Cancer survivor Christian Lealiifano has been recalled to the Australia squad for the first time in three years.

Brumbies skipper Lealiifano, 31, has been included in Michael Cheika's 34-man squad for the Rugby Championship opener against South Africa in Johannesburg on July 20.

Lealiifano made his last Wallabies appearance in June 2016 before a leukaemia diagnosis ruled him out of action for a year. He is one of 10 Brumbies players to make the cut after their impressive run to the Super Rugby semi-finals.

"I'm not the expert to speak on what he's been through, because only he knows that and his family," Cheika said.

"Obviously from a coaching point of view, what you can't deny is his form in Super Rugby at the end of the day.

"You take out all the other things because we know what he's achieved in his life. You just take all that away and he's been playing good and he deserves to be there."

Number eight Isi Naisarani and back-rowers Liam Wright and Rob Valetini will hope to earn their first Test cap after being included, while James Slipper is back in the international set-up following a two- year hiatus.

Lealiifano has been selected ahead of Quade Cooper, while there is no place in the squad for scrum-half Nick Phipps or utility forward Ned Hanigan in what is a blow to their Rugby World Cup hopes.

David Pocock, Adam Coleman, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Pete Samu and Jordan Petaia miss out through injury. 

Cheika added: "We tried to look at Super Rugby form and what they can bring. We've done a lot of preparation in the last few years, exposing young players to senior footy and now we want to see those players in the Test environment wherever possible.

"It was tough, really tough. It was the first time we've worked as a selection panel with different voices and different opinions challenging each other but I think we've come to a better outcome than if I was just picking it myself."

 

Australia squad in full:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga'a, Michael Hooper, Luke Jones, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright.

Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Jack Maddocks, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

James Anderson provided an update on an injury sustained in action with Lancashire, handing England a boost ahead of the Ashes series against Australia.

England will look to reclaim the Urn from Australia in the upcoming five-Test showdown, with the first match scheduled to begin at Edgbaston on August 1.

Having been left out of England's Cricket World Cup squad, Anderson has been playing for Lancashire, though he was forced to bat with a runner on the final day of their County Championship clash against Durham on Wednesday after he was forced off due to a tight calf on the previous day.

But veteran paceman Anderson took to Instagram to share the news he is hopeful the injury – which he described as a "niggle" is nothing serious.

"The boys gave everything. Frustrating not to get the win," Anderson posted after the draw.  "Also annoying to pick up a niggle but hopefully not too serious."

Anderson's England team-mates progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup on Wednesday thanks to a 119-run win over New Zealand.

West Indies legend Everton Weekes is expected to be discharged from hospital in the coming days after suffering a heart attack overnight.

The 94-year-old, who scored 4,455 Test runs at a superb average of 58.61, is recovering in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown.

Omnisport understands that Weekes' condition is not as serious as first feared.

Weekes is regarded as one of the finest cricketers of all-time, having made 15 hundreds in the longest format and 19 half-centuries after making his debut in 1948.

The Barbados native is the only man to score five consecutive Test centuries - an incredible feat he accomplished against India in 1948 and 1949.

Weekes, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott became known as the 'Three Ws'.

Brian Lara, another Windies great, on Tuesday allayed concerns about his own health after taking himself to hospital with chest pains.

 

 

 

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has backtracked on his decision to end his ODI career after the Cricket World Cup and stated that he plans to come out of Test retirement.

The opener is due to retire from the 50-over format following the tournament in England and Wales.

Yet the 39-year-old on Wednesday revealed that he plans to feature in the ODI series against India in the Caribbean in August and the Test series that will follow.

Gayle, who has not played in the longest format since 2014, said: "Maybe a Test match against India and then I'll play, definitely play the ODIs against India. I won't play the T20s. That's my plan for after World Cup."

Not for the first time, the charismatic showman stated that he will go down as a Windies batting great.

He said: "I'm definitely up there. I'm definitely up there with the greats without a doubt. Like I say, I enjoy each and every moment of West Indies, playing for West Indies.

"Like I said, it's still not the end. I still have a few games to go. Maybe another series to go - who knows, we'll see what happens.

"It's been a lot of ups and downs. I've got to say I really enjoy each and every moment. But we share some quality moments with some quality players as well. I started my career with the likes of Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, you watch them on TV and you realise they're in the dressing room, it's just a bunch of guys.

"And Brian Lara, the first captain as well, Carl Hooper. So it's some quality moments when you look back on it.

