KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – India captain Virat Kohli and opener Mayank Agarwal stroked half-centuries but West Indies skipper Jason Holder responded with a terrific display of pace bowling, as the home side shared honours on the opening day of the decisive second Test here yesterday.Sent in at Sabina Park in excellent conditions, India reached the close on 264 for five, with Kohli top-scoring with 76 and Agarwal getting 55.Well-placed on 157 for three at tea, India lost both Ajinkya Rahane (24) and Kohli insidethe first hour following the resumption, but Hanuma Vihari carved out an unbeaten 42 and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, an unbeaten 27, to deny West Indies any further success in the session in a crucial 62-run, unbroken sixth-wicket partnership.Low-keyed in the Antigua opening Test which West Indies lost by 318 runs inside four days last week, seamer Holder sprung to life in the humidity of the country’s capital with a haul of three for 39, including the prized wicket of Kohli.In 20 probing overs, the six-foot, seven-inch Barbadian troubled all India’s batsmen with his bounce and movement, and was unlucky not to have had more success.The morning session, however, belonged to debutant off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, who took his first Test wicket and held a sharp chance at first slip off Holder, as India lost two wickets before lunch.West Indies captain Jason Holder celebrates after claiming the prized wicket of India captain Virat Kohli on yesterday’s opening day of the second Test at Sabina Park.Agarwal, in only his fourth Test, put on 32 for the first wicket with KL Rahul (13) to give India a solid start to the encounter.It was Holder who got the breakthrough in the seventh over of the day when he got one to leave Rahul for Cornwall to snare the catch in the cordon off the resulting edge.Introduced on the stroke of the first hour, Cornwall then struck in his third over when he had Cheteshwar Pujara (6) caught at point by Shamarh Brooks cutting one that bounced sharply.On 46 for two, India were steadied by Kohli and Agarwal who posted an enterprising 69 for the third wicket, a partnership which carried the visitors to lunch at 74 for two.The second session belonged to India as Kohli extended his stand with Agarwal, before putting on a further 49 for the fourth wicket with Rahane.All told, Kohli faced 163 balls in 3-½ hours and struck 10 fours while Agarwal punched seven boundaries in an innings lasting 127 deliveries and 2-¾ hours.Unbeaten on 41 at lunch, Agarwal reached his half-century in the eighth over after the resumption with two streaky boundaries off seamer Kemar Roach, the first an inside edge to fine leg and the second and outside edge through gully.He was given out caught at the wicket on 55 in Roach’s next over but had the decision overturned by DRS. However, he failed to cash in on the reprieve and was dismissed in the very next over, caught at first slip by Cornwall off Holder, trying to cut one too close to him.Unfazed, Kohli exquisitely drove speedster Shannon Gabriel to the cover boundary in successive overs before raising his 22nd Test half-century, 15 minutes before tea, as he and Rahane took India safely to the break.West Indies struck in the first over after the interval, however, when Roach got one to straighten and brush Rahane’s edge, and give debutant wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton his first Test dismissal.By then, Holder had his tail up and Kohli had put on 38 for the fifth wicket with Vihari when he was undone by a peach of a leg-cutter from his opposite number and could only nick his defensive push to Hamilton.Stumbling on 202 for five, India’s recovery was engineered by Vihari who has so far stroked eight fours in an 80-ball knock to be in sight of his third half-century in his sixth.Pant, meanwhile, has faced 64 balls and belted two fours and a six – a clean hit over long-on off part-time off-spinner Roston Chase.INDIA 1st innings Rahul c Cornwall b Holder 13 Agarwal c Cornwall b Holder 55 Pujara c Brooks b Cornwall 6 Kohli c wkp. Hamilton b Holder 76 Rahane c wkp. Hamilton b Roach 24 Vihari not out 42 Pant not out 27Extras: (b-8, lb-13) 21Total: (5 wkts, 90 overs) 264Fall of wickets: 1-32, 2-46, 3-115, 4-164, 5-202 Bowling: Roach 19-7-47-1, Gabriel 12-0-57-0, Holder 20-6-39-3, Cornwall 27-8-69-1, Chase 12-4-31-0.WEST INDIES – J. Holder (captain), K. Brathwaite, J. Campbell, S. Brooks, D. Bravo, R. Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, J. Hamilton, R. Cornwall, K. Roach, S. Gabriel.