Torrefic Spain end final pain
Mendis, Sangakkarra lead Sri Lanka to victory
ACC dismisses Dhoni outburst
Tiff with Lawson leads to media boycott
Germany sweat on Ballack fitness
Supporters kick off party
A major coup for the Kiwis
Rafa too good for Kiefer
Indians bow out in mixed doubles
Hewitt relishing Federer clash
Parineetha, Dola book Beijing tickets
Vienna, June 29
Spain, appearing in their first final since 1984 and seeking only their second trophy following their 1964 Euro success on home soil, were worthy winners as their crisp passing, wonderful technique and defensive discipline left Germany flailing.
Torres’s goal after 33 minutes was also fit for a final as he showed all the speed, determination and quality of finish that summed up his team’s whole campaign.
Germany, as always, never gave up but their willing running could not bridge the gulf in class and they will have to wait for another shot at a fourth European title. Spain had gone close twice before the goal.
Jens Lehmann had to react quickly after the superb Andres Iniesta’s shot was deflected but the keeper was beaten in the 23rd minute when Torres, not for the first time, outjumped Mertesacker but saw his header come back off a post.
Torres, who had been somewhat overshadowed by absent four-goal partner David Villa in the tournament, showed what a dangerous finisher he is after 33 minutes. Philipp Lahm appeared to have Xavi’s through-ball covered but fractionally hesitated as he hoped Lehmann would reach it first and that was all Torres needed as he sped past him then cleverly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper.
Spain’s precision delivery earned them several more half-chances early in the second half but none were taken and Germany, never a team to give up on a trophy without a fight, raised their game. Captain Michael Ballack, fit to play after his calf strain, had spent most of the first hour fighting fires but he went close with a low volley as his side hit back and ramped up the temperature with a few lively tackles.
Coach Joachim Loew threw on striker Kevin Kuranyi but Spain then had a flurry of chances of chances as Lehmann saved well from Sergio Ramos and Iniesta, and Torsten Frings cleared Iniesta’s shot off the line all in the space of two minutes. As Germany pressed, for the equaliser the gaps opened and Torres almost broke clear twice more. In the end, though, his early effort proved enough to clinch the trophy for Spain. — Reuters — Reuters
Karachi, June 29
The Sri Lankan total included Sangakkara’s ninth hundred and came despite left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir taking a career-best 5-48. Sangakkara, who struck ten fours and a six, shared a third-wicket stand of 88 with Chamara Kapugedera (43) and added 93 for the fourth wicket with Chamara Silva (46) to put the unbeaten Sri Lankans on the road to a commanding total.
In reply for Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq played a gallant knock of 76 from 70 balls, his highest one-day score to give some hope to Pakistan but Mendis, who took 5-22 in the previous game against the United Arab Emirates, was virtually unplayable. Misbah shared a 66-run stand from 64 balls for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed (19) before being bowled by Mendis in the 47th over.
The other productive partnership came from captain Shoaib Malik (52) and Younis Khan (47) who put on 72 after opener Salman Butt was bowled first ball of the innings by Chaminda Vaas playing across the line.
Jayasuriya lbw b Tanvir 8
Sangakkara b Tanvir 112
J’wardene c Misbah b Tanvir 29
Kapugedera c Younis b Amjad 43
C Silva c Ahmed b Tanvir 46
Thushara c W Riaz b Tanvir 28
Dilshan b W Riaz 8
Vaas not out 4
Kulasekara not out 1
Extras: (lb-10, wd- 11, nb- 2) 23
Total: (7 wkts in 50 overs) 302
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-62, 3-150, 4-243, 5-271, 6-288, 7-298.
Bowling: Tanvir 10-1-48-5, Riaz 9-0-52-1, Anjum 8-0-60-0, Afridi 10-0-54-0, Malik 5-0-34-0, Amjad 8-1-44-1.
