The NewsFuror

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Australia win despite Yuvraj ton

Australia 290-7 (50 overs) bt India 243 (47.4 overs) by 47 runs

A magnificent 121 from Yuvraj Singh could not prevent Australia taking a 2-0 lead in the series with a 47-run victory over India in Hyderabad.

After three wickets fell in the first five overs, Yuvraj smashed 12 fours and three sixes before he was eighth out.

India were eventually dismissed for 242 in the 48th over in reply to a score of 290-7 by the tourists.

Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke shared 123 in 16 overs, Symonds hitting five sixes in a superb 89 off 67 balls.

Following the no result in the opening match and Australia's crushing win in the second, India recalled Rohit Sharma for Ramesh Powar and the tourists welcomed back skipper Ricky Ponting, with Brad Haddin left out.

Matthew Hayden struck successive boundaries in Zaheer Khan's opening over and hit two more in an over from Sree Santh as 61 came from the first 10 overs.

But the scoring slowed after Adam Gilchrist (29) was deceived by a slower ball from Irfan Pathan and was through his swipe across the line by the time the ball reached him and uprooted the middle stump.

Hayden departed for 60 when he toe-ended a catch through to the keeper when he tried to heave one through point and lost his balance, and the Indian spinners then imposed a stranglehold on the scoring rate.

Sachin Tendulkar was introduced and dropped short to allow Ponting to pull the first boundary for 10 overs but the captain was soon on his way back to the pavilion for 25 when he tried to hit over the top and was well caught by Santh on the run.

Ponting made way for Symonds, who proceeded to wrestle back the initiative, pulling Pathan into the crowd in the 39th over - a shot that struck a lady spectator in the packed gallery - and brought up the century stand with Clarke with successive maximums.

Even respectable length deliveries did not escape punishment as Symonds flayed a near yorker from Pathan low over long-off for six more in the penultimate over.

There was still time for some final-over shenanigans from Santh, who totally bamboozled Brad Hodge with a slower ball, only to spill the top edge and concede an overthrow.

But another slower ball leg-break accounted for Symonds, who had survived a difficult return catch to Harbhajan when on 46, although the burly all-rounder's contribution left India with much to do.

That task was intensified by a dreadful start, which began when Gautam Gambhir was trapped leg-before by some Brett Lee swing in the third over.

Six balls later Robin Uthappa was also plumb lbw and Rahul Dravid was then caught millimetres from the turf at slip off Lee, Hayden holding the catch despite the distraction of Gilchrist diving in front of him.

Given that start, Tendulkar and Yuvraj had to keep risks to a minimum and ensure they remained at the crease.

Tendulkar brought up the 50 from the final ball of the 15th over with a deft pre-meditated sweep off the metronomic James Hopes but Yuvraj was unusually becalmed early on, clearly hampered by an illness.

But the stylish left-hander soon found his touch and reached fifty from 61 balls by pulling a chinaman from Brad Hogg into the stands at mid-wicket for the first six of the innings.

Hogg dismissed Tendulkar for 43 shortly afterwards, however, when the maestro backed away and was bowled by one that skidded on.

Lee returned to silence the crowd as Mahendra Dhoni, after four fours in his 33, edged off the back foot, leaving 118 to score from the final 84 balls.

Yuvraj lost two more partners and the equation became 103 from the final 10 overs with only three wickets intact.

But Yuvraj reached his eighth one-day century from 104 balls and quickly brought up the 200 with a front front sweep into the second tier at mid-wicket off paceman Mitchell Johnson.

He backed away to drive 10 from the opening two balls of a Stuart Clark over before finally losing his middle stump to Johnson 72 runs short of victory.

  • Man-of-the-match Andrew Symonds:
    "I was pretty lucky I had a platform and time to get in. It was a bit low and hard to get underneath the ball but we knew 290-300 would be a competitive score."

  • India skipper Mahendra Dhoni: "Every match is tough against Australia. We'll try to do the thing you need to do to win."

