Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTOJordan Clarkson has been in Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ radar the moment he entered the NBA in 2014.Several attempts have been made to include the Filipino-American swingman in the national team for international competitions, but all those tries have all gone to nothing.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Alexander making journey back from painkiller addict to ring Clarkson, though, will still need a clearance from both the NBA and the Cavaliers to be allowed to play with Gilas in Indonesia.READ: Clarkson, Standhardinger in Asiad lineup unlikelyThe SBP is banking on Clarkson’s Filipino ancestry as their main asset in securing OCA’s approval.“He’s really a Filipino, unlike Andray [Blatche] who was naturalized,” said Panlilio who pointed out Blatche’s removal from the 2014 Asian Games. “Clarkson is really Pinoy.”“He wants to play, he wants to play for Gilas,” said Panlilio. “It’s always been his dream to play for Gilas, the only issue is the eligibility.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. That hasn’t deterred the SBP, though, as the governing body now tries to secure the services of the 26-year-old Cleveland Cavalier as part of the national team for the Jakarta Asian Games this August.READ: Jordan Clarkson being tapped for Gilas squad for Asian GamesFEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’SBP president Al Panlilio said they will submit Clarkson’s name to the Olympic Council of Asia as part of the Philippine basketball team together with players from Rain or Shine, Gilas cadets, and a few from NLEX.“We plan to submit Clarkson’s name and it’s up to OCA whether he’s eligible to play in the Asian Games,” said Panlilio after the PBA Board meeting Thursday at the league’s office. “Concurrently we’re negotiating with him on the possibility of playing in the Asian Games.” LATEST STORIES Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team MOST READ Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins
0Shares0000Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech vies for the ball with Posta Rangers’ Charles Odette during their Kenyan Premier League tie at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on January 9, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay has hinted that striker Dennis Oliech will be one of his two captains for this season, pointing out that he would want to milk more of the legendary striker’s leadership abilities to guide the club to more success.Oliech skippered Gor in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Posta Rangers, scoring the winning goal and playing the entire 90 minutes of the game. “I did give him the armband because of his European experience. He is a great player with good arritude and discipline-wise he has been fantastic. He has been working very hard and I believe he can help the young players because they listen to him on and off the pitch,” Oktay said.“We have a captain (Harun Shakava) but to me, he (Dennis) is a captain as well. Everywhere I go I have always had two captains. I will use him and Shakava,” the tactician stated.Oktay further stated that he was pleased with Oliech’s attitude and his hard working nature as he played his first 90 minutes for the club, having been introduced as a sub on his debut last weekend against Mathare.“I was gonna play him 60 minutes and then I told him I am gonna play you 90 minutes, get ready. He can understand my language, he can understand what I want. If I told him to give me another 90 minutes I believe he would have given me. He is a very strong guy; mentally very strong,” Oktay noted.Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay gestures on the touchline during his side’s Kenyan Premier League match against Posta Rangers at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on January 9, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe tactician will quickly put at the back of his mind the joy of winning their second game of the season and put their focus on the CAF Confederations Cup when they face Cameroon’s New Star de Douala on Sunday in the play-off round, a place in the group stages beckoning.Gor Mahia found themselves contending in the Confederations Cup after losing out on the away goal rule to Nigeria’s Lobi Stars after a 3-3 aggregate loss in the two-legged first round tie.They are looking to make it into the group stages for a second consecutive time. Last season, they made it into the money bracket of African football after beating South Africa’s Supersport United on the away goal rule following a 2-2 aggregate draw.Oktay is confident he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Dylan Kerr.“It is important not only for us as a club to achieve this feat, but also it will be good for Kenyan football if we can have that kind of exposure again,” the tactician stated.Gor Mahia players pose for a line up before their Kenyan Premier League match against Posta Rangers at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on January 9, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluHe says his charges are ready for the tie against the West Africans, insisting they have to take a commanding lead from the first leg to make their work easier when they travel away in a week’s time.He is wary of a New Star side that carries a better away record than at home. In the preliminary round tie against Burundi’s Vital’O, New Star played to a 1-1 draw at home but went away to Bujumbura winning 4-1.Heading into the first round, they played to a 0-0 draw with Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya at home before travelling away to force a 1-1 draw and progressing on the away goal rule.