England beat Australia again to lead ODI series 2-0

England’s Moeen Ali, center without a cap, celebrates with his team after he got the wicket of Australia’s David Warner, not shown, during the one-day cricket match between England and Australia in Brisbane, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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England beat Australia again to lead ODI series 2-0

BRISBANE: England cruised to a four-wicket victory over Australia in Friday’s second one-day cricket international at the Gabba to take a 2-0 lead in their five-match series.
Joe Root captured two vital wickets to help the tourists restrict Australia to a modest total of 270 for nine, then the England captain made an unbeaten 46 as his side reached their winning target with more than 5 overs to spare to seize control of the series after Sunday’s five-wicket win in Melbourne.
Jonny Bairstow (60) and Alex Hayes (57) both made half-centuries while Root, Jos Buttler (46) and Chris Woakes (39 not out) all made valuable contributions after Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc took 4-59 to give the home team hope of victory.
Aaron Finch scored his second century in as many matches for Australia but received little support from his teammates with no-one else making at least 40.
Finch followed up his 107 from the series-opener in Melbourne with a brisk 106 off 114 balls. He shared a 68-run partnership with fellow opener Dave Warner (35) then joined Mitchell Marsh (36) in an 85-run stand for the fourth wicket before England put the brakes on Australia’s scoring by taking 3-7 in two overs.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey, one of two players making their ODI debuts for Australia, chipped in with 27 off just 24 deliveries before he was run out as the home side managed just 57 runs from the last 10 overs.
Root was the pick of the visiting team’s bowlers, taking 2-31, including the prized wicket of the Australian skipper Steve Smith for 18, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid also bagged two wickets.
Jason Roy, who made a record 180 in Melbourne, managed only two this time before falling to Starc but his early dismissal had no impact on the result.
England stuck with the same lineup that successfully chased down Australia’s 304-8 to win in Melbourne while the home side made three changes.
Carey replaced Tim Paine, who was ruled out with illness, while Jhye Richardson earned his first cap after taking over from Pat Cummins, who was rested after undertaking a heavy workload during the Ashes test series.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa was dropped to make way for veteran middle-order batsman Cameron White, who finished unbeaten on 15.


Saudi Arabia hopeful ahead of opening Asian Games clash against Iran

Updated 31 min 7 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia hopeful ahead of opening Asian Games clash against Iran

  • Young Falcons hopeful of a semifinal spot.
  • Under-23 players keen on making a name for themselves in Indonesia.

JAKARTA: There is a widely held belief that to succeed in sport, you must start early.
Officials from the Saudi Arabia National Olympic Committee will be hoping it rings true this month as the Kingdom’s Under-23 football team prepares to prematurely kick-off its Asian Games campaign this afternoon in Jakarta, three days before the continent’s largest multi-sport competition officially begins.
Similar to the Olympics, the football tournament starts before the opening ceremony and finishes on the competition’s final day, Sept. 2. The fledgling Young Falcons face Iran today at the 28,000-capacity Wibawa Mukti Stadium in the Indonesian capital.
The Saudi NOC have brought a delegation of 169 athletes, including eight females, and will compete across 22 disciplines, including athletics, shooting, taekwondo and volleyball. The three-week Asian Games operate both as a continental precursor and, at times, a qualifying tournament for 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Young Falcons made their football debut at the Asian Games in South Korea four years ago, reaching the quarterfinals in Incheon, before losing to Iraq. Their regional neighbors were inspired by legendary striker Younes Mahmoud, who had been included as one of Iraq’s three over-age players and scored twice in a 3-0 win.
Yet the impact of Mahmoud in Korea has not influenced the team’s selection. With the Saudi Pro League starting next week, coach Saad Al-Shehri has opted to forego athletes older than 23, instead selecting a squad consisting primarily of Al-Ahli development players and a smattering of Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Ettifaq-based youths.
“We haven’t brought any overage players because we are playing here as preparation for the U23 Asian Cup, which will offer qualification for Tokyo 2020,” said Faisal Almarashdi, a spokesman for the team.
“We have brought to Indonesia only players who are 21 or under as they will all be eligible for Tokyo. Many have already played at the Under-20 World Cup under coach Saad, so there was never any discussion to use the three allocated over-age slots.”
Abdullah Otayf is the model example of how Asian Games experience can help a young career. Four years ago, the deep-lying midfielder was part of the squad that traveled to Korea. This summer he was an integral part of the Green Falcons side that played at the World Cup in Russia. 
With national team coach Juan Antonio Pizzi following the competition from afar, there will be chances to catch the eye for the likes of striker Haroune Camara and midfielders Abdullah Yahya Magrshi and Ali Hassan Al-Asmari ahead of January’s Asian Cup. Both midfielders have already made their full debuts for Ahli and featured in the Jeddah club’s Champions League campaign last season, while Al-Qadisiyah’s Camara was included in Pizzi’s provisional World Cup squad before being cut from the final 23.
“These Asian Games are very important for the young players involved,” Almarashdi added.
“They are the future of the senior team so if they play well here and at the U23 Asian Cup then, we hope, they will go to Tokyo 2020. From then on the pathway to the senior team is already very clear.”  
Much like the seniors, the U23 side is both short and slight, with only two of the 10 midfielders and forwards standing above 5 foot 8 (172m). Today’s opponents Iran are not only taller and more physical, they also have, in Croatian coach Zlatko Kranjčar, a manager who knows West Asian football after short spells in Qatar and the UAE. In their most recent preparation match, Iran lost 3-2 to China. 
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, beat the UAE last week in Malaysia following a pair of friendlies against local sides. Today’s match will kick-off at 4 p.m. local time, midday in Saudi Arabia.