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Clubs overlook Brazil in transfer market rush

Only 178 players went from Brazil to UEFA clubs before the transfer window shut, fewer than in any year since FIFA began recording transfer data in 2011.

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The majority went for free or on loan and clubs shelled out just $68 million (41.15 million pounds) for the remaining 30, barely one-third of last year’s outlay, according to figures provided by FIFA’s Transfer Matching System, the body that has been recording transfer data since 2010.

There was no big-name chase, as in recent years, when European giants fought over the signatures of Brazil-based players such as Neymar, Lucas Silva and Oscar. The biggest transfer this year was the reported 10 million euros Olympique Marseille paid for Botafogo’s 19-year-old centre back Doria.

“This is the worst market in the last 30 years for Brazilian clubs,” sports statistician and newspaper columnist Paulo Vinicius Coelho wrote in Sunday’s Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.

Experts have posited several reasons for the lack of interest.

With Brazilian football at a low ebb there are fewer talented players around. A humiliating World Cup in which few Brazilians shone under the global spotlight has perhaps caused European managers to question the wisdom of signing them.

Unrest in the Caucuses has also blocked a previously well-worn path for young Brazilians looking to get their first move to the Old World.

“The entry market for many Brazilians is Russia and the Ukraine, and those markets were problematic this year,” Marcos Motta, a lawyer for several players, including Neymar, Lucas and Doria, told Reuters.

“There are several other motives,” added Motta, who was in Zurich to complete the Doria signing. “If you look at the Brazilian league, there are not a lot of players who are attracting attention. There’s simply not a lot of good players around right now.”

Motta pointed out that several Brazilians moved within Europe for multi-million-pound fees this summer, with Diego Costa and Filipe Luis joining Chelsea from Spanish club Atletico Madrid and David Luiz departing Stamford Bridge for Paris St. Germain.

However, the lack of activity is especially notable because more Brazilian players have been bought or sold than any other nationality since FIFA started tracking transfers.

Some 5,526 Brazilians were traded internationally between January 2011 and the start of this transfer window, according to the Transfer Matching System.

That is more than twice the next most-traded nationality, Argentines.

Coelho said one notable advantage of the lack of activity is that the Brazilian league will suffer less. In past years, some clubs have fallen away in the second half of the season after losing their best players.

A bigger threat for the top clubs now are the full and under-21 international matches that will rob teams of key players over the next two weeks. League leaders Cruzeiro and fourth-placed Corinthians will each lose four, while Internacional will be missing three.

(Editing by Neville Dalton)

Fresh clashes in Pakistan anti-PM protests

Anti-government protesters armed with rocks and wooden clubs clashed with police in Islamabad, hours after the powerful army called for a peaceful resolution to the political crisis rocking Pakistan.

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Opposition groups marched to the capital on August 15 to try to topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, triggering a crisis that has raised the spectre of military intervention in a country that has been ruled for half its history by the army.

The army urged the government and protesters to settle their differences peacefully on Sunday night, but warned it was “committed to playing its part in ensuring security of the state”, after clashes left three dead.

Violence began on Saturday night when followers of former cricketer Imran Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri tried to storm Sharif’s official residence.

Fresh clashes erupted on Monday morning as heavy rain fell on the capital, as more than 3000 demonstrators again tried to march on the building, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Protesters pelted riot police with stones and some smashed up motorbikes with wooden clubs. Police tried to respond with teargas but the heavy rain appeared to make it ineffective.

After an emergency meeting of top brass in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the army voiced support for democracy – but also stressed its own role in maintaining security.

“While reaffirming support to democracy, the conference reviewed with serious concern, the existing political crisis and the violent turn it has taken, resulting in large scale injuries and loss of lives,” the military said in a statement.

“It was once again reiterated that the situation should be resolved politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means.”

They added: “(The) army remains committed to playing its part in ensuring security of the state and will never fall short of meeting national aspirations.”

The statement opened with a backing for the government but ended on a hawkish note – which a senior government official said reflected differing views within the army’s top brass.

Pakistan’s last period of military rule ended in 2008. But an official said another coup remained “less likely”.

The protest leaders claim the 2013 election which swept Sharif to power was rigged, though local and foreign observers rated the polls as relatively fair and credible.

Speaking from the roof of a shipping container Sunday, Khan vowed to continue his protest “until our last breath”, adding he would file murder charges against the prime minister over the violence.

The weekend clashes left nearly 500 people injured, including some children and nearly 100 police officers.

The protest leaders have drawn thousands to the streets of Islamabad, but their call has not mobilised mass support in a country of 180 million people.

Analysis – Premier League the biggest winner as talent pours in

The giants of Old Trafford haemorrhaged almost 150 million pounds in the last few weeks, dressing the likes of Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Falcao in red shirts.

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The huge spending has given new Dutch manager Louis van Gaal an embarrassment of riches with which to fix his team’s on-pitch struggles, even though critics suggest the money could have been spent a little more wisely.

Still, though, theirs is a glittering squad, its make-up largely mirrored across the city at their blue-shirted rivals, and at Chelsea, who either spent big on new superstar names or forked out to renew the contracts of their most influential players.

Liverpool, too, leaned heavily on their history and spending power to lure one of the biggest names in football to Anfield, snapping up Mario Balotteli from AC Milan for what is these days a paltry 16 million pounds.

FOOTBALL MORTALS

But for the mortals of the English Premier League, it takes a little more creativity to secure the talent required to challenge in the top flight of English football.

Southampton finished last season in eighth position – one below United in the league.

Then, in the space of a handful of weeks, one of the most exciting teams in the league was asset-stripped by bigger, richer rivals, who cherry-picked the Saints’ jewels.

The first to go was manager Mauricio Pochettino, who quit for Spurs.

He was followed out the door by Luke Shaw, to United; and Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren to Liverpool. Shortly afterwards Calum Chambers set off for Arsenal.

The spine of the team was sold off, and Southampton again dominated back-page headlines – this time generally attracting the word “exodus” twinned with the phrase “relegation candidates”.

The club appointed a Dutch footballing heavyweight of their own, Ronald Koeman, in what may well prove to be a masterstroke, as the former Barcelona superstar has already proved as influential in attracting talent to St Mary’s as he was on the pitch in his heyday.

KOEMAN’S COUPS

On transfer deadline day, Koeman’s latest coups were the capture of Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane. Both owed more to his powers of persuasion than those of Southampton’s chequebook.

“I told him about our plans and our ambition… and the way we play is a little bit Dutch,” Koeman said of his conversations with Alderweireld.

A World Cup quarter-finalist with Belgium and a La Liga winner with Atletico Madrid, Alderweireld hardly fits the profile of a typical signing for Southampton, the modest club best known for selling on its promising players.

“I knew Toby had some different offers, from bigger clubs… but he took some time, thought about our conversation and that gave him confidence to join us,” Koeman smiled.

The Belgian, weaned at Ajax’s academy, agreed. “I really want a trainer who believes in me, and he called me and said ‘I really want you to come’… That’s important to me,” the 25-year-old Alderweireld said.

Senegalese international striker Mane was a similar story.

“He had interest from big clubs,” Koeman said. “But the way we play, it is a good step for him. The future will come, he is only young,” Koeman added, hinting at the power of the Premier League as a shop window for talent.

Koeman was by means alone in bringing exciting new overseas talent to modest English outfits.

SHREWD MOVES

Steve Bruce proved himself a master of the manoeuvre, garnishing Hull City’s squad with the likes of Mohamed Diame, Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa. That trio was signed from fellow Premier League sides, but the biggest signing was that of Uruguay World Cup striker Abel Hernandez from Serie A side Palermo for a reported 10 million pounds.

“Abel is a fantastic signing and highlights just how far the club has come in such a short space of time,” said manager Steve Bruce, with customary understatement.

Queen’s Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp famously railed at being described a “wheeler-dealer” by a TV interviewer while managing Spurs some years ago, but did little to dispel that label with shrewd moves in the transfer market this time round, bringing in players on loan from Juventus, Dynamo Kiev and Napoli, as well as buying Brazilian Sandro from his old club Tottenham.

Unfashionable Stoke City also played the lure of the offer of Premier League minutes to great effect, capturing talent from Hanover, Barcelona and Dukla Banska Bystrica while Sunderland boosted their ranks with names from Inter Milan and Estudiantes.

Swansea, too, scoured far and wide to clinch signings from Ostersunds FK, Espanyol, Napoli, Lyons, Gothenburg, Morelia and the less-exotic Falkirk.

In total, English Premier League football clubs spent a record 835 million pounds on hiring players during the summer transfer window as they reinvested cash from the latest round of broadcast deals.

But more than anything, the pipeline of footballing talent flowing from the biggest leagues around the world into Britain underlines the attraction of the Premier League rather than simply the clubs’ financial might.

Many of the signings were for small sums, and a lot of the incoming players arrived on loan deals.

It soon became something of a mantra on Monday night for new signings to describe their transfer as a dream come true, and they should not be doubted, even if that dream is based on the league in which the players now find themselves, rather than the hue of the strip they will wear.

(Editing by: Neville Dalton)

Golf: Jacklin thrilled rookie Gallacher proved him wrong

Jacklin, Europe’s most successful skipper of all time having won two matches, tied one and lost one, told Reuters at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May that he thought the 39-year-old Scot was “a bit iffy sometimes” and “a bit tender-minded”.

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Gallacher came within a whisker of dislodging Graeme McDowell from the automatic nine Ryder Cup qualifiers and received his reward on Tuesday when he was picked by captain Paul McGinley as a wildcard choice along with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

“I criticised Stephen because I thought his performances were a bit lethargic,” Jacklin told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. “But he has put his heart and soul into it since then and has done really well.

“If I helped him in any way I’m pleased I said what I said. I didn’t mean it in any derogatory way and he has certainly proved he is made of the right stuff and I think he’s capable of having a great Ryder Cup.”

Jacklin’s comments provoked an angry response, especially among Gallacher’s fellow countrymen, but the 70-year-old Englishman said perhaps it was the gee-up the triple European Tour winner needed.

Asked if the 2013 and 2014 Dubai Desert Classic champion had proved him wrong, Jacklin replied: “Absolutely. If what I said made him move up a gear or two, then it was worth saying it.

“We all need a bit of a kick up the backside every now and then and he’s performed brilliantly since then. For a guy who doesn’t play regularly in America I think he’s done a great job and I’m delighted for him that he’s got in the team.”

The winner of the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open said Gallacher rubber-stamped his wildcard pick by finishing third, when the pressure was on, at last week’s Italian Open in Turin.

McGinley said he was particularly taken by the way the Scot produced a storming back nine of 30 to surge through the field with a second-round 65 in Turin.

That effort helped him fight back into title contention after opening with a disappointing level-par 72.

COMPELLING CASE

“If there was any doubt about whether Stephen deserved a place in the team he gave a compelling case in Italy,” said Jacklin who is on a UK-wide theatre tour until Oct. 16 (南宁夜网.tonyjacklin广西桑拿,/theatre-tour).

“That was one helluva performance. Having a Scottish presence in the team at Gleneagles isn’t one of those things a captain bases his picks on but equally I do think it’s nice there will be a Scottish representative in the team, and a deserved one at that.

“Stephen is someone who has really battled to win his place and more power to him for that.”

Jacklin, who captained Europe in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989, said there was no argument about whether Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman Poulter and former world number one Westwood deserved a pick.

However, he said it was a shame that Luke Donald, another former world number one, would miss out on the biennial team event for the first time since 2008.

“Poulter was always going to be in the team,” explained Jacklin. “He shot a good 66 in the last round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts on Monday and of course his Ryder Cup record speaks for itself.

“Lee’s also got a great record. I’m just sorry Luke hasn’t got in the side because he’s got a terrific short game.

“Unfortunately he hasn’t shown any sort of form at all this year. It’s almost like he’s not been with it but he’s got a tremendous game from 100 yards in and that’s a good quality to have in match play,” said Jacklin.

“Every captain, though, needs to go into the Ryder Cup fray knowing he’s got the best 12 players available and Paul ended up with the best 12 available.”

Holders Europe will take on the Americans at Gleneagles from Sept. 26-28.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Westwood, Poulter and Gallacher for Ryder

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has made his three wildcard picks for Gleneagles, selecting Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher.

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But there was no place for former world number one Luke Donald, despite being ranked higher in the world than the three chosen ahead of him.

Already assured of a place in the European team for the September 26-28 showdown with the Americans in Scotland were Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell.

That means that McGinley has at his disposal four of the top five ranking players in the world in McIlroy, Stenson, Garcia and Rose – all of whom have past Ryder Cup experience – along with three rookies in Dubuisson, Donaldson and Gallacher.

In all, seven players retain their place from the team that two years ago staged the greatest final day comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the Americans 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

All the focus on Tuesday, however, was on which three picks skipper McGinley would make, with two former world number ones, Westwood and Donald, going up against Ryder Cup hero Poulter and 39-year-old would-be debutant Gallacher.

In the end it was Donald, a veteran of four previous European Ryder Cup wins, but who has been in relatively poor form of late, who missed out.

“I’m in a privileged position in that I had a variety of choices and it says a lot about the European Tour and the standards we have now in Europe, the quality of the picks I have and how far we’ve come over the years for me to have such an abundance of talent to choose from,” McGinley said.

The Irishman, who sunk the winning putt for Europe at the 2002 Ryder Cup, said that he had been convinced to give Gallacher his first Ryder Cup cap on the back of his third place finish in the Italian Open on Sunday.

“He’ll look back at that at the end of his career, whatever he goes on to achieve, as one of the highlights of his career, if not the highlight.”

US skipper Tom Watson will announce his three wildcard picks in New York later on Tuesday with the certainty that they will not include Tiger Woods who is unavailable through injury.

THE EUROPEANS

Rory McIlroy (NIR)

Henrik Stenson (SWE)

Victor Dubuisson (FRA)

Jamie Donaldson (WAL)

Sergio Garcia (ESP)

Thomas Bjorn (DEN)

Justin Rose (ENG)

Martin Kaymer (GER)

Graeme McDowell (NIR)

Lee Westwood (ENG)

Ian Poulter (ENG)

Stephen Gallacher (SCO)

Misbah going back to basics to solve batting slump

“I feel it myself that my not contributing with the bat was one of the reasons for our poor performances in Sri Lanka,” Misbah told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday after a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan.

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Misbah and head coach Waqar Younis were called for separate meetings to discuss the recent tour to Sri Lanka where Pakistan lost both tests and the one-day series 2-1.

Misbah, 40, normally a prolific scorer in both formats, contributed just 67 in his four test innings and the same number of runs in the three one-dayers that followed.

The senior batsman has been under pressure to step down as captain.

“If you talk about pressure on me, I don’t take pressure because it is no solution to any problem. I try to remain positive all the time, no matter what is said,” he added.

“But when you play in a team as a senior batsman you are expected to contribute tellingly, which I didn’t do in Sri Lanka.

“I know it myself. I will go back to my basics and try to regain my form, as this is very important for the team,” he said.

Misbah, who has remained under fire by critics and former players despite having a healthy average of 55 in his last 10 tests, felt that the debacle in Sri Lanka was due to lack of cricket.

“After Asia Cup and T20 World Cup we didn’t get any cricket, and our domestic season was also off. I think this break in our momentum, rhythm and continuity led to the poor performances,” he said.

Misbah, who has been captain since late 2010, was also asked whether he would like to have more say in selection matters.

“I think you should ask this question to someone, but as a captain I can only give my suggestions to the selectors,” he said. “They listen to me, but sometimes the team is not according to what you want.

“Obviously everyone has his opinion on selection matters, but at the end collective opinion is taken into consideration while finalising team,” he added.

Misbah also said that Pakistan’s pool of players for the 2015 World Cup was more or less finalised.

He said the squad would be picked from the pool of players given central contracts, with the odd exception.

He said there was no need to press the panic button, promising that the players would look at the mistakes they made in Sri Lanka and try to improve in every department of the game before the next series against Australia and New Zealand

“We have time to find our rhythm again in the batting and bowling departments.”

(Editing by Neville Dalton)

Ryder Cup joy for veteran Westwood and rookie Gallacher

The 41-year-old Englishman will be making his ninth consecutive appearance in the biennial team event and only three Europeans have played in more Ryder Cups – Nick Faldo (11), Bernhard Langer (10) and Christy O’Connor senior (10).

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Westwood won the Malaysian Open in April but has slipped down the world rankings to 38th and is grateful to have been given a wildcard along with 2012 hero Ian Poulter and rookie Stephen Gallacher.

“The Ryder Cup has always been a massive thing for me and I was delighted to get the call from Paul,” Westwood said in a European Tour news release.

“It was a long day yesterday but when Paul rang with the good news I was relieved. I’ve played a lot better in the last month and a half.

“I’ve been showing some form and given Paul a reason to pick me. I’m honoured to be representing Europe again,” added Westwood who has a record of 18 wins and six halves from 37 matches since making his debut at Valderrama, Spain in 1997.

At the other end of the spectrum of experience, Gallacher will be making his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles from Sept. 26-28.

The 39-year-old has a good record on home soil, having won the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and losing out in a three-way playoff for the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

“It’s massive for me and my family. It’s been a goal all my career to play in the Ryder Cup,” said Gallacher, the nephew of former captain Bernard.

The world number 33 came agonisingly close to earning an automatic place in Europe’s team on Sunday.

Needing a top-two finish at the Italian Open in Turin, Gallacher wound up in third place.

“On Sunday I had mixed emotions,” said the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Dubai Desert Classic. “I was delighted with the way I played but disappointed not to have made the team automatically.

“I knew there were other great players in with a shout of getting a pick so I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m just glad it all turned out okay in the end.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Oldest former Test cricketer Gordon dies

South African Norman Gordon, who was the oldest former Test cricketer, has died at age 103 in Johannesburg.

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“Norman died peacefully this morning in the flat where he lived for 60 years,” friend and former South Africa Test skipper Ali Bacher told reporters on Tuesday.

The former fast bowler played in the famous ‘timeless’ 1939 Durban Test, which lasted 10 days before being drawn because England had to catch a boat home.

England were 42 runs short of victory when play was abandoned in a Test where Gordon bowled 92.2 eight-ball overs.

That marathon spell remains a record for balls bowled by a fast bowler in a Test.

Gordon played only five Tests – all against England during the 1938-1939 season – because his career coincided with World War II.

Born Jewish, Gordon loved recalling an incident during his Test debut against England in Johannesburg when a spectator shouted “here comes the rabbi”.

“Fortunately, I took five wickets in the innings,” Gordon said decades later in an interview, “and that shut him up for the rest of the tour”.

After the war, Gordon played for the then Transvaal until 1949 and concluded his first-class career with 126 wickets from 29 first-class matches.

A highlight for then 99-year-old-Gordon was a surprise visit by West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara.

Thrilled Gordon said at the time: “I was so happy to meet him and could not believe what a modest person he was.”

Lara was equally delighted after the meeting.

“It was a humbling experience,” he recalled.

“His appreciation of the game and knowledge of the changes to it since his last Test made me smile.”

Larger than life, Gordon practised accountancy part-time until 94 and played golf until 96 when failing eyesight forced him to quit.

Nicknamed ‘Mobil’ because he greased down his hair, Gordon cut a dashing figure at the height of his career, making him extremely popular with women.

The death of Gordon leaves another South African, 95-year-old ex-fast-medium bowler Lindsay Tuckett, as the oldest living former Test cricketer.

Foreign players can help England, says Hodgson

“Some of our players will be selected from the bench at club level, which would have been unthinkable five or 10 years ago,” Hodgson told reporters before Wednesday night’s friendly with Norway at Wembley Stadium.

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“But if they are chosen and involved, then it can be advantageous for our players and very helpful for England.”

The standard in the Premier League had made the country a magnet for world-class players, added Hodgson, whose team travel to Switzerland – a country he used to coach – for their first Euro 2016 qualification match next Monday.

He said England striker Danny Welbeck’s move from Manchester United to Arsenal for 16 million pounds on Monday was a bonus for the player.

“I’m pleased for him. There is enormous competition for places and he is now at a club where he may get more starts,” he said.

Hodgson was also upbeat about the young talent available to England, despite the disappointment of a poor World Cup in Brazil this year.

“I get the feeling the players can’t wait to kick off this new campaign with a difficult game on Wednesday,” he said.

“It’s a team that contains a lot of talent and I think one with enormous potential.”

There is media speculation that the crowd for Wednesday’s match may be well down on recent matches but new England captain Wayne Rooney said he was grateful for the fans’ support after the disappointing showing in Brazil.

Manchester United striker Rooney took over the armband after the retirement of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.

“There is no point looking back,” Rooney said. “We have young players coming through and it is exciting times. We need these young players to bring back good form to England.

“Last summer we were all very disappointed. We went into the tournament with high hopes but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

(Reporting by Tony Goodson, Editing by Neville Dalton)

Lusty hitting from Marsh gets Australia back on track

Marsh plundered an unbeaten 86 off 51 balls, including seven sixes and three in a row off fast bowler Dale Steyn, to take his side to 282 for seven in 50 overs at the Harare Sports Club.

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South Africa were then bowled out for 220 in 44 overs despite 126 from Faf du Plessis who scored his second consecutive century against Australia.

Australia’s win came after an embarrassing defeat on Sunday to hosts Zimbabwe and a seven-wicket loss to South Africa last Wednesday.

They also picked up a bonus point for their victory, ensuring them a place in Saturday’s final, when they will play the winner of South Africa’s match against Zimbabwe on Thursday.

Australia made a bright start as opener Phil Hughes and Steve Smith – restored to the side in the absence of injured captain Michael Clarke – added 85 for the second wicket before South Africa put the brakes on their scoring.

Hughes holed out to long-on for 85 off 92 balls as he tried to take advantage of the last over of the power play but Marsh came to the crease and soon set about the bowling as Australia stepped up the run rate again in the last 10 overs.

“We lost wickets at key times but Mitch helped set a competitive total on that wicket, one we could look to defend,” said stand-in captain George Bailey.

Early wickets proved important for Australia as South Africa slumped to 64 for three in response, with captain AB de Villiers among those failing with the bat on his return following a viral infection that kept him out of last Friday’s win over Zimbabwe.

But 73 runs for the sixth wicket between Du Plessis and Ryan McLaren briefly threatened a comeback before McLaren (24) was caught by Smith at mid-wicket off Kane Richardson.

Du Plessis then followed as he stood on his stumps, attempting to take off for a quick single, and was out hit wicket. His innings featured six sixes and came off just 109 balls.

Marsh followed his batting heroics with two wickets off his five overs but Glen Maxwell posted the best bowling figures of two for 22.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Neville Dalton; [email protected]广西桑拿, +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters广西桑拿,@reuters南宁桑拿网,)