James Anderson is enjoying the thrill ride of Ben Stokes' England captaincy and the challenge of "thinking differently", ahead of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

The 40-year-old has impressed in the tourists' first two matches and will be rested for the last encounter, with an eye on England's trip to New Zealand in the new year.

With 177 caps, Anderson is second only to India great Sachin Tendulkar for all-time Test appearances, and he has posted eight wickets at 18.50 while in Pakistan.

His efforts come amid a more aggressive approach to the long-form game favoured by Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, which Anderson says is having a galvanising effect on all England's bowlers.

"I love thinking about the game, thinking about plans, and Ben is that sort of captain," Anderson said. "All he thinks about is taking wickets.

"He's not bothered about trying to dry the run rate up or control the game. He wants to take wickets. You see that with the fields he sets. That then rubs off on you as a bowler.

"This seems to be working for this group of bowlers, and we've got a nice mix of bowlers. I've found it refreshing thinking differently, even though I've played a lot of games."

The third Test begins on Saturday, with Anderson expecting England to head in with the same positive approach that has brought two wins so far, as instilled by captain and coach.

"As long as you're getting hit in the right areas, they don't care if you go for the odd four," Anderson said, quoted by Cricinfo. "That gives you confidence to bowl, knowing that you don't have to fret about how many runs you're going for.

"If that's the way you're trying to get people out, with catchers in front of the wicket as they have been out here, then they're completely fine with it."

West Indies superstar Andre Russell says he fears the new T10 format of the game could threaten T20 cricket and, eventually, Test cricket.

“To be honest, T10 cricket can be a threat because you can watch three games in a day, it’s less stress on the body and bowlers just come and bowl two overs,” he told reporters in Australia on Wednesday ahead of the first of four games he will play for the Melbourne Renegades in the ongoing Big Bash League.

“T20 is always going to be ultimate but I just think the amount of cricket at the moment means the players’ availability is going to be a big issue,” he added.

The 2022 edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 league concluded last week, and the competition saw a host of marquee names including Russell, Nicholas Pooran, Eoin Morgan and Adil Rashid taking part.

The number of T10 leagues is steadily increasing, and earlier this year, Cricket West Indies (CWI) became the first full-member board to start its own league, called the 6ixty. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have already announced that next year, they will be starting their own T10 league known as the ‘Lanka T10 League.’

“Most players, it’s going to make them want to leave the longer format with the direction T10 leagues are going. There are a lot of different T10 leagues in different parts of the world and they announced that just before the finals in Abu Dhabi.”

Russell himself has not played a single red-ball game since 2014 but the veteran is hoping that all players don’t fall into the short-format trap.

I just hope that players still believe in red-ball cricket, still believe in Test cricket and still want to play those formats because the older generation, they will come out and watch five days of cricket. That’s where it all started.”

Ben Stokes is relishing the chance to see Rehan Ahmed in action after naming the teenager as England's youngest ever men's Test debutant.

The spinner, aged 18 years and 126 days, will face Pakistan in the third and final red-ball match of the tourists' series, having been drafted in alongside wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.

Ahmed's inclusion sees him break the long-standing record of former captain Brian Close, who made his bow at 18 years and 149 days in 1949.

Stokes, who previously said he would not hand caps out easily, insists Ahmed has earned his place in the team for their last game.

"I think it's a good opportunity for us to not only look at him, but for him to come in and experience what it's like to play international cricket," he said.

"We obviously brought him into the squad to try and get him amongst us and experience what it's like being in this cricket team, and we've been very impressed with what we've seen.

"He's got a lot of skill with both bat and ball, so it's great to be able to bring someone with the talent and the excitement that he has into the squad and see what he's got this week.

"I think being at such a young age, it's great to see someone who has so much freedom in what they do and the way that he bats.

"He likes to get on with it and show what he's about and almost, not show off, but show what he can do. He's got a vast array of shots, and obviously a wrist-spinner is great to be able to have in your team.

"It's exciting times for Rehan especially, and he was very excited when we gave him the nod that he was going to play last night."

Dean Elgar is expecting some "feisty encounters" during South Africa's Test series in Australia but says there are "no grudges" over the ball-tampering scandal.

Over four years on from the fiasco in Cape Town in which Cameron Bancroft was caught using sandpaper in an attempt to try and alter the condition of the ball, the two nations start a three-match Test series at the Gabba on Saturday.

