Saturday, 31 December 2011

Cricket recognised in New Year’s Honours List

Giles Clarke
ECB chairman Giles Clarke, former international umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, ECB disability cricketer of the year Umesh Valjee and disability cricket pioneer Jeffrey Levick have all been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List announced today.
Clarke, who has been ECB chairman since 2007, received a CBE for services to cricket while Bird was awarded an OBE for services to cricket and charity. The former Yorkshire and Leicestershire batsman was a first-class umpire for 28 years and officiated in 68 Test matches and three World Cup finals. He has previously been awarded an MBE.Valjee, who captained England’s deaf cricketers to victory in the T20 tri-series in Australia earlier this year, scoring three centuries, received an MBE together with Levick, chairman of Hampshire Cricket Board.
Levick, who has been involved in grass-roots cricket for more than 50 years, chairs the ECB’s Regional Disability Cricket Development Forum for the south and west and has been instrumental in developing disability cricket in the Hampshire region.
Clarke said: “This has been a marvellous year for cricket at all levels with the England team becoming the world’s number one ranked Test side, a memorable finish to our county season and a five per cent growth in participation at grass-roots level in our national network of ECB focus clubs.
“The entire game will be pleased to see that the excellent work which is being done to promote disability cricket has been acknowledged and, of course, that one of our most popular and best-loved umpires has received further national recognition.
“These awards are a tremendous accolade for cricket in this country and will provide a real boost for all those who work tirelessly to promote our national summer sport.”

Friday, 30 December 2011

India beated By Australia In First Test

India's famed batting line-up produced yet another spineless display to crash to an embarrassing 122-run defeat in the first cricket Test and hand Australia a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series here today.
Chasing a target of 292 in the second innings, India's top-order collapsed like a proverbial house of cards against the pace trio of James Pattinson (4/53), Peter Siddle (3/42) and Ben Hilfenhaus (2/39) to be bundled out for a paltry 169 in 47.5 overs on the final session of the penultimate day.
India were always up against history as no side since 1963 has made more than 250 runs in the fourth innings at MCG to win a Test match.
Sachin Tendulkar promised some ray of hope during his little cameo of 32 runs, but the rest of the top-order batsmen cut a sorry figure against the Australian quicks and at one stage the tourists had lost four wickets for just 22 runs.
Openers Virender Sehwag (7) and Gautam Gambhir (13) and the senior trio of Rahul Dravid (10), Tendulkar and VVS Laxman (1) all failed to save the day for India and departed inside the 90-run mark.
Young Virat Kohli (0) suffered his second failure of the match and made matters worse by showing his displeasure at a plumb leg before decision.
Ravichandran Ashwin (30) rode his luck for a while and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) was street-smart during his stay, but the task proved to be too tall for them to achieve once the top-order departed early.
India (From): Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Abhimanyu Mithun, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar
Australia (From): David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke(c), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin(w), Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Starc

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Ponting, Hussey steady Australia after early strikes

Umesh Yadav's triple strike brought India right back into the match before Ricky Ponting  and Mike Hussey  held fort for Australia  as the first Test between the two sides hung in balance at tea on the third day in Melbourne, on Wednesday.
Australia, leading by 51 runs in the first innings, lost their first four wickets for mere 27 runs in their second essay, three of them to Yadav, before the experienced pair of Ponting (33 not out) and Hussey (29) stretched the score to 81 for four at the break.

