McCaw demands better from All Blacks

Richie McCaw has given an ominous warning to Argentina that there is more improvement to come from the All Blacks after their inspired performance against Australia.


The All Blacks produced their best showing of the year to blow the Wallabies off Eden Park two weeks ago but their captain concedes they didn’t get everything right in the 51-20 humiliation.

And he’s intent in putting that right in Saturday’s Test at Napier’s McLean Park.

“There’s things we didn’t get right when we played the Aussies a couple of weeks ago. We want to be better than that.

“Hopefully the scoreboard looks good if we can do that.

“We’ve got to be able to walk off the field having a level of performance the same, or if not better, than the last time,” McCaw said.

But McCaw, who wins his 130th Test cap, remains wary of an improving Argentina side.

“I think they’re playing better than they have done the last couple of years.

“It’s been a challenge each time we’ve played them, certainly in the last three or four games.”

The All Blacks have been closely studying a Pumas side that have adopted a more expansive style of play this season.

Three tries in their heartbreaking 33-31 defeat to the Springboks proved that their approach of the past is changing under new coach Daniel Hourcade.

“They appear to have changed their structures quite a bit since last year and really bought in to playing an open game,” said No.8 Kieran Read.

“That mirrors itself against what we do.”

Recalled fullback Israel Dagg is in no doubt that they’ve modelled themselves on the unpredictable All Blacks.

“(They’re) pretty similar to us in how we try and play – a couple of their moves are pretty similar.

“They’re a team that likes to play and they’re a team that you just don’t know what they’re going to do.

“You’ve got to expect everything,” he said.

Coach Steve Hansen has also seen the change in tactics and likes what he sees.

“I think they’ve made a lot of progress.”

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Andretti relives Monza memories

The great American, still the only man to win the Formula One title, Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, marked his return to the Italian track by walking a lap of it for the first time on Thursday.


If the 1978 world champion was surprised not to have done it before, he at least had a good excuse.

“I never really took the time to walk (as a racer) because I was always sort of busy. I was keeping the candle lit at both ends,” he told Reuters in an interview ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Monza, the venerable cathedral of Italian motorsport and temple to all things Ferrari, holds special significance to the Italian-born driver as the place where he was first bitten by the motor racing bug.

While the walk with NBC television triggered memories, they were ones that needed little prompting. Monza, like Indianapolis, is part of who he is.

It was here that as a 14-year-old refugee, from what is now Croatia but was Italian Istria when he was born there during World War Two, Andretti first saw Formula One cars in action when he attended the 1954 Italian Grand Prix.

In 1968 he drove a Formula One car for the first time at Monza and in 1978 won the championship there for Lotus in a race marred by the death of popular team mate and friend Ronnie Peterson.

His stunning pole position for Ferrari at Monza in 1982, as a late stand-in for the seriously injured French driver Didier Pironi, remains the last by an American F1 driver.

“Coming back here, Monza…this was a catalyst for my career, for putting me in that direction,” mused Andretti, who was also busy handing out black stetson hats to drivers to promote next month’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

“So do I love this place? Yes. How meaningful is it? Very, in every way. Because I had success here and unfortunately with the Ronnie situation…,” Andretti paused.

“It should have been the happiest day of my life, of my career. But I couldn’t celebrate.”

Peterson, the ‘SuperSwede’ who won 10 grands prix and was posthumously runner-up in the 1978 championship, had been involved in a pile-up at the start and suffered severe leg injuries. He died in hospital overnight from an embolism.


The memories of 1954 are far happier for Andretti, even if his life was precarious at the time.

“That’s when the mould was cast, I think,” he said. “Alberto Ascari was my idol and watching him fight with Fangio and Moss. Just seeing that was something that stays with you. It was such a stimulant for me.

“I was still in a refugee camp then, in Lucca. I had no idea what the future would hold. A year later we emigrated to the States.”

