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Ashes Cricket PS4 (GTC): To change or to not change? Afghanistan vs England preview

Table after Round 3

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.

Leach.jpg

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. 

Broad 50 (2)

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. 

Denly

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.



 

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Ashes Cricket GTC (PS4): Storms and Gayle’s! – England vs West Indies

Moeen Ali (2)

England have survived plenty of storms in the past but this storm brought from the legendary Christopher Henry Gayle was too powerful and blew away the English in a hammering 7 wicket win for the West Indies in the latest round of Global Test Championship fixtures in the inaugural season – coming into this game, both teams were winless! 

Jonny Bairstow 50

In true GTC fashion, the opposition won the toss and inserted us into a surprisingly bouncy and sprightly Old Trafford pitch. England set their stall out early to be determined and defensive against the new ball which backfired when Burns (8) edged Alzarri Joseph to the keeper at 23-1. West Indies captain Jason Holder exploited the bounce dismissing his opposite captain Root (5) after bouncing out home born Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings for 25. GTC debutant Bairstow stood firm and rode out a tricky lively opening session from the West Indies quicks and spinners with reminiscence of the glory West Indies days with Courtney Walsh and Micheal Holding. Spin proved the downfall of promoted batsman Moeen Ali (5) and Jos Buttler (20) arriving at Lunch five down for the third successive match. 

Ben Foakes (2)

Boundaries were hard to come by for England but wicket keepers Foakes and Bairstow built a 66 run partnership to ease the pressure on the batsman in the shed and the increasingly frustrated supporters. Bairstow reached 50 despite scoring no boundaries which was the theme for the majority of batsmen in the game (bar a few) and Foakes was seemingly following his understudy to a half ton before oddly attempting a sweep to a pretty straight delivery. Surrey keeper Foakes scored 85 against the Proteas but since then has struggled for a consistency with the bat which has contributed to the occasional drop with the gloves. His spot is safe for the moment…

Jonny Bairstow 100

As regular wickets fell in the innings, England were indebted to a gritty Adil Rashid 20 as he hung around long enough prompting Bairstow to increase his scoring rate. After Rashid’s dismissal, leg spinner Bishoo wrapped up Broad and just had Jimmy Anderson to go. But, Anderson confidently blocked and left which allowed Bairstow to reach his three figures containing only four fours – Anderson was soon out but it was Bairstow’s innings which propelled England up to a respectable total after an accomplished display from the West Indies bowlers. – (England 253 Bairstow 103NO Foakes 43 ; Bishoo 3-41 Joseph 3-60)

Chris Gayle 103 (2)

West Indies started brightly taking advantage of the wayward lines provided by Broad and Anderson. Chris Gayle on his Test return began an onslaught of hitting, attacking each length and line. Our seamers couldn’t extract the same pace and bounce the Windies bowlers found and soon the tourists raced to a 100 partnership. Top English GTC wicket taker Moeen Ali removed Braithwaite (41) at the end of play with a smart catch by Foakes. Day 2 came and the momentum hadn’t changed as Gayle motored to his 150! 226 was the next wicket with Ali and Foakes combining to dismiss Mohammad (43).

Foakes catch 1st inns (2)

Spin was proving to be more beneficial on a degrading pitch with leg spinner Adil Rashid pitching in with the wicket of dangerous Shai Hope (25) – Foakes with a blinder! Gayle remained at the crease despite all possible tactics from captain Root and the bowling attack which proved to be at no avail. Rashid picked up his second at 315-4, Hetmyer departing (20) before the moment all Caribbean fans had been wishing for…

Chris Gayle 203 (2)

A remarkable innings rightly deserved after showing an unusual side to his game with patience blended in with amazing ball striking to perplex the England side. Blackwood (5) was Ali’s third victim and soon followed Gayle falling for 217 from 277 balls to a googly from Rashid – a match winning knock. England had restored some pride in their game and had successfully brought the game at least back to some small credibility. Keeper Shane Dowrich played an attacking innings of 70 to lift the West Indies into a 238 run lead which saw Ali and Rashid take 4 wickets each. (West Indies 491 Gayle 217 Dowrich 70 ; Ali 4-99 Rashid 4-110)

Jennings out (2)

Staring down the barrel of a crushing home defeat, Jennings fell to Joesph for just 2 poorly attempting the pull, summing up our lack of runs. Other incumbent opener Burns showed his first sign of form in the GTC after being well set on 41 but his solid defence was ripped apart from part time off break bowler Braithwaite. Braithwaite was soon jumping for joy and had West Indies in hot pursuit of a wicket win catching Root LBW on his first ball. 

