England batting coach Graham Thorpe implored his side to support Jos Buttler after the wicketkeeper twice dropped Marnus Labuschagne on the opening day of the second Test.

The tourists toiled for large parts of Thursday in Adelaide, having lost the first outing in Brisbane comfortably, after stand-in captain Steve Smith won the toss and elected to bat.

Smith, who captained Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, was taking the place of Pat Cummins, after the fast bowler was forced into isolation following contact with a COVID-19 case in a restaurant on Wednesday.

David Warner batted for long periods, only to fall for 95 in the final session of the first day-night Test as he was partnered by Marnus Labuschagne who ended play unbeaten on 95, with Australia 221-2.

The pair shared a second-wicket stand of 172, their sixth century partnership together – no duo can top their combined runs total since Labuschagne's Test debut in October 2018 – but England had ample chances to remove Australia's number three.

Buttler shelled a tough opportunity off the bowling of Ben Stokes with Labuschagne on 21, before dropping a regulation chance from James Anderson in the final hour with the right-hander still five away from his century.

Thorpe, who averaged over 49 for England against Australia during his playing career, insisted that the touring party need to rally around Buttler after the pair of errors.

Thorpe said to BBC's Test Match Special: "Dropped catches hurt us. Jos will have to clear his mind and go again.

"No-one means to drop catches but that's the game and sometimes it can happen to you. We need to get around him and support him.

"Australia were looking to take two set batters into the last session and they played the game very well. They defended well early on - we went past the bat a lot but they kept their wickets.

"We have to keep going at it, luck can turn. I thought we bowled well - you can look at occasionally going fuller but there wasn't much margin for error on that pitch.

"Australia are in a good position. It's up to us to take early wickets with the new ball, that'll be crucial. We have to show some fight and heart."

Marnus Labuschagne is aiming to capitalise on England's missed opportunities after Australia closed on 221-2 after the opening day of the second Test in Adelaide.

David Warner (95) and Labuschagne (95 not out) produced gutsy performances after stand-in captain Steve Smith opted to bat on Thursday, with Australia already boasting a 1-0 series lead.

Smith – captaining for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 - was taking the reins due to Pat Cummins isolating after the fast bowler came into contact with a COVID-19 positive member of the public in a restaurant on Wednesday.

Smith's winning toss looked fruitful as Labuschagne batted with David Warner for most of the day in a 172-run second-wicket stand – the pair's sixth century partnership in Tests - no other duo has scored more runs since Australia's number three debuted in October 2018.

Warner subsequently fell in avoidable fashion, caught at cover by Stuart Broad – who earlier dismissed Marcus Harris – off the bowling of Ben Stokes in the final session of the first day-night Test.

Labuschagne was also fortunate to remain undefeated, given he was twice dropped by Jos Buttler – on 21 and 95 – the second of which by all means a regulation chance off James Anderson's bowling.

Aware of the opportunity ahead of him, Labuschagne now wants to cash in with Smith on England's lack of clinical catching when it mattered.

"That was massive for the team just getting through that period, me and Steve [Smith]," Labuschagne told reporters. "It sets us up really well to get a big first-innings score tomorrow.

"The last bit of play there I just wavered a bit where I played that shot and got dropped. I was a bit in disbelief, but it's my job to make sure I capitalise on that now.

"I gave them a chance there and I gave them a chance earlier, going down leg, so I've got to make sure that tomorrow I give away no chances."

Labuschagne reached 2,000 Test runs in just his 34th innings, with only four players – Michael Hussey, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley and Don Bradman – achieving the landmark in fewer outings.

But the right-hander was quick to credit his partner for much of the day Warner, who once again fell short with three figures in his sight.

"He [Warner] batted beautifully today, how he went about his innings and his patience," Labuschagne added. "Especially early, I think he went about 20 balls without scoring and then glimpses of the attacking David Warner we know.

"I feel bad for him missing out today but 95, he'd take that at the start of the day."

Marnus Labuschagne stood unbeaten on 95 and David Warner fell just short of a century as Australia battled to 221-2 on the first day of the second Test in Adelaide.

Steve Smith captained Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, after new skipper Pat Cummins was forced to isolate following close contact with a COVID-19 case in a restaurant.

Smith opted to bat first on Thursday and lost opener Marcus Harris for three to Stuart Broad in the bowler's 150th Test, as Jos Buttler produced a fantastic diving catch down the leg side. Harris had earlier overturned an lbw decision.

