Big-hitting Nicholas Pooran has admitted that at times he even surprises himself with his uncanny ability to clear the boundary rope, after another scintillating display in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Sunday.

Against the Barbados Tridents, Pooran treated the crowd at the Providence to some impressive hitting as his unbeaten 61 from 30 balls anchored the Amazon Warriors 47-runs win.  In total Pooran banged the ball into the stands on six occasions, while hitting four boundaries.  His 78 runs partnership with Sherfane Rutherford, who had 32 from 14, accelerated the Warriors’ innings at the end pushing the projected score from around 160 to a solid 180.  In response, the Tridents were bundled out for 133.

“Sometimes I even surprise myself with the way I hit the ball.  Somehow God gave me the strength and I’m thankful and happy for the talent I’m blessed with,” Pooran said.

“Tonight, was my night.  You have some nights when it won’t go your way, then you have nights like this,” he added.

Pooran had a slow start to the tournament after being dismissed for a duck against the St Lucia Zouks and not batting against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.  The team has, however, won all three games to start the season.

“It was just my day Shoib was out so I just took the responsibility to bat until the end.”

 

Tim Paine never doubted Australia's ability to overcome their Headingley heartbreak after his side beat England at Old Trafford to retain the Ashes on Sunday.

After Ben Stokes' heroics completed a miraculous comeback for England in the third Test in Leeds, Paine's Australia claimed a 185-run victory in Manchester to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, which concludes at The Oval.

Steve Smith's sensational displays with the bat in both innings had put Australia in command heading into day five of the fourth Test, with England having been reduced to 18-2 after Pat Cummins dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root in a disastrous evening session for the hosts on Saturday.

Despite respectable efforts from Jason Roy, Joe Denly and Jos Buttler, England's batting order was whittled away through the day - Craig Overton and Jack Leach offering some late resistance before Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood struck.

Paine's captaincy was called into question following Australia's failure to retain the Ashes at Headingley, but the wicketkeeper insisted he always trusted his side to hold their nerve this time around.

"A few nervous moments no doubt, coming off Headingley, we didn't want to be in that position again," Paine told a news conference.

"I thought we learned from that, held our nerve, bowled really well against a team that fought really hard like we knew they would.

"From where we came from last week, that was a loss that could break a lot of teams but I was confident we weren't one of those teams.

"I could feel it and I thought we handled that week superbly, turned up here and did what we needed to like good cricket teams do.

"When you get a bunch of people together who have worked so hard for a common goal, to be able to carry it out over here with the pressure and the crowds and everything that's been thrown at us and I couldn't be more proud of the way the group have handled it."

While Smith has undoubtedly been the star of the series so far, Labuschagne - originally introduced as a concussion substitute for Australia's former captain - has settled in seamlessly after coming in at Lord's.

Though much of his work has been with the bat and in the field, Labuschagne made the breakthrough when he ended Leach's stubborn stand, and Paine lauded the 25-year-old's impact.

"Marnus has been working really hard on his leg-spin bowling. He's bowled a lot of overs for Glamorgan which has helped him, he's improving all the time," Paine said.

"He's just one of those cricketers, if you tell a youngish part-time spinner to warm up at that stage in a Test match, I don't think many of them would want to bowl. Marnus wanted to bowl and he wants to bat in the games when the best bowlers are on. 

"He's a really exciting cricketer for us and one we can build our team around in the future."

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) champions Trinbago Knight Riders made it three wins from three in their season-opening home stint after cruising past St Lucia Zouks’ 167 for 5 with seven wickets and 13 balls to spare.

Very different yet equally impressive half-centuries from the explosive Lendl Simmons and ice-cool Denesh Ramdin ensured a mid-range target never really posed much of a threat. Simmons set the tone with a six straight back over Thisara Perera’s head from just the second ball of the innings, with Sunil Narine adding another Hero Maximum as 14 came from the opening over.

With the boundaries coming so regularly, even the loss of Narine and Tion Webster in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at point from Fawad Ahmed’s first ball of the day, did nothing to stem the flow.

