History favours Oz, present England
Lara won more games than Sachin: Ponting
Bravo brothers pull one back for Windies
Froome on a roll
Deepika takes India into quarterfinals
Powell’s discredited physio says tainted athletes looking for a scapegoat
Woods could be Major force at Open
Ecclestone charged in bribery case
Messi not worried about tax woes
Kerala team wins football tourney
History favours Oz, present England
London, July 17
The past, the present, possibly the future seem to be with them. However well Australia performed in the first match at Trent Bridge, surprising perhaps even themselves, they still fell short. Either they will be galvanised by their endeavours at Trent Bridge, aware that there is not much between these teams after all and that England are there for the taking. Or they may be so crestfallen after giving so much of themselves over five days of slugging it out and still losing that they will have nothing left to give. No Englishmen should assume the second of those possibilities is likely.
Alastair Cook, England's captain, tried to make light of history yesterday in assessing what his side must do to retain the lead and ultimately the great prize. It was a curious stat, he said, about England not beating Australia in 75 years at Lord's because he was not sure how many of the players involved in this match had taken part in those games. Well, none as it happens.
At this point, a young female in the audience fainted because of the heat and Cook lost his thread of thought. But he would do well not to overlook completely what has happened before.
Australia have five times come from 1-0 down in an Ashes series of five matches to win, three at home, two away. The most recent occasion was in 1997 when England astonished the planet by winning at Edgbaston, bowling out an undercooked touring side on the first morning, but then spending the rest of the summer being duffed up for their cheek.
Back in 1909, an England team possessing some of the most legendary cricketers to have played the game – Jack Hobbs, Wilfred Rhodes, George Hirst, CB Fry, Gilbert Jessop – won the first match in Birmingham by ten wickets but within a month had been defeated at Lord's and Headingley to lose the Ashes.
England's recent record at Lord's is splendid. Their only defeat at the ground since 2005 was against South Africa last year.
Australia, as it happens, won their last Test at Lord's, which was not against England in 2009 but against Pakistan in the neutral series the following year.
That decisive match against South Africa may also be pertinent to the present. Part of the reason that England lost was that they were in turmoil because of the unpleasantness with Kevin Pietersen which had prompted the selectors to drop him.
The abiding image from the match is of the home side's captain, Andrew Strauss, playing the most distracted of strokes, an expansive shouldering of arms, to Vernon Philander in the second innings to be out lbw. Nobody could deny that the shot was fashioned by events off the field as much as on it.
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain, is adamant that the events at Trent Bridge followed by the leaking of court papers involving their former coach Mickey Arthur, will not affect his team. He was again resolute in making it seem that he and Shane Watson - who, according to Arthur, Clarke said was “a cancer in the team” — were joined at the hip.
Clarke said that Australia's record was relevant. Of the total of 34 Test matches between the sides at the ground, Australia have won 14 and lost only six. “It feels like a home ground I guess for us. I don't know the main reason as to why Australia has had so much success on this beautiful oval. It's something you certainly write into the diary when you find out the Ashes series is on, the Lord's Test.” Only an Australian would describe Lord's as a beautiful Oval but perhaps MCC should consider putting the phrase into their promotional literature in future. The pitch was under cover for most of yesterday. When it was briefly revealed it looked to have more grass on than might have been expected. But it is bound to be dry, it will probably be slow, it should help spin and it will need patience.
Both sides have selection issues, England over a bowler, Australia a batsman. Cook and the England coach, Andy Flower, will probably keep faith with Steve Finn on a ground where he has taken 29 wickets in five Tests and 72 in another 21 matches for Middlesex. But Chris Tremlett has been practising with England for the last two days and had a bat yesterday, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions are already in the squad. Their presence is not designed to make Finn feel comfortable about his place in the side. — The Independent
London, July 17
“Sachin and Lara were the two stand-out batsmen for me. Lara won more games for his team than Sachin probably has. I'd lose more sleep as captain knowing Lara was coming in to bat next day than I would with Sachin,” said Ponting.
