Australia lose openers early

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

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Galle, Sri Lanka – Australia lost the wickets of its two opening batsmen cheaply before lunch on the opening day of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
Australia, electing to bat after winning the toss, were 76 for two at the break with Ricky Ponting and skipper Michael Clarke on 21 runs each, the pair having put on 40 for the third wicket.
The start was delayed by an hour due to overnight rains, but coverings ensured the wicket and the outfield remained dry.
Australia raced to 28-0 in six overs, 22 of them coming from the blade of Shane Watson, who smashed seamer Chanaka Welegedara for four boundaries in one over.
But Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan introduced spinner Rangana Herath in the seventh over, and the left-armer met with immediate success when Watson was caught behind on his first delivery.
The ball turned sharply, indicating the barren, dry wicket will favour spin as the match progresses.
Seamer Suranga Lakmal was rewarded for a probing first spell when he had opener Phillip Hughes fending a rising ball to Tharanga Paranavitana in the slips.
Left-handed Hughes was out for just 12 as Australia slipped to 36-2 in the 10th over.
Ponting brought up Australia's 50 with a boundary off Welegedara as the former captain and his successor Clarke settled in to deny Sri Lanka any more wickets.
Australia awarded Test caps to seamer Trent Copeland and off-spinner Nathan Lyon, while Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja was preferred to Shaun Marsh for the number six position.
Lyon, 23, who had played just four first-class matches when he was picked for the tour, was given the nod for the opening Test over left-arm spinner Michael Beer.
Copeland, 25, a lanky seamer from New South Wales, picked up six wickets during the three-day warm-up match in Colombo last week in which left-hander Khawaja scored a century.
Sri Lanka left out unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis and decided to go with two seamers in Welegedera and Lakmal, and two slow bowlers in Herath and Suraj Randiv.

Hussey rescues Australia’s innings

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Galle, Sri Lanka – Michael Hussey rescued Australia with a battling 95 after Sri Lanka stung the tourists with pace and spin in the first cricket Test on Wednesday.
The crafty left-hander narrowly missed his 14th century as Australia, caught on a difficult dusty wicket, recovered from a shaky 157-5 at tea to 273 all out by stumps on the opening day.
Former captain Ricky Ponting was the only other batsman to resist the Sri Lankan bowlers, making a fluent 44 even as the top order floundered around him.
Seamer Suranga Lakmal and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claimed three wickets each to give Sri Lanka the edge in the series opener at the Galle International Stadium.
Hussey was last man out, leg-before wicket to Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, after a heroic four-hour knock that included three sixes.
Sri Lanka had one over to face before close, but the umpires called off play for bad light as soon as the batsmen had walked in.
Herath, a 33-year-old playing only his 28th Test despite making his debut at the same ground 12 years ago, finished with three for 54 from 24 accurate overs.
Lakmal, whose previous five Tests had fetched him just 10 wickets, returned with three for 55.
There was no sign of the panic to follow when Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat after the start was delayed by an hour due to overnight rain.
Australia raced to 28-0 in six overs, 22 of them coming from the blade of Shane Watson, who smashed Chanaka Welegedara for four boundaries in one over.
But Dilshan introduced Herath in the seventh over and the bowler met with immediate success when Watson was caught behind off his first delivery.
Lakmal was rewarded for a probing first spell when he had opener Phillip Hughes fending a rising ball to Tharanga Paranavitana in the slips, the batsman going for just 12 runs.
Clarke helped Ponting retrieve the situation by adding 55 for the third wicket on either side of the lunch interval.
But Clarke fell for 23 soon after the resumption. Sri Lanka asked for a television review after umpire Richard Kettleborough turned down a confident appeal for leg-before from Herath.
Replays confirmed the ball would have hit middle stump and TV umpire Tony Hill declared Clarke out.
Herath removed Ponting when the well-set batsman attempted a mighty heave off a ball that spun sharply, spooning an easy catch to Angelo Mathews at deep mid-off.
Ponting, the only member of the touring side to have played a Test in Sri Lanka before this trip, batted confidently to hit six boundaries.
Usman Khawaja was dismissed for 21, but Brad Haddin (24) helped Hussey add 48 for the sixth wicket in the final session.
Australia awarded Test caps to seamer Trent Copeland, 25, and off-spinner Nathan Lyon, 23, while Khawaja was preferred to Shaun Marsh for the number six position.
Sri Lanka left out unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis and decided to go with two seamers in Welegedara and Lakmal, and two slow bowlers in Herath and Suraj Randiv.

Gambhir to miss ODI series

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New Delhi - India opener Gautam Gambhir will miss the limited-over series in England and return home because of vision problems, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Wednesday.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will replace Gambhir in the squad for the five-match one-day series starting on Saturday, BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.
“Suresh Raina has been nominated as vice-captain for the ODI series,” Srinivasan said.
Gambhir banged his head against the ground while fielding in the Oval Test and suffered concussion.
“He was sent for a precautionary CT and MRI scan of his head and neck which was reported as normal,” Srinivasan said.
“However, he still complains of some visual disturbance and inability to focus on an object for long.
“Gautam has been advised to take rest and is expected to recover without any further medical intervention.”
India, knocked off the top of the test rankings following their 4-0 drubbing by England, have lost five other frontline players, Virender Sehwag, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, to injuries.

