Cricket greats Ashwin, Anderson looking to pad their records in Dharamsala for final Test

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All eyes shift to that town in the skies that is the Tibetan town of Dharamsala, where India and visiting England lock horns in the fifth and final Test of this exciting series.

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India has taken an unassailable 3-1 lead after puncturing holes in England’s much-touted aggressive game called Bazball.

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What better place to end this series in a town that is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and is known worldwide for its stunning natural beauty and serene atmosphere?

The town is situated at 4,780 feet (1,457 metres) above sea level and is the highest Test-playing city. Before cricket’s grand entrance, the town was famous for being the residence of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Players from either side will forget about the tranquility and breathtaking scenery when the first ball is bowled on Thursday as England will be playing for pride and honour while India has the momentum on its side as it guns for victory No. 4.

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A number of players, including two greats — India’s ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Jimmy Anderson — will be chasing personal records.

Add young Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jonny Bairstow to the mix as well. The England batsman will receive his 100th Test cap while 22-year-old Jaiswal is on the verge of becoming the highest-scoring Indian in a series.

Sunil Gavaskar scored 774 runs in four Tests in his debut series versus the all-imposing and fearsome West Indies speed merchants in the Caribbean in 1970. All Jaiswal needs to eclipse Gavaskar’s mark is 110 runs and it is a figure within his reach.

The 37-year-old Ashwin, one of the modern greats of the game along with Anderson, will earn his 100th cap. He already has shattered Anil Kumble’s record for most Test wickets in India with 354 and in the current series he has picked up 17 England wickets.

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The evergreen 41-year-old Anderson will be looking to join Test cricket’s elite 700 club. In three matches on this tour, Anderson has taken his tally from 690 to 698 and with Dharamsala likely to aid fast bowlers, expect him to become the first fast bowler and third individual behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and the late Aussie Shane Warne to join the elite 700 category.

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CANADA ON A ROLL

The game in Canada is on the rise — again.

After qualifying for the very first time for the Twenty20 World Cup finals to be played in the West Indies and the United States later this year, the national squad has made a sensational start to qualifying for the 2027 World Cup.

Canada did qualify for four World Cups between 1979 to 2011 and its best performances came in 1995, when it reached the semifinals, and in 2003, John Davison joined the ranks of the best smashers of the ball when he reached 100 runs off 67 balls versus the West Indies.

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In the qualifiers taking place in Dubai, Canada has created a storm by winning the first three matches.

On Tuesday, a superb century by Harsh Thacker and an incisive spell of fast bowling by Dillon Heyligher, who took four for 47, helped Canada defeat the United Arab Emirates by eight runs on a D/L system after rain had intervened.

A belligerent knock of 111 not out off 113 balls by Thacker helped Canada post 241 for six and Heyligher then strangled the home team’s batsmen after they looked in command at 121 for three. U.A.E. managed 228 for eight to give Canada a victory by eight runs.

Canada opened the series by beating the U.A.E. and then stunned Scotland in the second match.

The star for Canada was 31-year-old Pargat Singh who carried his bat for a brilliant 87 to lead Canada to a seven-wicket victory. In the first match Canada pipped the U.A.E. by three wickets.

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Canada restricted the Scots to 215 for eight in their allotted 50 overs. Singh, who was named player of the match, smashed a six and 10 fours in his 99-ball inning in Canada’s 220 for three.

Singh received solid support from Srimantha Wijeyeratne who made an unbeaten 56, his second half-century in as many matches and fellow opener Aaron Johnson hit 43.

In the opener, Canada held the U.A.E. to 194 thanks to a superb spell by pacer Kaleen Sana who claimed four wickets for 42 runs off his nine overs.

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LYON DEVOURS KIWIS

Nathan Lyon, who has had to bowl in the shadow of the late great Shane Watson, has once again proven that he is a winner.

Lyon grabbed six wickets for 65 to propel Australia to a 172-run victory over rival New Zealand in the first of two Tests in Wellington.

The Australians piled on 383 in the first innings thanks to an unbeaten 174 by Cameron Green and were restricted to 164 in the second innings as spinner Glenn Phillips captured five for 45.

Phillips also starred with the bat in making 71 in the Kiwis’ 179 while Lyon took four for 43.

In the second innings young Rachin Ravindra made 59 for New Zealand.

The second Test starts in Christchurch on Friday.

Check out our sports section for the latest news and analysis.

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