West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite is warning his team not to get carried away by last week’s victory over Bangladesh in Chattogram but to try to improve for the second Test that begins in Dhaka tomorrow (tonight Caribbean time).

Trailing by a mammoth 171 runs on first innings, the West Indies rallied to a remarkable three-wicket victory thanks to a double century from debutant Kyle Mayers and sterling contributions with the bat from fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva. Spinners Jomel Warrican and Rahkeem Cornwall also played their part with the ball.

Understandably, the players are still euphoric over the improbable victory but Brathwaite said it was now important to remember that everything starts anew for the second Test.

"The biggest thing is not to get carried away. We are happy with the win, but we know we start from zero,” he warned.

“It is one of the things that the coach has stressed on in the practice sessions. Guys are working hard. For me, to them is to stay disciplined and stick to your plans both as a bowling and a batting unit.”

"We as a team don't want to get too far ahead. We have five days of Test cricket to play. We are very happy to have won the first Test. We want to buckle down. Victory has meant a lot for us. The guys are very proud of winning the first Test, but we look forward to the next five days."

The victorious captain said the focus must now be on playing even better cricket once play begins in Dhaka.

"We can improve on our first innings score to help us set the game up better. We did well in the second innings. We have to be a little sharper in the field in periods when there's probably been a partnership. We can be a little tighter," he said.

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, has recalled drawing inspiration from gritty India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara in wake of the team’s recent triumph over Bangladesh.

Pujara earned widespread commendation for a gutsy performance against Australia last month, where the India batman took hits to the head, elbows, hands, and ribs.  In total, ten balls crashed into him throughout his 211-ball innings.  His stubborn 56, however, was crucial to a historic win for an understrength India, in Australia.

Bonner may not have had to put up with as much physical punishment from the Bangladesh bowlers, but certainly showed plenty of determination in his gritty 86 from 245.  The knock, alongside a cracking 212 from Kyle Mayers, was critical in anchoring an understrength West Indies to a surprise win, in Bangladesh.  Bonner admits he has been taking close note of the India batsman and tries to emulate a few of his qualities.

“I like to see how he goes about his batting.  I think he is very tough mentally and it’s something that I’ve taken from him,” Bonner told members of the media, via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“There is nothing that really troubles him, so I idolize him a lot,” he added.

 

 

South Africa will be hoping some fresh faces can lead to a change in fortunes in Pakistan as the two nations switch focus to the Twenty20 format. 

Lahore will stage all three matches in the series, which comes after Pakistan recorded a 2-0 sweep over the same opponents in Test action. 

However, many of the Proteas who featured in that series are not involved in the T20 fixtures, including captain Quinton de Kock. 

Heinrich Klaasen is instead in charge for the tourists, while Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde are the only members of the squad who have stayed on after Test duty. 

The stand-in skipper insists that while South Africa may be lacking in experience, those on duty are determined to seize the opportunities that come their way during the trip. 

"South Africa has got loads of talent, which people sometimes don't see because we only have six franchises," Klaasen said. "We are by no means a second-string T20 squad, and we are looking to win." 

Klaasen revealed he is now "fit and safe" after overcoming COVID-19, though it took a heavy toll on him physically. He put up an Instagram post during his recovery to make clear the effects of the virus, in which he wrote: "Covid is real and didn't think it would be this hard to come back". 

As for Pakistan, they have named a 20-man squad that includes four uncapped players but is missing Mohammad Hafeez, who failed to come to an agreement over the date he was to enter the group's bio-secure bubble. 

Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz are also notable absentees having been dropped, while Shadab Khan is ruled out through injury. 

Zafar Gohar, Danish Aziz, Zahid Mehmood and Amad Butt are the quartet of new faces, while Hasan Ali – the hero for the hosts in the second Test with 10 wickets in the match – is back involved again in the shortest format.

Pakistan go into the opening game on Thursday having won 14 of their previous 18 T20 matches on home soil (L4), including the last five in a row.


