The first Sandals Test match is intriguingly poised with one day left to play at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Sri Lanka dominated the fourth day on Wednesday and scored 476 in the second innings – with a patient, maiden century on debut by Pathum Nissanka (103) and Niroshan Dickwella (96).

The pair added a record 179 for the sixth wicket and Nissanka became the first Sri Lankan to make a century away from home in his first match. He eventually fell to a catch by Kemar Roach from the bowling of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who ended with 3-137 off a marathon 42.5 overs.

Roach had the best figures of 3-74 off 27 overs to end the match with six wickets – following up his 3-47 off 16 overs in the first innings.

This left the West Indies with a victory target of 375. They reached 34-1 at the close and will require another 341 to win on the final day with nine wickets in hand. Nkrumah Bonner will resume Thursday on 15 not out and with him captain Kraigg Brathwaite on eight not out.

The match resumes on Thursday at 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today announced an expanded match schedule for England’s tour of the Caribbean in 2022.

The January 2022 Tour will now feature five T20 Internationals (T20Is) – increased from three matches – to be followed by England returning to the Caribbean for three Test matches in March – increased from the original two Test matches.

The Test series will be the first in which the two teams compete for the newly commissioned Richards-Botham Trophy, named in honour of West Indies’ batting icon Sir Vivian Richards and England’s great all-rounder Lord Ian Botham.

The T20I series will be the biggest series to date between the two teams in the shortest form of the game and will be part of the preparations building up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October 2022.

“This expansion of next year’s England tour to the Caribbean is welcomed news for West Indies Cricket and for the region’s tourism economy. It has come about because of the special relationship that has been developed between our respective boards and we are looking forward to working with ECB Chair Ian Watmore, and CEO Tom Harrison, to expand our partnership even further into new areas of cooperation and support,” said CWI President Ricky Skerritt.

“We have already begun discussions on how the ECB can help us in our development programs and I am pleased that ECB has been showing so much appetite and goodwill to assist.”

Johnny Grave CWI CEO expressed his pleasure at the development.

“We are delighted that the ECB has agreed to increase the number of matches in their tour to the Caribbean next year,” he said.

“An England tour to the West Indies is a special event, so adding a third Test match and two T20Is to the original schedule it will enable more fans to watch the teams do battle and afford more of our countries the opportunity to host matches.”

Meanwhile, Ian Watmore, Chair, England and Wales Cricket Board said discussions between the two boards had been ongoing since the West Indies toured the UK in the summer of 2020.

"We hugely appreciated the support of Cricket West Indies, and all its men’s and women’s players, in helping us host a full season of international cricket in the summer of 2020. Following the conclusion of those tours to England we have been in discussions with CWI to understand how we can best support them moving forward and one way was to extend our existing England men’s tours to the Caribbean in 2022,” Watmore said.

Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board said they were thrilled to be able to expand the number of games for the respective formats.

"A tour to the Caribbean is one of the most iconic for both England players and fans alike. So, we are delighted to confirm that our England men’s team will play two additional IT20s and one more Test Match as part of their planned tours in January and March respectively,” Harrison said.

“The three Test-match series will form part of the next ICC World Test Championship, whilst the additional IT20s will provide our England men’s team with valuable preparation ahead of the ICC World T20, which takes place in Australia later that year."

The venues for the matches are expected to be announced by the end of April.

 

Proposed Match Schedule

Friday, January 28: 1st T20 International

Sunday, January 30: 2nd T20 International

Wednesday, February 2: 3rd T20 International

Friday, February 4: 4th T20 International

Saturday, February 5: 5th T20 International

Tuesday, March 1 to Friday, March 4: warm-up match

Tuesday, Mar 8 to Saturday, March 12: 1st Test Match

Wednesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 20: 2nd Test Match

Thursday, March 24 to Monday, March 28: 3rd Test Match

in the hunt for victory seam bowler Kyle Mayers captured his first Test wickets to break a century partnership which kept West Indies chances alive on the third day of the first Sandals Test match on Tuesday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

With Sri Lanka on 170-1, a half-hour after tea, Mayers produced two brilliant outswingers – to remove Oshada Fernando for 91 with his first delivery and then Dinesh Chandimal for four in his next over. Both were caught behind by 'keeper Joshua Da Silva.

