The Barbados Pride, defending champions Guyana Harpy Eagles and the Windward Islands Volcanoes all look set to close out round three of the 2024 West Indies Championship with outright wins while the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force are locked in an interesting battle with the Leeward Islands Hurricanes ahead of Saturday’s fourth and final day.

First at Sabina Park where the Pride had the Jamaica Scorpions reeling in their second innings at 220-8 off 63 overs at stumps, a lead of just 100 runs.

The Pride had earlier amassed 389 all out off 120 overs after starting the day 315-6. Kraigg Brathwaite, who entered Friday 129* wound up making 142 while Shane Dowrich finished with 44 after entering the day 19*.

Derval Green ended up with 4-78 off 31 overs while Peat Salmon picked up 3-94 from 34 overs for the hosts.

Jamaica’s second innings saw a number of batsmen get off to good starts but none were able to get a big score. Abhijai Mansingh has led the way with 54, his fourth first-class fifty, while Leroy Lugg (43), Kirk McKenzie (39) and Carlos Brown (35) also chipped in.

Debutant Shaquille Cumberbatch has led the charge with the ball for the Pride with 4-22 off nine overs while Kevin Wickham has picked up 2-26 from seven overs.

Full Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 269 all out off 78.4 overs (Romaine Morris 97*, Carlos Brown 40, Kirk McKenzie 40, Jomel Warrican 5-62, Jair McAllister 3-69) & 220-8 off 63 overs (Abhijai Mansingh 54, Leroy Lugg 43, Kirk McKenzie 39, Carlos Brown 35, Shaquille Cumberbatch 4-22, Kevin Wickham 2-26)

Barbados Pride 389 all out off 120 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 142, Kevin Wickham 63, Shane Dowrich 44, Jonathan Drakes 31, Derval Green 4-78, Peat Salmon 3-94)

Elsewhere in Jamaica, at Chedwin Park in St. Catherine to be exact, the Combined Campuses and Colleges ended day three 271-6 in their second innings, leading the Windward Islands Volcanoes by just 80 runs.

The Windwards, after entering Friday 359-8 off 100 overs, went on to post an imposing 395 all out off 105.4 overs in their first innings.

Kavem Hodge, who entered the day 131*, carried his bat through the innings on his way to a career best 158* off 251 balls including 16 fours and a six.

Romario Greaves ended up with 5-142 off 38 overs for the CCC.

With the bat, Jonathan Carter almost got his second century of the season, being dismissed for 94 to lead the CCC second innings scoring, so far.

Greaves, who is having a fine all-round showing, ended day three on 62* off 117 balls including five fours and two sixes.

Earlier, opener Damel Evelyn followed up his 43 in the first innings with 56 in the second.

Shamar Springer has taken 2-33 in 13 overs for the Volcanoes.

Full Scores: Combined Campuses & Colleges 204 all out off 71.3 overs (Demario Richards 46, Damel Evelyn 43, Darel Cyrus 6-72, Gilon Tyson 3-32) & 271-6 off 81 overs (Jonathan Carter 94, Romario Greaves 62*, Damel Evelyn 56, Shamar Springer 2-33)

Windward Islands Volcanoes 395 all out off 105.4 overs (Kavem Hodge 158*, Sunil Ambris 120, Romario Greaves 5-142, Jediah Blades 2-35, Govasta Edmond 2-54)

Moving to the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua where the defending champions, Guyana Harpy Eagles, are on the brink of a dominant victory over the West Indies Academy.

The Harpy Eagles entered Friday 165-5 off 65 overs, leading the Academy by 178 runs. They went on to pile up a massive 415-7 declared leaving the Academy needing a massive 429 to win.

Kevin Sinclair, the hero with the ball in the first innings, led the way with a magnificent 165* off 182 balls, his first century in first-class cricket, including 26 fours. Kemol Savory also batted well for a 68-ball 58 including eight fours and a six.

Ronaldo Ali Mohamed and Veerasammy Permaul also provided useful cameos at the end of the innings with 318 and 29*, respectively.

Ashmead Nedd was the pick of the bowlers for the Academy with 5-97 off 45 overs.

At stumps, the Academy reached 161-7 off 40 overs, needing a further 268 runs for victory on Saturday.

West Indies Under-19 representative Jordan Johnson led the way with 54 against 3-32 off eight overs from Isai Thorne, who also represented the West Indies at the recently concluded ICC U-19 World Cup in South Africa. Sinclair has also picked up 2-30 from 11 overs in the second innings.

