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    Unsure on Bell. In many ways it makes sense, in many ways he would be a backwards step. For sure.

    He's 34, he's barely been impressing for the Bears at County Championship level (an average in the 30s), and why would we recall somebody who (like Ballance) hasn't rectified the issues which led to him being dropped in the first place? Imagine if he comes in and doesn't make a score in his first two innings.*

    He does bring a wealth of experience - which England's middle order patently needs. Having him run up alongside the youngsters would be greatly beneficial, as would selecting Batty, who at 38, could provide Moeen and Rashid with some invaluable expertise heading towards the subcontinent.
    *
    Plenty of County Championship matches this week on offer to give the selectors a nudge while the ODI series is ongoing. Ansari, Hameeb, Borthwick namely.

    And while we're here, it seems farcical Duckett and Bell-Drummond aren't getting in the white-ball team right now. Two amazing talents.*
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    Many congratulations to Pakistan on their number one ranking. They probably won't be in that position for long but it can't be lost on the symbolism on becoming the top team in the face of many adversities since 2009. Led by the cool, calm Misbah alongside the coaches who have helped him, the players, all deserve credit.

    On a side note, considering his story and leadership of his country at one of its most difficult times, and him being in the country, disappointing Sky didn't take advantage of doing an in-depth interview with him. He's been a credit to the country, and hearing him speak post-match at times was an excellent experience. It seems he will carry on but him and Younus have been the undeniable rocks of that success.

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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    Many congratulations to Pakistan on their number one ranking. They probably won't be in that position for long but it can't be lost on the symbolism on becoming the top team in the face of many adversities since 2009. Led by the cool, calm Misbah alongside the coaches who have helped him, the players, all deserve credit.

    On a side note, considering his story and leadership of his country at one of its most difficult times, and him being in the country, disappointing Sky didn't take advantage of doing an in-depth interview with him. He's been a credit to the country, and hearing him speak post-match at times was an excellent experience. It seems he will carry on but him and Younus have been the undeniable rocks of that success.

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    It's fully deserved IMO. He took a team in turmoil and adopted a foreign country as his home (UAE). Yes, Pakistan got to 1st with the aid of Ind/WI's game but any team who tours England and finishes at 2:2 deserves 1st. Which recent team has drawn with England in England recently? Hopefully at the very latest Misbah/Younus retire after the Australia series. Need to continue the form onto the next couple of series to shut the critics up. Well done to the whole team!
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    Only issue regarding selection for me tomorrow would be whether Stokes comes in. If he doesn't, you imagine given Willey's injury, the only change from the SL series side would be in the introduction of Wood. If Stokes does play, then Bairstow may make way - which would be incredibly harsh, given his season thus far.

    What's more intriguing is how the pitch will play. Southampton's a lovely ground for white-ball cricket.

    SL face Australia in the second ODI, too. The pitch will spin again, and while the hosts should be fearful of Starc's form, the emergence of Aponso gives them hope. They've have lost their last four ODIs, though. They'll need an upturn in quality. Can Warner finally come good in Asia? Only one fifty in seven international innings on this tour.
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    They've done it again! Great stuff from SL. A brilliant victory for them, thanks largely to Aponso's four-for.

    We knew it would turn - and so it proved in the first over of the match when Lyon opened for Australia, only the second time the tourists have ever deployed a spinner as an opening bowler in their history. The tactic didn't work, with Lyon bagging only one wicket and Zampa three, as the seamers ran riot despite the latter's penchant for picking up a wicket with his turn.

    Starc did really well to temper the Sri Lankan batsmen, as did Faulkner, who bagged a stunning hat-trick over the course of four overs. I have got to be honest: I felt really sorry for Chandimal, who was dismissed on 48 and looked heartbroken. With that dismissal, he missed the chance to become the first Sri Lankan to score six consecutive ODI half-centuries. Kusal Mendis let the recovery for SL, and propelled them to a very intimidating total of 288. Two stunning partnerships - between Mendis and Chandimal, and Mathews and Perera, spearheaded the hosts' innings.

    I always felt Australia would find it hard to chase that - especially when Zampa put down an absolute dolly of a catch. One of the worst drops you'll see anywhere this year. Perera and Mathews did their bit with the bat, too, posting half-centuries.

    And from there it was just like the Test series: Australia's batsmen struggling to have any impact, with a spin-heavy SL attack picking them off easily as the tourists made just 208. Those partnerships got SL over the line, despite a fierce knock of 76 from Wade, and it was a deserved victory.
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    A good win for England - and one they never really had to struggle for.

    Southampton has not been a happy hunting ground for them in the past (just one win in six white-ball matches there in recent years) but they were in control throughout tonight.

    In truth, this white ball series is always going to disappoint. The Test series was extraordinarily entertaining, to be honest.

    That said, it's a shame the weather played such a pivotal role tonight. A real shame because SA and NZ, and WI and India, was rained off earlier this week. You've got to question the logic of hosting red-ball matches in SA and the Windies during rainy season.

