The World Test Championship final will take place at The Oval between June 7 and 11, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed.

There will also be a reserve day on June 12 if necessary as the top two Test sides do battle to see who will lift the mace as world Test champions.

Those two teams are yet to be finalised, although Australia currently top the rankings while India, who they meet in a four-Test series starting on February 9, are second.

Sri Lanka and South Africa sit third and fourth respectively, with the latter set to take on reigning champions New Zealand in a two-Test series in February.

England are in hot pursuit in fifth after winning eight of their past nine Test matches, while West Indies also have a slim chance of making the final.

New Zealand's hopes of retaining the title they claimed by beating India by eight wickets in Southampton in 2021 are already over, having won just two Test matches since that famous victory.

Cameron Green looks set to miss Australia's first Test against India, with vice-captain Steve Smith suggesting it will be unlikely the all-rounder features in Nagpur.

Green suffered a fractured finger during the Boxing Day Test with South Africa in December, and has not played a first-class match since then.

He sustained a further knock to the injury while in a training camp ahead of Thursday's opening match, casting further doubt on his participation.

Now, Smith has indicated it will be a long shot for Green to feature at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, with the tourists reluctant to rush him back into the fray.

"I don't think he is [going to play]," he said. "I don't think he has even faced fast bowlers. So I dare say he won't be playing.

"Who knows [though]? I'm not entirely sure. We'll wait and see. But it's unlikely, I think."

Having eschewed a warm-up game ahead of the four-match series, Australia will be heading into their clash in Nagpur with only a few days on Indian surfaces under their belt.

Smith is reluctant to speculate how the pitch will affect his side's selections when it comes to their bowling attack, adding: "It's pretty dry.

"There's a section that's quite dry. Other than that, I can't really get a good gauge on it. I don't think there will be a heap of bounce in the wicket.

"I think for the seamers, it will be quite skiddy and maybe [have] a bit of up-and-down movement as the game goes on. The cracks felt quite loose. We'll wait and see when we get out there."

Steve Smith believes a series triumph in India would represent a bigger achievement for Australia than winning the Ashes.

Australia begin a four-match tour of India in Nagpur on Thursday, as they bid to win three successive men's Test series for the first time since doing so between November 2015 and February 2016.

The tourists are under no illusions as to the size of the task awaiting them in India, with their hosts only losing one of their last 15 Tests on home soil against Australia (W11 D3).

Having helped Australia to a crushing 4-0 series win over old rivals England in the last Ashes series in 2021-22, Smith believes a successful tour of India would beat that achievement.

"I think if we could win in India, that'd be bigger than an Ashes series," Smith told cricket.com.au.

"It's a difficult place to win a Test match, let alone a series, so if we were able to topple that mountain, it would be huge."

Team-mate David Warner echoed Smith's thoughts, saying: "Being a part of that last Ashes was fantastic, but to go to India and beat India is the toughest challenge in Test cricket for us.

"I'm really looking forward to the tour, it's always a hard graft and one thing I'm looking forward to is applying myself against the best spinners in the world."

While India have claimed victory in six of their last eight red-ball series against Australia, the tourists enter Thursday's first contest in excellent form, topping the world Test rankings and boasting a collective batting average of 46 since the start of 2022, the best of any team in that time.

Captain Pat Cummins also believes a series win in India would rank among the team's finest achievements, adding: "Winning a series in India is like an away Ashes series, but even more rare.

"I think that really is a career highlight, an era-defining series, if you can win one over there. So that's our opportunity and we can't wait.

Usman Khawaja "went Usain Bolt" to make his flight to India after a series of hold-ups delayed the batsman's departure from Australia ahead of this week's first Test.

Khawaja was forced to remain in Brisbane after not receiving a visa in time to make his scheduled flight last week, before two delayed flights further frustrated his bid to reach India. 

The batter was eventually forced to race through Delhi Airport to make the final leg of his journey to Bangalore, where he met up with his Australia team-mates ahead of the four-Test tour.

"I went Usain Bolt trying to make my connection," Khawaja told cricket.com.au. "I somehow got on that flight – the last flight of the whole night – and got here. 