“You always found a way to restrict Sachin if you needed to. Lara could turn it on in half an hour and take a game away from you. For me, it has never been about making hundreds, it is about winning games and series,” Ponting was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. — PTI
Guyana, July 17
Pakistan were then tied down by an efficient bowling performance, ending well short of the target. Sunil Narine, who had not taken a wicket in West Indies' three previous one-day internationals, returned figures of 4-26 as Pakistan were bowled out for 195 in 47.5 overs. Darren Bravo and wicketkeeper Johnson Charles put together a patient 79-run second wicket stand to steady the innings after talisman Chris Gayle was caught behind in the first over.
West Indies 232 for eight in 50 overs (Darren Bravo 54, Dwayne Bravo 43 not out; Shahid Afridi 2-29) bt Pakistan 195 (Nasir Jamshed 54, Umar Akmal 50; Sunil Narine 4-26). — Reuters
Chorrges (France), July 17
The British rider was slower than Contador on the first part of the undulating 32-kilometer (20-mile) course from Embrun to Chorges in the French Alps, but gained time on the final section and finished nine seconds ahead of the Spaniard to clinch his third stage win of the race.
Froome, who has also won two mountain stages, made up for missing out last week when he was edged by Tony Martin in the first time trial on stage 11.
Bauke Mollema held second place overall for several stages, but Contador took his place as the Dutchman dropped to fourth.
Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez finished the stage in third place, 10 seconds behind Froome.
Froome wearing an aerodynamic black helmet with a thick yellow stripe down the middle coughed into his right hand as he prepared to start.
When the five-second countdown finished, Froome puffed his cheeks and rolled down the ramp. — PTI
Results STAGE XVII
Kolkata, July 17
According to information received, Deepika's seventh and Bombayla's eighth finishes were the best among the Indians as the men's team failed short of expectations to finish a lowly 14th in the recurve qualification rounds held on Tuesday.
The women's team's second-place finish meant that the Indian women trio, with the third member being Rimil Biruly, will directly play the quarters, taking on the winners of Venezuela and Dominican Republic teams.
The women's section was topped by the Olympic team silver medallist Xu Jing (1349 points), while his teammates Cheng Ming and Fang Yuting finished fourth and sixth pushing Deepika to seventh spot with 1336.
Bombayla finished one point behind Deepika, while Rimil Biruly, overall 14th, was third best among the Indians with 1316 points as the trio totalled 3987 to finish a distant second behind China (4036). Seasoned archer Dola Banerjee had a poor qualification round finishing 32nd with 1251 points.
Atanu Das (1336) with a fifth place finish was the only bright spot among the men's as the Olympian duo of Jayanta Talukdar (1291) and Tarundeep Rai (1013) misfired. Talukdar finished a lowly 22nd while Asian Games silver medallist Rai was last among the 65 qualifiers.
India had an overall 14th place in the qualifications with the trio's total of 3640 points.
Atanu and Deepika's combined show meant that the duo finish fourth in the qualification round with a total of 2672 points giving Indians some hope of a medal. All the finals are scheduled for June 20 and 21. — PTI
Paris, July 17
Powell and Simpson were among five Jamaican athletes who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs at the country`s national trials last month and are currently under investigation in Italy for doping.
The revelations — and a separate positive test for US sprinter Tyson Gay — have cast a shadow over athletics, just a month before from the sport`s world championships in Moscow.
Powell and Simpson`s agent, Paul Doyle, on Tuesday pointed the finger at the athletes` physio Chris Xuereb, suggesting that contaminated food supplements were to blame.
But Xuereb, who is also under investigation in Italy, maintained that he had done nothing wrong and the athletes were looking to make him a scapegoat.
Xuereb said in an emailed statement to a number of media organisations that he began working with the Jamaican pair in May 2013 as they recovered from injury, providing massage therapy and nutritional advice.
