Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2014 Contents A59
Thursday, December 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MELBOURNE---Australia fast bowler Josh
Hazlewood says his team s refusal to be
intimidated by India s verbal sledges and
physical play during the second test will
give it an advantage when the teams meet
again tomorrow in the third Test at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground.
India greeted Australia fast bowler Mitchell
Johnson with a barrage of short balls and
some heated verbal exchanges. But Aus-
tralia's response, led by Johnson, helped
propel them to a 2-0 series lead in the four-
test series, winning in Brisbane by four
wickets in four days.
"It backfired at the Gabba with them try-
ing to get stuck into us and Mitch fired
back," Hazlewood said yesterday. "It was
good to see him pick up some wickets in
the second innings and really fire up and
Johnson scored 88 runs from 93 balls to
help revive the team's first innings and turn
the match in Australia's favour.
Hazlewood took five wickets in the first
innings and another two in the second in
his test debut in Brisbane.
Australia received some good news on
the batting front when David Warner and
Shane Watson returned to training.
Warner batted for the first time since
hurting his left thumb on the final day of
the second test.
"It was a bit sore when it hit the splice
and toe of the bat, but that's to be expected,"
Warner said. "It's going to be quite painful,
but I can bear that pain and get out there
on Boxing Day."
Watson shook off the physical and psy-
chological effects of being hit in the head
by a James Pattinson bouncer and returned
to batting in the nets.
On November 25, Australia teammate
Phillip Hughes was hit by a bouncer during
a domestic match in Sydney, and died in
hospital two days later. Warner and Watson
were on the field that day at the Sydney
"It probably shook him (Watson) up a lot
more than he would have anticipated,"
Warner said. "He was close to Hughesy. It
brought back a bit of a memory for him
and he got back on the horse and trained
again today which was fantastic."
Meanwhile, all-rounder Akshar Patel will
replace the injured Ravindra Jadeja in India's
squad for the Melbourne and Sydney tests.
Patel, who turns 21 in January, is a left-
arm spinner who has taken 14 wickets in
nine one-day internationals but has not
played a test.
Jadeja has a shoulder injury and will return
home to undergo rehabilitation, Indian crick-
et officials said in a statement.
ATLANTA---Atlanta stormed back
from a 13-point deficit to beat the
Los Angeles Clippers 107-104 on
Tuesday, racking up their 14th vic-
tory in 15 games and moving within
half a game of the NBA Eastern
The Hawks also opened a 1-1/2
game lead in the Southeast Division
ahead of Washington, which was
beaten at home by Central Division
Portland stretched its lead in the
Northwest Division to a yawning 9-
1/2 games by beating nearest rival
Oklahoma City, while Phoenix
recorded its highest score of the sea-
son in beating Dallas.
Atlanta's DeMarre Carroll scored
a career-high 25 points while Al Hor-
ford contributed 20.
Blake Griffin had 21 points and 11
rebounds for the Clippers, who
missed a chance to make up ground
on Pacific Division leader Golden
Chicago maintained its 1-1/2 game
lead in the Central by winning 99-
91 at Washington.
Derrick Rose scored 25 points and
Pau Gasol had 18 for the Bulls, who
fell behind by a point with 3:44
remaining but reeled off eight
straight points---six from Rose---to
After Washington scored 12
straight---10 by John Wall---to take
an 87-86 lead with 3:44 remaining,
Chicago steadied and scored eight
straight, six by Rose, to lead 94-87
with 1:48 to play.
John Wall led the Wizards with
18 points; 10 coming in a run of 12
straight points that had seen the
hosts briefly snatch the lead.
It was the first meeting of the
teams since Washington eliminated
Chicago in the first round of last
Portland's Damian Lillard scored
40 points, making a tying 3-pointer
with three seconds left in regulation,
to guide the Trail Blazers to a 115-
111 overtime win against Oklahoma
Lillard's 40-point outing was his
second in Portland's last four games.
He also had 11 assists.
Russell Westbrook scored a sea-
son-high 40 points and added 10
rebounds and six assists for Okla-
homa City before fouling out with
1:39 left in overtime.