Full Scores: Guyana Harpy Eagles 175 all out off 54.3 overs (Ronaldo Ali Mohamed 30, Matthew Nandu 28, Joshua James 4-43, Johann Layne 2-27, Joshua Bishop 2-31) & 415-7 dec. off 112.1 overs (Kevin Sinclair 165*, Kemol Savory 58, Kevlon Anderson 49, Ashmead Nedd 5-97)

West Indies Academy 162 all out off 49 overs (Rashawn Worrell 58, Joshua Bishop 51, Kevin Sinclair 4-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-15, Gudakesh Motie 3-31) & 161-7 off 40 overs (Jordan Johnson 54, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett 34, Isai Thorne 3-32, Kevin Sinclair 2-30)

Finally, we go to Warner Park in St. Kitts where the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force were 285-6 at stumps on day three, leading the Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 104 runs.

The Red Force entered the day 48-0 off 18 overs replying to the Hurricanes first innings total of 318.

Jyd Goolie continued his good form with the bat this season with 64 to lead the Red Force charge so far.

Jason Mohammed (49), Tion Webster (38), Cephas Cooper (36), Terrance Hinds (34) and Captain Joshua Da Silva (32) all got starts but weren’t able to carry on to a big score.

Rakheem Cornwall has led the Hurricanes bowling do far with 3-56 off 29 overs while Jeremiah Louis has picked up 2-70 from 18 overs.

Full Scores: Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 137 all out off 60.2 overs (Jyd Goolie 30, Collin Archibald 3-28, Jeremiah Louis 3-38, Rakheem Cornwall 2-5, Daniel Doram 2-32) & 285-6 off 108 overs (Jyd Goolie 64, Jason Mohammed 49, Tion Webster 38, Cephas Cooper 36, Terrance Hinds 34, Joshua Da Silva 32, Rakheem Cornwall 3-56)

Leeward Islands Hurricanes 318 all out off 98.2 overs (Jewel Andrew 87, Kieran Powell 65, Jeremiah Louis 41, Mikyle Louis 32, Anderson Phillip 4-62, Brian Charles 3-81)

 

The best women’s cricketers in the West Indies will be back in action as Cricket West Indies (CWI) returns to St. Kitts for the hosting of the CG United Super50 Cup and the T20 Blaze regional tournaments. 

The CG United Super50 Cup matches will be played at three venues – Warner Park, the Conaree Cricket Centre, and St. Paul’s Sports Complex from 4 to 25 March with the 50 over matches starting at 10am local time.  

The T20 Blaze will feature five full days of entertainment for the fans from 17 to 25 March at Warner Park. There will be three matches per day – starting at 10am, 2:30 pm and 7 pm (under lights). 

Barbados are the defending champions in both the CG United Super50 Cup and T20 Blaze. The other teams are the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force Divas, Guyana, Jamaica, Windward Islands and hosts Leeward Islands. 

The Tournament starts a busy year for the West Indies Women, which see them play all their international matches away, starting with Pakistan in April, Sri Lanka in June, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in October, finishing with a tour of India in December. 

 CWI’s Director of cricket, Miles Bascombe said, "This year's CG United Super50 Cup and T20 Blaze will be a great opportunity to build on what we started in 2023, with the creation of the West Indies Women’s Academy and the commendable performance of the Under 19 Women’s team in the historic inaugural ICC Women’s U19 Cricket World Cup last year. 2024 is a packed year in the women’s calendar with three away bi-lateral series in Asia along with an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. The ladies have the perfect opportunity to put their names forward for selection into any of these squads by their performances in the CG United Super50 and T20 Blaze tournaments. We are all looking forward to some scintillating performances over in St. Kitts."

Matches will be streamed LIVE on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel with live scorecards and ball-by-ball scoring on the Windiescricket.com live match centre.

 

 

FULL MATCH SCHEDULE

 

CG United Super50 Cup – play starts at 10am

 

Round 1: Monday 4 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Guyana 

 

Barbados vs Jamaica  

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Windward Islands 

 

 

Round 2: Wednesday 6 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica 

 

Guyana vs Windward Islands 

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Barbados

 

 

 

Round 3: Friday 8 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Jamaica 

 

Guyana vs Barbados 

 

Windward Islands vs Leeward Islands 

 

 

Round 4: Monday 11 March

 

Jamaica vs Windward Islands 

 

Guyana vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas 

 

Barbados vs Leeward Islands 

 

 

Round 5: Wednesday 13 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Leeward Islands

 

Jamaica vs Guyana

 

Barbados vs Windward Islands 

 

 

CWI T20 Blaze (all matches played at Warner Park)

 

Round 1: Sunday 17 March

 

Leeward Islands vs Barbados – 10am

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Guyana – 2:30:pm

 

Jamaica vs Windward Islands– 7pm

 

 

Round 2: Tuesday 19 March

 

Windward Islands vs Barbados – 10am

 

Leeward Islands vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas – 2:30pm

 

Jamaica vs Guyana – 7pm

 

 

Round 3: Thursday 21 March

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Windward Islands – 10am

 

Jamaica vs Barbados – 2:30pm

 

Guyana vs Leeward Islands – 7pm

 

 

Round 4: Saturday 23 March

 

Jamaica vs Trinidad & Tobago Divas – 10am

 

Guyana vs Barbados – 2:30pm

 

Leeward Islands vs Windward Islands – 7pm

 

 

Round 5: Monday 25 March

 

Windward Islands vs Guyana – 10am

 

Leeward Islands vs Jamaica – 2:30pm

 

Trinidad & Tobago Divas vs Barbados – 7pm

 

Zak Crawley insisted there was never any doubt “phenomenal” Joe Root would return to form for England following his unbeaten century against India.

