West Indies pacer Shamar Joseph was featured as the International Cricket Council (ICC) today revealed the shortlists of nominees for the ICC Men’s and Women’s Player of the Month awards for January 2024.

The ICC Men’s Player of the Month shortlist includes the architects of two memorable Test victories away from home, plus a prolific pacer who celebrated another significant milestone in the longest format.

The orchestrator for what was perhaps one of the most dramatic Test victories in recent memory, Joseph’s month will be long remembered for his bowling efforts in the second innings of the second Test v Australia in Brisbane.

Defending a modest target of 216 for victory, Joseph unleashed a remarkable spell of fast bowling, taking seven for 68 to cue wild celebrations.

This, in addition to taking the wicket of Steve Smith with his first ball in international cricket in a five-wicket-haul in Adelaide, saw him named Player of the Series and nominated for ICC Men’s Player of the Month for the very first time.

Joseph will be vying for the award against Australian quick Josh Hazlewood and English batsman Ollie Pope.

The Australian pacer joined an elite club in January after taking his 250th wicket in the longest format. Hazlewood played three Tests during the month, starting in fine fashion with four wickets in the second innings of their third matchup against Pakistan, to bowl the tourists out cheaply and contribute to an eight-wicket win in Sydney. The 33-year-old followed up by taking nine wickets in the first Test against West Indies and five in the second Test in Brisbane, clocking up 19 wickets at a sensational average of 11.63.

Facing a 190-run deficit in the first India v England Test in Hyderabad, Pope came to the crease at 45 for one. The 26-year-old then dug in and produced a batting masterclass to overturn the deficit, and set a challenging total which India fell short of. A blend of innovative stroke play and resilient defence characterised Pope’s innings in which he scored 196 in 278 balls, including 21 boundaries. The innings propelled England to a score of 420 before they bowled India out to secure a record-breaking victory.

The nominees for the Women’s award are Australia’s Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney as well as Ireland’s Amy Hunter.

The three nominees for either category are shortlisted based on performances from the first to the last day of each calendar month.

The shortlist is then voted on by the independent ICC Voting Academy* and fans around the world. The ICC Voting Academy comprises prominent members of the cricket fraternity including well-known journalists, former players, broadcasters and members of the ICC Hall of Fame.

The Voting Academy submit their votes by email and hold a 90 per cent share of the vote.

Fans registered with the ICC can vote via the ICC website, accounting for the remaining 10 per cent. Winners are announced every second Monday of the month on ICC’s digital channels. 

 

The 2024 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League will take place from 28 August to the 6 October with final will once again taking place in Guyana with the National Stadium in Providence hosting the conclusion of the Men’s event for the third year.

The tournament plans to have matches in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, Once again, the window for the CPL will not clash with West Indies fixtures so the best Caribbean talent will be on show at the Biggest Party in Sport.

Pete Russell, Republic Bank CPL’s CEO, said: “We are very pleased that this window allows the CPL to give the best players from the Caribbean the opportunity to showcase their talents. The window also allows CPL franchises to sign the best available international players after successful discussions with other leagues to avoid the same clashes we had in 2023. As always,we would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their help and support in finding a window that works so well for all stakeholders.”

Johnny Grave, Cricket West Indies CEO, said: "We are pleased to have once again worked closely with the CPL to strategically prioritize this window so that all West Indian cricketers can participate in the full CPL tournament once again. With the 2024 CPL taking place just two months after hosting the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the region, it provides another fantastic opportunity for our fans to enjoy some world class exciting T20 cricket and for our regional governments to benefit from more cricket generated economic activity.”

 

India head coach Rahul Dravid has praised England’s ‘Bazball’ approach, even if the word itself leaves him cold.

Dravid saw his side square the five-match series 1-1 with a 106-run victory in Visakhapatnam, with Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin taking three wickets each to dent England’s reputation as unstoppable chasers.

Dravid was known as ‘the Wall’ during his playing days, a nod to his watertight technique, but he has been impressed by the way the tourists have utilised their attacking methods on turning pitches.

“I think they’re playing very well. Whether you call it ‘Bazball’ or whatever you want to call it, it’s not,” he said.

“I know it’s just a term, and I’m not sure how happy they are about it, but they are playing really good cricket. It’s not like wild slogging, they are actually showing some very good skills.

“Some of the shots they are playing require a lot of ability. You can’t just come here and execute those things by saying ‘I want to play attackingly’. I think there’s more to it than just attacking cricket.

“I have seen at times they know when to pull back and they know when to attack. They’re playing slightly differently, no doubt about it. They know how to find that balance and we know we’re up against a challenge that we’re looking forward to.”

Bumrah won a deserved player-of-the-match award for his match figures of nine for 91, including a game-defining spell of vicious reverse swing in the first innings.

The image of him sending two of Ollie Pope’s stumps flying in opposite directions encapsulated his brilliance in a single frame.

“As a youngster that was the first delivery I learned in tennis-ball cricket,” Bumrah recalled.

“I used to feel that was the only way to take wickets. I look to solve the problem, every wicket is different and I have to use what I have in my armoury.”

