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Jofra Archer has boosted competition in England ranks – Woakes



Jofra Archer‘s arrival has injected a healthy boost in competition among England’s bowling ranks, according to Chris Woakes.

Woakes said jostling for places in England’s batting line-up over recent years had led to a situation where they now make mammoth targets appear infinitely achievable. Just look at their second-highest successful run chase to win the third ODI against Pakistan without their best white-ball batsman – the resting Jos Buttler – on Tuesday. And he believed the same could be said of the bowlers now that Archer had entered the mix.

“The batters have obviously set the benchmark over the last few years, there’s always been competition for places there – more so maybe than the bowling – and this, I suppose, has done the same for the bowlers,” Woakes said. “It’s always good to have competition, at international level, that’s always going to be the case, so yeah, I think it’s been a good thing.”

Archer was not named in England’s preliminary World Cup squad but, having been rested after just one T20I and two ODI performances against Ireland and Pakistan – earmarked by selectors as auditions for the West Indies-born fast bowler since he qualified to represent England – indications are that they have seen enough to justify his late inclusion.

When asked previously, Woakes’ attitude towards Archer coming into the World Cup squad at the expense of a player who had helped England become the No. 1 one-day side could perhaps best be described as pragmatic.

“Fair probably is not the right word,” Woakes told the BBC in April on the eve of Archer’s inclusion in the squads to face Ireland and Pakistan. “It probably wouldn’t be fair morally, but at the same time it’s the nature of international sport.”

Woakes’ performance against Pakistan in Bristol was a timely reminder of his credentials ahead of the selectors finalising England’s World Cup squad next week. Until his 4 for 67 off 10 overs on Tuesday, Woakes’ only multiple-wicket hauls during his comeback from knee tendinitis were 2 for 59 in the Caribbean in February and 3 for 47 in a Royal London Cup game for Warwickshire.

“I felt better with the new ball today [Tuesday] in particular, so hopefully that’s a good sign,” Woakes said.

Asked after the match if he felt that his own World Cup place was safe, however, Woakes replied: “Safe, safe is probably not the word, but you always feel like you need to put in performances and I’m pleased I managed to put in a good performance today. You hope you are safe, but I suppose until that squad’s selected you’re not. Hopefully I am, but we’ll see.”

Nor was the talk among the other fast bowlers that Archer’s spot was safe.

“I don’t know. We don’t sit down and pick our 15. We are here to do a job. That’s what we’ve done so far in this series,” Woakes said. “Everyone’s getting on with their work, trying to improve, as they always have done.

“Today was a pretty good bowling performance. I think at one stage, when guys were set in, a score close to 400 was looking on. I think that’s the situation we will find ourselves in – we all know that every time we get a chance to perform, we try to take that with both hands and I think everyone’s feeling that same pressure.

“The selectors, thankfully, have got the tough task of making the call. Someone, unfortunately, will miss out but we don’t sit in the dressing room talking about, ‘is it going to be me?’, ‘is it going to be you?’ I think everyone knows it’s there and it’s creating a good competitive edge to the team but we don’t talk about who is going to miss out and who is going to be selected.”

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Kohli pleased with India’s lower-order fightback



India’s fightback after being reduced to 39 for 4 was the positive Virat Kohli chose to look back after their emphatic loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up fixture at The Oval. In the absence of Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, India found a savior in Ravindra Jadeja, who top scored with a 50-ball 54 to haul India to 179.

Jadeja added 62 with Kuldeep Yadav for the eight wicket, allowing India to reach the 40-over mark, a prospect that looked unlikely when Trent Boult ran through the top order. Hardik Pandya’s brisk 30 led a brief revival, only for the innings to stutter again until Jadeja guided the lower order.

“Very good,” Kohli said of the lower-order contributions at the post-match presentation. “I mean, the one thing we spoke about in a tournament like the World Cup is, you could easily have your top order out for not too many, so the lower order has to look forward to that and I think Hardik [Pandya] batted really well. MS [Dhoni] absorbs the pressure really well and [Ravindra] Jadeja got a few runs as well, so I think from that point of view, we got a lot out of this game, which is what we wanted to. The lower order getting some runs that was the biggest positive.”

Kohli assessed the surface wasn’t as bowler-friendly in the second innings, after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on a century stand to deflate India. New Zealand sealed victory with six wickets in hand and nearly 13 overs to spare.

“It’s going to be very different from batting second and we saw that in this [game] in the later half of our innings as well,” he said. “I think we bowled it in the right areas, they were going at about four, four-and-a-half, which I think we would take any day in a tournament where the pitches are going to be good. If we can keep hitting those areas consistently, which I think we did with the new ball and the spinners as well, we’re going to be fine with that bowling attack.”

