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



Sussex 73 for 0 (Salt 53*, Wells 6*) trail Gloucestershire 200 (Bracey 61) by 127 runs

Studies in Texas have revealed that it took a meteorite hitting Earth at a force ten billion times the power of the Hiroshima bomb to wipe out the dinosaurs. Bowlers at flat-track Bristol must often feel they need something equivalent to remove 20 batsmen, and one theory for Gloucestershire’s surge to second place in Division Two is their high ratio of games at Cheltenham to headquarters this season.

Surprise all round, then, at the clatter of wickets on a slightly untypical surface that, while slow, has offered signs of variable bounce. Sussex capitalised by dismissing Gloucestershire for only 200 in 77.5 overs in a game that they might not quite need to win to remain in contention for promotion, but can hardly afford to lose to a side four places and 30 points ahead of them at the start.

Things are so tight that three successive wins, including two at Cheltenham, have propelled Gloucester from second-from-bottom in mid-July to next-to-top. They also boast most batting points in the division, but could add only one more this time as too many players made starts before losing their way against generally well-disciplined bowling and reliable fielding.

Only the composed James Bracey made a serious contribution before becoming the first of two victims in a fine spell by Chris Jordan after lunch. The England bowler swung the ball from lines that made both right and left-handers play consistently. When Bracey nibbled, Ben Brown took an excellent, low catch in front of first slip, and Tom Smith did well even to edge one that compelled a stroke.

Any hope that Gloucester might then end the day more positively was denied as they failed to break through with the new ball. Shannon Gabriel has been signed for the sound and obvious reason that his extra pace gives sharper teeth to the attack, but spells from both ends proved erratic and expensive despite the odd one signalling menace as well as promise. Maybe he was trying too hard.

Phil Salt almost edged an attempted hook behind having been rushed into the stroke, but the vehement appeal was rejected and Salt proceeded to play the best shot of the day, a lovely, fierce off-drive when David Payne overpitched. As if that was not enough, Ryan Higgins found himself warned for running on the pitch, the penultimate misfortune of a rotten old day.

The final ignominy arrived as the shadows neared the square when Salt struck four boundaries in a row off Gabriel to complete a half-century from 56 balls. If Gabriel thought that Salt would hang on the back foot expecting bouncers the hope proved wishful as half-volleys were stroked through the off side. Thanks to Salt’s positive attitude the deficit has already been cut (or driven) to 127.

“They got away from us at the end, but if we can stand up and fight for a bit tomorrow we can get back in the game,” Bracey said. “It always seems to be low and slow here, it does a little bit for the first couple of sessions but come tea we hope to be no more than four-down rather than six-down as we were this time. That does make it hard. Hopefully we can be a bit more precise.”

Without a big innings or anything more than a three-fer the day was not one for the painters or the poets. But there was scope for comedians in a stoppage of several minutes when glare from an open doorway in a flat at the Ashley Down Road End disturbed Matt Taylor, the batsman. Unfortunately, the home-owner wasn’t at immediate hand to shut it.

Umpire Ben Debenham could only shout from the boundary to the nearest neighbour for advice and help in spreading the word. This well-tanned, second-floor resident was bare of chest, in holiday blue shorts and sandals, and did not look prepared to have his half-hour of sun worship interrupted by a man in a white coat. Play resumed, the episode a footnote and the spectator back catching his rays.

Gloucester actually started solidly, undaunted under cloudy sky with the floodlights on. Bracey made an immediate impact when he moved up to open in the previous game against Derbyshire and started to look good value for a second century, leaving and defending well without ever getting bogged down against a very varied attack.

But Gareth Roderick was bowled shouldering arms and another important moment came when Miles Hammond top-edged George Garton’s second ball into the off side. A happy moment for Garton, briefly an England squad member on the 2017-18 Ashes but here making his first Championship appearance since May last year. His skiddy, left-arm pace is still there, still promising.

