Fans celebrated 100 days to go to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with tickets going on general sale as the was launched with larger-than-life cricket balls landing in the nine host locations including in Times Square in New York City and Bridgetown in Barbados.

Cricket stars Dwayne Bravo and Liam Plunkett took center stage hitting sixes in New York’s Times Square with local fans and players ahead of the biggest cricket carnival ever. Chris Gayle was in attendance in Freedom Park in Barbados with a spectacle of colour and music, as a street parade in Bridgetown celebrated the biggest T20 World Cup ever.

A number of other spectacular events took place in Dallas, Miami, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent & The Grenadines with sporting talent present and fans enjoying cricketing activities. The launch also signified the start of general ticket sales for the event which begins on 1 June where hosts USA face Canada in Dallas in a repeat of the first-ever international cricket match in 1844.

Tickets are available at tickets.t20worldcup.com

Dwayne Bravo expressed excitement about the build up to the tournament.

“I think the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is going to be an incredible event and here in New York for the first time you are going to have the greatest players competing against each other. It's going to create history. It's about time that cricket made its mark here in the USA and people here now can look forward to seeing their favourite players and can experience it first-hand," he said.

“The fact that it's co-hosted between the US and the West Indies is good for cricket. It's fantastic for our region in the Caribbean to be able to show the world that we are able to host events as big as the World Cup. We are also happy that we are able to contribute to the growth of the development of cricket in the USA," Bravo added.

For Chris Gayle the expectation is also high, especially given the talent that will be on show in the tournament.

“We have some fantastic entertainers within the sport and you're going to see them live in the West Indies and USA this year at the T20 World Cup. You're going to see the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, youngster Yashavsi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shaheen Afridi – the list goes on! It's going to be a cracking, entertaining event," Gayle said.

 

Joe Root believes he must keep “evolving” as a batter or risk being exposed after returning to form as England moved into the ascendancy against India in Ranchi.

Root’s sparkling 122 not out ushered England from 112 for five to 353 all out in the fourth Test as the Yorkshireman ended a lean patch which had seen him collect just 77 runs in six previous innings.

A couple of attack-orientated dismissals brought scrutiny on whether Root needed to tailor his approach – one that has brought more than 11,000 Test runs – to suit England’s current ‘Bazball’ model.

But when asked whether he has been stung by recent criticism, Root gave an impassioned defence of England’s style and insisted he must continue to develop to remain among the world’s top-tier batters.

“Certainly the execution of the shots has weighed on me,” the former England captain said. “Not necessarily the selection but the execution – I’m better than that.

“It’s not about being arrogant. Bazball is a word that’s used a lot but that’s your word, that’s not how we look at it. It’s about how can we get the best out of each other as a team. You’re not always going to get it right (but) we’ll continue to keep trying to improve.

“The reason I’ve played as many games as I have is that I’ve not wanted to stand still as a player, I have to try to keep evolving.

“If you keep on trying to play the same way over and over again, teams work you out and they find your weaknesses. If you don’t try to get better and find different ways of scoring runs, you’ll get found out.”

Root played a more traditional Test innings en route to his 31st hundred in the format before Shoaib Bashir exploited helpful conditions to finish with four for 84 as India closed on 219 for seven.

Root kept his reverse ramp out of sight and admitted a brief inkling of unfurling it to bring up three figures was quickly banished.

“It was a fleeting and selfish thought that left my mind very quickly,” Root said. “You don’t mess with the game, you just try and play what you honestly think is the best way to score runs.

“It was nice to finally get some runs in this series. It felt like it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s been disappointing but the fact I have got quite a lot of experience has been able to keep me calm. The way I’m preparing meant it was going to come at some point.”

Bashir bowled 31 overs at one end in just his eighth first-class match and second Test, with the 20-year-old offering control and a wicket-taking threat on a pitch producing spin and uneven bounce.

Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal, who made 73 before bottom-edging on to his stumps.

“The way he bowls is a great little insight into his character and personality: he is quite cheeky and great fun to be around,” Root said.

“To be able to continually put pressure on some very good players of spin, I know the wicket was helpful at times but he did an amazing job and it’s a great sign for English cricket.”

Bashir’s success left Root “itching to get on” after only being called upon to bowl a single over.

But he added: “It’s nice for Stokesy to be able to put so much trust in a young guy that’s played so little Test cricket.

“You can see he wants it, he’s desperate to do his part and and it was great to see him get rewards for that.”

Shoaib Bashir took top billing on his recall with a career-best four for 84 as England seized control of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

After England were all out for 353 on the second morning, as Joe Root finished unbeaten on 122, Bashir was entrusted at one end following a short burst from the seamers and the decision paid rich dividends.

In his eighth first-class match and second Test, Bashir was solely responsible for India lurching from 86 for one to 161 for five, which included the wicket of the in-form Yashasvi Jaiswal.

