Marnus Labuschagne might get through a lot of chewing gum, but he sees no reason to change his batting ritual after playing a starring role in Australia's 3-0 series whitewash of New Zealand.

Australia completed their series sweep thanks to a David Warner century and another five-for from Nathan Lyon, as they sealed a resounding 279-run win in the third Test in Sydney.

Warner's unbeaten 111 led Australia to 217-2, Tim Paine declaring with a 415-run lead, and a comprehensive win was secured as the Black Caps were skittled for 136.

Labuschagne, who scored 215 runs in the first innings and hit 59 in the second, finished with 549 runs for the three-match series.

"It's been an amazing summer," he said at the post-match presentation where he was given the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards.

"It's so special to share these moments with your family, who have been part of your journey. It's hard to put [the success] on one thing, but my level of concentration and not doing any silly things.

"A lot of gum but it's working, so why change. I just love the journey and it's been wonderful being part of this Australian team."

Labuschagne, along with Steve Smith and Warner, won praise from Paine, who says he is honoured to captain an Australia side ranked second in the ICC World Test Championship, while adding he hopes success on the pitch provides the nation with some enjoyment amid the ongoing bushfire crisis.

"I am very lucky to captain this group," the captain said. "Batting has become very consistent with Marnus leading this year and Steve and David back.

"It's a pretty simple task for me at times, to be honest. I think we can still get better, there were moments in this series as well when we were not at our best.

"We are really pleased with the progress we have made in the last 12 months but we know have some big series coming up.

"It hasn't been a great few weeks for our country. Our goal as a team is to give the Australians some entertainment. But our thoughts go out to them and firefighters are doing a great job."

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, meanwhile, acknowledged, his side must learn from their humbling defeat.

"Credit to the Australian team," Williamson said. "They were clinical but they put us under pressure session after session. There's so much to learn from this experience.

"We have a bit of time off, so a bit of regrouping. We were outplayed in all departments. There are number of things to work on and improve upon.

"For a number of guys, it's the first time here and you must appreciate it because you won't get this experience anywhere else."

Australia completed a 3-0 series sweep of New Zealand after David Warner's century and another Nathan Lyon five-for helped the hosts claim a crushing 279-run win in the third Test.

Warner scored an unbeaten 111 to lead Australia to 217-2 declared in their second innings and a mammoth lead of 416 runs on day four at the SCG on Monday.

And New Zealand's horror tour in the trans-Tasman series finally came to an end after being dismissed for 136 during the final half-hour, as Matt Henry did not bat due to injury.

Ross Taylor (22) made history by becoming New Zealand's all-time leading Test runscorer, however, it was another forgettable day for the visitors as Australia spinner Lyon (5-50) finished the match with 10 wickets.

The Black Caps were reduced to 4-2 inside five overs after Mitchell Starc (3-25) tore through openers Tom Latham (1) and Tom Blundell (2), while Lyon and Pat Cummins (1-29) joined in to leave New Zealand reeling on 38-5 after tea.

Taylor was skittled by a stunning Cummins delivery in the over after surpassing Stephen Fleming for his country's record as Australia steamrolled New Zealand inside four days for the third consecutive Test.

Colin de Grandhomme (52), BJ Watling (19) and Todd Astle (17) provided some resistance but Australia showed their class to remain undefeated in their home season.

Tim Paine's side resumed on 40-0, with Warner and his under-pressure opening partner Joe Burns setting about building upon an already commanding lead of 243.

Only two wickets fell as Warner celebrated his third century of the Australian summer and 24th of his career – taking his tally to 786 runs at 131 against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Burns added 24 to his overnight score when he was trapped lbw by Astle (1-41), for 40 despite originally being given not out.

Marnus Labuschagne (59) contributed a quick-fire half-century – his seventh score above 50 in eight innings – before going out swinging to Matt Henry (1-54).

Australia's innings also featured a five-run penalty after umpire Aleem Dar ruled Labuschagne and Warner ran down the protected area of the pitch – the five runs added to New Zealand's first innings, improving it from 251 to 256.