Australia presently lead India by 132 runs overall.
Ben HilfenhausPonting and Hussey have so far put on 54 runs for the fifth wicket and halted Australia's slide after their four top-order batsmen batted poorly to leave the hosts in a mess.
Yadav sent tremors through the Australian top-order by removing openers David Warner (5) and Ed Cowan (8) in his fourth over with the hosts scoreboard reading 13.
Warner aimed a cut at a Yadav delivery without much footwork and dragged the ball on to his stumps while Cowan shouldered arm to an incoming ball and was trapped leg before wicket.
To make matters worse for Australia, Shaun Marsh (3) inside edged a Yadav delivery on to his stumps.
If that was not enough, skipper Michael Clarke  was done in by a beautiful incutter from Ishant Sharma , which hit the stumps after getting a slight inside edge.
New man in Hussey, on a king's pair, drove the first ball he faced from Ishant to midwicket for three and from then on seized the initiative for his Australia along with Ponting.
Hussey flicked and then hooked Yadav imperiously for fours and later gloriously straight drove Ishant and cut Zaheer Khan.
His senior partner Ponting looked compact at the other end. A straight driven four of Ishant was the pick of the former Aussie skipper's shots in the afternoon.
Earlier, India dished out poor batting display this morning to be bowled out for 282 as Australia made a remarkable comeback to gain a vital 51-run first innings lead at lunch.
Comeback man Ben Hilfenhaus  (5/75) turned out to be the star performer for Australia with his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.
Hilfenhaus accounted for overnight batsmen Rahul Dravid (68), Virat Kohli  (11), captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni  (6) and Ishant (11) in the morning session to bring Australia back in the reckoning after India were comfortably placed at 214 for three at the close of play on day two.
Peter Siddle also did his bit by inducing an edge from a tentative VVS Laxman (2) and getting the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin (31) to finish with figures of three for 63.
Resuming at 214 for three, India lost their final seven wickets for just 68 runs this morning.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ron Reed: Twenty20 Big Bash jury still out

Shane Warne THE most enjoyable sporting moment of the week? It's a no-brainer. Take yet another bow, Shane Warne. Watching and listening to the old master nominate precisely how he was going to dismiss the Brisbane Heat's star batsman Brendon McCullum and then doing it exactly to order the next ball was fascinating.
He said later a bit of luck was involved because you can try those things 50 times on another day and they don't come off.
That's perfectly true, but luck still had less to do with it than the sublime skill, vast experience and unwavering confidence that went into his astonishing career as the best spin bowler in history.
His sense of showmanship was an important ingredient, too.The context for all this, of course, was that Warne's team, the Melbourne Stars, recorded their first win of the Big Bash, with a tick under 30,000 people almost filling Brisbane's Gabba ground.
For Cricket Australia, this was gold. If the Big Bash becomes the success story they hope for - and after the first six matches in week one the jury is still very much out - this will be remembered as the night it took off.
But it also posed what is perhaps the most perplexing question about the ambitious project - what's most important, the box office or the TV ratings?
The Brisbane game went through the roof in both respects but elsewhere the crowds - 13,000 in Sydney, 23,000 at the MCG and 13,000 at Etihad Stadium - have been underwhelming, to say the least.
But the TV audiences have been strong, giving Cricket Australia something to hang its hat on when it comes to jousting with the critics and sceptics.
I have always believed that while TV sport offers a lot, there is nothing like actually being at an event to suck up the atmosphere and take in the big picture.
But when you've got Warne miked up and delivering the insight and drama that he produced the other night ... well, you just don't get that sitting in the grandstand, watching the game in the old-fashioned way.
You have to suspect that whether they meant to or not, CA has found a way to get people to watch cricket as distinct from going to it - time will tell.
Another question that could prove critical is whether the combination of mostly low-profile international hired-guns, superannuated locals coming out of retirement, domestic level stalwarts and a few young up-and-comers will deliver enough star power to keep the punters interested.
Warne is Warne, of course, but whether Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg, for instance, add much to the mix is debatable.
The two most entertaining innings so far have been played by David Warner and Shaun Marsh, who are part of the future of Australian cricket at all levels - but their Test priorities mean that the Big Bash won't see much more of them, probably no more in fact.
The Melbourne Renegades have made a disastrous start, losing both games and pulling a poor crowd to Etihad Stadium, but they have been desperately unlucky to lose their best player - and that includes their Pakistani imports - when Brad Hodge hurt his hammy in a practice match.
This column has been a fan of Twenty20 from the outset and we've watched some or all of every match so far, live or on TV. The positives have outweighed the negatives but for a range of reasons it simply hasn't caught fire - yet. Hopefully it will.
And on the subject of T20, the week's worst development was Boroondara Council's ban on the game at the 40 park grounds it controls. Councils and all other public rule-makers should be encouraging kids to play sport, not depriving them of it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Cricket Australia defends scheduling of Big Bash Twenty20 tournament immedately before Boxing Day Test

Cricket Australia yesterday defended their scheduling of the Big Bash Twenty20 tournament immediately before the Boxing Day Test by saying no player out of the picture could have forced their way in.

