Virat Kohli made his highest Test score with a domineering unbeaten double-century as India piled on the runs before South Africa lost three wickets on a one-sided day two in Pune.

Kohli reached three figures for the first time in the longest format this year and went on to make his seventh Test double-century with the tourists toiling in the heat on Friday.

The India captain crafted a magnificent 254 not out that included two sixes and 33 fours, before declaring with his team on a mammoth 601-5, with Ravindra Jadeja (91) and Ajinkya Rahane (59) making half-centuries on a flat pitch.

Kohli passed 7,000 Test runs and was given a life when he edged Senuran Muthusamy to Faf du Plessis on 208 as the spinner over-stepped.

South Africa face a battle to avoid going 2-0 down in the three-match series after they were reduced to 36-3 at stumps, Umesh Yadav (2-16) and Mohammed Shami making inroads.

The Proteas were unable to claim a breakthrough in the morning session after India resumed on 273-3 and Kohli brought up his 26th Test hundred with an exquisite straight drive for four off Vernon Philander.

Rahane took a liking to the pace of Anrich Nortje as he accumulated runs steadily, reaching his half-century in the morning session before India took lunch in command on 356-3.

Kohli punched Kagiso Rabada for two glorious boundaries in an over but a fourth-wicket stand of 178 ended when Rahane was caught behind to become Keshav Maharaj's 100th victim in the longest format.

Rabada's frustration mounted as Jadeja joined Kohli to continue piling on the runs, the skipper moving on to 150 as the Proteas attack suffered.

Jadeja came in with a license to swing and did just that, the boundaries flowing with Kohli having some luck as he cut just past Du Plessis at first slip on more than one occasion.

Du Plessis held on to seemingly remove Kohli shortly after he had tickled Muthusamy around the corner to bring up his double-century, but the captain was given a reprieve as the left-arm tweaker's front foot was well over the line.

Jadeja treated the crowd to his sword celebration after dispatching Aiden Markram to the ropes twice in an over before both the all-rounder and Kohli clattered Maharaj for six with disdain.

Kohli had 250 to his name when he slapped Dean Elgar over midwicket for four and declared after Jadeja holed out attempting to hit Muthusamy for six.

Umesh then did damage with the new ball, trapping Markram leg before without score before Elgar played on and Temba Bavuma edged Shami's first ball behind to put South Africa deeper in the mire.

Stafanie Taylor powered her NLCB Revellers to an impressive nine-wicket victory over Courts Gladiators in the CPL Women’s T10 NLCB Challenge clash at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

Chris Silverwood has already identified England's areas for improvement in Test cricket in an aim to fulfil Ashley Giles' target of becoming "the most respected team in the world".

Silverwood has been appointed as England's new head coach, replacing Trevor Bayliss, who delivered limited-overs success, winning the Cricket World Cup at home earlier this year.

While director of cricket Giles insists England are "not moving all our focus back onto Test cricket", urging the need to find a "balance", there is a desire to improve results in the longest format.

Under Bayliss, Joe Root's side could only draw at home in the Ashes, while they suffered series defeats away to West Indies, New Zealand, Australia and India.

Silverwood, previously the bowling coach, told a news conference: "I think we'll become [the most respected team] by being successful and building on the white-ball success we've had.

"We talk about prioritising red-ball cricket, but let's not forget we do have two big white-ball tournaments coming up.

"But moving the Test team forward, we're going to have to look at batting for long periods of time, then continuing to build the bowling attack where we can be successful and consistent in winning away from home as well.

"Equally, I think it's in the way we play as well. It's the way you win that helps make you the most respected team in the world, so we'll keep driving the culture behind the scenes and make sure that, when we're on the park, we are role models to everybody else out there as well."

Pushed further on England's batting order, Silverwood acknowledged there is work to do on the basics.

England have struggled to identify an opening combination since Alastair Cook's retirement, with Jason Roy the latest to fail, although Rory Burns and Joe Denly hinted at a partnership towards the end of the home series against Australia.

"It certainly needs work moving forward," Silverwood said. "One of the things we'll be looking at is building a batting group that can bat for long periods of time, stack runs up and put pressure on.

"Yes, it sounds a little bit old fashioned, but I think we need to recognise that we need to look at that - and make sure we've got the right people in the right places to achieve that as well."