Herath puts Australia in a spin

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Galle, Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath grabbed three wickets to leave Australia struggling on 157-5 at tea on the opening day of the first Test on Wednesday.
The left-arm spinner troubled the tourists by making the ball turn and bounce on the bone-dry wicket at the Galle International Stadium.
Former captain Ricky Ponting was the lone Australian batsman to put up a stand, making a fluent 44 before falling in the afternoon session.
Herath, a 33-year-old playing only his 28th Test despite making his debut at the same ground 12 years ago, went to tea with figures of three for 40 from 16 accurate overs.
Michael Hussey was unbeaten on 34 at the break but Usman Khawaja was bowled by seamer Chanaka Welegedara in the session's final over for 21.
There was no sign of the panic to follow when Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat after the start was delayed by an hour due to overnight rains.
Australia raced to 28-0 in six overs, 22 of them coming from the blade of Shane Watson, who smashed Welegedara for four boundaries in one over.
But Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan introduced Herath in the seventh over and the bowler met with immediate success when Watson was caught behind off his first delivery.
Seamer Suranga Lakmal was rewarded for a probing first spell when he had opener Phillip Hughes fending a rising ball to Tharanga Paranavitana in the slips, the batsman going for just 12 runs.
Clarke helped Ponting retrieve the situation by adding 55 for the third wicket on either side of the lunch interval.
But Clarke fell for 23 soon following the resumption when Sri Lanka asked for a television review after umpire Richard Kettleborough turned down a confident appeal for leg-before from Herath.
Replays confirmed the ball would have hit middle stump and TV umpire Tony Hill declared Clarke out.
Herath removed Ponting when the well-set batsman attempted a mighty heave off a ball that spun sharply, spooning an easy catch to Angelo Mathews at deep mid-off.
Ponting, the only member of the touring side to have played a Test in Sri Lanka before this trip, batted confidently to hit six boundaries.
Australia awarded Test caps to seamer Trent Copeland and off-spinner Nathan Lyon, while Khawaja was preferred to Shaun Marsh for the number six position.
Lyon, 23, who had played just four first-class matches when he was picked for the tour, was given the nod for the opening Test over left-arm spinner Michael Beer.
Copeland, 25, a lanky seamer from New South Wales, picked up six wickets during the three-day warm-up match in Colombo last week in which left-hander Khawaja scored a century.
Sri Lanka left out unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis and decided to go with two seamers in Welegedera and Lakmal, and two slow bowlers in Herath and Suraj Randiv.

Pakistan test looms for Zimbabwe

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Harare – Having negotiated the first hurdle in their campaign to justify Test nation status by beating Bangladesh in a one-off Test two weeks ago, Zimbabwe now face a much higher fence on Thursday - Pakistan.
The single Test match, which starts Thursday, will be followed by three ODI's and two Twenty-20s.
Zimbabwe was granted a return to Test cricket by the ICC last year after a gap of six years. They had been obliged to field a weak side following a strike of nearly all their professionals and two consequent Test defeats by an innings and more than 200 runs.
Withdrawal from Tests was inevitable and those years have been used to rebuild. With just what success is now under the microscope with three successive tours - by Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan and in October/November New Zealand.
These opponents are considered by the ICC to be ones a nascent Zimbabwe can best cope with.
The new Zimbabweans got off to a good start two weeks ago in beating Bangladesh by 130 runs and then by 3-2 in an ODI series.
Now they are called upon to move up a big step. Pakistan will inevitably start favourites, even though there appears to be continuing discord in their camp.
Coach Waqar Younis suddenly declared his resignation last year with the Zimbabwe tour his intended last.
And Pakistan will also not have Shahid Afridi on the tour as he has said he will not work with Younis, nor with the present executive.
They were also in dressing room disorder here in 1995 when they lost to Zimbabwe by an innings, with Grant Flower, the present batting coach, scoring an undefeated 201.
However, their overall record is perhaps the one to be taken most account of. Pakistan have won eight of the 14 played, with two defeats. Their last encounter was in 1992 when Pakistan won both Tests, by 119 runs and by 10 wickets.
Earlier this year they broke even 1-1 in a West Indies series, also winning one and drawing one against New Zealand.
Pakistan have rested Umar Gull, Wahib Riaz and Abdur Rehman on this tour, bringing back Imran Farhat, Adnan Akmal and Sohail Tanveer. They introduce Ramiz Raja, Yasir Shah and Aizaz Cheema.
Zimbabwe are expecting seamer Brian Vitori back after a leg muscle strain. But he still needs to prove fitness. He had two five wicket hauls against Bangladesh and is their key strike bowler.
Pakistan squad:
Misbah-ul-haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufic Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Rameez Raja Jnr, Adnan Akmal (wk), Saeed Asmal, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanveer, Ramiz Raja, Yasir Shah, Aizaz Cheema.
Zimbabwe have not yet formally released names in their squad but the team will be selected from:
Brendan Taylor (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Forbes Mtizwa, Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Kyle Jarivis, Raymond Price, Christopher Mpofu, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori.

