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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:54:51 GMT2017-09-22T08:54:51Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Aaron Hernandez lawyer says ex-NFL star had 'severe' case of CTE

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:24:15 GMT2017-09-21T20:24:15Z

Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who killed himself in April while serving a life sentence for murder, was found to have a “severe case” of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the progressive degenerative brain disease that’s been linked to repeated blows to the head.

Attorney Jose Baez, who represented the former Pro Bowl tight end, said Hernandez’s brain was found to have one of the most severe forms of the disease in a news conference on Thursday.

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Andre Ward, boxing's pound-for-pound world No1, announces shock retirement

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:43:36 GMT2017-09-21T15:43:36Z

  • Undefeated pound-for-pound king announces his retirement at 33
  • Ward says ‘my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport’
  • Olympic champion had not lost as a pro or amateur since he was 13

Andre Ward, the unified light heavyweight champion widely recognized as the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.

The Olympic champion attributed a physical toll and waning desire to his decision to walk away at the relatively young age of 33.

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Chelsea confirm agreement to sell Diego Costa to Atlético Madrid for £57m

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:47:48 GMT2017-09-21T13:47:48Z

• Spain striker’s return to La Liga subject to medical and personal terms
• Costa has not played for Chelsea this season after dispute with Antonio Conte

Chelsea have confirmed they have reached agreement with Atlético Madrid over the sale of Diego Costa, with the Spain striker expected to complete his return to La Liga subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical.

The 28-year-old has yet to feature for the Premier League champions this season after being told he was not part of Antonio Conte’s plans. But despite Atlético being subjected to a transfer ban, a statement from Chelsea on Thursday said Costa is set to rejoin the Spanish club for a fee believed to be in the region of £57m three years after he moved to London for £32m.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:17:26 GMT2017-09-22T07:17:26Z

Liverpool look to blow away September blues, Saints seek 90s spirit to topple Manchester United and Sanches can show his class for Swansea

Liverpool fans could be forgiven for thinking January would be a shoo-in for their most miserable month of 2017. September, however, has the potential to be equally bleak. Jürgen Klopp’s side have yet to win this month, and opportunities to change that sorry state of affairs are thin on the ground, with only away games at Leicester City and Spartak Moscow remaining. A second defeat in four days at the King Power is far from unthinkable – the Foxes have been a bogey team since the 1960s, while Klopp may be forced to pair Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez at the back – and could send their season into a negative spiral, with a tricky run of games to come in October, nearly all away from Anfield. On the flip side, it wouldn’t take much for Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to click sweetly again as they did in pre-season, in which case Klopp’s side could regain their momentum in some style. It’ll be fascinating to see which Liverpool turns up; good luck calling it. SM

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Amazon and Facebook keen on Premier League rights, say Manchester United

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:41:33 GMT2017-09-21T18:41:33Z

• Tech companies’ interest will escalate financial boom for top clubs
• Ed Woodward announces record income made by United

Amazon and Facebook are likely to bid for Premier League streaming rights, which will further escalate the huge financial boom for England’s top clubs, the Manchester United vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has said.

In his quarterly call with bank executives who invest in United’s shares on the New York stock exchange, Woodward said the pair were very interested in the last round of rights deals for 2016-19, which the Premier League sold primarily to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn.

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Jake LaMotta was not a great champion but one of the toughest, a boxing beast | Kevin Mitchell

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:06:28 GMT2017-09-21T13:06:28Z

The fine details of his brief reign as world middleweight champion are not always absorbed in recollections of his career, mainly because one of the greatest films of all time painted him in classically Shakespearean mode

Jake LaMotta should have been in Las Vegas to watch Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Álvarez, two distinguished middleweights pitched together to echo the deeds of the division’s glorious past, a fight reckoned to restore boxing’s faltering image. LaMotta, who knew a lot about the game’s sullied reputation, would have given it a wry smile.

The fight did not quite do its job. It was a terrific rather than a truly great contest and dreadful misjudgment by one of the officials overwhelmingly in favour of Álvarez returned a split draw, drowning out all other post-fight sentiments. So, unfairly but inevitably, Golovkin-Álvarez will be remembered only slightly more fondly than the theatrical crossover fight in the same ring three weeks earlier between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

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Bankrupt Lehman Brothers profits from Formula One sale

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:31:10 GMT2017-09-21T16:31:10Z

The collapsed bank will sell its stake in Nasdaq-listed auto racing empire, making a hefty $1.5bn from a $300m investment

Creditors of Lehman Brothers are on track for a turbocharged windfall after the collapsed bank announced it is selling its stake in Nasdaq-listed Formula One auto racing, giving it a payout of $1.5bn from a $300m investment.

The offering also brings the chequered flag down on former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone’s time as a shareholder. The billionaire business magnate is offloading his remaining stake for $20m. Ecclestone first took over the wheel of F1 40 years ago and transformed it from being an amateur hobby into a race series which had revenue of $1.8bn last year.

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Why it's time for the New York Giants to move on from Eli Manning

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:48:06 GMT2017-09-20T13:48:06Z

The improbable two-time Super Bowl winner is 36 and at the helm of the NFL’s most anemic offense. With no heir apparent in line, could a trade be the answer?

