Bye: Chris Gayle has dusted off the cobwebs from his whites it seems as he has reversed his retirement decision and will continue on after the World Cup. He has hinted at a future Test match against the imperious India and will be looking to add to his two triple centuries in a Test career where his last appearance came 5 years ago – however he might want to inform his captain.
Leg Bye: South Africa have been a well talked story in the World Cup but for all the wrong reasons as their talented side crashed miserably out of the World Cup with games to spare. Losing Dale Steyn to injury was a blow but it has been the incumbent players that have not delivered with only Rassie Van der Dussen and Imran Tahir having a successful time. 4 fifties and no hundred alongside key players not performing as (wickets) Rabada (6) and Ngidi (7) haven’t adjusted to the conditions. Back to the 4 year drawing board!
No Ball: Previously banned David Warner leads the tournament currently for most runs scored with 500 followed by Australian batting partner Aaron Finch (496). Warner holds the highest score (166) whilst Shakib Al Hasan has been in super form becoming only the third player to score a hundred and take a 5 wicket haul in the tournament.
Wide: We have some amazing cricket matches with some nail biting matches including New Zealand’s pair of brilliant chases against South Africa and Bangladesh led well by Captain Kane Williamson! England’s collapses against Sri Lanka and Australia as well as a poor showing against Pakistan have had an old era about them. Cricket is on the up and it is a sensational sport!
With a rather bleak and disappointing looking table following our three consecutive losses in the Global Test Championship, England travel to Afghanistan looking to beat the rising and potentially great test side containing spin aplomb.
Whilst we will not name the official XI to encounter 3rd placed Afghanistan, we can confirm that Somerset’s left arm spinner Jack Leach will add to his caps gained in New Zealand and Sri Lanka (real life) and make his GTC debut. His left arm off spin gives us a different dimension to our line up which will be boosted by Leach’s consistency and variety with the pink ball.
His definite inclusion means that a change at least will occur in our bowling attack with experienced seamer Stuart Broad at risk ,after taking two wickets @ 180, of losing his place if we decide the pitch favours spinners over seamers. Alternatively, the option to replace a batter remains on the table with both openers under pressure with the certainty that both Moeen Ali ( 11 wickets) and Adil Rashid ( 10 wickets) will feature heavily with the ball.
Reflecting on our first innings struggles with the bat (winning the toss and bowling would be preferred), Joe Denly is yet again included and could replace either Jennings (93 runs @ 15.50 ) or Burns (99 runs @ 16.50) as a predominately opening batsman but also the option of some handy leg spin. He joins Sam Curran, who was incidentally picked as a batsman and fast bowler Mark Wood in the 15 man squad touring to Asia.
With pressure certainly increases on all concerned in the England setup, a win wouldn’t go a miss but will no doubt be very tricky against a capable Afghanistan who have already shocked Australia so far in the GTC. The imminent threat of spin trio Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will definitely not be an exciting prospect for our batsman but we will need to be on top of them to ensure victory. Left arm seamer Ahmed is also a threat with the new and old ball whilst opening duo Inshullah and Ahmadi will be hoping to continue their imperious form. Stay tuned for Game 4 of the Global Test Championship and the round up of the other fixtures right her eon the website in the short future.
Afghanistan’s winning streak continued in their crushing 473 run win against a stunned Bangladesh side. Opening pair Janet Ihsanullah and Javad Ahmadi destroyed the bowling attack scoring 75 and 69 in the first innings before a mammoth partnership in their second innings of 620-8 declared virtually winning the match with Ihsanullah scoring a magical 242. Left armer Fareed Ahmad’s took 6 wickets on debut alongside 17 year old spinner Mujeeb, who led the spin attack with 7-99. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim gave Bangladesh a single positive note with two half centuries but Afghanistan go 3 from 3!
Australia bounced back from their morale damaging loss to Afghanistan with a comfortable 5 wicket win against Zimbabwe. Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch’s centuries led a platform for Australia who then forced Zimbabwe to follow on after a Josh Hazelwood blitz. Ryan Burl maintained his big score making with anther century whilst spinners Hamilton Masakadza and Graeme Cremer led the attack with the ball for the visitors. Pat Cummins took his first 5 wicket haul of the GTC as Australia racked up their second win at home.
In a thrilling contest in the heart of Hong Kong, Sri Lanka held their nerve in a tight finish to record a one wicket win. Sri Lanka’s spin duo of Danajaya De Silva and Malinda Pushpakumara shone with 12 wickets between them but it was the Gunathilaka and Samarawickrama knocks which pushed the tourists across the line. Nadeem Ahmed and Eisaz Khan starred with the ball for Hong Kong with 6 and 4 wickets respectively alongside a Nizakat Khan blockbuster century which put Hong Kong into a respectable position. Hong Kong’s fearless nature for a debut nation was amazing to see and despite losing 3 from 3 they have performed admirably.
India’s comprehensively defeated South Africa by 233 runs in a record breaking contest at Eden Gardens. KL Rahul’s amazing century scoring was at the pinnacle of India’s 400+ innings with back to back centuries to go alongside his consecutive centuries against Scotland. Hardik Pandya and Chetseswar Pujara also made centuries whilst zippy bowler Jasprit Bumrah terrorised the Proteas batting with 8-195. Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis scored the GTC’s highest individual score with 285 in South Africa’s valiant chase of 760 which had been forced upon them from their poor first innings total.
