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Recent Match Report – Yorkshire vs Kent Group 3 2021

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Opener reaches 97, Harry Brook scores fifty as visitors go to stumps 358 for 8 at Canterbury

Yorkshire 358 for 8 (Lyth 97, Brook 54) vs Kent

Yorkshire reached 358 for 8 at stumps against Kent on a fluctuating first day in the LV= Insurance County Championship at Canterbury, Adam Lyth their top-scorer with 97 and Harry Brook making 54.

Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens celebrated being named as one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year by taking 3 for 52 and Matt Milnes claimed 2 for 63, including the prize scalp of England Test captain Joe Root for 11, while wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson took five catches.

The visitors had regained control by the close of play in the Group Three fixture thanks to Steven Patterson and David Willey, who were unbeaten on 34 and 25 respectively, leaving Yorkshire with four bonus points and Kent two.

Yorkshire won the toss and opted to bat in numbingly cold conditions, racing to 28 without loss before Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell for 14 to the final ball of the fourth over, glancing a leg-side delivery from Stevens to Robinson.

The visitors continued to score at more than six an over for the first hour and Lyth reached his fifty before noon, from just 43 balls, before Kent slowed the run rate. Harry Podmore then removed Tom Loten for 27, tempting him to prod at a leg side delivery that was caught behind, leaving Yorkshire 128 for 2 at lunch.

Kent claimed four wickets in the afternoon session, including Root, who became Robinson’s third victim, when he was lured outside off stump by Milnes. Lyth then fell three short of his century, nicking Milnes to Robinson and Brook produced an innings of controlled aggression before he was lbw to Miguel Cummins.

With Podmore off the field with an injury, occasional bowler Jack Leaning took a wicket with his first ball when he had Jonathan Tattersall caught at slip by Stevens for 11, leaving the visitors on 240 for 6 at tea.

Dom Bess and Jordan Thompson batted through the first hour of the evening session before Stevens removed both, Bess lbw for 36 and Thompson caught behind for 34, reducing Yorkshire to 299 for 8, only for Patterson and Willey to frustrate Kent’s bowlers with an unbroken partnership of 59 for the ninth wicket.



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Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Gloucs Group 2 2021

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Middlesex 210 (White 76*, Payne 5-31) and 26 for 3 trail Gloucestershire 273 (Bracey 75, Cockbain 51) by 37 runs

There have been times, during England’s interminable era of bio-secure bubbling, when you’d have been forgiven for wondering whether James Bracey was a figment of the management’s cabin-fevered imagination. Plucked from obscurity to join the 55-man training squad last summer, then stowed away behind closed doors for the best part of a year, was Bracey a MacGuffin of the rest-and-rotation policy? An illusion of options in a squad that isn’t exactly in need of yet another wicketkeeper-batsman?

For 143 deliveries at Lord’s this afternoon – the majority of them coming in a free-wheeling fifth-wicket stand of 91 with Ian Cockbain – and then with an eye-catching grab behind the stumps in the day’s closing moments, Bracey set out to prove he’s a very real prospect indeed. In spite of the sudden deluge of options at England’s disposal this summer, this performance may yet prove to have been a sighter for his potential Test debut on the same ground against New Zealand next month. After all, the selectors’ secret is out now. They can’t keep him cooped up in an ECB-approved hotel-room for evermore.

“I’ve just really enjoyed being back out there,” Bracey said at the close. “I haven’t played a lot of Championship cricket in the past 18 months, so it’s been nice to have a period to get into my stride and go to work.

“I’ve come back feeling a bit more responsible and with a bit more experience to contribute to the team, but it’s been a double-edged sword,” he added. “You find yourself getting into a groove of netting and practicing, and finding things to work on, so it’s nice to have that competitive edge back. It’s very different out there to what it’s like on the training ground.”

Admittedly, Bracey made just 75 – one fewer than Robbie White compiled for Middlesex on the opening day – and the shot that brought about his downfall was limp, as he pulled his second delivery after tea straight to backward square to fling away the chance of his second hundred of the season, not to mention the chance to turn a handy first-innings lead of 63 into a crushing three-figure advantage.

