Tag Archives: travails

Alistair Cook joins three England greats after winning Test series in India

Cook joins three of our greats after sealing Test series victory in India

|

UPDATED:

00:51 GMT, 18 December 2012

As the England dressing room reverberated to the sound of Slade’s 'Merry Christmas Everybody' on Monday, it was worth recalling just how unfestive they all felt after losing the first Test by nine wickets at Ahmedabad almost a month ago.

Not even solid second-innings batting from Alastair Cook and Matt Prior could varnish the truth: here was a team, with a new captain, a barely reintegrated star batsman and an apparently impotent seam attack, struggling on Asian pitches yet again.

But as India sloped away, scarcely able to comprehend the manner of their defeat and with the local groundsman scratching his head as he explained that the pitch had not broken up as he intended, England were celebrating one of their greatest overseas triumphs.

Top work: Alastair Cook joins an elite list of captains who won Tests in India

Top work: Alastair Cook joins an elite list of captains who won Tests in India

Only three other England captains have won Test series in India: Douglas Jardine in 1933-34, a year after his Body-line victory in Australia; Tony Greig in 1976-77; and David Gower in 1984-85. Now Cook can add himself to the list.

England’s first win in India in nearly 28 years felt as special as the Ashes victory of two winters ago, their first in Australia for 24. But their success here was far more unexpected, not least because of England’s travails on three separate trips to Asia in 2012: a 3-0 defeat by Pakistan in the UAE, a 1-1 draw salvaged at the last in Sri Lanka and a botched defence of the World Twenty20.

While conditions in Australia, where pitches tend to be much bouncier and less prone to turn, were more suited to the English style, the Indians went out of their way to make life uncomfortable for Cook’s men — even going as far as to deny them meaningful practice against spin in their three warm-up games.

After Ahmedabad, the tourists were in danger of becoming a laughing-stock. And history was against them: not since Gower’s victory had any side claimed a series in India after falling behind. England were not just fighting their own track record but every other visiting team’s, too.

History: Douglas Jardine (left) was England's first captain to win a Test there

History: Douglas Jardine (left) was England's first captain to win a Test there

In that respect, this win surpassed the Ashes triumph under Andrew Strauss because England never trailed Australia, but were only pegged back to 1-1 after losing in Perth. And it recalled the second half of Nasser Hussain’s famous subcontinental double in 2000-01, when England followed up a 1-0 victory over Pakistan with a 2-1 defeat of Sri Lanka after a hammering in the first Test at Galle. Those wins, too, came out of the blue.

Greig’s win ranks highly on any list of success on away tours, not least because England won the first three Tests of a five-match series — almost unheard of among touring sides to India.

Going further back, it’s difficult to overlook the claims of the Ray Illingworth-led win in Australia in 1970-71, when England did not earn a single lbw decision in six Tests.

Then there is the 3-1 win Down Under in 1954-55, when Len Hutton contemplated throwing himself into the River Brisbane after inserting Australia in the first Test at the Gabba — and lost by an innings.

A controversial choice would be the 4-1 win under Jardine in 1932-33, based as it was on the captain’s ruthless leg theory as he sought to silence Don Bradman.

Provocative: Jonathan Trott has enraged Indians in recent weeks

Provocative: Jonathan Trott has enraged Indians in recent weeks

Although Jonathan Trott has enraged the Indians a couple of times over the past few weeks, England’s win here has largely been a triumph of diplomacy.

But for sheer shock value, India 2012 will take its place among the very best of England’s overseas wins.

Even Cook admitted last night that the dressing room had questioned itself after the first Test. And when his Indian counterpart MS Dhoni used his victory press conference to demand another turner in Mumbai, England may have feared the worst.

Cook’s win — like Hutton’s, Hussain’s and Gower’s — was fashioned in adversity. And it took place in a country Englishmen have traditionally dreaded. He will find it hard to match.

Picture dispute: We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Daniel Sturridge wants 80k-a-week to complete Liverpool switch

Sturridge demands 80k-a-week to complete Liverpool switch as Chelsea striker nears exit

|

UPDATED:

10:43 GMT, 4 December 2012

Daniel Sturridge will demand 80,000-a-week to complete a January transfer to Liverpool this winter as Brendan Rodgers looks to bolster his attacking options.