In the final analysis, it made scant difference.

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has become the country's all-time leading Test run-scorer, surpassing Stephen Fleming.

Taylor made history when he reached 21 in New Zealand's second innings against Australia in the third and final Test at the SCG on Monday.

The 35-year-old reached the milestone when he hit Nathan Lyon for three to move past Fleming's record of 7,172 Test runs.

Taylor moved top of the all-time list in his 99th match and 175th innings, however, his celebration was short-lived on another tough day for the Black Caps.

An angling delivery from Pat Cummins steamrolled Taylor and knocked over the stumps to dismiss the record-breaker for 22.

Taylor's dismissal left New Zealand reeling on 38-5 on day four of the final Test, having already lost the trans-Tasman series following back-to-back defeats to Australia.

Australian great and legendary spin bowler Shane Warne will auction off his iconic baggy green cap to raise money for bushfire victims.

Bushfires continue to ravage Australia, where there have been casualties and devastating losses to wildlife with blazes in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

With the country reeling amid the devastating fires, Warne – arguably the greatest spinner of all-time and Australia's most prolific bowler – has joined the fight in a stunning gesture.

Warne, who is second on the all-time list for Test wickets with 708, wrote via Instagram: "The horrific bushfires in Australia have left us all in disbelief. The impact these devastating fires are having on so many people is unthinkable and has touched us all.

"Lives have been lost, homes have been destroyed and over 500 million animals have died too. Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis.

"This has led me to auction off my beloved baggy green cap [350] that I wore throughout my test career [when I wasn't wearing my white floppy hat]. I hope my baggy green can raise some significant funds to help all those people that are in desperate need.

"Please go to the link in my bio and make a bid & help me to donate a big cheque! Thank you so much [heart emoji] #australianbushfires."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The horrific bushfires in Australia have left us all in disbelief. The impact these devastating fires are having on so many people is unthinkable and has touched us all. Lives have been lost, homes have been destroyed and over 500 million animals have died too. Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis. This has lead me to auction of my beloved baggy green cap (350) that I wore throughout my test career (when I wasn’t wearing my white floppy hat). I hope my baggy green can raise some significant funds to help all those people that are in desperate need. Please go to the link in my bio and make a bid & help me to donate a big cheque ! Thankyou so much #australianbushfires

A post shared by Shane Warne (@shanewarne23) on

Cricket West Indies has instituted a mandatory rest period for Test captain Jason Holder in what seems to be a calculated bid to avoid overuse injuries or player burnout.

Holder, who was a part of the team’s recent tour of India, will be rested for both the three-match ODI and Twenty20 series against Ireland.  The player will also be unavailable for his regional team Barbados in the upcoming four-day competition fixtures.

“Jason will be rested during the Ireland series and will be unavailable for Barbados until the end of the series against Sri Lanka in February. He will then be assessed coming out of the SL series and a decision made and communicated on what his regional workloads will be for the later rounds of the 4-day competition,” CWI Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams told Barbados Today.

With a busy 2020 coming up, which will includes the team’s defense of the T20 World title, another player targeted for load management is fast bowler Kemar Roach.

The bowler is not in the Barbados team for the opening match against Windward Islands Volcanoes in St. Vincent following a request from Cricket West Indies (CWI) that he plays six of the maximum ten matches.

“We see the need to manage Kemar and Jason’s workloads to get the best out of them for 2020," Adams explained.

 

 

Windies in-form batsman Shai Hope has labeled adaptability as a key component to his recent success and expects to successfully replicate his good form in the coming year.

The 26-year-old batsman has been the regional team’s top runs getter in the ODI format for 2019 and third overall in the world, behind the Indian duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.  At year-end, the right hander plundered 1345 runs at an average of 61 with four hundreds.

Often finding himself nestled between power hitters, Hope’s unflappable nature and timely stroke play often proved crucial in whatever success the Windies team had.

“The key is knowing your role in the team and knowing how it affects your batting partners, so the key is about standing your role. I think everyone in the team is starting to understand their role and it’s making our batting performances a lot more successful and consistent,” Hope said in a recent interview.

