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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    Shafiq. I have been critical of his inclusion in the Test side for years. Not many match winning innings in his career prior to this series but that all has changed. A quiet match winner who isn’t interested in being in the limelight. He just wants to get better and better and I predict a very bright future for him.
    Really? I think the complete opposite - he's been a real find and for a player so inexperienced at international level he's shown a calm exterior which shows with his stats lower down the order and the best thing I hope with Hafeez being axed is he can take more responsibility up the order with Azhar/Aslam opening. It was only a good Broad catch that ended his innings in this Test otherwise he could have gone big.

    It was nice to see the two captains hug and exchange pleasantries post-match yet Cook's comments on having a series without Pakistan with no negative controversies hides the fact the last series in the UAE went fine (yes, he was referring to the England home series) but those little niggles in this Test (the Yasir catch debate) will probably edge into the ODI series.
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    Amazing to think Yasir has racked up an average of 40 plus while bowling, despite two five-fors AND a ten wicket haul. Remarkable stuff - and the first time that's ever happened. Can he only play in England inside the M25?

    England have a real trouble converting their starts. They achieved 17 50+ scores over the course of the series, but only three of those half-centuries were converted into centuries, compared to Pakistan, who converted four of their nine half-centuries into hundreds.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    Really? I think the complete opposite - he's been a real find and for a player so inexperienced at international level he's shown a calm exterior which shows with his stats lower down the order and the best thing I hope with Hafeez being axed is he can take more responsibility up the order with Azhar/Aslam opening. It was only a good Broad catch that ended his innings in this Test otherwise he could have gone big.

    It was nice to see the two captains hug and exchange pleasantries post-match yet Cook's comments on having a series without Pakistan with no negative controversies hides the fact the last series in the UAE went fine (yes, he was referring to the England home series) but those little niggles in this Test (the Yasir catch debate) will probably edge into the ODI series.
    I first thought he was another Hafeez, very talented but only in the UAE and useless elsewhere. He proved me wrong and if he gets better and better I would trust him with the Captaincy once Misbah/Younis retire.

    I did find that comment odd as well... I'm just pleased Amir's return went well. He can put his first series behind him and hopefully perform on the bouncy/pacey pitches in Australia/New Zealand at the end of the year.
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    Amir was helped by the fact he didn't take too many wickets, to be honest. His figures were average - and I don't think the crowd, particularly at Old Trafford/Edgbaston, would have been as thawed if Amir had rocked up at Lord's in the first Test and taken a match-winning ten-wicket haul.
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    Day 5 of SL v Aus looks like it'll be a cracker; Herath, Sandakan and Perera trying to take 10 wickets on a day 5 pitch whilst Australia defend. Hopefully Sri Lanka declare early and dangle the carrot for Australia. Gutted it isn't on sky sports!
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    The big talking point of day four will be, of course, the Nevill stumping. I'm in firm agreement with the tourists on this one - despite some questions being raised that Australia aren't adhering to the nature of the sport. Cricket is a gentleman's game, fine, but at the end of the day, you do what you need to to win. It was poor concentration from Karunaratne.

    Lyon may have taken four wickets, but when you look at how the SL spinners have given the tourists nightmares, you imagine that the Australian bowling coaches and selectors will have felt that Lyon/Holland could have given more during this tour.

    Silva's century was absolutely brilliant - a really great innings for the purists. His previous scores in this series read 0, 5, 2, 4 and 7 - which makes that knock of 115 today all the more remarkable. It wasn't easy for him to drive the ball, but he picked his shots well and really dug in, displaying that Sri Lankan grit that the entire nation have shown during this series.

    Silva also had to contend with a wound in his top hand, after getting six stitches on the webbing he had split while fielding. That just goes to show the fight this SL team have - and for further evidence, you only need to look at the second Test, where Herath bounced back from a nasty injury to post amazing figures.

    The lead is currently 288, and if it surpasses 300, you imagine Australia have no hope of successfully chasing. Sri Lanka have done exceptionally to get themselves so far ahead, after succumbing to 26-5 on the first morning. Even at 90+ for four today, they had work to do, but they showed why their previous two Test victories over the Baggy Greens weren't flukes.

    I do feel for Starc, though. He doesn't deserve to be on the losing side. 24 wickets throughout the series, which makes a mockery of his spin attack. Lyon has conceded 233 runs during this Test, whereas Starc's wicket tally is the most by a non-Asia fast bowler in a Test series of three or fewer matches in Asia.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    The big talking point of day four will be, of course, the Nevill stumping. I'm in firm agreement with the tourists on this one - despite some questions being raised that Australia aren't adhering to the nature of the sport. Cricket is a gentleman's game, fine, but at the end of the day, you do what you need to to win. It was poor concentration from Karunaratne.

    Lyon may have taken four wickets, but when you look at how the SL spinners have given the tourists nightmares, you imagine that the Australian bowling coaches and selectors will have felt that Lyon/Holland could have given more during this tour.