The India opener has been a constant thorn in England’s side and top-scored with 73, but he was not the only member of his side to fall victim to variable bounce as the hosts went to stumps on 219 for seven, trailing by 134 runs.

Tom Hartley, curiously held back until the 32nd over, chipped in with two for 47 but this was Bashir’s day, as the 20-year-old vindicated his selection after being omitted for England’s defeat in Rajkot.

He came into this series with a first-class bowling average of 67 but is making sure England are not feeling the absence of senior spinner Jack Leach, who announced on Saturday he will undergo surgery on a knee injury which cut short his tour.

Bashir, who took four wickets in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, bowled 31 consecutive overs from one end and exploited helpful conditions as England, trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, put India under the pump.

Days after Ben Stokes admitted he would like to see umpire’s call abolished, England had three on-field decisions upheld as Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar and Ravichandran Ashwin reviewed their dismissals in vain.

There was no debating the breakthrough as James Anderson claimed Test wicket 697 after a flat-footed Rohit Sharma nicked through to Ben Foakes but Ollie Robinson was luckless, twice drawing the outside edge of Jaiswal either side of lunch.

The first dropped clearly short of Zak Crawley before disappearing for Jaiswal’s first four, but Foakes and England were convinced the second chance was taken cleanly and were momentarily stunned when third umpire Joel Wilson ruled against them, with Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

Jaiswal earlier punished Anderson then Robinson for over-pitching with back-to-back fours and showed his range by shimmying down to Bashir and bludgeoning over long-on – his 23rd six of the series.

It was a rare misstep from Bashir, introduced as early as the ninth over just before lunch, as he settled into a mammoth spell, offering initial control and refusing to allow Jaiswal or Gill to dominate before ending an 82-run stand just as England looked to be running short of ideas.

Gill departed for 38 after being rapped on the front pad, beaten on the inside edge and playing down the wrong line, and a decent stride failed to save him on review as he was umpire’s call on impact.

It was just the second lbw of Bashir’s professional career and he did not have to wait long for his third as Patidar was out for 17, with a referral showing the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Ravindra Jadeja took successive sixes off fellow left-arm spinner Hartley, but these were his only scoring shots as he was deceived by extra bounce from Bashir’s top-spinner and plopped a simple bat-pad chance to Ollie Pope in the afternoon gloom.

Jaiswal launched a brief counteroffensive after tea with a late cut and inside-out drive over extra cover for fours off Bashir, who had his revenge and the wicket England prized most when one delivery stayed low and squirted off the toe-end of the opener’s bat before crashing into the stumps.

With the floodlights on, Hartley got into the act, drawing Sarfaraz Khan’s edge which was spectacularly caught by Root, diving to his left at slip, while Ashwin was lbw to a grubber and another India review went England’s way because of the on-field call.

Dhruv Jurel (30 not out) and Kuldeep Yadav (17no) put on an unbroken 42 but the momentum is firmly with the tourists on a tricky pitch.

England earlier added 49 to their overnight score, largely thanks to Robinson, who registered his maiden Test fifty and took his stand with Root to 102 before a reverse sweep brushed his glove en route to Jurel.

Robinson’s departure for 58 was the start of England losing their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Root left stranded having added just 16 to his day one total.

Shoaib Bashir claimed three top-order wickets but England were again met with resistance from in-form India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal in Ranchi.

Joe Root (122 not out) and Ollie Robinson (58) helped England add 51 to an overnight 302 for seven but they lost their last three wickets for six runs in 17 balls on the second morning of the fourth Test.

James Anderson snared Rohit Sharma to move to within three of 700 Test wickets before the recalled Bashir trapped Shubman Gill and Rajat Patidar lbw and had Ravindra Jadeja caught bat-pad as India went to tea on 131 for four.

Jaiswal (54 not out) was immovable on a pitch which, despite the odd delivery keeping low, was devoid of the gremlins that had given England’s top-order major problems 24 hours earlier.

Robinson, in his first competitive appearance since July, twice drew the edge of Jaiswal but the ball bounced short of Zak Crawley then Ben Stokes, the latter much to England’s obvious chagrin.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge on the way through to Ben Foakes, but while Robinson did likewise to Jaiswal, the ball dropped in front of a diving Crawley at second slip before scurrying away for the opener’s first four.

Robinson was memorably chided during the Ashes for bowling “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and the seamer did not do much to shed the tag as he operated in the mid-70mph range.

But he engaged in a fascinating tussle with Jaiswal, who pushed at a wider delivery after lunch and Foakes dived forward to take the edge, only for third umpire Joel Wilson to rule the ball had bounced.

England celebrated before the ‘not out’ verdict was returned on the two big screens and England were momentarily stunned, with captain Ben Stokes cupping his hands to his mouth in shock.