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Recent Match Report – Jamaica Tallawahs vs St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Caribbean Premier League, 16th Match



St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 176 for 6 (Allen 62*, Hafeez 37, Smith 1-8) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 156 (Phillips 87, Emrit 2-21, Cottrell 2-33, Joseph 2-37) by 20 runs

Jamaica Tallawahs ended their series of home games with a defeat, losing by 20 runs to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at Sabina Park. Patriots rode on Fabian Allen’s 27-ball 62 to reach 176 for 6 from 82 for 6, after which their bowlers combined to strangle Tallawahs, dismissing them for 156.

Glenn Phillips was the only Tallawahs batsman to make a worthy contribution, scoring a 49-ball 87 to become the highest run-getter this season, but, with eight other single-digit scores in the innings, Phillips had little support in the chase. Tallawahs’ defeat was their sixth in seven games, while Patriots, with eight points, are in the battle for a top-two finish with Trinbago Knight Riders, who have played three fewer matches.

Honours shared in first ten overs Having been put in to bat, Patriots lost openers Evin Lewis and Devon Thomas by the third over, but a tidy 46-run third-wicket stand between Laurie Evans and Mohammad Hafeez helped them recover. Tallawahs’ bowlers rode on the back of some early swing with the new ball, and Dwayne Smith, particularly, troubled the batsmen early on, his lack of pace forcing them to manufacture shots.

Hafeez then struck four fours off Shamar Springer in the seventh over to break the shackles, and that boost brought them on even terms with Tallawahs. At the end of 10 overs, Hafeez had crunched five fours and a six but in the next over for 37, after toe-ending a drive to cover. At that stage, the scoreboard read 76 for 4.

Allen rescues Patriots after middle-order wobble

Over the next two overs, Shamarh Brooks was trapped lbw by Zahir Khan, and Carlos Brathwaite was out slicing a catch to cover. At 82 for 6, the Patriots innings seemed destined for a quick finish but Fabian Allen, batting at No. 7, had other ideas.

Batting alongside No. 8 Keron Cottoy, Allen took on Afghanistan left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, shellacking 16 runs off the 16th over. The next two overs – off Jade Dernbach and Springer – yielded 13 and 18 runs respectively, and included two fours, two sixes and a dropped chance to reprieve Cottoy.

Dernbach’s final over, the penultimate of the innings, went for another 20 runs, with Allen reaching his half-century off 23 balls. The run-spree of the final overs was capped by a 14-run over to end the innings, and from 82 for 6, Patriots climbed to 176. The unbeaten Allen-Cottoy partnership was worth 94, of which 81 runs came off the final five overs.

Varied fortunes for Phillips and Tallawahs

The 22-year-old New Zealand batsman took charge of the Tallawahs chase after opener Chris Gayle was out in the third over, trying to pull one over cow corner. The very next ball, Phillips crunched Sheldon Cottrell for a drive through the covers and followed it up with three more boundaries off successive deliveries to collect 18 off the over. Phillips did not slow down even after Tallawahs lost Chadwick Walton’s wicket, and had raced to a half-century by the eighth over, taking 25 balls to reach the landmark. When Phillips reached 50, his team’s score was 60 for 3, headlining the ease with which he scored, even as his team-mates struggled.

Phillips then raced into the sixties by hitting Brathwaite for a four and two sixes in the ninth over, taking 17 runs off the Patriots’ captain. However, Tallawahs were tied down again by tidy second spells from Hafeez and Joseph. Imran Khan, the leg-spinning allrounder, was having a difficult time rotating the strike, and Hafeez prised his wicket out with a caught-and-bowled dismissal in the 14th over. He ended the innings with remarkable returns of 1 for 13 in four overs. The next over saw Andre Russell fall a first-ball duck, trying to pull Rayad Emrit, and the pressure of the chase and lack of support, finally took a toll on Phillips.

Looking to target Cottoy in the 16th over – with the required run-rate around 12 – Phillips holed out to long-on for a 49-ball 87that included eight fours and five sixes. At that stage, he had scored 71% of the Tallawahs’ runs.