Spot-fixing saga still dogs Pakistan

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

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Karachi – A year on from the spot-fixing scandal that ended in long bans for three leading Test players, Pakistani cricket is still struggling to recover.
In late August 2010, Britain's now-defunct News of the World tabloid alleged that captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had arranged deliberate no-balls for money from an agent during the Lord's Test against England.
“We were settling in the hotel after coming from the third day's play when police raided the team hotel, showed us documentation and searched the rooms of the players,” then-team manager Yawar Saeed told AFP.
“It was earth-shattering and I couldn't believe my ears for the first 20 minutes.”
Pakistan lost the match by an innings and 225 runs the following day as a visibly upset Butt tried his best to hide his shock, and the claims of spot-fixing at the spiritual home of cricket shook the game around the world.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) pulled the trio from the one-day series which followed and Scotland Yard investigated the players before they were allowed to return home on condition they would return for criminal proceedings.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) went on to suspend them and an anti-corruption tribunal led by senior lawyer Michael Beloff heard their case in Doha in January and February this year.
Butt was given a ten-year ban with five years suspended, Asif seven years with two years suspended and Amir a flat five-year ban – effectively meaning all three will be out of action for five years.
The gifted Amir is still only 19 and could yet make a return to the game, but Butt and Asif will be into their 30s by the time their bans expire, and their international careers appear to be over.
Pakistan have not fared badly since the England tour, drawing a Test series against a strong South Africa side, beating New Zealand away and reaching the semi-final of the World Cup.
But Saeed said Pakistan was still feeling the loss of three star players who could have led the side into the future.
“In Salman we had a young captain who in his first Test as leader defeated Australia and then in Amir we had a world-class fast bowler who even in his early days was lethal,” said Saeed, who quit his post after the scandal-hit tour.
“I still feel they were set up but the fault lies with them and it seems they did it for temporary monetary gains. Even today it's hair-raising when I remember that incident,” said Saeed, who refused to accept the management could have done anything to prevent what happened.
“We barred their agents coming into their hotel rooms but we couldn't stop them from talking to someone on the phone. Had we known, we would have taken every possible step.”
Forced by the ICC, the PCB took measures to prevent a repeat in the future, forming an “integrity committee” to look into players' assets and adding stringent clauses on match-fixing to players' central contracts.
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt admitted the loss of three key players had been devastating for a cricket-mad country where the game is often a unifying force in adversity.
“Losing three players hurt us badly,” said Butt. “Salman had shown great potential as captain but after that case we had to look around for a permanent captain and it was tough.”
The side suffered yet another blow earlier this month with the surprise resignation of coach Waqar Younis, who stepped down after less than 18 months in charge, citing “personal grounds”.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said the side wants to give Waqar a fitting send-off with a successful Test and one-day international tour of Zimbabwe.
Pakistan have sent a new-look side to the African nation and their fans will hope they bring back brighter hopes for the future.

All eyes on Test skipper Clarke

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Galle, Sri Lanka – Rival captains Michael Clarke and Tillakaratne Dilshan will look to lead their young teams from the front when Australia and Sri Lanka begin their three-Test series on Wednesday.
Clarke, 30, begins his reign as a full-time Australian Test captain hoping to ease into the giant boots of Ricky Ponting, who quit as skipper after the World Cup in April.
Ponting, the world's most successful Test captain with 48 wins, will take the field as the senior statesman and the team's frontline batsman, but the focus will clearly be on the new skipper.
Clarke's lone Test as captain so far, when he stood in for an injured Ponting, was a forgettable experience as England swept to an innings and 83-run win at Sydney in January.
Ponting began his Test captaincy in Sri Lanka in 2004, leading Australia to a 3-0 sweep, and Clarke will hope for similar results even without retired greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.
Dilshan, 34, also took over after the World Cup from Kumar Sangakkara and goes into his first home series as captain hoping to make up for the 1-0 defeat in England earlier in the year.
Dilshan will miss the experience of prolific off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, Test cricket's leading bowler with 800 wickets, who retired from the longer format a year ago.
Sri Lanka have not won a Test since Muralitharan bade goodbye, losing two and drawing six matches since July 2010.
The first Test at the Galle International Stadium marks the start of a new chapter for both teams looking to climb back in the Test rankings.
Former world number ones Australia have fallen to fifth place, while Sri Lanka, ranked second just a year ago, are fourth behind leaders England, South Africa and India.
With the top four teams due to contest the inaugural world Test championships in England in 2013, both Australia and Sri Lanka will hope to push their claims.
“I think it is going to take time for us to work our way back up the rankings,” said Clarke. “But I'm confident with the talent we have and our dedication, I can see us having some success.”
Clarke made a confidence-boosting start to the tour, winning the one-day series 3-2 before hitting a century in the drawn three-day practice match in Colombo ahead of the first Test.
Dilshan, meanwhile, was hoping his inexperienced bowling attack would perform well in home conditions where batsmen and slow bowlers have traditionally dominated.
The home squad has four spinners in its ranks, including the unorthodox Ajantha Mendis and leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna, 26, who has yet to make his Test debut.
Sri Lanka will be without sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who rattled the Australians with his third one-day hat-trick last week, as he has quit Test cricket to concentrate on the shorter forms of the game.
Local media speculated that efforts were being made to convince Malinga to change his mind and make himself available from the second Test onwards.
Rookie paceman Shaminda Eranga, 25, is one of the four young seamers in the squad for the Galle Test alongside Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad and Chanaka Welegedara.
“There is a lot of variety in our bowling, but we must put up good runs on the board to put the Australians under pressure,” said Dilshan. “The key to success is how we bat.”
The remaining two Tests will be played in Pallekele (September 8-12) and Colombo (September 16-20)

