Steve Waugh has backed Australia to enjoy a winning run in the final months of the year as they build up confidence ahead of the Ashes, where he is fearful of a returning Jofra Archer.

Three consecutive victories in ODIs against England have put Australia in a better spot heading into a series of Tests against the West Indies and South Africa either side of the new year.

The Ashes then follows in June, with the World Cup in India to close out the year, and former Australia captain Waugh is confident about his side's chances.

"We've got a good cricket side, there's no doubt about that. We got a really good bowling attack, so they're capable of winning matches," he told Stats Perform.

"I think we'll beat West Indies pretty convincingly. Then we've got three Tests against South Africa, an emerging test side with a really good bowling attack. But I think they're batting is not quite up to standard.

"I think Australia will win most Test matches. But then they've got some hard Test matches coming up overseas. It's a long difficult period. It's 12 months of non-stop cricket for Australia."

Waugh highlighted the importance in getting wins on the board now to build up momentum for the Ashes, where Australia are looking to retain the urn.

"The Ashes is a big tournament for Australian cricket that's coming up in about less than 12 months now. We're looking towards that," he added.

"But in the meantime, they've West Indies and South Africa. I think will win those series, then we've got India away, which is really hard, and then the Ashes.

"The Ashes is hard to win. It's a tough assignment, but the guys are capable of winning.

"It's a long way off, and it might come down to which sides have fewer injuries to key players. If England have Jofra Archer playing, they're going to have a chance of winning."

Waugh also sprung to the defence of captain Pat Cummins, who has been outspoken on climate change and has come under the spotlight for his stance.

"He's realising that captaincy can be a difficult assignment. One minute people love you, the next minute they don't like you and your opinions matter," he explained.

"He's bought into the climate change issues and sponsorship. And yes, there's a few issues that have been around the side. I guess he's realised that maybe he's got more power than he thought he has.

"Whatever he says carries a lot of weight. And sometimes you've gotta be pretty careful what you say. But I think he's done a very good job as a captain on the field.

"He's learning as he goes along, which is only natural. He's pretty young for a captain."

Steve Waugh is an ambassador for the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space.

Former Australia captain Mark Taylor believes Justin Langer's acrimonious spat with Cricket Australia could damage the team's international brand, calling for both to be wary of their words.

Langer, who departed the top job in February, accused sources within his camp of being "cowards" over leaking stories to the media on the Back Chat podcast.

That prompted criticism from Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley, while Langer subsequently denied a rift with players and bowler Mitchell Starc defended his relationship with the former coach.

Now Taylor, who captained the Test team between 1994 and 1999, has called for consideration from all parties, arguing any feud is likely to reflect poorly on the Australian game as a whole.

"If he's got a cross to bear, he wants to let people know, so he comes out with it," Taylor told Nine's Sports Sunday.

"The only thing I would say to Justin, or to players, or to administrators in general, is I'd like to see everyone just think a little bit more about Australian cricket.

"I don't mean Cricket Australia, I mean Australian cricket [itself], before they make comment. It's not great for the brand.

"Let's have a bit more positivity around Australian cricket. Less thought about individual brands, and a bit more about the team brand or the national brand."

Wales squandered a 21-point second-half lead to lose 39-34 to Australia at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in a defeat that will further increase the pressure on head coach Wayne Pivac.

Jac Morgan scored two tries to help put Wales in a commanding position after 52 minutes, but Lachlan Lonergan completed a stunning late comeback to snap Australia's three-match losing run and inflict a ninth loss in 12 Tests on Pivac's side.

Morgan added to his double against Georgia by dotting down inside 10 minutes against Australia, either side of two penalties for Ben Donaldson, before Taulupe Faletau powered through a couple of Australian tackles to slide into the corner for a try on his 100th Test.

Gareth Anscombe added to that tally with a couple of penalties as part of a 10-point haul in the first half, though Folau Fainga'a touched down prior to half-time to reduce Wales' lead to two points.

Jake Gordon and Tom Robertson was sin-binned either side of half-time and Australia were made to pay when Morgan found the chalk from a driving maul, and the hosts were further ahead when Rio Dyer found the corner after a well-worked move.

Mark Nawaqanitawase revived Australia's hopes by twice crossing over and Wales themselves lost their discipline as Justin Tipuric and Ryan Elias were yellow carded, with the referee also awarding a penalty try after the latter deliberately collapsed a driving maul. 

