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Australia choose worst time to put in ‘worst performance’ of the World Cup

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Australia chose the worst possible time to put in their “worst performance” of the tournament, an eight-wicket thumping not only ending their world title defence but also consigning them to a first semi-final defeat at a World Cup.

In days to come the defeat might sting less, especially in light of where Australia’s ODI form has been over the last year, but Aaron Finch could not hide his disappointment.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only) – Highlights of England’s win over Australia

“In terms of where we were 12 months ago, obviously I think we have made a huge amount of progress,” he said. “Really proud of everyone involved for how much hard work and how far we have come, but at the same time we came here today to win a semi-final and get ourselves into a position to win another World Cup.

“So that was really disappointing how it ended, especially to put up probably one of our worst performances overall for the tournament, so that was really disappointing.”

There was a brief phase, during a 103-run partnership between Steve Smith and Alex Carey, when Australia were threatening to do what countless Australian sides before them have done at these tournaments. But Australia were otherwise outplayed, as Finch admitted. And it was the very first ten overs of the game in which the semi-final was lost, Australia left dazed, confused and almost down at 27 for 3.

“The damage was really done with the ball,” Finch said. “That sets you back. That forced us to rebuild for such a long time and start to drag some momentum back and then, like I said, you lose a couple of quick wickets again, new batters starting, it is always tough against really good leg-spin and good quicks as well.

“So, all in all, we were totally outplayed to be honest all throughout the day, so you look back at that and you can analyse each ten overs, but just outplayed.”

Carey apart, each of the players who had done so much to get Australia to this point – the ones who stand up in big games, said Finch – failed. They’re not at all in the crisis that England found themselves in after the 2015 World Cup – and this tournament, as Finch pointed out, has been part of overall progress – but a longer-term look towards the next World Cup will be a natural outcome. Part of that will take in the new ODI league that leads into qualification for 2023.

“I think that after a World Cup you always start looking and you have one eye towards the next one,” Finch said. “I think that as a management, senior players, I’m sure over the next next couple of months or so we will sit down and start talking about that and start planning how we think that we can best plan and prepare and improve over the next four years to get us to go, well two steps further.

“I think that every team will do that. You start looking at what you can improve most, areas that you can identify that you need some work to be done and that will happen no doubt – that happens naturally with players when you are talking about the game and trying to find ways to improve.

“But as a coaching staff, as a management, that will be really important as well that everyone gets on the same page and everyone pulls in the same direction which is what we have done. We have been really lucky. Everyone has bought into the way we have played and it is unfortunate we have come up short.”



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Marcus Trescothick to join Ashes coaching set-up

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Marcus Trescothick is set to join the England coaching team for the first two Tests of the Ashes series.

Trescothick, the former England opening batsman, has recently announced his decision to retire as a player at the end of this season and is currently struggling to break into the Somerset side. He will spend the training days ahead of the Edgbaston and Lord’s Tests with the England squad at both training sessions and at the team hotel.

Jonathan Trott has fulfilled a similar role with England ahead of the Test against Ireland.

The appointment does not necessarily suggest that Trescothick – or Trott – is about to be appointed as the England team’s batting coach. The ECB have yet to identify a successor to Mark Ramprakash, who left his role a couple of months ago, but are using the likes of Trott and Trescothick to help ease the burden on Graham Thorpe – the ECB’s lead batting coach – on training days where coaches are expected to provide throw-downs for several hours at a time.

Thorpe is currently suffering from a sore shoulder and missed England training on Tuesday due to illness.

As a vastly experienced and successful player – the 2005 Ashes series was among his 76 Tests – Trescothick has the respect of all current players and understands the demands, both emotionally and technically, of playing at international level.

He will be on hand both in training sessions and at the team hotel, to support players as required. And, aged 43, the sessions may also help him to decide if he wants to pursue a career in coaching.