It was also in that period of his life that the young Andretti saw a film that would prove a major influence.

Starring Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck, it was a tale of dirt-track midget racing and had been entitled ‘To Please a Lady’ for American audiences. But in Italy, it was simply ‘Indianapolis’.

“‘Indianapolis?,’ I said.‘What is that, Naples?’. I didn’t know what that was, but I saw the film. It was a different type of racing but still single seaters. Not as exciting as F1 but racing,” recalled the 1969 Indy 500 winner.

“When we went to America we didn’t know what to expect but we found out quick enough that there was racing there and we started working on that.”

In 1968, Andretti had been set to make his debut with Lotus at Monza but was stymied by Ferrari who invoked a clause in the rules to prevent him racing after he had taken part in qualifying on Friday.

“Because of my commitments, I had to go back and race Saturday in a dirt race at Indianapolis and then come back here,” said Andretti, as if such a schedule was literally all in a day’s work.

“They (race officials) had promised me they would waive the (24 hour) rule (which prohibited two races in a 24 hour period). But we got protested by Ferrari.

“I don’t know why but when I tested here, the first time ever in a Formula One car, I was quicker than (Ferrari’s New Zealander Chris) Amon at testing two weeks before and I was quicker than they were when I left on Friday.”

There were no protests when Andretti, returned in 1982 for the penultimate grand prix of his career.

He was on the pace immediately, even if there was still no time to be wasted on walking the track like modern Formula One drivers are wont to do.

“I had got familiar with the car a week earlier in Fiorano and that was important because I had never driven a turbo-charged Formula One car up to that point,” he said.

“At Fiorano we had set a track record so I felt comfortable. And Monza I knew the track, so when I arrived here I felt like I was OK. And it worked out. I didn’t leave much on the table.”


Andretti said he was finding the current Formula One season fascinating to watch, despite some fears about with the new V6 hybrid turbo power units and energy recovery systems that replaced the old V8s.

“I think it’s been entertaining beyond whatever I thought it would be. I feared the worst with the dramatic rule change that they made,” he added.

“The season has been saved. Williams coming to the front, you’ve got Ricciardo. Valtteri Bottas. Two real revelations. That’s good stuff. Entertaining? Absolutely. Do you look forward to every race? You’re damned right.”

The American, who won 12 races in his career, said he was rooting for Lewis Hamilton over the Briton’s Mercedes team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg but was also a big fan of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“I root for Lewis because he’s had the worse luck, mechanically. Not of his own doing. And he’s still fought hard,” he said.

“And when the chips are really down, he’s quicker I think. I think either one deserves it, no question. Nico has shown to be worthy of a championship.

And Ricciardo? “I tell you what, he’s not going away…he’s for real. What a revelation, what a find. I tell you what, that kid is fun to watch. His overtakes and everything are so textbook. And he’s got balls. He wants to win.”

Ferrari, a team as close to Andretti’s heart as any Italian’s, are off the pace at present but the American was sure they would turn it around and give Fernando Alonso the success he deserved.

“Ferrari is going to win, probably sooner than we think,” he declared. “They cannot afford not to be at the front and they know it. They will find a way, they always do.

“I’d like to see Fernando stay there and get the rewards that he deserves because he’s suffering now.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)

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Germany need to be patient against Scotland – Reus

“They have not lost for six straight games and they are a strong team with a fighting spirit,” said Reus, who was unlucky to miss the World Cup due to an injury in their final warmup game with Germany going on to win the title in Brazil in July.


“Scotland close down spaces quickly and so we will need patience and we need to be much better than against Argentina. We need to be more effective in front of goal,” the 25-year-old told reporters on Friday.

Scotland have won four and drawn two of their last six internationals.

The Germans, with Reus making his return from injury, lost 4-2 to Argentina in a friendly rematch of July’s World Cup final on Wednesday.

Germany squandered a string of good chances with Mario Gomez alone missing three times from close range.

