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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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Dark skies in Chennai as India look to shake off ODI rust

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India last played a 50-over game in August, but the biggest concern is the fickle weather



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Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, ICC World Test Championship, 1st Test

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Stumps Sri Lanka 282 for 6 (de Silva 87*, Dilruwan 6*, Afridi 2-58) v Pakistan

A scintillating onslaught from the weather overnight proved yet again to be the definitive performance in the Rawalpindi Test, which did not see a single ball bowled on day four before play was called off at noon. Frigid showers have been in outstanding form right through this Test, and the force with which they imposed themselves on a hapless outfield ensured that the turf was too sodden for play.

The covers also showed signs of having endured a battering, with vast pools of water laying atop them in the morning. The groundstaff cleared some of the water off them over the course of several hours, but this merely made an inevitable result look a little closer than it was. There was just no beating the weather in this mood.



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Recent Match Report – Australia vs New Zealand, ICC World Test Championship, 1st Test

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Lunch Australia 0 for 1 (Warner 1*) and 416 (Labuschagne 143, Head 56, Wagner 4-92, Southee 4-93) lead New Zealand 166 (Taylor 80, Starc 5-52) by 251 runs

Mitchell Starc just kept doing what he always does in Australia, whether the ball is red or pink or white. He runs in and goes whang. In the course of that, he picked up his 13th five-wicket haul – seventh at home – to wrap up New Zealand for 166 and secure a lead of 250.

That gave Australia the chance to enforce the follow-on but it was hardly ever a realistic option with Josh Hazlewood out of the game with a hamstring strain. The ease with which Tim Paine and his men managed that – an injury to one of their best weapons to a pink ball – was remarkable. Of course, it must have helped that they had 416 runs in the bank and the batsmen they were targeting already had been in the field for nearly 150 overs.

Starc’s fifth wicket was a bit of an event though. He looked to have bounced Colin de Grandhomme out – umpire Aleem Dar certainly thought so – but when the batsman took the option of DRS, replays seemed to indicate the ball might have just gone off the helmet on its way to Steven Smith at second slip. But since the visuals weren’t conclusive enough the third umpire Marais Erasmus had to stick with the on-field call.

It tells a great deal of the faith Australia have in their fast bowlers that they went out to the field on Saturday and immediately settled into a short-ball plan. Starc and Pat Cummins were the only ones left standing. The heat was in the 40C range again. New Zealand were already five down, but their lower-order rarely ups and folds like a deck chair. There was a chance it could have gone all wrong, that the two big quicks would be bowled into the ground and Ross Taylor, who was well past fifty, could have marshalled the resources he had left to some semblance of safety.

But what really happened was, after swaying out of the way of a ball that was coming for his nose, BJ Watling was slow to get in line with the follow-up delivery and was bowled. A man who had come into this game with scores of 77, 105*, 205 and 55 had been one-twoed by Cummins’ ruthless precision. He has 52 wickets this year, 14 more than his nearest rival.

Taylor took on the short ball with varied degrees of success – some zipped past him while others zipped to the boundary – but his biggest test came at the hands of Nathan Lyon. The offspinner’s first over included a ball that skipped through the gap between bat and pad and nearly bowled Taylor. Ever since then, he began to look unsure of his scoring options because he was unsure how much the ball will spin. Eventually, a beautifully tossed up offbreak took Taylor’s outside edge as he played inside the line and he was caught for an otherwise flawless 80. Lockie Ferguson, who has already been ruled out of bowling in this Test match, came out at No. 11 to try and extend New Zealand’s innings but even that brave, last-ditch effort from New Zealand didn’t quite go the way they would have wanted it to.



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