  • Indian selectors dropped off-spinner Ramesh Powar and recalled left-arm spinner Murali Kartik on Friday for the fourth and fifth matches of the series.

    Steyn spell finishes off Pakistan

    FIRST TEST, KARACHI (day five): South Africa 450 & 264-7d bt Pakistan 291 & 263 by 160 runs

    South Africa sealed an emphatic 160-run victory over Pakistan before tea on the final day of the first Test in Karachi.

    Resuming on 146-3 in search of 424, Younus Khan clipped Andre Nel to the boundary to seal his 13th Test century in the fourth over of the morning.

    Nightwatchman Mohammad Asif looped to short-leg before Dale Steyn took the key wicket of Younus, beaten by reverse swing and playing down the wrong line.

    Paceman Steyn finished with 5-56 as Pakistan were dismissed for 263.

    Pakistan needed Younus to bat all day if they were going to threaten a target six runs higher than the world record 418 scored by West Indies against Australia in 2003.

    But after he recorded his first century against South Africa and his first in the second innings of a Test, he was dismissed after almost four hours at the crease by one that kept a shade low.

    Steyn took his team to the brink of victory by removing tailenders Abdul Rehman and Umar Gul with the second new ball to notch his third five-wicket Test haul.

    Skipper Shoaib Malik was the final wicket to fall when he top-edged Makhaya Ntini.

    It was Pakistan's second defeat in 40 Tests at the National Stadium and only the second time South Africa had won a Test in Pakistan.

    "To win in the sub-continent in meaningful and this victory ranks up there for me as a Test captain," South Africa's Graeme Smith said.

    "The boys have really worked hard for this one and it was a pretty emotional moment for us out there."

    Malik looked forward to heavy hitters Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf returning to his side for the second and final Test beginning on Monday.

    "It was disappointing to lose, but I hope we would bounce back with them returning to the side," he said.

    Coach Geoff Lawson, meanwhile, backed Malik to develop into an excellent captain, having succeeded Inzamam following the World Cup earlier this year.

    "He's a young captain and he is learning. He did some really good things out there. He did some things we will also discuss.

    "He's a young man finding his way in a country that expects a lot from its leaders. With the bat, he batted like a leader. He's going to get better and better," Lawson commented.

    Spice Girls to release new single

    Reformed girl band the Spice Girls are to release their first single in seven years, Geri Halliwell has revealed.

    The 35-year-old, who originally left the group in 1998, told GMTV the track was a "big love song" called Headlines.

    "It's a Spice Girl classic. We are so proud of it," she said. "We started putting words down before we even had the finalised 'yes' from everyone."

    The group are going on a world tour, releasing their album in the UK on 12 November and the single a week later.

    'Second chance'

    Halliwell said it was hard to "juggle that balance" between work and friendship.

    "It's fantastic hanging with girls you really like but there are pressures of work to go with it so it's about finding that balance," she said.

    "It's so amazing. It is like waking up and you get a second chance to be something that is so enjoyable," she added.

    The group's worldwide comeback tour, which starts in Canada on 2 December, will be the first time Halliwell has performed with the group since she walked out.

    Fans will be given a second chance to get their hands on tickets for the London leg on Saturday, when tickets go on sale for two new dates.

    Diana memorial show raises £1.2m

    The concert held in memory of Princess Diana in London in July raised £1.2m for charity, it has been announced.

    Stars including Sir Elton John played at the gig, organised by Princes William and Harry before the 10th anniversary of their mother's death.

    Eight good causes will each receive at least £150,000 from the proceeds.

    A Clarence House spokesman said the princes were "keen that any proceeds should be shared among the eight charities which they had selected".

    The chosen beneficiaries include the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund plus Harry's charity Sentebale, which helps Aids orphans in Lesotho.

    The others include two London hospitals - the Royal Marsden, where cancer patients are treated, and Great Ormond Street for children - plus Centrepoint, which helps the homeless "rebuild their lives".

    The Leprosy Mission, the National Aids Trust and English National Ballet will also benefit.

    The concert was held on 1 July, which would have been the princess' 46th birthday.

