Day three of third Ashes Test: England eyeing early wickets with storms forecast

By Sports Desk July 07, 2023

England will be eyeing early Australia wickets as thoughts drift to what might be a manageable chase for the hosts in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

While there may be weather-related interruptions with storms forecast on Saturday, there are still three days in which to force a result after Australia went to stumps on 116 for four and a lead of 142.

Ben Stokes had earlier been England’s hero again, dragging them from 87 for five to 237 all out with a belligerent 80 containing five sixes, while Mark Wood chipped in with an astonishing eight-ball 24.

Moeen Ali then took the key wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in a tidy spell, with Australia unable to get away even though Stokes and Ollie Robinson were unable to bowl for England.

Captain Marvels

Despite his body appearing to be in rebellion against him – adding to his left knee trouble is hip discomfort for which he took a couple of pain-killing tablets – England captain Stokes conjured another defiant innings to get his side within touching distance of Australia’s first innings. His opposite number Pat Cummins also led from the front with six for 91. While he possesses an outstanding record in England with 47 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 22.02, this was his first five-for on UK soil.

Six of the best

Stokes pumped Australia’s rookie off-spinner Todd Murphy over the boundary rope five times to extend his lead over Kevin Pietersen for most Ashes sixes.

Wood fires

Having burst on to the scene with his breakneck pace on day one – averaging a searing 90.5mph across 11.4 overs which yielded a maiden five-wicket haul in England – Mark Wood showed no sign of slowing down after trading leather for willow. Wood’s template for backing away and swinging brought boundaries from his first three balls and three sixes in his first six balls. His luck finally ran out when another mighty heave across the line took the top-edge to mid-on. Still, Wood’s quickfire 24 roused England.

Broad problems for Warner

It was groundhog day again for David Warner, who has been well and truly muzzled in Leeds by his nemesis. It was bowled Stuart Broad, caught Zak Crawley, for a second time in two days after the Australia opener was squared up as he edged into the cordon. He will not look back fondly on this Test after scores of four and one, lasting just five balls in each innings.

Moeen at the double

Has any Test career fluctuated as much as Moeen Ali’s? Recalled after his finger drama at Edgbaston, Moeen seemed to lack a bit of snap in his action early on but then snared Labuschagne and Smith for his 199th and 200th Test wickets – albeit after some loose shots from the Australia pair. While Moeen, who held up an end as he conceded just 34 off his 17 overs in a row, often comes in for criticism, only Derek Underwood (297) and Graeme Swann (255) have more Test wickets among English spinners.

Bairstow blunders continue

Since controversially superseding Ben Foakes and donning the wicketkeeping gloves at the start of the summer, Jonny Bairstow’s doubters can only have grown after a subpar showing behind the stumps. His catching success rate in this series hovers at just over 50 per cent (nine pouched and eight dropped) and while it is true at least a couple of his put downs would have required outstanding reflexes, he has shelled more routine efforts. His reprieve of Labuschagne down the leg-side edged towards the latter. It was his third drop of the match but did not too prove too costly after Labuschagne was out next ball while Bairstow might have redeemed himself slightly in some English eyes with an inoffensive send-off of Smith, who seemed to take exception to being told ‘See ya, Smudge’.

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  • Charles spins web around Scorpions as Red Force maintain control; Hurricanes also tighten grip against Volcanoes Charles spins web around Scorpions as Red Force maintain control; Hurricanes also tighten grip against Volcanoes

    A destructive spell of spin bowling by Bryan Charles ensured Trinidad and Tobago Red Force maintained a strangle hold on their final round West Indies Championship encounter against Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park on Thursday.

    Charles snared six wickets for 75 runs in 23.1 overs, including four maidens, as he proved most destructive for the Red Force, who pegged the Scorpions against the ropes at 159-9, after the vistors earlier ended their first innings at a daunting 432.

    Jeavor Royal, on 33, and Andrae Dennis, yet to score, will resume batting for the Scorpions, who are 273 runs behind heading into Friday’s third day.

    Scores: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 432 all out (Joshua Da Silva 106, Terrance Hinds 79, Amir Jangoo 51, Kjorn Ottley 45, Khary Pierre 43, Navin Bidaisee 31; Jeavor Royal 3-113, Ojay Shields 2-61, Peat Salmon 2-83).

