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Ind vs Eng 2020-21 – 2nd ODI – ‘We don’t really fear too much’

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After stunning partnership, Bairstow says Stokes’ batting complementary to his, meaning “people don’t like to bowl at us”

England stuck to their “no fear” philosophy and came good to level the series in Pune, testament to faith in their methods as well as the strength in depth they possess in the batting department. Even without Joe Root, who has been rested for this series, and the injured Eoin Morgan and Sam Billings, England powered to a target of 337 on the back of Jonny Bairstow‘s hundred and a 52-ball 99 from Ben Stokes.

Despite having collapsed in the face of a smaller target in the first ODI, going from 135 without loss after 14.1 overs to 251 all out, England showed no signs of changing their approach. Another century opening stand was followed by Bairstow and Stokes opening up the throttle during a partnership of 175 in 18.5 overs, as England got home with more than six overs to spare.

“Obviously we were bitterly disappointed in that first game, with the way that we played the chase, but I think it was pretty clear that we were going to go out with the same intent as we always do,” Stokes told the host broadcaster Star Sports. “We’re really happy that we managed to get over the line quite easily, especially when India set a really challenging total. [The pitch] was probably a bit quicker than the first game, but over the years we’ve set big totals, we’ve chased big totals, so we don’t really fear too much, to be honest, and we go out and we always try and play as positively as we can.”

That sentiment was echoed by Bairstow, who followed up 94 from 66 balls in the first match with 124 from 112 to set up a series decider on Sunday, the final encounter of England’s tour of India.

“If you actually break the game down only from a couple of days ago, we were way ahead of the game,” he said. “A couple of bits happened and a couple of wickets fell but we were way ahead of that game and that was something that we went away and spoke about and identified. To win that, chase down 337 with six-seven overs left and six wickets in the shed is something that we were really pleased with.”

England were forced to make two changes to their batting line-up after the first ODI, with captain Morgan ruled out of the series by a hand injury and Billings missing with a bruised collar bone. Dawid Malan, currently the No. 1-ranked T20I batsman, came in for only his second ODI appearance and alongside Liam Livingstone saw England home after a minor wobble in which they lost 3 for 2 in nine balls.

The sight of Livingstone, on debut, striking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for back-to-back sixes having barely taken any time to settle at the crease was again indicative of England’s aggression.

“I think that’s the biggest thing, and we’ve spoken about it for a period of time now, that strength in depth in the squad,” Bairstow said. “You’ve seen it many times, people coming in and performing. And also, Morgs has spoken about backing people that are in place in their positions because if you’re in a side and you’re not sure if you’re playing the next game, it can add some anxieties to it. But with the way that Morgs has gone about it, if you’re playing and you’re in possession he’ll give you a proper crack.

Having scored his 11th ODI hundred, Bairstow is now behind only Root, Morgan and Marcus Trescothick for England. All of Bairstow’s centuries have come since he moved up to open in 2017, during which time he has formed a formidable opening partnership with Roy.

“Well naturally I’d like to have the most ODI hundreds for England. I’m happy. I think that’s the biggest thing since opening the batting. I’ve got 11 [hundreds], I think I’ve opened only 56-57 [56] times so yeah I’m happy with those figures – but they mean nothing if you don’t keep converting them in the future. So, look, I’m happy with how I’m playing cricket at the moment and I’m really enjoying it.”



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Jofra Archer ‘happy to go back in the bubble’ after confirming Test fitness bid is on track

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Fiery outing for Sussex shows progress in recovery from elbow and finger injuries

Jofra Archer demonstrated that his return to fitness is firmly on track following a fiery performance for Sussex on the opening day of their LV= County Championship clash with Kent at Hove, and confirmed he would be ready to step back into the England bubble if selected for the two-Test series against New Zealand, at Lord’s and Edgbaston next month.

Archer claimed 2 for 29 in 13 well-grooved overs, with both of his scalps coming in his opening four-over spell, including his England team-mate Zak Crawley, who was caught behind for 7. Kent were rolled aside for 145 inside 55 overs, with Archer’s fellow England prospect, Ollie Robinson, also starring with 3 for 29 in 18 overs.

