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‘Once a couple of guys got in, it was tough work’ – Tim Southee



Sri Lanka may have recovered well after they had been gasping at 9 for 3 early in the day, but New Zealand’s own batsmen might not be disappointed at how this Basin Reserve pitch is playing. Those were the thoughts of Tim Southee, who claimed figures of 5 for 67 and was the architect of Sri Lanka’s early wobble, taking three wickets in his first two overs.

Once batsmen got in though, it was possible for them to succeed. Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews, for example, put on a 133-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Niroshan Dickwella made 73 not out off 91 balls towards the end of the day, which Sri Lanka ended on 275 for 9.

“Once Mathews and Karunaratne got in they played nicely after losing three early,” Southee said. “What our batsmen will take out of it is that when you get in it can look reasonably easy. Dickwella’s come out and played aggressively, and he’s played a gem of an innings so far for them. It was a frustrating one for us. But we can turn up tomorrow and try and get that last wicket as quick as possible, and hopefully our batsmen can get stuck in.”

This was Southee’s first ever five-wicket haul at the Basin Reserve, and the eighth in his career overall. Sri Lanka happen to be among his favourite opponents. He now has 38 wickets against them at an average of 17.92.

“It’s nice to get some wickets – the key here at the Basin especially on day one is to try and pitch it up,” he said. “It did swing for the majority of the day, but sometimes it doesn’t do as much as people think it’s going to do and we saw that. Once a couple of guys got in, it was tough work.”

Though Southee’s first three wickets were a result of seam and swing – he nailed left-hander Danushka Gunathilaka in front of the stumps with a straightening delivery, had Dhananjaya de Silva nicking off, and then had Kusal Mendis caught at short midwicket – his wickets later in the day came from bouncers. Southee had Dinesh Chandimal holing out to deep square leg before dismissing Angelo Mathews with a chest-high delivery that the batsman top-edged to the wicketkeeper.

Typically, it had been Neil Wagner who first attempted the short-ball attack, but when Southee followed suit it was he who gleaned the greater rewards.

“It was nipping around and swinging early on, but there was a bit of a dull period and we knew we needed to try something different. I don’t think I could bowl short balls for 10 overs at a time like Waggy does. He’s phenomenal at it. Some would say mad. But at the time we needed something different and it did kind of work today.”

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Australia-based Englishman Charlie Hemphrey signs Glamorgan deal



Glamorgan have signed Charlie Hemphrey, the English-born top-order batsman who currently plays for Queensland. Hemphrey, 29, has agreed a two-year contract with the Welsh county.

Hemphrey’s route to professional cricket was a circuitous one. After spending several years trying unsuccessfully to break into the county game, he moved to Brisbane and impressed enough in Grade cricket to be picked up by Queensland. He made his first-class debut in the Sheffield Shield in 2015 and has since averaged 33.02 with four hundreds.

Hemphrey will be registered as a local player with Glamorgan, but may have to switch to overseas status with Queensland, where he has another year on his contract. Although he has permanent residency in Australia, according to ECB regulations he cannot play as a non-overseas player in both countries.

His arrival will strengthen a Glamorgan squad that struggled to put runs on the board in 2018, finishing bottom of the Division Two of the Championship. The club removed head coach Robert Croft from his position, while Hugh Morris stepped down as director of cricket in order to focus on his role as chief executive.

“It’s always been my ambition to play first-class cricket in the UK so I am very thankful to Glamorgan for giving me this opportunity,” Hemphrey said. “With the changes in the cricket department it’s a very exciting time to join the club. Hopefully I can continue to put in some good performances for Queensland and bring that form to Glamorgan this season.”

Hemphrey’s involvement with Queensland could mean that he won’t arrive in Cardiff until days before the start of the season. The Sheffield Shield final is scheduled for March 27-31, with the Bulls looking to defend the title they won last year. Glamorgan begin their Championship season against Northamptonshire on April 11.

“Charlie is a very good cricketer who has blossomed in the past few years since playing in Australia,” Morris said. “He has scored runs in challenging batting conditions against some very good bowling attacks so will add valuable experience and skill at the top of the order.

“With his signing and that of Billy Root, we now have competition for places within the batting line-up, which will only help the development of our young pathway players.”

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Harper, bowlers help Renegades gallop to fourth win



Melbourne Renegades 2 for 145 (Harper 56*, Cooper 36*) beat Brisbane Heat 8 for 144 (McCullum 50, Shinwari 3-16, Boyce 2-17) by eight wickets

Melbourne Renegades administered a hiding to Brisbane Heat at a subdued Gabba, set on their path by excellent spells from Cameron Boyce and Usman Shinwari before Marcus Harris, Sam Harper and Tom Cooper shepherded the chase.

The Heat were unable to build any momentum at the crease despite a long innings by Brendon McCullum, as Boyce found useful assistance from the surface and Shinwari shrugged off being struck for one telling six by Max Bryant to concede only 10 more runs from his four overs.

After Harris gave the Renegades a usefully rapid-fire start, Harper and Cooper needed only to keep their heads, something they did with the help of dropped catches by the Heat, who now find themselves in some danger of missing out on the BBL finals.