“We have done some homework on them and we know it will not be an easy team. We have realized that they play better away from home than at home and so we will be very cautious. They have very mobile strikers and that means we have to be alert all times,” Oktay noted.For the tie, Gor will be without defenders Joash Onyango and Harun Shakava who are both indefinitely suspended by CAF. Dennis Oliech will also be unavailable as he is yet to be registered. If Gor make it into the group stages, then there will be a window of registration.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Griese injured his left knee during Sunday’s 27-13 victory over Miami, though the Bucs still haven’t said how long he will be sidelined. Chargers get Feeley: The Chargers took third-string quarterback A.J. Feeley off Miami’s hands and gave up on guard Toniu Fonoti in separate deals before the NFL trading deadline. Bulger’s status uncertain: St. Louis Rams interim coach Joe Vitt is unsure whether quarterback Marc Bulger will be able to play against New Orleans on Sunday. Bulger sprained his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Rams’ 45-28 loss Monday night in Indianapolis. Vikings’ Smith sued: A woman who contends Vikings running back Onterrio Smith sexually assaulted her last year has sued the player. The 21-year-old woman is not identified in the lawsuit filed last week, for fear of retaliation, her attorney said. Little’s brother killed: The younger brother of NFL player Leonard Little was shot to death and a 17-year-old girl was taken into custody after trying to flee police. Investigators found Jermaine Little, 24, lying on the floor of a friend’s home in Harriman, Tenn. Spellman back in the game: Former NFL lineman Alonzo Spellman agreed to terms of a contract with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Spellman, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2003 for threatening an airliner’s passengers and crew, last played in the NFL in 2001. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The Tampa Bay Buccaneers braced for life without Brian Griese on Tuesday, acquiring Tim Rattay from the San Francisco 49ers to back up young quarterbacks Chris Simms and Luke McCown. The Bucs sent what was believed to be a sixth-round draft choice to the 49ers for Rattay, a six-year veteran who recently lost his caretaker hold on San Francisco’s starting job to No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Taylor is a former Los Angeles County Planning Department employee who is accused of collecting $500,000 to issue illegal certificates to landowners for hundreds of acres in Agua Dulce and Malibu. Taylor pleaded no contest in May to three counts of falsification of public records after prosecutors agreed to dismiss 94 other counts. He faces up to four years in prison. At Wednesday’s hearing, the doctor testified that the eye surgery Taylor referred to in a medical affidavit was an elective procedure, Torrealba said. “It was laser surgery that would take about 30 seconds to do. It was not necessary,” Torrealba said. “The surgery was an elective thing and wasn’t an emergency.” Taylor’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. A 68-year-old former county planning employee awaiting sentencing in connection with pocketing money to issue illegal land certificates was jailed after the prosecutor told the judge he misrepresented a medical condition. Prosecutors checked into Emmet Taylor’s claim that eye surgery was needed to save his eyesight and that therefore his sentencing and custody time should be postponed indefinitely. “I did a background check and talked to the eye doctor,” Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba said. “The facts about eye surgery were misrepresented, and I filed a motion to increase bail based on the misrepresentation.” Taylor, who had remained free after posting $100,000 bail, was taken into custody Wednesday after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders increased bail to $1.82 million. Taylor’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 29. Taylor had worked in the county Planning Department for 20 years before he came under suspicion in August 2000. Prosecutors said Taylor ran a private company out of his home, forged grant deeds and issued fraudulent land-division certificates that bypassed the normal public review process. The certificates were issued over a five-year period to landowners who avoided public hearings, thousands of dollars’ worth of fees and other requirements to subdivide property, according to prosecutors. Officials said Taylor’s activities came under suspicion when one of his clients sent him payments – so-called “consulting fees” – to a county government address rather than to his home. Taylor was fired in November 2000 and arrested two years later after an investigation by county officials, who reviewed more than 1,000 certificates of