St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy has revealed the team will be looking to its overseas imports for a much-needed boost, following a slow start to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.

The struggling Zouks lost back-to-back encounters against the Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders to start the season.  The St Lucian-based franchise would have been hoping for fast start to the season after losing six games last season and finishing in 5th place.

In five seasons the highest place St Lucia has managed is fourth, making the playoffs on just one occasion.  Hoping to buck that trend in this current season Sammy is hoping newcomers

“We have more experience coming in with Colin de Grandhomme who is batting really well for New Zealand.  He can bring that experience.  We also have Hardus Viljoen who just had a good T20 blast in England,” Sammy said.

The former West Indies captain was, however, quick to admit that the team needed to improve its overall effort.

“At the end of the day, it takes a total team effort to win cricket games…So far it’s only been Cornwall giving us that start but we need different people in the line-up to come out and perform.”

 The Zouks will take on the Jamaica Tallawahs at Sabina Park on Thursday.

 

Shubman Gill has been given a maiden Test call-up and Rohit Sharma is set to open in the upcoming home series against South Africa after KL Rahul was dropped.

Chief selector MSK Prasad revealed that Rohit will move to the top of the order for the three Tests against the Proteas, with the first match getting under way at Visakhapatnam on October 2.

Rahul misses out after failing to make a half-century in the recent 2-0 whitewash of West Indies in the Caribbean.

Gill has been included in a 15-man party just four days after the opener turned 20, while fellow batsman Mayank Agarwal retains his place.

Prasad said of limited-overs opener Rohit being included: "Yes, we are definitely looking at him [as an opener], and we want to give him an opportunity,

"He is keen, and all of us in the selection committee are keen. We want to push him, and give him some opportunities up the order, and see where he stands, and then we will take a call.

"He has been opening in white-ball cricket for more than a decade [since 2013]. We feel he has the ability to bat up the order, we have seen that in white-ball cricket, and if he can do that in red-ball cricket, then nothing like it.

"We have a lot of practice matches coming up, which will be a boost to this side."

 

India squad for South Africa Test series: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill.

Australia took two wickets in the afternoon session but England captain Joe Root had an unbeaten half-century at tea after being dropped three times on day one of the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval.

England, unable to regain the urn but attempting to salvage a 2-2 draw, were 86-1 at lunch with Joe Denly falling to Pat Cummins for just 14 after Tim Paine won the toss and surprisingly opted to bowl.

Josh Hazlewood dismissed Rory Burns (47) while Mitchell Marsh - in for Travis Head - sent Ben Stokes (20) back to the pavilion, but Root (57 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (22no) saw England through to 169-3 at tea.

Root was given three lives by the sloppy tourists, who took a 2-1 lead with victory at Old Trafford, as he passed 7,000 Test runs on a good pitch under blue skies in London. 

A juggling Smith caught Denly at the third attempt to end an opening stand of 27 - the highest of the series - and the excellent Cummins should have had a second wicket when the recalled Peter Siddle put Root down on 24 at deep backward square-leg.

Root had just another run to his name when he was spilled by wicketkeeper Paine after Cummins drew an edge, while the home skipper was on 30 when Smith dropped a tough chance diving to his right at second slip, Siddle the unfortunate bowler on that occasion.

England's premier batsman drove Hazlewood for four to reach a notable personal milestone after lunch and Burns looked well set before he tamely top-edged the same bowler to Marsh at mid on, having struck seven boundaries in an otherwise assured knock.

Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury, struck Cummins for back-to-back boundaries before gifting a wicket to Marsh, attempting to pull the all-rounder but ballooning to Nathan Lyon for 20.

Bairstow started positively with two fours off as many balls from Siddle - preferred to Mitchell Starc - and Root reached 50 as the Yorkshire duo combined for an unbroken stand of 39.

Joe Root was let off the hook by Peter Siddle and Tim Paine as England made a positive start to the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Siddle, brought back into Australia's side at the expense of Mitchell Starc, should have dismissed England's captain on 24 but put down a simple catch at deep square leg.

The Yorkshireman's wicket would have been a vital one for Australia, with the visitors having struggled to test Root, who moved to 28 not out, or Rory Burns (42 no) following Joe Denly's dismissal.

Australia captain Paine also dropped his English counterpart, failing to hold onto a diving, one-handed attempt as England made it to lunch on 86-1.

Put into bat by Paine, England's Burns and Denly accumulated 27-0 by the end of the eighth over - the highest opening partnership of the series so far.

