New Zealand started the second Test against Sri Lanka well, courtesy Devon Conway’s quickfire knock on a rain-delayed first day of play.
Iga Swiatek is still in the running to become the first woman since Martina Navratilova, in 1990-91, to successfully defend her Indian Wells Masters crown after making it to the semifinal of the combined ATP and WTA event.
In the Europa League, Arsenal were held by Sporting Lisbon again and then lost out in the resulting penalties, while Manchester United and Juventus progressed to the quarterfinals.
Former Australia captain Tim Paine bowed out from cricket after playing his final match in Tasmania.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 17 March, 2023:
Former Australia Test captain Paine retires from cricket
Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine retired from cricket with little fanfare on Friday, bowing out after playing an inter-state match in Tasmania.
Paine led Australia between 2018 and 2021 after Steve Smith was stripped of the captaincy in the wake of the “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering incident against South Africa.
He skippered the team in 23 Tests – winning 11, losing eight and drawing four – and was credited with helping rebuild Australian cricket’s reputation.
Paine was forced to stand down after it was revealed he had sent lewd messages to a female colleague in 2017.
As the scandal took its toll, he stepped away from cricket for the “foreseeable future”, returning to the game almost a year later in October 2022.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, 38, played his final first-class game for state side Tasmania in a domestic fixture against Queensland on Friday, walking off through a guard of honour formed by players.
“An inspiring captain, one of our finest glovesman and a legend of Tasmanian and Australian cricket,” the Tasmanian Tigers said in a statement.
“Congratulations Tim Paine on a truly wonderful career.”
Paine played 35 Tests for Australia, with a top score of 92 and an average of 32.63. He also played 35 ODIs.
Australia regained the Ashes in England in 2019 under Paine’s leadership, in what was otherwise a turbulent period for the Test side.
Current Test skipper Pat Cummins took over from Paine in November 2021, describing him at the time as a “well-loved and respected figure of our team”.
Conway plays quickfire knock
Devon Conway’s blistering 78 helped hosts New Zealand race to 155-2 against Sri Lanka at the end of a rain-delayed opening day of the second Test on Friday in Wellington.
Conway fell short of a hundred as he was caught and bowled by Dhananjaya de Silva, who dived low to his right to get both hands on a superb catch, to end a thrilling 108-ball knock.
First-Test hero Kane Williamson was unbeaten on 26 alongside Henry Nicholls on 18 when bad light stopped play at the Basin Reserve after Sri Lanka won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat in blustery conditions.
“I was gutted to get out when I did, I had put in all the hard work,” Conway said.
“Those are the ones you want to kick on and make the most of it on day one... We just have to focus on tomorrow now.”
New Zealand started strong, with Conway and Tom Latham putting on an opening partnership of 87, after the 2,500th Test match in cricket history was hit by a damp start.
Heavy overnight rain delayed the toss until after lunch.
Latham fell for 21 around the halfway point of the day’s curtailed proceedings when he spooned a Kasun Rajitha delivery to deep square, into the hands of Prabath Jayasuriya.
Sri Lanka made one change from the team that lost the first Test on the final ball in Christchurch, with wicketkeeper Nishan Madushka making his debut in place of Niroshan Dickwella.
New Zealand were forced into a single switch with seamer Doug Bracewell playing his first Test since 2016, replacing Neil Wagner, who tore a hamstring in the first Test.
It is the first time Bracewell has played a Test match alongside his cousin Michael.
New Zealand are chasing a third straight Test win.
Swiatek sets up semis against Rybakina
World No 1 Iga Swiatek swept past Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday to line up an Indian Wells semifinal grudge match against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Rybakina, who stunned Swiatek in the fourth round of the Australian Open before falling to Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the year’s first Grand Slam, out-lasted 76th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4.
Swiatek, in her 50th week at No 1, is vying to become just the second woman after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91 to win back-to-back titles in the combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000 event in the California desert.
