WHILE acknowledging that Steven Smith “took some convincing” to sit out the remainder of the Sri Lanka tour in order to rest and re-charge for Australia’s forthcoming fixtures, coach Darren Lehmann has strongly defended the move as being in the team’s best interests.“We just wanted to make sure that he’s fresh and ready to go for South Africa and then the big summer ahead,” Lehmann told reporters in Colombo. “It was well-planned and well thought out, and that’s what we’re doing.”Australia are due to tour South Africa for 5 ODIs in September-October, before hosting them for three Tests in November. That will be followed by home series against New Zealand and Pakistan. Australia will then tour New Zealand and India early next year.Despite leaving the tour early, Smith has emphasised his desire to continue captaining Australia in all three formats, and Lehmann backed that sentiment.“He wants to keep doing that and we’re very happy with the way he’s leading the side,” Lehmann said.Smith’s departure will give David Warner the opportunity to captain his country for the first time. Warner’s captaincy experience so far is limited to leading Sunrisers Hyderabad in this year’s IPL season and a lone match as captain of Sydney Thunder in an earlier edition of the Big Bash League.“If Steven happened to get injured then we need David to have some experience,” Lehmann said. “So that’s another opportunity and that’s important for us to get him that experience. They’re a great leadership duo together and David’s been exceptional over the last couple of years, coming through some difficult times and now playing really well.“Obviously we’d like him to make a few more runs in this tour but, having said that, with the leadership, he did really well with the IPL side (Sunrisers Hyderabad) so we’re confident he’ll do a good job for us.”The move to send Smith home midway the ODI series in Sri Lanka has been criticised by a number of former players. Michael Slater tweeted that “the captain should be there to the end”, while Dean Jones and Michael Clarke felt that, if Smith had to be rested, it should have been done before the ODI series began, rather than halfway through it. (ESPN Cricinfo)
Having created the opener with his vicious right-wing cross, Salah then stung the palms of Ley Matampi with a powerful 25-yard free-kick.Egypt would be rescued by the woodwork once more though when a deep cross was nodded back across goal by Bokadi Bope and Jonathan Bolingi’s looping header bounced back off the bar.With his side riding their luck, Salah rose to the occasion and settled Egyptian nerves two minutes before half-time with a typically brilliant finish.Played into space down the right by Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, Salah skipped inside Tisserand and ripped a crisp low drive inside Matampi’s near post to cue a volcanic eruption from the masses of delirious Egyptian supporters.Mohamed El Shenawy produced an excellent sprawling second-half save to claw out a Jacques Maghoma header, but despite an improvement on a horror first outing, DR Congo now know they must beat Zimbabwe in their final game in order to possibly advance as one of the four best third-place finishers.“The feelings are mixed when you play such a match. Unfortunately we lost so the feeling is one of hurt, particularly for my players. They gave a lot and fought hard but didn’t get the result,” said DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge, whose side fell 2-0 to Uganda in their opening match.“We’ve got one match left against Zimbabwe and we can hope for third place. We’re going to fight until the end.”Share on: WhatsApp Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Egypt and DR Congo at the Cairo International StadiumCairo, Egypt | AFP | Mohamed Salah scored his first goal of the Africa Cup of Nations as hosts Egypt secured a place in the last 16 on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo.Ahmed Elmohamady prodded Egypt ahead on 25 minutes after a wicked Salah cross and the Liverpool star slammed in a second shortly before half-time to spark frenzied celebrations at a packed Cairo International Stadium.Record seven-time champions Egypt rode their luck at times as DR Congo twice struck the crossbar in the first half but the Group A leaders held firm to join Nigeria as the first teams through to the knockout phase.Egypt overcame the distraction of Amr Warda being banished from the squad earlier in the day over mounting sexual harassment allegations. The claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms. Multiple women posted screenshots and testimonies of Warda’s alleged lewd comments.“I think the team is strong and the squad is strong but we are not happy to lose a member of our family,” said coach Javier Aguirre. “The team focused more on our match and played the 90 minutes in a serious manner. I don’t think the Egyptian team will be affected by the absence of anyone.”Mexican Aguirre fielded the same side that defeated Zimbabwe 1-0, with centre-back Ahmed Hegazy sporting a mask after breaking his nose in the opening game of the tournament.Salah was guilty of missing a hatful of chances in the curtain-raiser and this season’s Premier League joint top scorer again threatened inside five minutes here when an interception broke his way only for the Egyptian to skew wide under pressure.After four days of small crowds, another capacity 75,000 crowd turned out to cheer on the hosts in the capital, but they were nearly silenced when Marcel Tisserand slammed against the bar at a corner.– Salah takes over –DR Congo came to Egypt as one of the most unpredictable qualifiers having finished third in 2015 only to make a timid quarter-final exit two years ago, and they fell behind for the second straight game as Elmohamady forced home after the ball fell kindly to him following an aerial challenge with Christian Luyindama.