Five days to the weekend

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Counting down the best sporting action this week.


THE ATP Tour finals draw to a close in London today, leaving the world’s top tennis players free to relax for a few short weeks before another seemingly endless season gets under way. In cricket, Sri Lanka take on New Zealand in the fifth one-day international in Hambantota. Golf’s annual ADT Skills Challenges tees off in Flroida and there’s racing at Carlisle and Southwell. Just one football fixture – AFC Wimbledon v York in an FA Cup first-round replay – while Scotland’s players will gather ahead of Wednesday’s friendly in Luxembourg.


THERE are a trio of William Hill Scottish Cup third-round replays scheduled, with Berwick hosting Stenhousemuir, Albion Rovers travelling to face Morton and Raith at home to Airdrie United. In Division Three, it’s Queen’s Park v East Stirlingshire. There are also several FA Cup first-round replays, while England U21s host Northern Ireland in a friendly. There’s racing at Huntingdon, Lingfield and Sedgefield, while in cricket the first Test between Bangladesh and the West Indies begins.


SCOTLAND can probably see the friendly in Luxeumbourg far enough in the wake of Craig Levein’s sacking and their World Cup qualification campaign in tatters, but stand-in boss Billy Stark will hope to spark some life into their performance. Northern Ireland, who secured an excellent draw in Portugal last time out, host Azerbaijan in World Cup qualifying Group F, while in other friendlies it’s Republic of Ireland v Greece and Sweden v England. Racing is at Bangor, Exeter, Kempton and Southwell.


ENGLAND’S cricketers take to the field in Ahmedabad for the first Test against India, with fast bowlers Stuart Broad and Steven Finn likely to face late fitness tests ahead of the match. Golf’s South African Open tees off at Ekurhuleni, as does the Hong Kong Open at Fanling and the CME Group Titleholders in Florida. In football, there’s an FA Cup first-round replay between Altrincham and Burton Albion, while racing comes from Kempton, Ludlow, Southwell and Taunton.


IT’S judgement day for Hearts in their battle against a winding-up order issued in respect of a near £500,000 unpaid tax bill. Failure to settle up could trigger liquidation of the club. On the field, Dundee United host Kilmarnock in an SPL Friday night clash while Hamilton are at home to First Division leaders Partick Thistle. In England, it’s Tranmere v MK Dons in League One and Barnet v Accrington in League Two. Wales host Samoa in their second autumn rugby international, while in tennis the Davis Cup final between the Czech Republic and Spain gets under way.