Jan 082018
Australia rout England by an innings to win Ashes 4-0

Australia team poses with the Ashes urn, SCG, January 8, 2018/CA Twitter SYDNEY: Australia ruthlessly extinguished England´s resistance to claim an innings victory in the fifth Ashes Test and complete a 4-0 series rout on the final day in Sydney on Monday.The beleaguered tourists, with skipper Joe Root weakened by a stomach bug and unable to continue batting, dissolved after lunch, losing their last four wickets for their fourth comprehensive defeat of the series.“It has been a great couple of months. The cricket that we have played in the last couple of months has been outstanding,” Australia skipper Steve Smith said.“We have just been able to get on top and win those key moments and not let them back in the game which is crucial.”Pat Cummins led the Australian offensive in Sydney with four wickets for 39 to finish man-of-the-match and the leading wicket taker in the series with 23.“To get through the five Tests and end the series here at home. I couldn´t asked for much more,” said an ecstatic Cummins.England finished at 180 for nine off 88.1 overs as Australia won by an innings and 123 runs. It followed comprehensive losses on the troubled five-Test tour in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The fourth Test was drawn in Melbourne.Stricken Root did not come out to bat after lunch as he continued to experience discomfort after his overnight stomach bug.“He is asleep. He has a gastro bug and he has not been too well through the night and the heat yesterday [Read More…]

Jan 082018
Ailing captain Root bats on in bid to save England

SYDNEY: Stricken captain Joe Root returned to batting after a night struggling with a stomach bug to keep England alive on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test against Australia on Monday.Root went to hospital overnight with England Cricket initially saying he had “severe dehydration” after fielding and batting in intense heat on Sunday.But team officials corrected earlier statements and said Root was instead weakened by the effects of a gastro bug.Root came out to bat on the dismissal of Moeen Ali for 13 an hour into the final day´s play.At lunch, England were 144 for five and trailing Australia by 159 runs with Root on 58 and Jonny Bairstow not out 38.Root was sent for checks after experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting overnight.The skipper, who has reached his fifth half-century of the series but has yet to reach a century, is seen as England´s last major hope of staving off a 4-0 series rout.His plight evoked memories of Englishman Eddie Paynter, who got out of his hospital bed to play an heroic four-hour innings of 83 in Brisbane to help England overhaul Australia´s first innings in the 1933 Bodyline series.Spinner Nathan Lyon claimed Moeen´s wicket for the seventh time in the series when he trapped him leg before, which Moeen did not review.Lyon had taken three wickets for 50 off 32 overs at lunch.Cameron Bancroft, fielding close in at bat-pad, took a full blow from Root on the helmet grille and hardly flinched before seeking replacement headgear.The Australians took [Read More…]

Jan 052018
Smith, Khawaja frustrate England in Sydney

Usman Khawaja raises his bat on reaching fifty, Australia v England, 5th Ashes Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 5, 2018/Getty Images Australia captain Steve Smith continued to be England´s Ashes nemesis on Friday as he passed 6,000 test runs in an unbeaten knock of 44 to help his team to 193 for two at close of play on the second day of the fifth test.The world´s top ranked batsman and Usman Khawaja batted through the final session in a 107-run partnership after openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner had departed earlier in Australia´s reply to England´s 346.Khawaja notched a stylish 91 not out on the ground where he made his test debut in the corresponding fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground seven years ago but it was the wicket of Smith that England most desperately wanted.They were to be disappointed with only a couple of half chances presenting themselves as Smith sent a couple of early edges fizzing through the slips.The 28-year-old was soon looking comfortable and unfussily swatted a single to backward square to pass the 6,000 career runs mark in his 111th test innings.Only the great Donald Bradman reached the milestone in fewer knocks.Having started the day with a brilliant diving catch in the slips to dismiss Dawid Malan, Smith walked off his home ground in the brilliant afternoon sunshine with 648 runs to his name in the series so far.The tourists, 3-0 down in the series with the urn already relinquished, earlier posted a competitive tally in the [Read More…]

