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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hazeltine, Minnesota - Tiger Woods came back towards the pack on Saturday in a pulsating third round of the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National

London, Aug. 16 : Out of form Australian batsman Michael Hussey has warned England''s rookie batsman Jonathan Trott that he will face a “stern examination” in the fifth and final Ashes Tests to be played at The Oval from next Thursday.

"It''s a huge step up, particularly for Ashes cricket. He will certainly know all about it if he makes his Test debut,'''' the Daily Telegraph quoted Hussey, as saying.

"If he does play he is someone we will have to prepare well against. It is a big step up from first-class cricket to Test cricket. There is no question about that,” he added.

"We haven''t seen a lot of him, a couple of us have played a bit of county cricket against him. I''m sure the powers that be will be working pretty closely getting some good plans against him,'''' Hussey said.

Australia''s Mr. Cricket/Fixit is still searching for his best form - not having scored a Test century since last October. He spent some valuable time in the middle as he notched a patient 65 in the tour game against the England Lions at Canterbury.

"What really matters is doing it out in the middle and unfortunately things haven''t quite gone as well as I would have liked for as long as I would have liked,'''' Hussey said.

"Sometimes the difference between having a good series and an average series is being able to turn those 50s and 60s into a big 150 and unfortunately I haven''t been able to do that,'''' Hussey revealed.

He said that he had pointedly tried to keep his game the same and structure his innings the same way as when he was in his golden patch of form and had a Bradmanesque average. (ANI)

Woods comes back to the pack on moving day at Hazeltine

Hazeltine, Minnesota - Tiger Woods came back towards the pack on Saturday in a pulsating third round of the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National when defending champion Padraig Harrington moved right back into contention.

Four shots clear overnight, world No 1 Woods endured a frustrating day on the greens, finishing with a 1-under-par 71 to end the day just two shots clear of Harrington and little-known Korean YE Yang, who produced a superb 69.

Irishman Harrington would have been even closer but for a bogey at the last hole, which left a sour taste in his mouth, even if his 69 moved him back up the leaderboard.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson, after a 68, and US Open champion Lucas Glover, who shot a 71, are two shots further back on 4-under-par, while South African Ernie Els (68) and Soren Kjeldsen of Norway are still within touching distance on 3-under-par.

Woods picked up two birdies and one bogey but struggled over the closing holes, although he gave himself an excellent chance of birdie at the last, only to slide his attempt just wide.

Woods is chasing his 15th career Major but his first this year and though his lead may have been halved, all 14 of his major triumphs have come when he either led, or held a share of the lead, going into the final round.

Yang, who won the Honda Classic earlier this year, will partner Woods on the final day and will be hoping that lightning strikes twice.

The Korean overtook Woods on the final day at the 2006 HSBC Championship in Shanghai to win the championship, and said that experience could help him on Sunday.

"You never know in the world of sports and the game of golf," he said. "So just try to make every shot, just focus on every shot that I have. And then tomorrow I may end up inside the top 10, top three and even win the PGA Championship. You never know."

Els birdied four straight holes from the 12th to get to 6-under at one point, only to bogey the final three holes to drop back to 3- under-par.

Five shots is a lot to make up on Woods, but the South African said it was not an impossibility.

"I've been playing good. Felt like I've been playing good all week," Els said. "The putter was okay today. I chipped in today. So a lot of good things happened.

"The finish just wasn't great, but I'm not totally out of it. Probably need something like that tomorrow and obviously got to finish it off tomorrow." (dpa)

Murray splits the ranking difference between Roger, Rafa

Montreal - Andy Murray split the difference between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the Scot shot into the number two ATP ranking with his defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) for a finals place at the Montreal Masters Saturday.

Murray's victory means the 23-year-old will stand second in Monday's list behind Federer. Nadal, who missed two and a half months as he rested injured knees, was knocked down to third.

"I played consistently well this year, so bar winning a Slam, I've done enough to justify being number two and getting closer to hopefully one day becoming number one - it's one of my goals," said Murray.

"I've put in a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and I keep working hard to go one step farther."

"In terms of rankings it's the biggest step that I've made so far," said Murray, who is bidding for a fifth title of the season when he plays the winner from Argentine Juan Del Potro or Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.

Nadal, beaten in the Montreal quarter-finals Friday by Potro, took over number one from Federer last August before the Beijing Olympics but lost it after being beaten in the French Open fourth round by Robin Soderling.

The Scot won the first set, firing a forehand winner on his second set point to take the opener.

The second set went strictly on serve as Tsonga's big hitting determined the pace of play.

The Frenchman took it into a tiebreaker, with Murray forced to recover from 4-2 down before saving two Tsonga set points.

Tsonga saved a match point with a low lob, which Murray's racket touched, putting it out of play.

The Scot third seed notched his third ace to set up another match point and leaped for joy at his achievement seconds later as the Frenchman returned long after just under two hours.

"Andy's a very good player and it's tough to go to the net every time against him," said Tsonga. "But that's fine, I'm okay with that."

Murray's move will mark the first time in four years that someone other than Federer or Nadal has entered the top two on the ranking list.

Australian Lleyton Hewitt moved to second behind Federer in July 2005 for a brief period. (dpa)