Monday, 30 November 2015

Andy Murray wins Davis Cup for Britain after 79 years!

Ghent, Belgium: The moment Andy Murray has pursued with such fanatical zeal finally arrived, unforgettably, on Sunday when an outrageous lob arced over Belgium's David Goffin to seal Britain's first Davis Cup title for 79 years.

Fittingly for a player who has almost single-handedly guided his country to the title this year, the indefatigable Murray ended Goffin's inspired resistance with a moment of sheer brilliance few could conjure to complete a 6-3 7-5 6-3 victory.

It gave Britain a winning 3-1 lead and started a party that hundreds of visiting fans decked out in union flags and Scottish saltires will keep going long into the night in medieval Ghent. 

Murray, who put in a triple-shift over the weekend and looked exhausted at the end of a tense three-hour contest, collapsed on to the claycourt before being swamped by his team mates, including brother Jamie, and captain Leon Smith.

Sportingly he clambered to his feet to console Goffin who had gallantly clung on to the hope of keeping alive Belgium's chances of winning the title for the first time.

Murray then saluted the 'Barmy Army', who roared his every winner over a weekend that rubber-stamped his place in the chronicles of British sporting greatness, if any had doubted it after he ended a 77-year wait for a men's champion at Wimbledon in 2013, a year after winning the Olympics and U.S. Open.

"I probably haven't been as emotional as that after a match that I've won," Murray told reporters later as dance music still reverberated around the vast warehouse-like arena on the edge of the city.

"It's incredible that we managed to win this competition. I didn't know that would ever be possible. It's great."

World number two Murray, whose return to the team in 2013 accelerated Britain's rapid rise from the depths that begun when Smith took charge in 2010, has won 11 live rubbers in this year's run, matching Ivan Ljubicic's total for Croatia in 2005.

He has won all eight singles he played while teaming up three times with brother Jamie for crucial doubles wins, one of which came on Saturday to put Britain 2-1 ahead.

"Really impressive from @andy_murray. One of the best Davis Cup years in history," former U.S. Open champion and world number one Andy Roddick said on Twitter.

The small Scottish town of Dunblane, where the Murray brothers grew up, could justifiably claim its name should be inscribed on the trophy.

Fellow Scot Smith, who took over when Britain were on the verge of relegation to the Davis Cup's fourth division, paid tribute to the whole team but described Murray's mammoth contribution to the country's first title since 1936 as "one of the best achievements of all time."

"It's incredible for all of us to watch how he's managed to win that many rubbers, that many wins," he said.
"Just now what's important is what's been achieved. It's monumental."

Murray is the first player since American Pete Sampras in 1995 to win three live rubbers in a final.

There was a sense of inevitability about the outcome on Sunday with Belgium trailing 2-1 and needing to win both reverse singles. But Goffin, roared on by a soccer-style crowd inside the claustrophobic arena, forced Murray to play his best tennis.

Goffin squandered a break point at 2-2 in the opening set and Murray then pounced, scorching a backhand winner off a weak second serve to take a lead he never relinquished.

There was no chance of Goffin fading though. He played some sensational tennis to stay with Murray in the second set but a tired forehand into the net in 11th game gave Murray a break and the Scot struck a stupendous forehand winner to seal the set.

Murray wobbled briefly when he dropped serve early in the third set but he responded to move 5-3 ahead before providing the most spectacular of climaxes to a memorable year.

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Why midnight snacking is unhealthy!

A new study has shed light on why some people pick junk over healthy food when it comes to midnight snacking.

According to the study by Caltech neuroeconomists, a person’s ability to exercise self-control may depend upon just how quickly your brain factors healthfulness into a decision.

Nicolette Sullivan, lead author of the study, said that in typical choices, individuals need to consider attributes like health and taste in their decisions and what the study wanted to find out was at what point the taste of the foods starts to become integrated into the choice process, and at what point health is integrated.

The researchers assumed, the healthiness of a food likely is not factored into a person’s food choice until after taste is and for those individuals who exercised less self-control, they hypothesized, health would factor into the choice even later.

Sullivan-along with her colleagues in the laboratory of Antonio Rangel, Bing Professor of Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology, and Economics, including Rangel himself-developed a new experimental technique that allowed them to evaluate, on a scale of milliseconds, when taste and health information kick in during the process of making a decision. They did this by tracking the movement of a computer mouse as a person makes a choice.