Rodgers has identified a new striker as his main priority with the burden resting heavily on Luis Suarez and has already made enquiries with Chelsea.

On the move Sturridge could be heading to Anfield in January

On the move Sturridge could be heading to Anfield in January

The Anfield club made soundings in the summer, but are now ready to make a firm offer, if they can agree on personal terms with the former Manchester City forward.

The Blues are prepared to allow Sturridge to leave, despite the continuing travails of Fernando Torres, primarily due to his minimal input so far this term.

Sturridge has made just seven starts in the Barclays Premier League this season, his only goal was a tap-in from a yard out, deep into time added on in the clash with Tottenham.

The 23-year-oldis also insistent that he must play through the middle if he were to move to Liverpool next month -a direct move to avoid being played out wide under successive Stamford Bridge regimes.

Strike a light: Sturridge hasn't been as prolific in front of goal this season

Strike a light: Sturridge hasn't been as prolific in front of goal this season

Liverpool – what needs to change under Brendan Rodgers

What is wrong at Liverpool The problems facing Rodgers after nightmare start

|

UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 25 September 2012

After the controversy and emotion of a highly charged occasion at Anfield on Sunday, reality has started to dawn for Liverpool. This has been a unique time on Merseyside and extraordinary circumstances have meant the focus has been drawn away from results.

But after five matches, they are in the bottom three with just two points. It is their worst start since 1911 and Brendan Rodgers finds himself sharing a record with George Patterson, who was appointed in 1928, as a Liverpool manager failing to win any of his first five league games.

As is always the case with Liverpool, there is never a dull moment but, as they approach a crunch sequence of fixtures, Sportsmail looks at some of the issues that the ebullient Rodgers needs to address to get his side climbing the table.

Winless: The focus now switches back to on-field issues for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Winless: The focus now switches back to on-field issues for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

LACK OF DEPTH

The travails Liverpool endured during the transfer window have been well documented but only now are the ramifications of a summer when they moved on nine players really beginning to hit home, as the squad are set to be stretched to breaking point.

It was confirmed on Monday that England Under-21 right back Martin Kelly will effectively miss the remainder of the season after he ruptured cruciate ligaments in the final stages of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester United.

Key midfielder Lucas Leiva is still out with a torn thigh muscle, Jonjo Shelvey must serve a three-match ban for his sending off against United, while Fabio Borini will be sidelined for a couple of weeks after suffering serious bone bruising to his ankle.

When you consider that leaves Luis Suarez as the only fit senior striker, it is clear Liverpool’s new scouting department of Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter – who started work two weeks ago – will need to move quickly to have reinforcements ready for the January window.

Lone ranger: Suarez is Liverpool's only fit striker

Lone ranger: Suarez is Liverpool's only fit striker

There was, at least, better news with regard to Daniel Agger. It had initially been feared that the Denmark defender had suffered a problem similar to Kelly’s but his agent Per Steffensen confirmed on Monday that Agger could return within a month.

‘Daniel hasn’t torn any ligaments,’ said Steffensen. ‘It’s very good news. He has got a bruise on his bone behind a knee. It is very sore and a bit swollen, but as soon as that goes down he can come back to training.’

THE PROBLEM WITH LUIS

Suarez is Liverpool’s most potent supply of goals, but he is also their biggest worry. If he was to suffer an injury, it would be difficult to see how they would cope but he is also running the risk of picking up a suspension.

The Uruguayan has already received three yellow cards and there is bemusement among Liverpool’s players about how he is being treated by match officials. Certainly against United he was unlucky not to receive some decisions.

Unlucky Suarez was not awarded a penalty after this challenge by Jonny Evans on Sunday

Unlucky Suarez was not awarded a penalty after this challenge by Jonny Evans on Sunday

‘I almost guarantee that if Luis was in the position of Antonio Valencia, he wouldn’t have got a penalty,’ said Glen Johnson, who was penalised for a foul on United’s winger.

‘We all know that. Reputations go in front of people, and because Valencia is not known as a diver he gets the decision.

‘I know it is difficult for the referee. Everybody has to do their job. They have to forget who they are looking at.

‘They just have to make the decisions. They can’t let anything from the past affect their decisions. They have to call the shots at the time, regardless of who it is.’

