Update December 30 2017 - January 2, 2018
Australia 103-2 and 61 behind when rain ends 4th day at MCG
Australia's Cameron Bancroft chops onto his stumps off the bowling
of England's Chris Woakes for 27 runs during the fourth day of the
fourth Ashes cricket test match in Melbourne, Australia, Friday,
Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
Melbourne's fickle weather slowed England's push for a consolation
victory in the fourth Ashes test on Friday, with rain forcing an
early end to the fourth day with Australia struggling after Alastair
Cook batted through his team's entire first innings.
Trailing by 164 runs after
England's first innings ended on 491 on the first ball of the day,
Australia crawled to 103 for two in their second innings when play
was suspended before tea because of the storm, increasing the
prospect of a drawn match with only one day remaining.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground
floodlights were illuminated and ground staff covered the center
wicket in the hope that the match would recommence before the
umpires eventually called off play for the day and ordered an early
start on Saturday.
"Anytime there's a bit of rain
and you're on top in the game, it's a bit frustrating," England's
Australian-born coach Trevor Bayliss said. "But we have an
opportunity tomorrow to win so that's the attitude we've got to
"We showed in the first innings
that we can take a number of wickets reasonably quickly and 98 overs
is more than enough time if we play well to force a result."
Australia were still 61 runs in
arrears and under enormous pressure to get back into the contest as
England pressed for a morale-boosting win after losing the first
three matches of the five-test series to concede the Ashes.
David Warner, batting with extreme caution, was unbeaten on 40 from
140 balls when play was interrupted with the Australian captain
Steve Smith 25 not out and the pair needing to build a big
partnership on the final day to salvage a draw.
"The atmosphere is still great
in the change rooms," Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh said. "We
obviously know that we've got a big day tomorrow of batting ahead
but hopefully we can come out with a draw."
Normally free-scoring batsmen,
Warner and Smith added just 38 runs for the third wicket in 22.4
overs as they battled to keep their wickets intact after England
captured two early victims.
Australian opener Cameron
Bancroft was dismissed for 27 when he chopped a ball from Chris
Woakes back on to his stumps. Then Usman Khawaja, who got off the
mark with a massive six off English spinner Moeen Ali, departed for
11 when Jimmy Anderson found the edge and wicketkeeper Jonny
Bairstow took a routine catch.
"Even though it's still a very
good (batting) wicket, it still gives us an opportunity to force a
result," Bayliss said. "If we can get rid of those two guys (Warner
and Smith) early on tomorrow and put some pressure on their lower
order, then anything is possible."
Resuming on 491-9, England's
first innings ended after just one delivery when Anderson was
dismissed for a duck, caught by Bancroft at short leg off Pat
Cummins finished with 4-117
while fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon captured
three wickets each as the Australians struggled in the absence of
injured strike bowler Mitchell Starc.
Cook was left stranded on 244
not out, becoming the first player to carry his bat through a full
innings in a test at the MCG, test cricket's oldest ground, having
hosted the sport's inaugural test in 1877.
Cook set a stack of records
during his marathon innings, which started on Wednesday and spanned
more than 10½ hours at the crease.
The 33-year-old opener became
the first Englishman to carry his bat since Mike Atherton did it
against New Zealand in Christchurch 20 years ago.
The left-hander also became the
first batsman to achieve the rare feat in an Ashes series since
Geoffrey Boycott at Perth in 1979 and posted the highest score by a
player to carry his bat, eclipsing New Zealander Glenn Turner's
unbeaten 223 in 1972.
Brignone takes World Cup GS, Italy women's 1st win of season
Italy's Federica Brignone celebrates as she crosses the finish line
to win an alpine ski women's World Cup giant slalom in Lienz,
Austria, Friday, Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Lienz, Austria (AP) —
Federica Brignone gave Italy its first women's World Cup win of the
season on Friday, one day after Dominik Paris got the Italian men's
team its first podium by winning the Bormio downhill.
Ranked fourth after the opening
leg of a giant slalom on the Schlossberg course, Brignone posted the
fourth-fastest time and edged first-run leader Viktoria Rebensburg
of Germany by 0.04 seconds.
"I am so happy with first
place," said Brignone, who has been dealing with adductor problems.
She returned early from a preseason training camp in South America
and sat out the start of the World Cup season.
"I couldn't ski or train for a
while. I came back in Killington (on Nov. 25) and from then on I am
feeling better every day."
This was her sixth career win,
and fourth in GS.
Overall champion Mikaela
Shiffrin of the United States was 0.08 behind in third, and French
world champion Tessa Worley trailed by 0.26 in fourth.
Former overall champions Lara
Gut of Switzerland and Anna Veith of Austria, who both returned from
knee injuries this season, finished 10 and 21st, respectively.
Brignone said her injury was
still hampering her.
"For now, I can ski at least,"
she said. "I have to focus on the few runs I can do. I was training
with my family, my dad and my brother, before this race. Now I am
Chasing her first win on
Austrian snow since taking the season-opener in Soelden two years
ago, Brignone said she "didn't feel so good at the start" of her
first run, which she finished 0.17 off Rebensburg's leading time.
"The slope is very tough and it
was a little bit bumpy but I knew I had to charge all the way down,"
she said about her winning second run.
Brignone denied Rebensburg a
third win of the season after the German took the first two giant
slaloms in Soelden and Killington. Rebensburg has earned 13 of her
15 career World Cup wins in GS.
Defending her slim lead from
the opening run, the 2010 Olympic champion lost just too much time
as she wasn't clean in the steep middle section of the course.
"It was tough to race, it was
pretty dark," Rebensburg said. "It was very tight, just a few
hundredths. But it was a solid race, I could have done better on a
few spots but you have to be satisfied with a second place."
Rebensburg overtook Shiffrin
atop the discipline standings. After four races, the German has 298
points, 13 clear of the American.
However, Shiffrin will enter
2018 as the clear overall World Cup leader with 881 points, 371
ahead of the German.
A day after dominating the
slalom on the same course, Shiffrin was 0.05 behind Rebensburg in
second after the opening run and lost a place after posting the
eighth-fastest time in the final run.
"I like to be one who is
chasing. I didn't have a lead to work with so I felt like I really
had to go and give everything in the second run," said Shiffrin, who
won the previous GS in Courchevel 10 days ago.
The next World Cup is a city
event in Oslo on New Year's Day.
Pinturault dominates combined _ before it goes extinct
France's Alexis Pinturault competes during the second run of an
alpine ski men's World Cup alpine combined, in Bormio, Italy,
Friday, Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
Bormio, Italy (AP) —
Alexis Pinturault realizes that the Alpine combined event is moving
Maybe that's why he's
dominating the races that remain.
The Frenchman secured another
combined win when first-run leader Dominik Paris straddled a gate
toward the end of his slalom run on Friday.
For his seventh World Cup
victory in the discipline, Pinturault won with a 0.42-second
advantage ahead of Peter Fill of Italy.
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway
finished third, 0.45 back.
Combined events — which
determine the winner by combining the times from one downhill run
and one slalom leg — are on the provisional calendar only for the
next two seasons. After that, the International Ski Federation has
intimated that it plans to install more TV-friendly parallel events
"I can't say I will regret it
but I also can't say I'm happy about it," Pinturault said. "I like
combined. I like the way we are racing against the downhillers or
the downhillers are racing against the tech guys. These are the only
races where this is happening.
"Of course if people don't
really like it or are not interested maybe it doesn't make sense to
continue or maybe it makes sense to change it for the future," he
added. "It's life. It's evolution."
This season already, both the
men's and women's circuits have had giant slalom and slalom parallel
events in Alta Badia and Courchevel, France, respectively. Also,
city events on miniature slalom courses are planned for Oslo on New
Year's Day and Stockholm on Jan. 30.
"I like city events but in this
kind of event you never know what will happen," Pinturault said.
"They're really short. One mistake and you're out. It's something
In the combined, the top
all-around racer often wins.
Pinturault stood 19th after the
downhill run — 1.65 seconds behind Paris — but had the fastest
slalom leg to post his 21st career win across all disciplines. He
has won four of the last five, and six of the last nine World Cup
"He's a way better downhiller
than people expect him to be," Jansrud said. "And then being an
extremely good slalom skier makes him a dangerous combination. So
he's the man to beat."
Paris was positioned to
duplicate his victory in the downhill a day earlier when he held an
advantage of 0.46 ahead of Pinturault at the last checkpoint of the
slalom leg, but the Italian lost control about 10 gates from the
Jansrud is also a supporter of
the combined, citing the event's long history. But he's aware that
that a one-hour parallel race is more attractive to TV viewers and
easier to understand than a complicated combined event that can take
"I think it would be optimal to
do a bit of both but we only have so much time," Jansrud said.
This was the first of two World
Cup combined races this season, with the next in Wengen,
Switzerland, in January. A combined will also be contested at the
Pyeongchang Olympics in February, where a team event will make its
debut in the parallel format.
The combined is often
considered the toughest test in skiing, since it requires vastly
different skills between the high-speed downhill and the sharp and
rapid turns of slalom. This race was a case in point, since the
downhill was physically demanding on the bumpy Stelvio course and
then the slalom was held under the lights on a layout that didn't
leave much room for specialists to excel.
