Australia's three-match T20I series against New Zealand has been cancelled, it has emerged.

Cricket Australia (CA) said the planned fixtures in March had been shelved "due to New Zealand's border controls and quarantine requirements".

The three matches were due to be played in Napier, on March 17, 18 and 20.

Yet the travel restrictions between the two countries, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, mean Australia would not be able to make the trip.

In a statement on its website, CA said: "The three-match series, scheduled for March 17-20 at McLean Park in Napier, was initially arranged with the New Zealand government's plan to relax restrictions at the trans-Tasman border in mind.

"However, with those plans now substantially delayed, the decision was made to abandon the series."

CA chief executive Nick Hockley added: "We thank NZ Cricket for making every effort to host the series, but unfortunately it wasn't possible given the border restrictions and quarantine requirements."

The teams are due to clash in the short format later in the year at the T20 World Cup. The October 22 match at the SCG in Sydney will be the opening game for both sides in that tournament.

New Zealand have announced their side for the upcoming first Test against South Africa, including maiden Test call-ups for Blair Tickner and Cam Fletcher.

Colin de Grandhomme and Hamish Rutherford have also been recalled for the first Test in Christchurch, which begins on February 17, though captain Kane Williamson and key bowler Trent Boult missed out.

Fletcher is the highest run-scorer for Canterbury in the ongoing Plunket Shield, hitting 344 runs in four games, and will be cover for wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, while Tickner adds depth to New Zealand's bowling attack, having claimed 14 wickets in four matches this season.

"Cam has been excellent across the three formats for Canterbury over the past couple of seasons, producing consistent and often match-winning performances for his team," New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said.

"Blair's been a consistent performer in the Plunket Shield over the past few seasons, and we felt his pace, bounce and aggression covered our bases should we lose a pace bowler to injury."

All-rounder De Grandhomme earns a recall as does Rutherford, who is back in the Test side after seven years away and has scored 371 runs in four matches this season for Otago, and hit 171 for his country against England back in 2013.

Williamson remains sidelined by an elbow injury and will miss the two-match series, with Tom Latham continuing as captain, while Boult sits out the first Test as he awaits the birth of his third child.

Eddie Jones insists Tom Curry is the perfect choice to lead England into their Six Nations campaign as he compared his new captain to New Zealand great Richie McCaw.

With Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes ruled out through injury, Curry was named as skipper on Thursday ahead of this weekend's opening clash against Scotland.

At the age of 23, Curry becomes England's youngest captain since 22-year-old Will Carling in 1988, yet the youngster already has 36 senior caps to his name.

Curry also has experience of representing the British and Irish Lions, and England boss Jones is comfortable with his choice to hand the Sale Sharks flanker the armband.

"Captaincy is not about the number of caps, it's about the person who can lead a group of players by example," Jones said at his pre-match news conference.

"There is no better player in our squad than Tom to do that. He reminds me of a young Richie McCaw."

McCaw earned 148 Test caps for New Zealand across a celebrated career that saw him win two World Cups and three World Player of the Year awards.

England begin their quest for a fourth Six Nations title in seven attempts under Jones with a trip to Scotland on Saturday.

The Red Rose have won only one of the past four Calcutta Cup clashes, having previously won eight in a row, which Jones believes makes his side second favourites this week.

"It's all about getting the team on the front foot. That goes in line with how we want to play the game," Jones said.

"We want to go up there and take Scotland on. It's the first time I'm going up there as underdogs and where Scotland are red-hot favourites. They're expected to win.

"Every time the players will look at the crowd, they will feel that expectation. They've got to cope with that. There will be 62,000 fans and they'll be thinking about all the fans watching on TV. They've got to carry that burden. Every game is the same for us.

"We're always expected to win, so it's no different for us. We've had a really good preparation and feel we have enough in our set-piece to get an advantage."

England have included seven players with 10 caps or fewer in their starting XV for the showdown at Murrayfield.

