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SPORTS

MONDAY 21 AUGUST 2017,

SAUDI GAZETTE

12

All three of the senior guys, the record-breakers,

set the standard. I’m extremely privileged to play

in the same team as them — and what a place for young

guys to learn, with that great experience and so many runs

and wickets behind them.

Joe Root

England cricket captain

We’d certainly like to have done a lot better on

the subcontinent that’s for sure. Now it is an

opportunity for us to change (our record). I thought we did

some things really well in India. We just needed to do it for

little bit longer, and consistently.

Steve Smith

Australia cricket captain

P. O. Box 5576 Jeddah – 21432 Saudi Arabia

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Root ‘privileged’ to lead England greats

BIRMINGHAM —

Joe Root said he

felt “extremely privileged” in captain-

ing three of England’s most success-

ful Test cricketers after Alastair Cook,

James Anderson and Stuart Broad all

starred in a series-opening rout of the

West Indies at Edgbaston.

The first day/night Test in Britain

saw England thrash a hapless West In-

dies by an innings and 209 runs inside

three days Saturday.

Cook, England’s all-time leading

Test run-scorer with 11,568 in 145 fix-

tures, was named Man of the Match af-

ter making 243 in a total of 514 for eight

declared.

Together with Root, his succes-

sor as England captain, Cook shared a

third-wicket stand of 248 of which the

Yorkshireman’s share was 136.

The skippers past and present

came together when England was brief-

ly in trouble at 39 for two.

But from then on it was one-way

traffic, with Anderson making early in-

roads in both innings as West Indies,

made to follow-on by Root, was skit-

tled out for 168 and 137.

For all the fears about how the

pink ball would behave under the

floodlights, most of the damage dur-

ing an extraordinary Saturday where

the West Indies lost 19 wickets in total

came during daylight hours.

Broad did, however, shine at an il-

luminated Edgbaston as he moved past

Ian Botham’s tally of 383 Test wickets

and into second place in England’s all-

time list behind new-ball partner An-

derson.

His final second-innings figures of

three for 34 in 10 overs were impres-

sive enough but the paceman’s career

has been littered with dramatic wick-

et-taking bursts.

Saturday’s haul was no exception

as Broad rocked the West Indies with a

spell of three for four in 11 balls, includ-

ing two in two before he was denied

what would have been his third Test

hat trick.

It left Broad with 384 wickets in

107 Tests at an average of 28.47, while

Anderson — four years older at 35 —

remained out in front on 492 wickets

in 127 matches at 27.71.

“We all know the class and skill

these guys have, and we’re so fortunate

to have those guys rolled into one era,”

said Root, with England now 1-0 up in

a three-match series ahead of Friday’s

second Test at his Headingley home

ground.

“All three of the senior guys, the

record-breakers, set the standard.”

The 26-year-old top-order bats-

man, who launched his career as Eng-

land captain with a 3-1 win over South

Africa in a four-match home Test series

concluded last month, was well aware

of his good fortune in being able to call

upon Anderson, Broad and Cook.

“To have the two leading (Eng-

land) wicket-takers and the leading

(England) run-scorer in the side, you

have to be careful not to take that for

granted.

“I’m extremely privileged to play in

the same team as them — and what a

place for young guys to learn, with that

great experience and so many runs and

wickets behind them.”

For Broad, whose father Chris

played in the same England side as Bo-

tham, surpassing the star all-rounder’s

tally of Test wickets was a landmark

moment in his career.

“He’s obviously been a hero of

mine, someone who gave me my Test

cap back in 2007 and someone who in-

spired me to play cricket for England,”

said the 31-year-old.

“It’s very special to be up there in

the ranks with him.”

As for this latest victory, Root said:

“It was a fantastic team effort.

“We spoke about carrying on the

hard work from the last series — I

thought we did that exceptionally

well.”

England now have two more Tests

against the West Indies before what is

bound to be the sterner challenge of

defending the Ashes in Australia.

“It’s important we don’t get ahead

of ourselves, but it (this win) has filled

us with confidence,” added Root.

AFP

Joe Root

Atletico digs deep to draw at Girona

Sultan

leads hosts

charge

GIRONA, Spain —

Atletico

Madrid demonstrated its re-

markable team spirit to come

roaring back from two goals and

a man down to draw 2-2 at Liga

debutant Girona Saturday, after

Antoine Griezmann had been

sent off for the first time in his

career.