Ramdin had been understandably content to play second fiddle to Simmons for the most part but he cut loose once the partnership reached 50, taking Fawad Ahmed for 10 in two balls as 17 runs came from the 11th over of the innings.

Simmons continued the boundary spree with his fifth Hero Maximum, powered down the ground off Kavem Hodge, but the bowler had instant revenge as Simmons ran past a wide to be comprehensively stumped by Andre Fletcher.

The target was by now down to 62 from 52, though, and with Kieron Pollard striding to the middle to join Ramdin there was little reason for optimism from the Zouks.

All that remained to be determined was whether Ramdin could complete his 50 before Pollard finished the game, and back-to-back fours through midwicket and point took him to 47 and the victory target down to seven at the start of the 18th over.

He duly got to the landmark with a clip for two that brought the scores level, and the Zouks’ day to forget ended with a wide outside off to hand TKR the winning run.

The Zouks innings, just as in their opening match against Guyana Amazon Warriors, was given a stunning start by Rahkeem Cornwall. He followed up a 14-ball 36 in that game with 33 from 12.

His departure, trapped plumb in front on the sweep by Narine, brought an inevitable slowing of the rate.

Fletcher struggled to cut loose in a frustrating 32-ball stay that brought him 26 runs while Najibullah Zadran’s promising cameo was ended at 26 from 17 balls when he picked out Javon Searles on the long-off boundary from a Mohammad Hasnain slower ball.

Daren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes in his 16 from 13, while John Campbell did start to find the boundary towards the back end of the innings but once again it felt like the Zouks had failed to take full advantage of the early momentum the innings had been given by their big opener.

 

 

Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday as a 185-run loss at Old Trafford dashed England's hopes of regaining the urn.

For the first time since 2002-03, Australia ensured the Ashes will remain in their grasp - Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood dealing the final blows in a drawn-out defeat for the hosts.

While one Test remains for England to level the series, talk has already turned to where it all went wrong for Joe Root's side - Steve Smith's supreme batting aside.

The World Cup triumph, and even Ben Stokes' Headingley heroics, now seem distant memories, and here are three key areas England must address if they are to ensure this Ashes defeat does not derail their Test side for a long stretch.

TOP-ORDER TRIBULATIONS

An elephant in the room heading into the series was England's crippling lack of options at the top of the order. Jason Roy, impressive in England's World Cup campaign, was shoehorned in alongside Rory Burns, who - with high scores of 133, 53 and 81 - has proved his worth as an opener.

Roy has failed to do so, with the aggression which serves him well in one-day cricket proving his downfall in the longest form.

After making just 57 runs from the first three Tests, Roy shifted to four at Old Trafford, switching with Joe Denly, who showed his ability to adapt with an admirable display in the second innings. Roy made 22 and 31 and was bowled twice.

The question now is whether to stick or twist with one of Roy or Denly while Ollie Pope, who scored an unbeaten 221 for Surrey in August, could be reintroduced with the view to becoming Burns' long-term partner.

ROOT GAMBLE HAS NOT PAID OFF

Given the frailties at the top of England's batting order, it was decided captain Root would bite the bullet and move up from his preferred slot at four, coming in at three instead.

It is a risk which has failed to pay dividends, with Root having been dismissed for ducks in three of the four Tests so far.

Though he played captain's knocks at both Headingley and Old Trafford, after a decent 57 in the first Test, Root does not seem comfortable coming in at three, having had less time to rally himself - not to mention the dressing room - following what has typically been the loss of an early wicket.

TWO WICKETKEEPERS, TOO MUCH

A star of limited-overs cricket, Jos Buttler's ability with the bat cannot be called into question, but the Lancashire wicketkeeper had scored over 30 only once in the series prior to the fourth Test.

Buttler perked up with 41 and 34 at Old Trafford. His ability behind the stumps has not been called upon, with Jonny Bairstow handed the gloves for the series, and it has been an underwhelming series for the former Test vice-captain.

Yorkshireman Bairstow has also struggled with the bat - scoring a high of 52 in the first innings at Lord's.

