Infantino upbeat about African FIFA votes

CAPE TOWN: FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino said Monday he hoped to get most of Africa’s 54 national votes, despite the Confederation of African Football (CAF) endorsing Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa.
Infantino made the claim after being given a guided tour of Robben Island by South African candidate Tokyo Sexwale, who was jailed on the island under apartheid rule along with Nelson Mandela.
“I feel very confident of having some support in Africa... I think I will have the majority of African votes,” Infantino, from Switzerland, told reporters at Cape Town airport after his visit.
“I believe FIFA needs a democratic election by a proper transparent process,” he said.
“That is why I didn’t like talk about deals behind closed doors. I have nothing to hide about coming here.”
Sexwale, who is seen as a rank outsider in the race, described himself as “a realist’ and “open to alliances.”
“An election is a chance,” he said. “In this game... you never know what’s going to come out.”
Infantino, the secretary general of the European confederation UEFA, spoke ahead of Friday’s vote to replace Sepp Blatter, who was suspended due to a raft of corruption allegations.
Infantino is widely seen as a front-runner after winning the endorsements from the executive committees of UEFA and the South American confederation (CONMEBOL).
Bahrainian royal Sheikh Salman is seen by some as the favorite, after he won the backing from the Asian confederation he leads, and from the African confederation.
Former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne of France and Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein are also in the race.
Africa often plays the role of kingmaker in FIFA with 54 votes, the most of any of the world’s regional governing bodies, though each country votes individually.
While on Robben Island, Sexwale helped run the Makana Football Association, an informal league of political prisoners.
His office said he had invited all four rivals to the island to “showcase the challenging and appalling conditions under which political prisoners played football.”
The other candidates were not present on Monday.

Champagne complains

FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has made a formal complaint claiming two rivals supported by continental governing bodies have an unfair advantage.
Champagne urged FIFA election monitors to cancel 20 extra passes for “observers” from UEFA and seven for the Asian soccer confederation to enter the election hall.
In a letter seen by The Associated Press, he writes that UEFA and the AFC plan “to swamp the Congress hall with confederation employees able to access” voters.
Champagne, who has run his own campaign, says allowing extra accreditations would “betray a gross violation of the principle of fairness.”

Wenger demands bite against Barca as Juve hosts Bayern

PARIS: Champions League holders Barcelona arrive at the Emirates on Tuesday to tackle an Arsenal side seeking to rediscover the ruthless streak, which deserted them in a tame weekend goalless FA Cup tie.
The clash headlines a week of European action that sees Bayern Munich at Juventus, PSV Eindhoven hosting Atletico Madrid and Manchester City at Dynamo Kiev.
Barca and Arsenal are no strangers in this arena, the pair having fought out the 2006 final, with the Catalans prevailing over Wenger's 'Invincibles' 2-1 in Paris.
Lionel Messi then scored four times when Barca dished out a 4-1 drubbing to the Gunners in a 2010 quarterfinal.
And the Argentine superstar inspired a Barca second leg fightback after Arsenal edged the last 16, first leg home tie 2-1 in 2011.
To prevent a similar scenario this time around, Gunners coach Arsene Wenger has told his team to bare its teeth on Tuesday after Saturday's 0-0 stalemate against second-tier Hull.
The Frenchman knows a similarly toothless display against free-scoring Luis Suarez and Neymar will leave his men on the back foot for next month's last 16, return leg at the Camp Nou.
"We need to be more efficient in the final third because today (on Saturday) we have more than 70 percent possession and we will not get that on Tuesday night (against Barcelona)," Wenger said.
"We started favourites (against Hull), we won't be on Tuesday night so on Tuesday night we need great solidarity because we need to defend well, we know that, and make the maximum of our possession, what we didn't do today."
Mesut Ozil, one of nine changes against Hull, will return to face Barcelona after recovering from a cold.
Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker endorsed his manager's assessment.
"Overall, we missed a bit of something and we have to come back quickly in three days time," said the German world champion.
Barca turn up seemingly firing on all cylinders and eight points clear in La Liga after Suarez and Neymar teamed up in the weekend's 2-1 win at Las Palmas.
Barca boss Luis Enrique rested only Gerard Pique, whilst Sergio Busquets was also suspended from the side that is expected to start in north London.
Bayern head to Turin to face last season's runners-up Juve with the German giants having Thomas Mueller to thank for digging them out of trouble in a 3-1 home comeback win over Darmstadt over the weekend.
Mueller warned that Bayern cannot expect to enjoy the same 81 percent possession in Turin which allowed them to pepper in 36 shots on Darmstadt's goal.
"(Saturday's) match had nothing to do with Juventus, we're just happy to have won and taken three more points," said Mueller.
"We have to be tighter in Turin, we can't allow them so many chances."
Juve are on a 16-match unbeaten home run in European competition, their last defeat coming in 2013 to Bayern in the Germans' title-winning season.
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is expected to return from a three-week injury lay-off to come up against his old side.
Defender Patrice Evra said the Croatian will have even more reason to score.
"All the players are important but when someone has already played for the other team, he usually has different motivation to the rest of us, and he won't hide that fact.
"He will want to hit Bayern where it hurts. He'll be even more hungry than the rest of us."
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola moves to the Premier League next season and his future employers Man City travel to Kiev on the back of Sunday's 5-1 drubbing by Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Coach Manuel Pellegrini courted controversy by fielding five full debutants in his bid to save firepower for Ukraine.
Wednesday's second game sees two-time runners up Atletico at 1988 champions and Dutch leaders PSV.


Cuevas outlasts Pella for Rio title

RIO DE JANEIRO: Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, coming off an upset of Rafael Nadal, won his fourth career ATP title on Sunday, defeating Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 in the Rio Open final.
Cuevas smashed a forehand winner on the final point, the only break point either player managed in the last two sets, to claim the crown after two hours and 16 minutes at the clay court event.
The final was interrupted by rain in the opening set and completed in the early morning hours of Monday.
The $303,000 top prize was the biggest single payday of Cuevas’ career, coming after his semifinal shocker over Nadal.
“I know people were expecting Nadal but I’m glad you cheered for me,” Cuevas said. “I hope everybody in Uruguay enjoyed it.”
Left-hander Pella, ranked 71st, is likely to jump to a career-best ranking later Monday despite failing to capture his first ATP crown. He took home a runner-up prize of $142,450, the biggest payday of his career.
Cuevas, ranked 45th but set to jump to 27th, missed two seasons from 2011 to 2013 due to injury but has come back to win titles at the 2014 Swedish and Croatian Opens and last year’s Brazil Open at Sao Paulo.
In the WTA singles final, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, who turns 36 in June, won her first title since 2013, defeating Shelby Rogers of the United States 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the final.
The Italian former world number four, now ranked at 132, came back from a set and a break down to defeat her 23-year-old opponent and claim her seventh career title.
Schiavone is the third Italian winner on the WTA Tour this year after Roberta Vinci in St. Petersburg last week and Sara Errani in Dubai on Saturday.

Querrey supreme in Delray Beach

Sam Querrey beat Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) on Sunday in an all-American final in the Delray Beach Open for his eighth ATP World Tour title and first since 2012.
Querrey rebounded from a break down in each set and 0-3, 2-5 and 5-6 in the tiebreaker before closing out Ram with a running forehand down-the-line pass that clipped the baseline. Ram challenged the call, but the replay showed it caught the outside of the line.
Querrey, who was down a break in six of the 10 sets he won throughout the week, knocked out former US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the semifinals.
“It was kind of nervous, ugly tennis all week,” said Querrey, who also reached the semifinals in Memphis last week. “But sometimes it feels better to win when you don’t play your best.”
Querrey earned $86,950. He will also move back into the world’s top 45 from a current No. 61. The 28-year-old Californian was ranked as high of No. 17 in January 2011. This was only the second time in the 24-year history of the tournament that two unseeded players met in the final. The last time was 2013.

Easy for Djokovic

Novak Djokovic hammered Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-2 at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, winning the 699th match of his career.
The world No.1 now stands 13-0 this season as he bids for a third 2016 title after trophies in Doha and Melbourne. He last played in the final at Melbourne Park, beating Andy Murray.
The top seed will next face Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri, who advanced over qualifier Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-1.
South Korea’s rising player Chung Hyeon made a winning Dubai debut, beating Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 a day after the Italian turned 32. Canadian Vasek Pospisil defeated Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Marseille winner Nick Kyrgios was due in Dubai later after winning the first title of his career in France over Marin Cilic.
The 20-year-old Australian starts his campaign on Tuesday night, facing Slovak Martin Klizan, winner of the Rotterdam event eight days ago.

