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Ireland slip to Canadian loss Henin wildcard for Indian Wells

CRICKET: Ireland lost a high-scoring match to Canada by just four runs in Sri Lanka yesterday as coach Phil Simmons juggled his options ahead of next week's Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers.

In the second match of the four-team tournament, Simmons gave an outing to back-up bowlers Phil Eaglestone and Gary Kidd but neither staked a claim for a regular start as Canada charged to 176-3.

Andre Botha took all three wickets but in the absence of Alex Cusack and young left-arm spinner George Dockrell, Ireland probably conceded 20 more than they would have liked.

An imposing target of nearly nine and over, looked within the scope of Niall O'Brien, though, as the opener raced to 50 from 34 balls, taking his side halfway to their goal in only nine overs.

The 17th over was to prove pivotal with Gary Wilson, Botha and Trent Johnston all exiting for the addition of only three runs.

Ireland play Sri Lanka 'A' today in the final match of the tournament before moving onto Dubai for the qualifiers.

Alonso excited by feel at Ferrari

MOTORSPORT: Fernando Alonso is revelling in the atmosphere, passion and feeling being generated at Ferrari, in contrast to the "cold" he felt during his one-year stint at McLaren.

On his first day inside Ferrari's new car, Alonso thrilled a truly astonishing test day crowd of 36,000 fans in Valencia.

After just 25 laps he had surpassed the previous best time of the week posted by team-mate Felipe Massa, before lowering it again to one minute 11.470 seconds.

He completed 127 laps overall, finishing 0.6secs quicker than Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa and a quarter-of-a-second up on Massa.

"It's nice to be in the garage speaking Italian with the mechanics. It's very good so far. I'm enjoying life," said Alonso.

Henin wildcard for Indian Wells

TENNIS: Australian Open finalist Justine Henin has been granted a wildcard place in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The Belgian, who won the event in 2004, joins fellow ex-champions Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Vera Zvonareva and two-time winners Clijsters and Daniela Hantuchova in the draw for the March 8-21 event.

NBA: Atlanta 103 LA Clippers 97, Philadelphia 106 Chicago 103 (OT), Toronto 108 New Jersey 99, NY Knicks 107 Washington 85, Boston 107 Miami 102,

New Orleans 99 Oklahoma City 103, Dallas 110 Golden State 101, Denver 97 Phoenix 109, Utah 118 Portland 105, Sacramento 113 San Antonio 115, LA Lakers 99 Charlotte 97