    About 63,000 people attended the event, which was broadcast to 140 countries.

    Diana was killed in 1997 in a car collision in a tunnel in Paris. A public inquest is currently being conducted to determine whether the crash was an accident.

    Dodi Fayed and the couple's chauffeur, Henri Paul, also died.

    Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi, has maintained that the couple were murdered by British security services.

    Indiana Jones theft charge denied

    A man has been charged following the theft of computers and photographs from the set of the next Indiana Jones film.

    Roderick Davis, 37, denied receiving stolen goods - a charge which carries a minimum jail term of four years - when appearing in court in Los Angeles.

    Detectives posed as potential buyers for the items and set up a meeting with Mr Davis, according to prosecutors.

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, again starring Harrison Ford, is due for release next May.

    A court clerk said Mr Davis, who has previous convictions for theft, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail of $100,000 (£49,000).

    Mr Davis was not available for comment.

    Earlier this week, the film's producers settled a legal case against an actor who was accused of revealing the plot in a newspaper interview.

    A court order claimed Tyler Nelson had knowingly broken the confidentiality agreement he signed after being cast.

    Wilson back after 'suicide bid'

    Actor Owen Wilson has attended the US premiere of his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, almost six weeks after reports of an attempted suicide.

    It was one of the 39-year-old's first public appearances since he was admitted to hospital in Los Angeles.

    Wilson was joined by co-stars Adrien Brody and Anjelica Huston.

    Director Wes Anderson spoke about Wilson, a long-time friend, by saying: "I've never made a movie without him and I hope I never have to."

    Star avoids press

    The pair have worked together on several films, including Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

    They received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay on The Royal Tenenbaums.

    In their most recent production, Wilson played Francis, one of three estranged brothers who planned a train journey through India in a bid to bond with each other.

    Last month the actor dropped out of the movie's world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

    Initially it was thought he would not attend the Los Angeles premiere either.

    But he did, having sneaked into the cinema to avoid the journalists and photographers who were waiting outside.

    The reports of a suicide attempt were never confirmed by the star, who asked to be allowed to "heal in private" when stories about his health emerged.

    Britney cannot be alone with sons

    Singer Britney Spears must be monitored when she visits her two children, a court in Los Angeles has decided.

    Her time with her sons will be halted if her behaviour "endangers" the youngsters, according to the ruling.

    The star's ex-husband, Kevin Federline, was awarded custody after Spears failed to produce her driving licence and missed a test for drugs and alcohol.

    Spears is likely to see her children every other day but must also attend three counselling sessions this month.

    Her son Sean Preston is two years old, while his younger brother, Jayden James, is one.

    Parenting class

    Last month, a judge said Spears, 25, showed "a habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol".

    She was then ordered to complete random drug and alcohol tests twice a week, as well as meeting weekly with a "parenting coach", according to court documents.

    The judge told Spears and Federline to complete a parenting class too.

    Also last month, Ms Spears was charged with hit-and-run and driving without a valid licence.

    She was accused of hitting a parked car and driving away from the scene in Los Angeles on 6 August, a spokesman for the city's attorney's office said.

    Ms Spears could face six months in jail and a $1,000 (£495) fine if convicted of the charges.

    The singer's latest setback follows a year of unfavourable headlines after her separation from Mr Federline last November.

    She was dropped by her management firm last month after her comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards was panned by critics.

    However, her new single - Gimme More - has topped Billboard's "hot digital songs" chart in the US, and has jumped 60 places to number three on the Billboard singles chart.

    Her new album is due to be released on 12 November in the UK and the following day in the US.

    Inzamam to retire after SA Test

    Pakistan legend Inzamam-ul-Haq will retire from international cricket after the second Test against South Africa in Lahore starting on 8 October.

    Inzamam, 37, a veteran of 119 Tests, gave up the captaincy and quit one-day internationals after Pakistan were knocked out of the World Cup this year.

    He has been included in a 16-man squad also featuring Mohammad Yousuf, having opted out of the opening Test.

    "I want to give way to youngsters and allow them centre stage," he said.

