Glen Phillips and Tim Seifert each scored centuries as New Zealand ‘A’ made West Indies ‘A’ bowlers toil on day two of their four-day match at Mount Maunganui ground.

Replying to New Zealand’s daunting score of  519 for 7, the West Indies began mounting a solid response by close of play on the second day of the first Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Asked to face 26 testing overs at the end of the day, the West Indies reached 49 without loss. Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell on 20 and 22, respectively, will resume on Day 3 with the visitors still 470 runs behind a New Zealand total made possible by Kane Williamson’s imperious 251.

Resuming from his overnight score of 97 and New Zealand 243 for 2, the Black Caps captain’s marathon knock was the backbone of the home side’s massive total. Kane faced 412 deliveries in his almost 10 and a half hour stay at the crease.

Ross Taylor, who joined Williamson at the crease at 168 for 2, added seven runs to his overnight score of 31 before becoming Shannon Gabriel’s second victim when he edged to wicketkeeper Shamarh Brooks, who replaced an injured Shane Dowrich.

Williamson dominance of subsequent partnerships of 30 with Henry Nicholls (7); 72 with Tom Blundell (14) and 56 with Daryl Mitchell (9), emphasized his impact on the New Zealand’s innings. His was the last wicket New Zealand to fall when he was caught by Roston Chase at deep midwicket from an Alzarri Joseph after a 94-run seventh-wicket stand of 94 with Kyle Jamieson, who remained unbeaten on 51 when the declaration came.

Williamson’s 251 included 34 fours and two sixes.

Gabriel finished with 3 for 89, while Kemar Roach, who should have got Williamson’s wicket but for a no-ball, returned 3 for 114 from 30 overs. Joseph had figures of 1 for 99.

Ravindra Jadeja's explosive lower-order hitting helped India to an 11-run victory over Australia in their Twenty20 series opener.

Jadeja scored 44 off 23 balls in Canberra as the tourists posted 161-7 before restricting Australia to 150-7 in response.

KL Rahul had laid some firm foundations as the opener put on a measured 51 to mitigate the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan, who contributed only one run.

The hosts also kept a lid on Virat Kohli, the India captain caught and bowled by Mitchell Swepson for nine.

Jadeja came to the crease with his side 92-5 in the 14th over and bludgeoned five fours and a six to lift India to a solid total.

He was struck on the helmet in the final over by a Mitchell Starc delivery and, though he initially continued, was replaced by concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal instead of taking to the field.

Australia's reply looked to be coming along nicely as D'Arcy Short (34) and Aaron Finch (35) put on 56 for the first wicket. 

Hardik Pandya catches ultimately accounted for both, with dangerous duo Glenn Maxwell (2) and Steve Smith (12) unable to stick around for long.

Moises Henriques' 30 off 20 raised hopes of a revival, but some excellent bowling from Thangarasu Natarajan (3-30) and Chahal (3-25) kept Australia at bay.

The sides meet again in Sydney on Sunday in the second game of a three-match series.

England's opening one-day international against South Africa on Friday has been postponed after a player from the host team tested positive for coronavirus.

Eoin Morgan's side had been due to play the Proteas in the first of three ODIs at Newlands but the match was called off an hour before play was due to start.

The first fixture will now take place on Sunday at Boland Park, with the second and third ODIs at Newlands next Monday and Wednesday respectively.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: "The ECB and Cricket South Africa have announced the postponement of the first one-day International of the three-match series to Sunday, December 6.

"This decision results from a player from the Proteas team testing positive for COVID-19 after the teams’ last round of scheduled testing performed on Thursday ahead of the ODIs.

"In the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match, the acting chief executive of CSA, Kugandrie Govender as well as the chief executive of the ECB, Tom Harrison, have agreed to postpone the first fixture to Sunday."

England beat South Africa 3-0 in the recent three-match T20 series.

West Indies T20 opening batsman Andre Fletcher said he is excited about playing for Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League once his West Indies are completed.

Fletcher was a member of the West Indies T20 squad that lost three three-match series against New Zealand 2-0. He will replace England’s Jonny Bairstow, who is unavailable due to international duty.

"I'm really looking forward to coming over to the Melbourne Stars and being part of what should be an exciting season ahead," Fletcher said.

