Were turnovers the Achilles Heel of the Sunshine Girls' world cup campaign?

By July 15, 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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  • Ashes 2019: Smith blow brought up 'rough memories' for Langer Ashes 2019: Smith blow brought up 'rough memories' for Langer

    Steve Smith receiving a sickening blow from a Jofra Archer bouncer on day four of the second Ashes Test jabbed at painful memories of Phillip Hughes' tragic death for Australia coach Justin Langer.

    Lord's was enraptured by a gripping passage of Test match action as Smith sought to stand firm in face of a ferocious barrage from debutant England paceman Archer.

    Having worn a lifting delivery on the forearm, Smith was left prone on the turf when he ducked into an Archer bouncer, prompting immediate concern.

    Australia opener Hughes died after being struck on the back of his neck during a Sheffield Shield game in November 2014. David Warner, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Brad Haddin – all members of the Australia touring party – played in that match at the SCG.

    "You never like seeing your players get hit like that," Langer told a news conference. "There's obviously some pretty rough memories of a blow like that. So there's no fun in it."

    Smith appeared frustrated to have to leave the field after a lengthy medical assessment but, after coming through concussion tests, he returned when Peter Siddle was out caught behind to Chris Woakes.

    The same bowler removed Smith for 92 – comfortably the most significant contribution to Australia's 250 all out before England closed on 96 for four, a lead of 104.

    "As soon as he got up in the medical room he was saying, 'I'm going okay'. The doctor said he had passed the concussion tests," Langer explained.

    "As soon as he got back in the dressing room he was ready to go back out there again. These are like my sons. You're never going to put them in harm's way.

    "He said, 'I can't get up on the [Lord's] honours board unless I'm out batting'. All he was concerned about was that he wasn't going to play his forward defence because his arm was hurting for his top-hand grip.

    "I asked him privately two or three times and in front of the group and he said, 'All good, coach'. What else do you do?"

    Langer also paid tribute to a spell of fast bowling for the ages from Archer.

    "I've got massive admiration for Jofra. I think he's an unbelievable athlete and an incredibly skilful bowler," he said.

    "Test match cricket is hard work but his endurance was outstanding today – his skill, his pace. What an athlete and what a great player to have to promote Test cricket.

    "To bowl 29 overs today, time will tell if it has an impact. We hope it does, like we do with all the England bowlers, like they would with our bowlers."

    Australia will look to extend their 1-0 lead in the five-match series on Sunday but could have been in an even stronger position, having failed to review two lbw appeals against Rory Burns and the still-unbeaten Ben Stokes that would have gone in Nathan Lyon's favour.

    "It's frustrating, there's no doubt about that," Langer added. "It can change a session, it can change a Test match, it can change a series.

    "We're aware of it and we have to get better at it."

  • Ashes 2019: Smith battered but unbowed to give Australia the edge Ashes 2019: Smith battered but unbowed to give Australia the edge

    Steve Smith braved a ferocious spell and a sickening blow from Jofra Archer to put Australia in a strong position heading into the final day of the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

    Smith was unable to make it three centuries from as many innings in the series but the circumstances of this knock mean it might arguably live longer in the memory.

    Once again anchoring the Australia innings and bringing up his half century after Matthew Wade edged the in-form Stuart Broad (4-65) to slip, Smith was subjected to a brutal going over from Test debutant Archer (2-59).

    He needed padding and a bandage after the paceman whacked him on the left forearm before Lord's held its breath when a bouncer speared into Smith's neck and left him prone on the turf.

    Australia's talisman left the field as a precaution but returned to fall for 92 in 250 all out, eight shy of England's first innings total.

    England toiled early in their second innings, with Jason Roy (2), Joe Root (0), Joe Denly (26) and Rory Burns (29) all falling, and they closed on 96-4 with a lead of 104.

    Burns pouching Wade for six in the morning session underlined the impression Smith was playing a different game to the rest of his colleagues in the Australian order, although his successor as captain Tim Paine (23) provided able support in a stand of 60 for the sixth wicket.

    Paine fell to a short-leg catch by Jos Buttler off Archer, setting the stage for day four's exhilarating and frightening centrepiece.

