Thursday 14 December 2017

In brief: Morkel and Steyn bowl India over

Cricket

India were reduced to 136-9 in 38.1 overs yesterday under a barrage of fast bowling by South Africa on the rain-shortened first day of the opening Test at Centurion.

Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn shared seven wickets as the Proteas' quick men sent India's top-ranked Test team reeling. Sachin Tendulkar led the Indians with 36, Harbhajan Singh made 27 and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was 33 not out at stumps. But Steyn and Morkel were dominant on the bowler-friendly surface as South Africa took the early advantage in the three-match series.

Morkel took 4-20 in 12.1 overs and Steyn had 3-34 as the home team made good its pre-series promise to test India's batsmen -- and their No 1 ranking -- with aggressive fast bowling.

Equestrian

Cian O'Connor made the perfect start to the world-famous Christmas Show at Olympia in London when winning the opening Two-Phase class yesterday with Umberto, WRITES LOUISE PARKES.

From a starting field of 37, the 31-year-old Meath rider set the target with a double-clear in 25.15 seconds when 22nd into the ring.

John Whitaker posed the biggest threat when breaking the beam with Dazzle in 25.32 seconds, but that was as close as the rest would get to the Irishman who, last December, recorded a historic victory in the Grand Prix at this British fixture riding Rancorrado.

Shortly after taking up the ride on Declan McEvoy's little gelding four weeks ago, O'Connor predicted the horse would do something special before Christmas and he has lived up to expectations, winning two international competitions over the last five days.

O'Connor's top horse, Splendor, has already been sold to Egypt, but the Irishman retains the ride until after Christmas when he will travel to compete on the Gulf Tour. He will partner Splendor in Sunday's Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier and again in Monday's Grand Prix.

Rugby

ULSTER Ravens will look to bounce back from last week's defeat to Bedford Blues as Birmingham side Moseley visit Belfast this afternoon (4.0).

Second in Pool C of the British & Irish Cup behind Ulster, who have played a game more, the English side won away with a bonus point at London Welsh last week, but are struggling in the Championship.

The Ulstermen's second string can call on a host of promising backs, with stars of the future Luke Marshall and Paddy Jackson lining out alongside dangerous winger Chris Cochrane.

ULSTER RAVENS -- D McIlwaine; T Seymour, M Allen, L Marshall, C Cochrane; P Jackson, I Porter; C Carey, N Annett, G Cronin; N McComb, R Caldwell; TJ Anderson (capt), A Birch, S Lavella. Replacements: J Burns, K McCall, I Henderson, D McGuigan, B McIlroy, J McKinney, J Shiels.

Cycling

The Irish Ladies Team of Caroline Ryan, Ciara Horne and Jennifer O'Reilly yesterday posted an Irish record at the track World Cup in Colombia. They clocked 3mins 31secs in the team pursuit.

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