After his downhill run, Paris
bent over in exhaustion and rubbed his thighs to relieve his aching
"It was one of the hardest
downhills we ever had in combined," Pinturault said. "Also, the
slalom had a really long flat and was really straight, so it was
really hard to make a huge difference. ... I won today also because
of my downhill performance."
Andy Murray makes tepid return as he loses exhibition match
Great Britain's Andy Murray returns a ball to Spain's Roberto
Bautista Agut during the second day of the Mubadala World Tennis
Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Dec. 29.
(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates (AP) — Andy Murray made a tepid return to the court,
losing a one-set match 6-2 to Roberto Bautista Agut in the United
Arab Emirates exhibitions on Friday.
Murray, who has slipped to 16th
in the rankings after ending last year as No. 1, wasn't scheduled to
play at the Abu Dhabi tournament. However, he filled in for Novak
Djokovic, after the Serb withdrew from his semifinal against
Bautista Agut earlier in the day with a recurrence of pain in his
Murray, who has been struggling
to find full fitness following a right hip problem, was initially
only in Abu Dhabi to practice before next month's Australian Open.
He is also expecting to play in
Brisbane, Australia next week.
The 30-year-old British player
lost his first two service games and trailed 4-0 against the
20th-ranked Spaniard. In the seventh game, he held a service game
lasting 12 minutes.
"Obviously I made a slow start
and Roberto is one of the best players in the world," Murray said.
"When you haven't competed for a while, it takes time to get up to
that pace. I started to feel a bit better toward the end, but I need
to keep improving for sure."
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam
winner, did not move around the court at his usual pace and his
first serves were way below his best. He did have one ace late in
the fifth game, in which he also executed an athletic lunge at the
net to win a point.
What appeared to trouble Murray
the most was retrieving shots on the run with his backhand. He sent
a few returns into the net, and did not even go for a couple of
shots. Even though he moved gingerly, it was understandable as he
returned to training only last week.
"It was nice to be able to
play," a relieved-sounding Murray said. "I was just planning on
stopping here for a couple of days on the way to Australia to get
some practice in with the guys."
Aside from an exhibition match
against Roger Federer back home in Scotland last month, Murray has
not played since losing to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon
quarterfinals in July.
Also Friday, U.S. Open
runner-up Kevin Anderson of South Africa reached the final after
beating fifth-ranked Austrian Dominic Thiem 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Andrey Rublev of Russia secured
fifth place in the six-player tournament by beating Pablo Carreno
Busta of Spain 6-4, 6-2.
On Saturday, 23-time grand slam
champion Serena Williams returns to court with an exhibition match
against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The 36-year-old Williams, the
Australian Open champion, gave birth to her first child in
Comanche wins Sydney-Hobart, Wild Oats XI stripped of title
this image provided by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and
Rolex, Wild Oats XI, center left, leads LDV Comanche, center right,
as they near the finish in the Sydney Hobart yacht race near Hobart,
Australia, Wednesday, Dec. 27. (Luca Butto'CYCA/Rolex via AP)
Hobart, Australia (AP) —
Super maxi LDV Comanche was awarded line honors in the Sydney to
Hobart yacht race on Thursday after its protest against Wild Oats XI
was upheld over an incident early in the race.
Wild Oats XI was found to have
breached race rules over a tacking move at the start on Tuesday in
Sydney Harbour. The eight-time winner was penalized one hour after
lengthy deliberations by a five-person international jury in Hobart.
It was only the third time in
the event's 73-race history that a yacht lost line honors due to a
In 1990, Rothmans received a
time penalty for breaching advertising rules. In 1983, Nirvana
failed to give Condor sufficient sea room; Nirvana crossed the line
first but was later disqualified and Condor was declared the winner.
Wild Oats XI had crossed the
finish line in record-breaking time but was only 26 minutes, 34
seconds ahead of LDV Comanche.
Mark Richards, the skipper
aboard Wild Oats XI, said he and the yacht's crew accepted the
jury's findings and penalty.
"Not very often do you smash a
Sydney to Hobart record and then get it taken away from you, but
it's happened to us today," he said. "We're very disappointed but we
have to cop it on the chin."
LDV Comanche skipper and owner
Jim Cooney described the decision as "fair."
"It's always a bit of a shame
it may happen in these circumstances," he said. "The jury decided
very clearly that there was an infringement in the harbor that
penalized us. When things come down to the wire so closely like that
I think it's only fair and reasonable that the jury acted the way
The jury canvassed several
witnesses and reviewed television before making its decision.
The allegation lodged with the
jury was that Wild Oats XI was on a port tack, and Comanche was on a
starboard tack, putting them on a collision course at the start of
It alleged that Wild Oats did
not complete its tack from port to starboard, failing to keep clear
Wild Oats XI had crossed the
finish line in 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds. The previous
race record was 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 20 seconds.
The revised times show Comanche
with a winning time of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, still
well inside the previous record by more than four hours. Wild Oats
XI's revised time with the penalty added was 33 minutes behind.
The two other super maxis in
the race were third and fourth and also under the previous race
record: Black Jack and Info Track, which was formerly Perpetual
In the final hours of the race,
Wild Oats and Comanche were neck and neck down Tasmania's east
They entered the River Derwent
where a lighter Wild Oats XI picked up a breeze to crawl into first
place as her wider rival slowed to a near halt.
By late Thursday, 27 yachts had
finished the race at Hobart from a starting field of 102, with only
England take control thanks to Alastair Cook's 244 not out
England's Alastair Cook bats against Australia during the third day
of the fourth Ashes cricket test match in Melbourne, Australia,
Thursday, Dec. 28. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
Alastair Cook produced a master-class in concentration by scoring an
unbeaten double century on Thursday to put his team in complete
control of the fourth Ashes test against Australia at the Melbourne
Already England's greatest
run-scorer, the 33-year-old opener stonewalled Australia's bowling
attack for more than 10½ hours, eclipsing a stack of historical
batting records along the way as the tourists piled on 491 for nine
at stumps on day three, a lead of 164 over Australia with one
first-innings wicket still in hand.
"It was obviously a tough day.
I thought our bowlers bowled well but Alastair Cook was simply
brilliant," Australia coach Darren Lehmann said. "He just batted a
very long time and he was certainly more aggressive than he was in
the other tests.
"He played brilliantly and
showed some of the younger guys how sometimes you've just got to
tough it out."
Cook raised his arms in triumph
after he became the first Englishman since Wally Hammond to score a
double hundred at the MCG (in 1928) and his 244 not out is now the
highest score made by any player against Australia in Melbourne,
breaking the 208 Viv Richards made for the West Indies in 1984.
Resuming on 104 after reaching
his hundred in the last over on Wednesday, Cook also overtook Mahela
Jayawardene, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara to move into
outright sixth place among test cricket's all-time leading scorers
while posting the fifth double ton of his career and his highest
score against Australia.
"I was probably more emotional
getting a hundred last night," Cook said. "Today was really just
about backing it up and getting a really big one for the team and
I'm really pleased I did that."
The left-hander reached his 200
after tea when he drove Jackson Bird straight down the ground for
four. He was dropped twice by the Australian captain Steve Smith, on
66 then again on 153, but hardly played another false shot during a
By the time stumps were drawn,
Cook had batted a total of 634 minutes, faced 409 balls and struck
27 boundaries. He walked off to a standing ovation and the roars of
the Barmy Army — England's travelling supporters — with his team in
a great position to salvage a consolation win after losing the first
three matches in the five-test series to surrender the Ashes.
Despite scoring 243 against the
West Indies in August, speculation about Cook's future in the team
had been growing after he managed a meagre total of just 83 runs
from the first three tests and he admitted he was down on
"It's just a shame it's three
matches too late but I have to live with that," Cook said. "There
are always doubts. I've had them ever since I started playing.
"I always thought I had the
backing of the selectors but you never know. You still have to score
runs and I hadn't done that this tour."
Cook was well supported by
England's lower order, which had also struggled in the previous
matches, when he needed their help most.
Stuart Broad made a
swashbuckling 56 batting at 10, and was at the non-striker's end
when Cook passed the major his milestones, while Chris Woakes (26),
Jonny Bairstow (22) and Moeen Ali (20) all made important
England captain Joe Root
chipped in with a patient 61 but threw his wicket away before lunch
when he holed out at deep square leg but it mattered little as the
tourists turned the tables and all but ended Australia's hopes of a
The Australians struggled in
the absence of key strike bowler Mitchell Starc, who was ruled out
of the match with a right foot injury. His replacement Bird failed
to take any wickets while pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and
spinner Nathan Lyon captured three wickets each after toiling hard.
"We certainly didn't go into
the game looking that far ahead," Lehmann said. "Those things are
nice if they go that way but the goal is win the Ashes.
"Full credit to England, we've
just been outplayed by a better side at the moment."
Arsenal top Crystal Palace 3-2 to stay close to EPL top 4
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, front,
shields the ball from Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke during
their English Premier League match at Selhurst Park stadium in
London, Thursday, Dec. 28. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) — Arsene Wenger admits Alexis Sanchez's
future at Arsenal remains uncertain even after the Chilean
scored twice to help beat Crystal Palace 3-2 in the English
Premier League on Thursday.
