De Grandhomme and Watling give Black Caps healthy lead

By Sports Desk August 25, 2019

Colin de Grandhomme and BJ Watling made contrasting half-centuries on another rain-affected day in Colombo to give New Zealand a fighting chance of drawing the Test series against Sri Lanka.

The Black Caps were unable to set about trying to build a healthy lead when the morning session on day four was washed out at P Sara Stadium.

Tom Latham fell for a magnificent 154 after he and Watling took the tourists beyond Sri Lanka's 244 all out before De Grandhomme made up for the lost time by smashing 83 not out from only 75 balls.

The all-rounder struck five sixes and as many fours as the Sri Lanka bowlers toiled, with Watling (81no) steadily accumulating as the Black Caps closed on 382-5 - leading by 138.

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne will not be able to come in until at least number seven on the last day after going off the field with a small quad tear, while Niroshan Dickwella's finger injury will also be a concern for Sri Lanka.

Latham edged the first ball of the day from Lahiru Kumara for four when play finally got under way and Watling brought up a hard-earned half-century with a single off Lasith Embuldeniya.

A sweep from Latham in the same over took him to 150, but the opener was on his way soon after raising his bat again, Dilruwan Perera trapping him leg before wicket.

De Grandhomme was aggressive from the start of his swashbuckling knock, dispatching Embuldeniya over mid-off for six before Lahiru Thirimanne failed to take Watling at short leg.

Watling continued to tick along as De Grandhomme teed off, taking 16 off three balls from the expensive Embuldeniya (1-125) and also giving Kumara the treatment.

The pair had put on 113 for the seventh wicket when stumps were called due to bad light.

Related items

  • England all-rounder Moeen taking break from Test cricket England all-rounder Moeen taking break from Test cricket

    Moeen Ali has requested a break from Test cricket after being dropped from the England team and losing his all-format central contract.

    The all-rounder had been contracted by England for all formats since 2014-15 but it was confirmed on Friday he had only received a white-ball deal for 2019-20.

    Th news came after Moeen was left out of the squad for the second Ashes Test in August, having taken 3-172 and scored four with the bat across both innings of a humbling opening defeat to Australia.

    It was revealed at the time Moeen would look to spend some time "recharging" before making his county return for Worcestershire.

    But having starred in guiding reigning T20 Blast champions Worcestershire to a second successive Finals Day, he plans to prolong his Test absence.

    "It's just to get away from it a little bit. I feel like I want to enjoy my batting and this will give me a bit of a break," Moeen told ESPNcricinfo.

    "I want to spend some time with the family. I've been playing for England for five years and it's been quite tough.

    "The intensity is obviously higher in Test cricket so this is just to give me a break and then we will see what happens after that.

    "I'm not ruling out playing Test cricket in the future. I've had long chats and thought about it quite a lot. I just want to give myself a bit of time to refresh my batteries and see where it goes after that."

    England captain Joe Root stated in August that the first Ashes Test was "certainly not the last we'll see of [Moeen]".

    Moeen has taken 181 wickets across 60 Tests, but Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men's cricket, has no issue with his period of indefinite leave.

    "For all the guys, not just Moeen, it's been a really challenging summer," Giles said.

    "A World Cup and an Ashes back-to-back has had a massive effect on many of these guys psychologically, as much as physically.

    "Some of those guys are still carrying [these issues] - one of them being Moeen.

    "His experience in the first Test wasn't a great one, but that's cricket. He's has been a great servant for his team. That's why I encouraged him to leave that option open to come back.

    "He might just need to go away and freshen up. But he's been a really good servant for this team and he's still relatively young."

  • Masakadza signs off in style with match-winning innings for Zimbabwe Masakadza signs off in style with match-winning innings for Zimbabwe

    Hamilton Masakadza bowed out of international cricket in style on Friday, striking 71 from 42 balls to help Zimbabwe to a Twenty20 victory over Afghanistan in Chattogram.

    Zimbabwe's hopes of qualifying for the final of a tri-series also involving Bangladesh had already been wiped out by three successive defeats, but they at least ended the tournament on a high as skipper Masakadza produced a wonderful final innings for his country.

    Having walked out to a guard of honour after Afghanistan posted 155-8, the 36-year-old thumped five sixes and four fours in his entertaining knock, underpinning a seven-wicket win completed with three balls unused.

    Masakadza ended his international career, which began in 2001, having played in 38 Tests, 209 ODIs and 66 T20s, scoring 9,543 runs for his country in all formats. His tally of 1,662 in T20s is almost double that of any other Zimbabwean.

    On his 32nd birthday, Regis Chakabva played second fiddle to his captain in a second-wicket stand of 70 before accelerating to 39 from 32 deliveries, while Sean Williams (21 not out) finished the chase off having been dropped by Mujeeb Ur Rahman immediately after Chakabva fell at the start of the 18th over with just 17 runs needed.

    Afghanistan, who will face Bangladesh in the final, started brightly after winning the toss, openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai contributing 61 and 31 respectively.

    However, they crucially lost momentum in the second half of their innings as Chris Mpofu finished with 4-30.

  • Root to retain England captaincy as Archer gets central contract Root to retain England captaincy as Archer gets central contract

    Joe Root will captain England's Test side regardless of their new head coach, Ashley Giles has confirmed.

    Test skipper Root came under pressure in the recent Ashes series as England were held to a 2-2 draw, seeing Australia retain the urn as tourists for the first time since 2001.

    The uncertainty around the coaching position added to speculation regarding the Yorkshireman's future, with Trevor Bayliss leaving his role following the series.

    But Giles, the managing director of England men's cricket, has confirmed Root will continue to lead the side going forward.

    "There have been no questions asked [about Root's future] by me," Giles told Sky Sports News. "I would hope that is the most important thing for now.

    "One of the most important things for Joe is that we now redress that balance between red and white-ball cricket and we have more focus on Test match cricket.

    "And when the new coach arrives, Joe gets a choice to sit down with him and really plan and decide a way forward - with me as well - our DNA around Test cricket going forward.

    "If I were Joe, and we've had these discussions, we need to start planning towards winning the Ashes back in Australia in just over two years."

    England will have one coach across all formats when they replace Bayliss, with Giles adding: "It's an exciting process because it's my first big appointment and we need to get it right."

    The team's central contracts for the 2019-20 season were confirmed on Friday, with Eoin Morgan, England's white-ball captain, also set to continue in his role after winning the Cricket World Cup.

    He has been given a limited-overs contract again, with Jofra Archer awarded an all-format deal.

    The paceman starred in his first international campaign, playing key roles as England won the Cricket World Cup and drew the Ashes.

    Rory Burns has been handed a Test contract following his performances against Australia, although Joe Denly got a white-ball deal.

    Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, previously contracted across all three formats, received limited-overs agreements, while Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and David Willey missed out completely.

    Jack Leach and Sam Curran were granted incremental deals.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.