Alastair Cook has no concerns over Jonny Bairstow's ability to rediscover his best form in Test cricket after he was called up to cover for Joe Denly ahead of England's tour of New Zealand.

After an indifferent Ashes series, wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow was left out of England's Test squad for the two-match series, which starts on November 21 at Mount Maunganui.

Denly has played no part in the ongoing Twenty20 series against the Black Caps, which is tied at 2-2 heading into the final match after David Malan's record-breaking hundred earned the tourists a 76-run win in Napier on Friday.

While Denly, who has suffered ankle ligament damage, is hopeful of being fit for a three-day warm-up match against a New Zealand Cricket XI, which starts on November 15, England have confirmed Bairstow – who has hit just 43 runs from his three innings so far on the tour – will remain in the country as cover.

Despite Bairstow's initial omission from the squad, former England captain Cook, the all-time leading run-scorer in Tests for his country, has backed the Yorkshireman to step up if required.

"He is a world-class player," Cook told Sky Sports. "His white-ball career has flourished, but he has struggled a little bit for form in the Test arena.

"He had such an impact at the top of the order after moving up to opener a couple of years ago – he was opening the batting with David Warner in the IPL – but I think that has probably made him stay a little bit legside of the ball and, as a consequence of that, he is probably getting bowled a little too often in the red-ball game.

"The break will do him good. He got left out of the Sri Lanka tour last year, when he was injured, and he then came back in at number three and got a hundred straight away.

"He has been called up probably for logistics as well. It's a long way to fly someone over to New Zealand when he is already out there as cover.

"It will be good for him to reassess where he's at with Test cricket. When you get dropped, it's that line in the sand and it's about how you respond to that.

"Knowing Jonny and his competitive spirit, it will give him a little kick up the backside and he'll be back scoring runs for England, because good players like him respond."

Cook also hailed Eoin Morgan's decision to stay on as ODI and T20 captain after England's triumph over New Zealand in the World Cup.

"I suppose the tempting thing is to always go out on a high," said Cook. "The pinnacle, standing at Lord's, his home ground, after such an amazing World Cup win. How do you top that?

"But, actually, with the T20 World Cup only 12 months away - they got to the final in 2016 - I think there is some unfinished business there.

"The way he is striking the ball at the moment is fantastic; he has played really, really well over the last two years or so - and the way he leads the team, I would have been surprised had he not carried on."

Tim Southee is praying the deciding game of New Zealand's back-and-forth T20 series against England does not end in a tie after his country's haunting Cricket World Cup final defeat to the same opponents.

England beat the Black Caps to win the showpiece on home soil in July via a super over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs.

The two sides are now closely matched once again, with the five-game T20 series level at 2-2 after England's 76-run win in Napier on Friday.

Inspired by Dawid Malan hitting England's fastest T20 century (103 not out from 51 balls) and captain Eoin Morgan, who hit 91 from 41 deliveries, the tourists triumphed to set up a decider in Auckland on Sunday.

Asked about the chance of a tie, stand-in New Zealand captain Southee (1-47) said: "We've been there! Hopefully it doesn't come down to that."

Of his side's heavy defeat, with New Zealand only making 165 in response to England's 241-3, Southee added: "That can happen in T20, the guys will learn from it and move on. Good thing is we go again in two days. 

"It's more about guys learning from the experience of being put under pressure by Morgs and Malan - the only way is to take wickets."

Regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is not playing in the series due to a hip injury, has been training with his team-mates and is confident he will be fit for the first Test against England at Mount Maunganui on November 21.

He has only batted four times since that World Cup final defeat and explained to Sky Sports: "It's been an ongoing niggle that comes and goes.

"It is settling, which is nice. A lot of [the last few months] has been rehab to get the hip right. 

"I had a four-dayer recently and there's a gap between this series and the first Test, so it's basically training going into it.

"If you're looking at perfect preparation, gametime can be nice - spending time in the middle - but it'll be tough to come by seeing as there's not a lot of cricket between now and then. 

"So it's just trying to get the mindset right to go on and execute your plans as well as you can."

Sean Abbott described his Australia return as "a privilege" after he earned the man-of-the-match award in his first international appearance for five years.

The fast bowler, 27, had not played for his country since a Twenty20 against South Africa in Sydney on November 9, 2014, but was back to face Pakistan in Perth on Friday.