Babar right up there with the best

No matter what the format, Babar Azam is crucial to Pakistan. The right-handed batsman has scored the most amount of runs in T20 cricket at international level since the start of 2018, managing 1,213 across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.

After a relatively quiet Test series in terms of his individual output, Babar will be eager to capitalise on a new-look South African attack that is without the services of pace trio Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.

Positive spin to help Proteas

Shamsi is one of the few who has remained for the T20 series; the left-arm wrist spinner was ruled out of the first Test with a back injury and then did not feature in the second match.

The 30-year-old has played in 25 T20 games for South Africa, taking 21 wickets at 33.33 with an economy rate of 7.69 runs per over, and has the chance to become a pivotal member of the XI, particularly with a World Cup in the format to come in India later this year.

Key series facts

- South Africa have never lost a multi-game bilateral T20 series in Asia, winning five times out of a possible six in the continent (D1).
- Since the start of 2018, Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (18 catches and five stumpings) has been directly involved in the joint-most T20 dismissals among those featuring for a Test-playing nation (23 – level with Alex Carey and Tim Seifert).
- Since the start of 2018, Babar Azam has scored the most runs in the T20 format, managing 1,213 runs across his 28 innings at an average of 52.7.
- Only David Miller from the current Proteas squad has played a T20 international game in Pakistan, having represented the World XI in 2017. He has logged 20 catches in the format since the start of 2018, the third-most of those to feature for a Test-playing nation.
- Faheem Ashraf recorded more dot balls than any other player during the T20 series against New Zealand in December 2020). He has only been able to claim four wickets at an average of 41.3 in Pakistan, however.

West Indies batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, admits that it was disappointing to miss out on what would have been a debut century against Bangladesh but is far more satisfied with a surprise victory for the team.

The 32-year-old Bonner stroked a solid 86 from 245 balls, as part of a match-defining partnership with Kyle Mayers, who managed an unbeaten double century to steer the West Indies to a historic victory.

Mayers and Bonner remained unbeatable for the first two sessions but after cutting loose for a 6 off Taijul Islam, Bonner was dismissed lbw the very next delivery, after missing a flatter length delivery from the spinner.

“Personal milestones are always good but obviously we know that we do everything for the team,” Bonner told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“Obviously it would be good to make a 100 on debut but it wasn’t mean to be and I’m really just happy that we won the game,” he added.

Though Bonner did not get to triple digits on debut he still managed to make it into the record books.  The 216 runs partnership with Bonner was the second-highest partnership by Test debutants, behind Pakistan's Abdul Kadir and Khalid Ibadulla, who put on 249 back in 1964.

James Anderson warned he is ready to move to another level as England build "something really special" after his latest outstanding exploits in a crushing Test victory over India.

Anderson was hailed by his captain Joe Root as "the GOAT of English cricket" - the greatest of all time - after he produced a brilliant spell before lunch to put the tourists well on their way to taking a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

England's leading Test wicket-taker claimed 3-17 and Jack Leach returned 4-76 as India were bowled out for 192, consigned to a 227-run defeat on the final day in Chennai.

Anderson bowled Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in a magnificent over in the morning session as he took three wickets for six runs in five overs of a high-class spell.

The 38-year-old seamer revelled in his latest masterclass and a dominant win, declaring there is plenty more to come from both himself and the team.

Asked if this is a stage of his career he is enjoying more than ever, the Lancastrian said: "It really is. I think with the guys we've got it's really special, we are creating something really special led amazingly well by Joe Root, both on and off the field.

"The way he's batted the last few weeks has been incredible to watch. We feel like we're building something and whether it's the fitness side of it - we're trying to push each other and for me as I get older I feel I need to work harder at that and I need to keep up with the younger guys, which helps me.

"We are trying to develop skills to win anywhere in the world, which you need to do if you want to get to number one - which our eventual goal is.

