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England bowlers let victory slip

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 18 Januari 2014 | 16.42

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LET'S get the formalities out of the way first.

Yes, James Faulkner played an incredible innings that will go down as one of the most memorable one-day international knocks in this country in the past decade.

Yes, it was a sensational finish to a high-quality game of cricket.

Yes, the fans went home happy.

But it needs to be said - he was helped a lot by England's bowlers.

Up until the final five overs, Alastair Cook's men hadn't done a whole lot wrong at the Gabba.

The match was well set up by Eoin Morgan, who on any other night would have been awarded man of the match honours for his brilliant century, and he received good support from Jos Buttler and Ian Bell as England reached 300 exactly.

Then the English pacemen found some much-needed form as Chris Jordan, Boyd Rankin and Tim Bresnan combined to have Australia reeling at 5-120, 7-206 and then 9-244, leaving the hosts still requiring 57 runs with just one wicket remaining.

Then all of a sudden - carnage.

The yorker became a distant memory as time and again the tourists dished up juicy half-volleys that Faulkner gratefully accepted.

It seems unfair to hand out too much criticism to Ben Stokes, given his super contributions to England's losing Ashes cause, but the young all-rounder put in his worst bowling performance of the summer on Friday night.

Ben Stokes tries to stop a James Faulkner delivery off his own bowling. Picture: Peter Wallis Source: News Limited

He was carted for five sixes by Faulkner, all of which travelled between mid-wicket and square leg, and all of which were the beneficiaries of balls that were neither short nor full, but perfectly within the Australian's hitting zone.

Even Bresnan, who for the majority of the match bowled with good variety, using the slower ball to particularly good effect against Faulkner, fell apart in the final over as he was hit for three boundaries in a row to hand Australia the victory.

So how did England feel after coming so close, yet feeling so far away from a first victory in a full international match this summer?

"It is quite tough," Morgan said.

"We were all over today's game. Did a lot of things right. We let a good side come in at the end and allowed them to play.

"We're as surprised as anybody at the result."

And so they should be, given the tourists were in charge of the match for most of Friday evening.

But you get the feeling any kind of soul-searching experience has already been tried several times for the tourists, so really, what can they still do to improve their mental state heading into Sunday's third ODI?

"It can work both ways," the Irishman said.

"Guys probably shouldn't be as harsh as they will be on themselves but naturally you will be.

"If you look through today's game we've done a lot of things right. We took early wickets, second innings we continually built pressure, took two wickets in the powerplay, it's just that final little bit."

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Murray out guns Lopez

Andy Murray celebrates after beating Feliciano Lopez. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST Source: WILLIAM WEST / AFP

ANDY Murray continues to quietly gather momentum with last year's runner-up untroubled by Spain's Feliciano Lopez to progress through to the fourth round.

The Scotsman has been off the radar in the lead-up given he is returning from back surgery but showed yesterday he's on a sharp improvement curve after an impressive 7-6 (2) 6-4 6-2 victory over the 26th seed.

Murray, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the final last year, had back surgery in September and this is just his second tournament since the operation.

After dropping serve in the opening game, the reigning Wimbledon champion responded immediately and then dominated the tie-break.

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The No.4 seed then went up a level in the next two sets to show he will still be a factor in the second week of the tournament.

Murray plays 'lucky loser' from qualifying, Frenchman Stephane Robert, in the fourth round.

Earlier Australian coach Roger Rasheed had some success with Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, taking out 11th seed Milos Raonic 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-6 (12).

Dimitrov and Rasheed, the former mentor of Lleyton Hewitt, have only been working together for a few months but already it has resulted in the 22-year-old's best Grand Slam result.

Britain's Andy Murray serves against Spain's Feliciano Lopez. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST Source: AFP

"We have been together for four months and already we know each other pretty good," Dimitrov said. "There is still a lot to come but you know in a way we try to go one day at a time.

"I think the one thing that is really positive is that with him every day is 100 per cent. There is never more, never less.

"So, you know, once you start having a routine like this, everything gets into place."

The pair prepared for the Australian Open with an intense training block in Las Vegas.

Grigor Dimitrov celebrates his victory over Milos Raonic. AFP PHOTO / MAL FAIRCLOUGH Source: AFP

"They weren't easy days, that's for sure," Dimitrov said. "We actually had a block of those two weeks that I didn't have one day off, so, you know, it's kind of rough.

