A five-wicket haul from medium-pacer Kacey Aldridge proved decisive on Thursday as England defeated West Indies by five-wickets in Day-Five action of Rising Stars U19 Tri-Series.

England, who lost to Sri Lanka on Wednesday by 19 runs via the DLS method, decided to bowl first this time and that decision proved to be the correct one.

Opener Kirk McKenzie, who replaced Mbeki Joseph, and wicket-keeper batsman Leonardo Julien, both were dismissed without scoring by the player of the match Aldridge (9.1-3-18-5) as the West Indies slipped to 41-4 in the 15th over and eventually folded for a paltry score of 116.

 Captain Kimani Melius (35) did his best to steady the ship but when he was bowled by off-spinner Hamidullah Qadri charging down the wicket, so went the home teams batting resistance.

The run chase was relatively comfortable for England although they lost half their wickets before they reached the winning score of 117.

West Indies spin duo off left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd (10-5-9-1) and off-spinner Matthew Patrick (10-2-32-2) made a valiant effort with the ball on a surface that was giving them assistance, but they simply didn’t have enough runs to defend.

Ben Charlesworth top-scored for the English with 29, while Jordon Cox and Thomas Clarke each scored 24 for the winners.

 Melius was not happy with the collective effort of the batsmen.

 “It’s just a matter of our batsmen converting starts to big scores once they get set. The bowlers have been bowling well, so once the batsmen can put at least 220 runs on the board they (the bowlers) could have something to defend”, Melius said while reflecting on today’s loss and looking ahead to Saturday key game versus Sri Lanka.

 “We (the batsman) have been lackadaisical and haven’t shown enough intent and have to keep the game simple.”

 

A Level 2 coaching course which begins on Thursday in Kingston, Jamaica signals the start of the tenure of Chris Brabazon as Coach Education Manager, a new role created as part of CWI’s strategy to strengthen and invest in the development of coaching talent within the region. Chris has immediately travelled to Jamaica to observe the delivery of the Level 2 course.

Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, welcomed Brabazon to CWI and highlighted the selection of Brabazon to the position.

“I am delighted to welcome Chris to the Caribbean where he will be taking up the role of CWI’s first full-time Coach Education Manager.  His appointment is a critical feature of our strategic plan to produce world-class players and winning teams through the development of West Indian coaches,” Adams said.

“Chris brings a wealth of experience having held a similar role of Coach Development Manager in Western Australia for the past six years.

“He has worked at every level of the Cricket Australia coaching development pathway, from grassroots to international level, and is well-placed to drive CWI’s objective of developing our coach education programs.  I have no doubt that Chris will play a significant role in advancing our regional game and am very excited to be working with him on improving coaching standards throughout the Caribbean.”

Speaking on his appointment, Brabazon was delighted to join the legacy of West Indies Cricket.

“I am incredibly excited to join the team at CWI. In particular, I am looking forward to meeting and working with the coaches and coach developers throughout the Caribbean to ensure that all local players have access to inspirational learning environments that fosters their love of cricket.”

Brabazon holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, with over twelve (12) years’ experience specifically in cricket. He has functioned in coaching and talent development, as well as cricket management and accounting in his native Australia.

Marnus Labuschagne says "riding the wave" has been the key to his success after the Australia batsman scored a third consecutive Test century on day one of the series against New Zealand.

Labuschagne's purple patch continued on a slow-scoring deck in Perth, the number three reaching stumps on 110 not out with Australia 248-4 in the day-night encounter.

Don Bradman and Charles Macartney are the only other Australians to have scored three successive hundreds in the longest format.

Labuschagne also became the fourth-fastest Australian to score 1,000 Test runs and the number three says staying in the moment has enabled him to spend so much time in the middle.

"No hundred is easy, but today there was definitely patches where scoring really dried up completely and you just had to be patient and trust you were going to come out the other side," said the 25-year-old.