"I'll have to analyse it and give you full details, a better exclusive interview on that particular moment, and then you can take it further. But like I said I could not have had a better career as a player representing the West Indies."

Ottis Gibson has no qualms about being tipped to replace England coach Trevor Bayliss, particularly given his contract with South Africa is to expire later this year.

Bayliss will leave his role with England when his deal comes to an end in September, having been in charge of the Test, ODI and Twenty20 teams for the past four years.

Gibson, who has twice been part of England's set up as a bowling coach, has been mentioned as a potential replacement – rumours he has no problems with.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the Proteas coach said: "My contract is up in September.

"I'm happy to be linked with any job, because after that I might not have a job.

"I enjoyed both my stints with England. I know a lot of the guys in the dressing room.

"The way they are playing at the moment, I was very much involved in that for the first two years and they have gone on [in the] two years since I left."

When Gibson – whose South Africa side face Bayliss' men in Thursday's Cricket World Cup opener at The Oval – was asked if he would enjoy working in England again, he replied: "I've been living in England for over 20 years, so that's the answer."

Stuart Broad believes new England star Jofra Archer has what it takes to be a success in international cricket's longest format.

Archer became eligible to play for England this year and earned his first call-up for the limited-overs fixtures before the Cricket World Cup, although he was not included in the preliminary group for the home tournament.

The all-rounder has impressed in his early showings in an England shirt and, with the Ashes to come later this year, Test regular Broad sees no reason why Archer should not be involved.

Archer took a wicket on his one-day international debut against Ireland and a further pair in a Twenty20 international against Pakistan.

"I can't see a way that Jofra doesn't play some sort of role in that Ashes series," he said. "He has the rhythm, the style, the pace.

"He generates pace with ease, which is always exciting as a fast bowler. He has everything you would want in a fast bowler to succeed at the top level.

"He's got the character to play at the top level. I've seen him run all day when things don't quite go his way, which is a good sign.

"I hope he's in front of The Oval pavilion lifting the Ashes urn come September because he's a very exciting cricketer."

And Broad is not worried that the arrival of Archer on the Test scene would threaten his place, insisting his focus is on England winning.

"I'm not threatened at all," he said. "I think he's a brilliant cricketer. At the end of the day, as an England supporter, you want England to win every trophy available this summer.

"He's going to be in the World Cup squad, I'd imagine, not that it's my decision. You can't leave a player like that out, I don't think. And I'm sure he'll go well in that."

"I often have to explain to people he didn't score all of the 375 off me," Chris Lewis quips as he reflects with mixed emotions on Brian Lara's astonishing record knock in Antigua.

It is 25 years to the day since Lara whipped an expectant Antigua crowd into a frenzy by hooking Lewis to the boundary to eclipse fellow West Indies legend Garry Sobers' long-standing highest Test score of 365 not out.

A quarter of a century on, that historic moment is still fresh in the memory of former England all-rounder Lewis.

"Oh no," Lewis replies when asked if he would mind sharing his recollection of an incredible tour de force from one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

That must have been what the England bowlers were thinking when captain Michael Atherton asked them to warm up as Lara majestically piled on the runs.

The Windies had been reduced to 12-2 on day one of the final match of the series, but Lara spent 12 hours and 46 minutes at the crease to surpass a record set by Sobers back in 1958.

Lewis had tried everything to remove the elegant left hander, whose foot dislodged a bail - which fell back into the groove - as he swung around after hitting one of 45 fours to make history.

He told Omnisport: "People identify me with running in to bowl that ball to Brian, so I often have to explain to people he didn't score all of the 375 off me!

"But I remember running in to bowl the ball and really just thinking, 'I've tried everything else, so I'll have a go at getting [the ball] as high as I can', and there were two men back, so see what happens.

"I bowled the ball, he whacked it for four and it was chaotic, with the game stopped halfway through, people came onto the field - including Garry Sobers - and we're just spectators taking it in, not quite believing what's going on.

"While that was happening, Jack [Russell, England wicketkeeper] came up to me and said, 'Do you know he stepped on his stumps when he hooked it?' I had no idea.

"Here we are 25 years later and certainly I didn't want Brian to break the record, certainly not off my bowling and certainly not against our team. I wouldn't say I was happy to be a part of it but I'm happy for Brian. He was the best batter I ever played against, one of the most exciting cricketers I've ever seen and he deserves it."

