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Cricket: Ponting quits captaincy role

Ricky Ponting quit as Australia captain yesterday and launched a passionate defence of his performance at the helm.

The 36-year-old made his announcement at a press conference in Sydney, days after arriving back in Australia following his side's World Cup quarter-final defeat by co-hosts India.

He said: "I've had the chance to think long and hard about it and I've decided to stand down as captain of the Test team and the one-day team as of now."

He intends to play on for Australia and predicted his form could improve without the pressure of the captaincy, while Ponting also backed Michael Clarke to take on the leadership.

Robertson in crushing win

SNOOKER: World champion Neil Robertson posted a crushing 5-1 win over Barry Hawkins in his opening match at the Bank of Beijing China Open.

Robertson had breaks of 79, 66 and 124 in his success, which sets up a potential last-16 clash with Peter Ebdon.

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry had one of the most one-sided wins of his career as the Scot beat Welshman Matthew Stevens 5-0.

Stevens scored just nine points, with Hendry having breaks of 100, 93, 75 and 65 to set up a probable clash with Chinese favourite Ding Junhui.

Ireland's Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion, had a dismal day, losing 5-1 in the wild-card round to China's Li Hang.

NBA: Indiana 107 Boston 100, Charlotte 87 Milwaukee 86, NY Knicks 113 Orlando 106 (OT), Chicago 85 Philadelphia 97, San Antonio 92 Portland 100, Utah 95 Washington 100 (OT)