Johnson Charles produced a Man-of-the-Match performance on Monday that provided the Jaffna Stallions with a platform to victory over the Dambulla Viikings and into the final of the Lankan Premier League where they will meet the Galle Gladiators on Wednesday.

Half centuries from Nicholas Pooran and Shayne Moseley were not enough to prevent the West Indies ‘A’ from going down to a 101-run to New Zealand at Nelson on Sunday.

West Indies captain Jason Holder believes he is beginning to sound like a scratched record when it comes to explaining why his team keeps on losing, and losing badly.

Moises Henriques has been added to the Australia squad ahead of the first Test against India, with Sean Abbott ruled out.

Along with Mitchell Starc, Henriques, 33, joined the squad in Adelaide, where the first Test begins on Thursday.

The all-rounder has played four Tests, the last of which came in 2016, for Australia.

Henriques' inclusion comes after Abbott suffered a mild calf strain in Australia A's tour game against India in Sydney.

Abbott finished with match figures of 3-70 in the tour match and is expected to re-join the squad ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

His injury is just the latest worry for Australia.

David Warner (adductor) and Will Pucovski (concussion) have already been ruled out, while Cameron Green (concussion) is also in some doubt.

Despite a maiden Test half century from Joshua Da Silva, the West Indies lost the second Test against New Zealand by an innings and 12 runs at Wellington.

It was a much better batting performance from the West Indies in their second innings, bowled out for 317, their best total of the series.

 The loss means the West Indies lost the two-match series 2-0.

Resuming on 244 for 6, still needing 85 to make New Zealand bat again, West Indies lost their first wicket of the day in the second over with the score of 252.

 Captain Jason Holder was bowled by Tim Southee for 61, playing down the wrong line to a delivery that hit the top of off stump. He had added only run one to his overnight total.

It was Southee’s first wicket of the second innings after taking 5 for 32 in the first when the West Indies were bundled out for 131.

With the score at 282, Southee picked up his second wicket when he had Alzarri Joseph caught down the legside by BJ Watling after a well-played 24 that came off 12 balls and included three fours and two majestic sixes square of the wicket.

The West Indies still trailed by 47.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Da Silva, who was making his Test debut,was a picture of composure. On 25 overnight, he moved onto his first Test half century with aplomb farming the bowling to protect Chemar Holder, who was also playing in his first Test.

The 50th run was long in coming. After almost two overs on 49, he dropped a Trent Boult delivery into the onside for a single. His maiden half century came up in 77 balls and included five fours.

He celebrated his milestone by smashing a Daryl Mitchell delivery straight down the ground for his sixth four which also brought up 300 runs for the West Indies.

He was eventually trapped lbw by Neil Wagner for 57 to leave the West Indies on the verge of defeat at 307 for 9. He faced 84 balls in his 135-mimute stay at the crease.

Chemar Holder, who had edged a Southee delivery to get off the mark and then brutally hit Mitchell down the down the ground for consecutive fours, remained unbeaten on 13 after Wagner bowled Gabriel for 0 to seal a comprehensive victory.

Wagner finished with 3 for 43 while Boult took 3 for 97.

Scores: New Zealand 460 (Henry Nicholls 174, Neil Wagner 66. Gabriel 3 for 93). West Indies 131 ( Blackwood 69; Southee 5 for 32, Jamieson 5 for 34) and 317 (Campbell 68, J.Holder 61, Da Silva 57; Wagner 3 for 54, Boult 3 for 96).

 

 

 

 

Regal Masters defeated West Demarara Masters by seven wickets on Saturday to lift the inaugural championship trophy and Guy. $250,000 winners’ prize for the 2020 GCB Tropical Springs T20 Over 40 Tournament.

West Indies ‘A’ were 26 without loss at stumps on day three of their four-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ still needing a further 332 runs to achieve victory.

Half centuries from Captain Jason Holder and opener John Campbell helped West Indies extend the second Test in Wellington into a fourth day delaying what appears to be inevitable defeat.

When bad light stopped play on Saturday with just over 17 overs left in the day's play, Holder was unbeaten on 60 and debutant Joshua Da Silva on 25 as the West Indies closed the day on 244 for 6, still trailing New Zealand by 85 runs with only four tail-end wickets in hand.

Earlier, John Campbell made his highest Test score of 68 as the West Indies showed improvement on their embarrassing first innings display.

Resuming on their overnight score of 124 for 8 in reply to New Zealand’s 460, the West Indies added only seven runs to be all out for 131.

Tim Southee had DaSilva caught behind on his overnight score of 3 and bowled Shannon Gabriel for 2 to finish with 5 for 32. Chemar Holder remained unbeaten on 8. Kyle Jamieson, who did most of the damage on Friday, took 5 for 34.

