England star Stokes struggles again in comeback match

Ben Stokes has looked rusty on his return to cricket. (AP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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England star Stokes struggles again in comeback match

AUCKLAND: Ben Stokes does not appear to be in the kind of form that could save the Ashes for England, given the star all-rounder’s latest lean performance for Canterbury province in New Zealand’s domestic limited-overs cricket championship.
Stokes, who is under police investigation over an alleged assault outside a Bristol nightclub in September, scored 34 and took a catch but failed to take a wicket in seven overs as Canterbury lost by seven wickets to Auckland at Eden Park on Wednesday.
Along with the other Canterbury bowlers, Stokes’ figures were bruised by New Zealand batsman Colin Munro, who made an unbeaten 174 from 118 balls.
Stokes’ performance was at least an improvement on his Canterbury debut last weekend when he scored only two runs in a six-ball innings and went wicketless in nine overs in a loss to Otago. The New Zealand-born allrounder has been suspended from playing for England while police investigate his role in the Sept. 25 incident in Bristol which followed a limited-overs international against the West Indies. Avon and Somerset police have completed their investigation and are seeking advice from prosecutors on whether charges should be laid.
While the 27-year-old Stokes has said he is in New Zealand to visit his parents, who live in Christchurch, he could quickly rejoin the England team if he is not charged or if there is any delay in a charging decision.
The England Cricket Board has said Stokes will remain suspended pending the police investigation.
England has lost the first two tests to Australia in Brisbane and Adelaide and is likely to be more eager to recall Stokes if circumstances make it possible. The five-match Ashes series continues in Perth from Dec. 14.


France overpower Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup final

Updated 15 July 2018
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France overpower Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup final

  • France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium
  • Croatia fought hard for an hour but gradually ran out of steam after playing extra time in their three previous matches

MOSCOW: France overwhelmed Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Sunday to lift the trophy for the second time in 20 years.
The French, playing their third World Cup final, were made to sweat initially and were lucky to go ahead when Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic headed an Antoine Griezmann free kick into his own net in the 18th minute, the first own goal in a World Cup final.
Ivan Perisic levelled with a powerful shot 10 minutes later but the Croatia midfielder was then penalized for handball following a VAR review and Griezmann stepped up coolly to convert the 38th-minute penalty and put France 2-1 up.
Croatia fought hard for an hour but gradually ran out of steam after playing extra time in their three previous matches, and goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe gave France a three-goal cushion.
Mandzukic pounced on a mistake by France keeper Hugo Lloris to cut the deficit in the 69th minute, making it the highest-scoring final over 90 minutes in 60 years, but Croatia could not find the net again in their first World Cup final.