"From the time I left Melbourne to here it was 24 hours. That's just life, you just have to deal with it. It's no biggie, I'm here now and ready to go."

While the delay meant Khawaja only managed a single training session before Australia departed for Nagpur ahead of the first Test starting on Thursday, he does not believe it will have an impact when the series gets under way.

He also shrugged off David Warner's claim of being "exhausted" ahead of the tour, saying: "Trying to get on seven different flights to get to India, then get here – we're all tired, we're all fatigued.

"That's just part and parcel of being a cricketer. Once you're on the field, it's just game on. It's the same with Davey.

"I've scored runs a lot of times when I have been tired and fatigued, you just have to find a way sometimes. I'm sure Davey will find a way."

India have only lost one of their last 15 men's Tests at home to Australia, while their current run of three successive series triumphs against the Aussies is the longest in their history.

However, Australia have only lost one of their last 10 Test series (W7 D2), and they could rack up three consecutive series wins for the first time since February 2016.

Josh Hazlewood's rotten luck with injuries has continued after he was ruled out of the opening Test between India and Australia.

Hazlewood, who has played only four Tests in the last two years, will not feature in Nagpur on Thursday due to an Achilles issue, with Scott Boland in line to play instead.

A side injury suffered against West Indies in November saw Hazlewood miss not only the second Test of that series, but also the first two matches against South Africa in December.

He returned for the final Test of that series, taking 5-57 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but will now have to recover from another niggle.

Hazlewood joins fellow paceman Mitchell Starc in missing the first Test of the four-match India series, while all-rounder Cameron Green is also a doubt, meaning an overseas bow for Boland is likely.

Boland has taken 28 wickets across his six Test appearances.

Discussing the injury, Hazlewood said: "It's still lingering from the [Sydney] Test match [against South Africa].

"We obviously bowled after a lot of rain and the jump-offs were quite soft, where we were taking off from and they ended up replacing them as well.

"It sort of worked to a degree, but just that extra load jumping off a soft ground to bowl and again first Test match your body is not used to that sort of workload as well.

"So we thought we'd give it a few days here straight off the bat and try and get over the hump and have a bowl from Tuesday and hope it goes well."

Boland has the full backing of his team-mate, however.

"Scotty has bowled plenty at the MCG when it was a flat wicket, it probably wasn't swinging or reverse swinging so he knows how to work hard for a long period of time," Hazlewood said.

"You've got Lance Morris who has worked hard on reverse swing for the last month and then a nice lead in here with a few sessions.

"The guys are excited first of all to play in the subcontinent, they both haven't yet, but they're very well qualified to do so."

Usman Khawaja travelled to India on Thursday after a resolution was found to the visa problem that saw him left behind when Australia Test team-mates departed.

The top-order batter had been due to fly out with Australia's players and staff across Tuesday and Wednesday amid a series of staggered flights.

That did not come to pass, with Khawaja remaining in Sydney amid issues with his visa in relation to his roots in Pakistan, the country of his birth.

Khawaja, 36, was born in Islamabad, and this was not the first time he has encountered issues in attempting to enter India to play cricket.

Yet this delay was only a short one, with Khawaja able to make the trip on Thursday.

He posted a picture of himself on board an aeroplane in Australia team leisurewear, adding the hashtags #incoming and #khawajyenroute.

Australia and India are due to contest the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the coming weeks.

The four-match Test series begins on February 9 at Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, with games in Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad to follow.

Khawaja has played multiple times in India in the past, including in the Indian Premier League with Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016, and scored two centuries during an ODI tour in 2019.

In 2011, however, Khawaja was blocked from securing a visa for the T20 Champions League for New South Wales before the Indian high commission intervened.

Australia will be thankful he is available this time, given Khawaja enjoyed a remarkable 2022, earning a recall to the red-ball squad and top-scoring with 496 runs during their first tour of Pakistan since 1998.

He was named in the ICC Test Team of the Year alongside team-mates Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne and Nathan Lyon.