Boyce trumps McCullum

Sent in to bat, the Heat might have expected a rapid start on what looked a good and pacy pitch, but save for one box office drive over long-on by Bryant, their early overs were characterised by a struggle for timing and poise against diligent Renegades bowling. This all added up to that most rare of spectacles – a slow (for him) innings by McCullum.

After Bryant departed and Chris Lynn was unable to get himself going, McCullum seemed to have set himself to bat through the innings, but was unable to impose himself upon the former Queensland spin bowler Boyce, whose legbreaks were also once favoured by Australia’s Twenty20 set-up. Gaining useful turn and bounce from the Gabba surface, Boyce coaxed numerous miscues before removing McCullum when the Heat opener picked out deep midwicket with an attempted slog sweep.

Having already deceived Lynn, Boyce could be more than content with a return of 2 for 17 from four overs, playing a major role in limiting the horizons of the Heat innings.

Cutting’s catchup exercise

Over recent seasons the Heat have had a couple of familiar threats for opponents, the “bash brothers” McCullum and Lynn up the top and then the heavy hitting of Ben Cutting in the lower middle order. While Cutting’s first ball from Boyce left him groping in the manner of McCullum before him, the tall allrounder was able to size up Joe Mennie and seemed capable of driving Brisbane into the 160s when he took 13 runs from the first five balls of the 18th over.

However, Mennie was able to provoke a skywards pull shot from a wide, short delivery, and after Beau Webster held on in similar fashion to the catch he took to dismiss McCullum, the Heat innings petered out. Shinwari, on the receiving end of Bryant’s big driven six, completed an otherwise exemplary spell worth 3 for 16, while the recalled Test batsmen Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns could cobble a mere 10 off 10 balls between them.

Harris goes after Pattinson

It was the Renegades who drew first blood, literally, when a Harris skier off James Pattinson burst through the hands of Cutting and he walked off for treatment to a bloody nose. There was some debate over whether Cutting had actually controlled the ball after it struck his nose and he fell to the ground, before the umpires eventually ruled it a non-catch.

More definitive was Harris’ treatment of Pattinson in his second over. A full toss scythed through cover, a length ball heaved over wide mid-on, another length ball inside edged past the stumps to the boundary then an extraordinary launch inside out over cover for six made the over worth 19 and gave the Renegades a swift start to ease pressure on the rest of the batting order. Harris would only get as far as 28, but he had made his presence felt.

Harper, Cooper keep composed

The value of Harris’ early acceleration was to be underlined by the way that Harper and Cooper were able to calmly close in on their target, even though at one point they allowed 20 balls to elapse without a boundary off the bat. Cooper had not previously passed 16 in six innings, and he was to be dropped twice in getting as far as 20. Harper was rather more fluent, teasing the Heat captain Lynn in his efforts to plug gaps.

By their union, and the Heat’s obliging fielding, the Renegades were able to gallop to their target with no fewer than 26 balls to spare, going up to four wins while also improving their net run rate appreciably. The Heat, meanwhile, were left two games out of the BBL top four.

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Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul likely to be suspended



Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, the two players issued show-cause notices over their comments on a talk show, are likely to be suspended by the BCCI, ESPNcricinfo understands. The BCCI leadership is believed to have decided on the action, with the quantum of punishment yet to be fixed.

Pandya and Rahul appeared on the talk show on Sunday where their comments – Pandya’s in particular – came in for widespread criticism and raised concerns over the team culture. The BCCI issued the players a show-cause notice to which Pandya responded with an apology to the board.

ALSO READ – Hardik Pandya apologises for ‘regretful’ behaviour on talk show

Correspondence on the issue accessed by ESPNcricinfo suggests that while Vinod Rai, one of the members of the Committee of Administrators, is in favour of a two-match ban, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has pushed for a stronger penalty should the players be found guilty – under their contracts – of bringing cricket and Indian cricket into disrepute. There is even a view that the punishments for the two differ according to what each of them said on the show.

“I have seen the remarks made by these two players on the show in print today,” Rai wrote on Thursday. “Very crass. No apology can cover it. I had asked Diana to suggest penalty because I had not seen the clip. I think we need to give both of them a two-match suspension.”

Chaudhry has also suggested immediate suspension pending enquiry, but if found guilty the CoA should follow the precedent it set in the cases of Steven Smith and David Warner, who were banned from the IPL for a whole season for their involvement in ball-tampering in South Africa.

Chaudhry raised concerns about the permissions taken by the players before appearing on the show, the disrepute it brought to other Indian cricketers and about how these comments leave them open to honeytraps that players are trained to avoid in ICC ACSU briefings.

“As far as the quantum of the punishment is concerned if the players are found guilty as per the procedures laid down in the Rules and Regulations, keeping in view the above factors and discussions, a two-match suspension seems to be merely a stop-gap arrangement especially considering that the CoA had banned Mr. Smith and Mr. Warner for a season,” Chauhdry wrote. “The players must be immediately suspended pending a proper inquiry and must be allowed to join the team (if selected) only once they have gone through a proper sensitisation in addition to serving a ban, if imposed upon them.

“In any case the entire team and support staff must go through a sensitisation process. The CEO may join them in the sensitisation as well as recommended by Ms. Veena Gowda, Advocate.”

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