    Jamaica Scorpions 159-9 (Kirk McKenzie 57, Jeavor Royal 33 not out; Bryan Charles 6-75, Khary Pierre 2-46).

    Earlier, Red Force resuming on 308-7, added another 124 runs to their overnight total, thanks to Terrance Hinds and Khary Pierre, who put together 91 for the eighth wicket. Hinds, added 58 runs to his overnight score of 21, in a just over two-hour 118-ball knock that included seven fours and five sixes.

    Pierre, who resumed on one, had two fours and two sixes in his 99-ball 43, as the Red Force lower order built on the momentum left by captain Joshua Da Silva, who initially revived the innings with a well-played century.

    Royal was the most successful Scorpions bowler with 3-113 from 37 overs, while pacer Ojay Shields and off-spinner Peat Salmon took two wickets apiece.

    If the Scorpions were frustrated by Red Force’s prolonged innings, then their week got a bit worse, as they failed to contend with the skill and precision of spinners Charles and Pierre.

    Charles, 28, first removed opener Javaughn Buchanan (10), and later ripped through the middle order, erasing any hopes the Scorpions had of staging a fightback.

    In fact, only West Indies left-handed batsman Kirk McKenzie, who topscored with a patient 153-ball 57, including two fours and two sixes, offered some resistance, before Royal became the second batsman to pass 20 runs. Pierre had 2-46 in 21 overs.

    Elsewhere, at Frank Worrell Field in Trinidad and Tobago, Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners lead Guyana Harpy Eagles by 142 with three second innings wickets intact.

    Scores: Campuses & Colleges Marooners 200 all out (Demario Richards 43, Romario Greaves 36, Avinash Mahabirsingh 23, Amari Goodridge 22, Jediah Blades 22 not out, Jarion Hoyte 21; Nial Smith 3-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-51, Gudakesh Motie 2-40, Isai Thorne 2-45) and 165 for seven (Odaine McCatty 56, Shamarh Brooks 54 not out; Kevin Sinclair 2-29, Gudakesh Motie 2-42, Veerasammy Permaul 2-44).

    Guyana Harpy Eagles 223 all out (Raymond Perez 62, Tevin Imlach 55, Kevin Sinclair 37, Kevlon Anderson 27; Avinash Mahabirsingh 17.4-2-51-8).

    At the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, Barbados Pride lead Cricket West Indies Academy by 21 with seven second innings wickets in hand.

    Scores: Barbados Pride 155 all out (Jonathan Drakes 35, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26, Demetrius Richards 21 not out; Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26, Joshua Bishop 2-25, Ramon Simmonds 2-43) and 109 for three (Kraigg Brathwaite 49 not out, Shian Brathwaite 21; Joshua Bishop 2-11).

    CWI Academy 243 all out (Ackeem Auguste 76, Carlon Tuckett-Bowen 49, Johan Layne 38, McKenny Clarke 30; Akeem Jordan 4-76, Raymon Reifer 2-32, Jair McAllister 2-40, Shaquille Cumberbatch 2-75).

    Meanwhile, At Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands Hurricanes were 232 runs ahead of Windward Islands Volcanoes, with eight second innings wickets intact.

    Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 all out (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43, Jahmar Hamilton 34; Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33, Daren Cyrus 2-70) and 111 for two (Mikyle Louis 33, Kieran Powell 31).

    Windward Islands Volcanoes 179 all out (Johann Jeremiah 41, Shamar Springer 33, Kavem Hodge 29, Stephan Pascal 25; Daniel Doram 16-5-34-6, Hayden Walsh Jr 3-21).

  • Heather Knight says counties’ frustrations hails ‘progress’ for women’s cricket Heather Knight says counties’ frustrations hails ‘progress’ for women’s cricket

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    The move away from the current regional setup to a fully professionalised top flight from 2025, aligning with first-class counties in the process, is a major step forward for women’s cricket but not everyone has made the initial cut.

    Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey and Warwickshire were all successful, but eight other proposals were not. Yorkshire have been approved alongside Glamorgan to be elevated in 2027 and a further expansion to 12 teams is planned.

    Yet that delay represents the latest setback for a proud cricketing county after several years mired by the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal and financial pressures which saw them reappoint the divisive Colin Graves as chair earlier this year.

    However, ECB chief executive Richard Gould made it clear there was no sense of re-litigating those issues in a process that was focused entirely on elevating women’s cricket to fresh heights.