Eli Manning’s run of good fortune in New York has run out. The quarterback who won his first of two improbable Super Bowl titles thanks in no small part to a helmet catch, is now leading an offense that would need a huge dose of luck just to score 20 points in a game.

New York’s latest prime-time debacle on Monday night at home against the Lions, a game in which all-universe receiver Odell Beckham returned from injury, saw the Giants put up just 10 points – meaning the Giants have just 13 points on the season and have now failed to crack 20 points in eight consecutive games dating back to late November of 2016. A team with Beckham and a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, a team that acquired Brandon Marshall in the offseason and drafted a tight end in the first round, simply can’t produce any points. Since Week 13 last year, the Giants have the lowest-scoring offense in the entire NFL. Yes, even lower than the football punch line they share a stadium with: the New York Jets, a team all but officially tanking for draft picks.

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Carlos Tevez: Chinese players ‘aren’t skilled’ and ‘even in 50 years, won’t compete’

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:00:20 GMT2017-09-21T12:00:20Z

• Shanghai Shenhua forward hits back after chairman suggested he was unfit
• Tevez has scored only three goals in 13 CSL appearances

Carlos Tevez has hit back at suggestions from Shanghai Shenhua’s chairman that he is unfit to play, describing Chinese players as “not naturally skilled” and doubting whether they will be able to compete with the best nations “even in 50 years”.

Related: Carlos Tevez's big-money move to China has proved an expensive mistake

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Justin Rose out to erase Masters blow by cashing in on FedEx Cup ‘bucket-lister’

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:00:15 GMT2017-09-20T21:00:15Z

• ‘You think about it but it’s possible to play for $10m and not get distracted by it’
• Any time you win ‘a season’ on a tour, it’s a big deal, says 37-year-old

Justin Rose’s motivation to secure the FedEx Cup goes beyond the $10m bounty that he, unlike others, is happy to admit he is thinking about. Rose’s 2017 thus far is dominated by a near miss, that at the Masters in April, with the former US Open champion determined to make success rather than falling short his season’s story line.

“Right now, everybody, including myself, would sum up my year as that I lost in a play-off at the Masters,” Rose said. “That would make most players’ year and that’s what they would be remembered for in 2017. But this would certainly rectify things on that front, for sure.

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Nobody won at the Golovkin-Álvarez fight – and boxing was the biggest loser

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:14:15 GMT2017-09-20T13:14:15Z

The sport took a step forward with Saturday’s gripping fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez – and two steps back with more dubious judging

George Foreman once said boxing is the sport to which all other sports aspire, and for 47 electrifying minutes on Saturday night that maxim rang as true as the middleweights Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez, two of the finest pure fighters of their generation, met in a contest of extreme physical and psychological intensity, holding a sold-out arena and a worldwide audience of millions in their thrall. It was that rarest of unicorns: a main event that managed to exceed the years of hype that preceded it. The sport could have scarcely dreamt of a better advertisement. Until, that is, the decision.

Whenever boxing asks the broader public to lean forward and pay attention, it seems a self-defeating blow is never too far ahead, reminding everyone why they abandoned the sport in the first place.

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Zinedine Zidane rues missed chances as Real Madrid lose at home to Real Betis

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:29:56 GMT2017-09-21T08:29:56Z

• Antonio Sanabria winner leaves Real seven points behind Barcelona
• ‘The ball just didn’t go in,’ says Zidane as 73-match scoring run ends

Zinedine Zidane lamented Real Madrid’s home form as the defending Spanish and European champions slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat by Real Betis on Wednesday.

The result means Real are without a win in their three league games at the Bernabéu this season, having also drawn with Valencia and Levante. Zidane’s side are seventh in the table, seven points behind the leaders, Barcelona, who are the only side left in La Liga with a perfect record after five games.

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Manchester United and Marcus Rashford allow Burton little consolation

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:26:00 GMT2017-09-20T22:26:00Z

José Mourinho had no sooner watched Manchester United swat aside Burton Albion before he suggested he would not be averse to the League Cup being scrapped. Mourinho has claimed the trophy four times as a manager – including his first silverware with United last season – and is the only one of the current 92 league managers to win it.

Yet of a competition that dates from the 1960-61 season, he said: “Could the English football survive or even be better without this competition? Maybe, maybe we would be fresher for European competition for example. But we have this competition, we have to respect the sponsors, we have to respect the opponents and a lot of us are trying to do our best.

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Michael Phelps says he has 'no desire' to return to competitive swimming

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:51:21 GMT2017-09-20T03:51:21Z

  • American says he has ‘no desire’ to add to haul of 28 Olympic medals
  • Father of one says he’s excited about building a life beyond swimming
  • Phelps, 32, claimed five gold medals and one silver at Rio Olympics

Michael Phelps wondered if watching others compete at the world championships would pique his desire for another comeback.

Nope.