Cricket“The point we have reached, the selectors know exactly where we are … we know which players we want,” CA spokesman Peter Young said.
“There is no conjecture about the scheduling here, the planning has been very, very careful and deliberate.
“The planning was always that players would arrive for the first Big Bash game and then beyond that develop their individual planning.”
The next Sheffield Shield match is not until February 2, by which time Australia’s four-Test seriesSo regardless of injuries and form slumps over the course of the series, no player beyond those in current peripheral considerations can make a claim because they will only be playing short-form cricket.
But the situation will be far worse for any Australian player who is dropped from the side between now and the fourth Test, because no amount of Twenty20 runs would convince selectors of recalling them for the five-day game.
Test prospect Ed Cowan was yesterday pulled from a Chairman’s XI match against India on Thursday to play Twenty20 instead. Cowan was named in a different Chairman’s XI side to play India in a three-dayer, but with Test incumbents Phillip Hughes and David Warner also named in that team, Cowan may not have the opportunity to open the batting, where he has been most successful of late.
“At this stage with the individual development that each player has, playing a Big Bash or Chairman’s XI match is neither here nor there,” Young said.
Meanwhile, injured paceman Mitchell Johnson believes he can return to the Test side after his six-month layoff due to a foot injury, despite the emergence of young stars James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
“This gives me a good chance to work on a few things,” said Johnson, 30.
“I haven’t been really able to do that for the last few years because of the scheduling.
“It gives me a great opportunity to get my fitness back up, my strength and then work on some technique stuff with my bowling and batting.
“(Age) 28, 29, 30 is meant to be at your peak as a bowler.
“Brett Lee performed at that age and he was unbelievable. I don’t think age should have anything to do with it.
“For me I’ve learned a lot about my game and experience for me over the last couple of years is a good thing.
“I’m not really too worried to be honest.”

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bracewell takes six New Zealand Beat To Ausralia

HOBART: New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell took six wickets in a devastating spell around lunch on the fourth day of the second test on Monday to fire his country to a dramatic first victory over Australia since 1993.
Australia, requiring 241 for victory in the second test, had appeared to be grinding their way to their target on the back of David Warner’s maiden test century until Bracewell (6-40) helped send them tumbling from 159 for two to 233 all out.
The seven-run victory was the first on Australian soil for the Black Caps since 1985 and came despite opener Warner’s unbeaten 123, which earned him the man of the match award in his second test.
In a thrillingly tense finish, Warner and Nathan Lyon put on 34 for the last wicket before Bracewell bowled the spinner through the gate to end what had been a topsy-turvey test match on a greentop wicket at the Bellerive Oval.
New Zealand’s victory, only their third in Australia, levelled the series at 1-1 after the hosts won the first test in Brisbane by nine wickets.
“It was a great turnaround from Brisbane,” New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said at the presentation ceremony. “It’s always enjoyable captaining the country and beating Australia. I’m proud of the team.”
Australia had started the day on 72 without loss and confident of victory despite being bundled out for 136 in their first innings on Saturday.
“Disappointed, no doubt,” captain Michael Clarke said. “We were pretty inconsistent throughout this test … the ball swung all day and we needed a couple more partnerships.”
New Zealand struck almost immediately after play started with quick Chris Martin having Phil Hughes caught by Martin Guptill in the slips for 20 without any addition to the score.
It was the fourth time the Martin-Guptill combination had claimed the wicket of Hughes in four innings in the series and probably ended the embattled lefthander’s hopes of a place in the side for the upcoming series against India.
Warner combined with Usman Khawaja to put on 50 runs for the second wicket before the Black Caps struck again when a brilliant catch from Taylor in the slips off the bowling of debutant Trent Boult sent Khawaja back to the pavilion for 23.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had been looking for a big score on his home island and settled in well enough but had made just 16 when he slapped a short ball from Bracewell straight to Tim Southee at extra cover.
Bracewell’s next over put the match back in the balance when he dismissed Clarke and Michael Hussey for ducks on consecutive balls.
Clarke was deceived by an outswinger and caught in the slips by Taylor before an inswinger trapped Hussey lbw with umpire Asad Rauf forced to reverse his decision after a TV review.
Warner reached his century with two runs through square leg soon after lunch but the Australians were reduced to 192-6 when Tim Southee had Brad Haddin, the last recognised batsman, caught by Taylor for 15.
Peter Siddle followed for two soon afterwards with Southee again taking the wicket courtesy of a catch by Jesse Ryder before Bracewell took over to end the match.
James Pattinson (4) got a thick edge which Guptill snapped up in the slips and two balls later a peach of a delivery clean-bowled Mitchell Starc for a duck to leave the Australians languishing on 199-9 and set up the dramatic climax.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Umpire Aleem Dar fires in a couple of bouncers at Dave Warner in the nets

