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Cricket (758)

Fletcher, Root sign Notts deals

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 21 August 2017 22:00

Billy Root and Luke Fletcher have signed new two-year contracts at Nottinghamshire.

Fletcher has enjoyed a good start to the season with the red ball, taking 36 County Championship wickets at an average of 22.44, and will take his association with the club past the 10-year mark with his newest deal.

His season was cut short after he was hit on the head during his follow through during a NatWest T20 Blast encounter against the Birmingham Bears.

Root meanwhile, made his List A and T20 debuts for the club this summer, averaging 64.75 in the Royal London One-Day Cup, including an unbeaten century against Warwickshire.

The two-year deal is the 25-year-old's first professional contract with the club, as the all-rounder and Fletcher join Jake Libby in recently signing new deals.

"It's a well-deserved contract for Luke because of what he has done in the last 12 months," said head coach Peter Moores.

"He's gone away and looked quite hard at what he can do to get himself into the team and then play the kind of cricket where he can contribute to making us competitive.

"He got himself in good shape and, straight away on our tour in Barbados, he impressed everyone with how he was going about his work.

"We have seen the results of that in the way he bowled in the first part of the County Championship season and in helping us to win the Royal London Cup."

India whitewash Sri Lanka

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Monday, 14 August 2017 19:31

Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed four wickets as India crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 171 runs inside three days to complete their first three-Test series sweep on foreign soil.

Ashwin and paceman Mohammed Shami shared seven wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 181 during their follow-on in an extended second session in Pallekele.

Sri Lanka had crumbled for 135 in response to India's 487 in the first innings, putting the world's top Test team in firm control as early as day two.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya set up the win with his blistering, 96-ball 108, cracking his maiden Test century in just his third game.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned up the heat with four wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings as the islanders conceded a 352-run first innings lead.

And Ashwin kept up the pressure on the beleaguered hosts, striking the first blow of the morning session by sending back opener Dimuth Karunaratne for 16.

Skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who made 36, provided some resistence during his 65-run fifth-wicket stand with Angelo Mathews.

Kuldeep, playing just his second Test, broke the partnership with Chandimal's wicket just after lunch, and Ashwin soon got Mathews for 35 as Sri Lanka slipped further.

Shami combined with Ashwin to mop up the tail as beleaguered Sri Lanka suffered their second successive innings loss after the Colombo Test.

Gabriel struggles in WI draw

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Monday, 14 August 2017 19:28

The form of Shannon Gabriel was again a worry for the West Indies as the day-night floodlit game against Derbyshire ended in a tame draw.

With the first Test at Edgbaston four days away, the tourists' main strike bowler rarely threatened during a four-over burst in which he bowled four no balls and conceded 24 runs.

Gabriel's problems will be a concern but at least the batsmen are in good form, with opener Kieran Powell scoring a century and all-rounder Roston Chase making an unbeaten 60 to add to his first innings hundred.

Skipper Jason Holder did not declare until tea at 327-6, a lead of 573, and Derbyshire reached from 51-0 from 14 overs before the teams shook hands at 8pm.

The tourists went into the final day with a lead of 306 and they batted through the first two sessions with Powell and Chase taking the opportunity to further boost their confidence ahead of this week's opening day-night Test.

Powell had missed out on a hundred by eight runs in the first innings but the 27-year-old left hander became the fourth West Indian in the match to score a century before he retired hurt with cramp.

He drove and pulled Tom Taylor for three consecutive fours as he accelerated to three figures off only 102 balls after Jermaine Blackwood had been well caught at extra cover for 29.

Holder fell to left-arm spinner Matt Sonczak just before lunch and Derbyshire took three wickets in four overs before Chase asserted himself to pass 50 for the fourth consecutive innings.

Shane Dowrich edged a drive at Sonczak and Shai Hope failed to clear wide mid on before Kyle Hope was caught at slip two balls later.

But that was Derbyshire's last success as Chase and Kemar Roach shared an unbroken stand of 104 in 29 overs before Holder gave his bowlers a work-out under the floodlights.

After his problems on the second day when he bowled 20 no balls in nine overs, all eyes were on Gabriel who needed a decent spell ahead of the Test.