Kemar Roach added the wicket of Lahiru Thirimanne for 76 a few overs later as Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 19 runs in the space of 45 balls. Mayers finished the day with 2-10 off four overs while Roach has 2-28 – overall figures of 5-75 in the match so far.

Thirimanne and Fernando added a superb partnership of 162 – a record for the second wicket at this venue. It surpassed the previous record of 136 between Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting of Australia in 2008. Then, Dhananjaya de Silva ended the day 46 not out and Pathum Nissanka, unbeaten on 21, to see Sri Lanka to the close on 255-4. The overall lead is 153 with two days left to play.

Speaking on the Sandals Players Zone, Mayers said he was delighted to make a contribution with the ball, as he started his career as a bowling all-rounder.

“I’m happy to get my first Test wicket I like to be in the game – I’m that kind of person. I like to win games for my side, so bowling, batting, fielding – any part of cricket at all I can play to win the game for my side, I will do that. I think the wicket is a good one – it has flattened out nicely. Obviously, they had the upper hand, but the game is still evenly poised. We’re still in the game,” he said.

The match resumes on Wednesday at 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

Virat Kohli hailed "one of our sweetest victories" after India fought hard to overcome England by 66 runs in the opening ODI in Pune.

Man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan laid a solid foundation for India with an assured 98, missing out on three figures when he miscued a pull off Ben Stokes to Eoin Morgan at midwicket.

Kohli made a similarly fluent half-century but the hosts had stumbled to 202-5 when debutant Krunal Pandya joined KL Rahul in the 41st over.

Krunal (58 not out) laid waste to an otherwise impressive England bowling performance, his 26-ball fifty the fastest ever in a maiden ODI, while wicketkeeper Rahul similarly impressed with an unbeaten 62 as India posted 317-5.

England threatened to make short work of that total as Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) motored to 135 without loss inside 15 overs, before India's seamers turned the contest on its head.

Prasidh Krishna, also on debut, was the pick with 4-54, while Shardul Thakur's 3-37 accounted for the dangerous trio of Bairstow, Morgan (22) and Jos Buttler (2), and the excellent Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 2-30.

"That's one of our sweetest victories in the recent past. We haven't won many good games in ODIs," India skipper Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"It was a great comeback from all our bowlers after going for few runs early on. Prasidh was amazing, Krunal as well. Shardul, Bhuvi were amazing. I am a really proud man right now.

"The team showed great character and intensity. As I've mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent and back their skills.

"A special mention to Shikhar's innings as well and KL was back among the runs. We want to back people who will do a selfless job.

"It's a healthy competition between everyone for every slot. We have two or three players available for every slot."

Perhaps not to quite the same extent, but world champions England have their own enviable depth of talent.

Nevertheless, the steadying hand of Joe Root at number three, where Stokes stepped up to be dismissed for one, and Jofra Archer's death bowling were certainly missed as both players undertake a period of rest.

As in the recent 3-2 reverse in the T20I series, captain Morgan was left to rue middle-order failings, with the plummet form 135-0 to 176-5 key in England's challenge fading to 251 all out with 47 deliveries unused.

Nevertheless, he stood by the aggressive approach that has brought his side so much recent success.

"I thought the bowlers were outstanding and there was a bit more on offer for their seamers," he said.

"The two openers were outstanding, but we failed to build on from that. We need to execute better than we did. India did really well and deserved to win.

"Being able to take the attack to the opposition is something that we pride ourselves on. We want to continue to push the envelope in that regard. It's better for us to lose like this than losing by 20 runs.

"The game is always moving forward, technology and fitness are moving forward, so we need to push hard as we can. It's important for us to dictate the way we play."

A magnificent and emotional ODI debut from all-rounder Krunal Pandya helped to give India an authoritative 66-run win in the series opener against England.

The tourists twice looked to have taken control of the contest – initially when India squandered the platform laid by Shikhar Dhawan (98) and stumbled to 202-5, before Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) tore after the eventual target of 317-5 with a 135-run opening stand inside 15 overs.

