When Steven Finn walked onto the park to bat at no. 3 as a night watchman in England’s second innings towards the end of the fourth day of the first test match against New Zealand, nobody would have expected him to spend 5 hours at the crease. But, he did that. His inning of 56 off 203 balls was one of the best played by a night watchman. He batted for more than two sessions on that crucial final day and helped his team save the test match.

In the first session of the fifth day, the ball was moving and Neil Wagner was creating a lot of problems. The ball went past Finn’s bat on quite a few occasions, but, he showed maturity and didn’t try to go for a slog. He kept fighting and eventually managed to survive for 5 hours.

Just after the tea break, Finn was dismissed by Bruce Martin, but, till then, he had done his job. When he was returning to the pavilion, everyone in the dressing room was applauding.
Finn hit five fours during his inning and most of those boundaries came square of the wicket on the off side.

Immediately after the fall of Finn’s wicket after tea, Joe Root also got out and all of a sudden, the match got exciting. But, Bell and Prior saw off the day after that and made sure that the match would end in a draw.

Talking to the reporters after the end of the match, Finn said, “I really enjoyed batting for so long. I had never thought that I would contribute so much with the bat. But, sometimes, the unexpected things happen in cricket and it’s one of those things.”

“I just wanted to be out there as long as possible. So, I was just looking to block and leave deliveries. I got beaten a few times, but, I kept telling myself not to go for the aggressive shots.”

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The England Cricket team has been defeated by India in the third ODI played at Ranchi. India won the match easily by 6 wickets.

This was the first ever International match played at this venue. So, there was a lot of excitement among the people for this match. The people turned up in big numbers. The stadium was jam packed.

The Indian skipper, MS Dhoni, won the toss and decided to bowl first. England didn’t have a good start and Alastair Cook was dismissed when the score of England was only 24.

The ball was swinging around in the initial overs and the English batsmen were finding it difficult out there in the middle.

Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell added 44 runs for the second wicket. The Partnership was broken by Ishant Sharma who dismissed Pietersen with a brilliant delivery.

England kept losing wickets at regular intervals and there was not a single big partnership in the England innings.

The England team got all out on just 155 runs. Joe Root was the top scorer for them. The 21 years old Yorkshire batsman who was only playing his third ODI scored 39 runs off 57 balls with the help of 4 fours.

India didn’t have to chase a big target and there was not any kind of pressure on the Indian openers. But, India also didn’t have a good start. Ajinkya Rahane was knocked over by Jade Dernbach when the score of India was just 11.

But, after that, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli put together a very good partnership. Both of them played some glorious shots and put India on the driving seat.

Gautam Gambhir was dismissed by Tredwell at the score of 33. Yuvraj Singh came in at no. 4 and he also played a few aggressive shots. But, when there were just 12 runs needed for victory, he got out off the bowling of Tredwell.

Virat Kohli saw the Indian team home along with the skipper MS Dhoni. Kohli remained not out on 77 and was declared man of the match for his brilliant innings.

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The captain of the England Cricket team, Alastair Cook, has said that Kevin Pietersen has made a great comeback in international cricket and England has massive expectations with him in the upcoming ODI series against India. Pietersen has been out of action in One Day Cricket since the last 10 months. The last ODI that he had played was in February last year against Pakistan.

The England team arrived India on Thursday to play 5-match ODI series. Talking to the reporters after reaching India, Cook said, “It’s fantastic to have a great player like Pietersen back in the team He is a game changer and he showed that in the test series. That fantastic hundred in the Mumbai test match was one of the turning points of the series. If he is in top form, he can destroy any bowling attack in the world.”

When asked at which position Kevin Pietersen would bat, Cook said, “He has done well opening the innings, but, Ian Bell has also played some remarkable innings batting at the top in the recent times. So, it would be tough to decide who among these two will open. We will decide about that, but, one thing is for sure, Pietersen will bat in the top order. If he won’t open, he will bat at no. 3. He is our best batsman and we want him to play as many deliveries as possible.”

When asked if England is going to miss Stuart Broad in the upcoming series, Cook said, “Broad’s figures are outstanding in One Day Cricket off late. He has been consistent in this format of the game. So, we would certainly miss him. But, we have got some other talented, young fast bowlers in the squad as well and it’s a great chance for them to cement their place in the side.”

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The England cricket team has been defeated by India by 9 wickets in the first test match played at Sardar Patel Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad. Chasing a small target of 77 runs, the Indian batsmen played very aggressively and scored those runs in just 15.3 overs. Virender Sehwag was the only batsman who got out in the second innings. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli remained not out on 41 and 14 respectively.

Earlier, in the morning, the two not out English batsmen didn’t manage to add too many to their overnight total. Ojha broke the partnership when the score was 356. Prior was the one who got out first. It was a flat delivery from Ojha which pitched back of a length and was going across Prior. The English wicketkeeper tried to play it through extra cover, but, the ball came slower than what Prior was anticipating and he ended up hitting the ball back into the hands of the bowler.