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Rory McIlroy has endured 12 months of torment but he can still bounce back | Ewan Murray

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:01:58 GMT2017-09-20T10:01:58Z

A year ago Rory McIlroy won the FedEx Cup in fine style – nobody could reasonably have predicted what happened next but a return to form may be round the corner

It would be an act of exaggeration to suggest the absence of Rory McIlroy casts a dark shadow over the conclusion to the FedEx Cup. The American golfing public are perfectly content with a scenario whereby Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Justin Thomas are the most likely to leave East Lake on Sunday evening $10m richer.

Nonetheless, just as any event is richer in appeal for McIlroy’s involvement, now is the right time to reflect on a 12-month spell that, even by the standards of this player’s uncanny propensity to write his own headlines, stands out.

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Alex Morgan scores twice as USA hit five past New Zealand in friendly

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 03:38:03 GMT2017-09-20T03:38:03Z

  • Alex Morgan double powers US in 5-0 win over New Zealand in friendly
  • United States women improve to 9-3-0 this year with four games to go
  • Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Lynne Williams added goals for the US

Alex Morgan scored twice and the US women’s national team concluded a two-game series against New Zealand with a 5-0 victory at Nippert Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Americans improved to 9-3-0 this year. There are four more games left on the team’s 2017 schedule.

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Kevin Durant admits to 'childish' and 'idiotic' tweets ripping former team

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:38:20 GMT2017-09-19T21:38:20Z

  • Warriors star confesses to Twitter misstep on Tuesday at tech conference
  • Durant had ripped his former team in third person from official account

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant admitted on Tuesday to posting comments on Twitter that were critical of his former team and coach.

The eight-time NBA All-Star sent the tweets on Sunday in response to a fan who asked for “one legitimate reason” for Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors in July 2016. Writing in the third person, Durant responded by saying “he didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan” and that “his roster wasn’t that good, it was just him and [Russell Westbrook].”

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Lionel Messi hits four to lead rampant Barcelona’s hammering of Eibar

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:23:56 GMT2017-09-19T22:23:56Z

Lionel Messi turned on the style once again with four goals as Barcelona maintained their 100% start in La Liga with a crushing 6-1 win over Eibar at the Camp Nou. The Argentinian launched a devastating second-half display to sink the visitors, with further goals coming from Denis Suárez and Paulinho, while Sergi Enrich replied.

Ernesto Valverde made a number of changes, with Luis Suárez dropping to the bench and the new signing Ousmane Dembélé ruled out for four months with a hamstring injury. There were few signs of the performance to come as the hosts once again struggled in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind. Enrich raced clear on to a David Juncà through ball with just three minutes on the clock but fired a tame shot straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

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Embarrassment for FA as Glenn contradicts lawyers about Sampson investigation

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:13:34 GMT2017-09-21T19:13:34Z

• Chief executive says a black woman was deliberately chosen
• FA lawyers had already sent letter to Guardian saying this was ‘plainly false’

Martin Glenn, the Football Association’s heavily criticised chief executive, faces further embarrassment after admitting the organisation deliberately chose a black woman to investigate the Mark Sampson race allegations – without apparently realising the FA’s lawyers had already sent a letter to the Guardian warning such a claim was “plainly false”.

Glenn, one of the executives most under scrutiny after Sampson’s sudden sacking on Wednesday, promised he would offer a personal apology to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence if the controversial and reopened independent inquiry found that the now‑deposed England women’s manager had made racial comments to the two players.

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Greater expectation for new Women’s Super League season adds pressure | Paul MacInnes

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:00:40 GMT2017-09-22T07:00:40Z

Season kicks off on Friday with big hopes of building on the increased attention to the women’s game during the European Championship

The Great Hall at Wembley Stadium is full of the best of the Women’s Super League. They are mooching around, waiting to pass from one camera set-up to the next. Dressed in full kit they will pose for pictures, conduct interviews and record those odd video snippets that illustrate the lineups on TV. It is busy but also expectant, like being backstage before the start of the headline act.

The Super League begins on Friday with an air of expectation. A new calendar, known as the winter season, will be the first in sync with its male equivalent till May. The 10 clubs in the top division, WSL 1, will compete for the title and Champions League qualification, as well as to avoid relegation. Players have been recruited from Europe and they will join home nations players better known by the public than any of their predecessors. More than four million watched England’s European Championship semi-final against Holland. There is the hope, but also the pressure, of bringing more of that attention to the domestic game.

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There is irony in Diego Costa’s deal with Atlético but Chelsea saw the best of him | Dominic Fifield

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:37:16 GMT2017-09-21T18:37:16Z

In their last league game, Antonio Conte’s side missed how the forward would have driven Arsenal to distraction and the 28-year-old will depart Stamford Bridge having more than played his part in the successes

There is an irony that Diego Costa’s tortuous departure from Chelsea should be finalised, pending the results of a stringent medical, just after a fixture when his absence had been so keenly felt.

Not the Champions League stroll beyond Qarabag or even the midweek saunter past Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. But, last Sunday, Arsenal ventured across the capital and earned a point with Shkodran Mustafi, in most people’s eyes, emerging from the stalemate as man of the match. Even accepting that the centre-half is a Germany international and clearly a player of pedigree, it is hard to envisage he would have been quite so unruffled had Costa lined up for the hosts at Stamford Bridge.

