Australia international joins Saudi Pro League club

Rhys Williams celebrates scoring for Melbourne Victory in the Melbourne Victory celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Ulsan Hyundai during their AFC Champions League. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Australia international joins Saudi Pro League club

  • 14-cap defender joins Al-Qadsiah
  • 'We thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best,' says former coach

LONDON: Saudi Pro League side Al-Qadsiah have pulled off something of a transfer coup by signing Australia international defender Rhys Williams.
Melbourne Victory were very keen to hang on to the 29-year-old, who has been capped 14 times by the Socceroos, but Al-Qadsiah have managed to get him out of the last year of his contract and lure him to the Kingdom. Al-Qadsiah are reported to have paid Melbourne Victory €400,000 ($466,000) for his services.


"We are obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of Rhys' quality," Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat said. "We'd planned for Rhys to be here for at least another season, but in the end we honoured the agreement we made when he first joined the club, so we thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best.
"While it's frustrating when things like this happen, we will continue adding quality players to the squad ahead of the new season."
Griffiths started his career in England, playing for Middlesbrough, Burnley and Charlton before moving to Australia two years ago, where he played for Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory.
Named in the A-League team of the year, he will be expected to help shore up a Al-Qadsiah defence that conceded 41 goals in 26 league games last season, meaning they flirted with relegation for much of the campaign before finishing one point and one place above safety.

Griffiths will hope to last longer in the Kingdom than countryman and former Melbourne teammate Mark Milligan. The national team midfielder joined Al-Ahli in January but his contract was terminated last week


Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

Updated 17 November 2018
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Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

KANDY: Captain Joe Root smashed 124 and newcomer Ben Foakes again hit valuable tail end runs to put England in command of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
England reached 324 for nine — a second innings lead of 278 — when bad light stopped play for the day in Kandy.
Foakes was batting on 51 alongside James Anderson on four.
Spinner Akila Danajanya, whose action is under investigation by the International Cricket Council, claimed six wickets on the turning pitch.
He trapped Root lbw and then bowled Sam Curran for nought with his next ball. Adil Rashid thwarted the hat-trick but soon fell to Dananjaya’s guile for two.
It was his third five wicket haul in just his fifth Test for Dananjaya, who must rush off to Australia after the game for an ICC examination of his bowling.
He however could not stop Root and Foakes swinging the game.
Root reached his 15th Test ton soon after tea, making the sweep and reverse sweep valuable weapons, as he hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 146-ball knock.
Root said he enjoyed making the runs despite the pressure.
“That’s what it should be. You shouldn’t feel pressure like the pressure is too much for you, you should enjoy the occasion and make the most of the opportunity in front of you,” he said after the day’s play.
“The whole group managed to harness that today and make the most of it.”
Root raised his bat to a standing ovation from traveling English fans who also lauded Foakes.
Root made an 82-run seventh wicket stand with Foakes, who reached his fifty with a six off Dilruwan Perera. The hit turned out to be the last ball of the day with dark clouds gathering and thunder heard in the distance.
As he did in his sparkling century on Test debut in the opening game of the series, Foakes mixed caution and aggression to push up the England score.
Every one of England’s top seven batsmen were out attempting a sweep of some description.
Jos Buttler dragged one of Dananjaya’s deliveries onto his stumps while trying to reverse sweep on 34. Moeen Ali was trapped lbw for 10 after failing to connect with an attempted sweep.
“From my point of view, it was almost a safer shot than playing the forward defensive,” said Root.
“With the amount the ball was turning there’s a lot of risk involved in that. At times attack is the best form of defense on a wicket like that.”
Earlier, left-hander Rory Burns registered his maiden Test half-century in just his second match. He was trapped lbw off Malinda Pushpakumara for 59.
Burns then put together 73 runs for the second wicket with Keaton Jennings, who made 26, to steady the innings and help England overcome their 46-run deficit.
“I think the temptation with a deficit like that going into the second innings is to play within your shell and be a bit insular but the guys went out and set the tone at top of the order,” said Root.
“It was really pleasing to see inexperienced guys as Test cricketers really set the benchmark for the rest of the group, a really good platform for us.
“Hopefully we still stretch the lead further and that should be a good chase on this surface.”