The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 31 October 2012


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The Independent Online

KP returns in England opener

England enjoyed a mixed day in the field on the first day of their opening tour match in India as Kevin Pietersen made his international comeback. India A closed on 369-9, with Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann taking three wickets each. MORE

Chelsea at risk of backlash over Clattenburg case

Chelsea are at risk of a backlash from referees and officials should the club's claims of race abuse allegations against referee Mark Clattenburg prove baseless. The 37-year-old referee is accused of using inappropriate words during Chelsea's 3-2 defeat by Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, including a racial slur aimed at John Obi Mikel, below. The matter is the subject of a police investigation.

Officials and referees are believed to be unhappy over the havoc which can be brought upon a referee's career over the say-so of players. Clattenburg has been left off the list for this weekend's matches, although he is believed to be keen on a swift return.

The clubs involved meet again at the same venue in a League Cup fourth-round tie tonight, with Chelsea using the match programme to remind supporters of their responsibilities regarding the safety of themselves and staff. Tighter security measures are planned, with an increased number of away fans in attendance. MORE

Lancaster looks to perk up Hartley

The England coach Stuart Lancaster has asked Dylan Hartley to remain positive, despite being ruled out for, potentially, the whole autumn series with a knee injury. "It's hard on Dylan," said Lancaster, who is also has Courtney Lawes on the injury list. MORE

Djokovic insists he won't rest on laurels

Novak Djokovic has insisted he does not intend to take it easy for the rest of the year, despite already securing the No 1 spot. "It was a very good year for me," he said. "But it's not over. There are very important tournaments to come." MORE

Wiggins helps with Test preparations

England's preparations for the autumn internationals were aided by a speech from Tour de France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins last night. The 32-year-old was invited to address the squad by the head coach, Stuart Lancaster.

Europe quick on draw in California

European contenders in next weekend's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita have been largely favoured in the draw ceremony in California. The Irish-trained fancy Excelebration will run from stall six in the Mile. MORE

Premier trio sent tumbling out

Leeds reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 16 years after beating Southampton 3-0. Two other Premier League sides made exits last night – Wigan losing 4-2 on penalties to Bradford after a goalless draw, while Sunderland lost 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough.

Walcott treble in Madejski thriller

Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as Arsenal staged a remarkable comeback to beat Reading 7-5 after extra time. The hosts led 4-0 before Arsenal forced an additional half-hour and then led 5-4. Reading equalised again before late goals took Arsenal through to the last eight. MORE

Benteke double does for Swindon

Christian Benteke scored twice, including a last-minute winner, to help Aston Villa beat Swindon 3-2 to reach the last eight. The Belgian opened the scoring on 30 minutes before Gabriel Agbonlahor doubled the lead. Miles Storey then hit two in three minutes to level the tie. MORE

Richards ruled out for four months

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has been ruled out for four months after knee surgery. The England international twisted his leg during last Saturday's 1-0 victory over Swansea City, having only recently returned from an ankle problem. MORE

Opnion: James Lawton

Innocent or guilty of the accusation, Mark Clattenburg's plight can only provide fresh ammunition for those who believe the referee's job is verging on the untenable. MORE