Dec 302017
Looking back: A year of #MisYou

Misbah and Younis were carried by their teammates in a lap of honour after the end of their last ever Test match, May 14, 2017 Pakistan’s most successful Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq and the country’s greatest batsman Younis Khan bid goodbye to international cricket together in 2017, leaving their fans with decades of memories to cherish.As we see off this year, let’s re-live the ten best memories #MisYou gave us.Top of the world Misbah led Pakistan to the country’s greatest moment in Test cricket, when he lifted the enviable Test mace as the team embraced the number one spot in ICC Test team rankings for the first time in 2016.  Number one and proud of it: Misbah with the Test mace, September 2016Although the top spot was short-lived, the occasion was the proudest moment in Pakistan Test history and, of course, the highlight of Misbah’s career as captain.Push-ups: the new way to celebrate Misbah capped off a brilliant century at Lord’s during England tour of 2016 with an unforgettable celebration: the push-ups. First, the salute. Then came the push-ups. At 42 years old, Misbah became the sixth oldest player in Test history to make a century. But what followed was the highlight of the day: he saluted the Pakistan flag flying above the Pavilion and performed a series of push-ups that left his teammates and fans equally amused.  The skipper later said the Lord’s century was the top inning of his career. He also revealed that the push-ups were for the trainers of the Pakistan Army. “I [Read More…]

Dec 302017
Smith century secures Ashes Test draw with England

Another hundred for Steve Smith, Dec 30, 2017/Getty Images MELBOURNE: Steve Smith scored his 23rd Test century to bat out a draw for Australia in the fourth Ashes Test and deny England their first win of the series in Melbourne on Saturday.The Australia skipper stonewalled the English bowling attack to remain unconquered on 102 for his third century of the series when the Test was called a draw late on the final day.Smith joined the legendary Don Bradman as the only batsmen to score centuries in four consecutive Melbourne Tests.He also joined Ricky Ponting as the only batsmen in Test history to have made six centuries in a calendar year on multiple occasions.Australia only lost two wickets on the fifth day but coasted through after lunch to finish on 263 for four with Mitchell Marsh not out on 29.The hosts have already clinched the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series ahead of the fifth and final Test in Sydney next week.It was just the second drawn Boxing Day Test in 20 years, although there was criticism of the lifeless state of the Melbourne Cricket Ground drop-in pitch.Smith and Marsh comfortably batted through after lunch to ensure England were unable to go for the win after leading by 164 runs on the first innings, following a record-breaking unbeaten 244 from opener Alastair Cook.The Australia captain led the salvage operation in a 275-ball vigil to take his series tally to 604 runs at an average of 151.00 after losing batting [Read More…]

Dec 282017
Cook's record double ton puts England in control

Alastair Cook brought up his fifth Test double century/Getty ImagesMELBOURNE: Alastair Cook reeled off a record-breaking double century to put England in full command of the fourth Ashes Test with a formidable 164-run innings lead in Melbourne on Thursday.The stoic opener emphatically bounced back after a lean run of scores to finish the day unconquered on 244 off 409 balls. At the close, England were 491 for nine.Along the way, Cook surpassed the highest score by a visiting batsman in a Test match at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground, bettering the 208 by West Indian great Viv Richards in 1984. He earlier bettered Wally Hammond´s 200 set back in 1928 as the highest Test score at the MCG by an Englishman. Cook´s fifth double-century in 151 Test matches also catapulted him above West Indian Brian Lara to become the sixth highest run-getter in Test cricket with 11,956. The crowd applauds Alastair Cook’s double century/Getty Images Australia, who already have won back the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead, looked unable to stop the flow of runs in the final session as Stuart Broad supported Cook to take the game away from the hosts.Broad, who survived a series of hair-raising short-pitched balls, thrived in his partnership with Cook, pushing the tourists beyond 450 on a lifeless pitch.It needed multiple replays before Broad was finally given out for 56 off 63 balls to a diving outfield catch by Usman Khawaja off Pat Cummins, ending a demoralising 100-run stand off 110 balls with Cook.Smith´s [Read More…]

Dec 272017
Centurion Cook, Broad defy critics as England hit back

Alastair Cook brought up his 32nd Test century, Australia v England, 4th Test, 2nd day, Melbourne, December 27, 2017/Getty ImagesMELBOURNE: Alastair Cook hit a long-awaited century and Stuart Broad snapped up four wickets as England´s much-maligned old guard finally enjoyed a day to remember in the Ashes series on Wednesday.At 3-0 down after three Tests, the Ashes urn is already lost to Australia but Cook and Broad showed their careers are not over yet after critics had questioned their place in the England team.In scorching heat in Melbourne, England bowled out the Australians for 327, with 113-Test paceman Broad capturing four wickets for 51 runs in his best bowling performance in more than a year.Cook then ended a 10-innings stretch without a half-century, the longest drought of his 151-Test career, to claim his 32nd Test ton.At the close, England were 192 for two and trailing by 135 runs with Cook, playing in an English-record 34th consecutive Ashes Test, unbeaten on 104 and skipper Joe Root providing support on 49 in a 112-run partnership.Cook had a huge and symbolic let-off on 66 when rival skipper Steve Smith put down a two-handed chance after a couple of grabs at the ball in the slips off Mitchell Marsh.But apart from the drop, it was more like the former captain´s signature batting after just 83 runs in his previous six innings of the series.The Australians claimed two wickets with Josh Hazlewood trapping James Vince leg before wicket for 17 and Mark Stoneman out to [Read More…]

