Joe Denly adamant England can pull off comeback Ashes win against Australia

England captain Joe Root was 75 not out after sharing a stand of 126 in 53 overs with Denly that rescued his team from yet more top-order embarrassment at 15-2. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 24 August 2019

Joe Denly adamant England can pull off comeback Ashes win against Australia

  • England captain Joe Root was 75 not out after sharing a stand of 126 in 53 overs with Denly
  • Root’s effort was especially timely given England’s best batsman had been out for nought in his previous two Test innings

HEADINGLEY, Leeds: Joe Denly insisted England never lost faith in their ability to pull off what would be one of the most astounding wins in Ashes history after collapsing to 67 all out in the third Test against Australia at Headingley.
England’s woeful total — their lowest in Ashes cricket for 71 years — appeared to have ended any hopes they had in this match of squaring the five-Test series at 1-1.
But come stumps on Saturday’s third day they were 156-3 in their second innings, needing a further 203 runs to reach a target of 359.
England captain Joe Root was 75 not out after sharing a stand of 126 in 53 overs with Denly that rescued his team from yet more top-order embarrassment at 15-2.
“I still think we’re in very good position,” said Denly, caught behind after gloving a Josh Hazlewood bouncer.
Denly, the only England batsman to reach double figures in the first innings, with 12, added: “It’s never ideal when you get bowled out for 67, it wasn’t good enough and we had to show a bit of fight and a bit of character in the second innings.”
Denly said England’s resolve had not faltered after their first-innings horror show.
“It was never about a draw or losing, but all about winning — that belief has to be there,” he said.
“We understand there is a tricky period in the morning with the new ball coming up.
“But we have Rooty and Stokesy (Ben Stokes is two not following his unbeaten 115 in the drawn second Test at Lord’s) — two world-class batters in.”
Root’s effort was especially timely given England’s best batsman had been out for nought in his previous two Test innings.
“Any time Joe Root is scoring runs it puts belief in the side,” said Denly. “We feed off that.”
Saturday also saw Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne score 80 — his third successive Test fifty since coming in as world cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute for Steve Smith after the star batsman was hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord’s.
Labuschagne missed out on a maiden Test century by running himself out, but he was still pleased with his recent run of scores which included 74 in the first innings — seven more than England managed between them.
“As a batter you want to score hundreds but it was more about getting as big a lead as we could,” said Labuschagne. “It’s going to be pretty tough ever to fill Steve Smith’s shoes.
“But from a personal perspective I’m just trying to focus on my own game.”
If Australia win this match they will retain the Ashes and Labuschagne said it would not take much to derail England’s bid for victory.
“That’s how it works over here, you always find there’s big partnerships but then there’s one, two, three wickets. It can happen very quickly,” he added.
Unlike players on both sides involved in the World Cup, Labuschagne came into this match with plenty of recent runs in first-class cricket under his belt after playing for Glamorgan in the County Championship.
“Playing for Glamorgan helped a lot,” said Labuschagne.
“Playing against the swinging ball in different conditions — and just learning my game and learning to put big runs on the board — definitely helped me and built my confidence as well.”
Saturday saw Labuschagne hit on the helmet and grille by bouncers from Stuart Broad and Archer, with the latter also having struck his grille at Lord’s.
But Labuschagne insisted Saturday’s strikes were just “glancing blows.”
Meanwhile the sidelined Smith had his third running session in three days on Saturday and his first bat, facing throw-downs for 15 minutes.
He will continue to be assessed with a view to playing in the three-day tour match against Derbyshire starting Thursday.


World’s richest horse race Saudi Cup to ‘open doors’ for tourists to Saudi Arabia

Updated 6 min 22 sec ago

World’s richest horse race Saudi Cup to ‘open doors’ for tourists to Saudi Arabia

  • Race billed as the richest on the planet with prize fund of $20 million
  • Visa procedures for the event were also confirmed on Monday

LONDON: Next year’s Saudi Cup horse race in Riyadh will help open up Saudi Arabia to visitors from around the world, Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia chairman Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal said on Monday.

The race, billed as the richest on the planet with a prize fund of $20 million, will be run at the King Abdul Aziz racetrack in Riyadh on Feb. 29.

The race over a distance of nine furlongs (1,800 meters) on the dirt track will have a maximum field of 14 starters and will be free to enter and to participate in.

Prince Bandar told Arab News the race will allow visitors to the Kingdom an opportunity to enjoy everything the country has to offer.

“This event was initiated by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, it has been two years in the making, and we were extremely encouraged by the position of the government,” he said.

“They have been very supportive in everything they can do to ensure it is a successful event, there is a definite political will to do so.”

Prince Bandar referred to an announcement earlier this month that Saudi Arabia would open its doors to tourists from around the world by the end of 2019.

“So that works for us very nicely,” he added.

Prince Bandar said while the prize money was obviously important in building the reputation of the event, it was not the sole reason for its hosting and that he hoped it would establish Saudi Arabia as a major racing nation on the global stage.

Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia's chairman Prince Bandar (C) with a host of UK trainers and jockey Frankie Dettori at the London launch of the Saudi Cup. (AN Photo/Daniel Fountain)

“It definitely falls in line with the kind of activities that are now opening up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people and culture to people from all over the world, so that they can come and experience the country first-hand and have the opportunity to see a part of the world that has not been visited as often as we would like.

“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is without doubt the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia and it demonstrates our resolve to develop this great sport in the Kingdom and also our ambition to become a leading player on horse racing’s world stage,” he added.

During his address in central London Prince Bandar said: “We will be thrilled to welcome international competitors to these new races. I am especially pleased that we will be having turf racing in Riyadh for the first time, things are really beginning to take shape.”

The prince also said he was keen for women jockeys and trainers to get involved with the Saudi Cup, adding they would be “most welcome” to compete at the event, and that he hoped it would entice some of the world’s most promising female talent.

“Women have been very active in equestrianism as a whole in the Kingdom, it is quite normal in Saudi Arabia for them to compete at that level,” he said.

Also announced at the London launch were the meeting’s support races, which include a staying handicap race run over 3,000 meters, a middle-distance race over 2,100 meters, while the two races on the dirt track are over 1,200 meters and 1,600 meters.

Tom Ryan, Saudi Cup Race Director, said the races and the horses competing in them had been selected to offer the most competitive spectacle possible for the estimated 10,000-12,000 expected to be watching at the racetrack itself and global television audiences.

World-renowned jockey Frankie Dettori also spoke at the event and described his experiences of running horses on the King Abdul Aziz dirt track.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have been going there for a number of years, and the quality of the dirt track in Riyadh is second to none, probably the best I’ve ridden on. 

“I’ve ridden European horses on it, and they take to it really well, and the new turf track will give the day even more appeal. 

“I’m sure this is going to attract a lot of interest from around the world, I hope I’ll be there on the starting line come February 29.”

Visa procedures for the event were also confirmed on Monday, with the Saudi Cup following a similar system used by recent sporting events hosted in Saudi Arabia. Racegoers who buy a ticket for the Saudi Cup will automatically receive a visa to enter the Kingdom.

Prince Bandar said: “In Saudi Arabia, we’ve had experience with Formula E and other such events, whether it is in hospitality or entertainment and we have no problem with accommodation for those involved with the horses or who wish to attend the event.

“We will also be providing programs and packages for people who wish to tour Saudi Arabia, whether it is for the archaeology, for nature, or the seas, deserts or mountains — we have everything accounted for.”