At 123 for 6, Tallawahs needed a near-miracle from their lower order to pull off the chase, especially with the pitch slowing as the evening progressed. Springer entertained, with a few lusty blows, and Tallawahs entered the final over with 25 needed and three wickets in hand. Brathwaite’s accuracy stifled them, however, and they lost all three wickets, including a run-out, in five balls

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CA chief Kevin Roberts cautious but hopeful over future Pakistan tours



Kevin Roberts, the Cricket Australia chief executive, remains cautious about the prospect of Australia resuming tours to Pakistan but said “things are heading in the right direction” following a brief visit to the country this week.

Australia haven’t played in Pakistan since 1998 (although current Test captain Tim Paine was part of the World XI which travelled for T20Is in 2017) and are not scheduled to visit again until 2022 as per the Future Tours Programme.

ESPNcricinfo reported in May that Roberts’ trip – the first by a CA chief executive in more than ten years – was due to take place and he said he was keen to visit the country well ahead of Australia’s next potential tour but reiterated that CA would never take any risks with the safety of their players and staff. Roberts visited Islamabad where he met with the PCB and Ministry of Interior officials to be briefed on the latest security situation.

“Things are heading in the right direction, but in saying that we were travelling in armoured cars and escorted by police and felt very safe. Certainly, that level of security is still required,” he told SEN radio.

“I hope we do [go back], for the sake of world cricket and Australia’s important relationship with Pakistan. As I said to Pakistan, we share their desire to see international return, [but] we’ll never jeopardise the safety of our people and will continue to take advice from experts on the way.

“We’ve got the next couple of years to hopefully plan for a tour in 2022 but we have to set that out carefully rather than rushing into it.”

Roberts was accompanied on the trip by CA’s head of integrity and security Sean Carroll and he will now put together a report on the visit with proposals of what has to happen next to give the 2022 tour a chance of taking place in Pakistan.

“It’s really good that’s the cricket world is opening its hearts and minds to the role of Pakistan and looking proactively and what it will take to return international cricket,” Roberts said. “There are parts of the country that are unfortunately very unsafe but there are parts where I think a number of countries would contemplate playing in the future when Pakistan are ready.”

Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years after the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. Zimbabwe were the first country to return in 2015 since when Bangladesh women, a World XI, Sri Lanka and both West Indies’ men and women have made brief trips.

The most significant tour since 2009 is due to start later this month when Sri Lanka visit for three ODIs and three T20Is – split between Karachi and Lahore – although a host of their leading names have made themselves unavailable for the trip. CA chairman Earl Eddings is due to attend one of the T20Is in early October.

With inputs from Umar Farooq

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Recent Match Report – India A vs South Africa A 2nd unofficial Test 2019



India A 417 and 14 for 0 lead South Africa A 400 (Markram 161, Mulder 131*, Kuldeep 4-121, Nadeem 3-76) by 31 runs

For the first time on their tour of India, South Africa A showed some fight. After managing just 164 and 186 in their seven-wicket loss in the first four-day game, their batting clicked, with Aiden Markram, who in all likelihood will open for South Africa in the first of three Tests starting on October 2 in Visakhapatnam, top-scoring with 161 in Mysore.

His 155-run sixth-wicket stand with allrounder Wiaan Mulder, who made his fourth first-class century, lifted South Africa A from 142 for 5. They were eventually bowled out for 400 but came within 17 runs of India A’s 471, which was put together on the back of half-centuries from Shubman Gill (92), Karun Nair (78), Shivam Dube (68) and Wriddhiman Saha (60).

Mulder, who picked up three wickets in the first innings, remained unbeaten on 131 when last man Lungi Ngidi was dismissed in the 110th over, in the final session on the third day. The spinners bowled more than half the overs for India A, 65.3 to be precise, with Kuldeep Yadav picking up 4 for 121 in 29 overs. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who had three wickets, complemented him. Left out of the Test squad after the Caribbean tour, Umesh Yadav went wicketless after 18 overs of toil.

In reply, Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran, who lost out to Gill in the race to the third opener’s slot, took India A to 14 for no loss in six overs when bad light forced an early end to proceedings. India A’s overall lead stands at 31, with draw looking the most likely result with one day remaining.

India A earlier took the one-day series 4-1 in Thiruvananthapuram before winning the first four-dayer comprehensively.

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