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Newlands scandal ended reverse swing arms race – Paine



Australia’s Test captain Tim Paine believes that the Newlands scandal and its aftermath served to end what had been a rapidly escalating arms race among international teams in finding methods for ever more rapid and frequent reverse swing – a race that resulted in heavy penalties for Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft when caught in the act.

In a frank admission ahead of the 2019 Ashes series, Paine suggested that numerous international teams had got caught into a cycle of trying to outdo one another in terms of generating reverse swing by different means of looking after the ball, without sufficient consequences for transgressing.

After Cricket Australia responded to the Newlands scandal and subsequent attempted cover-up by banning Smith and Warner for 12 months each and Bancroft for nine months, the ICC followed up by introducing far heavier penalties than had previously been in place for ball tampering. A suspension of up to six Tests or 12 ODIs is now in place, relative to the eight Test matches that Smith and Warner were forced to miss due to their bans under the CA code of conduct, and Paine said the traumas of South Africa had served to see that this area of the game is “cleaned up”.

“I think teams are always looking at ways to get the ball to reverse swing,” Paine told “Whether that’s throwing it into [the dirt], or using their fingers to work on the quarter seam, or in England for years it’s been talked about mints being used [to impart sheen through players’ saliva] – there’s always something.

“The worrying trend was that teams were starting to try more and more methods, and getting more adventurous. So the thing I hope will come out of South Africa is that it will be cleaned up, and it will be a more level playing field rather than teams trying to push the boundaries and develop a mentality of ‘they’re doing this, so we’ll try this’ and ‘they do that, so we’ll try it too’. I think for too long, it was allowed.”

Australia’s ultimate admission that Bancroft had attempted to change the ball’s condition by using sandpaper had followed a period where increasingly extravagant reverse swing had been gained by numerous teams in a short space of time, a constant source of speculation and suspicion among opponents as to how such movement was being achieved. The ICC’s change in penalties at last year’s annual conference reflected widespread acknowledgement that it was not just a problem limited to Australia but a broader pattern of sharp practice.

“I could very easily be in England this summer, but working for Kookaburra, and getting the bats ready for the players”

Tim Paine

Paine, who was thrust into the Australian captaincy by Newlands, has also admitted that he was close to retiring from the game for good until a phone call to Ricky Ponting in 2017 led to a longer deal with Tasmania that meant he was available when the national selectors came calling ahead of that year’s home Ashes series.

“I had only been offered a one-year contract with Tasmania, which I felt didn’t offer me enough security, and so I simply couldn’t turn down the chance to start a new career,” Paine told “I still loved the game, but for the sake of my family I believed I had to make a sensible decision. It just felt like my time in the game had come to a natural end.

“I phoned Ricky Ponting, who had made the same move [from Hobart to Melbourne] several years earlier. ‘Hi mate, could you keep an eye out for me and see if there are any houses in Brighton up for sale?’ I asked him. I was sort of joking because I couldn’t afford to live in Ricky’s neighbourhood in Melbourne, but I thought he could give me some advice about where else was good in the city.

“Ricky was really confused: ‘I don’t understand. What on earth are you talking about?’ he said. I explained my situation, and how I only had a one-year offer from Tasmania, and planned to retire from cricket and take this new job. He listened and just said, ‘Just wait, let me make some calls.’ Within a few days I had an improved two-year deal with Tasmania, and that changed everything so I decided to keep playing. Things could have been very different if I hadn’t made that call to Ricky.”

In imparting significant cultural change on the Australian team, Paine has been given perspective by the fact he rose to the captaincy from a position where he could quite easily have been finished with the game.

“I could very easily be in England this summer, but working for Kookaburra, and getting the bats ready for the players, but instead I am captaining them in the Ashes. It feels amazing to say that, and this is all like a dream for me,” he said. “I have been dreaming, literally dreaming about this moment since I was a kid. Even during the last Ashes series in Australia, I can remember winning it in Perth, and thinking, ‘Imagine going to England in 2019 and trying to win it there too?’ I didn’t know if I would still be playing, and I would be 34, so probably no chance, but here I am.

“Even now when I am just at home doing regular things with the kids I think to myself, ‘Wow I am Australian Test captain’ and I have a laugh to myself and say, ‘Can you believe this?’ Or I can be watching the news or listening to the radio and someone will say ‘Australian captain Tim Paine…’ and I will just break out in a smile. I love it, and still can’t believe it.”

