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Button cool on McLaren start

MOTORSPORT: Jenson Button has paid his first visit to the McLaren Technology Centre since joining the Woking-based team at the start of the year.

Button now has just over two months to the start of the new season to acquaint himself with a new team, and to prepare himself for the challenge of going up against a new team-mate in Lewis Hamilton.

Button believes negative comments, such as when Eddie Irvine said the Briton will get "murdered" on the track by Hamilton, work in his favour: "It makes my life a lot easier as I'm in a much more relaxed position than people telling me I'm going to destroy my team-mate."



Laird off to flyer

GOLF: Scotland's Martin Laird got his PGA Tour season off to a flying start in Hawaii and immediately targeted a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Laird ended the opening day a shot behind first-round leader Lucas Glover at the Kapalua Resort's Plantation course after sinking seven birdies and one bogey for a six-under-par 67.



Hankey dumped

DARTS: Dave Chisnall staged a dramatic fightback to send defending champion Ted Hankey tumbling out of the BDO World Championship at Frimley Green.

Chisnall reeled off four straight sets to come from 4-1 down to seal a 5-4 win and book his place in the semi-finals.

Yesterday's other quarter-final was a more one-sided affair as top seed Tony O'Shea beat Robert Wagner 5-1 to set up a last-four meeting with Chisnall.



England hailed

CRICKET: Graham Onions rightly took the plaudits last night as his last-ditch batting saved England -- but captain Andrew Strauss says Ian Bell also deserves praise.

Onions blocked out the final over to secure a draw in Cape Town to protect England's 1-0 lead with just one match to play.

In the end, England's efforts saw them to 296-9 and Strauss paid thanks to Onions, Paul Collingwood and Bell.

"It was first-rate, Collingwood using his experience, and 'Belly' has wanted to play an innings like that for England for a long time," Strauss said.



Manca in a coma

RALLYING: Italian motorcyclist Luca Manca was critically injured in a fall during the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally on Thursday and was placed in an induced coma.

Hospital officials in Calama, Chile, said Manca sustained critical head injuries, was on a respirator and described his condition as "life-threatening".

NBA: NY Knicks 97 Charlotte 93


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