But until that moment, the manner in which he had guided Gloucestershire through the early stirrings of a Middlesex revival was unquestionably classy. At 100 for 4 in the 45th over, with Tim Murtagh and Ethan Bamber leading the line in a typically parsimonious pairing, there had been a danger that the hosts’ total of 210 might prove to be competitive after all.

But Bracey, who had stood firm for 20 overs after replacing the nightwatchman Matt Taylor at the hour mark, found in Cockbain a man who was willing to take the calculated risks that Middlesex’s own middle-order had found to be beyond them. Together they cashed in on the change bowlers, Martin Andersson and the young spinner Thilan Wallalawita in particular, to rattle along at close to four an over with 17 fours and a six between them.

And by the close, that pair of half-centuries, allied to a feisty cameo of 49 from Ryan Higgins, had been put into proper context by yet another callow batting display from Middlesex. Higgins and David Payne reprised their first-innings dominance to scalp both openers in single figures, before Bracey himself plunged across Kraigg Brathwaite at first slip to extend Peter Handscomb’s abject start to his tenure as Middlesex’s new captain – he’s made 31 runs in five innings now, today’s addition to that tally being a solitary boundary at the halfway mark of a tortuous 31-ball stay.



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County Championship – Alastair Cook may rue lean Trent Bridge havest as Steven Mullaney makes hay | Cricket

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Stuart Broad claims the wicket of Alastair Cook © Getty Images


Essex 99 and 129 for 3 (Browne 60*) trail Nottinghamshire 323 (Mullaney 117, James 51, Snater 7-98) by 95 runs

When Alastair Cook finally retires for good, and let’s hope in county cricket it will be a good while yet, he might well look upon Trent Bridge without too many pangs of regret.

Cook only managed three half-centuries for England on this ground in 24 attempts, although he might find consolation that his only Test half-century came against Australia in 2013 in a thrilling match which fell to England by only 14 runs. Memory jog: Ian Bell’s sumptuous century, Jimmy Anderson’s 10-wicket match and, after a last-wicket partnership of 65, Brad Haddin given out after the thinnest of inside edges. Cue pandemonium.

His record against Nottinghamshire, not a long list because of his international success, is nevertheless even less rewarding: he has never passed 50. In farming terms, though, which is how much of his life now plays out, every time he comes to Nottingham he must feel as forlorn as Tess of the d’Urbervilles, hacking at swedes at Flintcomb Ash.

Cook has made 3 and 35 for Essex here, bowled by his old mucker, Stuart Broad in the first innings, and lbw to Lyndon James second time around. It looked plumb, although did he hint at the possibility that there might have been the slightest inside edge?

If he was aggrieved then a brief cross-legged pause at the crease, followed by the tiniest glance at his bat, was a response of the utmost decorum. It was not about to bring demands for him to relinquish his knighthood in disgrace. There again, Sir Alastair, no need to worry about that, nobody resigns for anything these days.

Two days into this match, Nottinghamshire are well enough ahead to be able to survive a potential third-day washout before pushing for victory on the final day forecast to be dry but cloudy. Essex followed up their 99 all out in the first innings with a painstaking 129 for 3 from 59 overs, and clearly have draw points on their mind, but they still trail by 95. Notts need a good Sunday morning.

Steven Mullaney‘s 117 was the ballast behind Notts’ first-innings lead of 224, and he passed 8,000 first-class runs in the process. All that he said could not be faulted: “I thought we bowled really well. The scoreboard’s not really gone anywhere. After two days we couldn’t hope to be in a better position against arguably the best side in the country.”

After three days, though, it won’t feel quite as good. The forecast looks terminal around the country, and local clubs would be wondering whether to skip pitch preparation even as they fielded premature drop-outs from players who suddenly realised they had to be in for a vital delivery from Amazon.




Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney made a century © Getty Images


Mullaney’s century had two moods. He had feasted on some ordinary Essex bowling in reaching 63 overnight, but the loss of James and Tom Moores to Shane Snater in successive balls persuaded him that he must adopt a more watchful approach. He did just that against the seamers, although he had a couple of risky moments against Simon Harmer, not least the shot that brough up his hundred, an under-edged slog sweep which whistled to long leg. He fell to a good nip-backer from Siddle which so impressed him he depicted its course to the bowler like a budding artist before departing.

