Tag Archives: revitalised

Australia beat Sri Lanka in second Test

Johnson shines as Australia fire Ashes warning with brutal demolition of Sri Lanka inside three days

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UPDATED:

07:37 GMT, 28 December 2012

Fierce bowling from a revitalised Mitchell Johnson powered Australia to victory by an innings and 201 runs against Sri Lanka in a Boxing Day Test that ended inside three days at the MCG.

Johnson – after being left stranded eight short of a second Test century earlier in the day when Australia were dismissed for 460 in reply to Sri Lanka's first-innings 156 – captured two for 16, injured two top-order batsmen and affected a run-out as the tourists were skittled for 103.

Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets midway through day three's second session but, with Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welagedara unable to bat, and Kumar Sangakkara unable to return having retired hurt on 27, the Australians were home and dry.

The trouncing meant Australia retained the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy, with the third fixture in Sydney to start next week.

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Johnson's brilliant second-innings effort capped a remarkable Test for the rejuvenated 31-year-old.
The left-armer claimed four for 63 – including his 200th victim – in Sri Lanka's first innings before boosting his reputation as a lower-order batsman with an unbeaten 92 in Australia's reply.

Light showers delayed the start of play by 15 minutes this morning before Australia added 20 runs for the loss of Nathan Lyon, caught at short mid-wicket for one, and Jackson Bird, comprehensively bowled by Shaminda Eranga for a duck.

Eranga (three for 109) and Dhammika Prasad (three for 106) were the leading bowlers for Sri Lanka.
The visitors could not have started the rearguard action any worse as Johnson and debutant Bird (two for 29) dismantled their flaky top order.

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

They had dramatically slumped to 13 for four midway through the morning session. Johnson started the rot with the run-out of Dimuth Karunaratne (one) in the first over and removed Tillakaratne Dilshan (nought) the next ball when Ed Cowan pouched a catch at square leg.

Bird made matters worse for the besieged tourists when he bowled Mahela Jayawardene for a duck and trapped Thilan Samaraweera lbw for one just before lunch.

Only Sangakkara (27) and Angelo Mathews (35) provided any resistance and, when the former retired hurt after copping a blow to the index finger from a Johnson bouncer, the match was in its death throes.

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

After Johnson bowled Mathews, Peter Siddle wrapped up Australia's win by removing Eranga for a duck.

Johnson took man-of-the-match honours ahead of Australia captain Michael Clarke who scored 106 on day two.

Shane Watson was another contributor for the winners with a gutsy 83 yesterday, but the all-rounder was unable to bowl in the second innings and is in doubt for the third Test after aggravating a chronic calf injury.

Frankie Dettori could aim for jockeys" title

Freed Frankie fancies tilt at jockeys' title after parting company with Godolphin

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 22 October 2012

Frankie Dettori could launch an enthralling challenge for a fourth jockeys’ title riding as a revitalised freelance next year.

The Italian’s agent, former jockey Ray Cochrane, believes the championship is possible for the 41-year-old jockey with his 18-year link to Godolphin ending at the end of the season.

Cochrane said: ‘We will set our sights on winning most of the big races, if we can do, and will have a crack at being champion jockey.

Over and out: Frankie Dettori will cut ties with Godolphin from next season

Over and out: Frankie Dettori will cut ties with Godolphin from next season

‘The biggest thing about not being retained by Godolphin is that I can kick on five days in advance and make it my aim for him to ride the best horses.

‘Godolphin don’t let me know what he’s riding until 48 hours beforehand. He rides for a hell of a lot of trainers here in Newmarket and has links all over the world.’

In what looks a statement of intent, Dettori, champion in 1994, 1995 and 2004 but often living off crumbs this summer, is booked for all seven races at Newmarket on Wednesday, his first mounts since his split with Sheik Mohammed’s stable was announced.

The rides include bookings for John Dunlop, Tim Easterby, Brian Meehan, Gerard Butler and, significantly, Charlie Hills, who has rides to offer next year with the retirement of jockey brother Michael.

