Dec 012017
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Mar 272017
Formula One: Ferrari?s Vettel wins Australian Grand Prix

MELBOURNE: Sebastian Vettel out-manoeuvred Lewis Hamilton and the world champion Mercedes team with a stunning victory in the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday. Vettel won by almost 10 seconds from Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a commanding victory of tactics and speed around the Albert Street circuit. It was Ferrari´s first win in Melbourne since Kimi Raikkonen´s victory in 2007 and Vettel´s second in Australia after winning the 2011 race with Red Bull. It was also a major fillip for the 2017 season and the new generation of quicker cars after Ferrari´s superior pre-season test times as they chase their first world constructors´ title since 2008. It was the German four-time world champion´s fourth win for Ferrari and his first since Singapore in 2015 and his 43rd career win. “A title challenge is a long way ahead. For now we are just over the moon at the start we have made here today,” Vettel said. “I was not entirely happy with my start, there was a bit of wheel spin, but I was trying to keep the pressure on to give the message that we are here to fight. “There was a bit of luck that Lewis came out in traffic.” Ferrari got the better of Mercedes in the sole round of tyre changes which ultimately decided the race. Hamilton´s early stop meant he rejoined behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen which allowed Vettel to open up a decisive gap at the [Read More…]

Jan 232017
Nadal, Williams into Australian Open quarter-finals

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal struggled into his first Grand Slam quarter-final since 2015 at the Australian Open on Monday, as Serena Williams accelerated towards a record title and the number one ranking. Nadal, searching for a revival after injuries wrecked last season, was tested by France’s Gael Monfils before winning 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to book a last-eight clash with Milos Raonic. Nadal, 30, was also pushed to five sets by Alexander Zverev, 19, in round three, but he has survived to reach his first major quarter-final since the 2015 French Open. The Spanish world number nine now has an excellent chance to add to his 14 Grand Slam titles after world number one Andy Murray and title-holder Novak Djokovic were both knocked out. “I’m very happy being in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam after a couple of years without being there,” he said. “It’s very special for me, especially here in Australia where I feel (it’s) a little bit like home.” A day after defending women’s champion and top seed Angelique Kerber also fell by the wayside, Williams beat Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a last-eight meeting with Johanna Konta. The American great would gain much from winning in Melbourne, as she would overtake Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles and end Kerber’s short reign as world number one. In hot afternoon conditions, she fought off the Czech Republic’s Strycova in two tight sets, following her sister Venus into the quarter-finals without dropping a [Read More…]

Dec 272016
Big Bash allows Russell to use black bat

MELBOURNE: West Indian Andre Russell will be allowed to use a black bat in Australia´s T20 Big Bash League after making modifications, Cricket Australia said Tuesday. The Sydney Thunder star used the bat with a black blade and pink handle during last week´s opening BBL match against the Sydney Sixers after Cricket Australia initially gave the all-clear. But they reversed their stance after feedback from match officials that it was leaving black marks on the match ball. BBL officials said Russell will now be able to resume using the bat after reviewing modifications made to it. “Following feedback from the match officials that the bat used by Andre in the opening night of the season left black marks on the match ball, he has worked with his bat manufacturer to modify the bat,” BBL chief Anthony Everard said. “A clear laminate cover has been applied to the bat which complies with regulations to ensure the ball discolouration does not occur again.” Under BBL regulations, a player can use a coloured bat as long as it is same colour as their team´s primary kit colour, or black. Cricket Australia said it has the discretion to deny any approvals and the umpires can also request a player change the bat if they believe it is affecting the integrity of the match. Click for detailed story

Dec 222016
Sohail Khan falls sick during training session

MELBOURNE: Pakistani fast bowler Sohail Khan fell sick during practice session of the national team on Thursday.According to reports, Sohail was feeling unwell after breakfast and then vomited. He was not able to continue his practice in the session ahead of the Boxing Test against Australia starting December 26. Speaking to the press, team manager said that Khan was not in a critical condition and would soon join the squad in his full form. Click for detailed story

Dec 172016
Pakistan knuckle down in fight to save pink-ball Test

MELBOURNE: Pakistan were in a backs-to-the-wall struggle to save the day-night first Test as Australia took a strangle-hold on the third day at the Gabba on Saturday. At the close, the tourists were hanging in at 70 for two with Azhar Ali not out 41 and 112-Test veteran Younis Khan not off the mark after facing 19 balls. Pakistan trailed by 419 runs. Pakistan made a much better fist of playing in the tricky twilight session with the pink ball losing just two wickets after their catastrophic seven for 24 in the first innings on the previous evening. The openers lasted into the 12th over before Starc got Sami Aslam to edge to Matt Renshaw at first slip for 15. Babar Azam fell to spinner Nathan Lyon in the final half-hour when he edged to Steve Smith at slip for 14. It was slow going but at least the tourists were not shedding wickets in clumps to keep the Australians at bay and still with two long days to play. “We have had some very good partnerships and we are hopeful of getting some more partnerships,” Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq said. “We are taking this game step by step, hour by hour, and we are looking for the good batting opportunities here.” Australia will be pressing hard on Sunday´s fourth day to win the series opener where they have yet to lose at the Gabba in 27 Tests stretching back to 1988. “We wanted to have a crack at them [Read More…]