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Football transfer rumours: Dayot Upamecano to Liverpool for €100m?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:24:19 GMT2017-09-22T08:24:19Z

Today’s fluff is talking to itself at night because it can’t forget

Those canny folk at RB Leipzig have learned their lesson from a summer of wild haggling with Liverpool’s transfer-negotiating team over Naby Keïta – which ended with the English club agreeing to pay the midfielder’s release clause in full with an additional extra bonus for being nice. Thus they have reacted speedily to rumours that Liverpool are now interested in their French defender Dayot Upamecano – by offering the 18-year-old a new contract with an eye-watering €100m buy-out option, and then gathering to celebrate their own ingenuity in a shadowy basement bar heated entirely by the friction caused by rubbing their hands together and the hot air released as they discuss what to do with their next Premier League-related windfall.

A host of Premier League clubs queueing up for a chance to seduce Schalke’s Leon Goretzka are about to be seriously disappointed, as Barcelona prepare to barge, elbows flailing, to the front of the line. The midfielder’s contract in Germany ends next summer, and Mundo Deportivo winningly describe the wild transfer frenzy that is resulting as “un bingo espactacular” for the 22-year-old. On Thursday Bild suggested the player intends to move either to Bayern Munich or Barça, and a day on we hear that to guarantee sealing the deal Barcelona are not going to hang around until next July, but will offer €10-€15m to sign Goretzka in January. They will clear space in their midfield ranks by shifting out Arda Turan, André Gomes and Rafinha.

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FA aware of Mark Sampson allegations in 2013, claims Women in Football

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:34:28 GMT2017-09-21T11:34:28Z

• Group claims FA knew about issue before Sampson became England manager
• MP believes Martin Glenn should be sacked if allegations were ignored

Women in Football has said it is concerned by the latest revelations surrounding Mark Sampson and has claimed questions about the former England manager’s suitability for the job were raised to the Football Association four years ago.

Sampson, who was appointed the England Women manager in December 2013, was sacked on Wednesday after the FA said it had been alerted to “clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach” while he was at Bristol Academy.

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Jürgen Klopp backs Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain despite dismal display

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:30:00 GMT2017-09-21T21:30:00Z

• Liverpool manager says criticism of £35m signing is premature
• ‘The way people are talking it’s like we’re the worst team in the country’

Jürgen Klopp remains convinced of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ability despite the dismal performance by Liverpool’s £35m signing in his first start at Leicester.

Oxlade-Chamberlain missed an early chance and seemed nervous and error-prone thereafter, but Klopp felt his performance was not as bad as some critics have suggested.

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Mousa Dembélé’s playing time must be managed, says Mauricio Pochettino

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:30:29 GMT2017-09-21T21:30:29Z

• Tottenham player on bench in league recently despite recovery from surgery
• ‘He is a genius ... it’s so important to manage him properly,’ says Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has said he still has to manage Mousa Dembélé’s playing minutes with the utmost care, despite the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder having undergone surgery at the end of last season in a bid to ease a long-standing foot problem.

Pochettino has referred to Dembélé as his “genius” and, ordinarily, the Belgian would be the first name on the Spurs team sheet. Virtually every Tottenham player would say Dembélé is the best player at the club but Pochettino has surprised some onlookers by naming the 30-year-old as a substitute in the Premier League for the past two weekends against Everton and Swansea City. Dembélé was not used against Swansea.

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Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham denies he is set to switch allegiance to Nigeria

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:45:15 GMT2017-09-21T15:45:15Z

• Nigeria had claimed striker on loan at Swansea has ‘begun process’ with Fifa
• ‘I remain available for selection for England,’ says 19-year-old

Tammy Abraham has denied reports he is set to switch international allegiances to Nigeria in a bid to play at next year’s World Cup and insisted: “I remain available for selection for England.”

The Chelsea striker, who is on a season-long loan to Swansea, played for England at this summer’s European Under-21 Championship in Poland but remains eligible for Nigeria through his parents.

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Ayr Gold Cup meeting abandoned due to waterlogged track

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:08:26 GMT2017-09-22T08:08:26Z

  • Ayr clerk: ‘We’re forecast up to six [more] millimetres of rain today
  • Perth jockeys have bans reduced to two days following BHA appeal

Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup card has been abandoned after a waterlogged area of the track failed to show the required improvement overnight, with more rain is forecast.

When Friday’s card was called off shortly after 7pm on Thursday, an inspection was called for noon on Friday to assess conditions ahead of the big meeting, but that was brought forward. As a result, it means the whole three-day fixture on the west coast of Scotland has been called off.

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'Not good enough': Australia must arrest trend of batting collapses, says Smith

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:03:05 GMT2017-09-22T00:03:05Z

  • Australia lose last eight wickets for 112 runs in ODI defeat to India
  • Captain Steve Smith laments his side’s inability to build partnerships

Australia captain Steve Smith has a blunt message for his batsmen: the collapses must stop now. The visitors are in dire trouble in their one-day international series against India after a 50-run loss in Kolkata put them 2-0 down.

Smith said batting collapses had become a worrying trend in all forms of Australian cricket after losing their last eight wickets for 112 in game two. “We’ve had a lot of collapses and we need to stop,” he said.

