Eddie Jones finds it laughable to hear Gareth Southgate coming in for heavy criticism after the England football team's poor Nations League results.

England rugby union head coach Jones says those rushing to judge Southgate's aptitude as boss of the Three Lions are showing they have short memories.

Southgate led England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and to the Euro 2020 final, but two defeats to Hungary either side of draws with Germany and Italy have led to a backlash.

There has been a clamour among some impatient supporters for Southgate to be replaced before the World Cup gets under way in November.

Jones said he "100 per cent" understood the position in which Southgate finds himself, having faced flak himself over England's rugby results.

He also pointed to the upturn in English cricketing fortunes this month as another sign of how fickle England fans can be, with the team emerging from a desperate rut in the Test game and suddenly being hailed as world-beaters.

"I find English sport amusing in that way," Jones said.

"English cricket two weeks ago didn't know what they were doing, complete debacle. They win two Tests, and now where can they go? They can go to Australia and they can beat Australia in the Ashes with 10 men, they're that good now.

"And English football, they were the darlings, and they lose a couple of games and you can see their players are probably struggling after a hard season, and now they're the worst thing since sliced bread.

"So everyone takes a turn in the chair. We've had our turn in the chair, and hopefully we'll move to a chair on the more comfortable side now."

Jones and Southgate have previously met to exchange coaching ideas, and both will hope those pay off in the big tournaments that lie ahead.

England's rugby side suffered a dismal Six Nations at the start of the year and travel to face Australia in three Tests next month.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, Jones said his team were in a rebuilding process, with the focus on shaping a unit to be competitive at the Rugby World Cup next year in France.

"There's always criticism when you don't win – particularly when you're with England there's a lot of criticism – but we know we've got to go through the process of rebuilding the team and sometimes that's a bit uncomfortable," Jones said.

He said the Australia series was an "opportunity to create new history", but there will be a poignant reunion Down Under for Australian Jones, too.

"I haven't been back to Australia since 2019, so I get to see my mother, who's now 97, and she rang me this morning and said, 'Make sure you win'," Jones said. "So you can see where I get my competitive spirit from."

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has expressed disappointment on missing out on triple figures against Bangladesh but was satisfied in playing a crucial innings on day 2 of the second Test.

The opening batsman crafted a resilient 94 from 268 balls, a resilient 400 minutes that went a long way towards anchoring the team’s total of 265 and a first-innings lead.

Just short of a deserved 11th Test century, the batsman was, however, deceived by Khaled Ahmed and sent back to the pavilion just four short of the coveted total.

“Obviously, I was a little disappointed but I’m happy that the team has formed a lead and it will be key for us to start well tomorrow,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Friday.

“The most important thing was to build a foundation for me, and my team and I was happy with the time I spent.  So well done to the team for getting a lead,” he added.

The West Indies will enter the third day with a lead of 112 runs, after ending the day on 52 for 2.

 

West Indies Women stars Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, and Stafanie Taylor will lead the inaugural three teams of the Women’s Caribbean Premier League, which is expected to bowl off in August.

The three-team tournament will take place in  St Kitts and Nevis and feature the Barbados Royals, Guyana Amazon Warriors, and Trinbago Knight Riders franchises.  Matthews will be captain of the Royals, Taylor the Guyana Amazon Warriors, and Dottin the Trinbago Knight Riders.

The players taking part in the competition were drafted from a pool put together by Cricket West Indies (CWI’s) selection committee out of which 33 were picked.  Each team will have the option of signing three overseas players which will bring the total squad size to 14.

 

The first Test between the West Indies and Bangladesh is evenly poised after Friday’s day two at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua.

The hosts carried on from their overnight 95-2 to be bowled out for 265 after 112.5 overs.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite carried on from his 42 on day one to eventually be dismissed for a marathon 94 off 268 balls including nine fours.

Vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood also showed good form with a 139-ball 63, also including nine boundaries.

Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz led the way with the ball, with 4-59 off 22.5 overs, while pacers Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed ended with figures of 2-65 off 28 overs and 2-59 off 22 overs, respectively.

Bangladesh then struggled to 50-2 off 20 overs, trailing the Windies by 112 runs at the close, with Mahmudul Hasan Joy (18) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (8) at the crease. Alzarri Joseph took both wickets for the West Indies.

 

An excellent all-round display from Trinidadian Sunil Narine propelled Surrey to a seven-wicket win over Middlesex in their Vitality Blast South Group fixture at the Oval on Friday.

Surrey won the toss and elected to field first, restricting Middlesex to 155-8 off their 20 overs.

Luke Hollman (31), captain Stephen Eskinazi (25), and wicketkeeper/batsman John Simpson (25) were the chief scorers against Narine (2-27 off four overs) and Barbados-born England all-rounder Chris Jordan (2-27 off four overs).

