Pune defeat history, India need to look ahead – Kumble

On a raging turner in Pune, Australia triumphed by 333 runs inside three days, snapping India’s 19-test unbeaten run stretching back to their tour to Sri Lanka in 2015.

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While Virat Kohli’s men won in Sri Lanka and West Indies, they also vanquished South Africa, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh for six straight series victories.

“You can’t keep winning every game. It has to come to an end at some point of time,” Kumble, 46, told reporters on Thursday.

“Twenty games in current scenario of test cricket, it’s quite challenging for an international side to keep going out there and winning. That’s what this team has been able to do across conditions.

“We have adapted to various conditions and various situations and that’s what we didn’t do in the last game. That’s why the result didn’t go our way.”

The former spinner, also India’s highest wicket-taker in tests, said Pune was just a blip in an otherwise bumper home season.

“I don’t want to look back. We are here to look ahead. As a coach it’s more important for me to look ahead,” said Kumble, who took over the coaching reins last year.

“It was one of those games where things didn’t go our way and we just need to move on. Another three test matches in the series and we are really looking forward to that.

“We have had a fantastic home season and it’s just one of those games where things didn’t go our way.”

Kumble said Australia were a quality opposition but India did not play to their potential.

Asked about the nature of pitch to be used for the second test, the Bengaluru native said: “It’s generally been a good batting surface and I’m sure it’s going to be a result wicket.

“That’s exactly what we want in a test match.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Wie uses helping hands to climb up Singapore leaderboard

Ranked as high as world number two after her maiden major victory at Pinehurst, the 27-year-old Hawaiian has only managed one top-10 finish since and has undergone a series of swing and putting style changes in a bid to arrest her extended slump.

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Now ranked a lowly 179, Wie was back to her best on a blustery day in Singapore, however, racking up eight birdies around the New Tanjong Course to move one shot clear of a strong field with an opening round six-under-par 66.

“It’s a marathon this week, not a sprint, but I have to say I’m very proud of where I’ve positioned myself today, and hopefully the next three days I can keep it going, keep it rolling and keep having fun,” Wie told reporters.

Wie’s first favour came from the sponsors, who offered an invite for the popular American to line up in the 63-player restricted-field event. The second came from her coach David Leadbetter, who she leaned on for some putting advice last week.

“Yeah, I’m standing up now,” Wie said of her technique on the greens after abandoning the bent over ‘table top’ stance she had used for two seasons.

“I was home (in Florida) last week and the men were playing, so my coach was there. I went to the Honda Classic and kind of stole him away for a little bit.

“I begged him to come over and watch me putt. We worked on it quite a bit. We made some changes to it and hopefully it’s been working.”

Wie added that it was a relief to feel healthy again but with a power-packed quintet that includes Ariya Jutanugarn and Park In-bee breathing down her neck just a stroke back, she cannot afford to take her foot off the accelerator.

“Yeah, you know, it feels good to play without much pain. To go out there and just play some golf and focus on my game rather than trying to finish out rounds. I’m very proud of myself today,” she said.

“Putting myself in a position, it’s always exciting to be on the top of the leaderboard or near the top of the leaderboard.

“Even though it’s just the first day I want to just keep building and hopefully the next three days I can take it day by day, hole by hole, shot by shot and play as hard as I can.”

(Reporting by John O’Brien; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Rockliff’s attitude impresses Lions coach

Tom Rockliff kept any disappointment about losing the Brisbane captaincy well-hidden in Thursday night’s AFL win over the Western Bulldogs.

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Earlier this week, the Lions announced Dayne Beams had taken over as skipper and Rockliff would be one of his deputies.

As the Lions floundered last year, Rockliff had a tumultuous season on and off the field and then there was constant speculation during the trade period that he would leave.

But there are strong signs that better times lie ahead – Rockliff worked hard against the Bulldogs as Beams and Dayne Zorko starred in the eight-point win at Etihad Stadium.

New coach Chris Fagan is impressed, saying Rockliff is showing strong support to Beams.

He added the Lions would have no problem with Rockliff standing in as captain if Beams is unavailable.

“With Tom, he copped a lot of criticism last year – some of it warranted, some of it unwarranted,” Fagan said.

“What he’s done over the pre-season to prepare himself, his attitude around the players, he very much deserved the vice-captaincy.

“I think he’d be a little bit disappointed he missed out on the captaincy, but he’s made huge ground.

“HIs brand is in a much healthier place right now than what it is was five or six months ago.”

While the Bulldogs were well under strength, Fagan was pleased with how his team moved the ball and then found a way to win when the Bulldogs challenged late in the game.

For the lowly Lions, right now a win is a win and this was timely, given they have their Melbourne family day on Saturday at the MCG

“It’s good to come on the road, win a game of footy against a great opposition … albeit we know they had a number of players out, but you still have to do it,” Fagan said.

“It’s a habit, isn’t it, and it’s good to start that habit.

“We have a long way to go this year, but it just reminds them of what it feels like.”

Of their youngsters, Harris Andrew was strong in defence, while forwards Eric Hipwood and Michael Close showed good signs.

But what Fagan wants most is a more positive and aggressive attitude from his team.

“I encouraged them to keep going and try to crush the opposition, because we have to have that mindset,” Fagan said of the halftime message.

“We can’t worry about teams coming at us – we have to think about what we can do to put this game away.

“We weren’t quite able to do it, but that’s the language we’re going to continue to use.”