… Australia survive scare to win by 39 runs(REUTERS) – A relieved Australia captured Pakistan’s last two wickets to win a captivating first day-night Test in Brisbane yesterday by 39 runs but the touring side won huge admiration for their dogged fourth innings resistance.Chasing a Test record 490 for victory, Pakistan had resumed the fifth and final day on 382 for eight and paceman Mitchell Starc proved the game-breaker when he ended a stubborn 71-run ninth-wicket partnership between Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah.Starc struck with a searing delivery that pinged off Shafiq’s glove for an easy catch to David Warner in the gully, bringing to an end a heroic knock of 137.Yasir fell moments later to seal the win, run-out by home skipper Steve Smith with a direct hit for 33, having failed to ground his bat after an aborted single as Pakistan were eventually dismissed for 450.Australia take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series but Pakistan showed impressive fight to turn the match into a cliffhanger and will head to the second game in Melbourne on December 26 with renewed confidence.Starting the day needing 108 runs to win but with only two wickets intact, the tourists maintained a sliver of hope with middle-order batsman Shafiq at the crease after he cleaved a magnificent unbeaten century on day three.Australia’s nerves were becoming increasingly frayed as Pakistan approached their target but the relief was palpable when they finally sealed a victory that looked a formality a day earlier.“I lost all my fingernails, I think,” joked Smith. “Some game of cricket, wasn’t it?“Credit’s got to go to our bowlers, they really stuck at it and got us over the line.“That wicket, I guess, of Asad showed the class of Starcy with a ball that was 60 overs old and quite soft … but what a game of cricket.”RODE LUCKAustralia appeared bemused to even be competing on day five and it manifested itself in Smith’s conservative field settings.Shafiq and Yasir cantered past 400 and the Australian captain became fidgety as his front-line bowlers were dispatched regularly through the gaps.Slow bowler Nathan Lyon was introduced and coaxed a nick from Yasir which pinged off his pad and flew just wide of Peter Handscomb at short leg.Growing in confidence, Yasir then whipped paceman Jackson Bird off his pads for four at the square leg boundary to bring up the 50-run partnership with Shafiq.Yasir then survived a missed stumping, a dropped catch and an overturned lbw decision by umpire Richard Illingworth before Starc timed his intervention to perfection at the other end with a searing, short-pitched delivery that reared up on Shafiq.Shafiq was named man-of-the-match following his ninth Test century, the most ever for a number six batsman.“The way the team, all the batsmen showed their character, that was wonderful,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. “Asad Shafiq – that was a superb knock. So, a lot of positives, and I’m happy and proud the way the team played.”AUSTRALIA 1st innings 429 (S. Smith 130, P. Handscomb 105, M. Renshaw 71; W. Riaz 4-89, M. Amir 4-97)PAKISTAN 1st innings 142 (S. Ahmed 59 n.o.)AUSTRALIA 2nd innings 202 for 5 decl. (U. Khawaja 74, S. Smith 63)PAKISTAN 2nd innings (o/n 382-8; Target: 490 runs)S. Aslam c Renshaw b Starc 15Az. Ali c Wade b Starc 71B. Azam c Smith b Lyon 14Y. Khan c Smith b Lyon 65Misbah-ul-Haq c Wade b Bird 5A. Shafiq c Warner b Starc 137S. Ahmed b Starc 24M. Amir c Wade b Bird 48W. Riaz c Smith b Bird 30Y. Shah run-out (Smith) 33R. Ali not out 1Extras: (lb-5, w-2) 7Total: (all out, 145 overs) 450Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-54, 3-145, 4-165, 5-173, 6-220, 7-312, 8-378, 9-449.Bowling: M. Starc 38-10-119-4 (w-1), J. Hazlewood 42-11-99-0, J. Bird 33-6-110-3 (w-1), N. Lyon 29-3-108-2, N. Maddinson 3-0-9-0.
The USC Trojans (9-12, 1-8 Pac-12) look to end their six-game losing streak as they head on the road to face the California Golden Bears (13-9, 3-6). The Trojans beat Cal earlier in the season, 72-57 at the Galen Center, but USC has lost 8 of their last 9 games.USC is coming off a blowout loss to the Utah Runnin’ Utes (17-4, 7-2) last Sunday at home, 67-39. The Trojans were led in that game by freshman forward Malik Martin who scored 11 points for USC.In the worst loss of the season, the Trojans continued their poor shooting with only 26.5 percent; the loss was the largest margin of defeat that the Trojans have seen so far this season. The Trojans only scored 12 points in the first half and could never get back into the game.USC head coach Andy Enfield gave credit to Utah for their stellar performance in the first half.“Give Utah credit for playing well early,” Enfield said. “This was one of those halves of basketball where you shake your head and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t see this coming.’”In Cal’s most recent contest, they beat the Washington State Cougars (10-11, 4-5) 90-88. The Bears had two record performances in the game in Washington when they witnessed junior guard Tyrone Wallace enter the 1,000-point club and senior forward David Kravish break the school’s all-time block record. Cal will look at these two difference-makers to avoid a season sweep at the hands of USC.Cal will also lean on sophomore guard Jordan Mathews who is leading the team in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game, in Cal’s nine league games.In the most recent game between these two California teams, the Trojans were led to victory by sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic who scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds in USC’s only conference win of the season. Redshirt sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt added 16 points for the Trojans in one of his signature shooting performances while sophomore guard Julian Jacobs added 17 points in the win. Wallace led the way for the Bears in the loss with 21 points of his own.Jovanovic leads the Trojans in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and Reinhardt is not too far behind with an average of 11.9 points per game.Reinhardt has found his stroke as of late and is shooting 44.2 percent from behind the arc in his last six games.USC will look for freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin to break out of his recent slump and help contribute to a win up north.In USC’s most recent loss to Utah, McLaughlin was scoreless on 0-7 shooting and he also had zero assists. Despite his struggles, McLaughlin is still third on the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game.McLaughlin is having an impressive freshman season, outside of shooting, and he leads his team in assists and steals with 88 and 28 respectively.The other freshmen for the Trojans have also struggled as of late, especially in scoring. Guard Elijah Stewart was scoreless against Utah and forward Malik Marquetti only scored 2 points in 21 minutes. Even though the bench has not been very productive scoring the ball, Enfield praised their effort after the loss to Utah.“I’m proud of our bench coming in and increasing our energy,” Enfield said. “We need the whole team to play like that.”When the Trojans tip off on Thursday night, they will be playing in a stadium that has not been kind to them recently. USC is 2-6 in its last 8 visits to Haas Pavilion where the Bears are 8-6 this season.USC has not fared well on the road all season; they post a 2-6 road record on the year. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. and will be aired on Fox Sports 1.
