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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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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs England 3rd T20I 2021/22

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Banton, Salt battle for England but have no lasting answer to six-laden onslaught

West Indies 224 for 5 (Powell 107, Pooran 70) beat England 204 for 9 (Banton 73, Salt 57, Shepherd 3-59, Pollard 2-31) by 20 runs

A brutal 51-ball century from Rovman Powell blasted West Indies to a 20-run victory over England and a 2-1 lead in their five-match T20I series in Barbados.
Powell muscled the hosts to 224 for 5 with an astonishing 107 off just 53 deliveries amid a 122-run stand for the third wicket with Nicholas Pooran, who was the perfect cornerman to Powell’s heavyweight destroyer with a sublimely crafted 70 off 43.
In response, England’s inexperienced team – which had undergone no less than five changes through illness, injury and rotation – were left punch drunk until Tom Banton‘s gallant half-century and an assured 57 from Phil Salt on his T20I debut kept them in the fight. But ultimately, the tourists had been left with too much to do.

Powell’s Power

Making his first appearance of the series after being called up to bolster West Indies’ batting in place of allrounder Odean Smith, Powell did exactly what his side asked of him. Their line-up was hardly tested in pursuit of a paltry 104 in Saturday’s nine-wicket victory but stumbled badly on Sunday when they were forced to rely on ninth-wicket stand of 72 between Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein to get within two runs of victory. On this occasion, Powell and Pooran got the hosts firing.

Powell’s 10 sixes were breath-taking as he clubbed England’s bowlers into the stands time and again, particularly down the ground with one of his efforts being measured at more than 100 metres. He brought up his fifty with a crunching effort off Liam Livingstone over deep extra cover and his only nervous moments appeared as his century came within reach of just one more hammer blow during a tight start to Reece Topley’s final over. But, having brought up his hundred with a two-run punch to square leg, he freed his arms once more to pump the ball back over the bowler’s head and clear the ropes for the tenth time.

Powell fell two balls later, picking out Livingstone as he ran in from long-off but by that stage, he’d done irrevocable damage. Earlier, Pooran had chimed in with five sixes and four fours of his own and it wasn’t until the 17th over that Adil Rashid made the breakthrough that removed him, caught by Livingstone at long on. When Pooran fell, he and Powell had lifted West Indies from 48 for 2 to 170 for 3.

England’s babes

Moeen Ali, standing in as captain for Eoin Morgan who was suffering from quadriceps soreness, won a rain-delayed toss and barely managed to recite the ins and outs for his team, which handed international debuts to George Garton and Harry Brook and a maiden T20I cap to Salt, who was part of the hastily assembled ODI squad that beat Pakistan 3-0 after a Covid outbreak in July.

Also sitting out for England was an unwell Sam Billings, with Banton taking the wicketkeeping gloves, and Liam Dawson, who made way after Livingstone recovered sufficiently from the acid reflux problem which had kept him out of the first two games. Chris Jordan and Saqib Mahmood were left out as Tymal Mills returned to the attack.

Livingstone bowled a particularly expensive over, which went for 26 as he mixed up his leg-spin and off-spin to the right-hand left-hand combination of Powell and Pooran. But he had Shai Hope caught behind and took both catches to dismiss Pooran and Powell, the latter almost slipping through his fingers as he went to ground running in from long off. Garton had contributed to a bright start for England, having bowled Brandon King with a beauty on the top of off stump in the second over of the match in an excellent response to being struck for two boundaries within his first four balls. But then the Powell-Pooran main event began.

Banton, Salt step up

Jason Roy threatened at the start of England’s chase but when he, James Vince and Moeen all succumbed to some disciplined bowling and an improved performance in the field by West Indies, Banton stepped up to score a career-best 73 in his 12th T20I.

Banton played a superb knock, setting the scene with a six off the second ball he faced – the sixth of the innings – and facing 39 deliveries all told. But he fell victim to West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, who had already removed Moeen for a duck in an excellent spell, when he was caught by Jason Holder. That was shortly after Livingstone, who appeared to be suffering some after-effects of his illness during his innings, fell to a sharp catch by Hosein backpedalling to extra cover and managing to hold on as he landed on his back. Hosein almost took a screamer at point that would have had Salt out for a duck, but the ball spilled as his arm hit the ground after a valiant leap.