"It's about riding the wave, not trying to get too high when you are going well, keep everything consistent, keep it process-driven in terms of your mind.

"It's great to get runs, but just making sure you are doing your routines, keeping that clear mind on the field and from there you're just playing the ball as it comes. It's making sure you put a real high price on decision making."

Test debutant Lockie Ferguson went for a scan after suffering a calf injury on a searing hot day and Labuschagne says Australia must try and make the tourists' bowlers suffer in the field if they are a bowler short.

"I think one of the boys said when we came back in that he [Ferguson] pulled up with an injury, but me and [Steve] Smith didn't even know," the centurion said.

"It's a massive advantage they do have an all-rounder [Colin de Grandhomme] in their side, so that probably does lighten the load but it's a massive advantage if we can really bat well tomorrow and keep them out there.

"Batters, we've just got to keep putting runs on the board and with our world-class bowling attack, it gives them the upper hand."

Neil Wagner said New Zealand can only cross their fingers and hope debutant Lockie Ferguson has not bowled his last ball in the first Test against Australia.

The Black Caps paceman pulled up with a calf injury on day one at Perth Stadium after bowling just 11 overs.

Ferguson went for an MRI scan to discover the extent of the damage, leaving the tourists a bowler down as Marnus Labuschagne (110 not out) made a third consecutive Test century.

Wagner, who took 2-52 as Australia closed on 248-4 in the day-night contest, felt for Ferguson as New Zealand wait to discover how serious his injury is.

The seamer said: "It's gutting, isn't it. It's pretty heartbreaking and I know he'll be devastated.

"We'll all get right behind him and hopefully it's not too bad. We haven't heard anything back yet so hopefully it's good, or better news than what everyone is expecting."

Wagner added: "Hopefully we'll find out [the results] pretty soon. Fingers crossed it's not too bad, he's a quality player and we would have loved to have seen him bowl more."

New Zealand, already without left-arm seamer Trent Boult due to a side strain, will assess Ferguson's fitness prior to Friday's play in the series opener.

 

Marnus Labuschagne continued his stunning form with a third straight Test century as Australia made a strong start against New Zealand in Perth.

After winning the toss, Australia ended Thursday on 248-4 in the day-night contest, which is the first of three Test matches between the teams.

When he was on 95, Labuschagne, who had gone past 1,000 runs in only his 12th Test earlier in the innings, smashed a six off Mitchell Santner over long on.

He calmly saw out the day from there, finishing on 110 not out from 202 deliveries with 14 boundaries and that one maximum, and will return on day two alongside Travis Head (20no).

Labuschagne's exploits came after he recorded scores of 185 and 162 against Pakistan last month.

Neil Wagner (2-52) provided the main resistance for New Zealand, who lost Test debutant Lockie Ferguson to a calf injury and will hope the problem is not serious after being a bowler light for the final 22 overs.

Opener Joe Burns rued his decision not to appeal after being given out lbw to Colin de Grandhomme for just nine in the 13th over, replays showing the delivery would have missed leg stump.

David Warner could not replicate his epic partnership with Labuschagne from the Pakistan series as he fell for 43, sending a low full toss back to bowler Wagner, who dived forward to take a key scalp.

It meant Warner remains tantalisingly short of Don Bradman's Test haul of 6,966 runs, now six adrift.

But Labuschagne did find a partner in Steve Smith, the pair putting on 132 for the third wicket.

That crucial partnership should have been thwarted only for Smith to be dropped by Tom Latham at second slip off the bowling of Ferguson while on 19, Ross Taylor unable to gather the rebound.

Smith eventually fell for 43, though he had occupied the crease for 164 balls by the time Wagner had him caught by Southee.

New Zealand took the new ball as soon as it became available and Southee claimed his first wicket when he bowled Matthew Wade for 12, a superb in-swinging delivery doing the job.

Head survived an lbw appeal and a dangerous moment where he inside-edged past his own leg stump, but he gained in confidence from there and ended the day with four boundaries.