Bairstow 78 (2).jpg

Jonny Bairstow backed up his maiden GTC hundred with 78 at a high scoring rate and was the only real positive from this English display. Still about 100 runs behind, England then slipped to 169-7 with Foakes (4) and Ali (1) falling to the successful short ball theory from Holder before Woakes’ (7) resistance was ended by Bishoo. Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid added valuable lower order runs to the England side with Buttler closing in on a maiden GTC century in a return to form. But…

Buttler 87 (2)

Buttler’s fantastic innings was ended by seamer Joseph whose extra height and pace troubled Buttler and sent him back for an impressive 87. When Rashid departed for a solid 42 to double centurion Chris Gayle, England were looking at setting a 50 run lead at best.

Broad and Anderson rolled back the years with two swashbuckling knocks to add some pressure to the top order batsman of the tourists successfully upping the total to chase a much better, respected total of 158 and ending the English resistance at all out for 395. (England 395 Buttler 87 Bairstow 78 ; Joseph 3-67 Braithwaite 2-22)

 

For the third game in a row, our opponents were chasing a total under 200 to win but we had early hope when Woakes zipped one through to the “Universe Boss” which found the edge to Foakes. England continued to add pressure and checked the tourists progress with Burns superbly running out Braithwaite (35). A 95 run partnership effectively ruined England’s chances of pulling off a massive victory with catches going down in the slips and the outfield. Shai Hope was removed for 49 on the cusp of victory by Anderson but Roston Chase (52 not out) and Shimron Hetmyer (7 not out) guided the West Indies to a famous away victory and more importantly their first win of the championship. 

Rory Burns (2).jpg

Relatively new opening batsman Rory Burns has struggled to adapt to the pink ball in this championship so far scoring 99 runs @ 16.50 with a high score of 41. His form has improved since his opening matches and look composed in his 41 and was unfortunate to be dismissed. That innings may have boosted his chances of making the trip to Afghanistan where changes will need to be made to overturn this horrendous start. His batting partner Keaton Jennings place is also under question with 93 runs @ 15.50 with one fifty whilst batting order changes to our middle order will (hopefully) be the trick into scoring more runs especially in the first innings.

 

Congratulations to West Indies on a rightly deserved thumping 7 wicket win! England now head away to the undefeated Afghanistan side which posses centurions Ihsanullah and Ahmadi and spinning sensations Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test Championship Round 3 Review

England need to get going in the Global Test Championship quickly in order to have any chance of finishing in a competitive spot aiming of course for the final. With the host’s pitch looking very conducive and beneficial to spin, the playing XI and squad of England will be no doubt intriguing and fascinating to see. An opportunity arises for our two main spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to continue their excellent wicket taking during the GTC. They could be accompanied by Somerset’s left arm spinner Jack Leach who comes into contention for a start alongside team mate Dom Bess and Hampshire spinner Mason Crane. Opening batsman Burns and Jennings will be sweating over their places with Joe Denly and Haseeb Hameed waiting in the wings but a recall for Sam Curran amongst others looks unlikely at this stage. Ben Stokes remains injured and will miss the following Trent Bridge encounter with the Australians but the focus shifts to England with the bid to score their first points of the Championship against the youthful and talent boasting Afghanistan squad. 

 

 

 

Cricket Captain 2018(PC): Revenge on the Pommies


Cricket Captain has arrived and I will be taking on the role as Australian head coach and Selector in a time of turbulence leading the Aussies in all 3 formats (Test, ODI and T2OI). Starting in the summer of 2018, Australia embark on a 5 match ODI series against England away followed by a one off T20I. Join me on a rollercoaster ride to restore some faith and pride back into the national side as well as winning some games (hopefully)?