Abbott was only hit for two boundaries as his figures of 2-14 from four overs helped Australia to restrict Pakistan to 106-8 in the third T20I. 

Captain Aaron Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48 not out) then led Australia to a 10-wicket triumph, sealing a 2-0 win in the three-match series.

"It's been a privilege to be part of this side," Abbott said of his return. "It's awesome to be back out here.

"A lot of hard work has gone into it, but there's a lot of talent in this country.

"The guys have been playing really well and they've welcomed me back in the group. Very pleased."

Australia have a rating of 269 in the T20I rankings and are just one behind leaders Pakistan.

They have won series against India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2019 without losing a match, putting them in a strong position ahead of hosting next year's T20 World Cup.

Finch said: "Really proud of my boys. The way we've applied ourselves over the last couple of weeks has been really impressive. We're improving as a team and that's the most important thing. 

"The way Ashton Agar bowled in these two series was amazing. He was outstanding, alongside Adam Zampa and they were bowling against quality players of spin. The quicks in the powerplay were outstanding, too. Mitchell Starc in general and Abbott in this game.

"It's pleasing one of our top three batted really deep throughout the two series and we can only kick on from here."

Pakistan, by contrast, are on a miserable run. They have lost 2-1 to South Africa, 1-0 to England, 3-0 to Sri Lanka and now struggled against the Aussies in their last four series in the shortest format.

"I am very disappointed, but we lost to a very good team," said captain Babar Azam.

"We've learnt a lot and we want to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again. As captain, I learnt a lot personally too, but there's a long way to go. 

"[Muhammad] Musa and [Mohammad] Hasnain were bowling well, but Finch and Warner were just in a different class. We wanted to blood them and I'm sure the experience will be good for them in future."

Australia and Pakistan will now prepare for two Test matches, the first coming in Brisbane on November 21.

Aaron Finch hit an unbeaten fifty as Australia stormed to a 10-wicket victory over Pakistan in the third Twenty20 international, sealing a 2-0 triumph in the three-match series.

After weather impacted the first match, Steve Smith inspired Australia to victory in Canberra and Friday's match in Perth also went the way of the hosts in comprehensive fashion.

Captain Finch opted to bowl after winning the toss on a lively pitch and was rewarded when Pakistan struggled to 106-8, Kane Richardson recording the best figures as he took 3-18.

Openers Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48no) reached the target themselves in only 11.5 overs.

Australia's win cuts Pakistan's lead at the top of the world rankings to just one point.

Mitchell Starc got Australia off to a flying start, taking the key wicket of Pakistan captain Babar Azam (6), which was upheld after the batsman reviewed, before bowling wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan for a golden duck.

Pakistan were in a hole at 22-3 when man of the match Sean Abbott (2-14) – playing his first international in five years – got rid of Imam-ul-Haq (14).

Iftikhar Ahmed was the only man to offer meaningful resistance as he hit 45 from 37 balls, but wickets tumbled around him, including that of debutant Khushdil Shah (8), who fell to Richardson.

When Richardson removed Iftikhar as Starc caught him at fine leg, the tourists' total was only 92 with 23 deliveries left, the tail left to bat out the innings.

Australia's reply got off to an eventful start, with David Warner's six from the third ball only just beating third man before Imam missed a glorious run-out opportunity.

The openers were in control from there, though, Finch's total coming from just 36 balls with three maximums, and Warner ending just short of a half century himself after hitting six boundaries in a 35-ball knock.

Pakistan's other debutant, Muhammad Musa, came in for punishment with figures of 0-39 from his 3.5 overs.

The teams will now turn their attention to two Test matches, the first of which starts in Brisbane on November 21.

Dawid Malan credited Eoin Morgan with providing him the momentum to break records in England's Twenty20 victory over New Zealand on Friday.

Malan scored England's fastest T20 century by smashing an unbeaten 103 from 51 balls, while captain Morgan raced to 91 off just 41 deliveries in Napier.

The duo shared 182 runs as the tourists reached an imposing 241-3 – England's highest partnership and innings total in the format.

The Black Caps were skittled for 165 in response, Matt Parkinson claiming figures of 4-47, as Morgan's men clinched a 76-run triumph that levelled the series at 2-2 ahead of the final game in Auckland on Sunday.

"The message is always the same, play aggressively and back yourself," said Malan, who hit nine fours and six maximums.