    Silva's century was absolutely brilliant - a really great innings for the purists. His previous scores in this series read 0, 5, 2, 4 and 7 - which makes that knock of 115 today all the more remarkable. It wasn't easy for him to drive the ball, but he picked his shots well and really dug in, displaying that Sri Lankan grit that the entire nation have shown during this series.

    Silva also had to contend with a wound in his top hand, after getting six stitches on the webbing he had split while fielding. That just goes to show the fight this SL team have - and for further evidence, you only need to look at the second Test, where Herath bounced back from a nasty injury to post amazing figures.

    The lead is currently 288, and if it surpasses 300, you imagine Australia have no hope of successfully chasing. Sri Lanka have done exceptionally to get themselves so far ahead, after succumbing to 26-5 on the first morning. Even at 90+ for four today, they had work to do, but they showed why their previous two Test victories over the Baggy Greens weren't flukes.

    I do feel for Starc, though. He doesn't deserve to be on the losing side. 24 wickets throughout the series, which makes a mockery of his spin attack. Lyon has conceded 233 runs during this Test, whereas Starc's wicket tally is the most by a non-Asia fast bowler in a Test series of three or fewer matches in Asia.
    this australian side is a far cry from their hey-dey. in past they had truly world class players of spin, would have man-handled 40/ y/o herath and co. and their seamers would have bowled as a unit and would have called on skills of a world class spinner ie warne. just an iillustration of how far test cricket standards have fallen
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    A very good England squad to face Pakistan in the white-ball series, and really pleasing to see Wood back in the mix after his lengthy injury lay-off. He has been instrumental to Durham's T20 success, and was pivotal in their QF victory last week, which saw them reach Finals Day at Edgbaston this weekend.

    Vince is dropped - but don't read too much into that. The selectors want him to focus on the four-day game and have awarded him one final chance to show he has red-ball credentials.*
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    Well, well, well. SL have only gone and done it - and fair play to them. What a performance. They've whitewashed Australia, who sink to their ninth consecutive Test defeat in Asia.

    Sri Lanka had beaten Australia in a Test series only once before, in 1999 under Sanath Jayasuriya’s captaincy.

    Now, Australia have sank to third in the rankings - behind Pakistan and India - and Smith, who started the series unbeaten as captain, has been put to the sword on three consecutive occasions.

    Full credit to Herath, who spun his way to a 13-wicket haul today. Australia were set well in their reply - with Warner reaching 68 - but they conspired to lose their final nine wickets in quick succession, and SL bag a memorable series victory.
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    Pakistan could go to the number one spot in the rankings if West Indies are able to beat/draw with India in the next Test. Could potentially be the icing on the cake for Misbah and you wouldn't blame him if he decided to walk away from international cricket, however hope he doesn't as he is still needed.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    Pakistan could go to the number one spot in the rankings if West Indies are able to beat/draw with India in the next Test. Could potentially be the icing on the cake for Misbah and you wouldn't blame him if he decided to walk away from international cricket, however hope he doesn't as he is still needed.
    I suppose we can't count on him for much longer, he has a family and commitments away from Cricket. What the PCB should've done in the last couple of years is nurture another Captain ready for the transition, if it all goes down the pan after their retirements, I'll know who to blame.

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    I can't see West Indies getting anything from the fourth Test - even if it is a ground where they've won more than they've lost over the past decade.

    India will be targeting a win and, with it, the number one ranking. Remember they have an extensive home schedule in the Test format next year, too, which provides them a chance to consolidate that achievement in reaching the ranking zenith.

    I wonder how India will line-up. Plenty of questions in the upper order right now, but Kohli has said he'll remain at three to allow Rohit the chance to shine in his natural home further down the order. Rahane will be at four - and he's absolutely shone this series.

    It's probably a little harsh on Pujara if he is omitted, in truth. He's averaged 45 since he was selected again and reintroduced into the side.*

    Kohli himself, of course, will be looking to bounce back. He achieved his lowest Test aggregate score in the third Test.*
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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    I suppose we can't count on him for much longer, he has a family and commitments away from Cricket. What the PCB should've done in the last couple of years is nurture another Captain ready for the transition, if it all goes down the pan after their retirements, I'll know who to blame.

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    Yes, probably a tad selfish to wish him to continue when it's quite clear how much of a sacrifice it has been for him personally and the team playing away from home. When the mood around a Pakistan team is so positive you don't want it to end because the depressing atmosphere that can engulf the team at times, is equally as infuriating.

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    Good to see Northants standing up for themselves and demanding a fairer TV deal from the ECB and broadcasters.

    Regular full houses at Wantage Road, despite only 16 full-time players, and two QF spots in both white-ball competitions this season.

    They've only been shown on TV twice, though, which just isn't fair or good enough.*
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Well, well, well. SL have only gone and done it - and fair play to them. What a performance. They've whitewashed Australia, who sink to their ninth consecutive Test defeat in Asia.