“It’s about being adaptable. I believe that adaptability is the biggest thing in cricket, especially when you’re playing [different] formats,” he added.

Hope recently produced a strong showing against the world’s top-ranked ODI team India.  It was his unbeaten hundred in the series opener in Chennai which helped the Caribbean side take a 1-0 lead but knocks of 78 and 42 in the remaining matches failed to prevent defeats.  The young batsman insists he remains focused on improving.

“[It’s] about improvement. Obviously you want to score more runs as a batsman but the key is about gaining things, adding things to your game and improving as a cricketer.”

 

Josh Philippe thumped an unbeaten 83 from 52 balls as Sydney Sixers continued their excellent Big Bash League campaign with a thrilling seven-wicket victory over Adelaide Strikers at Coffs Harbour.

The Sixers, beaten semi-finalists last season, made it five wins from seven outings, after limiting the Strikers to 176-6 and chasing down the target with three balls to spare.

Adelaide failed to fully capitalise on a promising start, having been 53-1 after five overs, with Josh Hazlewood's miserly spell proving pivotal.

Philippe then starred with the bat, while Justin Avendano (47) also caught the eye, and Tom Curran finished the job in style in a match that saw a comical dismissal for Matthew Short.

HAZLEWOOD HALTS STRIKERS

Adelaide looked well placed to make a big score after a fast start but Hazlewood had other ideas.

Despite taking only one wicket – that of Strikers captain Alex Carey (29) – his four-over spell was key as he conceded just 18 runs.

That stood in stark contrast to the economy rates of three of his fellow bowlers, with Ben Dwarshuis, Lloyd Pope and Curran all in double figures.

 

SHORT'S SHORT INNINGS ENDS IN COMEDY OF ERRORS

The 14th over of the Strikers' innings saw two wickets fall, with one playing out in the manner of a slapstick comedy.

After Cameron White had holed out on 18 while in search of a six, Short followed him back to the pavilion without facing a ball.

Standing at the non-striker's end as Jonathan Wells flicked a stroke towards square leg, Short saw an opportunity for two runs, then changed his mind... then changed it again when there was a misfield. 

By the time he changed his mind for a third time he was halfway down the pitch and he was then short of his ground when he was run out, even though wicketkeeper Philippe appeared to lose his grip on the ball as he whipped off the bails. 

What Wells, who finished 40 not out in a losing effort, must have made of all this as he stood safely in his crease is anyone's guess.

PHILIPPE CUTS LOOSE

Philippe was aggressive from the outset in a 52-ball knock that yielded five fours and four sixes.

Avendano joined him for a 72-run opening partnership that put the Sixers firmly on course, but the best strike rate belonged to Curran.

Coming in late and with a job still to be done, Curran faced just three balls but scored 10 runs, sealing the win with a six.

Nathan Lyon was delighted to be able to put on a show for his family and friends as the Australia bowler claimed 5-68 in the third Test against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The spin bowler shrugged off a nasty thumb injury and two dropped catches as he starred with the ball, helping to skittle the Black Caps for 251 before the hosts extended their lead to 243 runs - without losing a second-innings wicket - at the end of day three.

Lyon had never posted a five-for at the SCG before and was glad to have done so in a fine display on Sunday.

"It's always special being part of the Sydney Test match and playing in front of your family and friends, and to perform in the first innings was pretty special," he said.

"There's still plenty of work to do in the second dig, but if you were rocking up today and saying we'd end up with a lead of 240 and 10 wickets in hand, we'll take that every day."

Australia's bowlers have pledged to donate $1,000AUD to the bushfire relief appeal for every wicket they take in the Test.

Discussing the devastating fires that have swept the country, Lyon added: "We're not doing it [donating money] for recognition or anything like that...we're playing a game of cricket and there's people being severely affected by fires.

"It puts cricket in perspective and it's really showing Australia's true colours. The true heroes of Australia right now are the firefighters and the volunteers.

"Everyone rallies behind someone when they're having a hard time. I'm proud to be Australian in hard times, to be honest, and we're getting around them."