compliance dating back to the early 1990s. The investigation led county officials to question all certificates of compliance, causing delays for property owners who sought permits to build on their land. In many cases, officials said, property owners seemed to be trying to avoid setting aside part of their land for road easements. In some cases, a property owner went through the usual public-hearing procedure and got permission to cut his land into smaller parcels, but applied for a certificate saying the land had been subdivided years earlier. That meant he didn’t have to give up land for roads, investigators said. Taylor sought to withdraw his plea, saying he did not fully understand his placement on parole and was impaired after taking a higher-than-normal dose of sedatives the morning of the plea. In September, Pounders denied Taylor’s request based on the parole argument. Taylor appealed that ruling but his appeal was denied by the Second District Court of Appeal. Taylor withdrew his motion to nullify his plea because he was impaired, prosecutors said. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed his life-long ambition is to bring his family to Co Donegal.Tony Blair wants to bring family to Donegal.Cherie Blair revealed the former Labour party leader’s plan is to one day is to revisit Ballyshannon and Rossnowlagh where he holidayed as a child.In his autobiography Mr Blair remembers fondly spending many summers at the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh. Mrs Blair said herself and her husband have enjoyed several trips to Ireland.“I have brought my children here, absolutely,” she said.“My husband’s real ambition is to take the kids back to Ballyshannon, where he used to go as a boy.” BLAIR’S AMBITION IS TO BRING FAMILY TO DONEGAL was last modified: October 8th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Andoy Estrella for the lead! Bang! 74-71 Mapua. 20.6 left. #NCAASeason93 pic.twitter.com/cK8Q0x91XL— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) October 5, 2017 And the graduating guard is just hoping that victories like these could spur the younger players on in the future.“These wins are big for us so that next season, the younger players that will come will have the confidence,” Estrella said. “It’s a boost in their morale, so I want them to think that we shouldn’t quit until the end. That even though we’re already out of the Final Four, we should continue playing, continue practicing, and continue fighting.” Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. View comments Andoy Estrella. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netWith the game tied at 71 with 30 seconds left and the ball in his hands, Andoy Estrella only had one person in his mind: coach Atoy Co.“I knew I had to give him a reason to trust me again. I haven’t been playing that well lately. So during our practices, he was giving me confidence to make up for the bad games,” he said in Filipino.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIES Estrella had the chance to redeem himself and Co gave him the opportunity to as the Cardinals went to the senior playmaker for the crucial basket.He measured his defender with the clock dwindling down. He stepped just before the arc and hoisted for a three over Flash Sadiwa. Swish. The Cardinals took the 74-71 advantage with 20.6 seconds left.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout What followed was a solid defensive job on the other end and a Leo Gabo layup to seal the game shut to hand Mapua its third win in 15 games with the 76-71 shocker over the Altas.“I just paid off the trust coach Atoy has been giving me,” said Estrella.It was not his first time to step up to the plate, burying a game-winner against Letran back in July for the Cardinals’ first win of the season.In a season where positives are not as abundant as the seasons prior, moments like Estrella’s game-winner are are a big deal for the Cardinals.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Cone fined P5k for entering court during Aguilar-Espinas scuffle in quarters Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Once the immediate euphoria of winning Wimbledon for a second time had subsided, the tears flowing down Andy Murray’s face bore testament to the sheer relief surging through his body.Instead of charging up the stands to hug his nearest and dearest — as he had done in 2013 when he ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion — Murray slumped in his chair and sobbed into a towel just relieved to have ended a 36-month search for a third grand slam title.Sunday’s 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(2) victory over Milos Raonic ended a barren stretch that had included coming off second best in this year’s Australian and French Open finals to his nemesis-in-chief, Novak Djokovic.While the world number one’s shock third-round departure from Wimbledon elevated Murray to title favourite, he also knew that one false move on Sunday could leave him with the dubious distinction of becoming the first man in the professional era to lose the finals of the season’s first three grand slams. (Match Highlights)’WIN EXTRA SPECIAL'”I’m just really proud that I managed to do it again after a lot of tough losses in the latter stages of the slams over the last couple of years,” said