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Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Middlesex Group 2 2021

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Reece Topley claims four hard-earned wickets in impressive display of stamina

Surrey 154 and 105 for 3 (Burns 54*) trail Middlesex 268 (Robson 95, White 72, Topley 4-56) by nine runs

It has been a challenging time for Rory Burns since he brought up his second and most recent Test hundred in Hamilton in late 2019. He has made only three half-centuries for England since, missed three Tests with ligament damage suffering playing football, two to attend the birth of his first child, and two more after being dropped following a lean run at the top of the order.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Burns appeared to have the world at his feet, piling up 1,000 first-class runs for the fifth consecutive season as he captained Surrey to the Championship title, and his record in county cricket has been characteristically solid in the years since. Even still, he is a marked man as things stand, widely perceived to be the most vulnerable member of England’s batting line-up and by no means assured of his place for the first Tests of the summer against New Zealand; if Chris Silverwood wants to mark the end of the Ed Smith era, Burns is an obvious candidate for a fall guy.

In that light, Burns’ unbeaten half-century at Lord’s on Friday evening not only kept Surrey alive in the London derby, but provided a reminder of his status as one of the leading opening batsmen in the country. Consecutive boundaries through extra cover off Toby Roland-Jones portrayed his confidence, one driven on the front foot and the other flayed on the back, and while Surrey still trail heading into the third day, things had been significantly worse when they were 20 for 2 and some 94 runs behind.

Burns made 4 and 74 at Bristol in the first round of the season and was harshly given out lbw for 34 last week on a road at The Oval while sweeping Callum Parkinson in the over before tea. His failure in the first innings – edging Tim Murtagh to second slip – hinted at a man out of form, but an unusually fluent knock in the second innings belied that suggestion.

The media centre at Lord’s remains shut as building work continues on the Compton and Edrich Stands, and the temporary relocation of the press to the Tavern Stand provides an opportunity to watch Burns from side-on. The angle is a reminder of his idiosyncratic technique, and specifically his pronounced lean forwards as a bowler runs in, but while his method is cumbersome, his willingness to dig in was vital during stands with Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes that dragged Surrey towards parity.

During the draw against Leicestershire, Burns personified exasperation halfway through the morning session, baffled by the umpires’ decision to replace the ball just as it had started to reverse-swing with one that travelled gun-barrel straight for the rest of the day. The ECB confirmed on Friday that Surrey would not be charged with illegally changing the condition of the ball following a review over the past week, and Burns may justifiably feel as though his side’s push for victory was significantly harmed by something out of their control.

That notwithstanding, Surrey can ill afford to lose this game if they are to carry ambitions of finishing in the top two of their group into the second month of the season. Their first-class struggles since their title win in 2018 can justifiably be pinned on the unavailability of their England players for large parts of the summers, but they have close to full strength over the last two-and-a-half weeks, with only the Curran brothers missing.



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Charter flight may return Maldives-bound Australia players this week

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The group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16

Australian cricketers, coaches and media currently stranded in the Maldives may be able to return to home shores as soon as Sunday.

Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association and the BCCI are still awaiting confirmation from the Australian government that citizens who have recently been to India will be allowed to return to home shores after May 15 as previously flagged.

However, under plans currently being thrashed out on that condition, the group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16, where they would then serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.



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India retain No. 1 spot in Test rankings, West Indies rise to sixth place | Cricket

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India have a one-point lead over New Zealand © Getty Images


India and New Zealand retained the top two places in the ICC men’s Test rankings after the annual update, while England overtook Australia for the third spot. West Indies also moved up by two positions to be placed sixth, one slot above South Africa.

India, who have an aggregate of 121 rating points, are only one point ahead of New Zealand. The two teams will face off against each other in the World Test Championship final to be held on June 18 in Southampton.

England climbed up by a place after their 4-0 defeat to Australia in 2017-18 was dropped from the rankings in the latest update. In the current cycle, all matches played since May 2020 are rated at 100% and those of the previous two years at 50%.

Meanwhile, West Indies moved from eighth to sixth place on the back of a 2-0 series win against Bangladesh and 0-0 draw with Sri Lanka earlier this year. This is their best position since 2013.

Pakistan remained fifth despite gaining three points after their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe. South Africa are placed seventh, their joint-lowest in Test ranking history. Only Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are below them. Ireland and Afghanistan are yet to play enough Tests to figure on the rankings table.

Click here for full rankings table

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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Struggling South Australia poach Brendan Doggett among host of changes

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Head coach Jason Gillespie says the new-look side will “focus on results” after four consecutive seasons at the bottom of the first-class standings

South Australia have poached the dual Sheffield Shield-winning fast bowler Brendan Doggett from Queensland among a raft of interstate additions to their squad. According to head coach Jason Gillespie, the new-look side will have a “focus on results” after four consecutive seasons at the bottom of the first-class standings and no victories at all in any competitions last season.

The recruitment of Doggett, alongside the additions of Nathan McSweeney (also from Queensland), Jake Carder (Western Australia), the Sydney Thunder’s Nathan McAndrew (New South Wales) and contract upgrades for Ryan Gibson (NSW), Samuel Kerber (Victoria) and rookie Jordan Buckingham (Victoria), marks a major departure from recent seasons in which the Redbacks tried unsuccessfully to build a home-grown team.

The failing fortunes of South Australia have been a talking point across the national system and were last year the subject of an independent review by Michael Hussey that panned a culture of mediocrity and conflicts of interest within the state’s high-performance wing.

Hussey’s review had included the following recommendations: “Identify and try to recruit the best young talent around the country (former Australia U-19 players not contracted) and engage them through Premier Cricket making them earn opportunities at the next level. Identify quality players from interstate with first-class experience to fill holes in the current list or holes that will develop in the near future. Target the best 10th to 15th players from other states.”

South Australia had already parted ways with Will Bosisto, Tom Cooper, Brad Davis, Conor McInerney, Luke Robins and Cameron Valente – all delisted – while Callum Ferguson and Chadd Sayers retired during the season after long careers with the Redbacks.

“We are extremely delighted with the additions we’ve been able to make to freshen up our squad, and we’re optimistic for an improved 2021-22 season,” Gillespie said.

“We have added considerable depth and increased our pace stocks, namely with Brendan who is a two-time Sheffield Shield champion, and we welcome each new player and look forward to the beginning of pre-season. We’ve shaped this new-look team with a focus on results, and we are confident that this rejuvenated list can take this proud state forward.”

South Australia contract list: Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Jake Carder, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Ryan Gibson, David Grant, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Samuel Kerber, Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Tim Oakley, Lloyd Pope, Kane Richardson, Liam Scott, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Daniel Worrall
Rookie contracts: Jordan Buckingham, Bailey Capel, Kyle Brazell, Corey Kelly, Thomas Kelly

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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