Things would have been different if in-form Burns had not successfully reviewed Marais Erasmus' leg before wicket decision in the fourth over, though Denly (14) was dismissed five overs later when he edged Pat Cummins to Steve Smith, who held on at the second attempt.

Root swiftly got about his business, clipping Siddle for two boundaries, while Burns fended off Mitchell Marsh.

Cummins bowled Root for a golden duck at Old Trafford, and the world's number one Test bowler should have had his wicket again.

A short ball drew Root into a poor hook shot, but Siddle failed to hold on in the outfield, and Cummins was frustrated once more in his next over.

Root flashed recklessly outside off stump, only for Paine - moving across David Warner at first slip - to attempt an acrobatic catch which went down as England held firm to survive the session.

Mitchell Starc dropped out of Australia's team for the final Ashes Test, with Tim Paine's visitors making two changes.

Australia arrived at The Oval with the Ashes already secure following their 185-run victory at Old Trafford, which gave them a 2-1 series lead.

Having impressed in tour matches, Starc came into the line-up in Manchester, replacing James Pattinson.

However, the 29-year-old paceman - who scored an unbeaten 54 in the fourth Test and took four wickets - did not made the cut for the match that began in London on Thursday, with Australia selecting Peter Siddle instead.

The other change to Australia's side saw Mitchell Marsh replace Travis Head, a switch Paine had revealed in his pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

Paine won the toss on Thursday, electing to bowl first.

Australia team for final Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Barbados Tridents skipper Jason Holder believes the availability of quality leg spinners could be a critical component for the team if it is to successfully challenge for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

After a record-setting night against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the Trident brought a high-scoring St Kitts and Nevis Patriots back to earth with an 18-runs win at Basseterre.  Sent in bat first, Leniko Boucher led the way with 62 from 47 as the Tridents put 186 for 2 on the board before dismissing the Patriots for 168.

Leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, proved to be the chief tormentor of the Patriots as he claimed 3 for 22, including the prized wicket of the dangerous Laurie Evans, who was dismissed for 61.  Hayden Walsh, who claimed 2 for 33, also made life difficult for the Patriots batsmen.

“It’s really good to have two quality wicket-taking leg spinners in the middle for us.  I think that is one of the things we really missed last year,” Holder said, following the match.

“To have Sandeep coming in and bowling as he did for us was a plus and also Hayden coming back to finish off expertly,” he added.

The win was the first of the campaign for the Tridents.

   

Having chased a Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) record of 242 on Tuesday night, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots were brought back down to earth by Barbados Tridents on Wednesday.

While Jamaica Tallawahs had been unable to defend 241/4 here 24 hours earlier, 186/2 proved enough for the Tridents to run out 18-run winners.

After the previous day’s heroics, the Patriots would have been confident of another victory but they were immediately placed on the back foot in their run-chase by Tridents skipper Jason Holder. He removed Devon Thomas with the first ball he bowled – a beauty that nipped away just enough to find the outside edge – and then had another of last night’s key performers Evin Lewis skying a catch to cover in the same over.

Laurie Evans made a classy 64 from 41 with boundaries all round the ground, but nobody else was able to stay with him and score at the required rate.

Jason Mohammed was strangled down the legside by Roshon Primus for 12 before the Tridents’ leg-spinners made a decisive move with four wickets in three overs before rain held up the victory charge. Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane bagged two wickets in his third over. First Shamarh Brooks was smartly caught by Ashley Nurse running back from cover for 13 before the key wicket of Evans, caught by Josh Lalor at short fine-leg from a top-edged sweep.

A pair of googlies brought two more crucial breakthroughs in the next two overs, Fabian Allen bowled by Hayden Walsh Jr and Carlos Brathwaite lbw to Lamichhane for just a single run between them to leave the Patriots deep in trouble at 107/7 needing 80 runs with just 31 balls left when a sudden downpour sent the players scurrying for cover.

The rain, which came down hard, held up the Tridents by 45 minutes. When play resumed, Walsh Jr promptly bowled Usama Mir, who got nowhere near an attempted slog and lost his off stump.

Rayad Emrit fell looking for his second six of the night but instead picking out Jason Holder at long-on off Lalor.

