David Warner beats Steve Smith by one vote to win third Allan Border Medal

By Sports Desk February 10, 2020

David Warner has won the Allan Border Medal for the third time after edging out team-mate Steve Smith by the narrowest of margins.

Australia opener Warner polled 194 votes, one more than Smith, while last year's winner Pat Cummins was also close behind with 185.

Marnus Labuschagne won the award for Men's Test Player of the Year, with Smith again coming a close second, while Aaron Finch claimed the ODI honour for the first time and Warner made it a double by landing the T20I gong.

Warner previously won the Allan Border Medal in 2016 and 2017, with four-time winners Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke the only players to have won the accolade, considered the most prestigious individual prize in Australian men's cricket, on more occasions.

The 33-year-old impressed across all formats during last season, scoring three centuries at the Cricket World Cup at an average of 71.88.

Warner struggled as Australia retained the Ashes in England but rebounded with superb home Test performances against Pakistan, versus whom he scored 335 not out in Adelaide, and then New Zealand.

The batsman's T20 form was spectacular, as he averaged 147.61 in three clashes with Sri Lanka and 140 in another trio of matches against Pakistan, helping him to see off 2019 winner Glenn Maxwell in the voting for the T20 honour in addition to the Allan Border Medal.

Warner and Smith both impressed as they returned from one-year suspensions in 2019 after their involvement in the ball-tampering affair the previous year.

The Australian Cricket Awards are voted for by players, the media and umpires after each Australia game.

Fast bowler Wes Agar was named The Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, while in the women's game The Belinda Clark Award went to Ellyse Perry, who like Warner is a three-time winner of the top prize available.

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    The tourists recalled James Anderson and Jofra Archer to feature alongside Stuart Broad and all-rounder Ben Stokes, in anticipation of conditions in the day/night Test being favourable to seamers.

    However, a volatile surface offered assistance to spinners from the very start, with England bundled out for 112 and 81 as they lost by 10 wickets.

    India only managed 145 in their first innings and England skipper Joe Root claimed career-best figures of 5-8 with his part time off-spin.

    Despite being a far more respected practitioner of that particular craft, Lyon insisted he had no qualms over a surface that drew criticism from former England captains Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook.

    "The best thing about this Test match that just passed is that England went in with four seamers," Lyon said, as quoted by cricket.com.au.

    "That will do me. I don't need to say any more.

    "I was up all night watching it. It was absolutely brilliant. I'm thinking about bringing that curator out to the SCG."

    Lyon made a pointed reference to Australia's humiliating dismissals for 47 and 60 against South Africa and England in 2012 and 2015 respectively, when conditions favoured seam bowling.

    "We play on seaming wickets around the world and get bowled out for 47, 60. Nobody ever says a thing [about the pitch]," he said.

    "But as soon as it starts spinning, everyone in the world seems to start crying about it. I don't get it. I'm all for it, it was entertaining."

    Despite Lyon's enjoyment of the latest match in the four-Test series, the result harmed Australia's prospects of reaching this year's World Test Championship final.

    Only an England win in the final game can edge Tim Paine's side into the inaugural one-off showpiece against New Zealand at India's expense.

    That would leave Australia out of action in the longest format until the start of their domestic season at the end of this year – an unhelpfully long time for speculation over ructions between coach Justin Langer and members of his team to fester.

    "Me personally, if I had a problem with JL I'd go straight to him," Lyon added, casting doubt upon the rumours that emerged in the aftermath of Australia's humbling 2-1 home loss to an injury-ravaged India.

    "But I don't have a problem with him. I don't understand where it's all coming from.

    "I'd like to think anyone in that changing room or anyone at Cricket Australia or outside - if anyone has a problem with anyone, we're about being honest with each other."

  • Bumrah pulls out of India-England Test series closer Bumrah pulls out of India-England Test series closer

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    The final match of the series begins in Ahmedabad on Thursday, March 4, with India 2-1 ahead after their 10-wicket win in a third game that was wrapped up inside two days.

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    It was another special day for Ravichandran Ashwin as the India all-rounder claimed his 400th Test wicket at the stunning Narendra Modi Stadium. 

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    Ashwin brought up the milestone in only his 77th match; there will surely be plenty more to come for the 34-year-old, too. 

    His standout numbers with the ball in the Test arena since making his debut versus West Indies in November 2011 make for impressive reading.


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    Ashwin has taken 29 five-wicket Test hauls, a tally only six players have bettered: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Richard Hadlee, Kumble, Rangana Herath and James Anderson. 

    The in-form Ashwin is just one shy of England seamer Anderson's total of 30, having taken 6-61 in the second innings of the first Test and 5-43 in the first innings of a second match India won emphatically to level the series. 

    While not quite able to add to the collection in Ahmedabad, he still finished the game with impressive match figures of 7-74. 

    Ashwin has taken six five-wicket hauls in as many Tests against New Zealand - more than any other side.  He has claimed 10 scalps in a Test on seven occasions and seven in an innings five times.


    A thorn in Australia's side

    Ashwin has racked up 89 of his wickets against Australia, more than any other side.

    They were taken in 18 matches at an average of 31.5, while he has also thrived against England over the years - taking 73 wickets at 32.2 apiece.

    Ashwin has 39 Test wickets in Australia, more than any nation other than his homeland.

    His best performance came in October 2016 against New Zealand in Indore, helping himself to match figures of 13-140 - including 7-59 in the second innings of a crushing 321-run win.


    A liking for left-handers

    Ashwin has had great success bowling at left-handers over the years. 

    He has dismissed a left-hander on 205 occasions, with his average against them at 19.5 compared to 31.2 against right-handers before play began in the third Test.

    Ben Stokes is among the batsmen who has suffered at the hands of Ashwin the most; he has dismissed the England all-rounder 11 times in total.

    Only Muralitharan managed to make it to 400 in fewer Tests and while Kumble's final total of 619 may be an ambitious target, it seems certain that by the time Ashwin decides to retire, India's newest member of the prestigious club will occupy at least second place on their all-time list for wickets.

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