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Dickson hits triple century

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 22:35

Sean Dickson completed a triple century for Kent on day two of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two match against Northamptonshire at Beckenham.

South Africa-born opener Dickson was eventually out for 318 from 408 deliveries, the second-highest score by a Kent batsman, having smashed 31 fours and three sixes. SCORECARD

Bill Ashdown's 332 against Essex at Brentwood in 1934 remains the Kent record after Dickson was caught by Ben Duckett off Max Holden after lunch on day two, before the hosts declared on 701-7.

Kent's total was their second-highest ever, after the 803-4 they amassed against Essex 83 years ago when Ashdown posted his record 332.

Dickson, 25 - who suffered a rare handled-ball dismissal in a Championship match against Leicestershire last season - trumped his coach, Matt Walker's, post-war Kent best of 275, set against Somerset in 1996.

The right-hander - whose previous best score was 207 not out against Derbyshire in 2016 - also shared a Kent-record stand of 382 with Joe Denly (182) for the second wicket.

Northants then cut their arrears to 521 runs by stumps after reaching 180-1 - Duckett scoring an unbeaten 101 and Rob Newton dismissed by Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah for 57.

Also in Division Two, Gloucestershire completed a two-day, 10-wicket win over Glamorgan at Cheltenham - Chris Dent (68no) and Cameron Bancroft (62no) easing the hosts to their target of 135 in just 31.3 overs.

Twenty-five wickets fell on day one with Glamorgan bundled out for 117 and then slipping to 59-5 in their second innings after Gloucester had been skittled for 141.

But Dent and Bancroft encountered few scares on day two after their team-mate Liam Norwell (6-38) had ended some middle-order resistance from Glamorgan to polish off the Welsh county for 158 second time around.

Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman (98) fell two runs short of a fourth ton of the campaign but did extend his 10th-wicket stand with Gurjit Sandhu (46) to 102 as the hosts posted 368 all out against Durham.

Imran Tahir (5-98) then reduced Durham to 205-8, before Paul Coughlin (62no) and Barry McCarthy (32no) lifted the North East county to 274-8 with an unbroken partnership of 69.

In Division One, meanwhile, Somerset bossed a weather-affected day against Yorkshire in Scarborough - Craig Overton's 5-78 reducing the hosts to 159-7, a deficit of 109 runs, in the 44 overs of play possible.

Hampshire racked up a massive 648-7 declared against Surrey at The Oval, with skipper George Bailey (161) backing up day-one centuries from Jimmy Adams (144) and James Vince (104).

Surrey closed on 113-1 after Mark Stoneman, who scored a hundred in his side's Royal London One-Day Cup defeat to Nottinghamshire on Saturday, was dismissed for 57.

Plus, Stevie Eskinazi's career-best 178 not out helped Middlesex to 302-6 against Warwickshire to leave the reigning County Champions - whose next highest-scoring batsman was Dawid Malan (39) - 32 runs behind.

Sarfraz to lead Pakistan

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Published in Cricket
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 22:13

Pakistan have rewarded Sarfraz Ahmed with the country's Test captaincy, a fortnight after he led the national team to the Champions Trophy title in England.

Underdogs Pakistan trounced India by a record 180-run margin in the final and the news of Ahmed's appointment came at a ceremony honouring the winning team hosted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"I take this opportunity to announce Ahmed as our Test captain in addition to one-day and Twenty20 captain," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said.

The 30-year-old will lead Pakistan in the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, likely to be held in the United Arab Emirates in October.

Ahmed has already led Pakistan in nine one-day internationals since last year, winning seven and losing two.

He has also skippered the national side in eight T20s, winning seven and losing just one.

The Test captaincy has been vacant since Misbah-ul-Haq retired after winning a three-match Test series 2-1 in the West Indies in May this year.

Ahmed said: "I am honoured to be appointed Test captain. I will do my best to lift the team in all three formats and will not rest on Champions Trophy laurels."

Sharif rewarded every member of the Trophy winning team with a prize of $100,000 while members of the team management received $50,000.

Hales' record 187 wins Notts cup

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Published in Cricket
Sunday, 02 July 2017 09:27

Alex Hales struck the highest one-day score ever made at Lord's as Nottinghamshire condemned Surrey to a third Royal London One-Day Cup final defeat in a row.

Hales was in imperious form as he smote a career-best, unbeaten 187 off 167 balls to guide the Outlaws to a four-wicket victory despite a clinical 144no from Surrey's Mark Stoneman.

