Pollard, Russell, Narine among several Windies players lining up for Abu Dhabi T10 league in January

By December 18, 2020
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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  • Stokes shines but another England batting failure is hard to stomach Stokes shines but another England batting failure is hard to stomach

    Ben Stokes fought off a stomach upset to prop up another dismal England batting effort as India dominated day one of the fourth Test.

    The all-rounder battled his way to 55 in a team total of 205 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with England's hopes of drawing this series now seemingly in the hands of their bowlers.

    James Anderson snatched the wicket of Shubman Gill from the third ball of India's reply, with the home team reaching stumps on 24-1.

    After heavy defeats in Chennai and then inside two days last week in Ahmedabad, the second match of the series to be played at this stadium looked to be following a depressingly familiar pattern for England supporters.

    England at least passed 200, having not done so for five successive innings, but that was small consolation as they again proved fragile against India's spinners. They need a win in this final match to draw the series.

    There was much to enjoy for the Indian crowd, who savoured the sight of Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and captain Joe Root all back in the hutch with just 30 runs on the board in the morning.

    Axar Patel made the first incursions, bowling Sibley (2) off a slight inside edge as the England man waited for the turn that never came. That was from Axar's second ball of the match, and having taken 11 wickets in the previous Test, it was a foreboding message to England.

    The left-arm spinner snared his second victim of this match when he had Crawley caught at mid-off, the batsman on the charge but hoisting the ball with a lack of control.

    Root's recent hot streak very much ended in Chennai, and his pair of cheap dismissals in last week's third Test in Ahmedabad was emblematic of England's wider failings. His struggles continued when he was removed for just five this time, pinned lbw by Mohammed Siraj.

    Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes began to rebuild for England, before Bairstow (28) went the same way as Yorkshire colleague Root when Siraj struck for a second time.

    Stokes, shrugging off his stomach complaint, had been going through his repertoire, sweeping, reverse-sweeping, and looking in good shape, until Washington Sundar trapped him in front.

    Ollie Pope (29) and Dan Lawrence (46) made starts but could not stay out there long enough.

    The tourists scraped their way above 200, but former captain Andrew Strauss, analysing for Channel 4, lamented what he described as "a poor batting performance from England, there's no two ways about it".


    New role for Stokes

    With Jofra Archer ruled out by his ongoing right elbow problem, England elected to name James Anderson as their one frontline seamer, deciding the pitch would be most receptive to spin and pairing Jack Leach with Dom Bess. It was therefore Stokes to whom England turned as an opening pace partner for Anderson. Stokes has fulfilled various roles in his storied England career but this was his first stint as an opening bowler. With the all-rounder perhaps not in the best health for it, it was little surprise when he was taken out of the attack after bowling two overs.

    Axar and Ashwin put England in a spin... again

    Three lbw verdicts to spin in England's innings told its own story. Stokes, Bess and Leach could not pick the straight ball, with Axar, Ashwin and Washington Sundar getting a wicket each that way. Axar finished with 4-68, Ashwin took 3-47, and England must hope their own spin squad of Bess, Leach and perhaps skipper Root can inflict similar damage on day two. India took advantage of some poor batting from England though, and a better-focused India effort could see them take the match away from the tourists. Axar, remarkably, has 22 wickets at 10.81 in his Test career to date.

  • Pollard hails experience in opening T20 win – vows to 'work out kinks' for Windies moving forward Pollard hails experience in opening T20 win – vows to 'work out kinks' for Windies moving forward

    West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, hailed the role of the team’s experienced players in a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka, in the opening game of the three-match series on Wednesday.

    In the end, the West Indies coasted to the line, in fairly comfortable fashion, with some 41 balls left, but at times the result had not always seemed like a foregone conclusion. 