Khawaja was also named Australia's Test Player of the Year award this week, collecting the Shane Warne Award.

A devastating performance with bat and ball saw India seal a sensational series comeback with a record 168-run victory in their third and final T20I with New Zealand.

Shubman Gill's 126 not out powered the hosts to a freewheeling 234-4 in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, before they tore through their visitors at the crease for an emphatic win.

It is the biggest margin of victory India have ever recorded in the format, and marked something of an anticlimactic end to an otherwise close-fought series.

They are unlikely to care given the nature of their euphoric blowout, though the Black Caps will be concerned after failing to reach three figures in back-to-back games.

There were few signs at first glance Gill would turn in the sort of pyrotechnic performance that saw him star in the pair's ODI series last month.

After losing opening partner Ishan Kishan for just one, however, the opener carried the bat in a gangbuster turn, with a dozen fours and seven sixes off 63 balls.

Able support from Rahul Tripathi (44) and Hardik Pandya (30) helped him motor India to their fifth-best score in T20I history, and their highest against New Zealand. 

Hopes of mounting any serious pursuit felt slim for the Black Caps even before they crumpled, with Pandya (4-16) and Arshdeep Singh (2-16) combining for a brutal opening three overs to reduce them to 7-4.

Daryl Mitchell (35) stubbornly held his ground as a succession of partners came and went, helping to drag New Zealand from 21-5 to 53-6.

But further work from Shivam Mavi and Umran Malik curtailed any resistance as the tourists were bowled all out for 66.

Gill maintains 2023 hot streak

After matching the world record for the most runs in a three-game ODI series last month against New Zealand, the batter turned on the power again when it mattered.

A quiet few matches, with scores of just seven and 11, are faded memories now after his supremely assured performance this week.

Black Caps continue to stutter

After failing to hit the 100 mark last time out, a second successive game where they petered out in double figures is a major concern for New Zealand.

Their score of 66 is the third-lowest they have recorded in T20I history, behind the twin totals of 60 they posted against Sri Lanka in 2014 and Bangladesh in 2021.

Australia batter Usman Khawaja is stranded in Sydney awaiting visa approval to join his team-mates for their Test tour in India this month.

The top-order batter was due to fly out with the rest of the squad across Tuesday and Wednesday amid a series of staggered flights.

But Khawaja remains in New South Wales amid issues with his visa in relation to his roots in Pakistan, the country of his birth.

The 36-year-old was born in Islamabad, and has had prior issues in attempting to enter India to play cricket.

In 2011, he was blocked from securing a visa for the T20 Champions League for New South Wales before the Indian high commission intervened.

Khawaja took to social media to poke fun at his situation shortly after his team-mates departed for India, where Australia are due to contest the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

He has played multiple times in the country in the past, including with IPL outfit Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016, and scored two centuries during an ODI tour in 2019.

Khawaja enjoyed a remarkable 2022, earning a recall to the red-ball squad where he top-scored with 496 runs during their first tour of Pakistan since 1998.

He was named in the ICC Test Team of the Year alongside team-mates Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne and Nathan Lyon, as part of a leading four selections.

Australia begin their four-match Test series on February 9 at Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, with games in Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad to follow.

Steve Smith has backed Australia's call to skip a warm-up game ahead of their Test series in India, suggesting any match would offer insufficient preparation.

The tourists will play four matches starting in Nagpur next month, with games in Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad to follow.

But Pat Cummins' side will not play a tour game ahead of their red-ball series against their hosts, after their experiences on their last long-format visit six years ago.

On that occasion, Australia played out a draw with an India A side, but Smith feels the pitch they played on in Mumbai was too different to the rest of the tour.

"We normally have two tour games over in England. This time we don't have a tour game in India," he said in Sydney.

"The last time we went [to India], I'm pretty sure we got served up a green top [in the tour game], and it was sort of irrelevant.

"Hopefully, we get really good training facilities where the ball is likely to do what it's likely to do out in the middle, and we can get our practice in."

Australia are in pursuit of a first Test series win in India since 2004, having lost 2-1 in 2017 despite Smith posting 499 runs as top scorer.