Aleem Dar joined the Australians in the nets yesterdayTEST umpire Aleem Dar spends most of his time giving batsmen out but yesterday he decided to have a crack at getting one or two out. The popular Pakistani showed he has a fiery side too, coming off his long run to fire in a series of bouncers at Australian opener Dave Warner.
Formerly a first-class leg spinner, the umpire decided to let go a few medium pacers at the end of yesterday's optional net session.
Michael Clarke was not too impressed with Dar's length, advising him that he was bowling too short and an amused Warner announced the official fancied himself a chance outside off when bowling to left-handers.
"Don't give him the pleasure," Clarke jested.
Dar's first-class career consisted of 17 matches over 12 years and was rather modest. He gave up playing cricket in 1998 and took up umpiring in 2000.
He does, however, keep his hand in and made an appearance in the B3 division of Brisbane's Warehouse Association on the Saturday before the Brisbane Test.
Dar had appeared for the Macgregor side on an earlier visit, scoring an 80 and a 50.
However, he did not do so well this time.
The umpire had apparently cruised to 16 when there was an appeal for caught down the leg side. Those on the scene swear there was no nick but the official was undone by one of his own kind and given out.
Dar accepted the decision with good grace. His friend, fellow Pakistani Asad Rauf, was an amused spectator.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

New Record In Cricket History

Virender SEHWAG 219 becomes the 2nd player in the history of cricket to score double century in ODI cricket. Well done Champion!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Now luck with Clarke

Michael Clarke's superb 139 against New Zealand at the Gabba was sparkled with class, but the Aussie skipper was happy to admit it'd been a lucky journey to the triple figures.
Clarke's century in his first innings on home soil as Test captain seemed fate at times.
On the second day on just 23, he played on to Doug Bracewell, but was called back after video replays confirmed umpire Aleem Dar's suspicion that the young Kiwi had over-stepped the crease.
And then on 85 he feathered an inside edge to Reece Young, who had no excuse for spilling the easy chance.