Dirab Golf & Country Club dominates Oasis Cup first leg

file-23-OASIS CUP 2016 1.jpg
RIYADH: More often than not the host team got to keep the cup in the Ryder Cup Cup style home and away matches between Dirab Golf & Country Club and Rolling Hills Golf Club.
Hosting the visitors from Dhahran for the 2016 edition of Oasis Cup at the weekend, Dirab Golf & Country Club dominated the two-day first leg event to score a lopsided 22.5 to 10.5 points victory.
The hosts set the tone of the matches by losing just two of the 11 two ball better ball event on the first day Friday. There was more of the same Saturday with Dirab winning 13 singles matches and halving one and Rolling Hills taking eight and drawing one. Second day score line was 13.5-8.5 to Dirab.
The elite single digit handicap players of Dirab didn’t disappoint — Filipino ace Resty Sibug taking down Saudi national team standout Fahad Almansour, Graham Gunn beating Nathan Kraynyk and Saudi national player Turki Al-Hussain winning over Gary Lorentz.
It could have been a sweep of the top matches by the hosts had Rolling Hills’ Rodney Kraynyk not hurdled his match against Omar Hariri.
The trophy ceremony took place after the matches Friday.
Day 2 results (Dirab names first):
Resty Sibug 1 Fahad Almansour 0, Omar Hariri 0 Rodney Kraynyk 1, Graham Gunn 1 Nathan Kraynyk 0, Turki Al-Hussain 1 Gary Lorentz 0, Ichiro Ichihara 0 John Paul Scallon 1, Tariq Sardar 1 Syed Rahman 0, Bander Alghubain 0 Stephen Vezendy 1, Chris Maslak 1 Mohammad Itani 0, Khalid Al Qunabit 0 Minhaj Khan (team captain) 1, Abdullah Masoud 0 Yousef Noaman 1, Ralf Schiffer 0 Abdulaziz Al-Khayyal 1, Nadeem Mirza 1 Bruce Waldner 0, Tariq S. Khan 0.5 Thair Bukhari 0.5, Tariq Javed (team captain) 1 Les Flintham 0, Edward O’Reilly 1 Andrew Johnson 0, Qasir Hussain 0 Patrick Anthony 1, Mark Trzepacz 1 Ahmed Daham 0, Abdulaziz Al-Helaisi 1 Abdullatif Al-Omair 0, Abbi Oluyadi 1 Douglas Michael Thompson 0, Pascal Cedy 0 Steve Farley 1, Martina O’Reilly 1 Steve Farley 1, Martina O Reilly 1 Flora Flintham 0, Monika Schiffer 1 Tamara Tahir 0

Prince Ali seeks postponement of FIFA presidential election

ZURICH: FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali is asking for Friday’s election to be suspended in a dispute over voting procedures.
The Jordanian prince’s lawyers say they are seeking “provisional measures” from the Court of Arbitration for Sport to postpone the vote to select Sepp Blatter’s successor.
The lawyers say in a statement that FIFA turned down Prince Ali’s request for the use of transparent voting booths in the election.
They say the decision will deny “any right to a fair and transparent voting process.”
The statement says Prince Ali took the matter to CAS on Monday.
Ali is one of five candidates in the race.

Cricket: India, Pakistan to renew rivalry in Asia Cup

DHAKA: India and Pakistan will renew cricket’s most bitter rivalry this week after a one-year gap when they face off in the Asia Cup, a contest for regional supremacy which is also a final rehearsal for the World T20.
The biennial 12-day tournament, which is being held in Bangladesh for the second time in a row, begins on Wednesday night when the hosts take on India at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla stadium — the venue for all the matches.
Local supporters will be looking to see if Bangladesh’s sharp improvement in 50-over cricket will translate into an upturn in their performances in the shortest form of the game, with the World T20 in India only weeks away.
But most eyes will be on Saturday’s glamor tie when India and Pakistan take to the field together for the first time since last year’s World Cup match in Australia.
India-Pakistan showdowns usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making it the biggest box office attraction in the sport.
But diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years and their rivalry is therefore restricted to multi-national tournaments.
Pakistan, furious that India has rebuffed repeated pleas to play a bilateral series at a neutral venue, will be desperate to cause an upset against their giant neighbor.
With the reigning champions Sri Lanka going through a rebuilding phase, most pundits expect India to cement their position at the top of the T20 world rankings ahead of their staging of the format’s premier tournament.
Confidence is high among Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men after recent convincing T20 series victories over Australia and Sri Lanka.
Although India are likely to give most of their players a work-out in the build-up to the World T20, team director Ravi Shastri made clear they would not be taking their foot off the gas.
“Whether we play Bangladesh, Pakistan or Sri Lanka and wherever we are playing, we have to continue our good form,” Shastri said in Dhaka.
India’s star batsman Virat Kohli also quashed any suggestion that the team would be holding back with only weeks to go before the World T20 begins.
“When I go into field I go to play cricket with bat and ball, playing with Pakistan is not different. It’s competitive and Pakistan is a strong team,” Kohli said on Tuesday.
India are set to be without Dhoni for the Bangladesh opener after the skipper suffered a back spasm during a practice session on Monday.
But former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar acknowledged India would nevertheless start as tournament favorites after their recent successes.
“In the T20 format any team can beat anyone on a given day. Still, if we have to single out a team as favorites, I would say it is India,” he said.
“They are an in-form team. Also they now play Twenty20 cricket more than anyone else.”
Two crushing Indian victories over Sri Lanka in their recent three-match series underlined how much the islanders are missing batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who have both retired since the 2014 triumph.
Pakistan, who will become the first side to play 100 Twenty20 internationals during the tournament on February 29, will arrive late in Dhaka after the finale of the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League.
Bangladesh will hope home advantage will help them build confidence before heading to India for the World T20 qualifying round from March 8-13.
The Tigers had a dream run in 2015 in one-day internationals, but when it comes to 20-over cricket they are still ranked among the minnows.

Feb 24: Bangladesh v India
Feb 25: Sri Lanka v UAE
Feb 26: Bangladesh v UAE
Feb 27: India v Pakistan
Feb 28: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
Feb 29: Pakistan v UAE
Mar 1: India v Sri Lanka
Mar 2: Bangladesh v Pakistan
Mar 3: India v UAE
Mar 4: Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Mar 6: Final

Curry leads Warriors to 50th win, 102-92 over Hawks

ATLANTA: Stephen Curry scored 36 points and the Golden State Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to 50 wins, beating the Atlanta Hawks 102-92 on Monday after squandering a 23-point lead.
The Warriors (50-5) eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan and his teammates at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.
“Fifty wins is great,” Curry said, “but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June.”
Atlanta closed the third quarter on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd. But the Warriors would not be denied, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home loss.
Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green had six points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.
In other games, Detroit topped East-leading Cleveland for the second time this season 96-88, Toronto defeated the New York Knicks 122-95, Minnesota upset Boston 124-122, and the Los Angeles Clippers handed Phoenix its 12th consecutive loss, 124-84.
Reggie Jackson scored 23 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 as Detroit withstood the Cavaliers’ late comeback to end a five-game losing streak.
A day after allowing New Orleans center Anthony Davis to score 59 points, the Pistons beat the Eastern Conference’s top team on the road.
Andre Drummond added 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who let an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter dwindle to six before putting away the Cavs.
Kyrie Irving scored 30 and Kevin Love 24 for Cleveland, while LeBron James scored just 12 points — 13 below his average.
In New York, Kyle Lowry had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first triple-double of the season and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 while becoming the winningest player in Toronto history.
DeRozan passed Chris Bosh and Morris Peterson with his 233rd win in six-plus years wearing a Raptors uniform.
Minnesota rookie Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the lowly Timberwolves to victory.
Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio added 15 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and some terrific defense on Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas.
In Los Angeles, J.J. Redick scored 22 points and DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers earned their most lopsided win of the season.
The Suns trailed the entire game on the way to their worst loss of the season.
Elsewhere, Goran Dragic scored 24 points and Hassan Whiteside finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds as Miami won its third consecutive game, rallying from 14 points down to beat Indiana 101-93 in overtime.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as the Bucks beat the Lakers in Kobe Bryant’s last trip to the Bradley Center. Bryant had 15 points in 24 minutes

Sharks tops Blues 6-3 on the road in NHL

ST. LOUIS: Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton each scored two goals, powering the San Jose Sharks to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the NHL on Monday.
Thornton also had two assists as San Jose improved to 21-9-2 on the road, matching their total road wins from last season. At home, the Sharks are just 11-12-3.
The Blues lost goalie Brian Elliott to a lower-body injury in the first period. San Jose defenseman Matt Tennyson left in the first after he was driven into the glass.
Hertl had two of San Jose’s three goals in the first. He also scored in the Sharks’ 5-2 loss at Carolina on Friday.
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for St. Louis. David Backes and Jay Bouwmeester also scored.
Capitals 3, Coyotes 2: In Washington, Mike Richards scored his first goal in more than a year, leading the Capitals to the victory.
Alex Ovechkin put Washington ahead with his league-leading 39th goal of the season and had an assist. Evgeny Kuznetsov also had a goal and an assist for NHL-best Washington, which won its fourth straight and ninth in its last 10 games.
Defensemen Connor Murphy and Kevin Connauton scored for Arizona, which began a five-game East Coast road trip with its second consecutive loss. Louis Domingue made 31 saves.
Only seconds after Ovechkin’s goal made it 2-1, Domingue appeared to have the puck covered with a glove in his crease when Washington’s Tom Wilson reached a stick in to poke it away. It found Richards, who rifled home Washington’s second goal in 26 seconds. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett challenged the goal, but it stood.
Predators 2, Canadiens 1, SO: In Montreal, Craig Smith scored the only goal in the shootout, lifting Nashville to the road win.
Viktor Arvidsson scored in the first period for the Predators (28-21-11), who are 3-0-3 in their last six games.
Brendan Gallagher scored his 16th goal for Montreal (28-27-5), which has recorded at least one point in its last five home games (4-0-1).
Nashville outshot Montreal 29-27 in regulation time and 30-29 overall.
Blue Jackets 6, Bruins 4: In Boston, Boone Jenner scored two goals and Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist, leading Columbus to the road win.
William Karlsson, Brandon Saad and Dalton Prout also scored for the Blue Jackets, who avoided a sweep in the three-game season series by picking up a point for 10th time in their last 12 games (7-2-3).
Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 26 saves.
Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson each had two goals for Boston, which continued its inexplicable home woes. Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves.
The Bruins were coming off an impressive 4-2 road trip, but they were unable to build on that momentum back at home. Boston is 20-7-3 away from TD Garden, and just 12-15-3 at home.