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka Board President’s XI vs Bangladesh Tour Match 2019

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Bangladesh 285 for 5 (Mithun 91, Mushfiqur 50, Kumara 2-26) beat Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 282 for 8 (Shanaka 86, Shehan 56, Soumya 2-29, Rubel 2-31) by five wickets

Bangladesh got their tour of Sri Lanka off to a winning start with a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in their one-off warm-up game at the P Sara Oval. The visitors added pace bowler Shafiul Islam to their squad for the three-match ODI series which begins on June 26. Shafiul is expected to join the team in Colombo on Wednesday.

Set a target of 283, fifties from Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim ensured the visitors remained in control through their chase.

Mithun’s 100-ball 91 in particular will please the Bangladesh coaching staff, after he was given a chance in the No. 3 position vacated by Shakib Al Hasan. Scoring 11 boundaries and a six, the 28-year-old right-hand batsman put on partnerships of 73 and 96 for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively, with the rest of the Bangladesh line-up batting around him.

Mithun’s calm approach also allowed Mushfiqur to take on a more attacking role on his way to a 46-ball 50, built on a threatening 37 from Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order. Mahmadullah (33) and Sabbir Rahman (31) kept the Bangladesh innings on track, as Sri Lanka’s bowlers – apart from Lahiru Kumara, who impressed with figures of 2 for 26 in six overs – struggled to gain any foothold in the game. Mithun fell with Bangladesh only 21 runs shy of the target, but some lusty hitting from Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir made sure there were no late scares.

For the hosts, Dasun Shanaka was arguably the only Sri Lankan player to come out of the game with his reputation significantly enhanced. Having come in to bat at 127 for 5, his 63-ball 86, studded with six boundaries and as many sixes, put a significant dampener on what was an otherwise stellar bowling performance from Bangladesh. The hosts put on a respectable 282 for 8 in 50 overs.

Shanaka was aided by 21-year-old legspinning allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga, who bolstered his case for selection in the first ODI with a quickfire 28 that included three fours and a six to go with his bowling figures of 1 for 39.

Earlier, Shehan Jayasuriya’s 56 off 78 deliveries had helped the hosts recover from a top-order collapse during which Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and Oshada Fernando fell by the eighth over of the game. Shehan put on 82 for the fourth wicket with Bhanuka Rajapakse and helped steer Board President’s XI past 100.

Of the Bangladesh bowlers, on a wicket that didn’t offer much assistance, fast bowlers Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed struck early after the hosts opted to bat. Alongside Rubel, medium-pacer Soumya Sarkar stood out, taking the two crucial middle-order wickets of Jayasuriya and Rajapakse.



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Darren Stevens to leave Kent but wants to play on

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Darren Stevens will leave Kent at the end of the current season after 15 years with the club but has no intention of retiring from the professional game.

Stevens, 43, joined Kent from Leicestershire in 2005 and has enjoyed an outstanding career with bat and ball, scoring 11,718 first-class runs and claiming 487 wickets for his second county.

He is currently on loan to Derbyshire for the T20 Blast, but had continued to be impressive with the ball in the County Championship with 28 wickets at 24.21 in eight matches although runs had been harder to come by with an average of 20.36.

“It’s been an amazing 15 years,” Stevens said. “So many wonderful memories both on and off the pitch and many strong friendships made along the way. This is not retirement for me as I think I still have a lot to offer on the pitch, both as a player and a coach and am excited by the next stage in my career.

“I believe I can still do it at the top level, as my recent form shows, and I am looking forward to the remainder of the T20 season with Derbyshire and finishing the season successfully with Kent. I will look back at my time with Kent with nothing but happiness and pride but must now look forward to the next challenge.”

Kent have an eye on the future and want to invest in their younger players while also hoping to bring in an overseas fast bowler next season.

“When you look at his record, it is a travesty that Darren Stevens did not receive the international call-up he so richly deserved whilst in his prime,” Paul Downton, Kent’s director of cricket, said. “It’s now time for a new chapter at Kent with a number of young bowlers, and hopefully an overseas fast bowler next year, all demanding the new ball as the club seeks to keep raising standards and compete for the Division One Championship title.”



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