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Pakistan close in on series victory
Abu Dhabi: Pakistan grabbed an early wicket after Babar Azam struck a fluent 99 to edge closer to claiming a series victory over Australia in the second Test at Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Azam narrowly missed out on a hundred after an aggressive innings, while skipper Sarfraz Ahmed followed up his first-innings 94 with 81 as Pakistan declared their second innings at 400-9, setting a daunting 538-run target for the tourists.
 
 
Pakistan selectors bypass Amir for Twenty20 series
Lahore: Pakistan selectors once again left out fast bowler Mohammad Amir from the country’s 15-member squad set to square off against Australia during the three-match Twenty20 series starting next week. The 26-year-old went wicketless in three Asia Cup matches in the UAE last month, losing his place in the country’s Test squad as well as in the ongoing series against Australia. Another left-arm pacer Waqas Maqsood has been
   
Hamilton poised to join F1 greats as 5-time champion
Austin: Lewis Hamilton stands on the verge of history this week as he needs to out-score Sebastian Vettel by eight points at the United States Grand Prix to become only the third five-time Formula One world champion. If he does, the 33-year-old Briton will join Juan Manuel Fangio, champion in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 and Michael Schumacher, the title-winner in 1994 and 1995 who delivered five more for Ferrari from 2000 to
 
 
Injury forces Halep to withdraw from WTA Finals
Singapore: World number one Simona Halep withdrew from the WTA Finals in Singapore with a back injury on Thursday, bringing her season to a premature end. The French Open champion pulled out of last month’s China Open after just 31 minutes, and withdrew from this week’s Kremlin Cup because of the persistent problem. Halep, 27, said she had hoped to compete at the season finale in Singapore, which starts on Sunday, but that she
   
Pakistan’s Kaneria admits fixing guilt at last: Report
London: Pakistan’s Danish Kaneria has finally admitted his role in a fixing scandal that led to the imprisonment of former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield after six years of denials, Britain’s Daily Mail reported late Wednesday. Kaneria, who was given a life ban by English cricket chiefs that effectively applied worldwide, said in an interview for an Al Jazeera television documentary quoted by the Mail: “My name is Danish
 
 
Sprint king Bolt rejects Malta football offer
Sydney: Sprint superstar Usain Bolt has turned down a contract from Maltese champions Valletta and will remain in Australia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer, his agent said on Thursday. The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with A-League club the Central Coast Mariners since arriving Down Under in August. He scored two goals in a pre-season friendly last Friday but is yet to be offered a
   
Higuain okay with Juve trading up with CR7
Milan: AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain said on Thursday he was not bitter despite being “kicked out” by Juventus after superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival last summer. Juventus signed Higuain from Napoli for 90 million euros ($103 million) in 2016, but after the surprise arrival of Ronaldo from Real Madrid for 100 million euros ($115m) this summer, the Italian giants could not afford to keep the Argentine. Higuain -- loaned
 
 
Happy with Spurs squad despite no signings: Coach
London: Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has no regrets over failing to add to his squad in the close season, saying his team’s impressive start to the Premier League campaign justifies the decision. “It was difficult to achieve the player we needed,” Pochettino said. “That was impossible. I was happy and am happy with the squad that I have, 25 players. “We have no regrets, we are happy. When we started the season with
   
England’s Shaw extends Man.Utd contract to 2023
London: England left-back Luke Shaw has ended speculation over his future by signing a new five-year deal with Manchester United, the club announced on Thursday. Shaw, 23, was in the final year of the deal he signed four years ago when joining from Southampton as the world’s most expensive teenager at the time. “I am very proud to sign my new contract and continue my stay at this great club,” said Shaw. “I want to thank
 
 
Player party behind Slovakia coach’s resignation
Bratislava: Outgoing Slovakia coach Jan Kozak said Thursday he had resigned after finding seven players returning late from a party following a 2-1 loss to arch-rivals Czech Republic last weekend. “It hurt terribly, as if someone spat all over me. Like a slap in the face,” Kozak, a 64-year-old former midfielder, told reporters. “I’m terribly disappointed,” he added, naming Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, Inter Milan
   
Nigerian football officials charged with $9.5m fraud
Abuja: Three Nigerian football officials have been charged with fraud after allegedly diverting $9.5 million in FIFA grants for personal use, the country’s anti-corruption unit said on Thursday. Christopher Andekin, Jafaru Fadanari Mamza and Rajan Zaka allegedly committed the crime in 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement. “The money was a grant given by the Federation of International
 
