England assistant coach Graham Thorpe wants players to use their experience of the 1-0 Test series defeat in New Zealand to develop a harder edge.

Joe Root's side are back in action in South Africa later this month, with the first of four Tests starting on Boxing Day at Centurion.

James Anderson, Mark Wood and Jonny Bairstow are expected to return to the squad having sat out the trip to New Zealand, where a draw in Hamilton meant the tourists were unable to overturn an innings defeat in the first Test at Mount Maunganui.

Nevertheless, Thorpe acknowledges there is a bigger picture to consider when it comes to England developing their Test game under new head coach Chris Silverwood – namely the next chance to regain the Ashes in 2021-22.

"We've got to keep developing our players, no doubt about that. They have to ask themselves when they come away from a trip like this: where can I get better?" said Thorpe, as quoted by The Guardian.

"Because the big picture is that down the line, in a couple of years' time, we'll need resilient cricketers going to Australia.

"It’s down to our players to be honest and for us to be honest with them.

"If we are going to keep trying to go up that Test ladder and really compete abroad then we have to keep challenging the players along the way."

James Anderson and Stuart Broad have paid tribute to "true great" Bob Willis after the ex-England captain died at the age of 70.

Willis passed away on Wednesday after a short illness, prompting an outpouring of recognition for his career and warm words from those who had known him in the cricketing world.

When he retired in 1984, Willis was England's record Test wicket-taker with 325.

Along with Ian Botham, Anderson and Broad surpassed that tally and the duo were aware cricket had lost a huge force following the news about Willis, who had a long broadcasting career after his playing days came to an end.

"Incredibly sad to hear the news about Bob Willis," Anderson, who sits top of the list for England with 575 Test wickets, wrote on Twitter.

"He was a true great, generous in sharing his knowledge about the game and a lovely man."

Broad, who has 471 Test wickets to his name, wrote on social media: "Gutted to hear the news of Bob Willis passing. 

"A lovely person with a great humour who was so proud of England cricket. Legend."

Former England captain David Gower worked closely with Willis, both as a team-mate during their on-field careers before joining forces again at Sky Sports.

"It is very sad and it is equally sad that the end seemed to come very quickly," Gower said.

"The last time I saw Bob was a few weeks ago and he was still fighting heroically. He did his best to ignore what was happening to him. 

"He was still on television up until very recently. He was still very forthright and it brings to an end, in my case, a friendship that has lasted happily for 40 years or so."

Willis was perhaps most recognised for his contribution to England's famous Ashes series win over Australia in 1981, including figures of 8-43 in a dramatic Headingley Test.

Gower added: "Bob's performance at Headingley in 1981 - without that, England come second in that game and we probably wouldn't have had the wherewithal to win the next couple of games as well. 

"Ian got top billing in 1981 because of three stellar performances, but Bob's one performance at Headingley was as crucial because without that win, we would have lost that series."

The Jamaica Cricket Association and the University of the West Indies Mona Campus signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide both organisations with significant support to develop their respective areas of need – cricket facility and resource development for the UWI and medical support, treatment and research for the JCA.

England cricket great Bob Willis has died at the age of 70 following an illness, his family have announced.

Willis took 325 wickets at an average of 25.20 in a 90-match, 13-year Test career and was one of England's greatest fast bowlers. 

"We are heartbroken to lose our beloved Bob," read a widely reported statement from Willis' family.

"He was an incredible husband, father, brother and grandfather.

"He made a huge impact on everybody he knew and we will miss him terribly."

He sits fourth in the all-time list of England Test wicket takers and also had an 18-match spell as the country's captain. His last international match was a Test against West Indies in July 1984.

Willis also played 64 ODIs and went on to become a popular pundit, starting a long broadcasting stint with Sky Sports in 1991, having previously worked with the BBC.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) released a statement which said it was "deeply saddened" and paid tribute to an "outstanding cricket career".

"We are forever thankful for everything he has done for the game," the ECB said.

"Everyone at the ECB sends sincere condolences to his family. Cricket has lost a dear friend."

Willis took 8-43 to star alongside Ian Botham in England's famous 1981 Ashes victory over Australia at Headingley, a third Test win which turned the series in the home side's favour.

At county level, Willis started at professional level with Surrey and went on to spend the majority of his career at Warwickshire.

Surrey said they were "devastated" at the news, while the MCC paid tribute to "a Lord's legend" and the ICC recognised an "Ashes hero".