Narine then top-scored with 51 not out off just 29 balls, including two fours and four sixes, while engaging in a match-winning 73-run fourth-wicket partnership with England test batsman Ollie Pope (37 not out).

Opener Will Jacks earlier smashed a 20-ball 43 for Surrey who easily reached 158-3 off just 15.1 overs to secure victory.

Surrey, also the team of former West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard, now lead the South Group with 15 points from eight games after seven wins and one no result.

 

 

Eoin Morgan labelled Jos Buttler as the world's best white-ball cricketer after England posted a world-record ODI score in their 232-run thrashing of the Netherlands.

Buttler was at his destructive best in a spectacular unbeaten 162. He hit the second-fastest ODI hundred for England from 47 balls, facing just one delivery less than he did when setting that record.

The wicketkeeper-batter brought up his 150 from just 65 deliveries as England broke their own record of 481-6 with 498-4 in the Amsterdam suburbs on Friday.

Phil Salt (122) hit his maiden ODI century, while Dawid Malan (125) also reached three figures for the first time in this format as England bludgeoned the Netherlands attack in the first of three ODIs, racking up 26 sixes.

Liam Livingstone struck 50 in just 17 balls as he went agonisingly close to breaking AB de Villiers' record of 16 en route to 66 not out, England falling just two shy of the first score of 500 in ODI cricket and setting a total that also marked a List A record.

The Netherlands' chase was an exercise in futility and they were bowled out for 266.

England captain Morgan said of Buttler's showing: "It's incredible to watch, it's not something we ever get sick of, it's not something that we take for granted.

"It is amazing cricket. It is the reason why he's probably the best white-ball cricketer in the world at the minute."

Asked if he is in the form of his life, Buttler said: "Certainly feels that way. The IPL couldn't have gone better for me, certainly that gives you a hell of a lot of confidence. It was a good wicket, we got a great start and that gave us the licence to really attack."

On missing out on the fastest 150, he joked: "I'd take it at the start of the day."

India skittled South Africa over for only 87 to seal a huge 82-run win in Rajkot, levelling up their T20I series at 2-2 and teeing up a mouth-watering decider on Sunday.

Avesh Khan claimed outstanding figures of 4-18 as India eased to a victory even more comprehensive than Tuesday's 48-run win in Visakhapatnam.

India earlier lost Ruturaj Gaikwad (5), Shreyas Iyer (4) and Ishan Kishan (27) during the opening seven overs, but that was nothing compared to the tourists' spectacular collapse, as Rassie van der Dussen top scored for the Proteas with just 20 runs.

The hosts had been reduced to 40-3 after being put in by Temba Bavuma, but a stand of 65 between Hardik Pandya (46) and Dinesh Karthik (55) following Rishabh Pant's departure for 17 got them motoring.

Karthik's superb half-century helped carry India to a respectable 169-6, and he was only dismissed by Dwaine Pretorius midway through the final over before South Africa put in a dreadful performance with the bat.

Quinton de Kock (14) was the first to go, followed within three balls by Pretorius for a duck after captain Bavuma retired with an elbow injury.

Things only got more painful from there as Avesh ran riot, adding the scalps of Van der Dussen (20), Marco Jansen (12) and Keshav Maharaj (0) to that of Pretorius, while Yuzvendra Chahal (2-21) also made his mark as India kept their hopes of a stunning series turnaround alive.

Avesh wreaks havoc

Avesh capitalised on another fragile display with the bat and the momentum is firmly with Indiai.

If Tuesday's attempt at a chase had been poor – Heinrich Klaasen's 29 representing their best showing, Friday's was truly woeful, with only De Kock, Van der Dussen and Jansen reaching double figures during a chastening chase.

Pandya and Karthik step up

India had been wobbling early on, but Pandya and Karthik stepped up following top-order failures.

In particular, Karthik's 55 off 27 balls carried the hosts into the final over, and helped to leave the series delicately poised.

England posted the highest score in ODI and List A history after Jos Buttler smashed the second-fastest 50-over international century against Netherlands.

An England side missing numerous Test stars, such as Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, were quickly in the ascendancy when opener Phil Salt scored his first ODI hundred from 82 balls as the tourists posted 498-4.

Salt fell soon after for 122, with Dawid Malan carrying on the pressure as he reached his maiden 50-over international ton from 90 deliveries.

That made Malan just the second England player to score a century in all three formats, alongside Buttler, who joined the Yorkshire batter at the crease and started in destructive fashion.

Buttler was dropped on 37 by Musa Ahmed at long-on off the bowling of captain Pieter Seelaar before continuing his onslaught to reach three figures in just 47 balls.

All three of the fastest 50-over hundreds for England have come from Buttler after he achieved the feat in 46 balls against Pakistan in 2015 and 50 deliveries against the same opposition four years later.