 
Cipriani overlooked by England as Ashton returns
Twickenham: Danny Cipriani was left out by coach Eddie Jones when England’s squad for the November internationals at Twickenham was announced on Thursday. The fly-half has been in fine form for Gloucester this season, and was named Premiership player of the month for September, but that was not enough to persuade Jones to include him in a 36-man squad for next month’s home Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, 2019 World Cup
   
Cheika defends coaching staff as All Blacks loom
Sydney: Michael Cheika defended the Wallabies coaching team after a miserable season Thursday as he prepared for another tough assignment against the All Blacks next week in Japan. Cheika, who named three uncapped players in his squad, has some breathing space after Australia’s stunning comeback from 24 points down at half-time to beat Argentina 45-34 in Salta earlier this month. There had been growing public and media calls
 
 
Vidal fined 800,000 euros for Munich nightclub fight
Berlin: Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has been hit with a 800,000 euros ($921,812) fine by a Munich court after being found guilty of assault during a nightclub fight last year. Munich district court fined the Chile international based on 80 days worth of wages, calculated to be 10,000 euros per day for the Barcelona player, who left Bayern Munich in August after three years with the German giants. The 31-year-old was not in
   
Mouratoglou makes plea for on-court coaching
NEW YORK: The coach whose attempts to guide Serena Williams mid-match during this year’s US Open final led to her explosive row with the umpire and a code violation en route to defeat, has called for on-court coaching to be permitted. Patrick Mouratoglou admitted gesturing to Williams from the stands during her match with Japan’s Naomi Osaka — in contravention of US Open and other grand slam tournament rules — but the American
 
 
Kyrgios calls time on season due to elbow injury
Moscow: Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios called time on his season Thursday after an elbow injury forced him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The world number 37, who had been playing on a wild card in Russia, said he was heading home to prepare for the 2019 campaign. “It’s very unfortunate dealing with an ongoing elbow injury I dealt with at the start of the season,” 23-year-old Kyrgios said in a statement.
   
Rashid, Curran star in England’s big ODI win
Kandy: Bowlers Adil Rashid and Tom Curran set up England’s comfortable seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the rain-shortened third one-day international in Kandy on Wednesday. Rashid and Curran shared seven wickets between them to restrict Sri Lanka to 150-9 in the 21-overs-a-side contest. The visitors surpassed the total in 18.3 overs to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Skipper Eoin Morgan remained
 
 
Shuttler Saina in Denmark Open quarter-finals
Odense: Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal defeated world number two Akane Yamaguchi of Japan for the first time in four years to enter the women’s singles quarterfinals of the Denmark Open here on Thursday. Later in the day, more good news was in store for India as Sameer Verma held his nerve to beat Asian Games champion Jonathan Christie to reach the last-eight stage of men’s singles. The ninth-ranked Verma let go of three
   
Ex-Masters champ Willett in early hunt in S.Korea
Jeju: Former Masters champion Danny Willett got into the hunt early at the CJ Cup in South Korea on Thursday. The Englishman has not won a tournament since his shock 2016 success at Augusta National, but was joint second with a three-under 69 in the first round of the US$9.5 million US PGA tournament. Chez Reavie of the US was in front by one shot after a chilly and blustery day at the Club at Nine Bridges on the tourist island
 
 
Davis shines as Pelicans open season with Rockets rout
Los Angeles: Anthony Davis scored 32 points and Elfrid Payton finished with a triple double as the New Orleans Pelicans got their NBA season off to a roaring start by clobbering the Houston Rockets 131-112 on Wednesday. Davis also had 16 rebounds and eight assists and Payton finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who led wire-to-wire. The Pelicans’ dominating win in front of a crowd of 18,000 at
   
West Indies opener Lewis withdraws from India ODI tour
NEW DELHI: West Indies opener Evin Lewis has withdrawn from the limited-overs leg of the India tour for personal reasons, Cricket West Indies (CWI) has said. Kieran Powell will replace the 26-year-old batsman in the one-day international squad, while Nicholas Pooran, who last featured for West Indies in 2016, takes his spot in the Twenty20 side. Lewis’ withdrawal comes as a major blow to the Windies one-day international line-
 
 
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