D'Arcy Short had secret weapon in India Tour

D'Arcy Short has gone back to spinning school in a bid to enhance his Australian selection prospects. Short is working with former Indian tweaker Sridharan Sriram, hoping his left-arm wrist spinners give him a selection edge for Australia's Twenty20 series against India starting on Sunday. Short took 10 wickets in 15 Big Bash League games for the Hobart Hurricanes in the recently competed tournament when he was the leading scorer with 637 runs at a strike rate of more than 140.
Spin consultant Sriram has previously worked with Short on Australia A tours and helped the 28-year-old gain further confidence with his bowling. Sriram was urging Short to "keep things simple and keep my momentum ... and energy through the crease". Australia meet India on Sunday in a T20 game in Visakhapatnam with another T20 game three days later in Bengalaru. The Australians then play five one-day internationals against the Indians with the series opener on March 2. Australia's squad has a host of opening batting candidates to partner captain Aaron Finch - Short, Usman Khawaja and regular BBL openers Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis. And Short said if he won selection, he would adopt a simple batting outlook.

Ashes shootout resumes in Sheffield Shield

The shootout for Australia's remaining Ashes batting spots resumes on Saturday with five of the Test team's top six poised for a return to red-ball cricket in the Sheffield Shield. Just over five months out from the first Test against England, the final four rounds of this summer's Shield shape as the most crucial end to a domestic season in memory. Only white-ball representative Usman Khawaja won't play from Australia's batting line up against Sri Lanka in Canberra, while
David Warner and Steve Smith remain banned but will return for the Ashes. Cameron Bancroft play his first top-class red-ball game for Western Australia since the Cape Town Test, against a NSW side that includes Kurtis Patterson at Sydney's Bankstown Oval. Elsehwere openers Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw face a show down with Marcus Harris against Victoria at Melbourne's Junction Oval. Marnus Labuschagne will also play for the Bulls, while Will Pucovski returns for Victoria after being released from the Test squad for mental health reasons. Matthew Wade will move up the order as a specialist batsman for Tasmania when Tim Paine takes the gloves against South Australia, who have Travis Head back at their disposal.

Sri Lankan bowler stuns cricket world with never-before-seen dismissal

Vishwa Fernando has stunned the cricket world with an incredible ball to hand Hashim Amla the first golden duck of his 122-Test career. Fernando and Kasun Rajitha took three wickets each to bowl South Africa out for 222 on the first day of the second and final Test, before Sri Lanka finished 3-60 at stumps. Having won the toss and elected to bat, it was a disappointing display from South Africa again.
They were in early trouble at 3-15 as Fernando (3-62) removed Dean Elgar (6) and Amla (0) in consecutive deliveries. His ball to dismiss Amla was simply unplayable, swinging back through the 35-year-old’s defences to smash into middle stump. It represented a never-before-seen dismissal for the South African great, who suffered the very first golden duck of his long Test career. Fans immediately went into a frenzy over the incredible ball, and the unique piece of history it represented.

Josh Hazlewood’s injury has given him perspective

Australian Test vice-captain Josh Hazlewood believes the biggest gap following Steve Smith and David Warner’s ball tampering bans was the leadership vacuum.Australia entered the summer without its two most experienced batsmen after last March’s infamous Cape Town ball tampering scandal with the pair receiving year-long bans.With weeks remaining before their bans expire, Hazlewood said the batting group needed leadership.Since the two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, Australia blooded six debutants, including five batsmen.Without Smith and his 64 Tests and Warner and his 74 Tests,
it was left up to less experienced batsmen to take the lead.Usman Khawaja, who was having his own issues over the summer after his brother was arrested on the eve of the first Test against India, which he said affected his form, was the most experienced batsman, and has now played 41 Tests.Shaun Marsh has played 38 Tests, but averaged 26.14 from seven innings against India before he was dropped.With Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Aaron Finch and Kurtis Patterson all new to Test cricket, it meant a lack of player leadership around the group.“Every time Steve goes out to bat, he pretty much gets a hundred these days, so the time with the feet up is pretty important (for the fast bowlers),” Hazlewood told.

Marcus Harris finds himself on the chopping block after flopping in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka

The incumbent Test opener topscored for Australia in his debut series, which came against India during the summer. He scored 258 runs at 36.85 and - despite making no big scores - was a consistent performer who was never dismissed for single digits.Fast forward six weeks and Harris suddenly finds himself on the chopping block after flopping
in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka. He made scores of 44, 11 and 14 - making him the only player in the Australian top six to not pass 80 for the series. Scores of 3, 4 and 12 followed in the BBL, contributing to the picture of a batsman who has seemingly lost his way.A poor end to the Shield season will leave selectors with little choice but to leave him at home this winter.