"It's a really fun time to be around this group and we just keep challenging each other and keep the form on the field as well."

He added: "I feel like I can keep improving. My fitness and skills and the consistency is something that I'm continually trying to improve. I don't see why I can't keep getting better and that's what I strive to do.

"I think when I don't feel like I need to do that and I don't need to come to the ground and practise my skills in the net and get better, that's when maybe I need to start looking at something else to do, but right now I feel I can still get better and I'm enjoying the challenge of doing that.”

Anderson hopes to be picked for the Test at the same venue starting on Saturday but will understand if he is rested, with Stuart Broad raring to go after being left out for this statement victory in Root's 100th match in the longest format.

He said: "I guess when a batsman gets in that rhythm and form they want to keep batting. It's the same for a bowler, you want to keep that going as much as possible, but I'm very aware that we've got four Test matches in quick succession here.

"There will be probably a need to rest and rotate, it's been talked about before we even got to Sri Lanka, so I'm not presuming anything and I'll try and rest and recover from this game as best I can in the next day or two, then get back in the nets and try and put my name in the hat for Saturday. We'll see what happens."

Virat Kohli bristled at the suggestion that Ajinkya Rahane's place in the India batting line-up could be in jeopardy following a heavy first Test defeat to England in Chennai.

Needing an improbable 420 to win, India resumed the final day on 39-1 but Jack Leach (4-76) continued his impressive record in fourth innings and James Anderson (3-17) produced a masterful display of reverse swing to dismiss the hosts for 192.

From the moment visiting skipper Joe Root embarked upon his mammoth first-innings 218, India found themselves in the unusual position of being comprehensively outplayed on home soil.

It left Root's opposite number, Kohli, to field some awkward questions - not least on Rahane, who managed a solitary run in the match and has a highest score of 37 in the seven knocks following his superb century at Melbourne in the Boxing Day Test.

That effort saw vice-captain Rahane leading a stunning comeback series win from the front in Australia. India triumphed 2-1 in a four-match rubber following a thrashing in the first Test, after which Kohli went home for the birth of his first child.

"Look, if you're trying to dig something out, you're not going to get anything because there's nothing," Kohli told reporters, seemingly aware how him agreeing to Rahane being under pressure might look in the context of his heroics versus Australia.

"I've said this many times in the past as well - along with Cheteshwar Pujara, he is our most important Test batsman and he is going to continue to be.

"We believe in his abilities, we have believed in his abilities for a long time now and he's an impact player.

"If you're talking about the MCG Test, he stood up and scored a hundred when the team wanted it the most. So, you can look at a number of innings and what happens from thereon, but the reality of the situation is they've won the series in Australia."

As such, Kohli is satisfied his players remain in good form overall and appears unlikely to make wholesale changes for the second Test, which starts back at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

"There's absolutely no issues, everyone's playing really well and we just need to be focused a lot more, understand that Test victories are earned in any conditions - whether they're your own or you're playing away," Kohli added.

"Nothing is a given in Test cricket and we need to be aware of that reality and work together as a team to keep putting a lot of pressure on the opposition. That's our focus." 

Shimron Hetmyer top-scored with 80 off 52 balls, while all-rounder Romario Shepherd made 58 not out from identical deliveries, as Guyana Jaguars recorded a comfortable win over Barbados Pride in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup on Monday night.

Shepherd also took a wicket and bowled with pace on a good surface at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. He won the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match award. Guyana batted first and made 235. After a rain break, the target was revised to 232 off 47 overs. Barbados Pride reached 91-5 in the 30th over when the rain returned and brought an end to the match.

Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair, a member of the victorious West Indies Emerging Players team back in 2019, took 2-17 from 7.3 overs as Guyana Jaguars bowled well. His first wicket was opener Justin Greaves, caught at mid-wicket by Hetmyer and the second was Roston Chase, beaten and bowled.

“I’m really pleased with my performance. I have been working really hard on my batting and I was happy with the way I played and the contribution I made to help the team win,” Shepherd said.