Ben Stokes felt England were let down by technology at a crucial moment as they slipped to a series-levelling defeat against India but refused to blame the result on “if, buts and maybes”.

The tourists were bowled out for 292 on day four of the second Test in Visakhapatnam, going down by 106 runs as they fell well short of a history-making chase.

Opener Zak Crawley looked the man most likely to do something special and his dismissal for 73 just before lunch turned the game decisively in India’s favour.

Kuldeep Yadav’s lbw shout was initially turned down by experienced umpire Marais Erasmus, who judged the ball to missing leg stump, but DRS surprisingly ruled in the bowler’s favour when ball-tracking suggested it was going on to hit.

England lost Jonny Bairstow in the next over and never quite recovered, with Stokes making it clear he felt Crawley was the victim of a HawkEye glitch.

“My personal opinion is that the technology has gone wrong on this occasion. That’s where I stand on it,” the England captain said when questioned about the decision.

“Technology in the game is obviously there and everyone has an understanding of the reasons it can never be 100 per cent. That’s why we have the ‘umpire’s call’, that’s why it’s in place.

“So when it’s not 100 per cent, I don’t think it’s unfair for someone to say ‘I think the technology has got it wrong’. I will say that, but in a game full of ifs, buts and maybes I am not going to say that’s the reason why we haven’t got the result we wanted.

“You can’t really do much with things that have been and gone. You can’t really overturn a decision that has been made.”

England’s score was the second highest fourth-innings total any overseas team have scored in Indian conditions, but the scale of their target was simply too great to overcome without a big century to build around.

Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes and Tom Hartley were all battling against illness that emerged in the camp overnight, along with the injured Jack Leach at the team hotel, leaving Stokes proud of the fight his side put up.

“There’s a bit of a virus going round, a couple of guys woke up not feeling great,” he said.

“It’s not ideal, you want everyone to be feeling great but I’m proud that the guys who were feeling under the weather didn’t shy away and gave it their best.

“We had full belief in ourselves that we could chase that down. Taking on challenges like that is what we are about. In moments like this, when you have scoreboard pressure, that is when we get the best out of ourselves as individuals. Unfortunately, this time we didn’t get on the right side of the result.”

A quick scan of their second-innings boundary count – 42 fours and four sixes – tells the story of how England went about their business in a match that ended with four full sessions unused.

It was the kind of aggressive display which has become par for the course under Stokes’ leadership and even dismissals like Joe Root’s for 16, an agricultural heave from the side’s most elegant player, do not give Stokes pause for thought.

“I think our approach is what we’re known for, the way in which we play,” he said.

“Regardless of the situation, we want to stay very true to ourselves. I was happy with the way we went about that chase. That’s exactly how we play cricket. It won’t always work but a loss is a loss; you don’t get any points losing by five and you don’t get less for losing by 100.”

England will travel onwards to Abu Dhabi for a break on Wednesday, before returning to India for the third Test in Rajkot on February 15.

England ran out of miracles as their hopes of making history ended in a thumping 106-run defeat in the second Test against India.

The odds were stacked against the tourists from the start but they pitched up on day four in Visakhapatnam with real belief that they could do the unthinkable by chasing 399 – a target no England side has ever reached before and more than any side has ever made batting last on Indian soil.

Instead, their knack of turning cricketing logic on its head deserted them and they were knocked over for 292 to level the five-match series at 1-1.

They decisive moment came just before lunch, when top-scorer Zak Crawley (73) and fourth-innings dangerman Jonny Bairstow both fell lbw in the space of five deliveries. That turned an already dominant position into a bulletproof one for India, leaving England captain Ben Stokes as their last roadblock to victory.

He has rescued plenty of lost causes over the years but was only just getting started when he was brilliantly run out by a side-on direct hit from Shreyas Iyer. Stokes was slow off the mark and paid for his hesitation, but it still needed a perfect throw from the fielder.

Stokes was not alone in playing a part in his own downfall, with Joe Root ending a brief and chaotic innings with an unusually ugly shot.

England went down fighting but an India side with the two highest scores of the match, Yashavi Jaiswal (209) and Shubman Gill (104), and the best bowler in Jasprit Bumrah, who took match figures of nine for 91, were worthy winners.

Despite having two full days to reach their mammoth target, England made no secret about their attacking intentions. The first session showed that was not just talk, with 127 runs scored and 86 in boundaries, but the price tag of five wickets was too steep to bear.

Rehan Ahmed, promoted late on Sunday evening as England’s so-called ‘nighthawk’, was the first when he stayed back to Axar Patel and fell lbw for 23. But his contribution was always likely to be a bonus and the arrival of Ollie Pope felt like the start of the real contest.

From the moment he stroked his first ball for four through cover his intent was clear but despite five quickfire boundaries, all off Patel, he looked error-prone. The mistake came when he slashed at a good ball from Ashwin, who had Rohit Sharma to thank for a sharp one-handed catch at slip.

Crawley was showing greater authority at the other end, converting his overnight score of 29 into a polished half-century. Twice he showed the full face of the bat and drove star seamer Bumrah back down the ground and he used his long stride well to manufacture a half-volley off Patel.

