Gary Kirsten saved South Africa with a "horrible" back-to-the-wall century against England on the opening day of the fourth test at Headingley. \nThe touring side recovered from 21 for four -- and from the loss of their captain Graeme Smith from the fourth ball of the match -- to close on 260 for seven. \nKirsten, whose unbeaten hundred was his second in consecutive test innings, put on 95 for the fifth wicket with Jacques Rudolph (55) as the seaming conditions eased before sharing an unbroken partnership of 118 for the eighth with Monde Zondeki. \nZondeki, who came in at No. 9 on his debut to face a hat-trick ball from Andrew Flintoff, finished with a maiden first-class half-century. \nKirsten, on 109, had batted for all but a couple of minutes of the entire day, spending most of his time in studious and trademark defense. \n"Graeme Smith is a man of extremes, he either makes me wait all day or I get in in the first over," Kirsten said. \n"We were obviously in a lot of trouble. A lot of people say that suits my game, to hang in, to play terribly and to look horrible. I was able to do that. \nEngland, who won the third test to level the series at 1-1, ended the day at Headingley cursing two missed opportunities. \nOn 28, Kirsten had been caught off Flintoff at cover only for a no-ball to be called. On 42, he had edged Flintoff through Nasser Hussain's fingertips at gully. \nOtherwise, Kirsten's 18th test hundred was an extraordinary exhibition of his mental powers. \nJames Kirtley, man of the match on his debut in the third test, struck first after South Africa opted to bat. \nThe left-handed Smith, who made double centuries in the first two tests and who was still averaging 132 on Thursday morning, chased a wide delivery and snicked behind for two. \nSeamer Martin Bicknell, recalled for his third test after a 10-year absence from the side, then cut a ball away from Herschelle Gibbs to have him snaffled for a duck by Alec Stewart, making the score two for two. \nIt was soon 16 for three when Jacques Kallis, attempting to take the initiative, drove Bicknell straight to Michael Vaughan at wide mid-off after making six. \nBicknell's 54-ball opening spell of two for 12 contained just four scoring shots as he stuck to a disciplined off-stump line. \nKabir Ali, on his debut, then removed Neil McKenzie with his fifth delivery. \nRudolph and Kirsten, however, changed the mood with their cautious partnership. \nRudolph looked set to open up, unleashing several cuts and reaching his 50 with his eighth and ninth fours off consecutive balls, before he attempted to whip Ali away to leg only to be adjudged lbw. \nMark Boucher followed off the last ball before tea, beaten for pace by a Flintoff delivery and miscuing a pull to Vaughan at mid-off. \nFirst ball after the break, Andrew Hall was caught at gully for his second golden duck in a row and, at 142 for seven, South Africa looked in trouble again. \nBy the close, it was the 35-year-old Kirsten, sticking to drives and pulls for his 16 boundaries, and the 21-year-old Zondeki, who wore the broadest smiles.
“Road Runner” Alphonso Davies lived up to his nickname with another lightning sprint on Saturday as Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga. Having defeated second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 away in midweek, Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 romp over Fortuna Duesseldorf. Defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own-goal before Benjamin Pavard, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Davies scored for Bayern. With five games remaining, the defending champions, who have won their past eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title. Davies scored the best goal of the game when the fleet-footed defender pressed Duesseldorf into making a mistake, barged
The losing captain thanked the winning team’s players for their personal sacrifices leading into the match and a charter flight pilot received a big round of applause when his plane beat incoming fog to touch down after midnight following another game as feel-good stories off the field matched those on it as the National Rugby League (NRL) restarted its season in Australia over the weekend. The New Zealand Warriors’ 18-0 win over St George Illawarra was the Auckland-based team’s first of the season after three rounds and it could not have come at a better time. Due to international travel restrictions
Taiwan Steel celebrated a big win over Tatung in the Taiwan Premier League yesterday, while undefeated Taichung Futuro remained at the top of the table, although their lead is only one point. Four of the eight teams were in action, completing matches postponed the previous weekend due to rain, with Taipower and Hang Yuan playing out a scoreless draw in Kaohsiung. Taiwan Steel are sorting out their early-season problems as they chase the leaders and it showed against defending champions Tatung at the Jhubei Stadium in Hsinchu County. Haitian striker Benchy Astama netted a brace and midfielder Kuo Po-wei’s outstanding solo effort sent
ON THE MOON: After achieving an against-the-odds restart, Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys says crowds should return to the stands by July 1 Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has battled player scandals, top-level resignations and dire financial revelations during the COVID-19 shutdown, but against the odds, it returns this week to bring relief to team owners and sports-starved fans. The fledgling season had seen two rounds of matches when it was suspended on March 24 and is to have a different feel when it resumes with the Brisbane Broncos hosting the Parramatta Eels behind closed doors tomorrow. An “NRL island” off the Queensland coast, where all 16 teams would be kept in isolation, had been considered, but Australia’s success in containing the coronavirus has instead