But the big Trinidadian again struggled for rhythm, overstepping three times in his fourth over when he was also hit for two fours by Ben Slater and the tourists had turned to spin from both ends by the time the match petered out in stalemate.

Clarke: Pay row is horrible

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Sunday, 30 July 2017 16:01

Former captain Michael Clarke believes the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association has been "horrible" for the sport.

The two parties have been locked in intense negotiations for a number of months in an effort to reach an agreement regarding Cricket Australia's plans to overhaul the way its players are paid.

Two-hundred-and-thirty cricketers, including the members of the men's Test, one-day and Twenty20 squads, were effectively left unemployed at the end of June when their contracts with governing body expired and they refused to accept the offer of a new revenue-sharing model of pay.

The upcoming Ashes series against England has been thrown into doubt and Clarke believes the relationship between Australia's players and their governing body is now at an all-time low.

"I think it's been horrible for the game, to be honest," Clarke said told Australian broadcaster Channel Nine.

"There is no doubt what has happened will affect the relationship even more than it already was affected between players and Cricket Australia.

"The problem we have got now is that it is not just the Australian players that are affected", Clarke added, saying the fans and the public were also involved in "the number one story in Australian sport".

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland claimed that unless a compromise is reached by early next week, his organisation would look to settle the matter through an arbitration process.

England extend lead to 252

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Sunday, 30 July 2017 15:59

Toby Roland-Jones completed a five-wicket haul on his Test debut before England extended their lead over South Africa in the third Test to 252 runs on a soggy third day at the Oval.

Roland-Jones (5-57) dismissed Temba Bavuma for a gutsy 52 as the hosts bowled South Africa out for 175 to earn a first-innings lead of 178.

England lost Alastair Cook (seven) early in their second innings but rallied to reach 74-1 before play ended play at 2.47pm with Keaton Jennings (34no) and Tom Westley (28no) at the crease.

Seamer Roland-Jones became the first player since Graham Onions in 2009 to take five or more wickets in their debut bowling innings for England having done the bulk of the damage on day two by taking 4-37.

His haul forced South Africa to resume on 126-8, some 227 runs in arrears and needing 28 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Bavuma initially harboured the strike but with Morne Morkel (17) showing an increasing liking for the bowling, the deficit was quickly reduced in a stand worth 47.

Just six more runs were needed when Ben Stokes came close to pulling off a stunning one-handed catch in the gully as Stuart Broad found Bavuma's edge on the drive but the all-rounder could not quite hold on.

Instead, Bavuma saved the follow-on with a driven four before advancing to his eighth Test fifty off 111 balls shortly after James Anderson had forced Morkel to edge to Cook at first slip.

Vernon Philander, who spent Friday night on an intravenous drip in hospital, was passed fit to bat and scored 10no off 11 balls before Bavuma was last man out - snicking Roland-Jones behind.

England's openers faced five overs before rain brought the morning session to an early close, the score 20-0 after five overs - Jennings avoiding the ignominy of becoming only the second English opener to bag a pair on home turf thanks to an overthrow.

The Durham opener earned a life on six when Dean Elgar fluffed an edged chance off Philander at second slip but, for the most part, had the best seat in the house as Morkel produced a superb spell of accurate, probing bowling to prise out Cook.

Former England skipper Cook faced 23 of his 29 balls from Morkel, who dismissed him for the 11th time in Test cricket with a delivery from around the wicket that pegged back the top of off-stump.

Westley picked up from where he left off in his confident first-innings 25, driving Philander for four, and when Rabada replaced Morkel, Jennings came out of his shell and twice cut to the rope.

The opener was given out caught behind on 33 but reviewed after consulting with Westley to earn a reprieve, replays showing Rabada's delivery had struck pad not bat.

One further run took Jennings to his highest Test score of the summer and only then did the rain forecast to thwart England's hopes of further progress.

Durham win seven-over thriller

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Saturday, 29 July 2017 10:53

North Group's last-placed Durham completed their first win of the NatWest T20 Blast in dramatic style at the expense of Leicestershire in a match shortened by rain to seven overs a side at Leicester's Fischer County Ground.