    "I don't want to stop any youngster's progress.

    "I have taken this decision after much thought and I realise that my presence in the dressing room could be a pressure on the younger players.

    "So I have decided this is the best time for me to bid farewell to a game I have loved so much.

    "It is a tough decision but it is the best for me and my country."

    Inzamam needs another 20 runs to overtake Javed Miandad's 8,832 runs become Pakistan's record runscorer in Tests.

    He already hold his country's record for runs in the one-day game with 11,739 in 378 matches.

    But Inzamam could not stop his side suffering an early exit from the World Cup.

    "It was one of the biggest disappointments of my long career the way we performed because we had a good team," he said.

    "But there have been other disappointments as well and that is part of the game."

    He said winning the 1992 World Cup final against England was the best moment of his career plus the hundred he scored against Bangladesh in 2003 in his hometown Multan to help Pakistan win the match.

    "It was my comeback match after disappointing form in the 2003 World Cup and it was an important innings for me," he added.

    The prolific Yousuf, who scored nine Test centuries in 2006, is back in the frame after a change of heart over a switch to the breakaway Indian Cricket League.

    Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt, Taufeeq Umar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Yasir Hameed, Kamran Akmal (wkt), Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif, Rao Iftikhar.

    Jones pleads guilty in drug case

    US athlete Marion Jones has pleaded guilty to lying about her steroid use to US investigators, which could see her jailed and stripped of her medals.

    The 31-year-old had previously denied using performance-enhancing drugs ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she won five medals - three of them gold.

    In court she admitted using a steroid between September 2000 and July 2001, and lying to a federal inquiry in 2003.

    After leaving court a tearful Ms Jones said she was retiring from athletics.

    "Because of my actions I am retiring from the sport of track and field, a sport which I deeply love," she said, admitting she had broken the trust of her fans.

    Ms Jones said she was told by her former coach Trevor Graham that she was taking flaxseed oil, a nutritional supplement, when it was actually a steroid known as "the clear".

    "By November 2003, I realised he was giving me performance-enhancing drugs," she told the judge at court in New York.

    She was ordered to return to court on 11 January for sentencing.

    Ms Jones also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a separate cheque fraud case involving her former boyfriend, sprinter Tim Montgomery.

    'I am sorry'

    "The clear" is a banned drug linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (Balco), a San Francisco-based laboratory at the centre of a steroids scandal in professional sports.

    The IOC launched an investigation in December 2004 into doping allegations involving Ms Jones in connection with Balco.

    The IOC said on Friday that it would step up its inquiry and move quickly to strip Ms Jones of her medals.

    Her court appearance comes a day after the Washington Post reported she had sent letters to family and friends apologising for drug use.

    "I want to apologise for all of this," the Post quoted her letter as saying. "I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways."

    The sprinter failed one blood test last year but was cleared of doping when a second test for the blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) proved negative.

    UN envoy describes Burma 'abuse'

    The UN's envoy to Burma has voiced concern about arbitrary arrests and rights abuses said to be continuing after widespread protests.

    Ibrahim Gambari warned Burma's military rulers their actions could have "serious international repercussions".

    He was briefing the UN Security Council after a four-day visit to Burma, where he met senior generals and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    At least 10 people were killed in the crackdown after last week's protests.

    Mr Gambari said he feared the real death toll could be much higher.

    'Abhorrent' actions

    He said there was great concern over reports of night-time raids, arbitrary arrests, mass relocations and beatings "being committed by security and non-uniformed elements".

    [The Burmese people] have suffered too much for too long
    Ibrahim Gambari
    UN envoy to Burma

    "To delay the prospect of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Myanmar [the official name for Burma] is to deny to those who deserve it the most - the people of Myanmar," he said.

    "They have suffered too much for too long."

    Mr Gambari said later there was a consensus within the Security Council that the status quo in Burma was "unacceptable".

    He told the BBC he hoped to return to Burma soon and that the key to progress was getting the two sides to talk to each other.