Kenya has until April 5 to fall in line with doping rules

NAIROBI, Kenya: Kenya has until April 5 to fall in line with global anti-doping rules or face being declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency, a step toward a possible ban from the Olympics for its track and field athletes.
Kenya already missed one deadline this month to pass anti-doping legislation and properly set up and provide funding for its new national anti-doping agency.
The latest draft regulations submitted by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya still do not comply with the world anti-doping code, WADA said in a statement on Monday. The East African country will now be assessed by an independent compliance review committee on April 5, when “consideration will be given to a possible recommendation of non-compliance,” WADA said.
That committee will make its recommendation to WADA’s board, which will make the final decision on Kenya’s status at its meeting on May 12.
Declaring Kenya non-compliant could cause its athletes to miss the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August as IAAF President Sebastian Coe has previously said his sport would consider suspending the country, a distance-running powerhouse, if it’s in breach of anti-doping rules.
The IAAF suspended Russia from all international track and field competition after it was declared non-compliant with WADA’s code following a report detailing a vast system of doping and cover-ups.
Along with problems with its national anti-doping body and failure to pass anti-doping legislation, Kenya is also accused of doping cover-ups, with four senior athletics officials now under investigation by the IAAF for “potential subversion” of anti-doping procedures.
The chief executive of Athletics Kenya, the national track and field federation, was the latest official to be suspended. Isaac Mwangi was placed under investigation by the IAAF on Monday. Two runners who failed doping tests at last year’s world championships alleged in an interview with The Associated Press that Mwangi asked them for bribes in exchange for more lenient sanctions, leading to the investigation.
Mwangi joined Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat, vice president David Okeyo and former federation treasurer Joseph Kinyua in being suspended by the IAAF pending investigations by its ethics committee. Kiplagat, Okeyo and Kinyua are also accused of subverting anti-doping rules and other wrongdoing related to the misappropriation of federation money.
Over 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests since the 2012 Olympics, throwing the sport into crisis in the country.

Swearing row as Aussies close on win, top ranking

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood pleaded guilty to dissent over a profanity-laced confrontation with the umpires as Australia closed in on a series sweep over New Zealand and the top Test ranking on Tuesday.
Hazlewood’s anger and obscenities were picked up by the stumps microphone as he challenged the umpires after an appeal for the wicket of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson was turned down.
An Australian team spokesman confirmed that Hazlewood had pleaded guilty to an International Cricket Council charge of dissent. The fine will be determined later.
There was no action against Australia captain Steve Smith, whose voice was also heard in the confrontation.
Australia go into the final day at 70-1 needing a further 131 runs to win the second and final Test and take the series 2-0, and go top in the world rankings.
Joe Burns is on 27 with Usman Khawaja 19. David Warner was out for 22.
Jackson Bird, with his first five-wicket Test haul, and James Pattinson combined to end the New Zealand second innings at 335, giving Australia a 201-run target.
But it was a frustating day in the field for Australia as Williamson and Corey Anderson batted through the morning session and the possibility of an unlikely draw started to appear.
Tempers flared after a Hazlewood lbw appeal for the wicket of Williamson was rejected, with the Australians converging on umpires Richard Kettleborough and Ranmore Martinesz.
Bird said the angry reaction was due to frustration at not being able to take a wicket in the morning session.
“We bowled pretty well in the first session and we probably thought it was out, but those 50-50 calls either go your way or they don’t,” he said.
“It was probably the frustration of the whole session. We’d bowled pretty well and hadn’t got a wicket and we’d been pretty close a couple of times.
“Test cricket is a hard game and sometimes tempers can boil over and people can get frustrated.”
Although Australia are in a commanding position, New Zealand all-rounder Anderson said his side lived in hope.
“Hopefully we can go ‘bang bang’ and then potentially run through them,” he said.
Burns offered chances but luck was on his side. On 19, he pulled Matt Henry through square leg where Neil Wagner was unable to hold a difficult chance. On 23, an inside edge off Henry sailed close to off stump.
“We managed to run through the tail pretty quickly in the first innings after they’d put on about 400 for the first six wickets,” Anderson said.
“If we can get in a similar situation then we’ve just got to back ourselves.”
Although Australia have been dominant for much of the Test, New Zealand put up a valiant fight with two century partnerships as they battled to save the contest.
Williamson made 97 when adding 102 for the fifth wicket with Anderson.
The loss of Anderson for 40 was the start of a triple Bird strike that claimed three wickets in six balls.
Williamson and Tim Southee also fell before BJ Watling and Henry mounted rearguard resistance, adding 118 for the eighth wicket.
Anderson, having pocketed his usual attacking instincts, occupied the crease for three hours before shelving caution and driving at a wide delivery which he edged on to the stumps.
When Bird took the new ball in his next over he bagged the wicket Australia had fought for all morning, bowling Williamson three runs short of what would have been a 14th Test century, and two balls later he removed Southee for a duck.
Where Williamson and Anderson had been the epitome of caution, Watling and Henry took a more aggressive route to disrupt the line of the bowlers who were finding some reverse swing.
Henry, in his fourth Test, had 12 fours in his 66, easily surpassing his previous best of 27.
For Australia, Pattinson removed New Zealand’s top order in his four for 77 and Bird finished with five for 59.


New Zealand (first innings): 370
Australia (first innings): 505

New Zealand (second innings)
T. Latham c Nevill b Pattinson 39
M. Guptill c Nevill b Pattinson 0
K. Williamson b Bird 97
H. Nicholls c Smith b Pattinson 2
B. McCullum c Warner b Hazlewood 25
C. Anderson b Bird 40
B. Watling c Burns b Pattinson 46
T. Southee c Smith b Bird 0
M. Henry b Bird 66
N. Wagner not out 3
T. Boult c Pattinson b Bird 0
Extras: 17
Total: 335
Fall of wkts: 1-8, 2-66, 3-72, 4-105, 5-207, 6-210, 7-210, 8-328, 9-335, 10-335.
Bowling: Hazlewood 34-11-92-1, Pattinson 26-8-77-4, Bird 17.1-5-59-5, Lyon 17-3-42-0, Marsh 17-4-49-0 (nb1)

Australia (second innings):
J. Burns not out 27
D. Warner c Watling b Wagner 22
U. Khawaja not out 19
Extras: 2
Total: (for 1 wkt) 70
Fall of wkt: 1-49.
Bowling: Boult 7-0-30-0, Southee 2-1-9-0, Henry 4-1-17-0 (nb1), Wagner 6-0-13-1 (nb1), Anderson 1-0-1-0.

India, Pakistan to renew rivalry in Asia Cup

DHAKA: India and Pakistan will renew cricket’s most bitter rivalry this week after a one-year gap when they face off in the Asia Cup, a contest for regional supremacy, which is also a final rehearsal for the World T20.The biennial 12-day tournament, which is being held in Bangladesh for the second time in a row, begins on Wednesday night when the hosts take on India at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla stadium — the venue for all the matches.Local supporters will be looking to see if Bangladesh’s sharp improvement in 50-over cricket will translate into an upturn in their performances in the shortest form of the game, with the World T20 in India only weeks away.
But most eyes will be on Saturday’s glamor tie when India and Pakistan take to the field together for the first time since last year’s World Cup match in Australia.
India-Pakistan showdowns usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making it the biggest box office attraction in the sport.
But diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years and their rivalry is therefore restricted to multi-national tournaments.
Pakistan, furious that India has rebuffed repeated pleas to play a bilateral series at a neutral venue, will be desperate to cause an upset against their giant neighbor.
With the reigning champions Sri Lanka going through a rebuilding phase, most pundits expect India to cement their position at the top of the T20 world rankings ahead of their staging of the format’s premier tournament.
Confidence is high among Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men after recent convincing T20 series victories over Australia and Sri Lanka.
Although India are likely to give most of their players a work-out in the build-up to the World T20, team director Ravi Shastri made clear they would not be taking their foot off the gas.
“Whether we play Bangladesh, Pakistan or Sri Lanka and wherever we are playing, we have to continue our good form,” Shastri told reporters in Dhaka.
India’s star batsman Virat Kohli also quashed any suggestion that the team would be holding back with only weeks to go before the World T20 begins.
“When I go into field I go to play cricket with bat and ball, playing with Pakistan is not different. It’s competitive and Pakistan is a strong team,” Kohli said on Tuesday.
India are set to be without Dhoni for the Bangladesh opener after the skipper suffered a back spasm during a practice session on Monday.
But former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar acknowledged India would nevertheless start as tournament favorites after their recent successes.
“In the T20 format any team can beat anyone on a given day. Still, if we have to single out a team as favorites, I would say it is India,” he said.
“They are an in-form team. Also they now play Twenty20 cricket more than anyone else.”
Two crushing Indian victories over Sri Lanka in their recent three-match series underlined how much the islanders are missing batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who have both retired since the 2014 triumph.
Pakistan, who will become the first side to play 100 Twenty20 internationals during the tournament on February 29, will arrive late in Dhaka after the finale of the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League.
Bangladesh will hope home advantage will help them build confidence before heading to India for the World T20 qualifying round from March 8-13.
The Tigers had a dream run in 2015 in one-day internationals, but when it comes to 20-over cricket they are still ranked among the minnows.