Root came into the fourth Test having not reached 30 in the series while a couple of uncharacteristic dismissals recently led to scrutiny on whether he should tailor his methods to fit the ‘Bazball’ philosophy.

The argument has been Root does not need to alter his approach and he put his lean patch behind him with a more traditional Test innings to amass 106 not out as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

The 33-year-old rescued England after they had slipped to 112 for five in a helter-skelter opening session on a cracked Ranchi pitch and Crawley believes the Yorkshireman is the only batter who could have dug the tourists out of the fire.

“He’s probably the only bloke in our team who could have done that knock, he’s that good and he’s stepped up when we needed him to,” Crawley said.

“He’s a phenomenal player. We fully expected him to get a good score at some point in this series. He was due, he’s the best player we’ve ever had and he played phenomenally.

“We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He deserves everything he gets, he works so hard at his game and he always comes good.”

Root’s 31st Test hundred – brought up off 219 balls, the slowest century by any England batter under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum – was marked in understated fashion as he kissed the badge on his helmet and raised his bat to team-mates who were celebrating enthusiastically on the dressing-room balcony.

There was no sign of the reverse ramp he had gotten out to in Rajkot, which proved a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat as they went 2-1 down in the five-match series, while conventional and reverse sweeps were rare occurrences.

Root was unbreachable in defence, judicious off front and back foot and unfurled his customary late cuts and leg glances behind square, while there was also the odd cover drive.

Crawley, though, insisted a surface offering early movement and uneven bounce throughout dictated Root’s more classical innings, rather than widespread criticism he has faced in the last few days.

“If the pitch had been truer, I reckon he would have still played those shots,” Crawley said.

“It might have just been the variable bounce which stopped him sweeping and paddling, it wasn’t really the pitch for that kind of thing; it was too inconsistent.

“In Dharamshala (which will host the fifth Test), it’s a flatter wicket, I’d fully expect him to reverse ramp one. That’s just Joe. He’s very present when he bats and doesn’t overthink too much.”

England went at 4.63 an over in the morning thanks to counter-attacking knocks from Crawley, who made a run-a-ball 42, and Jonny Bairstow’s 38 off 35 deliveries.

But the tricky surface, rather than a brain fade, was largely responsible for England’s precarious position at lunch, with Crawley bowled twice by Akash Deep, the first off a no-ball, as the India debutant bagged a three-wicket haul.

While the odd one still kept low, batting conditions improved upon the resumption as Root and Ben Foakes (47) combined to put on 113 to stabilise the tourists.

Crawley hopes England’s seamers can make similar inroads with the new ball but anticipates spin to dominate for the remainder of the match.

“I got out still fairly early but it looked like it wasn’t bouncing anywhere near as much or as quickly as earlier on against seam,” Crawley added.

“It got harder against the spin, it will continue to break up. It might be a new-ball wicket, hopefully it is when we bowl but the I think the spin’s only going to get harder.”

England batter Zak Crawley hailed Joe Root’s spectacular return to form after the Yorkshire star hit an unbeaten 106 to leave his side in a strong position at stumps on the first day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

Having averaged 12.83 after his first three matches of the series, Root produced a superb performance, including a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, which Crawley believes rubber-stamped his team-mate as one of the best batters in his country’s history.

Crawley told TNT Sports: “We’re so happy for him and we never doubted him. If anything we know that when he’s got a couple of low scores he’s even more likely to get the big one, and we expected that from him.

“He’s phenomenal, and he’s one of, if not the best we’ve ever had playing for England.”

England initially struggled on an unpredictable pitch with Crawley bowled by Akash Deep on 42, but the opener praised the way the tourists hit back to reach 302 for seven at close.

Jonny Bairstow made a rapid 38 while Foakes contributed a steady 47 to his stand with Root. Ollie Robinson also finished the day unbeaten on 31.

Crawley added: “It was tricky early on with the ball nipping around a lot and we had to throw a couple of punches back, which I think myself and Jonny did well.

“I was trying to bat normally at the start but it was so difficult – I just felt like there was one with my name on eventually. I thought I’d throw something back and I did start to feel a bit more comfortable after that.