    With the ball, the team put in a dominant performance and restricted Sri Lanka to 131 for 9 at the end of 20 overs.  In response, things also got off to a flyer with openers Evin Lewis (28) and Lendl Simmons (18) putting on 52 for the first wicket.  However, following the dismissal of Lewis, by Akila Dananjaya, in the third over, the team found itself in a real instance of concern with a flurry of lost wickets.  Dananjaya took a sensational hat-trick removing big hitters Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran for ducks.  Simmons departed the very next over to leave the West Indies struggling at 62 for 4.  /a captain’s innings from Pollard (38), which included a savage 6 sixes off Dananjaya, however, went a long way to restoring the situation.  Jason Holder, who added a resilient, unbeaten 29 from 24 balls, safely carried the team over the line following Pollard's dismissal. 

    “The objective was to win the game and we did that, obviously there’s a couple of kinks to iron out, we have not played T20 cricket in a while. We had a couple of guys coming back into the set-up as well so we’ll take the win and have discussions about how we want to continue playing," Pollard said.

    “In terms of the batting collapse we have had, we have seen that but what is good is that this time around we got over the line with the experienced guys like Jason, using all his Test experience, Bravo using his experience as well.  Having said that, well done to the openers for the start that they gave us, so we were able to cruise on the back end.”

     

     

  • Pollard hits six sixes in an over as West Indies win a wild one in Antigua Pollard hits six sixes in an over as West Indies win a wild one in Antigua

    In a bizarre game of fluctuating fortunes at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in which a bowler took a hat-trick and then got hit it for six sixes in an over, the West Indies battled to a four-wicket win against Sri Lanka with 41 balls to spare.

    Chasing a modest total of 132, the West Indies, who took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, started strong as Evin Lewis hit three sixes off the first over bowled by Angelo Matthews that yielded 19 runs.

    However, in the fourth over with the home side sailing merrily along at 52 without loss, the match evolved into an even more entertaining spectacle.

    Lendl Simmons had hit a six and a four off from the first two balls of the third over bowled by Dushmantha Chameera that yielded 14 runs. At the end of the over West Indies were 48-0 but it was the start of the most bizarre period of play in the match.

    It all began with Lewis hitting Akila Dananjaya’s first ball of the fourth over for four as the West Indies raced to 52-0.

    Lewis was caught in the deep for 28 off Dananjaya’s second ball, Gayle was trapped lbw first ball before Nicholas Pooran’s wicket completed the hat-trick caught behind off a thin edge. In three balls the West Indies had slipped from 52-0 to 52-3.

    Lendl Simmons hit a six and a four before Hasangara de Silva trapped him lbw for 26. The West Indies were then 62 for 4.

    There was another dramatic twist in over number six, Dananjaya’s third.

    With Captain Kieron Pollard and Jason Holder at the crease and the West Indies still needing 70 runs, Pollard went on the offensive hitting the spinner for six consecutive sixes rushing to 38 from 10 balls.

    The match would swing again in the seventh when Hasangara trapped Pollard lbw for 38 and then Fabian Allen for a duck with consecutive balls as both players failed to read the spinner.

    Dwayne Bravo, who was unbeaten on four at the end, survived the hat-trick ball and together with Holder, who was 29 not out, produced an unbroken stand of 31 after Holder drove Pradeep for six over long-on to seal the victory.

    Hasangara ended with 3-12. Dananjaya’s figures that read 3-17 after two overs ended with 3-62.

    Pollard had won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat. The visitors lost their first wicket at 20 when Pollard diving to his right pulled off a spectacular catch at short midwicket to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka for four and hand debutant Kevin Sinclair his first international wicket.

    Niroshan Dickwella (33) and Pathum Nissanka (39) put on 51 for the second wicket but there were no other noteworthy partnerships for the Sri Lankans who crawled to 132 for 9 from their allotment of 20 overs.

    Obed McCoy was the best of the West Indies bowlers with 2-25 and there was a wicket each for Jason Holder, Allen, Sinclair, Dwayne Bravo and Fidel Edwards, who bowled tight lines and lengths, hardly giving anything away to the Sri Lankan batsmen.

     

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