Feb 24: Bangladesh v India
Feb 25: Sri Lanka v UAE
Feb 26: Bangladesh v UAE
Feb 27: India v Pakistan
Feb 28: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
Feb 29: Pakistan v UAE
Mar 1: India v Sri Lanka
Mar 2: Bangladesh v Pakistan
Mar 3: India v UAE
Mar 4: Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Mar 6: Final

Kohli welcomes Amir’s return

DHAKA: India’s star batsman Virat Kohli welcomed the return of tainted Pakistani player Mohammad Amir to international cricket on Tuesday, heaping praise on his bowling and wishing him all the best ahead of their Asia Cup contest in Dhaka.
Pakistan’s chances in the tournament will partly depend on the 23-year-old left-armer, who served three months in jail for spot-fixing in a Test match against England at Lord’s in 2010.
“He is a very skillful bowler and I wish him all the best. He worked hard to come this far and it takes a lot of courage,” Kohli said in Dhaka Tuesday.
Amir was regarded as the hottest property in international cricket before the spot-fixing scandal, which also involved the then Pakistani captain Salman Butt and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif.
He made his comeback with the recent series against New Zealand, less than four months after completing his five-year ban.
“I am quite happy seeing that he realized his fault and rectified it, as well as went to New Zealand to represent his country,” said Kohli.
“He had always been a world class cricketer and I have no doubt if he had played for the last five years he would have been among the top three bowlers in the world, considering his talent,” he added.

Pellegrini bets on win in Kiev after heavy defeat to Chelsea

KIEV: Manchester City’s visit to Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Champions League represents a big gamble by Manuel Pellegrini.
In his quest to take City further than it has ever gone before in Europe’s top club competition, Pellegrini sacrificed the club’s chances of winning world football’s oldest cup competition, the FA Cup.
With injuries putting pressure on a thin squad, Pellegrini fielded a team of youngsters against Chelsea on Sunday in the cup. The result? A humiliating 5-1 defeat.
“I think we have more important things in this moment” than the FA Cup, Pellegrini said after the defeat at Stamford Bridge.
“I always take the best decision for the club. It is important for us to try and recover players. We have, at this moment, seven players injured. It is impossible for us to take the risk and play in both competitions.”
Now the pressure is on Pellegrini to make the gamble pay off in Wednesday’s first leg in Ukraine, where City will have to battle not only the cold, but also a raucous home crowd after UEFA shortened a stadium ban imposed on Dynamo for racist attacks on black fans during October’s group stage game against Chelsea.

Here are some things to know about Wednesday’s game:

City has a sparkling recent record in England, having won all of the major domestic trophies in the last five years including two Premier League titles, but that hasn’t been reflected on the European stage.
All of City’s Abu Dhabi money hasn’t been able to propel the team past the last 16 in the Champions League, but this season is City’s best chance yet to cross that final frontier.
While its two previous exits at this stage were against strong Barcelona teams, this time City will be a clear favorite.
“We’ve got to believe that (City can win the Champions League),” goalkeeper Joe Hart told the club’s website. “Else there is no point in turning up on Wednesday.”
With Pellegrini leaving at the end of the season to be replaced by Pep Guardiola, a strong Champions League run would be a way for the Chilean to sign off in style.
For City, the visit to Ukraine continues a tough run of fixtures.
While seeking to win again following defeats to Leicester City, Tottenham and Chelsea, City coach Manuel Pellegrini will also have an eye on two tough games against Liverpool.
First up is the English League Cup final on Sunday, before a March 2 trip to Anfield in the Premier League.
This all comes with City’s squad under strain from injuries. Jesus Navas, Kevin de Bruyne and Samir Nasri are all out, while Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala are both doubtful.
The last time Dynamo hosted an English team, the events in the stands proved more memorable than the game itself.
As a 0-0 draw with Chelsea played out on the field, a gang of Dynamo hooligans stalked the stands for much of the first half, chasing and beating black supporters, as well as white fans who came to their aid.
UEFA punished Dynamo with two home games behind closed doors, the second of which was due to be against City, but that was lifted Feb. 2 by UEFA after Dynamo argued it had made progress in fighting fan racism.
Ahead of the City game, Dynamo players have produced an anti-racism video in several languages, and the club has called on fans to be on their best behavior.
“There is probably no need to remind you of the titanic efforts that were made by every part of our club so that this game could be held in a proper football atmosphere, with spectators,” Dynamo said in a statement.
Pellegrini isn’t the only coach with tough decisions to make about injuries.
Even though Dynamo has not played a competitive game since beating Maccabi Tel Aviv on the last day of the group stage in December, coach Serhiy Rebrov still comes into the game with a major injury worry. Star winger Andriy Yarmolenko hurt his leg in a challenge during the Maccabi game and has been trying to recover fitness throughout the lengthy Ukrainian winter break.
Now back in full training ahead of City’s visit, he told Ukrainian media this week that he is still feeling “a little discomfort.”
Dynamo, which is in the last 16 for the first time in 16 years, is also without attacking midfielder Younes Belhanda, who departed last month on loan to Schalke.

Vettel sets the pace again in 2nd day of preseason tests

BARCELONA: Sebastian Vettel continued to show good pace with Ferrari in Formula One’s preseason testing on Tuesday, setting the fastest time in the morning session.
Vettel was nearly a second faster than Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, the only other top driver to go out on Pirelli’s new ultra-soft tire compound.
Vettel’s time of 1 minute 22.810 seconds at the Circuito de Barcelona was almost two seconds quicker than the pole position in Spain last year. Vettel also was fastest on Monday, ahead of defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, testing for the first time on Tuesday, was third on medium tires, two seconds slower than Vettel’s time. Rosberg ran 81 laps, the most of any driver. Vettel ran 46. Hamilton had driven 156 laps in total on Monday.
Two-time champion Fernando Alonso made his debut in testing by driving 71 laps, another promising sign for McLaren after a disappointing season last year. Teammate Jenson Button had completed a total of 84 laps on Monday without any major reliability problems. Alonso was only 10th fastest among the 11 drivers on the track on Tuesday, though.
Sergio Perez was fourth with Force India and Marcus Ericsson fifth with Sauber, which will only debut its 2016 car when teams return to Barcelona for the final tests of the season on March 1-4.
Esteban Gutierrez drove for newcomer Haas, finishing ninth after staying in the pits for the first hour-and-a-half of the test session. Haas, the first American-led team in F1 since 1986, had to reinforce its front wings after a failure in the car driven by Romain Grosjean on Monday.
A red flag came out near the end of the session when Max Verstappen stopped on Turn 13 with a mechanical failure in his Toro Rosso. The car had to be towed back to the garage.
Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto was scheduled to make his debut for Manor on Tuesday, but the team changed plans and said it decided to keep German Pascal Wehrlein in the driver’s seat the entire day. Wehrlein was seventh fastest.

Kerber crashes out of Qatar Open

DOHA: Top seed Angelique Kerber crashed out of the Qatar Open on Tuesday, losing her first tournament match since winning the Australian Open last month.
An out-of-sorts Kerber lost in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 to China’s Zheng Saisai, who is ranked 71 places below the world No.2.
In a lacklustre performance, the German lost her serve six times throughout the match, hit 38 unforced errors — Saisai hit only eight — and was beaten in just one hour and eighteen minutes as her opponent dominated.
The second set took just 28 minutes as Kerber’s game collapsed.
Kerber, who has not played any singles tournaments since winning against Serena Williams in Melbourne on January 30, grew increasingly exasperated with her form and at one point could be heard telling her coach Torben Beltz that she was tired and had no energy.
Saisai will play Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the third round.
Bouchard beat the Czech Republic’s Denisa Allertova 7-6 (7-0), 7-5 as she recovers from her injury-strewn 2015.
Also through on Tuesday was Petra Kvitova who won 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 against Czech compatriot Barbara Strycova.

Berdych cruises

Tomas Berdych marked his tenth appearance at the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-4 thumping of Joao Sousa to reach the second round on Tuesday.
The Czech seventh seed who arrived in the Gulf after a semifinal last weekend in Marseille, has twice finished a finalist at the Aviation Club and has reached the semis here at four of the last five editions.
The ATP No.7 improved to 21-9 at the event as he prepares to face 144th-ranked Thomas Fabbiano after the Italian defeated Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4.
Berdych won his opening set in just 23 minutes but had to come out on top in the second set after an exchange of three consecutive breaks to deny Sousa any chance of beating a top 10 player for only the second time in his career.
Berdych double-faulted on a first match point but fired over an ace on the second to advance.
“He was struggling in the first set, he could only get better,” the winner said.
“He started to play a little bit more solid, a little bit more aggressive from his forehand side, his stronger one.
“He pushed me a bit more, but overall my performance was quite good. it’s good to go through and not make things too complicated.”
Spanish fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut kept up the winning pace he has established this season as he claimed his 15th victory of 2016, defeating Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-4.
Spain’s number three has made his best career start and already owns trophies in Auckland and Sofia.
“It’s been the best start for me, so I have to be confident for sure,” the Spaniard said as he prepared to face South Korea’s Chung Hyeon in the second round.
“I feel great on the court, and I feel I have a lot of rhythm. I played a lot of matches. It’s good to win matches and to have confidence.
“I served really well and played very solid during all the match. I was returning well and pushing a lot of pressure on him.”
German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 7-5 while Croatian youngster Borna Coric defeated Czech Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-4.
Second seed Stan Wawrinka, playing Dubai for the first time in eight years, was opening later against Sergiy Stakhovsky, whom he battled last week in France.
Marseille winner Nick Kyrgios was making his local debut as he played Martin Klizan, the seventh seed.

