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Recent Match Report – England vs Australia, ICC World Test Championship, 2nd Test

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Jofra Archer will have to wait a day to make his highly anticipated Test debut after heavy rain forced play to be abandoned without a ball being bowled in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

Archer received his England cap from close friend Chris Jordan during a brief break in the otherwise appalling weather with the toss imminent, only for the covers to come back on and the showers to set in for good.

The umpires made the call to abandon play around 4.20pm local time and the match will officially become a four-day fixture with the toss taking place on Thursday and overs added to the end of each day. The follow-on margin, if required, will be reduced to 150 accordingly.

Archer shared a warm embrace with Sussex team-mate Jordan, also born in Barbados, after the cap presentation on the Lord’s field. Jordan, who played eight Tests for England in 2014 and 2015, has shared in Archer’s rapid rise through international ranks since he became eligible to represent England earlier this year, with the pair playing a T20I together against Pakistan in May, which remains Archer’s only T20I appearance. That was two days after Archer made his international debut in an ODI against Ireland.

With a vastly improved forecast for Thursday, play looks likely with Josh Hazlewood set to line up for Australia at the expense of Mitchell Starc after both were included in a 12-man squad while James Pattinson rests for this Test.

England still have a selection call to make on whether they risk not playing spinner Jack Leach, given the shortened match, and pick Sam Curran instead. Should they opt for Leach, there is a possibility Curran could still play ahead of Joe Denly.



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Recent Match Report – South Australia vs Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, 20th Match

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South Australia 389 (Cooper 99, Paris 3-70) and 5 for 196 dec (Weatherald 49, Head 49, Kelly 3-44) beat Western Australia 254 (Marsh 63, Sayers 4-54) and 222 (Stoinis 60, Worrall 5-31) by 109 runs

Daniel Worrall made a memorable return to first-class cricket, claiming 5 for 31 to help South Australia to a second-straight Sheffield Shield win as they bowled out Western Australia on the final day in Adelaide.

The Redbacks swing bowler tore through WA’s lower order after the key breakthroughs from Nick Winter and Wes Agar had put WA in a hole in their pursuit of 332 for victory. Marcus Stoinis continued his good form from the BBL making 60 but could not press on as the visitors were bowled out for 222.

Worrall had not played a first-class game since limping off the WACA in March last year with hamstring and back injuries ruling him out of county cricket in England and the first half of this Sheffield Shield season. His late outswing accounted for Josh Philippe and Josh Inglis as both threatened to form a partnership before he ran through the tail to claim his seventh five-wicket haul in first-class cricket and Player-of-the-Match honours.

Earlier, South Australia declared after just two overs in the morning session having added 17 to their overnight total. It left WA needing 332 from 86 overs for victory. WA had chased down 313 to win against SA in the fourth innings in Adelaide last season.

The chase started solidly but Agar made two huge breakthroughs with consecutive deliveries to have Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh caught behind with the total at just 44. Marsh was the big scalp for a first-ball duck after he made 163 not out in that successful chase last summer.

Bancroft’s opening partner Jake Carder made an error on 28 cutting Will Bosisto‘s part-time off-spin straight to cover.

WA steadied through Stoinis and Cameron Green. The pair added 55 with Stoinis cruising to his fifth half-century of the Shield season. But Winter’s spell in the middle of the afternoon arrested the momentum. Green fell to a loose drive slicing a catch to point for just 15 before Stoinis was pinned plumb lbw for 60. Stoinis played down the wrong line as Winter nipped one back from around the wicket. It left WA in peril at 5 for 142.

Philippe and Inglis counter-attacked briefly but Worrall snuffed it out with a supreme spell of swing bowling to close the game out. The win keeps South Australia in the mix for the Shield final with three rounds to go as they move up to fourth on a bunched points table.



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Gary Stead ‘very surprised’ by outrage at pre-planned break

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New Zealand’s returning coach Gary Stead has said that he was “very surprised” by the criticism that had been directed at him when we went on a pre-planned leave, after the team had been blanked 5-0 in the T20I series against India.

Stead handed over the reins to bowling coach Shane Jurgensen for the following three-match ODI series and took a five-day break, which sparked outrage in New Zealand. Former captain Jeremy Coney, in particular, was scathing in his criticism of the coach and the timing of his leave. Prior to the T20Is against India, New Zealand had been whitewashed 3-0 across the Tasman Sea in the longest format.

ALSO READ: Coney hits out at Stead, NZC defends coach’s leave

“I was really surprised,” Stead said ahead of the first Test against India. “I mean New Zealand Cricket and I have talked about this for a long time, looking after the staff and the players we have. So, we did that and I know New Zealand Cricket are doing what we think is right for our us as people, first and foremost, so we did it. I was very surprised.

“I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. I guess what Jeremy Coney says about me doesn’t necessarily have relevance to the way we go about things. So, yeah…”

New Zealand cricket had earlier backed Stead’s pre-planned holiday, citing workload issues. In Stead’s absence, New Zealand clinched the ODI series 3-0. After sweeping the ODI series, captain Kane Williamson opted not to read too much into Stead’s leave and reiterated that it was a pre-planned one.

Stead said that he now felt refreshed following the break and is plotting an upturn in New Zealand’s Test fortunes after their 3-0 drubbing in Australia.

“It was good to spend time with the family,” he said. I know that. Look, I have had four-five days and I’m back to work planning for this Test series now. Again, the distractions don’t need to be there. So, we have to move on and look ahead to the India Test series now. “



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Faf du Plessis steps down as Test and T20I captain

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Faf du Plessis has stepped down as captain of South Africa’s Test and T20I sides with immediate effect.

The 35-year-old cited a need to take a step back from captaincy in order to help facilitate the next generation leaders within the team under Quinton de Kock. Last month de Kock was named as stand-in captain for the ODI series against England, with du Plessis being rested. Graeme Smith, South Africa’s director of cricket, had then confirmed that the management was looking at de Kock as the permanent captain.

“This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark [Boucher] and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group,” du Plessis said in a CSA release. “South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team.

“The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game. It has been a rewarding, sometimes tough and other times a lonely road, but I would not replace the experience for anything, because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today.

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