Warner closed shop in response against Broad and James Anderson's early dominance with the pink ball, managing just one run from his opening 35 deliveries, with Labuschagne following in a similarly attritional fashion.

Labuschagne was relieved when he was dropped by Buttler on 21 off Stokes, and capitalised as he battled to his second fifty of the series in 156 deliveries, after Warner had brought up a 108-ball half-century – the pair sharing their sixth century stand in Tests.

Left-handed opener Warner then fell in the 90s for the second consecutive Test when Broad gratefully collected a catch at cover, with Stokes' aggressive short-pitched bowling finally paying off. Warner was dismissed for 95 and the partnership ended at 172.

Buttler shelled a regulation catch from Anderson in the final hour with Labuschagne on 95, before Australia's number three and stand-in captain Smith made it to stumps unbeaten after a testing period against the new ball under the lights.

Landmark Labuschagne delivers once more

Labuschagne crafted an excellent first-innings 74 at the Gabba and followed that up with more calculated brilliance against England's five-man seam attack on a flat Adelaide Oval pitch in almost perfect batting conditions.

The right-hander, who has faced 275 balls so far, also made it to 2,000 Test runs in his 34th innings, with only four players – Michael Hussey, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley and Don Bradman – requiring fewer outings to reach the landmark.

Spin it to win it?

The surface in Adelaide has already shown signs of turn and bounce, much to the frustration of England, who dropped Jack Leach as the tourists went without a spinner for the first time in an Ashes Test since Headingley in 2001.

That run dates back further to 1998 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the last time England played without a spinner Down Under, and captain Joe Root, tasked with operating as the frontline spinner, struggled as he recorded figures of 0-37 from his 11 overs.

The West Indies white-ball tour is at risk of being cancelled after five additional members of the touring party tested positive for Covid-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves as well as Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick and team physician Dr Akshai Mansingh all returned positive results and will now undergo a period of self-isolation. Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, and Kyle Mayers had tested positive prior to the start of the series are also in isolation.

With a total of six players now ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19 and a finger injury to Devon Thomas (sustained in the 1st T20I), CWI and PCB Officials met Thursday morning, after all members of the touring party were tested again, to determine whether the tour can continue.

According to sources, it was decided that the final T20 will be played but the ODI series could be called off if there is a further outbreak among the West Indies players.

The West Indies trail 0-2 in the T20 having lost the first match on December 13 by 63 runs and the second on December 14, by nine runs.

 

Pat Cummins was the victim of "really, really bad luck" as Australia's captain was forced to miss the second Ashes Test and go into isolation.

That was the verdict of Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley, who said the team had no option but to go into the Adelaide clash against England without their new skipper.

Cummins was dining at a restaurant on Tuesday and sat nearby to someone who has since been confirmed as a positive coronavirus case.

The star paceman did not breach any biosecurity protocols and isolated as soon as he became aware of the situation. Cummins has since had a PCR test, which produced a negative result, and said he was "gutted" to be ruled out of action. Michael Neser came in for his debut, replacing Cummins.

What it means for Cummins is that he could only watch on television as Australia made a bright start against England, reaching 211-2 in 78 overs as the first day continued to unfold.

Hockley said on BT Sport: "It's certainly been eventful, and it's so disappointing that Pat was ruled out as a close contact last night

"No one's more disappointed than Pat and everyone's been working extremely hard overnight to get the facts, and ultimately it was determined, working with the health authorities, that he had been in close contact with a positive case. It's just really 'wrong time, wrong place', and it's really, really bad luck. We're thrilled that he's going to be fit and raring to go on Boxing Day.

"We worked to establish the facts. We worked closely with SA [South Australia] Health. Ultimately, if you do become a close contact then the rules are to isolate for seven days, so there was really no option in the end.

"We've got protocols in place to make sure that multiple players don't get tied up in that situation, so they have to dine in small groups. If there's one consolation, it's that everyone else is available to play."

Hockley said Cummins should be available for the next match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and measures were being taken to ensure he can stay fully fit.

"He's in isolation now. He's watching the cricket," Hockley said.

"We'll be putting plans in place plans to make sure that when people are in isolation they get access to the right fitness equipment, and we all want to make sure he keeps his conditioning up to a level and that he's in optimum condition for the Boxing Day Test."

