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Recent Match Report – NSW vs Queensland 22nd Match 2020/21

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Events in Perth eased the pressure a little on the two sides but it was keenly contested day with Jason Sangha making a century

Queensland 2 for 184 (Labuschagne 81*, Street 59, Lyon 2-52) trail New South Wales 381 (Sangha 103, Hughes 74, Gilkes 66, Doggett 4-79) by 197 runs

If Tasmania’s gargantuan first innings tally in Perth against Western Australia took some of the heat out of the battle between Queensland and New South Wales in the last round before the Sheffield Shield final, there was still plenty of sizzle to a string of individual duels across a willingly fought second day in Wollongong.

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja were in occupation for the Bulls at the close, having both evaded their shares of nervy moments, particularly against some fiery spells from Mitchell Starc. Nathan Lyon, finding some appreciable turn at times, was also a handful and the bowler responsible for claiming both wickets to fall thus far.

After Jason Sangha reached a deserved third first-class century, the Blues’ hopes of piling on a total beyond 400 were undone by the speed of Brendan Doggett and a flurry of shots that seemed to indicate the hosts felt they had enough runs.

Both Sangha and Lachlan Hearne, author of an accomplished half century on his Shield debut, drove expansively at wide deliveries and were athletically caught by Khawaja and Matt Renshaw respectively.

Runs and wickets then accrued in a hectic passage that saw the final five wickets of the innings go down for 36 as Baxter Holt helped himself to a useful 29, ended only when he skewed Mitchell Swepson’s leg break to Labuschagne, who avoided a stumble and then discarded the ball in the haphazard manner once favoured by Herschelle Gibbs.

Bryce Street and Joe Burns got through the early overs with the new ball, only for the former Test opener to snick Lyon behind when trying to force through the off side on the back foot.

Some stodgy passages followed as Labuschagne and Street sought to build a platform and absorb the freshest spells of the bowlers, who were all quite economical with the exception of Liam Hatcher.

Runs began to flow a little more freely when Starc delivered a second spell of considerable speed after tea, demonstrating a return to the higher, more traditional load-up with his left arm that he abandoned in late 2019 in search of greater control. Street was clanged on the helmet by a bouncer, before Labuschagne edged wide of the slips and then next ball straight to Trent Copeland at first, who dropped it and also hurt a finger. Both balls went to the boundary.

Street freed his arms against Hatcher and was starting to motor until Lyon moved over the wicket and coaxed a top edged sweep that Starc held expertly at deep backward square leg.

This left Khawaja to navigate the day’s last 11 overs with Labuschagne, and he too came close to being dismissed by Starc, jamming a short ball off bat and body up into the air and then perilously close to the stumps as it landed: Khawaja’s relief at the end of the over was tangible.

Nevertheless, Khawaja and Labuschagne made it to stumps, with the hope of stretching their union on Easter Monday and setting up a fourth innings chase.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Neil Wagner

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Says the opportunity to train with the Dukes ball even before leaving for England has been “quite beneficial”

New Zealand are not going to treat the two upcoming Tests against England as warm-ups for the World Test Championship final against India, fast bowler Neil Wagner has said. A majority of New Zealand’s Test contingent arrived in England on Sunday and Wagner was part of the second batch of players to leave Auckland on Monday.

“We’re not going to treat these two Test matches against England just as warm-ups [for the WTC final],” Wagner told reporters at the Auckland airport before his departure. “I know for a fact we’re going to get out there and pride ourselves the way we’ve been playing Test cricket and we want to win Test matches for New Zealand.”

Wagner, the No. 3-ranked bowler in the ICC Test rankings, was among the Test players who got together in Lincoln for camps and training with the Dukes ball, which is used for Test matches in England, in the lead up to the tour. Wagner will be touring England as part of the New Zealand squad for the third time, although he played there only during the 2013 Test series, apart from his experience in the County Championship for Lancashire. Wagner said the opportunity to train with the Dukes ball even before leaving for England, unlike in the past, had been “quite beneficial”.



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Newlands ball-tampering scandal – Cameron Bancroft contacted by Cricket Australia integrity unit

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The problem CA has is they have tried to sweep it under the carpet and not come out with the full story, says Michael Clarke

Cricket Australia’s integrity unit has contacted Cameron Bancroft to ask whether he has anything to add to his recent comments suggesting wider knowledge of the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering plot.

Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia’s head of national teams, confirmed on Monday that the integrity unit, which is currently headed by Rebecca Murray, had reached out to Bancroft to see if he was willing to speak further about the affair that led to him being banned for nine months, while Steven Smith and David Warner were both suspended for a year.



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Majority of New Zealand Test contingent arrives in UK

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Neil Wagner says the side will not treat the two Tests against England as warm-ups for the World Test Championship final

The majority of the New Zealand Test contingent landed in London on Sunday after flying from Auckland via Singapore, for their tour of two Tests against the hosts and the World Test Championship final against India next month. The players and support staff were transferred from the London airport to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, their base for the first two weeks of the tour.

An NZC release stated the squad is “adhering to strict health protocols”, starting with pre-departure vaccinations and Covid-19 tests, in the wake of the pandemic.

“While in England, they will operate in a ‘controlled team environment’ to limit outside contact and risk of transmission,” the release said. “All tour members will complete a daily self-reported health screening as well as undergoing regular Covid testing.”



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