Ireland will host an ODI tri-series also involving West Indies and Bangladesh next summer. The tournament, which will begin on May 5, will see the teams play each other twice with the top two sides playing the final on May 17.
The tri-series, which begins two days after Ireland are scheduled to play an ODI against England in Malahide, adds to a busy home summer for Ireland that will feature 16 international matches. Apart from the tri-series and the England ODI, Ireland are set to meet Afghanistan in two ODIs, and Zimbabwe in three ODIs and three T20Is. All these matches will be played across four international venues in the country, with Malahide hosting five, Clontarf three, Stormont five and Bready three.
All this limited-overs action will serve as a curtain-raiser to the main event; Ireland first ever Test match against England, at Lord’s. After being granted Test status in 2017, Ireland hosted Pakistan for a one-off Test in May 2018, which the visitors won by five-wickets in Malahide. Ireland are also set to play their first-ever away Test match in March 2019, against fellow Test newbies Afghanistan.
Stuart Broad deserves credit for putting in ‘hard yards’, says James Anderson
Anderson and Broad go into the Barbados Test with 998 Test wickets between them over the course of their careers. But while Broad, at 32, is four years younger than Anderson, it is his form that has caused more concern over the last couple of years.
While Anderson has gone from strength to strength, compensating for his somewhat diminished pace with his control and range of skills, Broad has, at times, looked as if he were in gradual decline. He has only taken one five-for since January 2016 and, in both the 2017 and the 2017-18 seasons, had a bowling average a fraction above 33.
Neither the decline in pace nor movement were dramatic but, somewhere along the way, the remarkable hot streaks of wickets that characterise Broad’s career disappeared. He was left out of the side for the first two Tests in Sri Lanka and is no longer guaranteed to take the new ball alongside Anderson.
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Such is his desire to extend his career, however, Broad has recognised the signs and resolved to improve. After consulting Anderson and Richard Hadlee – a Nottinghamshire team-mate of his father, Chris – Broad has shortened his run-up by five yards in a bid to improve his rhythm and bowl with a higher action. Writing in the Mail on Sunday recently, he explained that “standing taller in delivery… should provide me with extra bounce”.
Alongside some alterations he had made to his wrist position, Broad hopes the changes will both make him more potent and extend his career by several years.
The early signs are promising. Despite not taking any wickets in the final Test of the Sri Lanka series in Colombo, Broad bowled with impressive pace and saw two chances put down off him in the slips. Both in Colombo and in the warm-up games in Barbados, he appeared to gain a little of the away swing that has been largely absent in recent times. He warns that the changes may not completely bed in for a few months – the Ashes remain his main target – but it will be intriguing to see how he fares in the Caribbean, where he has a Test bowling average of 31.22.
Certainly Anderson is impressed. “Probably since Australia, I’ve not seen anyone work as hard as he has on their game,” Anderson said. “It’s a credit to him. He’s put so many hard yards in, not just on his run-up but on his action and trying to swing the ball away again.
“I do think the run-up has looked really good here. He still has the same snap, the same momentum going through the crease. For me, it’s all about the last six yards, building that momentum up to the crease. He can definitely have the same oomph.
“And it might just get another couple of years out of him. I think part of him is thinking ‘why have I not done this sooner?'”
Both Broad and Anderson are likely to be offered more encouragement in the Caribbean than was the case in Sri Lanka. Anderson admitted he felt “like a spare part” in that series, struggling to extract any movement from the ball or life from the surfaces. He claimed just one wicket in the two Tests in which he appeared.
But, with a specially-designed Dukes ball and the prospect of pitches offering at least a little more assistance, Anderson feels the seamers should be “excited to bowl”.
“I think the bowlers have really enjoyed their first week here,” Anderson said. “The Dukes ball has been moving around a bit and swung for quite a considerable amount of time. So that’s encouragement.
“The wickets in Sri Lanka were flat and the wickets here could be flat, but at least there’s a glimmer of hope for us seam bowlers. There might be a little bit of swing through the air and that just keeps you interested. It feels you can actually make an impact on the game. It just makes you excited to bowl and really look forward to playing.”
There should be no danger of England underestimating West Indies, though. Having won only one series in the Caribbean in 50-years – the 2004 series in which Anderson was a non-playing squad member – they are under no illusions about the task in front of them; a factor Anderson believes is made clear in the eyes of the West Indies team once the games begin.
“Whenever we come here you get the feeling that West Indies really want to beat England,” Anderson said. “It’s something that’s been ingrained in them, especially in the past when England have suffered heavy defeats.
“You can see it in the players’ eyes when you play against them. And that means we’ve got to be on top form to be able to try and challenge them.”
Steven Mullaney added to Lions squad to face India A
Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney has been drafted into the England Lions squad for the limited-overs leg of their tour of India. He replaces Tom Moores, the Notts wicketkeeper, who has suffered a leg injury that will keep him out for two-to-three weeks.
Mullaney, 32, made his Lions debut last year, during a tri-series involving India A and West Indies A. The allrounder has developed into one of the most reliable white-ball players in the county game, helping Notts to a 50-over and T20 double in 2017 and captaining the North to victory in the 2018 North-South series.