Just 9 more runs were added in the total and Cook was also dismissed. Again, it was Ojha who did it for his team. He bowled an incoming delivery from round the wicket. The ball kept a bit low and Cook also misjudged the length. He tried to cut it through backward point, missed the delivery and got clean bowled.

After that, it was a tough ask for the tail enders. They showed resistance for a little while, but, they didn’t manage to add too many runs to the total. England got all out on 406 which meant that they only had a lead of 76 runs.

Graeme Swann was given the new ball in the second innings, but, he couldn’t create too many troubles as he was attacked right from the first over by Sehwag and Pujara. Pujara played some great cover drives against the spin.

Pujara was adjudged man of the match for his double hundred in the first innings.

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The England Cricket team has defeated New Zealand in its second super 8 match in the World T20 Championship at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. This was the must win game for the English team and the Stuart Broad’s boys delivered. England won the match by 6 wickets.

The England team made two changes in the XI for this match. The left arm spinner Danny Briggs was included in the XI on the place of Samit Patel who was expensive in the last match, while, Tim Bresnan replaced Jade Dernbach who hadn’t bowled well in the first three matches. There was only one change in the New Zealand line up. Jacob Oram was injured. So, he was replaced by Doug Bracewell.

The New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor won the toss and decided to bat first. The English bowlers started pretty well. Martin Guptill was trapped in front of the wickets by Finn in the second over of the innings. In the 4th over, Finn removed Brendon McCullum who was a big threat for England.

McCullum came down the track and tried to hit the ball over extra cover but, the ball took the top edge of the bat and went towards the third man boundary where Luke Wright made no mistake. Nicol also departed pretty soon. He tried to slog sweep, but, due to the lack of pace on the delivery, he didn’t time the shot well and the ball went into the hands of Jonny Bairstow who was at deep square leg boundary.

James Franklin hit some good shots towards the end of the innings and he managed to score a half century. Franklin’s knock took New Zealand to a respectable total of 148. England again had a poor start in reply. Kieswetter’s poor form continued. He tried to sweep Vettori, missed the line of the ball completely and the stumps were rattled. The Kiwi team got the second breakthrough when the score was 38. Alex Hales used his feet and tried to hit Nathan McCullum over long on, but, he was beaten in the air and the ball hit the stumps.

Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan played sensibly and added 89 runs for the third wicket. Wright, in particular, was very aggressive and he hit some muscular shots down the ground. He scored his second half century in the tournament and got out after making 76 runs off 43 balls. Morgan also got out towards the end, but, the two youngsters, Bairstow and Buttler, saw England home with seven balls still remaining in the match.
England will play against Sri Lanka in its third super 8 match on the 1st of October at the same venue.

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The skipper of the England test and ODI team, Alistair Cook, has said that the England ODI team is going on the right track and if the team continues to play like this, England might win the ODI World Cup for the first time in 2015.

The England ODI team has performed sensationally in the last few months. The team had won ODI series against Pakistan in UAE earlier this year. After that, the team defeated West Indies and Australia on its home soil. And now, the team is performing well against South Africa as well. The batting order of the team is looking quite settled and the bowling department is also going fine.

On being asked about Ian Bell’s sublime form, Cook said that Bell is a class act. He has got the right kind of technique to play the new ball. He is not one of those players who know only one way of playing. He can play both ways. If the team is in trouble, he can play defensively and save his wicket and if the team is chasing a huge target, he can play big shots as well.

He is a versatile player and it’s great to have him in the opening slot. On being asked about the fitness of Jonathan Trott, Cook said that Trott is recovering well and hopefully, he would be 100% fit before the fifth ODI. He is a key member of the team and he always plays a major role batting at no. 3. So, it would be fantastic if he plays in the 5th ODI.

On being asked why Samit Patel is being preferred ahead of Jonny Bairstow despite the brilliant performance of the latter in the third test against South Africa, Cook said that Samit plays the spinners very well and he can be handy with the bowl as well. So, the team management decided to prefer him ahead of Bairstow.

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England has left out Graeme Swann in the second test match against South Africa and brought Steve Finn into the team. The wicket at Headingly had some grass on it. So, the English captain, Andrew Strauss decided to go with 4 fast bowlers. Also, the middle order batsman, Ravi Bopara, has been left out and the Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor has been given the opportunity to debut for England in test cricket. There was no change in the South African team. England won the toss and decided to field first on a green top wicket.