At the other end, Bashir was probing away and while he was dumped back over his head for six by Jaiswal, the off-spinner, in just his second Test, extracted some turn to beat both Gill (38) and Patidar (12) on the inside edge and gain leg-before verdicts.

Tom Hartley was not introduced until the 32nd over and was thumped for back-to-back sixes by Ravindra Jadeja, who was the undone by extra bounce from Bashir and popped a catch to Ollie Pope at short leg.

Earlier, India took the new ball after two deliveries but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson collected three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog-sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw. Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with four for 67.

James Anderson snared India captain Rohit Sharma after Joe Root was left stranded on 122 not out as England were all out for 353 on the second morning of the fourth Test.

Anderson kissed the outside edge of Rohit’s bat as India went to lunch on 34 for one in Ranchi after Ollie Robinson registered his maiden Test fifty in a 102-run stand with Root, who added 16 runs to his overnight score.

Robinson’s dismissal for 58 was the start of England losing their final three wickets for six runs in 17 balls, with Jadeja taking three dismissals to finish with figures of four for 67, as Root ran out of partners.

Robinson, who got away with an lbw decision off Jadeja on Friday evening because India had used all their reviews, took the attack to India’s bowlers on a pitch with very few of the demons seen on the first morning, although the odd delivery still kept low.

India took the new ball after two deliveries as England resumed on 302 for seven, but the hosts could not capitalise as Robinson took three fours in an eventful over off Akash Deep, who beat the lower-order batter’s outside edge twice.

Robinson brought up a first Test half-century by slog sweeping Jadeja for a ninth four, to go with one six, and stretched his stand with Root into three figures – England’s first century stand for the eighth wicket since August 2017.

But an attempted reverse sweep off Jadeja brushed Robinson’s glove on the way through to Dhruv Jurel and England’s innings unravelled quickly.

Shoaib Bashir clothed a skier to backward point while Jadeja had his and India’s third wicket of the morning when Anderson made a hash of a sweep and was lbw.

Ben Stokes warmed up alongside the bowlers before India had to negotiate a 45-minute period before lunch but it was Anderson and Robinson, making his first competitive appearance since last July, entrusted with the new ball.

Anderson made the breakthrough in his second over, getting one to hold its line and kiss Rohit’s outside edge.

Robinson, whose bowling was famously described as “124kph (77mph) nude nuts” in the Ashes by former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, did not touch 80mph but drew the edge of Yashasvi Jaiswal only for the ball to bounce short of Zak Crawley and disappear for four.

Robinson beat the outside edge on a couple of occasions but was then driven by Jaiswal, who has made double hundreds in his last two Tests, for his fifth four in the over before lunch.

The Barbados Pride, defending champions Guyana Harpy Eagles and the Windward Islands Volcanoes all look set to close out round three of the 2024 West Indies Championship with outright wins while the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force are locked in an interesting battle with the Leeward Islands Hurricanes ahead of Saturday’s fourth and final day.

First at Sabina Park where the Pride had the Jamaica Scorpions reeling in their second innings at 220-8 off 63 overs at stumps, a lead of just 100 runs.

The Pride had earlier amassed 389 all out off 120 overs after starting the day 315-6. Kraigg Brathwaite, who entered Friday 129* wound up making 142 while Shane Dowrich finished with 44 after entering the day 19*.

Derval Green ended up with 4-78 off 31 overs while Peat Salmon picked up 3-94 from 34 overs for the hosts.

Jamaica’s second innings saw a number of batsmen get off to good starts but none were able to get a big score. Abhijai Mansingh has led the way with 54, his fourth first-class fifty, while Leroy Lugg (43), Kirk McKenzie (39) and Carlos Brown (35) also chipped in.

Debutant Shaquille Cumberbatch has led the charge with the ball for the Pride with 4-22 off nine overs while Kevin Wickham has picked up 2-26 from seven overs.

Full Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 269 all out off 78.4 overs (Romaine Morris 97*, Carlos Brown 40, Kirk McKenzie 40, Jomel Warrican 5-62, Jair McAllister 3-69) & 220-8 off 63 overs (Abhijai Mansingh 54, Leroy Lugg 43, Kirk McKenzie 39, Carlos Brown 35, Shaquille Cumberbatch 4-22, Kevin Wickham 2-26)

Barbados Pride 389 all out off 120 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 142, Kevin Wickham 63, Shane Dowrich 44, Jonathan Drakes 31, Derval Green 4-78, Peat Salmon 3-94)

Elsewhere in Jamaica, at Chedwin Park in St. Catherine to be exact, the Combined Campuses and Colleges ended day three 271-6 in their second innings, leading the Windward Islands Volcanoes by just 80 runs.

The Windwards, after entering Friday 359-8 off 100 overs, went on to post an imposing 395 all out off 105.4 overs in their first innings.

Kavem Hodge, who entered the day 131*, carried his bat through the innings on his way to a career best 158* off 251 balls including 16 fours and a six.

