Indian cricket fans woke up to some good news from New Zealand as Daryl Mitchell led a revival for the hosts against Sri Lanka. The Lankans had dominated the first two days, and with the possibility of a 2-0 win for them and a defeat for India in Ahmedabad against Australia, there is a lot of focus on how things pan out in Christchurch.
Meanwhile, action continued at Indian Wells Masters in the ATP and WTA tour. Stefanos Tsitsipas was stunned while Aryna Sabalenka was among the winners.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 11 March, 2023:
Mitchell anchors New Zealand revival
A stubborn century from Daryl Mitchell, a blazing 72 from Matt Henry and three wickets to Blair Tickner swung the momentum New Zealand’s way in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Sri Lanka had claimed the initiative on the first two days of the Christchurch Test but were 83 for three in their second innings at stumps on day three, a lead of 65 runs.
New Zealand have “swung the game to their side,” Sri Lanka assistant coach Naveed Nawaz conceded.
Angelo Mathews was not out 20, with Prabath Jayasuriya also at the crease on two, and Nawaz suggested Sri Lanka would need at least 200 more runs.
“Daryl Mitchell and Matt Henry, the partnership, took the game away from us,” he said.
“But we have to back ourselves that a couple of our batsmen will go in there and get stuck in and get some big runs to swing the game back to our side.
“Its a good wicket to bat on and gives a little bit to the fast bowlers still so I suppose anything above 275-300 would be a good score.”
New Zealand earlier recovered from 151 for five to be all out for 373, an 18-run lead, after a dogged 102 from Mitchell and Henry’s swashbuckling performance that included 58 runs from boundaries.
Tickner claimed the wickets of captain Dimuth Karunaratne for 17, Oshada Fernando for 28 and Kusal Mendis for 14 in the 38 overs before stumps to finish with three wickets for 28 runs off 10 overs.
Sri Lanka, who need to sweep the two-Test series to keep their hopes of making the World Test Championship final alive, had ripped through the New Zealand top order.
But Mitchell, who has so often been New Zealand’s saviour in his 17-Test career, refused to give in as he toiled through 193 deliveries for his eighth century.
The 31-year-old right-hander, son of former All Blacks player and coach John Mitchell, lifted his average to a remarkable 58 from 25 innings.
He put on 54 for the sixth wicket with Michael Bracewell, a further 47 with Tim Southee and 55 with Henry.
Mitchell leapt in the air when he reached his century, waved his bat and received a hug from Henry to celebrate. He added only two more runs before was caught behind off Lahiru Kumara and New Zealand were 291-8.
Henry then exploded with his personal-best 72, which included 10 fours and three sixes.
He belted spinner Dhananjaya de Silva out of the attack by taking 17 runs in just one over.
Worse was to come for Sri Lanka when de Silva’s replacement Kasun Rajitha conceded 24 to Henry in his first over.
This was on a third-day wicket that continued to offer assistance to the bowlers, with Rajitha and Asitha Fernando both getting movement early in the day.
Leading up to the drinks break, Bracewell, who had seemed the more settled of the New Zealand overnight pair, was undone by the introduction of left-arm spinner Jayasuriya.
Bracewell had a life when an appeal for lbw was turned down, with reviews showing height was an issue, but with the next delivery Jayasuriya found an edge and Bracewell was caught behind for 25.
Southee brought up New Zealand’s 200, belting Jayasuriya over the mid-wicket fence, and continued to swing until the third over with the new ball when he was out to a diving catch by Kumara at square leg.
The New Zealand captain had smashed back-to-back fours off Rajitha but his attempt at a third fell short and he was out for 25 off 20 deliveries.
For Sri Lanka, Fernando returned the best figures of four for 85 while Kumara took three for 76.
Of concern for New Zealand was the fitness of Neil Wagner, who left the field in the final session for treatment to a leg injury.
Thompson topples Tsitsipas
Unseeded Australian Jordan Thompson grabbed one of the biggest wins of his career on Friday, ousting third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/0), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) to reach the third round of the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters.
“It’s unreal at a Masters 1000 ... to have a win like that is incredible,” said Thompson, the world number 87 whose only prior victory over a top-10 player came back in 2017 against Andy Murray at Queen’s Club.
He admitted he felt a little lucky when a stinging forehand from Tsitsipas on match point was ruled a hair wide.
“I’m thankful that last ball was out – I thought it was in,” Thompson told fans on court.
While Tsitsipas led the third-set tiebreaker 2-1 and 4-3, Thompson’s coolness under pressure paid off as Tsitsipas belted a forehand into the net to give the Aussie a match point before succumbing with the near miss.
Thompson next faces Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo, who hung on to beat American Maxime Cressy 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (15/13).
For Tsitsipas it was another setback in the wake of his sparkling run to the Australian Open final in January.