GETTING THE FIRST WIN

The feeling around Liverpool’s squad is that two points are not a fair reflection of how they have played in the opening weeks and, with better fortune, their return from home games against the two Manchester clubs could easily have been six points as opposed to one.

Work to do: Liverpool travel to Norwich on Saturday

Work to do: Liverpool travel to Norwich on Saturday

Rodgers has certainly got Liverpool operating with a style that is easy on the eye and he has players like Steven Gerrard, Johnson and Joe Allen to inflict on opponents what he has described as ‘death by football’ but the longer they wait for three points, the more hollow those words will become.

‘If you have watched every one of our games – bar the defeat to Arsenal – we have been the best team,’ Johnson argued. ‘There are a lot more positives than it looks.

‘As soon as we get a little bit of luck, I think we are going to beat someone with a big score. We can say that as much as we like but, really, we have got to get down and do it.’

Those are sentiments that Liverpool’s captain shares.

‘We know how many points we have got and it’s not good enough,’ said Gerrard.

‘But if we keep playing with that effort and determination it will only be a matter of time before we go on a sequence. Not many sides will be able to live with us because we are playing some good stuff.’

Why that goal by Roberto Di Matteo made a young Stewart Downing cry

Why that FA Cup final goal by Di Matteo made a young Downing cry

|

UPDATED:

23:58 GMT, 3 May 2012

Stewart Downing grimaces as he pours
over his childhood FA Cup memories. One final stands out above the
rest, and central to the plot was a man with whom he will come into
contact tomorrow.

Back in 1997, Downing was a schoolboy
who harboured dreams of playing at Wembley, but the next best thing was
seeing his hometown team under the Twin Towers. What should have been a
glorious day was wrecked after 42 seconds by a thunderbolt from Roberto
Di Matteo.

Roberto Di Matteo shoots and scores in the first minute of the FA Cup Final against Middlesbrough

Sharp shooter: Roberto Di Matteo shoots and scores in the first minute of the FA Cup Final against Middlesbrough

'I've hated him ever since!' said the Liverpool winger with a rueful smile as he opened up about the game Middlesbrough lost 2-0 to Chelsea.

'We had got tickets off the club, who took us and our families down on the coach. It was a good day out but with bad memories of the final.

'What did I call him at the time Nothing I could really repeat!'

Whether Downing will remind Di Matteo, Chelsea's interim manager, of his childhood heartbreak tomorrow is uncertain but one thing that is clear in the England winger's mind is his view on Liverpool's season. As one of several expensive signings last summer, his form has been scrutinised like no other time in his career and, given it cost 20million to prise him from Aston Villa, it was frequently asked: is he worth it

As one of several expensive signings last summer, Downing’s form scrutinised like no other time in his career and, given it cost 20million to prise him from Aston Villa, it has been frequently asked: is he worth it Downing, though, has not been alone. Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique have also found themselves under the microscope, as Liverpool have flattered to deceive.

To pin the blame for their travails on the new boys would, says Downing, be wrong and another cup success would help silence the critics.

Stewart Downing: finding his feet at Liverpool

Stewart Downing: finding his feet at Liverpool

'Others might take (criticism) hard, but it doesn't bother me,' he said. 'It's easy to look and think just because it's not gone well in the league it's (down to) the new players. There are more than four or five players in a squad and we have all not done it, not just the new ones.

'You're expected to come in and set the world alight but sometimes it doesn't happen. You have seen players at other big clubs take time to settle but then become big players. That's how it is for us at the minute.'

To that end, there have been signs that Downing is finding his feet, having admitted two months ago that adjusting to life at Anfield was a 'culture shock'.

He converted a penalty after a Man-of-the-Match display in the Carling Cup Final, scored the winner against Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-final, while his sprint past Leighton Baines and cross to Andy Carroll early in the second half of the semi-final unsettled Everton, triggering Liverpool’s comeback.

'You have to get your head down and work hard – that's what I am trying to do,' he said. 'I've shown glimpses but I need to be more consistent.'

The determination in his voice illustrates how eager he is to repay Kenny Dalglish's faith. The Liverpool manager cut short his spell on the club's pre-season tour of South East Asia to oversee Downing's signing and has been constant in his backing.