Scotland have gone with a more experienced side, with the headline news being Jonny Gray's return after missing the autumn series through injury.

Stuart Hogg will once again captain the side at full-back, with replacement Ben White the only uncapped player in the squad.

 

Scotland team: Hogg (c); Graham, Harris, Johnson, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: McInally, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M Bradbury, White, Kinghorn, Tuipulotu.


England team: Steward; Malins, Daly, Slade, Marchant; Smith, Youngs; Genge, Cowan-Dickie, Sinckler, Itoje, Isiekwe, Ludlam, Curry (c), Simmonds.

Replacements: George, Marler, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Randall, Ford, Nowell.

Simon Harmer has been named in the South Africa squad for the tour of New Zealand, more than six years after his last Test appearance.

The off-spinner has been added to a 17-man squad in place of George Linde, who is unavailable because of his impending wedding, while Prenelan Subrayen is also out due to a groin injury.

Harmer has not played for the Proteas at Test level since the tour of India in 2015, with his fifth and most recent appearance coming in Nagpur in November that year.

The 32-year-old signed a Kolpak deal with Essex in 2017 as his international opportunities appeared limited and promptly helped the club to their first County Championship title in 25 years, taking 72 wickets including a career-best 8-36 performance against Warwickshire.

Overall, he has taken 303 wickets in 61 matches since his last Test outing, more than any other bowler across the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy in that period.

Harmer is the third former Kolpak player to earn a recall since the system ended after the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union at the end of January last year, after Wayne Parnell and Duanne Olivier.

Twenty-three-year-old Lutho Sipamla has also been included for the two-match series that begins in Christchurch on February 16.

Victor Mpitsang, Cricket South Africa's convenor of selectors, said: "Our Test team has been successful under the strong leadership of Dean Elgar and his deputy, Temba Bavuma, and have returned good results in recent times. We are confident that they will continue in the same vein, as they head off to New Zealand.

"The inclusions of Simon and Lutho reaffirm our intentions as a panel, to reward excellence on the field and the pair have let their work speak on their behalf this past season.

"We wish Dean, coach Mark Boucher and the team all the best for the series and safe travels."

T20 World Cup holders Australia will face 2021 finalists New Zealand in the Super 12s stage of this year's tournament.

Australia triumphed over their trans-Tasman rivals by eight wickets in the final of last year's competition in the United Arab Emirates to clinch the T20 World Cup for the first time.

Aaron Finch's team will look to defend their title on home soil later this year, with the World Cup running from October 16 to November 13.

Sri Lanka, champions in 2014, start the preliminary round – which also includes 2016 winners West Indies – against Namibia, with the Super 12s starting on October 22.

The first fixture will be a repeat of last year's final, with New Zealand taking on Australia in Sydney.

England, who lost to New Zealand in the 2021 semi-finals, and Afghanistan are also in the same group.

India, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh will face off in Group 2. 

Pakistan and India go head-to-head in Melbourne on October 23.

The semi-finals will take place on November 9 and 10.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has confirmed the Black Caps' limited-overs tour of Australia has been postponed until further notice over a lack of clarity as to when the team could return home.

Australia were scheduled to welcome their trans-Tasman rivals for three ODIs and a solitary T20I, with New Zealand set to be in the country from January 24 to February 9.

However, the New Zealand government has been unable to relax strict quarantine rules that have been imposed in response to the Omicron wave of coronavirus.

The conditions for re-entry into the country mean travellers have to undergo a 10-day period of hard quarantine.

As such, NZC has confirmed the tour has been shelved for the time being and discussions with Cricket Australia over when the matches can be played are ongoing.

"As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers," said NZC chief executive David White.

"NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand, in the hope that might be more achievable for the government.

"But we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this, either."

Ross Taylor marked the end of his record-breaking Test career with a rare wicket to clinch victory for New Zealand over Bangladesh in Christchurch.

The veteran batsman, who made his Test debut in November 2007 and scored 7,683 runs for the Black Caps in 112 games, enjoyed a fairy tale finish.