KP to miss India ODI series

Saturday, 27 August 2011

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London – Kevin Pietersen was the big name missing from the England squad announced on Friday for the upcoming five-match one-day international series against India.
The first-choice batsman has been rested as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board's policy of 'workload management'.
Ben Stokes, who made his England debut in Thursday's win over Ireland, has been retained alongside a clutch of returning stars who were excused the trip to Dublin.
Uncapped pair Jos Buttler of Somerset and Alex Hales of Nottinghamshire have been called up to the Twenty20 squad.
England squad
Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Ben Stokes, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott

England dominates ICC Test team

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London – England dominates the International Cricket Council's Test team of the year with five of the 11 players in the lineup.
Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and James Anderson have all been picked by an ICC panel chaired by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.
Dale Steyn makes it into the lineup for the fourth straight year alongside South Africa teammates Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis. Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara makes it in as wicketkeeper and captain, with India batting great Sachin Tendulkar completing the side.
India pace bowler Zaheer Khan was picked as 12th man.
Trott and Cook both made it onto four-man shortlists for the Cricketer of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards.

Steyn itching to get going

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SOUTH Africa’s premier strike bowler, Dale Steyn, says he’s fit, fresh and hungry for another season of international cricket.
The whippy fast bowler says he spent a month in the US and three weeks in England during his long break.
“I got away from the game and nobody really recognised me. I had some close calls in New York and Las Vegas, though. I couldn’t walk into a subway or a shop in those places without an Indian or a Pakistani’s eyes lighting up as they thought they recognised me. ‘Oh, you’re Brett Lee,’ they’d say.”
Steyn has spent the past three days in Durban playing in a series of limited-overs matches against the Dolphins as the Cobras build up for the Champions League in India next month. He said he felt in good fettle for the challenges ahead, particularly the visits of Australia and Sri Lanka this summer.
Asked about the quality of the England pace attack following their 4-0 series win over India, Steyn acknowledged they were bowling well.
“They bullied a team that just didn’t look up for it,” he said bluntly. “James Anderson knows how to bowl with the Duke ball… he makes it talk, and Stuart Broad bowled a heavy ball that the Indian batsmen couldn’t handle.
“Before the series, I talked with some English journalists who said Broad could be dropped. I said to them that I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the series of his life, and that’s what happened. There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to bring the best out of a quality player.”
Asked about the thin pace bowling resources in South Africa if he or Morne Morkel were to get injured, Steyn replied with a laugh: “Come on man, we’re South Africans! I came from Phalaborwa, so I’m sure we can drag somebody else out of somewhere else.”

India lifts gloom with win

Friday, 26 August 2011

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Hove, England – India lifted the gloom after their crushing Test series defeat against England by warming up for the forthcoming one-day internationals with a six-wicket victory over Sussex at Hove on Thursday.
The Indians lost all four Tests against England, but they showed no signs of a hangover as Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma hit half-centuries to secure a first win of the tour.
India, who play further one-day matches against Kent and Leicestershire, reached a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 235 in 45 overs with 4.1 overs to spare and will hope the momentum from this victory can provide some impetus as they prepare for the one-day matches against England, which begin with a Twenty20 clash on August 31.
After India won the toss and elected to bowl, Sussex threatened to post an imposing total thanks to useful contributions from Joe Gatting, Matt Machan and Ben Brown.
But they subsided dramatically after Brown mistimed a slog at Munaf Patel in the 43rd over, losing their last five wickets for 18 runs in 19 balls as RP Singh finished with four for 45.
India included five members of their World Cup-winning side, and Sachin Tendulkar and Patel began confidently enough with a stand of 41 in 7.4 overs before left-armer Chris Liddle foxed Tendulkar with a slower ball which was driven to mid-off.
Patel is anxious to press his claims for a role in the forthcoming one-day series and played attractively for his 55 off 65 balls, including nine fours, before Sussex skipper Chris Nash turned one past him with his first delivery.
Nash and leg-spinner Will Beer occasionally got some sharp turn from a worn pitch but the impressive Kohli and Sharma, who hit two fifties during the one-day series against West Indies in June, improved their chances of facing England in a stand of 104 in 17.5
overs.
Kohli hit six fours and a six off Naved Arif in his 71 in 83 balls before driving to mid-on, but India needed just 27 to win when he departed and Sharma eased to an unbeaten 61 from 65 balls with eight fours and a six.