'Kenny paid a lot and worked hard to get me here,' said Downing.

'Every time you play you want to do your best for him.'

Paul Di Resta hails best ever Grand Prix performance

Fifth felt like first after Bahrain nightmare, says Force India's Di Resta

|

UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 23 April 2012

Paul di Resta hailed his result in Bahrain as like a victory for his team in the wake of a difficult week.

Following Force India's worst performance of the season in China eight days ago, Di Resta believes their best ever was conjured in the Gulf kingdom.

Di Resta equalled his highest race finish in Formula One with sixth at the Bahrain International Circuit as the team pulled together in the wake of their earlier travails.

Best ever: Paul di Resta secured an impressive fifth-place in Bahrain

Best ever: Paul di Resta secured an impressive fifth-place in Bahrain

Phil Duncan F1 blog

After four team members were caught up in Bahrain's anti-government protests on Wednesday night en route to capital Manama from the track, some tough decisions were made.

Two personnel opted to fly home, citing safety reasons, with the team then deciding not to run in second practice on Friday for the security of the remainder of their staff.

There are suggestions that withdrawing from the race altogether was considered, but ultimately rejected, which if true was vindicated by Di Resta's display over the weekend.

After qualifying 10th, Di Resta then made a two-stop strategy work to perfection, whilst all those around him opted for three, bringing home eight points to lift him up to 10th in the drivers' championship.

'It was an outstanding performance by every member of the team this weekend, and under difficult circumstances,' said Di Resta. 'It's been difficult for every team member, but everyone of them has stood up.

Just champion: Sebastian Vettel romped to victory from pole position

Just champion: Sebastian Vettel romped to victory from pole position

'They played everything right – strategy, pit stops, I worked with my engineer to dial the car in right and the track came to us.

'Sixth position for us is a massive achievement, probably the same for us as Sebastian (Vettel) winning the race given the car we have.

'Looking at everybody's performance, we've stepped things up, tried to do our best and probably outperformed any performance we've ever had as a team.'

All within the Silverstone-based marque could have been forgiven for expressing a sense of relief come the end of the race, and in finally heading home.

Instead, deputy team principal Bob Fernley, the man charged with making the difficult decisions this past week, admitted to 'a feeling of pride'.

Backdrop: Anti-government protestors continued their action on the streets

Backdrop: Anti-government protestors continued their action on the streets

'We addressed something, we restructured our programme and we delivered,' Fernley said. 'I think that goes to show the depth of the team through what has been quite a challenging weekend.

'Paul's result was tremendous. The boys and girls went through a tough few days, but it took all of them to deliver for him.'

Fernley is adamant he would not have done anything differently, even if it seemingly cost his team airtime on television during Saturday as footage controllers in Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management did not show a single shot of either car.

Fernley added: 'I don't think there was anything special there, and other team principals in my position would have done the same.

'It's just that we have a duty of care to our employees, and if that means it's a bit uncomfortable at the time for myself, then so be it. You have to deliver.'

England beat Sri Lankan Board XI

England cruise to warm-up victory as bowling attack shines again in Colombo

PUBLISHED:

09:27 GMT, 17 March 2012

|

UPDATED:

09:29 GMT, 17 March 2012

England wrapped up victory by an innings and 15 runs in their first warm-up match against a Sri Lankan Board XI as their bowlers once again shone.

England's attack was blameless for the side's Test travails against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and once again proved reliable as they skittled their hosts for 119 on the third afternoon.

England, with Alastair Cook 163no overnight, declared on 303 for eight before play began – a lead of 134 proving enough as James Anderson, Steven Finn and Graeme Swann each picked up three wickets.

Marching on: England celebrate as they cruise to victory in Sri Lanka

Marching on: England celebrate as they cruise to victory in Sri Lanka

Monty Panesar, who took five in the first innings, took the remaining scalp.

The declaration yielded immediate success when Anderson struck with the third ball of the morning.

Anderson was impressive on day one of the match, claiming the first four wickets of the innings and coping well with the heat.

This time he had Ashen Silva, top-scorer with 66 last time out, caught by Ravi Bopara at point.

He almost had a second when Dimuth Karunaratne mis-timed a pull and edged just over the slip cordon, while Finn was thick-edged for four by Bhanuka Rajapaksa.

