David Warner is set to make his 100th Test appearance for Australia, and is determined to put his run of poor form behind him.

Warner has gone 10 Test innings without a half century, and is averaging just 26.07 in his last 27 trips to the crease in the longest format.

He was out for a first ball duck in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa at The Gabba before managing just three in the second, albeit on a green pitch where the majority struggled with the bat as Australia won by six wickets inside two days.

Should he score 78 or more in the second Test at the MCG, Warner will become just the eighth player to score 8,000 Test runs for Australia, and he promised to take on the Proteas bowling attack in the Boxing Day Test.

"I know when I'm at my best, I'm taking the bowlers on," he said. "It goes well and it flows with the team and the guy at the other end. Now I've probably gone a bit more responsible and trying to put the team into a good position without playing a bit rash.

"If anything I can probably be a bit more aggressive and go back to the older me, take them on a little bit more. But I think that also is dictated from what wickets you are getting.

"You don't want to have a dig at the curators, but the last two years our wickets have been green. If I go out there play a cover drive and nick one, you guys [the media] will have a feeding frenzy.

"But now I'm in good positions and I'm nicking off, that's the nature of the beast. This might be a wicket where I can go out and play like the old me. So you have to adapt to those conditions that's what I've been doing the last 18 months."

In what will be the 100th men's Test between Australia and South Africa, the hosts' selectors have a tough decision to make on whether to recall Josh Hazlewood, who has recovered from a side strain, or retain Scott Boland, who took a combined 4-42 in the first Test.

Australia must keep their Head in Melbourne

The pitch in the first Test in Brisbane was labelled "below average" by the ICC, though Travis Head was still able to muster 92 from 96 balls in the first innings, a crucial contribution that made a key difference.

Although he was out for a first ball duck in the second innings, it was immaterial as Australia eased to victory shortly after, and the man of the match will be keen to show his worth again in Melbourne.

Landmark looms for Elgar

South Africa captain Dean Elgar was not happy with The Gabba surface, but will be hopeful of scoring more than the combined five runs he managed in the first Test.

Elgar is just 24 away from becoming the eighth player to score 5,000 runs for the Proteas in men's Tests, though his Test batting average in Australia of 18.4 is his lowest in any country.

Joe Root believes his decision to step down as England Test captain has been justified following a remarkable end to 2022 for Ben Stokes' red-ball side.

England became the first visiting team to win three matches in a Test series in Pakistan this week, taking them to nine victories from 10 Tests since Stokes replaced Root as skipper in April.

Prior to Root's decision to step down, England suffered a demoralising 1-0 series loss to West Indies and were thrashed 4-0 by Australia in the Ashes. 

With England now earning plaudits for their fearless style under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Stokes, Root has no regrets concerning the end of his time at the helm.

"We weren't performing," Root recalled in an interview with Sky Sports. "We weren't delivering what I thought we were capable of, and it had a massive impact on me away from cricket as well.

"If you can't even be yourself, then you aren't able to give what that role requires, lead in the right way or lead a group of players.

"For a number of reasons, it was the right thing to do, to step back. It needs someone to throw absolutely everything at it.

"As soon as I made that decision, it was quite clear that it was the right one, and I've not looked back. I gave everything to that role and threw everything at it. I am really proud of the way I went about that."

England's aggressive approach was on display as they posted their fifth-highest innings total in history (657) in their Pakistan opener, and Root feels the team's enjoyment of their new style has paid dividends.

"Brendon's got a very aggressive approach to how to play the game, I think Ben is even more aggressive! It is exciting," Root said.

"When you are 10, 12, or even younger, you're playing in the back garden – that's the feeling that you get – that raw enjoyment of smacking the ball, bowling fast, or spinning it miles. That's something you should never really lose as a player.

"It's easy to forget, in the hype of the pressurised environments and demands of constantly putting in performances and winning. But it is so important that you enjoy what you do, and you're more likely to get the best out of yourselves and it's something that we've paid quite a lot of attention to."

England will attempt to reclaim the Ashes on home soil in 2023, with the series set to begin at Edgbaston on June 16, and Root is enthusiastic about their prospects.

"Everything ramps up. The interest around Test cricket in this country goes up a notch," Root said of playing in a home Ashes series.

"It's a great opportunity for us, and with how we played our cricket under Ben last summer, it's a very exciting place to be with a big series like that coming around.

"We've proven to ourselves we can do it against two of the best teams in the world in our own conditions, so it will be great to take Australia on and take that one step further again."

India need another 100 runs with six wickets remaining after a shaky start to their chase in the second Test against Bangladesh.

