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Bowlers extend Australia’s dominance in WTC final

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India were 151-5 at stumps on day two in the World Test Championship final on Thursday (pic Agencies)

Australia extended their dominance in the World Test Championship 2021-23 final on Thursday (June 8), with their bowlers taking the centre stage after a massive partnership between Travis Head and Steve Smith.

India did limit the damage from the Australian batters as they picked up the last seven wickets for 108 runs. But Australia, who finished with 469, ensured they did not let any substantial partnership develop in India’s innings as the Rohit Sharma-led side ended Day 2 at 151/5, trailing by 318

The day began with Smith bringing up his 31st Test hundred with two successive fours off Mohammed Siraj in the opening over. A short while later, Head registered his fourth 150-plus score as they extended their partnership to 285. India, though, came back strongly as they picked up three for 26 which started with the dismissal of Head. While there were a few boundaries scored, India persisted with short-ball tactics and the move paid off when Siraj had Head caught down the leg-side to dismiss him for 163. Cameron Green edged a Mohammed Shami delivery to second slip and Smith chopped Shardul Thakur onto the stumps to depart for 121. Australia lost their fourth wicket in the first session as Mitchell Starc was run out.

Alex Carey, who had seen off the opening session along with Pat Cummins, began with a flurry of boundaries at the start of the second, including three in an over off Shami. He also struck a six off Ravindra Jadeja to power Australia past the 450 mark and raise the half-century stand with Cummins. But he missed a reverse-sweep off the left-arm spinner and was out leg-before, with India using the review to reverse the onfield call of not out. Siraj bagged the last two wickets, accounting for Nathan Lyon and Cummins, as he bagged a four wicket haul and reached the 50-wicket milestone in the process.

India made a confident start with the bat, with Rohit and Shubman Gill dealing in regular boundaries. But it didn’t take Australia long to get on top again as the openers departed in quick succession. Cummins trapped Rohit leg-before while Gill was bowled by Scott Boland shouldering arms. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara faced a couple of probing overs but got through the testing period unscathed before the Tea break.

Pujara began confidently in the final session, clipping a Boland delivery wide of mid-on and then playing a square drive off the backfoot off Green. But much like Gill, a poor judgement ended Pujara’s outing as he was bowled shouldering arms to a Green delivery. A rising delivery off a length from Mitchell Starc clipped Kohli’s thumb en route to the ‘keeper, leaving India in further trouble as they slipped to 71/4. Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, had a lucky break as he was trapped in front by Cummins but upon review it was clear that the bowler had overstepped.

Rahane, meanwhile, needed the physio’s attention a couple of times as he was struck on his fingers by a Cummins delivery while he was struck on the helmet after missing a hook off Green. Ravindra Jadeja, on the other hand, batted positively as he dealt in regular boundaries and also flicked a Boland delivery over the fence. Rahane, however, did capitalise on anything in his zone as he executed a cover drive off Boland en route to a half-century partnership. The fifth wicket pair extended their stand to 71 before Jadeja edged a Nathan Lyon delivery to slip to fall two short of a fifty. Rahane and KS Bharat were unbeaten at Stumps, having their work cut out for Day 3.

Brief scores:

Australia 469 (Travis Head 163, Steve Smith 121, Alex Carey 48; Mohammed Siraj 4-108, Shardul Thakur 2-83) lead India 151/5 (Ravindra Jadeja 48, Ajinkya Rahane 29*; Nathan Lyon 1-4, Scott Boland 1-29) by 318 runs



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Ministerial Consultative Committee unanimously consent to canceling the nominations submitted for the Local Government Elections

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The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government chaired by  Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena as well as the Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government  unanimously consented to cancel the nominations submitted for the Local Government Elections given that those who have submitted nominations have faced great difficulties due to the postponement of the elections.

 

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India set to approve historic women’s quota bill

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Sonia Gandhi called for the bill's immediate implementation (pic BBC)

The lower house of the Indian parliament has passed a bill guaranteeing a third of seats for women in the parliament and state assemblies.

First proposed in 1996, the bill had been pending for decades amid opposition from some political parties.

On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed it with near unanimity after hours of fierce debate. The bill will now require the approval of lawmakers in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. If passed here, it will be sent to the Indian president for approval and become law.

But it is still some way from being implemented as that would depend on the completion of India’s census. The exercise, conducted every 10 years, was set to be held in 2021 but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and is now expected to take place in 2025. Reported plans to redraw boundaries of assembly seats to increase the overall number of constituencies, known as delimitation, could further complicate the bill’s implementation.

The passing of the bill is expected to boost the fortunes of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections next year.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked MPs who voted for the bill in Lok Sabha. He called it a “historic legislation” that will enable greater participation of women in the political process. The bill was passed after 454 MPs from across party lines voted in its favour with only two against it.

The Lok Sabha debated the legislation for nearly eight hours, with several members of the Opposition raising concerns about its implementation even as they voiced their support. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the party supported the proposed legislation but demanded its immediate implementation. “How many years will they have to wait, two, four, eight?” Ms Gandhi asked. “Delaying this would be doing gross injustice to women.”

Several opposition MPs have also demanded a separate quota for women belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Hinduism’s caste system puts Brahmins or priests at the top, and Dalits (formerly untouchables) and Adivasis (tribespeople) at the bottom. In between are a multitude of lower and intermediate castes, which are roughly believed to constitute about 52% of the population, and are recognised as Other Backward Classes or OBCs. While India’s census has always recorded the population of Dalits and Adivasis, it has never counted the OBCs.

The proposed bill provides for one-third of the seats, which are already reserved for Dalits and tribespeople, to be reserved for women. But it excludes a similar sub-quota for women who belong to OBCs.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Ms Gandhi said the government should conduct a caste census – or a count of OBCs – and extend the benefits of the proposed law to women from those groups as well. Some other opposition MPs called the move an eyewash by the ruling party.

MP Asaduddin Owaisi, one of the two votes against the bill, said the current bill would only benefit upper caste women.

(BBC)

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Kerala cannabis with a street value of over Rs.132 million held by Navy in Negombo

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A special search operation conducted by the Navy in the Mankuliya Lagoon of Negombo today (21st September 2023) led to the apprehension of a dinghy loaded with over 400kg of Kerala cannabis with an estimated street value of over Rs. 132 million

The seized consignment of Kerala cannabis and the dinghy were handed over to the Negombo Excise Station for onward legal action

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