Megabucks Jiangsu flops in Asian opener

HONG KONG: Megabucks Chinese side Jiangsu Suning were expensive flops in their AFC Champions League opener when their newly assembled, star-studded line-up was held by 1-1 by 10-man Vietnamese outfit Binh Duong on Tuesday.
Brazilians Ramires and Alex Teixeira, who consecutively smashed the Chinese transfer record this month, and ex-Manchester City striker Jo all failed to find the net in an inauspicious competitive debut.
Dan Petrescu’s new-look team benefited from Christian Amougou’s dismissal in the 67th minute for diving, his second bookable offense, but still failed to break the defiant home side.
Elsewhere on the first night of competition China’s Shandong Luneng, led by ex-Brazil coach Mano Menezes, beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 away and FC Seoul thumped Thailand’s Buriram United 6-0.
In Vietnam’s Thu Dau Mot city, Jiangu’s night started encouragingly when Xiang Ji put them 1-0 up on 13 minutes, only for Anh Duc to level from the penalty spot near the half-hour.
After half-time Teixeira, a 50 million euros signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, showed his trickery and vision as he set up Zhang Xinlin and Jo for gilt-edged chances which were both smothered by goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong.
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Ramires also swept a long range free kick wide in what was a frustrating night for Petrescu, another former player for the London club.
While Jiangsu’s Brazilians left their scoring boots at home, their compatriot Adriano hammered four past Buriram United as FC Seoul began their campaign in emphatic style.
Adriano’s quadruple either side of half time left him alone on the scoresheet until Dejan Damjanovic and Lee Seok-Hyun weighed in to complete the rout in Buriram.
Meanwhile evergreen South Korean striker Lee Dong-Gook got the vital second goal for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as the 2006 winners started with a 2-1 victory over FC Tokyo.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, who have splashed the cash on Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, get underway on Wednesday when they play South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.

Sports court to rule on FIFA vote delay tomorrow

ZURICH: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it will decide by Thursday whether to suspend FIFA’s presidential vote after candidate Prince Ali bin al Hussein filed a case seeking a delay.
The Jordanian prince, one of five hopefuls, wants transparent voting booths used at Friday’s congress to find a replacement for Sepp Blatter. This call was rejected by FIFA’s election commission.
Prince Ali then took the case to the Lausanne-based CAS, which said Tuesday that it had asked for a written response from FIFA before deciding whether to invoke “provisional measures” and suspend the poll.
“The request for provisional measures will be decided by CAS no later than the morning of Thursday 25 February 2016,” a court statement said.
An unlikely win by the prince would upend months of build-up to the election which many believe is crucial to salvaging the world body’s scandal-tainted reputation.
FIFA faces mounting pressure over arrangements for the vote in which Asian and European contenders Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa and Gianni Infantino are the favorites.
Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA official from France, has demanded that the world body cancel accreditations for the Asian Football Confederation and UEFA saying they will be used to lobby for Sheikh Salman and Infantino.
Prince Ali’s Paris lawyers — from the firm Szpiner, Toby, Ayela and Semerdjian — said they first sought FIFA’s agreement for CAS to decide the voting booth issue, but were rejected.
They then asked CAS to suspend the election.
The prince has paid for transparent voting booths to be sent to Zurich for the congress.
“Only a transparent booth can prove that each voter is following his heart and conscience and that there are no forced votes, by preventing voters taking photos of their voting paper to prove that they have followed voting instructions,” Renaud Semerdjian, one of the lawyers, told AFP.
FIFA responded by saying that mobile phones and cameras would be banned in the voting booths so that no photos could be taken.
With the election campaign reaching a tense peak, the prince and Champagne have led complaints about the arrangements. The fifth contender is Tokyo Sexwale, a South African tycoon and politician.
Champagne called on FIFA to cancel the accreditation of UEFA and AFC observers and indicated he could also go to CAS.
Champagne accused Sheikh Salman, the AFC president, and Infantino, UEFA general secretary, of seeking to “swamp” Friday’s vote with supporters.
Champagne said the observers would give an unfair advantage to Sheikh Salman and Infantino.
The former FIFA deputy secretary general said he had discovered with “stupefaction” that AFC and UEFA observers had been accredited “at the very moment when these two confederations are in their final push in favor of their respective candidates.”
He added that those accredited were mainly members of Sheikh Salman and Infantino’s campaign teams.
“It is clear that this reveals the objective to swamp the Congress hall with confederation employees able to access the voting FAs and their delegates,” he said in an official complaint to FIFA’s electoral committee.
He called on the committee to cancel “these unfair and undue privileges” and warned of other action if there was no response by Tuesday.
FIFA’s 209 member associations are to vote for a new leader as the world body seeks to recover from multiple scandals that has seen 39 football officials and business executives charged with corruption by US authorities. Two companies also face charges.
Swiss prosecutors are investigating FIFA’s management and the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini were suspended for eight years by FIFA over a two million dollar payment that Blatter approved for the French football legend.

Lynch keeps FIFA under pressure in corruption war

NEW YORK: The shadow of the steely US Attorney General Loretta Lynch hangs over world football barons as they gather to elect a new leader in Zurich.
The most powerful US law official has made clear her opinion of the guardians of the beautiful game who will vote for a new president on Friday. The last two FIFA congresses were raided under US warrants.
“The message... should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation,” Lynch said after the last Zurich arrests in December.
“You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.”
The first African American woman to hold the post of attorney general unveiled the huge FIFA corruption campaign in May only weeks after being sworn in. She spent years overseeing the painstaking investigation in her previous job as a federal prosecutor in New York.
Between May and December, Lynch’s department announced indictments against 39 individuals and two companies over more than $200 million in football contract bribes dating back a quarter of a century.
Parallel US and Swiss prosecutions led to the downfall of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and rocketed Lynch onto the international stage. But for a career prosecutor who says no one is above the law, it was business as usual.
For years, the two-time attorney for the eastern district of New York worked tirelessly to put mobsters, terrorists, white collar criminals and rights abusers behind bars, combining legal aggression with charm.
Lynch, 56, grew up in Durham, North Carolina with a Baptist minister father and a librarian mother. She went to Harvard University, graduating with degrees in literature and law.
After working in private practice, she joined the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn in 1990, forging a reputation as a prosecutor in cases of narcotics, violent crimes, public corruption and civil rights.
She served on the prosecution team that convicted several New York police officers over the sexual assault and beating of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997 — a case that rocked the city.
In 1999, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to lead the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, a political appointment she lost after George W. Bush took office in 2001.
She returned to private practice and worked pro bono for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established to prosecute those behind the 1994 genocide.
In 2010, she was re-appointed US attorney in Brooklyn by President Barack Obama. Under her leadership, the office prosecuted more terror cases after the September 11, 2001 attacks, including extremists who plotted to bomb the New York subway and the Federal Reserve Bank.
She went after corrupt public servants and politicians in both parties, cyber-criminals and human traffickers, and won billions of dollars in settlements in fraud cases involving major banks.
But she was saddled with heavy criticism for reaching a deal with HSBC that saved one of the largest banks in the world from criminal charges for money laundering — in exchange for a $1.9 billion fine.
In November 2014, Obama nominated her to replace Eric Holder, America’s first African American attorney general, but for nearly six months, Republican senators blocked her appointment.
“Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy,” Obama said. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has called her a blend of “steel and velvet.”
In her confirmation hearings before the Senate last April, Lynch pledged to go after white collar crime and she was finally sworn in as the country’s 83rd attorney general on April 27, 2015.
Since becoming attorney general, she has ordered federal investigations into police practices in Baltimore, Chicago and San Francisco over the deaths of blacks at the hands of officers.
In February, she also announced the justice department was taking the city of Ferguson, Missouri to court for rejecting reforms following the police killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.
Lynch is married and has two grown-up step-children.