Steve Smith and David Warner have long since returned to the Australia team after serving bans for their part in that plot, which saw them stripped of the captain and vice-captain roles respectively.

South Africa won that series on home soil in 2017-18, having also come out on top in their last Test series in Australia back in 2016-17.

With Australia top of the World Test Championship table and the Proteas second, they are fighting it out for a place in the final at The Oval next June and captain Elgar is not dwelling on the past.

He said: "There will be moments, no doubt, where there will be a few feisty encounters but hopefully it doesn't reach the stage that we experienced in 2018.

"What's happened in the past happened. There are no grudges. We know they want to win and we want to win. There will always be a moment where egos and the heat of the moment gets to the guys but think it will be better controlled this time.

"If they've got added issues with regards to [the ball-tampering scandal] then that's their thing, but with regards my team we haven't spoken about it once. It's history for us."

Australia skipper Pat Cummins, who will replace Michael Neser after recovering from a quad injury, echoed Elgar's sentiments. 

The paceman said: "We've all moved on. I don't think we're probably as abrasive as we've been in the past. It's working for us.

"How we are off the field is pretty similar to what we play on the field I think - calm, very chill, just enjoying it out there, really competitive. And we've done that really well over the last 12 months."

Starc closing in on milestone

Australia will look to Mitchell Starc to fire with the new ball and the paceman is closing in on a milestone.

The left-arm quick only needs another four wickets to reach the 300 mark in Tests, a feat only six other Australia players have achieved.

Starc struck nine times as Australia emphatically whitewashed West Indies ahead of this series.

Van der Dussen return a boost for Proteas

Rassie van der Dussen makes a welcome return to the international stage for South Africa after recovering from a broken finger.

The batter was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to the damage done during a Test series loss in England.

Meanwhile, skipper Elgar needs only a further 29 runs to take his Test tally to 5,000.

The Sydney Thunder made astonishing cricket history when they were all out for 15 in the Big Bash League, the lowest total ever recorded in men's professional T20 cricket.

Friday's humbling at the Sydney Showground Stadium came at the hands of the Adelaide Strikers, who had briefly been concerned their 139-9 would come under threat.

Instead, it turned into a rout as the Thunder made a shocking start and failed to recover, with Brendan Doggett their top scorer with four runs, hitting the only boundary of the innings.

Doggett was the last man out as the home team were dismissed in 5.5 overs, with paceman Henry Thornton completing bowling figures of 5-3 in 2.5 overs. Fellow quick Wes Agar weighed in with 4-6 from two overs.

Thornton suggested he might as well retire on the back of his five-wicket feat in the 124-run victory, because he would never top the experience.

Speaking on beIN SPORTS, Thornton said: "I honestly cannot believe what just happened. Everyone here probably doesn't know what's going on either.

"It was amazing. We thought they bowled really well, considering what the wicket was doing, and we thought if we hung in there long enough we'd create chances.

"That's unbelievable. We thought if we bowled at the top of the stumps... we'd be in the game.

"We're really happy. I'm really happy for Wes, he bowled really well tonight, super disciplined, and yeah, great performance.

"Honestly, I'm shocked, I can't believe it."

Thunder openers Alex Hales and Matthew Gilkes both fell for ducks, and Thornton had been expecting middle-order batter Daniel Sams to be a threat with the bat, but he made only one run.

"They're an amazing team. Halesy is a great player and Samsy down the lower order as well," Thornton said. "We thought if we got to 150-plus we'd be in the game, and it was enough I guess.

"I feel like I need to retire now, I don't think I'm getting better than that. That was an amazing game of cricket, so I'm really happy, and the mood around the crew's great, so I couldn't be happier."

Team-mate Chris Lynn top-scored with 36 in Adelaide's innings, and Lynn was wearing the on-field TV microphone as the Sydney wickets tumbled.

"I suppose you just soak it all up," Lynn said at the end of the match.

"Fifteen! I don't know what to say. Everyone's looking, laughing and giggling away. We play them in a couple of days' time down in Adelaide. It's a momentum booster, but hopefully there'll be a few scars there and we can go back-to-back.

"I'm a bit sort of 'what's going on?'."

Sydney's score was 42 worse than the previous lowest in BBL history, the 57 record by the Melbourne Renegades against the Melbourne Stars in 2015.

Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara made brilliant centuries as India continued their dominance of the first Test against Bangladesh on day three.