Butt b Vaas 0
Malik st Sangakkara b Mendis 52
Younis c Murali b Kulasekera 47
Yousuf lbw b Mendis 19
Misbah b Mendis 76
Afridi c sub b Jayasuriya 0
Amjad lbw b Mendis 5
Ahmed b Kulasekera 19
Tanvir not out 9
Anjum c Kulasekera b Murali 7
Riaz not out 1
Extras: (lb-1, w-2) 3
Total: ( 9 wkts, 50 overs) 238
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-72, 3-108, 4-133, 5-135, 6-153, 7-219,
Bowling: Vaas 10-1-44-1, Kulasekera 9-1-35-2, T. Mirando
7-0-44-0, Muralitharan 10-0-46-1, Mendis 10-0-47-4, Jayasuriya 4-0-21-1.
Player of the match: Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)— Reuters
Karachi, June 29
"We have spent 36 hours playing cricket out of the 84 hours we have been in Karachi. It is too tight. I am not happy with the schedule. Two teams have to play back to back matches while two have got a day off," he had said.
ACC Chief Executive Ashraful Haque said the schedule was finalised by Pakistan Cricket Board and the ACC, and all the boards of participating countries had given their approval.
"After the schedule was finalised and six weeks before the tournament we had sent the programme to all the concerned boards including India to give us their approval," he said.
"The schedule was approved by all the boards, so I don't see any reason of complaining. Tight schedules are part of international cricket now," he said. The Indian Cricket Board also snubbed Dhoni, saying any player who wanted rest could inform the Board.
"The Asia Cup schedule has been drawn up by Asian Cricket Council and since India is a member of ACC, we are participating in the tournament. The BCCI was not directly involved in drawing up the schedule," Shukla said. — PTI
Karachi, June 29
“Before we start, let us have some ground rules. Don’t make statements, ask questions and I will only answer sensible questions,” Lawson said at the outset. This led to a local journalist asking him if he would be dictating to the press what to do to which Lawson remarked “your English is not very good”, which only aggravated the situation.
Lawson was also heard telling another journalist that he was being rude and finally local media walked off from the press conference and Lawson was booed while waiting for the lift to go down to the dressing room.
The incident was apparently triggered by a growing tension between the local media on one hand and the Pakistan coach and captain Shoaib Malik on the other.
The local medal had been unsparing in asking some hard questions over the selection matters and performance of the team. Malik also had unsavoury exchanges with the media two days back. — PTI
Vienna, June 29
His absence would be a major blow to Germany's hopes of a fourth European title. The midfielder's match-winning goals against Austria in the group stage and Portugal in the quarter-finals ensured their progress in the tournament.
If Ballack fails to recover in time it would leave coach Joachim Loew contemplating a major reshuffle of his midfield.
There is no obvious replacement for a player who missed the 2002 World Cup final through suspension. Loew said Tim Borowski or Bastian Schweinsteiger might take over.
Schweinsteiger is certain to start, whatever his position.
Along with fellow attacking midfielder Lukas Podolski and striker Miroslav Klose, he would have an extra goalscoring burden on him if Ballack missed out against a buoyant Spain.
Luis Aragones's men have been the most entertaining side at the tournament, driven forward by a midfield blend of pace, flair and ball skills that have run their opponents ragged.
Having dispensed with world champions Italy on penalties, Cesc Fabregas, along with Barcelona pair Andres Iniesta and Xavi, turned Russia inside out in a 3-0 semi-final victory.
They will look to reproduce their neat short-passing game and possession football to inflict the same fatal fatigue on Germany, who would do well to remember the words of Russia coach Guus Hiddink.
''For an hour we could move and after that it was...very difficult to play them,'' lamented the Dutchman.
''They know if they keep on touching the ball, at the end the opponent is getting fatigued and then they know they can score.''
With David Villa almost certainly ruled out by injury, Fernando Torres is set to be the lone striker as Spain bid for a second European title after their 1964 success on home soil. — Reuters
Vienna, June 29
Police expect around 40,000 German fans and 15,000 Spanish supporters to descend on the Austrian capital's centre as Germany take on Spain in the city's stadium only a few km away.
