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Alan Davidson star of tied 1960 Test dies at 92

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Former Australia allrounder played 44 Tests and claimed 186 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.53

In a Test career that spanned 1953 to 1963, Davidson played 44 times and claimed 186 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.53. It is the second-lowest average for any bowler with more than 150 Test wickets behind SF Barnes (16.43). He was also a very useful batter with five Test fifties and a first-class average of 32.96

In the tied Test against West Indies in Brisbane, which he played with a broken finger, he became the first player to score 100 runs and take 11 wickets in the same match. Only Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Shakib Alan Hasan have since achieved the feat.
In a 2012 interview with ESPNcricinfo, Davidson recalled his second-innings 80 in one of the greatest finishes the game has ever seen. “My best batting was in the second innings in the tied Test. But [Richie] Benaud ran me out at the most critical moment. We had two overs to go. We needed seven runs in virtually seven minutes. I told him, ‘Just make sure I am down there for Wes Hall.’ Richie played three or four balls in the penultimate over. Then he hit straight to Joe Solomon and took off. I wasn’t really backing up 100% and I was out by four to five yards. Next over Hall bounced Richie, who was caught behind. It was the most unforgettable game of all time.”

Davidson grew up on the New South Wales Central Coast and learnt the game on a homemade pitch at the family property before he moved to Sydney.

After overcoming a series of injuries, Davidson was at his finest in the late 1950s and early 1960s under the captaincy of his schoolboy adversary, New South Wales team-mate and close friend Benaud.

Against India at Kanpur in 1959 he took match figures of 12 for 124 included his career-best 7 for 93 in the second innings from 57.3 overs.

He claimed a wicket with his last ball in Test cricket against England in 1963. “When I went to start that last over in Test cricket, it was a memory-lane thing,” he recalled in 2012. “I remembered my first Test match was in Nottingham and all the rest of my career came back, and I was thinking, ‘I hope I can do something in this over.’

“I had lost count of the number of balls I had bowled. I turned to the umpire, asking him how many balls were left. ‘This is it,’ he replied. The previous two deliveries I bowled to Alan Smith, I had him at a spot where his feet were doing something. I thought if I could pitch it on this particular spot, he would either nick it to the wicketkeeper or the slip. As it was, he nicked it to Bobby Simpson at first slip. It was like a crescendo, and then it was a relief that I had gone out in a way I did not think possible.”

After his playing days, Davidson remained a major figure in the game which included 33 years as president of Cricket New South Wales and five years as an Australia selector between 1979 and 1984.

“Alan Davidson’s passing is a sad moment for Australian cricket and for cricket across the world,” Richard Freudenstein, the Cricket Australia chair, said. “Alan was a colossal figure in our game, not only as one of the finest players to have represented Australia and NSW, but for the positive influence he exerted across the game as an administrator, mentor and benefactor.

“The tremendous skill and the boundless spirit with which Alan embraced cricket and life embodied everything that is great about the game. He will remain a shining example for every player who follows in his footsteps.

“On behalf of Cricket Australia, and all those who benefitted from Alan’s vast contribution across Australian cricket, I offer my deepest condolences to the Davidson family as well Alan’s many close friends, colleagues and former teammates.”

Lee German, the Cricket NSW chief executive, said: “Alan Davidson was one of New South Wales’ greatest ever cricketers and we are extremely saddened to hear of his passing.

“From everyone at Cricket NSW and all of those who benefitted from Alan’s massive contribution to the sport, I’d like to pass on my condolences to his family and friends. Alan’s involvement in cricket was far greater than just his outstanding playing career and his legacy will live on in the state for many years to come.

“He was a wonderful player, administrator, mentor and benefactor, but most of all he was a gentleman of the game.”

Among the many honours bestowed on Davidson for contributions to sport and charity, he was a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the ICC Hall of Fame, in addition to being a made a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1964 and awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in 1987.

On Saturday, the flag above the Members Pavilion at the SCG was flying at half mast.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22

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Sri Lanka 204 and 46 for 2 (Nissanka 21*) trail West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 72, Blackwood 44, Mendis 6-70) by 3 runs

On the first full, rain-absent, day’s play of the Test, Sri Lanka and West Indies set up what promises to be the quintessential Galle classic. At stumps, the hosts in their second innings trail by three runs with eight wickets in hand, on a pitch that has produced 21 wickets over the past two days – though the last two will have the Dimuth Karunaratne’s side kicking themselves, both being entirely avoidable run outs.

