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India crush feeble England to win one-day series

The tourists cruised to a win that gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series after another feeble England batting display in which the hosts were bowled out for a paltry 206 at Edgbaston.

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India’s Mohammed Shami took three for 28 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja two wickets each, with Moeen Ali’s fluent 67 the only positive for England.

The Indian batsmen made light work of their chase with Ajinkya Rahane (106) and Dhawan sharing a 183-run opening partnership and the latter smashed the last ball over the ropes to reach the target with more than 19 overs remaining.

“It’s really special and I’m really happy for the team,” batsman Rahane, who scored his 106 off 100 balls, told Sky Sports. “The bowlers did really well.”

“Initially it (the pitch) was doing a bit but I was determined to stay there and focus on the target. The way Shikhar batted today was great to watch from the other end.

“It’s a great challenge to open. You have to prepare your mind and accept that challenge.”

India won the toss and England struggled from the start, the top three back in the pavilion with just 23 runs on the scoreboard.

Kumar removed openers Alex Hales and Alastair Cook in the fifth over and Gary Ballance, who replaced the injured Ian Bell who fractured a toe in the nets, got a leading edge.

Joe Root (44) and Eoin Morgan (32) patiently rebuilt with a fourth-wicket stand of 80 before both fell to spin, Morgan turning Jadeja to leg-slip and Root playing a reverse sweep straight to Dhawal Kulkarni at backward square off Suresh Raina.

Jos Buttler fell lbw to Shami, Chris Woakes was run out by a brilliant low throw from Raina and only some big blows from Moeen took England towards 200, the all-rounder hitting four fours and three sixes before he was bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin.

Harry Gurney took the only India wicket, at least ensuring that England avoided their first ever 10-wicket defeat in an ODI on home soil, when Rahane chipped a full toss to Cook in the covers.

Dhawan finished on 97 not out and India hit 29 boundaries to expose a huge gulf in class between the sides.

“It was a very tough day, it’s amazing how quickly sport changes,” said under-pressure England captain Cook, who many critics and former England players have called upon to resign the one-day captaincy.

“We have played some bad cricket and I don’t know why that is. We’ve not played anywhere near our potential and there’s no excuses.

“India have outskilled us, bowled better, batted better and fielded better. We have to stay true to our beliefs and work hard.”

The final match of the series is in Leeds on Friday. The first game was abandoned.

(Reporting by Justin Palmer and Sam Holden, editing by Tony Goodson)

Airbus offers Poland joint ventures, no urgency in share stake

In December, the Polish government said it would consider buying a stake in Airbus Group, then known as EADS.

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Polish media have said the east European country is interested in taking a 1-2 percent stake in Toulouse, France-based Airbus Group.

Talk of integration expanded in July when the head of the company’s helicopters division told Reuters that Poland could become Airbus’s fifth core nation alongside Britain, France, Germany and Spain, in a partnership designed in part to support its bid for a military helicopter contract.

“The invitation was to join the Airbus Group but not immediately with some stake in it. The story of (Poland’s) stake is really marginal, this is not the most obvious way or the most key way to enter the Airbus Group,” Fabrice Lievin, Airbus Vice President for Industrial Globalization said on Tuesday.

“Getting a stake is not the best way; even the Polish government understood it’s not the best way. They themselves have to construct (new state defence holding company) PGZ, to make some rationalisation,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the MSPO Polish defence show.

“It’s not what is at stake in the future, it’s about Poland restructuring its industry and us helping them. It can go many ways, for example joint ventures – so there is a capital link, but it’s on a project to project basis. It (the shareholder stake) could be a symbol, but it’s not what is important.”

Airbus Group is competing with Sikorsky of the United States, a unit of United Technologies, and AgustaWestland, owned by Italy’s Finmeccanica for a deal to supply 70 military transport helicopters.

It is the world’s largest active military helicopter competition and its value is estimated around $3 billion.

Airbus Helicopters is also expected to compete with rivals including AgustaWestland and U.S. aerospace giant Boeing for a further potential contract for 30 attack helicopters.

Poland is moving that purchase forward by two years as part of a review of its army modernisation programme triggered by the crisis in Ukraine, Polish deputy defence minister Czeslaw Mroczek told Reuters last month.

The prospect of major purchases by a front-line NATO country that maintains robust defence spending, in contrast with cutbacks in many Western nations, has attracted foreign firms to the defence show being held in central Poland until Sept 4.