Mayank Agarwal continued his fine form as his century helped India take a commanding position at the end of day one of the second Test against South Africa.

Agarwal - who amassed 215 in the first innings of the first Test as India claimed a resounding win - hit 108 from 195 deliveries in Pune on Thursday.

He was ably supported by Cheteshwar Pujara (58) and India captain Virat Kohli (63 not out), as the hosts reached stumps on 273-3.

There was one bright spot for South Africa, with Kagiso Rabada taking all three of their wickets, although the paceman will need support if Faf du Plessis' side are to prevent India posting a huge total.

While Agarwal took some time to get into his stride, his partner Rohit Sharma was swiftly on the attack before his wicket fell when Rabada drew an edge that carried through to Quinton de Kock.

Three boundaries in one over saw Agarwal take the fight back to South Africa before lunch, however, and he brought up his fifty with a perfectly timed cut shot early in the afternoon session.

Pujara was looking equally as sharp at the other end, registering his half-century in style with two fours following a six.

The partnership ended when Rabada struck again, Pujara fishing at a wide, short delivery the he edged to Du Plessis.

Keshav Maharaj was smashed for two successive maximums as Agarwal moved on to 99 - India's opener steering Vernon Philander for a boundary to surpass 100 in the next over.

Agarwal's innings was halted by Du Plessis' smart catch from another Rabada delivery soon afterwards, though Kohli took up the mantle - scoring 26 off 19 balls to bring up another half-century and steer India into a strong position heading into day two.

Rugby league is leading the way when it comes to assessing and treating head injuries in sport, according to St Helens' Alex Walmsley.

Walmsley is set to feature for Saints as they take on Salford Red Devils in Saturday's Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, while he is also in line to tour New Zealand and Papua New Guinea with Great Britain Lions.

It marks a remarkable comeback for Walmsley, who broke his neck in March 2018 while in action for Saints.

Concussion protocols have been in the spotlight in 2019, with Australia cricketer Steve Smith missing the third Ashes Test against England after he was struck by a Jofra Archer delivery. In rugby union, it has been suggested 10 minutes is not enough for a head injury assessment.

Though he believes rugby league is at the forefront of tackling the stigma surrounding head injuries, Walmsley acknowledged there is still plenty of work to be done.

"I didn't know I'd broken my neck but there was a gut instinct where I knew I'd done something which meant I shouldn't play on," Walmsley told Omnisport.

"With the head injury as well, it forced our hand to get me off the pitch.

"You look at Steve Smith and how devastated he was but we're not just sportsmen. We get tagged with how we should put our bodies on the line, but a lot of us are family men, we've got partners and kids and I think the most important thing to do after a game is you see your family.

"The way [rugby league] has gone, with the doctors in place and the head [injury] protocols, we're making sure that's right.

"There was a time when you'd be considered soft or weak if you came off with a concussion or head injury, you'd be expected to crack on. We're tough men who play a physical game but ultimately, regardless of the sport, if you've got a head issue we need to make sure we're safe and our sport is at the front of that."

Walmsley claimed the psychological aspect of his rehabilitation was the toughest hurdle to overcome, but to be on the verge of a Grand Final and a Lions tour has left him in no doubt he made the right decision in returning to rugby.

"It was a mental battle as much as it was a physical battle," said the 29-year-old, who has made 22 league appearances this term.

"Not only getting back into a position where I was right to play again but being confident in my body. That was a tough battle, there was a lot of tough conversations to be had, mainly in my own head, about what I was going to do and was it worth it.

"Thankfully I came to the decision where I knew my body was right. To get back playing, it makes those times all worthwhile."

 

Alex Walmsley is working with Dacia on their We Make Heroes campaign, celebrating understated heroes throughout Rugby League. To find out more, visit Dacia.com.

Maybe Steve Smith is human after all? He proved England's nemesis throughout the Ashes, but Australia's talisman suffered a rare failure at the crease in a Sheffield Shield match on Thursday.

Making his first appearance in the Shield since leading the way with 774 runs as Australia retained the Ashes, Smith was dismissed for a duck at the Gabba in New South Wales' encounter with Queensland.

Coming in at 12-1 to partner David Warner, who endured an altogether different series in England, Smith was sent back to the pavilion without scoring from five balls when he flashed at a Cameron Gannon delivery.

