Clarke re­tires in agony

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

MEL­BOURNE — A bats­man of prodi­gious tal­ent and a cap­tain un­flinch­ing in pur­suit of vic­tory, Michael Clarke re­stored Aus­tralia to the pin­na­cle of test and one­day cricket but win­ning the or­der to work to­wards what’s ahead of us.

“To­day they were at their very best, when they only need half a chance to hurt you. We are younger and have more po­ten­tial but need to ful­fil that.”

Ever­ton were watched by River Plate de­fender Ramiro Funes Mori, whose pro­posed £6 mil­lion move to Mersey­side is ex­pected to be com­pleted once he has passed a med­i­cal and re­ceived a work per­mit.

“He is a player who is 24, a left­footed cen­tre-half who will fit the squad ex­tremely well,” said the Ever­ton coach.

“You don’t get many op­por­tu­ni­ties of sign­ing a player who has won the Copa Lib­er­ta­dores and bring that win­ning men­tal­ity into the squad.

“I ex­pect to com­plete three sign­ings be­fore the win­dow closes.”

Martinez, who again stressed that he ex­pects Chelsea trans­fer tar­get John Stones to stay at Goodison Park, has also been linked with Dy­namo Kiev for­ward An­driy Yar-

af­fec­tions of a na­tion proved his tough­est bat­tle. Clarke bowed out a win­ner at The Oval on Sun­day but the dead rub­ber de­mo­li­tion of Eng­land was a Pyrrhic vic­tory that will do lit­tle to salve the 34-yearold’s one burn­ing re­gret. Hav­ing never won an Ashes away in four pre­vi­ous at­tempts, Clarke staked his legacy on bring­ing the sa­cred urn home and promptly lost with a game in hand.

Lead­ing a team to Ashes molenko and Shakhtar Donetsk for­ward Bernard.

Mean­while, Wolfs­burg striker Bas Dost has urged Manch­ester City tar­get Kevin De Bruyne to snub the English giants and help the Ger­man side chal­lenge Bay­ern Mu­nich for this sea­son’s Bun­desliga ti­tle in­stead.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish media re­ports, City are poised to swoop with a £50 mil­lion of­fer for the Bel­gian at­tack­ing midfielder and Wolfs­burg, last sea­son’s run­ners-up, are des­per­ate to hold onto their star player.

Wolfs­burg’s sport­ing di­rec­tor Klaus Allofs has in­sisted De Bruyne will face Cologne on Satur­day and Dost says the team needs the midfielder, who scored 16 goals and supplied 29 as­sists last sea­son.

“He is im­mensely im­por­tant; he has put in count­less as­sists and is a real team player,” Dutch striker Dost told

“He’s an out­stand­ing player and there­fore I hope he stays. If he now leaves, we’ll be au­to­mat­i­cally weak- de­feat is a car­di­nal sin in cricket-mad Aus­tralia, so for many of his com­pa­tri­ots, his two fail­ures in charge will for­ever bar him from the pan­theon of his coun­try’s great cap­tains.

Sim­i­larly, his fi­nal tor­mented spells at the crease took the gloss from a fine record of 8,643 runs in 115 tests, tip­ping his av­er­age un­der 50, the mark of­ten seen di­vid­ing the very best from the rest.

Poorer records have in­voked wild adu­la­tion for play­ers from other parts of the world. Aus­tralia, how­ever, is its own coun­try.

Lo­cal fans raised on a diet of Allan Bor­der and Steve Waugh strug­gled to warm to mil­len­nial Clarke, a work­ing class boy whose com­fort with wealth and celebrity was at odds with the no-non­sense aus­ter­ity of pre­vi­ous Aus­tralian cap­tains.

A dar­ling of Aus­tralia’s weekly gos­sip mag­a­zines, Clarke was less pop­u­lar among the lo­cal cricket media.

Por­traits emerged of a player aloof in the dress­ing room whose dis­dain for time­honoured pro­to­cols oc­ca­sion- er as a team.

“He’s our most im­por­tant player, but we can still put in a strong sea­son, even with­out Kevin.”

At an awards cer­e­mony on Mon­day last week, De Bruyne in­sisted he was stay­ing at Wolfs­burg this sea­son, but the Ger­man club face an anx­ious wait un­til the trans­fer win­dow closes on 31 Au­gust with City seem­ingly de­ter­mined to get their man.

The Bel­gian was named Ger­many’s player of the sea­son in 2014/15 and has been out­stand­ing for Wolfs­burg since sign­ing from Chelsea in Jan­uary 2014.

Week­end fix­tures Aug 29: New­cas­tle v Ar­se­nal, Liver­pool v West Ham, Stoke v West Bromwich, Man City v Wat­ford, Chelsea v Crys­tal Palace, As­ton Villa v Sun­der­land, Bournemouth v Le­ices­ter, Tot­ten­ham v Ever­ton.

Aug 30: Southamp­ton v Nor­wich, Swansea v Man United. — AFP

ally ticked off se­nior team­mates.