It was Archer’s first Championship appearance for Sussex since September 2018, and potentially his last of the season too, given that the county has no fixture in next week’s round of games – the last that England’s Test players will be able to play ahead of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, beginning on June 2.

But, after a low-key outing for Sussex’s second XI against Surrey last week, he assuaged many concerns about his recovery from both a long-term elbow injury, and an operation to remove a shard of glass from the middle finger of his right hand.

“It’s great to play again with the [Sussex] lads who I’ve played with nearly all of my career,” Archer told the ECB Reporters’ Network afterwards.

“My fitness is fine, I thought I bowled okay. I played in the second team last week and it’s good to get some confidence and I felt fine. I bowled in short spells for protection in case we had a long day but it was overcast, which helped a bit. There was a bit of management, but it all worked out.



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Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell offered their first New Zealand central contracts

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Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, though, was omitted from the 20-man list

Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell have been offered their first New Zealand central contracts, for the 2021-22 season. However, Ajaz Patel, who won his first deal last year, has been omitted from the 20-member list.

BJ Watling, who had announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket after the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June, dropped out of the list.

Phillips had dislodged Ross Taylor to become a permanent member of the T20I side, slotting into the middle order and also pitching in with his quickish offbreaks. He even reeled off New Zealand’s fastest T20I century, off 46 balls, against West Indies, at the Bay Oval in November last year. In all, Phillips played 14 T20Is last summer, hitting 366 runs at an average of 40.66 and strike rate of just under 185.

As for Mitchell, he stepped in for Colin de Grandhomme, who had been sidelined from the entire home summer with injury, and played key roles across formats. He struck his maiden Test and ODI centuries in addition to contributing with the ball.



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Recent Match Report – Durham vs Worcs Group 1 2021

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Hosts recover to post competitive 246 on opening day at Chester-le-Street

Worcestershire 6 for 0 trail Durham 246 (Lees 99, Tongue 5-39) by 240 runs

Worcestershire’s Josh Tongue claimed a five-wicket haul to bowl Durham out for 246 on the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Emirates Riverside.

Tongue was on the mark for the visitors to tear through the Durham middle and lower order with figures of 5 for 39 in his second appearance of the campaign. Alex Lees continued his fine form for the hosts with the bat, falling just short of a deserved century with an innings of 99.

Through Lees’ exploits and an unbeaten 38 from Brydon Carse, the home side worked their way to a competitive total. The Worcestershire openers were faced with a tough three-over spell before bad light brought a premature end to the day with the visitors six without loss.

Worcestershire’s bowlers found their rhythm after inserting the home side. The Durham openers found life tricky against the new ball and Joe Leach, who was rewarded for a fine opening spell when he pinned Will Young lbw with an inswinger. Charlie Morris maintained the pressure for the visitors and removed Scott Borthwick, who edged to Tom Fell at third slip.

Lees and David Bedingham stemmed the tide and saw the home side through to the lunch interval without further damage at 80 for 2. The two players put on fifty for the third wicket, but a loose Bedingham drive allowed Morris to break the stand. Lees was the only batsman that seemed comfortable, and he manoeuvred his way to his third fifty of the season from 145 balls.

Tongue turned the day in favour of the visitors as he ended a promising partnership between Lees and Jack Burnham, removing the latter lbw for 23 before using a well-aimed bouncer to force Ned Eckersley to play on to his stumps.

Lees accelerated the rate of his innings amid the clatter of wickets at the opposite end. He surged his way into the nineties with a fine array of strokes, but was agonisingly caught behind from a wide ball from Leach on 99 on the stroke of tea.

Carse and Mark Wood added valuable runs for the ninth wicket to take Durham past the 200-run mark and their first batting point. However, Tongue wrapped up the innings with two excellent deliveries to skittle Wood and Chris Rushworth to claim his first five-wicket haul of the term.



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