Gannon dropped short and wide of off-stump but Smith failed to capitalise, sending an edge to Joe Burns at second slip.

It left New South Wales 14-2, with Moises Henriques losing his wicket two overs later having also failed to trouble the scorers.

With assistance from Nick Larkin, Warner (27 not out) managed to steady the ship and New South Wales ended day one on 50-3, 103 runs shy of Queensland's 153 all out.

West Indies Women players Stafanie Taylor and Afy Fletcher have expressed their delight at being involved in two T10 matches that will be played at the Briana Cricket Academy on October 10 and 12.

Sarfraz Ahmed warned Pakistan must improve in all three facets of the game after they were consigned to a historic 3-0 Twenty20 International series whitewash by Sri Lanka.

Pakistan top the rankings in the shortest format but they did not resemble the best side in the world as the tourists sealed a first T20 clean sweep with a 13-run victory in Lahore on Wednesday.

Oshada Fernando blasted 78 not out off only 48 balls as Sri Lanka posted 147-7 at Gaddafi Stadium, Mohammad Amir the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 3-27.

Pakistan fell short on 134-6 in reply despite a half-century from Haris Sohail (52), with man of the series Wanindu Hasaranga (3-21) and Lahiru Kumara (2-24) doing the damage.

Captain Sarfraz says his side must raise their game after losing six of their last seven T20 matches.

The wicketkeeper-batsman said: "We were subdued, we didn't express ourselves throughout this series,

"We just wanted to try out as many players as possible. We need to work a lot on all three fronts, especially fielding.

"We can't beat any team if we drop catches like that in the middle overs."

New Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka, on the other hand, savoured a dream start to his reign.

"It's really a good victory. It's a big honour. All the players were bonded, that was the key to our success. Bonding is the key - they do the right things in the middle," he said.

"There are no extraordinary players here - they're all equally talented, but the unity was the secret. If we play smart cricket, there's always a possibility to win. The decisions were taken smartly today, each and every one of us."

Oshada Fernando smashed a blistering half-century on his Twenty20 International debut and Wanindu Hasaranga excelled with the ball as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 13 runs to seal a historic whitewash.

The tourists wrapped up a first bilateral T20 series win over the top-ranked side with a match to spare and put the icing on the cake with a first ever 3-0 whitewash in Lahore on Wednesday.

Oshada bludgeoned 78 not out from only 48 balls as the tourists posted 147-7 after winning the toss, Mohammad Amir the pick of the bowlers with 3-27 at Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan - who left out Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Mohammad Hasnain - could only make 133-6 in reply, the excellent Hasaranga taking 3-21 and Lahiru Kumara 2-24 to secure an unlikely clean sweep as Haris Sohail's 52 proved to be in vain.

Amir struck twice in the powerplay to leave the tourists in trouble on 30-3, cleaning up Danushka Gunathilaka and getting rid of Bhanuka Rajapaksa after the economical Imad Wasim removed Sadeera Samarawickrama.

Angelo Perera was run out for only 13 but Oshada came to the rescue, dominating a fifth-wicket stand of 76 with new captain Dasun Shanaka and reaching his half-century from only 33 balls.

Oshada and Shanaka were dropped off back-to-back deliveries in an over from Wahab Riaz and the debutant rubbed salt into the woods by hitting the left-arm seamer and Amir for six. 

Wahab had the skipper taken by Fakhar Zaman for 12 and Amir had a third wicket in the penultimate over as the Pakistan bowlers did a good job of restricting Sri Lanka to what appeared to be a below-par total. 

Pakistan endured an awful start to their run chase, with Kasun Rajitha bowling Zaman with a peach of a first delivery of the innings, but a slow-moving partnership of 76 between Babar Azam and Haris laid a solid platform.

Babar (27) fell caught behind attempting to cut Kumara, and Pakistan were 94-3 in the 16th over and needing to step up the run rate as Haris was dismissed by Hasaranga.

Imad and Ali failed while Hasaranga bowled Sarfraz Ahmed as the best T20 side in the world made another mess of it with the bat, failing to secure a consolation victory.

Windies star Chris Gayle has sought to distance himself from rumours linking him with being a supporter of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) party in Guyana.

