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Men’s Ashes 2021-22 – Chairman of selectors George Bailey endorses Marcus Harris to open in the Ashes

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George Bailey said “it gives you great confidence…when you know your opening batters are locked away”

Marcus Harris will open the batting with David Warner in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, chairman of selectors George Bailey has confirmed.

Harris’ place at the top of the order had presumed to be in doubt, having been in and out of the team for three years.

But he is the incumbent after partnering with Warner the last time Australia played Test cricket – the agonising defeat to India at the Gabba in January. Bailey, however, has placed faith in the 29-year-old to nail down his spot.

“It gives you great confidence as a selector when you know your opening batters are locked away as far as a Test series go,” Bailey told RSN radio. “It’s a hard spot to bat and to get those places settle, it’s really important.

“Harry’s only had a limited opportunity in the past, and he’s been in and out a bit, so we’d love nothing more than for him to hopefully to get an opportunity to get an extended run at it.

“What we have liked is his consistency. He’s obviously been a prolific run-scorer at domestic level here, but also love the fact he went overseas and had a great year for Leicester as well.”

Harris fell cheaply in both innings of Victoria’s recent Sheffield Shield clash with NSW, but he did score a gritty century against the Blues last month. After 10 Tests, Harris is averaging 23.77 and his top score of 79 came against India at the SCG in 2019.

Will Pucovski, who made his Test debut as an opener against India last season, has seen his chances of being part of the Ashes recede after another concussion which means he has yet to play for Victoria this summer.

Bailey confirming the opening combination will come as sweet relief to Harris, who had been staring down some blistering form from Queensland veteran Usman Khawaja. But Khawaja could still earn a spot in the middle order for the first Test on December 8, with Bailey saying the No.5 spot “is certainly open” although he added the selectors were close to a decision.
South Australia captain Travis Head has been in promising form and could win back the spot he lost after last year’s Boxing Day Test.
The Australia selectors are expected to announce next week 25 players who will join up in Queensland to also form an Australia A side, for both an intrasquad warm-up and a match against England Lions. The final Ashes squad may not be confirmed until after the intrasquad fixture which could play a similar role to the one that took place ahead of the 2019 Ashes in England.
While only the No. 5 slot would now appear up for debate there will be jostling for positions among back-up quick bowlers. James Pattinson’s international retirement means the tag of first reserve is up for grabs. The uncapped Michael Neser has picked up a hamstring injury in the current Sheffield Shield match although it is hoped it will still be available. Sean Abbott, Jhye Richardson, Mark Steketee and Scott Boland could also be in contention.



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Recent Match Report – Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu Final 2021/22

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R Sai Kishore the bowling star for the champions as his 3 for 12 helps restrict Karnataka to 151 for 7

Tamil Nadu 153 for 6 (Jagadeesan 41, Shahrukh 33*, Cariappa 2-23) beat Karnataka 151 for 7 (Manohar 46, Dubey 33, Sai Kishore 3-12) by four wickets

Another Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final. Another last-ball thriller. After suffering a heart-breaking one-run defeat in 2019 in Surat, Tamil Nadu snatched victory this time in Delhi, thanks to a blockbuster last-ball six from their designated finisher M Shahrukh Khan.

With five needed off the last ball, Shahrukh picked up a full ball from left-arm seamer Prateek Jain and smote it over the square-leg boundary, powering Tamil Nadu to the title and underscoring his status as one of the best finishers in Indian domestic cricket.

When Shahrukh had entered at 95 for 4 in a chase of 152, his captain Vijay Shankar and vice-captain N Jagadeesan had holed out off successive balls and the asking rate had ballooned past 12. Shahrukh, however, pricked it quickly, shellacking three fours and a six in his unbeaten 15-ball 33.

Upon hitting the winning runs, Shahrukh swiped his bat and gloves away and sprinted off, towards square leg, until he was finally stopped in his tracks by his team-mates.

Full report to follow…

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – West Aust vs Tasmania 12th Match 2021/22

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Jhye Richardson struck late in the day to boost Western Australia

Tasmania 2 for 210 (Jewell 102, Ward 86) trail Western Australia 9 for 405 dec (Whiteman 176*, Short 67, Philippe 53) by 195 runs

Caleb Jewell notched a second career first-class century as Tasmania fought back in their Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia in Hobart.

He was out for 102 in the shadows of stumps on day two at Bellerive Oval as Tasmania reached 2 for 210 in reply to 9 for 405.

Jewell put on a 197-run opening stand alongside rookie Tim Ward, who fell late in the day to in-form fringe Test quick Jhye Richardson.

In another lion-hearted display, Richardson had Jewell caught at point in the final half hour of play, backing up his eight wickets for the match in WA’s convincing win over Queensland.

“We hung in there and showed a bit of fight which was good,” Jewell, who was dropped several times, told reporters. “I got a couple of breaks, which is nice. There are times when you’re pretty unlucky in cricket, so I just wanted to make the most of it.”

Test allrounder Cameron Green was the most economical WA bowler, with his eight overs going for eight runs. WA are likely to be a player down for the remaining two days, with quick Lance Morris suffering a side strain.

Earlier, WA captain Sam Whiteman finished unbeaten on 176, his highest first-class score and eighth career century. Whiteman, who has taken the reins in the absence of injured veteran Shaun Marsh, resumed on 151 and passed his previous best of 174 in a 309-ball knock that included 20 fours and one six.

“I haven’t had the start to the season I would have liked. To go on a get a big score was pleasing…the team really needed it,” Whiteman said.

Richardson couldn’t add to his overnight score of 43 before Whiteman declared about 45 minutes from lunch. Tasmanian quicks Lawrence Neil-Smith and Gabe Bell both finished with three scalps, while veteran Peter Siddle picked up two tailenders.

Whiteman, who played for Australia A seven years ago, posted his eighth first-class century on Sunday to help dig ladder leaders WA out of a spot of bother at 4 for 47.



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Recent Match Report – Bangladesh vs Pakistan 3rd T20I 2021/22

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Bangladesh handed out three debuts, with Shamim Hosain, Shahidul Islam and Nasum Ahmed coming in

Toss Bangladesh chose to bat vs Pakistan

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first. For the third straight game, the home captain Mahmudullah called correctly and once more opted to set Pakistan a target. Bangladesh made three changes, with Shamim Hosain, Nasum Ahmed and debutant Shohidul Islam coming in while Saif Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam missed out.

Pakistan had already wrapped up the series, winning the first two matches. They brought in Sarfaraz Ahmed in place of Shoaib Malik, while Shahnawaz Dahani , making his debut, and Usman Qadir also found their way into the XI. Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan dropped to the bench.

Bangladesh: 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Shamim Hossain, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Afif Hossain, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Nurul Hasan (wk), 7 Mahedi Hasan, 8 Aminul Islam, 9 Shohidul Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Nasum Ahmed

Pakistan: 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan, 3 Haider Ali, 4 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), 5 Khushdil Shah, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Mohammad Nawaz, 8 Mohammad Wasim Jr, 9 Usman Qadir, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Shahnawaz Dahani

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000



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