Romario Greaves ended up with 5-142 off 38 overs for the CCC.

With the bat, Jonathan Carter almost got his second century of the season, being dismissed for 94 to lead the CCC second innings scoring, so far.

Greaves, who is having a fine all-round showing, ended day three on 62* off 117 balls including five fours and two sixes.

Earlier, opener Damel Evelyn followed up his 43 in the first innings with 56 in the second.

Shamar Springer has taken 2-33 in 13 overs for the Volcanoes.

Full Scores: Combined Campuses & Colleges 204 all out off 71.3 overs (Demario Richards 46, Damel Evelyn 43, Darel Cyrus 6-72, Gilon Tyson 3-32) & 271-6 off 81 overs (Jonathan Carter 94, Romario Greaves 62*, Damel Evelyn 56, Shamar Springer 2-33)

Windward Islands Volcanoes 395 all out off 105.4 overs (Kavem Hodge 158*, Sunil Ambris 120, Romario Greaves 5-142, Jediah Blades 2-35, Govasta Edmond 2-54)

Moving to the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua where the defending champions, Guyana Harpy Eagles, are on the brink of a dominant victory over the West Indies Academy.

The Harpy Eagles entered Friday 165-5 off 65 overs, leading the Academy by 178 runs. They went on to pile up a massive 415-7 declared leaving the Academy needing a massive 429 to win.

Kevin Sinclair, the hero with the ball in the first innings, led the way with a magnificent 165* off 182 balls, his first century in first-class cricket, including 26 fours. Kemol Savory also batted well for a 68-ball 58 including eight fours and a six.

Ronaldo Ali Mohamed and Veerasammy Permaul also provided useful cameos at the end of the innings with 318 and 29*, respectively.

Ashmead Nedd was the pick of the bowlers for the Academy with 5-97 off 45 overs.

At stumps, the Academy reached 161-7 off 40 overs, needing a further 268 runs for victory on Saturday.

West Indies Under-19 representative Jordan Johnson led the way with 54 against 3-32 off eight overs from Isai Thorne, who also represented the West Indies at the recently concluded ICC U-19 World Cup in South Africa. Sinclair has also picked up 2-30 from 11 overs in the second innings.

Full Scores: Guyana Harpy Eagles 175 all out off 54.3 overs (Ronaldo Ali Mohamed 30, Matthew Nandu 28, Joshua James 4-43, Johann Layne 2-27, Joshua Bishop 2-31) & 415-7 dec. off 112.1 overs (Kevin Sinclair 165*, Kemol Savory 58, Kevlon Anderson 49, Ashmead Nedd 5-97)

West Indies Academy 162 all out off 49 overs (Rashawn Worrell 58, Joshua Bishop 51, Kevin Sinclair 4-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-15, Gudakesh Motie 3-31) & 161-7 off 40 overs (Jordan Johnson 54, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett 34, Isai Thorne 3-32, Kevin Sinclair 2-30)

Finally, we go to Warner Park in St. Kitts where the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force were 285-6 at stumps on day three, leading the Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 104 runs.

The Red Force entered the day 48-0 off 18 overs replying to the Hurricanes first innings total of 318.

Jyd Goolie continued his good form with the bat this season with 64 to lead the Red Force charge so far.

Jason Mohammed (49), Tion Webster (38), Cephas Cooper (36), Terrance Hinds (34) and Captain Joshua Da Silva (32) all got starts but weren’t able to carry on to a big score.

Rakheem Cornwall has led the Hurricanes bowling do far with 3-56 off 29 overs while Jeremiah Louis has picked up 2-70 from 18 overs.

Full Scores: Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 137 all out off 60.2 overs (Jyd Goolie 30, Collin Archibald 3-28, Jeremiah Louis 3-38, Rakheem Cornwall 2-5, Daniel Doram 2-32) & 285-6 off 108 overs (Jyd Goolie 64, Jason Mohammed 49, Tion Webster 38, Cephas Cooper 36, Terrance Hinds 34, Joshua Da Silva 32, Rakheem Cornwall 3-56)

Leeward Islands Hurricanes 318 all out off 98.2 overs (Jewel Andrew 87, Kieran Powell 65, Jeremiah Louis 41, Mikyle Louis 32, Anderson Phillip 4-62, Brian Charles 3-81)

 

The best women’s cricketers in the West Indies will be back in action as Cricket West Indies (CWI) returns to St. Kitts for the hosting of the CG United Super50 Cup and the T20 Blaze regional tournaments. 

The CG United Super50 Cup matches will be played at three venues – Warner Park, the Conaree Cricket Centre, and St. Paul’s Sports Complex from 4 to 25 March with the 50 over matches starting at 10am local time.  

The T20 Blaze will feature five full days of entertainment for the fans from 17 to 25 March at Warner Park. There will be three matches per day – starting at 10am, 2:30 pm and 7 pm (under lights). 