Big rides: Dettori could be on board the likes of Just The Judge next year

Big rides: Dettori could be on board the likes of Just The Judge next year

They include exciting Rockfel Stakes winner and 1,000 Guineas prospect Just The Judge. Dettori, already due to ride Godolphin’s Artigiano at next month’s Breeders’ Cup, will now also ride Ralph Beckett-trained Waterway Run.

Meanwhile, David Redvers, racing manager to Sheik Fahad Al Thani and his family’s Qatar Racing interests, confirmed a deal is close to signing Jamie Spencer as retained rider but added it would be ‘barking mad’ not to book the freelance Dettori if he was available and they needed a jockey.

Redvers said: ‘Although we are in negotiations with Jamie, there is no contract signed yet. I expect we will have something put to bed by the end of the week.

‘But if whoever we retain is unable to ride and Frankie is available, you’d be barking mad not to book him. He is still the best jockey riding and with something to prove he will be going all guns blazing.’

Fernando Torres ready to repay Chelsea

Chelsea paid a lot of money for me… so I owe them, says revitalised Torres

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 30 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

When it comes to unusual responses to winning the greatest prize in European club football, Fernando Torres takes some beating.

Less than an hour after lifting the European Cup in Munich last May, Chelsea’s 50million striker delivered the most extraordinary rant to a Spanish journalist.

Torres said he had never been so unhappy, his regular appearances on the bench a source of enormous frustration. That night he was also miffed not to have been asked to take a penalty in the shootout Chelsea won to conquer Bayern Munich.

Raring to go: Chelsea's Fernando Torres during training ahead of the Super Cup

Raring to go: Chelsea's Fernando Torres during training ahead of the Super Cup

In Monaco on Thursday, he seemed far more content, excited about playing his former club Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup this evening but also delighted to be Chelsea’s principal striker now that Didier Drogba has gone.

He began by suggesting the article that subsequently appeared in May was not a fair representation of what he had actually said.

‘I did an interview, but the interpretations … you can write one or another thing,’ he said.

But it prompted a meeting with his employers from which he emerged feeling far more positive about life at Chelsea. Presumably he was told Drogba would definitely be heading to China.

‘I had a conversation with Robbie (Di Matteo) and with the board and said what I felt about last season and what I wanted in the future,’ he said. ‘Five minutes after that everything was clarified.

‘I’m here because I have an important part to play for this team, but I couldn’t say a bad word about Chelsea.

‘They made a big effort to buy me and I
have a lot of things still to do for this club. I want to win
everything I haven’t won yet.

‘We’ve
won the Champions League. Hopefully we can win it one more time. Still
there’s plenty of things to do. I’m not going to give up. I never did
and I’m not about to.’

He
claims the price tag was never an issue for him, and that any loss of
confidence was down to his regular absence from the starting line-up. He
did, however, say that the whole sorry experience — ‘a hard year and a
half’ — had made him ‘a better player and a stronger person’.

Season of success: Chelsea hope to add more silverware to their collection

Season of success: Chelsea hope to add more silverware to their collection

‘Now I know my position in this club, what I have to do,’ he said. ‘I learned a lot of things last season: good, bad.’

The price tag, he insisted, was ‘never
a problem’. ‘The money Chelsea paid for me was never something I was
worried about,’ said Torres. ‘It didn’t make me play badly. It was just a
difficult change from Liverpool to Chelsea. But all these things are in
the past.

Up for the cup: Fernando Torres speaks as Juan Mata (centre) and manager Roberto Di Matteo pay attention

Up for the cup: Fernando Torres speaks as Juan Mata (centre) and manager Roberto Di Matteo pay attention

‘When you feel the confidence of everyone and you’re in the line-up, the confidence is easier to have back. You know you’re going to play, or think you are, and that gives you more time to play your football. I’d never been on the bench for eight games in a row as I was last season. It was like being 17 or 18 again, fighting for my place.

‘That’s the main difference between this and the previous one-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea. I’m playing more minutes and the confidence is back.’

Meanwhile, Thorgan Hazard will be the latest Chelsea youngster to be heading out on loan, as the club has agreed to send the 19 year old to Zulte Waregem for the season.

