India v New Zealand Match abandoned without toss
As it happened
India and New Zealand took a point each and remained the only unbeaten teams in the tournament as rain prevented even a toss from happening at Trent Bridge. As things stood before the match, a result would have either further solidified New Zealand’s position at the top, or helped India nudge ahead of Australia into second place with a game in hand.
There were large patches of damp turf in the point and midwicket regions, results of water rolling off the covers, which were on and off intermittently through the day. The sun didn’t come out all day and at the end of it, after several inspections, umpire Paul Reiffel declared at 3pm that the “weather had beaten us”.
The abandonment follows an uninspiring trend this week, where two games have failed to start and one was called off less than an hour into play. The three abandoned games in this World Cup are an anomaly as far as this tournament goes, considering there were only two before this edition, since its start in 1975.
Both teams would have been happy with the point, but India in particular would have liked to take some momentum from this game, given their upcoming blockbuster fixture against Pakistan on Sunday. But Virat Kohli admitted after the match that the right decision had been made.
James Pattinson fights his way back to fulfill Ashes promise
To say James Pattinson has unfinished business in Ashes cricket in England would be quite an understatement. It’s six years since he played the first two matches of the 2013 encounter at Trent Bridge and Lord’s, tearfully withdrawing in the middle of the second match with a side strain that was to be only an early instance of the litany of injuries that would follow.
Foot, back, side, shin, stomach. All were areas where Pattinson experienced the pain of injury, though it was recurring back stress fractures that caused the most grief. It was something of a final gamble when Pattinson traveled to New Zealand in November 2017 for surgery previously undergone by Shane Bond, among others, a procedure he underwent with one goal in mind – to be in England for this Ashes series.
“I knew that if I was up and running, string a few on the pitch, that I would have every chance of getting picked in an Ashes team,” Pattinson said. “Going back to a year-and-a-half ago when I was contemplating whether to get back surgery and whether it was going to work. There was a month there where there was a bit of unknown and conjecture around whether I would get back to playing cricket. Sitting here now after going through all that is quite pleasing that I am here and bowling and putting myself in position to get picked in an Ashes series.
“You go through your career, you try different things, you get setbacks, you go through strategies and theories and you work out what’s best for you. You have to try things in cricket, some things don’t work and some things do. For me it worked in a way, with my action it’s sort of somewhere in between when I first started and when I tried to remodel it.
“I tried to let that evolve over the last few years and I am happy with where that is, my body is feeling good and more than anything I can relax and run in and bowl and not worry about where my back foot’s landing and if the front arm is high and that stuff. When you are trying to play Test cricket and you are doing that it is hard work, I’m in a good spot at the moment and I have come off a bit of cricket and that’s a bonus for me.”
Now Pattinson is here, and by dint of his proven ability to be highly destructive when fit and in rhythm, he appears certain to be one of the members of the final Ashes squad to be named later this week. And as those who have seen him bowl for Nottinghamshire know well, Pattinson has the ability to claim a lot of wickets in a hurry.
“If my body holds up I think I can challenge them over here,” Pattinson said in Southampton. “It’s pretty simple, you get wickets that can assist you and you get wickets that are quite flat so, to have the ability to bowl on a flat wicket or a wicket that’s seaming around hopefully I can do that. It’s pretty simple over here you try to hit the same area. You look at Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, they are always challenging the batsman, challenging the defence.
“If we can take something out of the series before is to be trying to always challenge the front foot, challenging the knee roll and trying to stay in one spot in the wicket and not release too many boundary balls. Over here you see a lot of boundaries hit, the run rate is often a lot higher if we can try and cut that down. Over the years we have managed to try and take wickets but a bit more expensive than what it would be in other places, so I think that’s a big push from bowlers.”
Since his debut in 2011 when he razed New Zealand at the Gabba, there has been nothing in Australian cricket quite like seeing Pattinson in full flight. It was a sight most recently glimpsed in this year’s Sheffield Shield final at Junction Oval, where New South Wales’ challenge was brought undone by a fiery Pattinson, screeching in aggressive delight at each one of his seven victims. Taking wickets “in clumps” is part of Pattinson’s gift, now allied to a more mature understanding of the pace bowler’s craft in England.