Sanchez has long been of
interest to league leaders Manchester City, and his tenure at
Arsenal is set to come under renewed speculation ahead of the
impending January transfer window.
"Nobody knows what will happen.
It's difficult to speculate," Arsenal manager Wenger said.
"We are focused on short-term,
that means the next game with the players committed and ready to
fight. It's not a guarantee of how long you stay somewhere. As long
as you are somewhere, you give your best.
"They are questioned, always,
when people don't have long contracts. The best way to show they are
committed is to give that kind of performance."
Sanchez's double made it an
easy looking evening for Arsenal after Palace's Andros Townsend
initially cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi's opener.
The Gunners remain sixth and
one point behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
Crystal Palace had been
undefeated in their last eight games but remain one point off the
Arsenal were off the mark first
when Alexandre Lacazette's shot forced goalkeeper Julian Speroni
into a save that reached only the unmarked Mustafi, who tapped in
The equalizer began on the left
wing four minutes into the second half; Wilfried Zaha used his
footwork to cross towards Townsend, who under little pressure
finished first-time into the bottom left corner beyond the diving
Arsenal required time to
recover from the setback, and it was only after a lethargic
clearance from Christian Benteke after the hour mark that the
Gunners were gifted the chance they needed. When Benteke
half-heartedly cleared a corner to Calum Chambers, the defender
returned possession to the Palace box and watched as Lacazette and
Sanchez combined to create space for the latter to strike into the
bottom left corner.
Despite leading, Arsenal's form
this season meant only another goal would make victory look likely,
and their fans had to wait only four more minutes.
With a brilliant chipped-pass
from inside his own half, Jack Wilshere - often peripheral this
season - sent Sanchez into space in the Palace area and, after he
impressively controlled the ball, the Chilean routinely poked beyond
Crystal Palace's pressure and
obvious ambition produced a goal in the 89th minute when, after a
corner, Townsend crossed to James Tomkins who, under too little
pressure at the back post, headed in. It made for a nervy finish and
Arsenal hung on.
Shiffrin beats Holdener, Hansdotter for World Cup slalom win
From left, second placed Switzerland's Wendy Holdener, first placed
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin and third placed Sweden's Frida
Hansdotter celebrate at the end of the final run of an alpine ski,
women's World Cup slalom in Lienz, Austria, Thursday, Dec. 28. (AP
Lienz, Austria (AP) —
Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin mastered a tricky slalom course on
Thursday to cruise to her 36th career World Cup win.
Backed by a huge 1.14-second
lead from the opening leg, the defending overall World Cup champion
avoided risks and posted only the 11th-fastest time in the final run
but still comfortably beat second-place Wendy Holdener of
Switzerland by 0.89 seconds.
Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was
1.22 behind in third, and Bernadette Schild of Austria was a further
0.55 behind in fourth.
"It was a wild ride," Shiffrin
said about her second run on the Schlossberg course, where she
earned her first career podium six years ago. "There were a couple
of weak spots but there were definitely some spots that were really
Initially a GS was planned but
organizers swapped that race with Friday's slalom because of weather
conditions as overnight snowfall forced course workers to move fresh
snow out of the race line.
"With these conditions, the
snow is so wet, it's actually really good, but it is very
aggressive, it can be difficult to find the timing. But I felt
really comfortable," Shiffrin said.
The American used a
well-controlled run and lost bits of her advantage from the opening
leg at every split time but never saw her lead put in danger.
"There are spots where you can
let it go and spots where you have to keep in mind not to throw it
all away," Shiffrin said.
Holdener led the race before
Shiffrin, the last starter as winner of the opening run, denied her
a victory once again. The Swiss skier has 12 podium finishes in
slalom but is still awaiting her first win.
"I was angry about not
finishing my previous slalom in Killington a month ago, so I am
satisfied now," Holdener said.
The win stretched Shiffrin's
lead in the overall standings to a massive 391 points over
second-place Viktoria Rebensburg. The German skier does not compete
in slaloms but will start in Friday's GS on the same hill.
Shiffrin also went further
ahead in the discipline standings, 75 points clear of Petra Vlhova
of Slovakia. Shiffrin has won 18 of the last 23 slaloms she competed
in, but she was beaten by Vlhova in the season-opening slalom in
Levi, Finland, last month.
Vlhova had a costly mistake in
her final run and shared fifth place with Estelle Alphand, daughter
of former ski racer Luc Alphand. Now starting for Sweden, Alphand
posted the fastest second-run time and earned her first career
Hours before her smart final
leg, Shiffrin had an outstanding opening run on a course set by one
of her coaches, Jeff Lackey.
"I was really loose. And I
didn't have any mistakes or anything, so for sure I really had a
fast run," said Shiffrin, who holds the record for the biggest
winning margin in a women's World Cup slalom since beating the field
by 3.07 seconds in Aspen, Colorado, two years ago.
Shiffrin didn't think that her
coach placing the gates was a big advantage for her.
"When my coaches set a course,
I say, 'Don't tell me, I don't want to know your set, I don't want
to know what you are doing'," Shiffrin said. "Actually, this course
was really straight in the fall line and pretty high speed and
that's normally not my advantage."
Paris ends Italian ski team's drought with win on home snow
Italy's Dominik Paris competes during an
alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill in Bormio, Italy, Thursday,
Dec. 28. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
Bormio, Italy (AP) —
Dominik Paris dominated on home snow in a World Cup downhill
Thursday to end the season-long podium drought for Italy's men's
Paris won by a slim 0.04-second
margin ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway on the demanding
Stelvio course, which was softer than usual due to heavy snowfall a
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway
finished third, 0.17 seconds behind.
It was the ninth career win and
second in Bormio for Paris, a muscular skier who has also claimed
the feared downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, twice.
Svindal and Jansrud had already
completed their runs and were preparing to celebrate when Paris came
down and got the crowd roaring by leading through the first two
checkpoints. Paris trailed slightly at the last split but was able
to carry his speed through the final zig-zag turns — when lactic
acid was bursting through his muscles — and create a minimal
The Italian's speed topped out
at 129.7 kph (80 mph).
At the finish, Paris pumped his
fists and waved to the crowd as the circuit returned to Bormio after
a three-year absence.
"The two Norwegians are always
fast so you've got to pull out something extra to beat them," Paris
said. "Today I was able to and now I hope I can do it in the next
The start of the race was
delayed for 45 minutes while course workers finished clearing the 40
centimeters (16 inches) of snow that fell on the piste Wednesday.
"I'm always happy when it
snows. In winter you need snow," said Paris, who comes from the Val
d'Ultimo in Italy's German-speaking Alto Adige region.
Downhill world champion Beat
Feuz of Switzerland finished fourth and Hannes Reichelt of Austria
Paris also won this race in
2012, when he shared victory with Reichelt by 0.01 seconds ahead of
Svindal in one of the tightest podiums in skiing history.
"Faster is faster," Paris said
of the continually tight margins on the Stelvio.
Svindal, who had won the
previous two downhills, still leads the discipline standings.
With the sun moving in and out
behind clouds and the course mostly in the shade to begin with,
there were several ugly falls.
Dominik Schwaiger of Germany
was airlifted off the course and brought to a local hospital with
unspecified injuries after a high-speed crash. Guillermo Fayed and
Matthieu of France were dealing with various bruises after similar
falls and Travis Ganong of the United States was getting his knee
checked at the U.S. team hotel.
An Alpine combined race is
scheduled for the Stelvio on Friday.
England reach 192-2 in reply to Australia's 327 at stumps
Australia's Mitchell Marsh is bowled by
England's Chris Woakes for 9 runs during the second day of the
fourth Ashes cricket test in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Dec.
27. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
Alastair Cook broke out of his recent form slump in dramatic fashion
on Wednesday when he posted his first century at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground, reaching the milestone in the final over before
stumps as England enjoyed their best day of the Ashes series against
After surrendering the old urn
by losing the first three tests of the five-match series, England
finally turned the tables on the Australians, demolishing their
batting lineup then making a strong reply with the bat on the second
day of the fourth test.
Cook, who had struggled badly
in the first three tests, prompting speculation about his future in
the team, was at his imperious best. He registered the 32nd test
hundred of his distinguished career to help England reach 192-2 at
the close of play in reply to Australia's 327, still 135 in arrears
but with momentum on their side.
"We know that we'll need three
more fantastic days to win this test," England fast bowler Stuart
Broad told a news conference. "It's not going to be easy to go and
take 20 wickets here but we've put ourselves in a position where we
"We've still got a huge amount
to play for."
The Australians looked set for
a much bigger total before crumbling in a heap and losing their last
seven wickets for just 67 runs as England's embattled fast bowlers
bent their backs and dug deep on a pitch that offered little real
assistance to the seamers.
While England's old guard
reveled in the conditions, it was a day to forget for the Australian
captain Steve Smith, who has been the standout player of the series
after scoring a hundred in the first test in Brisbane and a double
century in the third match in Perth.