VIDEO: Torres – 'I'm a better person and a better player now'

DM.has('rcpv1814969428001','BCVideo');

Ashley Cole revels in Chelsea win over Newcastle

Cole revels in Chelsea's new-look side after Blues maintain perfect start

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UPDATED:

20:04 GMT, 25 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Ashley Cole believes the new-look Chelsea are off to the perfect start after a 2-0 home win over Newcastle moved them back to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Eden Hazard got his first Blues goal from the penalty spot after Fernando Torres tumbled in the area, and the revitalised Spain striker added the second in first-half stoppage time.

Chelsea have changed their style this summer, but Cole is delighted with how quickly they have gelled.

Star of the show: Eden Hazard was at his best for Chelsea against Newcastle

Star of the show: Eden Hazard was at his best for Chelsea against Newcastle

'We've lost Didier (Drogba), a big powerful presence up front and sometimes we just used to knock it up to him,' the England left-back told ESPN.

'But now we've signed some smaller players so we've got to get the ball down a play a little bit more now.

'The second goal today was a great goal for the whole team.'

It was Torres' third goal of the season, counting his strike in the Community Shield, and Cole reckons the frontman's new-found confidence is as much a result of Spain's triumph at Euro 2012 as his new role in a Drogba-less Chelsea team.

Main men: Hazard and Fernando Torres

Main men: Hazard and Fernando Torres

'Of course it was really hard for him to (only) get that many games (last season),' he said. 'But when he did play he worked really hard for the team.

'Now he's the main man, like you say. But he's full of confidence after the European Championships and he scored a great goal today.'

Hazard turned in another fine performance to add to his growing reputation since his big-money move from Lille this summer.

'I think he deserves a lot of credit for the start to the season we've had,' Cole said.

'He's won two penalties, got two assists and now a goal – it's phenomenal.

'We're proud to have this guy in the team and hopefully he can keep doing it.'

Hazard added: 'I'm very happy to get my first goal at Stamford Bridge.'

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo believes all of his players deserve credit for the club's unbeaten start to the new season despite Eden Hazard once again grabbing the headlines in a 2-0 win at home to Newcastle.

The Blues returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League thanks to a third win in a week.

Summer signing Hazard opened the scoring from the penalty spot and then provided an assist for Fernando Torres to seal the points in first-half stoppage time.

The Belgium international has been central to the wins over Newcastle, Reading and Wigan and Torres has started to look more like the 50million man brought in from Liverpool in January 2011, but Di Matteo feels the whole team deserve praise.

Hitting form: Torres scores Chelsea's second goal against Newcastle

Hitting form: Torres scores Chelsea's second goal against Newcastle

'It's not just them two, they have a good link-up with (Juan) Mata and the other midfield players,' he said.

'Thanks to the team he (Hazard) has been able to slide in and play very comfortably with the others.

'I know you focus on the goalscorers but I think it was a good performance considering it was our third game in six days. The demand was high playing against tough opposition today.'

Torres, 28, was brought down for the penalty and scored a tremendous goal from the edge of the box and Di Matteo is pleased that he has started to add goals to his game once more.

'He was very important for us last season, maybe not scoring as much but providing and working hard for the team,' he said.

'He is a great team player as well but it is great to see him scoring and the second goal I think was terrific play from us.'

England young players can give us a buzz Ben Youngs

The Youngs ones: New faces will give us a buzz, says England scrum-half

Ben Youngs believes that a new, revitalised England team of twenty-somethings can make a big impact in the Six Nations, as caretaker head coach Stuart Lancaster prepares a dramatic overhaul.

The 22-year-old Leicester scrum-half has won 17 Test caps already, since a glorious, try-scoring debut against Australia in Sydney in June 2010.

His introduction, along with that of rookie Northampton trio Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Courtney Lawes, was credited with galvanising Martin Johnson’s side, before the wheels came off at the recent World Cup.