“Scotland are strong, they have a leader in Darren Fletcher, they are very quick in attack. What is needed from us is patience and we are fully aware of that,” Reus added.

The Germans will have central defender Jerome Boateng back for the game, coaching staff member Andreas Koepke said, meaning coach Joachim Loew will reshuffle his backline following a string of errors, especially from the full backs, against the South Americans.

“Jerome will be back, he is without pain and is more or less certain to play,” said goalkeeping coach Koepke.

“These last two days will show what changes or if any there will be in defence. Jerome will return and some things will change but who will be on the left or on the right is something I cannot say just now.”

Germany and Scotland have been drawn in Group D along with Ireland, Georgia, Poland and Gibraltar.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Justin Palmer)

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Brain-dead asylum seeker dies: govt

A brain-dead Iranian asylum seeker who had been detained on Australia’s Manus Island facility has died after his family decided to switch off his life support.


Hamid Kehazaei was taken from Papua New Guinea last week after an infection in a cut foot deteriorated to severe septicaemia. He was then treated at a Brisbane hospital.

He was pronounced brain dead this week, according to refugee advocates.

Mr Kehazaei’s family gave consent on Friday afternoon to switch his life support off, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed.

“I am very saddened by this man’s passing and on behalf of the Australian government I extend our deepest sympathy to the man’s family and friends,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.

“My department has and will continue to provide support to the family and has been in contact with family members during the course of the man’s treatment,” he said, adding that the name and age of the man would not be released, subject to agreement from his family.

The Australian Greens earlier disputed Mr Morrison’s claim’s that Mr Kehazaei had received “outstanding” care before his transfer to Brisbane.

“If outstanding care on Manus Island sees someone die because of a cut foot, it needs to be shut down,” Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Mr Morrison rejected suggestions the care provided to Mr Kehazaei was inadequate.

“When someone becomes ill they receive outstanding care from the people who work as part of our mainland detention network,” he said.

Mr Morrison has asked the immigration department’s chief medical officer to review Mr Kehazaei’s treatment.

“I will base my assessment of that treatment on facts and not Facebook,” he said.

Labor has called for the review to be made public as soon as possible.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said Labor continued to be concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the treatment of asylum seekers.

Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said Mr Kehazaei’s death was “senseless and inexcusable”.

“Hamid’s death speaks for the medical neglect, and to the culture of punishment, and indifference that pervades Manus Island,” he said.

“Infections and skin disease are endemic in the detention centre. It is unhygienic, unsanitary and unsafe.”

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Heavyweight coaches ready to lock horns in semis

On Saturday they will go head-to-head as the respective coaches of the four men to reach this year’s semi-finals.


While Ivanisevic will not be able to deliver any of his booming aces, Chang chase around like a hyper-active terrier, Edberg swish away effortless backhands or Becker launch himself through the air to pick off volleys – their mere presence will add another dimension to the drama.

Becker will be masterminding world No.1 Novak Djokovic’s attempt to reach a fifth consecutive U.S. Open final by beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who since adding former French Open champion Chang to his team has emerged as genuine major threat.

Towering Marin Cilic will have fellow Croat Ivanisevic in his corner as he attempts to reach his first grand slam final by beating Swiss maestro Roger Federer who has been rejuvenated since tapping into Edberg’s serve-and-volley skills.

So what effect have the four greats had on their charges?


There is little in common with the way German powerhouse Becker served-and-volleyed his way to six grand slam titles and how Djokovic has managed seven with clinical baseline precision.

Eyebrows were raised when Djokovic announced last December that Becker would join his team alongside long-term coach Marian Vajda, and the early signs were not encouraging as he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Since then, however, the Serb won the Indian Wells/Miami double on hardcourts, beat Rafa Nadal in the final in Rome and then reached the French Open final before winning Wimbledon for the second time by defeating Federer in an epic.

