Proteas spoil Ponting farewell with big win

Updated 04 December 2012
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Proteas spoil Ponting farewell with big win

PERTH: South Africa thrashed Australia by 309 runs in the third Test yesterday to hold on to their No. 1 Test ranking and ruin an emotional farewell for veteran batsman Ricky Ponting.
Set a mammoth target of 632 runs to win, Australia lost their first wicket on the second ball of the fourth day and they were eventually dismissed for 322 as the Proteas sealed the three-Test series 1-0.
Graeme Smith’s South Africans became the first team in two decades to defeat Australia on home soil in consecutive tours, with the West Indies the previous team to achieve it in 1992-93.
Smith said winning two series in Australia in a row was his finest moment in cricket.
“It has been a tremendous effort,” he said.
“I am extremely humbled ... for us it means the world, there are people in our set-up who have taken many beatings on tours of Australia.
“We know what is required to win here, we have been a part of something really incredible and special. This is the proudest achievement of my career.”
The South Africans achieved it with sporting good grace after forming a highly unusual honor guard for Ponting, 37, Test cricket’s second highest run-scorer, as he emerged for his final innings.
“I was a little bit embarrassed and wish it didn’t happen that way, but it was an amazing gesture by Graeme and the South African team,” Ponting said.
In their 200th Test since being allowed back into international cricket, South Africa were only denied their biggest-ever victory in a match decided in the fourth innings by a defiant 87-run last-wicket stand.
Number 10 Mitchell Starc smashed an unbeaten 68 off 43 balls to share in the highest-ever last wicket partnership at Perth’s WACA Ground with Nathan Lyon 31 off 43 balls.
South Africa’s win also continued their remarkable away record, with the Proteas not beaten in an away series since losing 2-0 in Sri Lanka in 2006. They have lost none of their three Tests at the WACA, with two wins and a draw.
The Australians went into the match as the form side in the two prior drawn Tests.
Australian captain Michael Clarke lamented his team’s inability to win the second Test in Adelaide and also their performance on day two in Perth, when they collapsed with the bat to be dismissed for 163, and then watched South Africa plunder 206 runs in the final session to take total control.
“South Africa showed why they are the number one Test team in the world,” he said.
“What South Africa showed us was when they had momentum, they ran with it as long as they could and when they didn’t have momentum they did everything in their power to grab it back.”
Australia needed to produce an unprecedented run chase to win the match, but that never looked a possibility after David Warner (29) fell to Vernon Philander (2-41) in the first over of the day.

In his 168th and final Test, Ponting came to the crease at 81 for two, but the fairytale ending did not materialize and he made just eight in his last innings.
He lasted only 23 deliveries and 40 minutes before he was caught at first slip by Jacques Kallis attempting to force spinner Robin Peterson off the back foot just before lunch.
“I’ve been lucky to play as many Tests as I have and cherished every moment, it was always going to end at some stage I guess,” Ponting said.
Ponting finished his career with 13,378 Test runs at 51.85, including 41 centuries, but with just 32 runs in his last series at 6.40.
Ponting also shares the record of 168 Test appearances for his country with his predecessor as Australian captain, Steve Waugh.
Clarke and Mike Hussey briefly steadied the Australian ship with a 58-run stand for the fifth wicket, before both fell in quick succession just before tea as the Proteas turned the screw.
Clarke was stumped from the bowling of Peterson (3-127) for 44, while Hussey became the 13th Australian to pass 6,000 Test runs before being caught behind for 26 from the bowling of Dale Steyn (3-72).


Rockets outlast Warriors 98-94, edge closer to NBA Finals

Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets goes up against Quinn Cook #4 of the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 25 May 2018
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Rockets outlast Warriors 98-94, edge closer to NBA Finals

  • The Rockets head into Game 6 on Saturday night in Oakland one win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals.
  • After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.

HOUSTON, Texas: Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 24 points and his steal on Golden State’s last possession secured a 98-94 victory Thursday night that gave the Houston Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Rockets head into Game 6 on Saturday night in Oakland one win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
Chris Paul scored 20 points and James Harden struggled for his 19, but Paul had to leave the game in the final minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Warriors, who lost in Game 5 of a playoff series for just the second time since 2015.
The Rockets won a second straight defensive struggle between the two potent offenses, leaving the Warriors a loss from missing the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.
“We had to rely on our defense once again,” Harden said. “Game 4, we weren’t making shots but defensively we were really good. Same thing tonight.”
Draymond Green made a 3-pointer with just over minute left to get Golden State within one. Harden, who was 0 for 11 on 3s, missed his last one with less than 30 seconds left, giving the Warriors the ball back.
Stephen Curry missed a floater and Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. But he made just one of two free throws to give the Warriors another chance.
But Gordon came up with his steal when Green lost control in the lane and added two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to put it away.
Klay Thompson shook off a knee injury that had his status for this game in question to score 23 points and Curry added 22. A bruised left knee kept Andre Iguodala out for the second straight game, and Kevon Looney started in his place.
After losing Game 1 of the series, the Rockets made the best of home-court advantage this time, thrilling a sellout crowd that included Justin Timberlake, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and rapper Travis Scott.
It’s Houston’s second straight win in the series after snapping Golden State’s NBA playoff-record, 16-game home winning streak with a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.
Golden State led by one to start the fourth before Paul got going, scoring seven points to power a 10-5 run that gave the Rockets an 81-77 lead with about 9 1/2 minutes left.
Thompson made a 3-pointer after that and then officials reviewed Paul’s first basket of the quarter and ruled he got it off after the shot clock expired, leaving the Warriors ahead 80-79.
The Rockets were clinging to a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Durant fouled Gordon on a 3-point attempt, losing one of his shoes in the process. Gordon made all three free throws to start a 7-2 spurt that extended the lead to 88-82 midway through the quarter.
The Rockets honored the 10 people killed in last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, before the game, with the school’s choir singing the national anthem and team owner Tilman Fertitta wearing a “Santa Fe Strong” T-shirt, before Houston scored the game’s first six points in a first half where the team led by as many as 11.

TIP-INS
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr was unsure Thursday if Iguodala would be able to return for Game 6. “He’s dying to play, but he’s not healthy enough,” Kerr said. “We’ll just continue to take it day to day..”.. Curry made four free throws to tie Rick Barry for most free throws made in the playoffs in franchise history with 378. ... Golden State had 18 turnovers.
Rockets: Clint Capela had 12 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double this postseason. ... Houston made 13 of 43 3-pointers, led by four from Gordon.

UP NEXT
After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.