Captain Tom Latham invited the occasional off-spinner to have a bowl as New Zealand sought the final wicket they needed to wrap up an innings win.

It was just the eighth Test innings in which Taylor has bowled, and from his third delivery he had Ebadot Hossain caught by Latham at midwicket.

A slog by the Bangladesh number 11 went skywards before Latham showed composure to gather the falling ball.

That gave Taylor a third Test wicket and figures of 1-0, although his best figures remain the 2-4 he took against India in Ahmedabad in 2010.

New Zealand, for whom Latham made 252 in a first-innings total of 521-6, won the Test by an innings and 117 runs after bowling out the visitors for 278 second time around.

After the embarrassing defeat in Mount Maunganui last time out, it meant the two-Test series ended in a draw.

Taylor told broadcaster Spark Sport: "I suppose if you bowl in those situations a bit more often, you get the wicket. It's a great way to finish.

"We needed to win this game to stay in the series. I thought we played fantastically well.

"Bangladesh put us under pressure a lot of times. It's probably a fair reflection of where the series was at.

"But I wanted to finish with the win and the guys definitely gave that to me. The way we came out and bowled and put them under pressure after posting a very good total put us in good stead.

"It was an emotional game for me, my family and friends, and the team-mates as well, but it was good to get the win."

David Warner insists he relishes his Ashes battles with Stuart Broad despite being dismissed by the England bowler for the 13th time in Test cricket.

The Australia batter, who has twice come close to a century amid a dominant series for the hosts, was removed for 30 by the returning Broad on day one of the fourth Test.

Australia, who lead 3-0, closed on 126-3 at the SCG after only 46.5 overs of play were possible due to rain.

Broad had been left out of two of the first three matches and this week expressed his frustration over England's failure given he has "not really done anything" and missed the chance to play on favourable pitches.

Another veteran England bowler, James Anderson, who missed the first Test earlier in the series, also struck on Wednesday, removing Marcus Harris for 38.

And Warner suggested Australia are glad to be up against two of the world's top bowlers.

"I really enjoy giving you guys a good story, which is fantastic and it builds up the game," Warner said of his duels with Broad, who had him caught by Zak Crawley.

"Me and Broady love it when we're out there. It's good fun, good funny banter. 

"I tried to drive the ball too straight, that was my disappointment, but it's awesome to see Broady back out there.

"He's a world-class bowler. Him and Jimmy Anderson bowling at us is great. 

"Obviously, they would have been disappointed with some of these Test matches, not playing together, but that's for their selection panel. 

"It's great to come up against the world's best from England."

Mark Wood removed Marnus Labuschagne (28) before the close as Australia struggled to build on a strong start that had seen them reach 111-1.

It means Steve Smith (6 not out) and Usman Khawaja (4no) will be under pressure when they return to the crease on Thursday.

England are looking to avoid a 5-0 whitewash, a fate they have suffered twice in Australia since the turn of the century.

Amid their struggles, former England batsman Rob Key cannot comprehend why Broad has not been a regular.

He told Sky Sports: "You absolutely have bogey bowlers. I had about 18!

"For David Warner, it is Broad - which makes it even more ridiculous that Broad did not play that first Test in Brisbane. 

"Warner would have been sat there thinking, 'I could really do without facing this bloke'.

"All Warner's preparation would have been about how he was going to combat and defeat Broad and score runs against him – and then England don't pick him! This just shows how poor a decision that was.

"Now Broad has ended up playing on the two pitches so far with the least amount of movement and missed out on the two pitches that would have done a lot for him."

Mark Wood is eager to inflict more torment on Marnus Labuschagne after dismissing the prolific Australia batter on a rain-affected first day of the fourth Ashes Test.

Australia closed on 126-3 after Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat first at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Only 46.5 overs were bowled due to poor weather, with rain preventing England from making further inroads.

Stuart Broad got rid of David Warner (30) for the 13th time in the longest format and James Anderson had Marcus Harris (38) caught by Joe Root in the slips before Labuschagne edged Wood through to Jos Buttler.