Brian Lara would have loved Australia to have given David Warner a greater opportunity to break his record for the most runs scored in a Test innings.

Warner struck a sublime unbeaten 335 in the second-Test hammering of Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval last week, with only Matthew Hayden (380) above him in the list of highest scores by an Australian.

However, Warner did not get the chance to beat the legendary Lara's overall benchmark of 400 not out achieved against England in April 2004 after captain Tim Paine declared, not wanting to risk the potential for adverse weather scuppering the team's chances of victory.

Lara understands Paine's thought process behind the decision, but he was disappointed Warner was not afforded more time to have a go at his record.

"Well I was hoping that they would give him an opportunity to at least go for it," he told Omnisport.

"I know Australia, first and foremost, want to put themselves in the best possible position to win the game. 

"But looking at the end of it, in hindsight, you're winning with a day to spare. It would have been nice to see someone have a go at it. 

"It is always tricky, you never know what is going to happen when you start approaching a total such as that. I remember doing it the first time in 1994 [375 not out against England], how nervous you can get. 

"But so be it, they won the Test which is the most important thing. He batted well, put his team in a great position. 

"What I like about him is he's an attacking player, which is great. You want an attacking player to be on or around such a record."

Virat Kohli has returned to the top of the batting list in the ICC Test Player Rankings ahead of Steve Smith, whose Australia team-mate David Warner is back in the first five.

Smith struggled for form in Australia's dominant series win over Pakistan and, having scored only 36 runs in the second Test in Adelaide, saw his points drop from 931 to 923.

Conversely, India skipper Kohli scored 136 in the day-night Test against Bangladesh and returned to the summit on 928 points.

Warner rose an impressive 12 places to fifth after making a sensational 335 against Pakistan, while fellow Aussie Marnus Labuschagne makes the top 10 for the first time in his career.

England captain Joe Root is back in the top 10 having slipped out last week. He climbs to seventh after a sublime 226 versus New Zealand in the drawn second Test.

Steve Smith has denied suggestions he was trying to undermine Australia captain Tim Paine in the second Test against Pakistan.

Australia earned a resounding innings-and-48-run victory over Pakistan in Adelaide to seal a 2-0 series triumph.

However, Smith – who was replaced by Paine after being banned for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal last year – was accused by ex-skipper Ian Chappell of making field adjustments without first talking to his captain.

Speaking on Macquarie Sports Radio when calling the Test, Chappell said: "I tell you what I don't like to see, Steve Smith is moving a few fieldsmen around.

"He did have a chat with Tim Paine, trying to talk Tim Paine into moving a fielder on the off-side, but I'm not sure Tim Paine moved him as far as Steve Smith wanted.

"Steve Smith started moving him, I hate to see that. England used to do it a bit, blokes other than the captain and I always felt it was white-anting the captain."

Smith, though, insists his intentions were good and his only aim was to try to help the team.

"Look I only try to help Tim as much as I can, you know," he told Channel Nine. 

"He's doing a terrific job. But I give him suggestions and things like that, I only want the team to do well, I'm certainly not undermining him."

Smith was uncharacteristically out of touch with the bat, scoring just 40 runs across the two Tests but, while disappointed on a personal level, was happy to see the team perform to such a high standard.

"I always hate not being out there doing it myself but it's great to see the boys out there play so well and get us two great victories," Smith added.

Cricket West Indies has appointed experienced coach Monty Desai to the post of West Indies Men’s Batting Coach.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy has come out in support of new St Lucia Cricket Association President Carol Henry, who on Saturday unseated incumbent Julian Charles, who led the association for a decade.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has lodged a complaint with local police in response to the racist abuse directed at Jofra Archer during the first Test in Mount Maunganui.

NZC apologised to Archer and launched an investigation after the England paceman said a spectator shouted "disturbing" insults on the final day at Bay Oval last week.

The matter has been turned over to authorities in the North Island city of Tauranga as attempts to identify the individual continue.

"Information gathered from an inquiry which included studying CCTV footage, listening to audio, interviewing bystanders and obtaining material on social media has been incorporated in the complaint," read an NZC statement.

"While the information-gathering exercise was useful, NZC has been unable to conclusively identify the person responsible and is therefore unable to comment on public speculation regarding his personal details."

NZC chief executive David White said sufficient evidence had been gathered to warrant police involvement.

