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Djokovic drops a place to fifth in ATP rankings

PARIS (AFP): Novak Djokovic dropped one place to fifth with Stanislas Wawrinka moving up to fourth in the ATP rankings published on Monday.

Former world number one Djokovic will likely fall further by the end of the year as he has already announced he will not play again this season due to an elbow injury.

The main move saw German Alexander Zverev climb three places to a career high eighth. Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer was the biggest mover, up 89 places to 49th following his victory in the Hamburg Open.

And there was consolation for German beaten finalist Florian Mayer, who still moved up 45 spots to 56th. Briton Andy Murray ramins top ahead of Rafael Nadal with Roger Federer third.

ATP rankings as of July 31:

1. Andy Murray (GBR) 7,750pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7,465

3. Roger Federer (SUI) 6,545

4. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 5,780 (+1)

4. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 5,325 (-1)

6. Marin Cilic (CRO) 5,155

7. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4,065

8. Alexander Zverev (GER) 3,150 (+3)

9. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 3,140 (-1)

10. Milos Raonic (CAN) 3,130 (-1)

11. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 3,070 (-1)

12. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 2,805

13. David Goffin (BEL) 2,560

14. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 2,480

15. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2,350

16. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,335 (+2)

17. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 2,255

18. John Isner (USA) 2,250 (+2)

19. Jack Sock (USA) 2,200

20. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 1,930 (+1).

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Stokes’ burst leaves South Africa facing defeat

F.P. Report

OVAL: England ripped apart South Africa’s top order in Sunday’s final session at the Oval to bear down on a victory that would put them 2-1 up with one to play in the four-test series.

Two wickets from successive balls in Ben Stokes’ third over removed Quinton de Kock (5) and Faf du Plessis (0) and ended faint South Africa hopes of mounting a rearguard action in pursuit of their nominal target of 492.

Although Stokes failed to record what would have been the first-ever test hat-trick at the Oval, the damage was done. Du Plessis’ wicket, lbw without playing a shot to a first-ball inswinger, was a particular blow, with South Africa needing their captain to survive at least into Monday.

The tourists limped to the close on 117-4, still 375 short of their target with a day’s play remaining.

The battling Dean Elgar was unbeaten on 72 despite a painful blow to his finger, and Temba Bavuma on 16, as England turned to Moeen Ali to try to secure another breakthrough.

Elgar had been fortunate to survive on nine, dropped by Keaton Jennings at third slip off Jimmy Anderson, and went on to strike seven fours in his 77-ball half-century.

No one else provided much resistance. Before Stokes struck, Stuart Broad removed opener Heino Kuhn for 11 and Toby Roland-Jones dismissed Hashim Amla for the second time in the match, this time having South Africa’s danger man sharply caught by Joe Root in the slips for five.

England have a further 98 overs available on Monday to complete the victory and vindicate Root’s decision to delay his declaration to apply maximum pressure to South Africa.

England’s new captain eventually called time when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed before tea after a breezy 63 which lifted England, who had resumed on 74-1, to 313-8.

After Jennings departed early for a painstaking 48, debutant Tom Westley pushed on to a maiden half-century, an innings that should ensure an extended run at England’s problem number three spot.

Westley went on to make 59 before he was stumped misjudging a dash at Keshav Maharaj. Root (50) followed soon afterwards, top-edging the same bowler after recording a half-century for the ninth successive match.

England gradually accelerated with Stokes (31) and Roland-Jones (23 not out) joining Bairstow in some lusty blows as England’s lead extended way beyond the test record for a successful final innings run chase of 418.

If South Africa fail to survive on Monday, it will complete a one-sided sequence in each of the tests. England won by 211 runs at Lord’s before South Africa hit back with an even more emphatic 340-run victory at Trent Bridge.

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Ronaldo due in court over tax evasion claims

F.P. Report

MADRID: Football megastar Cristiano Ronaldo appears in court near Madrid Monday accused of evading millions of euros in taxes, the latest player to fall foul of Spain´s taxman.

The 32-year-old will be questioned by a court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, after returning from a summer break with his girlfriend and relatives and a promotion trip to China.

The Portuguese star — the world´s highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine — follows in the steps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year.

