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Ashwin, Jadeja hard to face on turning Indian pitches, says B.J. Watling




New Zealand Test wicketkeeper B.J. Watling has named Indian spin duo of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja among the bowlers he finds difficult to face.

“When it’s turning in India it’s obviously very tough to play any spinner, really,” Watling told ESPNcricinfo.

“The likes of (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja, if conditions are in their favour, it is extremely hard work to score runs in itself, and to not get out,” said the 35-year old.

“But facing guys like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel in South Africa, that’s a pretty tough challenge. I think they have some of the quicker wickets in the world and obviously it cracks up late in the games. And those types of Test matches can be very daunting, with those types of bowlers coming at you.”

Watling will be resting while many of his teammates will be playing in the Caribbean Premier League and Indian Premier League in the coming weeks.

“I think I’ve been lucky enough to keep to fantastic bowlers throughout the years,” Watling said when asked about the secret of his success.

“We’ve got a strong pace threesome at the moment, and you get a lot of action behind the stumps, so it’s always good fun.

“They’re all very different in their own right, we’ve got Trent (Boult) who’s left-arm, swings the ball, then obviously Wags (Neil Wagner) who’s left-arm but comes in and tries to pitch it a little bit shorter and maybe doesn’t get the amount of swing that Trent does, and then obviously Tim’s (Southee) been doing it for a long time and I’ve been keeping to him for a long time, and his skills have just grown throughout the years.”

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‘Will be available to play’ for Pak once Misbah and Co. leave: Mohammad Amir



Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir has made it clear that he would be available to play for Pakistan again only once the current support staff led by head coach Misbah-ul-Haq “leaves”.

Having already retired from Tests, Amir had last month bid adieu to international cricket alleging that that he had been “mentally tortured” and that he didn’t want to continue playing under the current Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management.

“I would like to clarify that yes I will be available for Pakistan only once this management leaves. So please stop spreading fake news just to sell your story,” the 28-year-old said in a tweet on Monday.

“I don’t think I can play cricket under this management. I am leaving cricket, for now. I am being mentally tortured. I cannot handle it. I have seen it enough from 2010-2015. I have to repeatedly hear that PCB invested a lot in me. However it is not the case,” Amir had said in December last year while announcing his retirement from international cricket.

He was part of the Pakistan squad that won the T20 World Cup in 2009 and was also part of the squad that won the Champions Trophy in 2017.

However, Amir’s career faced a downward spiral when he was banned for five years for his involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal during the tour of England.

After serving his five-year ban, he returned to international cricket in 2015 and made his Test return in 2016. Amir, in 2018, called time on his Test career to focus entirely on white-ball cricket.

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Lionel Messi shown first red card of Barcelona career




Star striker Lionel Messi was handed his first-ever red card of his Barcelona career during their 2-3 defeat against Athletic Club in the Spanish Super Cup final.

The incident happened in extra time of Sunday’s game when Messi was handed the red card for violent conduct against Athletic forward Asier Villalibre, reports

It was the first red card the Argentine has ever received as a Barcelona player, coming in his 753rd appearance for the club.

Earlier, Antoine Griezmann scored the first goal of the match, putting Barcelona ahead in the 40th minute. However, the lead lasted for just two minutes as Oscar de Marcos netted an equalizer for Athletic.

Griezmann then again put Barca in the lead in the 70th minute. However, Athletic club’s Asier Villalibre levelled the score in the 90th minute before Inaki Williams scored the winning goal three minutes later.

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Joe Root double ton headlines England’s win over Sri Lanka in 1st Test




England on Monday completed the formalities of scoring the additional 36 runs to win the first Test against Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the Galle International Stadium.

Resuming on 38/3 on Day Five, wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow and debutant Danial Lawrence carried England to their 76-run target inside 35 minutes on the final morning of the Test match.

Bairstow and Lawrence remained unbeaten on 35 and 21 respectively as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

After England slipped to 14/3 during a frantic end to the fourth day, Bairstow and Lawrence’s unbroken 62-run stand guided England to a rather comfortable win.

Sri Lanka were earlier bundled out for mere 135 in their first innings. England, in reply, scored 421, riding on captain Joe Root’s brilliant 228 and 78 from Lawrence.

The hosts then came out with an improved batting performance as Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera scored 111, 71 and 62 respectively to help Sri Lanka end their second innings on 359 and set a 76-run target.

“We were outplayed in the first innings with bat and ball. As a batting unit, we have to get a big total in the first innings. It cost us the game,” said stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal after the match.

“Credit goes to Thirimanne, Angelo and Kusal. Everyone did their bit in the second innings. If we had another 70-80 runs, it could’ve been a different story. Have to take positives out of this and go on to the second Test,” he added.

The two teams will now face each other in the second and final Test at the same venue from Friday.

Brief scores: England 421 and 76/3 (Jonny Bairstow 35*, Daniel Lawrence 21*; Lasith Embuldeniya 2/29) vs Sri Lanka 135 and 359.

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