The 40-year-old Jamaican was recently in the country for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) fixture between the Tallawahs and unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors.  The player had, however, also hosted his 40th birthday party ’40 Shades of Gayle’ at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

The left-handed opener was, however, also pictured with representatives of the PNCR on a tour of Mining Town.  The photos prompted widescale speculation regarding the cricketer’s affiliation with the party.  The batsman was quick to insist that he was invited for a community outreach initiative and that he remained unattached to any political party.

“I, Christopher Gayle, would like to make it very clear that I in no way, manner or form endorse or support any individual or political party in Guyana. I have noted the many Social Media comments in relation to my recent presence in Linden and I wish to set the record,” Gayle posted via social media platform Instagram.

 “I was invited to Linden to participate in community outreach. As a sports personality, I relish the opportunity to meet with my fans and also to reach out to any community under the neutral banner of sports. I am apolitical of any political commitment and strongly condemn attempts to tarnish my brand and personality.”

 

Virat Kohli leapt to the defence of India team-mate Rohit Sharma, urging people to "give the guy a break" ahead of the second Test with South Africa.

Sharma hit consecutive centuries in the first meeting as India romped to a 203-run victory in the three-match series.

That fine display arrived at a time when his form in the longest format was coming under intense scrutiny, although he was the top run scorer at the Cricket World Cup. 

Captain Kohli now wants Rohit to be given the chance to enjoy his cricket in the Test arena once again.

"Come on, give the guy a break now," he said ahead of the second Test in Pune, which begins on Thursday. 

"You know he's done well, let him enjoy his batting, let him have fun like he does in white-ball cricket. Stop focusing on what's Rohit's going to do in Tests.

"I think he's in a great space, he's playing really well. He looked relaxed in the first game which is great to see.

"The experience he's accumulated over the years came to the fore."

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis saw his side concede the initiative on day one of the first Test, with India racking up 317 runs before losing a wicket.

The hosts went on to declare on 502-7, leaving South Africa with a mountain to climb and it was a summit they could not scale.

However, Du Plessis is confident his team will bounce back.

"Obviously, we didn't get 20 wickets in the previous match, that is something that we aware of and something that we are trying to fix," he said.

"At the end of the day, taking wickets wins you Test matches so our thinking will be trying to pick players that can influence the game and win matches for the team.

"We are a team that is very resilient and we come back almost always."

The tourists will need to overcome the considerable weight of recent history if they are to triumph overall, with India looking to extend their eight-series winning streak on home soil in Tests.

India have not lost a home Test series since 2012, when England prevailed. 

Australia’s Ashes hero Steve Smith is ready to return to cricket after a much-needed break since returning home from England.

The batsman was a pivotal figure as Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw in England this European summer, having compiled 774 runs across four Tests for the Baggy Green.

Focus now turns to the Australian summer, with T20 series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka over the next month, and Smith says he feels refreshed after shaking off fatigue from the Ashes campaign.

"It was probably a bit of everything: mental, emotional, physical," Smith told reporters at Sydney Airport.

"Towards the last Test match it got to day two and my mind was saying 'keep going', but my body had shut down and wouldn't let me do anything.

"I was a little bit sick after that. I've had a good couple of weeks just to lay low. I just got back into things over the past week.

"I've had three hits now. That will be enough to be ready to go for this first Shield game."

Smith will make his first appearance in domestic first-class cricket since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal when NSW face Queensland in Thursday’s Sheffield Shield clash at the GABBA.

Our #SheffieldShield squad for our season opener against Queensland at the Gabba starting tomorrow! 

? https://t.co/4LZpCormJN #QLDvNSW pic.twitter.com/DgDLE7zmIV

— NSW Blues (@CricketNSWBlues) October 9, 2019

Questions have already been posed regarding the possibility of Smith captaining the Australia side again, with his leadership ban set to expire in 2020, but the 30-year-old played down speculation and praised the work of current skipper Tim Paine.

"I'm not even thinking about that at the moment," Smith said.

"I was pretty chilled out the whole time (in England). I'm obviously pretty intense when I am out there batting but I help out wherever I can.

"I don't want to sit back and not say something if I think it might help us. We will cross that bridge later if it comes. At the moment I am comfortable and Tim is doing a great job."

Smith is expected to make a domestic return to Test action in November when Australia host Pakistan in a three-match series.

Dale Steyn hopes a stint with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League can boost his chances of representing South Africa at next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.