Ireland returned back to earth from their impressive away victory against Pakistan with an 8 wicket loss to neighbouring country Scotland. Safyaan Sharif headlined Scotland’s impressive bowling display with 7 wickets including 4 big scalps in Ireland’s paltry 197. Matt Cross gave Scotland the upper hand with a blitzing century whilst Kyle Coetzer, George Munsey and Callum MacLeod registered half centuries in the game. Andy Balbirnie was Ireland’s only supporting act taking 3 part time wickets before notching up 186 which wasn’t enough to give the Irish hopefuls a sniff at a result.
A Sagar Pun and Sandeep Lamichhane masterclass led Nepal to a historic and world breaking victory against the experienced Pakistan. Pun scored an unbeaten 130 in the first innings before scoring 109 in the second innings which set the platform for the successful chase. Lamichhane took 7 wickets and spun the game back into Nepal’s favour after Pakistan had taken a 100 run plus lead. Asif Shafiq and Fakhar Zaman provided the dim spotlight on a shell shocking loss with 144 and two fifties respectively. Nepal’s debut win will be remembered long into the Nepalese cricketing history as they push Pakistan to 3 defeats in a row!
New Zealand produced an impressive performance to annihilate Netherlands by 10 wickets. Tim Southee was the standout of the seamers with a five wicket haul backed up admirably by the rest of the attack whilst Tom Latham smashed an almost run a ball 158. Colin de Grandhomme muscled a quick fire 81 as Netherlands struggled to match 552 in both innings with only last match double centurion Ben Cooper hitting a core of note with 107. New Zealand knocked off the measly 38 in no time and swiftly moved to 3 consecutive wins on the bounce.
England take on the West Indies at Old Trafford where the hosts and the tourists will be striving to pick up their first points of the Championship!
Disclaimer: The England result and report will always follow the overall round up of the Global Test Championship. Revisit to see the outcome of England’s travails in Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan took the cricketing world by storm in a shock 3 wicket victory against the touring Australia. The sensational spin duo of Rashid Khan and debutant 17 year old Mujeeb Ur Rahman spun their web around the Aussie batsman with Khan taking 5 in the second innings to put him second in the GTC bowling stats and Mujeeb taking match figures of 8-149. Rahmat Shah and Asghai Stanikazi scored centuries whilst for Australia Aaron Finch smashed a ton and Mitchell Starc provided hope with ball and bat in a losing cause.
New Zealand made it 2 from 2 with a thumping 292 run victory against the young Nepalese team. Colin de Grandhomme deservedly took MOM with two attacking centuries in big innings scores for the Kiwis whilst keeper BJ Watling narrowly missed out on 150 in the 581/7. Trent Boult shot his way up to first in the GTC bowling stats with 6 wickets added to his 10 against Ireland whilst Nepal saw Anil Sah make his maiden century and young leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane taking 8-246 in a high scoring match in Eden Park.
Ireland stunned Pakistan away in a spirited and fantastic all round performance. Andy Balbirnie took a surprising but emphatic 3-4 in 4 overs to bowl Pakistan out for 207 before NO.10 Tim Murtagh played an amazing knock to guide his team into a leading position. Murtagh then took 3 in the second innings as Pakistan were bowled out for scores less than 250 twice. Babar Azam made a lone 73 as Imad Wasim proved his selection with an all round display but were comprehensively beaten by the Irish who made their home country singing and dancing on the street!!
In a record breaking match, India emphatically crushed Scotland in a 693 run victory many thanks to a second innings stand out score. Their 708/6 declared broke record books for the highest scores as KL Rahul, Shaw, Kohli, Pujara and Pandya made tons as Scotland were made to toil hard. The isolated 708 came after both sides were bowled out for below par scores before Scotland were set a mammoth 834 runs to win. Michael Leask was the only major contributor with the bat for Scotland who were simply blown away by India’s run scoring after the first innings.
South Africa continued their impressive start with a dominant display against the inexperienced Hong Kong team. Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram hit fifties with the latter scoring consecutive half centuries following his 70 against England. Keshav Maharaj wasn’t fazed by the unsuitable spinning conditions and took 7 wickets added to his 8 at Trent Bridge and played a crucial act with the bat in the second innings. Hong Kong performed admirably for a young nation with Naweez Ahmed taking 6 wickets and Nizakat Khan continuing his run scoring streak and brought it up to 320 for the competition in match 2.
Bangladesh defied the odds on a degrading pitch with a dogged batting display to defeat West Indies in another high scoring game. Chris Gayle’s reintroduction to the Test team looked to have payed off with a handy wicket and a century. Shai Hope scored a special century giving Bangladesh a tough and near impossible chase. However, Litton Das made 87 in the first innings before an extraordinary 209NO leading his team home alongside Mushfiqur Rahim who shrugged off last match’s disappointment with another century, leaving West Indies 0 from 2.
Zimbabwe’s test home form continues to impress with a 248 run victory over the Netherlands who succumbed on a lively wicket. Chamu Chibhabba led the run scoring for Zimbabwe with a boundary filled 193 alongside Peter Moor who made 124 in the first innings alongside Ryan Burl who made two substantial knocks elevating Zimbabwe into a 632 run lead. Kyle Jarvis starred again with the ball with 7 wickets whilst captain Cremer took 5. Batting was short lived for the Dutch as the lower order contributed in both innings as Ben Cooper made an outstanding 236, one of the lowly positives for the Dutch on their travels.
England’s travails against spinning Sri Lanka in Colombo will be the next source of Ashes Cricket content in an intriguing match. Until next time…