Weekly Digest (March 22-28): India clinches ODI series vs England, Gokulam Kerala lifts I League crown

From India's ODI series victory over England to Gokulam Kerala bagging its maiden I League title, here are the major sporting stories from the week gone by.

Team India and Gokulam Kerala FC

Team India and Gokulam Kerala FC celebrate their respective titles.   -  Getty Images and Special Arrangement

From India's ODI series victory over England to Gokulam Kerala bagging its maiden I League title, here are the major sporting stories from the week gone by.

CRICKET

India beat England by seven runs to clinch the ODI series on Sunday. The victory meant India registered a clean sweep in each of the three formats against England over a gruelling two months. (REPORT)

A victorious Team India with the trophy after beating England by seven runs in the third and final ODI to win the series.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

The ‘soft signal’ protocol for umpiring referrals has been done away with for IPL 2021. (REPORT)

Mohammed Shami, who has been out of action due to a wrist injury sustained in the tour of Australia in December, is expected to bowl in full tilt in IPL 2021. (REPORT)

Nkrumah Bonner scored an unbeaten maiden Test century as the West Indies reached 236 for 4 on the final day to draw the first Test against Sri Lanka in Antigua. Set an imposing 375 to win, West Indies was 139 runs short when the captains agreed to end the match in the final session. (REPORT)

West Indies batsman Nkrumah Bonner in action on day 1 of the second Test match between Bangladesh and West Indies in Dhaka.   -  TWITTER

 

West Indies will host England in five Twenty20 internationals and three Test matches in 2022 in an expanded schedule of the ICC Future Tours Programme. (REPORT)

The Indian women's team earned a consolation win in the third T20 against South Africa. (REPORT)

Sachin Tendulkar, Yusuf Pathan and S. Badrinath have tested positive for COVID-19 after the Road Safety World Series. (REPORT)

Virat Kohli became the second Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to cross 10,000 international runs at home earlier this week. (REPORT)

FOOTBALL

Gokulam Kerala completed a sensational comeback win to earn a 4-1 victory over TRAU FC and become the first club from Kerala to win the I League title. (REPORT)

Gokulam Kerala FC

Gokulam Kerala FC players celebrate winning the I League title on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the pitch before full-time when he was denied a clear stoppage-time winner in a 2-2 draw in Serbia, while Belgium was held 1-1 by the Czech Republic in World Cup qualifiers on Saturday. (REPORT)

India's football captain Sunil Chhetri has recovered from COVID-19 and has resumed training. (REPORT)

Navi Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar were on Friday finalised as the three venues for the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup. (REPORT

Former France international Thierry Henry has disabled his social media accounts to protest against the platforms for not taking action over anonymous account holders who are guilty of racism and bullying online. (REPORT

Stephanie Frappart reached another milestone on Saturday when she became the first female referee to take charge of a men's World Cup qualifier during the Netherlands' 2-0 win over Latvia in Amsterdam. (REPORT)

Stephanie Frappart shows a yellow card to Netherlands’ Luuk de Jong during the World Cup qualifier on Saturday.   -  AP

 

The Indian football team made a fine comeback in the second half to hold a dominant Oman side 1-1 in its first international match in more than a year in Dubai on Thursday. (REPORT

Germany displayed its support for migrant workers building 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar ahead of its 3-0 home win over Iceland in its opening Group J qualifier on Thursday. (REPORT)

Germany players wear t-shirts which spell out “Human Rights” prior to the contest against Iceland in Duisburg, Germany.   -  Getty Images

 

BADMINTON

The Indian pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud let slip a strong start to go down to England's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in the men's doubles finals of the Orleans Masters on Sunday. (REPORT

Saina Nehwal and the duo of Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy lost in the semifinals of the women’s singles and doubles, respectively, at the Orleans Masters. (REPORT

Kidambi Srikanth crashed out of the men's singles event as he went down 19-21, 17-21 to France's Toma Junior Popov in a 31-minute quarterfinal fixture at the Orleans Masters on Friday. (REPORT)

TENNIS

The WTA is setting up a return for the women's tennis rankings to their usual 52-week system after a “freeze” was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. (REPORT)

World number three Simona Halep said she is more interested in silverware than her ranking and will focus on the Grand Slams and the Olympics as she looks to add to her trophy cabinet this year after a chaotic 2020 rattled by COVID-19. (REPORT)

Simona Halep

Simona Halep claimed three consecutive titles in 2020: Dubai in February, before the COVID-19 shutdown, and Prague and Rome in August and September, respectively.   -  Reuters

 

Angry about tennis politics, Vasek Pospisil of Canada staged a tantrum and was docked a point to lose the first set on Wednesday in the opening round at the Miami Open. (REPORT)

Former Wimbledon semifinalist John Isner called on the ATP Tour to give players a clearer picture of the decision-making process behind cuts to prize money. (REPORT)

The Tokyo Olympics is still a few months away, but Indian tennis star Leander Paes has already started preparing for the mega event. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS

Tokyo Paralympics-bound Sumit Antil broke his own javelin throw world record in the F44 category with an effort of 66.90m to claim the gold medal during the National Para Athletics Championship. (REPORT)

Dhanalakshmi beat Hima Das and broke PT Usha's 23-year old meet record to win the 200m gold at the Federation Cup. (REPORT)

S. Dhanalakshmi

S. Dhanalakshmi trains under 31-year old Manikanda Arunmugam – himself a sprinter who still competes in departmental and state meets – at the Police Stadium in Trichy.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Two years ago, Kamalpreet Kaur sneaked in with a new meet record in discus throw to win the Federation Cup even as all eyes had been on Commonwealth Games medalist Navjeet Kaur Dhillon. On Friday, the towering Punjab girl did an encore, overshadowing veteran Seema Punia with a humongous throw that obliterated all past records and gave her a ticket to Tokyo. (REPORT)

The 19th National Para Athletics Championship does not qualify as a Tokyo Paralympic selection trial, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Deepa Malik said on Friday. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes held off intense challenge from Red Bull's Max Verstappen to win the season-opening Bahrain GP on Sunday, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third. (REPORT)

The Bahrain GP win was a record-extending 96th for Lewis Hamilton, continuing also his record of winning in every season of his career since his debut with McLaren in 2007.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

BOXING

A strong 20-member Indian contingent will participate at the 2021 AIBA Youth Men's and Women's World Boxing Championships to be held at Kielce, Poland from April 10 to 24. (REPORT)

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said it would look into the allegations of misbehaviour leveled against head coach C.A. Kuttappa by boxers Ankush Dahiya and Ashish Insha. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik won the women’s 65kg selection trials on Saturday to earn a place in the upcoming Asian wrestling championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (REPORT)