KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that tickets for Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6 will go on sale from tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am.
According to the details, tickets for 30 out of 34 matches will be sold out in the first phase from tomorrow. Ticket denominations for the Qualifier, two Eliminators, and the final, to be played from 18-22 March, will be announced closer to time. Remember, only 20 percent crowd will be able to watch each PSL 6 match at both venues.
Tickets will be available online, as well as on Bookme helpline (03137786888) by showing CNIC and phone number.
On confirmation of the tickets on the helpline, the customer will be sent a token number on the registered ‘phone so that the customer can make the payment at the closest Jazzcash/Easypaisa shop. Upon payment, the customer will receive an e-ticket code along with a Quick Response (QR) Code, which the customer can use to print the ticket or show the SMS at the entry gate on match day.
At the National Stadium, enclosures reserved for the families are: Hanif Mohammad (VIP Enclosure), Wasim Akram (Premium Enclosure), Zaheer Abbas, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures (First-Class Enclosures), and Intikhab Alam Enclosure (General) while family enclosures at the Gaddafi Stadium include: Fazal Mahmood (VIP Enclosure), Saeed Anwar (Premier Enclosure), Abdul Qadir (First-Class Enclosure) and Nazar, Quaid, Zaheer Abbas and Majid Khan (General Enclosure).
For Saturday’s tournament opener between Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators, which will begin at 7pm, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR5000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR4,000.
Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR3,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR2,000.
For Sunday’s double-header between Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi, and Islamabad United and Multan Sultans, which will start at 2pm and 7pm, respectively, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR4,000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR3,000.
Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR2,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR1,000.
For matches to take place from Monday-Wednesday, cost of VIP stands (Hanif Mohammad and Javed Miandad Enclosures) have been fixed at PKR3,000, while price of the First-Class stands (Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Waqar Hasan, Majid Khan, Iqbal Qasim and Nasimul Ghani Enclosures) have been kept at PKR2,000. Similarly, price of Premium stands (Quaid, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan Enclosure) have been set at PKR1,000, while the General stand tickets (Wasim Bari, Mohammad Brothers and Intikhab Alam Enclosure) have been fixed at PKR500.
For the first match in Lahore on 10 March involving Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings, ticket prizes for the VIP stands (Imran Khan and Fazal Mahmood Enclosures) have been set for 3,000, followed by PKR2,000 for the First-Class Stands (Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz Enclosures), PKR1,000 for Premium stands (A.H. Kardar, Rajas, Javed Miandad and Saeed Anwar Enclosures) and PKR500 for General stands (Inzamam ul Haq, Nazars, Quaid, Imtiaz Ahmed, Zaheer Abbas, Hanif Mohammad, Majid Khan, Saeed Ahmed Enclosures).
Meanwhile, PCB will make sure to implement strict COVID-19 protocols during the matches at venues.
• Hand Hygiene through handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds• Use of hand gel with high percentages of alcohol (70%) or other appropriate product is an alternative• Sneezing and coughing into tissues or the crook of one’s elbow – disposal and cleaning hands afterwards• Avoid touching one’s face and nose• Spitting is banned within the stadium• Medical masks must be worn by everyone while in the stadium. Enough medical masks has been secured for the crowd to ensure risk free environment for everyone in the stadiumCode of Conduct• Wear a face covering before entering through the turnstiles, and continue to wear your face covering while seated in the stands. No mask, No entry• Ensure you are aware of the gate of entrance in advance by asking members of the management team/security staff positioned at the main gates of the stadium• Spectators must not attend if they experience any Covid-19 symptoms, are feeling unwell, or if they have been in close contact recently with anyone experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive• If you develop symptoms while at the stadium, please notify the nearest member of management staff immediately. Rights of admission will be reserved by PCB• At all times and in all parts of the ground, please observe social distancing and avoid close contact with others who are not in your support bubble• You must remain in your seat at all times unless you have to use rest rooms or exit the stadium. In such cases, seek guidance from the ushers and Security Guards available in each stand• When passing in the rows, please turn your backs if you must brush past other spectators, thereby avoiding face-to-face contact• Maintain good hand hygiene – use the sanitizers provided and use toilet facilities where possible to wash your hands• Please observe respiratory etiquette – always cover your mouth if needing to cough or sneeze
• A steward/care taker will be assigned at all times to monitor the flow of spectators and ensure that no more than three people use that facility at a given time• Hand washing facilities will be cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals• Provision of hand sanitizers will be carefully managed by designated staff.Distance between seating• Two seats will be left between two individuals or each group• Group must only contain one household to ensure social distancing is in place• A row between the successive rows shall be left vacant to ensure social distancing
• To be sold (CNIC Holders) to the families only for family exclusive stands and for General stands with individual seating• Applicants must supply their contact details at Point of Sale to help with track and tracing.• To be sold in advance only through online sale with helpline support through telephone. Tickets to be printed at home with QR codes or delivered through cash on delivery mechanism.• Ushers and Security Guards to ensure compliance in seating
KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed that tickets for Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6 will go on sale from tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 am.