England fast bowler Wood hopes he can claim the scalp of Labuschagne time and again after sending the top-ranked Test batter in the world on his way for 28.

The paceman said: "I'm delighted to get Marnus because he's a top player. I know we've had this bowl fuller thing but I think we have to hit the wicket hard and make them play as much as we can.

"Thankfully I made Marnus play, it wasn't an easy ball to leave, and he managed to edge it.

"I'd love to have a Broad v Warner thing with him. Anybody would love that when they think they've got a chance to get someone out.

"The ball before, Marnus hit me for four so I just tried to zone in a bit more. I knew the ball before was loose but I got this one spot on.

"You want to test yourself against the best players. I've been a bit frustrated in that I've felt in good rhythm and have been bowling well in this series without getting the wickets I would have liked but to get big players like that out makes you very happy."

Wood revealed he had been suffering from illness ahead of the fourth Test as England battle to avoid a 5-0 whitewash.

He said: "I had a bit of a rough night but I managed to keep just enough energy for the day.

"I had a bit of a stomach problem but I'm hoping that with a good night's rest and some food inside me I'll be right as rain tomorrow."

Although England were frustrated by rain, Wood was delighted they got the opportunity to remove Harris and Labuschagne before play was called off for the day.

"It could have been a good opportunity for us to get another couple of wickets but after a stop-start sort of day to get a couple towards the close was a big deal," he added.

Ebadot Hossain was sky high after the seamer and Bangladesh Air Force soldier ripped through New Zealand's batting line-up in a historic Test victory in Mount Maunganui.

Bangladesh secured a sensational first win in New Zealand in any format on the final day to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Seamer Hossain claimed career-best figures of 6-46 as world champions the Black Caps were bowled out for only 169, setting the tourists just 40 to win.

Bangladesh reached their target for the loss of two wickets and Hossain revelled in a famous eight-wicket win for the Tigers.

He said: "On New Zealand soil, our brothers and teams didn't get a win in the last 21 years. We set a goal this time. We raised our hand.

"We have to beat New Zealand on their own soil. They are Test champions, our next generation has to beat New Zealand.

"In the last two years, I am working with Ottis Gibson [Bangladesh fast bowling coach]. Conditions are always flat at home. We are still learning how to bowl and reverse in away conditions. I am trying to hit the top of the stumps. I needed to be a little patient for success to come.

"I am a soldier of Bangladesh Air Force, so I know how to do the salute. It was a long story, from volleyball to cricket. I am enjoying cricket, representing Bangladesh and Bangladesh Air Force."

Stand-in captain Tom Latham says the Black Caps must show a strong response to a painful defeat when they attempt to draw the series at Hagley Oval.

He said: "We weren't quite there in all three facets really, Bangladesh certainly showed us how to go about things on that wicket. They were able to build partnerships, apply a lot of pressure and unfortunately we weren't able to do it for long enough.

"There have been only two Test matches here, both matches have been similar, probably a little bit slower than what we expected and did not quite break up as much.

"We sort of knew what it would be like, probably looking back at the first innings, the position we were in - if we get 450, then it's probably a different story but full credit to Bangladesh, they thoroughly deserve the win.

"It hurts but we have got to turn to Christchurch in a few days' time and hopefully we will take the learnings from this and apply them to what will be a different surface at Hagley.

"Every individual has to reflect on their learnings from what was a slightly different surface here and our focus has got to turn to Hagley and hopefully we can put up a good performance there."

Legendary batter Ross Taylor will end his long international career at the conclusion of New Zealand's home summer.

Taylor has established himself as a Black Caps great, scoring a record 18,074 runs in 445 appearances for his country.

The classy 37-year-old made his New Zealand debut back in 2006 and has gone on to become the only player to feature in 100 games in all formats.

Taylor has crafted an incredible 40 hundreds for the Black Caps and made 93 half-centuries, averaging 44.87 in Tests, 48.20 in ODIs and 26.15 in Twenty20 Internationals.