Labuschagne was the constant presence at the other end and he will have his sights set on a huge score as Australia's patience approach gave them the edge after an intriguing first day.

Dhananjaya de Silva was moving towards making a century for the second Test running when bad light halted play on a heavily disrupted second day as Pakistan hosted Sri Lanka.

An early rain delay and bad light before the close meant only 18.2 overs of play was possible in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Sri Lanka used the available time to increase their first-innings total from 202-5 to 263-6, with Dhananjaya still unbeaten on 72 runs from 131 balls.

He reached his fifty in 94 deliveries and had recorded 11 boundaries when umpires declared no further play was possible.

Dhananjaya also scored a century in his last Test outing against New Zealand in August.

The only wicket of the day came when Niroshan Dickwella fell for 33 off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi.

Shaheen's involvement was a boost for Pakistan after he left the field with injury on day one, and he removed Dickwella after a good low catch by Babar Azam at gully.

Number eight Dilruwan Perera has two runs and will resume alongside Dhananjaya on day three.

This is Pakistan's first Test in their home country since the 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore.

A return to the England Test team for the upcoming tour of South Africa would have felt too soon, all-rounder Moeen Ali has conceded.

Moeen opted to take a break from the longest format after a chastening experience in the first Ashes Test with Australia at Edgbaston.

He scored only four runs with the bat, suffering the ignominy of twice being undone by fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon, while taking disappointing match figures of 3-172 with the ball.

England went on to draw the five-match series, failing to regain the urn in the process, before losing a two-match series in New Zealand 1-0.

That led to talk of Moeen returning for four Tests in South Africa, but Jack Leach and Matt Parkinson were selected as the slow-bowling options in the 17-man squad.

"It just felt too soon. The past few years have been so full-on and the plan behind my break from Test cricket was to freshen up, enjoy some new environments and get my game back in good order," Moeen wrote in his column for the Guardian.

"That is something that people perhaps don't realise is hard to do when you play all three international formats and particularly so when you are an all-rounder.

"The time away has felt quite liberating. Since my international debut in 2014, the miles on the clock have probably crept up and Test cricket is the level where the pressure and scrutiny are greatest.

"Combining it all had become a bit draining and rushing back now might have seen nothing change in this regard.

"Playing 60 Tests has meant so much to me, especially picking up 181 wickets and five five-wicket hauls, which for a guy who grew up thinking as a batter first is something I never thought possible.

"My batting is where I really want to find form again, though. Five Test centuries suggests I have it in me."

Moeen, who is set to play in the Pakistan Super League for Multan Sultans, did not rule out the possibility of featuring in the tour of Sri Lanka in March next year.

He claimed 18 wickets – the same tally as left-armer Leach - in a 3-0 whitewash in England's last Test series in the country, back in November 2018.

"The back end of the PSL coincides with the Sri Lanka Test tour in March and at this stage it is a tournament I intend to see out," he added. 

"But the franchise's head coach, Andy Flower, is someone I know I can talk to, if and when the England conversation arises again. So let's see what happens."

Despite losing their T20I series to India 2-1 thanks to a 67-run defeat in Mumbai, West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard is looking forward to the upcoming ODIs saying there are many positives for his young charges.

"Taking the positives, when you look at our performances with the bat through the series, consistent, we'll take that as a unit,” said Pollard.

“Yes, we lost 2-1, but we have three more games to look forward to in the ODIs."

The all-rounder, who slammed 68 from just 38 deliveries in a valiant but in vain effort to chase down the 240-3 made by Virat Kohli’s side, understands that the West Indies need to sort out how they go about bowling in T20Is.

Sent into bat, India’s Rohit Sharma smashed 71 from 34 deliveries, while his opening partner and eventual man of the match, KL Rahul scored a brisk 91, doing so off 56 deliveries. Kohli himself was savage, ending unbeaten on 70 from 29 balls.