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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Essex, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group



Essex Eagles 139 for 7 (Lawrence 73) tied with Hampshire 139 for 6 (Northeast 69)

Hampshire and Essex Eagles tied for a second year in a row as Adam Zampa ran half-century maker Sam Northeast out off the last ball of a thrilling match.

Hampshire, chasing 140 to win, needed 11 off the final over, having previously required 42 from three overs, before pulling it down to two runs from the last ball.

With Northeast, who was on 72, on strike the batsman struck down the ground but could only find Zampa – who easily had Northeast out his ground attempting a second.

Northeast had turned the match around with 73 from 56 balls, with the match seemingly Essex’s to win before the nervy finale.

The shared points helps neither side in their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals – they both sit on 11 points, two points adrift of Somerset and Middlesex.

Having won the toss and chosen the bowl Hampshire struck early. Chris Wood continued his incredible first-over wicket-taking record when he had Tom Westley lbw to the first delivery of the match – it was the fifth time in this season’s Blast the left-armer had stuck in his first over.

Kyle Abbott copied Wood in the next over as Essex were left 3 for 2 when Cameron Delport was brilliantly caught behind by Lewis McManus.

Dan Lawrence and Adam Wheater then ambled along at around six an over in an 83-run stand for the third wicket to revive the innings – before Wheater was caught on the square boundary.

Lawrence continued, though, with a series of delightful shots through and over the covers, to go with a towering six over midwicket. He passed 1,000 T20 runs and a 13th fifty of the season across all formats, off 37 balls.

But as with his first 12 half-centuries, Lawrence couldn’t convert to three figures as he picked out Ian Holland at backward point while attempting a reverse scoop.

Ryan ten Doeschate plumb lbw to Chris Morris and Abbott yorking Ravi Bopara and Simon Harmer in the same over to take figures of three for 15, also departed – leaving the Eagles on 139 for 7.

Like Essex earlier, Hampshire lost both openers early on as James Vince and Rilee Rossouw both picked out Ravi Bopara on the point rope.

Northeast and Liam Dawson attempted to rebuild for the hosts but despite running hard between the wickets they struggled to hit boundaries in their 68-run alliance.

With seven overs to go, and only four fours between them, the required rate was up and 10 an over – with Dawson departing for 31 off 34 balls during that 14th over after slogging a sweep straight to cow corner.

But thanks to some clever striking from Northeast, whose half century came in 46 balls with five fours, Hampshire ground themselves back into contention.

Chris Morris and James Fuller, 17 off 12, both departed but Northeast and Lewis McManus collected 11 off the 18th over, 19 from the 19th over and managed to slice past the 11 needed off the final Mohammad Amir over before the last ball hijinx.

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Recent Match Report – Birmingham Bears vs Northamptonshire, Twenty20 Cup (England), North Group



Northamptonshire 153 for 6 beat Birmingham Bears 150 for 6 by four wickets

Faheem Ashraf saw Northamptonshire home with two balls to spare as his side beat Birmingham Bears by four wickets on a golden afternoon at Edgbaston to keep the visitors hopes alive of qualifying for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

Northants began the day having to win their last three matches to reach the top four of the North Group and were cruising in a chase of 151 at 128 for 2 in the 15th over. But wickets began to tumble and five were left from five balls. Ashraf then guided Henry Brookes wide of third man for two before striking the winning boundary over extra cover.

Defeat for the Bears ended their chances or reaching the top four as they slipped bottom of the table with two matches to play.

The home side chose to bat on a used wicket but slumped to 109 for 5 in the 17th over only for Will Rhodes, with 45 in 31 balls, and Chris Green, 23 from 13 to boost them to 150 for 6, taking 20 runs from the final seven balls of the innings.

Before then, the Northants’ spinners had a grip on the innings with turn available. Rob Keogh spun one sharply past Matt Lamb’s inside edge to bowl him for just one and deceived Adam Hose to have him stumped for 24. Left-arm spinner Graeme White also earned a stumping when Dom Sibley advanced and missed an off drive to fall for 24 in 20 balls.

