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Cricket: Pakistan may cut Ajmal's English county stint

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's stint with English county Worcestershire may be set for a shorter duration to compensate for his country's hastily-arranged Test and one-day series against Sri Lanka. "We are still discussing how much time he (Ajmal) can be away as we now have a scheduled series in Sri Lanka," Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told AFP. PCB finalised a two-Test and three one-day match series in Sri Lanka, which is likely to interrupt Ajmal's stint with Worcestershire for whom he also played in 2011.

Cricket: Harris and Johnson put South Africa into reverse

Fast bowlers Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson shared seven wickets as Australia continued their dominance on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands on Monday. With reverse swing playing a significant role, Australia bowled out South Africa for 287, a lead of 207, and added another 27 runs for no wicket before close of play. It left Australia in a strong position to push for a series-clinching victory against the world champions, with 98 overs due to be bowled on both the remaining days.

Cricket: Australian bowlers strike early against South Africa

Australia's fast bowlers struck early blows at the start of the second Test against South Africa at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. South Africa were 64 for two at lunch after losing captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla inside the first six overs. Ryan Harris made the first breakthrough when Smith played across the line and was leg before wicket for nine.

Cricket: Windies spinner Shillingford banned over action

West Indies spinner Shane Shillingford has been banned from bowling at international level after tests found his action was illegal, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said Monday. An independent biomechanical analysis showed Shillingford's elbow extended beyond the permitted 15 degrees on his standard off-break delivery and his doosra, the ICC said in a statement. "He is suspended from bowling in international cricket until such time that he has submitted to a fresh analysis, which concludes that he has remedied his bowling action," it said.

Cricket: Ruling on legality of Windies bowlers due mid-Test

The West Indies have appealed to the ICC not to rule on the legality of spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels during the second Test against New Zealand starting Wednesday. A decision on the bowlers' actions is due on the third day of the Test, but West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said that would not be fair. The actions of key spinner Shillingford and part-timer Samuels were reported during the West Indies second Test against India in Mumbai last month.

RugbyL: Rampant England crush Ireland

Ryan Hall ran in a first-half hat-trick as England got their Rugby League World Cup campaign up and running with a 42-0 thumping of Ireland in their Group A clash on Saturday. Leeds Rhinos winger Hall barged over for three scores in the left corner to bring up his treble inside the first half hour as England blitzed Ireland from the off. Steve McNamara's side, who lost the tournament opener to Australia last Saturday, were 30-0 up at the break in Huddersfield as Tom Briscoe went over twice while Brett Ferres also touched down.

Cricket: Misbah, Smith reckon Ajmal key in Tests

Rival captains Misbah-ul Haq and Graeme Smith both agreed Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be the key in the two-Test series starting here on Monday. Ajmal, who turns 36 on the first day of the match, took 24 wickets when Pakistan humbled then world number one England 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates last year. But Misbah urged his wily spinner to lift his game. "I think it (bowling to South Africans) will be a big challenge for Ajmal," said Misbah at the unveiling of the trophy for the series.

Cricket: Botha under renewed bowling action scrutiny

Former South Africa allrounder Johan Botha has been ordered to undergo biomechanical testing again after once again being cited for a suspect bowling action, Cricket Australia said Monday. The 31-year-old South Australia captain will still be eligible to play and bowl but would face suspension if the analysis proves his action is illegal. Cricket Australia said that three umpires in a match must agree on a suspect bowling delivery, but it did not say in which game Botha had been reported.

Cricket: New Zealand gear up for Bangladesh spin assault

New Zealand are prepared to face a barrage of spin when they begin their first Test series in Bangladesh in five years next week, hoping their strength in seam bowling will see them through. "We are expecting nothing less than a tough contest," Black Caps coach Mike Hesson told reporters late Thursday after the tourists arrived for the two-Test series. The last time New Zealand played Tests in Bangladesh in 2008, they won 1-0 following a three-wicket win in Chittagong, which is also the venue of the first match starting on Wednesday.

Cricket: Australia hope Warne can help spinners turn corner

Australia are to call on Shane Warne to advise their spinners ahead of the make-or-break third Ashes Test at Old Trafford -- where the leg-spin legend delivered the 'ball of the century' 20 years ago. Warne, in England as a television commentator, has been asked to have a word with 19-year-old left-armer Ashton Agar and off-spinner Nathan Lyon by former team-mate turned Australia coach Darren Lehmann ahead of a match the tourists, 2-0 down in the five-match series, must win to keep their Ashes hopes alive.
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