Australia win Ashes with crushing victory in third Test

Australian players celebrate winning their Ashes cricket test match against England in Perth, Australia, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017. (AP)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Australia win Ashes with crushing victory in third Test

PERTH: Australia won back the Ashes after bowling England out cheaply despite rain delays and a pitch controversy to secure an innings win on the final day of the third Test in Perth on Monday.
Having confirmed his status as the world’s best batsman with a match-winning double century, Steve Smith added victorious Ashes captain to his ever-expanding resume as England were dismissed for 218 in their second innings in the last Ashes Test to take place at the WACA Ground.
That gave the home side an innings-and-41-run win and an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, having won the opening two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Pat Cummins secured the famous urn for the home side when he had Chris Woakes caught behind for 22, prompting Australian celebrations.
But while it was a comfortable win, there was high drama on the final day courtesy of yet another WACA pitch controversy.
Victory seemed assured for Australia when they had England 132 for four at the conclusion of the fourth day, still 127 runs behind with Australia yet to bat again, but a rain-damaged pitch threatened to end the match without a ball being bowled on the final day.
Showers had caused play to be abandoned early on the fourth day and they continued through to Monday morning, forcing a scheduled early resumption to be canceled, with Australia needing just six more wickets to win the match and regain the Ashes.
Complicating matters further was a damp spot on the pitch, just outside the popping crease at the southern end of the ground.
WACA staff worked furiously with leaf blowers to try to dry the patch out as more showers passed through and the covers came on and off at regular intervals throughout the morning.
How the water got onto the wicket was unclear, although there was speculation it might have been linked to strong winds lifting the covers.
But umpires Chris Gaffaney and Marais Erasmus would not allow play to resume until they believed the pitch had been returned to the same condition as at the end of day four.
Play did not get underway until after lunch, and even then to the chagrin of an English camp who felt the conditions were dangerous.
England’s batsmen also had to contend with balls jagging violently off cracks on the pitch in a contentious end to 47 years of Ashes cricket at the WACA Ground.
Wickets tumbled quickly for England upon the delayed resumption, with overnight batsman and first-innings centurion Jonny Bairstow bowled for 14 by the first delivery he faced for the day from Josh Hazlewood, which kept low.
Hazlewood removed England’s last hope Dawid Malan — who backed up his first innings century with a fighting 54 before being caught behind — to finish with figures of 5-48.
Malan’s first day heroics, when England appeared to be in a dominant position at 368-4 from which an innings defeat would be almost impossible, seemed a distant memory as he trudged from the field.


Juventus too good for Man Utd on Ronaldo’s return

Updated 24 October 2018
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Juventus too good for Man Utd on Ronaldo’s return

  • Paulo Dybala scored the winner on 17 minutes as the Italian champions opened up a five-point lead over United at the top of Group H
  • The hosts failed to threaten until Paul Pogba’s curling shot from outside the box hit the post 15 minutes from time

MANCHESTER: Cristiano Ronaldo emerged victorious again on his second return to Old Trafford, but this time did not get on the scoresheet as Juventus outclassed Manchester United to win 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Instead Ronaldo played a supporting role by helping set up Paulo Dybala’s winner on 17 minutes as the Italian champions opened up a five-point lead over United at the top of Group H.
Jose Mourinho’s men were handed a break before kick-off as Valencia’s 1-1 draw away to Young Boys means United still hold a two-point lead over the Spaniards, but a fourth defeat of the season will see speculation over Mourinho’s future increase once more.
But for a series of excellent saves from David de Gea, the margin of defeat could have been far greater too as any momentum United gained from fightbacks against Newcastle and Chelsea in recent weeks in the Premier League faded away against one of the favorites to win the Champions League.
Ronaldo was given a hero’s welcome on his previous visit to Old Trafford with Real Madrid in 2013 after scoring 118 goals for United in six seasons between 2003 and 2009 to help the Red Devils win three Premier League titles and the first of his five Champions Leagues.
The Portuguese’s early days as Juventus player since making the move to Italy from Madrid this summer have been overshadowed by a rape allegation made against him in the United States.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has strongly denied the allegation and been backed by his new club, who paid 112 million euros ($129 million) for the 33-year-old in July.
But the reception he received from the United faithful this time was far more muted with only a mild cheer raised when his name in the Juventus line-up was announced.
Ronaldo scored the winner in a contentious Champions League last-16 tie for Madrid five years ago, but this time played the role of provider for Dybala to be the match-winner.
His cross intended for Juan Cuadrado ricocheted kindly off Chris Smalling into the path of Dybala to sweep the ball past De Gea for his fourth goal in two Champions League games.
As Juventus dominated the rest of the first half, only De Gea stood in their way of killing the game off before the break.
The Spaniard flew to his right to save Joao Cancelo’s fiercely-struck shot then produced a fine double save to parry Ronaldo’s free-kick and swat away Blaise Matuidi’s follow-up effort.
Top scorer in this competition for the past six seasons, Ronaldo is still searching for his first Champions League goal for Juventus having been sent off after just 30 minutes of his European debut against Valencia and subsequently banned for a 3-0 victory over Young Boys.
He couldn’t have done much more with an effort that soared toward De Gea’s top corner seven minutes into the second half only to see the United ‘keeper produce a miraculous right-handed save.
Going behind brought out the best in Mourinho’s side against Newcastle and Chelsea to help ease the pressure on the manager.
But the hosts failed to threaten until Paul Pogba’s curling shot from outside the box hit the post 15 minutes from time.
Anthony Martial also tested Wojciech Szczesny late on but Juventus held out for a deserved victory.