“The boys played unbelievably in the middle session and then Joe got very good support from Tom (Hartley) and Ollie as well.

“I said beforehand that if we get 280 to 300, we’re in a very good position so I stand by that – we are ahead of the game.”

Joe Root defied an unpredictable pitch to make a timely return to form as a risk-free unbeaten century stabilised England on a seesaw opening day of the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant early assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five at lunch after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root, averaging 12.83 after the first three matches, ended his lean patch with a battling 106 not out, which included a 113-run stand with Ben Foakes, as England went to stumps on 302 for seven.

What was striking about Root’s 31st Test hundred, brought up off 219 balls, was its orthodoxy following criticism for some unconventional dismissals recently – especially his reverse ramp in Rajkot last week, which was a sliding doors moment in England slipping 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Whether he is suited to England’s ‘Bazball’ approach has been the subject of much debate in the last few days but Root showed the virtue of patience here.

There were some sweetly-timed drives through the covers as well as his characteristic late cuts and shots square of the wicket as the Yorkshireman registered the slowest ton of the Stokes and Brendon McCullum era.

Root has given England a fighting chance after Deep ensured the rested Jasprit Bumrah was not missed at first, exploiting the variable bounce that was a theme throughout the day and some early movement.

Stokes had no hesitation in batting, as is customary upon winning the toss in India, despite wariness over a track he described as “interesting”. What followed was a helter-skelter opening session as England went at 4.63 an over and lost five wickets, while two of India’s five reviews were successful.

England’s openers were routinely beaten on the outside edge and Zak Crawley had his off stump uprooted on four but it was found Deep had over-stepped. Deep did not have long to wait for a maiden Test wicket, though, as a searching delivery nipped away and grazed Ben Duckett’s outside edge on 11.

Ollie Pope lasted two deliveries as India overturned a not out leg-before verdict and an eventful over saw Root survive the hosts’ review for lbw first ball after getting fractionally outside the line of off stump.

Crawley then Jonny Bairstow counter-attacked, with both finding success against the expensive Mohammed Siraj.

But Crawley departed for a run-a-ball 42 when Deep’s in-ducker snaked through the gate and kissed the off bail, while Bairstow was lbw on review for 38 after missing a slog sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed his 100th Test wicket against England.

The tourists’ cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain throwing his head back and laughing ruefully as he began to trudge off before the umpire had raised his finger.

A frenetic morning gave way to a sedate afternoon as Root and Foakes settled for steady accumulation. The pitch did not have as many demons upon the resumption and while the odd one kept low, the English pair were alert to the danger.

There were just seven boundaries between lunch and tea after 13 fours and two sixes in the opening session but India’s often poor ground fielding allowed Root and Foakes to regularly rotate the strike.

Root went seamlessly to his first fifty in seven innings, after which Foakes, whose first boundary came with a drive off Kuldeep Yadav from his 66th ball, pushed the accelerator by taking 18 off an Ashwin over, including a big blow over the leg-side for six.

Foakes fell three short of a fifty after tamely chipping to midwicket, ending a 113-run stand with Root, while Siraj had his second wicket by knocking back the off-stump of Tom Hartley for 13.

Root, whose first and only reverse sweep came when he was on 76, kept going and moved to three figures with drive through the covers off Deep for his ninth four.

He celebrated the milestone in understated fashion by kissing the badge on his helmet and raising his bat as his team-mates, led by a grinning Stokes, celebrated enthusiastically on the balcony.

Root shared an unbroken 57 with Ollie Robinson, who should have been out on eight but India had burned their reviews. Instead Robinson, making his first appearance of the series, contributed 31 not out, taking England past 300 with a dismissive swipe for four off Yashasvi Jaiswal’s last over of the day.

The West Indies Championship second-round clash between the Guyana Harpy Eagles and the West Indies Academy remains finely poised at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. As the match heads into a crucial phase on Friday, the Harpy Eagles, having posted 175 in their first innings, find themselves at 165-5 in their second innings, holding a lead of 178 runs with five second innings wickets still in hand.

The West Indies Academy, resuming from their overnight score of 96-4, battled their way to a total of 162. Rashawn Worrell, who stood on 34 overnight, displayed patience and resilience to contribute 58 runs. Joshua Bishop complemented the effort with a half-century, scoring 51, before the remaining wickets fell relatively cheaply. Gudakesh Motie claimed 3-31, and Veerasammy Permaul proved economical with figures of 3-15, providing the Harpy Eagles with a narrow advantage. Kevin Sinclair, who had taken the first four wickets, ended with figures of 4-45.

Despite the slim lead of just 13 runs, the Harpy Eagles owed their second innings score to a substantial contribution of 49 from Kevlon Anderson. Tagenarine Chanderpaul (29), Matthew Nandu (19), and Tevin Imlach (22) each got starts but failed to capitalize on them.

