FLORENCE HALL, Jamaica, (CMC) – West Indies A failed with the bat for the second time in as many days, after left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara claimed a 12-wicket match haul to send them crashing to a heavy 280-run loss inside three days, in the second four-day “Test” here Saturday.Asked to chase an improbable target of 425 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, the hosts tumbled to 144 all out in their second innings to follow up their meek first innings of 137 on Friday’s second day.Only the in-form Sunil Ambris with 41 showed any resistance as Windies A failed to string together a single decent partnership to resist the resurgent Sri Lankans.The right-hander was the only batsman to pass 20, single-handedly carrying the fight before he was ninth out after facing 76 balls in just under 2-1/4 hours at the crease and hitting four fours.Pushpakumara finished with six for 46 to follow up his first innings haul of six for 52, and end with match figures of 12 for 98.As he also did in the first innings, off-spinner Shehan Jayasuriya supported with two for 48.Earlier, Sri Lanka A declared their innings on 267 for nine after resuming the day on 213 for six.Roshen Silva, unbeaten overnight on 85, added just one but Wanindu Hasaranga pummeled an unbeaten 50 off 62 deliveries with six fours, to inflict more misery on Windies A.Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall added two wickets to his tally to finish with five for 107.Left with around an hour to survive before lunch, West Indies A lost wickets steadily and were languishing on 39 for four at the interval.Using the new ball, Pushpakumara knocked over opener John Campbell (1), captain Shamarh Brooks (7) and Vishaul Singh (9) to leave Windies A on 27 for three and Jahmar Hamilton perished for six on the stroke of lunch, as the Sri Lankans assumed full control of the encounter.After the break, Ambris and opener Montcin Hodge (14) tried to resuscitate the innings in a 27-run fifth wicket partnership but seamer Kasun Rajitha cut short the revival by having Hodge caught at the wicket on the stroke of the first hour.Cornwall (2) and Damion Jacobs (0) perished in successive deliveries to Pushpakumara to send Windies A closer to defeat at 80 for seven but Ambris again held up the Sri Lankans’ charge in a 23-run, eighth wicket stand with Sheldon Cottrell (17).When Pushpakumara disposed of Cottrell via the lbw route, Ambris managed to steer the hosts to tea on 119 for eight but his demise, lbw to the first ball after the resumption from Jayasuriya, ensured the end was not a protracted one.The series is tied 1-1 following Windies A’s innings victory in the opening match at the same venue a week ago.Historic Sabina Park in Kingston will host the third and final “Test”, a day/night affair, starting next Thursday. SRI LANKA A 1st innings 294West Indies A 1st Innings 137SRI LANKA 2nd innings(overnight 213 for six)+S Weerakkody c Ambris b Cottrell 2R Chandragupta b Thomas 14*D Silva lbw b Cornwall 1C Asalanka lbw b Cornwall 1R Silva lbw b Cornwall 86S Jayasuriya run out 32D Shanaka st Hamilton b Cornwall 60W Hasaranga not out 50M Pushpakumara c Hodge b Joseph 10K Rajitha c Singh b Cornwall 0A Fernando not out 0Extras (b5, lb1, nb5) 11TOTAL (9 wkts decl., 67.5 overs) 267Fall of wickets: Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-8, 3-14, 4-38, 5-86, 6-192, 7-233, 8-248, 9-253.Bowling: Cottrell 6-1-14-1, Joseph 7-2-23-1, Cornwall 25.5-2-107-5, Thomas 9-1-42-1, Jacobs 13-0-49-0, Campbell 7-0-26-0.WEST INDIES A 2nd innings (target: 425 runs)M Hodge c wkp Weerakkody b Rajitha 14J Campbell c de Silva b Pushpakumara 1*S Brooks c Jayasuriya b Pushpakumara 7V Singh c wkp Weerakkody b Pushpakumara 9+J Hamilton c Pushpakumara b de Silva 6S Ambris lbw b Jayasuriya 41R Cornwall c Hasaranga b Pushpakumara 2D Jacobs lbw b Pushpakumara 0S Cottrell lbw b Pushpakumara 17K Joseph not out 13O Thomas b Jayasuriya 18Extras (b6, lb5, w2, nb3) 16TOTAL (all out, 54 overs) 144Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-13, 3-27, 4-39, 5-66, 6-80, 7-80, 8-103, 9-119, 10-144.Bowling: Pushpakumara 21-8-46-6, Jayasuriya 18-0-48-2, de Silva 2-0-7-1, Rajitha 6-1-13-1, Fernando 4-2-9-0, Shanaka 3-0-10-0.Man-of-the-Match: Malinda Pushpakuma
The USC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are headed out to the desert this weekend to face their first major tests in the pool.The swim teams, both of which finished in the top-10 last in the country last year, will face Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Saturday. While not overlooking Arizona State, Arizona figures to be one of the tougher tests the Trojans will face all season.“The Wildcats are one of the top five teams in the country year in and year out,” USC coach Dave Salo said. “[They] always bring their ‘A’ game against us and under first year head coach Eric Hansen we expect maybe an ‘A+’ game.”Both teams have had about 20 days since their last competitive action. Still, Salo expects a solid performance from his squads, despite the fact that there has been a layoff.“It is time for the Trojans to send the message that we are building off our successes of last year,” Salo said. “Our goal for this weekend of competition is to post some of the top times thus far in the early season.”Salo said the team will look to sophomore Vladimir Morozov and sophomore Dimitri Colupaev on the men’s side to lead the team to what is hopefully a successful first Pac-12 meet. Morozov was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year last season and is one of the top swimmers in the country. He was an All-American in four events last season and looks primed to be even better this season. Colupaev, who is a sophomore as well, was an All-American in three events.On the women’s side, senior Katinka Hosszu and junior Haley Anderson will be crucial to the women’s chances, according to Salo. Hosszu was the NCAA swimmer of the year and the winner of the Honda Award last season and was an All-American in four events, including the 200-yard fly and the 500-yard freestyle. Anderson was an All-American in 1650-yard freestyle and as part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team last season.Salo pointed out that because the Olympics occur in 2012, some of his swimmers will be focused on not only performing well in the collegiate ranks, but in qualifying for the Olympics as well. This week’s contests against Arizona, who finished fifth the country last season, and the Sun Devils cannot be taken lightly, according to Salo. The meets in Arizona are crucial to the Trojans getting off to a great start for what could be a special year.“This is an exciting year for us,” Salo said. “As we are coming off one of our most successful [seasons in] the past 10 years.”The meet against Arizona begins Friday at 2 p.m. in Tucson, Ariz., while the contest against the Sun Devils will begin Saturday at 11 a.m. in Tempe, Ariz.