Murray, who became the first British man since Fred Perry in the 1930s to have his name engraved more than once on the gilded surface of the Challenge Cup.”This win feels extra special because of the tough losses,” he added. (Royal couple grace the occasion)”I’m also proud to get my hands on the trophy again as I’m aware of how difficult these competitions are to win once,” Murray said.advertisement”To do it twice here, an event where there is a lot of pressure on me to perform well … I’m very proud with how I’ve handled that over the years.”With the 15,000-strong crowd, including greats such as Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, roaring their approval, there was one man on Centre Court who maintained a poker face throughout the jubilant celebrations.A month after rekindling his coaching relationship with Murray following a two-year hiatus, it was job done for Ivan Lendl as Murray’s win-loss record during the grasscourt season improved to 12-0.Lendl has now proved that when it comes to Murray, he is the coach with the Midas touch.During their first spell together from 2012 to 2014, the Scot won his previous two slam titles and the Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games.’FULL FAITH IN IVAN LENDL’So why does the relationship work so well?”Ivan’s a leader. That’s important,” Murray said.”I trust in what he says, mainly because of the results we had the last time we worked together. I played my best tennis under him,” he added.”He was always trying to get me to play more offensive tennis. I did that and got results from it.”He’s very honest with me. He says exactly what he thinks. (I) don’t always like hearing it but it is often what I need to hear.”In Lendl’s absence, Murray had reached three major finals but each time Djokovic had proved to be a recurring nightmare that simply would not go away.However, after winning only two of his previous 10 slam finals, the world number two hopes Sunday’s victory and his reunion with Lendl will put him on the path to re-addressing that imbalance.”I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me, that I have an opportunity to win more,” the 29-year-old said.”Everyone’s time comes at different stages. Some come in their early 20s, some mid 20s. Hopefully mine is still to come.”
Last year Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini had to swim for her life when the boat she was traveling in while trying to reach Europe broke down; this month the teenager will be swimming in the Rio Olympics.Yusra, who is a member of the first ever Olympic refugee team, told how she and her sister Sara feared they might drown after their overloaded dinghy started taking in water as they crossed the Mediterranean to Greece.Along with another refugee they jumped in the sea and pulled the boat for three hours through the water, saving the lives of 19 others.“When I was in the water there was fear. You don’t know whether you are going to live or die,” the 18-year-old said in a video interview published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).Yusra, who will compete in the 100-meter freestyle, is among 10 athletes in the refugee team, which will march behind the Olympic flag at Friday’s opening ceremony in Brazil.“When I was swimming for my life, I never would have believed I would be where I am now,” the IOM quoted her as saying.The two sisters, who now live in Germany, left their home in Syria’s war-battered capital Damascus a year ago and headed to Turkey.One evening they boarded a dinghy on the Turkish coast along with 20 others – around three times as many people as it was designed to carry.“Before you go on the boat, people tell you that you are going to die,” Sara told the IOM in an interview published on Monday. “So the first thing you think about when you get on that boat is death. You don’t think of anything else.”Hundreds have died crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey as they tried to reach Europe after fleeing conflicts and political turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere.Sara, also a swimmer, said she told her sister that if their boat capsized during the journey they should just try to save themselves as it would be impossible to help everyone else. But when the engine stopped and the boat started deflating she realized she could not let the others drown.“We needed to have less weight on the boat and nobody else besides us could swim… When I first got into the water my whole body was shaking like it does just before competition,” she said. “At that very moment I felt that life was bigger than me alone. All the people on that boat were part of me. I thought it was my duty to jump in the water… if I [had left] them I would feel bad with myself for the rest of my life.”She described how her father’s friend cut off her trouser legs in the sea to stop her clothing weighing her down. After two hours she was battling exhaustion and knew she risked falling asleep and drowning.“It was getting dark and cold, the wind was blowing and I was freezing. I could not open my eyes anymore, they were full of saltwater,” she said.They eventually arrived on one of the Greek islands in the middle of the night.Her sister Yusra says she hopes her story will inspire others. “Now we are training really hard,” she said. “I think about making my parents proud and everyone who supported me.”The teenager has three dreams. “I hope that they will open the borders for refugees, and I hope to get a medal in the Olympics, and that my home town is in peace again.”[Thomson Reuters Foundation]TweetPinShare0 Shares