As the Harpy Eagles aim to build on their marginal advantage, Kemol Savory will resume on 20, and Sinclair on 16. The spotlight will be on Ashmead Nedd, who has been effective with the ball, having taken 4-27 from 26 overs. Nedd will be eager to add to his tally and restrict the Harpy Eagles on a challenging batting pitch.

With both teams eager to gain the upper hand, the Coolidge Cricket Ground is set for an enthralling day of cricket, where every run and wicket will be crucial in determining the outcome of this closely contested West Indies Championship match.

Joe Root made a timely return to form as he and Ben Foakes defied an unpredictable pitch to stabilise England after a frenetic start to the fourth Test against India in Ranchi.

On a cracked surface offering significant assistance for India’s bowlers, Ben Stokes’ dismissal to a Ravindra Jadeja grubber left England on 112 for five after debutant Akash Deep’s three-wicket haul.

But Root registered his first fifty in seven innings – dating back to last summer’s Ashes – and went to tea on 67 not out out of England’s 198 for five, with Foakes unbeaten on 28 in an unbroken stand of 86.

Root received criticism for his first-innings dismissal in Rajkot which was a sliding doors moment in England’s heavy defeat, and the Yorkshireman put away his reverse ramps and settled for a more patient, orthodox approach to blunt India’s quicks and spinners.

Conditions eased in the second session after England’s top-order was given a stiff working over, with Stokes electing to bat despite describing the surface as “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” this week in a series his side currently trail 2-1.

As well as uneven bounce, Crawley and Ben Duckett had to contend with sideways movement and the openers were beaten on the outside edge more than once. Crawley then had a major reprieve when his off stump was sent cartwheeling by an in-ducker but Deep’s overstep briefly denied him a maiden Test wicket.

Having taken just four off his first 16 balls, he took 28 off his next 16 after driving and twice clipping for three successive fours before a monstrous six off the expensive Siraj.

Duckett, though, feathered behind after being done on the angle from Akash Deep, who then had Ollie Pope lbw two balls later despite England’s number three advancing down the pitch. An India review was successful and they also queried a not out decision when Root was struck on the pad first ball.

Root had managed to get just outside the line but England were three down as Deep atoned for his no-ball by clipping the top of Crawley’s off-stump for a run-a-ball 42.

The out-of-form Jonny Bairstow, averaging 17 in this series, was purposeful and especially fluent against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four then crunching two more boundaries in his next over. When Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six, it appeared it would be the Yorkshireman’s day.

However, Ashwin tempted Bairstow (38) into another slog sweep which he missed. Umpire Rod Tucker was unmoved by an lbw appeal but another review vindicated India and Ashwin had his 100th wicket against England.

England’s cause worsened on the stroke of lunch when Ben Stokes was leg-before to an ankle-high shooter from Jadeja, the England captain trudging off even before the umpire raised his finger.

A frenzied morning gave way to a more sedate start to the afternoon, with Root and Foakes settling for steady accumulation as Jadeja and Ashwin operated in tandem. There were 13 fours and two sixes in the morning but England did not get a boundary until the 82nd ball of the second session.

Root was particularly strong behind square on both sides of the wicket, judicious on front and back foot, although both he and Foakes – whose first four came off his 66th ball – were kept honest by the odd one keeping low.

After Root moved to a 108-ball fifty, India burned their final review on a frivolous lbw appeal off Foakes as the England pair batted out a wicketless session.

England lost five wickets in an eventful first session of the fourth Test as India seamer Akash Deep took centre stage on a pitch in Ranchi already showing signs of uneven bounce.

How India would fare without the rested Jasprit Bumrah was answered emphatically by Deep, who bowled Zak Crawley with a no-ball then snared Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope within the space of three deliveries.

Crawley was dismissed for a run-a-ball 42 after Deep clipped the top of his off-stump and while Jonny Bairstow led a brief counter-attack, he was dismissed for 38 off 35 balls by Ravichandran Ashwin.

The tourists’ cause then worsened on the stroke of lunch when Ben Stokes was lbw to an ankle-high shooter from Ravindra Jadeja, the England captain walking off even before the umpire raised his finger as his side ended the session on 112 for five.

Stokes described a cracked, crumbly surface as “interesting” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” this week but he elected to bat first and his top-order was given a stiff working over.

Both Crawley and Duckett were beaten on the outside edge several times by Deep and Mohammed Siraj, as England made a tentative start just a few days after falling 2-1 behind the series following a heavy defeat in Rajkot last week.

Crawley’s off-stump was sent cartwheeling but he was called back after Deep had overstepped the front line. Having taken just four off his first 16 balls, he took 28 off his next 16 after driving and twice clipping for three successive fours before a monstrous six off Siraj.