Girona looked set to enjoy

a dream top flight bow when

Uruguay international Cristhian

Stuani rose to head in a sweep-

ing cross from Alex Granell mid-

way through the first half and

three minutes later showed his

predator’s instinct to nod in a

loose ball from close range.

Argentine forward Angel

Correa pulled one back for At-

letico with a long range strike

in the 78th minute, after Griez-

mann had been dismissed for

two successive bookings, one for

diving to try and win a penalty

and another for dissent.

Defender Jose Gimenez then

beat Girona goalkeeper Gorka

Iraizoz to Koke’s chipped free-

kick to head Atletico level in the

85th minute and cap a thrilling

encounter at the Montilivi stadi-

um, which was hastily expanded

for the club’s first Liga game.

Elsewhere Saturday, Real So-

ciedad twice came from behind

KAULA LUMPUR —

A horse-

riding sultan led Malaysia’s charge

at the Southeast Asian Games on

Sunday as he bagged two eques-

trian gold medals on a bumper day

for the hosts.

Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin,

the first sultan to compete in the

Games, celebrated both individual

and team gold in the 80km race as

Malaysia surged ahead on the med-

als table.

The Terengganu state ruler

— riding at the Terengganu Inter-

national Endurance Park — com-

pleted the 80-kilometer (50 miles)

course in 8hr 23min 4sec on his

mount Rtes Annaversary.

The sultan is not the only royal

at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games,

which will also feature a Thai

princess in the dressage and has a

Brunei prince in the football com-

petition.

His exploits helped Malaysia

to a Games total of 14 gold medals

during the first full day of compe-

tition, with Singapore on six and

Thailand four. Malaysia also won

the men’s rugby sevens title, beat-

ing Singapore 22-7 in the final, and

avenged its loss to Singapore in the

Atletico de Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann (R) controls the ball during the

Spanish league match against Girona FC at the Montilivi Stadium in

Girona Saturday. — AFP

Halep seeks No. 1 in Cincy

MASON, Ohio —

Simona Ha-

lep has her third chance of the sea-

son to claim the world No. 1 rank-

ing after beating Sloane Stephens

6-2, 6-1 Saturday to reach the WTA

and ATP Cincinnati Masters finals.

The second-ranked Romanian

tries to become the 24th different

woman atop the list by winning

Sunday’s final against Wimbledon

champion Garbine Muguruza, who

ousted top-ranked Czech defend-

ing champion Karolina Pliskova

6-3, 6-2.

“If it’s going to happen, great,

but if not I will have more opportu-

nities. Hopefully I can do it. I have

the desire,” Halep said. “I am so

close. I really want that.”

Australia’s 23rd-ranked Nick

Kyrgios and Bulgaria’s 11th-ranked

Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the

men’s final, where Sunday’s win-

ner will claimhis first ATPMasters

crown.

Kyrgios eliminated Spain’s Da-

vid Ferrer 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) while

Dimitrov dispatched 19th-ranked

American John Isner 7-6 (7/4), 7-6

(12/10).

“I’m obviously excited but it’s

just another tennis match for me,”

Kyrgios said. “I’m going to go out

there and compete and whatever

happens happens.”

Dimitrov won his only meeting

with Kyrgios in the second round

at Indian Wells in 2015.

Halep, who hasn’t dropped a

set all week, has already lost twice

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates after defeating Sloane Stephens

at the Western and Southern Open Tennis Tournament in Mason, Ohio,

Sunday. — AFP

this year playing for the top rank-

ing, falling in the French Open final

against Jelena Ostapenko and the

Wimbledon quarterfinal against Jo-

hanna Konta, each time after taking

the first set.

“Maybe tomorrow is my turn,”

Halep said.

“I have to give my best and

fight and if I win it’s going to be re-

ally special. It’s a great opportunity.

But for sure it’s going to be a tough

match against a Grand Slam cham-

pion.

“It’s a big challenge. It’s a big

match.”

Halep says while she is confi-

dent her rise to the top will come,

she wants to win it for herself.

“I know if I keep this level, it’s

going to come. If not tomorrow,

maybe next weeks,” she said. “I can

keep hoping for that, but I don’t

want to do that, actually. I want to

win it... it’s going to be more special

and nicer for me.

“My first goal was a Grand Slam

title, and it’s still the first goal. But

now being very close, it’s maybe the

most important thing in this peri-

od.” Serena Williams had been No.

1 before her pregnancy break ear-

lier this year. Germany’s Angelique

Kerber and Pliskova have held the

spot since.

