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Cricket (758)

India showing they are a class above, says Aaron Finch

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 07:45

Opening batsman Aaron Finch marked his return to the Australia side with a defiant century in the third one-day international against India but the thrill was tempered by another loss for Steve Smith's struggling side.

Stuart Broad is to have a scan on the heel problem which hampered him in England's third Test against Windies at Lord's.

Essex hampered by rain

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 31 August 2017 14:13

Essex's push for a seventh Specsavers County Championship victory of the campaign was held up by the rain on day three of their clash with Somerset at Chelmsford.

The league leaders progressed from 117-3 to 158-4 in their second innings - Nick Browne (83) bowled by Tim Groenewald - before the heavens opened 13 overs into the morning session.

No further play was possible, leaving Essex with a 153-run lead over second-bottom Somerset heading into day four - Adam Wheater is 53 not out with skipper Ryan ten Doeschate yet to score.

The rain had minimal impact at Old Trafford, where second-placed Lancashire continue to make strong progress against Warwickshire in their bid to trim the 41-point advantage Essex hold over them.

The hosts declared on 504-8 against rock-bottom Warks, a lead of 304, once Liam Livingstone had been dismissed for a career-best 224, before reducing the away side to 275-6 by stumps.

Tim Ambrose is 76 not out, while Dom Sibley scored 57 before he was caught by Haseeb Hameed off Livingstone, but Warwickshire are 29 runs short of making Lancashire bat again.

Fourth-placed Surrey and sixth-placed Middlesex did not get underway at The Oval due to inclement weather, with the same fate also befalling Kent and Leicestershire at Canterbury in Division Two.

Also in the second tier, Ollie Robinson (41no off 37) smashed a match-winning six as Sussex defeated Glamorgan by one wicket at Colwyn Bay - Robinson dominating a 32-run stand with last man Danny Briggs (3no).

Sussex, chasing 209 for victory, were in control at 155-4 but then lost four wickets for five runs, including Chris Nash (68), before No 9 batsman Robinson kept his cool to lift Sussex up to second in the league.

Nottinghamshire's Riki Wessels (116 off 88) and Jake Ball (28no) took their ninth-wicket stand against Northants to 117 before Wessels' dismissal triggered a declaration, the table toppers setting their visitors 417 to win.

Northants closed on 167-4, still requiring a further 250 runs for victory, after Ball struck twice, including the wicket of Rob Newton (53).

Gloucestershire slipped to 55-3 chasing 401 to beat Worcestershire at New Road, with Ravichandran Ashwin claiming two wickets - Daryl Mitchell had earlier been run out for 130 in Worcestershire's 295-8 declared.

Derbyshire frustrated Durham after being asked to follow-on - Luis Reece scoring 106 as the visitors reached 305-6 - but the hosts will expect to wrap up victory on day four with Derbyshire still trailing by 11.

England unchanged for Lord's

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 31 August 2017 14:12

England have named an unchanged squad for the third and final Test against the West Indies at Lord's.

The deciding Test, which begins on Thursday, September 7, will be eagerly anticipated after Windies stunned the hosts at Headingley, winning by five wickets to level the series 1-1.

In addition to the 11 who played the second match in Leeds, Toby Roland-Jones and Mason Crane are included in the squad.

England have also granted Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Crane permission to play for their respective counties on T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday.

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Chris Woakes.

Pakistan opener Sharjeel banned

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 31 August 2017 14:10

Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan has been banned for five years - two-and-a-half suspended - over a spot-fixing scandal affecting the Pakistan Super League.

The 28-year-old left-hander was provisionally suspended along with fellow opener Khalid Latif in February for violating the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption code.

The charges centered on a match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai in February.

Off four deliveries, Islamabad's Sharjeel scored a single, failed to score off two deliveries and was then out.

Sharjeel's team-mate Latif, who did not play in the game, was alleged to have orchestrated the deal. Both were also charged for not reporting the matter to the PCB's anti-corruption unit.

"Sharjeel is banned for five years, which has two-and-a-half years suspended, after the proceedings of the case," said Asghar Haider, who headed the three-member tribunal.

"We investigated all the charges and found them correct."

The minimum punishment for the charges was five years with a maximum of a life ban.

Under the PCB code players can appeal rulings before an independent arbitrator within 14 days of the decision.

Four other players - Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Nawaz - were also included in the investigation on multiple charges.

The tribunal is expected to rule on Khalid Latif's case next month.

Sharjeel has played 25 ODIs and 15 international T20 matches for his country, with his only Test appearance coming in the 220-run defeat to Australia in Sydney in January.

Hazlewood ruled out with injury

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 18:18

Australia's Josh Hazlewood will miss the final Test against Bangladesh after picking up a side strain.

The 26-year-old fast bowler is also ruled out of the subsequent limited-overs tour of India.

Hazlewood was injured during his second over on day three of the first Test against Bangladesh and will now try to get back to full fitness ahead of this autumn's Ashes series against England.

Fellow bowler Pat Cummins said: "He's going to be really hard to replace. He's played all but one of the last 30 Tests.