India turned to Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin in the ninth over but they persisted with the probing Deep, who snared Duckett for 11 with a good length delivery which nipped away a fraction and grazed the outside edge.

Ollie Pope’s attempt to negate the movement was unsuccessful as he lasted two balls. Despite getting nearly three metres out in front he was rapped on the pads by Deep and India successfully reviewed the not out decision.

Deep ended a lively first hour by castling Crawley again – a near-identical delivery to his no-ball earlier – but this time, there was no reprieve for the England opener.

The out-of-form Bairstow, averaging 17 in this series, was purposeful and especially fluent against Siraj, late-cutting the seamer for four then crunching two more boundaries in his next over. When Bairstow slog swept Ravichandran Ashwin for six, it appeared it would be the Yorkshireman’s day.

However, Ashwin continued round the wicket and tempted Bairstow into another slog sweep which he missed. Umpire Rod Tucker was unmoved by India’s lbw appeal but another review vindicated the hosts.

England will be without Rehan Ahmed for the rest of their tour of India as the teenage leg-spinner is set to return home because of an urgent family matter.

The 19-year-old featured in the first three Tests but was left out of the penultimate contest in Ranchi as England selected slow left-armer Tom Hartley and off-break bowler Shoaib Bashir as their spinners.

The tourists do not intend to draft in a replacement for Ahmed, despite being left with 14 players for the final Test in Dharamshala in a fortnight and two frontline spinners in Hartley and Bashir.

A brief statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: “Rehan Ahmed will return home for personal reasons with immediate effect from England men’s Test tour of India.

“He will not be returning to India. England will not be replacing Ahmed for the rest of the tour.”

Ahmed, England’s youngest senior cricketer in all three formats, has taken 11 wickets in the series at an average of 44, including six dismissals in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

Rehan featured in Rajkot last week despite a visa problem in the build-up. He was given a temporary two-day visa before the issue was resolved and was praised for how he handled the situation by Stokes.

“The great thing about youth is they just take everything in their stride,” Stokes said last week. “He handled a situation that could have affected quite a lot of people in a different way very, very well.”

Middle-order batter Harry Brook withdrew ahead of the series because of personal reasons while left-arm spinner Jack Leach pulled out of the tour because of a knee injury sustained in the first Test.

India have also had to contend with a high-profile withdrawal in star batter Virat Kohli due to personal reasons, and injuries have deprived them of Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant.

West Indies Test Captain Kraigg Brathwaite returned to form with an unbeaten 129 to put the Barbados Pride in a strong position after day two of their 2024 West Indies Championship third round fixture against the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

The Pride were 315-6 off 97 overs at stumps, leading the hosts by 46 runs after starting Thursday 15-0 off seven overs.

Brathwaite, who entered this game with just 27 runs from four innings this season, batted in his customary relaxed fashion to end day two 129* off 290 balls including 13 fours.

Kevin Wickham provided excellent support for his skipper with 63, his second half-century of the season along with a hundred in round one against the CCC. His knock lasted 92 balls and included six fours.

Former West Indies wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich was the other not out batsman at stumps with 19.

Derval Green has so far taken 2-38 from 19 overs for the Scorpions.

Full Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 269 all out off 78.4 overs (Romaine Morris 97*, Carlos Brown 40, Kirk McKenzie 40, Jomel Warrican 5-62, Jair McAllister 3-69)

Barbados Pride 315-6 off 97 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 129*, Kevin Wickham 63, Jonathan Drakes 31, Derval Green 2-38)

Well-played centuries by West Indies Test batsman Kavem Hodge and Sunil Ambris gave Windward Islands Volcanoes complete control of their Round three West Indies Championship fixture against Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners at Chedwin Park, in Jamaica, on Thursday.

After bowling down the opponents for 204 on Wednesday’s opening day courtesy of leg spinner Darel Cyrus and seamer Gilon Tyson, who grabbed six wickets for 72 runs and three 32 respectively, Hodge and Ambris continued the Volcanoes rich vein of form on day two, with a solid 192-run fifth-wicket partnership.

Hodge, who made his Test debut against Australia recently, ended the day unbeaten on 130 –his fifth First Class century. He had Tyson, on four, for company, as Volcanoes were 358-8 at stumps, some 154 runs ahead with two wickets in hand.

The 31-year-old Hodge was patient throughout, stroking 13 fours in his 231-ball knock so far, while Ambris, was more aggressive in registering his eighth First Class century, as he smashed 10 fours and four sixes before he went for 120 off 113 balls.

Romario Greaves is the pick of the Marooners bowlers so far with five for 142 from 38 overs.

Scores: Combined Campuses and Colleges 204 (71.3 overs); 358-8 (99 overs)

Having lost their top order –Jeremy Solozano (19), Kimani Melius (13) and Johann Jeremiah (12) –with very little runs on the board, West Indies batsman Alick Athanaze (26) and Hodge started the rebuilding process, before the former was trapped in front by Greaves with the score at 75-4.