Both batsmen, overlooked for England's squad for the upcoming Test series against South Africa, sent out a reminder to the selectors but for all Stoneman's assured strokeplay it was Hales' scintillating ball-striking that stole the show.

Dropped by Ollie Pope on nine, the 28-year-old took full advantage to stride past the previous best score made in a Lord's final - the 146 scored by Yorkshire's Geoffrey Boycott against Surrey in the 60-overs-a-side Gillette Cup final of 1965.

Before long he'd also taken David Boon's record for the highest one-day score at the ground - surpassing the 166 he scored for Australia, against the MCC, in 1989.

At 150-5 Hales simply needed someone to stay with him and in the evergreen Chris Read, playing his last season for Nottinghamshire before retiring, he found the ideal foil.

The pair combined to share a sixth-stand of 137 - Read, playing his final one-day game for the county in his 20th season at Trent Bridge, scoring 58 off 57 balls with Nottinghamshire needing 11 to win off 25 deliveries.

The skipper was one of the first players to emerge from the pavilion to congratulate Hales once victory was secured at 298-6 off 48.5 overs - Hales setting a new record for the highest List A score made by a Nottinghamshire player, his knock containing four sixes and 20 fours.

Defeat was particularly tough on Stoneman, who became the first Surrey player to score a hundred in a Lord's final as he glued an innings of 297-9 together.

After choosing to bat first, Surrey motored to 74-0 off 10 overs but it could have been a very different story but for some sloppy fielding.

Jason Roy (23 off 25) was dropped at slip by Riki Wessels off the very first ball of the match, bowled by Luke Fletcher, and Stoneman also enjoyed a life when Steven Mullaney shelled an uppish drive at extra cover - the opener on 32 at the time.

A change of pace did the trick - Samit Patel (3-51) removing Roy with his first ball courtesy of a leading edge.

Kumar Sangakkara, in his last season before retirement, ticked over to score 30 off 36 without ever cutting loose and walked after he edged Mullaney behind trying to run the ball down to third man, Read producing some excellent glovework to take the catch.

Read had little chance of taking a sharper chance offered by Stoneman on 73, standing up to Patel, and the opener remained Surrey's rock as three wickets disappeared for eight runs.

Scott Borthwick (14) clothed Patel to cover before dangerman Ben Foakes played all around a Mullaney delivery; Surrey's struggles deepened to 180-5 when Pope snicked Patel to slip, where Mullaney bagged his fourth catch low down.

Stoneman reached three figures with a rare loose shot, snicking Patel to third man for four, but despite the best efforts of Sam Curran (24), Surrey's lower order rather wilted.

Nottinghamshire's reply was under pressure from the off, Sam Curran trapping Michael Lumb lbw for four before the seamer became the competition's leading wicket-taker by dismissing Mullaney.

Ravi Rampaul (2-52) chipped in with a couple of wickets but there was no shifting Hales, who dominated the scoring as he drew level with Stoneman's 144 with two sixes off one Borthwick over before pressing on relentlessly.

Ballance marks recall with fifty

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Published in Cricket
Sunday, 02 July 2017 09:25

Gary Ballance marked his Test recall by helping consign South Africa to a largely joyless day in the field against England Lions, for whom Tom Westley made a fine, unbeaten 106 at New Road.

After two rain-affected days at the crease, South Africa declared on their overnight score of 382 for six, only to labour in pristine batting conditions as the hosts posted 266-4 in 80.1 overs.

Ballance and Lions team-mate Keaton Jennings both received news of their call-ups for Thursday's Lord's Test on the second evening and had an immediate opportunity to leave their mark on the touring attack.

Jennings, who will partner Alastair Cook at HQ, made a neat 39 before playing inside one from Morne Morkel and losing his off stump. The Durham opener could hardly be accused of lacking concentration, having batted on with Sam Robson
(47) as a coastguard helicopter completed an emergency rescue when a suspected heart attack occurred atop the neighbouring Worcester Cathedral.

Ballance, meanwhile, ground out a watchful 56 over nearly three hours, only to fall lbw late on.

Neither managed to match the nimble-footed elegance of Westley, the game's only centurion, but the Essex batsman must wait for his chance to take to take to the main stage.

Ballance's return owes more to his prolific first-class form for Yorkshire than it does to his friendship with new England skipper Joe Root - the latter without the former would hardly stir the selectors to action - and he batted with admirable diligence as he and Westley put on 136 in 43.2 overs together.

He left on line, length and, seemingly, principle, taking 46 deliveries to reach double figures and making just 25 runs from his first 100 balls. While Westley made a point of looking for the boundary options, with nine fours in his first half-century, and forced the issue against conspicuously against JP Duminy's gentle off-breaks, Ballance simply soaked up valuable time at the crease.