Finn did not have to wait long for a wicket, though, Rajapaksa flashing hard in the eighth over and finding Swann at second slip.

Spin pair Swann and Panesar started in tandem soon after, both opening their spells with maidens.

Full stretch: James Anderson attempts a catch against the Sri Lanka Board XI

Full stretch: James Anderson attempts a catch against the Sri Lanka Board XI

Panesar was the first to create a chance, taking Karunaratne's edge only to see Anderson put down a difficult one-handed chance at slip.

The seamer is England's first-choice catcher for the slow bowlers but grassed three catches in the match.

Karunaratne lifted Swann wide of mid-on for four to take the total past 50 but he beat his man two balls later, bowling him for 31.

Finn turned 51 for three into 51 for four when he had new batsman Prasanna Jayawardene caught at second slip with the sixth ball of his second spell.

Sachithra Serasinghe was fifth out just before lunch, Swann the bowler and Cook diving for the catch at short leg.

Anderson struck at the start of a session for the second time in the day to keep the tourists firmly on track after the resumption, Roshen Silva guiding the ball to Strauss at first slip to go for 12.

Panesar is a much improved fielder since his first forays into international cricket but showed he is still capable of the occasional gaffe as he made a comical attempt to catch Perera off Swann.

In form: Steven Finn shone for England

In form: Steven Finn shone for England

The off-spinner reacted with typical ire but did not allow the error to stop him sending Kanishka Alvitigala back for a duck two balls later.

Perera looked to have joined the procession when Strauss claimed what seemed a good catch off Anderson, but the batsman stood his ground and the umpires allowed him to remain after conferring.

England were aggrieved by the verdict and made their anger known as they approached the officals.

A confident run-out appeal against Malinga Bandara was rejected just seconds later as the atmosphere on the field started to become tense.

The eighth-wicket pair detained England for 11 overs before Finn had Perera caught by Prior.

Tyron Gamage (19) and Bandara (28no) set about counter-attacking thereafter and put on a brisk 39 before Panesar pinned the former plumb in front of middle.

England needed just one more scalp to avoid batting again and Anderson provided it, dismissing Nilanka Premaratne for a golden duck.

He finished with three wickets and an impressive match haul of seven for 40.

Liverpool 6 Brighton 1: Luis Suarez scores after three own goals at Anfield

Liverpool 6 Brighton 1: Suarez on target as Seagulls score THREE own goals at Anfield

By
Ian Ladyman

Last updated at 12:51 AM on 20th February 2012

In a season that began with a top-four Barclays Premier League finish seemingly a pre-requisite, Liverpool and their manager Kenny Dalglish may yet find it is England’s two domestic cup competitions that save them.

On Sunday at Anfield it was hard to believe this great club have been smothered by controversy and are struggling to impose themselves at the top end of the table.

Marching on: Liverpool celebrate as they book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals

Marching on: Liverpool celebrate as they book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals

MATCH FACTS

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Henderson (Kuyt 76), Gerrard (Shelvey 76), Adam, Downing (Maxi 76), Suarez, Carroll.

Subs not used: Doni, Coates, Spearing, Kelly.

Goals: Skrtel 5, Bridcutt (ogs) 44, 71, Carroll 57, Dunk (og) 74, Suarez 85.

Brighton: Brezovan, Calderon, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd (Vicente 69), Buckley (Noone 46), Bridcutt, Navarro, LuaLua, Vokes (Mackail-Smith 69), Barnes.

Subs not used: Ankergren, Harley, Vincelot, Agdestein.

Goal: LuaLua 17

Booked: Navarro.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Dalglish’s Liverpool played with a
little of their traditional brio. Admittedly this was a game played
against a team from the Championship, a team they had already beaten
once this season in the early rounds of the Carling Cup.

Nevertheless, Dalglish’s team were impressive. They played with a tempo
and rhythm that have not always been apparent this season and thoroughly
deserved their place in the next round, when they will face Stoke City
at Anfield.

Certainly Dalglish will hope his team can build on some recent improved
form – not to mention capitalise on the travails of Arsenal and Chelsea –
to move out of the pack and finish the season in the Champions League
places.

