The Sport Matrix: Friday 13 June 2014


Root’s ton helps revive England

Joe Root scored an unbeaten 102 as England began their recovery from a dire winter by reaching 344-5 on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka. England slumped to 22-2 and 120-4, but Ian Bell (56) and Moeen Ali (48) began the resurgence before Root’s inspired knock. MORE

Murray and Nadal suffer shock losses

Andy Murray suffered a shock  7-6, 6-2 defeat to Radek Stepanek at the Aegon Championships. Rafael Nadal also lost yesterday, to Dustin Brown at the Halle tournament in Germany, as both players struggled to adjust quickly to grass following the French Open. MORE

McDowell hits 68 to share early lead

Graeme McDowell struck a two-under 68 that left him sharing the clubhouse lead with Kevin Na, after his opening round at the US Open at Pinehurst. Rory McIlroy recorded a one-over 71, while defending champion Justin Rose was two over. MORE

Wood can’t face ‘painful’ Test loss

Tom Wood will return for England in tomorrow’s second Test with New Zealand and is eager to prevail after watching last week’s late loss. “I felt we had the better of New Zealand last weekend,” he said. “To fail again would be very painful.”

Fabregas makes move to Chelsea

Chelsea signed Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona yesterday, as the midfielder confirmed Arsenal turned down the chance to take him back. He said: “Everyone knows that Arsenal had the first option to sign me. They decided not to take this option.” MORE

Froome leads as Spilak wins stage

Chris Froome maintained his 12-second advantage at the top of the Critérium du Dauphiné standings after a tough fifth stage from Sisteron to La Mure, which was won by Simon Spilak of the Katusha team. MORE

Brian Smith

It’s a huge gamble by England head coach Stuart Lancaster to move outside centre Manu Tuilagi to the wing for the second Test. In attack, I’m sure he’ll be fine. In defence? That will be the test.

Neymar stars as Brazil come from behind to win

Neymar struck twice as Brazil came from behind to beat Croatia 3-1 in the opening match of the tournament at the Arena de Sao Paulo. Croatia stunned the hosts by taking the lead in the 11th minute. Ivica Olic sent in an inviting cross from the left which team-mate Nikica Jelavic miss-kicked, before it hit Marcelo (right) on his ankle and went in. But Brazil levelled in the 29th minute through their star attacker, Neymar, the 22-year-old scoring with a left-footed effort from 25 yards out. Neymar put Brazil in front in the 71st minute. Dejan Lovren was judged to have failed Fred in the area, and Neymar scored from the spot. Croatia had a goal disallowed late on, with Olic judged to have fouled goalkeeper Julio Cesar, before Oscar struck Brazil’s third. MORE

Manaus in manic race to be ready

The Manaus stadium that will host England’s game with Italy tomorrow was in a race against time yesterday to be ready for kick-off, with the pitch still brown, dry and sandy in places and much of the interior areas still frantically being cleaned with 48 hours to go. MORE

Horne: errors will help Blatter’s plan

FA general secretary Alex Horne believes a refereeing error in Brazil will give impetus to Sepp Blatter’s call to allow managers to challenge referees’ decisions via replays. “Don’t underestimate the power of circumstance,” he said.

Spain set for Dutch

Spain begin their bid to become only the third team to retain the world title tonight, when they play Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands. The teams reconvene following their tempestuous final four years ago. MORE