Guarantee: Ben Youngs is certain to be selected for England in the 6 Nations

Guarantee: Ben Youngs is certain to be selected for England in the 6 Nations

HOW THEY COULD LINE UP

England’s possible team, all in their twenties, to face Scotland on February 4…

15 Ben Foden (N'hampton, Age: 26, Caps: 22)
14 Chris Ashton (Northampton, 24, 18)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester, 20, 7)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 20, 0)
11 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester, 22, 1)
10 Toby Flood (Leicester, 26, 46)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester, 22, 17)
1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish, 23, 10)
2 Dylan Hartley (N’hampton, 25, 34)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester, 24, 23)
4 Courtney Lawes (N'hampton, 22, 13)
5 Dave Attwood (Bath, 24, 2)
6 Tom Croft (Leicester, 26, 34)
8 Luke Narraway (Gloucester, 28, 7)
7 Tom Wood, (N’hampton, 25, 9)

Average age: 23 years, nine months
Average caps: 16.2

England in World Cup quarter-final:

Av age: 28 years, three months.
Av caps: 40.1

Now, as Lancaster attempts to pick up the pieces from the debacle in New Zealand and instigate an England revival in the Six Nations, Youngs is excited by the thought of more talented tyros making their presence felt as he did.

Sportsmail understands that when a squad for the championship is announced on January 11, he will find himself among a youthful group of 32, with the veteran contingent all overlooked.

It is thought there will be no place for the over-30 likes of Mike Tindall, Nick Easter and Mark Cueto, with Lancaster prepared to be bold and ruthless in an attempt to show he can fill the head coach role long-term.

While doubts remain about the identity of the likely starting No 8 and a lock to partner Lawes, most of the XV to face Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4 has been pencilled in.

Youngs and established club-and-country half-back partner Toby Flood will form the foundation of a back line which will include Owen Farrell of Saracens at inside centre, alongside Manu Tuilagi in midfield if the young Tiger recovers from his hamstring injury in time.

Foden and Ashton are set to continue in a back-three unit completed by Charlie Sharples of Gloucester or possibly Delon Armitage, although there is a chance that Foden will move out wide to accommodate the on-song Harlequins full back Mike Brown.

In with a shout: Mike Brown (centre) has been in impressive form for Harlequins

In with a shout: Mike Brown (centre) has been in impressive form for Harlequins

The pack will be similarly callow but promising and the prospect of this daring selection is an enticing one for Youngs, who said: ‘I think it will be very exciting, if that is the way we’re going. There are so many talented youngsters around the country and with Stu (Lancaster) in charge, if we’re directed in the right way hopefully we can play a great brand of rugby — exciting stuff. New faces always bring a new buzz and a new energy.

‘Because it is a clean slate, everyone is intrigued to see what is going to happen — how we’re going to play and who’s going to play. Even someone like Floody, who has got 40-odd caps now, is as excited as anyone else about what’s going to happen with England. I just hope I’ll be involved.’

Youngs certainly will be involved, but he does face a renewed challenge from Danny Care for the No 9 shirt. His rival has been in superb form during Harlequins’ remarkable campaign and Youngs said: ‘Danny is a great player and has been playing really well.

In form: Owen Farrell will be looking to make his mark in the 6 Nations

In form: Owen Farrell will be looking to make his mark in the 6 Nations

‘It’s always going to be a strong rivalry and that’s good for both of us. There are a lot of good nines around at the moment and a lot of good back-rowers too. I’m happy with how my game is going, I’ve just got to keep working hard.’

One of the areas that will be most closely scrutinised by Lancaster and his assistants, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, is midfield.

The removal of Tindall creates a vacancy which Owen Farrell is primed to fill, while others such as his Saracens team-mate Brad Barritt and Jordan Turner-Hall of Harlequins are also in contention for squad places. Youngs also added the name of a fellow Tiger who hasn’t really appeared on the radar previously.

‘Everyone keeps talking about (England) centres and Matt Smith has been the player of the Premiership season so far,’ he said. ‘He’s a great player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was called into the England squad.’

Meanwhile, Sale are due to announce on Tuesday that executive director of sport, Steve Diamond, who has revived the club significantly in the past year, will switch to the role of chief executive in place of Mick Hogan.