Smith squandered his chance of
another century when he chopped a wide delivery from England
debutant Tom Curran onto his stumps when he was on 76, then dropped
a sharp catch off Cook at slip when he was on 66. Smith then gave up
11 runs in the last over of the day to allow England's all-time
leading scorer to get his hundred before stumps were drawn.
"You always want to take your
catches. We know how important they are," Australian spinner Nathan
"It was unlucky it popped out
at the last minute but hat's off to Alastair Cook, he batted
extremely well and we all know how much of a talent he is."
The 33-year-old Cook batted for
more than four hours and hit 15 boundaries off 166 balls to finish
the day unbeaten on 104 with his skipper Joe Root alongside him on
49 not out. The pair had shared an unbroken partnership of 112 on a
baking hot day that sapped the energy of all the players.
The Australians did pick up two
early wickets when Lyon took a diving one-handed catch off his own
bowling to remove Mark Stoneman for 15 and Josh Hazlewood trapped
Vince James lbw for 17 but struggled in the absence of injured
paceman Mitchell Starc and an out-of-sorts Pat Cummins, who was
restricted to just 11 overs because of a stomach bug.
England's quicks avoided the
worst of the heat by ripping through the Australian middle and lower
order in the cooler morning session, with Broad (4-51), James
Anderson (3-61), Chris Woakes (2-72) and Curran (1-65) all taking
"We should have pushed on to
400-plus but we lost wickets early. We definitely left runs out
there," Hazlewood told Australian radio.
"A few of the boys know that
they need to be better."
Curran, a late call-up to the
team when Craig Overton broke a rib and was ruled out, justified his
inclusion by triggering the Australian collapse when he snared the
prized wicket of Smith to belatedly capture his first test victim.
A jubilant Curran wildly
celebrated what he thought was his first wicket on day one when he
had David Warner caught on 99, but his joy was short-lived when
television replays showed he had overstepped the crease and bowled a
Given a reprieve, Warner
brought up his century off the very next ball to add further insult
to Curran's rookie error. But the 22-year-old made amends early on
Wednesday morning by removing the dangerous Smith for 76 and
changing England's fortunes.
Shaun Marsh, who made a century
in the second test in Adelaide, chipped in with a fine 61 but four
batsmen were dismissed in single figures.
Anderson's three wickets saw
him move past West Indian Courtney Walsh into outright fifth place
on the all-time test list with 521 wickets.
"Everyone is delighted for
Cookie to get a hundred but we've got to come back and do the same
tomorrow," Anderson told BT Sport.
"We've played some really good
cricket on this trip but not done it for long enough."
Man City beat Newcastle 1-0 and move 15 points clear in EPL
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, left, and Newcastle United's Mikel
Merino battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer
match at St James' Park in Newcastle, Wednesday, Dec. 27. (Owen
Humphreys/PA via AP)
(AP) — Manchester City moved 15 points clear at the top of the
English Premier League as they extended their winning run to 18 games at
Newcastle on Wednesday.
Raheem Sterling's 31st-minute
strike was all the leaders had to show for a dominant display in front
of a crowd of 52,311 at St James' Park. The Magpies' ultra-conservative
approach frustrated them despite their wealth of possession.
But ultimately the 1-0 win was
enough on a night when Rafael Benitez's men slipped to a fifth
consecutive home defeat for the first time since 1953.
"I'm happy with a lot of clean
sheets," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "Today we have started the
second round (half of the season) - 18 games left. We're going to see
how many we need to be champion."
It might have been worse for
Newcastle had referee Andre Marriner taken a dimmer view of Jacob
Murphy's first-half challenge on Ilkay Gundogan. Of the incident,
Guardiola said: "Everybody is focusing on diving but the referees have
to follow the rules and try to take care of the players, so they feel
Newcastle's game-plan was
predictably cautious as all 11 men not only got behind the ball, but
within 35 yards of their own goal for much of the first half. They
challenged City to break them down, which they almost did when Sergio
Aguero stabbed Fernandinho's seventh-minute cross against the post.
An early injury to City skipper
Vincent Kompany simply prompted Pep Guardiola to replace his central
defender with striker Gabriel Jesus.
For all of City's utter domination
of possession, they were hardly able to stretch the hosts decisively,
although goalkeeper Rob Elliot had to claw away Aguero's 17th-minute
header and then come off his line to block Jesus' effort at point-blank
The deadlock was broken when
Sterling ran on to Kevin de Bruyne's return pass and scuffed the ball
past the keeper with the studs of his left boot.
Newcastle might have been back in
it had defender Nicolas Otamendi not cleared Rolando Aaron's chipped
effort off the line 10 minutes before the break.
There was no change in the pattern
of the game after halftime. City came close but the massed ranks of
black and white continued to scrap.
De Bruyne struck a post and
defender Jamaal Lascelles headed just wide of his own goal with Elliot
stranded as City went for the kill.
"It was a question of staying in
the game until the end," Benitez said, "and I was really pleased with
the team in terms of organization and workrate but disappointed because
we could have been better on the ball in the first half. I was pleased
with our reaction in the second half."
Wild Oats XI expected to win Sydney to Hobart for 9th time
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI enters open water during the start of the Sydney
Hobart yacht race Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 26. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Hobart, Australia (AP) —
Despite a protest, Wild Oats XI is expected to be confirmed as the
Sydney to Hobart winner for the ninth time after a record-breaking duel
with LDV Comanche.
Wild Oats XI crossed the line at
Constitution Dock in Hobart about 26 minutes ahead of fellow super maxi
LDV Comanche on Wednesday to take almost five hours off the record time
set by Perpetual Loyal last year.
LDV Comanche, the 2015 winner,
raised its protest flag after a near-collision with Wild Oats XI shortly
after the start of the race on Tuesday.
An international jury will hear the
protest in Hobart on Thursday. If upheld, it could result in Wild Oats
XI receiving a time penalty of five minutes or more, which would likely
not change the outcome.
Wild Oats XI, helmed by Mark
Richards, finished in 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds. The
previous race record was 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 20 seconds.
The two other super maxis in the
race were third and fourth and also under the previous race record:
Black Jack and Info Track, which was formerly Perpetual Loyal.
Van Dijk most expensive defender after 70m pound Liverpool move
international defender Virgil van Dijk.
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Liverpool (AP) - Liverpool FC
are breaking the world transfer record for a defender by signing Virgil van
Dijk from Southampton in a 70m pound (US$94 million) move.
Following Liverpool's long-running
pursuit of the 26-year-old Netherlands center back, Southampton announced on
Wednesday that they had accepted the record fee ahead of the January
transfer window opening.
"Delighted and honored to have agreed
to become a Liverpool FC player," Van Dijk wrote on Instagram alongside a
picture holding a jersey of the club he will join on Jan. 1. "Today is a
proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world
"I can't wait to pull on the famous red
shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have
to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to
The transfer fee could reach 75 million
pounds ($100 million) depending on Van Dijk's achievements at Liverpool.
The scale of the investment signals
Liverpool's determination to plug leaks in the defence that have seen the
team fall 17 points behind leaders Manchester City into fourth place in the
English Premier League.
Liverpool are devastating going
forward, with the "Fab Four" attack of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino,
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah helping the team amass a 46-goal haul that only
City have eclipsed.
But Juergen Klopp's team have conceded
23 goals in 20 games — more than any rival in the top five — including three
in last week's 3-3 draw at Arsenal after a two-goal lead was thrown away.
The Van Dijk deal eclipses the previous
highest amounts paid for defenders who are rarely in contention for the top
awards in football dominated by goal-scorers. English Premier League leaders
Manchester City paid around 50 million pounds each for Benjamin Mendy and
Kyle Walker in the summer transfer window.
While Van Dijk becomes the world's most
expensive defender, Neymar still holds the title of the game's costliest
player after joining Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for 222 million
euros in August.
"There is a dearth of top-class center
backs throughout world football hence why so many clubs wanted (Van Dijk)
and the transfer fee is so high," former Liverpool center back Jamie
Carragher told broadcaster Sky Sports. "People will look at the transfer
(fee) that normally strikers go for, but as with any transfer fee if he
performs well and does his job it will be worth it."
That, according to Carragher, will
require Van Dijk helping the 18-time English champions end a trophy drought
that stretches back to the 2012 League Cup.
Van Dijk hoped to join Liverpool in
August after handing in a transfer request but Southampton stood their
ground and forced the Anfield club to apologize for their conduct in
pursuing a deal.
Van Dijk, though, will become the sixth
player to leave Southampton for Liverpool in less than four years when the
transfer is completed next week.
"I will always be indebted to the club
for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a
difficult last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and
have made friends for life at the club," said Van Dijk, who joined
Southampton from Celtic in 2015 for a reported 13 million pounds.
Van Dijk is joining a team fighting on
three fronts. The FA Cup campaign opens next week with a Merseyside derby
against Everton, and the Champions League resumes in February with a last-16
meeting with Porto.
Mourinho moans after draw with Burnley; Kane breaks records
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane watches as he scores his side’s 5th goal
and his third of the game against Southampton at Wembley stadium in
London Tuesday, Dec 26. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
London (AP) — Spending is
the reason Manchester City are speeding clear of Manchester United in
the English Premier League race, according to Jose Mourinho.