England avenge shock WC loss

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Dublin – England avenged their World Cup defeat against Ireland with an 11-run victory over the hosts in Thursday's rain-affected one-day international at Clontarf.
The Irish were eyeing another famous win over England after restricting Eoin Morgan's team to 201-8 in 42 overs.
But hopes of a repeat of Ireland's World Cup victory in Bangalore in March were washed away by the constant drizzle that disrupted the hosts' chances of establishing any momentum.
After two rain interruptions during the Irish innings the target was reduced to 129 from 23 overs and England were able to maintain enough control in the closing stages to secure a relatively straightforward win.
Despite losing to the Irish in the World Cup, England opted to make a host of changes for this match and included three debutants in a side captained by Dubliner Eoin Morgan for the first time.
England's understudies found it hard going as new boys James Taylor and Ben Stokes made just four between them.
The visitors were given a solid platform from a century stand between Morgan, who made 59, and Jonathan Trott, who top-scored for England with 69 but they failed to capitalise.
John Mooney took the new ball for Ireland in the absence of the injured Trent Johnston and started well, dismissing Craig Kieswetter for 14 when the wicketkeeper edged to Niall O'Brien took a smart low catch.
Taylor began his international debut with a risky single and his innings ended moments later when Boyd Rankin had him caught at mid-wicket from a mis-timed pull.
There had been some unhappiness among the hosts about England's decision to field an under-strength team. But the Irish crowd still gave a warm welcome to Morgan before rain forced the reduction in overs.
Morgan hit George Dockrell for six after the resumption and brought up his 50 from 52 balls before Trott followed him to a half-century off his 78th delivery.
Paul Stirling made the crucial breakthrough when the off-spinner found Morgan's leading edge and made a diving return catch.
With 10 overs remaining, England were at 139-4, with a second debutant at the crease in Stokes.
The 20-year-old Durham all-rounder made just three before becoming Stirling's second caught-and-bowled victim.
Trott's 105-ball innings ended when his uncharacteristic heave found Jones in the deep off Mooney, but Chris Woakes and Scott Borthwick rallied in the closing overs to see the visitors past 200.
Paul Stirling started Ireland's chase by hitting a six over cover but fell two balls later attempting a second big blow off Steven Finn.
Ed Joyce, who won 17 one-day caps for England before recommitting to Ireland, became Finn's second victim when Kieswetter took a thin edge behind the stumps.
Durham leg-spinner Borthwick was handed his first over for England after the restart following more showers and William Porterfield was run out off his second delivery.
That brought Kevin O'Brien to the crease and the man whose unforgettable 113 in 63 balls downed England at the World Cup soon found his range.
He heaved his third and fourth balls over the ropes, seeing Borthwick out of the attack after an over and delighting the home fans.
O'Brien had made 26 from 15 balls before a fine Jade Dernbach yorker clattered leg stump, taking Ireland's hopes with it.

Trott shines after injury layoff

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Dublin – Jonathan Trott returned from injury Thursday to hit 69 in England's 201-8 in a rain-affected one-day international against Ireland at Clontarf Cricket Club Ground.
After missing England's last two Test victories over India, Trott opened the batting alongside Craig Kieswetter and top scored despite continually losing partners.
Eoin Morgan captained England against the country of his birth and was the only other batsman to score heavily, hitting 59 from 65 balls. Chris Woakes managed 19 and debutant Scott Borthwick 15.
John Mooney was the pick of the bowlers with 3-32, including the wickets of Trott and Kieswetter.
The match was reduced to 42 overs per side after a rain interruption during England's innings.

