Australia legspinner Adam Zampa has conceded “something has to be done” about slow over-rates after the opening ODI at the SCG on Friday ran an hour beyond the scheduled finish.
The match technically went past the ground’s curfew limit for the lights, but no one flicked the switch as the contest finally ended at 11.10pm. “It felt like it went all day,” Steven Smith said. “The longest 50 overs in the field I’ve ever had, that’s for sure.”
These ODIs are part of the World Cup Super League – the qualification pathway to the 2023 tournament in India – and both teams face potential points deductions with the playing conditions stating: “If, at the end of the match, the over rate calculation determines that a team has bowled one or more overs less than the minimum over rate requirement, that team will incur a deduction of one point per over for each full over the team falls short of its minimum over rate required in a match.”
That would not be of massive concern to India, the more culpable of the sides in terms of a slow over-rate, who have already qualified for the 2023 World Cup as hosts, but it could be an issue for Australia.
“I don’t know what the ruling should be, or if there should be punishment, but something definitely has to be done about it,” Zampa said. “From a viewers’ point of view it’s probably not the best look for the game.”
Zampa suggested one factor in the tardiness was players needing some time to find the intensity for one-day cricket after 14 days of quarantine where, although they were allowed to train for a few hours a day, he said it was difficult to replicate the pressure of the international game.
While there was plenty of high-quality batting in the opening match – led by centuries from Smith and Aaron Finch – there was a raggedness to a lot of the work in the field, especially the catching of both sides.
“I wouldn’t want to make excuses but it’s really hard to imitate the pressure of one-day cricket and the best way to do it was when you are together as a squad and you do fielding sessions and the intensity of the training is at that international standard,” Zampa said.
Zampa was guilty of one of the dropped chances when he gave Virat Kohli a life on 1, spilling a top edge at long leg, and briefly it looked as though it could prove costly but Kohli picked out midwicket off Josh Hazlewood having made a run-a-ball 21.
“It’s literally the worst feeling in the world,” Zampa said of the drop. “Each run you start to feel it after that, but from my point of view I was pretty keen to try and make amends with the ball. Fortunately, I didn’t end up having to bowl to him but it’s one of those things, you have to want the next ball to come to you and also want the ball and try and get the wicket as well.”
Zampa’s figures of 4 for 54 were his second-best in ODIs and took his tally in his last four matches to 14 wickets. While wicket-taking records have less significance this year given the overall lack of cricket, Zampa is currently a comfortable leader with 24 wickets at 22.25.
“My bowling is at the stage where I’m really confident in my game, confident in my action,” he said. “I’ve played enough now [to know] what I need to do and how to get the best out of myself.”
Eng vs SL 2021 – Jos Buttler ruled out of Sri Lanka white-ball series with calf injury
Dawid Malan added to ODI squad after MRI scans reveal small calf tear
Buttler, England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper, scored an unbeaten 68 opening the batting in the first T20I. According to the ECB, he “felt tightness and discomfort” at the end of the game and was sent for an MRI scan on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. He sat out the second T20I, which England won by five wickets.
England had already suggested they may use the Sri Lanka T20Is to experiment, with Jonny Bairstow moving up to open in Buttler’s absence – although he made a three-ball duck as England initially struggled in their chase of 112. Liam Livingstone, whose unbeaten 29 helped secure victory, regularly opens in T20 cricket and could also deputise.
Dawid Malan, the No. 1-ranked T20I batter, has been added to the ODI squad, with Bairstow and Sam Billings in contention to take the gloves in the 50-over format. Billings scored his maiden ODI hundred last summer and would have been vying for a middle-order berth, regardless of Buttler’s availability.
“In terms of ODIs I had a really good summer last year and averaged 83 in that format so I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t get a gig but this team is a very hard one to get into to,” he said.
England have already secured the T20I series ahead Saturday’s third match, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The teams will then play three ODIs, at Chester-le-Street, The Oval and Bristol.
ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack
“Just not enough runs again,” Arthur told the BBC, when asked for his take on his side’s defeat. “We’re coming up against a really good bowling attack. They’re ranked No. 1 in the world, we’re ranked No. 9, and you can see the difference. We’ve started a journey with a young team and for us it’s about getting better, competing, learning from every game and every experience and getting better and better as we go along.
“It’s tough. We’re consistently talking about freedom, about taking the handbrake off as a batting unit. But you can only bat as well as you’re allowed to and I thought England were world-class with the lengths they hit. They put us under a lot of pressure with the bat.
“We can be more proactive and we’ve got to go back and work on that. We can walk around the crease a little bit more and try to do different things but our batters are learning all the time, particularly in these conditions. We’ve got a really exciting batting unit in our conditions but it’s about transferring those skills to conditions outside our own environment.”
