Injured Taylor hammers career-best 181 as New Zealand beat England

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor bats during the fourth ODI cricket Test match between New Zealand and England at University Oval in Dunedin on March 7, 2018. (Marty Melville/AFP)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Injured Taylor hammers career-best 181 as New Zealand beat England

DUNEDIN, New Zealand: Injury-hit Ross Taylor played through the pain to score a remarkable unbeaten 181 and seal a series-levelling win for New Zealand in the fourth one-day international against England Wednesday.
Taylor limped through much of his innings in Dunedin after aggravating a thigh injury, but batted on to compile a career-best innings and make it 2-2 in the series with one to play.
New Zealand ended on 339 for five in reply to England’s 335 for nine, winning by five wickets and taking the five-match series to a crunch decider in Christchurch on Saturday.
Taylor scored 17 fours and six sixes as New Zealand reached the target with three balls to spare, wincing with pain after every shot in the latter half of his innings.
“It’s still sinking in,” he said after tearfully leaving the field to a standing ovation, revealing team medics gave him the option of retiring hurt due to the pain.
“I was glad I made the decision to stay out there and swing.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson rated Taylor’s innings as “one of the great one-day knocks” and said he hoped the batsman would be fit for the decider.
“Ross’s knock was just sensational, he’s kind of been batting like that all year,” he said.
“Hopefully his injuries are minor and we can see him in the next game.”
Taylor’s heroics in scoring his 19th ODI century overshadowed a fine batting performance from England, marred by a late collapse that cost them dearly.
Jonny Bairstow blazed his way to 138 off 106 balls and Joe Root grafted out a hard-fought 102 before England self-destructed late in their innings.
England captain Eoin Morgan had no explanation for the collapse but was confident his side’s deep batting line-up would not fail so spectacularly again.
“It isn’t ideal. Normally one of us (batsmen) comes off, so it is a first,” he said.
“We won’t look into it too much at the moment if he happens consistently we’ll have to do something.”
New Zealand’s chase started disastrously when openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro both went for ducks.
Kane Williamson and Taylor rebuilt with an 84-run partnership before England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes dismissed the New Zealand captain at 45 in the 17th over.
Taylor and Tom Latham then combined for a 187-run partnership, with Latham contributing 71.
Taylor’s injury came when he was on 109 and had to dive to avoid a run-out, inflaming the thigh strain that forced him out of the previous match in the series.
Unable to run freely, he concentrated on hitting boundaries, taking New Zealand to the position where they needed 80 off the final 10 overs.
England slowed New Zealand’s momentum with Latham’s dismissal and Colin de Grandhomme’s departure on 23.
Henry Nicholls looked nervy when he came to the crease but worked well to give Taylor most of the strike.
With three runs needed off the final over, Nicholls faced two dot balls then smashed Tom Curran for six to seal the win.
England should have put the match beyond reach after Bairstow and Root had them at 267 for 1 in the 38th over.
But Bairstow’s departure sparked a collapse that saw six wickets go for 21 runs, ending their hopes of setting a monster total on the small University Oval ground.
A late cameo of 22 off 10 balls from Curran added a degree of difficulty to the target but also showed New Zealand’s batsmen that there were runs in the pitch.
Ish Sodhi led the Black Caps’ fightback with the ball, taking four for 58, while Colin Munro and Trent Boult took two wickets apiece.


Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

City were humbled by French side Lyon in Manchester. (Reuters)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Man City humbled in 2-1 loss to Lyon in Champions League

  • City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign

MANCHESTER, England: If Manchester City wants to finally win a first Champions League title, it will have to start taking the competition a bit more seriously — on and off the field.
Surrounded by swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium, City’s players were humbled 2-1 by Lyon in a sloppy and apathetic display at the start of their European campaign on Wednesday.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola did fill one seat in the stands and he saw his Premier League champions easily picked apart by the French visitors.
“We felt under threat every time we lost the ball and sometimes that brings the confidence a little bit lower,” said City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who was in charge on the bench in Guardiola’s absence.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how careless City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph’s swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City’s troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon’s lead in the 43rd by striking through the legs of John Stones.
“It was a difficult game,” said Depay, who struggled to make an impact at Manchester United before leaving after two seasons in 2017. “But when we had the ball we tried to play and when we won the ball we tried to counterattack.”
Perhaps the only reason for City to feel aggrieved in the first half was Gabriel Jesus being denied a penalty when he was tripped by former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva just before Depay scored.
“To concede two goals like we did is very frustrating,” Stones said. “We came in at halftime a bit deflated I think. But we picked ourselves up and we came out second half fighting and played a better second half.”
But the improvement wasn’t sufficient.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane’s cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago, and are widely seen as one of the big favorites in this season’s Champions League.
“I suffered as I was scared they’d score a second goal,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “We would have taken 2-2 before the match but given the way the game went we’d have been disappointed not to leave with the three points.”
With Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk also in Group F, City appeared to have one of the kinder draws but is now playing catch-up.
Celebrating a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, which allowed City to assemble a squad for more than $1 billion, the Champions League is the one big prize the club has yet to win.
But City fans still have a fraught relationship with Europe’s premier competition.