Fletcher in a difficult position

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India coach Duncan Fletcher faces a dilemma after player power and a lack of discipline helped account for India's 4-0 series loss to England, according to former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels.
Wessels, a well travelled television commentator, told Reuters on Thursday that former coach Gary Kirsten allowed the senior players to run the team.
“The general consensus is that Fletcher was appointed as long as he continued with the same coaching style as Gary Kirsten. The senior players wanted that, they wanted Gary to stay on, but when that didn't happen, they wanted a like-for-like replacement,” he said.
“Gary allowed the senior players and superstars to run the show and do their own thing. But then the team arrived in England totally unprepared, there was no dedicated approach and no hunger there. India need a much firmer hand, superstars or not,” Wessels told Reuters on Thursday.
Wessels said Fletcher was now “between a rock and a hard place”.
“If he agreed to go with the Kirsten approach, he can't change now. The situation is crying out for more control and a firm hand, but if he does flex his muscles, the players won't like it and it is unclear whether the board will sanction a different approach,” he said.
The former opening batsman, who was renowned for his gritty, disciplined approach during his 16 Tests for South Africa and 24 for Australia, said India could not compete with an England team run by team director Andy Flower.
“Flower takes a hard line, he's meticulous on fitness, there are no short cuts and he sets very high standards. The players and management can either buy into it or not be part of the team. He runs a very tight ship and the players have bought into it,” he said.
“The England players are technically very good at the moment in all three disciplines of the game. Due to their superior fitness and technical expertise, they have become used to winning, which has made them mentally strong and ruthless in their pursuit of excellence.”

Amir gets off with a warning

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Mumbai – Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir has escaped further punishment for flouting his five-year ban by playing for an English amateur side in a league match in June.
Amir has been cautioned by the International Cricket Council and warned over his future conduct.
“Mohammad Amir has been warned and has been provided with further clarification as to the terms of his suspension,” an ICC spokesman said.
The 19-year-old played for Surrey Cricket League Division One team Addington, prompting the ICC to launch an inquiry.
Amir was banned for a minimum of five years along with team mates Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt by an ICC tribunal in February for bowling deliberate no balls during a test match in England last year.
The case is currently going through the criminal courts.

Amla, Duminy shine in pre-season friendly

Thursday, 25 August 2011

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There were excellent performances from Ahmed Amla, Kyle Abbott and Cameron Delport as the Dolphins beat the Cobras by 18 runs in their 50-over warm-up match at Kingsmead yesterday. There Amla struck 112 not out off 110 balls to lead the Dolphins to 292 for seven.
Proteas paceman Dale Steyn, having his first outdoor outing of the pre-season with the Cobras, bowled within himself to complete six tidy overs for 18 runs.
The Cobras were well placed for victory halfway through their innings with JP Duminy leading the way with an elegant 71 off 91 balls. But once he was out the Dolphins’ bowlers managed to strangle the remaining batsmen and the Cobras had to be content with 274/9.
Kyle Abbott, who bowled superbly at the death, was the home team’s best bowler, finishing with 3-36 in his 10 overs, while Cameron Delport en- joyed a good all-round match, striking an aggressive 49 with the bat and finishing with 2/36 in eight overs.
The teams were to play a Twenty20 game today.
The Cobras will be keen to sharpen up their skills in the shortest format of the game, with the Champions League in India looming. The Cobras’ programme begins with a match against the New South Wales Blues in Chennai on September 24. Their other pool games are against the Chennai Super Kings (September 29), the Mumbai Indians (September 30) and a team from the pre-qualifying tournament (October 4). All the games are in Chennai except for the Mumbai clash, set for Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, three uncapped players – batsmen Dean Elgar and Rilee Rossouw and pace bowler Craig Alexander – are among 28 players chosen to attend a Proteas national camp at the Arabella Golf Estate from Monday to Friday next week.
Alexander, from the Lions, is one of the quicker bowlers around, and has earned recognition after handy performances for South Africa A against Bangladesh A earlier this year and in a recent triangular one-day series against a Zimbabwe XI and Australia A in Harare.
This will be new coach Gary Kirsten’s first opportunity to work with the national players after he officially started on August 1. His management team includes bowling coach Allan Donald and assistant coach Russell Domingo.
Test captain Graeme Smith is recuperating from injury but he and all the first-choice national team players are expected to be fit for the first action of the season against Australia in October.
The convener of the national selectors, Andrew Hudson, commented on the make-up of the squad: “The squad consists of all the CSA-contracted players plus another 11 who have either represented the Proteas before or who have done well enough at South Africa A level recently to merit consideration for promotion,” he said.
“I can’t stress enough how important the A side has become,” he added. “This is our second XI and is the only way for players to gain promotion to the Test and ODI squads.”
Training camp squad: Graeme Smith, Craig Alexander, Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Paul Harris, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Heino Kuhn, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Albie Morkel, MornĂ© Morkel, Robbie Peterson, Vernon Philander, Ashwell Prince, Rilee Rossouw, Jacques Rudolph, Dale Steyn, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld. Not available (county cricket commitments): Alviro Petersen, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir.

