New Zealand started their Rugby Championship campaign by thrashing Australia in Sydney. The All Blacks came out of the blocks fast and delivered a blistering first half. Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty scored two tries each as New Zealand raced into a 40-6 lead at half time.
Australia made a game of it with three tries in the second half, but further tires from Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith took New Zealand over 50 points to complete a 54-34 win. The two meet again in New Zealand next week.
South Africa got their rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start scoring four tries to beat Argentina in Port Elizabeth. It was a tight first half with Argentina taking an early lad through a Martin Landajo try, but two penalties from the boot of Elton Jantjies and a try from Courtnall Skosan gave the Springboks a 13-5 half time lead.
From there they took control of the set piece and dominated the second half. Three more tries from Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit enabled the hosts to run away with it in the second half eventually winning 37-15 and claiming the four try bonus point in the process. A good start for the Springboks who head to Argentina for Round 2 next week.
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.
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.
A huge innings from Martin Guptill ensured the series between New Zelaand and South Africa would go to a final match decider. AB de Villiers top scored with 72 as South Africa put 279 on the board. It was not going to be enough as Guptill’s fast start put New Zealand well ahead of schedule. Ross Taylor supported with 66 but Guptill was there at the end on 180 Not Out, hitting 11 sixes in the process as the hosts got home with 5 overs to spare to make it 2-2 going into the final match in Auckland
South Africa have won a second series in a row on New Zealand soil after winning the decider in a low scoring contest at Eden Park. The South Africans made the right call in fielding first as New Zealand found it difficult to find any rhythm. Only Colin de Grandhomme with 32 got into the 30’s as New Zealand were bowled out for 149. South Africa eased to their target as Faf du Plessis with 51 not out and David Miller 45 Not out both saw it through. It is New Zealand’s first home series defeat since 2014 against the same opponents. The win means South Africa are confirmed as number 1 in the world in the one day game..
England have a 1-0 lead in their series in the West Indies after a comfortable win in Antigua. England batted first with Captain Eoin Morgan leading the way scoring 107. He was supported by Ben Stokes (55) and Sam Billings (52) as England posted 296. It was always going to be enough. When Jason Mohammad was run out for 72 the hosts only real chance had gone as Chris Woakes 4 wickets kept the pressure on with England eventually bowling them out for 251 and a 45 run win.
The extra experience of Ireland told as they took a 1-0 lead in their series with the UAE. Ireland captain and opener William Porterfield top scored with 100 and Kevin O’Brien hit 67 enabling Ireland to post a good total of 270 which was always going to be a tall order for the UAE to chase down despite the excellent efforts of Zahoor Khan who took 6 wickets for the hosts. So it proved as they got behind the run rate from the start. Graham Dockrell took three wickets as Ireland eased their way to an 85 run win with no UAE player making a half century. Ireland now cannot lose as this is only a two match series.
Ireland sealed a 2-0 series victory over the UAE in Dubai. the UAE batted first scoring 202 with Sahiman Anwar top scoring with 45. Craig Young and Andy McBrine took 3 wickets each restricting the UAE and putting Ireland in pole position to win. The duly did so, William Porterfield followed up his century in the first game with 76. When he departed it was left to Andy Balbirnie to steer Ireland home, his solid and sensibly played 56 Not Out ensured a comfortable 8 wicket win and the expected series result.
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.
South Africa have a 4-0 lead in their five match series after posting a huge total that despite a brave attempt, Sri Lanka could not quite reach. Faf du Plessis mammoth 185 including three sixes led the way with support from AB de Villier (64) and Quinton De Kock (55) as South Africa put 367-5 on the board in their 50 Overs. In reply Sri Lanka made a good start as Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga made 139 for the first wicket. Dickwella went for 58 as did Sandun Weerkkody but Wayne Parnell took the key wicket of Tharanga who made 118 and from the point the lower order collapsed as Parnell went on to take four wickets. In the end Sri Lanka were left 40 runs short on 327 all out. South Africa will now eye a whitewash in the final game to come at Centurion Park.
One Day Internationals – Sri Lanka Tour of South Africa
ODI Game 2 in Durban – South Africa v Sri Lanka
Tons from Miller and Du Plessis put game beyond Sri Lanka
Early on South Africa were struggling at 108-4 but a partnership of 117 between Faf Du Plessis and David Miller put the hosts back on track to continue their dominance of Sri Lanka. Du Plessis eventually went for 105 but Miller stuck around to the end and finished on 117 Not Out as South Africa posted 307. Sri Lanka never got close as Dinesh Chandimal (36) was the only man to get more than 30. The wickets were shared as Imran Tahir, Jean Paul Duminy and Wayne Parnell took two each making short work of Sri Lanka’s batting to take a 2-0 series lead.
ODI Game 3 in Johannesburg – South Africa v Sri Lanka
Easy for South Africa to claim the series
With two games to spare South Africa have won their One Day series with an easy win against Sri Lanka. The only thing that prolonged this contest was a bizarre half an hour in which the game was stopped due to a swarm of bees showing up. Once play got back underway Sri Lanka collapsed losing their last six wickets for just 82 runs. Noroshan Dickwella top scored with 74 with Dwaine Pretorious taking three wickets. South Africa lost a couple of early wickets but AB De Villiers steadied the ship with 60 Not Out as South Africa got home losing just three wickets with 18 overs to spare. They will now look to try and complete a whitewash.