Given England's issues higher up the order, now might be time for a more streamlined approach, and one - if not both - of the keepers may have to make way, especially with Ben Foakes waiting in the wings.

England have savoured the most glorious of Sunday triumphs over the last two months but they paid the price for their shortcomings at Old Trafford.

A fortnight after Ben Stokes' astonishing century gave them a one-wicket win to level the series at Headingley, and eight weeks on from winning the Cricket World Cup at Lord's, England's hopes of retaining the Ashes were shattered in Manchester.

Starting the final day in deep trouble on 18-2, Joe Root's side needed to bat all day for a draw against a potent Australia bowling attack to keep the Ashes within reach.

A win was highly unlikely after being set a mammoth 383, but England hung in there with a draw their goal until the final hour - roared on by a raucous, partisan crowd in Manchester.

New opener Joe Denly dug in for a half-century, while Jason Roy - down to number four - hung around longer than usual before Jos Buttler, Craig Overton and Jack Leach frustrated Australia with an old-school approach to Test batting.

There were textbook forward defensive shots, leaves and dot balls galore as a lively, packed crowd sensed another great escape.

It was not to be on this occasion, though, as with the clock having ticked into the final hour, Josh Hazlewood trapped Overton leg before to end England's resistance.

All out for 197 after soaking up 91.3 overs, their battling display of application was in vain as Australia, who began the series as Ashes holders, celebrated taking a 2-1 lead with just one match to play at The Oval next week.

A dejected Root said in his press conference: "The guys fought extremely bravely, really dug in, made it very difficult for Australia, put a really strong price on a wicket and that almost makes it a little bit harder to take.

"But at the same time, I couldn't be more proud of how we fought today."

Had they demonstrated the same patience with the bat before this tense last day, there may have been a chance of putting icing on the cake at the end of the English summer by lifting the urn.

While Australia were ruthless - holding their catches, with their pace attack showing relentless intensity and Steve Smith simply irrepressible - England were far too charitable in the penultimate Test.

Smith's magnificent first-innings double-century came after he was dropped by Jofra Archer and called back when Leach had him caught by Stokes at first slip, but overstepped.

Tim Paine made a half-century after being dropped twice as England continued to let Australia off the hook.

There have been head-scratching selections throughout the series, with the batting order changed time and again, and captain Root making some puzzling decisions at key times.

England might be able to salvage a series draw, but as the Australia squad celebrated with a beer on the outfield long after they sealed a deserved win, knowing they will retain the urn come what may, Root's men must go back to the drawing board.

Joe Root fended off questions about his future as England captain after Australia retained the Ashes by winning the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sunday.

England showed great defiance to take it to the final hour on day five as they sought a draw that would have kept the series alive with one match remaining at The Oval next week.

New opener Joe Denly top scored with 53, while Jos Buttler, Craig Overton and Jack Leach also frustrated the tourists before England were finally bowled out for 197 to lose a gripping encounter by 185 runs.

A defiant Root stated in no uncertain terms that he is still the right man to lead his country in the longest format and stressed the importance of salvaging a 2-2 draw in London.

Asked if he thinks he should stay on as skipper, the batsman simply replied: "Yes."

He added: "Whenever you lose a series it obviously hurts. You have to take that on the chin, you have to look at areas you want to get better at both from yourself and as a team.

"Most importantly I've got to look at next week, we've got an important Test match against Australia. Every game against Australia counts and we've got to make sure we finish this summer strongly.

"We've got the Test Championship to play for and have to make sure we don't lose this series, so it's vitally important we turn up and win that game."

Root said England's World Cup triumph earlier this summer was no excuse for failing to regain the urn.

"I don't think that's an excuse. When you play in an Ashes series you turn up and put everything into it, everyone has done that." Root stated.

"At times we've not done our absolute best, we've played against a very good side that has performed well in this series."

 

England captain Joe Root remained proud of his side after their Ashes hopes ended with a "bitterly disappointing" Old Trafford defeat.

The 185-run loss to Australia in Manchester saw England miss out on a chance to regain the urn.

