London, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Alastair Cook scored a century in his final test innings as England took complete control of the fifth test against India on Monday, reaching 243-2 at lunch in the second innings on Day 4 at the Oval.
Playing in his 161st and final test match, England's leading test run-scorer began the day on 46 and played fluidly to bring up his 33rd test century before reaching the interval on 103 not out.
Cook's 181-run third-wicket partnership with his successor as captain, Joe Root, who is unbeaten on 92, has taken England's lead to 283.
England already holds an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, but is well placed to widen its victory margin.
Cook, who scored 71 in England's first innings, had already received two standing ovations on Monday before reaching three figures. First he brought up his half century, securing a test career average of above 45 in the process.
Then, on reaching 76, Cook became fifth highest test run-scorer of all time, going past Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakarra's 12,400 to also become the leading left-handed batsman.
He brought up the landmark he and the crowd wanted most in the strangest of circumstances, as what appeared to be a single to take him to 97, became five, as Jasprit Bumrah's throw to the non-striker's end went for four overthrows, taking Cook to 101 from 210 balls.
Cook's finale comes at the same London ground where Australian great Donald Bradman made a duck in his final test innings, denying him a career average of more than 100.
Paris, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Any lingering doubts that Kylian Mbappe is French soccer's most valuable jewel were erased Sunday as the teenage striker celebrated the world champions' return home with a superb display — and a goal — in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
Back to its home ground at the Stade de France for the first time since winning the World Cup in July, France was treated to an ecstatic welcome by nearly 80,000 fans, and 19-year-old Mbappe was the best player in the UEFA Nations League game.
The PSG striker, who grew up in the Paris suburbs, exposed Dutch defenders from the start with his fast pace and control. He almost put France ahead in the first minute, broke the deadlock in the 14th and created havoc near and inside the Dutch box throughout the game with the trademark dribbles that helped him become one of the stars of the World Cup in Russia.
Mbappe, who was the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958, netted his ninth goal for France.
Ryan Babel scored a second-half equalizer as France struggled physically in the closing stages, but Olivier Giroud gave France a deserved win with 15 minutes left with a stunning left-foot volley that ended a 10-match personal goal drought. It was Giroud's 32nd international goal, a tally that makes him France's outright fourth highest-scoring player ahead of Zinedine Zidane.
The celebration party started well before kickoff with video footage depicting fans celebrating across the country on July 15 when France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final. The highlights of France's campaign were then played on big screens, with every French goal igniting big roars in the stands.
The party continued after the match with a sound and light show consisting of the France players introduced one-by-one before a lap of honor with the World Cup trophy.
"The win was the most important thing in order to make this a beautiful party," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "I'm very happy for Olivier Giroud. Strikers go through periods when they don't score as many goals. He's useful to our play and he scored a lovely goal that gave us the win this evening."
Although the French players struggled in the final 20 minutes of their 0-0 draw in Germany on Thursday, Deschamps named an unchanged team, with 10 of the 11 players who began the World Cup final on the field. Skipper Hugo Lloris, who is out injured, was the only one missing, replaced by Paris Saint-Germain 'keeper Alphonse Areola.
Frenkie de Jong, the 21-year-old creative Ajax midfielder, made his full debut for the Netherlands as coach Ronald Koeman deployed a 4-3-3 formation for his team's start in the new UEFA competition.
France dominated the first half and almost took the lead in the first minute when Mbappe fired a right-footed shot, which was saved by Netherlands 'keeper Jasper Cillessen.
Mbappe had another effort from close range stopped by Cillessen a few minutes later as the Dutch struggled to keep hold of the ball. Mbappe scored in the 14th after Blaise Matuidi made the most of a poor clearance from Georginio Wijnaldum near the area and sent in a precise cross which Mbappe converted with a tap in.
Deschamps' players were happy to leave the ball possession to their rivals after they broke the deadlock. France's midfield looked as solid as usual, with Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante quick to recover the ball and to launch counterattacks, while France's back four enjoyed a quiet night.
Mbappe pushed for more goals after the interval with long-range shots and bursts of speed. His strike partners Giroud and Antoine Griezmann had a more subdued performance but both contributed well to the defensive effort.
Against the run of play, Wijnaldum had a good chance to level in the 66th when he got past Samuel Umtiti but he fluffed his shot wide from close range. The Dutch took their chance in the next minute at the conclusion of a quick move that caught the French napping. Kenny Tete played a one-two and crossed the ball for Babel, who beat Areola at the right post.
Les Bleus pushed hard to get back in the lead and Giroud, who had missed a couple of chances earlier, was rewarded for his hard work in the 75th.
Giroud was picked out by substitute Benjamin Mendy and unleashed a perfectly timed shot.
