Raza’s 97 puts Zimbabwe up by 262 runs in Sri Lanka Test

Sikandar Raza of Zimbabwe plays a shot as Sri Lankan wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella, left, watches during the third day’s play of the one-off Test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Colombo Sunday. (AP)
Updated 16 July 2017
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Raza’s 97 puts Zimbabwe up by 262 runs in Sri Lanka Test

COLOMBO: Sikandar Raza hit a gritty 97 not out to help Zimbabwe recover from a top-order collapse and stretch their second innings lead over Sri Lanka to 262 in the one-off Test on Sunday.
The visitors were 252 for six at stumps on day three, with Raza and Malcolm Waller (57) putting on an unbeaten 107-run stand for the seventh-wicket at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium.
Raza lifted Zimbabwe from a precarious 23-4, followed by 59-5, after Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Rangana Herath rattled the visitors’ batting with four early wickets.
Herath, who got three wickets before the lunch break, bowled Sean Williams for 22 in the second session as Zimbabwe teetered dangerously close to losing their 10-run advantage.
It was then that Raza put together 86 runs with Peter Moor (40) for the sixth wicket to turn the tables on Sri Lanka. Moor fell to paceman Lahiru Kumara.
Raza, who registered his fifth Test 50, used the sweep shot to great effect against the spinners as he found another partner in Waller to thwart the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
Earlier skipper Graeme Cremer helped Zimbabwe take the lead after claiming his maiden five-wicket haul in a Test, helping bowl Sri Lanka for 346 in the morning session.
But it was Herath’s left-arm spin that undid the fine work from leg-spinner Cremer (5-125).
Herath, who registered his 30th Test five-wicket haul in the first innings, ran riot at the start of Zimabwe’s second essay to get the wickets of Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda and Regis Chakabva.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera joined forces to get the prized wicket of first-innings centurion Craig Ervine for five at the stroke of lunch.
While Sri Lanka look for redemption under new Test captain Dinesh Chandimal after their shock loss in the one-day series against Zimbabwe, the visitors eye their first-ever Test win over the islanders.


Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

Updated 19 June 2018
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Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.