After salvaging a 2-2 draw against
Burnley on Tuesday, second-placed United trail City by 12 points and Pep
Guardiola's side can extend that advantage when they face Newcastle on
"Manchester City buy the full backs
for the price of the strikers," United manager Mourinho said, referring
to the summer purchases of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy for a combined
figure of more than 100 million pounds ($133 million).
"Is not enough, is not enough,"
Mourinho said of his own expenditure at United, about 300 million pounds
in the last 19 months.
"And the price for the big clubs,
the price for the big clubs is different from the other clubs, so the
big, historical clubs are normally punished in the market for that
It could have been worse for
United. Jesse Lingard came off the bench at halftime to score twice and
cancel out first-half strikes from Burnley's Ashley Barnes and Steven
United were at least on the right
side of a stoppage-time equalizer this time, having conceded in the
final moments last Saturday to give up the lead at Leicester.
United are just one point ahead of
third-placed Chelsea, who continued their strong home form by beating
Harry Kane scored successive hat
tricks to break the record for the most league goals in a calendar year
as Tottenham thrashed Southampton 5-2. Liverpool were similarly ruthless
in thrashing bottom side Swansea 5-0.
Here's a look at Tuesday's games:
After netting three times at
Burnley on Saturday, Kane delivered another treble at Wembley Stadium to
take his league tally for 2017 to 39.
Each goal broke new ground for
Kane; his first took him clear of Alan Shearer's 36 Premier League goals
in 1995; the second saw him overtake Lionel Messi as the player from
Europe's five major leagues to have the most goals (56) for club and
country in 2017; and the third gave him a record sixth Premier League
hat trick in a calendar year.
"It's been amazing, it's been a
fantastic year - one I'm very proud of," Kane said. "When you get
compared to them players, the Messis, the Shearers, that's what it's all
Liverpool displayed the
ruthlessness they have often lacked in recent weeks to dispatch
Philippe Coutinho, the Reds captain
for the day, scored early to give his side a narrow halftime lead. But
Liverpool's superiority showed after the break.
Roberto Firmino scored twice and
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also found the net.
Swansea are on the bottom with just
11 goals, and 13 points from 20 games.
Chelsea's Spanish contingent was
largely responsible for a sixth consecutive home win in the league.
For the sixth time this season,
Morata was assisted by Spain teammate Cesar Azpilicueta. The defender
produced an inch-perfect cross, allowing Morata to head home.
The victory was sealed as two more
Spaniards combined. Cesc Fabregas picked out Marcos Alonso with his
corner and the wing back headed in at the near post.
WINLESS WEST BROM
West Bromwich Albion's winless run
was extended to 18 games after drawing 0-0 with Everton.
Alan Pardew has failed to change
the Baggies' fortunes since taking over as manager in late November,
with the club one short of equaling Aston Villa's record for the most
league games without a win.
Everton are undefeated in six games
under new coach Sam Allardyce and remain in the top half of the table.
Bournemouth's Callum Wilson scored
a heavily disputed stoppage-time equalizer against West Ham to cap a
thrilling 3-3 draw.
After the goal was initially
disallowed by the linesman for offside, referee Bobby Madley overruled
the decision despite West Ham's claims the goal should have been ruled
out for offside and handball by Wilson.
It looked as though Marko
Arnautovic won it for the Hammers after scoring twice in the last 10
minutes to give West Ham the lead.
Also, Tom Ince's first league goal
since February 2014 was canceled out by Ramadan Sobhi's second in four
days as Huddersfield and Stoke drew 1-1.
Watford ended a six-game winless
run as they came from behind to defeat Leicester 2-1 at Vicarage Road. A
tap-in from Molla Wague in his first league start, and against his
former club, plus an own goal from Leicester goalkeeper Kasper
Schmeichel canceled out Riyad Mahrez's opener.
Australia 244-3 at stumps against England
Australia's David Warner hits a single to score his century against
England on the opening day of the fourth Ashes test in Melbourne,
Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 26. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Melbourne, Australia (AP) —
David Warner completed his first hundred of the Ashes series on Tuesday
after getting a lucky break on 99 before Steve Smith ominously cruised
to an unbeaten half-century to ensure Australia took the honors from
England on the first day of the fourth test at the Melbourne Cricket
With the Ashes already back in
Australia's hands after the home side easily won the first three matches
of the five-test series, England toiled hard on a placid surface that
offered little assistance to the bowlers but had little to show for
their efforts against a ruthless opposition chasing a second straight
sweep on home soil.
When stumps were drawn, Australia
were coasting along at 244 for three in their first innings with Smith
not out 65 and Shaun Marsh with him on 31 after Warner had laid the
foundations with an entertaining 103 in front of more than 88,000
"Growing up, you always want a
Boxing Day ton," Warner told Australian radio. "It eluded me for a while
until last year, and then I knew once I got in I really had to try to
knuckle down and dig in."
Warner dominated his 122-run
partnership with Cameron Bancroft (26), but England succeeded in putting
the brakes on Australia's scoring when they removed both openers after
lunch then Usman Khawaja (17) after tea.
England almost got Marsh before he
was off the mark when Stuart Broad struck him on the pads but the appeal
was turned down and the Australian settled down to share an unbroken
stand of 84 with his skipper, who has been a thorn in England's side
throughout the series, scoring a hundred in the first test and a double
in the third.
By his own high standards, Warner
has had a lean series to date, making just one-half century in the first
three tests, but the 31-year-old made amends, albeit with a slice of
He smashed Moeen Ali straight over
his head for six in the last over before lunch to go to the interval on
83 but slowed down after the re-start, spending 45 minutes in the 90s
then almost coming unstuck on 99 when he chipped a simple catch to Broad
Warner was furious with himself as
he started to trudge from the field thinking he had blown his
opportunity to reach triple figures only to be given a reprieve when
television replays showed debutant bowler Tom Curran had overstepped the
crease for a no-ball.
Given a second chance, the
left-handed Warner flicked the next ball he faced square of the wicket
for a single to post the 21st test century of his career, and the relief
was clear as he leapt into the air and kissed the Australian crest on
his helmet, and began arguing with some of the England players before
the umpires intervened and told everyone to calm down.
"I was quite annoyed and then
getting recalled was obviously fantastic," Warner told a news
"It was a bit of roller coaster of
emotions between those two deliveries, that's for sure.
"I felt gutted about the ball
before so I gave myself a bit of a kick in the backside in my head, then
it was elation."
Warner's joy was short lived
however as he departed shortly after, edging a catch to wicketkeeper
Jonny Bairstow off James Anderson, who joined West Indian Courtney Walsh
in fifth place on the all-time wicket takers list with 519 but later
criticized the state of the pitch.
"People want to see entertaining
cricket, especially in an iconic test match like the Boxing Day test
match at the MCG," Anderson said.
"I know it wasn't exciting to
watch. It wasn't exciting to play in, to be honest, when it's that
attritional. But there's not a lot we can do about it from here."
Warner hit a total of 13 boundaries
in his three-hour, 151-ball innings while Bancroft, playing in just his
third test, was content to let his senior partner dominate the scoring,
managing just two fours in his patient 95-ball knock before he was
trapped leg before wicket by Chris Woakes.
Khawaja batted cautiously as
England's seamers began to tighten the screws by bowling a better line
After piling on more than 100 runs
before lunch, Australia managed just 43 in the second session and the
buildup of pressure eventually told on Khawaja, who was caught behind by
Bairstow off Broad after tea, before Smith once again put Australia back
"He's just a freak," Warner said of
Smith. "I don't know how he does what he does. He's very mentally
"He's seeing the ball like a
watermelon and making it look so easy."
Els invited to Augusta National, but not to play Masters
African golfer Ernie Els. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
London (AP) - Ernie Els says he
received an invitation to Augusta National for the first week in April. It
just wasn't an invitation to play in the Masters.
Els had to clarify a tweet from Sunday
that said: "Thank you for a Great Xmas present! @TheMasters Can't wait!"
That led several media sites to post stories that Els, a four-time major
champion, had received a special exemption into the Masters.
Instead, the 48-year-old South African
received a letter welcoming him as an honorary invitee. His five-year
exemption into the Masters from winning the 2012 British Open ended last
year. Augusta National has a tradition of inviting past major champions as
honorary guests for the week.
Els tweeted Monday: "Wanted to clarify
my excitement getting an invite from @TheMasters. Work continues to qualify
Augusta National occasionally awards
exemptions to international players, but those typically are given to
players who are not full PGA Tour members and have multiple avenues to
qualify on their own. Among ways for PGA Tour members to qualify for the
Masters are winning tournaments that offer full FedEx Cup points, reaching
the Tour Championship or getting into the top 50 in the world ranking at
various cutoff points.
"The inclusion of Honorary Invitees has
been a great tradition at the Masters Tournament for many years," Augusta
National chairman Fred Ridley said. "This coming year the list includes
Ernie Els, and we are once again excited to welcome him and all of these
distinguished guests to Augusta National in April."
The Masters pays homage to major
champions more than any of the other majors by giving them special access as
honorary invitees that includes two clubhouse badges, a $1,000 honorarium
and a gift to commemorate them being there.
