India lose, Australia lead ODI series 4-0

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Canberra, Jan 20 (IANS) India lost their fourth consecutive match of the series to Australia by 25 runs at the Manuka Oval here on Wednesday.

Set a target of 349, India folded up for 323 runs despite opener Shikhar Dhawan (126) and Virat Kohli (106) scoring centuries. From 277/1 in the 38th over, the visiting team collapsed for 323 in 49.2 overs.

Australia now lead the series 4-0. The fifth and last One-Day International (ODI) will be played in Sydney on Saturday.

Serena storms into third round at Australian Open

 Defending champion Serena Williams was on song in her Australian Open tennis tournament’s second round clash, cruising past doubles specialist Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-1, 6-2 here on Wednesday.

The World No.1 took exactly 60 minutes to wrap up the contest and will next play unseeded Daria Kasatkina, the 2014 junior French Open champion.

Hsieh had no answers to the American’s ruthless efficiency, saving all three break points faced and hitting ten more winners than errors (26 to 16).

“She’s definitely a tricky opponent,” Williams said after her win.

“It was a good match-up for me to play someone who can hit any shot at any time, and anywhere on the court. I kind of needed that. There’ve been some things I worked on over the off-season, so it worked out for me today.”

The six-time Australian Open champion appeared at ease after a second two-set victory at the major tournament.

“Every time I come here, I always have a great time whether I win or lose. I really love this crowd, and it all started here; this is where I played my first Grand Slam, right here on this court,” she added.

“I’m still going and it’s really an honour.”

ICC announces MRF Tyres as global partner

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and MRF Tyres, a market leader in automotive tyres, on Wednesday announced a four-year deal which confirms the latter as a global partner for world cricket events from 2016-20.

The announcement was made at the MRF Tyres headquarters here at a function attended by ICC chief executive David Richardson, MRF Tyres’s chairman and managing director K.M. Mammen, former India captain and MRF brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar and other officials.

The ICC and MRF Tyres recently completed a successful partnership at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, one of the most successful ICC events to date.

Over the next four years, the ICC will aim to reach greater heights at eight tournaments, including the ICC World Twenty20 in 2016, an ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and an ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.

“I am delighted that MRF Tyres has decided to continue its support of cricket by extending its partnership with the ICC for a further four years. Our aim at ICC events is to create an exceptional experience for all involved and I am confident that not only will MRF help us enhance that aim but that the forthcoming ICC events will help MRF promote its brand and expand its reach to other parts of the globe,” Richardson said.

“MRF is already an active promotor and supporter of cricket with a number of domestic and international fast bowlers benefiting from its MRF Pace Foundation. I am excited that MRF has elected to be cricket’s global partner and I am confident that this will be the start of a long relationship.”

Speaking at the function, Mammen said: “This is a proud moment for MRF and this association is a testimony to our commitment to cricket. Twenty20 is the most popular form of the game today and it is a matter of great pride to be associated with the ICC World Twenty20 2016.

“Association with the ICC and the game of cricket presents a great opportunity for brand MRF to reach markets across the world. We are indeed proud to bring this thrill-a minute tournament to the millions of fans in India and all over the world.”

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