He departed Melbourne energized despite falling to Novak Djokovic in the title match, but shortly thereafter suffered a shoulder injury.
Playing his first tournament since a second-round exit at Rotterdam, Tsitsipas admitted earlier this week that his shoulder was still troubling him and he didn’t have high hopes of a third Masters 1000 crown.
Tsitsipas and women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka – playing just her second tournament since winning the Australian Open – headlined Friday’s second-round action.
Sabalenka moved smoothly into the third round with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Evginiya Rodina, who was playing her eighth match since a return to competition at last year’s US Open after three years away from the game.
“Happy to win this match in two sets without struggling too much,” said Sabalenka, who has never made it past the round of 16 in the California desert.
Sabalenka, still barred from playing under her native flag of Belarus because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, next faces Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, who beat 29th-seeded Croatian Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-2. 6-2.
In other women’s matches, last year’s runner-up Maria Sakkari salvaged Greek pride with a battling 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Shelby Rogers.
Sakkari, trailing 1-4 when rain halted play for about 90 minutes, managed to turn it around in the second set.
She fended off five break points – despite three double faults – to hold serve in the fifth game and broke Rogers to pocket the set.
The American, who had won all three of their prior encounters, was down 3-0 in the third when she received treatment on her right calf and Sakkari remorselessly powered to the win.
Fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev, fresh off three straight ATP victories Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, continued his red-hot form with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over American Brandon Nakashima.
Medvedev didn’t face a break point in the first set, but had to fight off half a dozen in an entertaining second set before closing it out with his third break of Nakashima’s serve.
“There were some tough moments in the match, tough break point saves I’m happy that I managed to make it through,” Medvedev said. “Second set I could have done better on return a few times to maybe make my life easier, but he also played some great points.”
Third-seeded Casper Ruud, former champion Cameron Norrie and 12th-seeded Alexander Zverev all eased into the third round with straight-sets victories.
For Ruud, a 6-2, 6-3 victory over former top-10 Argentinian Diego Schwartzman was a confidence-boosting win in a season in which he had so far failed to advance past the second round in three tour-level tournaments he had played.
For Norrie, however, a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Taiwanese qualifier Wu Tung-lin marked a continuation of the form that saw him reach finals last month in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, falling to Carlos Alcaraz in the first and beating him in the second.
Germany’s Zverev, attempting to rebuild his career after surgery for ankle ligament damage suffered at the French Open last year, breezed past Argentina’s Pedro Cachin 6-3, 6-1.
Results on Friday at the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament (x denotes seeded player):
Men: 2nd round
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x5) bt Brandon Nakashima (USA) 6-4, 6-3
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) bt Botic van de Zandschulp (NED x28) 7-5, 3-2 retired
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x22) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Alexander Zverev (GER x12) bt Pedro Cachín (ARG) 6-3, 6-1
Karen Khachanov (RUS x13) bt Oscar Otte (GER) 6-3, 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x23) bt Wu Yibing (CHN) 6-4, 6-1
Christian Garín (CHI) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN x29) 6-4, 6-0
Casper Ruud (NOR x3) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-2, 6-3
Andrey Rublev (RUS x6) bt Jirí Lehecka (CZE) 6-4, 6-2
Ugo Humbert (FRA) bt Denis Shapovalov (CAN x25) 7-5, 6-4
Taro Daniel (JPN) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x20) 7-6 (7/5), 0-6, 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR x10) bt Wu Tung-lin (TPE) 6-2, 6-4
Frances Tiafoe (USA x14) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Jason Kubler (AUS) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x21) 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 3-0 retired
Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) bt Maxime Cressy (USA x32) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (15/13)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2) 7-6 (7/0), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Women: 2nd round
Maria Sakkari (GRE x7) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0
Anhelina Kalinina (UKR x27) bt Linda Fruhvirtová (CZE) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Karolína Plíšková (CZE x17) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 2-6, 6-0, 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS x11) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
Petra Kvitova (CZE x15) bt Elizabeth Mandlik (USA) 6-1, 7-5
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x24) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5, 3-6, 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (RUS x26) bt Wang Xiyu (CHN) 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Coco Gauff (USA x6) bt Cristina Bucsa (ESP) 6-2, 6-4
Linda Nosková (CZE) bt Amanda Anisimova (USA x31) 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x22) 3-0 retired
Jil Teichmann (SUI) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x9) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Barbora Krejcíková (CZE x16) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-1, 6-2
Wang Xinyu (CHN) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS x18) 6-2, 6-3
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Donna Vekic (CRO x29) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x2) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-2, 6-0
Shiffrin equals record
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin equalled Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup wins on Friday with a resounding victory in the giant slalom at Are on what she called “a spectacular day”.
Shiffrin finished 0.64 seconds ahead of the Italian Federica Brignone to match the milestone that has stood for 34 years.