Honorary invitees used to be able to
play practice rounds and compete in the Par 3 Tournament, a practice that
ended last year.
Els failed to qualify for the 2012
Masters and was not given a special exemption.
Ex-Steelers star linebacker Harrison signs with Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has signed a 1-year deal
with the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Boston, Mass. (AP) - James
Harrison is no longer the odd man out or the oldest man in the locker
The ex-Steelers star signed a
one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, three days after
his unceremonious departure from Pittsburgh.
The 39-year-old linebacker posted a
photo on Instagram showing himself with 40-year-old quarterback Tom
Brady in New England's locker room, writing that he finally has "a
teammate that's older than me!"
The AFC North champion Steelers
released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 2008 NFL defensive player
of the year on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert,
who is returning from a suspension for violating the league's
performance-enhancing substance policy.
"We make the decisions we feel give
us the very best chance to win," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday
when asked why the team didn't release a different player to make room
for Gilbert. "We needed the people we kept. We needed to activate Marcus
Gilbert. Really, it's nothing more than that."
A day before, Tomlin had said
following Pittsburgh's 34-6 win over Houston that clinched a first-round
playoff bye that difficult decisions such as this are "just life in
To make room on their roster, the
Patriots released linebacker Trevor Reilly.
Harrison, who is the Steelers'
career leader in sacks, piling up 80½ during his 14 seasons with the
Steelers and 82½ during his career, briefly retired in September 2014
following a forgettable 2013 season in Cincinnati but returned when the
Steelers ran into injury trouble.
He collected at least five sacks
every season between 2014 and 2016 and signed a two-year deal last
spring that would have kept him in Pittsburgh through his 40th birthday.
But Harrison's playing time dipped
significantly this season — he has just one sack. He was active in just
five games despite being injury-free and with the Steelers turning more
toward outside linebackers Bud Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt.
The Patriots have been thin at
defensive end and outside linebacker all season.
New England, which won the AFC East
for a ninth consecutive season, can wrap up the AFC's top seed with a
win over the Jets this weekend or a loss by the Steelers, who host
The Patriots and Steelers are both
12-3 and have wrapped up first-round byes. New England owns the
tiebreaker by virtue of its 27-24 win at Pittsburgh on Dec. 17.
Harrison would get a chance to face
his former team if the Patriots and Steelers meet in the conference
championship for a rematch of last year's title game, which New England
won 36-17 on its way to its fifth Super Bowl title.
Only Pittsburgh, with six, owns
more Super Bowl wins.
Beal's 25 points carries Wizards by Celtics 111-103
Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal (3) drives past Boston Celtics' Marcus
Smart, behind, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in
Boston, Monday, Dec. 25. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston (AP) — Bradley Beal
scored 25 points, John Wall had 21 points and 14 assists, and the
Washington Wizards beat Boston 111-103 on Monday in the Celtics' first
Christmas Day home game in franchise history.
Otto Porter Jr. added 20 points and
Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 16, helping Washington take the first
meeting between the teams since Boston's Game 7 victory at home in the
second round of the playoffs last spring.
Eastern Conference-leading Boston
lost for the third time in four games. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum
each scored 20 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier had 16.
Boston opened a 95-90 lead on
Irving's 3-pointer with 6:18 left, but the Wizards responded with a 12-0
run. Beal capped the spurt with a three-point play and a breakaway dunk
off a turnover.
Wall added a layup and two free
throws down the stretch to help Washington hold on
Last season, the teams had a testy
rivalry with lots of trash-talking and a few games filled with hard
fouls. It was more civil on Monday, just a tight defensive game with
numerous contested shots and a few hard screens.
The Wizards led by two at halftime
and opened the third quarter by scoring 13 of the first 17 points,
pulling ahead 65-54 on Marcin Gortat's three-point play. Gortat had 11
points and 10 rebounds.
Wizards: It was Gortat's ninth
double-double this season. ... Wall was scoreless in the opening
Celtics: F Marcus Morris returned
after missing 10 of the last 11 games with a sore left knee. ... Reserve
F Semi Ojeleye missed the game with a sore back after he tested it
during pregame warmups.
The Celtics played for the 31st
time on Christmas, with 28 of the previous games on the road and the
other two at neutral sites before Monday.
"As much fun as it is to be with
family, this is what our family does," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.
"We've been in gyms for most Christmases of our lives, so it's really
fun to get a chance to compete on Christmas Day."
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
was seated courtside wearing a Santa hat. He got a huge ovation when he
was shown on the videoboard.
Morris brothers Marcus (Boston) and
Markieff (Wizards) were matched up against each other a few times. At
one point, it looked as if they were both smiling when Marcus missed a
jumper over his brother.
Injured forward Gordon Hayward
walked out to center court before the game and wished the fans a merry
Christmas and happy holidays on behalf of the Celtics' organization.
Wizards: At the Atlanta Hawks on
Celtics: At the Charlotte Hornets
on Wednesday. Boston won the previous game between the teams on Nov. 10
Durant delivers on both ends, Warriors beat Cavaliers 99-92
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) and forward Draymond
Green (23) argue a call with referee Derrick Stafford (9) during the
first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in
Oakland, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Oakland, Calif. (AP) —
LeBron James drove to the basket in the waning seconds and Kevin Durant
swatted away any chance Cleveland had at a Christmas Day comeback.
Durant pumped his fist again and
again, emphatically shook his head and pounded his chest in delight. It
looked a lot like the dominant Durant from the NBA Finals six months
Klay Thompson hit a go-ahead
3-pointer with 1:33 left, Durant delivered on both ends of the floor,
and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers 99-92 on Monday in a
festive holiday rematch of the past three Finals.
"There's just so much joy in the
arena today because it's Christmas and we all feed off of that," Durant
Durant's block against a driving
James with 24.5 seconds left went to official review and was ruled
clean. Durant finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocked
"He's one of the leaders in shot
blocks a game and obviously he had five tonight, so he's been doing a
heck of a job of first of all taking the individual matchup and
protecting the rim, too," James said.
Kevin Love had 31 points and a
season-best 18 rebounds, while James contributed 20 points, six rebounds
and six assists in a rivalry missing one key piece: Warriors star
Stephen Curry, who missed his eighth straight game with a sprained right
Thompson scored 24 points and
Draymond Green had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11
assists. It was Golden State's 12th win in 13 games after its 11-game
winning streak was snapped by Denver on Saturday night.
Warriors rookie Jordan Bell
traveled with 2:13 left and James tied it. Bell made up for that mistake
with a key offensive rebound and pass to Thompson for his fourth 3.
James' 3-pointer with 10:39 left
pulled Cleveland within one, but Green answered with a 3 and Andre
Iguodala scored two of his nine points the next time down. In another
key sequence, Durant blocked Tristan Thompson's shot with 6:23 to go and
dunked moments later.
No surprise, the up-tempo, running
rivals provided high entertainment once again. The Warriors last June
captured a second championship in three years against James and the
"I forgot all about it," Cavs coach
Tyronn Lue said with a chuckle.
The teams will see each other again
soon, playing Jan. 15 in Cleveland.
KD requested James for his
defensive assignment, to which he explained simply, "I just like
guarding my position."
The Cavs, having won six of seven
and playing for the first time since Thursday, had their run of scoring
at least 100 points end at 26 games.
The Warriors were at nearly full
strength again aside from Curry, who could return this week once he goes
through some scrimmages at practice.
Center Zaza Pachulia was available
but didn't play after sitting out seven consecutive games, while Shaun
Livingston came back after missing four games with a sore right knee.
Bell — who addressed the sellout
crowd at midcourt moments before tipoff — started at center and had
eight points and six rebounds.
The Cavs' 31.8-percent shooting was
the lowest by a Warriors opponent in nearly four years, since Charlotte
shot 31.2 percent from the field on Feb. 4, 2014.
"We just didn't make shots," Lue
A REAL RIVALRY
Sure, this one felt a little
strange without Curry or Kyrie Irving, now in Boston.
"Golden State-Cavaliers, that's a
big game, no matter who's playing, who's out," Lue said.
"It will be weird, without Steph,
without Ky, especially the battles we've had over the last three years.
So both teams look different."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows
just the uniforms are enough to get everybody going — and this marked
the third straight Christmas matchup between the franchises, alternating
home floors based on who won the title.
"It's always great to play the
Cavs, they're an awesome team," Kerr said. "LeBron is so amazing and
it's so fun to feel the energy in the building when the two teams get
together. Neither team will look the same as we will even a month from
now because Steph and Isaiah Thomas both should be back, hopefully
they'll both be back. ... But it doesn't even matter sometimes, just the
two uniforms in the same building gets people going."
Cavaliers: Lue isn't yet ready to
guess when Thomas will return following his right hip injury. "He is
progressing very well," Lue said. "The most important thing is that he
is getting to practice and playing 5-on-5 and having a chance to
experience feeling well after it and not having soreness." ... Cleveland
is 19-3 since Nov. 11, including 8-3 on the road.
