Clarke retires in agony
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 goal.com.
“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.
Manchester city’s sergio aguero (left) in action with everton’s Gareth Barry during sunday’s match.