Worcester frustrate Aussies
Australia were left frustrated in their final warm-up game before next week’s Ashes Test opener with England, failing to beat Worcestershire as the match ended in a tame draw on Friday. Australia, needing nine more wickets on the fourth and final day, had set Worcester an almost impossible target of 457 and the county side easily held out, largely due to 19-year-old Tom Fell’s unbeaten 62 in their closing 274-5. Pace bowlers Ryan Harris and James Faulkner took two wickets each for the tourists, who had looked odds-on to win after the home side were reduced to 144-4 at the County Ground. They were denied a morale-boosting victory as the benign New Road pitch helped Worcester to hold out thanks to other good knocks from skipper Daryl Mitchell with 54 and Matt Pardoe (57).
Kaneria banned for life
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also banned Danish Kaneria for life after an appeal panel of the England and Wales Cricket Board upheld its life ban on the leg-spinner for spot-fixing. Kaneria, 32, was found guilty last year of inducing his Essex teammate Mervyn Westfield to take part in spot-fixing during an English county match. The PCB says in a statement that it is also “bound to recognize, respect and enforce the ban [of Kaneria] in Pakistan” and he is suspended for life. Kaneria is Pakistan’s best Test leg-spinner of all time with 261 wickets in 61 matches.
Venus out of TeamTennis
Venus Williams has pulled out of World TeamTennis matches next week because of the back injury that kept her out of Wimbledon. Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam title winner, was scheduled to play for the Washington Kastles in home matches tomorrow and Tuesday, and on the road against the Texas Wild on Wednesday. The Kastles are on a 32-match winning streak. The 33-year-old American has not competed since a first-round loss at the French Open on May 26. The Kastles announced on Friday that Martina Hingis would replace Williams in their lineup.
Stephen Donald: The Movie
All Black Stephen Donald’s unlikely role in New Zealand’s 2011 Rugby World Cup final win over France will be immortalized in a movie, reports said on Friday. Donald was New Zealand’s fourth-choice fly-half in the tournament, but scored a crucial penalty during the decider in Auckland to secure a nail-biting 8-7 win and end 24 years of frustration for the host nation. State funding body New Zealand on Air has allocated NZ$2.7 million (US$2.1 million) for a film about Donald’s exploits called The Kick, Fairfax Media reported. Scriptwriter Tom Scott said it was a tale of redemption for Donald, who lost his spot and was vilified by the New Zealand public after being blamed for a loss to Australia 12 months before the World Cup. Donald was out fishing when he received a call from then-All Blacks coach Graham Henry saying he was needed in the squad after injuries to Dan Carter and Colin Slade. He was on the bench for the final when third-string kicker Aaron Cruden limped off injured. Wearing one of Cruden’s spare shirts because he was called up too late to have his own, Donald scored a penalty goal about six minutes after half-time, making it 8-0 to the All Blacks and putting the game beyond a converted try. France narrowed the gap to one point, launching an all-out attack in the latter stages of the game, but New Zealand held on and Donald became a cult hero.