Asked about his impressive recent form, Lyon suggested it was as much about the entire bowling unit as his own efforts.

"I'm fortunate to be part of the best bowling attack in the world so it's just about building pressure from both ends," he said.

"We've been able to do that over the last eight months or so. We're just getting our reward for all our hard work and preparation."

Dean Elgar described his dismissal to Dom Bess as a "brainfart" after South Africa collapsed on day two of the second Test against England at Newlands. 

The opener and Rassie van der Dussen put on 117 for the fourth wicket after the Proteas slumped to 40-3 in reply to the tourists' 269 all out, but Elgar threw his wicket away with a century in sight.

Left-hander Elgar appeared to lose his patience on 88 with a big swing at spinner Bess and was caught by England captain Joe Root at mid-off.

England fought back superbly in the final session, James Anderson taking 3-34 as South Africa were reduced to 215-8 - trailing by 5 runs at the close on Saturday.

"It was [about] trying to be as patient as possible," Elgar told a news conference of his approach alongside Van der Dussen, who made 68. "If he overpitches it, try to hit the ball to long-on. It was pretty much as easy as that.

"I felt I played him very well until the brainfart - and then I was sat in the changing room. That's all it is.

"[It was] a big one. I don't think it was anything to do with the patience factor. I might have just chosen the wrong ball to do what I wanted to do.

"A few overs ago, I hit him for four. It's a great shot, isn't it? And now you choose the wrong ball, and that's pretty much all she wrote."

Elgar was apologetic for his dismissal, adding: "It's actually not right of me playing shots like that, especially being a senior batter. I shouldn't be putting other guys under pressure like that.

"But I'm also a human being - I'm allowed to make mistakes. I've got two arms, two legs and another thing, so I'm allowed to."

Elgar acknowledged England are now on top, with Keshav Maharaj dismissed with what proved to be the final ball of the day from Anderson..

"I would say, after the last hour, they've potentially got one foot ahead of us," Elgar said. "It's difficult to look into the future of this game.

"We know we've got a good battle coming up tomorrow with the ball in hand."

Sam Curran said England must dismiss South Africa early on day three and "bat big" after Ben Stokes' catches and a fired-up pace attack gave them the edge in the second Test at Newlands.

Curran and Stuart Broad took two wickets apiece on Saturday, while James Anderson claimed 3-34 to leave the Proteas 215-8 at stumps in reply to the tourists' 269 all out, having been 157-3 shortly after tea.

Stokes took four slip catches and put down two other chances, leaving him one away from becoming the first England fielder, excluding wicketkeepers, to grab five in a Test innings.

South Africa trail by 54 runs and Curran says England must take command on Sunday as they strive to level the four-match series at 1-1.

"What a way to finish the day. Hopefully we can get a lead," Curran told Sky Sports.

"We're in a good position. Hopefully we can get those two wickets in the morning and bat big."

Dean Elgar (88) and Rassie van der Dussen (68) were looking like giving the hosts a platform to build a big lead, the latter capitalising on being given a reprieve when he edged behind on 16, but Broad overstepped.

Spinner Dom Bess bowled 27 overs, foraging for an opening before he claimed the crucial fourth-wicket breakthrough, drawing Elgar into a hoik that found the safe hands of Joe Root.

"Bessy did an amazing job. There's not much for the seamers and not much for Bessy," Curran said.

"That is a flat wicket but at the same time there is a channel that we're trying to hit. It's about being as patient as possible and every now and again there's something there."

James Anderson and Stuart Broad led the way as England dug themselves out of trouble in the second Test at Newlands - with Ben Stokes on the brink of a record.

After being bowled out for 269 in their first innings, England allowed South Africa to recover from a vulnerable 40-3 as Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen piled on 117 for the fourth wicket.

But a rush of five wickets after tea allowed England to reassert themselves in the contest, South Africa ending day two in Cape Town on 215-8 and thoroughly rattled.

Stokes' four catches in the innings put him one short of becoming the first English fielder - other than wicketkeepers - to take five in a Test innings.

