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Bravo ton takes Windies to mammoth total

 MUMBAI: Darren Bravo continued his dream run with a third century in four Tests to help the West Indies post a mammoth 575-9 on the second day of the third and final Test against India on Wednesday.
Bravo, cousin of former West Indies batting great Brian Lara, dominated the Indian attack with a superb 166 as the tourists scored 308 runs on a batsmen’s day after resuming at 267-2.
Kieran Powell (81), who replaced injured batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and Marlon Samuels (61) also made merry on a batting track at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The West Indies’ batting flourished for a second successive day, with the top-six batsmen all scoring a half-century or more — only the fifth instance in the history of Test cricket.
The left-handed pair of Bravo and Powell consolidated their team’s position with a 160-run stand for the fourth wicket to virtually shatter India’s hopes of making a clean sweep.

The hosts lead 2-0 in the series after winning the opening Test in New Delhi by five wickets and the second match in Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs.

Powell hit nine fours in his second half-century in four Tests before being caught behind off spinner Pragyan Ojha while Bravo became debutant seamer Varun Aaron’s first Test victim, caught behind while attempting to drive.

The day belonged to Bravo, whose superb run in Test cricket began in Bangladesh where he scored 195 in Dhaka for his maiden hundred in his team’s series-clinching victory early this month.

The 22-year-old then cracked a brilliant 136 against India in the last innings of the previous Test in Kolkata before scoring a second successive hundred on Wednesday.

Bravo, 57 overnight, completed his century in the morning with an aggressive shot when he square-drove off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for a boundary. He hit 17 fours in his 284-ball knock.

It was another frustrating day for India on a pitch offering no help to bowlers as they could take just two wickets in the opening two sessions, with paceman Ishant Sharma and Ojha bagging one each.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also pressed part-timers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag into the attack in a desperate bid to break the Bravo-Powell stand before Aaron struck thrice in four overs in the evening.Aaron also bowled Carlton Baugh (four) and had skipper Darren Sammy (three) caught by wicket-keeper Dhoni, who took five catches.He nearly got another wicket but Dhoni missed a difficult chance off Samuels when the batsman was on 46.Sharma was rewarded for his hard work in the opening session when he had Kirk Edwards (86) caught behind with a delivery that moved away.Edwards, 65 overnight, looked set for his third century in six Tests as he began on an impressive note, flicking and pulling Aaron for two fours in the opening hour.
He hit 13 fours in his 165-ball knock and added 164 for the third wicket with Bravo. (AFP)

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Gerrard has title for Liverpool top of his wish-list


Gerrard has title for Liverpool top of his wish-list

Steven Gerrard has underlined his commitment to Liverpool as his midfield colleague Xabi Alonso nears the Anfield exit door.

As Gerrard prepares to lead Liverpool in their second pre-season friendly tomorrow against Rapid Vienna in the Austrian capital, the chances of the Reds skipper and Alonso both being on the plane later that night heading for the club’s Far East tour are increasingly remote.

Real Madrid officials are working to avoid Alonso having to travel with Liverpool for games in Thailand and Singapore next week, and it is believed negotiations are continuing over a likely £30million transfer.

But for Gerrard, the desire for glory with Liverpool and England burns as brightly as ever.

Gerrard has made it clear that he wants the Barclays Premier League title, another Champions League success and a World Cup victory with England before he considers coaching and management at the end of his career.

“I still have many more dreams, and that means winning the Premier League because that is the only medal that is missing from my own personal collection,” he said. “And it would be really nice to go to a tournament with England and to be successful, so that means the World Cup next summer for me.

“I want to go one better than a quarter-final, which is the farthest so far that I have gone in a tournament.

“It’s the last four and the final that I now am aiming for. And I want another success in the Champions League too.

“People could see my reaction when I lifted that trophy in 2005, how much it means to me, my team-mates and the supporters. That was the best night of my career and I want to match it and experience that success again.”

Once his playing career ends -—and he has intimated that his current contract taking him to 33 will be his last — Gerrard already has plans to remain occupied.

He said: “Now I am thinking about what I will do at the end of my career, I’m not getting any younger.

“It would be nice to stay involved in the game. I’m not sure at what level as either a manager or a coach or even in the media. I want to stay involved because football is so important to me.”

Gerrard’s partnership with Alonso at the heart of Liverpool’s side, however, looks to be over.

With Alonso having made it clear to manager Rafael Benitez that he wants to leave the club, the Spanish manager has been determined to get the very best price for the 30-year-old.

The end of the agreement this weekend with Alonso’s former club Real Sociedad that would have seen 20 per cent of any sell-on fee going to the Basque club gives Liverpool and Madrid some negotiating room.

Javier Mascherano, a target for Barcelona, rejoined the Liverpool squad on Thursday and will be involved against Vienna. He has held talks with Benitez and been told he will not be sold.

Benitez has also secured 16-year-old Danish midfielder Nikolaj Kohlert from Esbjergs.

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