Root, who has been troubled by a painful finger injury, is more than capable of the same kind of control but did not look himself during a short stay. Two of his first three balls went for four, a perfectly timed reverse sweep followed by a ricochet off the glove, and he charged down the pitch to belt Patel for six.

The next ball was perilously close to pinning him lbw, saved by a whisker on DRS, and he was gone in Ashwin’s next over. Rather than relying on timing he threw the kitchen sink at a slog-sweep and sprayed a leading edge off the toe end.

Crawley now had the responsibility of making the big century England needed to stay alive but it was not to be. Mis-reading the wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav as he attacked from a leg-stump line, he was given lbw after a smart review by Sharma.

That was more than enough to give Indian the upper hand but Bumrah had one more up his sleeve. Bairstow was the victim this time, beaten by a sliver of movement off the pitch that trapped him in front.

The afternoon began with a lofty 205 still needed and Stokes carrying a familiar burden. He looked in determined mood but paid dearly for easing into what looked a regulation single to midwicket. Iyer only had a split second to get everything right but his pick-up and throw was outstanding.

A dejected Stokes stopped to speak to Ben Foakes before departing but, although the wicketkeeper shared an eighth-wicket stand of 55 with Tom Hartley, England’s race was run. Both men fell for 36, with Hartley last to fall when Bumrah ploughed down his off stump.

England’s hopes of chasing down a staggering 399 to win the second Test were dwindling fast on the fourth morning as wickets tumbled in Visakhapatnam.

The tourists delivered on their promise to embrace all out attack as they pursued their highest ever fourth-innings target but reached lunch in deep trouble on 194 for six.

With 205 still needed and Ben Stokes the last recognised batter, England appeared to be all out of miracles as India’s bowlers flexed their muscles.

Zak Crawley was alone in getting to grips with the challenge, making an impressive 73 before falling just before the break, but Ollie Pope and Joe Root both paid the price for their ultra-aggressive approach.

England scored 127 runs in the session but the price tag of five wickets was too steep as the hosts closed in on a series levelling win.

Rehan Ahmed, promoted late on Sunday evening as England’s so-called ‘nighthawk’, was first down for 23 as he stayed back to an Axar Patel delivery that kept low and trapped him lbw.

His contribution was always likely to be a bonus and the arrival of Pope felt like the start of the real contest. He proceeded to stroke his first ball to the cover boundary, signalling his intent from the off.

Pope hit five boundaries in quick time, all off Patel, but the Surrey man was keeping the bowlers interested too. His rush for runs quickly caught up with him when he slashed at a good ball from Ashwin, who had Rohit Sharma to thank for a brilliant one-handed catch at slip.

Crawley was showing greater authority at the other end, converting his overnight score of 29 into a polished half-century. Twice he showed the full face of the bat and drove star seamer Jasprit Bumrah back down the ground and he used his long stride well to manufacture a half-volley off Patel.

Root is more than capable of that kind of control but his brief stay was little short of chaotic. Two of his first three balls went for four, a perfectly timed reverse sweep followed by a ricochet off the glove, and he charged down the pitch to belt Patel for six.

The next ball was perilously close to pinning him lbw, saved by the umpire’s call on DRS, and he was gone in Ashwin’s next over. Rather than relying on timing he threw the kitchen sink at a slog-sweep and sprayed a leading edge off the toe end.

He has been carrying a painful finger injury for the past 24 hours and it is hard to know much trouble that was causing. But it was, by any measure, a frazzled innings and took his series tally to 52 in four attempts.

Crawley now had the responsibility of making the big century England needed to stay alive but it was not to be. Mis-reading the wrist-spin of Kuldeep Yadav as he attack from a leg-stump line, he was given lbw after a smart review by Sharma.

That was more than enough to give Indian the upper hand but with the ball beginning to reverse swing, Bumrah had one more up his sleeve. Jonny Bairstow was the victim this time, lbw after being beaten by a sliver of seam movement in the last over before the break.

James Anderson was in bullish form as England faced down a record chase of 399 in Visakhapatnam, claiming India were struck by an attack of nerves.

From an overnight score of 67 for one the tourists will be attempting not only the biggest ever pursuit by an England side but the highest ever in Indian conditions. Yet Anderson revealed their irrepressible head coach Brendon McCullum had already prepared them to take on 600.

England have been chasing the second Test ever since losing the toss on the first morning, but they are a side who truly come alive when the result is on the line and have won eight of their last 10 batting last.

When they hunted down 378 against the same opponents at Edgbaston in the summer of 2022 – the biggest ever fourth-innings pursuit by an England side – they did so with ease as unbeaten centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root delivered a thumping seven-wicket win.

And Anderson feels India’s dominant position on the scorecard masks a vulnerability, pointing to a second-innings collapse that saw them lose six for 44 to finish 255 and give England a glimmer of hope.

“I think the nerves were there to see in the way they batted. I think they didn’t know how many was enough,” said the 41-year-old.

“The chat last night from the coach was that if they get 600, we were going to go for it, but they were quite cautious even when they had a big lead.

