Is Andre Russell the game changer the Windies ODI squad needs?

By February 25, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Ishant takes five to put India in command Ishant takes five to put India in command

    Ishant Sharma's five-wicket haul left West Indies facing a substantial first-innings deficit as India took control of the first Test on day two at North Sound.

    Ravindra Jadeja (58) and Ishant (19) held up the Windies with valuable runs down the order at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Friday, getting the tourists up from 207-7 to 297 all out.

    Kemar Roach (4-66) and Shannon Gabriel (3-71) had the top-ranked side in trouble before the tail wagged and India then exposed West Indies' batting deficiencies to take the upper hand in Antigua.

    Ishant took 5-42 as Jason Holder's side collapsed to 189-8 at stumps - trailing by 108 runs - after losing five wickets in the final session, Roston Chase top scoring with 48.

    Rishabh Pant fell in the third over of the day after India resumed on 203-6, edging the excellent Roach to Holder at second slip, but Jadeja and Ishant frustrated the Windies with an eighth-wicket stand of 60.

    Ishant's stubborn resistance was ended when he was bowled by a slower yorker from paceman Gabriel for 19, but Jadeja brought up his 11th Test half-century by cutting Chase for four.

    Mohammed Shami was caught and bowled by Chase (2-58) without scoring and Jadeja hit the spinner for a first six of the match over midwicket before edging Holder behind to bring the innings to an end.

    John Campbell (23) was the first wicket to fall after putting on 36 for the first wicket with Kraigg Brathwaite, who ultimately went caught and bowled by Ishant.

    The Windies also lost Shamarh Brooks for 11 before tea, Jadeja fortunate to get rid of the debutant after the ball clattered against Pant's thigh and looped up to Ajinkya Rahane.

    West Indies were in trouble on 88-4 when Darren Bravo followed leg before to Jasprit Bumrah early in the evening session, but Chase and Shai Hope hung around for a while and got the scoreboard ticking.

    Ishant then came to the fore, KL Rahul taking a fine catch at square leg to remove Chase (48) and Hope (24) edging through to Pant before the quick ended a promising knock from Shimron Hetmyer (35) and dismissed Roach in the same over.

    Holder and Miguel Cummins were still there at the close, but it is very much advantage India heading into day three.

  • Ashes 2019: Hazlewood delighted to expose England's vulnerability in hosts' paltry 67 all out Ashes 2019: Hazlewood delighted to expose England's vulnerability in hosts' paltry 67 all out

    Josh Hazlewood was encouraged when England captain Joe Root was dismissed early on Friday, but even he could not have predicted the dominant position Australia would find themselves in by the end of the third Ashes Test's second day.

    The urn appears set to be remaining Down Under after Australia, dismissed for 179 on Thursday, ripped through England and had them all out for 67 at Headingley before reaching stumps on 171-6, 283 runs ahead.

    An Australia victory, which seems all-but certain at this stage, would ensure they cannot lose the best-of-five match series and therefore would retain the Ashes, and it was a 28-over spell on Friday - in which seamer Hazlewood returned 5-30 - that may determine the series.

    England were embarrassed again, dismissed for 85 or less for the fourth time since March 2018 and falling to their lowest ever total at Headingley, and their lowest in an Ashes since 1948.

    It was the prized wicket of England's number three Root - out for back-to-back ducks for the first time in his career - that gave Australia confidence another all-too-familiar capitulation could be on the cards.

    "I certainly like him in there as early as possible," Hazlewood said of Root, whose promotion from four to three before the series has failed to pay off.

    "They follow him a little bit, he's the leader, he's the captain, he's got the best average, he's their best batsman going by numbers.

    "So if we can get him I think they can be vulnerable at times, same as any other team; if their best batter's out, you feel a bit more relaxed about your business."

    Having conquered white-ball cricket by winning the World Cup on home soil last month, England's batsmen appeared trapped in one-day mode in the longest format.

    Opener Jason Roy edged when attempting to drive, Ben Stokes perished foolishly chasing a wider delivery and Jos Buttler brought about his own demise by tamely chipping to short cover.

    "They're all great one-day cricketers, some are great Test cricketers, so I think they love to feel bat on ball, especially through that middle order," Hazlewood added.

    "So if we can dry up the runs and force a mistake, which we saw a couple today, then that's fantastic."

    Given Australia made only 179 first time around, and arrived at a venue bathed in glorious sunshine on Friday, it was a day few expected.

    "I can't remember a day like this, to be honest. It's been fantastic," Hazlewood admitted.

    "Sixty is hard work to come back from during a Test. I don't think many teams are winning if one of their innings is 60 or 70 runs, it makes it difficult.

    "I think if we start well again [in England's] next innings, they might think, 'Here we go again', so it's about creating that doubt in the mind."

  • Ashes 2019: Thorpe offers no excuses for shambolic England batting Ashes 2019: Thorpe offers no excuses for shambolic England batting

    Graham Thorpe offered no excuses for England's abysmal batting after they were skittled out for 67 but stressed "these are the best players we have" with Australia looking certain to retain the Ashes.

    England started a glorious day two of the third Test at Headingley in a promising position after bowling the tourists out for 179 on Thursday.

    Yet their batting frailties were exposed by the tourists once again, Josh Hazlewood taking 5-30 as Joe Root's side folded meekly in only 27.5 overs.

    England's pitiful total was their worst in Leeds and lowest against Australia since 1948, Joe Denly the only batsman to reach double figures with a paltry 12.

    The in-form Marcus Labuschagne was unbeaten on 53 at stumps after being given three lives, with Australia leading by 283 on 171-6 and looking set to take a 2-0 lead to keep the urn.

    Batting coach Thorpe accepted England were simply not good enough after watching them crumble with a whimper.

    He told Test Match Special: "We're very disappointed with our score. It was a golden opportunity for us today. We aren't going to say we can't win it but we have made it a damn sight harder.

    "We will try and knock them over tomorrow and chase whatever they set us. There were some poor shots. Australia bowled some very good balls but we know that. If you get through that period you can put scores on the board. We need to be more disciplined.

    "We can look at formats of the game and the impact the shorter forms have on Tests. We can look at our domestic game and what we have out there and there aren't heaps coming through at the moment.

    "We have to be able to work and be honest with our players and we are. The cold, hard truth is we weren't good enough today. Test cricket is mentally challenging. You can't hide.

    "We knew we had an opportunity here after Lord's but we've let it slip and we've let it slip badly through a bad batting performance.

    "Credit to Australia. We know how they are going to attack us up front. At times we've got through it but we didn't today and we collapsed in a heap."

    Former England batsman Thorpe seemingly ruled out wielding the axe for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

    He added: "Our guys don't want to make excuses and I won't make excuses for them. Test cricket is hard and if you don't mentally get it right, you don't make good shot selections and you're back in the hutch quickly.

    "We've got to keep working with these players because these are the best players we have. We can throw around who should come in and there could be some little movements possibly in our order but nothing major."

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