INNSBRUCK - English Premier League champions Manchester City slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in their opening pre-season match yesterday. Coach Roberto Mancini used 24 players in the match played at Innsbruck, Austria. Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Adam Johnson were all in the starting eleven. The only goal of the game came in the 68th minute when Shaker Nawaf Alabid beat goalkeeper Eirik Johansen with a fierce drive.
Donald closes in
CASTLE STUART - World golf No.1 Luke Donald put himself back into winning contention with a flawless second round 68 yesterday to be just three shots behind in the defence of his Scottish Open title. Donald birdied his second and third holes and then, after 13 straight pars, birdied his closing two holes to move to nine-under par, trailing Italy's Francesco Molinari (70) and Sweden's Alex Noren (66) who head the event on 12-under.
Webb pulls out
CHARLOTTE - US Open golf champion Webb Simpson withdrew from the British Open yesterday as he awaits the birth of his second child. It will be the second time in the last five years that the British Open is missing the US Open champion. Tiger Woods did not play in 2008 because of season-ending knee surgery the day after he won the US Open.
BASSETERRE - West Indies yesterday called-up wicketkeeper Devon Thomas for the last two one-day internationals against New Zealand to replace Denesh Ramdin who is getting married. Thomas, 22, has so far played nine one-dayers and was in good form recently, making two half-centuries and taking 12 catches in the three-match series between West Indies A and India A. West Indies lead the five-match series 2-1.
Lee might stay
SYDNEY - The Sydney Sixers are hopeful Brett Lee will announce next week that he's staying on with the defending Big Bash League champions for another season. When Lee announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday, he said he hoped he hadn't played his last game at the SCG and it appears the proud New South Welshman will get his wish despite also turning down a Cricket NSW state contract last month. Lee said "we'll wait and see" when asked if he'll remain in pink for 2012-13, but it's believed he's among a raft of signings the Sixers are hoping to announce in coming days.
Kevin to play
LONDON - Kevin Pietersen's retirement from one-day internationals could yet prove to be a brief interlude after he said yesterday he would "love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket". Pietersen, speaking after warming-up for next week's first Test against his native South Africa with a superb unbeaten 234 for Surrey against county champions Lancashire, added he had held talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about ending his limited overs retirement.