2 Feb 2020

Today’s sports news: What you need to know

7:20 pm on 2 February 2020

Latest - India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the two-match test series against New Zealand as he recovers from a back injury, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said.

Indian bowler Hardik Pandya

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Pandya underwent surgery on his lower back in October last year and had hoped he could return to the Indian squad for the New Zealand series.

The 26-year-old, however, failed to achieve full fitness and will continue his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

The two World Test Championship games in Wellington and Christchurch start 21 February.

Merry guides Black Sticks to win

A rampant Olivia Merry has steered the Black Sticks women to a comprehensive 4-1 win over Belgium in the second match of their hockey Pro League doubleheader in Auckland this weekend.

Olivia Merry

Olivia Merry Photo: Photosport

Merry is now the all-time leading goal-scorer for the Black Sticks women with 106 goals, overtaking Anita McLaren's 105.

The Black Sticks women bounced back strongly on Sunday after losing their first game against Belgium 2-1 on Saturday.

Abi Raye opened Belgium's account after just seven minutes, and the Black Sticks trailed 0-1 at halftime.

But the Black Sticks started the second spell strongly, with Merry's fine touch levelling the scores inside the first minute. Four minutes later, Merry's accurate forehand shot gave the New Zealanders a 2-1 lead.

Merry's third came from a penalty corner after 51 minutes, and racked up her fourth with a nice deflection four minutes later.

The Black Sticks men lost the first match of their doubleheader against Belgium 6-2, regrouping on Sunday to deliver a stronger performance but still recording a 3-1 loss.

Chelsea draw with Leicester

New Manchester United signing Bruno Fernandes made his English Premier League debut but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The result leaves United in sixth place, behind fourth-placed Chelsea who drew 2-2 at Leicester City who are third on the table.

Meanwhile, Premier League leaders Liverpool opened up a 22-point gap at the top of the table after a 4-0 home win over Southampton.

Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone after they held on for a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Vitality Stadium, while West Ham United slipped into the relegation zone after being held 3-3 at home to fellow strugglers Brighton & Hove Albion.

Elsewhere, Everton fought back from two goals down at Watford to earn a 3-2 win with just 10 men.

Sheffield United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park, while Newcastle United climbed to 10th spot following a scoreless draw with Norwich City at St. James's Park.

- Reuters

India fined for slow over-rate

India have been fined 40 percent of their match fee for a slow over-rate during their fourth T20 win over New Zealand, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.

Match referee Chris Broad imposed the sanctions after Virat Kohli's side were found two overs short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration during the game in Wellington on Friday.

Kohli has accepted the sanction.

- Reuters

Pivac gives thumbs-up to new, expansive Wales

New Wales coach Wayne Pivac said winger Josh Adams' hat-trick in this morning's crushing 42-0 Six Nations victory over Italy in Cardiff shows how he wants his team to play.

Pivac took over following Warren Gatland's 12-year tenure during which Wales were at times criticised for relying more on the boot than moving the ball.

New Zealand-born Pivac wants his team to be more expansive and that means players like Adams and George North, who scored the fourth try against Italy, will have more chances to finish.

"I think wingers will get more opportunities with the way we play the game," he told reporters. "I'm very pleased for him [Adams]. I liked his last try, after 80 minutes he's in close to the ruck looking for the ball.

"He was a top try scorer on the biggest stage [2019 World Cup] so that has to speak for itself."

Meanwhile, Ireland have handed Andy Farrell an unconvincing victory in his first game in charge with a 19-12 win over Scotland in Dublin.

- Reuters

Krejcikova, Mektic claim mixed doubles title

Fifth seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic completed a remarkable comeback win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Briton Jamie Murray to clinch the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open on Saturday.

Krejcikova and Mektic proved too strong for the reigning US Open champions in the tiebreak, winning eight straight points on their way to a 5-7 6-4 (10-1) victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Czech Krejcikova successfully defended her title after winning the event with American Rajeev Ram last year, while Croatia's Mektic captured his maiden Grand Slam trophy.

- Reuters