Warriors: Durant averaged 32 points
over his seven previous Christmas Day games. ... Golden State played its
fifth consecutive Christmas game and seventh in eight. ... The Warriors
were 10 of 37 on 3s after they went a dismal 3 for 27 from 3-point range
in losing to the Nuggets. ... Kerr began his pregame session by thanking
all of the arena staff and Golden State employees for their service and
for working on the holiday. ... Thompson's holiday sneakers might have
stood out most: neon green on the left foot, neon pink on the right.
Cavaliers: Visit Kings on Wednesday
as they play the middle contest of a three-game West trip.
Warriors: Host Utah on Wednesday.
Matter of when Man City win title and how many records fall
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, left, celebrates with teammates
after scoring his second goal during the English Premier League match
againsr Bournemouth at Etihad stadium, in Manchester, Saturday, Dec. 23.
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
and Rob Harris
Manchester (AP) - English
soccer has never seen a team so utterly dominant as Manchester City
entering the packed Christmas program.
There seems little doubt Pep
Guardiola will be raising the Premier League trophy for the first time
in May. It is just a question of when City will wrap up their third
title since 2012, and how many records will tumble on the way.
City have already reeled off the
most consecutive English top-flight wins — a record extended at the
weekend to 17 games.
Manchester United's record Premier
League title-winning margin of 18 points from 2000 could also be under
threat. And England could be looking at its third unbeaten "Invincibles"
team after Preston in 1888-89 and Arsenal in 2003-04.
So it doesn't bode well for a
compelling second half of the Premier League season? Think again.
The chase for the other three
Champions League spots should be fierce with eight points separating
second-place Manchester United and Arsenal in sixth. Chelsea, Liverpool
and Tottenham are in the mix among them. Two leading sides will fall by
the wayside and be denied a place among the European elite.
The battle to stay in the world's
richest soccer league is also intense. No team is stranded at the
bottom, with Swansea in 20th place only six points behind Southampton in
A closer look at the first half of
City lead by 13 points at the
halfway stage after winning 18 of their 19 games and drawing one in the
best ever start to a Premier League season. The only dropped points came
at home to Everton in the second game on Aug. 21, when City played more
than a half with 10 men following Kyle Walker's sending-off.
Guardiola won the Bundesliga with
Bayern Munich in late March in 2014 — aided by a winning streak of 19
games never before seen in a major European league.
It will be tough for Guardiola to
win the title that early in England as he chases a quadruple after
finishing his first season at the club without a trophy. City are
already through to the League Cup semifinals, into the Champions League
last 16 and begin their FA Cup campaign in two weeks.
Man United are in second place,
with defending champions Chelsea three points further back in third.
United manager Jose Mourinho says the title race is still on, but the
rest of his peers among the chasing pack don't see City faltering now.
It will be intriguing how Mourinho
reacts to be seeing his title ambitions further fade in his second
season at United, having already opted to publicly call out his
"childish" players after a draw at Leicester on Saturday.
PICK OF THE PLAYERS
Kevin De Bruyne is playing in a
deeper role for City this season, virtually as a center midfielder, and
it is bringing the best of out the Belgium international.
He has provided many of this
season's wow moments, from scoring the winning goal at former club
Chelsea in September with a fierce left-footed strike from outside the
area to the assists for goals by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the
7-2 win over Stoke in October.
Dovetailing perfectly with fellow
playmaker David Silva, De Bruyne has six goals and eight assists but
it's more than just his statistics. His prodigious work rate, range of
passing and crossing ability — arguably the best in the Premier League
since the days of David Beckham — that make him a strong contender for
the player of the season awards.
No wonder City are determined to
nail down the 26-year-old De Bruyne to an improved, longer contract.
Amid an offseason of record
spending in English soccer, little was made of Watford signing
Richarlison from Brazilian team Fluminense for 13 million pounds.
Yet the 20-year-old forward is
proving a bargain, settling in quickly to the pace and intensity of the
Premier League and being one of the key factors in Watford's impressive
start to the season that, at one stage, saw them challenging around the
Direct, skilful and quick,
Richarlison already has five goals and keeps getting himself in great
positions to score more, with his finishing sometimes letting him down.
Opponents have cottoned on to his impact, with Richarlison telling ESPN
Brazil this month: "Teams are already marking me individually, they are
putting two players there on my side."
Chelsea and Tottenham have been
linked with the Brazil under-20s player, who has yet to earn a call-up
to the senior squad. That appears only a matter of time.
Other players to break through this
season are Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, the Danish center back who has
ousted David Luiz, and Liverpool's Joe Gomez, the right back who has
ensured long-term injury absentee Nathaniel Clyne hasn't been missed.
An unfashionable club is mixing it
with the heavyweights of the Premier League against all the odds. We've
heard this before, right?
Two years ago, it was Leicester
delivering a soccer fairy tale by somehow winning the league. Now it's
Burnley's turn to provide the feel-good story of the season.
Widely regarded as relegation
candidates at the start of the season, Burnley are currently seventh.
Don't rule them out of staying in the tussle for the Champions League
qualification places, with Liverpool only three points better off in
fourth. The northwest team haven't finished a season higher than sixth
place in the top flight since 1974.
Burnley, who have conceded just 15
goals in 19 games, have already beaten Chelsea away and drawn at
Tottenham and Liverpool. Not bad for a team that returned a profit of
about 12 million pounds in summer player sales when most of the rest of
the Premier League was spending freely.
POINTS TO PROVE
Alexis Sanchez is a superstar
performing well below expectations this season, perhaps as a result of
failing to secure a move to Man City from Arsenal during the summer.
That transfer could be revived in
January — Guardiola cut an awkward figure recently when asked about
making a new bid for the Chile forward — to potentially leave City with
an even greater wealth of attacking riches.
Sanchez has five league goals. By
this stage last season, he had already scored 12 on his way to a
career-high haul of 24 for a single league campaign.
In the dugout, these are testing
times for two British managers: Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes.
Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis a month
ago with a mission to keep West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Then the Baggies were two points above the bottom three. Now they are
next-from-bottom after collecting only two points from Pardew's first
Hughes' future appears on a
knife-edge at Stoke despite a pressure-relieving victory over West Brom
on Saturday that hauled the team three points from the danger zone.
Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann to step aside in 2019
coach Darren Lehmann. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Australia (AP) — Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann won't renew
his contract when it expires at the end of 2019.
Lehmann told Fox Sports television
in an interview Monday: "That will be it. It will be a case of too much
time, too much travel. For me, I've had a great time and really enjoyed
the role, and (I'm) loving it still."
The former test batsman last year
extended his contract until October 2019, and says he won't seek a new
deal. His final year in charge will include Australia's title defense at
the one-day international World Cup and then an Ashes series.
Australia regained the Ashes last
week by beating England in the third test in Perth, and begin play in
the fourth match on Tuesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Lehmann, 47, became Australia coach
in 2013 after the firing of Mickey Arthur. Lehmann's record as coach
includes victory in the 2015 World Cup, winning two Ashes series at home
and losing two in Britain.
Seahawks beat Cowboys 21-12 in playoff elimination game
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) carries the ball
as his face masked is grabbed by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe
Awuzie (33) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 24,
in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Arlington, Texas (AP) —
Russell Wilson didn't have to do much to keep alive Seattle's hopes for
a sixth straight trip to the playoffs, despite the return of star Dallas
running back Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension.
Justin Coleman put the Seahawks in
front for good with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown , and
Seattle beat the Cowboys 21-12 in a playoff elimination game Sunday.
Dak Prescott threw two
interceptions and the Dallas offense didn't score a touchdown despite
the reunion with his backfield mate, the one he shared a remarkable
rookie season with a year ago when Cowboys had an NFC-best 13 wins.
Now Dallas (8-7) is eliminated from
the postseason with the end of its three-game winning streak, and the
Seahawks (9-6) still have life after Wilson threw for two touchdowns
despite a career-low 93 yards passing.
"In these situations where it truly
is a must-win game, we don't have to make anything up," receiver Doug
Baldwin said. "We're well-prepared for it. The process that we've gone
through the whole season really helped us today."
Coleman gave Seattle a 14-9 lead in
the third quarter when he reached down to catch Prescott's badly
overthrown pass to Elliott and ran untouched 30 yards for a touchdown.
It was the fourth pick-six of the
season for Prescott, who threw just four interceptions last season when
he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has 13 interceptions for
The Seahawks were eliminated in the
NFC West race by the Los Angeles Rams' 27-23 win at Tennessee. But they
can still make the postseason with some help despite gaining just 136
total yards — their fewest since getting 135 in a 14-9 win over the St.
Louis Rams in 2013.
Seattle's first two offensive
touchdowns were set up by pass interference penalties in the end zone.
The first was a 3-yarder to Jimmy Graham, the second a 6-yarder to
Baldwin after running plays backed up the Seahawks both times.
The Cowboys, who lost their first
three without Elliott before the winning streak, didn't take it easy on
last year's NFL rushing leader after his six-week layoff, giving him 15
carries for 73 yards in the first half.
The longest carry was a 9-yarder as
he averaged 4.7 per carry. Elliott, who was suspended on domestic
violence allegations, finished with 97 yards on 24 carries.