    "There's been so much mistrust on both sides because... for a long time, and I think to some extent now, the generals did not want, until now, they didn't even want to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi, she didn't particularly want to talk to them," he said.

    'Cautiously encouraged'

    Meanwhile, Burmese state TV broadcast an image of Ms Suu Kyi for the first time in years on Friday.

    Earlier, reports suggested that General Than Shwe, the head of the ruling junta, had agreed in principle to meet the detained pro-democracy leader.

    He insisted that Ms Suu Kyi must give up her calls for international sanctions to be imposed against the regime, state media reported.

    Mr Gambari said he was "cautiously encouraged" by the news and called for "maximum flexibility" from both sides.

    "It's their country, it's their people that are suffering and I believe there's a window of opportunity there which should be seized by both Aung San Suu Kyi and senior General Than Shwe," he said.

    In a separate development, the most senior US diplomat in Burma, Shari Villarosa, met the junta's foreign minister in the capital of Naypyidaw.

    The US state department said the meeting was not productive.

    The US has been among the most vocal critics of the junta, and threatened a Security Council resolution imposing sanctions.

    But the Burmese ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Tint Swe, called for "patience, time and space", insisting the situation in his country was not a threat to regional security.

    Mr Kyaw confirmed there had been many arrests after the protests, but said 2,095 people had now been released - including 722 Buddhist monks.

    He promised that more releases would follow.

    The monks became the focal point of the protests, which saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets.

    BBC sources in Burma say as many as 10,000 people - many of them monks - were rounded up for interrogation following the protests.

    Pakistan set to choose president

    Pakistani lawmakers are set to vote in a presidential election, even though it is not clear if President Pervez Musharraf has the legal right to run.

    Gen Musharraf is expected to win the vote in parliament and the country's four provincial assemblies.

    But Pakistan's Supreme Court says no winner can be announced until it rules if he can stand while still army chief.

    A deal with former PM Benazir Bhutto means her supporters will not join an opposition boycott of the election.

    On Friday Gen Musharraf dropped corruption charges against Ms Bhutto - a stride towards an expected power-sharing deal.

    President Musharraf hopes the reconciliation agreement, as it is called, will add credibility to his government.

    Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is the largest in the country.

    'Just a formality'

    Pakistan has been engulfed in political upheaval in recent months, at the same time as the security forces have suffered a series of blows from pro-Taleban militants opposed to Gen Musharraf's support for the US-led "war on terror".

    If both the sides are serious, it should work. This should bring the much-desired stability to Pakistan
    Bijal Bhatt, Auckland, New Zealand

    Gen Musharraf will step down as army chief, but only if he wins the election, his lawyers have said.

    Voting is due to take place from 1000 to 1500 (0500 to 0900 GMT).

    But Friday's ruling by the Supreme Court throws the presidential election into confusion.

    The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says government officials called the decision a formality but analysts said it was a serious setback that would place a question mark over the legitimacy of the poll.

    It means that even if Gen Musharraf does get the most votes he cannot be declared winner until the court has decided if he was a valid candidate in the first place.

    06 Oct: Presidential vote due to be held
    17 Oct: Supreme Court to resume hearing challenges to Musharraf candidacy
    18 Oct: Date ex-PM Benazir Bhutto has set for her homecoming
    15 Nov: Parliamentary term ends and general election must be held by mid-January

    Last week the court dismissed a number of earlier objections filed by Gen Musharraf's opponents on technical grounds.

    That led to fresh petitions being filed this week.

    The judges said they would not make a final decision before 17 October, which coincides with the day Ms Bhutto says she will return from years of self-imposed exile.

    Correspondents say Gen Musharraf was waiting for the court's verdict before formalising a power-sharing deal with Ms Bhutto.

    The ordnance signed into law on Friday exempts any person charged with - but not convicted of - corruption between 3 January 1986 and 12 October 1999.

    Correspondents say it is designed to exclude another former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, whose corruption cases date from 2000.

    The amnesty paves the way for Ms Bhutto's return to contest parliamentary elections scheduled to be held by mid-January.