The No. 4 Wisconsin volleyball, a team on a hot-streak of 11 consecutive match wins, will head to Ann Arbor and East Lansing to battle Michigan and Michigan State this weekend.With average overall records for Michigan (10-12, 5-7 Big Ten) and Michigan State (13-10, 6-6 Big Ten), University of Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield said he thinks both of these Big Ten teams bring more to the court than they are given credit for, or what their records may indicate.“They’ve had varied results on the season, and I think [they’re] two clubs that are really talented, and their highs are very high,” Sheffield said. “When they’re playing well, they can beat anybody in the country.”Some of these highs for Michigan and Michigan State come from a few key players on each squad.Senior setter Lexi Dannemiller runs Michigan’s offense and has totaled 510 assists this season. She averages 11.33 assists per set, just behind Wisconsin setter and Big Ten leader sophomore Lauren Carlini, who averages 11.42.Dannemiller is not the only weapon that fuels the Wolverine offense, however. Sophomore middle blocker Abby Cole has put up big offensive numbers for Michigan. She leads her team with 295 kills at a 3.87 kill percentage in just her second year in Ann Arbor. The 6-foot-5 Grand Haven, Michigan native was awarded Big Ten Player of the Week for the second consecutive week Oct. 20.“They’ve got one of the best setters in the country, and they’ve got a middle [blocker] who’s just a wrecking ball against anyone she’s playing against,” Sheffield said. “Dannemiller and Cole; those are two really really stud players.”Michigan State also has a key player who poses a threat in the Spartans’ backcourt.MSU’s senior libero and three-time captain Kori Moster has served as the defensive linchpin for the Spartans during her college career. From her freshman season until her most recent match, the two-time All-American passes with about 96 percent accuracy off of her opponents’ serves. Two weeks ago Moster surpassed a career total of 2,000 digs, placing her in the same category as only seven other Spartan volleyball players.“Michigan is driven by their setter. Michigan State is driven by their libero. I think those two are two of the best at their positions in the country,” Sheffield said.The Badgers seem to be driven by a handful of their own players as well, including Carlini who may stand out the most. During the press conference following Wisconsin’s sweep of Nebraska, Sheffield complimented Carlini’s control and ownership of the court. The 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year said that she looks up to historic team leaders such as Peyton Manning and Michael Jordan for inspiration when it comes to being a leader.Carlini is on the same wavelength as her head coach when contemplating the upcoming matches against both Michigan and Michigan State.“They’re really good, capable teams. Their records may not show it as much, but they have their great days. We have to be prepared for that and expect them to be on their A-game,” Carlini said.Carlini commented that she is working to connect more with her middles this week during practice in preparation for some tough defensive net play by Cole. She says the team plans to find holes in the defense and do what they can to work around Cole.“We have some momentum with us and we’re all super confident and we’re all focusing on one game at a time. Focusing on the little things and the tasks at hand,” Carlini said.As Wisconsin starts to think ahead to greater things, the coaches and players expressed that they do not let themselves get distracted or caught up with their successes on the court.“It’s nice to have it in the back of our heads that we’ve been sweeping a lot, but at the same time we don’t look back at the past, we just focus on our next opponent,” freshman outside hitter Kelli Bates explained. “We don’t talk about what’s happened. It’s [about] moving forward and getting better.”Bates and Sheffield both expressed the team’s aspiration of a Big Ten Championship title being on their radar, but it is not something that bogs them down when playing matches or participating in practices. Wisconsin has been moving through their season one game at a time and now heads to Michigan hoping to continue paving their pathway to success.“You can’t afford losing to teams in the Big Ten, especially if we want the Big Ten Championship,” Bates said. “We have to win these games.”With the possibility of the Big Ten championship getting closer with each win, it’s hard for the Badgers to not look ahead towards the bigger picture.For the time being, they’ll head to Michigan looking for two more conference wins. The Badgers will take on Michigan Friday at 6 p.m. before finishing the weekend against Michigan State Sunday at 12 p.m.