"It's not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six. It's as good as it gets.

"I felt like I had rhythm today, glad I clicked especially with these short boundaries.

"It helps batting with Morgs as well, he changed the momentum of the game and I piggybacked him a bit. To do it on the biggest stage is a fantastic experience."

Morgan added: "It was quite a clinical performance. Myself and Dawid have played for a long time together at Middlesex and we know each other pretty well.

"It was enjoyable, we had a lot of laughs out there. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on."

Records tumbled as Dawid Malan's unbeaten 103 powered England to a thumping 76-run win over New Zealand in the fourth Twenty20 in Napier on Friday.

Malan hammered nine fours and six sixes on the way to a 48-ball hundred, the fastest by an Englishman in T20 internationals, as the tourists posted a mammoth 241-3, their highest total in the format.

Eoin Morgan added 91 from 41 balls in a rollicking 182-run stand with Malan before Matt Parkinson claimed 4-47 with the ball as New Zealand were bowled out for 165 in a one-sided contest.

The result levels the series at 2-2 going into the fifth and final match in Auckland on Sunday.

Jonny Bairstow's return to the top of England's order lasted just nine deliveries but his exit only brought more trouble for the below-par Black Caps, who won the toss and elected to field.

Tom Banton departed for an enterprising 31 in the eighth over, leaving Malan and Morgan to set about targeting the short boundaries with regularity.

The pair took a liking to Blair Tickner (0-50) and Tim Southee (1-47) and at one point crushed 76 from five overs through the middle of the innings.

Malan alone hammered 28 from a single Ish Sodhi (0-49) over, while captain Morgan made the most of twice being caught from illegal deliveries bowled above waist height.

Southee eventually broke the partnership in the final over, but not before Malan - just the second England batsman to score a T20 hundred - crashed another six off Trent Boult to reach his milestone, which comfortably surpassed Alex Hales' 60-ball effort in 2014 for the quickest made by an Englishman.

Martin Guptill (27) and Colin Munro (30) started well in response until the former chipped Tom Curran straight to Malan at midwicket.

That sparked a succession of wickets as New Zealand crumbled from 54-0 to 89-6, the bleeding only stemmed thanks to Southee's defiant 39 from 15.

Leg-spinner Parkinson trapped the Black Caps skipper in front for his fourth victim after dismissing Munro, Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell.

Chris Jordan (2-24) then ran out Sodhi and skittled Boult's stumps to wrap up a convincing victory for Morgan's men.

Dawid Malan broke an England record with a stunning century against New Zealand in the fourth Twenty20 international in Napier on Friday.

The left-hander reached his century off just 48 balls, the fastest ton by an England batsman in T20 internationals.

Malan became just the second Englishman to make a century in the format, but was far quicker than Alex Hales' 60-ball effort against Sri Lanka in 2014.

He finished with nine fours and six sixes, making an unbeaten 103 as the tourists – who trail in the series 2-1 – reached 241-3.

The total was England's highest in the T20 format, surpassing the 230 they made against South Africa in 2016.

Eoin Morgan made a stellar 41-ball 91 as England posted the equal 13th highest total ever in T20 internationals.

The 182-run partnership between Malan and Morgan was also England's highest in T20s.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle has quickly shrugged off the disappointment of not being able to land a place in the inaugural 100,and is still continuing to be one of the first names to be called when it comes to any new form of limited overs cricket.

Gayle is one of the names being touted as being part of the Ultimate Kricket Challenge in Dubai in February of 2020.

The event, a five-day extravaganza, will also include the likes of Andre Russell, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, and Shahid Afridi.

The dates have been tentatively set for February 18 to 23 in a format that includes one-on-one cricket.

The two cricketers facing off against each other will face 30 balls and can be out five times. The matches will be determined by the number of runs scored.

“I can’t wait to have a practice run. It’s a new and exciting format and its growth depends on how we start the first edition,” said Yuvraj.

“This is going to be huge,” said Kevin Pietersen on Twitter, sharing the same sentiment as Gayle.

Gayle has been the main proponent of short-form cricket, dominating the statistics as a T20 batsman, leading compatriots of huge talent.

The Universe Boss, has so far, had the most runs in T20s (13,051), the most centuries (22), the most sixes (960), most man-of-the-match awards, to go along with the highest individual score (175 not out).

