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New Zealand's challenge in their
ODI series with the West Indies now
boils down to having to win three
games on the bounce.
Yesterday's washout in Napier
leaves the West Indies 1-0 going to
Queenstown on Wednesday for game
three in the ve-match rubber.
It also guarantees the worst result for
the tourists will be a drawn rubber if
they win in the southern playground.
Finding themselves in repeat
must-win situations, New Zealand's
philosophy will not change, according
to coach Mike Hesson.
''Not really, you try to win every
game so we won't be changing that.
We certainly won't be picking teams to
experiment," he said after a frustrating
day for players and the crowd.
Spectators vented their opinion loud
and clear when the announcement was
made at 5.20pm that the game was o
due to a soaked out eld.
e problem was, from a perception
point of view, that announcement was
made with sun streaming down and
no rain having fallen for two hours. To
the crowd, it was perhaps tting a New
Zealand Cricket-contracted comedian
had the microphone.
'' e out eld was un t for play and it
was dangerous, so it was really a safety
issue," NZC match manager Owen
''With a 7.12pm cuto (for a
minimum allowable 20-over game) and
with less than two hours before that, it
simply wasn't going to dry."
Spectators got a full refund.
Harrison's points are certainly valid.
e out eld was soggy on the western
side and the sun had gone for the day
from that area. One circle of muddy
water sat like a large wart.
e wart was peered at, prodded, but
that was it, so it sat like defence exhibit
one for any post-abandonment ak.
But what irked the 1000-strong crowd
was that no attempt had been made by
ground sta to try and dry the surface
for over two hours when there was no
rain and the sun was out.
It was as if they knew the score. Pity
the crowd did not.
Hesson admitted he was surprised at
''We got here at 10 o'clock and even
though it was drizzling it was pretty
similar to Saturday. But as it rained
throughout the day the water sat on the
surface because it had nowhere to go."
He added the bowlers runups were
also wet. Rain had not bucketed down,
but the ground simply could not cope.
Hesson con rmed speedster Adam
Milne would have played yesterday to
provide extra oomph to the seam attack.
Whether he plays in Queenstown
depends on the pitch conditions.
Tim Southee, back from minor toe
surgery, bowled yesterday morning and
Hesson expects he will be ready to play
in Nelson in game four next Saturday,
and at a pinch in Queenstown.
New Zealand's batsmen would
have been keen to take guard at the
rst available opportunity after their
ordinary e ort at Eden Park last
ursday, when they were reduced to
112 for nine, before reaching 156.
McLean Park would have provided
it, on a pitch which is historically a
Hesson also clari ed his thinking
around Auckland lefthander Colin
Munro's role in the squad. He is the
backup batsman and unless there is an
injury is unlikely to gure in the XI in
--- New Zealand Herald
Queenstown match a
must win for Black Caps
PICTURE: Getty Images
Coach Mike Hesson and bowling coach Shane Bond look on during a rain delay before the eventual abandonment of
game two of the One Day International series.
e Venus Williams show will
hit centre court at the ASB Classic
tennis tournament today while
New Zealand eyes will be on an
evening doubles clash.
e elder Williams sister begins
her tournament against wildcard
Andrea Hlavackova, of the Czech
Republic, as part of an intriguing
evening session on the opening day.
After the singles clash, in which
Williams will be expected to
take care of business against
the 134th-ranked Hlavackova,
Marina Erakovic will kick-start
her campaign against two New
Zealanders in the doubles.
e singles draw has been unkind
to the New Zealand No 1, leaving
the doubles as potentially her best
hope for making a deep run at
Erakovic has never advanced past
the second round of the singles in
Auckland and she faces a tough ask
to break that record this week. If
she does manage to advance from
a potentially tricky tie against the
70th-ranked Lauren Davis, of the
United States, tomorrow, Erakovic
is likely to face top seed and world
No 14 Roberta Vinci in the second
e 25-year-old should enjoy
more luck in the doubles. Her
combination with Zimbabwe's
Cara Black is seeded second behind
the Czech pair Hlavackova and
Erakovic and Black formed a
successful combination for much of
2013, nishing runner-up in three
WTA nals. ey also reached the
quarter- nals of the French Open
and the round of 16 at the US
Open. ey should have too much
quality for Sacha Jones and Abigail
Guthrie, giving Erakovic a chance
to repeat her run to the 2011 nal
with So a Arvidsson and repay the
faith shown by the home fans.