Rhodes kept the Bears together – twice slog-sweeping to the short leg-side fence – and the blast from Green in the final over, hitting three fours off Ben Sanderson, gave the home side something to defend.

The Northants chase was given a bright start by Richard Levi, who made a timely return to form in making 44 from 27 balls – his highest score in the competition this season. He took three fours from Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s opening over before dealing with Jeetan Patel’s offspin by twice sweeping him for four. Levi eventually fell trying to hit Rhodes over mid-off but he laid the platform for the pursuit at 73 for 2 in the eighth over.

Captain Josh Cobb then shared a stand of 55 in seven overs that appeared to have put the game to bed, Cobb striking two sixes into the Raglan Stand. But trying to repeat the shot he holed out to deep midwicket for 42 from 36 balls and when Dwaine Pretorius’ measured 26 from 24 balls was ended by a superb low return catch by Patel, work was left for the Northants middle order.

The task appeared straightforward with 16 needed from 18 balls but Alex Wakely and Keogh couldn’t find the boundaries that would have killed the game. One reserve-sweep from Wakely earned four past backward point but Keogh was bowled swinging at Green’s final delivery and Wakely then fell to a Brookes nip-backer first ball of the final over.

Suddenly the Bears sensed a chance and Tom Sole would have run himself out taking a run straight to mid-on had Lamb’s throw struck. Ashraf, with four needed from four, then took over to win the game.

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Recent Match Report – Yorkshire Diamonds vs Southern Vipers, Women’s Cricket Super League, 26th Match



Yorkshire Diamonds 185 for 6 (Rodrigues 112*) beat Southern Vipers 184 for 4 (Bates 47, Wyatt 42, Davidson-Richards 3-21) by four wickets

Jemimah Rodrigues‘ magnificent unbeaten 112 from 58 balls guided Yorkshire to victory, secured off the final ball by Linsey Smith.

But the Diamonds knew only a bonus-point victory would keep their chances alive. To secure that, they needed to chase 185 inside 16 overs.

Despite Rodrigues’ efforts, Suzie Bates‘ 47 and a rapid 42 from Danni Wyatt helped Vipers to a total that was only chased down on the final ball.

Vipers will face Loughborough Lightning in the semi-final for the chance to take on Western Storm.

Yorkshire lost their openers inside the Powerplay at the start of their chase – both to Tash Farrant – as Lauren Winfield departed for a second-ball duck and Alyssa Healy was caught for 22.

India star Rodrigues was aggressive from the outset, hitting eight boundaries in her first 20 balls to reach 42. Her half-century came from 26 deliveries and her partnership with Hollie Armitage stretched to 90 from 54 balls to take Yorkshire to 118 for two in the 13th over.

But the Diamonds quickly fell to 121 for five. Amanda-Jade Wellington trapped Armitage for 23 and also dismissed Bess Heath two balls later for a duck, before Fi Morris had Alice Davidson-Richards caught behind.

Rodrigues was undeterred, striking cleanly to all parts of the ground. She guided Yorkshire to within striking distance, needing 17 from 12 balls. Her century came from 51 balls and included 16 fours and one six.

There were 10 runs needed from the final over, with Smith’s single off the final ball clinching victory.

Earlier, Wyatt continued her sensational form by blasting 42 from just 20 balls inside the powerplay – taking her to 267 runs in her last four innings. She launched her second ball for six, taking seven fours and another six before skying one to Davidson-Richards as Leigh Kasparek made the breakthrough.

Opening partner Bates allowed Wyatt to provide the acceleration, pacing her innings perfectly. She steadily began to build momentum, on several occasions placing the ball perfectly down the ground.

Beaumont’s innings was full of ingenuity, punctuated by a string of sweeps and scoops. It was her wicket, dismissed by Davidson-Richards for a 29-ball 33, which ended the partnership at 76 from 51 balls in the 15th over.

Davidson-Richards struck again three balls later as Bates fell for 47 from 39 balls and Yorkshire began to claw back control at 127 for three.

Thea Brookes came and went for a run-a-ball seven – a third for Davidson-Richards – but a superb partnership of 43 from 20 balls between Maia Bouchier and Wellington guided the Vipers to 184 for four.

Vipers’ final group game is at home to Loughborough on Wednesday, with Yorkshire away at Western Storm.

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