The Fer­raris, su­per­model girl­friends and un­der­wear mod­el­ling grated with tra­di­tion­al­ists, and Clarke’s first for­ays as cap­tain drew jeers from home crowds.

Yet, in the soul-search­ing years af­ter the calami­tous loss in the 2010/11 Ashes, there were fewer com­fort­ing sights than the man nick­named ‘Pup’ strid­ing to the crease.

He bat­tled a de­gen­er­a­tive back con­di­tion through­out his ca­reer but car­ried the team with a Brad­man-es­que weight of runs and bril­liantly mar­shalled a patched-up bowl­ing at­tack.

“I’d place Clarke sec­ond only to Mark Tay­lor among Aus­tralia’s re­cent cap­tains when it came to tac­ti­cal aware­ness,” for­mer cap­tain Ian Chap­pell wrote on Espncricinfo.

A pair of golden sum­mers book-ended a spec­tac­u­lar 2012 boast­ing a triple-cen­tury and a dou­ble at home against In­dia be­fore two more dou­bles against tour­ing South Africa.

Even as the runs gushed from his bat, ru­mours swirled of dress­ing room dishar­mony.

A ham-fisted at­tempt to in­stil dis­ci­pline dur­ing the ill-fated 2013 tour of In­dia

saw four play­ers stood down in the in­fa­mous ‘home­work­gate’ episode.

The Clarke-en­dorsed caper back­fired badly and Aus­tralia were white­washed 4-0 on the sub­con­ti­nent be­fore los­ing the Ashes 3-0 in Eng­land.

The team took back the urn with a bril­liant 5-0 white­wash months later and though Clarke led from the front with cen­turies in the first two tests, his crown­ing mo­ment would come at New­lands the fol­low­ing March.

Nurs­ing a bro­ken shoul­der and pep­pered with bounc­ers, he saw off a bru­tal as­sault from South Africa’s pace­men to com­pile an un­beaten 161, set­ting up a rare se­ries win away to the Proteas and se­cur­ing his team the top rank­ing in tests.

The tri­umph was to prove the tip­ping point for both the team and player, how­ever.

Aus­tralia’s reign as num­ber one was fleet­ing, while age, ham­string in­juries and the rise of Steven Smith would all push Clarke to­ward the exit.

The death of team­mate Phillip Hughes struck Clarke like a ham­mer blow but his lead­er­ship in mourn­ing com­forted the na­tion.

— Reuters LON­DON — Af­ter an er­ror-strewn league de­but Petr Cech (pic­tured) pro­vided a timely re­minder of his un­doubted class with some stun­ning saves as he mar­shaled a ner­vous Ar­se­nal to a goal­less draw against Liver­pool on Mon­day.

Cech, who ar­rived from Chelsea dur­ing the close-sea­son, was at fault for both goals as Ar­se­nal suc­cumbed to a sur­prise 2-0 open­ing­day de­feat at home to West Ham United be­fore be­ing breached again against Crys­tal Palace last week.

Against a Liver­pool side who had won both of their open­ing games, Cech turned in a per­for­mance typ­i­cal of a player who had be­come one of the most re­spected goal­keep­ers dur­ing 11 tro­phy-laden sea­sons at Stam­ford Bridge.

“When you start your first game with a new club and ev­ery­thing goes wrong for you in­di­vid­u­ally you need to go back to work and bounce back and this is what I tried to do,” man-of-the-match Cech told Sky Sports.

“I was in the right place at the right time and I helped the team over­come dif­fi­cult mo­ments in the first half. It’s hard to be­lieve af­ter all the chances it fin­ished 0-0.”

— Reuters NORTH CAROLINA — Tiger Woods (pic­tured) had his best tour­na­ment in nearly two years but it was still not enough to snap a years-long win­less streak on the PGA Tour as he missed a num­ber of birdie op­por­tu­ni­ties at the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day.

Woods started the day two strokes from the lead but did not make a birdie un­til the ninth hole at Sedge­field. He was three strokes be­hind by then and a triple-bo­gey at the par-four 11th to­tally ended his chances. Though he bounced back with four birdies over the fi­nal six holes to shoot 70 and fin­ish four strokes be­hind win­ner Davis Love III, the 14-times ma­jor cham­pion was clearly dis­ap­pointed.

“I had all the op­por­tu­ni­ties in the world to do it and didn’t get it done,” Woods told re­porters af­ter what nonethe­less was his best re­sult since late 2013.

“I had some make­able putts early I missed. I just wasn’t able to get any kind of roll early.”

Woods, who has not won on the PGA Tour in over two years, de­cided to make his Greens­boro de­but in a last-ditch quest to qual­ify for the lu­cra­tive Fedexcup play­offs.

He opened with his low­est score in two years and was nearly as good the next day when he grabbed a share of the lead be­fore slip­ping slightly af­ter the third round.

— Reuters

Manch­ester city’s ser­gio aguero (left) in ac­tion with ever­ton’s Gareth Barry dur­ing sun­day’s match.

Michael clarke

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