Dec 252017
Curran to debut for England in Melbourne Ashes Test

MELBOURNE: Young paceman Tom Curran will make his Test debut in England´s only change for the fourth Ashes Test against Australia starting in Melbourne on Tuesday. The Surrey 22-year-old fast bowler replaces injured Craig Overton, who succumbed to a rib injury when the tourists relinquished the Ashes to the Australians in last week´s third Perth Test. Curran has played three Twenty20s and a one-day international and was not originally chosen in England´s Ashes touring squad. But he got his chance when Steve Finn left the tour early with knee cartilage problems and now has a Test opportunity following Overton´s injury setback. Captain Joe Root said he was backing Curran to make the most of his opportunity in the showpiece Boxing Day Test before huge crowds. “Tom offers a lot and is a real competitor,” Root told reporters when announcing the team on Monday. “He has that real sort of work ethic and the way he goes about things is very similar to Craig (Overton) actually. “The way he gets involved in the contest and you know he is going to get involved in absolutely everything. He´s also very skilful and hopefully he can have a really good week here.” Curran won the Test nod ahead of Mark Wood and Jake Ball. Wood is nearing full fitness after touring with the England Lions, while Ball struggled in his only Test appearance on tour in Brisbane. Click for detailed story

Dec 242017
Starc out, Bird in for Boxing Day Test against England

Starc is Australia´s leading wicket-taker in this series with 19 wickets MELBOURNE: Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was on Sunday ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test with a heel injury and will be replaced by Jackson Bird.Starc, who is Australia´s leading wicket-taker in the series with 19, bruised his heel bowling in Australia´s series-clinching third Test win in Perth last week.There wasn´t enough time for him to recover from the injury to his landing foot, with team management officially ruling him out two days before Tuesday´s Melbourne Test.While Starc had been optimistic about his chances of playing, Australia´s selectors took a cautious approach with their star paceman ahead of a key series against South Africa early in the new year.Starc said he hoped to return for the series-ending Sydney Test on January 4.“It´s never nice to miss but it would be pretty selfish of me to go in to a game not at 100 percent,” he told reporters.“It´s nice that we have won the series and we can play it a little bit safer now.“I think the discussions (with selectors) lasted about 30 seconds… and it gives me a good chance now to have a bit of time off it over the next few days and give me a really good chance for Sydney.”Starc´s withdrawal continues his run of bad luck in the Melbourne Cricket Ground showpiece. He has played in just one Boxing Day Test since making his debut in 2011.Last year Starc scored 84 with the bat and [Read More…]

Dec 222017
Smith vows no mercy to England?s tail: Paine, Starc doubtful for 4th Test

MELBOURNE: Wicketkeeper Tim Paine has joined pace spearhead Mitchell Starc as a doubt for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against England in Melbourne.Starc hobbled through Melbourne airport on crutches Friday cushioning a bruised heel but was not yet ready to concede defeat. “It won’t be my choice,” he told reporters, on his possible selection. Reports said that Starc, who is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the Ashes series with 19, could be ruled out of the fourth Test as soon as Saturday. If Starc is unable to recover in time understudy Jackson Bird is expected to take his place in the XI. With Australia having already claimed the Ashes, another factor against the left-armer playing in the Boxing Day Test is an upcoming series in South Africa, with selectors keen to pick a healthy Starc in the touring party.Paceman Ryan Harris, who often played in pain throughout a Test career that included Australia’s home Ashes success four years ago, knows how much of an impediment a bruised heel can be. “I have had it. They can be quite painful,” Harris told radio on Friday. “You can’t hide it. You can’t change anything — the way you land or try and get around it.” Reports emerged on Friday that Paine is also no certainty to play in the showpiece Melbourne Cricket Ground Test.Paine, who is averaging 43.33 with the bat and has taken 15 catches and a stumping in the series, did not travel to Melbourne with the rest of his [Read More…]

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