With Luis Suarez – excellent apart from a missed penalty – back from
suspension and Steven Gerrard an improving force after his return from
injury, Liverpool need not think it is beyond them.

Nevertheless, the prospect of one – if not two – Wembley appearances is
beginning to look like a reassuring comfort blanket as Dalglish tries to
emerge from his first full season back in charge with genuine credit.

Opening salvo: Martin Skrtel headed Liverpool in front after just six minutes at Anfield

Opening salvo: Martin Skrtel headed Liverpool in front after just six minutes at Anfield

Liverpool are already in one final, of course. This weekend they will
face Cardiff City from the Championship in the Carling Cup showpiece.
Victory over Stoke in the next round of this competition and they will
return to the capital again for the semi-finals. Against this
background, no wonder Dalglish was pleased. The Anfield boss said: ‘It
was a good victory, more difficult than the scoreline suggests.

‘It helps to have Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll on together. They had only
played 69 minutes together before and they played really well.’

Those interested in statistical anomalies will note that Sunday’s game contained three own goals from Brighton.

Leveller: Kazenga LuaLua scored an equaliser for Brighton with a stunning free-kick in the first half

Leveller: Kazenga LuaLua scored an equaliser for Brighton with a stunning free-kick in the first half

Back in it: Brighton celebrate their equaliser but their joy was short-lived

Back in it: Brighton celebrate their equaliser but their joy was short-lived

Two were rather unfortunate and will be credited to midfielder Liam
Bridcutt. The other was, frankly, hilarious and belongs to central
defender Lewis Dunk.

Sunderland and Portsmouth are believed to be among the handful of teams who have managed this remarkable feat before.

Liverpool, though, will perhaps care to reflect instead on Suarez’s
excellence, a better effort from Andy Carroll and the manner in which
Dalglish’s players shook off a surprise goal from Brighton midway
through the first half.

Back in front: Liam Bridcutt deflected Glen Johnson's header into his own net to put Liverpool 2-1 up

Back in front: Liam Bridcutt deflected Glen Johnson's header into his own net to put Liverpool 2-1 up

After another difficult week, Dalglish would perhaps have asked for a
positive start above anything else and he got one as defender Martin
Skrtel dashed towards the near post to glance a fifth-minute header into
the roof of the net from a Gerrard corner.

Despite this early boost, it still took the home team a little while to
get going and Brighton’s early determination to play their football was
rewarded with an equaliser just after the quarter-hour.

In truth, Gus Poyet’s men should not have been allowed the goal but when
left winger Kazenga LuaLua drilled in a low free-kick from 25 yards, at
least two Liverpool players broke from the defensive wall, enabling the
ball to skid beneath them and into the bottom right-hand corner of Pepe
Reina’s goal.

Still got it: Andy Carroll celebrates scoring Liverpool's third goal

Still got it: Andy Carroll celebrates scoring Liverpool's third goal

Oh dear: Bridcutt (left) scores his second own goal to send Liverpool further clear

Oh dear: Bridcutt (left) scores his second own goal to send Liverpool further clear

Liverpool looked shame-faced and quite right, too. They responded well,
however, and after Suarez saw a low shot cleared following a dazzling
run from the right and Stewart Downing failed to capitalise after being
played down the left by Suarez, Liverpool edged back in front.

Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan should have caught a 44th-minute
corner but when his punch landed at Suarez’s feet the Uruguayan did
marvellously to touch the ball past two defenders and shoot for goal.
Brezovan saved with his legs but Glen Johnson headed the rebound towards
goal and the ball eventually ended up in the net via the shins of
Bridcutt.

Five star: Lewis Dunk ends up in the net after his own goal made it 5-1 to Liverpool

Five star: Lewis Dunk ends up in the net after his own goal made it 5-1 to Liverpool

Denied: Peter Brezovan saves a penalty from Liverpool's Luis Suarez (second left)

Denied: Peter Brezovan saves a penalty from Liverpool's Luis Suarez (second left)

In the second half, Liverpool were rampant. Carroll showed great
movement to dispatch a low Downing cross in the 57th minute before
Bridcutt shovelled a low Gerrard cross-shot into the goal and then Dunk –
poor lad – managed to juggle the ball over his own line on his knee.