Veteran paceman Steyn missed the 2019 Cricket World Cup due to a shoulder injury and announced his retirement from Tests in August.

With the Proteas taking on England in four Tests across December and January, the 36-year-old has been granted leave for the Stars' first six games – the last of which is the derby with Melbourne Renegades at the MCG on January 4.

That is exactly one month before the white-ball leg of England's tour to South Africa, and Steyn hopes the BBL experience will help him achieve his ultimate goal of representing his country.

"This is the first year where the cricket schedule gives me the opportunity to come down and enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer," said Steyn.

"Having watched closely from afar, the BBL is a top tournament which has a great reputation overseas. I love cricket and want to make a difference in any team that I am playing for. I have had time to get fit and have been bowling for two months now. I can't wait to get over there and get going.

"Obviously the first prize is always to play for your country. Representing South Africa is the only thing I've ever done for my whole career so far, so to get back into that team is prize number one.

"They're pretty tight on not allowing players to go and play in the Big Bash, but knowing that I'm not available for the Tests, wanting to keep me fit, and also having one eye on the Twenty20 World Cup at the backend of next year, they probably felt like it was a good call.

"Which is great because it keeps me in the running for that World Cup. If I can go over to Australia and get some more experience in those conditions, that could be beneficial."

Former West Indies coach Roger Harper has been named as a member of a new four-man panel of selectors expected to begin duties next month.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, the 56-year-old former spinner will be joined by former Windwards batsmen Mile Bascome and Lockhart Sebastien alongside Barbadian Hendy Wallace.  Sebastien will serve a second consecutive stint, having been part of a four-man body that served under the leadership of Courtney Browne.  Browne’s panel was sacked soon after a change of administration, which saw Ricky Skerritt replace Dave Cameron as CWI boss.

Sebastien, however, reapplied for the post and was chosen as part of the new panel.  The first job for the newly appointed panel will be to choose a team for the Caribbean team’s tour of India, which will be a tri-series that also includes Afghanistan.

 Harper managed the West Indies team between 2000 and 2003 and later became the manager of the West Indies Youth team in 2005.

 

Bhanuka Rajapaksa bludgeoned a half-century and Nuwan Pradeep starred with the ball as Sri Lanka sealed a maiden Twenty20 International bilateral series win over Pakistan with a 35-run victory in Lahore.

Rajapaksa, playing only his second match for his country, smashed 77 from only 48 balls in the tourists' 182-6 at Gadafi Stadium on Monday.

Top-ranked Pakistan, beaten by 64 runs on Saturday, went 2-0 down with only one match to play after they were all out for 147, Pradeep taking 4-25 and Wanindu Hasaranga 3-38.

Sri Lanka had lost four T20 series' in a row, but stopped the rot at the start of a new era with Dasun Shanaka captaining a youthful side. 

Danushka Gunathilaka fell to Imad Wasim for only 15 following his half-century at the weekend and Sri Lanka were 41-2 after five overs, having won the toss, when Shadab Khan ran Avishka Fernando (8) out.

Rajapaksa then took centre stage, smashing Mohammad Amir back over his head for six with disdain and clattering Shadab for back-to-back maximums as he raced to a maiden international half-century from 31 balls.

The number three also struck Mohammad Hasnain, who took a hat-trick in the opening match of the series, for back-to-back sixes before a superb third-wicket stand of 94 ended when Asif Ali ran Shehan Jayasuriya out for 34.

Rajapaksa fell to the expensive Shadab (1-38) after clearing the ropes six times in a swashbuckling knock and skipper Shanaka made a brisk unbeaten 27, with Wahab Riaz taking just the one wicket for 31 on his T20 return.

Pakistan were up against it at 11-2 with the recalled Fakhar Zaman (6) and Babar Azam (3) bowled by Kasun Rajitha (1-11) and Pradeep respectively before Hasaranga struck three times in the eighth over.

The spinner cleaned up an advancing Ahmed Shehzad (13) with a googly before removing Umar Akmal leg before for back-to-back golden ducks and captain Sarfraz Ahmed was also bowled for 26.

Imad struck a T20I best 47 off 29 balls and put on 75 with Asif Ali (29) for the sixth wicket, but the excellent Pradeep and Isuru Udana (2-38) prevented Pakistan from keeping the series alive. 

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