Dominic Drakes had some fun despite the hopelessness of the situation, hitting Holder for three huge sixes in the 18th over and in all slapping 34 not out off 13 balls in an unbroken 10th-wicket partnership of 49 with Alzarri Joseph to end the night as the Patriots second top-scorer and make the final margin of defeat far closer than it might have been. There may not have been as many records as the previous day’s game, but here was one: Drakes’ 34 not out is the highest ever T20 score by a number 11.

The Tridents were indebted to an explosive late injection from Duminy to get a competitive total on the board after being tied down themselves for much of their innings.

Alex Hales got things off to a lively start with four fours through the offside inside the first three overs of the innings, but after he was dismissed caught behind trying to run Emrit down to third-man, the scoring rate dropped dramatically.

On a ground where a record-breaking 37 sixes were struck the night before, the Tridents didn’t clear the ropes until Johnson Charles picked a length ball up off his pads over the legside off Brathwaite.

Charles had started slowly but began to find his range and struck back-to-back Hero Maximums off Usama Mir to reach his half-century in 41 balls. He fell two balls later, though, picking out Brooks – who also dropped a couple of simple catches – at deep midwicket looking for a third six of the innings.

Keeper-batsman Leniko Boucher made his first Hero CPL half-century in an innings of increasing authority. Having taken 22 balls over his first 22 runs he added 40 more from the next 25 he faced to finish unbeaten on 62 with four fours and three sixes to his name.

It was Duminy, though, who was most responsible for lifting the Tridents to what would prove a match-winning total, smashing an unbeaten 43 from just 18 and striking the ball noticeably cleaner than his team-mates. He sent four balls sailing way over the ropes with 73 runs coming from the final six overs when the South African veteran was at the crease.

Australia will attempt to rub salt in England's wounds by securing a first Ashes series away win since 2001 at The Oval.

The tourists retained the urn with an 185-run victory at Old Trafford last Sunday, which gave them a 2-1 lead with just one match to play.

You have to go back 18 years for Australia's last series triumph in England, but that wait will end if they avoid defeat in London.

We pick out a selection of Opta numbers ahead of the final Test of the series, which starts on Thursday.

 

- Australia come into this game at The Oval having retained the Ashes for the first time since the 2002-03 series.

- The tourists are looking first for a first away Test series success since February 2016.

- England will be striving to avoid their first Test series defeat on home soil since June 2014; that series loss coming against Sri Lanka (0-1).

- England have not suffered back-to-back home Test losses since South Africa won two in a row 11 years ago. They have only managed one victory in their last 10 Test contests with Australia.

- Australia have only claimed three wins in their last 18 attempts in Tests at The Oval, losing six and drawing nine.Their win at the London ground was in 2015.

- England have registered back-to-back Test victories at The Oval. They have not managed to record three on the bounce there since putting together a four-game winning run from 1966 to 1969.

- Stuart Broad has got David Warner out 11 times in Test cricket, the joint-most instances he's removed a batsman (level with Michael Clarke). He has dismissed Warner in six of his eight knocks in this series, at the price of only 32 runs.

Sri Lanka have requested government support after a new terrorism warning cast doubt on whether their limited-overs tour of Pakistan should go ahead.

An armed attack on the Sri Lanka team coach in Lahore in 2009 saw seven team members among the injured, while six policemen and two civilians were killed.

Most of Pakistan's home matches for the past decade have been held in the United Arab Emirates, due to security concerns, but Sri Lanka have agreed to visit on tour, having until now played just one T20 match in the country since the deadly attack.

Three ODIs are scheduled to take place in Karachi on September 27, 29 and October 3, before a series of Twenty20s in Lahore.

Several high-profile players - including captains Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga - have refused to travel with the 15-man squad, with Sri Lanka naming Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka as skippers for the tour.

The tour may now be in jeopardy, with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) having been informed by the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe there is a "possible terrorist threat" to the team.

The national governing body said it had "sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan government to conduct a 'reassessment' of the security situation in Pakistan".

"The decision was taken following a warning SLC received from the Prime Minister's office," Sri Lanka Cricket said.

"Accordingly, the warning highlights that the Prime Minister's office has received reliable information of a possible terrorist threat on the Sri Lankan team while touring Pakistan."

Mitchell Marsh has been preferred to vice-captain Travis Head in the only change to Australia's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

All-rounder Marsh will make his first appearance of the series against England as the tourists strive to win the series after going 2-1 up to retain the urn at Old Trafford last weekend.

Batsman Head has made just one half-century in the series and captain Tim Paine says Marsh was selected to ease the bowlers' workload.

"Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we've kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them.