Wales still had a two-point lead to protect with a minute remaining, but Lonergan walked in a dramatic last-gasp try following yet more good play from Nawaqanitawase, allowing Noah Lolesio to add the game-sealing extras.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons admits to some disappointment with a draw in the final four-day tour game against Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval but believes it has been adequate preparation ahead of the two-Test series against Australia, which begins next week.

Chasing a total of 309 runs for victory, on the final day, a win seemed possible when the team entered the final break at 221 for 5, needing another 88 runs to claim victory.

 The West Indies had a less-than-ideal start to the final session, however, and found themselves reduced to 273 for 8, following the dismissals of Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, and then Kemar Roach, in fairly quick succession.

 Raymon Reifer and Joshua Da Silva then combined to help West Indies fight for the draw, playing out the final eight overs to finish on 277 for 8.

“I’m not happy with the results, we should have won it,” Simmons said following the final ball.

“We have a few misplaced wickets in the middle, while we were controlling the game, so that was a disappointment, but at the end of the day the way how the guys fought is always greatly encouraging,” he added.

With the players getting plenty of opportunities to bat and bowl in pressure situations, Simmons was though satisfied with what the tour match provided, ahead of a difficult series.

“The two games have been very good for us, mind you, flattish wickets, but the bowlers got the overs in their legs and the batsmen got their time at the crease so that was good for us.”

Graham Arnold might be targeted by better-known clubs if Australia reach the World Cup second round, but the coach has revealed his heart is set on rejuvenating NAC Breda.

Now aged 59, Arnold was a prolific striker with the Dutch club in the 1990s and has been disheartened to see NAC struggle in recent seasons.

Previously mainstays of the top flight, NAC sit 15th in the second tier, known as the Eerste Divisie, after winning just five of 16 games this term.

They are currently bossed by former Leeds United defender Robert Molenaar, with ex-Netherlands striker Pierre van Hooijdonk recently appointed to a technical role.

Arnold told Voetbal International: "I would love to return to NAC. The negative energy has to get out and the culture has to change. It's about winning again. Hopefully I can try it someday.

"I just want to bring the club back to the Eredivisie. You know, I was there in 2018 by invitation. I stayed at the bar in the second half. It sucked.

"I just couldn't take it any more. Breda deserves a club at the highest level. NAC should play against Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. Not against Jong FC Utrecht.

"I still follow every game from Australia and every week I get angry when I see the result."

He added: "My heart is with NAC. It's my club and Breda is my city."

Arnold, a former striker for the Australia national team, has spent almost all his coaching career in his home country, having spells in charge of Sydney FC, Northern Spirit and Central Coast Mariners.

His Australia team were 1-0 winners against Tunisia on Saturday, pepping up hopes of reaching the last 16 following a 4-1 defeat to France in their opening game.

The Socceroos complete their group-stage campaign when they tackle Denmark on Wednesday.

The four-day tour match between the West Indies and the Australia Prime Minister’s XI ended in a draw after Saturday’s exciting final day at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

The tourists, who began the final day on 35-0 chasing a further 274 runs for victory, ended up 277-8 when the game was called to an end.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul completed an excellent match by top-scoring with 56, to go with his first innings 119, and was well supported by half centuries from Joshua Da Silva (54 not out) and Devon Thomas (55).

Pacer Mark Steketee took three wickets for the President’s XI while Ashton Agar and Michael Neser, who have both represented Australia in Tests, took two wickets each.

Scores: PM’s XI 322 and 221-4 declared, West Indies 235 and 277-8.

The West Indies will now turn their attention to the first test against the Aussies starting Wednesday in Perth at 9:20pm Jamaica Time (10:20pm ECT).

  

 

Coach Graham Arnold wants his Australia players to swiftly forget their 1-0 World Cup win over Tunisia and turn their attention to securing qualification for the knockout stage against Denmark.

Mitchell Duke scored the only goal, glancing home Craig Goodwin's deflected cross in the 23rd minute, before the Socceroos withstood some concerted Tunisia pressure to secure their first win at a World Cup in 12 years and first clean sheet since 1974.

The win moves Australia on to three points and with renewed hope of advancing out of Group D. Next up on Wednesday is a clash with the Danes and that has already become the focus of Arnold's attention.

Asked about his approach to that game, he said: "We've got to see what the result is tonight [between France and Denmark] but nothing will change, we’ll focus on ourselves and getting ourselves right.

"I am very proud but we've achieved nothing. We can talk after about one win and that it hasn't been done for 12 years and all that stuff.

"We are here to go as far as we can go. I don't want the players sitting up all night looking at social media, we need to recover well and get ready for Denmark."