Steve Smith captained Australia in the absence of Cummins as the day-night Test got under way.

Australian captain Pat Cummins has sensationally been ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England, deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive COVID-19 test.

The news comes on the morning of the first day of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval, with Queensland fast bowler Michael Neser confirmed to replace Cummins in the XI for his debut on Thursday.

Former skipper Steve Smith will captain Australia in the absence of Cummins in the day-night Test in Adelaide.

Cummins was dining at a restaurant on Tuesday and was sat nearby to someone who has since been confirmed as a positive coronavirus case.

The star paceman did not breach any biosecurity protocols and isolated as soon as he became aware of the situation. Cummins has since had a PCR test, which produced a negative result.

However, Cummins has been confirmed as a close contact by South Australia Health and will be required to isolate for seven days, ruling him out of the second showdown with rivals England.

Cricket Australia (CA) said it anticipated Cummins will be available to play in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in Melbourne.

"Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide," CA said in a statement.

The 28-year-old fast bowler had led Australia to a nine-wicket victory in the Ashes opener as skipper in Brisbane, after taking over from Tim Paine.

Smith's deputising marks the first time he will have captained his country since the controversial 2018 sandpaper-gate Test match in Cape Town, which led to his dismissal as skipper and 12-month suspension.

Australia may have dodged a further bullet, revealing Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also dining at the same restaurant but at a separate table outdoors.

Both have been deemed casual contacts by SA Health and are free to play.

West Indies T20 captain, Nicholas Pooran, said he is unable to explain why his players, himself included, continue to make mistakes that prove to be costly in matches. Pooran was speaking with the media in the wake of his team’s narrow loss in the second of three T20 Internationals in Karachi on Tuesday.

The issue of Andre Russell’s loyalty to West Indies cricket was up for discussion on the Mason&Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday night and it sparked a contentious conversation between the show’s host Andrew Mason and CWI West Indies Vice-President Kishore Shallow.

Mason believes the CWI is seemingly willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the players’ fancies.

Russell had declared himself unavailable for the West Indies tour of Pakistan for three T20 Internationals citing personal reasons. A relatively inexperienced West Indies team has so far lost two of the three matches with one match to go on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Russell signed on to represent the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League. On the weekend, he scored an unbeaten 42 from 21 balls and was named Man of the Match in the Stars’ six-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder.

On Tuesday, Dr Shallow sought to explain why Russell was in Australia and not in Pakistan helping the West Indies.

“Russell indicated to the lead selector that he was mentally fatigued in the bubble and in the Big Bash League, where he is now, he would be required to be in a bubble,” Dr Shallow said. “That was the rationale provided to the lead selector.”

An obviously exasperated Mason was unable to contain his displeasure at the situation where certain players only choose to represent the West Indies when it suits them to.

“Yes, Dr Shallow, they have got to get the opportunity to make money but there is a word called ‘sacrifice’,” Mason declared, adding that such situations are almost unique to the West Indies.
“The other players don’t do it to their countries, and I am sure Russell is going to be ready to play for us in the world cup and we are going to pick him.

“We cannot continue with the foolishness with these guys.”

Sir Andy Roberts also weighed in on Dr Shallow’s explanation, suggesting that the players seem to make their decisions based on money only.

“These guys just don’t want to play for the West Indies because the fees ain't that high,” said the long-retired fast bowler. “I am not saying that they should not be allowed to go but they should only go if the West Indies do not require their services.”

This is not the first time Russell has faced criticism over his decisions on when to represent the West Indies.

In December 2020, the iconic Antiguan fast bowler publicly criticized Andre Russell, who declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” Ambrose said then.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

In a later interview, Ambrose provided further clarity.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have an injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts.

So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies

Virat Kohli has insisted he was not asked to reconsider his decision to step down as India's T20I skipper and says he was not aware he might lose the ODI captaincy.

Kohli confirmed in September that he had decided to take a step back from leading India in the shortest format after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup.

However, he had agreed to stay on as India's ODI and Test captain, and remain available for selection in T20Is.

India failed to progress from the Super 12s in the World Cup, with Rohit Sharma named as captain for the subsequent T20 series against New Zealand.

But on December 8, Rohit was named India's new permanent white-ball captain.

The BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, explained that the selectors felt there would have too much leadership within the white-ball squad had there been two captains for each of the formats.

