Usman Khawaja’s century, backed up by fifties from Travis Head and Alex Carey, has allowed Australia to stage a fightback on Day 2 of the first Ashes Test in Edgbaston, on Saturday. Khawaja, who stroked his maiden ton in England, went to stumps unbeaten on 124 – having batted through the day. He had the company of Carey, who was unbeaten on 52, and had added a 91-run stand before the end of the day’s play.
For much of the day though, England were on the front foot after Stuart Broad had struck twice in the seventh over of the morning. First, he dismissed David Warner (14th time in the Ashes) when the southpaw dragged a length delivery outside the off on to his stumps. And then, had Marnus Labuschagne caught behind with an outswinger.
England were on the offensive, with Ben Stokes being unconventional and proactive with his field changes. Steve Smith and Khawaja nullified the attack for an hour with a dour 38-run partnership before the former was trapped leg-before with a Stokes delivery that jagged back in – in what was only his second over of the innings. Smith took a review but to no avail. With three wickets down, for only 64 runs, England had owned the morning session and seized control of the contest.
However, after Tea, the momentum started to shift. The in-form Travis Head took charge of the counter-attack, of which Moeen Ali was largely at the receiving end. It had started out with Khawaja, who danced down the track and hit the offspinner for a six in only the third over of the post-lunch session. However, Khawaja was kept in control by England’s short-ball tactic, which had the opener in a bit of an uncomfortable space. Head, however, didn’t hold back on the cuts and the pulls.
He departed soon after bringing up his 14th Test fifty, chipping Moeen Ali’s flattish delivery to midwicket, handing the offspinner his maiden scalp on Test comeback. Moeen could’ve had another wicket to his name only two deliveries later when Cameron Green stepped out and attempted a big shot, only to be deceived by the turn. However, Jonny Bairstow missed a regulation stumping opportunity.
Green was subdued thereafter and helped Australia head to Tea without any further damage. His only attack came against Joe Root in the last over before Tea when he hit the part-timer for two boundaries through the offside. However, soon after the Tea break, Moeen eventually had his man – beating him in flight, with drift, dip and turn to knock over his stumps. Green, by then, had scored 38 runs and stitched a valuable 72-run partnership with Khawaja.
Nonetheless, that happened to be the only dismissal of the last session. England could’ve had another when Stuart Broad knocked over Khawaja’s stumps only two balls after the second new ball was taken. However, the third umpire noted that he had overstepped, offering Khawaja a life when he was batting on 112. The opener shut shop and went on to add only 12 runs thereafter in the last hour of play when Carey had taken the mantle of attacking the English bowlers.
The ‘keeper-batter was always on a lookout for scoring opportunities, hitting on the up, over the in-field and at times, even just short of fielders. He brought up his fifty with a lucky boundary after getting an outside edge for a boundary while looking to attack Moeen Ali, only to be deceived by the spinner.
England used seven bowling options on the day, but the bulk of the work was handed to Moeen, who got some assistance from the wicket but was also on the line of attack of the Australian batters. He picked two wickets in 29 overs, but ended up conceding 124 runs.
England 393/8 decl. (Joe Root 112*, Jonny Bairstow 78, Zak Crawley 61; Nathan Lyon 4-149, Josh Hazlewood 2-61) lead Australia 311/5 (Usman Khawaja 124*, Alex Carey 52*, Travis Head 50; Stuart Broad 2-49, Moeen Ali 2-124) by 82 runs
New Zealand 96-17 Italy: All Blacks move to cusp of Rugby World Cup quarter-finals
Superb New Zealand scored an incredible 14 tries and hit 96 points against Italy in Pool A to move to the cusp of the World Cup quarter-finals.
Knowing a defeat would see them eliminated, the All Blacks raced into a pulsating 49-3 half-time lead. They ultimately ran out 96-17 victors with scrum-half Aaron Smith scoring a hat-trick after just 33 minutes.
The All Blacks will guarantee a spot in the knockouts with a win over Uruguay in their final pool match on Thursday. Italy must beat hosts France in their next match to reach a first World Cup quarter-final.