Other footballers have also recently run into trouble with Spain´s taxman, some of them already convicted and others under investigation.

Prosecutors accuse Ronaldo of having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in tax.

They allege he took “advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities”.

They say this was a “voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain”.

Conscience ´clear´

Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared 11.5 million euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros.

And finally, they accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4 million euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

Ronaldo has defended himself, saying his “conscience is clear”.

His agent´s company Gestifute has also denied any “fiscal set-up” and said “the player didn´t hide anything”.

But the allegations still took their toll. According to press reports, Real´s all-time top goalscorer threatened to leave Spain over the affair, giving supporters a fright.

He has since hinted he will stay on, telling Spanish sports daily Marca that he would like to continue to win trophies for Real.

If he were put on trial and found guilty, Ronaldo risks “a fine of at least 28 million” euros and could potentially be jailed for three-and-a-half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain´s Inland Revenue has said.

Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million (79 million euros) earned in 2016-2017, according to Forbes.

 

 

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Waseem knocks out Ivan Trejos

F.P. Report

PANAMA CITY: Muhammad Waseem, Pakistan Professional boxer and two times World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight champion knocked out Panama’s Ivan Trejos in Panama City on Sunday.

This was the second fight for the 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist this month, after he knocked out Panama’s Eliecer Valdez on July 5 on his way to preparing for the world title bout.

Waseem, who hails from Quetta, has been preparing in Panama since June 29 with Las Vegas-based trainer Jeff Mayweather, the uncle of world-famous Floyd Mayweather, for a probable WBC title fight in December this year.

The 29-year-old shot to fame as a pro when he won world silver title by beating Jether Oliva of the Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Korea. He went on to defend his crown on November 27 last year, also in Korea, after downing Giemel Magramo of the Philippines.

 

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2 killed in South Africa football stadium stampede

F.P. Report

JOHANNESBURG: Two people were killed in a crush during a football match Saturday at the South African stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final, local media and an official said.

The incident occurred at a pre-season derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, the country s most popular teams, both from Soweto.

Public and private broadcasters cited officials saying the crush took place outside a gate at the FNB stadium which hosted the final of the football extravaganza seven years ago.

Emergency services were not immediately reachable for comment, but Michael Sun, a Johannesburg municipal councillor responsible for public safety confirmed the deaths in a tweet.

“Situation report from FNB Soweto Derby?Stampede reported with multiple injuries, 2 confirmed fatal,” wrote Sun on Twitter.

The match carried on despite the tragedy at the stadium which has an official capacity of 94,000 and was won 1-0 by Chiefs.

The two worst football tragedies in South Africa involved matches between the same clubs — in 2001 when 43 people were killed, and in 1991, when the death toll was 42.

 

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PCB to sue Indian board for dishonouring MoU: Shahryar Khan

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to sue the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the ICC dispute resolution committee for not honouring its promise of playing bilateral series with Pakistan, the outgoing chairman Shahryar Khan said.

Shahryar presided over a Board of Governors meeting on Friday – the last one under his chairmanship, which discussed matters related to domestic and first class cricket, Pakistan Super League 2018 edition and women cricket team’s performance in the World Cup. The Board of Governors also decided to set aside Rs1 billion to fight the legal battle against the BCCI.

In 2014, both the boards signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the two arch-rivals were to play six bilateral series between 2015-2023. As per the MoU, India was scheduled to play six series against Pakistan, four of which were going to be Pakistan’s home series.

The BCCI, however, has repeatedly snubbed Pakistan’s request for resumption of cricket ties, with the MoU commitment remaining subjected to clearance from the Indian government. In May this year, the PCB sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart for failing to honour the MoU and said it would initiate legal action against the BCCI for not fulfilling its promise.

In the meeting, Shahryar thanked everyone for supporting him as the PCB chairman during his tenure and expressed hope that the next leadership will run the PCB affairs in a better manner and will continue pursuit of reviving international cricket in Pakistan.

 

PCB will seek life ban on players involved in PSL spot fixing:

Seeking an exemplary punishment for the players involved in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot fixing scandal, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has demanded a life ban on guilty players.

PCB’s legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi, at the conclusion of the anti-corruption tribunal hearing on cases of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, said that PCB is seeking the maximum punishment for the players.

“We have requested for life ban and heavy fines on players,” Tafazzul Rizvi said. The PCB’s legal consultant further added that they have requested the three member tribunal to announce the verdict without any delay.

On Saturday, Sharjeel Khan submitted his final written argument in the case, denying charges of being involved in any fixing. According to Tafazzul Rizvi, the PCB has also completed its argument and it is now up to the tribunal to announce the verdict.

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India thrash Sri Lanka by 304 runs in first test

GALLE (Agencies): With a blasting century of Virat Kohli, India thrashed Sri Lanka Saturday by 304 runs in the opening test, leading series by 1-0.

Overall, Kohli faced 136 balls and hit five fours as well as a six. In doing so, he equalled the records of former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar (116 Tests) and VVS Laxman (134 Tests), who both have 17 Test hundreds. Kohli reached his milestone in only his 58th Test. The Indian declaration came after the very next over. It was the second highest target set by India in a Test after 617 versus New Zealand at Wellington in 2009.

Kohli and Rahane put on 51 runs for the 4th wicket. In doing so, they became the 14th pair to put up 2000-plus runs in Test cricket for India. Kohli also became the quickest captain to score 1000 overseas Test runs, reaching the mark in 17 innings. He improved Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 19 innings.

This was India’s biggest overseas win (in terms of runs) surpassing 279 run-victory against England at Leeds in 1986. For Sri Lanka, it was their biggest defeat (in terms of runs), surpassing their 301-run loss against Pakistan in 1994.

A gigantic victory target of 550 was out of question for the hosts but they fizzled out in the final session of the fourth day to finish on 245 in 76.5 overs — their innings terminated with injured skipper Rangana Herath and Asela Gunaratne ruled out.

This was after India captain Virat Kohli struck his 17th Test hundred with India declaring their second innings at 240 for three. The Sri Lankans, especially their opener Dimuth Karunaratne (97) batted gutsily for the first two sessions reaching 192 for 4 at tea.

However, Ravichandran Ashwin (3/65 in 27 overs) ran through the middle-order. Once Karunaratne was dismissed trying to play paddle sweep, it was all over for the Islanders. After the tea break, India made short work of proceedings.

The Lankan resistance ended for all- purpose when the latter was bowled off Ashwin, dragging a sweep back onto his stumps. Overall, he faced 208 balls and hit 9 fours.

The end came swiftly when Lahiru Kumara (0) skied off Ravindra Jadeja (3/71). Herath and Gunaratne were unable to bat owing to on-field injuries. Umesh Yadav (1/42) and Mohammed Shami (1/43) took a wicket apiece at the start of the innings.

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England took complete command in third test against South Africa

F.P. Report

ENGLAND: Ben Stokes hammered another dazzling century and four-wicket Toby Roland-Jones enjoyed a dream debut as England took complete command, leaving South Africa on the brink of following on after a remarkable second day of the third test at The Oval on Friday.

Stokes underlined his prowess as the rarest of all-round talents with his fifth test hundred, reached with two successive sixes, propelling England to a challenging total of 353.

It set the stage for 29-year-old newcomer Roland-Jones, who had earlier smashed a robust run-a-ball 25, to rip through South Africa’s top order with four wickets in his first six overs as the visitors capitulated to 126-8 by the close.

Not for the first time, Stokes proved the Proteas’ scourge, lashing four sixes and nine fours. He hit a third successive six after reaching his tonne before eventually being the last man out for an outstanding 112 from 153 balls.

Yet his performance was, if anything, eclipsed by the tour de force on debut of Middlesex’s late bloomer Roland-Jones. Only playing because of injury to Mark Wood, he found zip, bounce and movement that made him a menace with every ball.

Amid his disposal of the visitors’ top four, the snorter that dismissed Hashim Amla — rising, moving and flicking the gloves of a maestro who scored a triple century on his last test at The Oval — told of a solid county denizen transformed into irresistible test spearhead.

 

Roland-Jones had his moment in the sun last year when he took the hat-trick to beat Yorkshire that sealed Middlesex’s county championship triumph at Lord’s but at London’s other cricketing cathedral this may have felt even more surreal.

