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Cricket Australia confirms postponement of Afghanistan Test

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Mohammad Nabi disappointed but hopeful of the match being played in the future

Cricket Australia has confirmed the postponement of the Test match against Afghanistan that was scheduled for Hobart in late November following their firm stance on women not being allowed to play sport under the Taliban but hopes to play the match in future seasons.

It had been inevitable for some time that the match, which was to be the first Test between the teams, would not go ahead after CA said in early September that they would have “no alternative” but to call off the game if females were not allowed equal access to sport.

However, CA is hopeful they will be able to host the game when the landscape in Afghanistan becomes clearer. The Test had previously been postponed from the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“CA is committed to support growing the game for women and men in Afghanistan and around the world, however, given the present uncertainty, CA felt it necessary to postpone the Test match until a later time when the situation is clearer,” a statement said. “CA looks forward to hosting Afghanistan players in the BBL this season, who are great ambassadors for the game, and to hosting both the Afghanistan women’s and men’s team in the not too distant future.”

Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi, who has been a regular in the BBL, said: “It’s disappointing the Test match isn’t going ahead this year but I’m happy that the match is only postponed and not cancelled.

“My representative has been assured by Cricket Australia that they remain committed to the development of cricket in Afghanistan, so I look forward to hearing how we can work together in this regard.”

The match had been due to be a key part of Australia’s Ashes build-up and will now be replaced with an intrasquad match in Brisbane from December 1 to 3.

The loss of the Hobart Test means captain Tim Paine may not have the chance to lead Australia in his home state before retirement. There remains a possibility that the Perth Ashes Test could need to be moved given Western Australia’s strict border rules although CA are confident of still staging it as planned.

“Playing international cricket in our state remains a high priority for Cricket Tasmania and we will be working closely with Cricket Australia on international content opportunities for our Tasmanian cricket fans for both this and future seasons,” Cricket Tasmania chief executive Dominic Baker said.

“We’re thrilled with the delivery of the first 24 WBBL matches for this season in Tasmania, and as we have said throughout Blundstone Arena is a world-class facility, willing and ready to host any cricket content at short notice.”

Australia have not played Test cricket since January when they hosted India. They were due to tour South Africa in February and March, but that was postponed due to concerns over biosecurity measures. The CA chief executive Nick Hockley recently said the board was hopeful of finding space for that series in 2023. The Ashes will get underway at the Gabba on December 8.



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

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Blackwood fell in the last over before lunch after he’d batted out 23 overs with Bonner

West Indies 253 and 65 for 2 (Bonner 22*) trail Sri Lanka 204 and 345 for 9 declared (Dhananjaya 155*, Permaul 3-106) by 232 runs

Tasked with seeing out at least 93 overs to save the second Test in Galle, West Indies lost two wickets inside the first 31 before lunch. Kraigg Brathwaite had been dismissed towards the end of the first hour of play, when Ramesh Mendis trapped him lbw with an arm ball.

Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner then mounted some resistance, batting out 23 overs together. Then with three balls to go for lunch, Lasith Embuldeniya tempted Blackwood into a drive, with loopy delivery outside off stump. The bowler had spun this one hard, though – it dipped, took the outside edge, and was caught at slip by Dhananjaya de Silva. Blackwood had batted out 92 balls for his 36. Bonner, at the other end, was on 22 off 71.

The late wicket was reward for Sri Lanka’s spinners, who had created a number of half chances through the course of the session. Blackwood was dropped by Dimuth Karunaratne at short midwicket in the 20th over, the ball only just carrying to him, low to his left. At other times, balls took the inside edge but evaded the short leg fielder, who was constantly in the action.

Despite the loss of their openers however, West Indies batted well to see out the new ball, which has been the Sri Lanka spinners’ primary weapon, as is often the case in Galle. On a pitch that is taking substantial turn, but is not unplayable yet, the visitors do bat deep – Joshua da Silva coming in as low as No. 8.

Early in the day, Sri Lanka added 17 runs in 2.4 overs – No. 10 batter Embuldeniya doing much of the attacking. When Embuldeniya was bowled by Jason Holder, captain Dimuth Karunaratne declared the innings, Sri Lanka sitting on a lead of 297. Dhananjaya added two to his overnight score and finished 155 not out.

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



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Marnus Labuschagne eager for James Anderson duel with 'target on the back'

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Australia’s No. 3 is one of the few players who will enter the Ashes with substantial cricket under his belt



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India vs NZ, 2nd Test

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Tom Latham will lead New Zealand

Rahane is out due to a minor left hamstring strain he picked up while fielding on the final day of the Kanpur Test. Jadeja’s is a right forearm injury that required scans which revealed swelling. “He has been advised rest,” stated a BCCI release.

Ishant, meanwhile, dislocated his left little finger on the final day in Kanpur, leaving the door open for Mohammed Siraj‘s return. Siraj had himself sustained a finger injury during the T20I series, but has now been deemed fit.
For Williamson, it’s the recurrence of an old left-elbow problem that has troubled him for much of the year. Coach Gary Stead confirmed the injury had flared up during the first Test and with it failing to improve in the days following the match, the call was made to rule him out. In his absence. Tom Latham will lead the side.

“It’s been a really tough time for Kane having to deal with such a persistent injury,” Stead said. “While we’ve been able to manage the injury through the year and the T20 World Cup, the shift to Test cricket and the increased batting loading has re-aggravated his elbow.

“Ultimately the injury is still not right and while he got through the Kanpur Test, it was clear playing in the second Test wasn’t an option.”

Meanwhile, the absence of Rahane and Jadeja could leave India’s team management contemplate a sixth batting option. If they go down this route, it could mean a debut for KS Bharat or Suryakumar Yadav at his home ground. Wriddhiman Saha was ruled fit by Virat Kohli a day before the match.



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