"But I was just like obeying orders. I couldn't reconsider or say anything. Whatever he says, I was out there and doing it.

"I enjoy working and I'm actually happy to work. You know, he's a great bloke and that's a great feeling to have. It's a good relationship."

The 22nd seeded has been dubbed 'Baby Fed' but he's keen to distant himself from comparisons with the one of the greatest players in history.

"They play in my head sometimes, it's not easy, obviously," Dimitrov said. "Of course everyone would talk and everyone would say, you know, whatever. Not that I care, but the one thing is that I know what I believe in and I know what I'm doing.

"I think the biggest expectation always comes from me. There is no one else that can put the expectation that I can put on me, so that's why sometimes it's tough to have, you know, that pressure on your shoulder."

Dimitrov's fourth round opponent is unseeded Spainard Roberto Bautista Agut who continued his giant-killing run yesterday by easily beating France's 27th seed Benoit Paire 6-2 6-1 6-4.

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Wellington humiliates Victory

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WELLINGTON Phoenix extracted sweet revenge for their fourth round defeat by Melbourne Victory with a 5-0 win at Westpac Stadium.

Outplayed and defeated 3-2 at AAMI Park in November, the Phoenix returned the favour is spades over third-placed Melbourne, in the process extending their unbeaten run to five games.

It was just their second home victory of the A-League season, and closes them to within two points of sixth place and the playoffs after going without a win for the first 10 games.

Re-live the goals and stats in our match centre.

The battle for midfield dominance was intense right from the first whistle, and Welllington were the first to break through in the 18th minute when Vince Lia slipped a tantalising pass through to the edge of the box.

Young striker Tyler Boyd, who earned a start at the expense of the out-of-touch Jeremy Brockie, let the ball run and Hernandez slotted home under the diving Nathan Coe to put the Phoenix in front.

Melbourne looked disorganised in the front third on the rare occasions they found themselves on attack, and a succession of miskicks and skied shots were all they had to show as halftime neared.

But just as it look like the Phoenix's would take a 1-0 lead into the break, Kenny Cunningham took one touch 20m out and unleashed a perfectly placed dipping strike to double the lead.

And barely a minute later, Rashid Mahazi's challenge on Hernandez in the box had referee Adam Kersey pointing to the spot for the Costa Rican to calmly convert into a 3-0 halftime lead.

Melbourne showed more intent in the second half but, urged on by a vocal 6813-strong crowd, the Phoenix continued to press hard as they restricted the Victory to only the rare foray on goal.

The icing on the cake came in the 86th minute when Brockie, goalless since scoring in round four against the Victory, came on and slammed home a class Albert Reira through ball for the Phoenix's fourth.

Barely two minutes later, Sein Huysegems rounded off an outstanding night with his seventh goal of the season.

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Will Jose kill off Moyes' United

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 17 Januari 2014 | 16.42

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HAVING stemmed a run of three straight defeats by beating Swansea City, Manchester United will look to provide further evidence of their backbone at Chelsea this weekend.

The 2-0 win over Swansea enabled United to avenge their FA Cup elimination by the Welsh club a week earlier, but victories for all the teams above them meant they remained 11 points off the pace in the Premier League.

When the sides met in August, drawing 0-0 at Old Trafford, the season was only a week old, but while champions United have floundered since then, Chelsea are riding high in third place ahead of Sunday's encounter.

The London club have already dispatched Manchester City and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this season and have never lost at home in the league under manager Jose Mourinho, but United midfielder Darren Fletcher is undaunted.

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"We are expected to win every game and it doesn't matter if it is Swansea at home or Chelsea away -- it is viewed as a disaster if we don't win," the Scottish midfielder told the United website. "We will treat it like we do with every other game. We will go to win. We know it is a great challenge going to Chelsea, but we can take some confidence from the Swansea game and we are fully confident of going down there and getting more of the same." Leaders Arsenal displayed the sort of nerve required to mount a sustained title challenge when they won 2-1 at Aston Villa on Monday evening, having seen all of their title rivals win over the previous weekend.