Playing on the island where had lived for six years as a youngster, Salt made the most of his chance, racing to his score off just 24 deliveries, including five sixes on a night when 31 in all were struck. With England needing 36 off the last six balls, Salt brought up his fifty with the first of back-to-back sixes off Shepherd, but he fell next ball, bowled round his legs and it was game over for England.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Injury-hit Sydney Sixers set to ask again for Steven Smith

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The defending champions picked up further damage during the Challenger final

It could be a case of third time lucky for Sydney Sixers as the injury-riddled BBL club prepare to send another SOS to Cricket Australia, asking for Steven Smith to return in Friday night’s final against the Perth Scorchers.

Sixers attempted to sign former skipper Smith for the entire finals series, only for CA to block the move after rival state associations raised objections. They tried again prior to Wednesday night’s Challenger final because Josh Philippe contracted Covid-19 but failed, having to send out assistant coach Jay Lenton instead.

Steve O’Keefe (calf), Jordan Silk (hamstring) and captain Moises Henriques (calf) suffered fresh injuries on Wednesday night, while Daniel Hughes (ankle) failed a pre-match fitness test. Philippe will miss the title-deciding clash with the Scorchers at Marvel Stadium.

Brothers Jack and Mickey Edwards will be on the final night of their isolation period, meaning they will also remain unavailable unless the Victoria government provide an exemption.

A glut of enforced omissions could potentially result in a CA rethink regarding Smith, who was expecting to be part of a limited-overs series against New Zealand that was ultimately postponed.

The issue is set to be discussed by powerbrokers on Thursday, when the depleted Sixers head south for their fifth title-deciding showdown with Perth.

Henriques, speaking to Fox Sports on Wednesday night, remained unsure whether he will be fit to face the Scorchers.

“I have no idea. It’s going to have to be a bloody bad calf for me not to play,” Henriques said. “Flight tomorrow won’t be amazing. We’ll see what happens. I’ll just hobble around like an old bloke. I’ve been doing that all year anyway.”



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Recent Match Report – AUS Women vs ENG Women Only Test 2021/22

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Megan Schutt is not part of the Australia line-up in Canberra

England won the toss and decided to bowl against Australia

Heather Knight gave her bowlers the chance to find some early help from the Canberra surface after putting Australia into bat in the one-off Ashes Test with both sides fielding a debutant.

Legspinner Alana King came into the Australia side and is part of an attack that does not feature the experienced Megan Schutt who is being carefully managed ahead of the ODI World Cup. Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland, Tahlia McGrath and Ellyse Perry are the pace-bowling options.

Schutt contracted Covid-19 late last year which has affected her conditioning and the selectors have an eye on the World Cup next month, but a CA spokesperson said she was medically fit for selection.

In an interesting batting-order tweak, captain Meg Lanning was listed at No. 5 with Beth Mooney, playing just 10 days after fracturing her jaw, due to come in at No. 3.

England have handed a first cap to offspinner Charlie Dean in a side with five specialist bowlers which was flagged yesterday by Knight. She will support left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone while the experienced trio of Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole and Kate Cross make up the pace attack alongside allrounder Nat Sciver.

The opening day is set fair although there is the forecast of some storms over the weekend. The Test carries four points in the multi-format series – if Australia win they will retain the Ashes.

Australia 1 Rachael Haynes, 2 Alyssa Healy (wk), 3 Beth Mooney, 4 Ellyse Perry, 5 Meg Lanning (capt), 6 Tahlia McGrath, 7 Ashleigh Gardner, 8 Annabel Sutherland, 9 Jess Jonassen, 10 Alana King, 11 Darcie Brown

England 1 Tammy Beaumont, 2 Lauren Winfield-Hill, 3 Heather Knight (capt), 4 Nat Sciver, 5 Sophia Dunkley, 6 Amy Jones (wk), 7 Katherine Brunt, 8 Charlie Dean, 9 Anya Shrubsole, 10 Sophie Ecclestone, 11 Kate Cross

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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