He said he worked “extremely hard” to help their recovery, adding: “Most importantly, I did not provide any banned or illegal substances to Asafa Powell or Sherone Simpson.”
Xuereb accepted that he recommended vitamins to the runners but maintained that they were all bought over-the-counter at reputable nutritional stores and were major brands.All the vitamins, which were recommended by the athletes` agent and shown to their coach, were found to be legal by the Italian police, who raided the athletes` base and questioned Xuereb for several hours earlier this week, he added.
Xuereb, who said he was not arrested and cooperated fully with the Italian authorities, suggested that Powell and Simpson, who tested positive for a banned stimulant, may have been taking other supplements that he was not aware of.
“Both athletes are clearly looking for a scapegoat,” he said in the statement, which was quoted on the Toronto Star website thestar.Com, among others.
“I am confident, and I have also spoken to researchers and the Police, that I have done nothing wrong.”
Xuereb said he had no dealings with the three other Jamaicans who tested positive at last month`s trial and said it was “time the athletes took responsibility for their doping” instead of blaming others. “I am extremely disappointed that these athletes have chosen to blame me for their own violations,” he added.
“WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and the public needs to stop accepting these stories and hold these athletes accountable.”
Powell, a 4x100m relay gold medallist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is one of the four fastest men over 100m in history.
Simpson won gold for Jamaica in the 4x100m relay at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and silver in the event last year in London. She also won 100m silver in Beijing. — Agencies
Gullane (Scotland), July 17
Defending champion Ernie Els is 25-1 to retain the title at a course where he lifted the Claret Jug 11 years ago and US Open winner Justin Rose is 20-1 to become the first English winner of the tournament since Nick Faldo in 1992.
Woods, who has not won a major for five years, is excited by the challenge of playing the course in fine weather conditions, a sharp contrast to 2002 when his hopes at Muirfield were scuppered by a third-round 81 in driving wind and rain.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the American told a news conference. “What a fantastic championship on one of the best venues. It’s playing really fast out there. The golf course has got a little bit of speed to it and I’m sure it will get really quick by the weekend so the golf course is set up perfectly.”
Woods said he was feeling very good about his form.
“I’ve had a pretty good year so far, won four times even though I haven’t won a major,” he added.
“It’s just a shot here and there. It’s making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce here, capitalising on an opportunity here and there. That’s what you have to do to win major championships.”
Els, 43, rolled back the years at Lytham 12 months ago, taking advantage of Adam Scott’s meltdown over the closing holes to seal his fourth major championship.
“I just feel this is a great golf course,” the South African said. “It reminds me a little bit of Lytham. Obviously last week I didn’t make the cut at the Scottish Open but I’ve had some extra time coming into the event and feel quite good about my game. I’m striking it nicely.”
Phil Mickelson, four-times a major champion, won last week’s Scottish Open and is 20-1 to win his first British Open, the same odds as Rose and Australian Scott who made up for his Lytham disappointment by winning this year’s US Masters.
Rose leads the British challenge as the nation’s golfers bid to ride a wave of sporting success that has also brought a rare rugby series win for the British & Irish Lions, Andy Murray’s stunning Wimbledon triumph and a nerve-jangling victory for England in a dramatic first Ashes test. “Rose is a strong contender,” said Faldo who is making a rare appearance in the Open this year. “It’s all been a process. It didn’t happen overnight, this has been a concerted plan for the last four years. Rose’s game has slowly been climbing. He might be strong enough to come out and carry on.” Former world number ones Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will also be flying the British flag as they bid to end their long waits for a first major crown. Twice major winner Rory McIlroy is alongside Westwood as a 25-1 shot to win. The Northern Irishman, however, has struggled since switching clubs at the start of the year and bookmaker Ladbrokes is also offering odds of 4-1 on him missing the cut. The sun is expected to shine throughout the four-day tournament. — Reuters Shiv Kapur Scott looks past Last year’s
loss “A four-shot lead isn’t enough if you’re not going to be tough. Even if you’re being tough, four shots can only just get you over the line.” — Reuters
Rose leads the British challenge as the nation’s golfers bid to ride a wave of sporting success that has also brought a rare rugby series win for the British & Irish Lions, Andy Murray’s stunning Wimbledon triumph and a nerve-jangling victory for England in a dramatic first Ashes test.
