'Still England's best bowler' – Australia's Lyon stunned by Anderson retirement

By Sports Desk May 29, 2024

James Anderson retiring from Test cricket shocked Nathan Lyon as the Australian spinner believes England's veteran would still be their best bowler.

England great Anderson will call time to his storied red-ball career when Brendon McCullum's side host West Indies at Lord's, starting on July 10.

The Lancashire bowler leaves the international scene as England's all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 700 dismissals in 187 appearances.

His wicket-taking heroics are the most by any pace bowler in Test history, and Anderson's decision came as welcome news to Ashes rival Lyon.

"Obviously, Jimmy Anderson is in the conversation of being the greatest fast bowler of all time," Lyon told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Good luck to Jimmy and I look forward to playing with him at Lancashire, but I'm glad he won't be coming out to the next Ashes."

Anderson's hand appeared somewhat forced as England started planning for the future, setting their sights on The Ashes in Australia across late 2025 and into 2026.

By the time that Ashes series arrives, Anderson will be 43.

Owing to Anderson's age, England coach McCullum, managing director Rob Key and captain Ben Stokes, want to test the likes of Brydon Carse, Matthew Potts and Gus Atkinson as pace-bowling options.

With Stuart Broad already announcing his retirement after his last outing against Australia, Lyon could not believe England's decision to let Anderson go.

"My care factor for England is pretty low, but I was pretty surprised when I did read that they tapped him on the shoulder," added Lyon.

"I look at James and what he's been able to do for England cricket, it's pretty remarkable.

"This is just my opinion – I still think he would be England's best bowler."

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    England know that the last 16 of Euro 2024 is within touching distance as they head into a reunion with Denmark.

    The Three Lions beat the Danes in the semi-finals at Euro 2020, coming from behind to win 2-1 after extra time.

    Harry Kane was England's hero as he converted a penalty winner, though spot-kicks would of course go on to prove to be their downfall in the final against Italy.

    There is less on the line when England face Denmark again on Thursday, though Gareth Southgate's team will progress to the knockout stage should they win.

    Here, we use Opta data to preview the Group C clash.

    What's expected?

    England are forecasted to win this one, with the Opta supercomputer handing them a 54.5 per cent chance of getting the job done in Frankfurt.

    Denmark are sure to be no pushovers, though, and have a 20.6 per cent win likelihood, with the draw threat at 25 per cent.

    This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and England at a major tournament. Three of those will have come at the Euros, and one at the 2002 World Cup.

     

    Denmark won none of the previous three meetings (D1 L2), scoring only one goal in the process, Mikkel Damsgaard's free-kick in the semi-final of Euro 2020.

    There have only been five goals scored in the last four meetings between Denmark (two) and England (three) in all competitions.

    Meanwhile, the Three Lions only had 12 touches in Serbia's box in their 1-0 win on MD1, their lowest total of touches in the opposition box in a European Championship game since 2012 against Ukraine (also 12).

    Indeed, the England v Serbia match saw only 11 shots (five for England, six for Serbia) – that tally is the lowest on record in a European Championship match, fewer than every one of the other 322 matches in the competition since 1980.

    England have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group-stage matches at the European Championship finals, the longest such run in the competition's history.

    So, this game is probably not one to expect too many goals in.

    Bellingham a safe bet but can Foden and Kane flourish?

    Jude Bellingham came into Euro 2024 with the pressure and hype ramped right up. He is the face of this England squad, and there is an onus on him to deliver.

    Well, he started on the right foot, scoring in the 13th minute on Sunday to seal that 1-0 victory over Serbia.

    Bellingham displayed the kind of chance-sniffing instinct he has demonstrated so brilliantly during his first season at Real Madrid, getting on the end of Bukayo Saka's deflected cross and powering home with his head.

    Having become the first player to play at two European Championship tournaments before the age of 21, he is also the second England player to score at two major tournaments before turning 21 (also scored vs Iran at the 2022 World Cup), along with Michael Owen, who scored at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    Bellingham was crucial in every aspect against Serbia. He led England for touches (93), while only Declan Rice (81) and Kyle Walker (77) attempted more passes than the 20-year-old, who also competed in a team-leading 16 duels, winning 10 of them, and was successful with two of his three tackles.

    Southgate's system seems designed to allow Bellingham to flourish, though has that come at the expense of Phil Foden?

    The Manchester City star struggled when he did find space against Serbia, though there is perhaps a case that the Premier League Player of the Year is being shoehorned in out of position, too.

    Kane, meanwhile, had just two touches in the opening 45 minutes, before finishing with 24 – exactly half that of Jordan Pickford and the lowest of any England outfielder who started the match. The Bayern Munich striker did have a header tipped onto the crossbar, but that was his only chance of the game. Southgate needs to get him more service.

