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‘Nice to see things falling into place’ – Joe Root encouraged by Test team’s progress

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Joe Root believes England have found a template that can help them win the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia. While delighted by the 3-1 victory over South Africa, Root was also encouraged that his team had found a method that could serve them well in future challenges.

In particular, England’s captain was thrilled by the prospect of taking two fast bowlers to Australia and the progress his side had made in adopting to a new approach to Test cricket. Jofra Archer and Mark Wood both claimed five-wicket hauls during the series to help the England attack bowl South Africa out twice in all four Tests – something they have historically struggled to do with the Kookaburra ball – while England’s batsmen, embracing a more cautious approach, posted totals of 400 or more in successive innings for the first time since March 2013. They also recorded three individual centuries, while South Africa’s batsmen didn’t make any.

“We’ve got a great template to work around and it’s nice to see it falling into place,” Root said. “We put things in place this winter about the way we want to play. It has taken time and it will continue to take time for us to stay consistent and adapt to different conditions but we are learning quickly.

“It would have made a big difference to have Jofra and Woody in Australia last time, I do believe that. It’s something you feel that you need in those conditions.

“One of our big learnings as a team is that we have taken 20 wickets in every game. That is something we have struggled with in the past when abroad with a Kookaburra ball.

“There’s still a huge amount of Test cricket to be played before the Ashes. But this does give us confidence and it also gives us knowledge about how to perform on wickets that might be similar.”

Most of all, though, Root was proud of how his side reacted to the adversity they experienced in the opening weeks of the tour and the manner in which young players had come into the side and “taken their chance”. England lost four players who could reasonably be described as first choice – James Anderson, Jack Leach, Rory Burns and Archer – to illness and injury for most of the tour, while their performance in the first Test was hindered by the sickness bug that swept through the camp. But Dom Sibley and Ollie Pope scored maiden Test centuries, while Dom Bess claimed a maiden five-wicket haul. All three are aged 24 or younger.

“It has been a huge effort by the players, the support staff and the management,” Root said. “We have had to dig deep collectively. It would have been very easy for us to go off the rails after that first game but we stuck tight together. Even losing Burnsy and Jimmy we made sure it was not going to change how we went about things and it gave opportunities for young guys to take their chance.

“I’m really pleased not only that the young guys have stood up on this tour, but that the senior players have created an environment that allows that to happen. Young guys are coming into a very good environment and succeeding. The senior players are providing that environment and delivering as well. I am really proud of everyone.

“The last afternoon in Cape Town was probably the turning point of the series. For us to finish off that game was fabulous. We caught very well and we took our opportunities with time running out through just sheer hard work and determination. I think that gave us a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence.

“A big part of our three teams is our three pillars: courage, respect and unity. We have shown those in abundance throughout this trip and it has made a massive difference to our performances on the field.”

Despite his joy, Root accepted England had a long way to go before they could considered themselves the finished article.

“We’ve done extremely well in the last three games but in the last three years we’ve not been consistent enough,” Root said. “We’re very open about that.

“We go to Sri Lanka next and then we have three big games at home against West Indies. So it’s a great opportunity to string a number of good performances together. We’ve got to keep looking to get better and keep developing.”



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RR vs KXIP, IPL 2020, 9th game

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Welcome to ESPNcricinfo’s Rolling Report of the ninth IPL 2020 match, between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. Which means we’ll be seeing the likes of Steven Smith, Jofra Archer, KL Rahul and Glenn Maxwell locking horns. Who will come out on top?

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Dettol become naming-rights sponsor of Australia men’s ODIs and T20Is

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In a sponsorship deal fitting for the times, Dettol has become the naming-rights partner for the Australia men’s ODI and T20I series as part of a four-year deal.

They replace Gillette, the previous title sponsors for men’s limited-overs matches, in a deal that also will see them be the naming partner of the men’s support staff – previously Bupa – and also have an association with the women’s team.

The brand contacted Cricket Australia after hearing of its plans to trial disinfectant on cricket balls following the onset of Covid-19 earlier this year. The use of saliva has been banned and while sweat is still permitted at international level the Australia team faced stricter protocols on the recent tour of England which limited where they could use it from.

In the current women’s series between Australia and New Zealand, which is being watched by a limited number of spectators, if the ball gets into the crowd it needs to be sanitised by the umpires before play resumes.

As part of the new deal the company will also supply its product to nearly 3,500 cricket clubs around Australia as the game resumes for the summer amid a range of new health and safety protocols.

“Dettol is such a well-known and trusted brand with a long heritage, both here in Australia and around the world, and their support will give confidence about protecting the return of community and elite cricket this summer,” the Cricket Australia CEO, Nick Hockley, said.