“I’m in good shape and the ball is also coming out really well. This was a good victory for us … you always want to start with a win.”

 

 

The magnificent James Anderson and Jack Leach starred as England took a 1-0 Test series lead over India with an emphatic 227-run victory on the final day in Chennai.

England started day five needing another nine wickets to win a match they dominated throughout and Joe Root's side got the job done in the afternoon session at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Anderson produced a sublime spell before lunch, taking two wickets in one brilliant over, and finished with figures of 3-17, while the impressive Leach took 4-76 as India were dismissed for 192.

Half-centuries from Virat Kohli (72) and Shubman Gill (50) were in vain as India never looked like getting close to reaching their unlikely target of 420 to win or being capable of batting out for a draw.

Victory for the tourists ensured Root matched Michael Vaughan’s record tally of 26 Test wins as captain, capping a dream 100th match in the longest format for the in-form batsman, whose classy double century set up a perfect start to the four-match series.

India resumed on 39-1, needing an unlikely 401 more runs for victory, and they were two down when Leach drew an edge from Cheteshwar Pujara with a delivery that turned sharply, Ben Stokes taking a sharp catch at first slip.

Anderson then came to the fore with a magnificent over, removing Gill's off stump and repeating the trick to clean up Ajinkya Rahane for a duck three balls later.

India were in deep trouble on 110-5 when Rishabh Pant fell into the trap, taken by Root at short cover as another clever piece of bowling from the wily Anderson was rewarded again.

Leach snared Washington Sundar, superbly caught behind by Jos Buttler, to leave India staring down the barrel of defeat at 144-6 at lunch, with the classy Kohli running out of partners.

Ravichandran Ashwin was peppered by short stuff from Jofra Archer, taking a blow on the helmet and glove, as he hung around defiantly before another excellent take from Buttler gave Leach a third wicket.

Kohli look untroubled as he knuckled down, rotating the strike and putting away any loose deliveries, but Stokes came into the attack to bowl the skipper.

Shahbaz Nadeem became Leach's fourth victim and Archer had Jasprit Bumrah caught behind to seal a famous sixth consecutive away win for Root's men.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes the team needs to improve in all areas going forward and especially if they are to win the second Test against Bangladesh set for the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Bowling coach Jon Lewis defended England's approach after they did little to move forward their victory bid during the final session of day four in the first Test against India in Chennai.

England set an improbable victory target of 420, one that will set a new record in Tests if India are somehow able to knock off the runs from a position of 39-1 at stumps.

It is a match situation that underlines the tourists' unexpected domination of the contest, although they were criticised in some quarters for letting the game drift after tea on Monday.

Ollie Pope was the sixth man out with the score 130 in their second innings, from which point there was a wait for a declaration that never came as all of England's tailenders emerged and they took a further 18 overs to reach 178 all out.

Jack Leach then bowled Rohit Sharma with a beauty, but there were no further breakthroughs before the close.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Lewis insisted England were comfortable with their tactics, pointing towards the potential importance of the second new ball during the last session of the match.

James Anderson and Jofra Archer will also be fresh for a second chance to make inroads with a ball only 13 overs old on the final morning.

"The guys were positive in the way they played and I don't think it's a straightforward pitch to just go and be reckless when trying to score runs," Lewis said of England's dwindling scoring rate following Pope's departure for 28.

"We were very comfortable with the amount of overs we wanted to bowl tonight. That obviously gives us a bit of a bite with the second new ball tomorrow, if required - 20 overs or so.

"In terms of the position of the game, we're really comfortable with where we're at.

"It's the first game of the series. While you want to get off to a really strong start, you don't really want to give India a chance to win.

"Saying that, they've got some fine players. You also want to be able to have attacking fielders the whole day, especially to our spin bowlers, around the bat.

"To get as many runs as we can and keep the rate high for them feels like our best chance to win the game."