In reply, the West Indies would end on a creditable 173-8 despite a top-order collapse.

“At the end of the day, we know we need to get better at executing with the ball,” said Pollard.

On the other hand, Pollard believes such is the power and class of the young side, which lost Evin Lewis to a knee injury while they were fielding, that any total is gettable.

“In our minds [240 was gettable]. 230 has been chased here when England played South Africa,” he said.

The youthfulness of the side is also something that gives Pollard reason to hope for a turnaround in results in the near future.

“There's a lot of emerging players coming through. Yes, the bowling is a concern, but we have a roster of guys coming through. Those are the areas, but we know success is a boring thing, you need to do the right things day in and day out,” he said.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli bludgeoned West Indies as India claimed victory in the Twenty20 series decider in Mumbai by 67 runs.

The tourists had kept their hopes alive with an eight-wicket victory in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

However, the Windies' bowling attack had no answer at the Wankhede Stadium, India's big hitters delivering in emphatic fashion to seal the series.

Rohit (71) and Rahul (91) combined for a 135-run first-wicket partnership, the latter posting his third-highest score in T20 cricket, before Kohli carried India to 240-3 with an unbeaten 70.

West Indies wilted in reply, with Kieron Pollard's 68 in vain for a team that lost Evin Lewis to an injury suffered while fielding, the batsman taken off on a stretcher after hurting his knee.

Both India openers reached 50 in rapid fashion, Rohit doing so in 23 balls and Rahul in 29. Their remarkable start was ended in the 12th over when Rohit picked out Hayden Walsh in the deep. 

Rishabh Pant went for a duck as he failed to make the most of his promotion to number three, but captain Kohli struck seven sixes to help extinguish any hope of a fightback from the Windies bowlers.

He accounted for 64 of the 95 runs compiled in a third-wicket stand with Rahul, who was denied a third T20 international century when he was caught behind attempting to hook a Sheldon Cottrell bouncer.

The Windies promptly fell to 17-3 inside the first four overs of their innings, but Shimron Hetmyer steadied the ship with a knock of 41 that saw him clear the rope five times.

Hetmyer succumbed to Kuldeep Yadav in unfortunate fashion, hitting a full loss straight to long on, and the spinner also accounted for Jason Holder 10 balls later.

Pollard raised the slight possibility of a tense finish by hitting 32 runs in 10 balls, but when he diverted a Bhuvneshwar Kumar short ball to deep midwicket, the writing was on the wall.

Attention now turns to a three-match ODI series, which starts on Sunday.

Teenager Naseem Shah struck twice as Pakistan fought back well on a bad-light curtailed first day of Test cricket on home soil for a decade after Sri Lanka made a promising start in Rawalpindi.

Sri Lanka were 202-5 when stumps were drawn with 22.5 overs still due to be bowled, 16-year-old pace prodigy Shah taking 2-51.

The tourists lost their way after an opening stand of 96 between Dimuth Karunaratne (59) and Oshada Fernando (40) in the first match in the longest format to be played in Pakistan since a terror attack on their team bus in 2009.

Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 31 runs in the afternoon session, but Dhananjaya de Silva will start day two unbeaten on 38 with rain forecast over the next few days.

Pakistan have an injury concern over Shaheen Afridi after he was injured fielding as they attempt to make up for lost time in a long-awaited home Test series - and their former coach Mickey Arthur's first in charge of Sri Lanka.

Karunaratne's decision to bat first looked wise when he and Oshada set about laying solid foundations, although the captain had a big stroke of luck when debutant Usman Shinwari struck his off stump early on but the bails stayed on. 

Oshada took 20 balls to get off the mark, with Karunaratne playing more fluently in a wicketless opening session that yielded 89 runs, with 57 coming off the skipper's bat.

Pakistan were more disciplined after lunch and got their rewards, Afridi trapping Karunaratne lbw and Oshada edging Afridi to Haris Sohail at first slip. 