Ganguly also claimed that Kohli had been asked to stay on as captain. However, the batsman has contradicted this statement.

 

"When I decided to leave the T20I captaincy and approached the BCCI about my decision, it was received well," Kohli told reporters.

"There was no offence or hesitation, I wasn't told to reconsider it. It was received well; I was told it's progressive and it's a step in the right direction.

"Then I told them I'd like to continue in Tests and ODIs, unless the office bearers and selectors feel otherwise.

"My communication was clear in what I wanted to do. I gave them the option, that if they feel I shouldn't [remain captain in Tests and/or ODIs], the decision is in their hands."

Kohli, who is staying on as Test captain, also revealed he was only told of the BCCI's decision to replace him as ODI skipper an hour-and-a-half prior to the squad announcement for India's upcoming red-ball tour of South Africa.

"I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on December 8 for the Test series," Kohli said.

"There was no prior communication to me at all from when I announced the T20I captaincy decision until December 8, when I got a call before the selection meeting.

"The chief selector [Chetan Sharma] discussed with me the Test team, to which we both agreed, and before ending the call I was told the five selectors have decided I will not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, "okay, fine".

"In the selection call afterwards, we chatted about it briefly. That's what happened. There was no communication prior to that at all."

But Kohli is adamant the captaincy call will not impact his preparation for the South Africa Test series.

He added: "To be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities, nothing has, and nothing can derail me from that.

"A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not how one expects them to be, but you have to understand you can only do so much as an individual and we have to keep thing in tight perspective and do things that are in your control.

"I'm focussed, mentally prepared, and excited to do the best I can for the team and make the team win."

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been included in England's 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The pair's omission for the opening match raised eyebrows and came under further scrutiny after the tourists slumped to a nine-wicket loss as Australia seized the upper hand in Brisbane.

But both are in contention as England seek to level the series in the first of two day-night Tests, with the final selection to be confirmed at the toss on Thursday.

Anderson is his country's leading wicket-taker in Tests with 632, while Broad – who is one shy of 150 Test caps – has 524.

Spinner Jack Leach, who endured a torrid outing as he gave up 102 runs in 13 overs at the Gabba, retains his place in the squad, while seamer Mark Wood has been rested.

Any lingering fears over the fitness of Ben Stokes, who jarred his knee in the field during the opening Test, appear to have been put to rest with his inclusion.

Joe Root's side face a tough task, with Australia boasting a 100 per cent record in day-night Tests.

England squad: Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

Australia star David Warner will face rivals England in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, despite badly bruised ribs.

Warner was in doubt for the blockbuster day-night showdown at Adelaide Oval, starting Thursday, after the opener did not bat or field in the second innings of Australia's nine-wicket rout of England in Brisbane last week.

But Warner – who scored 94 runs in the opening innings of the first Test – has been declared fit to play after Australia captain Pat Cummins confirmed his XI on Wednesday.

"He'll be right," Cummins told reporters. "He had a bat yesterday, batted with a bit of discomfort but knowing Davey, he's not going to miss this one. Once adrenaline and everything kicks in, [he'll be] a little bit sore but he'll be fine.

"It's one thing batting in the nets but another thing when you walk out and it's a packed crowd. I don't think he had any kind of painkillers or anything yesterday.

"He's played close to 90 Tests, I'm sure a lot of them have been played in discomfort or with [niggles] going into the game. He'll be fine tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Jhye Richardson will make his international return for Australia after replacing injured paceman Josh Hazlewood (side strain) – the only change to the starting XI.

Richardson got the nod ahead of Michael Neser for the pink-ball Test, having not featured for Australia in cricket's longest format since his debut in 2019.

The Australia attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of doing more damage with the pink ball, where they will be hunting what would be a sixth win in seven matches in the longest format in Adelaide.

No side has a better record than Australia's eight out of eight in day-night Tests, while England have lost three day-nighters out of four and their only victory was against West Indies in 2017.

 

Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (c), Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has been named a brand ambassador for Indian consumer deliverables company USHA International.

A Man of the Match performance from Shadab Khan helped Pakistan take an unassailable 2-0 series lead against the West Indies after a nine-run win in the second T20 International in Karachi today.

Australia have a 100 per cent record in day-night Tests and another victory at Adelaide Oval will leave England's hopes of regaining the Ashes hanging by a thread.