Gill (110) scored his maiden Test hundred and Pujara (102 not out) made his first for almost four years, with the tourists declaring on 258-2 in their second innings.

India had earlier bowled out the Tigers for 150 to take a first-innings lead of 254 runs.

Set an improbable victory target of 513 at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Bangladesh were 41 without loss at stumps on Friday.

Kuldeep Yadav (5-40) completed a five-wicket haul as India wrapped up the Tigers' first innings in the morning session after they resumed on 133-8 in Chattogram.

Gill and KL Rahul then put on 70 for the first India wicket before Khaled Ahmed had the captain caught by Taijul Islam for 23.

The excellent Gill and Pujara then combined for a stand of 113 to extend the lead, raising the run rate with Ebadot Hossain off the field and Shakib Al Hasan not bowling due to a rib issue.

Gill took a bow after reaching three figures in the longest format for the first time, before he fell to Mehidy Hasan, and Rahul declared after Pujara brought up an elusive hundred.

Najmul Hossain Shanto and Zakir Hasan looked assured as they saw Bangladesh through to the close, but they will head to the middle on Saturday with much work to do,

Gill grasps his chance, wait over for Pujara

The absence of injured captain Rohit Sharma opened the door for Gill to come in at the top of the order.

Gill has taken his chance, making his maiden hundred in his 12th Test. He hit three sixes and found the rope 10 times in a 152-ball knock.

Pujara had not reached three figures in the longest format since January 2019, but he followed up his 90 in the first innings by scoring a 19th Test century.

Kuldeep shines on his return

Spinner Kuldeep has bowled beautifully in his first Test since February 2021, claiming a third five-wicket Test haul.

After taking four wickets on the second day, he had Ebadot caught behind before Mehidy was stumped by Rishabh Pant off the bowling of Axar Patel to end Bangladesh's first innings.

Rehan Ahmed will become the youngest man to play a Test for England when the teenager makes his debut in the final match of the series against Pakistan.

Ahmed will be aged 18 years and 126 days when he makes his Test bow at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

The leg-spinning all-rounder will break a long-standing record held by Brian Close since back in 1949.

Ahmed and Ben Foakes come into the side as replacements for Will Jacks and James Anderson.

Nottingham-born Ahmed earned a call-up with some impressive performances for Leicestershire in the County Championship.

While Ahmed will be making his first Test appearance, Pakistan batter Azhar Ali has announced he will retire from the longest format after playing in Karachi.

England have already won the series and will be looking to pull off a first whitewash in Pakistan.

Pakistan batter Azhar Ali will retire from Test cricket after the final match of the series against England.

The 37-year-old has announced the 97th match of his career in the longest format at the National Stadium in Karachi, which starts on Saturday, will be his last.

Azhar is Pakistan's fifth-highest Test-run scorer with 7,097 at an average of 42.49, making an outstanding 19 hundreds and 35 half-centuries after making his debut in 2010.

The classy right-hander, whose highest score was a magnificent 302 not out against West Indies in 2016, captained his country in nine Tests during two tenures.

Azhar said: "It has been a great honour and privilege for me to represent my country at the highest level. Deciding on when to call it a day is always tough, but, after contemplating deeply, I realised that this is the right time for me to retire from Test cricket.

"There are many people who I am grateful to in this strenuous, yet beautiful journey. I want to make a special mention of my family without whose sacrifices; I would not have been where I am today. My parents, wife, siblings, and children have been my strength throughout.

"I have been blessed to share a dressing room with some of the most outstanding cricketers with whom I share a strong bond. I feel much richer by calling these people my friends. I am also blessed to have played under some wonderful coaches to whom I will always remain grateful. 

"I retire from international cricket as a fulfilled cricketer who ticked most of the goals he had set for himself. Not many cricketers go on to lead their countries, and that I was able to captain Pakistan is a matter of great pride for me.

"From being a kid who started as a leg-spinner to becoming a mainstay in the Test batting line-up, I had the loveliest moments of my life that I will cherish forever."

Captain Pat Cummins will make his return for Australia's first Test against South Africa at the Gabba.

The paceman was absent for Australia's series-sealing second-Test win over the West Indies last week, a match that saw Steve Smith stand in as skipper, due to a quad injury.

Cummins is ready to face Dean Elgar's men, though, and will replace Michael Neser in the only change to the XI.