But men’s defending champion Taylor Fritz’s hopes of a repeat were ended by 13th-ranked Italian Jannik Sinner, who out-gunned the fifth-ranked American 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a pulsating Stadium Court clash.
Later on, top seed Carlos Alcaraz beat Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime to book a spot in the semifinal against Sinner.
The other semi-final berths were decided on Wednesday, when Daniil Medvedev – chasing a fourth straight ATP title after victories at Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai – beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain to set a clash with American Frances Tiafoe.
Sabalenka also advanced, blowing past American Coco Gauff to book a meeting with 2022 finalist Maria Sakkari.
Results on Thursday at the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 hard court tennis tournament (x denotes seeded player):
Men’s singles quarterfinals
Jannik Sinner (ITA x11) bt Taylor Fritz (USA x4) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Carlos Alcaraz (SPA x1) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x8) 6-4, 6-4
Women’s singles quarterfinals
Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-2, 6-3
Elena Rybakina (KAZ x10) bt Karolína Muchová (CZE) 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-4
Arsenal lose on penalties, Manchester United through
Sporting Lisbon sent Arsenal crashing out of the Europa League with a penalty shoot-out triumph after Pedro Goncalves’s stunning equaliser, while Manchester United and Juventus eased into the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Sporting trailed when Granit Xhaka put Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead at the Emirates Stadium.
But Portugal midfielder Goncalves forced extra-time when he caught out Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale with a breathtaking strike from 46 yards out.
The match ended level at 1-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate, requiring penalties to settle the tie.
Sporting emerged with a shock 5-3 victory in the shoot-out as Gabriel Martinelli’s effort was saved by Antonio Adan and Nuno Santos dispatched the winning kick.
It was a far calmer night for Manchester United as Marcus Rashford’s swerving strike from distance earned a 1-0 win at Real Betis and a 5-1 aggregate success.
Meanwhile, three-time champions Juventus earned a 2-0 win over 10-man Freiburg to progress 3-0 on aggregate, with goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa.
Sevilla, the record six-time winners of this competition, suffered a nervy 1-0 defeat at Fenerbahce as Enner Valencia netted from the spot, but still qualified 2-1 on aggregate.
Feyenoord thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 7-1 on the night at De Kuip to progress to the last eight 8-2 on aggregate.
Jose Mourinho’s Roma drew 0-0 at Real Sociedad to advance 2-0 on aggregate, while Bayer Leverkusen won 2-0 at Ferencvaros to clinch a 4-0 aggregate success.
Dane van Niekerk’s retirement confirmed
Having been left out of the T20 World Cup squad at home recently, Dane Van Niekerk’s retirement from international cricket has now been confirmed with the former South Africa captain posting a statement on Twitter via CSA.
Full text of statement:
It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from international cricket.
It has been the greatest honour to lead and represent my country. I am incredibly blessed to have led the team through its transformative years. There is no doubt that the women’s game is in an exciting space and looking forward to seeing this beautiful game that I love grow. I look back on my career fondly and have made incredible memories and want to thank Cricket South Africa and all other stakeholders for your support. Often the journey can be lonely. painful, and emotional, but would not change it for anything. I’m grateful for what this game has given me.
To all the players that I had the privilege to have shared the dressing room and competed with, I will hold on to the memories dearly. We are merely custodians of this sport: I hand it over knowing I have given it my everything and that woman’s cricket is in a better place than when I arrived. That must be the responsibility of the new group, to always make sure you are improving and making a difference. It is time for me to support the new leadership and wish them all the very best.
To my amazing family. Thank you for your incredible love and support. From the age of 4, you have seen the potential and did everything and anything to help me exceed. I will forever be grateful.
My wife. Marizanne, you stood by my side since day one. Thank you for putting up with me and all that came with it. but yet. here you are. You are at the pinnacle of your career and it is my time to support you. the way you have supported me. I love you.
Champions League and Europa League draws made
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day