Sheldon Cottrell rewarded with huge IPL contract for turning the corner in his career

By December 19, 2019
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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  • Ervine back in familiar routine for Zimbabwe Ervine back in familiar routine for Zimbabwe

    Craig Ervine demonstrated his liking for Sri Lankan bowling as he helped Zimbabwe enjoy the best of day one in Harare, where a two-Test series got under way on Sunday.

    The 34-year-old achieved his highest Test score against the Sri Lankans in Colombo back in July 2017, when his 160 in the first innings was overshadowed by a sensational run chase by the hosts.

    In that high-tempo match, Sri Lanka were set 388 for victory and reached the target with four wickets in hand, but this was very different Test cricket, with a pedestrian run rate seeing Zimbabwe take baby steps to 189-2 in 84 overs.

    This was the home side's first Test action since November 2018, and a first at home since a year previous to that.

    Openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza made 55 and 63 respectively to set a solid platform, their stand of 96 spanning 50.1 overs, with left-hander Ervine stepping up the pace slightly on his way to 55 not out by stumps, striking three sixes along the way.

    The trio claimed a slice of history - it was the first time Zimbabwe's top three have all scored fifties in the same innings of a Test.

    Ervine was unbeaten alongside Brendan Taylor (13 not out) at the end of the day.

    Sri Lanka are looking for a lift after losing in Pakistan last month, while Zimbabwe are impeded in this series by the lost of paceman Tendai Chatara to a bicep injury.

  • Root puts South Africa in a spin as England close in on victory Root puts South Africa in a spin as England close in on victory

    Joe Root produced the finest bowling performance of his England career on day four of the third Test to put the tourists within sight of victory over South Africa at St George's Park.

    Surely only rain can save the hosts now, with a mixed forecast for the final day in Port Elizabeth, where England need only four wickets to take a 2-1 lead with one match to play.

    Root had never taken more than two wickets in a Test, but the captain snagged 4-31 in 19 overs on Sunday after Mark Wood struck twice to leave South Africa 102-6 in their second innings, still trailing by 188 runs.

    Part-time off-spinner Root only had one previous four-wicket haul, the 4-5 he took to steer Yorkshire to a County Championship victory against Lancashire at Old Trafford in July 2018.

    England were already in command and they pressed home their advantage on day four, with 10 South Africa wickets falling for just 103 runs.

    South Africa had a wretched morning, losing four wickets for just one run to slump from 208-6 to 209 all out. England had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on.

    Vernon Philander and Quinton de Kock were 54 runs into a seventh-wicket stand at stumps on the previous evening, but that partnership was swiftly broken.

    Both men went the same way, bowled through the gate, with Stuart Broad (3-30) cleaning up Philander and Sam Curran delighting at removing De Kock (63).

    Keshav Maharaj chopped on to give Broad his second wicket of the morning, before a third followed for the paceman when Kagiso Rabada chipped straight to Wood at mid-off.

    South Africa were 15-0 in their second innings when rain arrived to provide respite, with three hours lost.

    Eight balls into the resumption came another blow to the Proteas, Wood piercing Dean Elgar's defences and tearing his off stump out of the ground.

    Wood (2-23) struck again when a leg-side snick from the struggling Zubayr Hamza was gratefully received by Jos Buttler.

    Sliced and diced by England's quicks, South Africa found the tourists' spinners almost unplayable too, with Dom Bess keeping a tight line, but Root rampant.

    Root pinned Pieter Malan lbw for 12 - the opener having faced 79 balls for those runs - and then prised out Rasse van der Dussen when Ollie Pope took off from short leg to grab a spectacular leaping catch.

    Van der Dussen had survived a string of scares against Root, most notably when he successfully reviewed an lbw decision, and his time had been coming.

    De Kock's bad day got even worse, a horribly sliced hoik at Root looping up for Wood to clutch a tremendous catch above his head at point.

    And Root had a fourth victim when Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis (36) got a big inside edge into his pads and the ball looped up for Pope to collect.

    South Africa need to find something big on day five to save face, and avoid going to Johannesburg needing a victory to draw the series. The skies offer their best hope.

  • Rohit and Kohli lead the way as India clinch victory over Australia in series decider Rohit and Kohli lead the way as India clinch victory over Australia in series decider

    Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli delivered sensational performances as they led India to a seven-wicket triumph over Australia, meaning the hosts clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1 despite Steve Smith's century in Bengaluru.

    Smith's 131 and 54 from Marnus Labuschagne provided the highlights of Australia's innings after Aaron Finch elected to bat first, but India restricted their opponents to 286-9.

    India were hampered by the loss of Shikhar Dhawan for their reply, the opener's shoulder injury casting his participation in the upcoming tour of New Zealand into doubt.

    However, once Smith's resistance ended amid a flurry of late wickets, Rohit (119) and Kohli (89) guided their side to an emphatic win, completed with 15 balls to spare.

    Dhawan had to leave the field early in Australia's innings and he was duly sent for an x-ray on his left shoulder, which he hurt while diving in the field.

    By that stage India already had their tails up, with Mohammed Shami (4-63) having drawn David Warner (3) into a reckless shot outside off that yielded an edge behind to KL Rahul.

    India had their second wicket soon after – a mix-up between Smith and Finch resulting in the latter being run out for 19.

    Smith, with support from Labuschagne, made up for his mistake, the duo both working their way to half-centuries and propelling Australia to 173-2 midway through the 32nd over.

    Ravindra Jadeja claimed the breakthrough wicket, though, with Kohli taking an excellent catch low to his right to dismiss Labuschagne, and the promoted Mitchell Starc fell to the same bowler three balls later.

    From looking well poised, Australia were now on the back foot and, though Alex Carey (35) offered a decent cameo, the emphasis was all on Smith.

    The 30-year-old – who had surpassed 4,000 ODI runs in the 34th over – brought up his ninth one-day hundred with a crisp single, and then let rip, hitting four boundaries before succumbing to Shami.

    However, Australia were unable to get up to 300 as Shami also removed Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa at the death.

    Despite being shorn of the injured Dhawan, India swiftly got into their stride in reply, Rohit looking in superb touch either side of the loss of Rahul (19) to Ashton Agar in the 13th over.

    Rohit, who made 209 from 158 balls against Australia in Bengaluru seven years ago, set about targeting Ashton Agar and Labuschagne – who he hit for a huge six – as captain Kohli also clicked into gear.

    A single to third man off Josh Hazlewood took Rohit to another glorious hundred, his eighth against Australia, and his sixth maximum brought up the century partnership before he finally fell to Zampa.

    At that point, India needed just 81 from 13.2 overs and Shreyas Iyer (44 not out) quickly settled in alongside Kohli to make victory certain, despite the captain falling to Hazlewood with 13 still required.

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