India architechts of their own downfall

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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Mumbai - England steamrolled India with a consistent and ruthless display in the recently concluded 4-0 series whitewash but the tourists' meek surrender of the number one Test ranking was primarily their own doing.
Occupants of the top slot since December 2009, India added the 50-over World Cup in April this year to signal their intention of dominating the game like the West Indies and Australia had done so in the recent past.
However, England's utter dominance in a quartet of lopsided Test victories proved that India's fortress was built on flimsy foundations.
India's much-vaunted batting line-up failed to fire, their bowlers bled runs without success and the standard of their fielding would have embarrassed any club side.
“Indian cricket has become the laughing stock of the world game and while that might not seem to matter to a board that generates 70 percent of the sport's global income and has in its locker-room the World Cup trophy, no less, ridicule tends to be a corrosive disease,” ESPN Cricinfo's Andrew Miller wrote.
Many believe the seeds of destruction were sown by the Indian cricket board, which compiled a lucrative but punishing schedule that ensured most of the players were either exhausted or injured by the time they set foot on English soil.
India's World Cup victory in April was preceded by a South Africa tour and less than a week after lifting one-day cricket's biggest trophy in Mumbai, skipper MS Dhoni and his men were honouring their Indian Premier League (IPL) obligations in the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
A short tour of the West Indies followed before they arrived in England just in time for a practice game ahead of the four-match series against a battle-hardened and hungry England side.
Ajit Wadekar, who led India to their first series victory in England 40 years ago, insists the players should have skipped the IPL tournament.
“Tell me which English player participated in the IPL? None of them,” Wadekar told Reuters.
“We could not even enjoy our World Cup win properly. The IPL started immediately. It was too much and it's telling on the players.”
Wadekar's point was driven home by the dismal experiences of three key players before and during the England series.
Openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan either picked up or aggravated existing injuries during the 51-day IPL tournament and subsequently skipped the trip to the Caribbean.
On top of that, a fresh injury to Gambhir compounded India's crisis and the tourists were only once able to start a test with their regular opening partnership, tinkering with the batting order in the other three matches.
Sehwag was unavailable for the first two matches as he recovered from shoulder surgery and after being rushed into action for the third test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, was dismissed for first-ball ducks in both innings.
Zaheer lasted just one test, bowling 13 1/2 overs in the first innings of the opening match at Lord's, before a hamstring injury ended his tour.
India's lack of planning, the hallmark of any team that wants to dominate the game, was also cruelly exposed.
Devoid of a reserve opener in the squad, Rahul Dravid, India's only batsman to offer resistance, was promoted to the top of the order to face England's fired-up seamers with the new ball.
Selectors also sprang a surprise when they called up left-arm seamer RP Singh as Zaheer's replacement, despite not playing a Test match since April 2008.
They also recalled Dravid for the subsequent limited-overs series after an absence of two years in another decision that smacked of poor planning and desperation.
As Dhoni pointed out after losing his first series as captain, cracks had appeared throughout India's much-vaunted batting line-up.
While the team urgently needs to identify and groom a third opener, the lower-middle order position vacated by former captain Sourav Ganguly when he retired in 2008 has also proved difficult to fill.
Yuvraj Singh, who brings immense value in the shorter formats, has not been able to cement his place in the Test side and Suresh Raina's inadequate technique does not make him an automatic choice either.
Adding to that dilemma, batting stalwarts Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Vangipurappu Laxman are all on the wrong side of their thirties and phasing them out will be the biggest challenge for India, where cricket towers over all other sports.
“That's a phase I think every country has to cope with. It's like a cycle,” Wadekar said, referring to the crisis Australia faced after the retirement of players like Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
“Here, nobody bothers about it and there is no planning at all. We have to plan our future properly. This is where we should do a little bit of rotation and get more youngsters.”
Former wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors Kiran More echoed those views.
“Test cricket is the biggest concern area. Test cricket makes a huge difference for the young and fringe players. I think we haven't developed one Test player in the last few years,” More told Reuters.
“You have to promote young players, give them opportunities and carry them on the tours. That's how you develop a player.
“You have to carry AN extra couple of fast bowlers on the tour. Pakistan during Imran Khan's time used to carry 17-18 players on the tour.
“Imran used to carry extra fast bowlers who could bowl in the nets and gain the experience of the conditions. That has not happened... there have been so many changes. It is not helping the players and they are not gaining any confidence.”