A stunning innings of 63 not out from 21 balls from opener Luke Ronchi - featuring 10 fours and two sixes - should have put the Foxes in an impregnable position as they posted a score of 88-2, batting first.

The New Zealander reached his fifty off just 16 deliveries, equalling the third fastest half-century in domestic T20 cricket, sitting behind only Somerset's Marcus Trescothick (13 balls) and Yorkshire's Gerard Brophy (14).

Durham quickly lost two wickets in their reply, but captain Paul Coughlin (38no off 18) and the experienced Paul Collingwood (34 of 18) added 76 runs for the third wicket, from just 33 balls.


Both were dropped, Coughlin a skier by Gavin Griffiths at point, and Collingwood a chest-high caught and bowled chance to Cameron Delport.

And although Collingwood and Jack Burnham were run out off successive deliveries in the final over, Coughlin sliced the penultimate delivery to the third man boundary to complete a remarkable win for Durham.

Michael Klinger's seventh T20 century was not enough to save Gloucestershire from a 24-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern defeat to Hampshire in soggy Bristol.

The experienced Australian carried his side's innings of 174-5 in a match reduced to 19 overs per side, smashing six sixes and seven fours in a masterful demonstration of clean hitting that saw him finish unbeaten on 101, off 58 balls.

For Hampshire, spinners Mason Crane (1-17) and Liam Dawson (1-24) impressed during their respective three-over and four-over spells.

In reply, the visitors raced to 121-3 off 11.4 overs, with openers James Vince (42) and Rilee Rossouw (46no) putting together a stand of 85 in eight overs.

Vince eventually perished when inside-edging off Thisara Perera (1-19) behind, while Matt Taylor (2-29) gave Gloucestershire greater hope by pinning Michael Carberry lbw for 20 and dismissing George Bailey for a duck in the 11th over.

But, with the visitors only needing to be on 97 under DLS when heavy rain put an end to proceedings, Hampshire earned the win that sees them leapfrog their opponents in the tightly congested South Group.

Rain hit the Sussex Sharks at Hove on Friday as they attempted to secure what would have been only their second victory, against Middlesex.

They appeared to have a good chance of beating Middlesex when they restricted the visitors to 136-6 from 17.4 overs, but rain brought an early end to both the innings and the match - the Sharks' third no-result of the season.

Earlier, Middlesex captain Brendon McCullum had promised something special when he hooked David Wiese over square-leg for six and slashed his next delivery over point for another maximum, but soon after Chris Jordan had the New Zealander caught behind for a 15-ball 26.

Jofra Archer then struck twice in three balls, first having John Simpson caught at mid-off by Laurie Evans before dismissing England one-day captain, Eoin Morgan.

James Franklin looked in the mood to rescue the Middlesex innings when he lofted Danny Briggs over mid-on for six but when he was caught at backward-point next ball, it left the visitors struggling at 81-5 in the 13th over.

The players left the field because of rain for a short time in the 15th but, after the break, a stand of 53 in five overs between George Scott (38no) and Ryan Higgins (31) lifted Middlesex to a competitive 136-6 after 17.4 overs.

But the rain fell again and this time it would not relent.

Kohli expands India's lead

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Saturday, 29 July 2017 10:48

Virat Kohli closed in on a 17th Test hundred as India rammed home their superiority over Sri Lanka on day three of the first Test, in Galle.

Having declined the opportunity to enforce the follow-on after securing a 309-run first-innings lead, India extended their advantage to 498 when reaching stumps at 189-3, Kohli unbeaten on 76.

India had lost early wickets, with first-innings centurions Shikhar Dhawan (14) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15) falling to Dilruwan Perera (1-42) and Lahiru Kumara (1-53) respectively.

But Kohli and Abhinav Mukund (81) added 133 for the third wicket at 4.48 runs an over as Sri Lanka toiled again following an 84-minute rain delay.

The partnership came to an end in the last over of the day when Danushka Gunathilaka (1-15) trapped Mukund lbw, but skipper Kohli remains at the crease.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, resuming on 154-5, were ultimately dismissed for 291 in their first innings, nine balls after lunch - Perera left stranded on 92 not out.