The hosts were dismissed for 231 in their second innings on day three at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, setting India a target of 145.

A devastating spell from Mehidy Hasan (3-12) gave Bangladesh hope of levelling the series, reducing India to 45-4 at the close.

Bangladesh began the day on 7-0 but struggled early as Najmul Hossain Shanto (5) and Mominul Haque (5) fell to Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj respectively.

When captain Shakib Al Hasan was out to Jaydev Unadkat, Bangladesh were in trouble at 51-3, though Zakir Hasan followed up his debut Test hundred in Chattogram with another half-century, before getting out for 51.

After Zakir and Mehidy (0) had gone, Bangladesh were struggling on 113-6, though Litton Das (73) produced much-needed partnerships with Nurul Hasan (31) and Taskin Ahmed (31 not out) to make India's eventual chase more challenging.

There was an early wobble for the tourists as stand-in skipper KL Rahul (2) edged Shakib to Nurul at the start of the third over, before the wicketkeeper also stumped Cheteshwar Pujara (6) off the bowling of Mehidy.

The same duo combined to dismiss Shubman Gill (7) before Virat Kohli was Mehidy's next victim, out for just one from 22 balls after his inside edge was caught by Mominul at short leg, leaving Axar Patel (26no) and Unadkat (3no) to return on what promises to be a gripping day four.

Mehidy puts India in a spin

Having only taken 1-61 in the first innings, Mehidy came into his own in the second as he dragged his team back into the contest.

The 25-year-old claimed three big wickets to give the Tigers a fighting chance of pulling off a victory.

Axar also finds his rhythm

It was a good day for spin, with Axar also taking three wickets for India, having not managed any in the first innings.

Axar trapped both Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy lbw, before claiming a stumping when he outfoxed Nurul to end with figures of 3-68.

Sam Curran was "absolutely overwhelmed and incredibly humbled" to become the most expensive player in IPL history.

The England all-rounder, fresh from a standout white-ball performance at the T20 World Cup that saw him named Player of the Tournament, is returning to Punjab Kings for 2023.

Curran was the subject of a record bid from Punjab, eventually selling for an all-time high 18.5 crore (£1.85million) in Friday's auction.

"I'm absolutely overwhelmed and incredibly humbled to receive that bid," he told Star Sports. "Punjab is where I did my debut season a few years ago.

"I feel confident going into this tournament. We had a fantastic World Cup. I'm incredibly excited to come to India for this big opportunity.

"There's so many things running through my mind. I knew this morning about the auction, but I was struggling to find a stream. It wasn't on TV.

"I saw the bids coming from Mumbai, then Chennai. Having played for Chennai earlier, it was cool to see them, [and then] I got a call about joining Punjab."

The Jaffna Kings are champions of the Lanka Premier League after securing a hard-fought two- wicket win over the Colombo Stars in the final at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday.

The Stars made 163-5 from their 20 overs after the Kings won the toss and elected to field first. Dinesh Chandimal (49), Ravi Bopara (47 not out) and Charith Asalanka (31) all continued their good form from yesterday’s second qualifier to propel the Stars to their score.

Needing 164 to win, Avishka Fernando (50), Sadeera Samarawickrama (44) and Rahmanulla Gurbaz (36) led the way as the Kings reached 164-8 off 19.2 overs to win their third straight LPL title.

Suranga Lakmal (3-23) and Benny Howell (2-17) tried their best for the stars while Dominic Drakes went for 14 runs from his two overs.

The Indian Premier League auction for the 2023 season is done and dusted, with some of the world's biggest players front and centre on Friday.

England's Sam Curran, the Player of the Tournament at the T20 World Cup, fetched a new record price when he was bought by Punjab Kings for 18.5 crore (£1.85million).

International team-mate Ben Stokes also brought in an impressive fee of 16.25 crore (£1.65m) from Chennai Super Kings, while Mumbai Indians landed Australia's Cameron Green for 17.5 crore (£1.75m).

Stats Perform runs through the standout deals of the day...

Sam Curran (Punjab Kings)

Having started his IPL career with Punjab in 2019, Curran is headed back after a stint with Chennai Super Kings and returns on the back of the best year of his career.

With 13 wickets at the T20 World Cup and huge batting potential, Curran is one of the most exciting purchases ahead of next year's tournament – as the price suggests.

Ben Stokes (Chennai Super Kings)

England's Test captain once again dug into his bag of tricks with a superb batting performance at the T20 World Cup to help his team beat Pakistan in the final.