Saudi Master Baker, Habagat, D' Barkads

JEDDAH: In the 19th week positioning round, Saudi Master Baker made its claim to No. 1 official with defending champion Habagat and D’ Barkads as the second and third outright finalists in the Thursday Bowling League 14 th Season at the Bowling City here.
These three waiting finalists will be joined by three more teams to complete the six-team stepladder cast after a knockout game of three handicap series among the remaining six in the starting field of 9 teams.
The positioning round had the look of a preview of the championship matches as the elimination round top three D’ Barkads, Habagat and Saudi Master Baker ended up as At the top three point getters on 31, 30 and 27 points in that order.
Carling Sport Wear was fourth on the night with 23.5 points followed by Spike-GBI 20.5, AL Striker 17, Al Murjana 13, BCT for Yooo 10 and Jem Striker 8.
Using a five-man rotation, D’ Barkads produced the night’s top scorer in Gerry Tano who drilled 688 to go with the 648 by Ed Sardina, 640 by Leo Edejer, 602 by Rudy Valenzuela and 567 by James Galvan.
At Habagat the trio of Rommel Cagampang, Jimmy Aragones and Richard Antonio shot the leading scores of 679, 654 and 608 with Med Ramos and Geo Mangaliman on 602 and 572 in another five-man gambit.
Elimination round topnotcher Saudi Master also stuck with a single set of five players and the top scorer was Gerry Mandanas 644 followed by Mohd Al Amri 621, Rey Feliciano 610, Bandar Al Dossary 605 and team captain Igna Salgado 596.
For Carling Sport Wear Jess Pineda and Edward Butardo showed the way on 621 and 591. The other scorers were Carlos Constantino 591, Andy Yumena with a pair of 191s, Atoi Cruz 191, 219 and Erwin Pallio 150-178.
Near Al Hamwe fired the second-best score of 685 while leading the Spike which also drew 575 and 554 from Ding dela Rosa and Tope Sayson, as well as 180-202 from Rey Beltran, 178-179 from Ruben Grino and 178-179 from Richard Junio.
Team standings after the 19th week:
1. Saudi Master Baker 455.5 2. Habagat 435.5 3. D’ Barkads 426.0 4. Spike-GBI 414.5 5. BCT For Yoooo 373.5 6. Al Murjana 364.5 7. Carling Sport Wear 357.0 8. AL Striker 342.0 9. Jem Striker 261.5

Hotshots back to winning ways, rout Elite

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Star was in its elements on Wednesday night and there was very little that Blackwater could do.
With most everything falling into place, finally getting into the win column in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup looked very easy for the Hotshots as they snapped a three-game slide with a 122-103 ripping of the Elite at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Denzel Bowles and Allein Maliksi starred in separate parts of the second half as the Hotshots zoomed to leads of as huge as 28 points on the way to snapping the first winning streak of the Blackwater franchise.
Bowles, the former Best Import awardee, scored 16 of his 28 points in the third period where the Hotshots tore the game open before Maliksi dropped 15 of his 23 in the fourth to not give the Elite a chance to stage a comeback.
It was just the first win in four starts for the Hotshots, and one, which came at the most opportune time considering that they are in a collision course with sister team and crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
“Finally, we were able to get one,” Star coach Jason Webb said with a huge sigh of relief. “It took a while. The team really played well on both ends and we’re relieved that we finally got one.”
Blackwater came into the contest on a high after scoring triumphs over Mahindra and import-less Alaska last week.
The Elite came out of it wondering what went wrong as they were out of the fight early and never got back in the game despite getting 30 points and 21 rebounds from import MJ Rhett and 20 points from leading local scorer Carlo Lastimosa.
“I guess everything fell into place at the right time for us,” Webb continued. “The local support was there and there was Denzel (exploding) at the right time for us.”
James Yap was instrumental in giving the team the confidence that it needed, hitting all but two of his 15 points in the first quarter with Peter June Simon and Marc Barroca finishing with 10 each.
From a 28-22 game after the first, the Hotshots opened up a 58-41 lead at the half and never looked back as they made the rest of the game a virtual showcase with Bowles coming up with a lot of rim-rattling dunks that worked the crowd into a frenzy.
Not only did the Hotshots snap that three-game slide, it also gave them all the confidence they need going into that clash with the Gin Kings, a crucial one since Star cannot afford to take any more losses considering how short the elimination round is.
“It will be a tough one for us,” Webb explained. “It’s good for the gate receipts, I’m sure. But that game will be a tough one for us.”
Alaska, meanwhile, unveiled a gem of a pinch-hitting import in Shane Edwards to clip defending champion Tropang TNT, 108-100, in the nightcap.
Coming in as an emergency replacement for the injured Rob Dozier, Edwards scored 36 points and snared down 20 boards in a 41-minute stint that helped the Aces snap a five-game skid that started in Game 4 of the Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer.
With Edwards proving to be an inspiration not only because of the numbers he dropped but also in the way he hustled, the Aces rallied from as large as 13 points down late in the second quarter for an even 1-1 card.
It was the third straight defeat for the Texters, who also broke in a new import of their own in David Simon.
The South Korean pro league veteran also came up with a respectable performance of 35 and 19 but had eight of the Texters’ 18 turnovers that helped doom TNT to a 1-3 record.
“I think we have an import,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said with a smile, his statement said in a literal and figurative manner.
“I told the (assistant) coaches that I hope Shane (Edwards) gives me a problem,” Compton said, obviously referring to Dozier, who is expected to return in a couple of weeks. “I just hope we win every game with Shane so that he can give me a problem (of selecting an import once Dozier is healthy again).”
RJ Jazul and Vic Manuel contributed 13 points apiece with Calvin Abueva adding 11 for the Aces.

Portland makes it six in a row with win over Brooklyn

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PORTLAND, Oregon: The Portland Trail Blazers kept up their midseason tear through the NBA thanks to their increasingly prolific backcourt duo.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum each scored 34 points as the Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets 112-104 on Tuesday night for their season-high sixth consecutive victory.
Lillard became the first player to score at least 30 points in five straight games for Portland since Geoff Petrie in the franchise’s inaugural 1970-71 season, and the first NBA player to do so this season. McCollum added six assists and five rebounds and cracked the 30-point mark in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
“No question they carried us,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Sixty-eight points from your backcourt, that goes a long way.”
Brook Lopez had 36 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which has lost three of four. Joe Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Donald Sloan scored 14 points.
“We did not play particularly well on the defensive end in the first half,” Nets interim coach Tony Brown said. “As soon as we got engaged and started being aggressive, things started to turn for us.”
In Washington, John Wall had 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists to help the Wizards beat Anthony Davis and the Pelicans 109-89.
Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, which pulled away in the second half of its season-high fourth straight home win. Jared Dudley scored 18 points on six 3-pointers and helped hold Davis in check after his monster game at Detroit.
Wall was 5 for 17 from the field in his second triple-double of the season and fifth of his career.
Davis grabbed 20 more rebounds, but was held to just nine points on 3-for-9 shooting. The All-Star forward had 59 points and 20 rebounds against the Pistons on Sunday.
Gordon Hayward scored 28 points as Utah defeated Houston 117-114 in overtime in a game with significant playoff implications.
The victory moved the Jazz into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff race, a half-game ahead of the Rockets.
James Harden scored 42 points for Houston and Jason Terry hit a tying 3-pointer with 10.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
Rodney Hood made a 3 over Dwight Howard with 51.9 seconds left in OT to give the Jazz a 115-112 lead. Harden followed with a layup, but Derrick Favors pushed the margin to 117-114 with 11.8 seconds to go.
In Denver, DeMarcus Cousins scored 39 points for Sacramento, including the go-ahead free throws with 48.3 seconds left, as the Kings beat the Nuggets 114-110.
The Nuggets had eight players score in double figures in their fourth loss in five games. Will Barton scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
In Philadelphia, Nikola Vucevic scored a season-high 35 points against his former team, leading the Orlando Magic to a 124-115 road win