A few days shy of her 28th birthday her exceptional run continued with her 12th World Cup win after securing a fifth overall crystal globe last weekend.
She has a shot at claiming the record outright in Saturday’s slalom at the Swedish ski station where, fittingly, she had opened her World Cup account back in 2012 as a 17-year-old.
Are also happens to be Stenmark’s own home turf.
“His (Stenmark) legacy is synonymous with ski racing,” said Shiffrin.
“If anyone knows anything about ski racing at all and even if they don’t, they know Ingemar Stenmark. I don’t think that will ever pass. He set the standard for what ski racing has become.”
For Stenmark there was no comparison, declaring: “She’s much better than I was. She has everything. She has good physical strength. she has a good technique, strong head. I think it’s the combination of everything makes her so good.”
Shiffrin said being asked all the time “when I’m going to win 86 or 87, that’s a pretty cool place to be, even though it can be difficult to focus sometimes, but today I felt like the focus was there when I needed it to be.
“It was really fun to ski and that is how I hope it would be.”
“This is a spectacular day. It’s amazing, incredible,” added the Colorado-born skier.
Premier League’s best goals in February
Solidarity with Lineker after row with BBC
Gary Lineker was told by the BBC to “step back” from presenting his football show on Friday after the former England star sparked an impartiality row by criticising the British government’s new asylum policy.
The 62-year-old, who fronts the flagship Match of the Day programme, this week compared the language used to launch the new policy to the rhetoric of Nazi-era Germany on Twitter.
The BBC said it considered Lineker’s “recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines”, adding he should avoid taking sides on political issues.
“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
Post that statement, Lineker’s colleagues stepped things up in solidarity.
End of a long wait for Bavuma
Temba Bavuma said he tried to “stay in the moment” as he approached a long-awaited second Test century. But he admitted that he could not entirely quell his emotions.
The South African captain’s 171 not out put his team in a strong position on the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.
A second innings total of 287 for seven gave them an overall lead of 356.
West Indian captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he still had hopes of a West Indian win. “The pitch is still a good one,” he said.
Bavuma had to wait more than seven years to reach three figures for the second time.
“I tried to stay in the moment as much as I could,” he said. “But when I got to 96 or so the crowd’s energy started picking up in anticipation. My emotions also started picking up.”
He scored three singles to get to 99. Then came a delivery from Alzarri Joseph.
“I got a ball outside my stumps and went for it.”
The shot flew off the middle of his bat over cover and raced to the boundary.
A small crowd rose to give him a standing ovation.
After reaching three figures off 192 balls, Bavuma went on to 171 off another 83 deliveries. He hit 20 fours.
“It has been a long journey,” Bavuma told journalists. “There have been a lot more downs than ups. I keep learning about myself and try to take everything in my stride, to keep my chin up and stay true to myself.
“I’ve got a lot better understanding of myself and the pressures and challenges that come with international cricket.”
South Africa win by 284 runs as West Indies collapse
South Africa’s bowlers ripped through the West Indies batting as the hosts completed a 284-run win on the fourth day of the second Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The West Indies were bowled out for 106 after being set to make 391 to win.
South Africa won the two-match World Test Championship series 2-0.
The match was effectively won and lost in 8.1 overs leading up to lunch when the West Indies crashed to 34 for six.
Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada struck twice in three balls and sparked the collapse after opening batsmen Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul survived the first 10 overs, putting on 21 runs.
Rabada dismissed Brathwaite for the seventh time in successive innings when he trapped the West Indian captain leg before wicket for 18 with a ball which kept low.
Two balls later Raymon Reifer gloved a catch down the leg side to wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen.
Spinners Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj also took two wickets each as the West Indies lost six wickets for 13 runs.
Off-spinner Harmer shared the new ball with Rabada and extracted extravagant turn, having Chanderpaul caught at second slip after the left-hander had faced 36 balls and scored only two runs.
Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood and Kyle Mayers all fell cheaply with South Africa’s only setback coming after Maharaj won a successful appeal for leg before wicket against Mayers in the last over before lunch.
In celebrating, the left-arm spinner collapsed and was stretchered off the field with a left ankle tendon injury.
Maharaj was taken for a scan. With all-rounder Wiaan Mulder suffering a right index finger injury, which also required a scan, South Africa were effectively down to three frontline bowlers. The West Indies batting, though, had already been wrecked.
Mulder returned after lunch but was not required to bowl.
Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph all played some aggressive strokes after lunch as the last four wickets yielded 72 runs before the match ended soon after the afternoon drinks break.
There had been concerns about Rabada’s fitness after he suffered back pain during the first innings but he showed no signs of discomfort during a hostile seven-over spell.
South Africa were bowled out for 321 earlier, with captain Temba Bavuma adding only one run to his overnight 171 before he was caught at deep square leg off Holder.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day