Stokes heads to Chennai for a fee that matches the previous record set by Australia's Chris Morris last year, while his career IPL strike rate of 134.50 is indicative of a batsman who always goes big.

Cameron Green (Mumbai Indians)

The second-most expensive buy in the auction, it is little surprise Green commanded such an impressive figure given his huge 173.75 strike rate across eight T20I matches.

The Australia all-rounder was expected to figure near the top of the bidding, and he will hope to live up to his billing with Mumbai next year.

Kane Williamson (Gujarat Titans)

Williamson was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad, allowing him to enter the auction and be picked up at his base price of 2 crore.

Despite playing a role in Sunrisers' title success in 2016, that fee illustrates Williamson's diminishing returns since then, although Gujarat will hope this is a bargain deal.

Harry Brook (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

This has been a breakout year for Brook, who followed T20 World Cup glory with an impressive impact on the Test stage, dominating for England against Pakistan.

Back in the white-ball arena, Brook was briefly the most expensive specialist batsman in IPL history when signed for 13.25 crore (£1.325m).

Nicholas Pooran (Lucknow Super Giants)

Brook's record was short-lived as Pooran went under the hammer and sparked a bidding war.

Lucknow came out on top, paying out 16 crore (£1.6m) for his services and acquiring one of the most fearsome white-ball players around.

Josh Little (Gujarat Titans)

Ireland bowler Little saw his stock rise following a T20 World Cup where he took a hat-trick against New Zealand and helped inspire a shock triumph over England.

Little will become the first Irishman to play in the IPL after fetching 4.4 crore (£440,000).

Joe Root (Rajasthan Royals)

At last, one of the defining batsmen of his generation is headed to the IPL, with the former England Test captain finally selected to play in the world's premier T20 domestic competition after going unsold back in 2018.

Root, who did not play at the T20 World Cup, looked set for the same fate again, but a late one crore (£100,000) base price bid in an accelerated auction will take him to India next year.

Stuart Broad is back in the England fold after making the squad for February's Test tour to New Zealand, as teenager Rehan Ahmed sits out the series.

Veteran bowler Broad, who is England's second-highest wicket-taker in international red-ball cricket after James Anderson, missed this month's 3-0 series success against Pakistan following the birth of his first child.

The 36-year-old Nottinghamshire seamer is one of three players who return to the squad, along with Durham's Matthew Potts and Essex's Dan Lawrence.

Ahmed, who became England's youngest men's Test player when he debuted in the third and final match against Pakistan in Karachi, is omitted as part of a wider management plan for his progression.

The 18-year-old will instead head to the UAE T20 League in the new year, with a view to him possibly earning white-ball international honours during March's tour of Bangladesh.

Paceman Mark Wood is rested after a busy few months in which he has been one of just two England players to feature in both white-ball and red-ball series against Pakistan, as well as the T20 World Cup in Australia. Harry Brook was the other to have featured throughout in England's squads, but the batter retains his place for the two-match New Zealand trip.

England Test squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Olly Stone.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced the appointment of Roland Butcher, as a Selector to the West Indies Men’s Senior & Youth Panels.

Butcher is a former England batsman who also played for over 15 years in English County Cricket with Middlesex. His appointment was confirmed during a meeting of the CWI Board of Directors on Monday 19 December. 

Butcher was delighted to accept the appointment,

“It is a great honour and a privilege, to be given the opportunity to serve West Indies Cricket. I’m eager to get started to work alongside the other members of the selection panels as we look to ensure the growth and improvement in West Indies cricket at all levels.”

The West Indies Men’s Senior Panel is led by the Most Honorable Dr. Desmond Haynes and the Men’s Youth Panel is led by Robert Haynes. The third member of both panels is the respective Head Coach.

Butcher was the first Black cricketer to represent England in Test cricket when he debuted against West Indies in his native Barbados in 1981. He played three Tests and three One-Day Internationals. In his first-class career he played 277 matches and scored over 12,000 runs.

 

Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer put India in control of the second Test against Bangladesh after helping to open an 80-run lead at the end of day two at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh had been restricted to 227 on day one, but for a while on Friday they looked to be following that up with an extremely effective display in the field.

None of India's first four batsmen managed to reach 25, with openers KL Rahul (10) and Shubman Gill (20) tallying just 30 between them, the former caught right at the crease and the latter misjudging a sweep attempt.

But Pant (93) and Iyer (87) soon took charge, putting on 159 for the fifth wicket, with India eventually tallying 314 all out.

Pant and Iyer each hit 12 boundaries, including five sixes for Pant. Although there was a hint of frustration from Pant as he was dismissed in the 90s for the sixth time in his career, he and Iyer had undoubtedly taken India from looking in trouble to almost complete control.