“I don’t know if ‘intimidating’ is the right word but we’re putting different thoughts in opposition’s minds and captain’s minds. It definitely felt like they were unsure what a good score would be against us. There’s been moments throughout the last two years, particularly in the last 12 months, that makes us think we’re doing something well because the way teams have reacted.

“We’ve got so much quality in our dressing room and there are guys in there who can maybe get 150 for us and win us the game.”

Root has more big scores than anyone else in the away dressing room, but he may not be operating at 100 per cent due after an injury scare. He took a blow to the finger in Sunday’s warm-up and another while fielding at slip in the morning session, forcing him off the field for treatment.

It may not be wise for Root to do so himself, but the rest of his team-mates will be crossing their fingers it is nothing serious.

“His finger isn’t great. Hopefully he’ll turn up at the ground and be OK to hold a bat,” said Anderson.

“He’s been looking after it, making sure he did everything he could to help us out in the second innings. We’ll need everyone, I think.”

England’s eagerness to go on the attack was personified by the emergence of Rehan Ahmed at number three, volunteering his own promotion up the order in the ‘nighthawk’ role first devised by Stuart Broad.

He could have been out twice in the final over of the day but instead picked up two risky boundaries.

“He got announced as ‘nightwatchman’ over the Tannoy but he certainly wasn’t that,” Anderson said with a smile.

“I know there are 180 overs left in the game, but we will try to do it in 60 or 70. That’s the way we play, and we saw that tonight with Rehan going out and playing his shots. We have set our stall out.”

England’s reputation as the most fearless chasers in the game will be put to its biggest challenge yet after they were set a record 399 to win an absorbing second Test against India.

Since the ‘Bazball’ era began, Ben Stokes’ side have won eight of their 10 fourth-innings pursuits, including a new English record of 378 against the same opposition at Edgbaston 18 months ago.

Speaking after that match, Stokes said: “There was a bit of me that wanted them to get to 450, just to see what we’d do”. Now, he is one step closer to finding out.

That it is even considered possible after England ended day three on 67 for one speaks volumes for the way this team have raised expectations, not least in Hyderabad last week where they overturned a 190-run first-innings deficit.

But the challenge of finding another 332 runs in Visakhapatnam is even steeper, with a tricky turning pitch bringing the home spinners into play and the dynamic Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack.

England lost Ben Duckett for 28 when he was well caught off bat and pad but they refused to back down, Zak Crawley reaching 29 not out and Rehan Ahmed throwing the bat in a late cameo as the so-called ‘nighthawk’.

India had a chance to bat England even further out of the game but failed to back up Shubman Gill’s century as they were bowled out for 255.

England’s inexperienced bowling attack, featuring three young spinners with three Test caps between them coming into the match, Tom Hartley leading the way with four for 77.

The trio were perfect, with the occasional drag down or full toss creeping in, but their readiness to keep rolling up to try their luck showed plenty of heart. At 211 for four, with Gill on 104, that did not look enough but they clubbed together to take the next six wickets for 44.

India turned up already 171 in front and with all 10 wickets intact, a formidable starting point if ever there was one. But it was England’s old stager James Anderson who had the first say.

At 41 – and with no other seam bowlers in the side – he showed no signs of weariness as he blew away the Indian openers.

More than half of a sold-out Sunday crowd were still queuing outside when he struck with his fourth ball of the morning, a beauty that stood up off the seam and hit the top of Rohit Sharma’s off stump as he looked ruefully over his shoulder.

Yashavi Jaiswal, following up his stunning double century, was next to succumb to Anderson’s unforgiving line and length as he flashed a drive to slip. When Gill was given lbw to Hartley with just four to his name, England seemed to be calling all the shots.

But he took a chance on DRS and seemed more surprised than anyone when replays suggested a thin edge. A few moments later he had another scare, this time saved on umpire’s call as Anderson rapped him front.

Having survived his double scare, the Punjabi added exactly a hundred more runs. In the context of the game, against opponents not easy to intimidate, it was a crucial knock.

When Anderson exited the attack, the control went with him. Gill took the lead past 200 by launching Shoaib Bashir for six and dashed to 50 with successive fours off Ahmed. He shared a stand of 81 with Shreyas Iyer but Stokes’ refusal to give up on a lost cause got England back in the struggle.

Racing 20 metres as the ball sailed over his head he tracked it perfectly, dived at full length and pulled off a magnificent take before celebrating in front of a small pocket of travelling fans.

Ben Foakes produced a smart take of his own to give England a fourth success in the morning session, staying low to snatch Rajat Patidar’s bottom edge. There runs were ticking by too though, 102 of them before lunch and another 97 in the afternoon.

Gill took a six and two fours off one Ahmed over as he took India 300 ahead and brought his third Test hundred up in 132 balls. Bashir finally got him when he gloved a sweep behind, leaving Hartley and Ahmed to share the last four wickets.

Srikar Bharat, Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah made six between them and Ravichandran Ashwin a frustrating 29 after Crawley put him down on four.