“Rose is a strong contender,” said Faldo who is making a rare appearance in the Open this year.
“It’s all been a process. It didn’t happen overnight, this has been a concerted plan for the last four years. Rose’s game has slowly been climbing. He might be strong enough to come out and carry on.”
Former world number ones Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will also be flying the British flag as they bid to end their long waits for a first major crown.
Twice major winner Rory McIlroy is alongside Westwood as a 25-1 shot to win.
The Northern Irishman, however, has struggled since switching clubs at the start of the year and bookmaker Ladbrokes is also offering odds of 4-1 on him missing the cut.
The sun is expected to shine throughout the four-day tournament. — Reuters
Scott looks past Last year’s
“A four-shot lead isn’t enough if you’re not going to be tough. Even if you’re being tough, four shots can only just get you over the line.” — Reuters
Munich, July 17
The indictment has been sent out, charging the 82-year-old Briton with bribery and breach of trust, the spokesman said.
At issue is whether Ecclestone bribed a German banker in a business deal under which lender BayernLB sold a 48 percent stake in a Formula One holding company to CVC, a private equity investor that Ecclestone was keen to see as a new shareholder.
Ecclestone, who could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday, has denied wrongdoing.
The case could mean a further delay to tentative plans to float the Formula One business in Singapore at the end of the year. A listing was scrapped last year because of market turmoil. Ecclestone remains central to the motor racing business he built into a global money-spinner and the diminutive chief is a familiar figure at its races. He has always said he has no plans to retire and there is no obvious successor in place.
The case comes after Ecclestone made payments to Gerhard Gribkowsky, BayernLB’s former chief risk officer, who was jailed last year for tax evasion.
Ecclestone has denied that the payments to Gribkowsky amounted to bribes. Instead, he told a Munich court in November 2011 that he paid Gribkowsky to “keep him quiet” after the German put him under pressure over his tax affairs, and not to smooth the sale to CVC. — Reuters
Barcelona, July 17
The Argentine World Player of the Year and his father Jorge, who both denied wrongdoing, allegedly hid more than 4 million euros ($5.3 million) by filing false tax returns for the years 2006 to 2009.
The prosecutor’s office for tax crimes in Catalonia said the sale of Messi’s image rights had been hidden via a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
“I am very calm,” Rosario-born Messi, who has been resident in Barcelona since 2000 and gained Spanish citizenship in 2005, told a post-training news conference on Wednesday, his first since returning from holiday.
“I never take care of that stuff myself and neither does my father,” the 26-year-old added.
“We have our lawyers and our wealth managers to take care of that and we trust them and they will sort this out.The truth is that I don’t have a clue about all this and that is why we have people taking care of it.”
Messi is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes and earns just over $20 million a season in wages and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine.
He also pulls in about $21 million in endorsements from sponsors including Adidas, PepsiCo and P&G and is 10th on Forbes’ latest list of top-earning athletes. — Reuters
Kerala team wins football tourney
Mandi, July 17
Vikramaditya Singh, president of the Cultural, Sports and Environment Association of Himachal Pradesh, was the chief guest.
He said that efforts were afoot to develop a multi-purpose stadium in Mandi in the near future.
He also said that the government is trying to promote sports among the rural youth adding that there is no dearth of talent in the state. He announced that the government has increased the Purshuram Award money to Rs 1 lakh.
President of Himachal Pradesh Football Association Amitpal Singh lauded the football festival for promoting sports in the state. He added that efforts are on to organise the Junior World Cup Football in the state in 2017.
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