(REUTERS) – South Africa captain Faf du Plessis lauded his “relentless” bowlers for their match-winning performance against Australia in Hobart yesterday and dedicated the series win to absent Proteas Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers.Kyle Abbott completes his five-for with the wicket of Mitchell Starc.Kyle Abbott, who replaced pace spearhead Steyn, was Man-of-the-Match after taking 6-77 in the second innings to complete a nine-wicket haul as the home side crumbled to an innings and 80-run defeat before lunch on day four at Bellerive Oval.Kagiso Rabada took 4-34 in Australia’s second innings while Vernon Philander laid the platform for victory with five wickets in the first when Australia were bundled out for 85.“When you play three seamers in attack they all have to stand up at different times,” du Plessis, standing in for regular captain de Villiers, said at the trophy presentation after South Africa took a 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.“I thought yesterday we were exceptional, we didn’t get the rewards we wanted but to come back this morning, just make sure we were relentless in our areas … we knew if we could do those things the wickets will come and they did.“We’re just relentless, we don’t let the pressure go as a bowling unit, we’re there all the time and in the field we back it up.”Although grey skies hung over Hobart, it was a golden morning for 29-year-old Abbott, who has had the misfortune of bowling in the era of Steyn and Philander, managing only seven further Tests since his 2013 debut at home to Pakistan.He knocked over four of Australia’s top six batsmen in the second innings and broke a stubborn partnership between Usman Khawaja and Australia captain Steven Smith with a masterclass of swing, pace and bounce.“It’s been a case of that, over the last few years, waiting for an opportunity. It’s nice to get one and make the most of it,” Abbott said.“That’s always a challenge when you don’t play so much, to stay match-fit and keep that form in games, but when I get that opportunity, I try my heart out and make the most of it.”South Africa have now won their last three series in Australia, following victories under Graeme Smith in 2008 and 2012.du Plessis, who scored an unbeaten century on debut to save South Africa in the Adelaide Test four years ago, said yesterday’s triumph also belonged to Steyn and de Villiers.“Enjoy it, celebrate it with us,” he said in a greeting to the players.“They’re experienced guys. They know coming to Australia is one of the hardest places to come and win.“So to come here and do it 2-0 is special for us as a team but we share that specialness with great players in our side like Dale and AB, who have been here lots of times and worked really hard to try to win games of cricket.”
Freshman Sophia Popov’s victory helped the No. 3 USC Women’s golf team make up for the absence of three-time All-American junior Lizette Salas.Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the team to keep up.Despite Popov’s first-place performance, the Women of Troy finished third in a field of 21 teams at the Pac-10/SEC Challenge at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif.Popov, fresh off pacing the German national team at the World Amateur in Argentina, fired a six-under-par 207 (72-68-67).“I was really relaxed out there and I hit the ball really well,” Popov said.She had her best round last, which helped the team climb the leader board during the rain-delayed final round. Five birdies and only one bogey helped Popov move from fifth the first place, giving the freshman her first collegiate victory on Sunday.UCLA won the tournament at six-over-par 856 (285-281-290), 11 strokes above No. 1 Alabama at 15-over 867 (289-286-292) and 19 strokes ahead of USC at 875 (294-291-290). The Women of Troy were as low as 10th going into the final round, but a strong final day boosted them to a fourth-consecutive top-three finish for the fall season.USC coach Andrea Gaston said she was pleased with the final day.“I know we left a lot of shots and a lot of putts out there, but it’s nice to make a huge move,” Gaston said. “Being back in 10th place and ending up in third is a huge move.”Joining Popov in the top 10 was junior Lisa McCloskey. McCloskey tied for 10th at three-over 216 (69-73-74), continuing her streak of top-10 finishes. Tenth place is her lowest finish since arriving at USC for this season. The two-time All-American, who represented Columbia at the World Amateur in October, was on the front nine in her final round, but couldn’t overcome a double bogey on her way to a three-over-par final nine.Sophomore Cyna Rodriguez tied for 24th at nine-over-par 222 (76-73-73). Her final round of four birdies was undone by four bogeys and a double bogeys, though a final round 73 was good enough to bring her from 45th place to 24th on the final day.Junior Inah Park tied for 79th with a consistent tournament at 21-over-par 234 (77-79-78). A double bogey on her second hole was compounded by seven bogeys with only two birdies on the final day.Freshman Rachel Morris rounded out the Women of Troy in 89th place at 23-over-par 236 (83-77-76). Her best round, on Sunday, suffered from a stretch of five bogeys in six holes.The team played without Salas for the first time this season, presenting an interesting opportunity for the team to examine its depth. A third-place finish without Salas is encouraging, according to Gaston.Beyond naming a team and individual winner, the tournament sought to pit the two most powerful conferences in women’s golf against each other, a concept East and West Coast fans have long dreamed about in college football. The Pac-10 took the title with teams finishing first, third, fourth and tied for sixth.USC has finished its fall season, and now has until Feb. 14 before playing in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif. Until then, the team will work to improve their chances of getting its first victory of the season.“I’ll try to get ready for spring season, because that one matters more,” Popov said.
Erik Karlsson says he’s not going to return “anytime soon” but will be back for the start of the playoffs “100 percent.” Hopes to play at least a few games before that. Current injury is different from previous groin strain but it’s in the same neighborhood #SJSharks— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) March 8, 2019Karlsson is dealing with a nagging groin injury and is taking a cautious approach in his first season with San Jose.He has totaled 45 points on 42 assists and three goals in 2018-19 to help the Sharks to a 40-19-8 record. They only trail the Flames in the Pacific Division and will likely have to challenge them for the division title without Karlsson.The Sharks have 15 regular season games remaining and will face the Blues on Saturday. San Jose might be without Erik Karlsson for a while.The Sharks defenseman said Friday that he won’t be back “anytime soon.” But, he does expect to be be back before the start of the playoffs, according to a report from The Athletic.