Steyn to add venom to Cobras attack

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The Cape Cobras will have Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn to lead their attack in the Champions League, while two other Cape acquisitions, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, will play for other teams in the T20 event.
The CLT20 will be Steyn’s first appearance for the Cobras since linking up with the Western Cape franchise last season – he has not represented them yet due to international commitments.
Kallis and Boucher re-joined the Cobras for the coming season only, therefore they were eligible to play for the Warriors, their previous team, in the 20-over event. Kallis, however, opted to play for his Indian Premier League franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders, instead. In this year’s IPL Kallis hit four half-centuries in his aggregate of 424 runs in 11 innings for Kolkata.
There were seven other players who qualified to play for two teams in the CLT20, and all of them opted to don the colours of their IPL franchises rather than their domestic teams. The seven are Brett Lee, and Brad Haddin (teammates of Kallis at Kolkata), Kieron Pollard, Davy Jacobs and Aiden Blizzard at Mumbai, and Dwayne Bravo and Doug Bollinger at IPL champions Chennai.
Jacobs’ choice of playing for Mumbai means the Warriors will have to decide on a new captain for the tournament, which begins with a six-team qualifying event in Hyderabad from September 19-21.
The Cobras and the Warriors, finalists in last season’s South African Pro20 competition, are already in the main draw for the CLT20 proper, which kicks off in Bengaluru on September 25. The other teams already in the main draw are the South Australian Redbacks, the NSW Blues, the Chennai Super Kings, the Royal Challangers Bangalore and the Mumbai Indians.
The seven will be joined by three from the qualifying event. The six sides in the preliminary tournament are Kolkata, Trinidad & Tobago, Auckland, Ruhunu (Sri Lanka), and two teams from England (to be decided on August 27 in the semi-finals of their domestic competition).
Owais Shah, player of the tournament in the Pro20 last summer, will play for the Cobras.
CLT20 squads
Cape Cobras: JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Justin Kemp, Rory Kleinveldt, Charl Langeveldt, Richard Levi, Johann Louw, Justing Ontong, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Andrew Puttick, Michael Rippon, Owais Shah, Dale Steyn, Dane Vilas.
Warriors: Johan Botha, Nicky Boje, Mark Boucher, Andrew Birch, Colin Ingram, Justin Kreusch, Lyall Meyer, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Ashwell Prince, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kelly Smuts, Rusty Theron, Craig Thyssen, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Sri Lanka spinners the key – Clarke

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Colombo – Australia captain Michael Clarke believes fending off the challenge posed by Sri Lanka's spinners will be the key to winning the three-Test series starting next week.
The series, which opens at a traditionally spin-friendly venue in Galle on August 31, will be Clarke's first as Test captain since taking over from Ricky Ponting after the World Cup.
Clarke said a 3-2 success in the one-day series against the hosts would stand his side in good stead going into the Test matches.
“I think it's been really good to get some cricket under the belt in these conditions,” Clarke said after his team's four-wicket defeat in the fifth and final one-dayer in Colombo on Monday night.
“Looking at the result, I would imagine that the wickets are going to turn throughout the series and we are going to be facing a lot of spin. We need to be prepared for that.
“We have to be at our best as a batting group. We are fortunate we've got a lot of experience in our batting group but we have to make some big scores.”
Sri Lanka will be without match-winning fast bowler Lasith Malinga for the Test series, but Clarke said the hosts still had the bowling resources to test his batsmen.
Malinga, who became the first bowler to take three hat-tricks in one-day internationals, has already quit Tests in a bid to prolong his career in limited-overs cricket.
“I think a few of the boys are happy we don't face him (Malinga) in the Test series,” said Clarke, who was named man of the one-day series for scoring 242 runs in the five matches.
Man-of-the-match Malinga dismissed Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings and Xavier Doherty off successive balls to spark a dramatic collapse which saw Australia lose their last five wickets for just one run.
Australia were bowled out for 211 before Sri Lanka achieved the target with three overs to spare.
“I'm sure Sri Lanka are going to have a good attack in the conditions we're playing in. I'd be surprised if they don't play two spinners at least,” said Clarke.
Sri Lanka are likely to field unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in the Tests.
Australia will play a three-day practice match against a Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo from Thursday before the Test series.

Arthur eyes Aussie coach job

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

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Sydney: Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said Tuesday he would be interested in coaching Australia's national cricket side if he was offered the role.
Arthur, who guided the Proteas to the top ranking in Test and one-day cricket last decade, has two years left to run on his contract with Western Australia and said he was enjoying his time in the state.
But the 43-year-old said he would consider any approach from Cricket Australia to replace Tim Nielsen, who has to re-apply for his job in the wake of last week's hard-hitting Argus review into the domestic game.
“You'd be foolish not to consider it but, as I've said and I've always said, I'm incredibly happy with the job I've got at the moment,” Arthur said.
“I'm incredibly happy working in WA and I'm incredibly happy with the structures we've put in place.
“I'd like to see this job until the end but timing unfortunately is not everything in life and, if something like that (a job offer to coach Australia) did arise, then you'd have to consider it.
“But it's pure speculation at the moment, that's all.”
If Nielsen wants to stay on as coach of Australia he will have to re-apply for the restructured role after the current series in Sri Lanka.
But Cricket Australia chairman Jack Clarke was not effusive last week about Nielsen's chances of retaining the post.
“He may well get the job, but it's a different role and in a restructure, you just don't give someone the job in a new role,” Clarke said.
The Argus Review of Australian cricket, released on Friday, was sparked by the team's humiliating 3-1 Ashes defeat by England earlier this year.
Nielsen is under pressure, having presided over two Ashes defeats, two Test series defeats in India and Australia's first series defeat against South Africa at home.

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