England were left with 14 overs to face, but allowed India an important breakthrough when Ashwin had Duckett well caught by the wicketkeeper off bat and pad.

Ahmed was pushed up the order to save Ollie Pope the ordeal and showed his fearless nature with three risky shots in a row in the final over before stumps.

England’s reputation as the most fearless chasers in the game will be put to its biggest challenge yet after they were set a record 399 to win an absorbing second Test against India.

Since the ‘Bazball’ era began, Ben Stokes’ side have won eight of their 10 fourth-innings pursuits, including a new English record of 378 against the same opposition at Edgbaston 18 months ago.

Speaking after that match, Stokes said: “There was a bit of me that wanted them to get to 450, just to see what we’d do”. Now, he is one step closer to finding out.

That it is even considered possible after England ended day three on 67 for one speaks volumes for the way this team have raised expectations, not least in Hyderabad last week where they overturned a 190-run first-innings deficit.

But the challenge of finding another 332 runs in Visakhapatnam is even steeper, with a tricky turning pitch bringing the home spinners into play and the dynamic Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack.

England lost Ben Duckett for 28 when he was well caught off bat and pad but they refused to back down, Zak Crawley reaching 29 not out and Rehan Ahmed throwing the bat in a late cameo as the so-called ‘nighthawk’.

India had a chance to bat England even further out of the game but failed to back up Shubman Gill’s century as they were bowled out for 255.

England’s inexperienced bowling attack, featuring three young spinners with three Test caps between them coming into the match, Tom Hartley leading the way with four for 77.

The trio were perfect, with the occasional drag down or full toss creeping in, but their readiness to keep rolling up to try their luck showed plenty of heart. At 211 for four, with Gill on 104, that did not look enough but they clubbed together to take the next six wickets for 44.

India turned up already 171 in front and with all 10 wickets intact, a formidable starting point if ever there was one. But it was England’s old stager James Anderson who had the first say.

At 41 – and with no other seam bowlers in the side – he showed no signs of weariness as he blew away the Indian openers.

More than half of a sold-out Sunday crowd were still queuing outside when he struck with his fourth ball of the morning, a beauty that stood up off the seam and hit the top of Rohit Sharma’s off stump as he looked ruefully over his shoulder.

Yashavi Jaiswal, following up his stunning double century, was next to succumb to Anderson’s unforgiving line and length as he flashed a drive to slip. When Gill was given lbw to Hartley with just four to his name, England seemed to be calling all the shots.

But he took a chance on DRS and seemed more surprised than anyone when replays suggested a thin edge. A few moments later he had another scare, this time saved on umpire’s call as Anderson rapped him front.

Having survived his double scare, the Punjabi added exactly a hundred more runs. In the context of the game, against opponents not easy to intimidate, it was a crucial knock.

When Anderson exited the attack, the control went with him. Gill took the lead past 200 by launching Shoaib Bashir for six and dashed to 50 with successive fours off Ahmed. He shared a stand of 81 with Shreyas Iyer but Stokes’ refusal to give up on a lost cause got England back in the struggle.

Racing 20 metres as the ball sailed over his head he tracked it perfectly, dived at full length and pulled off a magnificent take before celebrating in front of a small pocket of travelling fans.

Ben Foakes produced a smart take of his own to give England a fourth success in the morning session, staying low to snatch Rajat Patidar’s bottom edge. There runs were ticking by too though, 102 of them before lunch and another 97 in the afternoon.

Gill took a six and two fours off one Ahmed over as he took India 300 ahead and brought his third Test hundred up in 132 balls. Bashir finally got him when he gloved a sweep behind, leaving Hartley and Ahmed to share the last four wickets.

Srikar Bharat, Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah made six between them and Ravichandran Ashwin a frustrating 29 after Crawley put him down on four.

England were left with 14 overs to face, but allowed India an important breakthrough when Ashwin had Duckett well caught by the wicketkeeper off bat and pad.

Ahmed was pushed up the order to save Ollie Pope the ordeal and showed his fearless nature with three risky shots in a row in the final over before stumps.

England’s reputation as the most fearless chasers in the game will be put to its biggest challenge yet after they were set a record 399 to win an absorbing second Test against India.

Since the ‘Bazball’ era began, Ben Stokes’ side have won eight of their 10 fourth-innings pursuits, including a new English record of 378 against the same opposition at Edgbaston 18 months ago.

Speaking after that match, Stokes said: “There was a bit of me that wanted them to get to 450, just to see what we’d do”. Now, he is one step closer to finding out.

That it is even considered possible after England ended day three on 67 for one speaks volumes for the way this team have raised expectations, not least in Hyderabad last week where they overturned a 190-run first-innings deficit.

But the challenge of finding another 332 runs in Visakhapatnam is even steeper, with a tricky turning pitch bringing the home spinners into play and the dynamic Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack.

England lost Ben Duckett for 28 when he was well caught off bat and pad but they refused to back down, Zak Crawley reaching 29 not out and Rehan Ahmed throwing the bat in a late cameo as the so-called ‘nighthawk’.

India had a chance to bat England even further out of the game but failed to back up Shubman Gill’s century as they were bowled out for 255.