“I thought we bowled really well,” he said. “Our fielding has gone up to another level. Fielding is all about attitude, it’s measurable, and I think the guys are getting better and better with that. We’re really excited with our bowling unit and we’ve got a couple of guys that are injured as well, so when we get them back we’ll be good.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
England vs Sri Lanka T20Is – Liam Livingstone makes virtue of versatility in pitch for England World Cup role | Cricket
Teams can take a squad of 33 players to cover 15 starting positions in rugby’s next World Cup, and 23 for 11 spots in football’s, but cricket diverges from the norm. England will take a 15-man squad to the T20 World Cup this winter – albeit with the possibility of a couple of reserves as a Covid precaution – and as a result, the ability of back-up players to cover a range of roles is crucial.
With that in mind, Liam Livingstone has done his chances of inclusion no harm at all in the first two games of their T20I series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff. An innings of 29 not out off 26 balls and four tight overs of liquorice-all-sort spin that have cost 19 runs do not demand retention in themselves, but have demonstrated the flexibility that Livingstone would add to a touring party as a utility player.
“It’s something that I pride myself on, being as versatile as I can,” he said after the second T20I, in which he won the match award after steering England home from No. 6. “It’s something that’s rolled into my bowling as well, trying to bowl both legspin and offspin to give people different options [and] it’s the same with my batting, trying to make myself a player who can bat all the way from No. 1 to No. 8.”
While he has made a reputation for himself as a power-hitter who deals in sixes – in last year’s Big Bash, he scored a higher percentages of his runs in sixes (39.4%) than anyone else in the top 25 run-scorers – Livingstone’s innings on Thursday night demonstrated his willingness to adapt, with a single ramped six standing out alongside a series of clips and pushes into gaps to suit the situation and build a partnership with Sam Billings. Four years on from a pair of frenetic innings in his first two T20Is, he looked a different player.
Importantly, given England’s logjam of top-three options, it also demonstrated an ability to bat in the middle order. Twenty-five of Livingstone’s last 26 innings in domestic T20 cricket for Lancashire and Perth Scorchers have come as an opener, with Jos Buttler even moving down to No. 4 in order to accommodate him at the top in this year’s T20 Blast, but there is little chance of him batting there in an England shirt.
While he will have limited opportunity to do so before the start of the World Cup, Livingstone should consider shuffling down the order for one of his clubs if he can – potentially for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred – in order to gain more experience in the role, though batting in the middle order for Peshawar Zalmi and Cape Town Blitz two winters ago meant he had something to lean back on.
“I batted at No. 4 and 5 in the PSL and in the South African T20 [MSL],” he said. “I guess that’s the reason I go away and play in these competitions: trying to get experience of batting in different roles, which has obviously helped me coming into an England side, batting in a position I’m not really used to.”
But it is with the ball that Livingstone is particularly multi-talented, as he has demonstrated in this series. He generally bowls legbreaks to right-handers and offbreaks to left-handers, and while not a prodigious turner of the ball, he gets enough spin both ways to keep batters guessing and forcing them to watch him carefully out of the hand.
“It’s certainly advantageous isn’t it?” Buttler said after Wednesday night’s game. “It’s a fantastic skill to have, to be able to bowl offspin and legspin to international standard. We will potentially see that come into the game more and more. He’s an exciting package, a great guy to have in your squad and your XI.”
Livingstone is not the finished article with the ball. Two of the three most expensive overs of his T20 career have come at crunch moments, confirming Lancashire’s exits in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the last two Blast seasons when Ravi Bopara and Dan Christian took him down, but he insisted that those experiences have been beneficial in the long run.
“[My bowling] has always been well-regarded at Lancashire,” he said. “I’ve obviously had a couple of tough moments with it over the last couple of years, but they are the moments that have made me a better bowler. It’s something I’ve worked hard on for this sort of opportunity, to push my way into a team as someone that can offer something in all three facets of the game.”
As an excellent outfielder too, Livingstone’s case for inclusion in the World Cup squad is strong: even if he is unlikely to start once Ben Stokes returns from injury, the fact he offers some overs as a second – or even third – spinner, can cover a number of batting roles and is a good option to come on as a substitute fielder mean that he has quickly become England’s Mr Versatile.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Soccer4 days ago
Euro 2020, European Championships 2021, news, Billy Gilmour COVID-19, coronavirus, Ousmane Dembele, update, injury
Cricket9 hours ago
Australia in West Indies 2021
MLB3 days ago
New York Mets OF Michael Conforto returning Tuesday; Joey Lucchesi set for Tommy John surgery
MLB3 days ago
Cleveland Indians expect MLB wins leader Aaron Civale to miss time with finger injury
Soccer3 days ago
England star Jack Grealish passes Man City transfer test with Czech Republic masterclass
Soccer2 days ago
England player ratings vs Czech Republic: Trio stake claim for potential France clash
Motorsport3 days ago
Daniel Ricciardo speaks McLaren, Lando Norris, and missing Australia
MLB12 hours ago
Follow live: Red Sox's Nick Pivetta working on no-hitter at Tampa