The goal was a special moment for Duke and he celebrated by making a J sign with his fingers to son Jaxson, who was watching on from the stands. Television images showed his son replying in kind.

Duke said: "I spoke to my son and told him I was going to score – you have to have that belief that you are going to score in every match. I told my son that I was going to share that moment with him."

The 31-year-old, who plays in Japan with second division side Fagiano Okayama, was reunited with Jaxson and daughter Chloe at the start of November and admitted it was difficult being apart from his family.

"Definitely, when the final whistle went and I was interviewed by TV, I was trying to hold back the tears," he added. "I have been on my own a lot over the last couple of years and there has been a lot of sacrifice. It's the best feeling in the world."

Tunisia must now beat defending champions France on Wednesday and hope other results go their way if they are to go through.

Coach Jalel Kadri bemoaned his side's lack of cutting edge but insisted all was not lost.

He said: "During the first half, we did not perform the way we wanted to, Australia led us into playing a style we did not like.

"They dominated the game, created one chance and scored and unfortunately we could not equalise. We changed tactics two or three times in the second half and created four or five chances but we were not clinical enough. They were very efficient in converting their chance.

"The World Cup has a surprise for everyone, even the larger teams have been beaten by the underdogs. We were not expecting to lose [to Australia] but we have one game to go and we will play our hearts out."

A first-half header from Mitch Duke was enough to see off Tunisia and ignite Australia's hopes of progressing to the World Cup knockout stages in a 1-0 victory.

Duke converted Craig Goodwin's left-wing cross in the 23rd minute with the Socceroos having to withstand some late pressure to secure a win that means they head into their final Group D clash with Denmark with all to play for.

Tunisia have a solitary point from their two games and will have to beat defending champions France on Wednesday and hope other results go their way.

Australia shaded a frantic opening but could not profit from a series of crosses into the Tunisia box.

Delivering the ball from wide areas was clearly a key part of the Australia strategy and it paid dividends midway through the first half. Duke started the move with a deft touch in midfield before racing into the box to cleverly glance Goodwin’s deflected cross past Tunisia goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen.

Tunisia grew as an attacking force as the first half progressed and could have levelled twice before the break.

After 41 minutes, robust play from Issam Jebali saw him pick out Mohamed Drager at the far post only for defender Harry Souttar to race across to block his goalbound shot.

The tireless Jebali then turned up on the right but his low centre was fired wide by captain Youssef Msakni.

Tunisia dominated possession in the second half but their desperation to find an equaliser almost saw them undone again after 71 minutes - substitute Jamie Maclaren escaping down the left before delivering a low cross that was inches in front of the sliding Mathew Leckie.

A second goal was not required in the end as Australia's resolute backline - in which Souttar was outstanding - did enough to keep Tunisia out and register just the Socceroos' second clean sheet in 18 World Cup matches.

With just a week left to go vor the Australia vs West Indies Test series concerns have been raised regarding excessively poor tickets sales ahead of the match.

The world number one-ranked Australia will host the Windies in two-matches.  The first of the games will be held at Optus Stadium in Perth, beginning on Wednesday 30th.

The public’s interest in the series, however, remains lacklustre to date.  According to reports, just hundreds of tickets have been sold to members of the public, so var, well below the stadium’s capacity of the 60,000.  There now are concerns the series could set a record low vor Test mathes between the teams.

Australia batsman Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne does not believe the low turnout is an overall lack of interest but believes there may be some fatigue in the fanbase.

 The country is fresh off a huge T20 World Cup on home soil and went straight into a three-game ODI series against England.

 

 

England Test captain Ben Stokes hopes to have "one of the superstars of the international game" Jofra Archer fit and firing for the Ashes.

Archer has not played on the international stage since March 2021 due to injury, but returned to action for the England Lions against England this week.

The luckless paceman bowled nine overs in his first match for 16 months, not taking a wicket but rattling Zak Crawley on the helmet with a rapid bouncer in Abu Dhabi.

England will attempt to regain the Ashes from Australia on home soil next year and Stokes wants hostile quick Archer to play his part.

The all-rounder told Sky Sports: "It's been great to see him out here when we joined up with the Lions.

"It's great to see him back running with the ball in his hand. He's one of the superstars of the international game and it's great to see him running back in, bowling fast and it's really good to have him back around the group as well.

"I think he's just really excited to be back. He's obviously had a long time off with injury and as exciting as it is we've got to be careful not to rush him back as we don't want to see Jofra Archer on the sidelines for this amount of [time] again.

"That's the plan, hopefully we can have Jofra fit and ready especially for The Ashes.

