Monday 18 December 2017

Sri Lanka deny England victory


Disappointed England had to settle for a stalemate at a rainy Rose Bowl, but could still console themselves with a Test series victory over Sri Lanka.

Captain Andrew Strauss admitted his team arrived with high hopes yesterday morning that they could bowl Sri Lanka out quickly enough, from an overnight 112 for three, to win the third and final Test.

Instead, they ran into an ultra-determined and highly skilled Kumar Sangakkara -- whose 119 underpinned a total of 334-5 by the time forecast rain duly arrived at tea-time to wash out any remaining proceedings.

By then, England knew they were not going to double their series advantage anyway after Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera (87 not out) shared a stand of 141 and extended Sri Lanka's lead to that same number.

England, for whom Chris Tremlett had been such a driving force with six first-innings wickets on his former home ground, had only fleeting opportunities to break Sri Lanka's resistance a second time.


Ireland made a sizzling start to the Four Nations tournament in UCD last night beating China 4-2. The result was forged in the second quarter with four sizzling goals from the home side, all out of the top drawer.

First John Jermyn converted one of his trademark drag flicks at a penalty corner on 18 minutes. The rest came from open play, through Phelie Maguire, Timmy Cockram and from Mikey Watt.

China made valiant efforts to claw their way back into the game as Na Yu Bo and Yixian Liu scored in the second half, but further damage was prevented by the Harte twins, Conor and David.

Harte pulled off some great tackles, while goalie David made a series of startling saves.

Elsewhere, while back-to-back FIH Champion's Challenge wins may prove academic, Irish women's manager Sally-Ann Fanagan believes the psychological boon garnered from games against India and Azerbaijan will be the real bonus as Ireland complete the group stages today against Spain (6.30, Belfield) needing just a point to top the table.


Matt Stevens' return from the ignominy of a drugs ban continued yesterday when he was confirmed in England's 45-man Rugby World Cup training squad.

The Saracens prop has been joined by five uncapped players at England's training camp -- Manusamoa Tuilagi, Thomas Waldrom, Mouritz Botha, Joe Simpson and Charlie Sharples.

England manager Martin Johnson has also rewarded the Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw and Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth for their impressive seasons.

Stevens -- capped 32 times for England -- returned to action in January, after serving a two-year suspension for cocaine use, and went on to help Saracens win the Aviva Premiership title and the England Saxons to Churchill Cup success.

Irish Independent

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