In the experiment, 28 hungry subjects-Caltech student-volunteers who had been fasting for four hours-were asked to rate 160 foods individually on a scale from -2 to 2, based on that food’s healthfulness, its tastiness, and how much the subject would like to eat that food after the experiment was over. The subjects were then presented with 280 random pairings of those same foods and were asked to use a computer mouse to click on-to choose-which food they preferred from each pairing.

The researchers then used statistical tools to analyze each subject’s cursor movements and, therefore, the choice process. They looked at how fast taste began to drive the mouse’s movement-and how soon health did.

Sullivan and her colleagues found that, on average, taste information began to influence the trajectory of the mouse cursor, and thus the choice process, almost 200 milliseconds earlier than health information. For 32 percent of subjects, health never influenced their food choice at all; they made every single choice based on taste, and their cursor was never driven by the healthfulness of the items.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

Be your own boss!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Indian spinners end South Africa's 9-year run, seal series 2-0!

Nagpur: Ravichandran Ashwin led South Africa's rout on a spinners' paradise as India romped to a 124-run victory with more than two days to spare in the third Test to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series on Friday. 

The off-spinner claimed seven second innings wickets while leg-spinner Amit Mishra grabbed the remaining three as South Africa, chasing 310 to stay alive in the contest, folded for 185. 

The setback also meant South Africa, currently the top ranked team in this format, succumbed to their first away test series defeat since 2006. 

Ashwin, who had claimed five wickets in the first innings, made the most of the turning track at the VCA Stadium, dismissing Dean Elgar (18) and AB de Villiers (nine) in the morning to peg back South Africa.

South Africa skipper Hashim Amla dug in to negate the spin, playing with soft hands so edges did not carry to slip, while Faf du Plessis used his feet well against the spinners.

In a Test match that saw 32 wickets tumble on the first two days, the pair showed grit and determination to thwart the Indian bowlers for more than 46 overs with the biggest partnership in the low-scoring contest.
The duo survived numerous leg-before and bat-pad catch appeals before Mishra ended the 72-run stand that unhinged the visitors.

Amla offered an edge off the top half of his bat to perish in gully and in Mishra's next over, Du Plessis lost his stump to a ball that kept low. Both batsmen contributed 39 runs each.

Ashwin then returned to mow down the Proteas tail to finish with a match haul of 12 wickets that also earned him the man-of-the-match award.

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Ashwin, Jadeja trample Proteas; is Nagpur pitch that bad?

Taking full advantage of a turning track, spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja ripped apart the South Africa batting line up as India bundled out the Proteas for just 79 runs, their lowest-ever score against the hosts in the third Test at Jamtha, Nagpur. 

Off-spinner Ashwin grabbed 5 for 32 and left-arm spinner Jadeja snapped up 4 for 33 on day two of the match. Leg- spinner Amit Mishra, brought late into the attack, finished with 1 for 9.

The visitors lost eight wickets this morning after resuming at the 11 for 2, in one and a half hours batting, to be bowled out for their lowest score against India at home or overseas beating the earlier ignominy of 84 all out in Johannesburg in December, 1996.

South Africa s previous lowest score in a Test in India was 105 in 1996 at Ahmedabad s Motera Stadium.

Jean-Paul Duminy, let off twice off Ashwin, top-scored with 35 in 65 balls before being dismissed taken out by Mishra for his only wicket.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer came up with the next best score of 13 in a pathetic and clueless batting display that also saw their main hope AB de Villiers and captain Hashim Amla dismissed for a duck and 1 run, respectively.

The pitch was a spinners' paradise with the occasional variable bounce and the South Africans struggled to come to grips with the surface.  

In the morning the visitors plunged headlong into trouble on viciously turning track by losing three wickets inside five overs to be at a pathetic 12 for 5.​

Ashwin sent back overnight unbeaten batsmen Dean Elgar, who chopped the ball on to his stumps, and rival skipper Hashim Amla in the space of three balls in successive overs as the score advanced by just one run.
Elgar was packed off without any addition to his score off the fifth ball of the morning. 

Strong future ahead...

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Seven natural ways to get sound sleep!

If you feel restless and end up lying awake in bed, try natural tips like inhaling through your left nostril and rolling your eyes to get instant sleep.

A survey by Crampex tablet makers has found that 86 percent of the population suffer from sleep disturbance.

