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And so it all comes down to this. The ultimate decider for a series that has had drama, excitement, extraordinary swings in fortune, a dose of controversy and even uncertainty over where the next match would be played. India only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but the Gabba is usually a result-orientated ground. It’s winner takes all, a rare situation for the final Test of an Australian summer.

The home side will be pleased that the scheduling challenges of the season have meant that Brisbane is the final stop. They have not been beaten here since 1988 although it remains to be seen whether the surface for a January Test differs at all from one in November. It is also the first game of first-class cricket at the ground this season.

Ajinkya Rahane termed India’s magnificent escape at the SCG as good as a win, but their resources continue to be stretched to breaking point. However, from the moment they were bowled out for 36 in Adelaide they have been galvanised, never better epitomised by the stand between Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin which means the series is at this point.



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Cricket

England complete 3-0 sweep as New Zealand tumble for 96

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Brunt strikes twice in first over as England defend 128 with ease

England women 128 for 9 (Wilson 31*, Dunkley 26, Devine 3-30) beat New Zealand women 96 (Satterthwaite 25, Villers 3-10, Brunt 2-19)

England fast bowler Katherine Brunt led the way in a commanding bowling performance in Wellington, as her team comprehensively beat New Zealand by 32 runs to complete a 3-0 series sweep.

Six different England players got among the wickets, as New Zealand, chasing 129 for a consolation victory, failed to get any sort of momentum going, eventually being dismissed for 96 in 18 overs.

The hosts were pegged back very early in the chase, as Brunt trapped the openers Sophie Devine and Hayley Jensen lbw for ducks in the first over. Amy Satterthwaite at No.3 provided a brief resistance, top-scoring with 25, but once she was dismissed by Sarah Glen in the eighth over, New Zealand withered away, losing at least one wicket each over till the 13th. Legspinner Mady Villiers struck three times in the space of 10 deliveries to reduce the hosts to 60 for 8, before Sophie Ecclestone and Natalie Sciver mopped up the tail to seal the win.

England had earlier recovered from a slow start to post 128 for 9, thanks largely to Fran Wilson‘s unbeaten 23-ball 31, while Sophie Dunkley chipped in with 26. For New Zealand, Devine was the pick of the bowlers, ending with figures of 4-0-30-3.



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New Zealand vs Australia, 5th T20I, 2020-21

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Big-name players will return but some key areas will continue to provoke debate when Australia resume playing

Australia fought back from 2-0 down to square the series against New Zealand before suffering a heavy loss in the decider. The squad was missing at least four players who will be inked into the T20 World Cup squad, in theory given an opportunity to assess the wider options available. With the team now facing a lengthy break, what can be gleaned from the five matches?



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Match Preview – West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tour of West Indies 2020/21, 3rd T20I

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Sri Lanka have broken their barren streak. They’d lost eight T20 internationals in a row – against, Australia, India and West Indies. Finally they seemed like a competent T20 team, and this was largely thanks to their spinners.

It may seem like this is obviously the way Sri Lanka were going to win, but it isn’t, really. Sri Lanka haven’t had a good limited-overs spin attack for years. While on Friday, Akila Dananjaya bowled nicely through the powerplay, Wanindu Hasaranga dominated the middle overs, and Lakshan Sandakan polished up the tail, it hasn’t been since Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake bowled in tandem, midway through the last decade, that Sri Lanka have had potent slow bowlers. On Friday’s evidence, these three have potential. While Hasaranga is clearly the primary matchwinner among them, Dananjaya and Sandakan also have significant strengths – particularly the ability to bowl difficult overs.



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