Ponting bows out with ton
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting made an unbeaten 169 in his final match for English county Surrey to ensure he ended his first-class career with a bang on Thursday. It was an 82nd first-class hundred for the 38-year-old, who will retire from all forms of cricket after playing in the Champions League in October. Ponting retired from Test cricket in December and the one-day format in February last year. He scored 13,378 runs in 168 Tests — the second highest haul behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar in the long history of the game. The Tasmanian is the most successful Test captain in history, winning 48 of his 77 games as skipper.
Dutch hold champions
Holders Germany were surprisingly held to a 0-0 draw by a tenacious Netherlands side in their opening Group B game at the women’s European Championship in Sweden on Thursday. Germany created plenty of chances, but poor finishing stopped the seven-time European champions starting with a win. In Thursday’s early Group B game, Iceland scored a late penalty to snatch a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Norway. With hosts Sweden drawing 1-1 with Denmark and Italy opening the tournament with a goalless encounter against Finland in Group A, no team has won a match yet at Euro 2013.
Maracana gets new rules
Brazilian soccer fans could be banned from standing up, taking their shirts off, waving flags and playing musical instruments at the Maracana, the stadium administration said on Thursday. The move at one of the world’s most famous grounds is likely to cause an outcry in Brazil and confirm the fears of supporters worried about the gentrification of the country’s stadiums following their modernization for next year’s World Cup. Soccer’s world governing body FIFA already prohibits flags and instruments at its matches, such as World Cup games. “We are going to talk to the clubs about a change of habit,” Joao Borba, president of the Maracana Consortium, told the daily newspaper Extra. “I’m talking about bamboo [supports for flags], firecrackers, watching matches standing up.” The report added that a ban on musical instruments was also under consideration and that fans would be told not to take their shirts off. Rio de Janeiro’s four top-flight clubs Flamengo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Botafogo are expected to share the refurbished Maracana, although so far only Fluminense have signed an agreement. The Maracana, the spiritual home of Brazilian soccer, re-opened last month after a rebuilding program plagued by delays and burgeoning costs.
Rooney suffers injury
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is expected to be sidelined for a month after suffering a hamstring injury during training in Thailand on the club’s Asia tour, the English champions said on Thursday. “Following a scan this evening on a hamstring injury sustained in training, it has been decided that Wayne Rooney should return home immediately for further assessment and rehabilitation,” United said on their Web site. “It is anticipated he will be unavailable for selection for a month.” United face FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic at Wembley in the Community Shield on Aug. 11 before starting the defense of their Premier League title away to Swansea City on Aug. 17.