With Josh Hazlewood still out with an ongoing side strain, Cummins will form part of a bowling attack that includes Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc, all-rounder Cameron Green, and spinner Nathan Lyon.

Speaking on Friday, Cummins said about a Gabba pitch that looks favourable for pace bowling: "A couple of the boys said it's similar to what they've seen here in the past. It looks like there's a bit of grass. So, we'll see how it looks tomorrow.

"They'll give it a final cut. It always looks pretty green here a couple of days out, then on the morning of day one it looks a bit different."

The series is the first time South Africa have played Test cricket in Australia since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, which led to bans for Aussie trio Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

The first Test starts on Saturday, with two more contests scheduled to begin at the MCG and SCG on December 26 and January 4 respectively.

Teenager Rehan Ahmed is in line to become England's youngest men's Test debutant as the tourists prepare for their third and final red-ball clash with Pakistan.

The 18-year-old, who was added to the senior squad after impressing in an Abu Dhabi camp ahead of the team flying out, was passed over for the first two matches.

With Liam Livingstone having suffered a tour-ending injury in the opener, however, Ahmed is the only recognised wrist-spinner England have ahead of their last match in Karachi.

Having favoured the additional slow options of Joe Root and Will Jacks on flat pitches so far, captain Ben Stokes has revealed Ahmed could well figure as the tourists look to complete a clean sweep. 

"We've been thinking about it," he said. "We can't go into too much detail until me and Baz [head coach Brendon McCullum] have had a look at the wicket.

"When we spoke about having Rehan into the squad, it was more than just bringing him in and integrating him into the squad. We did speak about us having no issues with selecting him if we felt it was the right option.

"I don't think this is a case of, if he was to play, of giving caps away. We picked him in the squad not just because of his talent, but because we thought it would be a good opportunity to play if we thought it was necessary."

Ahmed was not originally in the squad named for the tour, but a maiden cap would round out a breakthrough year that saw him impress in the Under-19 World Cup and earn a spot with Southern Brave in the Hundred.

"Having a wrist-spinner is always exciting, especially for England," Stokes added.

"But [we are] not getting too carried away with the potential that he has, because he is only young, and you've still got to nurture talent, even how exciting it is."

If Ahmed were to play, he would be 18 years and 126 days - surpassing legendary captain Brian Close who was 18 years and 149 days when making his debut in 1949.

The youngest ever England Test debutant was Holly Colvin, who was 15 years and 336 days when playing for England women against Australia in 2005.

England seamer Ollie Robinson feared he would have to bring his career to an early end due to injury,

The 29-year-old has played a big part in England's first Test series win in Pakistan, taking five wickets in Rawalpindi and three in Multan.

Robinson had suffered a series of injury setbacks and came in for criticism for his lack of fitness during the Ashes series hammering in Australia at the start of this year.

Back issues badly hampered Robinson and he was concerned that his playing days could be over.

"I kept coming back to full fitness, then getting an injury or illness, then another injury," he told BBC Sport.

"There were points when I didn't think I was going to play for England again, or play cricket again.

"I thought 'I might have to look at what else I can do here, I don't think I'm going to be able to carry on playing cricket'."

England will attempt to secure a whitewash of Pakistan in a third and final Test that starts at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

Robinson is savouring a special tour following such a challenging period.

"It's probably the toughest 12 months I've had as a professional cricketer," said Sussex's Robinson.

"It's a really proud tour for me, in the fact my body has got through it, I've bowled well and I've proved to the world I can do it in any conditions.

"It's been tough and there have been some dark days, but series wins like this make it all worthwhile."

Akeal Hosein and Andre Russell played key roles in the Melbourne Renegades opening its Big Bash League season with a 22-run win over Brisbane Heat at Cairns on Thursday.

Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj did the damage as India dominated day two of the first Test against Bangladesh at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

The tourists put on 111 for the last three wickets to post 404 all out in Chattogram and Bangladesh were in trouble on 133-8 at stumps in reply after losing six wickets in the final session on Thursday, trailing by 271 runs.

India were 293-7 when Shreyas Iyer was bowled by Ebadot Hossain for 86, but Ravichandran Ashwin made 58 and Kuldeep 40 to get them up to an imposing total.

Taijul Islam (4-133) and Mehidy Hasan (4-112) took four wickets apiece For the Tigers, with Iyer dropped three times and getting another life on day one when an Ebadot delivery struck his off stump, but the bails stayed on.