Stamkos scores again as streaking Lightning

TAMPA, Florida: Steven Stamkos scored a goal in his fourth consecutive game, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning won their fourth straight by beating the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay also got a goal from Cedric Paquette on a short-handed penalty shot. The Lightning, second in the Atlantic Division, are three points behind first-place Florida.
Jordan Martinook had a goal and Louis Domingue stopped 34 shots for the Coyotes, who were coming off a 3-2 loss Monday night at Washington. Arizona, 10th in the Western Conference, is six points back in the race for the second wild card.
Devils 5, Rangers 2: In Newark, New Jersey, Lee Stempniak scored late in the second period to break a tie and help New Jersey end a three-game losing streak with a win over short-handed New York.
Kyle Palmieri, Sergey Kalinin, Adam Larsson and Tyler Kennedy also scored, and rookie Joseph Blandisi assisted on the tying and go-ahead goals in the second period. Cory Schneider made 17 saves as New Jersey beat the Rangers for the third time in four games this season.
Kevin Hayes and Dominic Moore scored for the Rangers, who lost for only the third time in 10 games (7-2-1). Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding in making 31 saves.
The Rangers played without defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal and forward Rick Nash. They also played the third period without J.T. Miller, who received a match penalty late in the second for fighting against Kalinin with his hand taped.
Kings 2, Flames 1: In Los Angeles, Anze Kopitar got the go-ahead goal on a power play late in the second period and defenseman Luke Schenn also scored for Los Angeles in a victory over Calgary.
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves, helping the Kings increase their Pacific Division lead to four points over idle Anaheim. The only puck that got past him was a power-play goal by Sean Monahan.
Joni Ortio stopped 35 shots for the Flames in his first NHL start since Oct. 30.
Kopitar, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win at Nashville because of a lower-body injury, got his team-high 18th goal and fifth game-winner at 17:27 of the second from short range while Flames captain Mark Giordano was serving a holding penalty.
Red Wings 2, Blue Jackets 1, SO: In
Detroit, Riley Sheahan scored in a shootout and had the tying goal in the second period, helping Detroit beat Columbus to end a four-game losing streak.
Andreas Athanasiou sealed the victory by scoring in the shootout after Petr Mrazek stopped two shots in the tiebreaker.
Columbus’ Boone Jenner broke a scoreless tie late in the first period. Sheahan tied it with Detroit’s first short-handed goal this season.
Mrazek made 28 saves for the Red Wings. Curtis McElhinney stopped 27 shots for the Blue Jackets.
Hurricanes 3, Flyers 1: In Raleigh, North Carolina, Jordan Staal put Carolina ahead and Eric Staal added an insurance score late to lift the Hurricanes over Philadelphia.
Cam Ward made 36 saves for Carolina. Jordan Staal got his 16th goal and Eric Staal his 10th to end a 16-game scoreless streak.
Philadelphia had won the three previous meetings with Carolina this season in overtime.
Joakim Nordstrom had the other goal for Carolina and has 10 points in his last 12 games.
Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers, and goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 15 shots.
Predators 3, Maple Leafs 2: In Toronto, Filip Forsberg became the youngest player in franchise history to get a hat trick as Nashville beat Toronto.
The 21-year-old Forsberg also became the fifth Predators player to post a natural hat trick, Elias Sports told the NHL. His outburst helped Nashville improve to 11-1-3 in its last 15 games against Canadian teams, and the Predators also got points on the road for the ninth straight game — the franchise’s longest such streak.
Carter Hutton stopped 25 shots for the Predators. James Reimer made 23 saves for the Maple Leafs.
Josh Leivo and Morgan Rielly scored for Toronto.
The Predators won without captain Shea Weber, who is day to day with a lower-body injury.
Islanders 4, Wild 1: In St. Paul, Minnesota, Frans Nielsen scored twice, John Tavares had a goal and an assist, and New York topped Minnesota in a matchup of surging teams.
Matt Martin also scored for New York, which has won six of eight. Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves as the Islanders improved to 2-0 on a seven-game road trip — their longest of the season.
Nielsen deflected Tavares’ pass on the power play to make it 2-0 in the first period and added a short-handed, empty-net goal late in the third.
Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves as the Wild lost for the first time in five games under interim coach John Torchetti. Chris Porter had his fourth goal of the season for Minnesota, which had scored at least five goals in the four previous games with Torchetti behind the bench.
Stars 5, Jets 3: In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jamie Benn scored twice in the third period and Dallas defeated Winnipeg to end a three-game skid.
Dallas scored three times in the final period, including the 30th and 31st goals for Benn this season. Colton Scevior put the Stars up 3-2 at 12:29 of the third on a goal awarded after a video review showed the puck bounced off the in-net camera before ricocheting out.
Dallas also got goals from Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin. John Klingberg had three assists, and Antti Niemi made 22 saves.
Mark Scheifele, Alexander Burmistrov and Andrew Ladd scored for the Jets, who lost their fourth straight.
Senators 4, Oilers 1: In Edmonton, Alberta, Zack Smith had a goal and an assist as Ottawa ran its winning streak to four games by defeating Edmonton.
Nick Paul, Alex Chiasson and Mark Stone also scored for the Senators, hoping for a late surge into the Eastern Conference playoffs similar to the one they managed last season.
Jordan Eberle had the goal for the Oilers, who have lost five in a row and are once again in last place in the NHL.

Messi magic leaves Arsenal spellbound

LONDON: Lionel Messi left Arsenal spellbound as the Barcelona striker’s clinical double sealed a 2-0 last 16, first leg victory that put the Champions League holders firmly on course for the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
In Turin, Italy, Super-sub Stefano Sturaro came off the bench to hit a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich as outclassed Juventus rescued their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Bayern dominated throughout a one-sided encounter at a packed Juventus Stadium and took a 43rd-minute lead through Thomas Mueller.
Arjen Robben doubled the Germans’ advantage on 55 minutes but the 2013 champions paid for a series of earlier misses when Paulo Dybala netted on the hour and Sturaro hit a dramatic leveler 14 minutes from time.
It leaves the tie still very much alive, although on this performance Pep Guardiola’s men will be favorites to secure their last-eight place after the second leg in three weeks’ time.
Barca coach Luis Enrique joked this week that all he needed to do was shout ‘Abracadabra’ for Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez to deliver the kind of magic display that would bewilder the Gunners.
On this occasion, it was Messi who answered his coach’s call with a second-half brace as the Spanish champions survived a stern examination from Arsene Wenger’s side to escape the Emirates Stadium with a result likely to condemn the hosts to a sixth successive last-16 exit.
The La Liga leaders, chasing a sixth European Cup triumph, are now unbeaten in 33 games in all competitions — a blistering streak that includes 14 wins from their last 15 games.
After being dazzled by Messi’s magic wand, it will take an act of astonishing escapology for Arsenal to go through in the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 16.
While some describe Barca as Arsenal’s mirror image given both clubs’ purist principles, the reflection hasn’t been always been pleasant for Wenger, whose side had only one win in their seven previous meetings with the Spanish giants, including defeats in the 2006 final and the knockout stages in 2010 and 2011.
Aware that Arsenal’s refusal to curb their attacking instincts had left them fatally vulnerable in the Champions League knockout stages, Wenger set out to stifle Barca with a cautious game-plan.
Nacho Monreal had clearly taken Wenger’s words to heart and he earned an early booking for chopping down Ivan Rakitic.
But there was more than just mindless muscle to Arsenal’s approach.
Aaron Ramsey sent Mesut Ozil clear down the left edge of the penalty area with an exquisite backheel and then raced onto the German’s return pass for a powerful shot that was blocked by the visitors.
Only a last-ditch block denied Hector Bellerin, with the rebound falling to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose scuffed close-range shot was straight at Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But with half time looming, Barca, refusing to be hounded out of their stride, finally escaped Wenger’s tactical straitjacket.
An opening goal should have followed when Dani Alves met Sergio Busquets’ pass with a volleyed cross that Suarez headed wide with only Petr Cech to beat.
Completely anonymous in the first half, Neymar underlined Barca’s renewed sense of purpose immediately after the interval with a surging run past Bellerin onto Andres Iniesta’s astute pass.
The Brazilian should really have scored, but Cech came to Arsenal’s rescue as he raced off his line to save.
Olivier Giroud rose above the Barca defense to meet Ozil’s cross with a header that ter Stegen brilliantly clawed away.
But Luis Enrique’s men were irrepressible and Suarez drilled narrowly wide of both Neymar and the far post.
Messi had never scored against Cech in six encounters with the Arsenal goalkeeper during his time at Chelsea.
But the Argentine did have six goals in his four meetings with Arsenal and he extended his mastery over the Gunners in the 71st minute.
In the blink of an eye, Neymar turned defense into attack as he seized on a clearance, flicked a pass to Suarez on the left and sprinted onto the return ball.
For virtually the first time all night, Arsenal had left themselves exposed and Neymar slipped a pass to Messi, who was left all alone to plant an emphatic finish past Cech.
Suarez should have doubled the visitors’ lead soon after, but the former Liverpool striker hit the post when it seemed easier to score.
It mattered little as Arsenal sealed their own fate in the 84th minute when substitute Mathieu Flamini, exposed by Per Mertesacker’s sloppy clearance, conceded a penalty with a crude challenge on Messi, who picked himself up to slot home from the spot.

Martinez gets empty feeling in Guangzhou debut

HONG KONG: Record signing Jackson Martinez’s Guangzhou Evergrande career got off to a torrid start on Wednesday, when the AFC Champions League title-holders were held 0-0 by Pohang Steelers in front of an empty stadium.
The Colombian striker, signed for 42 million euros ($46 million) this month from Atletico Madrid, failed to ignite a disjointed Evergrande attack as the deep-pocketed Chinese club’s Asian title defense started slowly.
Martinez, 30, had little joy but he was denied a dramatic winner in the very last move of the game when he forced a close-range save and then a clearance off the line by Pohang defender Kim Kwang-Suk.
The home fixture was played behind closed doors as punishment for Evergrande’s transgressions surrounding last year’s Champions League final, including filming a closed training session by their opponents Al Ahli.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari angrily prowled the touchline on a night when Evergrande ceded the early Group H leadership to Urawa Red Diamonds, who beat Sydney FC 2-0.
Brazilian striker Ricardo Goulart looked odds-on to put the Chinese champions in front on 25 minutes, but he missed with his volley when it seemed easier to score.
Goulart miscued another good chance five minutes from half-time and just before the break, Martinez went down in an edge-of-the-box collision which left him limping heavily.
Goulart fired over on 65 minutes and soon afterwards, he had a close-range volley parried by ‘keeper Shin Hwa-Yong before ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho smashed the rebound way off target.
Guangzhou’s attack lacked fluency but Martinez nearly snatched victory on 93 minutes when his point-blank shot was blocked by Shin and his instinctive rebound was kept out by Kim’s desperate lunge.
Earlier, a second-half Besart Berisha penalty gave A-League champions Melbourne Victory a 2-1 win over China’s Shanghai SIPG in Australia.
Victory remain unbeaten in seven home games in the competition, thanks to Berisha’s 73rd-minute spot kick and newcomer Jai Ingham’s opener on 31 minutes.
Before the penalty, the Chinese Super League team coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson equalized through Wu Lei in the 52nd minute and Dario Conca also rattled the woodwork.
Also in Group G, South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings were held 0-0 by Gamba Osaka of Japan.