But Krunal clattered an unbeaten 58 form 31 deliveries, featuring seven fours and two sixes, as he and KL Rahul climbed into some sub-par death bowling from England.

In a curtailed mid-innings interview following his knock, Krunal broke down in tears as he dedicated his format debut to his father, who passed away in January.

Having seen his left-arm spin disappear under Roy and Bairstow's early assault, Krunal returned to claim the important wicket of Sam Curran (12) as England subsided meekly – seamers Prasidh Krishna (4-54), Bhuveneshwar Kumar (2-30) and Shardul Thakur (3-37) doing the bulk of the damage to dismiss Eoin Morgan's side for 251 in 42.1 overs.

 

Jamaica’s female cricketer Rashada Williams got a major boost in pursuit of her degree in Physical Education on Monday when she received a cheque for JMD$500,000 from the country’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange.

The money will assist with Williams’ tuition.

“In this particular case, I’m extremely proud because I happen to be the Member of Parliament.  Rashada lives in my constituency.  She’s a product of Spanish Town,” said Minister Grange.

“Through the Sports Development Foundation, she’s getting assistance to continue her education.  And I really want to thank the Sports Development Foundation for the support that they’re giving her [and I want] to encourage her to continue to strive to be the best.”

Rashada Williams said the money would “fill a major gap” as she completes her undergraduate studies.

The young cricketer dreams of becoming “a cemented player in the West Indies team” and a source of “empowerment to the future generation”.

Minister Grange described Williams as an inspirational cricketer who “did not get a chance to play in school [as she was not allowed to play on the boys’ team]; there was not a female league that she could participate in, but in spite of that, she continued to work and she continues to do well”.

“I really want to encourage her.  Whatever support that can be given to her through the Sports Development Foundation I will advocate for her, and I know that she will make Jamaica proud,” the minister said.

A 90-run eighth-wicket partnership between Rahkeem Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva gave the West Indies a 99-run lead and a nice cushion over Sri Lanka at stumps on the second day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Cornwall was unbeaten on 60, his first half-century in Test cricket as the West Indies closed the day on 268 for 8 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 169. Kemar Roach is on four, the two have added seven runs for the ninth wicket so far and will be hoping to add a few more come tomorrow.

Cornwall and da Silva came together after Suranga Lakmal had bowled Jason Holder for 19 for his fifth wicket of the match and have the West Indies at 171 for 7, just two runs ahead of Sri Lanka’s first innings total.

However, by the time da Silva got out caught behind for 46 trying to uppercut Dushmantha Chameera, they had stretched the lead to a healthy 91. Cornwall’s innings was a mix of stern defence and big-hitting for his highest Test score that included nine fours and two sixes and seemed at ease against both pace and spin.

Da Silva, who playing in just his fourth Test, featured in yet another lower-order recovery for the West Indies, was more sedate soaking up deliveries while wearing down the Sri Lankan bowlers. His 46 took 124 deliveries from which he hit five fours.

It was a welcome partnership for the West Indies, who were restricted by some disciplined bowling from the Sri Lankans.

A number of their batsmen got starts but each failed to carry on, pried out by penetrative bowling from Lakmal, who exhibited accurate pace and swing while claiming the wickets of Brathwaite for 3, Mayers for 45, Jermaine Blackwood for 2, Alzarri Joseph for a duck and Jason Holder to return figures of 5-45.

Chameera also claimed the wicket of John Campbell for 42 to end with 2-71.

 

 

West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has signed to play for Worcestershire in the English County Championships as their overseas player.

Pune will be the venue as England round out their tour to India with a three-match one-day series, starting on Tuesday. 

While the Test leg of the trip was won convincingly by the hosts, the two nations played out a high-quality Twenty20 battle that saw India rally from 2-1 down to prevail 3-2 in a decider.

Virat Kohli opened the innings in Saturday's fifth and final T20 fixture, but the India captain has confirmed he will be moving back down the order now the focus switches over quickly to the 50-over format.

"As far as the opening combination is concerned, Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma) will definitely start. They have been amazing for us in the past few years," Kohli said ahead of the series. 

England used only 12 players during the T20 games, a decision taken with the focus on gaining experience in Indian conditions ahead of the World Cup in the same country later this year. 