"I've probably never had as much
support as I have had here," she
said. "It's a special feeling --- every
match I've played I've felt the crowd
behind me and I feel very lucky to
"I am sort of New Zealand's only
tennis player now and, of course, I'd
like to do well and there is pressure.
But I deal with it the best I can and
I try to go out and play my best.
at's all I can do."
Her status as the sole New Zealand
representative on the world stage
was born out of Jones' decision to
switch her allegiance to Australia
two years ago, frustrated by a lack of
funding and nding more support
across the Tasman courtesy of an
Australian-born father. Struggling
with a body ravaged by injury, Jones
is planning to take an inde nite
break from tennis to pursue a career
in teaching after the tournament.
And, after being bundled out in
qualifying for the singles, tonight's
match against Erakovic and Black
could be the last in her career.
--- New Zealand Herald
Venus, Marina take centre stage on day one
PICTURE: Getty Images
Marina Erakovic and Venus Williams.
If the second half of the season
is to bring a resurgence from
the Breakers, yesterday's 99-83
victory over Sydney was a solid
A fortnight away from the
court appeared to cure what ailed
the defending champions, with
a big performance from Gary
Wilkinson helping to overturn a
fourth-quarter de cit and clinch
a crucial victory.
is was the type of game the
Breakers could have squandered
earlier in the campaign, with
close losses far more common
than hard-fought wins as they
slumped to last place in the
But the Breakers (5-9) were
much more assured against
the Kings (5-7) and, with
Sydney coming into the contest
occupying a playo spot, the two-
game swing was essential if the
New Zealand club are to climb
back into contention.
With 14 games remaining in the
season, the Breakers may need to
ip their rst-half record to have a
hope. at would leave them with
as many wins as losses and, if it is
to happen, Wilkinson could be a
key factor in the revival.
e American started in place
of the injured Alex Pledger at
centre and turned what looked
like a setback into a potential
positive. Wilkinson provides more
of the o ensive end than the Tall
Black and proved as much with a
career-best 31 points in his rst
start since returning to the club.
While the Breakers were
crushed on the boards (46-23)
without Pledger, the league's
third-leading rebounder, the one-
two import punch of Wilkinson
and Kerron Johnson (21 points)
provided ample o ence to
overcome the de ciency.
But the champs will have to
make an immediate improvement
in that area ahead of Sunday's
visit to Adelaide, with the 36ers
the leading rebounding team in
Wilkinson, along with Vukona,
was one of only two Breakers to
pull down more than two boards,
and the big man appeared locked
in from the tip-o to grab ve
e Kings took a 19-17
advantage into the second but
that was quickly erased as part of
a 7-0 Breakers run to open the
quarter, with the screws turned
defensively to prevent Sydney
from scoring for almost three
at all changed when Ben
Madgen exploded for 12 points
to close the quarter and pull his
side within one at the halftime
break. Madgen's total output of
15 for the half was matched by
Wilkinson, who highlighted his
haul with a pair of three-point
plays following ferocious dunks.
e game remained even
for much of the third, quite
incredibly considering how
badly the Breakers were being
handled on the boards. e Kings
had almost tripled the Breakers'
rebounding total midway through
the quarter and were especially
dominant on the o ensive glass
in Pledger's absence.
But such supremacy was not
re ected on the scoreboard,
leaving Sydney to be content with
a two-point lead heading into
the nal period. e Kings soon
increased that bu er before a
12-1 run from the Breakers saw a
four-point de cit quickly become
a seven-point lead.
With ve minutes on the clock,
the Breakers were in the box seat,
but their woes down the stretch
from the rst half of the season
weighed heavily over proceedings.
Four quick points from Daryl
Corletto helped ease those
concerns, though, allowing the
Breakers to hang on for a much-
Kings 83 (Madgen 26, Young
21, Garlepp 14), Breakers 99
(Wilkinson 31, Johnson 21,
Abercrombie 13). --- APNZ
Breakers bounce back
PICTURE: Getty Images
Tom Garlepp of the Kings, right, contests with Mika Vukona of the Breakers.