But Dallas didn't give Elliott the
ball with a first down at the Seattle 3 when trailing by nine points
midway through the fourth quarter. After a Prescott run, a holding
penalty on a pass play and the third sack of Prescott, Dan Bailey missed
Bailey, who had two 51-yarders
among his four kicks, missed again in the closing seconds.
"It's hard to get over," said
Prescott, who was 21 of 34 for 182 yards. "I'm sure I'll get over it at
some point. But right now's not the time. Didn't play well enough for us
to win. Simple as that."
Dallas receiver Dez Bryant dropped
the first pass of the game and was caught on camera on the sideline
yelling at former Cowboys receiver Miles Austin, now a staff member.
Soon after, he fumbled after making a catch , setting up Wilson's
scoring toss to Graham.
Wilson saved that scoring chance by
recovering a fumble on a bad handoff on the previous play.
"I didn't have time to sense
anything," Wilson said. "The year on the line right there, with the ball
on the ground. Whoever takes it, so I just leaped to get that ball."
Bryant had another ball go off his
hands on a throw behind him, and the tipped ball was intercepted by K.J.
Wright to wipe out one of several promising Dallas scoring chances.
"I'm a little numb because the way
we started, the good feeling, the uptick we had with Zeke coming back,"
owner Jerry Jones said. "All of that, I thought that would rule the day
Coleman repeated an Elliott antic
from last season, when the Dallas running back jumped into a jumbo
Salvation Army red kettle after a touchdown on Thanksgiving. Coleman got
the same penalty, too — a 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Seahawks had 2 yards passing at
halftime thanks in part to DeMarcus Lawrence's 22-yard sack of Wilson in
the first half. Lawrence overpowered Germain Ifedi, forced Wilson to
backtrack after he tried scrambling to his right and tackled Wilson as
he tried to run away from him at the Seattle 8.
Graham's second-quarter touchdown
made him the first NFL tight end with at least 10 scoring catches in a
season for two franchises. He did it three times with New Orleans and
has 69 career TDs.
Cowboys: Five-time Pro Bowl LT
Tyron Smith started despite a right knee injury that kept him out of
practice most of the week. He came out after the first series, replaced
by Byron Bell.
Seahawks: Home against Arizona next
Cowboys: At Philadelphia next
India beat Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, sweep T20 series 3-0
Indian cricket team players wear Santa hats as they pose with the
winners’ trophy after beating Sri Lanka in the third Twenty20
international match in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Dec. 24. (AP Photo/Rafiq
Mumbai, India (AP)
— India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third and final
Twenty20 in Mumbai on Sunday to seal a 3-0 win in the series.
It was India's first clean-sweep in
a bilateral T20 series against Sri Lanka.
Put into bat at Wankhede Stadium,
Sri Lanka were restricted to 135-7. India scored 139-5 to win with four
The visitors got off to a bad start
with Jaidev Unadkat (2-15) striking twice to remove openers Niroshan
Dickwella (1) and Upul Tharanga (11) in successive overs.
Newcomer Washington Sundar (1-22)
accounted for Kusal Perera (4) as Sri Lanka struggled at 18-3.
Sadeera Samarawickrama (21) and
Asela Gunaratne (36) added 38 runs for the fourth wicket to revive the
innings before Hardik Pandya (2-25) provided a double breakthrough to
remove both batsmen in the space of three overs.
Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular
intervals and only managed to cross 100 in the 16th over. Dasun Shanaka
scored 29 not out off 24 balls, with two sixes, to give the visitors a
fighting but sub-par total.
"We are proud of our effort as a
bowling unit. We have to click more with our batting," said Sri Lanka
captain Thisara Perera. "We have learnt a lot in this series because
India is a big team at the moment."
India lost Lokesh Rahul (4) early,
out lbw to Dushmantha Chameera (2-22) in the fourth over.
Rohit Sharma (27) and Shreyas Iyer
(30) added 22 runs for the second wicket. Sharma was caught in the deep
off Dasun Shanaka (2-27) against the run of play.
Iyer then added 42 runs with Manish
Pandey (32) for the third wicket as the hosts looked in control.
But Sri Lanka fought their way back
as Iyer was run out when the ball deflected onto the stumps off bowler
India lost both Pandey and Pandya
(4) in the space of eight balls but Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) and MS
Dhoni (16 not out) calmly took India to victory.
India won the first T20 in Cuttack
by 93 runs and the second in Indore by 88 runs.
"There were a few hiccups in the
middle, but we knew whatever the target we would be able to achieve it,"
said Sharma, India's stand-in skipper. "We were able to give
opportunities to different players as well as win the series. The
youngsters were confident. We are now looking forward to South Africa."
The first test between hosts South
Africa and India starts Jan. 5 in Cape Town.
With eye on playoffs, Brady, Lewis lead Pats by Bills 37-16
England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) makes a one-handed catch
of a Tom Brady pass during the first half of an NFL football game
against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 24, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP
Foxborough, Mass. (AP) — Rob
Gronkowski has always been proud of his roots growing up outside of
He also has never forgotten how his
hometown team didn't want him.
Tom Brady passed for a pair of
touchdowns, including Gronkowski's one-handed grab , and the New England
Patriots stayed on track for home-field advantage throughout the AFC
playoffs with a 37-16 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
For Gronkowski it was his 12th
touchdown catch in 13 career games against the Bills — more than he's
had against any other opponent.
"It's cool when your hometown team
passed on you twice in that (2010) draft. And you kind of remember it
still," Gronkowski said. "No lie, I remember it every single time I play
New England (12-3) locked up a
first-round bye with Jacksonville's loss 44-33 loss at San Francisco. If
Pittsburgh loses to Houston on Monday, the Patriots will secure
home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Dion Lewis caught a touchdown pass
and rushed for a 4-yard score. He carried 24 times for career-high 129
yards. It was just his second-career 100-yard game. Mike Gillislee,
active for the first time in six games, added a 1-yard rushing touchdown
Even with the loss, the Bills (8-7)
remain in contention to break their 17-year playoff drought. It is the
longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports
and the longest in the NFL since the 1970 merger.
New England has won at least 12
games in eight straight seasons — an NFL record.
Buffalo went into halftime tied at
13, but the Bills managed just three points in the final 30 minutes.
Trailing 13-10, Buffalo was in
position to take the lead, but an apparent 4-yard touchdown pass from
Tyrod Taylor to Kelvin Benjamin in the corner of the end zone was
overturned after an official review.
Benjamin said he thought it was a
"I mean definitely, but ref made
the call and you've got to live with that," he said.
NFL vice president of officiating
Al Riveron said in a Twitter post Benjamin was juggling the ball and was
only able to get one of his feet down before completing the catch.
"When Kelvin Benjamin gains
control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot
down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass,"
That was echoed postgame by referee
"It was clear and obvious that he
did not have control of the ball until he brought it all the way down
into his chest," Wrolstad said in a pool report.
The Bills were forced to settle for
a 23-yard field goal as the half expired.
The play elicited immediate
reaction on social media.
"Regarding the Buffalo no
touchdown, nothing more irritating to an official than to make a great
call and then someone in a suit in an office in New York incorrectly
reverses it," former NFL officiating VP Mike Pereira wrote on Twitter .
The game was tied at 3 on Buffalo's
second possession when Taylor was sacked on a fourth-and-2 run by
Marquis Flowers. On the next New England drive, Brady's third down pass
intended for Kenny Britt was intercepted by Jordan Poyer and returned 19
yards for a touchdown.
It was Brady's eighth interception
of the season. He threw two picks in the first 10 weeks, but now has six
in his last five games.
The mistake only momentarily slowed
down New England's offense. Brady capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with
a 17-yard pass that Gronkowski pulled in with one hand to tie the game
Bills: RB Travaris Cadet was carted
off the field late in the second quarter with a right ankle injury. ...
S Micah Hyde left the game after being shaken up in the third quarter.
... CB Shareece Wright was shaken up in the fourth quarter, but walked
off on his own power.
The pick six thrown by Brady was
his first since he was intercepted by Robert Alford in last season's
Super Bowl win. Brady's last regular season pick six came in Week 13 of
2015 against Philadelphia (Malcolm Jenkins).
Brady's touchdown 17-yard TD pass
to Gronkowski marked the 75th time they have connected for a score. It
is the fifth-most all-time between a quarterback and a receiver.
Bills: At Miami in regular-season
Patriots: Host Jets in their
Serena Williams to play 1st competition since giving birth
Serena Williams. (AP Photo)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates (AP) — Serena Williams is returning to competition with an
exhibition match next Saturday in Abu Dhabi against French Open champion
Williams has not competed since winning
the Australian Open last January while she was pregnant. She will face
Latvia's Ostapenko at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in the first
year that women will be taking part, tournament organizers announced Sunday.
"I am delighted to be returning to the
court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter in
September," the 36-year-old Williams said in a statement.
Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles
titles, a record for the professional era. She is expected to compete for
her 24th at the Australian Open, the first major of the year.
Williams gave birth to a girl named
Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis
Ohanian in November.
"The Mubadala World Tennis Championship
has long marked the beginning of the men's global tennis season and I am
excited and honored to be making my comeback as part of the first women to
participate in the event," Williams said.
The Australian Open starts Jan. 15.