Hulkenberg fastest as Ferrari toil

BARCELONA: Nico Hulkenberg posted the fastest time in the Force India on the third morning of pre-season testing in Barcelona as Ferrari suffered their first setback of the new season.
Ferrari had topped the timesheets on both the opening days with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel.
However, Kimi Raikkonen had no such luck as a fuel system problem restricted the Finn to just four laps in the final hour before lunch.
A much quieter morning than the opening two days was overshadowed by the news of a planned drastic overhaul to qualifying for Grand Prixs for the upcoming season.
A knockout format for qualifying has been proposed by F1 bosses to introduce more excitement after two years of dominance at the front of the grid by Mercedes.
The German giants once again prioritised miles over speed on day three as Nico Rosberg logged 74 laps in a third fastest time behind Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen in the Renault.
Despite a marathon 172-lap run on Tuesday, Rosberg was straight back into the W07 in a change of plans as he and world champion Lewis Hamilton will have half a day each in the final two days of the first test.
Hamilton didn’t look too perturbed, though, as he passed through the paddock on a hoverboard whilst taking his dog Roscoe for a walk early in the session.
Indonesian rookie Rio Haryanto had an opening F1 session to forget as he spun his Manor into the gravel.
McLaren made more steady progress without showing any signs they will have the speed to compete at the front of the grid this year as Jenson Button completed 45 laps down in seventh fastest.

New knockout system

Formula One qualifying is to undergo a major overhaul this season after F1 bosses unanimously agreed to change to a knockout format.
The changes are expected to be passed in time for the first race of the season in Australia on March 20 in a bid to introduce more excitement after two years of domination by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
“Upon the recommendation of the Strategy Group, the F1 Commission passed a series of new measures designed to deliver a faster, more spectacular FIA Formula One World Championship,” the FIA said in a statement.
The meeting of the Strategy Group and F1 commission in Geneva on Tuesday was expected to see more technical changes to help increase the speed of the cars for the 2017 season.
However, the deadline for agreement on changes to the regulations has been delayed until April 30.
The proposal will see qualifying split into three segments.
The first segment will last 16 minutes and after seven minutes the slowest driver will take no further part in the session. Every 90 seconds thereafter, the slowest driver will be knocked out until there are only 15 drivers remaining.
A 15-minute second segment follows a similar pattern with the slowest driver eliminated after six minutes and then a further driver knocked out at 90-second intervals.
The final segment will last 14 minutes with knockouts beginning after five minutes until the two final drivers are left to fight it out for pole position.

Australia’s return to the top hit by controversy

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: Australia sealed a 2-0 series victory over New Zealand to reach the top Test ranking Wednesday but captain Steve Smith was forced to defend their aggressive style as he was fined over a row with the umpires.
With Smith smacking 53 off 46 balls, Australia polished off the 131 runs they needed on the last day to reach their 201 target just after lunch in what was New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s final Test.
The match had no sooner finished than Smith was charged over Tuesday’s profanity-laced confrontation over an lbw decision that had already seen fast bowler Josh Hazlewood fined 15 percent of his match fee.
The ICC later said Smith was fined 30 percent of his match fee after he admitted showing dissent by questioning the decision that batsman Kane Williamson was not out.
Adam Voges finished on 10 not out, while the only wickets to fall on day five were those of Joe Burns for 65 and Usman Khawaja for 45 as Australia closed on 201 for three to win by seven wickets.
The victory confirmed Australia’s superiority after they won the first Test by an innings and 52 runs, and allowed them to overtake India as the world’s top Test side.
“It’s always special when you get to number one in the world. That’s our goal as a team to be number one in the world in every format of the game,” Smith said.
However Smith also had to dispute suggestions that Australia, often controversial over their uncompromising play and habit of sledging (insulting) the opposition, were cricket’s bully boys.
“I don’t think we’re not nice guys. We play a good hard, aggressive brand of cricket,” Smith said.
“For us it’s about knowing where that line is and myself and Josh Hazlewood have crossed that line in this Test match and that’s not what we’re about.
“Hopefully we can learn from that and continue to develop as a team and get better.”
For New Zealand the drubbing by their arch-rivals put a cloud over the much-loved McCullum’s farewell, as their captain made his bow on the world stage after 101 Tests.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose the Test match and the series but the right team won,” McCullum said.
“We threw everything at them at key times but they were able to withstand us. It’s not the ideal way to go out but at the same time, I’ve had a great time.”
The animosity throughout the series, which came to a head on Tuesday, was put aside the moment Voges hit the winning runs with a four.
Smith immediately searched out McCullum to shake his hand and congratulate him on his career, which included a record 54-ball century in the first innings.
“The way he played in the first innings to score the fastest-ever Test 100 is testament to the guy’s character,” Smith said.
“They were under the pump and he came out and took the game on and got them into a pretty good position.”
McCullum’s rollicking 145, in which he also reached a record 107 career sixes, was not enough to save New Zealand.
After resuming Wednesday at 70 for 1, with David Warner (22) out late the previous evening, Australia took 34 overs to score the remaining 131 runs required.
Khawaja took his overnight 19 to 45 before giving Tim Southee his first wicket of the Test after 29 overs.
Southee had bottled up Khawaja for eight consecutive deliveries before getting an edge with a ball angling away outside off stump which went to McCullum at first slip.
Man-of-the-match Joe Burns, having laid the foundations for victory with his 170 in the first innings, scored his fourth Test 50 before being bowled by Trent Boult for 65 just before lunch.
The series sweep made Australia world number one and earned them a $1 million prize at the end of their cricket year.
This was the last Test before cricket’s attention turns to the World Twenty20 championship in India next month.


New Zealand (first innings): 370
Australia (first innings): 505
New Zealand (second innings): 335

Australia (second innings):
J. Burns b Boult 65
D. Warner c Watling b Wagner 22
U. Khawaja c McCullum b Southee 45
S. Smith not out 53
A. Voges not out 10
Extras: 6
Total: (for 3 wkts) 201
Fall of wkts: 1-49, 2-113, 3-179.
Bowling: Boult 17-1-60-1, Southee 7-2-30-1, Henry 9-1-33-0 (nb1), Wagner 18-4-60-1 (nb1), Anderson 3-0-14-0.

PSL gets overwhelming response in cricket-starved Pakistan

file-24-Champions - Islamabad.jpg
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board received an overwhelming response from millions of cricket-starved fans, even if it didn’t succeed in spotting a new fast bowler or unearth a new batting star in its inaugural professional Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates.
Islamabad United, led by Pakistan test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, defeated Quetta Gladiators by six wickets at a packed Dubai International Cricket Stadium late Tuesday to conclude a three-week Pakistan Super League.
Millions of fans stayed tuned in across Pakistan until after midnight throughout the tournament, which also featured teams including Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi’s Peshawar Zalmi, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik-led Karachi Kings and Pakistan ODI captain Azhar Ali’s Lahore Qalandars.
“It’s our own league, I haven’t missed a single ball of it,” said Yousuf Mustafa, a 19-year-old college student in Islamabad. “PSL is more than a World Cup to me, I wished it could have been played in Pakistan.”
An attack on the Sri Lankan team’s bus in 2009 at Lahore shut the doors on test nations touring Pakistan before Zimbabwe broke the deadlock by playing a limited-overs series — also in Lahore — last year.
Convincing foreign players from other major cricket countries like Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa to tour Pakistan was almost impossible, so the PCB finally decided to host the PSL on neutral venue in the UAE.
Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Luke Wright and Andre Russell were among the 29 foreign players who signed up for the five franchises. Cricket greats Viv Richards and Wasim Akram were associated as mentors for Gladiators and United respectively and played pivotal roles in guiding their teams to the final.
“Today it’s the victory of people of Pakistan — nobody has lost, its victory for everyone,” PSL chairman Najam Sethi said during the prize ceremony.
Sethi, who is also one of the PCB’s governing board members, initiated the idea of staging the PSL along similar lines to lucrative Indian Premier League, Big Bash in Australia and Bangladesh Premier League.
After twice postponing the PSL, late last year Sethi finally managed to kick off the league by selling the five franchises for $93 million over a period of 10 years.
“The league has been a success and there are good chances some of the franchises will go close to the break even after the first edition. The PCB is also very close to breaking even,” he said.
United was rewarded with three of its unheralded players — Mohammad Sami, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif — were drafted into Pakistan’s squad for next month’s World Twenty20 in India. Gladiators’ uncapped left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz has also been labelled as one of the players to watch out on spin-friendly wickets in India.
“You can see lots of youngsters coming up ... they are getting more chances to harness their skills and handle the pressure. That’s what IPL did for India, that’s what BPL did for Bangladesh,” Misbah said.
Sethi said he had spoken with Pietersen about convincing player associations across the world to send cricketers to Pakistan for the second of the PSL.
“I promise you the way we have done the hard work, hopefully we will bring this league in Pakistan too,” Sethi said.
Misbah said foreign players got a mild taste of what it would be like to play in a Pakistan competition during their three-week stay in the United Arab Emirates, and hoped it will help bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
“This is one way you can build confidence of players coming from Australia, England, West Indies and Bangladesh,” he said. “When you get confidence and know from other players that Pakistan is a safer country, it will be possible for the Pakistan Cricket Board to bring back international cricket to Pakistan.”

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