Biggest wins in terms of balls to spare in List A cricket

Their total of 24 is the 4th lowest total in List A cricket with the lowest been recorded by the West Indies Under-19 team in 2007 when they were bowled out for just 18 runs against Barbados which was part of the KFC One-Day Cup in the Caribbean Islands. Scotland’s victory with 280 deliveries to spare is the 6th biggest in List A cricket and
the 2nd biggest in the 50-over matches.The Colts Cricket Club chasing down the target of 20 against the Saracens Sports Club in 2.2 overs during the 50-over fixture in 2012. This game could have been listed at the top in ODI records if the game had the international status. Oman’s total of 24/10 could have thumped Zimbabwe’s total of 35 against Sri Lanka in 2004. Similarly, Scotland could have held the biggest ODI win by bettering England’s win over Canada in 1979 CWC with 277 deliveries to spare.

Will Pucovski made it into Australia’s Test squad this summer but didn’t earn an international cap

Like Renshaw, Pucovski made it into Australia’s Test squad this summer but didn’t earn an international cap.The 20-year-old earned the call-up after he became the first player since Ricky Ponting to score a Shield double ton before his 21st birthday, and just the ninth Australian ever.His 243 runs off 311 balls against Western Australia may have put his name firmly on the map, although his first-class numbers were already strong, albeit from a small sample size.In 13 first-class innings he’s averaging 49.00 and has two centuries and a fifty to his name.He’s yet to wear a baggy green but has arguably
garnered more buzz from the public than any other Test debutant in the past 12 months.Part of the intrigue surrounds his well-publicised battle with mental health issues, which saw him take leave for six weeks after his double ton. He has received regular counselling since and told The Follow-On podcast in January that he was in a better head space.A call-up to the Test squad soon followed, although he was then released before the second match to continue manage his wellbeing.Now he’s ready to return once more, although, given the returns of Warner and Smith and the strong performances of Australia’s top six against Sri Lanka, he’s a smoky at best for the Ashes. But more big scores in the final four rounds of the Shield could change that.

Hitting six on the final delivery to win a T20I match

The Quadrangular T20I series played in round-robin format was hosted by Oman involved Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland as the other three teams. The tournament that concluded on Sunday was won by Scotland who topped the round-robin stage courtesy of NRR. The Netherlands were on course of taking the title with their 3rd straight win in the tournament when they faced Ireland in the first of the two games played on Sunday.
However, a thrilling last-ball victory for Ireland ensured the Dutch team didn’t get a chance to grab the title. The Netherlands were cruising at 116/0 in the 10th over but a collapse pulled them back and restricted them to 182/9. Andy Balbirnie’s 50-ball 83 gave a chance for Ireland to win the title. They needed to chase the 183-run target with four deliveries to spare. The equation came down to 16 runs needed from 11 balls but the Irish side could only earn four runs from the next five deliveries.

Matthew Wade has been in devastating form this summer, topscoring in the Shield with 571 runs at 63.44

The Tasmanian wicketkeeper-batsman hasn’t played a Test since September 2017 and appears to have very few ways left to re-impress selectors.The 31-year-old has been in devastating form this summer, topscoring in the Shield with 571 runs at 63.44. He also scored the second-most runs in the BBL with 592 at 42.28.Nonetheless, he didn’t earn a call-up for the Sri Lanka series, or the India tour, leaving many to wonder
if his name is on a blacklist at the selection table.National selector Trevor Hohns insisted before the Sri Lanka series that wasn’t the case, saying Wade needs to bat higher for his state to be considered. But Wade said he isn’t prepared to bend over backwards for selectors and will continue to play where he is asked to by his state, which is currently at No.6.Even so, if that means he ends the season averaging 60 with multiple centuries to his name, then surely his case becomes undeniable.

Mitch Marsh finds himself the furthest away from the Test team he has been in recent times

Unlike his older brother Shaun, 27-year-old Mitch Marsh has time on his side.But that’s where the good news ends. The bad news is that he finds himself the furthest away from the Test team he has been in recent times.Marsh has since last summer made just 225 runs at 16.07 for Australia. He was only afforded one Test against India
- in which he made 9 and 10 and took no wickets - before he was left out of the Sri Lanka series altogether.Making matters worse for Marsh is that it was Marcus Stoinis, not him, who was called into the squad for the second Test when Matthew Renshaw was released.Marsh wasn’t selected for Australia’s limited-overs tour of India either, which will give him the chance to rebuild his red-ball case while some of his competitors are busy facing the white-ball.