Michael ClarkeFinally, after reaching his third century in his last six innings, he was put down once more, this time by third slip Jesse Ryder on 105.
Clarke was happy to acknowledge his hot streak of luck, but said that he'd take big runs whichever way they came.
"You have to perform personally; you have to score runs personally to stay in the team. If you're not scoring runs, somebody else is going to take your place," said Clarke.
"Probably my main goal since taking over the captaincy has been trying to lead from the front on the field, making sure I'm scoring runs and doing whatever I can to help the team have success."
"When things are going your way ... you have to cash in and make the most of it. That was my goal in this innings once I got that life on twenty-odd."
Clarke wasn't the only Aussie to pile up some form and approval, with senior statesman Brad Haddin (80) and Ricky Ponting (78) easing pressure with composed and fluent knocks.
The Australian skipper was delighted to see two of his most experienced bats contributing, but was quick to downplay suggestions that either had been under serious scrutiny.
"(Ponting's) probably as pleased as anyone ... he's brought some momentum home with him (from South Africa) and it was really nice (to see him score runs)," said Clarke.
"I'm sure he's disappointed he didn't make 100, but he's not far away, that's for sure."
"(Haddin has) been working hard for a while now, so it was a real positive for him. Coming into the summer he's trained as hard as ever and his confidence is back up."
"That's how Hadds plays his best, and there's going to be times when he's going to get out playing his shots, but when he's positive in his mind and attacking in the way he plays, I think that's when he has the most success."
"I don't think (runs) were crucial for his future. I've known Hadds for a long time but I've made it very clear to him that his keeping is the number one priority to me; that's his main job in the team."

Kohli and Rohit overpower West Indies

Lendl Simmons withstood like the boy on the burning deck, while Ravi Rampaul shot from the hip like the last man standing. Their half-centuries were stirring for they created them from ruins, but neither led West Indies to victory. Instead, Virat Kohli's methodical century, which enhanced his growing stature as an expert of the chase, and Rohit Sharma's efficient finishing act, prevailed and led India to a 2-0 lead on a drizzly day in Visakhapatnam.
India's bowlers had a critical role in the victory as well, before they were rendered bereft of ideas by Rampaul's record-breaking assault at No. 10. Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar, the new-ball operators, exploited rare seam-bowling conditions on the subcontinent and cut through the West Indian top order. Under cloudy skies, on a cracked pitch that had bounce, they used consistent outswing to help reduce West Indies to 149 for 8 despite defiance from Simmons. The end should have quickly followed, but it didn't, because Rampaul blitzed 86 off 66 balls and added 99 for the tenth wicket to lead West Indies to 269 for 9. 

Rohit Sharma got to his fifth half-century in seven matches against West Indies, India v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam, December 2, 2011The chase was not hiccup-free either. India suffered two early wickets and the loss of an off-colour Sehwag - whose 26 lacked enough strike and momentum - to slip to 84 for 3 in the 17th over. Sehwag could have fallen on 1 and 15 but was dropped by Darren Sammy and Darren Bravo, who is as poor a fielder as he is promising a batsman.
The moments that cost West Indies most, however, were the let-offs Kohli had. On 24, Kohli swiveled and tried to pull Andre Russell, a shot he would execute with success later during his eighth century. This time Denesh Ramdin failed to catch the ball and the umpire did not signal leg-byes. On 40, Kohli drove the ball hard back at the bowler Marlon Samuels, who couldn't hold on as he dived to his right. Kohli gave West Indies no more chances.
Rohit had a painful start to his innings. His third ball was a short one from Rampaul and it thudded into the glove of his bottom hand. Three balls later Rohit retorted with a audacious pull off the front foot that sent the ball into the crowd beyond the midwicket boundary. It was the start of a 163-run partnership that decided the game.
Though the challenge was sizeable, Kohli and Rohit ensured the asking-rate, which hit a run a ball for the first time after 23 overs, was always under control. Sammy, unlike his counterpart Sehwag who often had six fielders in the circle when India were bowling, spread his field and the batsmen were able to whittle down the target without risking their wickets.
There were a few more tense moments as the contest entered its home stretch. After closing the gap between runs required and balls left with five boundaries in ten balls - Kohli 3, Rohit 2 - Kohli was dismissed for 117. Raina was caught behind hooking a short ball soon after, and India needed 22 off 24 balls. Rohit, however, did the job he didn't do in Cuttack. He stayed the course, striking a six over long-off to reach 90 and then watching from the other end as the game was won.
A few hours earlier, the match didn't look like it would go into its 99th over. The floodlights were on as play began after a delayed start in front of a strong crowd and Yadav didn't take long to give them reason to roar. In the second over, he produced a late outswinger that grazed Adrian Barath's outside edge en route to the wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
A feature of Yadav's bowling was how upright the seam was before the ball hit the pitch and seamed away. Sehwag had a third slip because of all the movement, and when Samuels edged Yadav, Raina dived to his right and took a low catch. West Indies were 25 for 2.
Simmons went on the attack, stylishly whipping Yadav to the square-leg boundary, and walking out of his crease to drive Vinay on the up through extra cover to bring up 1000 career runs. At the other end, there was false promise from Bravo, who flicked and straight drove Varun Aaron for fours before lofting Vinay to the fielder at mid-on. Two balls later, Danza Hyatt was walking back for nought.
Only after Ramdin - Yadav's third wicket - departed with his team reeling at 63 for 5, did things begin to look up for West Indies. Simmons reached his half-century and Pollard brought up the 50 partnership by launching the offspinner R Ashwin over the straight boundary. He followed that with another six over wide long-on next ball. Another slump was around the corner, though.
Pollard, Sammy and Russell fell in quick time and it was then that Rampaul made his entrance. He swept Ashwin for four and clubbed him over long-on, before targeting Jadeja and scoring two more fours. Between those braces of shots, Simmons had been run out for 78.
The boundaries were small but Rampaul would have cleared larger ones today. He brought up his half-century off 35 balls and hit half a dozen sixes and as many fours, most of them swung with power on the leg side. There was an inevitability about how the innings ended, with Rampaul slamming Aaron over the straight boundary. He walked off the field with a composed look on his face, knowing the job was only half done. He wouldn't be able to complete it, though.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Afridi rips Bangladesh to shreds