Craig Overton and one of England's Headingley heroes, Jack Leach, kept Australia waiting for the winning moment with a determined lower-order alliance.

But Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood struck the final blows in the evening session, sparking joyful celebrations among the tourists.

Australia lead the series 2-1 heading into the final Test at The Oval, with Tim Paine's side, as holders, retaining the Ashes with a match to spare.

England must lick their wounds ahead of a possible reshuffle of the Test squad, but Root believes the dramatic moments throughout the series have shown the spirit within his side.

"We showed great character, great fight and belief in what we wanted to achieve, and I couldn't be more proud of the effort," a clearly emotional Root said at the post-match presentation.

"[It was] a really resilient performance, but unfortunately it wasn't quite enough. We always believed, always fight right until the end.

"Another great Test match, we've had fantastic support once more. It is bitterly disappointing but we've got to make sure we turn up for a big game for us at The Oval.

"You can always sit back and look at different areas of the game where you could have done things slightly differently, but today I'm really proud of the guys here.

"To get ourselves into a position like that, fight as hard as that, you learn a lot about the characters in the team, everybody stood up and played bravely. They should be proud of that."

Despite Ben Stokes' incredible match-winning innings at Headingley, the series has belonged to Australia's Steve Smith, who returned from his concussion-enforced absence in style.

Smith hit 211 in the first innings before stalling England's momentum with the ball in his second knock, scoring 82, and Root conceded the former Australia captain has proved the difference.

"Every batsman has been put under pressure, bar maybe Steve Smith, through the entire series," Root said.

"That's Test cricket at its best, you expect it to be challenging, expect guys to make life hard for you. It's been a series where batting has been quite difficult and you've got to keep trying to score runs.

"[Smith] has been hard work to get out. You look back at moments which could have gone differently and ultimately he's probably been the difference this Test match."

Captain Tim Paine hailed team-mate Steve Smith as "clearly the best player we've seen" after Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday.

Australia moved 2-1 up in the series with one match to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

Central to their success on English soil has been the stunning form of former skipper Smith, who lit up Manchester with 211 and 82 in his two innings.

Speaking to the BBC, Paine said: "He's clearly the best player we've seen; there's no doubt about that. His ability to go anywhere in the world and score runs against all types of attacks is just phenomenal."

A visibly emotional Paine praised the English crowds and says the atmosphere they created makes the victory even sweeter.

Australia arrived in England as holders of the Ashes urn, meaning that to retain it they only needed to avoid a series defeat.

"I didn't think it would be this emotional," Paine said. "I'm really proud of this group and how we bounced back from [defeat at] Headingley.

"The atmosphere, I was just saying to the guys, at every ground has been unbelievable.

"The noise they make here and the passion they have for cricket makes this moment all the more special.

"We're thrilled. This is what we came here to do, to take the Ashes home. We'll have a bloody good night tonight together and celebrate, but we'll be back on deck next week [for the fifth test at the Oval]. We want to win the Ashes 3-1."

Steve Smith ticked an item off his bucket list after inspiring Australia to retain the Ashes.

Smith has been the star of the series, and after missing the Headingley Test due to concussion, he returned to lead the way for Australia at Old Trafford.

The 30-year-old scored 211 in the first innings, before taking the match away from England with a superb knock of 82 in his second spell at the crease.

Craig Overton and Jack Leach held Australia at bay on day five after England's top order again failed to impress, but Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazelwood clinched the wickets needed to claim a win which gives the visitors a 2-1 lead in the series and sees them retain the urn for the first time since 2002-03.

"It feels amazing to know the urn's coming home," Smith - who has 671 runs from his five innings in the series so far - told Sky Sports.

"I've been here a few times where things haven't quite gone our way, [and] we didn't perform to the best of our ability in 2013 and 2015.

"It was always one I wanted to tick off my bucket list, to get the urn over here. There's another game left and we'd love to win [the series] but to know the urn's coming home is extremely satisfying.

"I'm incredibly proud of the way I've performed throughout this series and help the team achieve what they've achieved today."