He was more bulwark than bully, though a commanding early pull and back-to-back boundaries off Chris Morris just before tea reminded the spectators of additional, largely unexplored gears at his disposal.

Westley had arrived at number three after Jennings was somewhat surprisingly unpicked by Morkel, propping forward but making no connection. He judged Kagiso Rabada nicely, facing down 24 dot balls but also picking off six boundaries from the paceman, and moved his feet well against both Duminy and senior spinner Keshav Maharaj, scoring 62 of his tally against the pair.

A briskly-jogged single off the slow left-armer brought his century in 146 balls, just 17 more than Ballance's fifty when it eventually came deep in the evening session.

South Africa managed some success before hands were shaken at 5.25pm, Theunis de Bruyn rapping Ballance in front of the stumps in the 76th over, then claiming Sam Billings in identical fashion four balls later.

Rabada did well with the new ball, beating the bat on several occasions without luck but figures of 16-0-59-0, complete with nine no-balls, do not represent the strike bowler's best work ahead of his first appearance at the home of cricket.

Australia to boycott SA tour

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Sunday, 02 July 2017 09:23

Australia's players intend to boycott an 'A' tour of South Africa later this month unless their pay dispute with Cricket Australia is resolved beforehand, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) announced on Sunday.

Those players selected for the tour of South Africa will gather in Brisbane on Monday but will only travel if a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is agreed with Cricket Australia, after the previous MoU expired on Friday.

Around 230 cricketers, including the current Test, one-day and Twenty20 sides, have been left without contracts - leaving both the South Africa tour and the upcoming Ashes series against England in doubt.

"They don't intend to tour but the reality is they don't fly out of the country until Friday," ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.

"So the players are going to go into camp as planned and hopefully we can make some progress with regards to the MoU. There would need to be a significant breakthrough on the key issue of the revenue sharing model."

Australia A captain Usman Khawaja said boycotting the tour was a last resort as the players attempt to resolve their dispute with Cricket Australia, who are looking to overhaul the current pay system which sees players receive a fixed percentage of revenue.

"Hopefully something can be resolved, but if it's not, it's a tough decision that sort of has to be made," he said.

"Not to go is a sacrifice in some respects but we see the broader picture."

Cricket Australia believe the revenue-share model is unsuitable for modern cricket, where players earn a significantly higher salary than their predecessors due to the emergence of the lucrative Twenty20 competitions, and that the current system is starving funding from grass-roots cricket.

The governing body released a statement noting the ACA's decision on Sunday.

"Australia A is a development tour which gives players an opportunity to perform at a high level," it read.

"It is therefore surprising that players would elect not to tour, however CA has never, and would never attempt to force anyone to play for an Australian team who is unwilling to do so.

"CA remains ready to negotiate a new MoU and has again called on the ACA to show genuine flexibility and commence negotiations in the best interests of the players and the game."

Amla leads as Proteas hurt Lions

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 30 June 2017 20:25

South Africa's batsmen banked some valuable time in the middle on day two of their Test warm-up against England Lions, whose captain Gary Ballance was denied the chance to press his own case with the selectors.

After a false start on Thursday, when just 20 overs were possible, the Proteas racked up 382-6 at New Road with both overnight batsmen Heino Kuhn (80) and Hashim Amla (91) retiring out.

Temba Bavuma, who was unbeaten on 85 at the close, and Quinton de Kock (51) also helped themselves to half-centuries as the tourists found their footing ahead of Thursday's Investec Series opener at Lord's.

Ballance would have welcomed the chance to do likewise, particularly with England coach Trevor Bayliss and his fellow selectors thrashing out their own squad just yards away in the pavilion, but he must now hope his 815 championship runs for Yorkshire have done enough to earn him a recall ahead of Dawid Malan on Saturday morning.

Mason Crane, Hampshire's highly-rated leg-spin prospect, endured a difficult day in Worcester, sending down 16 wicketless overs for 89 to prove he has lessons still to learn despite his obvious promise.

Kuhn and Amla progressed serenely after resuming on 58-1, sharing eight fours in as many overs to set the tone for a day of dominance for bat over ball.

Liam Plunkett, George Garton and Tom Helm shared seam duties, later backed up by Keaton Jennings' medium-pacers, but struggled to make an impression on a docile surface.

Kuhn's half-century occupied 97 balls, Amla following from 103, and their easy progress was only halted when Kuhn retired 20 short of his ton.