Poland’s finance ministry estimates the country will spend around 130 billion zlotys between 2013 and 2022 on modernising its armed forces.

Poland already spends 1.95 percent of its GDP on the army, one of the highest rates of military spending.

Last year a senior Airbus Group official was as saying the company wanted to “marry with Poland”.

However, analysts say it faces hurdles including close defence and security ties between Poland and the United States since the end of the Cold War, as well as any potential fallout from a row over French arms sales to Russia at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

Asked whether France’s decision to pursue the sale of Mistral warships to Russia had affected France-based Airbus’s standing in Poland, Lievin said the two issues were “totally unrelated”, but for Airbus “it would’ve been easier without it”.

(Writing by Tim Hepher, editing by David Evans)

No reheated soup, but plenty of leftovers for Serie A

Morata, 21, has played for Spain at several age levels and Juventus clearly believe in his potential as they showed by spending 20 million euros (15.

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94 million pound) on him.

But it was hardly the sort of marquee signing to be expected from one of Europe’s biggest and most ambitious clubs.

Once the first choice destination for the world’s top players, Serie A increasingly seems to be looked upon as a place for older players to see out their careers.

Among those to arrive during the transfer window were 33-year-old Patrice Evra, who moved from Manchester United to Juve, his 32-year-old former team mate Nemanja Vidic, who joined Inter Milan, and Ashley Cole, 33, who went from Chelsea to AS Roma.

Verona, possibly encouraged by veteran striker Luca Toni’s scoring achievements last season, brought in 35-year-old Mexico defender Rafael Marquez and former Argentina forward Javier Saviola, 33, while 34-year-old Mali international Seydou Keita, once at Barcelona, joined AS Roma.

Meanwhile, fallen European giants AC Milan, who missed out on Europe after finishing eighth in Serie A last season, signed misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres after they allowed maverick forward Mario Balotelli to join Liverpool.

SPRINGBOARD CLUBS

Milan supporters have become used to seeing their club sign players who have struggled elsewhere, including Michael Essien who joined last year.

Then, they also brought back Kaka for a second stint in an attempt to revive his career, a move known locally as “re-heated soup.”

Kaka had won the World Player of the Year award during his first stint at the club and then moved to Real Madrid, where he never found his best form.

Not surprisingly, his return to Milan was less impressive than his first spell.

Clubs in countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands seem to have accepted their fate to act as springboards for players moving between Latin America, Eastern Europe or Africa and Europe’s biggest clubs.

Colombians James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao sharpened their teeth at Porto, making it their first stop in Europe following moves from South America, while compatriots Jackson Martinez and Juan Quintero are still at the club.

Italian clubs, however, appear to be unsure if they should concentrate on developing young talent or sign players with some experience.

Milan, for example, have been promising to focus on youth, yet sold 19-year-old Bryan Cristante, one of their brightest prospects, to Benfica hours before Monday’s transfer deadline expired.

MOST EXPENSIVE

Serie A’s most expensive transfer window deal was 21-year-old Argentine Juan Iturbe, who joined Roma from Verona for 22 million euros (17.53 million pound).

Roma, last season’s runners-up, were by far the biggest spenders. They splashed out 58 million euros, but also raked in 26 million by selling defender Mehdi Benatia to Bayern Munich, double the fee paid to Udinese for the Moroccan a year ago.

Despite missing out on Sanchez and Falcao, Juventus did quite well in the transfer window, if only because they managed to hold on to midfielders Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal when some of Europe’s richest clubs had shown interest.

French teenager Kingsley Koman could prove an inspirational signing after joining on a free transfer from Paris St Germain.

Napoli gambled on qualifying for the Champions League group stage and their playoff defeat by Athletic Bilbao ended their hopes of any big signings, leaving Rafael Benitez’s team facing an uncertain season.

Inter Milan, in their first full season since being taken over by Indonesian business tycoon Erik Thohir, spent a modest 12 million euros, two thirds of that on Chile defender Gary Medel. Neighbours Milan spent almost exactly the same.

Chievo, Cesena, Atalanta, Sampdoria, Parma and Genoa all spent under 10 million euros, according to the website Transfermarkt.de, and promoted Empoli spent nothing at all.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Tim Collings)

China’s Peng routs Swiss teen to reach U.S. Open semis

Peng, 28, delivered a master lesson to the 17-year-old Bencic in an unlikely quarter-final between unseeded players, winning the groundstroke rallies and unleashing pinpoint passing shot winners after luring the Swiss to the net with short balls.