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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Somerset, Royal London One-Day Cup, Final



Innings break Hampshire 243 for 8 (Northeast 56, Fuller 55*, J Overton 3-48) v Somerset

Royal London Cup holders Hampshire face a task on their hands with the ball if they are to retain the trophy after scrapping their way to 243 for 8. Shorn of three of the mainstays of their campaign by World Cup call-ups, a pair of half-centuries from Sam Northeast and James Fuller was as good as it got after Hampshire had chosen to bat, as Jamie Overton, Josh Davey and Somerset captain Tom Abell shared seven wickets between them.

Hampshire’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves from the outset – perhaps unsurprising when two players of the calibre of James Vince and Aiden Markram, now with England and South Africa respectively, had been removed from the top three – and but for Fuller’s late salvo during a 64-run stand with No. 10 Mason Crane, they might have left Somerset a target below 200.

At around the time Hampshire lost their fourth wicket, Liam Dawson was coming on for his first bowl in England’s World Cup warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl. How Hampshire fans would have preferred to see him walking out to the middle at Lord’s, following a Royal London campaign in which he claimed 18 wickets and averaged 45 with the bat. Instead it was Gareth Berg, with a List A highest score of 75, who came out at No. 6 to join Northeast.

Boundaries were at a premium as Somerset’s bowlers bustled about their business – given the scoring rate, this could almost have been a final from 2001, when Somerset last won a 50-over trophy at Lord’s. Jamie Overton broke a 49-run stand when Berg picked out deep backward square and Hampshire’s hopes of an imposing target seemingly departed with Northeast as he hacked across line, patience exhausted, to be bowled by Abell for 56.

Abell had only delivered one over in the format previously but also hit Kyle Abbott’s stumps in a tidy spell, while Chris Wood fell tamely to Jamie Overton, before Fuller and Crane begged and stole what they could during the last ten overs. A pair of clean-struck blows beyond the ropes from Fuller in the final over – the only sixes of the innings – suggested the pitch had runs left in it at halfway.

Perhaps hoping to follow the template of their victory over Kent last year, Hampshire chose to bat beneath low-slung cloud on a humid morning at Lord’s. While not exactly a green nibbler in September, there was enough in the surface for Somerset’s battery of right-arm medium bowlers to take advantage of.

Anuerin Donald struck a couple of early boundaries before hitting Davey straight to cover and although Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley resolved to play their way in, it was ultimately to no avail. Alsop was dropped by James Hildreth at slip on 16, but obligingly recreated the chance off Davey’s very next ball and this time the Somerset veteran clung on.

Lewis Gregory strove for similar virtues of line and length when replacing Craig Overton and he found enough movement back in to defeat a loose push and remove Weatherley’s off stump in his second over, with Hampshire an anaemic-looking 50 for 3.

There followed a volley of retaliatory boundaries as Rilee Rossouw – Man of the Match for his 125 here a year ago – and Northeast dashed off 46 in 6.3 overs. Rossouw introduced himself to Gregory with a brusque force through the covers and then a swat over mid-on for four more but, having barrelled to 28 off 17 balls, he fell to the extra pace of Jamie Overton, cramped into edging a back-foot drive on to his stumps.

The onus now rested heavily on Northeast, Hampshire’s stand-in captain, and he packed away the shots to reach an 85-ball half-century. However, Abell was to steal his Lord’s limelight and help leave his team well-placed in pursuit of a first limited-overs title since 2005.

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Mark Wood and Jofra Archer give England more injury scares during Australia warm-up | Cricket



England’s World Cup hopes may have sustained a serious blow after injury scares to both of their fastest bowlers.

Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two men in the England squad who can regularly surpass 90 mph with the ball, were obliged to leave the pitch within minutes of one another in the opening hour of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton.

First Wood, after one ball of his fourth over, stopped halfway through his run-up and left the pitch having indicated that he may have an issue with his calf. Just two balls later Archer, a surprising choice as substitute fielder for Wood, slid as he attempted to stop a ball on the midwicket boundary and appeared to sustain an injury. He left the pitch moments later.

It meant that Paul Collingwood, one of England’s assistant coaches, was briefly forced into service as a substitute fielder. Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, and retired as a player at the end of the 2018 season. Joe Root, who was due to miss the game following the death of his grandfather on Thursday, was also pressed into service as a substitute fielder.

England are also without the injured pair of Eoin Morgan, who sustained a fractured finger in training on Friday, and Adil Rashid, who has a long-standing shoulder injury. They also confirmed that Chris Woakes, who is expected to open the bowling in the World Cup, was playing in this match as a specialist batsman and would not bowl as they seek to manage his even more long-standing knee problems.

The England camp are yet to advise on the seriousness of the injuries.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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