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Lions manager John Spencer hits back at Sean O’Brien criticism of drawn series

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:28:03 GMT2017-09-21T19:28:03Z

• ‘I was surprised and disappointed; it was a tour when everyone stuck together’
• Disciplinary action ruled out over view about coaches on New Zealand tour

John Spencer, the manager of the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand this summer, said he was “surprised and disappointed” at the critical remarks made by the Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien about Warren Gatland and one of the head coach’s assistants, Rob Howley, but ruled out initiating disciplinary action against the player, who started all three Tests.

The tourists drew a series they were widely expected to lose, becoming only the second Lions party not to lose a rubber in New Zealand, but in a radio interview O’Brien said he was critical of the management because he felt “we should have won it comfortably”. He claimed the players were overtrained on the Thursday before the first Test and said Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton took over the attack coaching for the second Test because Howley was struggling to get his message across.

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Eddie Jones to name most of his Lions in England squad for autumn series

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:47:47 GMT2017-09-21T17:47:47Z

• England coach’s decision to reignite debate over player welfare
• Exeter’s Rob Baxter says overworked players claim is ‘codswallop’

Eddie Jones will on Friday reignite the debate over player welfare by naming the vast majority of his British & Irish Lions stars in a 33-man England squad for next week’s training camp in Oxford. Jones had indicated he might rest some Lions for the autumn series but it is now understood most will be involved at some stage during November.

Virtually all the Premiership-based Lions are back in action for their clubs and key men such as Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, who played prominent roles in the summer drawn series against New Zealand, will have precious little scope for a lengthy break next year. England are due to play a best-of-three series in South Africa in June and four further autumn Tests at Twickenham in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup.

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Brian Cookson suffers landslide defeat for UCI presidency by David Lappartient

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:57:00 GMT2017-09-21T14:57:00Z

• French candidate for world cycling’s top role wins by 37 votes to eight
• Cookson: ‘I depart with head held high. Someone had to lift sport out of gutter’

Brian Cookson’s reign as the UCI president came to a humiliating end on Thursday as he garnered only eight of 45 possible votes in losing world cycling’s top job to the Frenchman David Lappartient. The contest in Bergen had been forecast to be on a knife edge. Instead, Cookson haemorrhaged support and suffered one of the widest election defeats by a head of any international sports federation.

The result also means Cookson, who took over in 2013 after 16 years in charge of British Cycling, becomes the first UCI president to serve only one term.

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Jordan Spieth’s steady start at Tour Championship in pursuit of $10m bonus

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:06:07 GMT2017-09-21T23:06:07Z

• Texan not fully at ease with his game but finishes with 67
• Fellow American Kyle Stanley leads after first-round 64

Jordan Spieth can afford to ignore the multitude of arithmetic when calculating who will be the FedEx Cup winner. The Texan’s equation is simple; win the Tour Championship on Sunday and he will also leave Atlanta with the $10m (£7.35m) bonus pot for the second time in his career. It is about as straightforward as this complex play-off series ever gets.

Spieth made a solid start with this dual target in mind. His opening round of 67, three under par, was produced against the backdrop of the Open champion not looking particularly at ease with any aspect of his game. This was classic Spieth; he can score well in all scenarios. He is three behind the 18-hole lead.

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The London Monarchs, weigh-in shenanigans and underarm serves | Classic YouTube

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:15:30 GMT2017-09-21T09:15:30Z

This week’s roundup also features pre-Sky Jeff Stelling, Kasper Schmeichel as a toddler and a dog stealing the show1) Now in its 10th season, the NFL International Series bandwagon rolls back into London for the first of its four-game run on Sunday. Before the annual helping of Jacksonville Jaguars, UK gridiron fans had to make do with NFL Europe and its predecessor the World League of American Football. The Union Jags have a long way to go before they are afforded the affection of the UK’s original franchise, the 1991 World Bowl champions London Monarchs. It is hard to understand why they were such a monumental flop based on their wonderfully 1990s series of TV ads. The Monarchs also provided Jeff Stelling a break as a jobbing sports reporter for Channel 4 and played host to the American football career of outspoken NBA dad Lavar Ball. Perhaps the biggest success story of NFL Europe is former Amsterdam Admirals quarterback, and collector of bizarre weaponry, Kurt Warner. A year later he was Superbowl XXXIV MVP and the star of the Greatest Show on Turf but Classic YouTube is sure the 1998 season, where Warner led NFL Europe in passing yards and touchdowns as the Admirals fell short of the World Bowl, is what he dreams about at night. Meanwhile, from more recent times in the NFL, this from Tod Gurley is quite the hurdle, and here is an example of the peril that cheerleaders subject themselves to.2) Billy Joe Saunders defended his WBO middleweight belt against Wille Monroe Jnr last weekend but it was Saunders’ son who got in the first dig at the weigh-in, delivering a low blow to Willie. Pre-fight shenanigans are nothing new of course and back when he was still fighting other boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr was a master. This clip from before his 2007 superfight with Oscar de la Hoya makes you wonder how Conor McGregor would have reacted to a live chicken. MMA’s creep into boxing’s territory is partially fuelled by its ability for pre-fight promotion. If Sean O’Connell was half as good a fighter as he is an entertainer he’d be a superstar. Sadly, with a UFC record of 2-5, he’s not. Continue reading...[...]