Pant ultimately fell to Mehidy Hasan Miraz (1-61), with the outside edge landing in the gloves of Nurul Hasan, while a straight ball from Shakib Al Hasan (4-79) accounted for Iyer as he was pinned lbw.

Shakib and Taijul Islam (4-74) ran through the tail, although they could not prevent India surpassing 300 and eventually opening an 87-run lead.

Six overs were possible for the start of Bangladesh's second innings before stumps – Najmul Hossain Shanto (five not out) and Zakir Hasan (two not out) ensured the hosts will begin Saturday's action with a full complement of wickets as they bid to level the two-Test series.

Pant and Iyer power India into the ascendancy

There was clearly a reasonable amount of pressure on Pant and Iyer after India's start as Bangladesh's bowlers began in particularly impressive form.

But suddenly the likes of Taijul looked considerably less threatening once Pant stepped up. You have to feel a degree of sympathy for him yet again falling in the 90s, but that should not take away from a vital score.

Taijul gave Bangladesh a platform

It is true, Taijul did struggle to get to grips with Pant and Iyer, but his early work should not be overlooked.

He snaffled Rahul and Gill lbw on middle and leg, before also claiming the scalp of Cheteshwar Pujara (24) – thanks to Mominul Haque's catch – to reduce India to 72-3. Perhaps Bangladesh did not take full advantage of his initial efforts, but if they do manage to turn things around in the second innings, they might look back on Taijul's early treble as significant.

West Indies Women suffered an ugly eight-wicket defeat with 87 balls to spare to England Women, who swept the series 5-0 on Thursday.

Former West Indies white-ball captain was sold to Lucknow Super Giants for a record USD$1.93million in the 2023 IPL Draft on Friday, the highest price ever paid for a specialist batsman in the Indian Premier League. However, allrounder Sam Curran was sold for a record price of USD$2.2 million as the England all-rounder joined Punjab Kings.

Meanwhile, Jason Holder went to Rajasthan Royals and Odean Smith went to Gujarat Titans.

Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Lucknow Super Giants and Rajasthan Royals all got involved in the bidding for Curran, forcing the price up, before Punjab won out.

Curran was outstanding in the T20 World Cup, taking 13 wickets – including 3-12 against Pakistan in the final last month.

There was a clamour for top-tier all-rounders, with Mumbai Indians landing Australia's Cameroon Green for 17.5 crore (£1.75million), 

England Test captain Ben Stokes was wanted by Sunrisers Hyderabad and Lucknow, but it was Chennai who got him for 16.25 crore (£1.65million).

That fee for Stokes matched the previous record for an IPL player, set when Rajasthan signed Chris Morris ahead of the 2021 competition.

New Zealand white-ball skipper Kane Williamson had been the first player available in the auction and went for a bargain 2 crore (£200,000), before a bidding war broke out for England's Harry Brook.

Rajasthan were edged out as he went to Sunrisers for 13.25 crore (£1.325million), the highest price ever paid in an Indian Premier League auction for a specialist batter before Pooran went under the hammer.

 

Dominic Drakes’ Colombo Stars have advanced to Friday’s final of the 2022 Lankan Premier League after storming to a six wicket win over the Kandy Falcons in Qualifier 2 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday.

Despite a pair of golden ducks from Andre Fletcher and Fabian Allen, the Falcons posted a competitive 168-6 from their 20 overs after the Stars won the toss and chose to field first.

Falcons captain Wanindu Hasaranga was excellent, producing an unbeaten 34-ball 77 including eight fours and three sixes. Ashen Bandara provided good support for the skipper with 40 against Kasun Rajitha’s 4-20 from four overs. Drakes chipped in with 1-32 from his four.

The Stars then needed just 18.5 overs to successfully reach their target for the loss of just four wickets. Charith Asalanka led the way with 64 off 40 balls including seven fours and three sixes and was supported well by Dinesh Chandimal (38), Ravi Bopara (29 not out) and captain Angelo Matthews (21).

The Stars will take on the Jaffna Kings in tomorrow’s final.

Ben Stokes and Sam Curran are among the England T20 World Cup winners who could go for big money in the Indian Premier League auction on Friday.

The 10 franchises have varying amounts of cash to splash in Kochi, where some big names will be up for grabs.

Stokes opted out of the IPL this year, but England's Test captain and Curran, the player of the tournament in their recent World Cup triumph, are two of the 19 overseas players with the highest base price of 2.0 crore – worth just over £200,000.