The All Blacks’ win sees them jump up to second in Pool A, level on points with Italy who they now have a superior head-to-head record over.
New Zealand cruise past Pakistan’s 345 with five wickets in hand
Kane Williamson’s return to action headlined New Zealand’s first official warmup match of the 2023 World Cup as they hit the right notes with the bat in a high-scoring game in Hyderabad. Mohammad Rizwan (103) and Babar Azam (80) provided a good platform and the middle order got amongst the runs to help Pakistan post 345. The total, however, proved insufficient as New Zealand, led by Rachin Ravindra’s 97 and three other half-century scores, including that of Williamson, pulled off the chase with 6.2 overs to spare
After Devon Conway was dismissed by Hasan Ali for a golden duck, Ravindra and Williamson got together and added 179 runs in just 22 overs to power New Zealand’s chase. Williamson decided to retire after crossing fifty while Ravindra was dismissed by Agha Salman before he could get a ton. Usama Mir then picked up the wickets of Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips in quick succession but fifties from Mark Chapman and Daryl Mitchell, and an important 33 from James Neesham, helped New Zealand over the line in the 44th over.
Earlier, After opting to bat, Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq in the second over to Matt Henry while Mitch Santner had Abdullah Shafique out stumped. Babar, who started watchfully, found his groove while Rizwan also scored at a steady rate as they raised a century partnership to set things up nicely for Pakistan. Babar, however, missed a hundred while Rizwan retired after reaching three figures, giving Pakistan’s lower middle order some time out in the middle. Saud Shakeel (75) and Agha Salman (33*) came up with handy contributions to propel Pakistan past 340.
Pakistan 345/5 in 50 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 103, Babar Azam 80; Mitch Santner 2-39) lost to New Zealand 346/5 in 43.4 overs (Rachin Ravindra 97, Mark Chapman 65; Usama Mir 2-68) by 5 wickets
Mahedi, Tanzid, Litton and Mehidy star in breezy Bangladesh win
Half-centuries from Bangladesh’s top three of Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz took their side to a comfortable win over Sri Lanka in their first warm-up fixture ahead of the ODI World Cup, in Guwahati on Friday.
Bangladesh bowled Sri Lanka out for 263 and chased it down with eight overs to spare; other than all the issues these facts point to, Sri Lanka will also worry about their opener Kusal Perera, who walked off the field in the 10th over of their innings with a strain in his right shoulder. He hit 34 off 24 before retiring hurt.
Apart from the result, Bangladesh would have been pleased with Tanzid – who made his debut during the Asia Cup in August and has played just five ODIs so far – as he eases into the international scene. His breezy knock of 84 off 88 balls, which included ten fours and two sixes, blunted a Sri Lanka attack that struggled to exert any pressure. His 131-run opening stand off 124 balls with Litton, who notched up 61, laid a fine platform for the team to chase down Sri Lanka’s 263. Mehidy, who was Bangladesh’s captain for the game, followed the openers’ efforts with an unbeaten 67. He had also bowled 10 tight overs, taking 1 for 32.
After they opted to bat, Sri Lanka began promisingly, with Pathum Nissanka adding a combined 104 with Perera and Kusal Mendis, before they lost their first wicket in the 15th over. Nissanka top-scored with an aggressive 68 and Dhananjaya de Silva made 55 at No. 6 but most of the middle order struggled to get going, with offspinner Mahedi Hassan picking up 3 for 36 in his nine overs. Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed and Mehidy also chipped in with a wicket each to bowl Sri Lanka out for in the final over.
Bangladesh will play their next warm-up game against England on Monday while Sri Lanka will meet Afghanistan on Tuesday. Both matches will be played at the same venue.
Bangladesh 264 for 3 in 42 overs (Tanzid Hasan 84, Mehidy Hasan Mirza 67*, Litton Das 61, Mushfiqur Rahim 35*) beat Sri Lanka 263 in 49.1 overs (Pathum Nissanka 68, Kusal Perera 34, Kusal Mendis 22, Dhananjaya de Silva 55, Mahedi Hassan 3-36) by seven wickets
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