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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Derbyshire, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings



Derbyshire 291 (Lace 83) and 388 for 3 dec (Madsen 204*, Hughes 109*, Lace 57) drew with Gloucestershire 350 (Roderick 98, Higgins 74)

Wayne Madsen finished unbeaten on 204 as Derbyshire comfortably batted for a draw on a low key final day of the County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

It was the 35-year-old South African’s 30th first class century and the second time he had gone past 200 for his county. He shared an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 278 with Alex Hughes, who contributed 109 not out to the visitors’ second-innings total of 388 for 3 declared, which gave them a lead of 329 when the players shook hands at 4.50pm.

Tom Lace made his second half-century of the match before falling to Benny Howell for 57 with the score on 110, but there was never any threat of Gloucestershire’s bowlers taking the necessary number of quick wickets to force a victory.

During the course of his innings, Madsen went past 15,000 runs in all competitions for Derbyshire, only the ninth player to do so and the first since John Morris in 1991. On 93, he reached 10,000 first class runs for the club he has served with such distinction since 2009.

Gloucestershire took 11 points, while Derbyshire went top of Division Two with nine from a match played on a slow pitch that rewarded patient batting and offered precious little for the bowlers on the last two days.

Resuming their second innings on 97 for 2, the visitors had added only 13 when Lace, who began the day on 48, was brilliantly caught by the diving Chris Dent at wide second slip off Howell.

The young batsman on loan for the season from Middlesex had reached fifty off 112 balls, with six fours. At 110 for 3, the Derbyshire lead was only 51, but Madsen and Hughes calmed any nerves, adding 76 before lunch.

Madsen, who had started the morning on 41, was 82 not out at the interval and cashed in on some generous bowling at the start of the afternoon session as Gloucestershire, eager to boost a slow over-rate, put on spinners Graeme van Buuren and Miles Hammond.

The latter went for 13 in an over as Madsen hit three fours and a single to close in on his hundred, which was completed two overs later, off 219 balls and including eight fours, with a nudge into the leg-side off Hammond.

Gloucestershire took the second new ball with the total 213 for 3 and with Derbyshire leading by 154. But it made little impact as Hughes moved to his half-century off 113 balls.

By tea, Derbyshire had moved to 325 for 3, a lead of 266, with Madsen on 160 and Hughes 91, neither of them having looked in the slightest trouble.

Hughes reached his sixth first class hundred with a boundary to square leg off Hammond, having faced 211 deliveries and hit 10 fours and a pulled six off Harry Hankins.

It only remained for Madsen to bring up his 200, which he did with a single courtesy of a misfield off van Buuren. He removed his helmet and raised both arms, having batted for more than seven hours, facing 343 balls and hitting 21 fours.

Sadly, the ground was almost empty as the chill wind had sent even the hardiest spectators home long before.

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Malinga to retire after first ODI of Bangladesh series



Lasith Malinga is set to retire from ODIs after the first game of the upcoming three-match series against Bangladesh. This will give Sri Lanka a chance to identify their next line of wicket-taking bowlers, which will be their “biggest problem” going forward, according to captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

“Our biggest problem is identifying wicket-taking bowlers in the months ahead, we need to find bowlers that can take wickets in the early overs, as well as the middle overs,” Karunaratne said, when asked what the team’s immediate plans were post World Cup.

“In the series ahead we will be giving chances whenever we can to identify that talent, because we know Lasith Malinga is not available after this series. Lasith is only going to play the first match and then he’s retiring. That’s what he’s told me at least.”

Karunaratne, who is a known stat buff, will have been likely well aware of his team’s impotency in terms of wicket-taking when making his observations. At the World Cup, Malinga’s 13 wickets at 28.69 in seven matches were more than twice that of the next best Sri Lankan bowler, Isuru Udana, who picked up six in the same number of games. Nuwan Pradeep, who picked up five in three games, is a possible contender to take over the mantle, but injuries have been a frequent hindrance for him.

As such, Karunaratne knows the only lasting solution is to plan well in advance, with his thoughts already turning towards building for the 2023 World Cup.