"He said it is going to be pretty hard sitting at home watching. He hasn't done that for three or four years. So he's a big member around the group.

"I am going to miss having dinner with him every night, but we have got Jackson Bird waiting in the wings, which is great."

With Australia needing 156 runs to win the first Test, and with eight wickets in hand, Hazlewood will be available to bat if required, and Cricket Australia is likely to name a replacement on Wednesday.

Hazlewood's injury is a fresh concern for Australia who are also waiting for two other fast bowlers, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, to recover from foot and back problems respectively. The Ashes begins on November 23.

Warner, Lyon boost Australia

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 18:17

David Warner scored an unbeaten half-century to steady Australia as they chased a challenging victory target in the first Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Warner, who remains unbeaten on 75, scored the bulk of the runs as the visitors advanced to 109-2 at stumps on the third day, still needing another 156 for victory.

Nathan Lyon earlier claimed 6-82 to dismiss Bangladesh for a modest 221 in their second innings and give Australia a scent of victory.

Bangladesh looked confident when spinner Mehedi Hasan trapped Matt Renshaw leg-before for five and Usman Khawaja hoisted a catch to Taijul Islam at square leg off Shakib al Hasan in the next over.

Australia, teetering on 28-2, nearly lost another wicket when skipper Steve Smith appeared to have been stumped off Mehedi and walked.

But he was called back after replays showed his feet had dragged slightly behind the crease as wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim broke the stumps.

Smith was dropped again by Imrul Kayes off Mehedi on three - he went on to score 25 not out and put on an undefeated 81 with Warner for the third wicket.

Warner, who faced 96 balls and hit 11 fours and a six, also had his share of luck when he was dropped by Soumya Sarkar on 14 off Shakib.

Earlier, Lyon took full advantage of a spinning track at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium to halt Bangladesh's progress.

Tamim led the hosts' batting charge in his 155-ball innings but his dismissal off fast bowler Pat Cummins for 78 triggered a collapse.

The left-hander fell to a short ball that whistled past him - umpire Aleem Dar turned down a muted appeal from the bowler before Smith decided to review.

Replays suggested the ball had brushed Tamim's gloves, ending a fine innings which included eight fours to follow his 71 in the first innings.

Shakib was next out for five, hoisting a catch to Cummins at extra cover off Lyon. But Mushfiqur Rahim stayed calm until an unfortunate run out for 41 at the non-striker's end.

Lyon removed Nasir Hossain (0) and Ashton Agar sent back Sabbir Rahman (22), dragging the hosts down further.

Bangladesh, ranked a lowly ninth in Tests, are seeking their first win over fourth-placed Australia in what is only the fifth Test meeting between the two teams.

Jennings fails for Durham

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017 18:15

Keaton Jennings' torrid form continued as he fell for a first-ball duck on day one of Durham's Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash with Derbyshire.

The opener, who was dropped by England after averaging just 15.87 in the four-Test series against South Africa, cut Hardus Viljoen (4-100) behind as Durham carded 376-7, Paul Collingwood unbeaten on 127.

Haseeb Hameed, another potential England opener for the Ashes, also struggled, making just 15 for Lancashire against Warwickshire in Division One before he edged to slip.

Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales failed to press his claims for a spot in England's middle order after falling for four as wickets tumbled in the Division Two table toppers' game against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.

Notts were dismissed for 214, with Azharullah taking 5-63 and Richard Gleeson 4-38, but third-placed Northants could only muster 141 all out in reply before the hosts closed on 19-0 in their second innings.

Kent's Darren Stevens bagged 7-59 against former side Leicestershire, including the wicket of the debuting Michael Carberry (18), as the visitors reached 326-9 at Canterbury.

Lewis Hill and Callum Parkinson frustrated Kent, though, with an unbroken 10th-wicket partnership of 98 after Hill and Clint McKay (32) had put on 54 runs for the ninth.

Glamorgan, who rested a number of senior players ahead of T20 Finals Day, totalled 294 all out against Sussex at Colwyn Bay - Craig Meschede hitting 87 and Oliver Robinson snaring 4-46 - before reducing the away side to 79-3.

Plus, Brett D'Oliveira celebrated his new long-term deal at Worcestershire by scoring 93 as the hosts pressed on to 338-7 against Gloucestershire at New Road.

In Division One, league leaders Essex tumbled to 159 all out against relegation-threatened Somerset, visiting quicks Craig Overton and Paul van Meekeren nabbing four wickets apiece.

However, the Chelmsford side reduced Somerset to 119-5, with Jamie Porter also snaring four wickets, including those of James Hildreth (51) and Tom Abell (30), the only players to make double figures.

Essex are 41 points ahead of Lancashire, who shot bottom side Warwickshire out for 200 on day one at Emirates Old Trafford with Kyle Jarvis snaffling 6-67 and Ryan McLaren 4-45.

Warwickshire were indebted to Jeetan Patel (47) and Olly Stone (32) for a ninth-wicket partnership of 76, with Bears reeling on 119-8 when the two joined forces - Lancashire reached 112-3 in reply, with Warwickshire ousting Alex Davies and Dane Vilas as well as Hameed.