Joe Root had the option to enforce the follow-on after England wrapped up India's first-innings for 337 - a deficit of 241.

However, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who scored 31 with the bat before claiming 6-61, suggested Root's desire to give his attack recovery time was understandable.

"They had two options in front of them. They could have asked us to follow-on," he said.

"The only reasoning I could see is they wanted to give a bit of a rest to their bowlers, which is a part of the game that is sometimes not very well understood on the outside

"Sometimes fresh bowlers can do the trick more than tiring bowlers."

Whether or not England's refreshed bowlers are able to do the trick on day five will ultimately determine how their Monday approach comes to be viewed.

West Indies’ come-from-behind win over Bangladesh on Sunday was an emotional moment for many fans of the team across the globe. However, none would have been more emotional than Shirley Clarke, the father of double-centurion Kyle Mayers, whose remarkable innings took the West Indies to victory.

England need nine wickets on the final day to take a Test series lead and India will require another famous run chase to go 1-0 up in Chennai after 15 wickets tumbled on Monday.

The tourists bowled India out for 337 at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium after Washington Sundar held them up with an excellent unbeaten 85.

Ashwin made 31 before taking 6-61 as England were bowled out for 178 after the in-form Joe Root - who top scored with 40 - opted against enforcing the follow-on.

India pulled off a big run chase to secure a series win in Australia last month and they will have to repeat those final-day heroics after being set 420 to win on a day which saw Ishant Sharma take his 300th wicket in the longest format.

Jack Leach bowled Rohit Sharma with a peach of a delivery to leave India 39-1 at stumps - 381 runs from their huge target.

England had to be patient for a breakthrough after India resumed on 257-6, Leach ending a seventh-wicket stand of 80 by getting Ashwin for 31 with the new ball - Jos Buttler taking an athletic catch.

Root chose to bat again after a combination of Leach (2-105) and James Anderson (2-46) finished off India's first innings - Ben Stokes taking a sensational slip catch for England's highest Test wicket-taker.

Ashwin generated turn and bounce to get Rory Burns caught by Ajinkya Rahane off the first ball of England's second innings before lunch, and he also saw the back of Dom Sibley (16) following the break.

Ishant snared Dan Lawrence leg before to join the 300 club before Ashwin removed Stokes - caught behind for only seven.

Root, who made a double century in the first innings of his 100th Test, added 40 as England took the lead over 400, with Ollie Pope (28), Buttler (24) and Dom Bess (25) also chipping in.

Ashwin continued to get sharp turn on a deteriorating track as Root kept India in the field in the heat rather than declaring, picking up a 28th five-wicket haul by bowling Jofra Archer and ending the innings when Anderson was caught and bowled.

Leach produced a great delivery to strike Rohit's off stump, but Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara prevented further damage from being done.

 

Ashwin delivers, Ishant reaches landmark

Spinner Ashwin bowled 55.1 overs as India were made to toil by a Root-inspired England in the first innings but did not appear to be fatigued as he bowled superbly second time around.

He took advantage of a pitch offering an increasing amount of spin, which should have had Leach and Bess rubbing their hands together. Ishant became the sixth Indian bowler to take 300 Test scalps when Lawrence was his only second-innings victim. 

Leach sets England on their way

Leach was given the new ball with Archer as Anderson was overlooked and the left-armer conjured up a perfect delivery to dismiss Rohit, getting one to drift and turn away.

That was the tourists' only breakthrough in 13 overs, but they will be expected to come out firing on the last day.

Hasan Ali claimed his maiden 10-wicket Test match haul as Pakistan completed a 2-0 series whitewash of South Africa despite a century from Aiden Markram.

Seamer Hasan took 5-60 as the Proteas collapsed to 274 all out Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday, losing by 95 runs after looking poised to level the series.

Hasan finished with magnificent match figures of 10-114, inspiring Pakistan to a first series triumph over South Africa since 2003.