“Over the years I have been able to come on and take wickets in clumps so I suppose the selectors are looking for bowlers who can do a bit of that and bowlers who can bowl economically as well,” he said. “I’ve played enough cricket, I’ve been over here three months with Nottingham which is fantastic for someone like me who hasn’t had a great load of cricket over the last few years. I managed to play a fair few Shield games this year and obviously moved on into the summer here and the good thing is I’ve come off plenty of cricket.
“They’ve shown over here they can play swing bowling quite well, if it swings big and you’re not getting the right areas, it doesn’t really matter. So it’s about trying to get the ball in the right area, i think it’ll hopefully do it off the pitch. And obviously if the conditions are right it’ll swing. The hard thing over here is if the sun does come out it’s quite challenging to bowl, because your margin for error is quite low.
“So all off a sudden you’ve got to be on the spot, that’s when you try to work with training your positions on the crease and all that sort of thing, to try and work with it. I think it’ll be about thinking on our feet over here and during this next game as well, working together and bowling in partnerships. Hopefully that’ll bring some good success.”
Pattinson’s aggressive, unbridled approach to fast bowling is epitomised by how he talks about bowling in the nets to Australia’s leading players. In an era of workload management and careful preparation, Pattinson cannot help but admit that he always bowls a little faster to the likes of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and now the returned Steven Smith.
“Throughout my career I’ve always tried to crank it up a little bit to the best batter,” he said. “I know when I first came into a Test match, in 2010 in India, and Ricky Ponting was there. I always made a conscious effort to bowl a bit faster to him then always to Michael Clarke too. You always try to get in with the best batters and bowl well against them, I think the selectors like that.”
Should women’s Tests be played over five days?
The conclusion of the Women’s Ashes Test in Taunton has raised the question whether the format should be played across five days, after a combination of rain and stodgy scoring rates stymied the contest.
Australia batted out the final day of the one-off match, securing the draw they needed to retain the multi-format Ashes, with the coach Matthew Mott saying they had considered ways of making a match of it but weren’t going to donate England a chance of victory.
Australia had dominated the Test from the start. And once they batted for the first four sessions and rain wiped out the rest of day two, England’s chances were all but gone of fighting back for a win even before they took a defensive approach with the bat late on the third day. England did declare after saving the follow-on and made a couple of early inroads in Australia’s second innings, but the visitors were never in danger.
“Maybe it’s an advertisement for five-day Test in women’s cricket,” Mott said. “With four [days] and you take half a day out, it certainly wasn’t enough. It would have been an awesome [fifth] day if we’d had the extra day.
“We’re not a charity, we don’t give up a result that easily. We’ve won the first three ODIs and we deserve the opportunity to bat it out. We weren’t prepared to roll that dice and give England a chance when they didn’t really earn the right to it.”
There were 100 overs scheduled for each day of the Test. So, without weather interruptions, there would have been 400 overs available in the game compared to 450 across a five-day Test consisting of 90-over days.
“[A fifth day] would’ve helped get a result,” Meg Lanning, Australia’s captain, said. “It probably wouldn’t have been a drab day if we had a day five but we both knew it was four days coming in. It’s not a decision for us to make but I guess it’s something to look at.”
However, England coach Mark Robinson suggested that the first priority for the Test format in the women’s game was to get more matches played before thinking about extending the length of them. This decade there have been just eight Tests with six of them being England-Australia matches.
“You’ve got to try and get more Tests, and more countries playing Test match cricket,” Robinson said. “I think we all would agree it would help the development of the players.
“The young Aussie [Tayla Vlaeminck] what a promising quick, but at the moment she hasn’t got control – if that’s a 50-over game she has wides – but the beauty of this is it allows her to run in, how exciting is that? Games allow quicks to run in, it allows batters to bat time, build innings, be tactically better.
“It would help not just our team, but all teams around the world, the development of their players before we get to saying we should be playing five days in England-Australia [Tests].”
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.
“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.
“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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