Graham Clark hundred in vain as Scarborough plays host to four-wicket cliffhanger
Gloucestershire 336 for 6 (Bracey 90, Charlesworth 87, Taylor 49*) beat Durham 335 for 4 (Clark 140, Lees 85, Worrall 4-58) by four wickets
Durham were inserted by Chris Dent, but made solid progress in the sunshine on the coast. Clark and Lees continued their impressive start to the competition at the top of the order, passing fifty in the 11th over. Clark pushed the accelerator to record his third fifty in a row, scoring three successive boundaries off Jared Warner.
Gloucestershire could find no answer in their bid to make a breakthrough amid the controlled aggression of the hosts’. Lees compounded Durham’s position of strength, working his way to his 13th List A half-century from 58 deliveries with a gentle nudge. Clark worked the hosts’ past their next milestone of 150 with a blistering cover drive. The right-hander pressed on and notched his second century in a week, clipping Josh Shaw through mid-wicket to the fence for his 15th boundary.
Clark and Lees brought up their second stand worth 200 in the competition, leaving Durham with a great platform to attack in the closing overs. Clark’s outstanding innings ended on 140 as he mistimed an on-drive as Dan Worrall and Taylor combined before the duo struck again to remove Lees for 85, offering Gloucestershire hope of holding Durham in check in the closing overs.
However, Sean Dickson ensured that Durham posted a score over 320 with an unbeaten 46, and Ned Eckersley blasted two sixes off the final over to end the innings on 335.
Gloucestershire made a bright start to their reply as Charlesworth found his range against Chris Rushworth and Jack Campbell. Chris Dent was given a life after being dropped on 10 by Clark, but Rushworth made the breakthrough to remove the Gloucestershire skipper for 20. Tom Lace and Charlesworth allowed the visitors to maintain their momentum, putting on a stand of 66 for the second wicket before Liam Trevaskis prised out Lace for 38.
Charlesworth continued his impressive outing, recording his first List A half-century from 79 balls. Bracey worked his way into form by finding gaps in the field, and the left-hander soon reached fifty from 45 balls. The hosts’ bowlers were suffering from the same issues that plagued the Gloucestershire attack, failing to put the batsmen under pressure at the crease as runs flowed with ease during the middle overs.
Bracey and Charlesworth brought up their hundred partnership at a rapid rate to bring the visitors within 100 runs of their target. Charlesworth’s attempt to up the ante resulted in his dismissal for a career-best 87. The wicket sparked a collapse in the order as Graeme van Buuren and the key man Bracey fell in quick succession to Trevaskis and Borthwick respectively.
Gloucestershire were given a glimmer of hope courtesy of two George Scott sixes against Paul van Meekeren, but his third heave ended in the gloves of Cameron Bancroft. The visitors required 16 off the final over, and Taylor was up for the challenge. After opting against a run for the first ball he smashed Rushworth over the rope twice along with a boundary to power his team over the line.
Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs South Africa, South Africa in Sri Lanka 2021, 1st T20I
After toppling the visitors with spin in ODIs, Shanaka’s men will look for more of the same in friendly conditions
A T20 World Cup is around the corner. For Sri Lanka, it begins with the qualifiers, which kick off approximately six weeks from now. For South Africa, who go straight through to the main draw, the World Cup starts about a week later. Either way, this is the lead-in – the phase in which teams look to tighten up their combinations, get key players into form, and battle-test their match-ups and strategies. South Africa’s eight T20I wins to their seven losses this year suggests they are closer figuring out a good game plan than Sri Lanka, who have lost six and won only three (two of those wins were against a severely depleted second-string India side).
South Africa are not only fresh from a series win against Ireland (whom Sri Lanka will face in the qualifiers), but had even defeated West Indies in the Caribbean in June and July. In Aiden Markram and David Miller, they have batters that have scored heavily in the format in 2021; in Tabraiz Shamsi they have a wristspinner who has claimed 24 wickets at an economy rate of 5.32. No other bowler has more wickets than Shamsi in T20Is in 2021.
Sri Lanka will feel they have some momentum after their ODI victory, but their T20I ranking of ninth is deserved – this is the format in which they have struggled most over the past few years. They will hope that the confidence gained from two consecutive series victories in a row (the first being that T20I series win over a depleted India), and familiarity with the conditions – which again are expected to be spin-friendly – can help elevate them to South Africa’s level.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWLLL
South Africa WWWWL
In the spotlight
Pitch and conditions
Expect another turning track. With showers frequently rolling through Colombo, rain interruptions are on the card too.