Before this year’s Ashes the contest was expected to be two good bowling attacks against two brittle batting line-ups. In large part that has played out. One exception has been that across the first four Tests, Australia fielded three excellent fast bowlers to England’s two. The other exception, which creates rather a large skew, has been Steve Smith producing one of the most dominant sequences of batting ever recorded.Australia’s fast bowlers have mixed and matched around a core of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, giving England’s batsmen no break at all. England have had Stuart Broad in vintage form and Jofra Archer bringing a whole new energy but Chris Woakes has been marginalised and modestly effective, and his temporary replacement Craig Overton offered more with bat than ball. Since you’re here… Read more The Ashes Share on Twitter Australia sport Cricket … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. England cricket team The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email. Read more Jofra Archer says flu-ridden Steve Smith ‘didn’t look as nailed on as usual’ Reuse this content When a team takes an early wicket, spirits are high. You are up, they are down. Celebrations erupt. A second wicket should be even better. Yet since his hundred on the first day of the series, a sense of foreboding seems to spread through the ground when a second wicket falls. In comes Smith and out go hopes of taking a third.Most notable is the way that Smith has neutralised England’s best. Broad has moved the ball viciously from around the wicket to Australia’s left-handers, taking edges on one side of the bat, pads and stumps on the other. As soon as Smith has arrived, Broad suddenly appears to shrink back into being a modest right-arm trundler.With Smith’s movement outside his off stump, any lateral movement Broad can find is negated. Smith is happy to treat the bowler with respect much of the time, defending in between knocking a run or two to square-leg, but the boundaries he carved through cover at the Oval had more than a hint of dismissiveness.Archer was in with a chance early in the innings, drawing a couple of indiscreet pushes. But while England supporters seem to think the Archer bouncer is a secret weapon, Smith has calmly got underneath it ever since he was hit on an uneven pitch at Lord’s. No one in the world is less impressed by the delivery. Share on Facebook Australia cricket team Support The Guardian Share on WhatsApp Topics features Both attacks have been refreshed with all-rounders in the final Test, with Mitchell Marsh taking his first Test five-for, mostly on the first day, before Sam Curran grabbed an important three wickets for England on the second.But still in Smith-free circumstances England’s line-leaders on their own might have been enough. Broad has so utterly toasted David Warner that the Australian opener came out at the Oval going wild against Archer, swinging and missing at balls so wide they barely landed on the cut strip. The last time Warner played like this he smoked 30 from 13 balls in Cape Town before losing his stumps, one day before he got busted sandpapering the match ball. Let us just say it does not betray a serene state of mind.Warner has been out in single figures eight times out of nine. Two other openers have failed apace. Usman Khawaja, who could have opened, had already been dropped from No 3. Travis Head at No 5 was punted while Matthew Wade bashed one declaration hundred but has not looked reliable at the crease. Tim Paine has produced one defiant innings from No 7 but needed more.Had No 4 been filled by a batsman of similar calibre, Australia might have come to the Oval trailing 4-0. Instead the visitors have had Smith, meaning the fifth Test panned out like the fourth, and the second, and the first. He came to the crease at two down for bugger-all, batted through the departures of his colleagues, then did what he could with the tail.His 80 was his lowest score for the series in six attempts. What has stood out most about this absurdly prolific run is how the atmosphere of an innings has changed every time he has walked in. Soon enough, runs came from Archer as easily. When wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow burst out laughing after fooling Smith into a dive while taking a run, Smith immediately played a leg-side flick from Archer so pure that no one moved before it hit the fence. Don’t mess with me, it seemed to say.In the end perhaps even Smith was tired after a long series, missing a ball from Woakes that hit his pad directly in front. England would have seen it as a victory to get him for only 80. Australia were rolled over 69 runs behind, Archer taking six wickets. But again the contributions around Smith were barely there. Without him that deficit alone would have been match-losing. For now Australia remain in the game. What a series England’s bowlers might have given their team had it not been for the batting of one man. Share via Email Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Ashes 2019