The day might have taken a lot of time to get going with wet outfield playing party pooper at Sabina Park on Day three, but once it did get going, Pakistan over all over it.
Thanks to an unbeaten 124 from Fawad Alam, who came to bat once again after being retired hurt on Day 1 and Shaheen Afridi’s ferocious spell in West Indies’ first innings, Babar Azam’s men ended the third day in a commanding position. At the time of writing, Pakistan were leading by 263 runs with West Indies reeling at 39-3 in reply to the visitors' 302-9 declared.
Starting their innings, the Windies were cautious, but against a deadly speel of Shaheen, where he was able to bring the ball back and take it away from the batter from the same length, it didn’t really take much time before the openers folded. Roston Chase played few beautiful shots before he was cleaned up by an inswinger from Faheem Ashraf when the team score had reached 34.
Nkruma Bonner and Alzarri Joseph, who walked in as nightwatchman made sure that no more wickets and fell and the Men in Maroon would come back on Day 4 at 38-3.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan didn’t have a good start either as it lost three crucial wickets in a span of span 13 runs at the day’s start. But then Fawad, who reached his fifth Test hundred, fourth in a span of just 10 months and eight Tests, hed the fort, first with Hasan Ali and then with Shaheen Afridi to guide Pakistan past 300.
Both Kemar roach and Jayden Seales picked three wickets each while Jason holder got the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan and Nauman Ali and Hasan Ali got run out.
Usman Khawaja, the stylish Australian left hander, who currently does not find a spot in the Australian national team has backed under-fire coach Justin Langer. Langer has found himself in hot water after several media reports alleged that the head coach has strained relationships with multiple stars of the Aussie cricket team. Interestingly, Khawaja, was dropped by Langer back in 2019 midway through the Ashes series, a saga that has been well documented by the Amazon documentary 'The Tests'. Back then, Khawaja had voiced similar concerns with the head coach and had told that players were "walking on eggshells" around him. Khawaja has said that the responsibility of losses can not be alone pinned on the coach, and feels that players are actually backstabbing Justin Langer by not backing him. "How do you think JL feels? He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back and that's what it looks like and that's why it's so disappointing,” said the Queensland captain. "It's not always the coaches. The guys aren't performing, the players need to take ownership at some stage. It's not one person so there needs to be some sort of perspective put around this,” he further added while speaking on his YouTube channel. Khawaja, who has played 44 Tests for Australia after making his debut from 2011 to 2019, said that Langer is passionate about everything and rides on emotions, which is probably his weakest point. "He [Langer] is a very passionate person. Loves Australian cricket, wants the best for everyone, wants to only succeed. He's driven by winning, driven by winning the right way and all the things he brought after sandpaper gate were focused on those things,” said the 34-year-old. "One thing that keeps coming up is his emotions. Yes, the man wears his heart on his sleeve. He can be very emotional. It's probably his one downside, his greatest weakness is his emotion,” Khawaja further added, saying that the players and the management need to sort the issue out as soon as possible for the betterment of Australian cricket. The Pakistan-born went on to reveal that he wasn’t dropped because of Langer and that he actually has a great relationship with the coach to date. "People thought I got dropped because I stood up to him, it's actually the opposite, I actually got closer - he gained my respect and I gained his, because we had some really honest and open conversations. I still talk to him, still, text him till this day because we have a lot of respect for each other,” he said. Earlier last week, Cricket Australia and Test skipper Tim Paine had to put out a statement backing Langer after it was made evidently clear in the Australian media that the players were losing confidence in the 50-year-old coach especially after the 4-1 drubbing each by Bangladesh and West Indies in the five-match T20I series that Australia played against both teams.
The St. Lucia franchise changed its name from St. Lucia Zouks to St. Lucia Kings in June this year, to be more in line with its sister IPL franchise Punjab Kings. The Punjab franchise had to change its name prior to the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League. And how incidental or weird it would be that even before Punjab Kings could have their outcome of a name change in terms of change in fortune, St. Lucia Kings would have already had theirs, thanks to the rescheduling of the IPL. This year, it would be the first time in the team’s history that DarenSmmy wouldn’t be leading them and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis has been named skipper. du Plessis was also named skipper of The Hundred franchise Northern Superchargers, but couldn’t recover in time from the concussion that he encountered during PSL 2021, to play for the Superchargers. It would be interesting to see if he plays in the CPL and how. St. Lucia Kings Squad Rahkeem Cornwall, Keemo Paul, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Obed McCoy, Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Javelle Glen, Keron Cottoy, Jeavor Royal, Kadeem Alleyne, Alzarri Joseph Overseas: Faf du Plessis (c), Samit Patel, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadir, Tim David Head Coach: Andy Flower, Team Mentor: Daren Sammy Bowling the best bet for Kings to go all the way The Kings in the display have the likes of Wahab Riaz, Obed McCoy and Kesrick Williams as three of the suited t20 bowlers in the ranks who with their pace and the change of it can work any batting line-up up. Wahab has tons of experience in T20 cricket, so much so that he has played for 45 different clubs in his 16 years and 281 matches old career where he has picked up 338 wickets. Williams on the other end has been part of the CPL for a long time has played 100 T20s, giving a glance as to what can be expected from him. Along with his signature celebration, he has 129 wickets which means he is mostly trusted with the ball in the teams that he plays. McCoy is young but highly impactful with the change of pace and he has shown that in the series against South Africa and Australia that West Indies played recently. In fact, he picked 14 wickets in his last matches. Others in the pace battery include two more West Indian