Barbados are the defending champions in both the CG United Super50 Cup and T20 Blaze. The other teams are the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force Divas, Guyana, Jamaica, Windward Islands and hosts Leeward Islands. 

The Tournament starts a busy year for the West Indies Women, which see them play all their international matches away, starting with Pakistan in April, Sri Lanka in June, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in October, finishing with a tour of India in December. 

 CWI’s Director of cricket, Miles Bascombe said, "This year's CG United Super50 Cup and T20 Blaze will be a great opportunity to build on what we started in 2023, with the creation of the West Indies Women’s Academy and the commendable performance of the Under 19 Women’s team in the historic inaugural ICC Women’s U19 Cricket World Cup last year. 2024 is a packed year in the women’s calendar with three away bi-lateral series in Asia along with an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. The ladies have the perfect opportunity to put their names forward for selection into any of these squads by their performances in the CG United Super50 and T20 Blaze tournaments. We are all looking forward to some scintillating performances over in St. Kitts."

Matches will be streamed LIVE on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel with live scorecards and ball-by-ball scoring on the Windiescricket.com live match centre.

 

 

FULL MATCH SCHEDULE

 

CG United Super50 Cup – play starts at 10am

 

Round 1: Monday 4 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Guyana 

 

Barbados vs Jamaica  

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Windward Islands 

 

 

Round 2: Wednesday 6 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica 

 

Guyana vs Windward Islands 

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Barbados

 

 

 

Round 3: Friday 8 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Jamaica 

 

Guyana vs Barbados 

 

Windward Islands vs Leeward Islands 

 

 

Round 4: Monday 11 March

 

Jamaica vs Windward Islands 

 

Guyana vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas 

 

Barbados vs Leeward Islands 

 

 

Round 5: Wednesday 13 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Leeward Islands

 

Jamaica vs Guyana

 

Barbados vs Windward Islands 

 

 

CWI T20 Blaze (all matches played at Warner Park)

 

Round 1: Sunday 17 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Barbados – 10am

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Guyana – 2:30:pm

 

Jamaica vs Windward Islands– 7pm

 

 

Round 2: Tuesday 19 March

 

Windward Islands vs Barbados – 10am

 

Leeward Islands vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas – 2:30pm

 

Jamaica vs Guyana – 7pm

 

 

Round 3: Thursday 21 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Windward Islands – 10am

 

Jamaica vs Barbados – 2:30pm

 

Guyana vs Leeward Islands – 7pm

 

 

Round 4: Saturday 23 March

 

Jamaica vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas – 10am

 

Guyana vs Barbados – 2:30pm

 

Leeward Islands vs Windward Islands – 7pm

 

 

Round 5: Monday 25 March

 

Windward Islands vs Guyana – 10am

 

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica – 2:30pm

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Barbados – 7pm

 

Zak Crawley insisted there was never any doubt “phenomenal” Joe Root would return to form for England following his unbeaten century against India.

Root came into the fourth Test having not reached 30 in the series while a couple of uncharacteristic dismissals recently led to scrutiny on whether he should tailor his methods to fit the ‘Bazball’ philosophy.

The argument has been Root does not need to alter his approach and he put his lean patch behind him with a more traditional Test innings to amass 106 not out as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

The 33-year-old rescued England after they had slipped to 112 for five in a helter-skelter opening session on a cracked Ranchi pitch and Crawley believes the Yorkshireman is the only batter who could have dug the tourists out of the fire.

“He’s probably the only bloke in our team who could have done that knock, he’s that good and he’s stepped up when we needed him to,” Crawley said.

“He’s a phenomenal player. We fully expected him to get a good score at some point in this series. He was due, he’s the best player we’ve ever had and he played phenomenally.

“We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He deserves everything he gets, he works so hard at his game and he always comes good.”

Root’s 31st Test hundred – brought up off 219 balls, the slowest century by any England batter under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum – was marked in understated fashion as he kissed the badge on his helmet and raised his bat to team-mates who were celebrating enthusiastically on the dressing-room balcony.

There was no sign of the reverse ramp he had gotten out to in Rajkot, which proved a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat as they went 2-1 down in the five-match series, while conventional and reverse sweeps were rare occurrences.

Root was unbreachable in defence, judicious off front and back foot and unfurled his customary late cuts and leg glances behind square, while there was also the odd cover drive.

Crawley, though, insisted a surface offering early movement and uneven bounce throughout dictated Root’s more classical innings, rather than widespread criticism he has faced in the last few days.

“If the pitch had been truer, I reckon he would have still played those shots,” Crawley said.

“It might have just been the variable bounce which stopped him sweeping and paddling, it wasn’t really the pitch for that kind of thing; it was too inconsistent.

“In Dharamshala (which will host the fifth Test), it’s a flatter wicket, I’d fully expect him to reverse ramp one. That’s just Joe. He’s very present when he bats and doesn’t overthink too much.”