ALSO READ: Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan recalled for Bangladesh ODIs

“We also need to groom some youngsters for the next World Cup as well,” Karunaratne said. “Yes, there’s plenty of time, but we need to groom them one at a time and that takes time. Of course, we can’t fix everything at once, but we have four years before the next World Cup so we need to see how we can groom our youngsters and pass on the experience of our senior players to them.

“We’ve been looking to give Shehan Jayasuriya a chance after his performances against India A, and Lahiru Madushanka who performed well against South Africa [for the Emerging Team]. Those are some of the players we have in mind, but of course we can’t give everyone a chance just yet.”

Following a World Cup campaign in which Bangladesh both impressed and disappointed, they will also be looking to test their fringe players. For them it’s a temporary glimpse; Shakib Al Hasan – the unofficial player of the World Cup – is away on Haj pilgrimage, Liton Das is getting married, and captain Mashrafe Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin are injured. That’s four World Cup starters out, and a chance for some fringe players to shine.

ALSO READ: Mashrafe Mortaza out of Sri Lanka tour with hamstring injury, Tamim Iqbal to lead

“The guys who have been picked in the squad are all very capable. I really don’t like to talk about players who aren’t here at the moment,” stand-in captain Tamim Iqbal said, when questioned about Bangaldesh’s plans for replacing Shakib. “I know he’s a special player and has done fantastically well for Bangladesh, but he’s not part of this tour so let’s not talk about him. There are other 15 players and they all are very, very capable, and whoever plays in the first ODI, I’m sure they’re ready to cash in on their opportunity.”

Tamim, however, doesn’t have as many concerns as Karunaratne. Bangladesh travelled with a well-settled squad for the World Cup, and at another time would have likely travelled to Sri Lanka at full strength and probably as favourites. But as things stand, Tamim was keen to focus on the players at his disposal, and helping his side take the step up from simply playing well to winning games consistently.

“I think we had a pretty decent World Cup, there were a few games we should have won. If you see the points table you’d think we had a very bad World Cup because we finished only eighth in the table, and we as cricketers know we could have done more. On the whole though we played some good cricket, but we know that in the end it’s winning games that is important.”

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Narine and Pollard recalled for T20Is against India



Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard have been recalled to the West Indies T20 squad for the opening two matches against India with the uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Anthony Bramble earning a call-up.

Allrounder Andre Russell has been included subject to passing a fitness test following the knee injury which forced him out of the World Cup. John Campbell, the opening batsman, takes the spot vacated by Chris Gayle who is unavailable due to playing in the Canada GT20.

Narine, who last played T20Is two years ago, is joined in the spin attack by left-armer Khary Pierre. Narine was in the frame to be part of the World Cup, but did not feel confident getting through 50-over cricket after a finger injury. The selectors are casting their eye forward to next year’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia where West Indies will defend their title.

“We felt that players like Narine and Pollard, who have played well in T20 leagues around the world, once they are fit and mentally ready to play, we must give them the opportunity to represent the West Indies again,” Robert Haynes, the intern chairman of selection, said.

“It’s not just about the present – the India tour of the West Indies – but we are also looking at the T20 World Cup coming up next year and it is important that we find the right combination of players and the right formula for defending our title.

“We have to make sure that we put certain things in place now, so that when it comes to picking the squad for the T20 World Cup, it becomes easier, so we are giving more players the opportunity to play and get the exposure.”

Bramble, 28, will provide wicketkeeping back-up to Nicholas Pooran despite not having played an official T20 in more than three years. He did, however, captain West Indies B at last year’s Canada GLT20 and was picked up by Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL draft in May.

“He is young and has a lot of ambition, and we saw his character come out in the way he batted whenever Guyana Jaguars were in problems in the West Indies Championship and Super50 Cup, so we know he is capable of getting the job done,” Haynes said.

The selectors could make changes to the squad for third T20I in Guyana. India’s tour also includes three ODIs and two Tests.

Squad Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Anthony Bramble, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas

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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Worcestershire, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings



Worcestershire232 for 6 (Whiteley 88, D’Oliveira 66*) trail Gloucestershire 354 (Smith 83, Higgins 76, Dent 58, Leach 6-79) by 122 runs

Every moment one spends at Cheltenham is precious but no festival in recent years has been as rich in promise as that which currently garlands the College Ground. The six struck over point by Gareth Roderick to secure last week’s victory over Leicestershire already has legendary status in Charlton Kings and by mid-afternoon on this second day the prospect of a second, rather more comfortable win for Gloucestershire beguiled both the serious drinkers in the Old Patesians marquee and the county chief executives enjoying their reunion at the College Lawn End.