Snater, a Zimbabwe-born Netherlands seamer, took a career-best 7 for 98 in only his sixth first-class appearance, as he removed James and Tom Moores in successive balls before adding two late wickets. His fast-medium possessed impressive energy and he has been the best Essex pace bowler on show.

But Mullaney, who offered a difficult chance to gully before adding to his overnight 63, completed a stand of 123 with James, a home-produced allrounder of promise, and 66 with Broad, who Leicestershire supporters will forever insist is not homegrown, even though he was born in Nottingham, and whose 41 from 42 balls was a recognisable stand-and-deliver affair which climaxed with a step-away six over midwicket against Snater and an emphatic pull in the same direction against the veteran Australian Siddle in the following over; Siddle was collared so easily he must have felt his age. It’s 36.

Nottinghamshire had to labour for their wickets in Essex’s second innings, with Luke Fletcher bowling well enough without reward, after his first-innings 6 for 24, to reflect that fortune had soon deserted him. The removal of Tom Westley (who might have left it) and Dan Lawrence (who played down the wrong line) left Notts in the ascendancy but Nick Browne, who has played solidly throughout, found an ally in Paul Walter as Essex batted out the last 24 overs, pining for rain.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps


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No Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav in India’s squad of 20 for WTC final and England Tests

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KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha were picked subject to “fitness clearance”

There was no Hardik Pandya or Kuldeep Yadav as India named a squad of 20 players, including two – KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha – subject to “fitness clearance”, as well as four standby players for the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand and the subsequent five-Test series against England in August-September. India will play the WTC final from June 18 to 22 in Southampton and the Test series against England from August 4, starting in Nottingham, to September 14, with the last Test scheduled for Manchester.

Virat Kohli’s side is expected to leave for England on June 2, and keeping in mind the length of the tour as well as possible contingencies because of the Covid-19 pandemic, India are carrying a total of 24 players, their reserves’ list reading Abhimanyu Easwaran, the opening batter, and three fast bowlers: Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Arzan Nagwaswalla.

Rahul underwent surgery for appendicitis in early May after he complained of “severe abdomen pain” during the IPL. At the time, the doctors were understood to have told the Punjab Kings that Rahul would be able to resume all activity in a week’s time.

Saha, the other player who has to prove his fitness in time for the tour, tested positive for Covid-19 on May 4, the same day the IPL was postponed indefinitely. Saha, who was a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, is still in Delhi, where he returned the positive test. It is understood that he would have to undergo 14 days in isolation and be able to move out only after a negative test. As things stand, he is still exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 including the loss of smell.

Of the players dropped from the squad that played against England at home earlier this year, Pandya did have a question mark over him since he has not bowled regularly for some time now, with Kohli saying that he wanted to preserve Pandya the bowler for the Tests in England. He had a shoulder niggle during the IPL, and didn’t bowl at all in the seven matches he played for the Mumbai Indians. He did, however, bowl a nine-over burst in the third and final ODI against England.

As for Kuldeep, while he has been a part of the India squad recently, he has not had many games. Of his seven Tests, he has played only one in the last two years – the second Test against England in February this year – in which he got to bowl just 12.2 overs overall, returning 0 for 16 and 2 for 25 as India won by 317 runs. His previous Test appearance before that was back in January 2019 in Sydney, where he picked up 5 for 99 in the first Australia innings.

With Axar Patel making a big splash on Test debut in the England series with a haul of 27 wickets from three games and India mostly preferring one or both of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, depending on conditions, Kuldeep’s chances of making the cut took a hit.

Before the latest Covid-19 surge in India which led to the UK government putting India on the red list in April, the BCCI was looking at picking two separate squads with the first batch meant for the WTC final and the second leaving closer to the England tour. That had to change once the circumstances changed.

In April, the ECB had announced that the Indians would be arriving with an inflated squad and would play two intra-squad practice matches in July. Those two matches replaced the original warm-up schedule of four-day fixtures between the Indians and India A in July. The ECB, in agreement with BCCI, had postponed the India A tour because of the pandemic.

Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-capt), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wk; subject to fitness clearance). Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla

More to follow…



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