Retired Formula One legend Michael
Schumacher is in a critical condition
in a French hospital with a brain
haemorrhage after a skiing accident
French television station BFMTV
and local paper Le Dauphine Libere
reported overnight the condition of
Schumacher had deteriorated and
surgery had been performed.
e paper said that the 44-year-old
Schumacher banged his head on a rock
during a fall while skiing with his son
at the French resort of Meribel.
Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm,
con rmed the accident, but did not
want to go into details.
"Please understand that we cannot
release constant information about his
health situation," Kehm said.
Kehm con rmed that Schumacher
was wearing a helmet at the time of the
RMC radio had earlier quoted
director of tourism in the resort, as
saying that there was no call for alarm.
e German, who was conscious
when he was reached by rescuers, was
transported by helicopter to a hospital
in Moutiers, where he was diagnosed
with a cranial trauma. Le Dauphine
Libere said he was then transferred to a
clinic in the city of Grenoble.
Meribel is part of an extensive ski
region with about 180 lifts connecting
three alpine valleys.
e clinic was reportedly cordoned
o and Schumacher treated by Gerard
Saillant, who also operated on him
when he broke his calf and shinbone
during his most serious racing crash at
the 1999 British Grand Prix.
Schumacher retired from Formula
One a second time at the end of the
2012 season. He won two world titles
with Benetton and ve in a row with
Schumacher has had accidents
before, including a motorcycle crash
in February 2009 in Cartagena, Spain,
where he damaged a vertebra, a rib and
the bottom of his skull.
At the time, his doctor, Johannes
Peil, said it had caused the racer the
most serious long-term harm of his
at accident denied him taking the
place of Felipe Massa at Ferrari after
the Brazilian su ered severe head
injuries in a crash at the Hungarian
Grand Prix in 2009. --- DPA
Some Australians are sore, but
England are broken.
e day-four nish to the Boxing Day
Ashes Test at the MCG will give the
two sides extra time to regroup before
the last match in Sydney starts on
Australia will head north aiming for a
rare series whitewash.
e main focus for the home team
over the next few days will be the
tness of allrounder Shane Watson and
paceman Ryan Harris.
Watson su ered another injury in the
rst innings when he strained his groin
while bowling, but was able to play out
the match and made an unbeaten 83 in
the second dig.
Harris continues to be a match-by-
match proposition, mainly because of a
He only bowled 10 overs in
the second innings at the MCG
and went wicketless.
e only good thing for England out
of the fourth test is they have no such
But they are a rabble.
ey took control on the opening two
days for the rst time in this series, only
to fall apart miserably.
After letting Australia o the hook
early on day three, they failed to press
home the advantage in their second
ey still had a strong chance to win
yesterday, but dropped crucial catches
Australia cruised to an eight-wicket
win on the back of a career-best 116
from Chris Rogers and his 136-run
stand with Watson.
England captain Alastair Cook said
he wants to keep the role, but admits
the nal decision will rest with the
It is far from panic stations
but Auckland will recognise
the importance of staying close
to the T20 pacesetters today
against Central Districts in New
Having been comprehensively
beaten by Otago in Alexandra on
Friday, Auckland sit fourth on the
HRV Cup ladder --- the round
robin winners go automatically into
the nal, teams two and three play
o --- and can not let the gap widen
ey had a batting tumble against
defending champions Otago, falling
from 91 for three to 119 for nine,
or six for 28 in 38 balls. Once Neil
Broom and Hamish Rutherford
put on 99 in 12.3 overs for the rst
wicket it was all over.
Auckland have added Takapuna
player Jono Sole to their squad for
CD have been doing it tough
again in the HRV Cup. Last in
2012-13, they trail the eld again
this time, after three losses and one
ey have a run of four straight
games on the picturesque postage
stamp ground at Pukekura Park.
Plenty of time to boost the six-
hitting percentage, but manager
and former long-time CD seamer
Lance Hamilton has something
else on his mind --- "I'd settle for a
W," he said.
"We just need to get one across
the line. But it's not crisis point."
CD have added international
seamer Doug Bracewell to their
squad. He has recovered from a
groin injury which counted him
out of contention for the third test
against the West Indies just before
Saturday's match between Otago
and Wellington at the Basin Reser ve
was abandoned without a ball
bowled, denying the Volts a chance
to claim top spot on their own.
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Auckland need win
to keep close to T20
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