Weekly Digest: The 'Cheat-gate' that wasn't

Virat Kohli's allegations of unfair play by Australia and the snowballing of 'Cheat-gate' dominated headlines in the week gone by.

Virat Kohli expressed his outrage over Steve Smith's injudicious action in Bengaluru.   -  PTI

Cricket

India bounced back in the Test series against Australia with a comprehensive victory in the second Test in Bengaluru. A solid second-innings batting effort allowed the side to set a testing target of 188, which Australia fell short of due to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's effective bowling - he took six wickets.

But controversy arose in the aftermath of the contest with Virat Kohli's allegations of unfair tactics employed by Australia, with regards to use of DRS. He had referred to Australia captain Steve Smith's "brain fade" moment of looking up to the dressing room for a clue to decide on opting for a review, after he was given out lbw in the fourth innings.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia backed their captains, and later the Indian board even made a formal complaint to the International Cricket Council. But a few hours later, the boards issued a joint press release announcing truce.

Injuries to paceman Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh ruled them out of the rest of the Test series.

Gautam Gambhir, the senior Delhi player, and K. P. Bhaskar, its coach, engaged in an altercation after Delhi's campaign in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy came to an end. Gambhir fumed over what he felt were wrong ways of the coach of running the team, making young players insecure. The Delhi and Districts Cricket Association has formed a committee, headed by Madan Lal, to probe the matter.

Baroda defeated Karnataka and Tamil Nadu defeated Gujarat to enter the Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinals. The tournament will conclude on March 18.

Faf du Plessis has expressed surprise at the tepid reaction of the ICC on the drama generated by Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. The South Africa Test captain referred to ICC's taking exception to his own action of applying saliva on a ball with a chewing gum in his mouth, which, he felt, was a less serious transgression.

He was speaking after the first Test between his side and New Zealand was drawn in Dunedin. The home side suffered a blow as its stalwart Ross Taylor was ruled out of the second Test due to calf tear.

Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner and Sri Lanka's temporary Test captain, became the most successful left-arm spinner in the world when he overtook Daniel Vettori's 362 career Test wickets. Currently possessing 366 Test wickets, Herath eyes the 400 mark before hanging up his boots.

Herath's landmark arrived in Sri Lanka's comprehensive win over Bangladesh in the first Test in Galle.

Misbah-ul-Haq made news by hitting six sixes in a row in his rapid knock of 82 in the Hong Kong T20 blitz. Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad also made news by climbing up to the fifth spot in the league of leading run-getters in Twenty20 Internationals.

The BCCI's Committee of Administrators has decided to post minutes of its meetings on the board's website to allow fans and all those who would be interested to access them. The committee has asked India coach Anil Kumble to comprehensive cricket-related report within three weeks.

 

 

Football

Chelsea continued its domination by staying at the top as it defeated West Ham 2-1, and is now 10 points clear of Tottenham with 66 points in the Premier League. Manchester City played a 0-0 draw with Stoke City and Everton, Bournemouth and Hull City won their respective games this weekend.

Arsenal hammered Lincoln City 5-0 at the Emirates in the FA Cup quarterfinal. Whereas Manchester City thrashed Middlesbrough 2-0 to book its semifinal birth in the FA Cup.

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid dominated their respective Champions League round-of-16 matches. Bayern smashed Arsenal 5-1 at the Emirates and won 10-2 on aggregate whereas Madrid made a comeback with a goal down to win 3-1 and cement its spot in the quarterfinals.

On Wednesday night, the unexpected happened when Barcelona did the impossible by smashing six goals against PSG in the second leg and won 6-5 on aggregate at Camp Nou to mark its place in the quarterfinal. Borussia Dortmund eased its way through by winning 4-0 against Benfica at home.

Manchester United was held to a 1-1 away draw by Rostov F.C. in the first leg of the round-of-16 in the Europa League on Thursday. In other matches Lyon smashed Roma 4-2 at home while Ajax lost 2-1 to Kobenhavn.

In La Liga, Sevilla drew 1-1 with Alaves on Tuesday followed another 1-1 draw with Leganes which pushed them third in the league table. In other match, Atletico Madrid emerged as 1-0 winner against Granada on Sunday.

Barcelona however felt the effects of the Champions League hangover, losing 2-1 at Deportivo la Coruna.

Real Madrid took advantage of Barca's slip up as it leapfrogged its archrival, with a game in hand, as it beat Real Betis 2-1 at home with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.

Bayern Munich maintained its top position in the league table with 59 points, after thrashing Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in the Bundesliga. Rivals RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund lost its respective matches.

Badminton

Lee Chong Wei clinched the All-England badminton championship with a comfortable win over Shi Yuqi in the final. At 34, he became the oldest singles champion in the Open era. India's campaign ended when Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu crashed out in the quarterfinals.

Formula One

The teams gathered at Barcelona for their annual pre-seaon testing and there were quite a few talking points, most notably Ferrari topping the timings on most days, showing tremendous pace. Meanwhile, Force India, which finished fourth in the standings last year, is huffing and puffing as it seems to be struggling for pace. The 2017 season will be the 10th year for Force India and the team will need to get its act together in the next two weeks to consolidate its position.

Tennis

World number 129 Vasek Pospisil produced the biggest win of his career after upstaging top seed Andy Murray in straight sets at the BNP Paribas Open.

In Indian Wells, Venus Williams saved three match points as she roared back for a 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 victory over old foe Jelena Jankovic. There was no such drama for second-seeded Angelique Kerber, who raced into the third round with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over fellow German Andrea Petkovic.

Three-time champion Rafael Nadal powered into the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella.