Steve Smith hails new recruits after Australia win at last

first_imgAustralia captain Steve Smith said the players drafted in for the third-Test victory over South Africa had energised the team and contributed to a “good start” to the new era of test cricket in the country.Smith went public with his feelings of humiliation at the innings and 80-run defeat in the second test in Hobart, which gave South Africa an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and triggered an overhaul of the side. (Also read: Australia win day-night Adelaide Test; South Africa clinch series 2-1)New caps Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson came into the batting order and Matt Wade was recalled at wicketkeeper in place of Peter Nevill.Although none had outstanding matches in the seven-wicket victory in Adelaide, which Australia wrapped up with a day to spare on Sunday, Smith said they had made a difference.”I felt a bit of a switch straight away, in energy and presence around the group,” he told reporters.”In our first training session at Adelaide Oval, everything felt like it was running smoothly. When we got our chance to get out on the field, I felt we had good energy and presence.”We were able to take some good catches in this Test match, probably part of our game that has been a bit disappointing. It’s been great to have these guys come in and bring that energy.”The victory ended a run of five defeats for Australia, who next face Pakistan in another three-test series in the traditional fixtures around Christmas and the New Year.advertisement”You don’t grow overnight, I think it’s a good opportunity for this side to play together, I guess improve and know each other’s games and get better as a team,” Smith added.”It was a good start but still plenty of work to do.”Smith hailed Man of the Match Usman Khawaja as “magnificent” for his innings of 145, Australia’s only century of the series, particularly as he was forced to step in as an opener for David Warner after South Africa’s sudden first-day declaration.”It shows a lot about his character and what he wants to do and I guess that’s kind of a template for what we’re looking for,” Smith added.Smith will next lead the Test side out against Pakistan in another day-night match at the Gabba on December 15 and admitted he would retain some unhappy memories of the South Africa series.”(It’s) a little bit bittersweet, we were outplayed in the first two Tests by South Africa but I’m really proud of the way the team came back in this game,” he said.”New players came in and we showed some fight and some character and that’s what I want us to do.”last_img read more

No Salah, no party as Suarez sinks

first_imgWorld Cup No Salah, no party as Suarez sinks on World Cup return Robin Bairner Last updated 1 year ago 22:05 6/15/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Luis Suarez Uruguay 2018 World Cup Getty Images World Cup Egypt v Uruguay Uruguay Egypt Powerade The Egypt superstar did not see a single second on the field as an uninspired Uruguay claimed a 1-0 victory courtesy of a late goal Billed as a meeting of Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah, Uruguay’s opening World Cup fixture against Egypt in Ekaterinburg failed to produce either.While the Liverpool ace was kept pinned to the bench by head coach Hector Cuper as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder issue picked up against Real Madrid in the Champions League final a month ago, it seemed an imposter had taken over the body of his South American counterpart.Although Uruguay pinched the match with a couple of minutes remaining, Jose Gimenez heading home a free kick, the form of their star man offered cause for concern. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move After five minutes, the Barcelona ace turned to his team-mates frustrated as he implored them to press their opponents higher up the field. That incident, though, was to prove a mere start to the exasperation the 31-year-old was to feel.Uruguay as a team struggled, particularly in the first half, but this inability to live up to their potential was personified in the form of the attacker.He spurned a golden opportunity midway through the first half when he haplessly planted a close-range shot wide following a corner and later allowed a potentially decisive pass to bounce off his boot and out for a goal kick.After the break, his fortunes got no better. Strike partner Edinson Cavani released him in the first minute after the restart, but Mohamed El-Shenawy blocked his effort from a testing angle.As time wore on, Suarez looked increasingly at a loss but remained prominent in the few opportunities that were created. When he had just the goalkeeper to beat, he dithered too long and allowed El-Shenawy to muffle the ball at his feet.It is not the Suarez who scored 31 times in 51 outings for Barcelona this past season.With three minutes remaining, Cavani pulled rank over his strike partner over a free kick on the edge of the area. Having earlier exerted the goalkeeper to the maximum with a fine volley, the Paris Saint-Germain striker left the post shaking with what was undoubtedly the game’s best moment to that point.Salah Egypt World CupIt may well be to the ex-Napoli hitman that Uruguay increasingly look to in the matches ahead, although on this occasion it was the Atletico Madrid centre-back spared his blushes.Uruguay, though, are a team used to starting slowly in World Cups. This victory marked the first time since 1970 that they have won their opening fixture and even these three points were achieved with the utmost difficulty.While Suarez has been bought time to grow into this competition by Gimenez’s header, Salah will have no such luxuries. If he can prove his fitness before Egypt face Russia next, nothing short of delivering a victory will be enough to keep his side’s hopes of reaching the last 16 burning.last_img read more