"That's something that we're looking at for Jof and it would be great to have him available for selection for that."

Leg-spinning all-rounder Rehan Ahmed could become the youngest man to play a Test for England against Pakistan next month after he was added to the squad this week.

Stokes is excited by the potential the 18-year-old, who also played for the Lions in a drawn three-day match this week, possesses.

He said: "We've seen him as one of those very rare talents. To have someone at such a young age be so noticeable as a cricketer with the way that he bowls and the way that he bats.

"We saw it as a very good opportunity to get him into the squad, get him around the group, get him into the environment.

"He's a fantastic talent, he loves cricket, he just spends all his time shadow-batting in his room. He absolutely loves it.

"I'm really excited to have him into the squad, get him round the group and see what he's got."

Matt Renshaw’s unbeaten day three hundred means the West Indies have been set a target of 309 runs for victory in the four-day pink-ball tour game against Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval.  

The tourists ended day three 35 without loss at stumps after 16 overs, with Kraigg Brathwaite on 19 and first innings centurion Tagenarine Chanderpaul on 15 needing a further 274 runs on Saturday.

Earlier, day three started with the West Indians resuming their first innings at 234 for 7. They added just one run from a no ball before their innings ended in the second over of the day.

Paceman Mark Steketee (3-33) trapped Alzarri Joseph lbw and two balls later had Jayden Seales well caught at second slip by Peter Handscomb. With Raymon Reifer unable to bat, West Indies ended on 235 for 9.

The PM's XI then reached 221-4 off 70 overs before captain Josh Inglis’ declaration set the Windies 309 to win.

The innings was declared four balls after Renshaw reached his 17th first-class ton, scoring 101 not out off 218 balls.

The 26-year-old, who played the most recent of his 11 Tests in 2018, added 145 for the third wicket with Peter Handscomb, after the Windies had reduced the home team to 13 for 2.

Renshaw, who also top-scored with 81 in the first innings, hit nine fours in the unbeaten knock.

Handscomb, who scored 55 in the first innings, was bowled five minutes before the dinner break by spinner Kraigg Brathwaite for 75.

 

Australia and Tunisia are hungry to snatch a rare World Cup victory when they meet at Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday, knowing they could take a huge step towards the knockout stage.

After Australia were torched 4-1 by France, Graham Arnold will look to rouse his side for a clash with a Tunisia side who revelled in having huge support against Denmark, earning a 0-0 draw against the European Championship semi-finalists.

That result for Tunisia – just a second clean sheet for the team in 16 matches at the World Cup – has raised hopes of advancing beyond the group stage for the first time, at what is their sixth World Cup.

"We want to get past this round, this is our main objective, and we're quite optimistic about achieving this goal," said coach Jalel Kadri.

It is a lip-smacking opportunity for them against a Socceroos side who took the lead against France before being blown away by the firepower of the World Cup holders.

Australia have lost 11 of their 17 games at the World Cup (65 per cent), and have failed to win in their last seven outings on this stage, their longest winless streak in the competition.

Tunisia had just 38.7 per cent of the ball against Denmark and their passing accuracy in the opposition half was a disappointing 55.4 per cent; however, they won a healthy 55.8 per cent of duels.

Australia had just 37.6 per cent of possession against France, and the outcome of that game means they have now managed only one clean sheet in 17 World Cup games.

Kadri said: "We're playing a strong group and today we have one point, and we should invest this energy we have in the next match as well."

He said of the crowd's raucous support for his team: "It gives us a great lift and we're looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that."

Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine, who plays club football in Germany for St Pauli, wants to see a response after the France result.

He said: "To feel disappointed... is huge testament to the mentality of the group and that desire to win and get results, and it's definitely something we have in us all the time and continue to have going into these next couple of huge games."

Citing the "very different opposition", Irvine predicted: "The game will flow in a totally different way."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tunisia – Issam Jebali

Jebali had Tunisia's best opportunities in the Denmark game, with his three goal chances being worth a total of 0.53 expected goals (xG) out of a team total of 0.92. Denmark's Andreas Cornelius (0.93) was the only player on the pitch with a higher xG score, having missed a golden close-range chance to win the game.

Tunisia will hope for Jebali to be sharper with his finishing against Australia. Kadri has Wahbi Khazri waiting in the wings, promising he will "get his chance", with many surprised the Montpellier man played no part against Denmark.

Australia – Mat Ryan

Goalkeeper Ryan and winger Mathew Leckie could both make their eighth World Cup starts for Australia, setting a new national record at the finals.

