Weekly Digest (December 23-30): From India's stunning win to Liverpool's 7-point lead

Here's a round-up of all the major happenings from the world of sport over the last week of December, including India's huge win against Australia in the third Test and Liverpool's seven-point lead in the Premier League.

Virat Kohli celebrates India's victory against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.   -  Reuters

CRICKET

India defeated Australia by 137 runs in the third game of the India vs Australia Test series in Melbourne on Sunday and took giant strides towards winning its first ever series on Australian soil in seven decades by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. [Report]

Trent Boult claimed two wickets to finish with nine in the match as New Zealand quickly knocked over Sri Lanka's tail to win the two-match series following a draw in Wellington last week. [Report]

India's Jasprit Bumrah, who made his Test debut in January this year has rocketed his way into the record books for taking the most wickets in a debut calendar year. With 45 wickets (so far) from nine Tests, Bumrah has cemented his place as the backbone in India's fast bowling department. [Report]

McGrath said Bumrah’s variety made him dangerous.   -  ap

 

The ICC has given the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) twelve months to get tax exemptions from the Central Government in order to host two high-profile World competitions in India in 2021 and 2023. [Report]

Former England captain Alastair Cook has been knighted following his retirement from international cricket. [Report]

Cameron Bancroft is set to return to cricket after the Australian was included in Perth Scorchers' 13-man squad for its Big Bash League clash against Hobart Hurricanes following his ball-tampering suspension. [Report]

How do we keep India’s fast bowlers fresh for the World Cup? There has been plenty of debate on this topic, and some have suggested the bowlers be rested for the 2019 Indian Premier League that precedes the all-important tourney. Anil Kumble, the former India captain, expressed similar ideas but M. S. Dhoni provided some interesting counter-view. [Report]

FOOTBALL

Roberto Firmino was at his ruthless best as he scored his first Premier League hat-trick to inspire a 5-1 demolition of Arsenal at Anfield and put Liverpool nine points clear at the summit. [Report]

Roberto Firmino completed his first Premier League hat-trick as Liverpool hammered Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield.   -  Reuters

 

Tottenham's title aspirations may have taken a huge hit as it lost 3-1 at home to Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday. [Report]

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) rubbished reports suggesting India’s national team coach, Stephen Constantine, will be parting ways with the team after March next year. [Report]

India held superior-ranked Oman to a goalless draw in their friendly fixture at the Baniyas Stadium in Abu Dhabi. [Report]

Manchester United defeated Bournemouth 4-1, securing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a third successive win since taking charge. [Report]

Inter will play two home games behind closed doors following the alleged racist abuse aimed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Lega Serie A confirmed. [Report]

Inter-Napoli match was marred by racist chants and fan violence and Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala issued an apology to Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly after a group of Inter fans' made racist chants towards him at San Siro. [Report]

Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly   -  Getty Images

 

Manchester City dropped to third in the Premier League as Leicester City made it back-to-back defeats for Pep Guardiola's men. [Report]

Seven I-League clubs have joined hands to fight the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) "injustice" after it decided to cut down the number of I-League matches to be telecast live. [Report]

TENNIS

Novak Djokovic won the World Tennis Championship for a record-equalling fourth time in his career after beating Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a highly competitive final. [Report]

Kevin Anderson, the 2018 Wimbledon finalist, has been drawn in the same half as third seed and defending champion Gilles Simon at the Tata Maharashtra Open 2019 . [Report]

Nick Kyrgios has suggested he will take a break from tennis for the rest of the year if he wins the Australian Open. [Report]

Nick Kyrgios in practice ahead of the Brisbane International   -  Getty Images

 

Former world number one Andy Murray says he has no regrets about not walking away from tennis despite missing 11 months of the year with a hip injury. [Report]

MORE SPORTS

Sameer Verma has been the unexpected hero of Indian men’s badminton in 2018. From a World ranking of 30 at the start of the year to being No. 12 now, the 24-year-old shuttler has been the talk of the badminton fraternity now with his recent BWF World Tour Finals semifinal appearance in China. [Report]

Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing PBL-4 season, Fernando Rivas, who Carolina Marin's personal coach says the women’s singles scenario has changed a lot since Marin had won her maiden world title. [Report]

The chief of Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) called on President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to give WADA access to a laboratory at the centre of a drug scandal, saying Moscow faced a looming new doping ban. [Report]

The challengers changed, but the champion remained the same. Saurabh Chaudhary shot nonchalantly to top both the men’s and junior air pistol events once again in the shooting National selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughalakabad, on Sunday. [Report]

Saurabh Chaudhary with coach Amit Sheoran after topping the shooting National selection trials.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

 

The three-time National champion in men’s air rifle, Ravi Kumar is the undisputed No.1 in the country. After the phenomenal success of former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang’s consistent success across all levels in the event, Indian men’s air rifle has not been able to make a buzz on the world stage. [Report]

Four Indian golfers, including young Aadil Bedi, earned a full card for the next season of Asian Tour after the completion of the fifth and final round of Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage. [Report]

Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa was arrested on Wednesday on poaching charges in Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh. He allegedly killed a jungle fowl. [Report]

Former national champion and international paddler Soumyajit Ghosh can now return to the mainstream of national and international table tennis after the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) decided to revoke his suspension, handed out in March this year. [Report]