While there are no obvious changes to the Djokovic style, there is a little more variation on his serve and he appears more confident around the net. Most of all, though, he seems to enjoy having one of the game’s big personalities on his side.

“I’m a different player than what he was in terms of play,” Djokovic said at Wimbledon. “But in terms of mental approach and other things, I find that we have a lot of things in common.”

In a recent interview with CNN, Becker said Djokovic reminded him of his young self, fighting against players who perhaps enjoyed more crowd support.

“I was known to be a pretty hard-nosed guy on court with a very strong mentality,” Becker said. “I was a fighter’s player.”


There is nothing anyone can teach 17-times grand slam champion Federer but as his physical powers wane, Edberg has given Federer the confidence to employ more attacking tactics.

Federer enjoys nothing more than playing on the front foot but in recent years has occasionally became a little passive against the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray.

Not the most powerful, his serve still has the most variety in the men’s game and Edberg, one of the greatest serve-and-volleyers to grace the sport, has encouraged Federer to follow it in more for a quick finish to points. And it’s working.

“Maybe (he) just reinforced the concept that it is possible, that I can actually do it,” Federer said this year. “For years I started to serve and volley once or twice a set maybe.”


Long talked about as one to watch, Nishikori has added a little Chang-like steel to his shot-making skills.

Chang was a master at making every point a war of attrition and while Nishikori is a more flamboyant player, he has clearly become much better on the defensive skills that the likes of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray possess.

His five-set quarter-final win against Stanislas Wawrinka would have made old warrior Chang proud.

The 24-year-old is the first Japanese man to reach a grand slam semi-final and though Djokovic presents a formidable obstacle, Chang believes he will not be daunted.

“He’s beaten Novak before. There’s no reason why he’s not able to do it again,” he said.


After serving a four-month doping ban last year for taking a tainted supplement, Cilic has returned with new purpose and looks a much more confident character on court.

The 25-year-old has always possessed big weapons but occasionally appeared to lack belief against the big guns.

Ivanisevic’s infectious good humour and personality is having a galvanising effect, as his demolition of Tomas Berdych on Thursday showed.

“It’s a nice combination,” Cilic, who stretched Djokovic to five sets in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, said. “He’s eager on the court when we are working on things, and of course the other part where he’s calm in certain other situations.

“That’s huge confidence for me when I come step on the court.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Ukraine ceasefire deal disputed by Russia

Russia has denied claims from the Ukrainian government that the two countries have agreed on a permanent ceasefire for eastern Ukraine.


“(Vladimir) Putin and (Petro) Poroshenko really did discuss steps which would lead to a ceasefire between rebels and Ukrainian troops,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

“But in principle Russia cannot agree on a ceasefire as it is not a participant in the conflict.”

About an hour earlier, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced that he and Mr Putin had agreed to a permanent truce.

As a result of my telephone conversation with Russian President we reached an agreement on a permanent ceasefire on Donbass.

— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) September 3, 2014

A statement released by President Poroshenko said the leaders had agreed to a ‘permanent ceasefire’ for the region. This was later amended.

“The conversation resulted in an agreement on ceasefire regime in the Donbas,” the statement read.

“The parties reached mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Peskov said the leaders found they “largely share” the same views on how to stop the violence in east Ukraine.

“The heads of state exchanged opinions about what needs to be done first in order to bring an end to the bloodletting in the southeast of the country as soon as possible,” he told Russian news agencies.

“The views of the presidents of the two countries about possible ways out of this difficult crisis overlap to a considerable degree.”

The pair met last week in Minsk but made no progress towards ending the conflict, which has intensified in recent weeks.

Western nations have accused Russia of deploying troops in Ukraine, but Moscow have repeatedly denied these claims.

The talks come as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Australia is banning uranium sales to Ukraine and opening an embassy in Kiev.

Mr Abbott also said the government is considering sending support to Ukraine through aid and non-lethal military assistance.