PokerStars has rolled out Tetris + Spin & Go, a temporary takeover of their ultra-popular lottery sit and go game with a new theme and a lucrative new promotion for players.
F5poker first revealed that PokerStars was working on such a promotion back in September 2020. On Monday, it deployed globally on most licenses on the global dot-com pool as well as on France and Spain, part of the European shared liquidity network.
The Spin and Go lobby in the client has been redesigned with a Tetris aesthetic, as have the tables. The game itself remains unchanged—fast, winner-takes-all sit and gos with a random top prize.
What is new is the promotion on top: Tetris-themed leader boards. While the mechanics are fairly complicated—it involves Line Clears, Levels and Game Scores—it boils down to daily player rankings where cash prizes are given out to the highest volume players.
For players that fall outside the cash prizes, the operator has a $5000 daily prize draw for players that finished in the top 500.
In total, the operator says that over $1.5 million will be paid out in the dot-com market and almost as much—€1 million—in the Southern European market from now until the end of March. This works out at over $33,000 daily in dot-com, and €23,000 in Southern Europe.
It appears to replace the previous long-running Spin & Go 20 and 50 leader boards. This had given away just over $20,000 a day and had run throughout much of 2020.
FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori announces his resignation as he takes responsibility for his sexist comments at a meeting with council and executive board members at the committee headquarters, in Tokyo, Japan February 12, 2021. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
The panel charged with finding a new Tokyo Olympics chief after a sexism row began talks on Tuesday as campaigners called for more transparency in the selection process.
The eight-person committee convened for the first time to discuss choosing a successor to Yoshiro Mori, 83, who stepped down Friday after his claims that women talk too much in meetings sparked widespread outrage.
The panel “discussed the qualities required of a new president,” according to Tokyo 2020 organizers, and agreed on five selection criteria.
But campaigners said the process should be made more transparent, with Games chiefs declining to identify the members of the panel, which was expected to have a 50-50 gender split.
The postponed 2020 Games are set to begin in July, with officials and organizers insisting they will go ahead despite doubts over the event’s viability given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The formation of the new panel, headed by 85-year-old Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai, was announced Friday after Mori’s reported attempts to hand-pick 84-year-old Saburo Kawabuchi as his successor was met with opposition.
“Now they say they won’t reveal who the members are of the committee to choose the next chief,” Kazuko Fukuda, a campaigner for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, told AFP.
“So it’s really like the whole process will take place in secret again.”
Equality campaigners handed a petition with more than 150,000 signatures to Tokyo 2020 organizers on Tuesday morning, urging them to put concrete measures in place to prevent further discrimination.
The selection committee laid out five criteria for choosing a new president — sporting knowledge, international experience, management skills, familiarity with the Tokyo Games organization and “deep understanding” of Olympic principles, including “gender equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The committee pledged to select candidates “as swiftly as possible”, with local media suggesting a new president could be named before the end of the week.
Reports said Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and former hammer-thrower Koji Murofushi are among those in contention.
Hashimoto — one of just two women in Japan’s cabinet — was reported as saying Tuesday that she had not been approached about taking over.
“It should be done with transparency,” she said. “I hope we can get the new structure in place quickly.”
Reports said the selection panel is expected to meet again on Wednesday to draw up a list of nominees.
The final choice must be endorsed by Tokyo 2020’s executive board.
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It has been more than a year of inaction for Roger Federer now. He last played at the Australian Open 2020, where the Swiss maestro saw a straight-set loss against the Serbian Novak Djokovic. It was a tough series for him where he had to test his physical limits in 2 five-setters. The 20-time grand slam champion later in the same year underwent double knee surgeries. All of this kept him away from the tennis court even after various countries lifted lockdown and the sport made a much-awaited return. However, the latest news is a big positive for the Federer camp. Martina Navratilova reflected on the comeback of Roger Federer The Swiss great will make his return to the ATP Tour at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Also, the latest development suggests that he can then play an ATP 500 tournament in nearby Dubai. In a recent interview, a jovial Martina Navratilova learned the news and reacted with some humor. The 18-time women’s Grand Slam champion expressed, “I think he just wants to stay in Burj Al Arab again, but amazing! “It’s great to see Roger back, it’s about time for him sitting for over a year. So I’m glad he’s healthy and playing again.” That he is coming back with an ATP 250 will ensure that he does not have to put too much pressure on himself for advancing deeper in the event. Prior to this, there were headlines that alleged Roger was fit enough to return for Australian Open 2021 and that he decided against it because of family reasons. Can the Ninjafed make a successful return? Roger Federer gestures to the spectators before hitting signed tennis balls into the stands during the 2019 Hopman Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Well, it might be an ATP 250, but it has participation from some of the best ATP players. The 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, the ATP Cup 2021 hero Andrey Rublev, and of course King Roger himself will stay in the highlight of the event. Apart from these names, there are six players from the Top-20 that’ll make the competition juicier. From Roger’s Swiss companion Stan Wawrinka to Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, and others, it will not be an easy draw for the legendary 39-YO. However, the rusty Federer is also the mighty Federer, and he has always dominated all the aforementioned names with his stinging play. Also notably, his participation in the Dubai event will depend on how his body reacts to the Qatar event. The event will kick off on March 8th and the world will cheer for the arguable GOAT. READ MORE- Why is Roger Federer Considered the GOAT?