South Africa had been going along nicely on 241-3 chasing 370 to win, but the tourists fell apart after Markram was dismissed for a superb 108.

Markram's fifth Test hundred – and his first since March 2018 – proved to be in vain as Hasan was once again the star of the show on the final day.

Temba Bavuma made 61 and Rassie van der Dussen 48, but South Africa lost seven wickets for only 33 runs, Shaheen Shah Afridi also doing damage, taking 4-51.

Quinton de Kock fell for a golden duck, while Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada also failed to trouble the scorers.

Victory for Pakistan moved them up to fifth in the Test rankings and was their first series win since beating Bangladesh 12 months ago, bringing the Proteas back down to earth after their 2-0 defeat of Sri Lanka.

South Africa have now lost four of their past five series and are unable to respond with a victory over Australia on home soil after the series was postponed.

Hasan's Test-best stuns Proteas

South Africa could not contend with Hasan in the first innings and it was the same story on the final day of the series.

He saw the back of Van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis (five) in the morning session, then came to the party again with the second new ball

Hasan claimed the big wicket of Markram, who was caught by Imran Butt, then dismissed captain De Kock first ball before sending George Linde packing. Afridi also delivered for Pakistan, with Yasir Shah sealing victory by bowling Wiaan Mulder when he charged down the track.

Markam stakes captaincy claim

It proved to be a day to forget for the tourists, but Markram's knock was a major positive.

The opener showed his class, batting for over five and a half hours – hitting three sixes and finding the rope 13 times – as he staked his claim for the captaincy.

Kevin Stoute and Sunil Ambris scored half-centuries as the Windward Islands Volcanoes scored a 31-run win over the Leeward Island Hurricanes despite a better than a run-a-ball century from Nitish Kumar on the opening day of the 2021 CG Insurance Super50 tournament.

Stoute scored 86 and Ambris 70 and their third-wicket partnership of 119 laid the foundation for the Windwards’ 284 all out off 49.2 overs.

They came together after Kimani Melius and Desron Maloney were already back in the pavilion midway the eighth over with 40 runs on the board.

When Ambris departed for 70 that included eight fours and a six, Stoute and Emmanuel Stewart put on 68 for the fourth wicket when Stoute got out in the 42nd over. Stewart was out five balls later but Roland Cato (11) and Rayon John (15) helped push the final score to 284.

Bowling for the Leewards Quinton Boatswain took 4 -45 from his 10 overs while Sheeno Berridge 3-65 and Hayden Walsh 3-79 provided support.

Chasing 285, the Leewards were dismissed for 253 in 49.3 overs despite Kumar’s 112 from 106 balls that included nine fours and two sixes.

He put on 43 for the third wicket with Ross Powell, who made 46 and 79 for the fifth wicket with Montcin Hodge who made 28 but there were never enough partnerships to take Leewards to the target as Preston McSween, Larry Edward, Ray Jordan and Kerron Cottoy each took two wickets to stymie the run chase.

On Monday, the Guyana Jaguars will face the Barbados Pride at the same venue.

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has congratulated the West Indies team on the record-breaking victory against Bangladesh in the first Test match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.

Led by an amazing double century by Kyle Mayers on debut, West Indies made 395-7 to win by three wickets. He made 210 not out and shared a superb partnership of 216 with fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner, who made 86.

The superb batting performance was the second-highest score in a successful run chase in West Indies Test history and the highest run chase in a Test match in Asia.

 CWI President Ricky Skerritt lauded team and their performance, which brought great joy to West Indies supporters around the world.

“Congratulations to Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and our entire squad for an exceptional display of composure and desire,” Skerritt said in a statement.

“Led by debutant Kyle Mayers, it was a fighting team performance overall. The people of our region should walk a little taller today and the challenges of COVID-19 should temporarily be overshadowed by this astonishing West Indies Test victory. The hard work will continue.”

Mayers was named Man-of-the-Match for the knock that turned the match around for the West Indies.

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