Kurtis Patterson is also in danger of losing his Test spot

The same could be said for Patterson who now has Steve Smith for competition in the Australian middle-order.Injury permitting, Smith is almost certain to return to the Test side given his remarkable track record in the red-ball game. That leaves Patterson with no choice but to become a more appealing middle-order option than Marnus Labuschagne
or Travis Head.He’s unlikely to keep a spot over the latter given Head was Australia’s best batsman over the entire summer and was also elevated to vice-captain status. That means the New South Wales batsman’s ongoing Test hopes hinge on outperforming Labuschagne in the Shield and hoping selectors don’t feel the need to fill the No.6 spot with an all-rounder.

Joe Burns now has a returning David Warner for competition

Harris’ fellow incumbent opener Burns finds himself in a stronger position heading into the back half of the Shield.He made the most of his Test re-call against Sri Lanka, scoring a brilliant 180 off 260 balls to register Australia’s highest individual score since December 2017.
He now has four Test centuries in 16 matches, which certainly puts him ahead of most other batsmen who wore the baggy green this summer.Nonetheless, Burns now has a returning David Warner for competition - as does Harris.Warner’s ending suspension will place the pressure back on the Queensland opener to continue scoring runs in the Shield to keep him at bay.

Alyssa Healy breaks Guinness World Record on the MCG

Fresh off winning the Belinda Clark Award, Australian wicket keeper Alyssa Healy has continued her golden year by recording a Guinness World Record.Healy has shattered the existing record for the highest catch of a cricket ball (62m), catching a ball dropped from a drone at a height of 82.5m above the Melbourne Cricket Ground.With one Guinness World Record notched up, Healy and the Southern Stars will look to break another record at next year's ICC Women's T20 World Cup when
they look to reach the final at the MCG and break the record for attendance at a women's sporting fixture.The Southern Stars will come into the tournament as hot favourites after winning four of the last five T20 World Cups, including the most recent tournament held in the West Indies last November.The 28-year-old was named the Belinda Clark Award winner after a golden 2018 which saw her plunder 329 runs at an average of 54.33 in six matches with a strike rate of 109.33.Healy continued her dominance at the T20 World Cup where she was central to Australia's success, smashing 225 runs at an average of 56.25.The 2020 Women's World T20 is set to commence on February 21 next year, with the final taking place on International Women's Day (March 8).

Lowest team totals in List A cricket

Oman is having a tough week as they lost all the three matches in the Quadrangular T20I series at home that involved Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands. The tournament was followed by a 3-match One-Day series against the T20I series winners Scotland. The series started with the hosts Oman getting bowled out for just 24 at the Al Amarat Cricket Ground.
Khawar Ali of Oman alone scored 15 runs and scored the only boundary during their innings.After electing to bowl first, the Scotland team had Oman four down for just eight runs by 5th over. As many as three of Oman’s top four got out for a duck. Opening bowler Ruaidhri Smith claimed a 4-wicket haul while his partner Alasdair Evans took a couple of wickets to leave the hosts reeling at 24/7 after 15 overs at drinks break. Adrian Neill picked up three wickets in the space of five deliveries after the resumption.

IPL fixtures dish timely Smith-Warner showdown

The sense of occasion surrounding the end of David Warner’s and Steve Smith’s ball-tampering bans hasn’t been lost on the cricket gods, who have set up a timely showdown between the pair. Warner’s and Smith’s Indian Premier League franchises have been scheduled to play against each other the day after their Cricket Australia suspensions end. The schedule for the first two weeks of the IPL was released on Tuesday night, dishing up a contest between Warner’s Sunrisers
Hyderabad and Smith’s Rajasthan Royals on March 29. Nonetheless, the contest between Smith and Warner isn’t a certainty given the injury clouds both batsmen are under. Both suffered elbow injuries last month playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, which saw them go under the knife. Smith has since been in an elbow brace which is expected to stay on until six weeks after his procedure, while Warner’s setback is believed to be less significant. While both could theoretically be involved in Australia’s ODI series against Pakistan - which runs from March 22 to March 31 - coach Justin Langer doesn’t expect either to return until the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Cricket great's savage slap down for in-form Matt Wade

