4th Test Match – England v South Africa at Old Trafford
Moeen Ali was the hero for England as they wrapped up a 3-1 series victory over South Africa. England batted first and put enough on the board to leave South Africa chasing. Jonny Bairstow fell one short of his century top scoring as England set up their win with a total of 362. In reply nobody made a half century for the visitors as the collapsed to 202. James Anderson took four wickets to help England to a commanding first innings lead.
The Moeen Ali took over, first with the bat scoring 79 not out as England added 243 to set a target of 380 for South Africa to win. Rain took the game into the fifth day and the only real question was could England take the wickets. Haseem Amla put up resistance with 83 but Ali took the key wicket and went on to take 5 second innings wickets to seal the win and the series for England against what has been a depleted South African side.
England will now move on to face the West Indies in their final test series before heading to Australia in the winter for the Ashes.
India put 600 on the board for the second game in a row as they continued their domination in Sri Lanka. Cheteshwar Pujara (133) and Ajinkya Rahane (132) both got centuries and four other got 50+ including Ravinda Jadeja who was unbeaten on 70 not out as India declared having put a mammoth total of 622 for Sri Lanka to chase.
The first innings reply was a total collapse by Sri Lanka who were bowled all out for just 183 with Ravichandran Ashwin taking 5 wickets. Sri Lanka put more of a fight up in the second inning after India enforced the follow on. Dimuth Karanaratne hit an impressive 141 and Kusal Mendis also hit a century with 110. The size of the total was too much though with the hosts finally dismissed for 386 with 5 wickets for the excellent Jadeja for a big innings and 53 run victory.
India now only have to avoid defeat in one of the next two games to take their eight test series win in a row.
Debutant Toby Roland-Jones took 5 wickets in the first innings to leave South Africa well behind England first up score of 353 and set the tone for England to bounce back after their poor showing at Trent Bridge. Ben Stokes hit 112 and Roland-Jones took 5-57 as the visitors could only make 175.
63 from Jonny Bairstow and a captain’s 50 from Joe Root took the game away from South Africa in the second innings. However rain meant it went to day five and England went into the final day still needing 6 wickets. It was finished off with a hat-trick from Moeen Ali to seal a comfortable 239 run win. Roland-Jones also took 3 more wickets in the second innings to claim a haul of eight for the match.
India used the best of the conditions to post 600 in a first innings of power batting which set up a big victory against Sri Lanka in the first test in Galle. Shikhar Dhawan lead the way with 190 and Chesteshwar Pujara hit 153 to get India off to the perfect start. Nuwan Pradeep persevered for 6 wickets in the first innings for the home side but it was to be in vain. In reply Sri Lanka could only post 291 with Dilruwan Perera top scoring with 92 Not Out but despite his fine effort he ran out of partners.
Virat Kohli got his century in the second innings as the visitors completed the victory in four days. 3 wickets each for Ravichandran Ashwin and Javinda Jedeja polished off the Sri Lankans to seal a 304 run win, their biggest away from home, and if Inidia remain in this form it could be a long series for Sri Lanka.
Australia have won a huge victory rolling back the years to a performance that looked like one of past glories as they thrashed India in Pune. Australia’s first innings score of 260 look precarious with Matt Renshaw top scoring with 68 and Umesh Yadav taking four wickets. The bowling star however was to come from the Australians as Steve O’Keefe took India apart taking 6 wickets as India collapsed to 105 all out.
The second innings was almost de ja vous. Steve Smith got a century but there was not much support As Australia added 285 and Ravichandran Ashwin this time took 4 wickets. It was far too much for India as O’Keefe took 6 more wickets and Nathan Lyon joined in the fun0 taking the other four.as the Aussie spinners dominated with India only getting 2 more than their first innings. A huge 333 run win for Australia on a pitch that was later criticised by the ICC. India were very confident going into this series, it will have been dented after this poor batting showing.
Batting first Afghanistan collapsed to 111 all out with nobody scoring more than 20 as the pressure of trying to tie up the series showed. Chris Mpofu took 3 wickets for just 25 runs in an excellent show of bowling. In reply Solomon Mire and Peter Moor put on a first wicket partnership of 79 to help Zimbabwe ease to victory meeting their revises target due to rain of 107 for the loss of just three wickets. This ties the series at 2-2 and takes it into a decider.
Afghanistan comprehensively take the series with big win
Afghanistan earned an historic away series win by thrashing Zimbabwe in the final contest. With the series at 2-2 most were hoping for an exciting contest but it was not to be. Afghanistan put 253 on the board with a 50 from Rahmat Shah backed up by Mohammad Nabi (48) and Noor Ali Zadran (46). Chris Mpofu continued his good bowling form taking three wickets but had no support this time. In reply Zimbabwe totally fell apart being bowled all out within just 14 overs for 53 and got nowhere near the revised target of 159 due to rain delays. Nabi after his stint with the bat took 3 wickets for just 14 proving himself a big game player and Afghanistan showing they are the top side of the second tier teams right now.
New Zealand collapase as South Africa take control
South Africa have a 2-1 lead in their series in New Zealand after an comfortable victory in game 3. South Africa batted first with captain AB de Villiers leading the way with 85 and opener Quinton de Kock got 68 in a total of 271 in their 50 overs. New Zealand then fell apart despite the best efforts of Colin de Grandhomme to take on a lost cause with 36 not out. Dwain Pretorious in an incredible spell took three wickets for just 5 runs as New Zealand were all out for just 112. New Zealand have not lost a home series since South Africa beat them four years ago, that record is under threat against the same opponents.
Tight bowling helped Afghanistan win the opening match of their series with Zimbabwe in a rain delayed encounter. The Afghan batting was not inspiring as they struggled to 215 with captain Asghar Stanikzai top scoring with 50 and the Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer the best of the bowlers with three wickets.. The Afghan bowling was excellent however with Golbadin Naib only losing 12 runs from his six overs and Amir Hazma only conceding 15 runs off his five overs. This discipline aided the visitors to the win as the rain came 28 overs into the Zimbabwe innings and they had only reached 99/4, behind the Dcukworth Lewis requirement. No further play was possible and as a result Afghanistan claimed the win by 12 runs on the Duckworth Lewis calculation to take the first of this five match series.