Malan was then dismissed by Seelar for 125 and captain Eoin Morgan followed to the next ball but that only brought in Liam Livingstone, who crashed plundered 32 from a single Philippe Boissevain over.

Livingstone, dropped on 46 by Boissevain, subsequently brought up England's fastest ODI fifty off just 17 balls before the tourists recorded the highest score in 50-over internationals.

Morgan's side surpassed their own previous international record 481 set at Trent Bridge against Australia in 2018, as well as the List A benchmark set when Surrey scored 496 in 2007 against Gloucestershire.

 Former Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry believes the development of talented fast bowler O’Shane Thompson would have been aided greatly by featuring in more red-ball matches.

The fast bowler got the attention of the region and world in 2017 when he bowled with express pace at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  Despite some promising cameos, however, Thomas has not lived up to that promise and is currently out of the Windies squad.

The player’s conditioning has also been a source of concern with the bowler looking several pounds overweight and not approaching speeds seen earlier on.  Perry believes, however, that a part of the problem was the player’s introduction in the shortest format.

“When I saw O’Shane and he was bowling real quick, yes there were some inconsistencies in his delivery but when he gets right he can be very lethal,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I said to my colleagues in the Caribbean and Jamaica, we need to play O’Shane Thomas in four-day cricket. He needs to play the long version of the game, he needs to learn how to bowl.  Learn the art of bowling.

“If you blood someone in T20 cricket where all they have to do is bowl short, not sure were you going to land the delivery.  If you play four-day cricket and you are bowling 20 overs a day you are going to learn the art of bowling and bowling more consistently,” he added.

‘Your body will be stronger and you will have a better work ethic.”

 Former West Indies batsman and Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry insists the evident lack of proper fitness programs for several professional cricketers around the Caribbean remains unacceptable.

The topic of player fitness has been a hot-button issue in recent years, with a few cricketers failing fitness tests and others on occasions noticeably overweight.  The issue is back in the spotlight following the recently concluded Women's T20 Blaze where Jamaica were crowned champions. 

Some critics have pointed to the lack of a regulatory fitness program for the regional, players but Perry insists it must also be an issue of personal responsibility.

“I don’t think enough work is being put into our cricketers and our cricketers are not properly monitoring themselves.  They eat anything they want, they eat KFC, they eat Burger King, they eat Chinese, they don’t have a proper program,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“A part of the program is nutrition.  You have to be eating properly to be a top-class cricketer because your body is going to need it, because, it brings the best out of your body.  Rehydration, you go to the beach, you swim, you do all of these things, you follow a specific program,” he added.

“Players aren’t following that, they go on their phones and they go and sit in the dressing room and do nothing and then they go home and put on weight.  How can you be a professional cricketer and a be putting on weight?  You are not supposed to be putting on weight.”

An excellent bowling display left the West Indies in a commanding position against Bangladesh after day one of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

The hosts won the toss and decided to bowl first, a decision which proved to be correct as the tourists were, at one point, struggling mightily at 45-6 after 15 overs of play with three top-order batsmen being removed without scoring. 

They eventually recorded six ducks in total as a fighting 51 from captain Shakib Al Hasan and 29 from opener Tamim Iqbal helped the Bangladeshis stumble to 103 all out after just 32.5 overs.

Jayden Seales (3-33 from 10 overs), Alzarri Joseph (3-33 from 8.5 overs), Kemar Roach (2-21 from eight overs) and Kyle Mayers (2-10 from five overs) were the wicket-takers for the hosts.

In their reply, the Windies ended the day 95-2 off 48 overs, trailing Bangladesh by just eight runs. Captain Kraigg Brathwaite (42) and Nkrumah Bonner (12) are the batsmen at the crease while John Campbell (24) and Raymon Reifer (11) are the batsmen dismissed so far.

Pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Ebadot Hossain took the wickets.

 

Sri Lanka produced a scintillating display with the ball to level up the ODI series against Australia, with the tourists bowled out for 189 at the end of a frustrating rain-interrupted contest in Kandy.

Chamika Karunaratne (3-47) claimed three wickets after the impressive Dhananjaya de Silva (2-26) had sent both Aaron Finch (14) and David Warner (37) packing when play resumed after a rain stoppage reduced the match to a 43-over contest.

That meant Pat Cummins' (4-25) earlier heroics with the ball counted for nought, as Australia failed to follow Tuesday's thrilling run chase with another victory.

Australia had started well after Finch won the toss, with Matthew Kuhnemann dismissing Pathum Nissanka for 14, which was swiftly followed by Cummins sending Danushka Gunathilaka (18) and De Silva packing (34).