Aussie cricket great Mark Waugh has brutally hit back at suggestions the in-form Matthew Wade deserves a Test recall. Former Test wicketkeeper Wade has plundered runs in the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League this season, but it hasn’t led to a national call-up. Australia coach Justin Langer has captain Tim Paine as his first choice gloveman and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said in January that Wade needs to bat higher at first-class level to be considered for a Test
berth. Cue the unfortunate injury for teammate George Bailey in the Big Bash semi-final that has presented Wade with the opportunity to do just that. Following that mishap, Wade will move up from No.6 when the Shield resumes this weekend. Wade is the leading Shield run-scorer with 571 and scored 592 for the Hurricanes in the BBL, second behind opening partner D’Arcy Short. He’s genuinely put himself in the conversation when it comes to discussions about a recall to Australia’s Test batting lineup. Despite the incredible statistics in his Wade’s favour though, Waugh insists he shouldn’t be considered for a Test recall.

Assessing Australia and England ahead of 2019 series

Right now the 2019 Cricket World Cup is now the focus for most international sides but England and Australia know this is also an Ashes year. Plenty can change between now and the first Test at Edgbaston, which starts on August 1, as demonstrated in recent months. Not too long ago, England were riding high after
securing a series sweep in Sri Lanka, while Australia had lost a series at home for the first time against India. Since then, however, Joe Root’s side slipped up against West Indies and Australia returned to winning ways on home soil, crushing the Sri Lankans. So, before the 50-over game takes centre stage, we grasped the chance to assess the state of the two rival nations.

Aussies mull batting options on India tour

After a home Test summer searching for batting options, Australian coach Justin Langer now has a plethora on the short-form tour of India. A host of batsmen including Usman Khawaja are keen to partner Aaron Finch at the top of the order when Australia meet India in two Twenty20 fixtures and five one-day internationals. "There's a lot of good players in this team ... it's good to have options," Khawaja said on Wednesday. Australia play India in the first T20 game on
Sunday. Khawaja has previously opened in T20 and one-day cricket while the Australian squad also features D'Arcy Short, who was the Big Bash League's player of the tournament and leading run-scorer. Allrounder Marcus Stoinis also thrived at the top of the order for the Melbourne Stars, making 499 runs including four half-centuries. His Stars teammate Glenn Maxwell has a T20 international ton when opening - his highest T20 score of 145 against Sri Lanka in 2016. And wicketkeeper Alex Carey has opened the batting with Finch in one-dayers recently and also opens for his BBL outfit, the Adelaide Strikers. Regardless of Langer's choice, Khawaja said the coach was sticking to his same message to all players.

England's highest successful chase in ODI cricket

What a fantastic game! A six-fest to start with and England, officially the best ODI team in the world at the moment, pull off their highest successful run-chase in ODI cricket - and the third-highest of all time. 23 sixes, a record for an ODI innings, and things looked set for the Windies, as they cruised to 360 aided by a Gaylestorm and some poor bowling/fielding by England. But Jason Roy, with a stunningly quick hundred,
more than made up for dropping Chris Gayle on 9. After laying the platform, it was time for Morgan and Root, two of England's captains, to set the stage on fire; Morgan played the aggressor with a violent fifty, and Root anchored the innings with his 14th ODI hundred, taking England to the brink before falling when the scores were level. Buttler entered the arena to finish things off swiftly with a boundary to hand England the first ODI and a 1-0 lead in the series scoreline.

England's twin tons make mockery of Chris Gayle's record-breaking century

Chris Gayle bombarded England with sixes on his West Indies return, clearing the ropes 12 times on his way to 135 as the hosts set a target of 361 in the first ODI in Barbados. But that wasn’t enough to stop the tourists, who cruised to a six-wicket victory – setting a new record – behind twin tons from Jason Roy and Joe Root.
The 39-year-old Gayle, ending a six-month exile from ODI cricket, repeatedly heaved the visiting attack into the leg-side to bring up a 24th century in the format. The left-hander’s brutal hitting carried his side to 8-360, their biggest total on home soil and best against England. With 23 maximums in the innings it was also a world record, beating the 22 the Windies conceded to New Zealand in 2014.