However, whatever hope the Marooners had that they would bat again on day two, was dashed, as Hodge and Ambris, literally played them out the game with the breathtaking 192-run stand.

Even after Ambris went to Greaves and three wickets fell for 28 runs, the momentum remained with the Volcanoes, who will be aiming to add a few more runs on Friday’s third day.

The countdown is on to the largest ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which will be played in the West Indies and USA from 1—29 June, with today, 22 February marking 100 days to the start of the historic event.

During the ballot period, over 3 million ticket applications from over 161 countries were received for the pinnacle global event for T20 cricket. Ticket allocations are currently unavailable to nine T20 World Cup matches scheduled in the USA, with the India v Pakistan fixture on 9 June in New York oversubscribed more than 200 times.

Both semi-finals in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana along with the final in Barbados were oversubscribed in the ballot, as were two Super Eight matches in Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Tickets to all other fixtures in the West Indies are available, with fans encouraged to purchase their tickets now to be a part of the biggest T20 World Cup ever.

The 100 days-to-go milestone also marked the launch of the official campaign film ‘Out of this World’, which features T20 superstars Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Marcus Stoinis, Shaheen Afridi, Shubman Gill and Ali Khan. The full campaign, which blasts off globally today, will utilize a variety of platforms to engage audiences on a global scale and will give the world a visual taste of what they can look forward to in the West Indies and USA come June.

A series of fan engagement events will also blast off at all nine host locations across the West Indies and USA, including a larger-than-life cricket ball taking over Times Square in New York City, Bayside Marketplace in Miami, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas and all Caribbean host locations.

ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said: “With just 100 days to go until the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 there is huge anticipation from fans to witness what will be the largest ICC event ever played, with 20 international teams playing across nine host cities. A large proportion of the more than 3 million applications for tickets across the event were from our host countries, so we are confident that this event will not only entertain fans around the world but leave a lasting legacy that will help us continue to grow the sport across the Americas.

“Celebrating the launch of our official campaign film that captures the energy of T20 cricket and features some of the game’s biggest stars is another important milestone, as excitement builds across the global cricket community for what will be a historic event.”

Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Johnny Grave said: “With just 100 days to go until the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the global excitement is accelerating at pace and all signs indicate that this World Cup is poised to make history on multiple fronts. With a significant number of games already oversubscribed, it is evident that the global appeal of T20 cricket is growing exponentially. Fans wanting to experience a T20 World Cup with Caribbean flair should seize the opportunity to get their tickets as soon as possible and join the celebration on the grandest stage of cricket – the West Indies and USA.”

T20 World Cup USA, Inc. Chief Executive Brett Jones said: “Today is an extraordinary day for global cricket and that’s especially true in the U.S. While those of us involved in the sport know cricket’s popularity in our market, there is no data point like ticket sales to showcase the level of enthusiasm that’s out there and we’re thrilled with the support we’re seeing. The 2024 T20 World Cup is going to fundamentally change the game of cricket in the U.S. and it’s our job to capitalise on this moment.”

 

Power hitter Kieron Pollard upstaged Babar Azam's landmark outing in Lahore, as Karachi Kings cruised to an emphatic seven-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi on Wednesday.

Chasing 155, Pollard bludgeoned an unbeaten 49 off 21 balls with four towering sixes and four boundaries to take Kings home in 16.5 overs for their first win in the tournament.

Babar's landmark 271st T20 in which he became the fastest batter to reach 10,000 runs saw Zalmi getting bowled out for 154 in 19.5 overs after the Kings won the toss and elected to field.

Babar followed his half-century in the first game against Quetta Gladiators with a knock of 72 off 51 balls, but his effort went in vain for the second successive game.

Zalmi's innings revolved around Babar's brilliance after it lost three wickets inside the batting powerplay with Shoaib Malik dismissing Saim Ayub off the first ball with a full-pitched delivery that didn't turn much. Hasan Ali, playing against his former franchise, also had a dream start when he knocked back Tom Kohler-Cadmore's off stump off his first ball.

Babar revived the innings with Rovman Powell (39) in a 68-run stand and Asif Ali scored 23 before Peshawar lost its last six wickets for only 18 runs in the last four overs. Powell top-edged a reverse sweep against left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz a while Asif holed out at long-on.

Left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza (3-28), who bowled to hard lengths with the new ball, chipped in with the wickets of Aamer Jamal and then took a fine return catch to dismiss Babar in his last over as the Zalmi innings folded quickly.

Pollard brought an early finish when he smashed three straight sixes and two fours in a 27-run over against Afghanistan's left-arm wrist spinner Waqar Salamkheil, one of the two changes Zalmi made after losing the first match by 16 runs. Salamkheil conceded 54 off his four overs and got Malik stumped for run-a-ball 29.