While the odds were stacked against England throughout the final session, Smith acknowledged the spectre of their defeat at Headingley was not far from Australia's minds.

"The boys were getting a little bit tight out there," Smith added. "But at the start of the day we thought we'd get our eight chances and it proved to be the way.

"[England] fought incredibly hard, I thought Overton was exceptionally good at the end there, showed great courage. Fortunately, the boys got the job done."

Labuschagne has proved to be another star for Australia, having initially replaced Smith as a concussion substitute, impressing with the bat before taking Leach's wicket at the end, and the 25-year-old believes this series will live long in the memory.

"It's hard to put into words what it means to bring the urn back for Australia," Labuschagne told Sky Sports. 

"You think of some of the great series, like 2005 when England obviously won, this has been up there with one of the best there has been, especially in England. 

"We know England just keep coming, as they showed in the last Test. It was really nice to be on the right end of it today."

Josh Hazlewood struck the final blow as Australia beat battling England by 185 runs on a tense final day of the fourth Test at a raucous Old Trafford to retain the urn.

England resumed on Sunday in deep trouble on 18-2 and needing a highly improbable 383 to win, but more realistically to bat out for a draw which would give them the chance of a series victory with one match remaining at The Oval next week. 

The outstanding Pat Cummins (4-43) removed Jason Roy and Headingley hero Ben Stokes before lunch, but England had hope of saving the match when they were six wickets down at tea, with Joe Denly (53) one of only two men to depart in the afternoon session.

England continued to show resistance as Jos Buttler made 34 off 111 balls on his 29th birthday, while Craig Overton and Jack Leach also dug in with the backing of a packed crowd in Manchester.

Overton and Leach fended off 14 overs in a gritty ninth-wicket stand before part-time spinner Marnus Labuschagne got rid of his fellow tweaker - who soaked up 51 balls after being promoted above Stuart Broad - to silence a lively crowd.

After the clocked ticked into the final hour with 13.3 overs remaining, Hazlewood ended Overton's defiant knock of 21 off 105 deliveries to dismiss England for 197, sparking wild Australia celebrations as they avoided more final-day agony and took a 2-1 lead. 

 

Australia retained the Ashes after moving 2-1 up in the series with one game to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

The tourists regained the urn in 2017 and will head to The Oval knowing it will remain in their hands irrespective of what happens in London.

England started day five on 18-2, requiring a further 365 runs to win but, more realistically, knowing they had to bat out three sessions to keep their hopes alive.

They lost two wickets in each of the first two sessions and the tail could not keep out an Australia attack led by Pat Cummins, who took 4-43, as Australia sealed victory with under an hour remaining.

Joe Denly top-scored with 53 for an England side likely to undergo major surgery before the tour to New Zealand later this year.

Australia retained the Ashes after moving 2-1 up in the series with one game to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

The tourists regained the urn in 2017 and will head to The Oval knowing it will remain in their hands irrespective of what happens in London.

England started day five on 18-2, requiring a further 365 runs to win but, more realistically, knowing they had to bat out three sessions to keep their hopes alive.

They lost two wickets in each of the first two sessions and the tail could not keep out an Australia attack led by Pat Cummins, who took 4-43, as Australia sealed victory with under an hour remaining.

Joe Denly top-scored with 53 for an England side likely to undergo major surgery before the tour to New Zealand later this year.

Jos Buttler and Craig Overton continued to frustrate Australia's bid to polish off the final four wickets required to beat England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford and retain the Ashes.

Nathan Lyon ended the resistance of Joe Denly (53) and Mitchell Starc dismissed Jonny Bairstow on a tense Sunday afternoon in Manchester to leave England 166-6 at tea.

Buttler, on his 29th birthday, dug in for a gritty 30 from 96 balls and a battling Overton will resume after the break on 12, with England needing to bat out another 36 overs for a draw to keep the series alive with a new ball soon available.

The outstanding Pat Cummins (4-41) saw the back of Jason Roy (31) and Headingley hero Ben Stokes (one) before lunch after a frustrating start for the tourists on a good pitch.

