July 22-29, 2016
The last week of July has been rainy, soggy and incident-packed. It’s fascinating how much changes in the world of sport every seven days. We are never short of things to report, and always in anticipation of the weekend ahead.
Here are the highlights from all over the globe in the last week:
– India annihilated West Indies in the first Test at Antigua, recording their largest win abroad (an innings and 90 runs), with R. Ashwin becoming only the second ever player to score a century and take a 7-for in the same innings. The second Test begins at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Saturday.
– England annihilated Pakistan at Old Trafford, restoring balance to their year after losing the first Test at Lord’s. Everyone expected England to bounce back, and they did in style, with Joe Root scoring over 300 runs in the match alone. The third Test begins on August 3rd at Birmingham.
– The ongoing first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Pallekele is turning out to be quite the humdinger. For the first two days, it looked like Australia would continue their stellar record on the island after dismissing the hosts for less than 150 and taking an 86-run lead. But Lanka have hit back with Kusal Perrera – only in his 7th Test – blazing through the third day with an unbeaten 169. His team now had a lead of 196 runs with four wickets in hand. They could just win this one with a 250-run lead. Steve Smith will wonder where it slipped away. A riveting two days lie ahead.
– Roger Federer broke hearts of fans all over the world by announcing that he has pulled out of the 2016 season to recover fully from his knee surgery. He had slipped and aggravated it in his Wimbledon semifinal loss to Milos Raonic, and now will end 2016 somewhere outside the top 15 – the first time since 2000 that he has failed to win a title all year. He will miss the Rio Olympics (the first since 1996) and the US Open (the first since 1999).
– New Zealand is in Zimbabwe for a two-Test series, which makes it every Test team except South Africa and Bangladesh involved in a tour. Zimbabwe were bowled out for 164 at Harare after Neil Wagner took six wickets, and the Kiwis look favorites to whitewash the hosts.
– Indian grappler and Olympic hopeful Narsingh Yadav tested positive for a banned substance, before going to court to prove his innocence. Yadav has identified a young wrestler who may have spiked his food and has filed an FIR against him. Yadav’s chances for Rio look slim, considering that he has already been provisionally suspended. If there has been a conspiracy against him, it will perhaps be the most unfortunate and ugly case of intra-sport rivalry ever recorded in this country. Yadav had earlier been in the news for qualifying ahead of two-time medalist Sushil Kumar, who moved the courts in vain to demand a spot based on previous performances.
– 18-year-old Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra broke the U-20 World Record to win gold in the world championships with a mark of 86.43m – which is the 8th best effort of the year in any category. Ironically, the teenager didn’t qualify for the Rio Olympics, as his throw came seven days too late.
– Jose Mourinho, the new Manchester United manager, is said to have been lining up a bid for French Euro superstar Dimitri Payet. This, after beating Real Madrid in the race to sign French midfielder Paul Pogba for a record transfer fee. Mourinho seems to want to capture the heart and soul of the French football team – who lost the Euro finals to Portugal – to resurrect a United team that has failed to finish in the Top-3 for three years in a row after the exit of long-time manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
– The inevitable happened in F1 over the weekend. Three-time champion and Mercedes legend Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix and took over the lead in the drivers’ standings for the first time this season over teammate Nico Rosberg. 31-year-old Hamilton could now become only the second active driver to have won four championships – after Sebastian Vettel, who is still struggling with Ferrari this year. Hamilton won his first back in 2008 as a rookie in his second year with McLaren. He currently leads German Rosberg by six points.