England’s inexperienced bowling attack, featuring three young spinners with three Test caps between them coming into the match, Tom Hartley leading the way with four for 77.

The trio were perfect, with the occasional drag down or full toss creeping in, but their readiness to keep rolling up to try their luck showed plenty of heart. At 211 for four, with Gill on 104, that did not look enough but they clubbed together to take the next six wickets for 44.

India turned up already 171 in front and with all 10 wickets intact, a formidable starting point if ever there was one. But it was England’s old stager James Anderson who had the first say.

At 41 – and with no other seam bowlers in the side – he showed no signs of weariness as he blew away the Indian openers.

More than half of a sold-out Sunday crowd were still queuing outside when he struck with his fourth ball of the morning, a beauty that stood up off the seam and hit the top of Rohit Sharma’s off stump as he looked ruefully over his shoulder.

Yashavi Jaiswal, following up his stunning double century, was next to succumb to Anderson’s unforgiving line and length as he flashed a drive to slip. When Gill was given lbw to Hartley with just four to his name, England seemed to be calling all the shots.

But he took a chance on DRS and seemed more surprised than anyone when replays suggested a thin edge. A few moments later he had another scare, this time saved on umpire’s call as Anderson rapped him front.

Having survived his double scare, the Punjabi added exactly a hundred more runs. In the context of the game, against opponents not easy to intimidate, it was a crucial knock.

When Anderson exited the attack, the control went with him. Gill took the lead past 200 by launching Shoaib Bashir for six and dashed to 50 with successive fours off Ahmed. He shared a stand of 81 with Shreyas Iyer but Stokes’ refusal to give up on a lost cause got England back in the struggle.

Racing 20 metres as the ball sailed over his head he tracked it perfectly, dived at full length and pulled off a magnificent take before celebrating in front of a small pocket of travelling fans.

Ben Foakes produced a smart take of his own to give England a fourth success in the morning session, staying low to snatch Rajat Patidar’s bottom edge. There runs were ticking by too though, 102 of them before lunch and another 97 in the afternoon.

Gill took a six and two fours off one Ahmed over as he took India 300 ahead and brought his third Test hundred up in 132 balls. Bashir finally got him when he gloved a sweep behind, leaving Hartley and Ahmed to share the last four wickets.

Srikar Bharat, Kuldeep Yadav and Bumrah made six between them and Ravichandran Ashwin a frustrating 29 after Crawley put him down on four.

England were left with 14 overs to face, but allowed India an important breakthrough when Ashwin had Duckett well caught by the wicketkeeper off bat and pad.

Ahmed was pushed up the order to save Ollie Pope the ordeal and showed his fearless nature with three risky shots in a row in the final over before stumps.

In the second One Day International (ODI) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Australia secured a series victory against the West Indies with an 83-run win, thanks to an exceptional all-round performance from Sean Abbott and a resilient batting effort.

Opting to bat, Australia found themselves in a precarious position at 91 for 5, with Cameron Green and Marnus Labuschagne back in the pavilion. However, Abbott played a crucial role with the bat, crafting a career-best 69 runs. Abbott's fifty, along with contributions from Matthew Short and Aaron Hardie, propelled Australia to a competitive total of 258 for 9.

Gudakesh Motie, the left-arm spinner for the West Indies, exhibited his bowling prowess by claiming 3-28, keeping Australia in check for the majority of the innings. However, the Australian lower order, including Abbott, showcased their batting depth and resilience. Romario Shepherd took 2-50 while Alzarri Joseph proved expensive taking 2-74.

Abbott continued his stellar performance, returning with the ball to take 3-40 alongside Josh Hazlewood's 3-48, bowling out the West Indies for 175. Keacy Carty, who shone in the first ODI with 88 runs, once again displayed commendable batting skills, scoring 40. However, the top order struggled, with Alick Athanaze, Justin Greaves, and Kjorn Ottley providing little resistance to the Australian bowling attack.

West Indies Captain Shai Hope and Roston Chase made starts but failed to convert them into substantial scores, contributing 29 and 25 runs, respectively. Alzarri Joseph's 19 runs were the only other notable contribution in a disappointing batting performance from the West Indies.

Despite the West Indies' bowling efforts, Abbott's all-round brilliance, complemented by Hazelwood's bowling display, proved decisive as Australia secured an 83-run victory. The series win highlighted Australia's batting depth and ability to perform under pressure.

England will need to spring the biggest upset of the Bazball era as Shubman Gill’s century left them facing a huge fourth-innings chase in the second Test at Visakhapatnam.

The odds were already stacked against the tourists at the start of day three, 171 behind with 10 wickets still to take, but Gill’s knock of 104 gave India an iron grip.

England fought hard for everything they got, with two early wickets for the outstanding James Anderson and a pair of excellent catches from Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes, but a tea score of 227 for six looked emphatic for the hosts.

That left England 370 behind – already close to their record chase of 378 against the same opponents at Edgbaston in 2022.

To make matter worse, Joe Root was absent for the entirety of the afternoon session after injuring his finger stopping a ball at slip.

