Sports World, December 26, 2023: Indian Wrestler Vinesh Phogat Returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award; Sam Allison Becomes First Black Referee In EPL For 15 Years; Rain Forces Early Stumps In Centurion - As It Happened

India ended the first day at 208/8 after 59 overs, as rain forced early close of play in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Centurion. Odisha beat Punjab 1-0 in ISL, and Puneri Paltan thrashed Patna Pirates 46-28 in PKL. Catch the highlights of all the sports action on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 here

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik at the protest site in Delhi

Led by an inspired Kagiso Rabada, South Africa's pacers ruled the roost in seamer-friendly, overcast conditions to reduce India to 208/8 in 59 overs, before rain forced an early close of play in the Boxing Day Test in Centurion. In football, Punjab FC lost to Odisha 0-1 in the Indian Super League and in the Pro Kabaddi League, Puneri Paltan thrashed Patna Pirates 46-28. Catch the highlights of all the sports action on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 here. (Cricket News | Football News | Wrestling News | December 25 Highlights)

11:59PM: And That's A Wrap

That's it from us today. We will be back tomorrow with the live updates from the Boxing Day Test matches in Centurion and Melbourne, in addition to all the other sporting action that unfolds through the day. Goodnight.

10:40 PM: ISL Update

Odisha FC moved up to third spot in the table with a 1-0 win over Punjab in an Indian Super League match in Delhi on Tuesday. Odisha's Fijian striker Roy Krishna scored the all-important goal in the 21st minute of the game for the Juggernauts to break Punjab's three-match unbeaten run. The result means Odisha now have 21 points from 11 matches, while Punjab FC remain on the eight slot after a dozen games.

9:45 PM: PKL Update

Puneri Paltan produced a dominating display to earn a massive 46-28 win over Patna Pirates in a Pro Kabaddi League Season 10 match in Chennai. Pankaj Mohite was the star of the show as he brought up a Super 10, while Abinesh Nadarajan finished with a High 5.

9:00 PM: Trevor Sinclair Joins India’s Coaching Staff For AFC Asian Cup

Former English winger and Manchester United star who was with Igor Stimac in West Ham as well will work with the Indian football coach and Indian support staff for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in January next month. On December 29, he will join the Indian coaching staff. On December 30, the team will fly to Doha for the AFC Asian Cup.

8:50 PM: EPL 2023-24: Nottingham Forest 3-1 Newcastle

Nottingham Forest come from behind to win 3-1 against Newcastle. Alexander Isak's penalty opened the scoring before Chris Wood scored a hat-trick against his former club. Newcastle have won one of their last seven games. Nuno Espirito Santo claims first win as Forest boss.

8:40 PM: Sam Allison Becomes 1st Black Referee In EPL

In Sheffield United's Boxing Day match against Luton Town, Sam Allison became the Premier League's first black referee in 15 years. He also becomes the Premier League's second black referee, following Uriah Rennie, who last oversaw a match at the top level in 2008.

8:05 PM: Rain Forces Early Stumps In Centurion

KL Rahul fast-forwarded his batting speed and collected runs rapidly after completing his fifty. Jasprit Bumrah gave good support but Marco Jansen bowled him in the 55th over. Mohammed Siraj replaced him at the crease. He remained on zero runs when the Umpires paused the play and advised players to go back to the pavilion. Rahul didn't leave any opportunity to score runs whenever any bad ball came to his radar. Rahul is unbeaten on 70 off 105 balls.

IND - 208/8 (59)

8:00 PM: Warner Picks Marcus Harris As His Test Replacement

Veteran Australian opener David Warner has picked Marcus Harris as his replacement at the top of the order after he quits the longest format of the sport, according to a report from PTI. Warner had already said that the ongoing three-Test series against Pakistan will be his last in the format.

7:50 PM: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat Returns Arjuna Award, Khel Ratna

World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat has returned her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government protesting against the election of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh-loyalist Sanjay Singh as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, the wrestler wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vinesh's decision comes days after Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia and Deafylmpics champion Virender Singh Yadav returned their Padma Shri awards. Read more here

7:30 PM: AITA Seeks Sports Ministry's Advice On Davis Cup Team's Tour To Pakistan

According to PTI, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday sought the Sports Ministry's advice on the national team's travel to Pakistan for the Davis Cup World Group 1 Play-off tie against the neighbours at Islamabad in February next year. The AITA's move came after the International Tennis Federation Tribunal rejected its request to shift the tie to a neutral venue. Read more here

6:50 PM: IND Vs RSA 1st Test, Day 1 - Tea

India struggled for runs on Day 1 after Kagiso Rabada completed his fifer and single-handedly destroyed the Indian top-order in the first Test in Centurion. KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah were at the crease when the Umpires called for Tea. KL Rahul is on 39* (71). Shardul Thakur gave good support to Rahul and played a 24-run inning. 