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Sunderland v Southampton, 11.35pm (EDT), FS1HD


Arsenal v Fulham, 1.50am (EDT), FS1HD

Crystal Palace v Stoke City, 1.50am (EDT), Viewer's Choice

Manchester City v Cardiff City, 1.50am (EDT), Viewer's Choice

Norwich City v Hull City, 1.50am (EDT), Viewer's Choice

West Ham United v Newcastle United, 1.50am (EDT), Viewer's Choice

Liverpool v Aston Villa, 4.20am (EDT), FS1HD


Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur, 12:25am (EDT), FS1HD

Chelsea v Manchester United, 2.45am (EDT), FS1HD

West Bromwich Albion v Everton, 6.50am (EDT), FS1HD

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Arsenal welcome relegation-threatened Fulham to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and manager Arsene Wenger has been eager to play down injury concerns surrounding his side.

The Frenchman will be without Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen, while Nacho Monreal and Nicklas Bendtner are doubtful, but he believes he has enough alternatives. "In midfield we have plenty of quality players who you can rotate easily without really feeling, 'Today we are weaker,'" Wenger said.

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"I would say, purely on the football front, it's true that we only have excellent players in every position and that allows you to have different types of teams that can really be efficient." Second-placed Manchester City gave yet another demonstration of their awesome strike power in a 5-0 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup in midweek, which took their goal tally for the season to 99.

They will be expected to bring up triple figures at home to third-bottom Cardiff City on Saturday.

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Liverpool will look to maintain their recent momentum when they host Aston Villa, having responded to successive losses at City and Chelsea over Christmas with back-to-back wins against Hull and Stoke.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has yet to make any moves in the January transfer window, but with Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge having returned from injury in the 5-3 win at Stoke, he is relaxed about the situation.

Monday's game sees Spaniard Pepe Mel take charge of his first game as manager of West Bromwich Albion, with high-flying Everton the visitors to The Hawthorns.

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BARRACK LIVE: Stosur in action

CASEY is through, but can Sam join her? All eyes turn to Stosur's showdown with Ana Ivanovic tonight.

Casey Dellacqua won through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the second time.

She'll now face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round.

Stay with us throughout the day for live updates and have your say on what's happening.

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Live: Double blow rocks Aussie chase

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EOIN Morgan showed a mental sharpness his England teammates have lacked and made Australian skipper Michael Clarke feel like a goose in the one-dayer at the Gabba.

Clarke had a rare blotch on his impressive captaincy resume when he mucked up his field to give batting dangerman Morgan an early life in bizarre scenes.

Irishman Morgan took full advantage and became just the second 'Pom' on tour, after Kiwi-born Ben Stokes in the Perth Test, to make a century as he belted 106 (99 balls) in England's terrific total of 8-300.


It was an imposing total, put in context by the fact England never managed to score more in any first innings of an Ashes Test this summer.

Another big England bonus came when they kept Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson (1-59) quiet and created some mayhem off the bowling of Australian up-and-comer James Faulkner (2-73).

Clarke's blunder came when Morgan had made just two and the batsman used some clever thinking.

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Noticing that Clarke had one too many fielders positioned outside the fielding circle off his own bowling, Morgan went for a premeditated wild swipe and tried to clear the deep mid-wicket fence.

He was caught on the boundary but immediately motioned to the umpires that there were too many Australian fielders outside of the circle.

Video replays proved him right and the umpires called a no-ball.

Morgan went on to bash a cascade of big hits, including successive huge sixes off Faulkner which went many rows back.

He jumped for joy when he hit an innovative high ramp shot for four over the keeper's head off Nathan Coulter-Nile to bring up his century off 94 balls.

England batsman Eoin Morgan celebrates reaching his century against Australia at the Gabba. Source: AFP

Australia became ragged late in England's innings with Coulter-Nile dropping a regulation highball of Jos Buttler who made 45 off 36 balls.

There was controversy with the match referee forced to intervene after the innings to add four more runs to England's total.

It came because of an incident when a Buttler big hit looking to be clearing the boundary until Shaun Marsh stepped over the rope and jumped back and pushed the ball back in.

Ground umpires said it wasn't a six and initially only gave two runs, although Marsh launched himself from outside the field of play and was in the air when he touched the ball to force it back into play.

Marsh's final contact was out of play, so the match referee later ruled it was a six and added four runs to England's initial total.