Finally, in the London derby at The Oval, Middlesex were bowled out for 247 by Surrey, before the host slumped to 26-2 by stumps - Toby Roland-Jones, released by England, taking both wickets.

'England fighting to save Test'

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Sunday, 27 August 2017 09:57

Bob Willis discusses where England's bowlers went wrong on a day dominated by Windies pair Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope.

I think James Anderson bowled well, Ben Stokes was steady, Chris Woakes was quite good in his opening spell, Moeen got some turn but was a little bit expensive - the batsmen were happy to take him on but Stuart Broad was well under par.

There has been a lot of talk about how effective Anderson is in England as opposed to away from home - and those figures stand up. We saw a graphic today that showed his average is much higher away from home. But in home conditions he is a magician.

I don't know whether he will get up to 500 Test wickets in this match but he will be giving it a go, there are plenty of wickets still to go at and England are going to have to spend a lot of time in the field.

The sun has been out and it has been ideal conditions for batting but you have to hand it to the West Indian batsmen, we couldn't have dreamt of anything like this happening after the debacle, embarrassment and ineptitude of the West Indies at Edgbaston - so full marks to them.

England are not quite as cocky now, they've got an awful lot of work to do just to save this Test match.

Kraigg Brathwaite is parked on his back foot all the time. He does that so he can play the ball as late as possible and you have got to pitch the ball right up to him.

England have been guilty of allowing him to stay camped on his back foot and hardly get him forward at all.

There have not been many cover drives from Brathwaite off the front foot but I think the England bowlers thought they would get more seam movement if they bowled their natural length - top of off stump, as it is called - but I think you need to be fuller than that here.

With the sun out, the ball hasn't done that much but England's seamers will be criticised for bowling too short.

Both Brathwaite and Hope were marvellously impressive though. Hope, early in his innings, was the more aggressive, and he quickly caught up Brathwaite in terms of runs per 100 balls.

They didn't play and miss many and they weren't bothered when they did. They put that behind them and just carried on.

Hope looks the more talented batsman. You could compare Brathwaite to Cook and Hope to Root, if you like. Hope looks the more natural and gifted player whereas Brathwaite is your limpet, almost Chanderpaul-like and can be the backbone of the innings.

Some of the other West Indies players need to learn from this pair - some of the England players could learn from them as well!

Occupy the crease, five days is a long time in Test cricket. 90 overs a day, 450 overs is a lot of overs and I sometimes think that the England batsmen forget that.

I thought Gabriel and Roach were really, really impressive yesterday but I think that England will be very disappointed with their score, they were at least 100 runs light in the first innings.

The only disappointment for the tourists is that England could have been bowled out for 158 rather than 258 if those catches had been taken on day one. The West Indies have got to work on their fielding.

Some people say Headingley is a difficult ground to field on and to judge catches with the slope. We're used to the slope at Lord's going side to side, here it is quite a big slope from the Kirkstall Lane End down to the Football Stand. Whether that makes life more difficult in the slips or even mid-off and mid-on… I think I'm just making excuses for the players!

Either way, Stuart Law has clearly sat down with the Windies players, they had a lot of time to talk after the early finish at Edgbaston and I think he has really drummed into them the importance of discipline in both batting and bowling - that is the word that springs to mind.

They have been far more disciplined and not so timid in their stroke play. They were very foreign conditions for the West Indies to bat in at Edgbaston but I think the humiliation of losing 19 wickets in a day has hit them very hard and they have come back fighting.

Storm complete Finals Day line-up

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Sunday, 27 August 2017 09:55

Western Storm will join defending champions Southern Vipers and Surrey Stars at Kia Super League Finals Day after thumping Lancashire Thunder by five wickets.

Yorkshire Diamonds and Loughborough Lightning were also in the running for a top-three finish but Diamonds lost to table toppers Vipers by 30 runs and Lightning's crushing 81-run victory over Surrey at The Oval was not enough due to Storm's triumph in Bristol.

Storm chased down Thunder's 122-5 with 2.5 overs to spare, Rachel Priest hitting 52 and Sophie Luff (24no) sealing the win after a collapse of 4-13 to condemn Thunder to a fifth straight defeat and bottom place in the table.

Diamonds, meanwhile, were dismissed for 108 in reply to Vipers' 138-6, with only a defiant 42 from 32 deliveries from Katherine Brunt lifting the visitors above 100 at Arundel.

South Africa's Mignon du Preez smashed 50 from 35 deliveries for Vipers and West Indies' Hayley Matthews scored 40, while Diamonds leg-spinner Katie Levick bagged 3-21.

Plus, Lightning subjected Surrey to their first defeat of the campaign, after racking up 171-3 - the second-highest total of the season - and bundling Stars out for 90 in 18 overs.

Australia internationals Elyse Villani (71 off 39) and Elyse Perry (68no off 53) biffed fifties - Villani's coming from 28 balls - as Natalie Sciver and Alex Hartley went at in excess of 11 runs an over.

Sciver's 18-ball 24 was the best Stars could muster with the bat - the home side surrendering their final six wickets for 29 runs to slip to second spot in the standings and miss out on automatic qualification for the final.

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