West Indies bowlers lived up to the billing of being arguably the finest since the great days as they restricted England to 106/5 at Lunch on Day 2 of the first Test at Ageas Bowl on Thursday.
Both Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder scalped two wickets each in the first session as England batsmen struggled to cope up with the visitors’ impeccable line and length in the gloomy conditions of Southampton.
Rory Burns and Joe Denly began the proceedings for the hosts after just 17.4 overs were bowled on the opening day due to rain wherein Gabriel had picked one wicket for the visitors.
Denly was the first to depart as he became Gabriel’s second scalp of the innings, being comprehensively bowled for 18.
Three runs later, Burns was trapped LBW by Gabriel, who seemed to be enjoying bowling in the overcast conditions, despite the pitch considered to be batsmen friendly.
Holder then took over from Gabriel and he stunned the English middle-order by getting rid of Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope in a span of five overs. Crawley was adjudged LBW for 10 while Pope edged the ball into the hands of the wicket-keeper for 12, leaving England reeling at 87/5.
Things could have been even better for the visitors as stand-in captain Ben Stokes hit an Alzarri Joseph delivery high in the air, towards Kemar Roach at fine leg in the 41st over. But luckily for the home side, the ball popped out of his hands as Roach dived forward to reach the falling cheery.
Stokes (21*) and his deputy Jos Buttler (9*) stemmed the flow of wickets as England went into the break without any further hiccups.
Brief Scores: England: 106/5 (Stokes 21*; Gabriel 3/38, Holder 2/24) vs West Indies
England v Pakistan 1st Test, Day 4: Buttler, Woakes counter Pak charge
England Jos Buttler (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes’ counter-attacking partnership for England stopped the Pakistan charge in the second session on Day four as the first Test between the two sides gears up to a dramatic conclusion at Old Trafford. While England need 110 more runs to win, Pakistan need 5 more wickets.
England started the second session on 55/1 with captain Joe Root and Dom Sibley in the middle. The pair continued to hang around well into the second session and their partnership was on 64 when Sibley succumbed to Yasir Shah. Sibley went for a hard drive across the line to a ball that Yasir delivered from over the wicket, it only took an edge and flew straight to Asad Shafiq at first slip.
Two overs later, Naseem Shah successfully set up Root who also edged the delivery to first slip and England all of a sudden lost both their set batsmen. Yasir struck again soon with the big wicket of Ben Stokes who was done in by the extra bounce the former got and gloved it to the wicketkeeper.
The umpire initially shook his head upon which Azhar Ali took the review. The replays showed a feather of a spike on ultra edge when the ball passed Stokes’ gloves. Two overs later, Shaheen Afridi’s unplayable delivery that bounced off a length took Ollie Pope by surprise. It smashed into his gloves and Shadab Khan took the catch running in from gully.
With Pakistan in the driver’s seat, Buttler went on the counter while Woakes also put on his batsman’s hat. The pair managed to knock off 50 runs in the remaining overs of the second session and thus left the match on a knife’s edge when the umpires knocked off the bails for Tea.
Brief Scores: Pakistan: 326 and 169 vs England: 219 & 167/5 (Joe Root 42, Dom Sibley 36; Yasir Shah 2/74)
We either play in Pak or we won’t play: Ehsan Mani on Eng’s 2022 tour
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani on Friday stated that England’s 2022 tour of Pakistan won’t take place at a neutral venue. England are currently scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs in Pakistan in 2022.
Pointing towards international cricket matches that were held in Pakistan in the last couple of years, Mani said the country remains safe for sports.
“I don’t think there will be any reason for England not to come,” Mani was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “I’m very clear that we won’t play in third countries. We either play in Pakistan or we won’t play.”
Test cricket recently returned to Pakistan after a decade — following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009 — as Bangladesh travelled to the country earlier this year.
In 2019, Pakistan played a T20I series against ICC’s World XI while West Indies and Sri Lanka also took part in respective T20I series in the country. Mani stated international players who took part in such series did’t have any problems during their stay in the country.
“Pakistan is safe,” Mani added. “For some teams that have come we have had very tight security, like you would have for a head of state.
“By the time the MCC came, they wanted to get out and play golf. They went sightseeing, they went to restaurants.
“We’ve got two years before England come and I hope by then things have settled down and there will be more freedom of movement,” he added.
COVID-19: ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 postponed to 2022
Manu Sawhney. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand has been postponed until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on cricket globally. The 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup was also handed to India while the now postponed 2020 edition will be played in Australia in 2022.
The decisions were taken by the IBC (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC) following an extensive contingency planning exercise which has taken into account the health, cricket and commercial impact of COVID-19 around the world, the ICC said in a release.
ICC acting Chairman Imran Khwaja said: “Over the last few months as we have considered how we return to staging global events, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in ICC events.
“The decisions the Board have taken today are in the best interests of the sport, our partners and importantly our fans. I’d like to thank our partners at the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand as well as the Australian and New Zealand governments for their continued support and commitment to a safe return to ICC events.”
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We now have absolute clarity on the future of ICC events enabling all of our members to focus on the rescheduling of lost international and domestic cricket. We will now proceed as planned with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in India and host the 2022 edition in Australia.
“We have taken the decision to move the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams.
“There has been no women’s international cricket played since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and due to the varying impact of COVID-19 globally that is likely to remain the situation for a number of the teams. Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained.”
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