As he took his cap, having recorded 4-22 from his first eight-over spell, no wonder he could not stop smiling.

James Anderson, doubtless earlier unimpressed to be taken off in favour of Roland-Jones with conditions seemingly perfect for England’s record wicket taker, got into the act later with two wickets and Stokes, inevitably, chipped in with another.

The South Africans, at 61-7 and with a poorly Vernon Philander unable to bat, were in danger of having to follow-on before the day was done but Temba Bavuma, who put on 53 with Kagiso Rabada, held firm on 34.

Three Sixes

In England’s innings, Alastair Cook had missed out on a 31st test hundred, disappointed to be trapped lbw by Morne Morkel for 88, but with a magnificent counter-attack combining watchfulness and remarkable power, Stokes delivered the performance The Oval merited in its 100th test.

When he was on 91 and down to his last partner Anderson, it appeared as if he was about to miss out on his richly-deserved tonne.

Attempting to smash spinner Keshav Maharaj, he miscued, allowing Faf du Plessis to catch him on the long-on boundary. However, with momentum sending him tumbling backwards, the South African captain fell into the boundary markers and six was awarded.

Stokes celebrated by hoisting the next ball in the same direction, connecting perfectly as the ball sailed into the crowd to take him to three figures off 144 balls.

Stokes made it three sixes in a row over deep mid-wicket, the first time an England batsman had achieved the feat in a test since Wally Hammond against New Zealand 84 years ago.

Stokes’s performance, which had echoes of his incredible double hundred against the South Africans in Cape Town last year, saw him pass 2,000 runs in tests. He found an old willing ally in Jonny Bairstow (36) and a new one in Roland-Jones, who enjoyed his six and four fours hugely.

The touring side, though, were severely weakened without key paceman Philander, who, just as on Thursday, bowled well early on before having to leave the field feeling unwell.

He had to go to hospital for further tests because his stomach bug symptoms had worsened and it is unclear yet if he will be fit to bat on Saturday.

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Fakhar Zaman to play for Somerset county in T20 Blast: sources

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Fakhar Zaman is the latest among Pakistan players to sign up for England’s popular domestic cricket competition NatWest T20 Blast.

According to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources, the left-handed batsman has signed a deal with Somerset County Cricket Club and will be seen in action during the T20 Blast, which is currently underway in England.

Fakhar, who rose to international fame with his blistering match-winning century against India in the Champions Trophy finale in June, will represent Somerset for four weeks. He has been issued a No Objection Certificate by the PCB in this regard, the sources informed.

The 27-year-old opener was also drafted into the Caribbean Premier League for the upcoming season, but he preferred to feature in England’s domestic cricket season instead, the sources added.

Meanwhile, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has been signed by Yorkshire to play in the T20 Blast, while all-rounder Imad Wasim has already arrived in the UK where he will feature for Durham county.

Fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan are already representing Essex and Lancashire, respectively, while former captain Shahid Afridi is playing for Hampshire.

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Arthur hopes international cricket to return to Pakistan

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said Wednesday he hoped a proposed tour of the World XI to the South Asian country would bring the embattled nation a step closer to reviving international cricket.

Pakistan have not hosted international cricket – barring a limited over series against Zimbabwe in 2015 – since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

And Monday s blast in Lahore which killed 26 people has again cast doubts over the World XI tour planned for mid September this year.

However, Arthur said he regretted Pakistan s isolation. “The isolation is being very hard on Pakistan cricket,” Arthur told AFP.

“PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) is doing an unbelievable job in trying to resurrect international cricket. I just hope the World XI tour goes ahead and that will almost be the curtain raiser to, hopefully, get some international cricket back.”

Pakistan has been forced to play home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

“Every international match we play as a unit we are playing effectively away from home, away our own conditions and that makes it doubly difficult,” he said.

“Look, I definitely think it affects all cricket. The first class cricketers in Pakistan are not able to see their stars playing at home and are not able to lift their standards so it s a vicious circle,” he added. Arthur said Pakistan s Champions Trophy win in England last month will change impressions.

“I think Pakistan was always a destination where it was hard to come and win. I was the coach of the South African team which came here in 2007.

“We won the Test and one-day series and that was a massive win and achievement because not many sides had come and won in Pakistan.”