     

    England average 1.9 goals per game under Southgate at major tournaments, the best ratio of any Three Lions boss, but there could be so much more to come from this star-studded attack.

    Christian the Great (Dane)

    Christian Eriksen scored his maiden goal at the European Championship in Denmark's 1-1 draw with Slovenia.

    At 32 years and 123 days old, he became the oldest Dane to score at the Euros and oldest at a major tournament since 33-year-old Jon Dahl Tomasson at the 2010 World Cup.

    It was a clever run and deft finish from the Manchester United playmaker, who created seven chances from set-pieces in the match, the most by a player in a European Championship fixture since Gary McAllister in 1992 for Scotland against Germany (eight).

     

    Getting Eriksen into dangerous positions has to be the gameplan for Kasper Hjulmand's team, who completed 583 passes and enjoyed an 89 per cent passing accuracy against Slovenia, both record highs for the Danes that Opta has on record (since 1980) at the European Championship.

    Despite their run to the last four three years ago, Denmark have won just one of their last six group stage games at the Euros (D1 L4), beating Russia 4-1 at Euro 2020 to ensure qualification to the round of 16.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Denmark - Rasmus Hojlund 

    Eriksen will be the one England have to stop influencing the match in midfield, but John Stones and Marc Guehi – should they start – will have to be on high alert to keep Man United's Hojlund under wraps, too.

    He only had one shot against Slovenia, which he did get on target, but he is a quality finisher and can certainly do some damage.

    England - Phil Foden

    Foden created just one chance in a subdued performance against Serbia, but there can be no doubting his quality.

    Get him more involved, and in fairness, Foden has to sharpen up when he does get on the ball, and England will surely have far too much for Denmark's defence.

     

  • Mainoo pleased to have 'peace of mind' over ten Hag decision Mainoo pleased to have 'peace of mind' over ten Hag decision

    Kobbie Mainoo is pleased to have “peace of mind” over the future of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.

    The Dutchman looked set to be sacked following a disappointing season, only to lead United to FA Cup success against Manchester City last month.

    Mainoo, who is away with England at Euro 2024, scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 win at Wembley to cap off an impressive debut year for the 19-year-old. 

    Following United's 13th FA Cup success, a post-season review ultimately led to Ten Hag being told he would remain in charge at Old Trafford under the new ownership. 

    Mainoo is preparing for the Three Lions' second group game against Denmark on Thursday, having made his international tournament debut against Serbia as a late substitute. 

    When asked for his verdict on United’s decision to keep ten Hag, Mainoo was thankful for his head coach after his maiden season with the first team. 

    'I am so GRATEFUL for Erik ten Hag, I can't thank him enough!' Kobbie Mainoo#manutd #mufc #eriktenhag

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    "Obviously, (I am) happy to be building with him," Mainoo said. "He’s already got two trophies, hopefully there’s more to come. 

    "It’s nice to have that peace of mind that we know what manager we’re going back to in the new season.

    "I’m so grateful for him that he put so much trust in me and belief in me to play in the team. Yeah, I can’t thank him enough."

    Mainoo made 32 appearances across all competitions, scoring five goals, ultimately resulting in his inclusion in the 26-man squad that travelled to Germany, picked ahead of the likes of James Maddison, Jordan Henderson, and Jack Grealish. 

  • West Indies Women fail to deliver with bat as Sri Lanka secures unassailable 2-0 ODI series lead West Indies Women fail to deliver with bat as Sri Lanka secures unassailable 2-0 ODI series lead

    Sri Lanka Women secured an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match ODI series against West Indies Women with a dominant five-wicket win in the second encounter in Hambantota on Tuesday.

    The West Indies, playing without their regular captain Hayley Matthews, were bundled out for a paltry 95 in just 31 overs after being put in to bat by the hosts.

    Rashada Williams was the only West Indies batter to provide any meaningful resistance with 24 as Kavisha Dilhari, just as she did in the first match, starred with the ball with 4-20 from six overs.

    Captain Chamari Athapaththu took 2-8 from two overs while Achini Kulasuriya took 2-16 from seven overs in support.

    Sri Lanka then lost five wickets on their way to 93 in the 22nd over to secure the series victory.

    The successful chase was led by a run-a-ball 50 from Vishmi Gunaratne while Dilhari contributed 28.

    Karishma Ramharack took 2-29 from 5.2 overs for the West Indies.

    Full Scores:

    West Indies Women 92 off 31 overs (Rashada Williams 24, Kavisha Dilhari 4-20, Chamari Athapaththu 2-8, Achini Kulasuriya 2-16)

    Sri Lanka Women 93-5 off 21.2 overs (Vishmi Gunaratne 50, Kavisha Dilhari 28, Karishma Ramharack 2-29)

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