Moores was himself only called up a week ago, having been selected alongside Surrey’s Will Jacks as replacements for Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore – the two former Worcestershire players who were stood down from Lions duty after courtroom revelations during the trial of Alex Hepburn about their alleged behaviour.
“I’m obviously gutted for Tom,” Mullaney said. “He put in great performances for us last season and deserved his place on the tour. He comes home knowing he’s in the thoughts of the selectors ahead of the new season, which can only be good for him. For me, it’s a chance to go out to India and play some good cricket. I can’t wait to get out there now.
“Especially with the 50-over competition starting so early in our season, it should actually be really good preparation for when we get started with Notts. It’s a talented squad out there. I’m looking forward to contributing and showing what I can do if selected.”
The Lions are due to start a five-match series against India A – who have selected Test stars Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant – in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, followed by two four-day games in February.
Vince, Silk destroy Heat to lift Sixers to second
Sydney Sixers 7 for 177 (Vince 75, Silk 41, Lalor 5-26) beat Brisbane Heat (Cutting 28, Curran 3-16) by 79 runs
The Sixers easily deposed of the Heat in Sydney on Sunday, led by a sizzling James Vince innings and a tame Heat reply.
The Englishman made 75 from 45 deliveries, enabling the Sixers to post an imposing 177. After slumping to 2 for 16 after four, the Heat weren’t ever able to make a dent.
The result moves the Sixers to ten points and second position, while the Heat remain rooted to seventh position with seven points. While enough time remains in the tournament for both sides to improve their position, a defeat was going to make matters difficult for the losing outfit.
Sixers lay the foundation
The Heat won the bat flip and elected to field, leaving the Sixers to negotiate a wicket that appeared to be a fraction slow at first sight.
Josh Philippe, promoted to open with Daniel Hughes, found the boundary four times from the first nine deliveries of the match before skying a Josh Lalor slower ball and departing for 17.
Hughes kept the score rattling along, taking 13 from Jack Prestwidge’s first over, but soon departed when another Lalor slower ball – this one at 104kmph – had the opener dragging a pull shot on to his stumps.
At 2 for 42 after the Powerplay, Henriques and Vince took up the mantle. The latter was able to free his arms regularly to find the rope as a solid partnership loomed. But an Henriques top-edge saw Lalor scoot around the edge of the third man boundary to take a good catch, arresting the Sixers’ momentum and bringing Jordan Silk to the crease.
Vince and Silk take the game away
As the Tasmania opener played himself in, Vince looked to accelerate, peppering the short boundary and providing plenty of work for Brendan Doggett and Prestwidge. Some solid boundary riding was interrupted when Doggett dropped a huge skier, and from there Vince stepped up a gear. He brought his fifty up in 35 balls, and was chief architect in setting up the Sixers total.
It wasn’t without luck, as he was then dropped a second time by Doggett, this time after slogging Mitch Swepson to cow corner. The second was simpler than the first, and was painfully followed by a Vince six into the O’Reilly Stand.
At this point, Silk joined the fray. Using all areas of the crease, he was consistently able to find runs through the leg side, at one point taking a Ben Cutting over for 17, as the Sixers closed in a total of 170-plus. With so many wickets in hand, Vince and Silk entered helter-skelter mode, before Vince eventually perished for 75 from 45 balls, caught after attempting to reverse sweep Mujeeb.
Silk followed soon after, crabbing across too far as Lalor took his leg stump, handing the Heat pacer his third wicket. His fourth came after Alex Ross took a great catch running in from the deep after Tom Curran skied one to leg, and he then claimed a fifth – the only five-for of the tournament – after Jack Edwards was caught at long-off. It meant Lalor had 5 for 26, great reward for a spell that expertly mixed cutters and quicker deliveries.
The Heat were never in it
Steve O’Keefe opened the bowling and could hardly have started his team off better. He bowled Max Bryant with the fourth ball of the over, before containing Chris Lynn to finish with a wicket maiden. Ben Dwarshuis conceded one from his opening over, before O’Keefe returned and yielded only two.
At 1 for 4 from three overs, the Heat needed to make a move. Bash Brothers Inc were able to combine for eleven from Dwarshuis’ next over, but Lynn came unstuck from Sean Abbott’s first ball, heaving one straight in the dewy air, leaving the ball to be well-held by Edwards.
It was largely a run a ball for the period thereafter, which left the Heat needing nearly 12 an over with only eight overs gone. With the pressure mounting, Lloyd Pope then produced a delivery of quality,, enticing Jimmy Peirson from his crease, spinning it past the bat and allowing Phillipe to effect a sharp stumping.
All that stood between the Sixers and a much-needed win was McCullum, and it was the flame-haired leggie, Pope, who picked him up. On 27 from 31, McCullum tried to sweep Pope in front of square, but sliced it all the way to Silk on the deep midwicket boundary, as he clasped it tight into his chest.
The task was insurmountable from thereon, and the Heat’s batting slumped as a result. They lost wickets at regular intervals, with only Ben Cutting providing a sliver of light with a bright 28 before he was comprehensively bowled by Tom Curran, who led an excellent Sixers bowling performance, picking up 3 for 16.
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