Dec 092016
Warner?s back-to-back tons power Australia

MELBOURNE: Opener David Warner smashed his second straight hundred to spearhead Australia´s 264 for eight in the third Chappell-Hadlee Trophy one-dayer in Melbourne on Friday. The destructive left-hander was run out on the last ball of the innings for 156 off 128 balls with 13 fours and four sixes. It follows Warner´s 119 off 115 balls against the Black Caps in Canberra on Tuesday. The Australian vice-captain raised his 11th ODI century and seventh for the year when he tickled Mitchell Santner to the fine-leg boundary in the 38th over, bringing up his hundred off 95 balls. Only Indian great Sachin Tendulkar, with nine in 1998, has hit more ODI centuries in a calendar year. Warner was the difference after New Zealand had made early inroads into the Australian batting. He was involved in partnerships with George Bailey (62) and Travis Head (105) which helped Australia fight back from 11 for two and 73 for four. Warner gave a tough chance on 18 when he pulled Lockie Ferguson to deep mid-wicket, where a diving Henry Nicholls couldn´t take a difficult low catch. Aaron Finch lasted just eight balls for his three in yet another batting failure, when he cut Trent Boult to Nicholls at square leg, bringing skipper Steve Smith to the crease in the second over. The Black Caps had a plan and it came off after seven balls when Smith was caught for a duck by Nicholls leaping high at square leg off Boult, leaving the home side [Read More…]

May 262016
Fit-again Starc gunning for West Indies, South Africa

MELBOURNE: Fast bowler Mitchell Starc expects to need a couple of games to get up to express pace but is looking forward to coming back from injury on Australia’s Caribbean tour next month. The lethal left-armer has been sidelined since November when he broke down with a foot fracture during the day-night test against New Zealand in Adelaide, and missed the World Twenty20 campaign as he recovered from surgery. He will be unleashed for a triangular one-day international tournament against hosts West Indies and South Africa starting on June 5 and is champing at the bit. “It’s been coming out pretty well up in Brisbane the last few days and the last couple of weeks, so I’m excited to see what comes about,” Starc told reporters in Sydney on Thursday before flying out. “It feels like it’s in a good place. “I’m not sure if I’ll be back up to top speed straight away, it might take a couple of games as it normally does for fast bowlers coming back. “But I’m excited to see how it comes out on the gun, and hopefully a few wickets and a few games under the belt.” Starc had surgery to remove bone spurs from the back of his right ankle which had caused him pain for much of the last year. He expects the spurs to return at some point in his career, but said he hoped the issue was “a lot longer down the line”. Starc needs 10 wickets from his [Read More…]

May 172016
Australia?s Maxwell returns home injured from IPL

MELBOURNE: Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has suffered a side strain in the Indian Premier League and will head home to recover before the West Indies tour, Cricket Australia said on Tuesday. Maxwell had “increasing soreness in his left abdomen area” after playing for Kings XI Punjab, CA said in a statement. “From the information we have so far, the injury doesn’t appear to be something that will prevent Glenn from participating in this tour, but we are keen to give him the necessary time to recover before departing to the West Indies at the end of this month,” a CA physiotherapist said. The hard-hitting 27-year-old becomes the fifth Australia player to leave the Indian Twenty20 tournament early following the departures of captain Steve Smith, John Hastings and Mitchell and Shaun Marsh. Australia play West Indies and South Africa in a triangular one-day international tournament starting on June 5. — File photo by Reuters Click for detailed story

Apr 272016
Australia eye South Africa great Donald as bowling coach: report

MELBOURNE: South Africa fast bowling great Allan Donald will join Australia as bowling coach for their tour of Sri Lanka this year, local media reported on Wednesday. The 49-year-old, who took 330 Test wickets at an outstanding average of 22.25, could then stay on as part of the top-ranked test nation’s coaching team for series against Pakistan and South Africa in the coming home summer, News Ltd media said. Cricket Australia declined to comment on the report but a team spokeswoman said the governing body hoped to have the coaching set-up for Sri Lanka settled within a “week or so”. Craig McDermott, who helped guide Australia to victory in last year’s World Cup and a 5-0 whitewash of England in the last Ashes series on home soil, stepped down as bowling coach after the World T20 in India. Donald, nicknamed ‘White Lightning’ during a 72-Test career from 1992-2002, stepped down as bowling coach of South Africa a year ago, after four years mentoring the Proteas’ feared pace battery of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. After Australia’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in July and August, Donald was expected to remain in the post for a one-day series in South Africa, News said. Darren Lehmann remains Australia’s head coach across the three formats but the make-up of his staff remains unsettled. Batting coach Michael Di Venuto departed last month to take up a post with England county side Surrey, with former Test batsman Greg Blewett stepping in temporarily. Justin [Read More…]

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