29 Dec 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

10:33 am on 29 December 2019

Latest - New Zealand Cricket is likely to name a replacement for Black Caps bowler Trent Boult in the next 48 hours.

Trent Boult checks his hand.

Trent Boult Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The left-arm quick was hit on the right hand by a Mitchell Starc delivery while batting on Saturday during the Black Caps' first innings against Australia at the MCG.

Boult still managed to open the bowling when Australia came out to bat in their second innings.

He suffered a fracture to the second-Metacarpal.

New Zealand already has Matt Henry in the squad and Kyle Jamieson in reserve in Melbourne.

Boult, who missed New Zealand's first Test loss against Australia in Perth because of a rib issue, will return home at the conclusion of the Melbourne Test.

The third Test starts in Sydney on Friday.

Hammers sack Pellegrini.

West Ham have sacked manager Manuel Pellegrini after a 2-1 home defeat by Leicester City - their ninth loss in the past 12 games.

Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Hammers' latest defeat leaves them 17th, one point above the English Premier League relegation zone.

Pellegrini departs after 18 months in charge, having been appointed in May 2018 on a three-year deal.

West Ham entertain Bournemouth on New Year's Day but the club are yet to announce who will take charge of the game.

Pellegrini led them to 10th last season but becomes the sixth Premier League manager to lose his job this campaign.

As well as their poor form in the league, West Ham were also knocked out of the League Cup by League One side Oxford United, losing 4-0 in September.

West Ham won 24 of their 64 matches under the Chilean, losing 29.

On a brighter note New Zealander Winston Reid returned to the Hammers match day squasd for the first time in alsmot 22 months following injury, however he didn't get on the field today.


Phoenix win again

The Wellington Phoenix have beaten Western United 3-1 in Ballarat to extend their unbeaten run in the A-League to seven games.

Wellington Phoenix's Ulises Davila

Ulises Davila Photo: PHOTOSPORT

David Ball scored just before half time, Callum McCowatt doubled the margin just after the break and and Ulises Davila secured the points in the 80th minute.

United got their goal from the penalty spot just before half time.

"I'm glad that we were a lot more clinical in front of goal today to get the goals," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.

"Very pleased with the performance - I thought we picked them off at times, played through their lines and scored some great goals."

The Phoenix are sixth on the table, just two points from third.

England cricketers stay alive

A battling 77 not out from Rory Burns has given England a fighting chance of improbable success as they need 255 more runs for victory in the first test against South Africa at Centurion Park.

Set an imposing 376 runs to win the first of the four-match series, England reached 121 for one wicket at stumps on the third day after a positive start to an enormous task.

No team has scored more than 251 to win a test at the Pretoria venue, where batting last is difficult on a deteriorating pitch, but England defied the odds to keep in the hunt with two days still to bat.

South Africa, who will have to take nine wickets to end a run of five successive test defeats, were bowled out for 272 in their second innings, just before tea on Saturday, after frustrating England in the field.


Tuatara split double-header

The Auckland Tuatara and Adelaide Giants have taken a game each from their Saturday double-header in Adelaide which keeps the Auckland franchise atop the Northeast Division of the Australian Baseball League.

The Tuatara dropped the first game of the day 3-1 as they continued to struggle at the plate. Kent Blackstone's solo home run was one of just four hits in the contest.

But the hits came more regularly in the night cap and the Tuatara claimed a tense 4-3 win to retain top spot.

Closer Hever Bueno took a 4-2 lead into the ninth before conceding a run and then loading the bases. He managed to work around the trouble however and picked up his fifth save of the ABL season.

The two sides meet in the series finale tonight when former Major League pitcher Josh Collmenter gets the start for the visitors.

Auckland grab first win

Auckland have scored their first win of the Super Smash T20 men's cricket competition, beating Central Districts by two runs in New Plymouth.

Chasing 211 to win the Stags needed 40 runs off the final two overs and got close.

Wellington lead the men's competition from Otago, Central and Auckland.

Meanwhile, the Auckland women suffered their first loss, going down to Central by 22 runs in the first game of the double header.

Wellington lead the women's competition from Auckland and Central.

Otago and Northern Districts meet in a double-header in Alexandra today.

Another top ten result for Robinson

The Queenstown skier Alice Robinson has scored another top ten finish on the World Cup circuit.

Robinson has finished ninth in the latest Giant Slalom race in Austria.

The 18-year-old was in 18th place after the first run, but then put in the fifth fastest time on the second run to climb up the leaderboard.

Alice explains: "It was a new track for me. I had a not very good first run and made a lot of mistakes, it wasn't very good. Second run I had a decent run and skied pretty well, I was only just behind and made up quite a few spots so I was happy with that. I've just got to build on this now for the next races."

American Mikaela Shiffrin won the race.

Robinson sits sixth in the Giant Slalom World Cup standings.

CA considers four-day Tests

Australia's cricket board will "seriously consider" playing four-day tests, joining a global push to condense the game's longest format.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said the governing body was crunching the numbers on match durations and would look to make a decision in the "medium term".

"I think it is something we've got to seriously consider. It is something that can't be driven by emotion, it has got to be driven by fact," Roberts said.

Tests have been played over five days through most of their 140-year history but four-day matches were given the green light by the International Cricket Council in 2017.

South Africa played the first four-day test since 1973 when they hosted Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth in December 2017.

England, whose board has endorsed the reduced format, played a four-day test against Ireland in July.