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Abu Dhabi venue for novel match

London: Abu Dhabi, and not Lordís, is to host the traditional curtain raiser to the English cricket season that will have the distinction of being the first four-day fixture to be played under floodlights and using pink balls, next year. The experiment will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium from March 29 when the Marylebone Cricket Club plays county champions Durham. The decision to move the fixture from Lordís was confirmed this week at an MCC committee meeting.

Rule changes

Calcutta: English cricket administrators have unveiled rule changes that ban the use of heavy rollers during a match and reward wins rather than boring draws. The ECB changes will also see teams awarded 16 points for a win, up from 14, and just three for a draw, down from four. A maximum of five additional batting points and three additional bowling points are still available during each sideís first innings, but the threshold has been reduced from 120 to 110.

Points system

London: F1 approved a new scoring system Friday with points extended to the top 10 drivers in a record-equalling 19-race 2010 season that will start and finish in the Middle East. The FIA said its world motor sport council had agreed the new system that will reward race winners with 25 points rather than the 10 on offer at present. The change follows the expansion of the starting grid to 13 teams from 10.

Chess meet

Khanty Mansisysk: Former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine held top seed Boris Gelfand to yet another draw in the second game of the finals of the World Chess Cup. The scores are now tied at 1-1 in the four-game final.

Shiv tied 14th

Malelane (South Africa): Shiv Kapur carded four-under 68 to take a share of the 14th spot after the opening round of the European Tourís Alfred Dunhill Championship. Local favourite Ulrich van den Berg fired a sparkling 64 to set the pace in the first round.

Bhat falls

Bangalore: Guru Dutt Sai of Andhra Pradesh Friday defeated Arvind Bhat 21-16, 21-8 to make the final of the NPL All-India senior ranking badminton tournament where he will meet Ajay Jayaram.

Venues named

Funchal (Portugal): Ukrainian cities Kiev, Lviv, Donetsk and Kharkiv will host matches in the 2012 European soccer championship, Uefa said Friday, with the capital confirmed as the venue for the final.

Romario again

Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian legend Romario was Thursday convicted of tax evasion for the second time by a court with a sentence of two-and-a-half yearsí community service and a fine of $222,000.


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