India must back openers, not look for new ones: Kohli

MUMBAI India's opening batsmen have come under fire for poor starts in their last two home series against New Zealand and England but captain Virat Kohli says now is the time to give them support not show them the door.

The hosts defeated New Zealand 3-2 and won the three-match ODI series against England 2-1 but there was not a single 50-run partnership at the top of innings.

While 49 was the highest opening partnership between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in the five ODIs against New Zealand, India's first-wicket stands against England were 13, 14 and 13.

Mourinho understands lures of China

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he would have no problem seeing Wayne Rooney opt for a lucrative move to China in the final years of his career but thinks the club's all-time leading scorer still has much to offer in the Premier League.

Rooney overtook Bobby Charlton as United's most prolific goalscorer when he netted a late free kick against Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday.

While there was no suggestion Rooney wanted to move to the Chinese Super League (CSL), Mourinho said he fully understood why a player might want to end his career overseas.

NZ complete series sweep after Bangladesh collapse

Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme guided New Zealand to a series-sweeping nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the second test in Christchurch on Monday after the visitors suffered another second-innings collapse on the fourth day.

Latham (41) and de Grandhomme (33) took their side through to 111 for one at Hagley Oval after umpires extended play by an extra 30 minutes because a result was within sight.

Ecstatic Lucic-Baroni ends 18-year wait with quarter-final spot

MELBOURNE Mirjana Lucic-Baroni could barely contain her joy after continuing her remarkable run at the Australian Open to reach her first grand slam quarter-final since the 1999 Wimbledon championships on Monday.

The 34-year-old, who won the Australian Open doubles with Martina Hingis in 1998 at the age of 15, bounced up and down with fists clenched in triumph after dispatching American Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-2 in little over an hour.

Toure criticises referee after Man City denied penalty

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has risked angering the English Football Association by criticising referee Andre Marriner's refusal to award his team a penalty in their 2-2 Premier League draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

City were leading 2-1 in the game when Tottenham right back Kyle Walker shoved winger Raheem Sterling in the penally area, but Marriner turned down the appeals for a penalty and Tottenham equalised a minute later.

Walker said after the match that he was lucky not to have conceded the penalty.

Konta dispatches Makarova, to meet Serena in quarters

MELBOURNE Johanna Konta advanced to an Australian Open quarter-final showdown with Serena Williams after the ninth seed dismantled Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-4 in their fourth-round clash on Monday.

The 25-year-old Konta, Britain's last hope in the singles after Andy Murray and Dan Evans were bundled out on Sunday, took 69 minutes to send the Russian packing in temperatures approaching 35C.

Makarova was no match for Konta's serve or ground game in the first set as she changed angles and depth of returns that prevented the left-hander from getting any rhythm.

Algeria know win over Senegal might not be enough

By Mark Gleeson
| LIBREVILLE

LIBREVILLE Algeria are on the brink of elimination from the African Nations Cup knowing that even a victory over the already-qualified Senegal in their final Group B clash on Monday might not be enough to secure passage to the next round.

With Senegal assured of top spot, Algeria need Zimbabwe to beat Tunisia in the other group match being played at the same time to have any chance of making the knockout stage.

Serena grinds down dogged Strycova to reach quarter-finals

By Ian Ransom
| MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE Serena Williams battled a misbehaving serve and scorching heat but stayed cool under pressure in a 7-5 6-4 win over Czech Barbora Strycova to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday.

Second seed Williams was broken three times in the opening set at Rod Laver Arena and again when coasting to the finish line in the second but shifted up a gear when it counted to close out the match in one hour and 46 minutes.

Australia's Warner, Khawaja to be rested for NZ series

SYDNEY Top order batsman David Warner and Usman Khawaja will miss Australia's one-day Chappell-Hadlee series in order to rest and prepare for next month's tour of India.

Warner, who scored a century in leading Australia to an 86-run victory over Pakistan in Sydney on Sunday, will take a complete break, while Khawaja is to head to Dubai for a pre-tour training camp.

Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch have been recalled to the side to replace the pair.

Swafford stands tall with maiden PGA Tour win

American journeyman Hudson Swafford, whose focus all week was on "standing tall", birdied three of the last four holes to clinch his first PGA Tour title by one shot on Sunday at the $5.8 million CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California.

Two strokes off the pace going into the final round on the hosting Stadium Course, Swafford fired a sparkling five-under-par 67 in overcast conditions to hold off a late challenge by third-round leader Adam Hadwin of Canada.

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