Earlier, Clarke did his best to make amends for his captaincy blemish by flinging down the stumps to brilliantly run-out Ian Bell for 68, with the batsman's bat bouncing off the pitch before he grounded it.

At the start of the England innings, returning fast bowler Johnson went without a wicket in his opening spell.

Bedraggled England captain Alistair Cook made 22, his highest score since the Boxing Day Test, but was dismissed after he had done all the hard work seeing off Johnson.

Ian Bell leaves the field after being run out by Michael Clarke. Picture: Peter Wallis Source: News Limited

Showing that he can find almost any way to get out in his summer of discontent, Cook drove at an innocuous half-volley off the second ball from spinner Glenn Maxwell.

Cook only succeeded in hitting it straight back to the bowler and the head of the England captain drooped almost to hit bootlaces as he traipsed off the ground.

Johnson was reintroduced immediately when horribly out of form youngster Joe Root came to the crease. And Johnson struck almost straight away, thundering a late inswinger into Root's pads.

After what seemed like an eternity, umpire Kumar Dharmasena jabbed his finger in the air as Johnson punched the air in delight.

Root then launched a video review, only to have egg on his face when the third umpire review showed the ball struck in line and would have knocked down the stumps.


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Ferrer, Wawrinka make their move

Written By Unknown on Senin, 13 Januari 2014 | 16.42

Spaniard David Ferrer blasts Alejandro Gonzalez off the court. Picture: Getty Source: Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

PERENNIALLY condemned to the shadows by grand slam royalty, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka last season achieved career watersheds.

Spaniard Ferrer finished the season ranked No 3, higher in the global order than Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and the incomparable Roger Federer.

And Wawrinka completed a fine year at No 8, having outperformed Federer for the first time in 35 majors at September's US Open by reaching the semi-finals after his famed compatriot fell in the fourth round.

Fittingly, given their progress last season, Ferrer and Wawrinka were the first two of the high seeds to reach the second round of the Australian Open yesterday.

French Open finalist Ferrer was typically efficient in overcoming Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 6-3 6-4 6-4 despite dropping serve five times.

And Wawrinka was torn between pragmatism and compassion after Kazakstan's Andrey Golubey retired with a leg strain when trailing 6-4 4-1 after only 65 minutes.

Beaten 12-10 in the fifth set of an epic fourth-rounder by eventual champion Novak Djokovic last year, Wawrinka was in command against Golubev when the match abruptly ended.

"We never want the opponent to retire for injury, but that's what happen," he said.

"I was feeling good. I think it's one of the best starts in a grand slam if I look about my game and how I felt on the court.

"I was moving well, playing strong, playing okay.

"For sure it's better to finish quickly the first match, the most important (thing) is to win, so doesn't matter."

For the first time, Wawrinka is within striking distance of overtaking Federer in the rankings after winning the Chennai title in the opening week of the season.

Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev receives treatment during his match against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

"For sure I'm playing better than last year or two years ago," he said.

"Coming after a great year, being for the first time in the top 10 and starting the year with a title, for sure that gives me confidence.

"I'm feeling physically strong and mentally there."

Coached by former world No 2 Magnus Norman, Wawrinka next faces Alejandro Falla after the Colombian overcame Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 6-2 6-3.

Ferrer was relieved simply to advance.

"The most important (thing) is (to) win," he said. "And today maybe I didn't play my best tennis, but I won. That's important."

Czech seventh Tomas Berdych bustled past Kazakstan's Alexsandr Nedoyesov 6-3 6-4 6-3 as Frenchman Richard Gasquet ousted compatriot David Guez 7-5 6-4 6-1.

Russia's Mikhail Youzhny past German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1 6-4 6-2 as Croat Ivan Dodig dispatched Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) despite his compatriot's 25 thunderous aces.

Dodig tomorrow meets qualifier Damir Dzumhur, who slumped to his knees and kissed the court after whipping Czech Jan Hajek 6-4 6-2 6-1.

Youzhny will be challenged by German Florian Mayer, who trumped American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2 6-4.

Other seeds to advance were Italian Fabio Fognini, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

American Sam Querrey thrived in the warmth, rifling 24 aces in a 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3) margin over Colombian Santiago Giraldo.


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Scud: Lleyton's always been intense

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IF YOU think Lleyton Hewitt is competitive on the tennis court, you should try having him stay at your house.