Perera's proactive approach saw him strike 10 fours and four sixes in his 132-ball knock, while Angelo Mathews also made 83 before falling to Ravindra Jadeja (3-67).

India chose not to enforce the follow-on but, with the highest fourth-innings score in Galle being 300, Sri Lanka appear to be facing a huge task to save the match on the last two days.

Machan retires aged 26

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Saturday, 29 July 2017 10:45

Sussex batsman Matt Machan has been forced to retire from professional cricket at the age of 26, due to a "repetitive" wrist injury.

The Scotland international, who featured in 23 ODIs and 13 T20s for his country, last played a competitive match on May 7.

However, Machan has had to call time on his career after missing half of last season with a wrist problem, which a subsequent operation in September failed to repair.

"I would like to thank everyone involved with the club for making the last 16 years so memorable, from under-10 right through until today," said Machan.

"Following medical advice, my long-term health is most important to me and I have to take that into account.

"I have met some great people and made some great friends and take away memories that will last forever."

The left-handed batsman made his Scotland debut in 2013 and featured for the side at the 2015 World Cup and World T20 in 2016.

His career-best score of 192 came for Sussex against Somerset at Taunton in 2015.

"I believe as a batsman I was only just starting to come into my own and it is a real shame that this has been cut short so early as I believe I had so much still to offer Sussex over the next few years," he added.

"I'd like to thank all the players, support staff and everyone at the club who has helped me out. I look forward to watching the boys from the other side of the line and supporting Sussex Cricket for many years to come."

"Lastly, I'd like to thank my family for being very supportive and without them, none of this would have been at all possible."

Nicklaus' advice for Kuchar

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Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:18

Jack Nicklaus has offered words of encouragement to Matt Kuchar after the latter's disappointment at The Open.

Kuchar is bidding to claim his first PGA Tour title since 2014 in the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario this week having suffered on a dramatic final day at Royal Birkdale.

Kuchar went into the final round three shots adrift of playing partner Jordan Spieth, but found himself one ahead with five holes to play after Spieth's fifth bogey of the day on the 13th.

However, despite playing the next four holes in two under par, Kuchar arrived on the 18th tee two shots behind after an inspired Spieth went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie on the same stretch.

A closing bogey meant Kuchar eventually finished where he started, three shots off Spieth and admitting it was a "crushing" blow to come so close to a first major championship.

"To be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it's a hard one to sit back and take," said Kuchar, whose previous best major finish was a tie for third in the 2012 Masters.

And Ancaster course designer Nicklaus was on hand to offer words of advice and condolence when Kuchar - whose last PGA Tour win came the week after he was fifth in the 2014 Masters - arrived on site.

"We talked about how I thought he played an awfully good tournament, did awfully well, and just he ran into a buzzsaw on the last few holes," 18-time major winner Nicklaus said. "That's what it amounted to.

"He lost by three shots as it turned out and Jordan holed putts on 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. If he misses three of them, it's a tie. If he misses four of them, Matt wins."

Kuchar will at least have happy memories of the Canadian Open and this week's venue of Glen Abbey Golf Course, where he was second in 2013, seventh in 2015 and ninth last year.

World number one Dustin Johnson has also made the trip from Southport to Ontario after following a third round of 64 in the Open with a closing 77, while defending champion Jhonattan Vegas has missed his last five cuts in succession.

"I've had a horrible summer to put it the best way," Vegas said.

"But it's always fun coming back to places where you've had great results, especially wins, so definitely it's a good refresher from the past couple of months that have been a bit of a struggle.

"But it's golf and you have to keep a positive mentality and always think that you're going to play your best.

Malan earns England Test debut

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Thursday, 27 July 2017 12:21

Dawid Malan has become England's third debutant in the third Test against South Africa at The Oval.

Middlesex batsman Malan joined his county team-mate Toby Roland-Jones and Essex's Tom Westley as the new boys to help Joe Root's side bounce back from last week's defeat at Trent Bridge in a series level at 1-1, with two to play.

England have not named three debutants for the same match since 2014 against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Malan replaced all-rounder Liam Dawson as England opted for an extra batsman rather than a second spin option.

England captain Joe Root said on Thursday the match represented a "very exciting time for anyone making their Test debut".


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