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Shehzad in trouble over religious chat

Ahmed Shehzad violated his central contract by making religious comments to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan and he could be disciplined, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Friday.


“Shehzad has breached the central contract in which it is clearly written that you will not involve in any religious or political discussion with others,” Khan said in the southern city of Karachi.

“There can be a disciplinary action against him.”

The PCB has already formed a three-member committee headed by international cricket operations director Zakir Khan to investigate the issue.

Shehzad was caught on camera last Saturday telling Dilshan “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.”

Dilshan’s reply was not audible, and Shehzad went on to say, “Then be ready for the fire.”

They were walking back to the dressing room after Sri Lanka won the third and deciding one-day international in which Dilshan scored an unbeaten 50.

There was no official complaint from Sri Lanka Cricket or match officials, but Shehzad told PCB officials on Wednesday it was a “personal discussion,” with Dilshan and there was nothing more to it.

Dilshan told espncricinfo广西桑拿, that he would also not lodge any complaint.

“I don’t remember even what I said to him,” Dilshan said. “I have no issues at all. I was just quite happy with the win at the time.”

Dilshan was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother and was known as Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan.

He shed his Muslim name shortly after his international debut in 1999 and took up the name Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan with an ethnic Sinhalese-Buddhist identity.

Shehzad is due to accompany the Lahore Lions to India to compete in the Champions League next week, and is one of the top contenders to be named Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain.

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Storm seal finals berth with Broncos win

Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith delivered a captain’s knock to give his team every chance of a top four NRL finals berth with a drama-packed 22-12 win over Brisbane at AAMI Park.


Smith shrugged off a possibly serious ankle injury that temporarily forced him off the field while centre Mahe Fonua scored two second half tries to seal the last round win and a place in the play-offs.

The Storm moved into fourth, however Penrith and North Queensland can still leap-frog them with wins against the Warriors and Manly respectively.

Brisbane meanwhile could drop out of the eight should the ninth-placed Warriors or 10th-placed Parramatta, who face the 15th-placed Canberra on Saturday night, win.

Smith left the field with 11 minutes remaining in the first half with the injury diagnosed as syndesmosis – a high ankle sprain which usually means at least a week out.

The Storm looked in disarray in his absence, with the Broncos scoring one try and the video referees over-ruling an on-field decision to award another to Andrew McCullough.

At the same time Smith was injured, Brisbane skipper Corey Parker also left the field for a concussion test after a heavy knock in a tackle.

He returned in time to convert Jack Reed’s 33rd minute try for his side to trail 12-10.

Reed’s night was cut short soon after when he dislocated his shoulder while making a charge in the final play of the first half.

Smith however was back into the fray three minutes into the second half, although the Storm didn’t have it all their own way.

A Parker penalty tied the match up and despite the home side’s best effort, Brisbane’s wall of defence held firm until the 65th minute.

Melbourne centre Mahe Fonua leapt high to take a Cooper Cronk bomb and then muscled his way across the line to break the deadlock.

Will Chambers, kicking in place of Smith, was unable to kick the conversion.

In the end it didn’t matter with Fonua intercepting a Ben Hunt pass and racing 55 metres, chased by three Broncos, to touch down.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin, who will be replaced by Wayne Bennett next season, said his team’s defence was rock solid after a costly early lapse when Ryan Hoffman and Cooper Cronk both scored.

“The jump they got on us in the end was the difference,” Griffin said.

“I thought from then we were on top for long periods of the game but unfortunately a kick and an intercept and we end up with nothing.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

Griffin said that Reed would require his third shoulder reconstruction in as many years.

Despite his injury and absence, Smith still topped his team’s tackle count with 49, only surpassed by McCullough’s game-high 52.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he was hopeful that his skipper would be available to play their opening final next weekend.

“It’s not minor but it’s obviously not too serious otherwise he wouldn’t have gone back on,” he said.

“Hopefully our physio can get him up for next week.”