The conditions were very good for fast bowling, but, the English bowlers were not able to get the early breakthrough. Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith gave respect to the good deliveries, but, didn’t miss out on the weak deliveries. Both the openers played some delightful shots and put together 120 runs for the first wicket. Bresnan provided England the first breakthrough when Smith flicked one straight to Ian Bell who was standing at backward square leg. That was a very soft dismissal. Hashim Amla, who scored a triple century in the Oval test, wasn’t able to play a long inning again as he got run out at the score of 9. Kallis also went early and all of a sudden, South Africa was 3 wickets down and needed a partnership badly. South African wicket keeper, AB De Villiers, came to bat and he played some wonderful shots. De Villiers and Petersen put together 97 runs for the fourth wicket. During that partnership, Petersen completed his fourth test century. It seemed that these two would see the day off. But, that didn’t happen and Stuart Broad knocked over AB De Villiers when the score was 254.

After the fall of the fourth wicket, Dale Steyn came to bat as the night watchman, but, he wasn’t able to see the day off. He was bowled by Steve Finn. At the end of the first day’s play, the score of South Africa was 262 for 5 with Petersen and Rudolph at the crease.

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England has announced its 30 members’ provisional squad for the World T20 championship, which is going to be held in Sri Lanka in September. Kevin Pietersen has not been named in that squad. In the last few days, there has been lot of talks about whether Pietersen would be included in the squad or not. But, as ECB said earlier, if Pietersen wants to play in T20s, he would have to be available for selection in the ODIs too. But, Pietersen didn’t declare that he is available for selection in all the three formats of the game resulting in his omission from the 30 members’ provisional squad.

One interesting name in the squad is England’s ODI captain Alistair Cook. Cook has never been considered as a T20 player. He has not even played a single T20 game for England. One or two years back, he was not even considered for ODI cricket. He used to play only in the test matches for England. But, after the poor performance of the England team in World Cup 2011, Andrew Strauss announced his retirement from the ODI cricket. After that, Alistair Cook was appointed as the captain of the ODI team. Since then, he has played some brilliant innings in the ODIs. Due to his excellent ODI performances, he has been selected in the 30 members’ squad.

The test wicket keeper, Matt Prior, has also been named in the squad. Since, Craig Kieswetter is not performing consistently in the ODIs and T20s. So, the experienced Matt Prior might be given a chance in the final squad of 15 members. Ian Bell has also been named in the squad. He had been recalled in the ODI squad a few days back just because of the retirement of Kevin Pietersen. But, he performed well in the ODI series against West Indies and Australia and he is a strong candidate for selection in the final squad.

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England to Wear Black Armbands

The players of the England Cricket Team will step into The Oval to take on the West Indies for the One Day International match after a minute’s silence and will sport black armbands in the memory of the 23 year old Welsh batsman Tom Maynard who died tragically at the tender age of 23 after being hit by a train, as primary reports have suggested.

According to the preliminary reports submitted by the police, Maynard is thought to have died after being hit by a London Underground Train and by the time the police arrived at the scene after 5 am, he had already succumbed to his injuries.

Maynard was being regarded as one of the most talented crop of English batsmen who are knocking at the door of the England Cricket Team and had done remarkably well for The England Lions with whom he went on a tour to Bangladesh earlier in the year.

Jonny Bairstow, a teammate of Maynard at Surrey and during The England Lions’ tour of Bangladesh and other members of the team were told of the tragic incident before practice session on the morning of the incident, by Andy Flower, the coach of the team.

Jade Dernbach, another teammate of Tom Maynard at Surrey has been given permission to withdraw his name from the squad for the rest of the series if he feels he is unable to play, considering the fact that he was one of those who were closest to Maynard. The Oval is the home ground of the Surrey Brown Caps county team and during the practice session of the England Cricket Team, the flag was at half mast.

When the England team walk into the field to take on the West Indies, it is going to be an extremely emotional moment for the fans and players alike who are grief stricken at the loss of the youngster.

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Another Controversy

The England Cricket Team maybe the top ranked Test playing nation in the world according to the ICC Test rankings but if there was any ranking allotted for courting controversy, one can be pretty sure that The Three Lions would not be too far off the pace at that as well.

And this comes in the wake of the latest controversy that the finds itself in and this time, the main culprit is none other than the repeat offender Kevin Pietersen. The South African born middle order batsman used the popular social networking site Twitter to question the credentials of Nick Knight, a former Test cricketer for England as a Test commentator on Sky Sports.

And as a result, Test captain Andrew Strauss has had to take matter into his own hands and warn his team mates about the dangers of the social networking site, even going to the extent of labeling as a double edged sword. Nick Knight, who played just 17 Test matches for the England Cricket Team with an average of just over 23 and just one Test hundred to his name is contracted to comment on the ongoing Test series between England and the West Indies.

But Pietersen questioned the appointment of Knight due to his lack of experience and knowledge of the Test arena, having previously taken to Twitter and accusing Knight of ‘stealing his living’. Pietersen did, however, mention that he had nothing against Sky Sports which has legends like Sir Ian Botham, Michael Atherton and David Gower, all legends of the England Cricket Team in its commentating team.

But Strauss is wary that this latest controversy might just distract the all conquering Three Lions and might just give the West Indies a chance to steal a march in the second Test match of the series.

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