Buttler and Overton - who successfully overturned a leg before decision - put on 28 and, more importantly, stayed together for 15.5 overs to give England some hope of pulling off another great escape a fortnight after an astonishing win in Leeds.

Roy got forward with conviction in the first hour and Denly - who switched places with his partner for this Test to open - also dug in after England resumed on 18-2.

A positive Roy hit Starc for four with a glorious cover drive, but was gone when Cummins removed his off stump with a brilliant delivery, which nipped back through the gate at the end of the 18th over of the day.

Stokes came out to a huge roar, but was soon heading back to the pavilion looking dejected after inside-edging a pumped-up Cummins behind, walking off without the finger being raised by umpire Marais Erasmus in a huge moment late in the morning session.

Denly had a second half-century in as many Tests when he punched Cummins down the ground to the boundary just after lunch, but fended Lyon to Marnus Labuschagne at short leg to become the spinner's first victim of the match.

Bairstow (25) and Buttler looked comfortable as they played with a mixture of attack and defence, but Starc ended a sixth-wicket stand of 45 by snaring the former leg before with the first ball after a drinks break.

Overton was given a reprieve after being given out lbw for five, with the third umpire taking a long time to overturn the decision despite the fact Cummins' delivery appeared to strike the paceman's bat before hitting his pad outside the line of off stump.

Rashid Khan tormented Bangladesh once again as Afghanistan closed in on victory on a rain-affected day four of the one-off Test in Chattogram.

Captain Rashid claimed a first-innings five-for and took another three wickets on Sunday before stumps was called with Bangladesh on 136-6, still requiring another 262 runs.

However, with inclement weather limiting the action and more forecast, Afghanistan will hope to get things wrapped up as quickly as possible on the final day.

Afghanistan opted against an overnight declaration and, after a start delayed by rain, were finally bowled out for 260, Afsar Zazai left stranded two shy of a maiden Test half-century.

An early lunch was taken due to another downpour with Bangladesh on 30 without loss, and in the second over after the resumption Liton Das (9) was pinned by debutant Zahir Khan (2-36).

Zahir accounted for Mosaddek Hossain (12) before Rashid (3-46) trapped Mushfiqur Rahim (23) and Mominul Haque (3) as the hosts were reduced to 102-4 by tea.

Shadman Islam (41) fell to Mohammad Nabi (1-38) before Mahmudullah (7) was taken by Ibrahim Zadran at forward short leg off Rashid, though rain denied Afghanistan the chance to make further in-roads.

Pat Cummins claimed the prized scalp of Ben Stokes in the morning session to leave Australia needing another six wickets to retain the Ashes at Old Trafford.

England started the final day in deep trouble on 18-2 - requiring a highly unlikely 365 more runs to win - after Cummins dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root without scoring late on Saturday.

Jason Roy (31) and Joe Denly (48 not out) knuckled down in a third-wicket stand of 66 before the former was bowled - for the fourth time in the series - by the outstanding Cummins.

Stokes, England's saviour at Headingley a fortnight ago, was unable to come to the rescue again as he walked after nicking Cummins behind for only one.

Denly and Jonny Bairstow made it through to lunch with England 87-4, with a minimum of 71 overs to bat out for an unlikely draw and avoid going 2-1 down with one match to play.

Roy got forward with conviction in the first hour and dispatched Cummins past midwicket for four, with Denly also digging in.

Mitchell Starc troubled Denly with a short ball after replacing Cummins, the batsman flashing the left-arm quick over the slips for a streaky boundary as Australia strived for a breakthrough.

Nathan Lyon was again cheered each time he caught the ball after his costly botched run out in Leeds and the noise was cranked up when Cummins hurled the ball past him for overthrows.

Roy hit Starc for four with a glorious cover drive just before the drinks break, but was gone when Cummins removed his off stump with a brilliant delivery, which nipped back through the gate.

Stokes came out to a huge roar, but was soon heading back to the pavilion looking dejected after inside-edging a pumped-up Cummins behind, walking off without the finger being raised by umpire Marais Erasmus in a huge moment with lunch looming.

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