Following on, the West Indies had a much better -looking start getting to 37 when Trent Boult took two wickets in an over to reduce the visitors to 41 for 2. Kraigg Braithwaite had got to 24 when he flicked the New Zealand quick off his legs only to be caught low down at leg gully by a diving Will Young.

Three balls later, Darren Bravo, on four, fended off a short delivery to point where Henry Nicholls took a dolly.

But just as it seemed as if the West Indies were in for another swift capitulation, Campbell and Shamarh Brooks mounted an 89-run stand that took the West Indies to 130 when a length ball from Neil Wagner slanted across Brooks, who went forward to defend only to see the ball take the edge and carry through to wicketkeeper BJ Watling. He made 36.

Roston Chase came and faced seven balls before edging Jamieson to Tom Latham at slip without scoring. Jamieson then bowled bowled Campbell off the inside edge for 68 as the West Indies slipped from 130 for 2 to 134 for 5.

Jermaine Blackwood, whose 69 made up more half the West Indies first innings score, threatened once again to take the attack to the New Zealand bowlers but after racing to 20, he was bowled by Boult trying to slog a ball that swung and smashed into his stumps. The score was then 170 for 6 and the West Indies were sliding towards defeat inside three days when Holder had his best showing of the series.

He and Da Silva have so far added 74 for the seventh wicket and will resume on Sunday hoping to add many much-needed runs to their face-saving stand and perhaps pray for rain.

Boult has so far taken 3 for 75 while Jamieson has 2 for 43 and Wagner 1 for 53.

 

 

 

 

Joe Burns' poor run of form continued during Australia A's tour match against India on Sunday.

The opener, whose place for the first Test is under threat, fell for just one in the second innings, trapped lbw by Mohammed Shami in Sydney.

Burns has been in poor form ahead of the series opener beginning in Adelaide on Thursday.

The right-hander fell for a duck in the first innings, while he made scores of four and 0 in the previous tour match.

It comes after Burns scored just 57 runs in five Sheffield Shield innings for Queensland to begin the season.

His form comes at a time when Australia are dealing with injuries to top-order batsmen, with David Warner (adductor) and Will Pucovski (concussion) already ruled out of the first Test.

Burns' combination with Warner had been talked up before the explosive left-hander suffered his injury.

In 27 Test innings, Burns and Warner have scored 1,365 runs at an average of 50.55, including averaging 65.4 against Pakistan and New Zealand in 2019-20.

Marcus Harris, who like Pucovski was in good form to begin the Shield season, made scores of 26 and five, having departed for 35 and finished with 25 not out in the first tour game.

The top-order woes have led to suggestions Shaun Marsh, 37, could return, with only Pucovski (495) having scored more Sheffield Shield runs than his 485 this season.

But frmer Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy hopes Australia look elsewhere.

"I hope not. Not because it's Shaun, but because we've got heaps of players that have performed in those Shield games and you don't have to go back to a 37-year-old player," he told SEN.

"I want to see him play Shield cricket for as long as he wants and help a lot of blokes, but we're better than having to go back to Shaun I reckon."

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc will re-join the squad on Monday as they prepare for the first Test against India.

Starc, 30, left the squad after the first Twenty20 against India due to a family illness.

But in a huge boost for the hosts, the left-armer will re-join his team-mates, with the first Test against India beginning in Adelaide on Thursday.

"We feel for Mitch at this difficult time and we're happy he has taken time out to spend with his family," Australia head coach Justin Langer said.

"We look forward to welcoming him back into the squad on Monday."

After Australia won the ODI series, India claimed a 2-1 victory in the T20s.

Shannon Gabriel took his 150th Test wicket in his 50th Test match while Chemar Holder bowled well for his two wickets on debut but it was Henry Nicholls who stole the show with an unbeaten 117 at stumps on day one of the second Test in Wellington on Thursday night (Caribbean time).

Australia paceman Pat Cummins cannot see a bouncer war erupting during the Test series against India.

India great Sunil Gavaskar told the Daily Telegraph he expected the tourists to target Will Pucovski with the short ball after the batsman was hit in the helmet by a bouncer during a tour game.

Pucovski, 22, suffered mild concussion symptoms, which have put him in some doubt for the opening Test beginning in Adelaide next week, even with David Warner (adductor) ruled out.

But while Cummins said Australia liked to use the short ball at home, he cannot see a bouncer war being a major feature of the series.

"I'm not sure about that. For someone like Will, he's been hearing that for a couple of years. Scoring two double centuries back-to-back, I think he can handle that pretty well," he told reporters on Friday.

"If that happens then good luck, us bowlers will worry about what we want to do. Of course, it's a weapon that we like to use. Of course, here in Australia as well, slightly bouncier wickets, try to push the batter back.