"It was a really tough call on Travis Head, who's had a great start to his Test career but we wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and to be able to look after our big, fast bowlers.

"Mitchell Marsh has also had a couple of hundreds in Test cricket so we've got full faith in him doing the job with the bat as well."

Paine added: "The reason Travis isn't playing is because we felt like we needed a little bit of extra bowling at the end of a long series.

"Mitch Marsh is our all-rounder and like we have with our bowlers, it's not necessarily Travis being dropped.

"We've been really clear with Travis on why he's not playing this game. He's had a fantastic start [to his Test career], he's played nine or 10 Tests and has got a very healthy average but we want to get the make up right to win this Test match.

"Unfortunately we had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis. He's a huge part of Australian cricket future, he's a gun young player and he's getting better all the time.

"It's disappointing for him he's not playing in this Test match. He'd dearly love to, obviously, but we'll go back to Australia, conditions will be different. There's no doubt he's in the top six or seven batsmen in our country."

England replaced Jason Roy and Craig Overton with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes for the fifth Test, which starts on Thursday.


Australia squad for fifth Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Joe Root insists Jason Roy has not reached the end of the road in his Test career after the batsman was dropped by England for the final Ashes match against Australia.

Roy came into England's squad for the Ashes on the back of an impressive World Cup, but the 29-year-old - who opened the batting for the first three Tests before dropping to number four at Old Trafford - has failed to recapture the form he has shown in one-day cricket.

With all-rounder Ben Stokes having sustained a shoulder injury in the fourth Test, England have brought in Sam Curran as an extra bowler. That meant Roy, who accumulated just 110 runs from eight innings, misses out, while Chris Woakes has replaced Craig Overton.

Root, however, has no doubt Roy will work on improving his game in order to force his way back into consideration ahead of England's tour of New Zealand in November.

"It's always tough to leave guys out, but Stokesy suffered a shoulder injury in the last game and won't be able to bowl the overs you'd normally expect him to, and with that we've had to change the balance of the side," Root told a news conference.

"Jason's the unfortunate one to miss out. He's had an opportunity to come in and play Test cricket, get a feel for it.

"It's not quite gone how he would have liked but I’m sure he’ll go away, work extremely hard and come again and that’s what you'd expect of guys when they get left out.

"I'm sure he'll have that attitude, want to prove a point and get himself back into the side."

"Yes," Root said, when asked if he had spoken to Roy, who made his Test debut against Ireland in July.

"When you leave someone out you obviously have those conversations, and he’s very aware of where he's at and what he needs to do to get himself to the best place to perform in Test cricket."

Outgoing England coach Trevor Bayliss said on Tuesday that, despite media speculation, there was "no pressure" on Root's position as captain despite the team's failure to regain the Ashes.

And the Yorkshire batsman is adamant his side have plenty to play for heading into the final Test at The Oval.

"[It was] bitterly disappointing to not have got the Ashes back, but we haven't lost anything yet, we've got to make sure we square the series up and there's Test Championship points to play for as well which could make a huge difference," Root said.

"There's plenty to play for, the guys are very aware of that and determined to make sure we make the series 2-2.

"In terms of my own captaincy, I know the direction I want to take this team in and it's about starting that now, not after this series. We need to use this as a stepping stone, win this game, have a really strong winter and move forward as a group."

Jason Roy has been dropped from England's side for the final Ashes Test at The Oval after his poor form throughout the series, with Ben Stokes passed fit to bat.

Roy has failed to establish himself, either as an opener alongside Rory Burns or when switched to number four for the Old Trafford Test.

The 29-year-old's highest score came in Manchester, when he made 31 as England desperately attempted to keep the series alive, to no avail, and Roy has now made way for Sam Curran.

Craig Overton proved resilient with the bat in England's second innings at Old Trafford before he was eventually dismissed by Josh Hazlewood, but the Somerset bowler has been replaced by Chris Woakes.

Stokes will play as a specialist batsman, with the all-rounder unable to bowl due to a shoulder injury.

Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed one change to his 12-man squad, with Mitchell Marsh replacing Travis Head.

England team for fifth Ashes Test: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

Tim Paine is not planning to bow out as Australia captain in the wake of his side retaining the Ashes.

Australia retained the urn thanks to their 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, handing the visitors an unassailable 2-1 lead.

There is still plenty to play for at The Oval, however, with England needing a victory to avoid a first Ashes series defeat on home soil in 18 years.

