Australia closed out the second day’s play at Lord’s by restricting England to 278-4 in the second Ashes Test, but may have to contend with losing Nathan Lyon to a possible calf injury.
With a win over Oman, Zimbabwe are edging closer to one of the two coveted spot for qualifiers at the ICC Men’s World Cup to be held in India between October-November this year.
Coco Gauff beat her doubles partner Jessica Pegula to reach the Eastbourne Open semi-finals while world no 1 Iga Swiatek makes a case for Wimbledon after reaching the Bad Homburg Open semi-finals.
Former world no 1 and 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki will make a return to professional tennis since her retirement in 2020.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 29, 2023:
Australia ahead despite Lyon injury
Australia preyed on England’s determination to stick to aggressive ‘Bazball’ cricket as several batsmen fell into a hooking trap during a chaotic session in the second Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
England, enjoying the best batting conditions of the match, were well placed at 188-1 in reply to Australia’s first innings 416, with the visitors’ spin bowler, Nathan Lyon, off the field with a calf injury.
But the home side slumped to 222-4 as Australia bowled bouncers with as many as four men deep on the legside – a tactic that could scarcely have been more obvious had it been signalled in neon lights.
England, however, having had the better of the second day’s play overall, recovered to 278-4 at stumps following an unbroken stand of 56 between Harry Brook (45 not out) and captain Ben Stokes (17 not out).
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, appearing in his 100th consecutive Test, had moved to within four wickets of 500 in Tests when he had Zak Crawley stumped for a run-a-ball 48 to leave England 91-1.
However, in England’s first innings, Lyon appeared to hold his calf muscle after running in from the boundary Thursday to field a shot from Ben Duckett.
The 35-year-old slowly hobbled off the field and sat down for several minutes while a member of Australia’s medical team checked his injury.
Appearing to wipe away tears, Lyon eventually limped around the boundary edge towards the dressing room while a staff member held on to stop the bowler losing his balance.
Zimbabwe one step closer to World Cup
Zimbabwe claimed a tense 14-run win over Oman on Thursday to start the Super Six stage of the World Cup Qualifier on a high, after Sean Williams’ third hundred of the event.
The African side racked up 332-7 from their 50 overs batting first in Bulawayo before a brave chase from Oman came up just short on 318-9.
The hosts moved top of the table after adding to the two wins over the West Indies and the Netherlands they carried over from the group stage.
“When I first saw the wicket, I thought 270 would be a very good score,” said Williams. “Thankfully everyone chipped in there and we got up to that total.”
Zimbabwe are bidding to qualify for the global one-day showpiece following an eight-year absence after missing out on the 2019 edition in England and Wales.
The top two sides in the Super Six standings will secure places at the World Cup.
Oman are all but out of contention in the race to reach the main tournament to be held in India from October 5 until November 19.
Zimbabwe, depending on other results, could secure a place in India when they face Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Oman are next in action the following day against the Netherlands.
Swiatek reaches Bad Homburg semis
World no 1 Iga Swiatek made the semi-finals of a grass-court tournament for the first time by beating Anna Blinkova in Bad Homburg on Thursday.
Swiatek defeated the Russian ninth seed 6-3, 6-2 in the first meeting between the two players.
The four-time Grand Slam champion is yet to get past the fourth round of Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, although she was junior champion at the All England Club in 2018.
The 22-year-old has won three of the past five Grand Slams but has never won a tournament on grass, despite claiming 14 trophies in her young career.
“I wouldn’t put myself close to being an expert on grass but I’m making progress and that’s the most important thing for me,” Swiatek said.
“The time here really helped me. Every year I feel like it’s easier to get used to the conditions.”
Swiatek will next face Italian Lucia Bronzetti, who defeated French eighth seed Varvara Gracheva 6-4, 6-3 earlier on Thursday.
Gauff reaches Eastbourne semis
Coco Gauff secured her first win over a top-ten player in 10 months by beating doubles partner Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Eastbourne International on Thursday.
The 19-year-old American won the last six games of the match from 3-0 down in the second set to snap a seven-match losing streak against top-10 opposition.
The world number seven will face another compatriot in the semi-finals of the grass court tournament – 2014 champion Madison Keys, who beat Petra Martic 6-4, 6-1.
After an early exchange of breaks, Gauff pounced in the sixth game. A clever drop shot enabled her to move up 4-2 and she maintained her lead for the rest of the opening set.
World number four Pegula struck back at the start of the second set, taking advantage of a series of forehand errors from Gauff to break and then coming up with a fine lob to hold for 3-0.
Gauff turned the tide, producing a series of deftly executed volley winners to level the set, going on to wrap up her victory in style.
“I’m really happy with how I played. I obviously know Jess very well, she’s one of the best players on the tour for a reason,” Gauff told the BBC.
Former world no 1 Wozniacki returns
Former world no 1 Caroline Wozniacki announced Thursday she is set to return to professional tennis, three years after retiring to start a family.
Wozniacki, 32, bowed out in 2020 after winning 30 WTA titles including her sole Grand Slam triumph at the Australian Open in 2018.
“Over these past three years away from the game I got to make up for lost time with my family, I became a mother and now have two beautiful children I am so grateful for,” Wozniacki said on Twitter.
“But I still have goals I want to accomplish. I want to show my kids that you can pursue your dreams no matter your age or role. We decided as a family it’s time. I’m coming back to play and I can’t wait!”
Wozniacki has two children with former NBA player David Lee, two-year-old Olivia and James, born last October.
“I’m going to play the US Open,” she wrote in an article in Vogue Magazine.
“There’s just an electric atmosphere in New York that I can’t get enough of, and I’ve played so well there for years and years.
“Also, David was a New York Knick for five seasons – we both love it there.”
The Dane said she would “start out playing in Montreal just to get back into the groove” from August 7-13 and then head to New York, where she was twice a finalist.
“After that, I’ll have a couple of months to prepare for Australia, and we’ll take it from there. The Paris Olympics are definitely a goal too.”
Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka are among the players to have returned to the circuit after having a baby.
“I want to prove that you can have both,” she said. “You can be thrilled with your family and with everything at home and still have a career – and be great at it.”
Williams reached four Grand Slam finals after returning while Clijsters won three – two US Open trophies and the Australian Open.
Close friend Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, has been a source of inspiration.
She added: “Am I nervous? Not really. I’m coming back to something I love.
“Can I win the US Open? I think so. Can I win the Australian Open? I think so. That’s why I’m doing this. And I guess we’ll see what happens.”
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day