Anderson picked up exactly where he had left off 24 hours earlier in India’s first innings, producing a sterling spell from the pavilion end. At 41, and with no other seam bowlers in the side, he would have preferred a longer break between shifts but he showed no signs of weariness as he blew away the Indian openers.

More than half of a sold-out Sunday crowd were still queuing outside when he struck with his fourth ball of the morning, a beauty that stood up off the seam and hit the top of Rohit Sharma’s off stump as he looked ruefully over his shoulder.

Yashavi Jaiswal, following up his stunning double century, was next to succumb to Anderson’s unforgiving line and length as he flashed a drive to slip. For a brief moment, England were calling the shots but Gill survived two close calls on four and went on to turn the game.

First he was given lbw to Tom Hartley and seemed more surprised than anyone when DRS suggested a tiny inside edge. Technology would not have saved him when Anderson went up with another big appeal, but this time the on-field umpire said no to one that could have gone either way.

When Anderson left the attack, the control went with him, leaving England’s inexperienced spinners unable to keep a lid on the run-rate. Gill took the lead past 200 by launching Shoaib Bashir for six and dashed to 50 with back-to-back fours off Rehan Ahmed.

A stand of 81 with Shreyas Iyer (29) did real damage but Hartley ended it thanks to a moment of inspiration from Stokes. He chased down what looked to be a lost cause to brilliantly catch Iyer at full length.

Foakes followed suit, reacting instinctively to gather Rajat Patidar’s bottom edge off Rehan Ahmed, but 102 runs in the session still hurt.

There was another 97 between lunch and tea as Hartley, Ahmed and Bashir picked up the strain. Gill moved the lead beyond 300 as he powered Ahmed for a six and two fours in one over and brought up his hundred in 132 balls.

He was gone soon after, gloving a sweep off Bashir to the waiting Foakes, and Hartley had Axar Patel lbw for 45. It was a morale-boosting end to the session but the task already seemed extreme.

Excitement for the historic ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 being held in the West Indies and USA from 1-29 June is building with 1.2 million ticket applications received in the first 48 hours of the public ballot.

Applications have come from 126 countries, showing the global appeal of the event, but it is locals in the Americas where demand has been strongest, with over 900,000 ticket applications from fans residing within the USA and West Indies.

The ballot is not a first-come first-served system and fans applying before the seven-day window closes at 23h59 Antigua Standard Time on 7 February 2024 will still have an equal chance of obtaining tickets.

Entering the ballot at tickets.t20worldcup.com.will give fans the best chance to get tickets to all the matches they want and be part of the biggest cricket carnival ever.

Remaining tickets not reserved in the ballot will go on general sale after the ballot period is closed and these will be sold on a first come, first served basis at tickets.t20worldcup.com on 22 February.

Tickets to all 55 matches are accessibly priced to entice both cricket enthusiasts and new fans to the sport. Prices start at just US$6 and over 260,000 tickets will be on sale across the group stage, Super Eight and semi-finals for US$25 and under.

ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley said: “The initial applications for tickets indicate strong demand for tickets to the first ICC event co-hosted by West Indies and USA. T20 cricket is a growth vehicle to bring new fans to the sport and it is reassuring to see a large majority of applications coming from the Americas, reflecting the excitement of fans in the region to see world class cricket.

“We urge any fan interested in attending to not miss out on entering the ballot before the window closes to ensure you get the best chance of securing your seats.”

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Tournament Director Fawwaz Baksh: “Given the global appeal of T20 cricket, we anticipated a high number of applications during the early stages of the public ticket ballot, but to surpass one million applications in the first 48 hours is nothing short of phenomenal and is testament to the hard work, dedication, and collective efforts of every member of the tournament project team.

“With the ballot remaining open until 23h59 Antigua Standard Time on 7 February 2024, I again encourage all fans and in particular Caribbean fans, to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for tickets as it is the best chance to see all the games they want. The cricketing world is looking forward to you coming out in your numbers and showcasing our Caribbean energy, passion, and camaraderie in a global World Cup festival where cultures will converge, and history will be made.

 

Zak Crawley epitomised both sides of England’s “risk and reward” strategy as India grabbed control of the second Test but has vowed not to dial down his attacking instincts.

Birthday boy Crawley, who turned 26 on day two in Visakhapatnam, batted majestically at times on his way to 76 from 78 balls but his dismissal proved a turning point.

Responding to the hosts’ 396 all out, England were motoring along on 114 for one when Crawley tried to smash Axar Patel’s third ball back over his head and holed out.

England never regained their composure as the imperious Jasprit Bumrah tore them down for 253 with a brilliant six-wicket haul, but Crawley had no regrets about going on the attack.

On tour here in 2021 he scored just 67 runs in four innings using a much more conservative plan and believes he is a better batter now that he is taking the game on.

“I wasn’t happy to get out when I did but I’d definitely do the same thing again,” said Crawley, who hit 11 fours and two sixes before coming unstuck.

“I was disappointed with myself, especially when the wickets fell afterwards, but I’ll keep telling myself to back my aggressive game because that’s what got me here.

