England set to give debut to Mason Crane in final Ashes Test

Updated 02 January 2018
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England set to give debut to Mason Crane in final Ashes Test

LONDON: Leg-spinner Mason Crane’s experience playing in Sydney may prove the clincher to earn him a debut as England try to salvage their Ashes series with a win over Australia in final Test.
Trailing 3-0 and with the Ashes well and truly lost, England are considering a possible change for the final Test in Sydney with Moeen Ali’s place under threat and Crane pushing for his first cap.
Moeen has played 48 Tests and went to Australia as one of England’s danger men having scored 252 runs at an average of 36 and taken 25 wickets at an average of 15 against South Africa last summer. However, Down Under he has only taken three wickets and is averaging just 19 with the bat, increasing the likelihood of him being dropped.
The Sydney Cricket Ground has a reputation as a turning wicket, increasing Crane’s chances of playing.
The 20-year-old Hampshire leg-spinner also boasts a five-wicket haul playing at the famous ground for New South Wales last year. Crane, who was impressing in Sydney club cricket, was called up by NSW and took five wickets in the Sheffield Shield victory against South Australia.
“With the series lost it gives us the opportunity to look at some different people,” England’s Australian coach Trevor Bayliss said.
Asked if Crane was ready for Test cricket, Bayliss added: “There’s maybe no time like the present to find out.
“We think he’s a guy that has got the goods and the more he plays at this level the better he will get. You have got to start somewhere.”
England outplayed Australia for large tracts of last week’s fourth Test in Melbourne only for Steve Smith to bat out the entire last day with an unbeaten century for a draw.
England must find a way of shackling the freescoring Smith if they are to get that elusive win.
The Australia skipper has enjoyed a phenomenal series, scoring three centuries — including a Test best 239 in Perth — to amass as many as 604 runs in six innings at an astonishing average of 151.
Smith, who averages 63.55 in his 60 Tests, is now in outright second place for the highest-ever ICC ranking points behind Don Bradman.
“I’m adapting to each of the bowlers, I’m changing my plans to them and how they’re trying to get me out,” the in-form captain said.
“Hopefully I can just keep working and keep getting better as well.”
His opposite number Joe Root said England had to keep believing they can get the brilliant batsman out.
“We just have to keep trying every option if he does get in and if it is a good surface to bat on, and keep trusting and believing in what we do,” Root said.
Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who missed the Melbourne Test with a bruised heel, is vying with recalled off-spinner Ashton Agar to likely replace Jackson Bird in the final Australia XI.


Joe Root’s century seals England series win over India, maintains No. 1 ODI ranking

Updated 17 July 2018
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Joe Root’s century seals England series win over India, maintains No. 1 ODI ranking

  • This was Root’s second unbeaten century in successive innings
  • Joe Root became England’s leading one-day international century-maker

LEEDS: Joe Root became England’s leading one-day international century-maker as an innings of exactly 100 not out on his Headingley home ground saw the hosts to an eight-wicket victory over India on Tuesday and a 2-1 series win.
This was Root’s second unbeaten century in successive innings after his 113 not out helped England level the three-match contest with an 86-run win at Lord’s on Saturday.
This latest hundred was also Test skipper Root’s 13th in ODIs, taking him past the England record of 12 he had previously shared with Marcus Trescothick.
Tuesday saw Root and one-day captain Eoin Morgan (88 not out) share an unbroken third-wicket stand of 186 as England, first in the ODI rankings to their opponents’ second, ended India’s run of nine straight bilateral series wins in style.
England, who will be bidding to win the World Cup for the first time when they stage next year’s edition, had said they would treat Tuesday’s match as a dress rehearsal for a winner-takes-all game at the showpiece tournament.
And that made the comprehensive manner of their victory all the more satisfying for Morgan’s men.
It was England’s bowlers who set up this win, with Adil Rashid and David Willey, two of the five Yorkshire cricketers in their XI, taking three wickets apiece.
But, after left-arm quick Willey had kept things tight early on, it was leg-spinner Rashid who did significant damage by taking two wickets in an over.
He bowled India captain and star batsman Virat Kohli (71), as well as dismissing Suresh Raina, on his way to three for 49 in a maximum 10 overs.
Willey, who took three for 40 in nine overs, received excellent new-ball support from Durham quick Mark Wood (one for 30).
Root, who was dropped from the final match of England’s preceding 2-1 Twenty20 series loss, told Sky Sports: “It feels fantastic.
“To come into a big series like this and perform how we have as a side is great.”
Morgan added: “I think we were outstanding. I think the tone was set by the bowlers early on, David Willey and Mark Wood were on the money. From that point there was no let up.”
Meanwhile Kohli accepted his side had been outplayed.
“I thought we were never on the mark as far as runs on the board were concerned, we were 25-30 short, and England were really clinical with the bat and in the field as well,” he said.
After Morgan won the toss, Rohit Sharma, who scored a superb century during India’s eight-wicket win in the series-opener at Trent Bridge, struggled to make two off 18 balls, his innings ending when he flicked Willey to Wood at deep square leg.
Opening partner Shikhar Dhawan made a fluent 44 before was run out by Stokes’s direct hit.
Dinesh Karthik, preferred to KL Rahul for this match, then made 21 before he was bowled between bat and pad by Rashid.
Kohli pressed on, however, completing a 55-ball fifty before Rashid struck twice in six balls as India slumped to 158 for five.
He bowled Kohli with a superb leg-break and had Raina caught low at leg-slip by Root.
James Vince, called up in place of the injured Jason Roy cut the first ball of England’s reply, from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for four.
Vince’s frustrating England career has seen him repeatedly get out on Tuesday he fell for a run-a-ball 27, although it needed a brilliant one-handed take by wicket-keeper Dhoni, from Hardik Pandya’s throw, to run him out.
But by then England were 74 for two inside 10 overs, well above the required run-rate.
Root, stumped off a Yuzvendra Chahal no-ball on 69, went to his century when he pulled Pandya through midwicket for his 10th four in 120 balls as England won with 33 deliveries to spare.
An elated Root celebrated by dropping his bat to the ground — the ‘mic drop’ gesture more associated with rock stars and stand-up comedians than cricketers.