Chris Morris was sold for a record 16,25 crore in February 2021 and it would be no surprise if that is broken as ambitious franchises shape their squads for the 2023 edition of the tournament.

There are a total of 87 slots to be filled, with up to 30 of those available for overseas players.

Stats Perform highlight what to look out for in the latest auction for a competition that was won by debutants the Gujarat Titans this year.

Sunrisers have money to burn

Sunrisers Hyderabad wielded the axe following a poor 2022 IPL season, having finished down in eighth place.

They suffered eight defeats and reacted by releasing 12 players, including captain and most expensive player Kane Williamson.

Sunrisers have the most money to spend in the auction, with 42,25 crore burning a hole in their pockets. On the other end of the scale, Kolkata Knight Riders only have 7,05 crore to play with.

Hyderabad could opt to re-sign Williamson on a less lucrative deal for the New Zealand skipper.

Curran to break the record?

England all-rounder Curran was outstanding in the T20 World Cup, taking 13 wickets – including 3-12 against Pakistan in the final last month.

Possessing great variation and giving little away, the left-arm seamer is sure to be in demand and could be in for a huge early Christmas present.

Stokes, Williamson, Cameron Green, Rilee Rossouw, Jimmy Neesham and Jason Holder are among the other overseas players with a base price of 2,0 crore.

With a base price of 1,5 crore, Harry Brook could also earn a big pay day for what would be a first IPL after a dream start to his England career.

 

Pandey and Agarwal under the hammer

Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal are the two Indian players with the highest base price in the auction.

The first Indian player to score an IPL century, Pandey has a base price of 1,0 crore and the same goes for fellow batter Agarwal.

Pandey was released by Lucknow Super Giants, while Agarwal was allowed to leave by Punjab Kings.

Record-breaking teenager Ahmed to cap a dream week

What a story it would be if Rehan Ahmed is picked up in the auction after making history in England's Test win over Pakistan in Karachi.

The 18-year-old leg-spinning all-rounder became the youngest man to make his England Test debut as they secured a 3-0 whitewash and the teenager made a big impact.

Ahmed became the youngest man to take a five-wicket haul on his Test debut in the second innings and would cost at least 0.5 crore – although there are due to be discussions over what his schedule will be after his incredible start on the international stage.

West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul is reportedly not expected to renew his contract as Head Coach of the USA Women’s Senior and U-19 Cricket Teams after the 2023 U-19 Women’s World Cup in South Africa.

Chanderpaul was appointed in July of this year.

Last week, USA Cricket announced its U19 Women’s team for the World Cup, and the new development has come in as a massive surprise for the board.

“We already have half a dozen renowned head coaches disconnected from the National team(s) since the new board is in place and I doubt if Shivnarine will renew his contract after the U19 world cup in South Africa. I had a word with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s manager and he has confirmed that he will not consider extending or renewing Chanderpaul’ s contract after the Women’s U19 World Cup in SA,” said USA Cricket Hall of Famer Jatin Patel at the Atlanta Cricket League Banquet in Mumbai last week.

Chanderpaul started his role as head coach with immense success for the national team and in franchise cricket.

In July, he led the USA U-19 Women’s team to a title in the CWI Women’s U-19 Championship where they defeated hosts and defending champions, Trinidad and Tobago, in the final.

The ICC Hall of Famer then led the Jamaica Tallawahs to their third Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title in September.

Kuldeep Yadav's exclusion from India's squad to face Bangladesh was a "management call", with team-mate Umesh Yadav describing the decisions as something people had to accept.

The fast bowler took eight wickets as the tourists sealed the first Test in Chittagong in style and was expected to keep his place for the second and final game in Mirpur.

But Kuldeep was excluded to make way for an additional pace option in Jaydev Unadkat, who played his first red-ball match for India in over a decade in his place.

The call from coach Rahul Dravid caught many by surprise, but Umesh was unmoved in his post-stumps assessment, simply indicating his omission was nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's part of your journey," he said. "It happened to me. Sometimes you are out of the team because of performance.

"Sometimes it's a management call. You have to go with the team's requirements. It's good for him."

Unadkat, playing in his second Test match a dozen years after he debuted as a teenager at Centurion against South Africa, repaid the faith with two wickets, including that of first-Test centurion Zakir Hasan.

Umesh was delighted to see him earn a second chance, adding: "When he made his debut, I was with him in South Africa. I'm very happy that he finally got his chance.

"When he came in to bowl with the new ball, [it] was doing a bit. We know [he] can swing it both ways, so he just had to keep bowling in the right areas."

India will resume on day two in Mirpur trailing by 208 runs.

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