Tuesday's hero Glenn Maxwell (2-35) contributed on the bowling front this time around as he dealt with Kusal Mendis (36) and Charith Asalanka (13).

That saw Sri Lanka stumble to 220-9 before the rain stoppage, but the hosts were a different animal in the field after play resumed.

De Silva got the ball rolling with the dismissals of Finch and Warner, before Maheesh Theekshana's catch off Steve Smith (28) saw the tide turn decisively in the hosts' favour.

After Travis Head (23) and Marnus Labuschagne (18) succumbed to Dunith Wellalage (2-25), each of Maxwell (30), Alex Carey (15), Cummins (4), Mitchell Swepson (2) and Kuhnemann (1) fell during a disappointing three-over collapse.

Home attack comes good  

After failing to see off the outstanding Maxwell at the tail end of another rain-interrupted contest on Tuesday, the Sri Lankan attack was a different beast this time around, with De Silva wrecking the tourists' top order before Karunaratne took charge.

Karunaratne had been questioned after failing to take a single wicket in the series opener, but showed his quality with a crucial three-wicket haul.

Cummins brilliance counts for nought 

Another man who struggled with the ball on Tuesday but came good in the second ODI was Australia's Cummins, whose four wickets included two of the hosts' top four batsmen and saw Sri Lanka set a seemingly weak target of 220.

However, it counted for nothing as Australia were desperately poor after taking up the bat, Warner top-scoring with just 37 during a demoralising defeat.

Eoin Morgan views an ODI series against the Netherlands as a great opportunity for England's uncapped bowlers to make their mark at the start of the Matthew Mott era.

With Jofra Archer and Mark Wood among the world champions' absentees due to injury, seamer Luke Wood and paceman David Payne are set to make their debuts in the first bilateral series between England and the Netherlands.

The opening contest in the three-match series at VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen will be the world champions' first since Mott was appointed as white-ball head coach.

England captain Morgan has urged the new faces in the squad to grasp their chance.

He said: "With the injuries we've had in our bowling contingent over the last couple of months it has really hit us hard.

"But that also presents opportunities for other guys and everybody here has played a role in some way or another.

"Luke Wood is joining the squad for the first time, David Payne in a similar instance but his second tour having been in the West Indies, so it's great to have those guys around the group."

England will also be without their Test contingent, who sealed a series win over New Zealand by playing in one-day mode to secure a five-wicket win at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

The tourists have won all their three ODIs against the Netherlands heading into the first match between the two nations since 2011 in the 50-over format.

England will be playing their first ODI since completing a 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan last year, while the Dutch have lost nine consecutive games.

Batter Tom Cooper has been recalled for what will be his first international appearance since 2016 and a first ODI in nine years, while teenager spinner Tom Pringle is poised to make his Netherlands debut.

 

A family affair

Shane Snater plys his trade for Essex and he will be a familiar face for one particular member of the England side.

Snater is a cousin of Jason Roy, who will be expected to provide fireworks at the top of the order for England.

Roy is in great touch, having scored back-to-back T20 Blast half-centuries for Surrey.

 

Buttler to serve up a treat?

The Netherlands bowlers will not need reminding of the importance of dismissing Jos Buttler early on.

The England wicketkeeper-batter was the leading run-scorer in the Indian Premier League with 863 at an average of 57.53 and a strike rate of 149.05.

Buttler scored four centuries from 17 innings for runners-up Rajasthan Royals.

Jamie Overton has received an England call-up for the third Test against New Zealand.

The uncapped Surrey seamer joins his brother, Craig, in a 14-man squad for the final match of the series at Headingley.

The 28-year-old has taken 21 wickets for the County Championship Division One leaders at an average of 21.61 this season.

There are no further changes to the squad for a Test against the Black Caps that starts in Leeds next Thursday.

England chased down a target of 299 to beat New Zealand by five wickets at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and win the series with a match to spare.

Jonny Bairstow scored a magnificent 136 off just 92 balls on an incredible final day in Nottingham to give England an unassailable 2-0 series lead.


England squad for the third Test against New Zealand:

Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Joe Root.

Devon Conway is the latest member of the New Zealand squad to test positive for coronavirus.

The batter discovered he has contracted COVID-19 after taking a PCR test on arrival in London ahead of a team activity on Wednesday and will spend five days in isolation.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell has also tested positive following the Black Caps' defeat to England in the second Test at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

New Zealand physio Vijay Vallabh and strength and conditioning coach Chris Donaldson have also returned positive tests.

The tourists have no plans to call up replacements ahead of the third and final match of the Test series, which starts at Headingley next Thursday.

England won the series by chasing down a target of 299 to win by five wickets at Trent Bridge, Jonny Bairstow scoring a magnificent century.

Captain Kane Williamson was ruled out of the second Test in Nottingham after testing positive for coronavirus.

 

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