Siraj had Najmul Hossain Shanto caught behind with the first ball of Bangladesh's innings and Umesh Yadav got in on the act by bowling Yasir Ali, reducing Bangladesh to 5-2.

The wickets continued to tumble as Kuldeep and Siraj tore through the Tigers, with Zakir Hasan, Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim getting starts but falling to go on.

Kuldeep took 4-33 and Siraj was superb with the new ball, claiming 3-14 as India took command. Mehidy and Ebadot prevented further damage being done by combining for an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 31.

Kuldeep delivers late birthday presents

Tweaker Kuldeep celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday and celebrated a day later by making an impact with bat and ball.

Playing his first Test since February 2021, he struck four boundaries in a 114-ball knock, proving excellent support for Ashwin in an eighth-wicket stand of 92.

Kuldeep was also on the money with ball in hand, captain Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur among his victims.

Siraj the spearhead

The Bangladesh batters had no answer to seamer Siraj, who set the tone by striking with his first delivery.

He also had Zakir Hasan caught behind by Rishabh Pant and got one to nip in and clean up Das.

Australian duo Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Starc insist the side has moved on from the 2018 sandpaper scandal that rocked the team last time they met South Africa in a Test series.

Australia and the Proteas will lock horns for the first time since the fateful 2018 tour of South Africa in a three-game Test series starting on Saturday at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The 2018 scandal rocked Australian cricket, leading to Steve Smith and David Warner's 12-month bans, along with the loss of their leadership positions. Head coach Darren Lehmann stepped aside, with Justin Langer instilled in the aftermath to restore the team's reputation.

Khawaja was part of the side for the third Test in Cape Town in 2018 when the ball tampering saga emerged but said those ghosts had been banished.

"It honestly hasn't been and I'm being genuine," Khawaja told reporters on Thursday when asked if the sandpaper scandal had been discussed internally. "It's because time heals all wounds.

"The guys have come so far from there, both as individual players, but also as a team.

"Everyone's got so many different things going on in their life from where they were four years ago. That actually gave guys a lot of perspective.

"Australian cricket, both as a whole and as individual as players, we were probably at rock bottom right there."

Starc was also part of that Australian side in Cape Town, but echoed Khawaja's sentiments.

"I think both teams have probably evolved since," Starc said. "It's been an evolution of our group across the formats.

"We're very happy, chilled, relaxed, [in an] enjoyable environment and hopefully it's going to show in our cricket and result in a positive performance in these three Tests."

Faf du Plessis, who was the South Africa captain during the 2018 series, fueled the flames ahead of the series with an extract in his newly released book, accusing Smith of "milking" physical contact with Kagiso Rabada in the first Test of that tour.

The 2018 series was full of intensity, with the Smith-Rabada clash one of many heated incidents leading up to the fateful sandpaper scandal.

"This episode has almost been forgotten against the backdrop of what the series still had up its sleeve, or more accurately, down its trousers," Du Plessis wrote.

"They brushed shoulders during one of KG’s overs but Smith milked it like a football player. We knew that KG was one demerit point away from a suspension."

West Indies Women’s captain Hayley Matthews bagged a three-for but could not prevent 16 run loss to England who took an overall 2-0 lead in the ongoing T20 series on Wednesday.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, England Women put up an average 141 for 6 in their stint at the crease.  The team was led by an enterprising 43 runs from 43 deliveries from opener Sophia Dunkley, who gave England a solid start with partner Danni Wyatt.

Dunkley and Wyatt put 36 on the board before Afy Fletcher broke the partnership, after bowling Wyatt for 20.  Following the dismissal of Lauren Winfield-Hill, Heather Knight became the first of Matthew’s wickets.  She was caught by Karishma Ramharack on 4. 

Matthews then also accounted for Dunkley, who was stumped by Knight.  A new-look England line-up then struggled to put together solid partnerships after that managing just 31 off the last five overs.

In pursuit of the target, the West Indies started out at 21 without loss but Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean were then introduced to the attack with great success. 

Davies got the breakthrough when she removed Aaliyah Alleyne, who made 16 from 14. Dean then the important wicket of Matthews to leave the team struggling at 23 for 2 after the first 4 over.  The Windies never recovered and eventually fell short at 125 for 8.  Dean ended with figures of 3 for 22, while Bell claimed 2 for 21.

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