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Eng vs SL, T20 World Cup 2021

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They become only the third team to defend a total in the Super 12s stage of this World Cup

England became only the third team to defend a total in the Super 12s stage of the T20 World Cup thanks to a 26-run victory against Sri Lanka in Sharjah and match-winner Jos Buttler hailed their adaptability as they effectively sealed a spot in the semi-finals.

This was the third time that this strip had been used since the start of the Super 12s, following Afghanistan vs Scotland and Pakistan vs New Zealand, and England struggled with the low bounce during the first half of their innings, creeping to 47 for 3 after 10 overs.

Buttler’s first T20 international hundred – and his partnership of 112 with Eoin Morgan, England’s captain – led a surge to 163 for 4 as dew began to take effect, and despite Sri Lanka losing early wickets, they stayed in touch with the required rate as England began to struggle with the wetness of the ball, which was skidding onto the bat under floodlights.
Tymal Mills, England’s leading wicket-taker across their first three games, then limped off with an injury to his right quadriceps during his second over, leaving England’s ‘fifth’ bowler – the combination of Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali’s spin – to bowl three of the final six overs, compounded by an arithmetical error which meant Chris Woakes bowled the second half of Mills’ incomplete over.

“We showed a lot of character,” Buttler told Sky Sports after England closed out the win. “Obviously conditions changed quite a bit and with Tymal picking up an injury as well, guys stepped up really well. Liam Livingstone was asked to bowl two tough overs there and picked up the key wicket of [Wanindu] Hasaranga.

“The dew was bad. That was one reason we bowled Adil [Rashid] out early, to give him the best chance to bowl with the ball as dry as we could. You don’t know if it [the dew] is coming or not. What’s pleasing for us today is that we didn’t have the best of conditions, which we probably have had in the three games before, and we still managed to show the character to get a win.

“It made the ball skid on a bit more,” he said in his post-match press conference. “I think especially in the first 10 overs of our innings, the ball sat in the wicket a little bit – there’s obviously very different bounce here in Sharjah to Dubai – and it was hitting the toe of the bat quite a bit. Maybe when the ball got wet, some of them skidding on a little bit more. It’s definitely a swing in the game so we’re delighted with the character we showed against those conditions to come through.”

Mills will be assessed by England’s medical team but the early signs were not promising. He headed straight to the dressing room after walking off the field, having immediately said the word “quad” and called for a substitute fielder. He has a chequered injury history and if the muscle is torn, he is unlikely to play a further part in the World Cup.

“I’m not sure our maths quite worked out there,” Buttler said of the decision for Woakes to complete his over. “We just felt with the short side there, we felt it was going to be a big three balls in the game: those two [Hasaranga and Dasun Shanaka] would have targeted Moeen in that situation.

“To be fair, we got the wickets which helped in his over. But with the long side, he was confident to bowl with a good field set. We put an immense amount of trust in the guys to ask Livi to bowl two overs there and for Moeen to bowl the 19th.”

0:54

WATCH - Jos Buttler gets to a century with a six

WATCH – Jos Buttler gets to a century with a six

England are not mathematically through to the semi-finals but their impressive net run-rate means that it would take a series of dominating wins for certain other sides for them to miss out on the knockout stages. Morgan hailed the contribution of Buttler, their top-scorer for the second game in a row, and said that his team were “delighted” with their start to the competition.

“Conditions did continue to change and obviously Tymal going down asked another question of ourselves, but I thought Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone stepped up unbelievably well to support the other guys with the ball,” Morgan said. “I can’t fault our guys tonight.

“I thought Jos Buttler played one of his best-ever innings in an England shirt. It was incredible to be at the other end and watch the ebb and flow, then the sheer dominance at the end. He really is one of the best in the game, a privilege to play with and great to have in our team.