Fresh from claiming a joint-record fourth Allan Border Medal, the former captain.hopes they can vindicate their decision to eschew a competitive warm-up.

"We'll wait and see when we hit the ground," he added. "I think we've made the right decision to not play a tour match.

"We're better off having our own nets and getting spinners in and bowling as much as they can."

The West Indies Women ended the South Africa Women’s Tri-Series without a win after suffering an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of India at Buffalo Park on Monday.

Captain Hayley Matthews made a top-score of 34 while under-19 player Zaida James made 21 not out as the Windies Women were restricted to just 94-6 off their 20 overs after India won the toss and chose to field first.

Off-spinner Deepti Sharma starred with the ball for India with 3-11 from her four overs while medium pacer Pooja Vastrakar took 2-19 from her four overs.

The Indians then needed just 13.5 overs to achieve victory, reaching 95-2 thanks to an unbeaten 53-run partnership between Jemimah Rodrigues (42 not out) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (32 not out).

West Indies Women have now lost 10 T20 Internationals in a row. India will take on South Africa in the Tri-Series final on Thursday.

The Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Selection Panel has called up four of the West Indies Under 19 Rising Stars players who competed at the ICC Women’s U19 World Cup to the West Indies Women’s team.

All-rounders Zaida James and Djenaba Joseph, wicketkeeper/batter Trishan Holder and fast-bowler Jannillea Glasgow have been selected as injury cover for Monday’s final Tri- Series match against India Women at Buffalo Park in East London.

Stafanie Taylor, Chinelle Henry, Shakera Selman and Chedean Nation are currently going through a return to play rehabilitation ahead of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.

“The selection panel has included four Under 19 players for the final match of the Tri-Series as potential replacements for injured players,” said Chief Selector Ann Browne-John.

“The four have been training with the senior team in South Africa since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s U19 World Cup.

“We believe this is the perfect opportunity to utilize these four players, two of whom (Joseph and Holder) made their international debut against England last year, to reinforce the squad in the absence of injured senior players. They have been playing in South African conditions for the past three weeks so are well prepared. With final selection of the ICC T20 World Cup squad still to be done, it gives the selection panel another opportunity to see the best players available and select the best combination to participate.”

Holder and Joseph made their West Indies senior debuts against England last December, while Glasgow and James were travelling reserves with the senior team last year.

During the ICC Women’s U19 World Cup, James struck two half-centuries and had a four-wicket haul, whilst Joseph struck an unbeaten 44 not out in their Super6s match against England. Holder had a well-compiled 34 not out off 14 balls against Indonesia and Glasgow was the spearhead of the bowling attack.

The West Indies Women play India Women on Monday 30 January in the final preliminary match at 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica time).

Full squad: Hayley Matthews (Captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Afy Fletcher, Shabika Gajnabi, Jannillea Glasgow (U19), Sheneta Grimmond, Trishan Holder (U19), Zaida James (U19), Djenaba Joseph (U19), Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz and Rashada Williams.

Match schedule:

16 January: warm-up match vs South Africa XI at Beacon Bay- South Africa won by 4 wickets.

 T20I Tri-Series Match Schedule

 (all matches to be played at Buffalo Park, East London)

 21 January: vs South Africa – South Africa won by 44 runs

 23 January: vs India – India won by 56 runs

 25 January: vs South Africa – South Africa won by 10 wickets

 30 January: vs India, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

 2 February: Tri-Series Final, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica

India's stand-in captain Hardik Pandya lamented a "shocker" of a pitch at Ekana Stadium and called for better surfaces after a slender T20I victory over New Zealand.

The hosts edged past the Black Caps with one ball remaining in Lucknow, winning by six wickets in a low-scoring thriller to level the three-match T20I series.

New Zealand only managed 99-8 from their 20-over allocation on a difficult wicket but made India wait until the final over for victory as Suryakumar Yadav saw his side over the line with a vital 26 not out.

Pandya, captaining in the absence of white-ball veteran Rohit Sharma, was alongside Suryakumar at the end unbeaten on 15 but expressed his disappointment with the surface at home.