England went at 4.63 an over in the morning thanks to counter-attacking knocks from Crawley, who made a run-a-ball 42, and Jonny Bairstow’s 38 off 35 deliveries.

But the tricky surface, rather than a brain fade, was largely responsible for England’s precarious position at lunch, with Crawley bowled twice by Akash Deep, the first off a no-ball, as the India debutant bagged a three-wicket haul.

While the odd one still kept low, batting conditions improved upon the resumption as Root and Ben Foakes (47) combined to put on 113 to stabilise the tourists.

Crawley hopes England’s seamers can make similar inroads with the new ball but anticipates spin to dominate for the remainder of the match.

“I got out still fairly early but it looked like it wasn’t bouncing anywhere near as much or as quickly as earlier on against seam,” Crawley added.

“It got harder against the spin, it will continue to break up. It might be a new-ball wicket, hopefully it is when we bowl but the I think the spin’s only going to get harder.”

England batter Zak Crawley hailed Joe Root’s spectacular return to form after the Yorkshire star hit an unbeaten 106 to leave his side in a strong position at stumps on the first day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

Having averaged 12.83 after his first three matches of the series, Root produced a superb performance, including a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, which Crawley believes rubber-stamped his team-mate as one of the best batters in his country’s history.

Crawley told TNT Sports: “We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He’s phenomenal, and he’s one of, if not the best we’ve ever had playing for England.”

England initially struggled on an unpredictable pitch with Crawley bowled by Akash Deep on 42, but the opener praised the way the tourists hit back to reach 302 for seven at close.

Jonny Bairstow made a rapid 38 while Foakes contributed a steady 47 to his stand with Root. Ollie Robinson also finished the day unbeaten on 31.

Crawley added: “It was tricky early on with the ball nipping around a lot and we had to throw a couple of punches back, which I think myself and Jonny did well.

“I was trying to bat normally at the start but it was so difficult – I just felt like there was one with my name on eventually. I thought I’d throw something back and I did start to feel a bit more comfortable after that.

“The boys played unbelievably in the middle session and then Joe got very good support from Tom (Hartley) and Ollie as well.

“I said beforehand that if we get 280 to 300, we’re in a very good position so I stand by that – we are ahead of the game.”

Joe Root defied an unpredictable pitch to make a timely return to form as a risk-free unbeaten century stabilised England on a seesaw opening day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant early assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five at lunch after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root, averaging 12.83 after the first three matches, ended his lean patch with a battling 106 not out, which included a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

What was striking about Root’s 31st Test hundred, brought up off 219 balls, was its orthodoxy following criticism for some unconventional dismissals recently – especially his reverse ramp in Rajkot last week, which was a sliding doors moment in England slipping 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Whether he is suited to England’s ‘Bazball’ approach has been the subject of much debate in the last few days but Root showed the virtue of patience here.

There were some sweetly-timed drives through the covers as well as his characteristic late cuts and shots square of the wicket as the Yorkshireman registered the slowest ton of the Stokes and Brendon McCullum era.

Root has given England a fighting chance after Deep ensured the rested Jasprit Bumrah was not missed at first, exploiting the variable bounce that was a theme throughout the day and some early movement.

Stokes had no hesitation in batting, as is customary upon winning the toss in India, despite wariness over a track he described as “interesting”. What followed was a helter-skelter opening session as England went at 4.63 an over and lost five wickets, while two of India’s five reviews were successful.

England’s openers were routinely beaten on the outside edge and Zak Crawley had his off stump uprooted on four but it was found Deep had over-stepped. Deep did not have long to wait for a maiden Test wicket, though, as a searching delivery nipped away and grazed Ben Duckett’s outside edge on 11.

Ollie Pope lasted two deliveries as India overturned a not out leg-before verdict and an eventful over saw Root survive the hosts’ review for lbw first ball after getting fractionally outside the line of off stump.

Crawley then Jonny Bairstow counter-attacked, with both finding success against the expensive Mohammed Siraj.

But Crawley departed for a run-a-ball 42 when Deep’s in-ducker snaked through the gate and kissed the off bail, while Bairstow was lbw on review for 38 after missing a slog sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed his 100th Test wicket against England.

The tourists’ cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain throwing his head back and laughing ruefully as he began to trudge off before the umpire had raised his finger.

A frenetic morning gave way to a sedate afternoon as Root and Foakes settled for steady accumulation. The pitch did not have as many demons upon the resumption and while the odd one kept low, the English pair were alert to the danger.

There were just seven boundaries between lunch and tea after 13 fours and two sixes in the opening session but India’s often poor ground fielding allowed Root and Foakes to regularly rotate the strike.

Root went seamlessly to his first fifty in seven innings, after which Foakes, whose first boundary came with a drive off Kuldeep Yadav from his 66th ball, pushed the accelerator by taking 18 off an Ashwin over, including a big blow over the leg-side for six.

