Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 9th 2013 Contents A57
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MILAN---Mario Balotelli could miss AC
Milan's Champions League playoff after
getting injured in a preseason friendly.
Balotelli limped off 12 minutes from
the end of the 2-0 victory over LA
Galaxy on Wednesday.
Milan says Balotelli has "a muscular
problem in his right thigh" and will
undergo more tests on the team's return
to Italy from the United States.
The Italy striker could be a doubt for
the Champions League playoff, with the
first leg scheduled to take place August
20 or 21. Balotelli is almost certainly out
of Wednesday's international friendly
against Argentina. (AP)
Balotelli injured, may miss Champs League playoff
accusations of cheating and embar-
rassed by the off-field antics of a
squad member, it s hardly been the
most comfortable of weeks for Eng-
land since retaining the Ashes.
And an improving Australia is
threatening to make life much trickier
when the fourth Test starts at
The tourists are 2-0 down with
two matches remaining and have
to wait until the return series in
Australia at the end of the year for
a chance to reclaim the urn. But
such was their dominance of the
drawn third Test at Old Trafford
that squaring the series is a realistic
target for Michael Clarke s side.
"I think England will be taking
the positive that they are 2-0 up
in the series and can t lose the
Ashes but I think the way we played
in Manchester has built some
momentum for us," Clarke said yes-
terday, "and plenty of confidence
is flowing in our camp.
"We need to be able to back up
what we showed in Manchester."
After the lows of Lord s, when
the Australians capitulated to a
347-run loss in the second test,
came the optimism of Old Traf-
Their misfiring batsmen finally
got in the runs, with Clarke hitting
a brilliant 187 and both Steve Smith
and Chris Rogers falling just short
of centuries. And their bowlers con-
tinued to look dangerous, partic-
ularly pacemen Ryan Harris and
Peter Siddle and recalled offspinner
If it wasn t for rain over the final
two days, the likelihood is that this
series would still be alive. As it was,
the match was eventually washed
out as a draw, ensuring England
retained the urn in the most anti-
climactic of ways.
The celebrations have proved to
be fairly muted, though.
It emerged on Wednesday that
Monty Panesar, an unused member
of the squad for that third Test,
was fined by police on Monday for
reportedly urinating over bouncers
at a nightclub. He wasn t included
in the squad for the fourth Test.
And allegations from Australian
broadcaster Channel Nine that some
England s players, including Kevin
Pietersen, have attempted to cheat
Hot Spot technology by using sil-
icon tape around their bat edges
have dominated the news agenda
this week, further sullying the mood.
"It s kind of taken a little bit of
the gloss off winning the Ashes in
such a short space of time, but as
players all that stuff is out of our
control," England captain Alastair
Cook said Thursday.
Both Cook and Clarke have clearly
grown weary of the DRS controversy
that has blighted the series so far,
and both teams will be hoping the
focus is on cricket rather than tech-
nology over the next five days.
Chester-le-Street, a town in
northern England near Newcastle,
is hosting its first Ashes test but a
likely hard and dry pitch will make
the teams feel at home--- first three
strips of the series had similar char-
England has the option of pepping
up its pace attack with either the
imposing Chris Tremlett or Graham
Onions, who plays his county cricket
here for Durham. Tim Bresnan would
be the player likely to step down if
there is a change.
Australia, meanwhile, called up
fast bowler Jackson Bird to its 12-
man squad but shouldn t make any
alterations unless Harris injury-
plagued body is not up to the task
of playing two Tests in as many
Clarke said the tourists have been
leaning on batting coach Michael Di
Venuto for advice after his time spent
playing for Durham between 2007-
12. But for the captain, it ll simply
be a case of more of the same from
"I think, as a team, one area that
we continue to talk about is consis-
tency, especially when we are outside
of Australia and in different condi-
tions," Clarke said.
"Good teams back it up day after
day. That s our job from tomorrow."
A draw will be enough for England
to win a third straight Ashes series.
"In our eyes, the series is still very
much alive," Cook said. "We set out
to win the series, not just to win the
ashes, and that s still the goal." (AP)
Australia carrying momentum
into fourth Ashes Test
England's coach Andy Flower, second left, is seen with his squad during a nets session two days before the start of the fourth Ashes series cricket match against Australia at the Riverside cricket
ground, Chester-le-Street, England, on Wednesday. AP PHOTO
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