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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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Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs India, India tour of Sri Lanka 2021, 2nd ODI

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Sri Lanka have lost all but one of their nine completed ODIs this year

Big picture

Less than 48 hours after India put the finishing touches on their thumping of Sri Lanka in the first ODI, the teams have to go again. If you’re a Sri Lanka fan, hold on tight. This might not be pretty.

In many senses, we didn’t really learn much from the first match. It was already known that Sri Lanka lack world-class batters. Although the likes of Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa struck attractive boundaries, there was no one to hold the innings together. But for No. 8 Chamika Karunaratne’s unbeaten 43 off 35 balls, Sri Lanka may have stumbled to a truly sub-par total.

There was also no surprise in Shikhar Dhawan – a modern ODI behemoth – ending up the game’s top scorer. And India’s staggering batting depth was suspected too; their top order expected to flex against a Sri Lanka attack that has some talent but is woefully light on experience and direction. Still, the breathtaking confidence and striking ability of Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, and later, Suryakumar Yadav would have quickened pulses around the world. On its own, this young top order is a reason to tune in.

If Sri Lanka want to push India on Tuesday, there are a giant list of things they must correct. Their inability to rotate the strike against the spinners held them back during the middle overs, as batters played laboured block-or-bash innings; their fielding was poor, with two chances going down on the boundary; and while Dushmantha Chameera was good again with the new ball, they need to find a more reliable seam-bowling partner than Isuru Udana, who was taken apart in the powerplay and bowled only two overs.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)

Sri Lanka LLLWL
India WWLWW

In the spotlight

While wristspinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav went looking for wickets, Krunal Pandya kept things tight through the middle overs – his left-arm spin going for only 26 runs in 10 overs. In four ODI appearances, this was by far his best bowling performance – he had actually been bashed around by England in March. In that series, Krunal had showed off his hitting ability at ODI level. If he can add stability to India’s spin attack too, he makes a strong case for consistent selection.
Dushmantha Chameera didn’t get any wickets on Sunday, and yet, made several India batters uncomfortable with his pace. While Kishan was walloping everyone else, Chameera was the one bowler who seriously tested him, peppering him with short balls. Chameera had been one of Sri Lanka’s few positives from the recent tour of England, and has finally built up some rhythm after years of his career being frustrated by injuries. With the quick turnarounds this series though, Sri Lanka run the risk of him picking up niggles. As he is one of the few performing players in this side, they can’t really afford to leave him out either.

Pitch and conditions

Expect another surface that offers plenty of turn, but remains pretty good for batting. Although showers can occasionally roll through at this time of year, the weather is expected to be good on Tuesday.

Team news

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar having been slightly off – particularly at the death – on Sunday, India may bring in Navdeep Saini.

India (possible): 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan (capt.), 3 Ishan Kishan (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Suryakumar Yadav, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Sri Lanka will probably rethink Udana’s presence in the team. Lahiru Kumara or Kasun Rajitha are likeliest to replace him.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Avishka Fernando, 2 Minod Bhanuka (wk), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt.), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Lakshan Sandakan, 11 Lahiru Kumara

Stats and trivia

  • Dhawan became the second-fastest India batter to 6000 ODI runs, getting there in 140 innings. Only Hashim Amla (123 inns), Virat Kohli (136) and Kane Williamson (139) have been faster to the milestone.
  • Sri Lanka have lost all but one of their nine completed ODIs this year.
  • Kishan had also hit a half century on T20 international debut. The only other batter to achieve this double is South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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West Indies vs Australia, 1st ODI, 2021

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Finch’s knee injury will be assessed on a day to day basis during the series

Alex Carey has been named Australia captain for the first ODI against West Indies in Barbados with Aaron Finch ruled out due to the knee injury he aggravated during the last T20I.

Finch’s injury will be assessed on a “day by day” basis but with the three matches being played in the space of five days it could be a challenge for him to fit for this series.

Carey was previously a joint vice-captain of the ODI side until the selectors reverted to the traditional model of having one player in the position by naming Pat Cummins as vice-captain across all formats last year.

However, Cummins is not part of this tour so Carey now has the chance to lead his country for the first time having previously captained Australia A, Adelaide Strikers and South Australia.



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Royal London Cup 2021 – Shreyas Iyer ruled out of Lancashire county stint

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India batter continuing his recovery from shoulder injury suffered in March

India batter Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of appearing for Lancashire in the upcoming Royal London Cup. Iyer had signed as an overseas player for the 50-over tournament but required surgery on a shoulder injury suffered during India’s home ODI series against England in March.

It has since been decided, following discussions between Lancashire and the BCCI, that Iyer will remain in India to continue rehab ahead of his planned return to cricket.

“We are obviously very disappointed, as we were thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Shreyas to Emirates Old Trafford,” Lancashire’s director of cricket, Paul Allott, said. “Ultimately Shreyas’ long-term fitness is of paramount importance and Lancashire Cricket fully respects the decision.



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