    Sri Lanka had beaten Australia in a Test series only once before, in 1999 under Sanath Jayasuriya’s captaincy.

    Now, Australia have sank to third in the rankings - behind Pakistan and India - and Smith, who started the series unbeaten as captain, has been put to the sword on three consecutive occasions.

    Full credit to Herath, who spun his way to a 13-wicket haul today. Australia were set well in their reply - with Warner reaching 68 - but they conspired to lose their final nine wickets in quick succession, and SL bag a memorable series victory.
    Australia are a really poor side. They lost in England, whitewashed by India, Pakistan and now Sri Lanka. They in my mind are the worst tourists yet they hardly get anything in terms of criticism which they deserve. 60 all out, even an inexperienced Sri Lanka weren't that bad recently touring England. Yet, Australia as recently as last week were No.1.
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    Australia have lost 9 consecutive test matches in Asia. 4-0 in India, 2-0 against Pakistan in UAE and now 3-0 in Sri Lanka. This is definitely the worst Australian team in my lifetime. They are nothing but home track bullies and they get badly exposed the minute they step out of flat wickets of Australia.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    Yes, probably a tad selfish to wish him to continue when it's quite clear how much of a sacrifice it has been for him personally and the team playing away from home. When the mood around a Pakistan team is so positive you don't want it to end because the depressing atmosphere that can engulf the team at times, is equally as infuriating.

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    Misbah can't retire atm. That would be incredibly selfish. Azhar Ali is an awful captain and you can't possibly expect him to lead Pakistan in a tough place like Australia so early into his test captaincy. I don't even think he should be the next test captain at all. The ODI results haven't improved at all under him and I'm honestly expecting a 5-0 whitewash in the upcoming ODI series vs England with Azhar as the captain. Sarfraz should be the captain in all formats. He is an attacking captain unlike Azhar who is ultra defensive.
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    It's perhaps gone a little under the radar, what with Pakistan and England serving up such a great series while SL humiliate Australia, but the SA vs NZ series starts this week.

    It's a particularly intriguing one. NZ are the better side, you imagine, because SA seem to be far too reliant on players aged 30+. Six of their side are in their thirties - and those players are absolutely crucial to their setup. You get the impression the quota scheme introduced by CSA is now starting to really hamper the side on the field, too. The quota system breeds a culture of 'us' and 'them' in the dressing room, which can't be healthy, as Test cricket sides must be picked on quality - nothing else.

    NZ should win the series, I think, though both sets of attacks will probably struggle during the opening Test in Durban. By all accounts, the pitch could be dry and offer little assistance to the seamers. That sparks bad news not only for the hosts, but also the visitors, though you should think the latter will deploy Santner and Sodhi and probably have the edge in terms of spin options.

    It's going to be an exciting series, though. As you all know, my favourite player on Earth is ABDV - but I also love Taylor, Guptill and Amla. When you consider these batsmen - some of the best in the world - are facing the likes of Morkel, Steyn, Philander and Rabada, as well as Boult, Southee and Wagner - and it promises to be a cracker.

    (Original post by SGHD26716)
    Australia are a really poor side. They lost in England, whitewashed by India, Pakistan and now Sri Lanka. They in my mind are the worst tourists yet they hardly get anything in terms of criticism which they deserve. 60 all out, even an inexperienced Sri Lanka weren't that bad recently touring England. Yet, Australia as recently as last week were No.1.
    The issue with Australia, as ever, is that they don't place enough value on blooding young spinners. Maybe a quota in the domestic game, like the Sheffield Shield, of a certain amount of spin overs needs to be bowled, would help. Lyon/Holland aren't good enough front-line spinners (despite the former's wicket tally, his runs conceded total was appalling).

    Likewise, they didn't take time to ingratiate themselves in SL - or the conditions - before the Tests started. They really struggled reading the pitches, but they didn't give themselves any time to acclimatise. The whole series reeked of arrogance from the tourists. They need to seriously look at themselves and stop placing so much emphasis on winning home Tests. Touring is vital for a cricket nation, and you can't be seen as the best if you don't put in the groundwork and really immerse yourself in the country your touring.

    It seems farcical to me that this Australian side - the majority of which play IPL cricket every year - have spent the most time playing cricket in Asia, but also look the worst Australian side of all-time when playing cricket in Asia.
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    Plenty of chat about Ian Bell being recalled. Would welcome it tbh, although I'm not sure an Asian tour is the best timing.

    Also massive shout out to Pakistan being no.1. There are various caveats about the strength of test cricket atm, but it's an absolutely stunning achievement regardless. Given all they've been through, and are still going through, they've got no right to be doing as well as they are.
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    I don't exactly follow county cricket with any great interest so I don't have a clue who's knocking on the door but I don't see the point in recalling Bell, just a backwards step.
 
 
 
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