Warwickshire 169 for 5 (Lamb 41*) trail Derbyshire 189 by 20 runs
Warwickshire are hoping to convince the government to allow 50% capacity at the Test between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston in June.
The game starts on June 10 which, under current guidelines, means just 25% occupancy of the ground will be allowed. Tickets for the game have almost sold out.
Now, however, the club has written to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and asked for the Test to be viewed as a “validation event”. That means it would be used to demonstrate how sports stadiums could safely accommodate higher capacity once Covid protocols are lifted which, under current guidelines, will be some time from June 21.
Crucially, co-signatories of the letter include Andy Street, the major of the West Midlands, and Ian Ward, the Birmingham City Council leader. Warwickshire hope this demonstrates the region’s determination to make such an arrangement work and incorporate public transport and accommodation plans.
Warwickshire’s proposal does not require the use of vaccine passports. Instead, they have proposed a system where spectators can either demonstrate that they have had the full vaccination (that means both jabs) or have a certificate to prove they have had a negative lateral flow test from an accredited centre in the last 48 hours. They would also have the option of demonstrating that they have antibodies having recovered from the virus in recent months.
It is understood DCMS has received Warwickshire’s letter and is considering its response. The club have asked for an answer by the first week of May, at the latest, so they can organise a ballot to arrange which ticket-holders will be able to attend. The club is insured for the lost value of ticket revenue.
The absence of spectators on the second day of Warwickshire’s Championship match might have been something of a blessing in disguise. While the cricket was reasonably compelling, this was a grimly cold day with several interruptions for rain and bad light. Watching via the live feed might not have been such a bad alternative.
That cold weather may have been relevant to a key moment in the day’s play, too. Standing in the slips on days like this is little fun but, while Warwickshire caught neatly on the first day, Derbyshire put down two chances within a few balls either side of tea which may yet prove crucial. Had they been taken, it would have left Warwickshire on 141 for 7.
As it was, Tim Bresnan, dropped on 11, and Matt Lamb, dropped on 30, were able to add an unbroken 55 for the sixth wicket to help Warwickshire claw their way back into this low-scoring match.
Still, this was a performance of which Derbyshire’s young seam attack could be justifiably proud. Four of the five bowlers used have played fewer than 20 first-class games; two of them have played fewer than 10. But they showed admirable skill and persistence in harnessing conditions expertly and, with just a modicum more fortune, could have helped their side take a first-innings lead.
Rob Yates was, perhaps, the most assured of the top-order batsmen. He impressed Alastair Cook last year with his “well organised” game and calm temperament and you can see why. While he’s comfortable leaving, he is more than adept at putting away anything on his pads or overpitched and it took a good one from Sam Connors, angled across him, to draw an edge.
Sam Hain never really settled and was drawn into a loose drive against a booming outswinger from Ben Aitcheson, while Dom Sibley’s patient innings ended when he edged one angled in but leaving him off the pitch. Michael Burgess, becalmed as Derbyshire’s seamers conceded just four runs in 45 balls – at one stage there were 28 dot balls in succession – prodded at one which left him.
While both left-arm seamers, Luis Reece and Michael Cohen, finished the day wicketless, both also impressed. Reece beat the bat numerous times with his swing bowling, while Cohen, although relatively diminutive for a fast bowler, generated sharp pace and also demonstrated pleasing shape back into the right-hander. Both will bowl less well and claim wickets.
But while Bresnan and Lamb played and missed often, they generally played straight, refused to push for the ball and put away anything poorly directed. Lamb looked especially proficient square of the wicket but was fortune to see Leus du Plooy put him down when he edged one from the deserving Fynn Hudson-Prentice.
There was a boost for Warwickshire off the pitch, too. Pieter Malan has now obtained the visa he required and is expected to arrive in England before the end of the month. That means he is expected to make his Warwickshire debut on May 6. Hanuma Vihari will deputise until then.
While Warwickshire are keeping their options open in terms of playing Vihari and Malan in the same side – counties can select two overseas players per game this year – they are unlikely to do so. The club has high hopes for young batsmen such as Yates and Dan Mousley and remains committed to providing opportunities for them.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand pick Ajaz Patel ahead of Mitchell Santner in final 15 for WTC final
Daryl Mitchell, Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy and Rachin Ravindra also left out
“It was all pretty tough,” Stead said on trimming the final squad. “When you go through them you are looking at all the different positions and it was really about having cover for all the scenarios we think we might face.
“You take someone like Daryl Mitchell who has done very well in all his opportunities and Mitchell Santner who has been a longer-standing servant of the team, they are a couple of them that stand out as the toughest ones.”
Barring any further injury scares before the final on Friday, the last decision for New Zealand will be around the balance of their attack which could see Kyle Jamieson batting at No. 7 if they go with five specialist bowlers instead of allrounder Colin de Grandhomme, who was rested at Edgbaston.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in Kyle,” Stead said. “He hasn’t yet done it [bat at No. 7] at Test level but he’s developing nicely. In time it’s ultimately where we see Kyle could hopefully end up or certainly push his boundaries to get up at that level because that would then allow us to look at the team slightly differently in terms of the dynamic of the group.
