Solozano’s defiant 92 helps Windies-A frustrate India-A on final day

first_imgTAROUBA, Trinidad (CMC) – Opener Jeremy Solozano struck his second half-century of the match but fell just short of a hundred as West Indies-A produced a resilient display to frustrate India-A and force a draw in the final four-day ‘Test’ here Friday.Resuming the final day at the Brian Lara Stadium on 37 without loss in pursuit of 373 for victory, the hosts batted the entire day to reach 314 for six, with the left-handed Solozano hitting a composed 92.Brandon King struck an entertaining 77 while Sunil Ambris chipped in with 69 as West Indies-A batted in partnerships throughout to deny India a clean sweep of the three-match series.Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem claimed five for 103 but off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham, who took six in the first innings, proved ineffective this time around leaving the visitors’ attack devoid of real danger.Solozano and Montcin Hodge (25) extended their opening stand to 68 before Nadeem struck, getting the right-handed Hodge to steer a gentle catch to captain Hanuma Vihari at first slip.Any hopes India-A harboured of quickly making inroads were then dashed as Solozano combined with King in a 99-run, second-wicket stand which took the hosts safely to lunch at 128 for one.On 58 then, Solozano struck eight fours in an innings which lasted 249 balls while King looked in superb touch in belting 10 fours and three sixes in an 82-ball cameo.King was beginning to dominate India-A’s attack when he played back to one from Nadeem that scuttled along the ground and hit leg stump.Even then, no collapse ensued, as Ambris arrived to add 60 for the third wicket with the resolute Solozano, as West Indies-A continued to flourish.Solozano looked set for three figures when he tried to cut one from part-time spinner Hanuma Vihari and was brilliantly caught one-handed at slip by Mayank Agarwal, diving to his left.Unbeaten on 34 at tea with West Indies on 242 for three, Ambris thrived in the final session to post his 13th first class half-century and pass 3 000 career runs.He lost Jermaine Blackwood, lbw to Nadeem for eight missing a forward defensive stroke and captain Jahmar Hamilton for eight, bowled between bat and pad, also by Nadeem.And he too seemed set for a hundred until he chopped on to Nadeem after facing 145 balls and striking five fours and a six, with the game already headed for a stalemate.SCOREBOARDINDIA-A 1st innings 201WEST INDIES-A 1st innings 194INDIA-A 2nd innings 365-4 decl.WEST INDIES-A 2nd innings (target: 373 runs) (overnight 37 without loss) Hodge c Vihari b Nadeem 25 Solozano c Agarwal b Vihari 92 King b Nadeem 77 Ambris b Nadeem 69 Blackwood lbw b Nadeem 8 Hamilton b Nadeem 11 Cariah not out 10 Reifer not out 10Extras: (b-5, lb-6, nb-1) 12Total: (6 wkts, 109 overs) 314Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-167, 3-227, 4-252, 5-283, 6-296.Bowling: Umesh 14-3-43-0, Avesh Khan 11-1-41-0, Gowtham 30-4-86-0, Nadeem 41-9-103-5, Dube 2-1-8-0, Vihari 11-3-23-1.Series: India A win three-match series 2-0.last_img read more

Anna Shkudun rides improved serve to No. 42 ranking

first_img Related Stories Anna Shkudun and Syracuse take down St. John’s to improve to 6-0Anna Shkudun adjusts to college game and leadership position as 1st-year grad student Not much was working for Anna Shkudun on Sunday afternoon. Virginia’s Danielle Collins caught Shkudun off guard with a drop shot after a series of hard hits in the first set — one Shkudun would eventually lose, 6-1.But down 3-1 in the second set, Shkudun brushed her hair back and uncorked a vicious serve that whistled by Collins, the No. 3 singles player in the country, who looked at the line judge in disbelief. Two games later, still down, Shkudun powered a perfectly placed serve that tied Collins up like an inside fastball sawing off a hitter’s bat.Twice, a Shkudun serve ricocheted off Collins’ handle, shooting straight up to the ceiling of Drumlins Country Club. Each time, Collins threw her hands to her side in frustration as the ball came down from its launch. Although Collins cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory, Shkudun dominated one part of the game: her serve.“I would have to say (the serve) is one of my favorite shots,” Shkudun said. “The final result of the match depends on how I serve. If I feel confident with it, I’m pretty sure that I will play the match good, lots of aces.”In her first year at SU, Shkudun, a graduate student, has made minor tweaks to her power shot that have led her to a No. 42 singles player ranking and 6-2 singles record. Her play, especially her serve, has helped Syracuse (7-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) to its highest ever ranking by the International Tennis Federation — No. 33, nationally.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShkudun can deliver hard serves, but also expertly place them. She can hit it wide, leaving her opponent no option other than to stretch toward the ball. She can aim to the body and handcuff her opponent. She can serve down the middle of the court and eliminate her opponent’s angles.“It’s really nice to be able to practice against her because you know once you get into a match,” sophomore Nicole Mitchell said, “you’re not going to have anyone who’s going to be able to serve that well.”Of SU’s eight matches, seven have been played indoors, where the conditions are faster than those outside, which Shkudun said people have told her adds 3-5 miles per hour to her serves.Yet, Shkudun has “no idea” how fast she can serve. She’s never had it clocked and nobody’s ever told her the speed of it. Head coach Younes Limam estimates it tops out at over 90 mph.When Shkudun arrived at SU, she worked with the coaches to make subtle tweaks to her power shot. She’s jumping higher at the start of her serve, which has allowed her to connect her racket with the ball a couple of inches higher, and tossing the ball a couple of inches out in front of her. Both have added power and velocity to her serve.“Her serve has been there for her the whole time,” Limam said. “It’s just a matter of trusting it more and really using it as a weapon.”Until two years ago, Shkudun was constantly toying with her serve. It’s always been powerful, she said, but never consistent. She worked with several coaches in the Ukraine, her home country, but each coach would say something different than the other and advise her to make adjustments. One told her to change her body movement. A second adjusted her leg positioning. Another the height of her toss.“My serve was unstable, you know?” she said, “because all the time you have to change the movement, it’s not good.”Two years ago, while playing tournaments in the Ukraine, Shkudun found what meshed for her. Despite the adjustments she’s made this season, Shkudun has largely stuck to it and is reaping the benefits. Comments Published on February 25, 2016 at 12:03 am Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more