"I always believed we will finish the game," Pandya said. "It went quite deep, but that is how it is. In these kinds of games, it is important to not panic.

"Rather than taking risks, we rotated the strike. Having said that, this is a shocker of a pitch. We need to make sure we have better pitches. Even 120 would have been a winning total here.

"We kept to our plans, we made sure they did not rotate the strike, and the wickets kept falling. Dew didn't play much of a role because if you see they were able to spin the ball more than us.

"It was a shocker of a wicket. The ball was flying for even the fast bowlers."

The in-form Suryakumar continues to rise his stock within white-ball cricket, though his 31-ball 26 was a far cry from his usual flamboyance and aggressive shot-making.

Having blasted 112 and 51 in his two previous T20I appearances against Sri Lanka earlier in January, Suryakumar acknowledged an alternate approach was required on Sunday.

"A different version of [Suryakumar] today," he said after receiving the Player of the Match award. "Adapting to the situation was very important. After losing [Washington Sundar], I had to make sure I batted until the end.

"[Sundar's run out] was my mistake, I didn't see where the ball went. Of course, it was a challenging wicket, but you have to be able to adapt.

"We just needed one hit in the end, and it was very important to calm ourselves down.

"Before I got the winning runs, Hardik came up to me and told me you will hit the winning runs this ball. That gave me a lot of confidence."

With an ODI series victory already secured, India will look for a white-ball double over New Zealand in Wednesday's T20I decider in Ahmedabad.

India thrillingly came out on top with one ball remaining to level their three-match T20I series with New Zealand after a remarkably tight second match on Sunday.

The hosts won by six wickets at Ekana Stadium but only just managed to reach the low target set by New Zealand during what seemed a poor innings that saw them finish on 99-8.

It was the first time the Black Caps had failed to reach 100 runs in a T20I against India, though it was not as bad as it first seemed on a difficult pitch.

Finn Allen's (11) reverse sweep attempt from Yuzvendra Chahal's (1-4) delivery saw him knock the ball on to himself and then the stumps for India's breakthrough, and Devon Conway (11) soon followed when caught behind by Ishan Kishan off Washington Sundar (1-17).

Glenn Phillips (5) was the third to fall victim to a botched reverse sweep, and Daryl Mitchell (8) also failed to reach double digits, with that pair removed either side of Mark Chapman (14) being run out.

Michael Bracewell (14) and Mitchell Santner (19 not out) formed one of only two stands to yield 20 runs, before New Zealand's innings petered out with only five in the final over.

India's response was not emphatic – they also failed to register a single six.

Shubman Gill (11) gave Allen an easy catch with a top edge off Bracewell (1-13) for an early boost, before Kishan (19) was run out and Rahul Tripathi (13) was caught at deep midwicket.

Suryakumar Yadav (26 not out) – aided ably by captain Hardik Pandya (15 not out) – ultimately dragged India over the line, getting just enough power on the penultimate ball to reach the boundary and take India to 101-4.

Suryakumar decisive when it counts

Having managed at least 47 runs in each of his previous three T20Is, Suryakumar is not used to struggling to amass significant totals.

Much like everyone else on Sunday, he could not quite find momentum with his 26 coming off 31 balls, but the fact he had the nous to be the only batter to break the 20-runs barrier should not be overlooked.

New Zealand bowlers give them a fighting chance

The batsmen should not take too much blame – pretty much all of them from both sides struggled on a wicket that Hardik criticised afterwards – but the Black Caps bowlers had plenty of work to do here.

The wickets did not tumble with quite the same regularity as when they were in bat, but with the ball they ensured the match remained tight – the fact they took it to the final over is commendable in itself.

Daryl Mitchell bludgeoned a rapid unbeaten half-century before New Zealand's brilliant spinners consigned India to a 21-run defeat in the first T20I of a three-match series.

India condemned the Black Caps to a 3-0 ODI whitewash this week, but the tourists claimed their first victory of the tour in impressive fashion at JSCA International Stadium Complex on Friday.