"We reacted well after a poor spell, even though we felt a bit tired," Matuidi said. "Olivier Giroud's goal did us a lot of good, he always works hard and we're all behind him."
New York, Sep 10 (AP/UNB)— The U.S. Open final suddenly appeared to be slipping away from Novak Djokovic. He dropped three consecutive games. He was barking at himself, at his entourage, at a crowd vocally supporting his opponent, Juan Martin del Potro. He was, in short, out of sorts.
And then came Sunday's pivotal game, a 20-minute, 22-point epic. Three times, del Potro was a point from breaking and earning the right to serve to make it a set apiece. Three times, Djokovic steeled himself. Eventually, he seized that game — and del Potro's best chance to make a match of it.
A year after missing the U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow that would require surgery, Djokovic showed that he is unquestionably back at his best and back at the top of tennis. His returns and defense-to-offense skills as impeccable as ever, Djokovic collected his 14th Grand Slam title and second in a row by getting through every crucial moment for a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over 2009 champion del Potro at Flushing Meadows.
"There was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back (to) the desired level of tennis very soon," said Djokovic, whose operation was in February. "But at the same time, life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can center yourself, balance yourself and thrive. The last two months have been terrific."
This was Djokovic's third championship in New York, along with those in 2011 and 2015. Add in the trophies he has earned at six Australian Opens, one French Open and four Wimbledons, most recently in July, and the 31-year-old Serb pulled even with Pete Sampras for the third-most majors among men, trailing only Roger Federer's 20 and Rafael Nadal's 17.
""He's my idol. Pete, I love you," Djokovic said.
Federer lost in the fourth round in New York, while Nadal retired from his semifinal against del Potro because of a bad right knee. That put the 29-year-old Argentine back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since his breakthrough nine years ago, a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim.
"I believe he'll be here again with the champion's trophy. I really do," said Djokovic, who gave his pal a hug at the net, and then went over to console del Potro as he wiped away tears at his sideline seat.
Del Potro spoke this week about the low point, in 2015, when he considered quitting the sport. But supported by a dozen or so friends from back home, whose "Ole!" choruses rang around the arena, he climbed up the rankings to a career-high No. 3 by thundering his 100 mph (160 kph) forehands and 135 mph (215 kph) serves.
Those produce free points against so many foes. Not against Djokovic, who always seemed to have all the answers — and who said he convinced himself that all of those "Oles" were actually people calling out his own nickname, "Nole."
Djokovic was better than del Potro on their many lengthy exchanges, using his trademark body-twisting, limb-splaying court coverage to get to nearly every ball, sneakers squeaking around the blue court in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the roof was closed because of rain.
"I was playing almost at the limit, all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make it," del Potro said, "because Novak (was) there every time."
Never was that more apparent than the game that stood out on this evening, with Djokovic serving while down 4-3 in the second set. They went back and forth, through eight deuces and all those break opportunities for del Potro, until he slapped one forehand into the net, and another sailed wide.
Those were high-risk shots, but, as del Potro put it: "It's the only way to beat these kind of players."
Djokovic's coach, Marian Vajda, called that moment the match's "turning point, obviously."
When it ended, with Djokovic holding to 4-all, spectators began leaving their seats, perhaps thinking it was time for a changeover, even though it wasn't. That prompted to chair umpire Alison Hughes to chastise them.
It was a brief request, though, unlike her many other pleas for quiet, mainly as fans were shouting and chanting and clapping in support of del Potro. It all bothered Djokovic, who started yelling and gesturing toward the seats. At one moment, he pressed his right index finger to his lips, as if to say, "Shhhhhhh!" Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, "Who are you cheering for now?!"
The tiebreaker was resolved thanks to more del Potro miscues on his forehand side, as he looked more and more fatigued. He made one last stand by breaking and holding for 3-all. But that was that.
When it ended, thanks to a three-game closing run by Djokovic, he flung his racket away and landed on his back, arms and legs spread wide.
He had hit his peak, Vajda said, at "just at the right time."
Djokovic had never gone through an extended absence until 2017, when he sat out the second half of the season because of elbow pain that had plagued him for more than a year. He tried to return at the start of this season, but couldn't, and opted for surgery.
It took him some time to find the right form, as evidenced by his quarterfinal loss at the French Open to a guy who was ranked 72nd and had never won a Grand Slam match until that tournament.
"I was very, very disappointed with my performance that day," Djokovic recalled Sunday, explaining that he went hiking in the mountains in France to clear his head after that setback.
Djokovic then got right back to work, and announced that he was, once more, himself by winning Wimbledon.
Now he's backed that up at the U.S. Open, the fourth time in his career he won multiple majors in a season.
"Difficult times, but you learn through adversity," Djokovic said. "I try to take the best out of myself in those moments."