The 33-year-old is likely to win his first Test cap next week, after 12 years of first-class cricket, and goes in good nick after hitting all but 16 of his runs in boundaries.

New man JP Duminy quickly hit his stride, clubbing the first of four sixes off Crane's bowling, but fell for 25 to a smart Sam Robson catch, giving left-armer Garton his second success of the match.

Amla had seen enough by lunch, ceasing his chanceless stay despite sitting nine short of his century, forfeiting a likely ton to allow Bavuma a meaningful stay at the crease.

He was allowed to settle thanks to some generous offerings from Crane at the start of the afternoon session and compiled a sturdy looking knock over more than three hours.

Bavuma, who scored a maiden Test hundred against England at Cape Town last year, will be ever more important to South Africa's middle order if captain Faf du Plessis does not make it back in time for the Test, having returned home for what has been described as the 'difficult birth' of his first child.

Theunis de Bruyn did his hopes of standing in little good, pinned lbw for duck by Plunkett, but De Kock's breezy fifty and Chris Morris' 25-run cameo kept the Lions chasing leather until bad light ended matters prematurely.

Injury forces Shreck retirement

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 30 June 2017 20:22

Leicestershire seamer Charlie Shreck has been forced to retire from cricket with immediate effect due to ongoing injury problems.

The 39-year-old took 577 first-class wickets during his career, which included spells with Nottinghamshire and Kent before arriving at Grace Road in 2014.

Shreck took 145 first-class wickets for Leicestershire at an average of 35.08.

"Unfortunately all playing careers have to come to an end and my time is now," Shreck said.

"I look back with fond memories of my time and feel very privileged to have been a part of the cricket community for so long.

"I would like to thank everyone that has helped along the way; the umpires for putting up with me and the supporters that stay with you through thick, thin and rain."

Leicestershire head coach Pierre de Bruyn added: "Charlie has been an incredible role model in the changing room and will be missed.

"His competitiveness and passion is worth gold in a team environment. I wish him all the best and congratulations on an amazing career."

Du Plessis a first Test doubt

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Friday, 30 June 2017 20:21

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis remains a doubt for the first Test against England at Lord's starting on July 6.

Du Plessis is at home with his wife Imari following the birth of their first child on June 23, but has not yet set a date to fly to England, Cricket South Africa have confirmed.

After what officials described as a 'difficult birth", du Plessis will remain in South Africa for the foreseeable future and could miss the game at Lord's.

Head coach Russell Domingo is back in England after he returned to South Africa following the news his mother was seriously injured in a car accident a week ago. She has since been discharged from hospital.

South Africa are currently in the second day of a three-day warm-up match against England Lions, where the side is being captained by Dean Elgar in the absence of du Plessis.

England's Ball has knee scan

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Thursday, 29 June 2017 09:57

England seamer Jake Ball is awaiting the outcome of a scan on his right knee.

The 26-year-old had to leave the field mid-over on Tuesday in Nottinghamshire's County Championship match at home to Kent.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has since confirmed Ball, who had to miss the one-day international series in the West Indies with pain in the same joint three months ago but has since been untroubled for club and country, was set to have a scan on the injury on Wednesday morning.

Ball's fellow Nottinghamshire and England bowler Stuart Broad is sitting out the current round of Championship matches because of discomfort in his left heel.

England are due to name their squad on Sunday morning for next week's first Test against South Africa at Lord's.

Injured Ball out of first Test

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Thursday, 29 June 2017 09:55

Jake Ball will miss England's first Test against South Africa after it was confirmed the Nottinghamshire fast bowler has a knee strain.

Ball felt pain in his knee when bowling during the second innings of Nottinghamshire's County Championship game against Kent on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old went for a scan on Wednesday to assess the damage and was unable to take to the field when the third day of the day-night match resumed after a rain delay.

Ball is set to miss the next two weeks of action, which will also rule him out of the reckoning for the start of the Test series against South Africa, which starts on July 6 at Lord's.

"Jake is naturally very, very disappointed to miss out on the final, having previously been made available to play by the ECB, particularly after missing out on selection when Notts beat Glamorgan at Lord's in 2013," said Nottinghamshire head coach Moores.

"He's given his all in this competition when he's been available to us, and we'll miss him for what will be a really tough game against Surrey.

"Jake is a very strong character and I'm sure he'll bounce back from this. I know he'll be wanting us to beat Surrey as much as anybody."

Ball's fellow Nottinghamshire and England bowler Stuart Broad is sitting out the current round of Championship matches because of discomfort in his left heel.

England are due to name their squad on Sunday morning for next week's first Test against South Africa at Lord's.


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