Conway (52 from 35 balls) and Finn Allen (35 from 23) got New Zealand off to a flying start after they were put in by Hardik Pandya in Ranchi.

Washington Sundar (2-22) and Kuldeep Yadav (1-20) contained the Black Caps, but Mitchell provided the fireworks to get them up to 176-6 by scoring 59 not out from only 30 deliveries.

He took 27 off a nightmare final over from Arshdeep Singh, hitting three consecutive sixes to silence an expectant crowd.

India were in deep trouble on 15-3 in the fourth over of the run chase, Ishan Kishan bowled by a peach of a delivery from Michael Bracewell before Rahul Tripathi and the in-form Shubman Gill fell cheaply.

Newly crowned ICC T20I player of the year Suryakumar Yadav gave India hope with a classy 47, but he was on his way after holing out to Allen when trying to launch Ish Sodhi into the stands.

Stand-in captain Mitchell Santner (2-11) and Bracewell (2-31) bowled beautifully, while Lockie Ferguson (2-33) and Jacob Duffy (1-27) also made their mark as a maiden T20I half-century from Sundar (50no off 28) was in vain with India restricted to 155-9.

It was just a second win in 12 matches against India in the shortest format, giving New Zealand – without the likes of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult – a 1-0 lead in the series.

 

Consistent Conway and Mitchell give Black Caps upper hand

Conway has been a revelation in all formats for the Blacks Caps since making his debut in 2020, and he continues to churn out the runs.

He laid the foundations for an imposing total with a ninth T20I half-century, finding the rope seven times and clearing it once before being dismissed by Arshdeep in the 18th over.

Mitchell then took centre stage, taking Arshdeep's bowling apart with final-over fireworks as he hit five sixes in all to register a fourth T20I half-century and give New Zealand the momentum.

New Zealand spin in to win it

The New Zealand spinners were outstanding, generating sharp turn and giving little away.

Bracewell set the standard, cleaning up Kishan with a brilliant delivery that pitched around middle and struck the left-hander's off stump.

Skipper Santner bowled 18 dot balls, while he saw the back of Gill – superb in the ODI series – and had Deepak Hooda stumped before running out Shivam Mavi with a direct hit.

Hardik Pandya warned India must be at the peak of their powers to secure a T20l series win over New Zealand after a dominant ODI clean sweep.

India head into the first of three T20Is at JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Friday on the back of a 3-0 whitewash of the Black Caps in the 50-over format.

New Zealand have won just one of their past 11 completed against India in the short format, with that victory coming in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai.

The tourists are yet to win a multi-game T20I bilateral series in India and they will be without the likes of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Tom Latham, with Mitchell Santner taking over as captain.

Pandya will lead India in the absence of Rohit Sharma, while Virat Kohli will not feature and Ruturaj Gaikwad misses out with a wrist injury.

All-rounder Pandya said: "We will try to win obviously. New Zealand is a good team both in T20Is and ODIs.

"They always challenge you. We will have to be at their best to beat them."

Shubman Gill comes into the series in the form of his life, scoring a sublime 208 in the first ODI and a century in the third match.

Gill is set to open the batting with Ishan Kishan, so Prithvi Shaw will have to bide his time.

Pandya said: "Shubman has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting and he was already in the team."

India and New Zealand were beaten semi-finalists in last year's T20 World Cup in Australia, although many of the players involved in the tournament will not be featuring this time around.

 

Suryakumar on top of the world

Suryakumar Yadav is another player New Zealand will be eager to see the back of before he gets set.

He was named the ICC Men's T20I Player of the Year for 2022 this week and is the top-ranked T20I batter in the world.

Suryakumar made a decisive 112 in his last T20I innings against Sri Lanka, his third century in six months in this format.

Baptism of fire for uncapped New Zealand bowlers

Uncapped duo Ben Lister and Henry Shipley are poised to make their debuts against a formidable batting line-up.

Lister will provide an alternative left-arm seam option with no Trent Boult for Santner to call upon.

Paceman Shipley will also be looking to make his mark on the T20I stage after making his ODI debut against Pakistan and facing India twice.

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