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The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is asking football clubs to refrain from discussing and promoting gambling on their social media sites in as part of an effort to avoid triggering problem gamblers. It’s move that may seem extreme to the layman, but will likely help keep UK gambling operators a step ahead of UK gambling regulators.
Guidelines for how football clubs should handle discussions of gambling were sent out by the BGC late last week and utilize a plea from 50 former gambling addicts to make the case. They pointed out that seeing their favorite club site promoting gambling caused them “distress” and “encouraged” them to place wagers.
As an effort to avoid these triggering moments, the BGC is recommending that football clubs refrain from promoting gambling operators or bonus offers and their “organic tweets”. This is a nod to the reality that gambling offers are ubiquitous on social media and that no one is really more than a click or two away from them on the internet anyways.
BGC officials sent a letter detailing the new code of conduct to 11 football clubs, as well as to social media operators.
In a statement reported on by SBC News, Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chairman of the BGC described the importance of the new standards saying, “Our members rightly have a zero tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on social media platforms. Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”
The BGC guidelines are not legally binding, but members of the BGC who wish to remain in good standing are expected to abide by them.
The post BGC ices gambling talk on football social media sites appeared first on .
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Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded.
During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls.
All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes.
The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.
“GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker.
“We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.”
For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim.
If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses.
How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works
The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.
One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin.
This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.*
Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded.
The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon.
Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge.
As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.
The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie.
Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison.
The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke.
“Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.”
Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February.
The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.
It was widely presumed toward the end of their disastrous 2020 season that the Houston Texans would look to pull off a J.J. Watt trade. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has regressed in recent seasons. Houston is headed for a full-scale rebuild, especially if the Texans are forced to trade Deshaun Watson.
That’s why it was a surprise last week when Houston outright released the future first ballot Hall of Famer rather than pull off a trade and acquire needed draft assets.
Embattled owner Cal McNair attempted to explain the Texans’ decision. To say that it is the latest example of this organization falling flat on its face would be an understatement.Texans owner attempts to explain not pulling off a Watt trade
“There are several reasons (for not trading J.J. Watt. But suffice it to say, we evaluated those, and we’re confident that this is the right one for J.J. and for us,” McNair said, via MMQB’s Albert Breer. “And it’s one we mutually came to and agreed on. And we felt that it was really the right one for J.J. Not every decision is easy or easy to understand. But we always want to do right by our players and our fans. And we want to focus on bringing a championship to Houston.”
On one hand, giving Watt the pick of his litter when it comes to a new NFL city did paint the Texans in a good light after the drama we’ve seen from the organization and former players.
On the other hand (and this is is the point of the article), Houston could have still traded Watt to a team of his choosing while recouping draft-pick assets.
Following the 2012 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers let Alex Smith give them a list a few teams to which he would like to be traded after Colin Kaepernick won the starting job. In the end, Smith was dealt to his preferred destination — Kansas City — for two second-round picks.
Doing right by a franchise player and attempting to build up a weak roster are not mutually exclusive. McNair and The Texans failed big-time in this regard.There was interest in a Watt trade
A number of teams were interested in a Watt trade. Heck, McNair went on record recently indicating that Houston had taken some calls.
For good reason. Despite some injury issues, the future Hall of Famer is just two years removed from recording 25 quarterback hits, 18 tackles for loss, 16 sacks and a resounding seven forced fumbles. He’d have been of interest to several contending teams.
Instead, a Houston Texans team that is reeling after Deshaun Watson’s trade request and doesn’t boast a pick in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft opted to give Watt up for nothing. In the process, he could even sign with a division rival.
This is yet another example of the Texans’ organization failing its fan base on a near never-ending loop. It’s pretty gross.