The tourists made a nightmare start to the series at the Gabba, slumping to a nine-wicket defeat after Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first on a green pitch under cloudy skies.

England were rolled over for only 147 on day one in Brisbane after Rory Burns lost his off stump to the first ball of the match from Mitchell Starc.

Captain Root (89) and Dawid Malan (82) showed some resistance in the second innings after Travis Head had made the third-fastest Ashes century, but another collapse left Australia with the straightforward task of chasing 20 to go 1-0 up.

Pat Cummins could not have wished for a much better start to his reign as Test skipper, taking 5-38 on the opening day as England crumbled meekly.

The Australia attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of doing more damage with the pink ball in Adelaide, where they will be hunting what would be a sixth win in seven matches in the longest format in Adelaide.

No side has a better record than Australia's eight out of eight in day-night Tests, while England have lost three day-nighters out of four and their only victory was against West Indies in 2017.

Stats Perform looks at some of the selection issues both sides will be weighing up and picks out where the second Test, which starts on Thursday, could be won and lost.

Anderson and Broad to shine under the lights?

Eyebrows were raised in the Australia camp and far beyond when both James Anderson and Stuart Broad were left out for the first Test.

With 1,156 Test wickets between them, the pace-bowling stalwarts would have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of racing in at the start of the series but watched on as Australia's bowlers had a field day.

Broad should be back in for his 150th Test and Anderson will surely return under the lights.

The selectors face a tough call when deciding who to leave out as Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes came out the first Test with credit, while spinner Jack Leach endured a chastening start to the series.

 

Hazlewood injury forces Australia into at least one change

Australia will be without Josh Hazlewood after he suffered a side strain in Brisbane and Jhye Richardson is the favourite to replace him.

Hazlewood took 5-8 when Australia bowled India out for an embarrassing 36 last December, but either Richardson or Michael Neser will get a chance to exploit England's vulnerability with the bat.

Richardson has taken 23 wickets in four Sheffield Shield matches this season at an average of 13.43 and looks primed to make his Ashes bow in what would be his third Test.

Australia are hopeful David Warner is fit to open after he took a couple of blows to the ribs in the opening Test.

A late cameo of 28 from 12 balls by Shadab Khan propelled Pakistan to a respectable 172-8 off their 20 overs in the second T20 international against West Indies in Karachi Tuesday.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first.

After getting to 14 without loss in the second over, Mohammed Rizwan and captain Babar Azam inexplicably went for a single that resulted in the Pakistan captain being run out for seven.

Rizwan and new batsman Fakhar Zaman attempted to steady the ship with a 19-run fourth over off Oshane Thomas to take the score to 38-1. The partnership was broken by Akeal Hosein, who had Zaman stumped for 10.

That wicket brought together, Rizwan and Haider Ali, who on Monday scored half-centuries in Pakistan's 63-run win over the visitors. Together, they guided the hosts to 50-2 at the end of the first powerplay.

Hosein bowled his four overs within the first seven and was once again excellent with figures of 1-16 to follow up his 1-19 performance Monday.

Pakistan were still only 2 wickets down at the halfway mark as Rizwan and Ali played sensibly to take the score to 73-2. The partnership was broken in the 12th over when Odean Smith had Rizwan caught at short cover for 38 from 30 balls. Smith got his second wicket of the day when Haider was caught at deep point by Shamarh Brooks for 31 on the last ball of the 14th over.

Hayden Walsh Jr got his first wicket in the very next over, removing Mohammad Nawaz, who was caught at deep mid-wicket for one.

Pakistan ended the 15th over 113-5 with Iftikhar Ahmed at the crease on 14 and Asif Ali on two.

Rovman Powell took an excellent catch off the bowling of Romario Shepherd to remove Ali for nine off the second ball of the 17th over to reduce Pakistan to 124-6.

Iftikhar hit two sixes off Thomas in the 18th over but was then dismissed caught behind off the last ball for a well-played 32 from 19 balls.

Shadab Khan brought up Pakistan’s 150 with a straight six off Dominic Drakes off the second ball of the 19th over.

Mohammad Wasim Jr was run out on the second to last ball of the innings for five.

Pakistan finished their 20 overs 172-8 with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring with 38 and Iftikhar Ahmed getting 32.

Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein were the best performers for the West Indies with the ball with 2-24 from 3 overs and 1-16 from four overs, respectively.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.