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The Sport Matrix: Friday 19 July 2013

Open under fire as players lambast ‘joke’ course

Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson have criticised Open organisers for making Muirfield almost “unplayable” on a day that Rory McIlroy hit an eight-over-par 79, a performance he described as “brain dead”.

The Scottish links course was playing even faster in the heat and drying wind of yesterday’s first round.

After registering a one-over 72, Poulter described some pin positions as a “joke” and that the 18th needed a “windmill and a clown face.” Zach Johnson leads after the first round. MORE

Smith swings Test Australia’s way after Bell century

Steve Smith took three late wickets to swing the second Test momentum in Australia’s favour, despite Ian Bell earlier picking up his third century in each of the last three Ashes Tests on the opening day at Lord’s.

Bell helped England recover from 28-3 after another dreadful start, but leg-spinner Smith, who did not bowl in Australia’s defeat at Trent Bridge last week, struck to remove Bell, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior, leaving England on 289-7 at the close of play. MORE

Froome in charge despite penalty

Chris Froome extended his lead over Alberto Contador in the Tour de France to just under five minutes yesterday, despite being penalised 20 seconds for taking food in an illegal area. Frenchman Christophe Riblon won stage 18. MORE

England lose and crash out of Euros

England’s women were knocked out of the European Championships after a 3-0 defeat by France last night. A win would have seen Hope Powell’s team progress, but they left for home without a victory in their three group games. MORE

Striker Jovetic close to City move

Fiorentina have reached a £22.4m agreement to sell Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic to Manchester City, the Serie A club confirmed last night. Benfica’s Argentine right winger Eduardo Salvio is also the subject of a €30m (£25.8m) bid by City.

Warwicks keep title hopes alive

Warwickshire kept alive their hopes of retaining the County Championship with a 216-run victory over Nottinghamshire. Jeetan Patel finished with match figures of 8 for 128, while off-form Alex Hales (58) made his first half-century since April. MORE

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