"We'll see what happens. I can't see it being too much of a headline grabber this summer."

Cummins, 27, has been touted as a potential future captain of Australia, with Test skipper Tim Paine having celebrated his 36th birthday on Tuesday.

Backed by former captain Michael Clarke, Cummins said it was nice to receive the support.

"He's been a great supporter for me my whole career really. Yeah, great to hear from a really well-respected captain," he said.

"I loved having him as a captain when I played, I feel like he made me walk taller in my early years when I was still trying to find my feet. Having an ex-captain who has been there and done that, as a vote of confidence, that's nice.

"Of course, it means absolutely nothing because we've got some great captains at the moment, but very kind words.

"Speaking to a few people, out of all the formats potentially Tests are the easiest for a bowler to captain. Obviously you're going to be busy and putting in a lot of effort into bowling, but there's a bit more time that is afforded to you. The game moves at a slightly softer pace. I know there haven't been too many bowling captains, but I don't understand why it has to be a batter."

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell said he had changed his mind about travelling with the West Indies to New Zealand for their three-match T20 series but by the time he did, the team had already been selected and he was unable to join.

The chair of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) interim board says there was no justification for England to cut short their tour without facing the Proteas in an ODI series.

World champions England flew home on Thursday despite two 'unconfirmed positive' coronavirus cases in the touring party being confirmed as false positives.

The one-day series was initially delayed and then cancelled due to positive tests within the bio-secure bubble.

A South Africa player and two hotel staff members were discovered to have COVID-19, forcing games scheduled for last Friday and Sunday to be postponed before the 'unconfirmed positive' tests in the England party were reported.

Judge Zak Yacoob will not accept that the hosts should take any blame for the ODI series not going ahead on a day it was confirmed Sri Lanka will arrive for two Tests in South Africa - the first of which starts on Boxing Day.

"What I want to negate is an idea that our provision of services was substandard and that there is any justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home," the chair of CSA's interim board said in a virtual news conference. 

"The facts are that ultimately, they were negative [test results]. We have gone into our protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good.

"There may have been an issue of psychological troubles. People may have felt nervous about false positives. Our position is that we do not wish to blame the English, but we wish to say absolutely and completely that any notion that they went away because it was in any way our fault, is completely wrong.

"There is an awkward narrative coming out that third world countries can't manage these things properly. I can say we have been managing the virus much better than England."

He added: "Many aspects of the operational side are not working and I don't want to go into details of that because then those in charge of the operational side will start running to the newspapers to say how bad the board is.

Judge Yacoob, however, acknowledges CSA should possibly have imposed stricter rules on the England party.

"The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it, is that we were too lax with the English and their desire to do things which in our strict view they shouldn't be doing," he said.

"We were stronger on preventing our players from doing things and we allowed the visitors a little more laxity. There's a courtesy thing, because they are visitors and so on."

England will play a day-night Test at the redeveloped Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad as part of their tour to India in early 2021.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced the schedule for the trip in February and March of next year, with games to be staged at three bio-secure venues amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of returning home after completing the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in January, England's squad will travel straight to Chennai from Colombo.

There they will play two Tests at the MA Chidambaram Stadium as part of a four-match series in the longest format.

The teams then move on to Ahmedabad, with the Sardar Patel Stadium - a 110,000-capacity venue opened earlier this year - hosting the first day-night Test between the countries. That February 24-28 contest will be the first of two Tests between the teams at the ground.

After the Test action, England will be involved in a five-match Twenty20 series with India in March, followed by a trio of ODI fixtures - all to be staged in Pune - at the end of the same month.

"International cricket between India and England is a highlight of the cricketing calendar and always attracts significant levels of interest from fans around the world," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said in a statement confirming the fixtures.

"We have been delighted with the planning that has been undertaken by the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to ensure the three venues in Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune will be ready to host international cricket in a bio-secure environment and look forward to working closely with them over the coming weeks to finalise those plans.

"The prospect of becoming the first international side to play at the magnificent Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad adds an extra dimension to the tour and I know will be something that is a highlight for both the players and management."

Jay Shah, honorary secretary for the BCCI, made clear player safety is paramount as India deals with the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis.

India is only behind the United States in terms of total number of coronavirus cases, with the country seeing over 141,000 deaths so far.

"The BCCI prioritises health and safety of both teams and will leave no stone unturned to make sure that the tour is held adhering to all safety protocols agreed by the BCCI and ECB medical teams," Shah said.

"Both boards have worked closely to put together an exciting series that promises to provide high octane action between two powerhouses of world cricket.

"This will be India's first bilateral series at home since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the home season will bring back joy to cricket fans."

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