It is official: Neymar is a Barcelona player. The saga to end all sagas has reached its conclusion, and despite an attempt from Real Madrid to usurp their rivals, Camp Nou will next season feature both Lionel Messi and this floppy-haired 21-year-old in an undeniably tantalising teaming of talent.As the 2012-13 season draws to a close, Barca, despite their fourth La Liga title in five years, are a subdued organisation. The clinical, methodical dismantling at the hands of Bayern, coupled with their own insipid capitulation, once again raised the question of Messidependecia. Without him this immortal team appear fallible. Without their god-like genius, they are ponderous. Susceptible. Beatable. Paris Saint-Germain almost seized upon it. Bayern relentlessly exploited it.Messi IS Barca, some believe. Pedro, Villa, Tello, Alexis – they aren’t offering enough, say others. Now, the cockatoo in the room becomes apparent; Neymar can provide that which is lacking when Messi is unable to deliver.Barcelona’s agent in South America, Andre Cury, is a fully paid-up member of the Neymar appreciation society.“Neymar coming to Barcelona will put an end to two types of over-dependence: dependence on Neymar at Santos and over-dependence on Messi at Barcelona as we would then have another player at his level.”Much of the Barca baiting is, of course, kneejerk and overblown. Yes, the degree of dependecia can on occasion be apparent to all. But does bringing in a player such as Neymar, and the package that travels with him, positively impact that? Whether it is healthy or not, the established order is understood by almost all. Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique have said as much; Messi is the man they turn to, the MVP who must be protected, indulged, even – like an NFL quarterback.And he’s earned their obsequiousness. 310 goals, three Champions Leagues, four Ballon d’Ors. His team-mates recognise he is better than them. It’s taken years of proving this on a consistent basis to bring us to this point, the Messidependecia that is almost accepted practice.The current pyramid of power sees Messi placed as close to the pinnacle as it’s possible to be; Tito Vilanova and Sandro Rosell are, and probably should be, bound by the needs and wants of the man who has made the modern incarnation of the club the fantasy of even the most emphatic Cule.Neymar changes all that. Leaving aside the fundamental flaw in regarding a player who, with the greatest of respect, has produced fleeting moments of brilliance against a level of opposition that falls considerably short of the European standard, in the same breath as Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or even Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is completely ludicrous.Leaving aside everything about him as a player; how his selfishness in possession, his wastefulness in pursuit of self rather than team dynamic, is the antithesis of everything that Barcelona are, and will look to retain. Leaving aside this extrapolated transfer saga, creating a sense of wonderment and unfair anticipation as to what he can conceivably achieve.Barcelona’s apprehension should be primarily concerned with the fact that Neymar is a sponsored behemoth. He represents Football 2.0; a box office hit, created in advance of his achievements. An ‘A’ list film star purely based on the trailer alone.The seemingly innumerable parties with a vested interest in Neymar make him a sideshow act, one that juggled on the wing to lure the highest bidder. Neymar’s playing time becomes as much about endorsements and screentime as it does with his compatibility with Messi or the Barca philosophy. Hell, Madrid offered him more money, but Nike ramped up the endorsements.Andre Cury further escalates the optimism. “Messi will be able to pass on the baton to Neymar, just like Ronaldinho did with Messi.”Such high praise seems incompatible with how a young, burgeoning star – and let’s face it, that is all Neymar is, at just 21 – should be managed when moving from South America to Europe. Players generally switching continents for superstardom are coddled, but ultimately protected from reaching a scenario where their reputation precedes them. Few make the grade, even less can handle the pressure. Barca have been burned before. Yet in Neymar’s case, the opposite seems to be true. There is a crushing ambition to have the Brazilian mentioned in the same breath as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. If ever a player has been set up for a monumental fall, it is poor Neymar – stuck in a faux-environment where, in the minds of many, he is already a better player than he is ever likely to become.