quicks who can bat as well in the form of Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph. They are such players who can win games at least once in the season with sheer ability on their day. Along with pace, the spin department is bustling with talent as well. While Samit Patel and Sman Qadir are established T20 names, it is the local talent in the form of Rahkeem Cornwall, Javelle Glen and Roston Chase along with newbie Jeavor Royal that makes it a hell of an attack. With so many options to choose from, it is really going to be a hard time for skipper du Plessis to chose his bowling attack. Batting is a weak link While there is no dearth of options in terms of bowling, the batting unit of the Kings looks comparatively weaker. They have the experience of du Plessis and all-rounder, Patel and also the good form of Tim David. But apart from that, there is not a single player who could be trusted to play according to the situation. Andre Fletcher, the Spiceman can no doubt kick some storm on his day, but he has his days in one out of six-seven games and this tournament isn’t that long that Kings could afford for him to keep on misfiring. Will Roston Chase be able to score quickly is another question because it takes time for both Samit Patel and Faf to settle down as well and a team can’t afford to have three similar batters in the XI. Others who can bat include Keron Cottoy, Mark Deyal and Kadeem Alleyne. There isn’t much evidence to prove that these batters could bat the team out in crucial situations. Mark Deyal at the top could be handy no doubt. The magic combination that could win them the title The team finished second last season and what worked the most in their favour was their bowling and the captaincy of Daren Sammy. The main bowler, Scott Kugglein is no more part of the Kings and Daren Sammy is not the captain either, although he would still remain in the dugout. But as they say, every season can’t be the same. Hence, the cocktail that could work for Kings this season is Tim David and Samit Patel’s big-hitting combined with the anchor batting of skipper Faf du Plessis at the top and Fletcher being given free hand to play as he wishes. If this is done in batting and Usman Qadir and Cornwall are able to weave their magic with the ball, then the pace trio of McCoy, Williams and Joseph could be risked in all games. Can they win it? With the side that they have got, the best finish for them could be nothing less than the title. They have an anchor in the batting in form of du Plessis, an aggressor in Fletcher, a middle-order stabiliser in Patel and a finisher in David. In bowling, they have more than a decent off-spinner in Cornwall and a supremely talented leg spinner in the form of Usman Qadir to go with a master of change of pace in McCoy. If you can’t win with a team as good as this, it would be hard to win with any other as well. Probable Playing XI Faf du Plessis (c), Andre Fletcher (wk), Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Samit Patel, Tim David, Alzarri Joseph, Rahkeem Cornwall, Usman Qadir, Kesrick Williams, Obed McCoy
Coming from well behind, India registered an exceptional victory in the 2nd Test against England at Lord’s by 151 runs to take a 1-0 lead with three matches still to go. However, when the final day of the Test started, England looked the clear favourites to close out the game. It became more realistic when English skipper Joe Root employed strange tactics which eventually led to an astonishing comeback from the Indian lower order duo of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The English fast bowlers kept bowling short which actually played into the hands of Shami and Bumrah. Shami went onto score an unbeaten 56 while Bumrah was undefeated on 34. Bumrah was hit on the helmet twice but defied all the odds by taking on the challenge and ended up with a vital contribution for his team. For these bizarre tactics from Root, former English skipper turned analyst Michael Vaughan came hard at the coach Chris Silverwood for his non-interference on that entire matter. “The nadir came in that hour and 20 minutes before lunch on the fifth day of the second Test, which must rank among the worst stuff I’ve seen from an England Test team in years. Why was Silverwood not sending someone out onto the pitch with a drink, asking Root what the hell was going on and getting him to change tactics? I know that is what Duncan Fletcher would have done with me had I suffered a brain-fade on the field,” wrote Vaughan on his Facebook page. India managed to secure a lead of 271 runs in the second innings, ruling out a chance of an England win. With just 60 overs left in the day’s play, the pace quartet of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj bowled their heart out managing to bowl out England for just 120 runs with more than 8 overs left. England suffered a heavy 151-run defeat at Lord’s and must come back strongly in order to level the series. The 3rd Test match will be played at Headingly, Leeds starting from the 25th of August. The first Test match between these two teams ended up in a stalemate as rain intervened on the final day.
Southern Brave won the inaugural edition of The Hundred Men’s competition by defeating Birmingham Phoenix and Tymal Mills, their fast bowler played a crucial role in not only this win but in the team’s entire campaign in the tournament. Owing to his exceptional performances, Brave captain James Vince feels that the pacer must get an England call up. “He deserves it. In my mind, it would make sense, especially with Jofra Archer not being available. He’s someone that can bowl 90 mph and bowl the slower ones as well. Not just with his batting and in the field as well, he is an asset,” Vince said in the post-match interview. Mills took three wickets in the Eliminator, going just for eight runs against Trent Rockets and went for 1/13 against Birmingham when they were needed to score at 8.5 runs per five balls. He was able to do all this with his ability to change the pace of the ball at his will and the Vince considered it as something that would be really helpful for the English team in the Gulf during the T20 World Cup. “To have the change of pace that he has, to bowl 90 mph and the slower ball with that accuracy, it makes him incredibly tough to face. He has been so reliable, he knows what he wants and that makes it easy for anyone to captain,” said the Brave skipper who would now be leading Hampshire in the T20 Blat Quarter Finals on August 25. Mills picked up eight wickets in the tournament and bowled at an economy of 1.11 RPB 9Runs Per Ball), which is the lowest for The Hundred 2021. The 29-year-old had made his England debut in 2016 and could only play five matches. Thus, this return could see him having another craft at international cricket.