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Exclusive: Sri Lankan captain's insane blitz rocks Aussies

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Dasun Shanaka scored a quickfire half century under pressure to help Sri Lanka pull off a remarkable four-wicket win over Australia in the third T20 international.

Chasing a target of 177, the hosts looked out of it when they slumped to 6-108 but an unbroken 69-run stand for the seventh wicket between Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne revived the innings. Sri Lanka then needed 59 runs off the last three overs and went on to win with one delivery to spare.

Shanaka’s 54 came off just 25 deliveries as he hit five fours and four sixes.

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Australia had already secured the series, having won the first two games in Colombo.

Shanaka had been under pressure leading into the game as Sri Lanka had lost nine out of 10 games this year under his captaincy, but gave the capacity crowd something to cheer about with his audacious stroke play.

“It took me a few balls to settle in. Just wanted to hang in there and finish the game and pretty happy with the effort,” Shanaka said.

“Leading up to the game I tried to motivate the boys telling them that although we had lost the series, we needed some momentum leading up to the ODIs. I’m glad they delivered. It’s been a tough few months.”

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The momentum changed in the 18th over bowled by Josh Hazlewood. He had been Aaron Finch’s most trusted bowler in the series and his first three overs had cost just three runs. But 22 runs were scored in his fourth over, Shanaka hit two consecutive sixes and followed it up with two more fours.

That brought the equation down to 37 runs in two overs and the penultimate over bowled by Jhye Richardson went for 18 runs, leaving Sri Lanka needing 19 in the last over.

Kane Richardson struggled under pressure as he sent down two wides to start the over. With Sri Lanka needing 15 runs off four balls, Australia still had things under control. But Shanaka hit two boundaries off the third and fourth deliveries of the over and now Sri Lanka required seven runs in two balls.

The penultimate delivery was hit straight down the ground to bring up Shanaka’s half-century to level the scores. Richardson’s next delivery was a wide and that handed Sri Lanka a sensational win.

“That was an unbelievable knock by Dasun tonight,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said. “We thought batting first was OK. I don’t think us batting first today had any reason for the defeat. Dasun played really well.”

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Exclusive: French athlete assaulted just before race, still wins in eyepatch – TalkOfNews.com

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Wilfried Happio

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Wilfried Happio

France’s Wilfried Happio wears a bandage after being assaulted at the warm-up stage during in the men’s 400 metre hurdles final during the French Elite Athletics Championships at the Helitas stadium in Caen, northern France, on June 25, 2022. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

French hurdler Wilfried Happio won the national title at the weekend despite running with an eyepatch after he was assaulted 20 minutes before his race.

Happio, 23, was warming up for the men’s 400m hurdles final at the national championships in Caen, northern France, on Saturday when he was attacked, taking several punches to the face.

“There was a big incident in the warm-up. Someone jumped on him and hit him,” Happio’s coach Olivier Vallaeys said.

“Some guy came out of nowhere and asked him if he was Wilfried Happio and then jumped on him. I managed to hold him back.

“It was 20 minutes before the race, we were ready to go to the call area.

“We’re shocked. The guy was arrested and Wilfried is fine. But I’m speechless, it was pure aggression, it’s scandalous. These are the methods of a savage.”

After Happio crossed the line in a new personal best time of 48.57sec to book his place in the French team for next month’s world championships in Oregon, blood was streaming from his nose.

“I don’t want to say any more about the (assault),” he said. “The race was more complicated than normal because I only had one eye.”

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The French Athletics Federation said a man had been arrested in connection with the attack and an investigation had begun.

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Exclusive: Wimbledon open for business, not quite as usual – TalkOfNews.com

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Ground staff members cover the court 4 as the rain started to fall on the first day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 27, 2022. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

LONDON – The world’s most famous queue began streaming into the All England Club on Monday as the gates opened at the start of the 135th edition of the Wimbledon championships.

The quintessential English sight of thousands of tennis fans waiting patiently, often having camped overnight, to gain entry to the grounds has been missing since 2019.

COVID-19 put paid to Wimbledon in 2020 and last year the queue was scrapped on safety grounds as the tournament returned to semi-normality, albeit with restricted attendances and players based in secure hotel bubbles.

Although all that makes Wimbledon such a spectacle has returned, it is not quite business as usual despite the buzz around the grounds as the gates swung open at 0900GMT on a breezy morning in southwest London.

For a start, Roger Federer, the king of the lawns with a record eight men’s singles titles, is absent for the first time since winning the junior event in 1998.

The 40-year-old Swiss is recovering from a knee injury and has not played since losing to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals a year ago.

Also missing is men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev after organizers banned Russian and Belarusian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine while women’s defending champion Ash Barty has retired.

The ban on Russians and Belarusians prompted the ATP and WTA to take away ranking points from Wimbledon this year.

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Play is also scheduled for 14 days, rather than the traditional 13, with middle Sunday no longer a rest day, meaning the end of so-called Manic Monday when all the men’s and women’s fourth-round matches used to be played.

Plot lines

While the build-up to Wimbledon has been mired in controversy, there are enough plot lines to suggest the next fortnight could be a classic edition.

Serena Williams returns after a year out, gunning for the 24th Grand Slam singles title that has eluded her since 2017.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was due to open play on Centre Court on Monday as he seeks to defend his title, win a 21st Grand Slam crown and close the gap on Rafa Nadal who has a record 22.

Spaniard Nadal is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian and French Opens.

Briton Emma Raducanu’s appearance is being billed as a “homecoming” after her extraordinary U.S. Open title win as a qualifier and the spotlight will be fully focused on the teenager when she faces Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck after Djokovic’s match against Kwon Soon-woo.

With the famous Centre Court celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the opening day has a very British flavor with twice former champion Andy Murray concluding the action against Australian James Duckworth.

Murray is one of 17 British players in the singles draws — the largest home contingent since 2001.

While the stage is set for a feast of tennis over the next two weeks, a rain shower half an hour after play started put a dampener on the early action.

Some things, it seems, never change.

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Exclusive: Cech exits as Chelsea boardroom reshuffle continues – TalkOfNews.com

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Chelsea technical and performance advisor Petr Cech has become the next departure as the Blues boardroom reshuffle continued following the takeover headed by Todd Boehly.

Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed a £4.25billion takeover of Chelsea at the end of May, making numerous changes to start their tenure.

Blues chairman Bruce Buck was the first to depart, with director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia also set to leave after 12 years at Stamford Bridge.

Granovskaia will remain available to Boehly, who is acting as interim sporting director and chairman, for the duration of the current transfer window to help with the transitional period.

Cech, who took the boardroom role at Chelsea in 2019 after retiring as a player, reportedly held talks with Boehly this week in the wake of the Buck and Granovskaia exits.

The former goalkeeper has subsequently opted to leave his role, effective on Thursday.

“It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years. With the club under new ownership, I feel now is the right time for me to step aside,” Cech said. 

“I am pleased that the club is now in an excellent position with the new owners, and I am confident of its future success both on and off the pitch.”

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Boehly added: “Petr is an important member of the Chelsea family.

“We understand his decision to step away and thank him for his contributions as an advisor and his commitment to the club and to our community. We wish him the best.”


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