“Sri Lanka pushed us further than we’d been pushed so far in the tournament. I think they’ve boxed above their weight so far in the World Cup so they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved, but we’re delighted with four wins.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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Battle-hardened Ollie Robinson hopes to ‘unsettle’ Australia after stop-start build-up

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Seamer hopes lessons of 2019-20 Lions tour will serve him well in maiden Ashes series

As a 13-year-old in 2006-07, Ollie Robinson bunked off a week of school to spend Christmas out in Australia and watch Andrew Flintoff’s team get crushed in three of the five Tests of that winter’s Ashes whitewash. He’s back 15 years later with rather more uplifting recent memories of life Down Under, after his starring role in England Lions’ victory over Australia A two winters ago, a performance which he hopes can help him continue an impressive start to his Test career.

Memories are all that any of England’s players have got to fall back on ahead of the Brisbane Test on Wednesday, after an extraordinary build-up – dominated on the one hand by their quarantine period on the Gold Coast, and by torrential rain on the other, as their intended seven days of intra-squad practice were reduced to two and a bit of glorified nets.

And yet, Robinson believes his 12 wicketless overs on the penultimate day of that warm-up period will stand him in good enough stead for the Gabba, and better even than their Australian opponents, who have yet to have any meaningful red-ball cricket since their white-ball players returned from victory in the T20 World Cup last month.

“It’s obviously not ideal preparation but, as a group, we feel we’ve made do with what we’ve been given,” Robinson said. “We feel in a good place, and we feel ahead of the Aussies which is the main thing. They were at the World Cup and in quarantine so they are probably a few weeks behind us. We feel like we have some good work in us since being here and hopefully that will give us the edge in the first Test.”

Though he is still a rookie in international terms – and certainly compared to his senior seam partners, James Anderson and Stuart Broad – Robinson nevertheless turned 28 at the start of the month, and believes he’s long enough in the tooth to know his own game in spite of the limited preparation time.

“It’s changed as I’ve got older,” he said. “I’ve learnt about my body and that I can get bowling ready in different ways. I’ve done a lot more running here than bowling outdoors just because of the weather, and I feel like I’ve learnt a bit more about how to get ready, really. I’ve taken note from Jimmy and Broady, they have done a lot of Test series and situations like this. I’ve done it differently this time but I feel ready to take it on.”

Although England’s original bowling plans for the Ashes have had to be scrapped due to the absence of prospective pace spearheads such as Jofra Archer and Olly Stone, Robinson has long seemed assured of a starting berth at the Gabba – both due to the excellence of his maiden summer in England colours, in which he claimed 28 wickets at 19.60 in five Tests against New Zealand and India, and due to his seven-wicket showing in the unofficial Test win over Australia A at Melbourne in March 2020.



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Ajaz Patel after 10-for: 'One of the greatest cricketing days in my life'

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As a result of the 10-for, he has something to do as he quarantines when he goes back home



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VVS Laxman to be part of India’s U-19 World Cup contingent

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Former India batter to officially take over NCA job on December 13

VVS Laxman will be taking over as NCA chief on December 13 along with the other coaches after the appointments were ratified by the general body at the BCCI AGM in Kolkata on Saturday.
Laxman and Troy Cooley who has been roped in as bowling coach, are among the high-profile appointments. Cooley has been signed with an aim to develop India’s next generation of fast bowlers.

“Laxman’s contract has been signed already. His last media assignment is the second Test between New Zealand and India,” a senior BCCI officer bearer told PTI. “He will be joining in Bengaluru from December 13.”

Laxman’s immediate task is to oversee India’s preparation for the 2022 Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean in January-February. With covid forcing the junior calendar to a halt earlier this year, the BCCI is currently in the midst of identifying a core group of players following the completion of back-to-back Under-19 tournaments.

As per the PTI report, Laxman is expected to travel to the Caribbean for a certain period during the World Cup. The BCCI office bearer also said one of Hrishikesh Kanitkar or Sitanshu Kotak, who are back on the NCA roster, will be travelling as head coach. Kotak is currently with India A on their shadow tour of South Africa.

Meanwhile, the BCCI will be sending 20 players across formats for the South Africa tour. The BCCI functionaries confirmed that the tour was postponed by a week, and will now include three Tests and as many ODIs. The T20I leg is expected to be played at a later date.



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