Lewis added: "It was really surreal. I remember Brian getting his hundred and I remember thinking, he's got his hundred so sooner or later - hopefully sooner - he'll probably chip one to cover or point or something like that, because it often happens - batsmen give it away after getting to the century.

"But he kept going and after day one nobody was thinking of the world record, then during the second day there almost seemed to be a build-up and an inevitably about it."

While Lewis is now happy to doff his cap to Lara - who went on to make an unbeaten 400 on the same ground against the same opponents to reclaim the Test record 10 years later - for his herculean knock, it was too painful to appreciate at the time.

"I must admit it took me a while to be admiring it, because it's a bit like being in the midst of a boxing fight and someone has given you a great right hook and you stand back and admire," the 51-year-old said. 

"It's very much later when there is not so much aggression going on or in some cases even after your career when you can look back. I didn't want to admire batters too much, it was a competition, but 25 years later Brian Lara coming into bat... if I wasn't bowling it would be a very enjoyable day!"

 

- Lewis is currently on tour for The Long Walk Back, a theatre production based on his fall from grace. 

Brian Lara made 375 to break the record for most runs in a Test innings 25 years ago - and his unbeaten 400 a decade on remains the highest score today. 

Team manager Khaled Mashud said Bangladesh players and staff were "very lucky" to escape unharmed as they were "three or four minutes" away from being inside a mosque where a terror attack unfolded on Friday.

Mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques resulted in 49 people being killed and 48 injured.

Mashud revealed that the majority of the tourists' squad were inside a bus outside the Al Noor mosque while a massacre took place and saw "bloodstained people staggering out".

He is quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "This was a kind of accident that we would never expect nor want in any part of the world.

"We are very lucky because we had a number of us, about 17 of us, in the bus. Soumya Sarkar was also there, and we were all heading to the mosque for prayers.

"Only two of the players [Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan, as well as spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi] had stayed back in the hotel, and rest of the squad had gone there. We were very close to the mosque, and we could see from the bus. We must have been about 50 yards from the mosque.

"I would say we were really lucky. Had we reached even three or four minutes earlier, we probably would have been inside the mosque. This could then have been a massive incident.

"We are very thankful that we weren't caught in the crossfire, but what we saw was straight out of a movie scene. We could see bloodstained people staggering out of the mosque.

"Maybe in about eight-ten minutes, we were all inside the bus and were sitting with our heads bowed, just in case someone fires at us."

The third and final Test at Hagley Oval - which was due to start on Saturday - was called off following the attacks and the Bangladesh squad will fly home as soon as possible.

Mashud said the players and staff ran through Hagley Park to the ground after being allowed to get off the bus.

He added: "When we realised that the shooters could have inflicted more damage if they had found us inside the bus all at once, we took a collective decision to escape through the back gate.

"We ran or quickly walked out through that gate. Then we were in the dressing room, and the local liaison people explained to us how we could get out of there most safely to our hotel.

"It wasn't their fault, they tried their best according to whatever they are used to in their culture. Our players supported them a lot, with inputs on what was needed at that point of time.

"Our decision to get out was timely, because in videos we saw that people came out and kept shooting later."

The third Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh was cancelled after mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

Bangladesh players narrowly escaped the shootings at one of the mosques, where New Zealand Police confirmed there were multiple fatalities.

The Black Caps and Bangladesh were due to finish their three-Test series at Hagley Oval beginning on Saturday.

However, the Test was cancelled in a joint decision between the two nations.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of those affected by the shocking situation in Christchurch," the Black Caps wrote in a statement on Twitter.

"A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test.

"Again, both teams and support staff groups are safe."

Bangladesh duo Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim confirmed on Twitter they had only narrowly escaped the shootings.

England all-rounder Chris Woakes has no concerns that a knee injury could bring his career to a premature end.

Woakes missed the Test-series defeat against West Indies and sat out the second one-day international in Barbados on Friday.

The 29-year-old has been hampered by tendonitis in his right knee but should return against the Windies on Monday and is confident he has plenty more international cricket in front of him.

"It's not a concern," said Woakes. "By no means do I feel I'm coming to the end or it's the end of my career.

"My knee is something I've had to manage for the past eight years. It's just a dodgy knee from too much bowling. There's other guys around who've probably got the same.

"It comes with the territory. It's not something I'm overly worried about. I feel fit now and I'm good to go.

"We have looked at the World Cup schedule and it's not as tight as you might think. That might work in my favour.