Kusal Mendis became paceman Shinwari's first Test victim and recalled former captain Dinesh Chandimal was cleaned up by a peach of a delivery from Mohammad Abbas for only two, with Pakistan on a roll.

Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya showed resistance with a fifth-wicket stand of 62 before the former nicked Shah to Asad Shafiq at second slip attempting an extravagant drive.

Dhananjaya played responsibility and put away loose deliveries with Afridi off the field after doing damage attempting to stop a boundary and Niroshan Dickwella was 11 not out when play was called off for the day.

New Zealand are monitoring Trent Boult's fitness ahead of the first Test against an unchanged Australia side at Perth Stadium.

Boult has been troubled by a side strain and could miss the day-night contest, which starts on Thursday.

Batsman Ross Taylor (thumb) and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme (abdominal muscle) are set to feature in the first of three Tests between the trans-Tasman rivals.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said of Boult's availability on the eve of the match: "We're going to have another look today before deciding anything for Thursday.

"I think you look at it as a long-term decision in terms of this whole series. He has tracked really nicely and felt really good on Tuesday."

Lockie Ferguson could make his debut in the longest format after the paceman missed out in a 1-0 win over England.

"It’s exciting we've got Lockie in our squad to consider him," said Williamson. "It's exciting to have a guy in our camp who can bowl at that speed."

Australia have gone with the same side that completed a whitewash of Pakistan.

"We've been playing some really good cricket, happy with the way it's going so we're trying to get a consistent team together and as I touched on after Adelaide, the great thing is we've got guys that are performing really well," Australia skipper Tim Paine said.

"That's what we wanted so we're going to go with the same team."

 

 

An unbeaten last wicket partnership between Sonal Dinusha and Amshi De Silva propelled Sri Lanka to a nail-biting, one-wicket victory over West Indies in day three action of Rising Stars U19 Tri-Series.

On another difficult batting wicket, Sri Lanka sent West Indies in to bat after winning the toss and immediately their bowlers made life difficult for the hosts.

West Indies plummeted to 67/7 in the 34th over, with new ball bowler Amshi De Silva (6-1-18-3) and leg-spinner Kavindu Nadeeshan (10-1-20-4) being the bowling architects of this batting demise.

Kelvon Anderson (43) alongside useful cameos from lower-order batsmen Ashmead Nedd (21) and Jayden Seales (23) resisted and enabled West Indies to stretch the inning to the final over to take the West Indies to 138.

For the third game in a row, West Indies bowlers stepped up to the plate.

Led by left-arm quick Ramon Simmonds (8-1-31-3) impressing with his pace and bounce, they fought back bravely as Sri Lanka collapsed to 101 for 9.

However, Ashmi De Silva (10) coming off his efforts with the ball joined Sonal Dinusha (46) and the pair’s unbeaten last-wicket stand denied the West Indies.

“We believe our bowling unit is one of the areas that is firing for us. We said to them (the bowlers) the wicket is not easy to score on, so once we hit good areas and put our shoulders to the throttle we could have brought this game home”, said West Indies U19 bowling coach Kenny Benjamin.

“When we look back at the game the extra-wide deliveries  that were given away and not being able to score another 20-25 runs are areas we all have to improve on.”

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani is confident Australia and England will tour the country in the coming years as they prepare for a first Test on home soil since 2009.

Pakistan face Sri Lanka - the last team to visit over a decade ago - on Wednesday in Rawalpindi, the opener in a two-game series that also includes a Test in Karachi.

Mani insists Pakistan are not planning to play future series on neutral grounds, with England "very supportive" ahead of a possible tour.

"We are due to play England in 2021-22 and we are in serious discussions with them about coming to Pakistan," Mani told ESPN Cricinfo.

"So far, they've been very supportive, so I fully expect they will come and play their cricket in Pakistan. 

"Similarly, Australia, their chief executive has been to Pakistan and he's gone back with a totally different perception from what he thought it was like."