“Beyond this summer, we look forward to working with Dettol to help embed hygienic behavioural change into schools, clubs and communities through cricket.”

Dave Rankine, Regional director for RB Health ANZ, owner of the Dettol brand, said: “We’re excited to bring the expertise of Dettol to Cricket Australia, partnering together to protect the sport so many Australian’s love, from watching our national teams play, to participating in games ourselves through community clubs. Our partnership with Cricket Australia will help to embed important hygiene habits into the lives all Australians as we enter the new normal.”

Following the postponement of New Zealand’s short limited-overs tour to Australia that was scheduled for late January, due to the issues around mandatory quarantine, the only men’s limited-overs series this season will be three ODIs and three T20Is against India.

It remains to be confirmed how India’s tour is finally structured, but the trip is expected to begin with some white-ball cricket before the Test series begins in mid-December.

Earlier this month Vodafone signed on as the naming partner for men’s Test cricket.



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Australians in the IPL, week one

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The IPL has completed its first week and it has already thrown up some eye-catching cricket ranging for boundary-fests in Sharjah to a Super Over. The Australians have been well-represented although it has been a mixed bag for them on the field. Here’s a round-up of how it’s gone

Smith slots back into top gear in a brand new role

Steven Smith‘s concussion that he suffered before the one-day series against England was a bit more severe than appeared the case and he arrived in the UAE with some doubt still surrounding his health. However, he passed the required protocols and showed no ill-effects as he made 69 off 47 balls opening for Rajasthan Royals in their high-scoring victory over Chennai Super Kings. Notably, it was the first time in his entire career across all formats that Smith had opened the batting and he carried that into the second match against Kings XI Punjab where his 50 off 27 balls laid the foundation for a record IPL chase by the Royals.

Stoinis (somehow) steals a Super Over

It’s fair to say Marcus Stoinis started the IPL with a bang, although he also provided a reminder that it’s so often not the good deliveries that take wickets in T20. First of all he rescued Delhi Capitals’ innings from 96 for 6 as he plundered 53 off 21 balls, batting in a middle-order role that is not viewed as his ideal T20 position, which included 30 off the final over. Then after R Ashwin had dislocated his shoulder he was called onto bowl more than may have been expected and was ultimately required to defend 13 off the last over. A six from Mayank Agarwal appeared to have sealed the game with the Kings XI needing 1 off 3 balls, yet somehow a dot was followed by two wickets off full tosses to earn the tie-breaker which the Capitals won comfortably.

Cummins bounces back, Pattinson makes his mark

James Pattinson wasn’t an original selection for Mumbai Indians, instead being picked when Lasith Malinga was ruled out of the tournament, but he has twice bowled impressively with figures of 1 for 27 and 2 for 25. Across the eight overs in the two games he sent down 23 dot balls. Meanwhile, it was a tough start for Pat Cummins as he was clobbered for 49 off three overs against Mumbai Indians but, as great bowlers do, he responded in his next outing against Sunrisers Hyderabad with 1 for 19 – a performance that came top of ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats analysis.

Marsh’s tournament over

Already there is one Australian on a plane home. Mitchell Marsh‘s tournament was over barely before it had started when he injured his ankle in his opening over for the Sunrisers. He hobbled out to bat at No. 10 to try and salvage the game, but the signs weren’t good well before he was ruled out of the tournament. After Covid-related logistical challenges Marsh was able to secure a flight back to Perth where he will quarantine for two weeks as he begins his rehab but there is hope he could be available for the Sheffield Shield next month.

What about the rest

Australia’s limited-overs openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner, have made starts so far without quite dominating: a brace of 20s for Finch and 36 off 30 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders for Warner. Josh Hazlewood came into the CSK side against the Capitals and bowled his four overs for 28. It’s been a bit of a slow start for Glenn Maxwell with two single-figure scores and then he only faced nine balls in the run-glut against the Royals on Sunday. Josh Philippe, perhaps a little unexpectedly, found a starting place for Royal Challengers Bangalore, initially in the middle order before moving to No. 3.

Warming the benches

Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile (who is reported to have a few injury niggles), Chris Green, Chris Lynn, Daniel Sams, Billy Stanlake, AJ Tye and Adam Zampa have yet to be selected by their respective franchises.

Reading round-up

Balance and madness – when Marcus Stoinis gets it right
Why Pat Cummins, and not Shubman Gill, is the Smart Stats player of the match
Aaron Finch feels Josh Philippe can succeed in finisher role

Performance of the week

There’s a few worthy of consideration, but for the sheer impact he had across the whole game it’s hard to look past Marcus Stoinis





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