Lionel Messi scored two goals of the highest quality in La Liga this weekend to take his tally to 15 for the season.Both of the Argentine’s goals were scored from outside the box in superb fashion, as he helped Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win against Alaves.Messi may now make our leaderboard, but he is still some way off reaching the runaway leader, Robert Lewandowski.The Bayern striker scored again on Monday in the German side’s rearranged Bundesliga match versus Arminia Bielefeld which was moved due to their Club World Cup exploits over the weekend.Lewandowski now has 25 goals and 50 points.His nearest rival for the Golden Shoe is fellow Bundesliga striker Andre Silva, who has now scored 18 for the season.Liverpool may have lost against Leicester, but Mohamed Salah still scored a lovely goal to take his tally to 17.Georgios Giakoumakis of Venlo has scored an impressive 22 goals and is the highest player on our list who doesn’t feature within one of Europe’s top five leagues.A talented group on 16 goals for the campaign includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Romelu Lukaku, and Luis Suarez.2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS 2020/21 European Golden ShoeA reminder: The five elite leagues – Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 – all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions. For the leagues ranked sixth to 30 in Uefa’s coefficients rankings goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 30, goals are given a weighting of 1. Ciro Immobile won the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, scoring 36 goals for Lazio in a tremendous Serie A season. 2020/21 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE (Summer Leagues) 2020 European Golden ShoePlayerTeamGoalsPointsKasper JunkerBomo/Glimt2740.5Amahl PellegrinoKristiansund2537.5Philip ZinckernagelBodo/Glimt1928.5Christoffer NymanNorrköping1827Rauno SappinenFlora Tallinn2626Veton BerishaViking1624Astrit SelmaniVerbergs1522.5Mushaga BakengaOdds BK1522.5Moses OgbuMjallby1421Anders ChristiansenMalmo1319.5Leke JamesMolde1219.5Maksim SkavyshBATE Borisov1919This is the 2020/21 European Golden Shoe race. If you want to see the final standing for the 2019/20 European Golden Shoe, follow this link.
Chennai: India captain Virat Kohli said Tuesday his side showed more “grit” and “determination” to thrash England in the second Test, playing down complaints about the difficult pitch.
With local hero Ravichandran Ashwin claiming eight wickets in the match and scoring 106 in the second innings, India completed a 317-run victory inside four days in Chennai.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel claimed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut as England were out for 164 while chasing an unlikely 482 on day four.
Some said the Chennai pitch, which crumbled from nearly the first day, was not fit for a Test.
But England made no public complaint and Kohli rejected the criticism and said his side played a “perfect game”.
“I think our application with the bat was outstanding,” said the India captain.
“The conditions were challenging for both sides but we showed more application and grit and determination to battle it out.
“We didn’t panic out there looking at the hard turn and bounce on that pitch.”
Kohli highlighted that India scored 600 runs over two innings despite the conditions, and winning the toss made no difference.
“So if you put up that kind of batting performance and you string in those important batting partnerships then we know that our bowlers are going to do the job.”
England captain Joe Root conceded that his side were “outplayed in all three departments this week” and had to learn quickly before the third Test in Ahmedabad.
But he added: “I would say it was a challenging wicket. I do think that it was an important toss to win.”
England, he said, now have to be “honest” and learn quickly to adapt to conditions in India.
England, struggling since the opening day, kept losing wickets after resuming on 53-3 on day four.
Root departed for 33 soon after lunch, falling to Patel.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav joined in to finish off the innings, taking Moeen Ali after he smashed 43 off 18 balls.
The last wicket partnership of 38 between Ali and Stuart Broad, unbeaten on five, was England’s highest of the match.
England, who have been resting and rotating players, said Ali would be returning home after the Test.
Ali had coronavirus in Sri Lanka but recovered to take a total of eight wickets in the second Test against India.
Ashwin’s five wickets to help bowl out England for 134 in the first innings in response to India’s 329 set the tone for the host’s dominance.
England conceded a lead of 195 and then struggled on a pitch that offered turn from day one.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game,” Ashwin conceded, but he added that the wickets had not fallen from the balls he expected.
“It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets.”
Opener Rohit Sharma hit an attacking 161 to set up India’s big innings after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
Sharma’s seventh Test century and his first against England raised the pitch of the returning Indian crowd — present in a stadium for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohli made 62 in the second innings, putting on a key 96-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ashwin on day three.
Both sides need to win the series to take the second place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this year.
The third Test — a day-night match — will begin in Ahmedabad on February 24.
Authorities have not said if fans will be allowed into the world’s biggest cricket stadium — with a 100,000-plus capacity — for the game.
Read: England thrashes India by 227 runs in first Chennai Test
As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.