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Gibson urges South Africa to play positive cricket to counter spin challenge

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Pleased with the performance of the South African players in their practice game against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI, coach Ottis Gibson urged the batsmen to play a positive brand of cricket to counter the spin challenge that Sri Lanka are likely to throw at them during the three-match Test series which starts on July 12 in Galle.

“If we are going to win in these conditions, we have to be positive and we have to try in most situations to take the positive option. The way Sri Lanka play their cricket, when a batsman comes in they will have fielders close to the bat, which means there are scoring opportunities to be had. You have to be positive and confident enough in your game plan to take on those open spaces in the outfield.

“If you are going to scratch around and get out, you might as well be positive and try and make some runs while you’re at the crease. That has always been my philosophy, and these conditions here don’t change my feeling on that,” Gibson said on Sunday (July 8).

 

The two-day warm-up encounter at the P Sara Oval in Colombo ended in a draw with South Africa scoring 338 in reply to the opposition’s total of 287. Tabraiz Shamsi (5 for 45) did well with the ball before Faf du Plessis (79) Hashim Amla (78) and Temba Bavuma (58) shined with the bat. However, South Africa suffered a lower-order collapse – they were 260 for 3 at one stage before losing wickets in a heap to be bowled out under 340.

Gibson said the focus during the practice game was on getting used to the conditions although he admitted that being bowled out quickly after a strong start was ‘not ideal’, but was also ‘not the end of the world’. Meanwhile, he was happy with Shamsi’s performance, hinting that the wrist spinner has put himself in the reckoning for making the Test eleven.

“For the most part, I thought we got what we wanted. Yesterday I thought we bowled very well, at this stage it is about getting used to the Sri Lankan conditions. We knew the wicket was going to be slow, it was about getting miles in the bowlers’ legs, especially the seamers. I thought Shamsi was excellent yesterday, he has really hit the ground running and put himself in the frame for a Test place,” Gibson said.

“Today we batted well, we made a conscious decision to try and give everyone a hit. Hashim retired when he got to 78 to give the others an opportunity to have a hit. At the end, I was a bit disappointed that the lower-order didn’t use their time a lot better. To get bowled out this afternoon was not ideal but it is not the end of the world. We move on to Galle, we have had a good week of preparation,” he added.

The match also provided an opportunity for Dale Steyn to hit the ground running. The experienced pacer, who’s attempting his Test comeback after being sidelined due to a heel injury in the Newlands Test against India in January, bowled 12 wicketless overs for 52 runs in the tour game. Gibson didn’t want to read too much into this performance although he admitted that the 35-year-old did look a bit rusty.

“I’m happy with where Dale is at, because he was playing in England. He came in yesterday and he looked a little bit rusty, I’m not going to lie. We’re talking about one of the best fast bowlers of the modern generation. He knows what he needs to do to get himself up for a Test match. We’ve had a little chat already today about what he needs to do for the remainder of the days building up to the Test match. He’ll be good to go by the time the Galle Test comes around,” Gibson insisted.

He also said South Africa are open to playing two spinners in the first Test but was quick to mention that the decision would only be taken after taking the pitch into consideration.

“We have covered our bases with the team that we have picked. We have four quality fast bowlers and three quality spinners, we have to get to Galle and have a look at what the surface is going to be like. We are confident that whichever combination we put out will be a strong one, one that can go and win us a Test.

“We will try and pick the best bowler for the conditions that we have. If the conditions are going to favour spin, we will obviously try and get another spinner into the attack. If it looks like it’s going to be a good pitch and we feel that having extra pace will make a difference to the Sri Lankans, we will also consider that option. At the moment, we are not sold on one way or the other, looking at the surface will go a long way towards us making a final decision,” he concluded.

 


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WC final was the best and worst day of my cricketing life: Guptill

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London: After coming out as the losing side in the ICC Mens Cricket World Cup final, New Zealands opening batsman Martin Guptill posted an emotional message on Instagram saying it was the best and worst day of his cricketing life.

“Hard to believe it`s been a week since that incredible Final at Lords. I think it was both the best and worst day of my cricketing life! So many different emotions, but mainly proud to represent New Zealand and play for the @blackcapsnz alongside a great group of mates. Thank you to everyone for all your support, it has been amazing,” Guptill wrote on Instagram.