Rusty stayed at my place in Del Ray Beach Florida for a few days before the 2003 US Open. It became evident pretty much straight away that the guy didn't have an off-switch. We'd come back from practice and he'd want to take me on at golf. Or table tennis. Or on the pool table. It never stopped. And he didn't like losing at anything he turned his hand to.

He took his golf very seriously back then (although I reckon I'd kick his arse now!). There were no easy holes or gimmes. There was an intensity to everything he did.

I remember playing a practice match against him in Sweden before a David Cup tie in 2003. I think I got him 7-5 in the tie-breaker, but the way we were going at each other was like anything you'd see in a grand slam tournament. No one was gving an inch. John Fitzgerald and Wally Masur just sat back and enjoyed the show as we tore into each other. He beat me in the final at Scottsdale, Arizona that year - the last of our four meetings on tour.

"What do ya mean I'm too intense" Source: News Limited

He might have trumped me 3-1 in our head-to-heads over the course of our careers but there were two areas I had his measure in: pool and table tennis. I was seriously competitive on both - probably sometimes more than I was on the tennis court! - and there was no way I was going to let him take my crown in my home. And I remember taking him surfing at Del Ray once. It was a windy day and the little bloke was having trouble paddling out. That was one of the few places I had the better of him!

Only Rafael Nadal matches him for intensity among modern day players. They stand alone as the best and most tenacious competitors I have seen. Lleyton has found a way to be more relaxed away from the court these days, and I think that's a good thing. That was an incredible level of energy to maintain all the time.

I'm so excited to see how deep Rusty goes into the Australian Open this year. He would have to be one of the hottest players going around at the moment. Beating the great Roger Federer 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in his first outing of the year in Brisbane is a huge feat and carries on the good form he showed in the latter stages of 2013.

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I want to see him in the second week at the Australian Open. So does the whole country. And I think he's a decent chance at getting there. Drawing Andreas Seppi in the first round is good for him. Seppi may be ranked 25th in the world to Lleyton's 43rd, but he won't hit Lleyton off the court. He's a good opponent for Lleyton first up to get his feel for the tournament.

I was in New York to watch his run at the US Open last year. It was awesome. Here was a guy who has battled back from foot, ankle, hip and God-knows-whatever-else surgeries and taking it to the world's best.

He rolled Brian Baker from America in four sets. He beat sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro - who can knock over any player in the world on his day - in five sets including a 6-1 fifth set. He topped Russia's Russia's Exgeny Donskoy in four sets to advance to the round of 16. And just when it looked like he was on his way to the quarter finals, Mikhail Youzhny battled back from 2-1 down to win an epic fifth set 5-7 at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

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Lleyton has taken great things away from that run at Flushing Meadow and it showed in Brisbane. Opponents will be nervous when they see him in their side of the draw at the Australian Open. He's hungry, he's got a nation behind him and he's in form. He still has an incredible drive at an age when many players have lost the edge.

It's real "eye of the tiger" stuff. How could you not root for the guy?

I remember seeing him for the first time in Adelaide during a Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic in 1997. John Newcombe asked me to come over and watch this 16-year-old kid and asked me what I thought about him. You could see the fighter in him even then. The bloke just hated losing.

He still does, 16 years later.


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LIVE: Australian Open Day 1

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SYDNEY teen Jordan Thompson fell just short in his bid to pull off a shock but Aussies elsewhere silenced the doomsayers at Melbourne Park, with Samantha Stosur, Matthew Ebden and Casey Dellacqua all progressing.

Thompson tore out of the blocks against Jerzy Janowicz, winning the first two sets, but couldn't maintain his momentum when the Pole found his rhythm.

Stosur won a scrappy encounter with Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-4 despite struggling to hold her serve in a game riddled with breaks.


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And Ebden prevailed over Nicolas Mahut of France in a five-set epic despite allowing his opponent to come back from two sets down.

Earlier, an impressive Casey Dellacqua secured the first local win taking full advantage of an error-strewn performance by Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva to win 6-2 6-2.

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Elsewhere, Jarmila Gajdosova failed to break her Australian Open duck, losing to Angelique Kerber despite a stirring fightback and Sam Groth lost in straight sets to Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Tonight's main event features 17-year-old Ashleigh Barty against the might of world No 1 Serena Williams.

Stay with us for live news and score updates and have your say on what's happening.


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