The day's play ended with Anderson's third wicket as he had Keshav Maharaj caught by Dom Sibley at third slip.

Anderson's 3-34, Broad's 2-36 and Sam Curran's 2-39 showed up South Africa's limitations against England's seam attack, while heavily-worked spinner Dom Bess took the key wicket of Dean Elgar, who made 88 before skying one to the tourists' captain, Joe Root.

England, on 262-9 overnight, predictably did not go much further, adding only seven runs before Anderson edged a snappy delivery from Kagiso Rabada to Van der Dussen at first slip.

Anderson and Broad were reckoned by some observers to have been fighting for one place in this match, but with both getting the nod it was a familiar attack that awaited South Africa.

The knowledge of what was coming did not help the Proteas in the early stages, however. Broad immediately found his range and had Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza caught in the slips, both men gone for five apiece with Root and Stokes holding the catches behind the bat.

When Anderson struck a huge blow by removing home captain Faf du Plessis for just one run - Stokes again taking the catch - England had South Africa on the rack.

England thought they had snared Van der Dussen when he was caught in a tangle by a tasty Anderson delivery, only for a review to show the batsman had managed an inside edge.

Van der Dussen had another life on 16 when Broad looked to have him caught behind, yet the England paceman had overstepped by a couple of inches, and the same batsman was dropped by Stokes.

Just when it looked like Elgar would go to three figures, he lost patience after half an hour of England stemming the flow of runs, took a big swing at Bess and Root snaffled a patient catch at deep mid-off.

Curran got in on the act, having Quinton de Kock caught at mid-off by Anderson and finally removing Van der Dussen, whose luck ran out on 68 when Stokes held a fine low catch down to his right.

Anderson accounted for Dwaine Pretorius, with Stokes redeeming himself for a drop at the start of the 81st over by gobbling up a chance off the Lancastrian three balls later, and Anderson's next strike made it marginally England's day.

Lasith Malinga would be open to retiring from Twenty20 internationals later this year, so long as he has helped Sri Lanka reach the T20 World Cup.

Paceman Malinga has already retired from Test and one-day cricket at international level, yet he intends to lead the team at this year's World Cup, the tournament they won in 2014.

Sri Lanka must come through a four-team group in the first round - playing Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Oman - in order to reach the Super 12 stage.

Malinga is willing to step aside whenever Sri Lanka ask him to, but he wants to see his nation safely through the qualifying stage in Australia.

"I've already retired from Tests and one-dayers," he told a news conference ahead of a T20 meeting with India. "It's [about] whatever is required for Sri Lanka cricket.

"If they say it's enough for me now then I'll be really happy to retire from T20 cricket also.

"But my only target is to be able to play the qualifying [first] round at the World Cup. If I play the qualifying round and the Sri Lanka team qualify for the World Cup, after that, I wouldn't mind any time I retire."

Sunday's opening T20 will see Malinga come up against Mumbai Indians team-mate Jasprit Bumrah.

The India star is the world's top-ranked ODI bowler, but he is making his return from a back injury and Malinga suggests that his lay-off could play in Sri Lanka's favour.

"As the number one [ODI] bowler, he's got the skill and accuracy," the veteran said. "But he's coming [back] after the injury and hasn't played much cricket for five or six months.

"After the injury, most of the bowlers struggle for the first few matches. We want to make that an advantage for us."

India captain Virat Kohli is against the prospect of reducing Test matches to four days and fears it could eventually lead to debates over the future of the format. 

Four-day Tests are among the proposals the International Cricket Council is considering as they organise the international calendar for the period from 2023 until 2031.

Kohli is preparing his team for limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand this month.

But the 31-year-old, who has 27 Test centuries, took the opportunity to speak out against the proposed changes to the longest format of the game.

"I am not a fan," he told reporters about four-day Tests. "I think the intent will not be right because then you will speak of three-day Tests. 

"Where do you end? Then you will speak of Test cricket disappearing. I don't endorse that at all.

"I don't think that's fair to the purest format of the game, how cricket started initially. 

"Five-day Test matches was the highest you can have at the international level. According to me, it shouldn't be altered."