However, white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan revealed the tourists will use the one-day fixtures to take a look at those players who have not featured too much on the trip so far. 

"Throughout the one-day series, we will see guys given opportunities, more so than we did in the T20 series," Morgan told the media. 

"It's going to be exciting, playing three games at the same ground against a very, very strong India side is a huge opportunity for everybody to go out there and get back into the frame of mind and the pace of 50-over cricket, but also for guys who haven't had an opportunity to really put their case forward. 

"Given there is a (T20) World Cup around the corner, playing any international cricket at all is a huge opportunity for guys who have been here, on the fringes, and not made selection so far."

Jofra Archer will not be involved after returning home for treatment on a persistent elbow injury, while Joe Root and Chris Woakes – two key players in the side that secured World Cup glory on home soil in 2019 – are not involved, England choosing to rest and rotate amid a hectic schedule while staying in bio-secure bubbles. 

Moeen Ali, Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone provide options to come into a batting order that will see Root missing from his usual position at number three. As for the bowling, leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will hope for a chance to impress, while Reece Topley could be the one to benefit the most from Archer's absence.

Jasprit Bumrah is a notable absentee from an India squad that does include Suryakumar Yadav - an exciting batsman yet to make his ODI debut - and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.  


Kohli close to matching Tendulkar

Having finished as leading run-scorer in the T20 series, Kohli is one away from equalling the record for most centuries for India in one-day cricket, the great Sachin Tendulkar sitting top of the pile with 20. The India captain is also one three-figure score shy of posting the joint-most hundreds for India in 50-games against England, as he stands on the brink of matching Yuvraj Singh's tally of four.

England aim to keep streak alive

England have put together a run of three successive victories versus India in the one-day format; another triumph in the opener on Tuesday would see them equal their longest winning streak against their opponents in the format (four in a row was achieved in games between 1974 and 1981).

Key series facts

- India are set to face off against England for the first time in an ODI since losing a Cricket World Cup group game by a margin of 31 runs against the eventual champions, back in June 2019.

- The hosts have been involved in only one completed ODI against England at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, beating them by three wickets there in January 2017.

- Both sides have only managed to win 50 per cent of their completed one-day games since the end of the Cricket World Cup. India have recorded seven victories, while their opponents have four wins across the same time period.

- Virat Kohli has registered 30 ODI knocks versus England, with his highest score against them in the format coming in Pune, posting 122 off 105 balls there in January 2017.

- Bhuvneshwar Kumar managed to get Jos Buttler out on three occasions during the T20 series, the most instances of any bowler dismissing a batsman across those five fixtures (conceding just 26 runs).

Jason Holder had excellent figures of 5-27 as the West Indies took full control over Sri Lanka on the opening day of the first Sandals Test match on Sunday.

England paceman Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the ODI series against India due to a worsening elbow injury.

After a 3-1 Test series defeat and a 3-2 setback in their T20I clashes with India, world champions England will look to end their tour on a high in three ODIs to be played in Pune over the next week.

Archer will be flying back home for checks on his injury, however, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said he must also miss the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

That deals a blow to Rajasthan Royals ahead of the tournament that begins on April 9, with Archer having impressed against India in the T20 games.

The ECB said on Sunday: "Jofra Archer is returning to the UK for further management and investigation of his right elbow injury.

"Archer's elbow issue has deteriorated over the course of the Twenty20 International series and made it increasingly challenging for him to maintain performance levels. He has been deemed unfit for selection for the ODI series that features matches on 23, 26 and 28 March.

"The ECB medical team will assess the player and, together with Jofra, develop a treatment plan and a return-to-play schedule in due course. As a consequence, Jofra will miss the start of this year’s Indian Premier League."

England's ODI squad, aside from the obvious loss of Archer, is comprised of players selected for the T20 series and the reserves for those games.

 

England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Also travelling with the squad: Jake Ball, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan.

West Indies Test captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, insists the team will not be complacent against Sri Lanka heading into the start of the two-match series on Sunday.

The Windies are riding momentum following a hard-fought 2-0 series win away to Bangladesh and a strong performance in a 3-0 One Day International (ODI) series sweep over Sri Lanka.