“There’s always a bit of a puzzle whether you go in with what you feel is slightly batting heavy or bowling heavy. That’s the advantage of having an allrounder in that you can balance up the group a little bit more and that’s what we are aiming to do when we select our teams.”
“Ajaz bowled beautifully,” he said. “Thought in both innings he did the role we wanted him to do and picked up a couple of key wickets. It’s worth noting that the conditions we face here in England are slightly different from a spin perspective as to what we get in New Zealand and I think the wickets here do deteriorate a little bit faster as well.
“The role of the spinner is probably a little more of an attacking one than it is in New Zealand at times. We felt we needed to have who we thought was our best spinner in terms of the guy who can take wickets for us and that’s why Ajaz got that nod.
“It’s a hard message to give at times. Often those guys have done nothing wrong and it’s around the balance we want in the team but Mitch [Santner] took it as I expected he would. He knows he’s a key component of our white-ball teams and there’s certainly a lot of white-ball cricket coming up that he can go home and prepare for as well.”
Stead added that the final decision on the balance of the side was perhaps not quite as simple as Patel verses de Grandhomme and would likely be made the day before the final once they have assessed the pitch and with an eye on a weather forecast that suggests rain will be a factor.
“There’s a whole lot of different scenarios it could be depending on what that [the pitch] looks like, what the weather’s like and they could both yet play as well.”
However, it would be a surprise to see any of Jamieson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner not making the final XI which means that Matt Henry, who was Player of the Match at Edgbaston, is set to be on the bench.
“I think in many other teams Matt Henry would have played a lot more cricket but it’s also the strength that we have and it’s great that when he got the opportunity that he did what he did,” Stead said.
New Zealand WTC final squad Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Will Young, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Matt Henry
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
Recent Match Report – Glamorgan vs Surrey South Group 2021
Surrey 167 for 5 (Roy 64) beat Glamorgan 166 for 8 (Labuschagne 74, Moriarty 3-26) by five wickets
Roy’s personality does not lend itself to bio-bubbles and “secure team environments” and his form has suffered at times over the last 12 months, with a rare lean patch in ODIs and scratchy form in both the Big Bash and England’s T20I series in India and South Africa. Last week, he started the Blast with an ugly innings of 45 off 42 at Lord’s, swinging rustily and being outscored by a ratio of five-to-two by Will Jacks, then thrashed a cameo of 30 off 14 at Taunton.
But here, in front of 4000 or so supporters, he scoffed at Glamorgan’s plan to start with spin against him in the Powerplay, racing to 41 off 18 balls. “I always look for small progressions,” he said afterwards. “Lord’s was very scratchy and I didn’t have that rhythm, hitting a lot of fielders and just getting a bit frustrated. At Taunton I had a bit of fun after a four-and-a-half-hour journey – I thought ‘why not?’ But tonight, it was a lot better.”
Roy had dumped the first ball he faced straight back over Prem Sisodiya’s head for four and the second over of the chase demonstrated his dominance over bowlers at this level. Andrew Salter, the offspinner, went full and straight to start with, so Roy cleared his front leg and smeared him over mid-off. Roy realised the second would be shorter, so rocked back and slapped a cut through point with a powerful snap of the wrists. Salter had nowhere to go, and went full again; Roy lined him up, and hammered him straight back over his head.
He was quieter against Glamorgan’s seamers, but still brought up a 28-ball half-century off the final ball of the Powerplay. When Labuschagne was introduced, Roy swept his first ball hard for four, and belted his third over midwicket; the only surprise came in Labuschagne’s second over, when he miscued a skier to backward point via a thick top-edge.
“Someone has to get you out at some stage, don’t they?” Roy said of Glamorgan’s ploy to bowl spin at him up front, which has become a consistent plan against England in T20Is. “Sometimes it happens to be a left-arm spinner. A leggie got me out tonight eventually, didn’t they? So I’m sure someone will have something to write about. As a player, it gives you something to work on, which is always nice.”
Roy’s innings took the equation from 167 off 120 balls to 79 off 71 by the time he was dismissed, effectively sealing the game despite their minor stumble. Sam Curran and Jamie Overton fell in successive overs after Roy’s dismissal before Laurie Evans drilled Sisodiya straight to long-off, but Jamie Smith’s cool-headed 35 not out saw them across the line with 10 balls to spare.
Roy will play two more games for Surrey, at home against Sussex and Hampshire on Thursday and Friday, before he links up with England on Saturday ahead of their white-ball summer, which comprises six ODIs and six T20Is, three each against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
“You always go back to square one, no matter how many runs you’ve scored,” he said. “Before every series you go back to the drawing board and get yourself back to basics and go from there – you certainly don’t want to think that you’re going to score runs every game, because unfortunately that’s not the way the game works. But it’s obviously very nice to have these runs behind me – it makes it a lot easier.