Still there was time for Suarez to have a weak penalty saved after Dirk
Kuyt was brought down and then score with his head at the far post after
Carroll unselfishly nodded a deep centre back across goal. That,
perhaps, will have pleased Dalglish more than anything.

Got there in the end: Suarez heads home to round off the scoring for Liverpool

Got there in the end: Suarez heads home to round off the scoring for Liverpool

IN FOCUS

Liam Bridcutt: Would have dreamt about making a big impact, but not like this. Little he could have done about either own goal.

Jimmy Case: The Liverpool legend once scored for Brighton at Anfield to knock his old club out of the Cup. He is now a local radio pundit.

Jamie Carragher: The most trouble he had was when a hirsute streaker came to talk to him in final minute. Did not know where to look.

By Dominic King

Ricky Ponting captains Australia to Sri Lanka defeat

Captain Ponting back with a whimper as Australia are thrashed by Sri Lanka

Ricky Ponting's return to the Australia captaincy ended in a crushing eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka following a rain-affected one-day international in Sydney.

Sri Lanka secured their first win of the Commonwealth Bank Series in emphatic style as they first bowled Australia out for 158 before making light work of a revised chase.

Ponting's opposite number Mahela Jayawardene led the way with 61, from 66 balls, while Kumar Sangakkara became the third Sri Lankan to post 10,000 ODI runs as Sri Lanka got home with a massive 101 balls to spare.

Dejected: Ricky Ponting's Australia suffered a crushing defeat to Sri Lanka

Dejected: Ricky Ponting's Australia suffered a crushing defeat to Sri Lanka

It meant defeat for Ponting who, in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke, took over the captaincy for the first time since standing down after last year's World Cup.

The veteran endured a miserable day, adding just two to a poor series with the bat so far, although he looks set to get a chance at redemption against India on Sunday with Clarke revealing he is still struggling with a hamstring problem.

'I've got a little hamstring strain. It's on the mend. It's probably unlikely I'll be picked for Brisbane, though,' he told Channel Nine.

'I've done a lot of work over the last couple of days and team physio Alex Kountouris would prefer me to rest but I'm not far away at all.'

To further sour Australia's mood it was confirmed upcoming all-rounder Mitch Marsh looks set for a lengthy period on the sidelines after complaining of back pain in the SCG nets.

Sri Lanka were unconcerned by their hosts' travails, though, as they produced a bonus-point success to revive their bid to reach the final of the triangular tournament.

Triumph: Sri Lanka celebrate on their way to victory over Australia

Triumph: Sri Lanka celebrate on their way to victory over Australia

After sharing the wickets in an impressive display in the field, bowling out Australia for 158 with one ball left in a revised 41-over game, their batsmen opted for aggression.

The target was revised to 152 under the Duckworth-Lewis method and was always in hand when Jayawardene and former skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan crashed 74 inside the first 12 overs.

Dilshan thrashed 45 from 41 balls before he was caught at slip off Clint McKay, but Jayawardene made sure he guided his side home with a composed half-century.

Along the way Sangakkara (30) joined him in reaching 10,000 ODI runs, although the left-hander holed out off Brett Lee with just 20 needed.

Soon afterwards Jayawardene reached his 50, off 58 balls, before seeing out the win.
Earlier, Australia relied on David Hussey's battling 58 to give them any hope of victory.

Good game: Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene outshone his counterpart

Good game: Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene outshone his counterpart

Ponting's decision to bat first was immediately undermined as his side crashed to 88 for six before the rain break reduced the match to 41 overs.

Lasith Malinga made the initial breakthrough when he continued David Warner's run of low scores, the opener spooning a simple catch to Farveez Maharoof for 13.

Maharoof was in the thick of the action, claiming the wickets of Ponting, who he outfoxed with a slower ball he could only pat back, and Peter Forrest.

Forrest's stay was blighted also by a terrible mix-up which saw Matthew Wade run out while Mike Hussey edged behind off Angelo Mathews a ball after launching him for six.

Dan Christian was caught lbw by Perera just before the rain delay while Clint McKay and Brett Lee fell quickly after the restart.

Sri Lanka's only blip in the field was in dropping David Hussey twice, Malinga and Mathews the culprits, and while he embarked on a recovery mission of sorts, with 58 from 64 balls, it was not enough.