James Vince remained unbeaten on 38 and ended up denying Pollard a chance at a much-deserved half-century when he drove Luke Wood (2-20) for the winning boundary in the 17th over.

Kings, who lost their first game against Multan Sultans by 55 runs, have two points from two games while Zalmi is still looking for their first win.

 

England have put an emphasis on height in selecting seamer Ollie Robinson and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir for the fourth Test against India on a pitch expected to offer turn and variable bounce.

The surface in Ranchi was described on Wednesday by Ben Stokes as “like nothing I’ve ever seen before” 48 hours before the start of the Test, with cracks running down one side of the cut strip.

After a second inspection on Thursday alongside head coach Brendon McCullum and selector Luke Wright, England captain Stokes elected to keep faith with two seamers as Robinson partners James Anderson.

Robinson and Bashir are both well over 6ft and the bounce they can extract has earned them the nod over skiddier pair Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed as England look to hit back from a heavy defeat in Rajkot.

“We get asked about the pitch and we give our opinion but that doesn’t mean we are going in with too many preconceived ideas,” Stokes said. “The pitch could be as flat as a pancake, who knows?

“If it is, we will adapt to that. We do like to look at the pitch two days out and one day out, because that’s how we like to pick our XIs. Looking at that, I think there is going to be assistance for spin.

“But I think also it looks like someone like Bash, who releases the ball from such a high release point, the extra bounce that he gets we feel is going to bring us more into the game.

“I also feel having two seamers gives us a good chance purely because of Ollie Robinson’s release height and his relentlessness with his areas.”

The selection of Robinson, who has not played competitively since the third Ashes Test in July, and evergreen Anderson may lessen the need for Stokes to resume his career as a fully-fledged all-rounder.

Despite reporting no soreness after a 35-minute spell of bowling full tilt on Wednesday, Stokes was coy about if he would give his side, trailing 2-1 in the five-match series, another seam option.

“I’ve pulled up really well,” Stokes told the BBC. “It’s another step forward for me in terms of the ball. As keen as I am to get there, I do have to be very sensible about it.”

Bashir took four wickets in his debut for England in the second Test in Visakhapatnam before bring dropped in Rajkot but he partners slow left-armer Tom Hartley as the tourists’ two main spinners.

That means no room for Ahmed, who played in the first three Tests and took 11 wickets at an average of 44, although Stokes insisted the young leg-spinner’s absence was no reflection on how he has performed.

“He’s gone out and tried everything that we’ve asked of him,” Stokes said. “The way in which he has taken the game on with the ball is something I’ve been very, very impressed with.

“I think he’ll take a lot of learnings out of these three games, which will only progress his career, rather than not being the person who bowled in that situation, if that makes sense.”

Despite bowling 38 overs in the 434-run loss in Rajkot and just four days’ rest between the end of the third Test and start of the fourth, Anderson retains his spot.

Anderson needs just four more wickets to become the first fast bowler in history to reach 700 in Tests and Stokes marvelled at the 41-year-old’s professionalism and longevity.

“If you’re a young fast bowler, Jimmy Anderson is the one person who you want as your role model,” Stokes added. “Not only the amount of wickets he’s got but the fact he can keep going at his age.

“Even saying approaching 700 Test wickets as a fast bowler is incredible. He’ll know that but I don’t think that will be at the top of his mind for this week, just because of where we’re at in the series.”

The West Indies Championship second-round encounter between Guyana Harpy Eagles and West Indies Academy is set for an intriguing battle as play resumes on Thursday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. The match remains finely poised, with both teams showing resilience in their performances.

As the West Indies Academy prepares to continue from their overnight score of 96-4 in response to the Harpy Eagles' total of 175 all out, the balance of the game hangs in the air. Wednesday's play saw Joshua James emerging as the standout player, securing figures of 4-43 to limit Guyana to a total below 200. Johann Layne (2-27) and Joshua Bishop (2-22) also played crucial roles in restricting the Harpy Eagles' batsmen, preventing any significant contributions.

For the Harpy Eagles, RJ Ali Mohammed top-scored with 30, while Matthew Nandu and the duo of Tevin Imlach and Kevin Sinclair each chipped in with scores of 28 and 24, respectively. Despite their efforts, none of the Guyana batters managed to make a substantial impact on the scoreboard.

The West Indies Academy faced a similar challenge when they took to the crease, with Rashawn Worrell leading the scorers with an unbeaten 34. Joshua Bishop will resume his innings on 33, and the pair aims to put their team in a commanding position as play continues on Thursday.

Notably, Kevin Sinclair's impressive bowling performance of 4-32 has played a pivotal role in keeping Guyana in the game.

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