Kyrgios, 22, jumped ahead 4-1

in each tie-breaker, closing out the

first set with a forehand winner and

the last when Ferrer hit a backhand

long.

“My record in tie-breakers is

pretty good,” Kyrgios said. “I know

if I serve well and play the right

way, I’ve got a fair chance.”

The Aussie, who seeks his

fourth career ATP title and first

since last year in Tokyo, saved the

only three break points he faced in

the fifth game of the second set.

“In important moments, he

served really good. Nick served

amazing all the match,” Ferrer said.

Dimitrov, seeking his sixth ca-

reer title and third of 2017, won a

dramatic final tie-breaker on his

fourth match point.

“Patience. That’s what it is,”

Dimitrov said. “I knew where he

was going to serve but I couldn’t do

much on the ball. I just remained

focused and used every opportu-

nity.” Halep never faced a break

point and cruised in 54 minutes,

saying “I played my best match on

hardcourts so far.”

Sixth-ranked Spaniard Mugu-

ruza, seeking her fifth career title,

is 2-1 against Halep with two hard-

court wins but lost their most re-

cent meeting in 2015 on Stuttgart

clay. Pliskova, last year’s US Open

runner-up, had won six matches

in a row over Muguruza since los-

ing their first meeting at the 2013

French Open.

“I lost to her so many times, I

figured out something was going

wrong,” Muguruza said. “I worked

hard on beating these kinds of op-

ponents.”

Pliskova, who won twice Fri-

day after a rain postponement, was

drained, saying, “I just wasn’t there

today at all.”

—AFP

Grigor Dimitrov

of Bulgaria

celebrates after

defeating John

Isner at the

Western and

Southern Open

Tennis Tourna-

ment in Mason,

Ohio, Sunday.

— AFP

2015 netball title match with a con-

vincing 65-41 victory.

Singapore’s men beat Malaysia

17-4 to clinch the water polo title

for the 27th straight Games, ex-

tending a remarkable streak that

stretches all the way back to 1965.

ElsewhereMalaysia’s YeapWai

Kin, who was inspired to take up

wushu by Chinese movie star Jet

Li, bagged his first SEAGames gold

in the martial art, in the jianshu

competition.

Malaysia apologizes for

Indonesia flag blunder

Malaysia apologized Sunday

for the upside-down printing of

Indonesia’s flag in the souvenir

guidebook for the Southeast Asia

Games, which officials said is being

withdrawn and reprinted.

The mistake, spotted at the

games’ opening in the Malaysian

capital, sparked an outcry in Indo-

nesia and the hashtag #Shameony-

ouMalaysia was trending on social

media.

Indonesian President Joko

Widodo told reporters in Jakarta

the incident concerned “national

pride”, and called for an apology.

—AFP

for the Turin side in the match

which kicked off the Serie A

season, but the game could have

taken a different course if Diego

Farias had converted a spot kick

for Cagliari when it was 1-0 be-

hind. Napoli picked up where it

left off last season with another

fine attacking display to win 3-1

at promoted Verona.

Serie A is among the leagues

which are trialling the use of vid-

eo assistant referees (VAR) this

season and they were brought

into action for the first time just

after the half hour mark at the

Allianz Stadium.

Cagliari’s Duje Cop went

down under a challenge from

Alex Sandro and the ball ran on

to Farias who sent a deflected

shot over the crossbar.

Referee

Fabio

Maresca

awarded a corner, however, af-

ter consulting with the VAR, he

went over to the television mon-

itor on the touchline, returned

to the pitch, drew a television in

the air and pointed to the spot.

Replays showed that contact

was minimal and Juventus pro-

tested but they need not have

worried as a weak Farias penalty

was comfortably saved by Juve’s

39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi

Buffon.

— Agencies

to win 3-2 at Celta Vigo, snatch-

ing three points with a late pen-

alty from Willian Jose after Uru-

guayan Maxi Gomez had scored

twice on his debut for Celta.

Sevilla meanwhile drew 1-1

at home to Espanyol, with Ar-

gentine midfielder Ever Banega

being sent off for two successive

yellow cards on his first game

back at the Andalusian club, one

for a foul and the other for pro-

testing the foul.

Juventus survive VAR

Incident to beat Cagliari

Juventus began its pursuit of

a seventh successive Serie A title

with a 3-0 home win over Ca-

gliari Saturday after the Sardin-

ians missed a penalty awarded

with the help of a video replay.

Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dy-

bala and Gonzalo Higuain scored