    “It’s certainly not (about) being punished for past sins, that’s not our role. Our role is to promote the game, not punish,” he said at the launch of a new national tape ball competition, aimed at further broadening the sport’s appeal.

    “It will be disappointing for those venues that either haven’t been selected for tier one at this point or who have been, but perhaps not quite as quickly as they expected.

    “There will be individual circumstances but I don’t think anybody should see this as anything other than a positive for the women’s game – we’ve had 16 counties bidding so strongly to host professional women’s cricket.

    “We were so relieved by the amount of focus, attention and frankly, love, that was being put into the women’s game in those bids.”

    Knight, meanwhile, sees the intensity of the bidding process – and the level of frustration at those who were not approved – as a positive sign given a a relative lack of enthusiasm for female teams earlier in her career.

    “It sounds like there’s some counties disappointed which is a shame but also pretty cool,” she said.

    “When I was playing a long time ago, a lot of counties weren’t interested. So that disappointment is a sign of the progress that has been made.

    “The regional structure has been super successful in professionalising the game and this is the next logical step.

    “It has been a problem with regions, mine (Western Storm) has three different counties, and sometimes you feel you don’t have a home or a bit all over the place with facilities, not getting the same equal access as the guys do. Hopefully that will change with this coming in and counties will be accountable. That’s the whole idea: one club, two teams.”

    Yorkshire, who have hosted the Northern Diamonds and can now expect their top players to head elsewhere in search of the best – and best-paid – cricket opportunities, had earlier tabled their own statement.

    “Yorkshire County Cricket Club are surprised and disappointed not to be awarded one of the initial Tier 1 women’s teams,” it read.

    “The news is especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds. Our focus is on supporting them through this difficult period and gaining as much clarity on what the future looks like.”

    Simon Phillip, speaking as chair of a Kent side who have hosted the South East Stars in recent seasons, was similarly aggrieved.

    “As the most successful county team in the history of Women’s Cricket, offering the only dedicated women’s performance centre at Beckenham and based in a highly diverse south-east London population of 1.2 million people, the decision is difficult to swallow,” he said.

    “Whilst this decision will take some getting over, we remain committed to women’s and girls’ cricket and are determined to not let it hamper our long-term ambitions.”

    Leicestershire were also vocal about their feelings on missing the boat, claiming “a missed opportunity by the ECB” and saying the club was “crestfallen” not be included.

  • CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice president Azim Bassarath has declared his intentions to join the effort to possibly coerce spinner Sunil Narine to come out of international retirement for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

    Bassarath's declaration follows that of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who has led the charge of trying to get Narine back to the regional setup ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece.

    Narine, 35, confirmed his retirement from the international game last November. However, after a stellar 56-ball 109 for Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL tie on April 16, Powell said he’s been trying to coax Narine to rejoin the squad for the past year “but he’s blocked out everyone.”

    At the same time, the Jamaican revealed that he sought the assistance of Nicholas Pooran and retired international stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to convince their compatriot to return. Former maroon fast bowler Tony Gray also believes Narine would be a welcomed addition to Darren Sammy's side to challenge for a third T20 World Cup title.

    West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

    After KKR's IPL win against the Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, Narine when asked about the possibility of returning to the West Indies team by former West Indies teammate Samuel Badree, pointed out that “I will be watching from home, Badree.”

    However, Narine in another interview on Tuesday, appeared to soften his stance about making the proverbial U-turn, when he said, “It is what it is, but we'll have to see what the future holds.”

    Bassarath explained that he has tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Narine, but he intends to keep at it.

    “I haven’t spoken to him [Narine], and he hasn’t spoken to me. Everybody is asking for him to change his mind and come represent West Indies, at least for this last chance. It is my intention to give him a shout, and if I have to beg him to come back and make himself available to play in this tournament. Because this is what the people need," he said in a T&T Newsday article.

    Bassarath, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Bassarath also revealed that he reached out to Queen’s Park Cricket Club president Nigel Camacho – Narine’s domestic club – for help.

    “I have also spoken to the QPCC president, and he indicated to me that he will also reach out to Sunil to see if he can change his mind to come on board," he shared.

    West Indies are set to open their T20 World Cup campaign against Papa New Guinea in Guyana, on June 2.  Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Uganda are the other teams in the group.

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