Australia ODI Squad

Following the Sandpaper incident in Cape Town, Darren Lehmann stepped down from his role as Coach and Selector and opened the door for rookie Jamie Hamilton to take over in a challenging situation with the aim to bring back Australian love for cricket. With the bans to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft leaving them unavailable as well as frontline senior players in fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc due to long term injury, the Aussies were depleted and fresh faces were required to replace them. Tim Paine will captain and keep for the side with Hobart Hurricanes duo D’Arcy Short and Clive Rose called up for their impressive form for their domestic sides. Added to that, inexperienced players like Jhye Richardson, Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake have the chance to don the cap for their second time whilst power hitter Chris Lynn finds himself in the squad. WA duo in Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar were left out by Hamilton in a bold move to add experience with inexperience with Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh completing the stocks. A youthful Australian squad (in terms of caps) needed to prove themselves on the big stage for future competitions and the upcoming World Cup in 2019. England chose both Currans and left out Jason Roy and Mo Ali in their starting XI.

England batting first scoring 290 in the 1st ODI. AJ Tye taking four wickets and Jonny Bairstow leading the way with the bat with 95 for England.

After losing the toss, Australia were sent out into the baking hot Oval and didn’t start brightly with Bairstow and Hales targeting young speedster Jhye Richardson in the powerplay. England were going at a rate of 9 and 10 an over come the end of the powerplay and continued in that fashion for a little while yet. It took a deceptive slower ball from Tye to dismiss Hales for a brisk 51 to slightly lift the spirits to break the opening partnership. Malan, on debut, showed patience at 3 and slowed down the scoring rate in fact contributing to his dismissal with ambitious running seeing D’Arcy Short, on debut, running him out. With a variety of bowlers being chopped and changed, Zampa impressed and maintained his end economically picking up Root for 27. A promising partnership begun between Bairstow and Morgan but as both neared milestone, up step Marcus Stoinis to create havoc. He first picked up the dangerous Bairstow for a superb 95 and then swiftly followed working his magic to dismiss Stokes for a golden duck, with an even better catch by Paine. The aggressive natured pairing of Morgan and Buttler were at the crease to revive England out of trouble but Stoinis continued his rampage and the mini collapse was complete with Morgan departing for 44 also caught by Paine.

England just didn’t recover from their middle order collapse with the dangerous Buttler dismissed by the variation bowler Tye for 5. Rashid and Sam Curran on debut, fell to Tye for 1 and 0 respectively bowled looking to attack in the final overs. Stanlake got in on the action dismissing Tom Curran for a duck with a smart catch from Lynn to leave Woakes stranded on 19 and England all out for 290. After being 3-263, England lost 7-27 in a spell led by Stoinis and backed up ably by Tye and Stanlake. A very good latter half to the bowling innings from Australia brought them back into the game!

Australia’s new look opening partnership in Short and Finch began electrically with new ball bowlers Tom Curran and Ben Stokes hammered to all parts of the ground. 91 was brought up after the 10th over with Short in particular going aerial with Finch playing some classical shots for 4. England made their breakthrough at 1-98 as Finch was bowled by an in swinging delivery from debutant Sam Curran for a fantastic 57 from 46 including 10 boundaries. Short took the mantle from Finch and with Lynn looked to target Curran and leggie Rashid in an aggressive manner. Short brought up his maiden ODI 50 on debut with a glance onto the onside but fell soon after a 91m six off Curran, aiming to sweep Rashid but got a top edge to Sam Curran.

Left hander Travis Head began a more patient knock with boundaries and rotation of the strike blending in with Lynn’s counter attacking style. Nearing 50, Lynn went for one shot too many and fell to Sam Curran in front for a well made 41. Head was soon dismissed to Rashid caught on the boundary by Malan for a productive 28. Maxwell and Paine led the charge to the victory in a 101 run partnership with attacking shots a plenty. Maxwell brought up a swashbuckling 50 but it was Paine who finished the job with a four to win the match by 6 wickets with 15 overs left. Australia finished with a very high run rate taking all bowlers out of the ground in an imperious victory to begin the Aussie winter.


With the current predicament of the cricket in Australia, we played fantastically well to provide a comeback in England’s innings with a super 7-27 eliminating the attacking middle order. We then continued the momentum with an aggressive nature at 9-10 per over with the loss of only 4 wickets and plenty of pleasing scores. We head off to Cardiff from the 2nd ODI, looking to repeat our heroics with the aim for a 2-0 series lead going into the crucial 3rd ODI. The team are humbled by the renewed support and look to continue their winning start. Be sure to revisit the site to see how the rest of the series plays out!

Short Leg