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Jake LaMotta – a life in pictures

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:56:42 GMT2017-09-20T18:56:42Z

Jake LaMotta, widely acknowledged as one of the toughest men to have entered a professional boxing ring, has died aged 95. The former world middleweight champion was best remembered for having fought the great Sugar Ray Robinson on six occasions. He fought a total of 106 fights, 83 professional, with a record of 83Wins, 30 by KO, 19 losses and four draws.

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Rugby union international power rankings: who can challenge All Blacks? | Gerard Meagher

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:00:02 GMT2017-09-20T09:00:02Z

Our first power rankings since the 2015 World Cup mark two years to go until Japan 2019. England lead the chasing pack while Australia and Wales struggle

Before the All Blacks’ record 57-0 victory over South Africa, Steve Hansen felt the need to defend his side’s uneven performances in 2017. The response was emphatic. It used to be the case that the All Blacks peaked at this stage of the World Cup cycle but Hansen is adamant they will improve in the next two years. Twelve months ago they struggled to maintain their remarkable form through the autumn and as they have crammed five matches into their schedule this year, an upset is not out of the question. But if New Zealand’s halos have slipped just a little – on and off the pitch – they remain the standard bearers of world rugby.

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The gifs that keep on giving: laughter, face football and two big clearances

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:32 GMT2017-01-21T10:00:32Z

Featuring two UFC fighters trying to pretend, a new form of badminton, fast fists, a very short game of pool and an exceedingly chamring basketball player

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The forgotten story of … Fred Spiksley, wing wizard, film star and POW escapee | Simon Burnton

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:20:51 GMT2017-07-28T11:20:51Z

Fred Spiksley dazzled as an outside-left, but found his far-reaching coaching ideas spurned in England after success abroad, having also dabbled in film and been embroiled in a wartime escape mission

In the words of James Catton, the greatest football writer of his time, “Fred Spiksley’s control of the ball, his individuality, and his pluck for a man of modest stature, without much weight, were amazing. He did all his ball work with the outside of the right foot. In fact, Fred Spiksley could do almost anything he wanted with either foot, and was a sure marksman. Spiksley as a football player was a wonder.”

Ernest “Nudger” Needham, who was to win 16 England caps while at Sheffield United, was part of the Staveley defence that lost 10-0 against Spiksley’s Gainsborough in 1891. “Our captain told me to shift from left to right to stop the outside-left,” he recalled. “I might as well have tried to stop the wind. The outside-left was Fred Spiksley, the finest outside-left I have ever met and whose dribbling was a treat to watch. He could either combine with the others and make openings by lively centres, or cut past the back on the inside to go for goal himself. He could also shoot with either foot. I shall never forget Freddy’s dazzling wing play in 1898, when England beat Scotland 3-1. Ah, Fred was a gem of a player in those days!”

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The Fiver | Questioning the very point of this grand old three-handled tin can

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:56:22 GMT2017-09-21T14:56:22Z

In today’s Fiver: Milk Cup thrills, another sorry saga and Tevez making friends

It was another exciting evening in the Milk Cup. Manchester United conceded a goal. Manchester City conceded a goal. Chelsea conceded a goal. And Arsenal nearly conceded a goal. More please, English football! But despite all the rollocking entertainment enjoyed by hundreds of fans in half-packed stadiums across the nation, some cynics are questioning the very point of this grand old three-handled tin can. Well, when we say some cynics, we really just mean one person. And that person is José Mourinho, who wondered whether English football would be better off without a second cup competition clogging up the schedule, came up with the resounding conclusion of “maybe”, and yes it has been a slow Fiver news day.

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The Joy of Six: one-goal wonders

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 12:00:03 GMT2017-09-05T12:00:03Z

From Roy Essandoh to Tony Watt, via Federico Macheda and more, we celebrate half a dozen players who are remembered chiefly for one strike

The story of Roy Essandoh’s FA Cup quarter-final goal is about as close as football gets to a piece of dreamed-up fiction. Essandoh was a non-league striker who had spent several years traversing the lower leagues in Scotland and Finland, trying to make a name for himself without much luck, before he stumbled across a football club in need.

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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Mark Sampson sacked and the Carabao Cup – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:28:23 GMT2017-09-21T15:28:23Z

Max Rushden and co look at the big stories of the week, plus the midweek action, via Rio Ferdinand getting in the ring and a painful Spurs song

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

A wild Max Rushden appears to talk about everything that’s happened in football since the last show, along with Barry Glendenning, Andy Brassell and Priya Ramesh.