Shahid Afridi grabbed five wickets for 23 runs and then kept his cool in a batting crisis as Pakistan overcame Bangladesh by five wickets in the first one-day international in Dhaka yesterday.
The leg-spinner ripped through the Bangladesh line-up as the hosts were bowled out for 91.

  Shahid Afridi celebrates another Bangladeshi dismissal. Photo / AP 

Pakistan lost five wickets chasing the modest target which was eventually overhauled in the 26th over to give the tourists the lead in the three-match series.
Seamer Rubel Hossain and spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets apiece to leave Pakistan struggling at 5-63 before Afridi took his team home with an unbeaten 24 off 23 balls.
As the runs dried up on the turning wicket, Afridi broke free with three successive fours off Shakib and then cut the same bowler for another boundary to win the game.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made 16 not out, sharing a match-winning stand of 30 with Afridi.
It was Pakistan's 26th win in 27 one-dayers against Bangladesh, the lone defeat having come during the 1999 World Cup in England.
Bangladesh, who lost half their batsmen for 31 runs on the slow wicket, were dismissed in 30.3 overs and barely passed their lowest one-day total against Pakistan of 87.
Wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed picked up four catches as the four Pakistani spinners shared eight of the 10 wickets.
Bangladesh's batting never recovered after losing opener Tamim Iqbal with the fourth ball of the innings, trapped leg-before by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.
Seamer Umar Gul, who shared the new ball with the spinner, struck in his third over when he forced Naeem Islam to edge a catch to the slips.
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was caught behind off Shoaib Malik for 11, before Afridi grabbed two wickets in one over to reduce the Tigers to 5-31.
Afridi had opener Shahriar Nafees caught at backward point by Malik and then saw Mohammad Mahmudullah edge a catch to Sarfraz three balls later.
Nasir Hossain and Shakib put on 36 for the sixth wicket and Nasir made 21 before he top-edged a catch off Aizaz Cheema, while Shakib became Afridi's third victim on 15.
Last man Rubel Hossain hit an unbeaten 15 before Afridi claimed the final two wickets.
The second one-dayer will be played at the same venue tomorrow.
Afridi made his peace with former coach Waqar Younis, who took the captaincy from him after a fiery tour of the West Indies.
The pair met recently in the United Arab Emirates and resolved their differences.
"Look, when you work together like I and Shahid did you have such difference of opinions and disagreements and that is exactly what happened with us,"Waqar said.
"But in the end what is important is that both of us just wanted to see Pakistan cricket do well."

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