“If I start doubting myself in those situations and not backing my instincts then I revert back to the player I was a couple of years ago, really not scoring many runs for my team.

“I’m happy that I’m much more aggressive now and that’s helped with consistency. If that one doesn’t turn and I hit him over his head for six then suddenly he’s under a lot of pressure and I can milk him for two hours or whatever.

“There’s risk and reward there. I’ve done it before and it’s come off but unfortunately it didn’t come off today.”

Crawley managed to get the better of Bumrah, at one stage hitting the seamer for four boundaries in a single over, but he was alone in that.

The 30-year-old was an unstoppable force once the ball started to reverse swing, gutting England’s middle order and mopping up at the end to finish with six for 45.

India stretched their advantage to 171 with all 10 second-innings wickets intact by the close of play but Crawley does not fear a big chase.

Despite seeing his side bowl India out for 202 to seal victory in the first Test at Hyderabad, Crawley hopes for friendlier conditions when the time comes.

“I feel it’s not breaking up like last week. I don’t think it’s going to turn as much,” he predicted.

“It will obviously turn more than it is now, that’s always the case here, but I don’t think it’ll be as tricky as it was fourth innings for them last week so I feel like we can chase a decent score.

“It’s a quick scoring ground, really small boundaries and a quick outfield.

“If you put them under pressure you can get on top of them. With a good couple of partnerships in the second innings we can really put them under some pressure but we’ve got to bowl well first and that’s all that’s on our minds now.”

England’s batters had no answer for the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah as India’s star paceman left the tourists in need of another dramatic turnaround in the second Test.

Ben Stokes’ side have made a virtue of never knowing when they are beaten – and overcame India’s 190-run lead to win last week’s series opener in Hyderabad – but found themselves back in familiar trouble as they were bowled out for 253 in Visakhapatnam.

That left them 143 behind after the first innings with India’s openers adding another 28 before the close.

Zak Crawley hit a free-flowing 78 on his 26th birthday and Stokes chipped another 47 off the deficit but Bumrah was almost unplayable at times as he claimed six for 45.

He served up a pace bowling clinic, getting the ball to reverse swing both ways at high speed and alternating between attacking the stumps and threatening the edge.

Ollie Pope suffered most extravagantly, with middle and leg sent flying as he groped at a toe-crusher, but he was not alone in finding Bumrah’s best too hot to handle.

At 114 for one and with Crawley motoring England were well positioned to take on India’s 396 but less than 34 overs later they were all out.

England took India’s last four wickets for 60 as James Anderson pre-empted Bumrah by showing off his own enduring skills. Handed a brand new ball in the morning the 41-year-old bowled eight overs unchanged, taking two for 17 in the latest reminder of his class.

He had the last word in a minor spat with Ravichandran Ashwin, who had been distracting him at the non-striker’s end before falling caught behind, and removed the brilliant Yashasvi Jaiswal for a match-defining 209.

The 22-year-old seems destined for cricketing superstardom but found out why so few have slogged Anderson and lived to tell the tale, stepping away and hacking straight to deep cover.

Anderson finished with impressive figures of three for 47, with Rehan Ahmed and debutant Shoaib Bashir wrapping things up to finish with three each.

England started their innings with a typically vibrant stand between Crawley and Ben Duckett, who put on 59 at a run-a-ball either side of the lunch break. Duckett could not kick on, popping Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist spin to silly point on 21, but Crawley was in fine form on the day he turned 26.

He needed a life on on 17 but the very next over saw him dispatch Bumrah for four boundaries. Crawley also slog-swept Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav for sixes but this was a sprint next to Jaiswal’s marathon.

The introduction of left-armer Axar Patel drew him into one big shot too many and he was well caught by the back-tracking Shreyas Iyer.

The ball had begun to take reverse swing and that meant trial by Bumrah. It took him only five balls to set up and knock over Joe Root, shaping a couple away in the channel then taking his outside edge with one that ducked back in and held its line.

Six balls later he summoned something even more spectacular to floor Pope, a match-winning centurion in Hyderabad. Fizzing in a furious yorker, he had Pope hopping on the crease as the ball snaked through and sent two stumps flying in opposite directions.

England survived until tea without further danger but the break in play merely allowed Bumrah to rest up and come again. Jonny Bairstow was next, following one that left him and threading to Shubman Gill at slip.

Pressure was building too fast for England’s liking and Yadav took advantage. Ben Foakes played inside the line and lost his off stump and Ahmed dragged a short ball straight to the midwicket catcher.

At 182 for seven, Stokes landed a few blows of his own and Tom Hartley shared the load in a stand of 47 but the resistance did not survive Bumrah’s return.

After one sighter he lit the crowd up again, coming round the wicket and knocking back Stokes’ off stump with one that scuttled through lower than expected. The England skipper let the bat fall from his hands and shrugged in disbelief before making his way to the pavilion.

Bumrah sealed his five-for at his next visit, Hartley off a thick edge, and closed the innings when Anderson fell lbw. Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma negotiated five overs at the end of the day, stretching the lead to 171 by stumps.

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