Ashes 2019: Lyon hands Australia injury scare

By Sports Desk August 28, 2019

Nathan Lyon sparked injury fears for Australia on Wednesday but his ankle issue is not believed to be serious.

The off-spinner, who moved past the great Dennis Lillee and on to 357 Test wickets during last week's remarkable one-wicket defeat to England at Headingley, twisted his ankle during a game of touch rugby ahead of Australia's tour match with Derbyshire.

However, Omnisport understands Lyon sat out the remainder of the training session as a mere precaution and, had he been in similar pain during a Test match, he would have stayed on the field.

The 31-year-old was at the centre of two huge flashpoints as a stunning contest in Leeds reached its conclusion, with Ben Stokes' magnificent 135 not out tying the series at 1-1 heading into next week's fourth Test at Old Trafford.

When England needed two runs to win, Lyon fumbled a simple run-out chance with last man Jack Leach well short of his ground.

Stokes thumped four of his eight sixes off Lyon, but the all-rounder survived a strong lbw appeal with next the delivery after Leach's run-out scare.

Replays indicated the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, although Australia had used up their final review during the previous over, leaving Stokes to lash Pat Cummins through the covers and complete one of the most remarkable comeback wins in Test history.

Star batsman Steve Smith will return from his concussion absence in the three-day game at Derby, which starts on Thursday.

Usman Khawaja will captain the side, with Alex Carey called in from his stint at Sussex to keep wicket – allowing captain Tim Paine to rest up alongside Lyon, Cummins, David Warner, Travis Head, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson from the XI in action at Headingley.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc and right-arm seamer Peter Siddle will look to press their claims for inclusion in Manchester, the former having yet to feature in the Test series.

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  • Sir Viv backs Walsh Jr to be more successful than Badree Sir Viv backs Walsh Jr to be more successful than Badree

    Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, believes Hayden Walsh Jr, can reap more success than did the world’s foremost T20 bowler at one time,Samuel Badree.

    Badree, once known as the number-one leg spinner in T20 cricket, came into the West Indies line-up in similar fashion to Walsh Jr.

    Walsh claimed 22 wickets in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to lead all wickettakers and earn a debut callup to the West Indies.

    Sir Viv, just like Walsh Jr is from Antigua and believes the achievement, especially coming from one of the smaller islands, is remarkable, saying he wished the Leeward Islands had picked him more often.

    “I think at that particular point, that particular achievement of him getting the most wickets as a spinner and to be coming from these parts, I am wondering what would have happened earlier for him not to have been utilized by the Leewards a little bit more,” Sir Viv pondered.

    Walsh Jr’s limited selection in the Leeward Islands side is something Sir Viv believes begs bigger questions about the way the team is selected and their ability to spot talent.

    “And so, all these questions need to be asked but I think that certainly, he has thrown his hands in the ring for the next T20 World Cup. I personally believe that he has done well enough to be considered and to be part of that particular unit,” Sir Viv had said before Walsh Jr’s selection to te West Indies’ white ball squads.

    Making the comparison to Badree, Sir Viv said:

    “And especially with this last performance in terms of being on the winning team with the most wickets, this is how I think Samuel Badree came into contention for the West Indies … I think he came in and he had some success … I don’t think he was as successful as what Hayden Walsh would have [been].”

    According to Sir Viv, Walsh Jr can offer more to the West Indies than did Badree because he has other attributes.

    To be fair as well, too, he brings so much as well, especially as a spinner; his athleticism in the field. Everything is so brilliant about him, you need some sort of an individual like that for those sort of tournaments,” he said.

    Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award.

    Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knight Riders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the then-struggling team into the playoffs. 

    Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.  

    Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show. 

    For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

  • I'll send someone else to the toss! – Du Plessis desperate to change South Africa's fortunes I'll send someone else to the toss! – Du Plessis desperate to change South Africa's fortunes

    South Africa captain Faf du Plessis joked he is considering sending another player to the toss for the third Test against India as he aims to correct his side's recent woes.

    The Proteas are 2-0 down in the series after suffering heavy defeats in Visakhapatnam and Pune.

    With the three-match series already lost, South Africa head to Ranchi looking to restore some pride as a frustrating 2019 draws closer towards a conclusion.

    Du Plessis cited winning the toss as a crucial factor but, with South Africa having lost their last nine coin-flips on Asian soil going back to 2015, failing to win any of the subsequent Tests – the Proteas' skipper conceded he might have to send out a substitute in order to change their luck.

    "We've felt that we've done it [compete] in stages, more probably in the first Test, so hoping that we can start with the toss tomorrow," Du Plessis told reporters.

    "Probably I will [send] somebody else to the toss, I'll give you that, because my record so far hasn't been great, and then, yeah, if we put big runs on the board in the first innings, that's where we need to start."

    Du Plessis also acknowledged his side – who lost the first Test by 203 runs and the second by an innings – can only regain confidence by taking the fight to India.

    "It is tough when you're losing," he said.

    "For us, we're very, very competitive people, so it does take a dent out of your confidence, but international sport is supposed to be hard, and the guys who've stayed at the top for a long time will tell you that it comes with ups and it comes with downs, personally and from a team point of view.

    "So it's important for us to understand that we have to fight our way out of these last two losses. We can't expect things just to happen."

    South Africa's task has been made harder by the absence of batsman Aiden Markram, who will miss the final Test due to a wrist injury he sustained while "lashing out at a solid object" following his second-innings dismissal in Pune.

  • Sarfraz sacked as Pakistan captain Sarfraz sacked as Pakistan captain

    Sarfraz Ahmed has been sacked as Pakistan's Test and Twenty20 captain, also losing his place in the squad for both formats.

    Pakistan have endured a difficult 2019, with a poor start to the Cricket World Cup group stage meaning a late charge was not enough to secure their place in the semi-finals.

    Sarfraz's sacking comes in the wake of a 3-0 T20 defeat to Sri Lanka, as the world's top-ranked side in the shortest format succumbed to a series whitewash.

    While a decision on the captaincy for the 50-over format has been put on hold for now, Sarfraz – who retained his position last month despite his performances coming under scrutiny – has been removed as the team's skipper ahead of their Test and T20 tour of Australia, which starts in November.

    Azhar Ali – who was white-ball captain prior to Sarfraz – will replace the wicketkeeper-batsman as Test skipper, while Babar Azam will take charge of the T20 side until the 2020 World Cup.

    In a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Azhar said: "There is no bigger honour than to captain the Pakistan national cricket team in the pinnacle format of the game.

    "I feel humbled, excited and privileged, and with the support of the team, look forward to justifying the faith that has been entrusted upon me for the World Test Championship.

    "Sarfraz has done an excellent job in transforming raw talent into experienced players, and I now look forward to inspiring those skilful players.

    "These are exciting times in Pakistan cricket with a new team management."

    Pakistan dismissed their head coach and chief selector following the World Cup, with Misbah-ul-Haq taking over both positions.

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