    Plenty of positives for England tonight, though. *the target of 261 – later adjusted to 252 from 48 overs – was underwhelming, but Root and Roy impressed, even if the latter did evened it off that farcical drop.

    Morgan will take huge confidence from his innings, as he hasn't posted a century in over 20 innings for England. Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes bowled as you'd expect them to - they are such good white-ball bowlers - but the pleasing aspect of the attack was Rashid shining again, and Root getting a wicket when Morgan tossed him the ball. Wood, too, bowled fiercely with deliveries of 90mph+.

    Bairstow was unlucky to be dropped - and Hales is clearly losing confidence by the innings after his Test struggles - but a very pleasing day for the hosts.*
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    County Championship games were interesting this week- good win for Yorkshire and Essex in particular.
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    Really pleased the England tour to Bangladesh has been given the green light - more for what it signifies than anything else. If they'd opted against it, you'd imagine they wouldn't tour Bangladesh for the next decade, which is just a crying shame.

    The selectors have said nobody will be forced to go - but Buttler has already hinted at doubts, and you imagine some players will be given more slack than others. Alex Hales, for instance. Will he have the guts to sit out a tour and allow somebody else the chance to take his place? Likewise, the likes of Anderson/Broad/Root are assured of their places regardless, so they may opt to stay at home and they'll walk back into the Test side for the India matches.

    Plenty of great cricket this weekend - namely the second ODI at Lord's, which gives Pakistan the chance to level the series. They need to find a way to get Shah in the side, while England will likely remain unchanged despite Willey's recovery.

    You've also got India vs WI in Florida, which promises to be a cracker with the latter welcoming back their star names and famous faces after the World Twenty20 victory earlier this year.

    SA vs NZ is now a straight shoot out, too. The former's bowlers ruffled the tourists attack, so they'll go in full of confidence, but NZ have such a good seam attack and Wagner knows all about South African conditions. All eyes are on JP Duminy (if he's selected) for me, because he hasn't impressed in red-ball cricket recently and you imagine he's only got a couple of chances to assert himself now. His average since 2013 is just 27.
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    A really, really good performance by England - and one in which they didn't even get out of third gear.

    In a landscape where England typically make things hard for themselves before relying on their batting depth, it was actually quite refreshing to see them win this with minimal fuss. I think that's symptomatic of the White-ball team right now: they are brimming with confidence and ability.

    One man who is clearly shot of confidence is Hales, who like Roy, didn't stick around a long time today at Lord's. Amir struck early to dismiss the latter, before Root and Morgan steadied the innings. *

    Both Root and Morgan were imperious - the former definitely deserved a hundred, and with it, he'd have tied KP's record for the most centuries in ODIs for England. But he gave his wicket away, but Morgan will be happy to FINALLY contribute after a torrid time and a serious lack of scores.

    Morgan was definitely the most eye-catching batsman today, playing lovely shots and strokes and getting England over the line with minimal fuss.

    Of course, Pakistan's total never looked like enough. They rebounded well after losing three early wickets, and it's no surprise they lost them in the first place given the pace Plunkett, Wood and Woakes were exhibiting. It's perhaps no surprise the seamers showed more skill than the spinners, but Pakistan couldn't get themselves a decent total.

    Sarfraz was excellent, though, and he's surely the best batsman wicket keeper on the planet right now. Malik offered support but nobody else did, despite Azam showing brief flashes.

    It's a big loss to see Broad and Anderson ruled out for the rest of the domestic season, though. Hope they're OK for the subcontinent tours.*
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    England should win this ODI series vs Pakistan with ease, if the first two games are anything to go by.

    Pakistan's ODI team is dysfunctional and has, probably due to the success of the Test team, fallen down the ladder in terms of the selectors really trying to pick guys who can play the game at the modern tempo. Pakistan are really far behind the rest. Azhar has been thrust the leadership role in the infancy of his career and not seen anything to suggest he can handle it. Sarfaraz should get the role in the shorter formats - such a positive player and person as shown by his form over here. Pietersen was very complimentary of his captain's role during the PSL.



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    What an advert for cricket in Florida today, by the way. An absolute titanic battle between the Windies and India, two nations with big ex-pat populations over there, and a magnificent run total in the T20 clash.

    You'd imagine the crowd were unhappy with Gayle failing to appear - as a result of injury - but, boy, did Lewis impress. The sixth quickest T20 hundred ever - bar Richard Levi's 45-ball hundred - while Rahul went just one ball short of that record with his century. 489 was the match aggregate, which is the highest in any T20 game, going past the previous best of 469 in an IPL game between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in 2010.

    Rahul batted exceptionally, too, and made a hundred, as both replacement openers impressed. But it was WI who took home the glory - thanks largely to some fantastic death bowling vs MS Dhoni.

    Records galore were broken today: 32 sixes in the match, the most ever, were hit. Windies scored 32 runs off one over - a hefty total - and it all came down to a thrilling last over, where India needed two off the last ball, but Bravo outfoxed the skipper and centurion Rahul, who ended unbeaten.

