning with different teams (Valencia in Copa del Rey 2019 and Athletic Bilbao, Supercopa 2021).
Also, the winning goal from Inaki Williams was quite a strike. Have a look:
Man United retain top spot after draw at Anfield
Manchester United remain league leaders after securing a point against defending champions, Liverpool. The two teams played out a goalless draw on Sunday. Liverpool hasn’t found the back of the net in three consecutive league games now and find themselves fourth in the table while Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing Manchester City climbed to the second spot after their win against Crystal Palace. They are just two points behind arch-rivals Man United and have played a game less.
James Harden makes a smashing debut
James Harden’s trade that involved four teams shocked the NBA this week. The Brooklyn Nets worked a deal with the Houston Rockets that included guard Caris LeVert and three first-round draft picks.
The Rockets meanwhile, traded LeVert to the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo. Center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince headed from the Nets to the Cavaliers, while the Rockets welcomed Cleveland guard Dante Exum and Brooklyn forward Rodions Kurucs.
The Nets look a formidable outfit with Harden joining Kevin Durant and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
Harden had a superb debut for his new team against Orlando Magic as he finished with 32 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds. James Harden became only the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double on team debut.
Harden, popularly referred to as ‘The Beard’, is also the first ever to record a 30-point triple-double in a debut for a new team.
Dakar Rally tragedy
Five days after crashing during the seventh stage of the Dakar rally, French motorcycle rider Pierre Cherpin sadly passed away last week.
The driver crashed at km 178 of the rally. Doctors found him unconscious when they reached him by helicopter. He was rushed to Sakaka’s hospital where the medical report revealed a severe head trauma with loss of consciousness.
The 52-year-old, who was taking part in his fourth Dakar rally, underwent neurosurgery and was placed in a medically-induced coma. Pierre Cherpin passed away during his transfer by medical plane from Jeddah to France.
The Dakar race is an annual long distance off road race through the Sahara desert that is open to amateur and professional racers. The racers need tackle dunes, mud, camel grass and rocks in the route.
Well, that’s all for this week, folks. Let the games continue, until next week!
Author’s Note: Adithya G is a freelance writer who is passionate about sports.
(Out Actioned is a weekly sports bulletin)