Foakes fell three short of a fifty after tamely chipping to midwicket, ending a 113-run stand with Root, while Siraj had his second wicket by knocking back the off-stump of Tom Hartley for 13.

Root, whose first and only reverse sweep came when he was on 76, kept going and moved to three figures with drive through the covers off Deep for his ninth four.

He celebrated the milestone in understated fashion by kissing the badge on his helmet and raising his bat as his team-mates, led by a grinning Stokes, celebrated enthusiastically on the balcony.

Root shared an unbroken 57 with Ollie Robinson, who should have been out on eight but India had burned their reviews. Instead Robinson, making his first appearance of the series, contributed 31 not out, taking England past 300 with a dismissive swipe for four off Yashasvi Jaiswal’s last over of the day.

The West Indies Championship second-round clash between the Guyana Harpy Eagles and the West Indies Academy remains finely poised at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. As the match heads into a crucial phase on Friday, the Harpy Eagles, having posted 175 in their first innings, find themselves at 165-5 in their second innings, holding a lead of 178 runs with five second innings wickets still in hand.

The West Indies Academy, resuming from their overnight score of 96-4, battled their way to a total of 162. Rashawn Worrell, who stood on 34 overnight, displayed patience and resilience to contribute 58 runs. Joshua Bishop complemented the effort with a half-century, scoring 51, before the remaining wickets fell relatively cheaply. Gudakesh Motie claimed 3-31, and Veerasammy Permaul proved economical with figures of 3-15, providing the Harpy Eagles with a narrow advantage. Kevin Sinclair, who had taken the first four wickets, ended with figures of 4-45.

Despite the slim lead of just 13 runs, the Harpy Eagles owed their second innings score to a substantial contribution of 49 from Kevlon Anderson. Tagenarine Chanderpaul (29), Matthew Nandu (19), and Tevin Imlach (22) each got starts but failed to capitalize on them.

As the Harpy Eagles aim to build on their marginal advantage, Kemol Savory will resume on 20, and Sinclair on 16. The spotlight will be on Ashmead Nedd, who has been effective with the ball, having taken 4-27 from 26 overs. Nedd will be eager to add to his tally and restrict the Harpy Eagles on a challenging batting pitch.

With both teams eager to gain the upper hand, the Coolidge Cricket Ground is set for an enthralling day of cricket, where every run and wicket will be crucial in determining the outcome of this closely contested West Indies Championship match.

Joe Root made a timely return to form as he and Ben Foakes defied an unpredictable pitch to stabilise England after a frenetic start to the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root registered his first fifty in seven innings – dating back to last summer’s Ashes – and went to tea on 67 not out out of England’s 198 for five, with Foakes unbeaten on 28 in an unbroken stand of 86.

Root received criticism for his first-innings dismissal in Rajkot which was a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat, and the Yorkshireman put away his reverse ramps and settled for a more patient, orthodox approach to blunt India’s quicks and spinners.

Conditions eased in the second session after England’s top-order was given a stiff working over, with Stokes electing to bat despite describing the surface as “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” this week in a series his side currently trail 2-1.

As well as uneven bounce, Crawley and Ben Duckett had to contend with sideways movement and the openers were beaten on the outside edge more than once. Crawley then had a major reprieve when his off stump was sent cartwheeling by an in-ducker but Deep’s overstep briefly denied him a maiden Test wicket.

Having taken just four off his first 16 balls, he took 28 off his next 16 after driving and twice clipping for three successive fours before a monstrous six off the expensive Siraj.

Duckett, though, feathered behind after being done on the angle from Akash Deep, who then had Ollie Pope lbw two balls later despite England’s number three advancing down the pitch. An India review was successful and they also queried a not out decision when Root was struck on the pad first ball.

Root had managed to get just outside the line but England were three down as Deep atoned for his no-ball by clipping the top of Crawley’s off-stump for a run-a-ball 42.

The out-of-form Jonny Bairstow, averaging 17 in this series, was purposeful and especially fluent against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four then crunching two more boundaries in his next over. When Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six, it appeared it would be the Yorkshireman’s day.

However, Ashwin tempted Bairstow (38) into another slog sweep which he missed. Umpire Rod Tucker was unmoved by an lbw appeal but another review vindicated India and Ashwin had his 100th wicket against England.

England’s cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Ben Stokes was leg-before to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain trudging off even before the umpire raised his finger.

A frenzied morning gave way to a more sedate start to the afternoon, with Root and Foakes settling for steady accumulation as Jadeja and Ashwin operated in tandem. There were 13 fours and two sixes in the morning but England did not get a boundary until the 82nd ball of the second session.

Root was particularly strong behind square on both sides of the wicket, judicious on front and back foot, although both he and Foakes – whose first four came off his 66th ball – were kept honest by the odd one keeping low.