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run in the third inning Wednesday at Landshark Stadium to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.[/media-credit]MIAMI (AP) — Hayden Penn pitched his way right off the Marlins’ roster.The Florida reliever issued three bases-loaded walks Wednesday night and Ryan Braun homered to help the Milwaukee Brewers snap a five-game losing streak with a 9-6 win Wednesday night over the Marlins.After the game, the Marlins announced that Penn would be designated for assignment on Thursday. Florida will have 10 days to trade, release or send Penn outright to the minors after making the move.“I couldn’t get locked in at all,” Penn said. “Everything I tried to do wasn’t working. It’s a pretty helpless feeling when you can’t throw the ball over the plate.”The Brewers scored six runs in the fifth inning, three on bases-loaded walks after Penn relieved rookie Sean West (0-3) with runners on first and second.Seth McClung (3-1) pitched 3 1-3 innings of relief for a taxed Brewers bullpen, allowing only an eighth-inning homer by Dan Uggla. Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 14 chances this season.A series of short outings by the last five starting pitchers has given Milwaukee relief issues of its own.“It’s our job in the bullpen to come in and do what we’re asked to do and today I was asked to come in and put us in a position where we didn’t have to use everybody,” McClung said. “Being able to keep us rested in the bullpen is going to put us in a better situation.”Milwaukee was up 3-1 going into the fifth. An error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez on Braun’s grounder followed by Prince Fielder’s one-out single put runners on first and second and chased West. A grounder by J.J. Hardy forced Braun at home for the second out and it seemed Penn might get out of the jam.But Penn then walked three consecutive batters with the bases loaded, including starter Braden Looper.He was relieved by Brian Sanches after getting to a 2-1 count on Corey Hart.Hart reached on third baseman Emilio Bonifacio’s throwing error, which also scored the fourth run of the inning before Casey McGehee doubled home two runs for a 9-1 lead.“That whole inning was real difficult,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “West wasn’t real sharp but he kept us in the ballgame. You’re just trying to get two outs and not use four or five guys.”Florida got four runs back in the bottom half on a throwing error by Looper, a double play, and singles by Bonifacio and Jorge Cantu. McClung came on and struck out Uggla with the bases loaded to end the inning.Looper allowed five runs in 4 2-3 innings and was one out away from notching his fourth win in his last five starts.“I’m not real happy about it right now. To be cruising as good as I was and have that happen is just inexcusable,” said Looper, who had an eight-run cushion to start the fifth. “I don’t know what happened. It’s all just a blur. Give them some credit, they hit some good pitches. Luckily, the guys scored a lot of runs and I didn’t cost us the game. To not get the win when we score nine runs is pretty frustrating.”Braun hit a two-run homer in the third for a 3-0 lead. The Marlins made it 3-1 on Cantu’s solo home run in the fourth, the first hit of the game off Looper.Notes:@ Milwaukee reliever Mark DiFelice was placed on the bereavement list due to the death of his paternal grandmother. The Brewers recalled RHP Chris Smith from Triple-A Nashville. … Milwaukee CF Mike Cameron returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with tendinitis in his left knee and a sore right throwing shoulder. … The Brewers won for just the third time in their past 15 games in Miami. … Fielder hit an RBI double in the first.
While the Summer Olympics officially ended over two months ago, repercussions from one game in particular in the women’s soccer competition still haven’t faded away.The game, played between the U.S. women’s national soccer team and Canada’s women’s team in the semifinal of the Olympic competition, would not be decided until stoppage time on a last-second goal by forward Alex Morgan.Earlier in the game, this ending never would have seemed possible. Canada had taken the lead three different times throughout the game, but referee Christiana Pederson made two questionable calls in the second half. The second was a disputed penalty kick given for a handball in the box that gave U.S. forward Abby Wambach a chance to tie the score at three, and both went against Canada