Dropped wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has been added to the England Test squad to face New Zealand as cover for the injured Joe Denly.

Denly has played no part in the ongoing Twenty20 International series with the Black Caps after suffering ankle ligament damage.

The tourists are hopeful that batsman Denly will be fit for a three-day warm-up match against a New Zealand Cricket XI, which gets under way on November 15.

Bairstow will remain in New Zealand when the T20 series finishes at Eden Park on Sunday and will join the Test squad for two warm-up games, providing another option if Denly cannot prove his fitness.

The 30-year-old was left out of the Test squad due to a lack of runs in a drawn Ashes series, but national selector Ed Smith said the Cricket World Cup winner can still be a top player in the longest format.

England and New Zealand start the Test series at Mount Maunganui on November 21.

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes began the 2019 Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 season on a high, beating the defending champions Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) Marooners by 198 runs on Wednesday at Warner Park in St Lucia.

The result was brought about by the batting of Devon Thomas and the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall.

Sent into bat, Thomas began plotting the Marooner’s demise with a well-paced 105 from just 93 deliveries, helping the Hurricanes to 292-7 from 50 overs.

Thomas smacked 10 fours and one six on his way to the total, sharing in 50-run partnerships with

Other batsmen, Kieran Powell (30), Amir Jangoo (39), and Akeem Saunders (24), got starts as well, but there were no other significant contributions against the bowling of Larry Joseph, 2-26, and Jalarnie Seales, 2-71. There was also a wicket apiece for Kavesh Kantasingh (1-51) and Ojay Shields (1-47).

In reply,the Marooners, without Carlos Brathwaite, the man who led them to the title last year, were a shadow of themselves, as Cornwall with 4-20 from 5.3 overs and Sheno Berridge, with 3-20, decimated them on the way to 94 all out in 31.3 overs.

Jason Campbell, 1-27, and Jeremiah Louis, 1-8, also got among the wickets against the defending champions for whom only Seales, 39, Odain McCatty, 15, and Akeem Jordan, 11, made it into double figures.   

Rohit Sharma bludgeoned an imperious half-century in his 100th Twenty20 International as India levelled the series against Bangladesh with a crushing eight-wicket victory in Rajkot.

Yuzvendra Chahal took 2-28 as the Tigers made 153-6 after they were put in by Rohit at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday, Mohammad Naim top scoring with 36.

Rohit then took centre stage, marking becoming only the second man to play a hundred internationals in the shortest format - Shoaib Malik being the other - with a domineering 85 off 43 balls.

The prolific stand-in captain struck six sixes in another magnificent knock and India cruised to their target with 26 balls to spare, blowing Bangladesh away in a match that was in doubt due to Cyclone Maha and set up a decider in Nagpur on Sunday.

Liton Das and Naim got the Tigers off to a good start, but an opening stand of 60 ended when Rishabh Pant ran the former out for 29 after he was given two lives.

Naim looked well set until he holed out attempting to launch Washington Sundar over the ropes, then Chahal put the brakes on by removing Mushfiqur Rahim and snaring Soumya Sarkar (30) stumped in an excellent 13th over.

Captain Mahmudullah struck a brisk 30, but Chahal and Deepak Chahar (1-25) restricted the tourists to a below-par total with skilful death bowling.

It soon became clear that was nowhere near enough as Rohit cut loose with exquisite timing and power, reaching his half-century off only 23 balls by clattering Afif Hossain's first ball for six.

Shikhar Dhawan was cramped up by the seamers, but looked more at home facing spin before he was bowled for 31 giving Aminul Islam the charge - ending a stand of 118 from only 65 balls.

Rohit continued to treat the Bangladesh attack with disdain, hitting Mosaddek Hossain for three sixes in a row and looking certain to make a fifth T20I hundred before he was taken in the deep trying to dispatch Aminul into the stands.

Shreyas Iyer (24 not out) struck the winning runs to put the Tigers out of their misery and ensure it is all to play for in the third and final match of the series.

Sir Vivian Richards is in full support of the appointment of Kieron Pollard as white-ball captain of the West Indies, saying the veteran all-rounder brings more aggression to the role than the two men he replaced.

Pollard, who opened his account as ODI captain on Wednesday with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, has had the eye of Richards for the last five years, ever since he won the CPL with the Barbados Tridents.