    An exceptional match - proving T20 is as exciting as ever, and breathing life into the sport.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    What an advert for cricket in Florida today, by the way. An absolute titanic battle between the Windies and India, two nations with big ex-pat populations over there, and a magnificent run total in the T20 clash.

    You'd imagine the crowd were unhappy with Gayle failing to appear - as a result of injury - but, boy, did Lewis impress. The sixth quickest T20 hundred ever - bar Richard Levi's 45-ball hundred - while Rahul went just one ball short of that record with his century. 489 was the match aggregate, which is the highest in any T20 game, going past the previous best of 469 in an IPL game between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in 2010.

    An exceptional match - proving T20 is as exciting as ever, and breathing life into the sport.
    It was an absolute road. Very bad for cricket fans, just quick entertainment for the masses. IMO, good Cricket is an even contest between bat and ball.

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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    It was an absolute road. Very bad for cricket fans, just quick entertainment for the masses. IMO, good Cricket is an even contest between bat and ball.

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    I do agree - but what are the fans in Florida actually there for? It isn't a game for the purists. They want showboating, dancing, fireworks, sixes galore and massive hits. And that's what they got. Let's embrace the madness, I say.

    Awesome start to the SA vs NZ Test, too. Plenty of great cricket at the moment. SA will be really pleased to only see three wickets fall, especially with the tourists pace attack being so strong, and Wagner back on home soil in conditions he knows (and suits) so well.

    I actually thought de Kock batted superbly with his knock of 82, after thrusting himself into the opening spot, and all four of the hosts opening batsmen batted really well despite not making a century. Amla was dismissed by a real peach of a delivery, but SA responded well after Elgar's late injury and I think the most pleasing thing for them will be the form JP Duminy showed, going to 67 not out by the close of play.

    You imagine NZ won't be losing too much sleep, though. They had chances - a few catches didn't carry, and a few review scenarios didn't go their way - but they'll have reason to believe they can emerge from this winner-takes-all Test with something.

    Tomorrow sees SL vs Australia in the third ODI - and all eyes are on Dilshan, who will soon be departing, and Warner, who leads his country in the white-ball set-up now Smith has returned home to recuperate amid a hectic touring schedule. Be wary of Warner's leadership ability: he seems to thrive under the added pressure. Remember the IPL? He led Sunrisers to the title, and only Kohli out-scored him in that tournament.
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    An absolute farce in Florida. The WI vs India match called off - after just 20 minutes of rain.

    By all accounts, the area where the bowler runs up hadn't dried up and would pose hazardous conditions, but even so, there was no Super Sopper at the venue and the whole thing reeks of poor organisation.

    The game was initially delayed by 40 minutes his morning, too, for "technical reasons". Really shoddy from the organisers, who come out of this with no credit.

    India will feel particularly hard done by. They bowled out the Windies cheaply and had a very good chance to level the two-match series after yesterday's thriller, but they weren't given the chance to chase down a relatively modest target.

    The fans will feel the most short-changed of all, though. Cricket fever has been sweeping across the USA in recent days, by all accounts, and the large ex-pat numbers of West Indians and Indians out there supporting their heroes weren't given a chance to do so today.

    Cricket is already a sport dying in terms of popularity - and days like this are just another nail in the coffin.
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    Don't know whether to laugh or cry. I'll laugh. :mmm:

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    It'sa batsmans game, lads. Absolute carnage.
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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    Don't know whether to laugh or cry. I'll laugh. :mmm:

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    I will cheer the world record England total.
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    Very glad that Sri Lankan 443/9 is out of the record books. It really shouldn't have been an ODI against Holland. It wasn't even televised which shows you the standard really


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    (Original post by The Wavefunction)
    It'sa batsmans game, lads. Absolute carnage.
    Very unfortunate tbh. Pakistan deserve everything they get.

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    I'll post my thoughts on the England game when it's wrapped up - but I'm really pleased we got a result and a definitive end to the SA vs NZ series.

    It was winner takes all, after the farce that was the first Test, but SA delivered. It was always going to come down to the two seam attacks, in truth, and which batting order found it more comfortable. NZ really struggled against the ferocity of Steyn and Philander, and even without Morkel, SA were by far the more dangerous seam attack.

    Throw in Rabada, too, and you've got a fantastic SA side to build on after what was a very disappointing end to last year for them. They struggled with the red ball against England, but have recovered and rallied, and now can probably envisage a pathway up the rankings once again. I can't see them being number one any time soon, but they consistently delivered and put NZ under pressure. The raft of short balls and horrible bouncers sent down by the trio of seamers must have been particularly uncomfortable to face.

    The most intriguing aspect of the series, for me at least, was the battle between the SA quicks and Wagner. The latter is obviously South African born, and that got him into a bit of to-and-fro with the hosts before his return with his NZ teammates. Wagner roughed up a few SA batsmen over the course of the Test, so it was no surprise to see them return the favour. A really good, old fashioned and (hopefully) good natured battle of bravery and wits.
 
 
 
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