Sports

Week Ahead, March 4-10: Rohit Sharma And Co, Badminton Stars In Action - Full Sports Schedule

Having sealed the series 3-1 already, India will look to solidify their number one position in the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 points table when they meet England in the fifth match in Dharamsala. Here is all the sporting action to look forward to from March 4 to 10, 2024

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The ace Indian doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (left) and Chirag Shetty will play its round of 32 match in French Open 2024 on Tuesday (March 5). Photo: File
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The last week of February began on a heartening note for Indian cricket enthusiasts. Two young guns - Dhruv Jurel and Shubman Gill - pulled the home team out of trouble in the fourth innings to forge a five-wicket victory in Ranchi, that clinched the Test series 3-1 against Ben Stokes' England. (More Sports News)

The week ahead will see the two teams playing in whites for for the last time in quite a while. The fifth and final Test is slated in Dharamsala, and will offer the young Indian side the opportunity to taste success again, which could augur well for the future. Rohit Sharma's men have climbed to the top of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 points table, and another win would solidify their numero uno position.

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The five-day match is but one of numerous watch-worthy sports duels lined up. The week ahead of us - Monday, March 4 to Sunday, March 10 - has lots in store for afficionados of different sports. Check out the key sports events scheduled in the coming seven days.

Cricket

India's fifth Test against England will commence in chilly Dharamsala on Thursday (March 7). There is a lot of speculation about the conditions that could be on offer and should there be more assistance for seamers than spinners, it will be interesting to see how both captains change tack. India have already sealed the series, but there's a lot at stake for the visitors, who have lost their first Test series in the 'Bazball' era.

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Down Under, Australia will eye a 2-0 series sweep when they meet New Zealand again in the second and final Test at Christchurch, starting Friday (March 8). Pat Cummins and Co won the first Test in comprehensive fashion, and will be targeting another away victory that will could take them to the second or even first spot in the WTC standings.

In Sharjah, the three-match ODI series between Ireland and Afghanistan will begin, with the first game on Thursday and the second on Saturday. Ireland had registered a historic maiden Test victory in the tour earlier, and will be aiming for more success in their stronger suit - the 50-over format.

Elsewhere, long-time sub-continental adversaries Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will resume their rivalry with a three-game T20I series in Sylhet, eastern Bangladesh. The first game is on Monday, the second on Wednesday and the third on Saturday and both teams are missing key players.

The visiting side's captain Wanindu Hasaranga will be unavailable for the first two games. He was handed a two-match suspension last week following his tirade against umpire Lyndon Hannibal based on a contentious call during the final over in the third T20I against Afghanistan in Dambulla. As for the hosts, talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will not be available for the entire series due to his eye ailment.

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In franchise cricket, the Women's Premier League 2024 will conclude its Bengaluru leg in the group stage and head to Delhi for the return fixtures. The Pakistan Super League too is alive and kicking and will witness eight matches through the course of the week. The PSL knock-outs are slated for the week after.

Football

The return leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 will begin across Europe. Four match-ups are on the anvil this week - Bayern Munich vs Lazio and Real Sociedad vs Paris-Saint Germain early on Wednesday (late Tuesday night) and Real Madrid vs RB Leipzig and Manchester City vs Copenhagen early Thursday morning (late Wednesday night).

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The 28th week of the English Premier League 2023-24 will see the clash of two strong title contenders - Liverpool and Manchester City on Sunday. Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur will also clash on the same day and other titans like Arsenal, Manchester United will be in action too.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Girona and Athletic Bilbao will all be in La Liga action, and Bundesliga titan Bayern will take on Mainz on Saturday. Back home, the Indian Super League will draw closer to its business end with matches through the week, including one between Mumbai City and Jamshedpur FC.

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Other Sports

The prestigious French Open, a BWF Super 750 event, will kick off on Tuesday and end on Sunday. Indian badminton's torchbearer PV Sindhu, who is on a comeback trail following an extended knee injury layoff, will be the lone ranger in women's singles and starts her campaign against Canada's Michelle Li in the round of 32 on Tuesday.

All the usual suspects in men's singles - HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and Priyanshu Rajawat will be in round of 32 action on Tuesday too. As for men's doubles, the ace Indian combine of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will shoulder the expectations of a podium finish, starting with their opening round match against Malaysia's Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi on Tuesday.

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In Formula One, all eyes will be on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second race of the season, on Saturday. In tennis, the qualifying rounds of the ATP 1000 Masters Indian Wells Open (also known as BNP Paribas Open) are underway and the main draw of both men's and women's singles will begin on Wednesday. India's world number 1-ranked Rohan Bopanna and his Aussie partner Matthew Ebden will compete in the men's doubles, while singles spearhead Sumit Nagal will play the qualifying rounds of the combined ATP and WTA 1000 event.

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