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali, meanwhile, has said the series opener against Sri Lanka is a huge moment for the country.

"It's a moment to rejoice, not only for the players but the whole Pakistan nation," he said, in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

"We had a tough series in Australia and the way we lost there was disappointing. Moving forward, we see this home series as an opportunity and advantage to turn things around.

"We will try our best to fix our mistakes and improve wherever we had been lacking.

"We have outstanding talent in our squad. They have potential and, if we implement it, results will be good."

Ben Stokes has revealed he should be fit to bowl during England's tour of South Africa after scans confirmed he had not sustained a knee injury.

Stokes complained of a knee problem during the first day of England's second and final Test against New Zealand in Hamilton,.

However, he did bowl 25 overs during the Test, which was drawn as England lost the series 1-0.

The all-rounder - a star of England's Cricket World Cup and Ashes campaigns - has now confirmed he will be fit to bowl against the Proteas, with England's four-Test tour to begin on Boxing Day.

"It's alright," Stokes told talkSPORT. "I got some scans when we got back [to] England and there's nothing really showing up on the MRI scans, which is good news.

"I just need to toughen up I guess but it's alright and it's just treatment now. I will be fine to bowl [in South Africa]."

After a difficult Ashes series and a poor performance with the bat in the first Test in New Zealand, Joe Root returned to form in style in Hamilton, scoring 226 in the first innings, and Stokes claimed he backed the England captain to hit a double century ahead of the tour.

"Rooty is one of the best players in the world. He obviously went through a little bit of a dip in performance but that is natural, he’s human. The old saying is form is temporary and class is permanent," Stokes added.

"It's obviously great for English cricket to see Joe go out in his last innings before a big tour and hopefully we can see Rooty scoring runs like he normally does.

"Being Test captain is one of the toughest jobs and one of the most criticised and how people speak about you is dependent on how well the performances on the pitch individually and as a team.

"It's unfair most of the time that when things don’t go well the captain gets it all. I actually called Joe to get a double hundred on day one of our first warm-up game to Rory Burns. I think I was stood at slip and I said, 'Joe is going to get a double hundred this tour'."

Shan Masood is relishing playing on home turf as Pakistan prepare to host their first Test match in over a decade.

Pakistan welcome Sri Lanka to Rawalpindi on Thursday for the first of two Tests to round off 2019.

It is the first time a Test will be played in Pakistan since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in Lahore in early 2009, with six policemen and two civilians killed.

Pakistan head into the series on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Australia, but Masood believes a return home has buoyed the entire squad, with every player eager to perform at their best in what he says is a momentous moment for the country.

"If you look at the best players in Test cricket, their home records are superior to away records," batsman Masood said.

"You are more familiar with the atmosphere, the pitches, and enjoy crowd support, and that was one thing that was missing from Pakistan cricket.

"Bringing Test cricket here is our biggest accomplishment. Test cricket as a whole suffered around the world, and in Pakistan, we've dedicated more to white-ball cricket. This is an opportunity for children in Pakistan to have a proper look at Test cricket.

"They'll look at people like Azhar Ali, who scored a 300 and a double-century in Australia. They'll look at Asad Shafiq, who has scored hundreds all around the world.

"We've got exciting pacers like Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi. We've got Mohammad Abbas, who has been ranked number one in the world, and Yasir Shah, who has been the number one spinner in the world. Babar Azam is climbing up the Test rankings as well.

"This is a chance for our young generation to finally watch their heroes and it was unfortunate that legends like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan couldn't play in their home grounds in the peak of their careers.

"So I'm really excited, because I feel this will propel Pakistan as a generation and the future generations of this country to take up cricket. It's almost going to be like everyone is making their debuts, because we're all playing in Pakistan for the first time."

The omens are good for Pakistan, with Sri Lanka having won just one of their last five Test series against them, though they did win 2-0 in their last encounter in 2017.

 

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