"I've always admired his captaincy,” said Richards, who has been one of those to have noted a tendency towards passiveness in previous West Indies sides.

Jason Holder, the West Indies Test captain and previous ODI captain, has been criticized for not being aggressive enough on occasion and going into defensive mode too quickly.

“I've always felt that when he played the first CPL T20 at home, he was the best captain,” said Richards.

“I think Barbados Tridents went on to win it [in 2014], and he was the best captain in my opinion, more proactive than the rest of the captains we would have seen,” said Richards.

 I think he's in a good place," he said.

Richards also believes Pollard will benefit from having more talent around him than did his predecessors, Holder and Carlos Brathwaite, former captain of the T20 side.

“There's enough good players around him that can help out as well,” said Richards, referring to newcomers like Brandon King and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Pollard's first course of action as ODI captain was to marshall his troops into dismissing Bangladesh for 194 in 45.2 overs, courtesy of Jason Holder, 2-21, Romario Shepherd, 2-32, Roston Chase 2-31, Sheldon Cottrell, 1-33, and Hayden Walsh Jr, 1-33, sharing the workload. The West Indies batters then made simple work of the total, getting to 197-3 three balls into the 47th over.

Roston Chase, 94, and Shai Hope, 77, were the major contributors to the innings.

Kieron Pollard lauded Roston Chase and Shai Hope after their efforts with the bat helped West Indies to a seven-wicket ODI win over Afghanistan in Lucknow. 

Chase made his highest score in the format with a fine 94 that included 11 boundaries, with Hope having laid the foundation for a successful chase with an unbeaten 77.

The pair's 163-run stand did most of the work as the Windies overhauled Afghanistan's 194 all out with 21 balls to spare, the hosts having collapsed from 126-2.

And Pollard was delighted to see Chase and Hope lead the way, helping to assuage some of the captain's concerns over his side's batting performances in the 50-over format.

"Losing early wickets and not batting 50 overs is something that has been haunting us for a long time," he said, while also reserving praise for bowlers Romario Shepherd (2-31) and Hayden Walsh (1-33)

"Two guys showed the way – Hope and Chase. Both of them are class batsmen, kudos to them for batting well and getting us a victory.

"We've been talking about how we want to play cricket. Express ourselves, who better than Jason Holder, who continues to prove he wants to be the number one in this format.

"Then Shepherd and Hayden Walsh were superb. We want to play every game with the same intensity."

The second match takes place at the same venue on Monday.

Roston Chase made his highest ODI score after doing did damage with the ball as West Indies started a new era by cruising to a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in Lucknow.

The Windies cruised to a target of 195 in their first game under the captain-coach partnership of Kieron Pollard and Phil Simmons, who is back for a second spell in charge.

Afghanistan were going well with Rahmat Shah (61) and Ikram Alikhil (58) at the crease but collapsed from 126-2 to 194 all out - debutant Romario Shepherd, Chase and Jason Holder taking two wickets apiece.

Chase (94) and Shai Hope (77 not out) put on 163 for the third wicket as West Indies got home with 21 balls to spare to lead the three-match series 1-0.

Sheldon Cottrell removed Hazratullah Zazai's leg stump with a yorker and Afghanistan were in trouble on 15-2 when the excellent Holder (2-21) got rid of Javed Ahmadi.

Ikram and Rahmat steadied the ship, the former taking a liking to the pace of the expensive Alzarri Joseph.

Rahmat clattered new boy Shepherd over his head for six and Ikram struck Joseph over the rope as he scored a 47-ball half-century, though he was then run out in schoolboy fashion when wandering out of his crease to congratulate his partner on reaching 50 when the ball was not dead.

Afghanistan capitulated in Rashid Khan's first ODI as skipper after the third-wicket stand of 111 came to an end, Chase (2-31) dismissing Rahmat as they lost eight wickets lost for 68 runs, Asghar Afghan (35) also run out.

Paceman Shepherd (2-32) struck twice as the last four wickets fell for three runs, yet it looked to be game on when the Windies were 25-2 with Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer back in the pavilion.

However, Hope and Chase - promoted to number four - applied themselves well to take the wind out of Afghanistan's sails.

Opener Hope was content to accumulate steadily as Chase played more expansively, hitting 11 boundaries but missing out on three figures when he was cleaned up by Mujeeb Ur Rahman, leaving Nicholas Pooran to come out and hit the winning runs.

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