The former New Zealand captain announced on the eve of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh that his international career will end in 2022 following ODIs versus Australia and the Netherlands.

"It's been an amazing journey and I feel incredibly fortunate to have represented my country for as long as I have," he said.

"It's been such a privilege to play with and against some of the greats of the game and to have created so many memories and friendships along the way.

"But all good things must come to an end and the timing feels right for me. I want to thank my family, friends and all those who have helped me get to this point.

"There'll be plenty of time for more thank yous and reflections later in the season – but for now I want all my energy and focus to be on preparing and performing for the Black Caps this summer."

Black Caps head coach Gary Stead said: "Ross has always been a hugely respected member of the side and we’re thankful for his contributions to the Black Caps over an incredible career.

"His skills and temperament as a batsman have been world-class and his ability to perform at such a high level for so long speaks volumes of his longevity and professionalism.

"His experience has held the side together on countless occasions and his catching record [346, the most by a New Zealand fielder] speaks for itself. There's no doubt we’re going to miss him when he's gone.

"Seeing him hit the winning runs in Southampton to help win our first ICC world title is a moment I will never forget and I'm sure it's the same for many of the fans.

"I know Ross is really focused on performing well in these remaining series and going out on the right note."

Among the many highlights in Taylor's career was his 290 against at the WACA in November 2015, the highest Test score by a visiting batter in Australia.

New Zealand will tour Pakistan twice in 2022-23 after the two boards reached an agreement in Dubai last month.

The Black Caps pulled out of a limited-overs series in Pakistan at the last minute due to a government security alert.

Kane Williamson's side will be back in the country to play two Tests and three ODIs from December next year to January 2023.

They will then return for five ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals in April 2023 to make up for not facing Pakistan this year.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said: "Our respective chairmen, Ramiz Raja and Martin Snedden, had very fruitful and constructive discussions while in Dubai, further strengthening the bond between the two organisations It’s good to be going back."

Raja the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, said: "I am pleased with the outcomes of our discussions and negotiations, and thank Martin Snedden and his board for their understanding and support.

"This reflects the strong, cordial and historic relations the two boards have, and reconfirms Pakistan's status as an important member of the cricket fraternity."

India have cruised to a 372-run victory after swiftly bowling out New Zealand on day four to claim their two-game Test series 1-0.

Jayant Yadav claimed four wickets within nine legal deliveries after the Black Caps resumed at 140-5 chasing an improbable 540 on the fourth day in Mumbai, eventually dismissing the visitors for 167.

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal was named Player of the Match after his first innings 150 set up the win, backing that up with a second innings half-century.

New Zealand left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel had taken a sensational 10-wicket haul in the first innings but the Black Caps struggled for runs, making only 229 for the game.

The margin was India's biggest win by runs in Test history, along with New Zealand's most significant runs defeat. It was also India's 14th consecutive Test series triumph at home.

Ashwin reaches 300 Test scalps at home

Ravichandran Ashwin fittingly claimed the final wicket to secure victory for India, with overnight batsman Henry Nicholls (44) stumped by Wriddhiman Saha, securing eight scalps for the game, with 34-4 in the second innings.

The 35-year-old off-spinner was India's most fruitful bowler for the game but also brought up his 300th wicket on home soil with Nicholls' dismissal. The wicket also was Ashwin's 50th for the calendar year.

Ashwin had feasted on New Zealand's tail-end in the first innings, but claimed four of the top five in the second.

Agarwal exceeds history maker

The exceptional nature of Agarwal's game was underlined by the fact he won Player of the Match honours ahead of someone who took the third 10-wicket haul in Test cricket history.

Agarwal made 212 runs for the game, 17 shy of New Zealand's entire total and his contribution did not stop there, taking the catch for tail-ender Will Somerville's wicket on the fourth day, the ninth to fall.

India have cruised to a 372-run victory after swiftly bowling out New Zealand on day four to claim their two-game Test series 1-0.