and ultimately aided the U.S. in its comeback bid.After their semifinal matchup, the Americans would eventually go on to win the gold medal, while Canada had to settle with bronze.In a close game decided by a referee’s less-than-perfect calls, it seems reasonable that the Canadian players would be frustrated by the result, especially after leading for most of the game. After all, how many chances do you get at an Olympic gold medal?Unfortunately for Canadian forward Christine Sinclair, FIFA’s governing body decided Friday they didn’t see things quite the same way.Quotes from Sinclair in postgame press conferences expressed obvious discontent with the refereeing in the critical semifinal game and quickly went viral across the globe.“We feel like we didn’t lose, we feel like it was taken from us,” Sinclair said. “It’s a shame in a game like that, that was so important, the referee decided the result before it started.”Certainly not a scathing, personal attack on the referee by any means, Sinclair’s harsh words for the referee were enough to earn her a four-game ban from the Canadian national team and a reported $3,500 fine from FIFA’s international governing body in what FIFA called “unsporting behavior towards match officials.”The incident poured gasoline on an already intensifying debate as pressure on soccer referees has increased in recent years.Over time, as the game continued to speed up with each successive generation of players to rise through the ranks, referees have been forced to handle the growing task that is regulating a professional soccer game.Many different proposals have surfaced in response to the growing strain put on the referees to make the right call, including instant replay, goal line technology and using more referees in the game.Unfortunately, most of these proposals have remained just that – proposals – as FIFA has made it clear in the last several years they think changing the way games are officiated would destroy the “beautiful game.”While this portion of the argument is understandable – more referees and video replay would slow down a game that is famous for its fluid play – when FIFA chose to forgo most of these ideas to solve the refereeing problems (they have experimented with replay for very specific cases), they also made a decision to increase the likelihood that referees will continue to make poor calls.So when Pederson’s iffy calls didn’t go Canada’s way and ultimately cost them the game, it seems only fair that Sinclair should have the right to protest. She did, after all, single-handedly keep her team in the game.Instead, by punishing Sinclair for her comments, FIFA essentially chose to support, if not promote, mediocrity in its sport.After all, aren’t referees paid to make those calls correctly?Just look at the situation in reverse.Had Sinclair played poorly in the semifinal game, missing key goal scoring opportunities or playing bad passes, it is likely that she would have been benched or possibly even dropped from the team.FIFA’s reaction, while a sign of solidarity with its referees, completely frees the officials from any accountability for their actions. Instead of punishing the referee for her poor refereeing or at least giving her a warning, FIFA made a scapegoat out of Sinclair and didn’t deal with the actual problem.To put this disciplinary decision into perspective, you need not look further than English men’s soccer player John Terry, who received a similar four-match ban from the English Football Association a few weeks ago after he used racial slurs against an opposing player in an English Premier League match.The two players received the same punishment, yet Terry’s actions were in direct violation of FIFA’s “say no to racism” campaign, a valiant cause for a sports body with a diverse set of racial backgrounds on teams all over the world. On the other hand, Sinclair merely vocalized an opinion that most soccer fans and players would agree with: Referees should be held accountable for their mistakes.Still, the game certainly doesn’t need knee-jerk reactions and subsequent referee firings by FIFA – and there is something to be said for the drama element that human error brings to the game. But referee criticism by coaches and players needs to be allowed as a way to hold referees accountable for the problem will only intensify in the coming years.Nick is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. Do you agree with FIFA’s decision? Is refereeing becoming a problem in soccer? Send Nick an email at email@example.com or send him a tweet @npdaniels31.