After Root moved to a 108-ball fifty, India burned their final review on a frivolous lbw appeal off Foakes as the England pair batted out a wicketless session.

England lost five wickets in an eventful first session of the fourth Test as India seamer Akash Deep took centre stage on a pitch in Ranchi already showing signs of uneven bounce.

How India would fare without the rested Jasprit Bumrah was answered emphatically by Deep, who bowled Zak Crawley with a no-ball then snared Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope within the space of three deliveries.

Crawley was dismissed for a run-a-ball 42 after Deep clipped the top of his off-stump and while Jonny Bairstow led a brief counter-attack, he was dismissed for 38 off 35 balls by Ravichandran Ashwin.

The tourists’ cause then worsened on the stroke of lunch when Ben Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Ravindra Jadeja, the England captain walking off even before the umpire raised his finger as his side ended the session on 112 for five.

Stokes described a cracked, crumbly surface as “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” this week but he elected to bat first and his top-order was given a stiff working over.

Both Crawley and Duckett were beaten on the outside edge several times by Deep and Mohammed Siraj, as England made a tentative start just a few days after falling 2-1 behind the series following a heavy defeat in Rajkot last week.

Crawley’s off-stump was sent cartwheeling but he was called back after Deep had overstepped the front line. Having taken just four off his first 16 balls, he took 28 off his next 16 after driving and twice clipping for three successive fours before a monstrous six off Siraj.

India turned to Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin in the ninth over but they persisted with the probing Deep, who snared Duckett for 11 with a good length delivery which nipped away a fraction and grazed the outside edge.

Ollie Pope’s attempt to negate the movement was unsuccessful as he lasted two balls. Despite getting nearly three metres out in front he was rapped on the pads by Deep and India successfully reviewed the not out decision.

Deep ended a lively first hour by castling Crawley again – a near-identical delivery to his no-ball earlier – but this time, there was no reprieve for the England opener.

The out-of-form Bairstow, averaging 17 in this series, was purposeful and especially fluent against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four then crunching two more boundaries in his next over. When Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six, it appeared it would be the Yorkshireman’s day.

However, Ashwin continued round the wicket and tempted Bairstow into another slog sweep which he missed. Umpire Rod Tucker was unmoved by India’s lbw appeal but another review vindicated the hosts.

England will be without Rehan Ahmed for the rest of their tour of India as the teenage leg-spinner is set to return home because of an urgent family matter.

The 19-year-old featured in the first three Tests but was left out of the penultimate contest in Ranchi as England selected slow left-armer Tom Hartley and off-break bowler Shoaib Bashir as their spinners.

The tourists do not intend to draft in a replacement for Ahmed, despite being left with 14 players for the final Test in Dharamshala in a fortnight and two frontline spinners in Hartley and Bashir.

A brief statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: “Rehan Ahmed will return home for personal reasons with immediate effect from England men’s Test tour of India.

“He will not be returning to India. England will not be replacing Ahmed for the rest of the tour.”

Ahmed, England’s youngest senior cricketer in all three formats, has taken 11 wickets in the series at an average of 44, including six dismissals in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Rehan featured in Rajkot last week despite a visa problem in the build-up. He was given a temporary two-day visa before the issue was resolved and was praised for how he handled the situation by Stokes.

“The great thing about youth is they just take everything in their stride,” Stokes said last week. “He handled a situation that could have affected quite a lot of people in a different way very, very well.”

Middle-order batter Harry Brook withdrew ahead of the series because of personal reasons while left-arm spinner Jack Leach pulled out of the tour because of a knee injury sustained in the first Test.

India have also had to contend with a high-profile withdrawal in star batter Virat Kohli due to personal reasons, and injuries have deprived them of Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant.

West Indies Test Captain Kraigg Brathwaite returned to form with an unbeaten 129 to put the Barbados Pride in a strong position after day two of their 2024 West Indies Championship third round fixture against the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

The Pride were 315-6 off 97 overs at stumps, leading the hosts by 46 runs after starting Thursday 15-0 off seven overs.

Brathwaite, who entered this game with just 27 runs from four innings this season, batted in his customary relaxed fashion to end day two 129* off 290 balls including 13 fours.

Kevin Wickham provided excellent support for his skipper with 63, his second half-century of the season along with a hundred in round one against the CCC. His knock lasted 92 balls and included six fours.

Former West Indies wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich was the other not out batsman at stumps with 19.

Derval Green has so far taken 2-38 from 19 overs for the Scorpions.

Full Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 269 all out off 78.4 overs (Romaine Morris 97*, Carlos Brown 40, Kirk McKenzie 40, Jomel Warrican 5-62, Jair McAllister 3-69)

Barbados Pride 315-6 off 97 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 129*, Kevin Wickham 63, Jonathan Drakes 31, Derval Green 2-38)

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