"I got through four Ashes Tests last winter, plus all the warm-up games, the five ODIs, plus four ODIs in New Zealand. I had this then. I know I can get through cricket."

England and the Windies are level at 1-1 in the five-match series.

Mark Wood said he felt like a "superhero" as he tore through West Indies in a ferocious spell to set up a consolation Test victory for England in St Lucia.

The paceman's career has been blighted by injuries, but he made up for lost time by claiming a maiden five-wicket haul with first-innings figures of 5-41 last weekend.

Playing his first Test since last May, Wood provided the hostility the tourists had been lacking and the quick even surprised himself with the pace he generated in England's 232-run win.

He told The Guardian: "You almost feel like a superhero. I've been playing Mario Kart recently and yeah, it's like when you get a magic mushroom and you're just absolutely flying."

Wood added: "I'll never forget the feeling of that spell. If I'm ever down about my bowling I'll re-watch the highlights. 

"I've watched them about 20 times already – probably more. This will sound bad but seeing it back I just thought: 'Wow, that's me.' I couldn't believe how well I bowled and how fast it looked on TV. I was so happy."

Wood's Man-of-the-Match left him feeling emotional after spending so much time in the treatment room over the years.

"I held the ball up and felt so proud, then I got into the pavilion, had a hug with the physio Craig de Weymarn – he's touched me in places my wife never has! – and it all sunk in," said the 29-year-old. 

"It was everything I'd wanted after all I'd been through with injury. I know it's only one five-for and there's Jimmy [James Anderson] and Broady [Stuart Broad] with tons of them, but it was so special.

"I felt I finally belonged in the England Test team. I put the ball in my England cap, sat them next to me and just looked at them. All the emotions came out. I was a bit teary."

Shannon Gabriel has given his account of his third-Test exchange with Joe Root, with the West Indies bowler offering an "unreserved apology" to the England team and their captain as well as his own team-mates. 

West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel will miss the first four games of the one-day international series against England for comments made to Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia.

Gabriel was charged by the ICC after an altercation with the England captain on the third day of a match the tourists won by 232 runs on Tuesday.

Root was picked up on the stump microphone saying to the Windies quick: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay".

The skipper said after the close of play on Monday that Gabriel "might regret" his comments, but refused to state what the 30-year said to him.

Gabriel admitted breaching article 2.13 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to "personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match".

He will be unavailable for all but one of the ODIs against England after being hit with three demerit points, taking his total to eight in the space of two years.

Gabriel, who was banned one Test last year after reaching the threshold of four demerit points, was also fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

 

Winning the third Test and avoiding a whitewash against West Indies represented a "step forward" for England, according to captain Joe Root.

England were comfortably beaten by 381 runs in the first match of the series before a hapless display in Antigua saw the tourists go down by 10 wickets.

In St Lucia, a 125-run first-innings stand from Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes was followed by a stunning five-for from Mark Wood, before Root's century set the Windies a hefty target of 485 for a whitewash.

Roston Chase made a gritty hundred to keep their hopes alive, but he received minimal support as the hosts went down by 232 runs on Tuesday.

"It was important we played well this week. It should be a real confidence-booster going into an exciting summer for us," said Root.

"West Indies deserved to win the series, they outplayed us in the first two games, but it's a real step forward for this team to perform like we did this week.

"I thought we played some good cricket. In that first innings we managed to find a way to ride out some difficult moments in bowler-friendly conditions and then we got up to a good score. Then the bowlers got us on top and we went from there.

"We played better, that's important, we've got a fantastic squad, but over the next couple of years you'll see a huge amount of improvement."

Windies captain Jason Holder was suspended for the final match and had no doubt that, despite claiming a 2-1 series victory, the team can get better.

"It was disappointing the way we played in the last Test but there are still a few positives to write home about. Credit to the boys - although we lost this match we played a pretty good series. We still have a lot of improvements to make but lots of positive coming out of the series," said Holder.

"We have to keep improving in all three facets of the game - we've got to be clinical and be a lot more consistent than we have been in the past.

"Credit to our bowling unit, I think our bowlers have been outstanding and we just need our batters to come to the party more often than not.

"[The win is] important in a few contexts. It counts in the ICC rankings, counts for the morale of the side as well.

"We need to continue to build and improve as a side, not just rest on our laurels and think we've achieved something. We're still pretty low in the rankings and our goal is to be number one in the world, so there's definitely a lot to improve on and put right and a lot of positives we need to keep within in the team."

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