“Hopefully, I can bring my brand of batting and recent form to the Stars during the BBL."

Stars head coach David Hussey believes Fletcher’s talents will be an asset to the club.

"We're glad Andre was in a position to join us and he'll bring plenty of power and entertainment at the top of the batting order. Andre is a former T20 World Cup winner with the West Indies so he knows what it takes to succeed in major tournaments and I'm confident he'll be a great asset around our group," Hussey said.

Fletcher brings extensive experience to the Melbourne Stars having played in the Caribbean Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League, and the Pakistan Super League.

He will join Nicholas Pooran who has also been signed with the club for the coming season.

Cricket West Indies has been awarded the 2020 Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in conjunction with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach began the first Test in the series against New Zealand on Thursday with a heavy heart following the passing of his father, Andrew Smith.

Roach learned of his father’s death on Wednesday.

“Losing a loved one is never easy and we want to offer our full support to Kemar during this very difficult time,” said team manager Rawl Lewis in offering condolences on behalf of Cricket West Indies.

“We got the news as we prepared for the Test match here and the players and team support staff all got together and offered tremendous support.”

Both teams wore black armbands on the opening day of the Test match in honor of the fast bowler’s late father.

Roach has so far taken 1 for 53 from 15 overs at stumps on day one of the Test in which New Zealand were 243 for 2.

West Indies ‘A’ all-rounder Romario Shepherd scored his maiden first-class century as he and Raymon Reifer rescued the West Indies ‘A’ from a disastrous start to their match against New Zealand ‘A’ at the Mount Maunganui ground in New Zealand on Thursday (Wednesday night Caribbean).

Australia will have to do without "all-time great" David Warner as they take on India in a three-match Twenty20 series. 

Just 48 hours after completing the third and final one-dayer, the two nations must quickly switch their focus to the shortest format. 

Manuka Oval in Canberra stages the opening T20 on Friday before the teams complete the series in Sydney, which hosted the first two ODI fixtures – both won by the home team.

However, Australia lost the finale when without the services of Warner, who is dealing with a groin injury that leaves him battling to be fit for the upcoming Tests against the same opponents.

Captain Aaron Finch admits it is never easy to be without a player of Warner's abilities, albeit the opening batsman's absence offers an opportunity for others with next year's T20 World Cup looming large on the horizon.

"It would be great to have him available, no doubt. But these things happen. Injuries happen. He's an all-time great in one-day cricket, in T20 cricket," Finch said after the third ODI. 

"I don't think there's many better players to have played the game, so any team that he is not a part of is going to be slightly weaker, I think. But we have got guys who can step up and really contribute heavily in that role as well." 

India will be hosting next year's global tournament after the 2020 edition, due to take place on Australian soil, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Virat Kohli leads the tourists but will not be present for the entire Test series that follows; India's skipper is to return home after the opening game to be present at the birth of his first child. 

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS 

It is not just Warner missing for Australia; pace bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins is also set to be absent, while Mitchell Marsh is ruled out. 

Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, is nursing a side strain and Mitchell Starc was not risked in the third and final one-dayer due to a back issue. 

Andrew Tye had already replaced Kane Richardson in the squad while Cameron Green – fresh from making his international debut on Wednesday – could be given further chances for the home side, who will be wearing Indigenous shirts for all three games.

Glenn Maxwell is available too – and is in excellent form with the bat. He posted scores of 45 or more in each of his three knocks in the 50-over games.

RAHUL RIGHT IN FORM

India have a decision to make at the top of the order with Rohit Sharma not available. 

KL Rahul could be used there after an outstanding Indian Premier League season with King's XI Punjab, as he finished the 2020 tournament as the competition's leading run-scorer.

The right-hander has also amassed more runs in T20 international cricket since 2019 than any other batsman from a Test-playing nation, managing 452 at a stunning average of 75.3.

Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, is in contention to make his 50th T20 appearance for India, a milestone only seven other players have achieved for the country.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Australia can record three multi-game bilateral T20 series victories on the bounce at home for the first time, having defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan on home soil in 2019.
- India have registered five victories in their past six T20 outings in Australia (L1); all eight fixtures between these sides in the country have been won after losing the toss.
- Australia have only been involved in one previous men's T20 fixture at Manuka Oval, beating Pakistan by a margin of seven wickets with nine balls remaining in November 2019.
- Kohli has scored more runs in men's T20 games between these sides than anyone else (584); that is the most ever registered against a single opponent in the history of the format.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was closing in on his 22nd Test hundred, as the home side emerged on top at stumps of the opening day of the first Test against West Indies.