"What happened to Jofra was reprehensible and has led to a general upscaling of security around the area of racial abuse at all our international venues," he said.

"Should the person responsible ever reoffend, we believe we have enough information to link him to the Bay Oval incident."

White said NZC would seek to impose a "lengthy" ban from all international venues in New Zealand if police inquiries ended in a conclusive identification.

England lost the match by an innings and 65 runs and were consigned to a series defeat on Tuesday as a rain-affected second Test ended in a draw.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor scored centuries before the rain arrived as the second Test between New Zealand and England was drawn on Tuesday.

Williamson (104) and Taylor (105) were unbeaten when the weather stopped play in the second session on day five at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

The pair had put on 213 for the third wicket as the Black Caps got to 241-2 – a lead of 140 runs.

England had their chances – Joe Denly dropped a simple catch in the opening session – but fell to a 1-0 series defeat.

The flat Seddon Park pitch continued to offer little, but England did themselves no favours in their bid for an unlikely victory to begin day five.

Williamson was dropped on 39, Ollie Pope unable to hold onto a regulation catch down leg side off Ben Stokes (0-58).

Denly then put down an even easier chance when the New Zealand captain was on 62.

Jofra Archer (0-27) was already celebrating as Williamson poked a soft shot to Denly at midwicket, but the simple chance was dropped.

That was as close as England got to a wicket as Williamson reached his 21st Test century and Taylor his 19th after back-to-back sixes.

Taylor also went past 7,000 Test runs, becoming the second New Zealander – after Stephen Fleming – to reach the milestone.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder wants his side to be among the best in the world by July 2021 and goes further to expect a top-five ranking by then.

There was a time when that kind of brash talk would have been expected from a West Indian but not given the kind of lean times the region has had with bat and ball in the last 25 years.

Holder was speaking after the West Indies won its first Test match under new coach Phil Simmons in Lucknow, India, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) started the World Test Championship on August 1, 2019, creating a league for the top nine Test-playing teams over two years with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final. The World Test Championship begins again in July of 2021.

That being said, the West Indies did not start their World Test Championship campaign very well, losing to India in the Caribbean in a largely one-sided affair.

But now, with the dominance the West Indies showed against Afghanistan, despite it not being a World Test Championship encounter, hope abounds once again.

"I think by the end of the Test Championship, I don't see it being impossible for us to be fourth or fifth in the world," said Holder.

"That would be a significant achievement in a two-year period. We've got some tough series coming up. We've got England, then South Africa coming to the Caribbean, then we've got New Zealand… all good cricket sides. But I don't think it's beyond us to beat them. We've just got to make sure we keep building and developing. Once we do that, we can compete with any side in the world. A realistic target in two years would be to be ranked three or four in the world."

According to Holder, while the game was not part of the World Test Championship, there was enough shown by the West Indies to offer a road map of what needed to be done to get into the top five.

"I've said it in the last couple of series we've played: more responsibility needs to be taken by our batters," Holder said.

"Once they do that and take the bull by the horns, I think our bowling attack has shown it can compete with any attack in the world. We've shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game. In order to be a world-class team, you have to be consistent with your batting. You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings' count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world."

Cameron Bancroft has been dropped by Australia in what is otherwise a settled Test squad to face New Zealand.

Australia recorded innings wins in both Tests against Pakistan and opted to name a 13-man squad for their three meetings with the Black Caps.

Bancroft has struggled in the Sheffield Shield and his omission was the only change to the squad named to face Pakistan.

"As we said prior to the Pakistan series we are striving to maintain a core group of players. The performance of the team against Pakistan was very impressive across all areas, while there is always some room to improve," Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement on Tuesday.

"David Warner has been in exceptional form with the bat. The support he received from Joe Burns in Brisbane and Marnus Labuschagne in Adelaide was exactly what we had been asking for from the top order. They delivered, setting up both matches in what was an outstanding all-round performance.

"We are backing the current batting line-up to continue their form across the next three Tests. Whilst not a part of this squad, Cameron Bancroft remains one of the standby players. Similarly, depending on conditions, we reserve the right to add a player to the squad at any time during the series.

"Michael Neser and James Pattinson will continue as cover for Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood through the series. Michael will play for Queensland against New South Wales in the Marsh Sheffield Shield game at the SCG, as James did last week for Victoria."

The first Test between Australia and New Zealand will begin in Perth on December 12 before matches in Melbourne and Sydney.

Australia: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

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