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After 2013 junior world number one Bencic netted a backhand for her 19th unforced error on the first match point of the 64-minute clash, Peng pumped her fist in exaltation, but later was at a loss of words.

Asked about reaching her first grand slam singles semi-final in her 37th attempt in a major, an emotional Peng took a few moments to collect herself.

“This is amazing time for me,” said Peng, ranked world number one in doubles, but whose best singles result in 36 previous slams was to the fourth round.

“A lot of tennis. It’s a long time, the career. It’s tough sometimes. I’m thinking to give up and stop play because I don’t know if I can make it or not.”

Peng has won 16 doubles titles, most recently claiming the French Open title with Hsieh Su-wei, but has yet to win a tour singles title.

“I really thank my coach, my parents. They always tell me to fight and keep going and never ever give up. And this today was coming,” Peng said.

SURPRISING PATHS

Peng and Bencic both carved out surprising paths to the quarter-finals.

The 39th-ranked Chinese rattled off three impressive upsets in a row from the second round, ousting fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 28th seed Roberta Vinci and 14th-seeded Lucie Safarova.

Big-hitting Bencic, last year’s French and Wimbledon junior champion who is ranked 58th, also upset 31st seed Kurumi Nara, sixth seed Angelique Kerber and ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic.

Bencic was the youngest player to reach the U.S. Open quarters since compatriot Martina Hingis in 1997. Hingis, is a friend and practice partner, whose mother Melanie Molitor coaches the up-and-coming Swiss player.

The teenager had shown impressive composure in her run to the quarters, but the precision brilliance of Peng frustrated her.

Bencic showed her frustration by muttering angrily at herself, and swiping at the air with her racket. After falling behind 2-0 in the second set, she bickered with the umpire after being issued a coaching warning.

Peng, meanwhile, stayed focussed on business.

The Chinese winner was never threatened in the one-sided contest, winning 54 points to 36, ripping 24 winners to double Bencic’s total, while committing only seven errors in a virtuoso performance.

Peng will play either former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the 10th seed from Denmark, or Italian 13th seed Sara Errani in the semi-finals.

Top-seeded two-time defending champion Serena Williams used a medical timeout to have her right foot and ankle re-taped during the second set of her quarter-final doubles match against Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Williams, playing with her sister Venus, appeared to be all right after timeout but it proved to be a disappointing performance.

The fourth-seeded Russians went on to win 7-6 (5) 6-4, advancing to the semi-finals after Serena double-faulted on the last two points of the match.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Manchester City’s Guidetti still hoping for Celtic switch

The 22-year-old forward rushed to Glasgow on Monday in the hope of following in the footsteps of fellow Swede Henrik Larsson, who achieved iconic status at Celtic by scoring 242 goals in 315 games in his seven years there.

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“It was chaos yesterday. I don’t think I ate all day,” Guidetti told newspaper Sportbladet as he arrived on Sweden’s west coast for duty with the Under 21 side.

“It was just wait, wait, wait. Hundreds of fans stood outside the stadium and waited in the middle of the night,” said Guidetti, who had been told that he was surplus to requirements at the City of Manchester Stadium.

It looked like the wait was in vain, for him and the fans, but media in Scotland reported on Tuesday that the Scottish FA had accepted the transfer paperwork and it was now up to world governing body FIFA to judge if the move could be approved.

“I hope that it sorts itself out with Celtic, otherwise I’ll have to stay at City and that’s not the worst thing that could happen,” Guidetti said. “Unfortunately, the papers weren’t finished in time and now it’s up to FIFA to decide.”

Guidetti, who says playing barefoot during five years spent living in Kenya helped him develop his skills, has never played a senior game for Manchester City, who he joined from Swedish club Brommapojkarna in 2008.

He burst on to the scene in the 2011/12 season, scoring 20 goals in 23 games on loan at Feyenoord. Last term he went to City’s Premier League rivals Stoke City on loan, but failed to find the net in six games.

A move to Celtic could be exactly what he and the club need.

After several loan spells, Guidetti is eager for a run of games and Celtic, knocked out in the Champions League playoffs and struggling at the start of their league campaign, are crying out for a new Larsson.

“We did actually talk about the number seven (Larsson’s old shirt),” Guidetti told Sportbladet. “They’re big shoes to fill, but it would have been fun.”

Having granted Celtic a 24-hour extension to the transfer deadline, the Scottish FA is now expected to plead the club’s case to FIFA.

(Reporting by Phil O’Connor, editing by Tim Collings)