Culiacan, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Diego Maradona, whose public battles with cocaine made him soccer's poster child for the perils of substance abuse, is setting up camp in Mexico's drug cartel heartland as the new coach of a second-tier team.
Draped in official club gear, the Argentine soccer legend arrived this weekend in Culiacan, home turf of the Sinaloa Cartel, to take over the bottom-dwelling Dorados in what some describe as a publicity stunt for the team and a last-ditch effort to resurrect a career marred by drugs and antics.
Maradona, 57, is a big fish for a little-known team founded just 15 years ago. He will reportedly earn $150,000 a month to coach a team where players complain of missed paychecks. A Dorados club representative could not be reached to confirm or deny the salary or missed payments.
Tom Marshall, who covers Mexican soccer for ESPN sports network, said the question floating among fans is whether the Maradona hire is part of a long-term plan to raise the prospects of the Dorados or an "ego trip" for the owners, the Tijuana branch of the politically connected Hank family which also owns casinos and horse racetracks?
Few expect Maradona to succeed in the post. Many anticipate an inevitable clash of personalities.
"Is this kind of a joke?" Marshall wondered. "Is this making Mexican football look a bit ridiculous?"
The gig marks a return to the country where Maradona scored one of the most controversial goals in soccer history during Argentina's World Cup quarterfinal against England in 1986. Photos and TV replays showed Maradona's hand helping the ball into the net. He attributed the assist to the "Hand of God."
The match 32 years ago exemplified Maradona's theatrics both on and off the field. Some consider him to be the greatest player to have ever played the sport. But he is also prone to outlandish outbursts, profanity-laced tirades and public debauchery.
Maradona struggled openly with drugs for more than a decade after FIFA briefly banned him for testing positive for cocaine in 1991. He again tested positive for drug use during the 1994 World Cup and was subsequently denied entry by the United States, leading him to seek drug rehabilitation treatment in Cuba. He was hospitalized in 2000 and again in '04 for heart problems blamed on cocaine.
The soccer great began coaching in 1994 with uneven results. He led the Argentine national team to the quarterfinals in the 2010 World Cup before notching stints with the Al Wasl and Al-Fujairah squads in the United Arab Emirates. He accepted a role as honorary president for the Belarus premier team Dinamo Brest in July before promptly departing for Argentina.
But Maradona has gotten more attention recently for his behavior as a spectator at Argentine matches than as a coach. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Maradona launched his middle fingers into the air after Argentina bested Nigeria and was captured on video appearing seriously inebriated in the stands. At another match, he apparently pulled his eyes into slants while gazing at a South Korean soccer fan.
Culiacan locals are hopeful that Maradona's off-field tomfoolery won't interfere with his ability to lead the Dorados.
"We all make mistakes and we all deserve a second chance," says Culiacan resident Jose Luis Morales.
The northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa is an agro-business stronghold known for producing lots of beef, tomatoes and drug lords. By some estimates the drug trade accounts for 20 percent of Sinaloa's gross domestic product. Drug money permeates throughout Mexico, but narco culture is more visible in places like its capital Culiacan, where residents flash bling and expensive watches.
Sinaloa-raised Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman climbed to the cartel's top through a combination of brutal repression of rivals and Robin Hood-like handouts to the poor. The Sinaloa Cartel, run by his sons while El Chapo faces trial in Brooklyn, dominates wholesale distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in much of the U.S.
"The Sinaloa Cartel will love Maradona. They are patriots. They really love their home state and this will raise the profile of Sinaloa," said Mexico security specialist Alejandro Hope, who sees drugs and sports intersecting as much as drugs and music.
But Sinaloa is now contested territory with Guzman in prison. The Sinaloa Cartel has fractured, with top lieutenants challenging the sons for power. And the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is waging war across Mexico, including in Sinaloa. "The whole system is destabilized," says Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on Mexican organized crime with the Brookings Institution.
Adding to the questions surrounding the Dorados, the Hank family's Tijuana-based gambling operations have long drawn suspicion from U.S. officials. Law enforcement agencies often see gambling as an easy way to launder illegal money, and Tijuana is a major corridor for drug traffic to the United States.
Yesenia Barraza, a 33-year-old soccer mom, hopes Culiacan can overcome the stereotype of being a drug hub. Moms like her are holding Maradona up to their children as a soccer star to emulate.
"As a city we are known for negative things; now we will be known for sports," she said.
Sirajganj, Sept 09 (UNB) – Chandaikona Union made a good start in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman Inter-Union Gold Cup Under-17 Football Tournament beating Sonakhara Union by 1-0 goal in the opening match at Raiganj Pilot High School ground here on Sunday.
Assistant Commissioner (Land) of Raiganj Upazila Nusrat Azmeri Haque inaugurated the meet Sunday afternoon.