''It's one big street party right now - happy and loud but very peaceful,'' said Christian Stella from Vienna police.
Transforming the city's main square around St Stephen's cathedral in to a sea of red and yellow, Spanish fans had kicked off their party since the early morning hours, accompanied by their own marching band.
''The Spanish people are simply more fun, they know much better than the Germans how to party,'' said Maria de la Cruz Aparicio from Ciudad Real, who had no ticket for the match in the Austrian capital, but had flown with her family to Vienna to watch the match on one of the big screens in the fanzone.
''Spain is the winner, of course, tonight and it will be absolutely fantastic,'' she said standing beside a group of male Spanish fans clad in flamenco dresses and jumping up and down.
German supporters, mingling with their Spanish counterparts between dozens of street vendors flogging tops and scarves, begged to differ.
Though Vienna has the tournament's biggest fan zone stretching along a tree-lined grand boulevard curving around its city centre, the square around St Stephen's cathedral emerged as a main gathering point for fans in the run up to the matches.
''We actually wanted to do a bit of sightseeing and go down to the Danube before watching the match in the fanzone tonight,'' said Sylvia who had flown in from Berlin. — Reuters
A major coup for the Kiwis
London, June 29
The home team, chasing a target of 267, were bowled out for 215 in 47.5 overs. Skipper Daniel Vettori and seamer Tim Southee took three wickets apiece while Owais Shah top-scored with 69.
Earlier, Scott Styris and Jacob Oram hit half-centuries to guide New Zealand to 266 for five.
The second match in the series was abandoned as a no-result.
The one-day triumph was a major coup for the Kiwis after they were beaten 2-0 in the Test series. Pietersen, replacing the suspended Paul Collingwood as captain, won the toss and elected to field first.
The game was evenly poised with New Zealand on 124 for four but a stand of 77 by Styris and Oram turned the heat up on England.
Oram cracked 52 off 40 balls while Styris played patiently until unleashing several ferocious strokes in the closing overs to finish 87 not out. Styris, who was dropped on 13 by Ravi Bopara and survived a loud appeal for a stumping on 39, faced 91 deliveries.
The highlight of his innings came when he launched Ryan Sidebottom into the top tier of the stands for a mighty six late in the innings.
Pietersen made few mistakes in the field although he may regret using part-time spinner Shah, who went for 30 in his three overs.
England's reply started brightly thanks to Ian Bell and Alastair Cook before they suddenly lost momentum.
From 53 for nought they slumped to 138 for six, Pietersen making an untypically scratchy six in 23 balls.
Apart from Shah's fluent 75-ball effort, Pietersen's innings summed up England's batting which was cleverly stifled by spinner Vettori (3-32) and Man of the Series Southee (3-49).
How c Bopara b Broad 22
McCullum c Swann b Anderson 23
Taylor c Ambrose b Broad 4
Styris not out 87
Flynn b Swann 35
Oram c Broad b Swann 52
Elliott not out 23
Extras: (lb-13 w-7): 20
Total (for five wickets, 50 overs): 266
Fall of wickets: 1-39 2-54 3-71 4-124 5-201
Bowling: Sidebottom 10-0-52-0 (1w), Anderson 10-0-46-1 (4w), Broad 10-1-50-2 (2w), Wright 6-0-36-0, Swann 10-0-33-2, Bopara 1-0-6-0, Shah 3-0-30-0.