West Indies captain Jason Holder believes opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite could be on the verge of rediscovering his best form, ahead of the start of the series against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old had shown great promise alongside Shai Hope at the top of the order, scoring 134 and 95 when the West Indies successfully chased down 322 for a memorable win at Headingley in 2017.

Brathwaite then suffered a dip in form, averaging 25.33 in his last 20 Tests ahead of the England series this year.  His struggles included poor showings against India and Afghanistan.  The player did show a flicker of returning to form during the team’s last Test tour against England where he scored two half-centuries.  Brathwaite reached 65 in the first and got 75 in the second but, however, also had other innings scores of 4, 12, 1, and 19 to average 21.

The opener though, looked good in the team’s warm-up matches against New Zealand A, where he scored 246 in the second warm-up match.  The performance has encouraged the West Indies captain.

“It’s good to see our opening batsmen, including Kraigg, getting some scores.  I thought he shaped up really well in England, he good a few half-centuries, got a few starts and he’s starting to look like the Kraigg Brathwaite of old,” Holder told CWI media.

“He’s obviously been a banker for us over the years, he’s had a lean patch over the last couple of years but to see him coming back into stride the way he has.  I was remarking to one of the coaches that the innings I saw in Queenstown, the double hundred, was one of the most fluent innings I have seen from him.  It reminded me of a Test match innings he played in Hobart where he got 97 in the second innings that was one of the most fluent innings I’ve ever seen from Kraigg but this one was similar,” he added.

“For me, his balance looks really good and he is striking the ball really well.  So, let’s hope he can continue in that vein and get us off to some really good starts.”  

Andre Russell has been lighting up the Lankan Premier League with both bat and ball delighting his many fans around the world.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes the Test team is in a ‘good place’ ahead of the start of the two-match series against New Zealand, which bowls off on Wednesday.

The team’s tour of New Zealand began with a T20 series last week but they did not experience a lot of joy after being easily swept aside 2-0 by the Kiwis in a three-match series.  Simmons, however, does not expect any follow-on negative effect for the four-day team and admits he has been encouraged by their performance in the warm-up games.  The performances with the bat in the warm-up matches will have been particularly encouraging for the team, which saw the batting line-up post scores of 366 and 571.

“The T20 and the Tests are different.  The Test team has done well in Queenstown and enjoyed a tough four-day game.  Now, they are coming into the Test series with some confidence, especially with the batsmen and we haven’t had that in a while,” Simmons told windiescricket.

“I think the Test team is in a good place, I’m disappointed with the T20 team but looking forward to the Test series…I don’t think the results of the T20 will affect how they think,” he added.

The Test series is also expected to be a tough challenge for the regional team who has not won a series in New Zealand since 1995.

 

 

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has signed a three-match deal with Sydney Sixers for the upcoming Australia Big Bash League (BBL).

The 29-year-old all-rounder has seen his stock rise in cricket’s shortest format over the last couple of months, following a strong performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Sunrisers Hyderabad.  Holder was signed as a replacement but played a crucial role in the team securing a third-place finish.

The all-rounder, who is currently with the West Indies for its ongoing tour of New Zealand, will not be available for the Sixers until their December 20 clash with the Adelaide Strikers in Hobart. He is expected to then take part in a December 26 fixture against the Melbourne Stars and the December 29 matchup with the Melbourne Renegades.  For his part, Holder was excited about the move.

"I'm really excited to be coming to the BBL and in particular the Sydney Sixers. I've wanted to for a few years now and this year I have the opportunity to come in and make some appearances and hopefully do a bit for the Sixers," he said.

"BBL cricket is an interest for me and the Sixers have been successful over the past few years. Moises and I played together at Sunrisers and I really enjoyed that. It will be good to do it again."

Holder will also be joining up with former West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite at the club.

 

Rain was the winner of the third and final T20 International of West Indies tour of New Zealand on Monday.

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