The coach was concerned that his team might run out of steam after a heavy travelling schedule leading up to the match and was proud they held firm.

“It was nice to get a win for a lot of reasons,” Bellamy said.

“Obviously we’re in the semis now but also for the guys who are departing, like Ryan Hoffman, we always want to send them out on a good note.”

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PM poised to unveil India uranium deal

India has promised that any uranium it buys from Australia will only be used to produce energy, not build nuclear weapons.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott is poised to overturn a long-standing ban on uranium sales to India when he announces a deal with his counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday.

The nuclear safeguards agreement stipulates that India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.

Australia also expects India to meet the highest global standards of radiation and nuclear safety.

The agreement will prove controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Mr Abbott has defended India as a model international citizen and peaceful “democratic superpower” in the region.

But opponents claim the deal is reckless, pointing to the secrecy of India’s civilian nuclear industry, its poor safety record and quest to pursue a more sophisticated weapons stockpile.

It’s not clear how the agreement will be enforced but Mr Abbott has stated it’s not Australia’s job to tell India how to conduct its own business.

The agreement must first be considered by Australia’s parliamentary Committee on Treaties before getting the stamp of approval.

Australia’s refusal to sell uranium to India has been a deep source of mistrust between the trading partners for years.

John Howard first gave in-principle support to the idea in 2007 but Kevin Rudd rescinded that once elected.

Julia Gillard convinced Labor in 2011 to lift its ban and negotiations for a safeguards agreement began with India the following year.

India wants to vastly expand its nuclear sector and hopes by the middle of the century a quarter of all its energy will come from uranium.

Australia, with the world’s largest known uranium reserves, is well placed to capitalise on this energy transformation.

India is Australia’s fifth-largest export market, with energy resources making up the lion’s share of the goods shipped across the Indian Ocean.

The energy-strapped nation bought nearly $5 billion worth of Australian coal last year alone.

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Root ton restores England pride in Leeds

Joe Root marked his first one-day international at his Yorkshire home ground with a century as England tried to avoid a series whitewash against India at Headingley on Friday.


Root’s 113 was the cornerstone of England’s 7-294.

World champions India had already won the series by going 3-0 up and it seemed they would restrict England to another meagre total when the hosts slumped to 4-117 off 29 overs after losing the toss.

But Root and Jos Buttler (49) repaired the damage with a fifth-wicket partnership of 108 and England’s bowlers had even more of a target to defend thanks to recalled all-rounder Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 33.

For England, it was initially an all-too-familiar story as India’s pacemen make early breakthroughs.

The runs then dried up against India’s spinners as wickets continued to fall.

England found themselves 2-39 off seven overs.

Alex Hales mistimed a pull off recalled paceman Umesh Yadav and holed out to midwicket for four.

Moeen Ali had been promoted to number three after making 67 at number seven in a nine-wicket thrashing by India at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

But left-hander Ali exited for nine when he sliced a wide length ball from Kumar to Yadav at third man.

Under-pressure England captain Alastair Cook, trying to break the shackles, made 46 before he top-edged a sweep against off-spinner Suresh Raina and was caught by India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni then stumped Cook’s fellow left-hander Eoin Morgan (14) off Ravichandran Ashwin’s off-spin.

But the re-introduction of Yadav saw Buttler uppercut him for six.

Buttler also pulled Ashwin for six and Root hoisted left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja over long-on for a six of his own.

England at last enjoyed a productive batting powerplay, scoring 55 runs for no wickets in five overs.

But Buttler fell when, having survived an lbw appeal, he set off for a non-existent single and was run out by opposing ‘keeper Dhoni.

Root, though, slog-swept Jadeja — whose nine overs cost 66 runs — for six to complete a 105-ball century.

But Root’s second and highest hundred in 36 ODIs ended when an intended ‘ramp’ off Mohammed Shami was caught by Ashwin at short fine leg.

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