But one can trick oneself to sleep by trying these expert natural tips, reports

* Inhale through your left nostril: This yoga method is thought to reduce blood pressure and calm you. Holistic sleep therapist Peter Smith says: “Lie on your left side, resting a finger on your right nostril to close it. Start slow, deep breathing in the left nostril.” The expert says this technique is particularly good when overheating or menopausal hot flushes are preventing sleep.

* Squeeze and relax: Relaxing all your muscles can prepare your body for sleep. Anxiety expert Charles Linden says: “Lying on your back, take a deep, slow breath in through your nose and, at the same time, squeeze your toes tightly as if you are trying to curl them under your foot, then release the squeeze.”

* Try to stay awake: Challenge yourself to stay awake – your mind will rebel! It’s called the sleep paradox, says psychotherapist Julie Hirst. She explains: “Keep your eyes wide open, repeat to yourself ‘I will not sleep’. The brain doesn’t process negatives well, so interprets this as an instruction to sleep and eye muscles tire quickly as sleep creeps up.”

* Rewind your day: Remembering the mundane details in reverse order clears your mind of worries. Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide, says: “Recall conversations, sights and sounds as you go. It helps you to reach a mental state that’s ready for sleep.”

* Roll your eyes: Margo says that closing your eyes and rolling the balls up three times can do the job. She says: “It simulates what you do naturally when you fall asleep and may help trigger the release of your sleepy hormone, melatonin.”

* Find your trigger: The key to this trick is to start the habit as you drift off during a period when you are sleeping well, then you can use it when you have difficulty. Do something unusual, such as stroking your own cheek, as you nod off, says hypnotherapist Sharon Stiles.

* Make a worry list: Going over a to-do list in bed is a major cause of insomnia. Sharon Stiles says: “Often it’s because you’re frightened of forgetting what needs doing. So before bed, write your list on paper so you can forget it until next day. You could also imagine filing your thoughts in a cabinet. You’ll be calmer and more likely to sleep.”

Great news for sports fans!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Djokovic has the last laugh against Federer!

Novak Djokovic put the finishing touch to a magnificent season by beating Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 to win the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday for the fifth time in his career.

The Serbian underlined his complete dominance of men's tennis with another immaculate display to become the first player in the year-ending tournament's 46-year history to triumph four times in a row. ​As usual this season, Novak Djokovic was the best player on the court.

The top-ranked Serb won his fourth straight title at the season-ending ATP finals on Sunday by beating six-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4.

Federer brought the tournament to a close in anti-climactic fashion with a double-fault, although not as much as a year ago when he pulled out of the final with back injury.

With the stakes raised, though, the 34-year-old Federer made far too many errors on Sunday while Djokovic's defences proved largely impenetrable, but for the odd flash of Swiss magic that had his large red and white fan club chanting their approval.

Federer's chances were fleeting. He had the first break point in the second game but fluffed a forehand into the net. 

In the next game a near-identical forehand found the net to give Djokovic the break and from there the world number one never looked back.

The clinical Djokovic teased Federer into a volley error on set point in the ninth game to move ahead.

Federer beat Djokovic on Tuesday in the group stage, but the 17-time Grand Slam champion made too many mistakes in the final on Sunday. Federer ended up with 31 unforced errors, including 15 from his usually reliable forehand.

He even gave away the final point with his second double-fault of the match.

'It would have been nice to serve a little bit better early on in the match, play better overall on his second serve, because he does allow you to play on his second serve,' said Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the 2012 final and pulled out of last year's championship match against the Serb with a back injury. 'Maybe at times I went for too much.'

Federer, bidding for a record-extending seventh title at the year-ender, was staring at the abyss when he trailed 3-4 0-40 in the second set but escaped with five straight points.

Djokovic was unrelenting though and wore his opponent down with one brutal rally two games later, sealing victory when a Federer second serve sailed long.

Djokovic, who won three Grand Slam titles this year and reached the final in the other, capped the best season of his career with another superb display, including winning 16 of the 19 points on his second serve and saving both break points he faced. 

'I couldn't ask for a better finish of the season,' Djokovic said. 'For some reason or another, I've been playing some of my best tennis after the U.S. Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.'

After a modest celebration, Djokovic walked back to his chair and wrote 'And now for vacation' in Serbian on a camera lens. How he deserves one. 

The 28-year-old has stomped through the season to leave his rivals trailing in his wake -- securing the year-end world number one ranking weeks before the London finale.

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