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The Sport Matrix: Thursday 28 March 2013

Ryder in critical condition after late-night attack

The New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder is in intensive care after suffering a fractured skull in an attack which began in a bar and carried on outside a fast food outlet.

Ryder, who last played for his country in February last year, was said to have been set upon by four men while in a bar with his provincial team mates in Christchurch. The New Zealand captain Ross Taylor tweeted: "Thinking of you mate."

An eye-witness in Aikman's Bar in the suburb of Merivale said the attack on Ryder, above, "looked unprovoked" and that four men "absolutely smashed him".

A police statement read: "Police are investigating an incident at a bar in Merivale in the early hours of this morning. Police can confirm the incident involved Jesse Ryder and that he is in Christchurch Hospital."

Ryder was in the city having played for Wellington against Christchurch in the major preliminary final of the provincial one-day competition.

He was due to fly to India today to start his £165,000 Premier League contract with the Delhi Daredevils.

Flower: England must improve

England coach Andy Flower has admitted his England side will have to perform better if they are to overcome New Zealand in May's return series. "We will have to be more skilful than we were [in the drawn series in New Zealand] to have a great summer," he said. MORE

Black Cats lose key pair for the season

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole and leading scorer Steven Fletcher were both ruled out for the season yesterday, dealing a blow to the club's hopes of avoiding relegation. Cattermole has struggled with a knee injury all season, while Fletcher hurt his ankle against Wales last week. MORE

England game in doubt after closure

England's summer friendly in Brazil remains in doubt after another Rio de Janeiro stadium was closed yesterday. The Olympic stadium was seen as a back-up for the Maracana – which is still undergoing work – but it has been shut due to structural problems with the roof. MORE

RVP: United could be my last club

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has admitted he could see out the rest of his career at Old Trafford. "For the next few years I will be at United – and maybe longer," he said, despite joining from Arsenal only seven months ago. "United could be my last club." MORE

Waugh: Write us off at your peril

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh warns that his country will still challenge for the Ashes this summer. "You play with more freedom when you're underdogs," he said. "We've got unbelievable talent. The Ashes will be closer than people say." MORE

Murray closes in on No 2 ranking

A defeat for Novak Djokovic has opened the door for Andy Murray to take the Miami Masters and reclaim the world No 2 spot. Murray beat Andreas Seppi and now faces Marin Cilic, over whom he holds a 7-1 record, in today's quarter-finals. MORE

McIlroy content to take a back seat

Rory McIlroy tees off in the Houston Open today happy the full glare of the spotlight is now on new world No 1 Tiger Woods. "I'm trying to immerse myself in my own world," he said. "If I do that, it sort of blocks everything else out." MORE

Radcliffe: Career may be at an end

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe admits she may have run her last race as she struggles with a foot injury. "I accept it may not be possible," said the 39-year-old, who has cancelled plans to compete in a 10km race this spring. MORE

Hunter's handed draw green light

The draw for the starting positions in Saturday's World Cup was favourable to the fancied Hunter's Light. The Godolphin-owned five-year-old is proven on the artificial surface and secured a favourable middle stall. MORE

James Lawton

No one is saying Roy Hodgson's side consciously surrendered in Montenegro but there must remain a question about their motivation. They talked a big game but the delivery was woeful. MORE

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