The Thunder, which led by 13
points in the fourth quarter, could
not hold on in their third straight
game without NBA MVP Kevin
Durant, who has a sprained ankle.
Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe got his sec-
ond career triple-double to lead the
Suns to a 124-115 victory over Dal-
las.Bledsoe had 16 points and 11
assists, then grabbed his 10th
rebound with 31 seconds to play.
Goran Dragic scored 25 for the
Suns, coming off a 3-0 trip to the
Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler
scored 22 apiece for the Mavericks.
Los Angeles' Carlos Boozer scored
18 points in his new role off the
bench, helping the Lakers offset the
absence of the rested Kobe Bryant
and pull off a surprise 115-105 win
against league-leading Golden State.
The NBA's No 3 career scorer sat
out for the first time this season to
rest his 36-year-old legs.
Bryant is shooting at just 37.2 per-
cent this season, including 3 for 15
in a loss to Oklahoma City and 8 for
30 with nine turnovers against
Sacramento on Sunday.
Stephen Curry had 22 points and
six assists for the Warriors, who lost
for only the fourth time in their first
27 games. Brooklyn's Joe Johnson
scored 27 points as the Nets rallied
in the fourth quarter to beat Denver
Mason Plumlee added 19 points
and a career-high 13 rebounds for
the Nets, who have an 11-2 against
teams with a winning percentage
Ty Lawson led Denver with 29
points and had nine assists.
Indiana's George Hill scored 15
points in 21 minutes in his first game
of the season following a knee injury,
helping the Pacers defeat New
Orleans 96-84. Charlotte notched
a fourth-straight win for the first
time this season, beating Milwaukee
108-101 with Kemba Walker scoring
Cleveland pulled away in the sec-
ond half to win 125-104 against Min-
nesota, with Kevin Love scoring 20
points for the Cavaliers in his first
game against his old team.
Orlando hung on for a 100-95
victory over Boston, with Tobias
Harris scoring 19 points.
Philadelphia erased a 23-point
second-half deficit to win 91-87 at
Miami, claiming only its fourth win
of the season.
Hawks overrun Clippers for 14th win
Australia to take
edge into third Test CHRISTCHURCH---Sri Lanka will face a New
Zealand team brimming with confidence and with
a significant home advantage in the first test
Since it last lost a test series in England 17 months
ago, New Zealand has beaten the West Indies and
India in New Zealand, beaten the West Indies again
in the Caribbean and has drawn away series with
Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
The solid and consistent lineup is based around
Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Kane
Williamson as run-scorers with Trent Boult and
Tim Southee the regular wicket-takers.
Sri Lanka will enter the first match of the two-
test series with limited preparation in New Zealand
conditions but in strong form after recent series
wins in England and at home to Pakistan.
Captain Angelo Mathews has scored two centuries
and four half centuries in his past 12 test innings
and veteran Kumar Sangakkara, the world's top-
ranked test batsman and fifth-highest runscorer
of all time, has scored a triple century, a double
century and two other centuries since February.
Sangakkara intends to retire from all forms of
cricket after the World Cup in Australia in New
Zealand in February and March, meaning this may
be his last test series. He is one of few Sri Lanka
players with experience in New Zealand condi-
The teams last met in New Zealand in 2006 and
Sri Lanka has won only two of 13 tests against New
Zealand in New Zealand.
"I haven't been to New Zealand before. Most of
us haven't, except for a few senior guys," Mathews
said. "It's going to be a challenging tour; it's going
to be tough."
Hagley Oval is hosting its first test as it prepares
to host the opening match of the World Cup, also
between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, on February
14. The conditions therefore will be as unfamiliar
to the hosts as the visitors.
New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling hoped
the match pitch would provide pace, bounce and
seam movement for Southee and Boult.
Watling said New Zealand enters the match with
its confidence high.
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Sri Lanka to face
Australia's Josh Hazlewood, centre, celebrates with his teammates after getting the
wicket of India's MS Dhoni, left, at their play on day four of the second cricket test in
Brisbane, Australia. AP PHOTO
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