Optional four-day Tests and day-night matches in the longest format are already in operation. Kohli is more of a fan of the latter change, which he thinks boosts crowds and levels of interest.

"Day-night cricket is the most that should be changed about Test cricket, according to me," added Kohli, the world's number one batsman in Tests and ODIs.

"Then you're purely going to be talking about getting the numbers in and entertainment. I think it is very, very crucial to market Test cricket like we do for T20 and one-day cricket. 

"If there's enough buzz created around Test cricket, then there will be a lot more keenness to come to the stadiums.

"Day-night is another step towards commercialising Test cricket and creating excitement around it but it can't be tinkered with too much. I don't believe so."

Of other new formats, Kohli explained why he had steered clear of the England and Wales Cricket Board's new The Hundred competition.

He said: "T20 was a revelation in terms of introduction of a new format. 

"I was asked about the 100-ball format and I said I am not going to go and try myself out in another format because there's already so much going on."

The Melbourne Stars avenged their 2019 Big Bash final defeat to the Melbourne Renegades with a thumping victory at the MCG that was inspired by a moment of magic in the field.

An eight-wicket trouncing in front of a crowd of 54,478 on Saturday reflected the changing fortunes of these teams since they met at nearby Docklands Stadium in the title match 11 months ago.

Michael Klinger's Renegades have gone into reverse gear this season and this was a sixth straight defeat for the defending champions, who are proving to be a shadow of the side led by Andrew McDonald last season.

The Stars have soared to the top of the table with five wins in six games for David Hussey's side, who scythed down the Renegades from 117-2 to their eventual 142-9 total.

Shaun Marsh and Beau Webster looked like lifting the Renegades to a substantial total as their third-wicket partnership reached 62.

Yet Marsh's dismissal for 43 to a brilliant boundary catch, Ben Dunk tossing the ball back to Nathan Coulter-Nile, off Sandeep Lamichhane's leg spin triggered a collapse, with Dan Christian stumped for a golden duck and Webster also soon back in the dressing room.

Marcus Stoinis anchored the Stars response with an unbeaten 68 from the top of the order to becoming the leading scorer in the competition, with skipper Glenn Maxwell plundering a snappy 40 not out as the Renegades attack sorely lacked bite.

Marnus Labuschagne said it was "very special" to take a record belonging to Australia great Neil Harvey while making his first Test double century.

Labuschagne's 215 helped Australia reach 454 against New Zealand on the second day in Sydney, and it made him the highest-scoring Australia batsman in a five-match home Test campaign.

Harvey totted up 834 runs against South Africa in 1952-53, with Labuschagne going to 837 after his efforts in the matches against Pakistan and New Zealand.

The feat earned Labuschagne praise from Harvey himself, with the 91-year-old telling the Sydney Morning Herald: "What he's done has been very good. He's got discipline and concentration. It looks as though he's going to be around for quite some time. He might pinch some of [Steve] Smith's mantle."

And 25-year-old Labuschagne, who made his Test debut just 15 months ago, was full of pride at his achievement.

"Obviously that's very special, going past a player of that calibre," Labuschagne said.

"It's hard because, when you're midway through a game or series, you don't really have time to stop and reflect on the summer that you've had.

"Looking at it, it's been a very special summer but I think the real privilege is playing in this team, with the camaraderie."

He began the day on 130 not out and was eventually caught and bowled by spinner Todd Astle.

Labuschagne survived the nervous 190s, tottering on 199 for a while before a hefty edge off Colin de Grandhomme for four brought up the double hundred.

He said: "You do get nervous. You probably don't get as nervous as you would if you were on 99. I don't know why, but that's just the feeling. Probably when you're in the 190s, it's about not doing something silly."

New Zealand plugged away to reach 63-0 by stumps and are crying out for a contribution similar to that of Labuschagne.

Australia's double centurion could yet set another record in this match.

England batsman Wally Hammond holds the record for the most runs in a five-Test Australian home summer, with 905 in 1928-29 - a target for Labuschagne should he get the chance to bat again at the SCG.

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