The first came as a result of an outstanding direct hit from Kyle Mayers to dismiss the captain himself, while the second was rather more self-inflicted, with Oshada Fernando hesitating in the middle of the pitch and failing to return to his crease in time.

That has left Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka at the crease, on 21 and 4 respectively, with the former also nursing a knee injury that he had received treatment for on the field.

Therefore going into the final two days, with rain also expected in bursts, the game is poised to go down to the wire. While West Indies will be wary of having to bat last – only two teams have chased a score higher than double-digits to win in Galle – they will be quietly confident of the ability of their batters in chasing what could end up being a modest target.
Indeed, despite losing their last seven wickets for just 87 runs earlier in day, Kraigg Brathwaite would have been buoyed by how well the top order coped with Sri Lanka’s spin threat for the most part. He himself was the top scorer, hitting 72 off 185, while Jermaine Blackwood (44), Nkrumah Bonner (35) and Kyle Mayers (36) all chipped in with handy knocks to secure a 49-run lead. That could have been considerably more had it not been for the Sri Lankan spinners who, after a sub-par showing in the morning, imparted a vice grip on the visitors after lunch.
Ramesh Mendis was the undoubted star for the hosts, ending with career-best figures of 6 for 70 – his first five-wicket haul in Tests – while Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama picked up two apiece. Mayers’ unbeaten 36 off 64 late on had briefly threatened to balloon the lead, but he eventually ran out of partners.

Mendis, Embuldeniya and Jayawickrama all found better lengths after lunch and in the process dried up the scoring. They were also perhaps aided by the extra bounce afforded by the new ball, with five of the six wickets to fall in the session coming after they opted for it – the last two wickets fell swiftly after tea.

That said, the most important breakthrough came at the start of second session, when Embuldeniya worked over a set Brathwaite in brilliant fashion. Having shifted to over the wicket against the right-hander, Embuldeniya peppered a leg-stump line – replete with leg slip and short leg – for the first couple of deliveries, before getting one to spin sharply past Brathwaite’s, oddly lax, forward defence. The ball proceeded to hit the top of middle stump, a dream dismissal for the left-arm spinner but one which Brathwaite could have avoided by simply padding away.

That brought to an end an 85-ball 25-run stand between Brathwaite and Shai Hope, the last one of any significance. Mendis took charge of proceedings from thereon, getting rid of Roston Chase, Hope, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the span of a few overs, before returning after tea to close out the innings with the wicket of Jomel Warrican.

This turn of events had seemed far from likely in the morning. Indeed, such was the level of West Indies’ control that, aside from the wicket of Bonner, the only real moment of peril occurred courtesy Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka’s lone seamer, who got a fuller one to jag back into Bonner’s pads, only for a subsequent review to show a faint inside edge. There was also a potential catch down the leg side, also off Lakmal, that Chandimal seemed to have grassed, only for replays to show that there was no bat or glove involved.

Those instances typified a luckless morning for the home side with Brathwaite and Bonner resolute. The Sri Lankan spinners did themselves little favours in any case, unable to extract the same turn and bounce West Indians were able to do so consistently the previous day.

Much of this was down to an inability to find the right lengths, with Jayawickrama and Embuldeniya particularly culpable, far too often straying full and making it easy to smother any turn on offer. On the few occasions that they did hit a good length, both Brathwaite and Bonner were able to get bat in the way and deal with it safely. And it wasn’t long before the home side’s frustration began to show, as they began to offer more scoring opportunities, ones the West Indians were ruthless in dispatching.

Brathwaite, who was quite comfortable staying back and navigating the spin late in most circumstances, was the biggest beneficiary on this front – he would end his innings with nine boundaries, and was all too happy to put away anything short, square of the wicket on either side. The pick of his shots, though, were two front-foot efforts either side of mid-on – for the first, he showed exquisite wrist work to take one that was a little fuller and steer it to the left of a straight-ish mid-on, while the second was a delightful clip to the midwicket fence.

It was only following Bonner’s dismissal that Sri Lanka’s spinners rediscovered some sort of rhythm, which in the end they managed to carry over in spades for the rest of the innings.



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Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes

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Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins



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Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year

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“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

“We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

“When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

“We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

“There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

“Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”



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