“[Last year] was a huge experience and a massive learning curve. I’ve come through the other side a lot better for it. It was a very tough year on and off the field so it was about keeping my head down and making sure I stay consistent with my training and back myself, knowing that eventually it would come right. Am I in a good headspace now? Absolutely.”
For Glamorgan, Labuschagne had been the glue holding the innings together for the third game in a row after Nick Selman’s leg-side pick-ups had got them to 55 for 1 inside six overs. Surrey exploited match-ups to their advantage, with Gareth Batty and Dan Moriarty encouraging batters to hit towards the long boundary and Glamorgan duly obliging.
Labuschagne had stated his desire to use the Blast as a chance to pitch his case for inclusion in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad at the start of the season and his early efforts have been persuasive: 93 not out, 59 and 74 tonight, giving him 226 runs for twice out at a strike rate of 146.75 and four cheap wickets to boot.
One of his biggest assets in T20 is his willingness to use his position on the crease to throw bowlers off their line, and his ability to adjust. There was no better demonstration than the fifth ball of the 17th over, when he jumped outside leg stump to encourage Tom Curran to bowl wide outside off, despite having point and third man up inside the ring. Curran landed a perfect wide yorker, but Labuschagne stretched out and deflected it away through the gap, like a centre-forward in hockey deflecting the ball in at the back post.
He had started slowly, eking out 17 off the first 22 balls he faced, but once he had adjusted to the slowness of the pitch he was away, hitting 57 off the next 29. His slow start was put into perspective by Roy’s fireworks, but with Surrey applying the squeeze, there had been no other option.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Recent Match Report – Kings vs United 22nd Match 2020/21-2021
Islamabad United two points clear of Lahore Qalandars at the top of the PSL standings
Islamabad United 191 for 2 (Munro 88*, Iftikhar 71*) beat Karachi Kings 190 for 4 (Babar 81, Zadran 71*) by eight wickets
Karachi do it smart
Kings were put into bat and went off to a decent start. While Azam took some time to suss the pitch out, they had the insurance of Sharjeel Khan, who managed to hit two sixes in the powerplay in an opening stand of 37. Once he fell, Babar opened up to find some boundaries. It was a role reversal, with No. 3 Martin Guptill struggling for timing during his brief stay before eventually chopping on.
However, the steady start to the innings meant they were still going at nine an over. From there, Babar and Zadran kept the rate up, finding the pitch to be conducive to driving on the up. Babar used the bounce and lift in the surface to bring out some delightful flicks, and drives through extra cover, with the occasional indulgence of hitting fast bowlers straight over their heads. He took a liking to Hasan Ali, but did end up falling to him on 81 in the 19th over.
Zadran outlasted Babar, with whom he had put up 117 in just over 12 overs, and came into his own with confident aerial shots towards the end. He was lethal with the cut shot early on, and particularly took a liking to Shadab Khan off whom he hit sixes off consecutive deliveries in the 14th over – one over midwicket, one over extra cover. That 14th over was the start of a phase in which they score more than 15 an over on four occasions. It hauled them to 190, which didn’t prove enough.
A slow start to the chase
United had a streaky, ungainly start to their chase. Amir had Usman Khawaja in knots in the first over with outswing, and Waqas Maqsood kept Munro reasonably quiet at the other end too. In their first three overs, United had only three boundaries. At Khawaja’s dismissal in the fifth over, they had only 28 on the board, and a brand new No. 3 in Muhammad Akhlaq lasted only two balls, losing his off stump comprehensively to Maqsood.
The pattern would hold – much like the pitch seemed to be. Munro and Iftikhar had scarcely any scoring opportunities on a pitch that suddenly seemed to have slowed. On the occasions Munro seemed to have bludgeoned the ball, he unfailingly found the fielders as well. At 72 for 2 in 10 overs, they didn’t look healthy in the chase – like a wicket would open up the gates for the Kings.
Maqsood and Perera live the horror
That wicket never came. But it could have. At the start of the 12th over, Munro toe-ended a pull shot in the direction of mid-off, having charged down the track at Abbas Afridi. A simple catch was presented to Maqsood, who didn’t have to move too much, but ended up dropping that.
In the span of one over from there, Munro managed to hit four boundaries, including the one that took him to fifty. Iftikhar heaved one into the grass banks over square leg too. It was the start of the end for the Kings. United needed 80 off seven at that point, and Thisara Perera was handed the ball after the strategic break. Imad Wasim had suffered a finger injury trying to take a return catch, and couldn’t finish his overs.
Munro sent the first ball for six, the second for four, and then dispatched a waist-high full toss – Perera’s second of the evening – over cover. His next ball, also a high full toss, was clubbed straight to long-off by Munro. But the third umpire intervened to rule it above waist height, and the resulting free hit was launched into the leg side by Iftikhar.
Seventeen had come off the previous over, 23 came off Perera’s 14th. That was the pivot – Munro and Iftikhar unleashed a force that proved too much for the Kings; Munro ended having hit ten boundaries and two sixes, and Iftikhar five fours and five sixes. It was an indication of just how much Kings’ bowling fell apart in the final quarter of the game.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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