In another post, Guptill thanked his family for always being with him through thick and thin.

 

“I couldn`t have been more proud to have my 2 best supporters with me for the ride. @lauramcgoldrick13 you are my rock. Thank you and Harley for being there through the good times and the tough. Love my girls more than anything,” Guptill posted.

The final between New Zealand and England at the Lord`s Cricket Ground on July 14 could not separate the two sides despite the 50-over match and subsequent super over as both ended in a tie.

England were finally declared the champions on the basis of boundary countback rule.New Zealand had set up a target of 242 for England to win the World Cup.

As the hosts needed nine runs off three balls, Ben Stokes hit the ball into the deep and ran for a double. Guptill had thrown the ball in an attempt to run out Stokes but the ball bounced off Stokes` bat and reached the boundary giving England six runs.

Former ICC Elite umpire Simon Taufel had said that there was a judgment error by the on-field umpires and the six runs should not have been awarded.

“There was a judgment error on the overthrow. The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That`s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw,” Taufel had said.

In the super over, New Zealand needed two runs of the final ball for the win, but Guptill was run-out, ending the over in a tie and leaving the batsman distraught. Many former cricketers had criticised the ICC for deciding the World Cup winner on the basis of boundary countback.

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Ronaldo will not face rape charge in Vegas

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London: Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will face no charges in Las Vegas in connection with a 10-year-old sexual assault allegation because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said.

Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and plays for the Italian club Juventus, has maintained he is innocent.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September 2018 in state court in Nevada accusing the athlete of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009, then paying her $375,000 in hush money.

 

A woman called Las Vegas police on June 13, 2009 to report that she had been sexually assaulted and police took her to the hospital for an examination, the Clark County District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday. She declined to identify the person who she said assaulted her.

The statement did not identify the woman, but Mayorga`s civil lawsuit mirrors the allegation outlined by prosecutors.

Mayorga and Ronaldo reached a civil settlement in 2010 and law enforcement did not hear again from her until Aug. 28, 2018, when she asked police to reopen the investigation. She said Ronaldo was the person who sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.

Las Vegas police on July 8 asked the Clark County District Attorney`s Office to prosecute the case.

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday.

Ronaldo`s attorney, Peter Christiansen, did not return calls. Attorneys for Mayorga could not be reached for comment.

Las Vegas police said in January they had formally asked Italian authorities to obtain a DNA sample from Ronaldo.

Police did not immediately respond to emails asking if they ever obtained the DNA.

The civil lawsuit, in which Mayorga sought more than $200,000 in damages, has been moved to federal court.

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Tokyo adds robots to Olympic roster

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TOKYO: A roster of Olympic robots that will do everything from welcoming visitors to transporting javelins has been unveiled as Tokyo works to showcase Japanese technology at next year’s Summer Games.

Japan hopes the 2020 Olympics will be a chance to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country’s reputation as an industry leader has flagged.

Auto giant Toyota has a roster of five robots with different roles to play, from cutesy renditions of the Olympic mascots to a staid transport bot.

 

Undoubtedly the most appealing are the toddler-sized versions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, the futuristic Miraitowa and Someity.

Blue- or pink-checked, with huge eyes and pointy ears, the mascot robots have multiple joints and arms which can be remotely controlled.

And while the pint-sized pair can’t move or talk, a camera inside their heads helps them interact with spectators and athletes, said Tomohisa Moiradaira, an official responsible for Tokyo 2020 robot development at Toyota.

“Thanks to the camera, the robots can recognise people’s expressions and respond back,” he told reporters on Monday. “If a person moves away it will look sad.”
The mascot’s ‘feelings’ are reflected in its eyes: they can display hearts or stars depending on emotions.

Toyota has suggested the mascot robots could welcome athletes and spectators, and possibly help engage children with the Games.

Significantly less cute — but slightly more practical — is the company’s Field Support Robot, a suitcase-sized automaton on wheels that will help Olympic staff.

“It is capable of following staff, while avoiding obstacles, and can be loaded with items like javelins or discusses, helping reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for events,” Toyota said.

Other offerings include robots designed to support people in wheelchairs or deliver food to spectators.

For those who can’t attend the Games, there’s the T-TR1, effectively a human-sized narrow screen on wheels equipped with a camera.

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