We think Shane Watson will get among the wickets again as the Aussies cruise past the West Indies
Photo: Getty Images
Aussies belt Windies out of World T20
Australia have surprised us all with wins against more fancied India and South Africa, largely on the back of super Shane Watson’s performances with bat and ball. But they reverted to Twenty20 type in their last super eights match with a host of failed tonks to cow corner against Pakistani spinners Mohammad Hafeez and Raza Hasan. Luckily, George Bailey’s men don’t have to face any world-class tweakers in Friday’s semi-final. Watson should pick up where he left off and, along with Hussey, Warner, White and co, blast the fairly ordinary West Indian attack into the stands. Only a very special innings from Chris Gayle will see the Aussies miss the final. – BD
Glory avenge grand final loss
While the rest of us marvelled at the theatre and drama of Brisbane Roar's last-gasp triumph in the A-League grand final, Perth Glory have doubtless been seething over the perceived injustice of the controversial penalty handed to Besart Berisha. Happily for Ian Ferguson and his men, they haven't had long to wait to get another crack at the champs - and this time it's at their home ground. Perth head into Saturday's opening-round clash with a settled, seasoned line-up bolstered by quality recruits Michael Thwaite, Nick Ward and Scott Jamieson. The Roar also have much the same squad as 2012, but they have had to adjust to the absence of supercoach Ange Postecoglou, replaced by his understudy Rado Vidosic. Brisbane's new coach has pledged to mimic Postecoglou's free-flowing style but the Glory in WA look to be too stern a test first-up. Expect Perth to score at least twice in a narrow win, with Shane Smeltz opening his account in round one. - MR
Pumas, injuries take down Wallabies
The poor old Australian rugby team cannot take a trick. With winger Digby Ioane and Scott Higginbotham still doubtful to play, on top of the loss of Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper from the thumping in South Africa, the Wallabies, who just fell over the line last time these two sides met, will find the going even tougher on the Pumas’ home turf. Buoyed by the local crowd, Argentina’s pack will prove too strong for the Australians, who lack big-game experience in their backs with the likes of Will Genia, Quade Cooper and James O’Connor missing along with Barnes and Ashley-Cooper. We predict a close but embarrassing loss for the Australians against the world’s eighth-ranked team. - BD
Potters finally end winless Anfield run
Stoke City have never, not once, beaten Liverpool away in the top-flight, a winless streak that eclipses all others in Premier League history. In 49 attempts stretching back to the old First Division, the Potters have recorded 10 draws and 39 losses at Liverpool's home ground. Their last win at Anfield in any division came 53 years ago in 1959, when both the Potters and the Reds were wallowing in second-tier hell. It's one of the most enduring truisms of the Premier League: Stoke don't win at Anfield, ever. And we think it's about to be broken. Consider Liverpool's woeful start to this season, their worst-ever in the Premier League: five points from a possible 18 and no wins at home from three attempts. Consider the amount of Anfield-familiar talent at Stoke's disposal: Peter Crouch, Charlie Adams, Jermaine Pennant and Michael Owen. It's the long shot to end all long shots, but we think it's finally going to happen. - AJ
Lowndes does it again at Mt Panorama
It's bound to be an emotional Sunday for Craig Lowndes. The 38-year-old will be chasing his sixth Bathurst crown at the iconic enduro's 50th birthday, and his Holden will bear a special livery paying tribute to the late Peter Brock. Brock, whose name is synonymous with Mt Panorama, was a one-time mentor to Lowndes and his legacy will hang heavy over the weekend's proceedings. Every driver will want fiercely to win the 50th edition of Australia's most famous race, but none will want it more than Lowndes. We think 'The Kid' has this one wrapped up already and will see off challenges from teammate Jamie Whincup and the FPR stable. It will be a fitting tribute to his great mate, as well as a reminder that Lowndes is, also, one of the all-time greats. - AJ
Saturday, 4.20pm - Tune in to BigPond Sports Weekend as we cross LIVE to Flemington for the 2000m Turnbull Stakes.
Saturday, 4.40pm - Spring racing action continues on BigPond Sports Weekend as we cross LIVE to Randwick for the 2400m The Metropolitan.
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