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Harder to miss: striker in Romania fails to score from two yards – video

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:45:11 GMT2017-09-21T15:45:11Z

Salim Cissé, striker for Romanian side Politehnica Iasi, can't believe his bad luck in managing to miss a chance from two yards out in the Liga I meeting with Botosani on Wednesday night. With his team 3-2 down late on, Cissé looks certain to score but the ball hits his thigh and balloons over the crossbar. Much to his relief Politehnica Iasi salvaged an equaliser shortly after and the game ended 3-3

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FA chief executive explains Mark Sampson sacking – video

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:06:13 GMT2017-09-21T09:06:13Z

Martin Glenn, chief executive of the Football Association, explains why Mark Sampson was sacked as manager of the England Women’s side. Glenn says the decision was taken in relation to Sampson 'overstepping the boundaries between coach and player' while in a previous role at Bristol Academy. 'The complaint that was dealt with was seen through the lens of safeguarding,' he adds

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Arsenal using Carabao Cup to test new players, says Wenger – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:58:18 GMT2017-09-20T09:58:18Z

Speaking before his team's match against Doncaster at the Emirates on Wednesday, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger say he is using the tournament to trial some of his newest players. He adds that his current set of young players are some of the best he has ever had 

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Conte: Hazard will start match against Nottingham Forest – video

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:35:04 GMT2017-09-20T09:35:04Z

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he had great respect for Championship side Nottingham Forest before their League Cup third-round tie at Stamford Bridge. He also discusses midfielder Eden Hazard’s move from the bench following an injury to starting Wednesday’s match 

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Rio Ferdinand announces move into boxing – video

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:34:05 GMT2017-09-19T14:34:05Z

Former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand is to start training to become a professional boxer. He will be trained by former World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall, who expects Ferdinand to slot into the cruiserweight division, one below heavyweight. His training will be supported by Betfair for its 'Defender to Contender' project 

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It would be a 'mistake' for Tottenham to prioritise League Cup, says Pochettino – video

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:52:24 GMT2017-09-18T15:52:24Z

Mauricio Pochettino has said his focus is on winning the Premier League or Champions League before their League Cup match with Barnsley at Wembley on Tuesday. The Spurs manager also dismissed contractual talks with Dele Alli as rumours and spoke about his plans to rotate the squad

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NFL: Tom Brady lifts up Patriots and Ravens beat Browns – video highlights

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:47:21 GMT2017-09-18T11:47:21Z

Watch the highlights from the second round of the NFL season in which the Baltimore Ravens overcome the Cleveland Browns 24-10 and the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20, thanks to the rookie Kareem Hunt. Meanwhile, Tom Brady throws three touchdown passes in the first quarter for the New England Patriots against the New Orleans Saints

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Ronald Koeman tells José Mourinho to 'get realistic' – video

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:29:50 GMT2017-09-17T20:29:50Z

In a fractious press conference after his Everton side lost 4-0 at Old Trafford, Ronald Koeman told José Mourinho to 'get realistic', in reference to comments the Manchester United boss made in his column in the match programme. Koeman also suggested that if he can't get his team to win in the four home games they have before the next international break, he should be removed from his job.

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David Luiz's red card foul was excessive force, says Arsène Wenger – video

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 18:07:51 GMT2017-09-17T18:07:51Z

Following Chelsea's goalless draw with Arsenal, both managers were asked about the red card given to David Luiz at the end of the match. Arsène Wenger described it as "excessive force" and suggested that with distance, Luiz might accept that he went in too strong. Antonio Conte suggested that the referee might have blown for a foul directly before

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Gennady Golovkin attacks 'terrible' decision after draw with Saul Álvarez – video

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 15:06:33 GMT2017-09-17T15:06:33Z

Gennady Golovkin criticises the split points draw outcome of his fight with Saul Álvarez, calling the decision "terrible for the sport." Experienced judge Adalaide Byrd scored the fight 118-110 in Álvarez's favour, a very one-sided view on a fight which most found more balanced, or even in Golovkin's favour

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Nascar's Danica Patrick drove the lonely road to a feminist legacy

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:57:46 GMT2017-09-21T14:57:46Z

Her career may be near the finish line, but the trailblazing driver will leave behind a unique legacy as an instrument of male and female fantasy

The Hollywood treatment of the Danica Patrick story hasn’t hit theaters yet. But please believe: it’s coming. Maybe in a year. Maybe in 30. Either way, the creative license is going to be off the charts.

It’s not hard to imagine the Danica character, played by a Mara sister or similar “type”, shaving her head or adding bass to her voice or insisting her rival drivers call her “Dan Patrick”. The idea of a woman race car driver – and inside the southern fried, patriarchal world of Nascar of all places – requires so much suspension of disbelief, after all. The most palatable argument for it isn’t the truth. It’s another version of Disney’s Mulan, but with a fiery race car in place of a dragon.

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Jake LaMotta obituary

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:13:12 GMT2017-09-20T16:13:12Z

World middleweight boxing champion who inspired Martin Scorsese’s film Raging Bull and fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times

Related: Jake LaMotta – a life in pictures

Jake LaMotta, who has died aged 95, is generally acknowledged as one of the toughest men to have entered a professional boxing ring – a world middleweight champion best remembered for having fought the great Sugar Ray Robinson on six occasions. Brought up in poverty, a teenage hoodlum, married six times, imprisoned for pimping, a confessed rapist and sometime actor and standup comedian, LaMotta led a life that reads like a film script and was the basis for the greatest boxing movie of all time, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980).