Kusal Perera is likely to return to the Sri Lanka XI, after regaining match fitness following his bout of Covid. Kamindu Mendis will probably stat at No. 3, given his excellent T20 domestic form recently. Sri Lanka may think about bringing in offspinning allrounder Ramesh Mendis to bolster the lower middle order, too.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Avishka Fernando, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Kamindu Mendis, 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt.), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Ramesh Mendis, 9 Chamika Karunaratne, 10 Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Maheesh Theekshana
David Miller has recovered from a hamstring strain and is available. Lungi Ngidi, though, won’t be, as he has flown straight to the IPL. Keshav Maharaj will captain the side.
South Africa (possible): 1 Janneman Malan, 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markram, 4 David Miller, 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Wiaan Mulder, 8 George Linde, 9 Keshav Maharaj (capt.), 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi
Stats and trivia
“Performance is everything, so we want to come here and win the series, to go to the World Cup with a log of confidence. What we’ve gone through in the last couple of months have been huge stepping stones for our T20 team. Beating West Indies – a lot of people thought we were underdogs. We won 3-2. A lot of confidence has been taken from that.”
David Miller on South Africa’s form
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
T20 World Cup 2021 – Rashid Khan steps down as captain protesting against Afghanistan’s T20 World Cup squad selection
“The selection committee and ACB has not obtained my consent for the team”
Rashid had been named captain in the squad put out by the ACB’s official Twitter handle, but said he was stepping down, effective immediately through his own tweet, posted 22 minutes after the ACB’s.
With Rashid’s resignation from captaincy and the number of players being named above the limit of 15, there will likely be changes to Afghanistan’s squad.
Afghanistan’s last T20I series was in March 2021 against Zimbabwe, during which Asghar Afghan led the team.
Squad named by ACB: Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Mohammad Nabi, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Qais Ahmad
Eng vs Ind, 5th Test, 2021
The fate of the fifth Test was in balance after India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested Covid-19 positive
Beyond the Manchester Test, the BCCI had also been concerned that Parmar testing positive could have a cascading effect on the second half the IPL, which starts in the UAE from September 19. On September 15, a bulk of the India and England players are scheduled to board charter flights to Dubai to join their respective IPL franchises.
The BCCI does not want the IPL to be impacted as it is scheduled to host the men’s 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman two days after the IPL ends, on October 15.
Through Thursday the BCCI engaged in discussions with the ECB on the way forward in case were more cases were to break out in the Indian camp. The BCCI also put out the option of cancelling the final Test, but the ECB is understood to have made it clear that it would interpret any refusal to play as forfeiture. The BCCI was keen to avoid such a scenario as not only would it see England square the series, but it could expose them to claims of lost revenue from broadcasters and the venue. The lost revenue could be up to £30 million (INR 306 crore).
The World Test Championship playing conditions, though, state that a Covid-19 outbreak within a team is an acceptable reason for a Test to be abandoned. With the WTC table now based on the percentage of points available, a four-Test series instead of five would not have impacted any side’s final tally. In case the final Test had not been played, India would pocket 26 WTC points while England will have 14 out of the 48 that was available.
Parmar was found to be Covid-positive on Wednesday evening after he reported having symptoms at the end of a training session. He is the fourth member of the Indian contingent to test positive in the last week. On September 4, after the third day of the Oval Test, India head coach Ravi Shastri returned a positive test and the BCCI medical team identified Bharat Arun, R Sridhar and head physiotherapist Nitin Patel as the immediate contacts for Shastri.
The next morning Shastri along with Arun and Sridhar returned positive RT-PCR tests, thus sending them into ten-day quarantine. Patel, meanwhile, returned a negative test but remained in his room in London. He then travelled separately by road to Manchester where he is understood to be staying on a separate floor from the rest of the Indian squad at the team hotel.
At the moment, little is known about Parmar’s immediate contacts. He has been treating several key Indian players for niggles, including Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. These players have been mingling among the wider group.
According to the UK government’s Covid-19 guidelines, any person who receives a positive PCR test for Covid-19 is obliged to self-isolate for ten days. However, those identified as close contacts don’t need to isolate themselves if they test negative and it has been more than 14 days since their second jab.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo. George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo