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Friday, Oct 22nd

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AB de Villiers stood man alone against the Mitchell Johnson juggernaut as Australia looked set to take a commanding first innings lead at the close of the second day of the first Sunfoil Test match at SuperSport Park on Thursday. When rain brought a slightly early close to play, South Africa were struggling at 140/6 in reply to Australia’s 397 all out with De Villiers having completed his half-century for the 11th Test in a row to equal a record held by Sir Vivian Richards, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. He was unbeaten on 52 (94 balls, six fours and a six).

The Proteas, trailing by 257, were left still needing 58 runs to avoid the follow on although it was unlikely that Australian captain Michael Clarke would pursue that option. There is already a bit of uneven bounce in the surface and Nathan Lyon is extracting some spin, benefiting from the footmarks created by Johnson, and he will not want to bat last under such circumstances.

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England were the beneficiaries of three rather rare dropped catches from the Australians, and that enabled them to survive a painstakingly slow opening day in front of 91,000 plus fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on boxing day. Having already won back the Ashes, Australia had every chance to hammer home their dominance over the visiting English side when they won the toss and elected to field.

The England batsmen virtually all got starts and made their way through to 226-6 at the close of play, largely thanks to Kevin Pietersen, who battled ill health to make an unbeaten 67 from 152 balls. Pietersen though was very lucky to be granted two bonus lives with substitute Nathan Coulter-Nile making a mess of a catch at deep fine leg when the batsman was on just 6 before George Bailey juggled and dropped a hot chance at mid-wicket later in KP's innings. Ryan Harris was the unfortunate bowler on both occasions, put the pacer did pick up 2-32 from his 20 overs in what was another exceptional display of bowling from the seamer.

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The raw pace of Australian quick Mitchell Johnson proved too much for England to handle for the second test match in a row as Australia took a giant leap towards regaining the Ashes by decimating England in their first innings in Adelaide. Figures of 7-40 from Johnson tell the tale of another England batting collapse with only three men making their way into double figures as England capitulated for 172, conceding a first innings lead of nearly 400 runs.

Australia chose not to impose the follow on, presumably because they had already got a lot of mileage out of their fast bowlers at a warm Adelaide Oval, and hoped to be even quicker in their dissection of England in the second innings when the pitch should deteriorate a tad more. The hosts hence came out to bat 398 runs to the good already and pushed that advantage to 530 with David Warner smashing his way to an unbeaten half century.

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Australia have taken a 1-0 lead in the Ashes thumping England by 381 runs in the first test at the Gabba. A battling 65 by England skipper Alastair Cook was the only real highlight of what was another poor day for the visitors as Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon ran through the England middle order to bring a premature end to what has been a very one-sided test match.

England won the second session and a bit on the opening day of the match, but since then it has been all about Australia, with Mitchell Johnson leading the way for the hosts with the ball, taking 9-103 in the match. Johnson added to his 4 wickets in the first innings with another 5 in the second as England were skittled out for just 179 runs on the fourth day, despite a number of rain breaks.

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Australia have taken complete control of the first cricket test against England at the Gabba, after rattling the visitors out for just 136 in their first innings. A couple of fiery spells from Mitchell Johnson 4-61 and Ryan Harris 3-28 knocked over the England batsmen for next to nothing in their first essay, giving Australia a first innings lead of 159. The hosts then pressed home their advantage in the final session with David Warner blazing his way to an unbeaten 45 as Australia ended the day at 65-0, ahead by 224 runs with three full days left to play.

Resuming from their overnight score of 273-8, Australia added another 22 runs to their total before wicketkeeper Brad Haddin became the last man to be dismissed, run out for 94 in an attempt to keep the strike, 6 runs shy of what would have been a deserved century. Stuart Broad picked up the other wicket to fall in the morning, and finished with outstanding figures of 6-81.

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Dustin Johnson produced a stunning finish to hold off determined challenges from Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell and claim the biggest win of his career in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. The American Ryder Cup player recovered from seeing his three shot overnight lead wiped out in the first two holes to play the closing six holes in five under par at Sheshan International Golf Club, signing for a six under par round of 66 and a winning total of 24 under par.

With all three player posting the same score in a tightly contested final round, Johnson finished three shots clear of defending champion Poulter and four clear of McDowell, with the turning point coming at the 16th hole.

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A double bogey on the final hole by runaway leader Dustin Johnson allowed Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell to narrow the gap at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Johnson started the day at Sheshan International Golf Club with a five shot advantage following a course record 63 on Friday and that margin was intact when he headed to the par five 18th hole after ten birdies in his opening 17 holes. However, the big-hitting American found the water on the last and carded his second double bogey of the day, after twice failing to chip onto the green on the par fourth tenth hole, where he signed for a six.

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