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How NBA star Dennis Rodman came to stand between the world and nuclear war

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:30:37 GMT2017-09-14T08:30:37Z

It says a lot about the world that the only man on good terms with both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is a former basketball player

2017 has become the year when absurd jokes appear to be coming true. When Dennis Rodman made his first trip to North Korea back in 2013, it was amusing to imagine the eccentric NBA legend acting as the United States’ de facto ambassador to the country. The idea was as preposterous as Donald Trump somehow being elected president.

It sounds surreal, but with tensions rising between the two countries thanks to North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program, there’s a very real possibility that Rodman, a man who once married himself, ends up playing a key role in preventing armageddon. Rodman himself certainly believes he will. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, the five-time NBA champion offered to “straighten things out” between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, emphasizing that he considers both men friends.

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McLaren’s F1 engine switch gives power to team’s belief they can revive fortunes | Giles Richards

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:21:50 GMT2017-09-21T10:21:50Z

Ending their disastrous relationship with Honda and teaming up with Renault will not make McLaren winners overnight but it may be enough to lay the foundations for the future – especially if Fernando Alonso signs a new deal

A return to “normality” in Formula One next season – “to be on the podium and fight for victories” – is Fernando Alonso’s expectation for McLaren after the team formally announced their partnership with Honda would end this year. The relationship has proved to be a very public car crash for the team and the engine manufacturer over the last three years and Alonso has been absolutely clear that he held Honda responsible. His optimism stems from the switch to Renault power units but the task that lies ahead for McLaren remains immense.

The most successful British racing team, with eight constructors’ and 12 driver’s titles, have not won a race since Jenson Button’s victory at Brazil in 2012. They have not claimed a constructors’ title since 1998. The switch to Renault is not going to reverse this trend overnight but it may be enough to lay the foundations for the future.

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India beat Australia by 50 runs in second ODI – as it happened

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:18:21 GMT2017-09-21T16:18:21Z

Australia have gone 2-0 down in their one-day international series against India after collapsing in Kolkata

Match report:

Related: Kuldeep Yadav hat-trick inspires India to 50-run win over Australia in second ODI

Not a bad game of cricket, this. It won’t necessarily look like it with a raw scoreline of 252 to 202. But this was another reminder that there is something to be said about ODI cricket where bat and ball are more evenly balanced.

Firstly, for the defeated Australians, Stoinis was impressive with an unbeaten 62. The big man has skills. Smith had it all going on as well for 59, before holing out in his 100th ODI. But it was his wicket, reducing Australia to 135-5, that brought Kuldeep into the game.

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Wimbledon 2017 day three: Murray, Konta and Nadal through, Kvitova out - as it happened

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 20:11:31 GMT2017-07-05T20:11:31Z

Related: Two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova ousted by Madison Brengle

Related: Daniil Medvedev faces hefty fine after emptying wallet for umpire

Related: Rafa Nadal offers ominous signs of form in straight sets win over Donald Young | Sean Ingle

The final balls are hit on day three, as Jelena Ostapenko beats the light and the qualifier Francoise Abanda to advance 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, but Madison Keys’s Wimbledon has come to a disappointing end with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 loss to Camila Giorgi. Thanks for reading/emailing/tweeting etc. Do come back for more of the same tomorrow. Bye!

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Kuldeep Yadav hat-trick inspires India to 50-run win over Australia in second ODI

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:42:47 GMT2017-09-21T16:42:47Z

• India 252 (Kholi 92); Australia 202 (Stoinis 62*)
• Yadav picks off Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins

Australia have gone 2-0 down in their one-day international series against India after collapsing in Kolkata.

Set 253 for victory, the visitors lost their last eight wickets for 117 runs with a hat-trick to left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav sealing Thursday’s match at Eden Gardens.

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Teenager Marcus Smith in England squad but no room for Joseph or Haskell

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:09:25 GMT2017-09-22T08:09:25Z

• 11 of England’s 15 Lions included in pre-autumn internationals squad
• Sinckler’s omission a surprise considering he played in all three Lions Tests

The British & Irish Lions Jonathan Joseph, James Haskell and Kyle Sinckler are among the high-profile absentees from England’s 33-man training squad with Eddie Jones also omitting Denny Solomona from the get-together in Oxford.

Related: Lions manager John Spencer hits back at Sean O’Brien criticism of drawn series

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Haseeb Hameed’s Ashes hopes dashed after injury to right hand

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:50:31 GMT2017-09-21T20:50:31Z

• Opener struck by ball from Middlesex’s James Harris
• Steven Finn boosts Ashes chances with eight for 79

On a day when England’s one-day players were frustrated by the rain that forced an abandonment of their international against West Indies at Trent Bridge, there was worse news for one batsman hoping to be in the Test squad this winter.

With 38 required and Lancashire nine down, Haseeb Hameed, a finger on his right hand fractured, strode through the Lord’s pavilion to join an old classmate at Bolton school, Matt Parkinson, in the middle. Hameed’s brave effort was in vain; he survived nine balls before Parkinson, a true tail-ender, edged to first slip to become the irresistible Steven Finn’s eighth wicket. Middlesex had won a wonderful game by 36 runs and put their survival hopes, going into the trip to their fellow strugglers Somerset next week, in their own hands.

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