Replying to the home side’s 354, Worcestershire were 68 for 5 when Brett D’Oliveira joined Ross Whiteley. Most people agreed Chris Dent would enforce the follow-on; few considered the possibility he might not have the chance to do so. Yet Whiteley had already begun to bat against most of the memories his muscles and temperament had acquired over seasons of short-form cricket. He waited until his 43rd ball before hitting his first four and his six over midwicket off Ethan Bamber seemed an eccentric highlight from a different match.

D’Oliveira, dropped by Miles Hammond at second slip off Ryan Higgins when only 3, joined him in a sixth-wicket partnership of 146 characterised by rigorous self-discipline. Whiteley hit three sixes but had earned the right to do so rather than brusquely asserting it in a manner likely to get him into trouble. Four years to the day since he made his last century, against Yorkshire at Scarborough, he was only 12 runs short of three figures when Matt Taylor got a ball that was 75 overs old to fly from just short of a length, take the edge of the bat and fly via James Bracey’s gloves to Benny Howell at slip.

But our day ended with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 66 albeit Gloucestershire’s bowlers will be encouraged by the prospect of using a nearly new ball in the morning. A game which both sides need to win is far better balanced than appeared likely in mid-afternoon and we have two fine days ahead of us. “There are great spiritual advantages to be had in that town,” Nicholas Bulstrode informs his wife when describing Cheltenham in Middlemarch.

Yet advantages of any sort were the home side’s monopoly earlier in a day when Worcestershire’s top-order batsmen seemed as ripe for the picking as pears in late September. When their first dig dwindled from 24 without loss to 68 for 5 the statisticians pointed out it was the fifth successive innings in which they had lost those wickets for less than 85 runs and the sixth time in seven matches when Worcestershire’s top five first-innings wickets had fallen for less than a hundred.

Gloucestershire’s bowlers fed on such insecurity and their own Puritan disciplines offered Joe Leach’s batsmen no repose. A hesitant Riki Wessels edged Bamber to Benny Howell in his side’s sixth over; Callum Ferguson was pinioned in his crease by David Payne and nicked a catch to Hammond. After lunch Gloucestershire’s can-do approach was epitomised by Bracey who took an outstanding leg-side catch off Ryan Higgins to remove Ed Barnard and then took an even better one standing up to dismiss Daryl Mitchell off the same bowler.

For all that he is having a poor season Mitchell remains the batsman Worcestershire’s opponents would most like to remove but Bracey’s positioning was a shrewd attempt to counteract his tendency to come down the wicket. That, though, was almost the end of Gloucestershire’s absolute dominance. The rest of the day saw Whiteley and D’Oliveira give their team some hope they might yet achieve a victory they sorely need. And their resistance recalled a first session in which one of Worcestershire’s most loyal servants had achieved a fine career landmark.

Indeed the morning has begun in an atmosphere of multi-faceted incipience and general enticement. Cleeve Hill was dark green beneath benevolent cloud and the old paths towards Winchcombe were beguiling in the gentlest haze. Tom Smith was on 79, five runs short of his career-best score, Gloucestershire were 11 runs shy of a fourth batting bonus point and Leach needed two wickets to reach 300 in first-class cricket for Worcestershire. The third of these landmarks was the first to be reached when Leach, bowling as tightly as ever, knocked back Payne’s off stump in the sixth over of the day and had Bamber caught by a diving Ben Cox in the tenth. The bowler greeted this wicket with a guttural roar of triumph. Smith was left unbeaten on 83 but he will not give a monkey’s if his side have 23 points in the bag on Wednesday evening.

Neither will any other home supporters. There must, one imagines, be better things in life than watching cricket at Cheltenham. Yet on a warm, dream-laden evening at the College Ground, with the Glorious Glosters slightly in the ascendant, and the air scented with possibility it was awfully difficult to think what those things might be. So we ate oranges on the pavilion balcony and watched the evening light on distant, tree-ringed fields.

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