Saturday 24 February 2018

In Brief: India close in on famous win

South Africa's JP Duminy attempts to field a ball during the fourth day of their cricket test match against India
South Africa's JP Duminy attempts to field a ball during the fourth day of their cricket test match against India

Cricket: India are closing in on a famous victory after South Africa went to stumps at 138-2 on the fourth day of the first Test in Johannesburg yesterday, with the hosts needing another 320 runs in their bid to chase down a world-record victory target of 458.

South Africa's best hope looks to be to save the game, with Alviro Petersen (76) and Faf du Plessis (10) set to resume on the fifth morning, the latter promoted in the order to rest Jacques Kallis, who had bowled more than his usual quota of overs in India's second innings.

There was history made late in the day when MS Dhoni brought himself on to bowl two overs, making this the first Test in which both wicketkeepers have taken the ball after AB de Villiers did likewise in India's second innings.

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Rugby: Saracens demolished Aviva Premiership title rivals Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park but their 49-10 bonus-point victory was marred by a worrying injury to England out-half Owen Farrell.

Farrell was carried off in the 67th minute with his neck in a brace after his head accidentally connected with the hip of Vereniki Goneva while making a tackle.

The 22-year-old was unconscious before hitting the ground and 10 minutes elapsed before he was carried from the pitch having kicked three penalties and two conversions in a fine performance.

It was the only blot on an otherwise famous afternoon for Saracens, who defied wind and rain to score six tries in inflicting Leicester's heaviest loss in the Premiership.

Chris Ashton crossed twice, Jack Wilson, Billy Vunipola and Jackson Wray touched down once and referee Wayne Barnes also awarded a penalty try.

Leicester will enter Christmas deflated by such a humiliating defeat which was further darkened by the confirmation that out-half Toby Flood is to leave at the end of the season, with Toulouse his likely destination.

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Bath triumphed 14-3 in the battle of third and fourth in the Aviva Premiership, with a stunning try by 19-year-old full-back Jonathan Joseph killing off Harlequins' challenge.

Bath relied on three penalties from the boot of fly-half George Ford for a 9-3 half-time lead. The try from Joseph, who has already trained with the England Elite squad, came out of the blue on 46 minutes when Harlequins were a man down after Charlie Walker's sin-binning.

England's first choice full-back Mike Brown was left clutching thin air as the speedy Joseph ran round him to the line.

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Exeter ended a run of five defeats in all competitions and moved up to fifth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 16-3 victory over Newcastle.

The Chiefs looked to be taking a 9-0 lead into the break after fly-half Gareth Steenson, with the wind at his back, landed three penalties -- but on the stroke of half-time his opposite Phil Godman pulled back three points.

Hayden Thomas crossed for the first time of the game 11 minutes into the second period with Steenson, who saw a penalty attempt drop short, adding the simple conversion for the only points of the second half.

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Terenure maintained their 100 per cent record in the All-Ireland League Division 1B with a 13-0 victory over Buccaneers at Dubarry Park.

All the scores came in the first half with Mark O'Neill slotting over two penalties and also converting a Kevin O'Neill try as the Dublin team increase their lead at the top of the table.

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Basketball: UCD Marian continued their improvement under coach Ioannis Ciapakis in the Men's Premier League as they blitzed Templeogue in the first quarter to run out comfortable 78-59 winners at the Belfield gym last night.

Templeogue were aiming to build on their win at home to UL Eagles last week but scored just scored just two points in the remaining four minutes of the first quarter with Terence King's strong inside play helping Marian into a 26-8 lead at the end of that period.

Star, meanwhile, returned to winning ways with a 71-58 win away against Dublin Inter. Inter, though trailing by just three at the end of the first quarter, were then held scoreless before Arimus Statkus made a basket six minutes into the second quarter.

By then though Star had opened up a 16-point lead with Dustan Moriera's defensive rebounding and assists setting up scores for Conor Johnston, Paul Dick and Frank Otis.

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Equestrian: Though just over a second off the pace of Belgian winner Gregory Wathelet, Tipperary's Denis Lynch nevertheless collected €30,000 for his runner-up spot in last night's Grand Prix at La Coruna in Spain.

Ten top combinations made it through to the jump-off at the five-star competition, but Wathelet, with Sea Coast Forlap, fractionally shaded the Irishman's time to pick up first prize of €50,000.

Lynch, who rode Thomas Straumann's bay gelding Abbervail van het Dingeshof, was one of three Irish competitors in the Grand Prix, but Neither Jessica Kurten with VDL Zapatero nor Shane Breen with Balloon managed to qualify for the final round.

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Golf: Asia moved a step closer to retaining the Royal Trophy after they maintained their two-point lead over Europe following yesterday's four fourballs matches in Guangzhou.

The hosts need to claim three-and-a-half points from today's eight singles after ensuring they would go into the final day 5-3 ahead.

Irish Independent

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