Bell lbw b Gillespie 27
Cook c McCullum b Southee 24
Pietersen c Oram b Southee 6
Bopara b Vettori 30
Shah c sub b Southee 69
Wright b Vettori 6
Ambrose c sub b Vettori 2
Swann c McCullum b Mills 12
Broad c Flynn b Mills 5
Sidebottom not out 10
Anderson c Oram b Gillespie 2
Extras: (b-1 lb-10 w-10 nb-1): 22
Total (all out, 47.5 overs): 215
Fall of wickets: 1-53 2-60 3-86 4-101 5-130 6-138 7-164 8-186 9-209 10-215
Bowling: Mills 9-1-55-2, Gillespie 9.5-2-29-2 (1nb, 1w), Oram 6-0-22-0 (1w), Southee 9-0-49-3 (4w), Vettori 10-1-32-3 (1w), Styris 4-0-17-0 (1w).
Result: New Zealand won by 51 runs.
Player of the match: S Styris (New Zealand).
Player of the series: T Southee (New Zealand).— Reuters
London, June 29
Reflecting on a first week where he consistently upped his game, four-times French Open champion Nadal said, “I am doing well, only losing one set. From now on, I know that I am going to have a tough time”.
It was level-pegging all the way in the first set against Kiefer until the tiebreak when one precious early break by Nadal was all that was needed to give him the lead. Nadal certainly did not underestimate Kiefer. “He is a difficult opponent on every surface but especially here. He is an aggressive player. I think I played a very good tie-break and I started playing very well after that,” he said.
Nadal has a nerve-racking weekend ahead, hoping that his victory will be followed by Spain beating Germany in the final of Euro 2008 on Sunday.
Nadal and his compatriots at Wimbledon will be gathered round the television rooting for the team.
“I think we have good chances for a win. I think the Spaniards are very happy as we have the best team,” Nadal said. After watching his compatriot being overwhelmed by Nadal, Germany’s former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker quipped “Let’s hope the football is different.” — Reuters
London, June 29
Seeded 11th, Bhupathi and Sania could not move beyond the first round and the unseeded Russian team of Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko did not have a great deal of problem to overpower the Indians 6-7 (4) 6-3.
Paes and Stubbs, seeded 10th in the tournament, were also shown the doors by Swede Jonas Bjorkman and his Australian partner Alicia Molik who beat them 3-6 6-3 3-6.
Another Indian in the fray, Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna and his Belorussian partner Tatiana Poutchek failed to meet the challenge of 13th seeded Swede-American pair of Simon Aspelin and Lisa Raymond in the second round and went down 3-6 6-7 (1).
In juniors too, India had a poor start to the Wimbledon campaign as fifth seed Yuki Bhambri lost to unseeded American Ty D Trombetta 6-7 (2) 4-6. — UNI
London, June 29
“This is what you play for. There’s no doubt about it,” the 27-year-old told reporters when looking ahead to his 21st professional meeting with a player he first locked horns with when they were juniors.
“Especially in my situation, you know, these are the matches I enjoy. It’s good to get out there and play on Centre Court, play against the best player in the world.”
Hewitt, the dominant force in men’s tennis when he won the 2001 U.S. Open and Wimbledon a year later, has not been to a grand slam quarterfinal for two years yet is still feared as one of the toughest competitors on the circuit.
Federer himself is a big admirer of Hewitt, the only other man in the draw to have won Wimbledon. “It’s always a challenge playing Lleyton. He’s a great player, a guy I really enjoy watching as well. He’s a great competitor,” the Swiss, who has looked serene so far as he chases a sixth consecutive Wimbledon title, said. — Reuters
Kolkata, June 29
Dola also managed to make the cut to represent the country for the second time in Olympics. She and Praneetha will join L. Bombayla Devi in the women’s recurve team event in the quadrennial extravaganza. The Railways archer, Bombayla, has already qualified for the Olympics in the women’s recurve individual event after she finished 32nd in the Outdoor Archery World Championship held in Leipzig, Germany last year.
Bombayla’s performance was also enough for her to qualify for the women's recurve team event. Meanwhile, Mangal Singh Champia of the Mittal Champions Trust will be the sole representation from India in the men’s recurve section.
Mangal had clinched the Beijing berth by winning silver in the Continental Qualification Tournament that followed the main event, the Asian Archery Championship at Xi’an, China in September last year. — PTI
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