Mitch Marsh has groin surgery after hit

Mitch Marsh's horror summer has continued, with the Australian allrounder forced to undergo surgery after being struck in the groin at training.Marsh copped the hit while batting on Tuesday, and underwent a "minor surgical procedure" on Wednesday.The 27-year-old has been ruled out of WA's Sheffield Shield clash with NSW in Sydney, starting Sunday.It remains unclear whether he will be able to return for the March 3-6 Shield clash with South Australia at the WACA Ground."Mitch's recovery will be monitored closely over the coming week, before a decision can be made around his availability for the
round eight Shield match," team physiotherapist Nick Jones said.Marsh was on top of the world last summer following a series of breakout performances on the international stage.But the WA skipper has fallen out of the Australian side in all three formats this summer, and faces a battle to win back his spot in time for the ODI World Cup and the Ashes.Marsh was hopeful that a strong end to the Shield season would enhance his hopes of an international recall, but his injury setback is a blow.Marcus Stoinis recently overtook Marsh as Australia's preferred Test allrounder.Marsh said he saw his axing coming, but has vowed to win back his spot in the Australian sides."I've been knocked around a bit this summer," Marsh said during the recent BBL season.

Wade to bat higher for Tigers in Shield

Matthew Wade has a chance to press his Ashes claims as a specialist batsman with a move up the order for the Tasmanian Tigers.Former Test wicketkeeper Wade has plundered runs in the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League this season, but it hasn't led to a national call-up.Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said in January Wade needs to bat higher at first-class level to be considered for a Test berth.With Tigers' veteran George Bailey sidelined with a shoulder injury,
suffered in the Hobart Hurricanes' semi-final Big Bash League defeat, Wade will take the opportunity to move up from No.6 when the Shield resumes this weekend."The situation probably dictates that I need to go up and take a bit more responsibility for the team. I'll do that," the 31-year-old said."I've batted three for Victoria a couple of times. It doesn't worry me too much."Whether it's four or five, I'm not 100 per cent sure yet."Wade is the leading Shield run-scorers with 571 and scored 592 for the Hurricanes in the BBL, second behind opening partner D'Arcy Short.

Matthew Hayden names a better player than Hardik Pandya

Cummins to trouble Dhawan - Matthew Hayden further tipped in-form pacer Pat Cummins to trouble India opener Shikhar Dhawan. Cummins will be brimming with confidence after a successful last year that culminated with him winning the prestigious Allan Border medal.He was one of Australia’s most impressive performer when India toured Down Under for the Test series. The right-arm pacer also bagged the Man of the Series
award against Sri Lanka before becoming the first Australian since Glenn McGrath to rise to the top of the ICC Test bowlers’ rankings.Dhawan, on the other hand, has looked good in bits and parts. He has been getting the starts but has not converted them. Perhaps this is the reason, Hayden feels Dhawan will be troubled by Cummins. “Pat Cummins will have the hold on Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan loves the pace and I think Pat holds the armoury with the short ball, reverse swing and the variation with slow balls. I think Patty will be the babysitter,” Hayden added cheekily.

Ashes hopeful Worrall to miss Shield game

Daniel Worrall's Ashes audition is on hold but another swing bowling candidate will return from injury in Sheffield Shield ranks this weekend.Worrall has been overlooked for South Australia's game against Tasmania starting Saturday as a precaution given his recent comeback from a back injury.But prolific wicket-taker Chadd Sayers is set to return after having knee surgery last November.The South Australian quicks, along with Victorian duo Chris Tremain and Scott Boland, are
considered the pacemen most likely to break into Australia's Test squad for the Ashes series against England starting in August.Worrall has missed a chunk of the Shield season because of back and foot injuries while Sayers was spelled in mid-November and had arthroscopic surgery on a troublesome knee.Australia's vice-captain and SA's captain Travis Head says Worrall is likely to return to Shield action in the following round.Worrall played in the Melbourne Stars' losing BBL final after being man-of-the-match in their semi-final win over Hobart.But Head says the 27-year-old paceman isn't yet ready for the rigours of long-form cricket."It's more precautionary for Daniel," Head told reporters on Wednesday,

Major cost of Smith-Warner ban revealed

"Every time Steve goes out to bat, he pretty much gets a hundred these days, so the time with the feet up is pretty important [for the fast bowlers]," Hazlewood told ESPNcricinfo."It's probably been the first time when you've had the top six with no real senior batsmen to feed off, I guess, around training and games, so they [the newcomers] have had to do all their learning from the coaches."It's just so important to have those couple of senior guys when you bring those
couple of young guys into the top six to learn from. You just can't teach some things as coaches, you have to learn out in the middle batting with a senior person, so I think the other young batters will really feed off having them back."Warner and Smith can return for the World Cup and the Ashes series later this year.Few batsmen made a concrete case for Test selection in their absence, though Khawaja, Joe Burns, Travis Head and Kurtis Patterson all made centuries in the second Test against Sri Lanka.