Ryan suffered against France as Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Co made his day a misery, and he will be looking to earn a rare World Cup shut-out this time around.

PREDICTION

Tunisia are given a 47.6 per cent chance of winning this one, while Australia have only a 25.6 per cent prospect of snatching the three points, according to Opta's AI model.

The draw, therefore, is a 27.1 per cent possibility, but with the stakes so high, victory is imperative for both teams. A draw, you might imagine, would likely be a crushing blow to each team's hopes of reaching the last-16 stage.

This will be just the third meeting between Tunisia and Australia – Australia won 3-0 in a friendly in 1997, before Tunisia won 2-0 at the 2005 Confederations Cup.

West Indies call-up Tagenarine Chanderpaul insists he is focused on being himself ahead of a possible debut for the Caribbean team in the upcoming series against Australia next week.

On Thursday, the 26-year-old Chanderpaul made 119 off 293 balls during the team’s warm-up game against a Prime Minister’s XI, in the ongoing four-day tour match in Canberra.  The knock featured a risp 11 fours and a six on his way to reaching triple figures.

Chanderpaul, who was called up to the team last month, is widely expected to partner Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite at the top of the innings for the match-up with the world number-one ranked Aussies, following the suspension of John Campbell.

The John Campbell anti-doping ban: Campbell banned for refusing to provide blood sample on demand

Ahead of the player’s potential debut, comparisons to his famous father, West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, are inescapable.  In an outstanding 164 Test match career for the West Indies, Chanderpaul scored 11867 runs, which puts him second all-time behind the great Brian Lara.  It’s a towering legacy to live up to.

“They’re big boots but I try and be myself.  I can only be myself, so I just try and be me,” the young Chanderpaul said after Thursday's match.

Like his father, Tagenarine has shown the propensity to be watchful and patient at the crease, which could bode well for the regional team.  The batsman, however, is hoping to eventually be recognized for his own style.

"I try and be myself. I can't replicate him, so I can only be myself. Fingers crossed… I'll try to get some runs if I'm selected."

 

Wales and Australia are each set to hand two players their international debuts when the sides meet at the Principality Stadium this weekend.

The two teams face off in their final game of the November international period, as they look to close out on a winning note in Cardiff.

There will be a first appearance for centre Joe Hawkins for the hosts after he was drafted into the squad following Owen Watkin's absence through injury.

Sam Talakai, meanwhile, is primed to figure off the bench for the visitors, though James Hooper has been ruled out with a concussion sustained in last weekend's loss to Ireland.

Wayne Pivac's side hand a first start since 2021 to Leigh Halfpenny at full-back, while Taulupe Faletau will make his 100th Test appearance between Wales and the British and Irish Lions at number eight.

Alun Wyn Jones will also extend his own record as the most-capped men's rugby union international in history as part of the second row.

Playmaker Ben Donaldson gets a first start at fly half for the Wallabies, partnering Jake Gordon, while James Slipper will lead at prop.

Jordan Petaia, on the bench last time out, makes the move to start on the wing for Dave Rennie's side.

Wales team: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements; Ryan Elias, Rhodri Jones, Tomas Francis, Ben Carter, Josh Macleod, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Priestland, Josh Adams.

Australia team: Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson, Jake Gordon; James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Langi Gleeson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Sam Talakai, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell.

Tagenarine Chanderpaul scored a hard-fought 119 off 293 balls on Thursday to lift his side to 234 for 7 at stumps on day two of the pink-ball match against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.

The tourists made a bright start to their innings, moving to 94 without loss following strong efforts from Chanderpaul and Kraigg Brathwaite. But, when Brathwaite chopped on a Steketee delivery for 47, it sparked a collapse of 44 for 4 as West Indies began to fold.

Western Australia paceman Joel Paris found the edge of Nkrumah Bonner's bat to send him packing for a duck before spinner Todd Murphy bowled Devon Thomas and then trapped Kyle Mayers in front eight overs later. Chanderpaul held the innings together, striking 13 fours and one six on the way to posting his sixth first class century.

Victoria’s Murphy claimed 3 for 27 in an impressive display, while Western Australia’s Joel Paris also claimed three scalps.

Earlier, The PM's XI made 322 in their first innings, leaving the four-day clash delicately balanced.

The PM's XI added a further 25 runs to their overnight score of 297 for 9 before Mark Steketee was last man out for 15. Paceman Alzarri Joseph was the pick of the touring bowlers with 4 for 65, while spinner Roston Chase finished with 2 for 72.

 

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