6:40 PM: Temba Bavuma Walks Off With Hamstring Strain

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma's participation in the ongoing first Test against India was thrown into jeopardy after he limped off the field with a left hamstring strain in Centurion on Tuesday. Bavuma went out of the field in the 20th over after chasing a drive from Virat Kohli off left-arm pacer Marco Jansen, according to PTI. Read more here

5:55 PM: EPL 2023-24: Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest Starting XI

M Turner
O Aina
M Niakhate
I Sangare
C Hudson-Odoi
M Gibbs-White
A. Elanga
G Montiel
C Wood

Newcastle Starting XI

M Dubravka
K Trippier
F Schar
S Botman
D Burn
L Miley
B Guimaraes
S Longstaff
A Gordon
A Isak
M Almiron


5:00 PM: BCCI Lays Out Stringent Riders For IPL 2024 Sponsorship

After an action-packed mini-auction in the lead-up to the Indian Premier League's 2024 edition, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is on the lookout for a title sponsor for the cash-rich domestic T20 league. But the cricket body is doing so with strict conditions applied, reportedly. Read more here

4:00 PM: India Reach 91/3 At Lunch Against SA In First Test

 India reached 91 for three against South Africa at lunch on the first day of the opening Test of the two-match series in Centurion on Tuesday. Invited to bat, India were in a spot of bother at 24 for three before Virat Kohli (33 not out) and Shreyas Iyer (31 not out) rode on luck to stabilise the visitors' innings with unbeaten 67 runs for the fourth wicket. Read more here


3:10 PM: Andhra Pradesh CM Kicks Off State-Wide Sports Competition

According to PTI, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday kicked off 'Aadudam Andhra', a multi-sport competition that will be held right from the grassroots to the state level in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Starting today, the 47-day competition is scheduled till February 10 at Nallapadu village in the district and will encourage and identify talent in cricket, volleyball, badminton and other sports.

2:10 PM: AUS Vs PAK, 2nd Test, Day 1 - Stumps At MCG

Marnus Labuschagne notched a gritty score of 44 not out to guide Australia through a rain-interrupted first day of play in the second test against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday. Invited to bat first by Pakistan captain Shan Masood, who won the toss in overcast conditions, Australia reached 187-3 at stumps.


AUS - 187/3 (66)

1:55 PM: Toss Update

South Africa have won the toss and have opted to field


South Africa (Playing XI): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Temba Bavuma(c), Keegan Petersen, David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne(w), Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Nandre Burger

India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna

1:45 PM: Prasidh Krishna Makes Debut

Indian pacer Prasidh Krishna has been handed over the Test cap by Indian Test vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah, before the toss.

1:40 PM: IND vs RSA, 1st Test: Toss Update


The good news from Centurion is that we will have the toss in 15 minutes. The weather is nice and the outfield has been taken care of with heavy work of driers. 

1:30 PM: Hockey India Names 34 Probables For Women's National Camp

 A core group of 34 players will take part in a senior women's hockey coaching camp starting in Bengaluru on Thursday, aiming to bolster preparations for the Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi and the Hockey5s World Cup, according to PTI.

1:00 PM: Toss Delay At Centurion

The toss has been delayed at Centurion between South Africa and India 1st Test due to wet patches in the outfield. Read more about it right here.


12:08 PM: Afghanistan Cricket Board Unlikely To Grant NOCs For Troika

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is unlikely to offer No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen Ul Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi for the next two years, putting their participation in the Indian Premier League 2024 season in doubt.

11:22 AM: I Was In The Wrong Era, Says Former Athlete Anju Bobby George

India's first-ever World Athletics Championship medallist Anju Bobby George says that she competed "in the wrong era", praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's eagerness to promote and transform sports in the country. Speaking at a program organised at the PM's residence on Christmas, the legendary long jumper said: "As a sportsperson, I was here for almost 25 years and I'm seeing a lot of changes. When I got India's first global medal 20 years ago, even my department was not ready to give me a promotion.


Read more about her statement here

10:20 AM: Rare Feat For David Warner

Aussie southpaw David Warner registered yet another record as he became Australian cricket's second-highest run-scorer in international cricket during the Boxing Day Test match between Australia and Pakistan at MCG.

Read more about it here

9:23 AM: Weather Forecast At Centurion

Rain could play spoilsport on day 1 of the Boxing Day Test between South Africa and India Centurion. Get to know what's the forecast for the first day of the Test match between these two teams right here

8:26 AM: Football Fixtures

Apart from cricket, there are a bunch of football fixtures that will be played out especially in the Premier League. The big one is probably - Manchester United welcoming third-placed Aston Villa at Old Trafford. In ISL, it's Odisha FC taking on Punjab FC.


8:05 AM: Cricket Action

With all eyes on India vs South Africa, there is a bit of action going Down Under with Pakistan taking on Australia in the 2nd Test. Having won the toss, skipper Shan Masood opted to bowl first at the MCG. That plan seems to have backfired as the home side are in complete control of the Test despite losing David Warner at the stroke of lunch.

8:00 AM: Good Morning!

Good morning and welcome to our live daily blog that covers updates from sports across the globe. Lots of sporting action lined up today!