    Smith dropped the ball just short of Buttler from a delivery that clocked a remarkable 96.1 mph and he misjudged another vicious bouncer in Archer's next over to cause instant concern.

    The medical advice to leave the fray appeared to displease Smith but he was back after Peter Siddle edged Chris Woakes (3-61) behind - the England all-rounder trapping Australia's main man in front after three more defiant boundaries.

    Pat Cummins added a useful 20 and promptly got among England.

    Roy's ordeal at the top of the order continued as he shovelled back a return catch before Root feathered a beauty behind first ball.

    The hosts were reeling on 9-2 at that stage, leaving Burns and Denly to rebuild while riding their luck – both in terms of Australia's laxed review policy and David Warner's uncertain evening in the cordon.

    Siddle took matters into his own hands with a return catch to claim the deserved scalp of Denly before having Burns caught behind.

    Ben Stokes – afforded further lives by the errant Warner – and Jos Buttler did not always convince but were unbeaten on 16 and 10 respectively when rain brought a slightly early close.


    EVENING ERRORS PREVENT AUSSIES FROM DRIVING HOME THE ADVANTAGE

    Warner's toils with the bat at the hands of Broad so far in the series transferred to some shoddy work at slip as England tottered. Twice Paine failed to call for reviews that would have seen Nathan Lyon dismiss Burns and Stokes lbw. Both factors could prove costly in the final analysis of a rain-affected and low-scoring encounter.

    ARCHER PROVES HE BELONGS

    Where England's World Cup heroes have largely failed to fire with the bat since white ball switched to red, Archer left no doubt over his credentials with a spell for the ages. The rangy speedster taking on Smith truly was an "I was there" moment for all in attendance.

    MOMENT OF THE DAY

    After the thrill and concern of his joust with Jofra, there was a gladiatorial quality to Smith returning to the fray.

  • Special thanks to JJ Williams - Biggar revels in perfect response Special thanks to JJ Williams - Biggar revels in perfect response

    Dan Biggar gave "special thanks" to JJ Williams after his man-of-the-match display in Wales' 13-6 win over England.

    A cruciate knee ligament injury to Gareth Anscombe during last weekend's defeat at Twickenham thrust Biggar into the number 10 shirt – prompting former Wales great Williams to state his country would not win the forthcoming World Cup with the Northampton Saints fly-half in the team.

    But Biggar kicked a penalty and a conversion, the latter coming courtesy of him brilliantly creating the only try of a low-scoring contest for George North as Wales edged ahead of New Zealand at the top of the world rankings.

    "Special thanks to JJ Williams for his comments this week, it's been really motivating," said Biggar, as quoted by BBC Sport.

    "The forwards were brilliant all day - England's strength is in the set piece, to front up and keep a world-class team try-less is an excellent effort.

    "We go to Turkey for a week to hopefully get better for the two Ireland games."

    Captain Alun Wyn Jones lauded Biggar's display and the wider achievement of his side, who overcame Liam Williams withdrawing due to a tight hamstring in the warm-up.

    "Ten is a position in Wales that has always been in vogue. Fair play to Dan, he stood up knowing the pressure was on him at home," said the veteran lock.

    "We are a team of 3.3 million so we can be happy with [being world number one]."

    Wales coach Warren Gatland told Channel 4 he was impressed with his players' character during a contest that wasn't always easy on the eye.

    "It was a proper Test match, it was tough, it was physical," he said.

    "I said to the boys in the changing room, we showed massive character and big cojones. We lost Williams just before kick-off.

    "Other teams are going to beat us at some stage, but if you're going to beat us you have to play pretty well."

    George Ford captained an experimental England line-up and was responsible for the visitors' entire points haul.

    "It's a disappointing result [but] I can't fault the effort, the commitment was brilliant again," he told Channel 4, before concurring with Gatland's assessment.

    "We just need to tidy a few areas up - discipline and the breakdown.

    "We knew Wales were going to come back. We wanted to play a better game this week too. That was a proper Test match - physical, not much time and space.

    "It's been good for us to play in a stadium like this with the roof closed, so we'll keep working."

    Ford added: "I don't think many people will remember these games. What happens at the World Cup in a few weeks' time will be completely different so we'll be ready for that."

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