Ton-derful timing! England hopeful Hameed back in the runs for Lancashire

By Sports Desk April 12, 2019

Haseeb Hameed made his first County Championship century since 2016 to boost his hopes of earning an England recall for this year's Ashes.

The batsman was horribly out of form last season, averaging 9.7 as Lancashire suffered relegation in first-class cricket, but followed up a recent double century against Loughborough MCCU by passing three figures against Middlesex in his county's first Division Two fixture of 2019.

Hameed, who made his England debut in India in November 2016 aged 19 but suffered a finger injury in his third Test appearance, reached the milestone with a pulled six off paceman Toby Roland-Jones.

But the 22-year-old was dismissed for 117, caught and bowled by Dawid Malan after leading Lancashire towards a first-innings lead at Lord's.

Keaton Jennings, another England opener aiming to earn an Ashes chance this year, made 52 in a 123-run partnership with Hameed for the first wicket.

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    The Warriors dismissed the Tridents for just 138, Chris Green taking the last four wickets to fall and conceding just 14 runs in his 3.2 overs, before reaching 77/2 after 10 overs of the run-chase when heavy rain held up play for an hour. When play resumed, the Warriors’ target of 62 from the last 60 balls had been reduced to 20 from 24.

    They added four from the 11th over before the rain returned again to finish things off with the Warriors 81/2 and still comfortably clear of a DLS par score of 69. 

    The one over possible after the initial rain delay did at least allow Brandon King to complete a fine half-century having been left stranded on 49 not out when the players had first left the field..

    He and Chandrapaul Hemraj had been watchful at the start of the Warriors’ initial pursuit of 139 for victory but still took the score past 50 in the Powerplay as King in particular began to cut loose.

    King took Ashley Nurse for 10 in two balls as the spinner’s first over leaked 15 runs, while King smashed his second Hero Maximum from the final ball of the sixth over as Jason Holder dropped short.

    That took the total and partnership to 52 before Nurse’s problems continued in the field as he put down a simple chance offered by King on 30. Two balls later, King planted his third six of the night over midwicket.

    There was some respite for the Tridents when Hemraj chipped a return catch to Sandeep Lamichhane for 20 and Shimron Hetmyer was very smartly caught and bowled by JP Duminy for just 2 but by then the required rate was already down to just a run a ball.

    King continued to impress, taking Lamichhane for back-to-back boundaries to end the tenth over and, as it turned out, the contest as the initial drizzle turned quickly into something more substantial.

    With 77/2 on the board, the Warriors were 16 ahead of the DLS par score of 61, with the only minor disappointment for them being King left stranded one short of a half-century on 49* from 30 balls. Something he rectified when they returned to the field. 

    Earlier, The Tridents lost regular wickets throughout a rather frenetic innings, which meant even when the run-rate was healthy – 63 runs came in the six-over Powerplay at the top of the innings – their position was always fragile.

    Unsurprisingly, the run-rate slowed as the hosts were forced to keep one eye on their wickets in hand.

    And even that approach didn’t work out in the end, Green taking the last four wickets of the innings to leave the Tridents well short.

    The tone was set in the very first over, a slightly wild effort from Keemo Paul that brought 17 runs, but also the crucial wicket of Johnson Charles as he sliced a wide ball all the way to Imran Tahir at third-man.

    Justin Greaves, so impressive on debut, got a couple of good-looking boundaries away but holed out off Romario Shepherd for 11. That too was a recurring theme. Alex Hales looked good for his 24 before picking out deep midwicket from the first ball of Tahir’s second over, while Jason Holder, Leniko Boucher, Raymon Reifer, and Lamichhane all fell going for big shots early in their innings.

    Even Duminy, who held the whole thing together with a 32-ball 38 featuring two fours and two Hero Maximums, was caught in the deep attempting to pull Green over square-leg.

    Jonathan Carter was undone by a fine leg-break from Tahir, lbw after a lengthy deliberation from the umpire, while Nurse was smartly stumped by Nicholas Pooran to help Green on his way to figures of 4/14.

    That represented the second-best bowling return of the 2019 Hero CPL – only Green’s team-mate Shepherd has done better, with 4/13 against these same opponents in Match Six.

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    Rain was the winner after only 12.2 overs were possible in Saturday’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) clash between St Lucia Zouks and Trinbago Knight Riders at Daren Sammy Stadium.

    Colin Ingram was the star of what play was possible, getting off the mark with two sixes within the first four balls he faced and making his way to 52 not out from 36 before the rain arrived.

    He put on 51 for the third wicket with Colin de Grandhomme (17 from 16) after Andre Fletcher and John Campbell both fell to the first ball of new spells.

    Fletcher was caught by Khary Pierre off Ali Khan’s first ball of the night, while Campbell was superbly caught and bowled by Jimmy Neesham, who stuck out a right hand in his follow-through to pouch a ball hit back at him with interest.

    Neesham had a far simpler task to dismiss de Grandhomme when his New Zealand team-mate miscued Kieron Pollard straight to him at cover, while Rahkeem Cornwall – moved down the order to number five for this game – sliced Pierre to Khan at short third-man from the final ball before the rain arrived.

    Both teams take a point apiece from the abandoned game, leaving the Knight Riders a point behind Guyana Amazon Warriors at the top of the table while the Zouks move within a point of Barbados Tridents in the final playoff spot.

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    Eddie Jones said facing Tonga was "like playing Stoke City" after England opened their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 35-3 victory on Sunday.

    England did not fully hit their stride in their first Pool C match in Sapporo, though Manu Tuilagi's first-half double put them in control.

    Jamie George and substitute Luke Cowan-Dickie got in on the act with tries to secure a bonus point in the second half, with Owen Farrell's kicking doing the rest of the damage.

    Though Jones conceded his side did not reach their highest level, he insisted he was happy with England's attitude against a side he compared to Stoke, who - during their time in the Premier League under former boss Tony Pulis – developed a reputation for a physical style of play, albeit in a different sport.

    "I was really happy with the defence and that is a good sign of the attitude of the team," Jones told a news conference.

    "I'm happy with the players' attitude and I think they applied themselves well. We didn't execute well but that is rugby.

    "It's a bit like playing Stoke City [against Tonga]. The ball went out a lot and maybe that was their intention, but importantly we got five points and no serious injuries.

    "We showed no frustration. The only time they got in our 22 was in the last minute of the game which gives you a show of the superiority we had. These are always difficult games, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    "The World Cup is not a 100-metre sprint, so you don't have to come out of the blocks and be absolutely fantastic, you have to be steady and improve. I know we'll keep improving and that's the mindset of the team."

    England struggled with their discipline early on, conceding several penalties in quick succession - one of which was converted by Sonatane Takulua.

    Jones was clearly frustrated, television pictures showed him slamming his fist down on the desk during proceedings, though the former Japan boss laughed off the suggestion his anger got the better of him.

    "There was a lot of mosquitos up there," Jones joked. "I was struggling with them and had to swat a few.

    "Look, I'm a coach, I get emotional, angry, excited, disappointed, that's all. I'll just reiterate I was so pleased with the attitude of my players today. It was fantastic."

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