Despite the recent success, however, Brathwaite, who officially replaced Jason Holder as captain to start the series, insists the team will be looking for a fierce fight from the tourists.

“It’s Test cricket so we won’t be taking them for granted.  I think they have some experienced batsmen that have played a lot of Tests, have scored a number of Test 100s, and an experienced bowler in Lakmal,” Brathwaite told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“Going into the game we won’t be underestimating them.  I think they will come and fight because the Sri Lanka team always tends to fight,” he added.

Sri Lanka have shown plenty of fight, despite losing both the T20 and ODI series their spinners gave the West Indies batsmen a lot to think about once they were deployed.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team is looking for improvement in every area ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, on Sunday, but particularly targeted once again achieving the elusive 400 runs first innings score.

In recent matches, the regional team has carved out some momentum, following up hard-fought Test series win over Bangladesh with a T20 and dominant ODI series win over Sri Lanka.  Heading into the start of Sunday’s Test series, however, Simmons is far from satisfied.    

“We need to improve in every area, we had a good series but there are lots of things we need to keep improving on,” Simmons told Windies cricket.

“We need to make sure we get 400 in the first innings, which is something that we are striving for every time we play.  Then we have to bowl and bat even better than we did in Bangladesh,” he added.

The West Indies reached 400 first innings runs last month, in the series against Bangladesh, but reaching the total has proven to be the exception rather than the rule.  Prior to that, the team got to the total against Sri Lanka in 2018.

The highest first innings total, in the last 10 years, was 590 against India in 2011, in total they have achieved the feat seven times.  By comparison, Australia has achieved the feat 27 times within the same period.

 

Legendary West Indies batsman, Viv Richards, was hesitant to compare the talent of players currently available to the West Indies team, with those in his heyday, as he believes eras are simply too different.

Richards represented the West Indies for close to two decades, following his debut in 1974.  For the majority of his career, the Windies were known as the world’s best cricket team, securing two World Cups during that time.

The Master Blaster, as he is otherwise known, played alongside some of the game’s greatest players, the likes of Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, and bowlers Malcolm Marshal, Joel Garner, Collin Croft, and Michael Holding, to name a few, listed among his teammates.  Recently, the team has fallen far from that type of dominance.

For some, the quality comparison between the talent that was available then regionally, and the current crop, is an open and shut case with overwhelming favourability for the former.  For Richards, however, it isn’t that simple.

“It’s always tough for you to make comparisons of what took place yesterday to what’s happening today because I think the game would have moved on big time as well,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

“There are a lot of things you would have had yesterday that (are) missing today and a lot of things you have today were missing yesterday, so, it’s a tough task for any individual to make comparisons,” he added.

One thing he insists that players can do from any era is to get the job done, regardless of the challenges.

 “The best way I would look at that is the period of time we were asked to work because remember we are not all the same age at this particular time. So, considering the times in which we all played and what was put in front of us at that particular time, we got the job done and you may ask that of the individuals today to do the very same. I don’t think I can give a definite answer to which period was better, and whoever was making whatever comparison; but all these individuals, at the time they came, they did good,” he said.

 

 

The West Indies Legends were denied in their bid to reach the inaugural final of the Road Safety World Series (RSWS) T20 after losing by 12 runs to the India Legends.

India batting great Sachin Tendulkar led the way with 65, as the host team posted 218 for 3 after facing their 20 overs.  Earlier, the match was lit up by a cameo from Virender Sehwag who made 35, while Yuvraj Singh cashed in with three sixes in his brisk 37 off 20.

In pursuit of the target, a 99-runs second wicket partnership between opener Dwayne Smith and Narsingh Deonarine got the Windies off to a strong start.  While Batting icon Brian Lara’s 46 from 28 balls brought the Windies to within 24 runs of the target with two overs remaining.

However, a stifling spell from Indian seamers Vinjay Kumar and Irfan Pathan scuppered the regional team’s run chase.  It was Kumar who accounted for the dangerous Lara in the 19th over and also removed bowler Tino Best at a crucial juncture.  The West Indies finished on 206 for 6.  Best claimed two wickets, including that of Tendulkar in the first innings.  Kumar claimed two for the India Legends who will face Sri Lanka Legends in Friday’s final.

 

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