Jayant Yadav claimed four wickets within nine legal deliveries after the Black Caps resumed at 140-5 chasing an improbable 540 on the fourth day in Mumbai, eventually dismissing the visitors for 167.

Indian opener Mayank Agarwal was named Player of the Match after his first innings 150 set up the win, backing that up with a second innings half-century.

New Zealand left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel had taken a sensational 10-wicket haul in the first innings but the Black Caps struggled for runs, making only 229 for the game.

The margin was India's biggest win by runs in Test history, along with New Zealand's most significant runs defeat. It was also India's 14th consecutive Test series triumph at home.

Ashwin reaches 300 Test scalps at home

Ravichandran Ashwin fittingly claimed the final wicket to secure victory for India, with overnight batsman Henry Nicholls (44) stumped by Wriddhiman Saha, securing eight scalps for the game, with 34-4 in the second innings.

The 35-year-old off-spinner was India's most fruitful bowler for the game but also brought up his 300th wicket on home soil with Nicholls' dismissal. The wicket also was Ashwin's 50th for the calendar year.

Ashwin had feasted on New Zealand's tail-end in the first innings, but claimed four of the top five in the second.

Agarwal exceeds history maker

The exceptional nature of Agarwal's game was underlined by the fact he won Player of the Match honours ahead of someone who took the third 10-wicket haul in Test cricket history.

Agarwal made 212 runs for the game, 17 shy of New Zealand's entire total and his contribution did not stop there, taking the catch for tail-ender Will Somerville's wicket on the fourth day, the ninth to fall.

Ravichandran Ashwin struck three times as India closed in on a series victory after Ajaz Patel claimed New Zealand's second-best Test match figures on day three at the Wankhede Stadium.

India declared on 276-7 in Mumbai on Sunday to set the Black Caps a highly improbable 540 to win, and the tourists are facing a crushing defeat in the second and final Test of the series after closing on 140-5.

Patel became only the third bowler to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings on day two and the New Zealand spinner finished with incredible match figures of 14-225, surpassing Ian Botham's 13-106 in Mumbai in 1989 as the best taken against India.

It was very much India's day once again, though, after Mayank Agarwal top scored with 62, having made a magnificent century in the first innings.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill made 47 apiece, while captain Virat Kohli chipped in with 36 before Axar Patel smashed an unbeaten 41 off 26 deliveries.

Ashwin (3-27) came to the fore yet again on a challenging surface after Kohli declared late in the afternoon session, removing openers Tom Latham and Will Young before sending Ross Taylor on his way.

Daryl Mitchell (60) played with great assurance as New Zealand moved beyond their embarrassing first-innings total off 62 all out until he holed out off the bowling of Axar and Tom Blundell was run out for a duck.

Henry Nicholls batted with admirable patience and was still there on 36 at stumps, but India are on the brink of gaining a measure of revenge for their defeat in the inaugural World Test Championship final.

 

Patel only second to Hadlee

Spinner Patel shot to prominence with his astonishing display with the ball in his city of birth on Saturday.

The 33-year-old tweaker's one-man show continued when he dismissed Agarwal and Pujara before Rachin Ravindra (3-56) became the first Black Caps bowler other than Patel to take a wicket in the match, Gill the man to become his first Test victim.

Only Richard Hadlee has claimed better match figures for New Zealand than Patel, when the legendary all-rounder took 15-123 against Australia in November 1985.


Ashwin ending memorable year on a high note

It has been an outstanding year for Ashwin, who followed up his devastating first-innings exploits by reaching the 50-wicket landmark for 2021.

The wily Ashwin took 4-8 on day two and the New Zealand batsmen struggled to read him once again, Latham pinned lbw before Young was caught at short leg and Taylor's positive approach did not pay off when he was taken by Pujara.

Mitchell and Nicholls made a fight out it in a stand of 73, but Ashwin looks poised to take yet another five-wicket haul with two days remaining.

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