Paine's captaincy has come under scrutiny at times throughout the tour, particularly with former skipper Steve Smith - who was replaced by the wicketkeeper following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal - having been in such inspired form.

But having guided Australia through a difficult 18 months, Paine is in no mood to relinquish his leadership duties, even though an Ashes win would ensure his legacy would be firmly intact.

"Not for me, not at the moment," Paine, whose international career was halted by a mixture of injuries and rivals keeping him out of the team, told reporters at The Oval when asked if he might call time on his tenure at the end of the series.

"I'm loving doing what I'm doing, and I think while you've got a job that you love you try and do it for as long as you can.

"I did miss a lot, I suppose, in the prime years of my cricket career. The positive of that now is that physically I'm in really good condition for my age and feel really good after Test matches physically.

"Mentally, it's a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that. While I keep enjoying it, I'll keep doing it."

The 34-year-old was asked if the end of the ICC Test Championship cycle in the middle of 2021 would be an ideal signing-off point, but Paine insisted he is not planning so far ahead.

"I haven't thought about it to be honest," Paine said.

"I haven't thought much past this Test match, as I've said in the last 18 months, I think it's foolish at my age if you do.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way, I'll continue to do it.

"I constantly talk to Justin Langer and [selection chair] Trevor Hohns about what might happen or how long I might go on for, but I think we're all comfortable and we're all on the same page."

Jamaica Tallawahs stand-in captain Ravmon Powell insisted the bowlers did not stick to the plan on the back of a deflating four-wickets loss to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, in a record-setting CPL encounter on Tuesday.

The Tallawahs, on the back of Chris Gayle’s majestic 116 from 62 balls and 73 from 36 from Chadwick Walton, seemed poised for victory after putting 241 for 4 on the board.  The innings was the highest ever recorded in the CPL and one of the most in T20 history.

In response, however, a savage opening spell from openers Devon Thomas and Evin Lewis and solid contributions from Laurie Evans, Fabian Allen, and Shamar Brooks, saw the two-hour record total eclipsed in fairly comfortable fashion.  The Patriots got to 242 for 6 with 7 balls to spare.

The figures were as expected particularly brutal for the Tallawahs bowlers.  Oshane Thomas, the best of them, went for 53 after taking 4 wickets.  Russell who claimed the other two, was blasted for 54. 

Jerome Taylor went 0 for 36, Steven Jacobs 0 for 30, Christopher Lamont 0 for 32 and Shamar Springer 0 for 36.  All failed to make any significant inroads or even significantly slow the Patriots.  After scoring 85 for 0 in the Power Play, the Patriots were 133 for 1 at the halfway mark.

“I think the bowlers did not execute according to the game plan that we set out but credit has to be given to the Patriots, they did fantastic,” Lewis said following the match.

“We just didn’t go to our skillset early enough, we did not bowl enough yorkers, did not bowl enough slower balls, as you can see the pitch was gripping but it is just for us to learn,” he added.

 

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots captain Carlos Brathwaite insists the team never lost belief during a miraculous runs chase of historic proportions, against Jamaica Tallawahs, in the Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday.

Spearheaded by 116 from 62 balls from talisman Chris Gayle, his 22nd T20 century, the Jamaica Tallawahs posted what seemed to be an unassailable 241 for 4, which was the highest total in CPL history. 

The hosts, however, had other ideas and led by a blistering 50, in just 17 balls, from explosive opener Evin Lewis, reached to 242 for 6 with seven balls to spare and 4 wickers in hand.  Lewis' knock was the fastest half-century in CPL history.

“Actually, before we got off the field we got into a small huddle and we said this is the bullring, any total is chaseable,” Brathwaite said following the match.

Lewis and Devon Thomas got the Patriots off to a blistering start and the duo got to 85 for 0 inside the Power Play.  After he was surprised by extra bounce and caught behind by Glenn Phillips off Andre Russell, his opening partner took point.

Thomas got to 50 off 30 balls and new arrival Laurie Evans from England also made a strong contribution, his 41 coming from just 20.

“We just planned to get a good start, keep the run rate manageable and then close off the game.  Evin is in fantastic form, Fabian Allen as well, Devon Thomas, it's his second back to back 50.  We thought they got about 20 runs too much but it was a fantastic track, the wind wasn’t blowing and it was a small outfield.”

The runs chase, which was carried home by Allen’s 37 from 15, was the second-highest total chased in T20 history.

  

 

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