Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. Scotland Women Test Match – Scotch Job!

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England Women succumbed to an unflattering defeat in a one-off Test encounter against northerly neighbours Scotland. England were dismissed for a paltry 91 barely halfway through the first day’s morning session. Nat Sciver’s 16 was as good as it got for any of the home side’s willow wielders!

The visitors would then go onto post 363-8 before taking pity on England and declaring. Pace bowler Katherine Brunt bowled particularly well early on. She claimed figures 2-41 from 19 overs with eight of her overs being maidens. Anya Shrubsole (2-66) also collected two victims.

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England made a better fist of things second time around. Stumper Sarah Taylor led the way with a breathtaking counter-attacking 85 from just 31 deliveries. She attempted one reverse sweep too many however and was dismissed LBW to spin. Lauren Winfield (57) also batted well for a much deserved half-century. Katherine Brunt’s whirlwind 44 from just 16 balls as well as Nat Sciver’s run-a-ball 22 helped England total an improved 230. It wasn’t enough to make Sctoland bat again though as England lost by an innings and 42 runs.

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Scotland ran out deserved winners and England’s batsmen will need to apply themselves better and their bowlers provide added penetration if they’re to become successful in future encounters.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. PNG Women ODI

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Following the trouncing at the hands of New Zealand, England’s Women hosted Papua New Guinea, in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter on the south coast.

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Lauren Winfield was tamely dismissed first ball but fellow opener Tammy Beaumont (67) and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor (37) set about rebuilding for the hosts. Taylor, who was dismissed for a golden duck against New Zealand, was controversially adjudged run out however captain Heather Knight (61) carried on the good work alongside Beaumont. Unfortunately for England, after their two half-centurions departed, there weren’t many more contributions. From 154-2, England subsided to an underwhelming 222 all out.

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Natalie Sciver, who made a scintillating 115 against New Zealand, was the victim of an appalling LBW decision when on 16. England had already wasted both of their reviews, much to the frustration of Surrey’s Sciver. From then on, nobody from numbers six to eleven managed to reach double figures.

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World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole was the pick of the home side’s bowlers. She claimed the first three PNG wickets and later added a superb caught and bowled (See image above) to finish with excellent figures of 4-51.

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Papua New Guinea recovered from 53-3 though and at 196-5 looked set for an easy victory. Spinner Sophie Ecclestone (2-41) was amongst the wickets though, as was Beth Langston (1-12) having been drafted into the side. With the visitors requiring just two runs for victory, there was a needless run out before spinner Danielle Wyatt claimed the 9th wicket courtesy of an excellent catch from skipper Heather Knight. Knight then tried to gee on the crowd (See image above) but PNG snuck home by the skin of their shiny white teeth!

This was a much improved performance from England and they displayed real character to take the match to the wire. They were certainly the victim of a couple of rough decisions but will be disappointed with their middle order’s inability to build on the foundations laid by the likes of Beaumont, Taylor and Knight.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Scintillating Sciver Can’t Save England!

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England Women succumbed to a chastening 302-run defeat against New Zealand at Headingley in a one-off ODI earlier today.

New Zealand’s opening batsmen were utterly dominant on a gorgeous day in Leeds. Susie Bates (212) and Sophie Devine (144) put on 283 for the visitor’s first wicket. Amy Satterthwaite added 129 not out from just 49 deliveries as the home side claimed only two wickets in 50 overs. New Zealand’s total of 493-2 was a new world record in Women’s ODI cricket, passing the previous high of 455-2 also set by the White Ferns.

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Two dropped catches by stumper Sarah Taylor (Who was also dismissed first ball!) didn’t help England’s cause, although in truth a lot of the damage had already been done. England also missed an easy run out opportunity when the ball was inexplicably thrown to the wrong end!

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All-rounder Natalie Sciver, who despite bowling two maidens finished with record breakingly bad figures of 0-111 from her full allocation, finished the day four runs to the good after spanking a marvellous 115. Her 67-ball affair contained 13 sixes, most of which were reverse sweeps. In current cricket terminology, Sciver is probably England’s ‘Point of Difference’! Only Katherine Brunt (21) and captain Heather Knight (17) were able to provide any kind of support for Surrey’s scintillating Sciver.

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Sciver’s batting exploits did at least save England from complete ignominy and the side will look to bounce back next time they take to the field of play.

Disclaimer: I should probably point out that I was playing as England. In my defence, I’m now tackling veteran level (ie: Level 4/5)!

Upcoming Articles

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With the recent addition to the blog of audio casts to compliment the written word and with lots of cricket being played at all levels around the world, there’s much to look forward to at Silly Point throughout the rest of 2018.

Topics for future posts may include but not be limited to: The inaugural edition of Global T20 Canada, T20I status provided to all Associate Cricket nations, Telegraph Fantasy Cricket updates, the release of Cricket Captain 18, further Ashes Cricket (PS4) reports, book reviews, the author’s own efforts on the village circuit, first hand accounts of men’s and women’s ODI cricket (Trips to The Grange, Edinburgh and Headingley are booked!) and thoughts on England’s Test side’s continued woeful run of form (For the pessimists!)/renaissance (For the optimists!).

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Next year Silly Point will bring you match reports from the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and there’s sure to be many posts to keep readers and listeners occupied in the meantime.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test League – Chevron’d!

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In the latest round of Global Test League matches, England succumbed to a ten-wicket defeat in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe have now defeated England home and away in the inaugural Global Test League. Unfortunately, due to a media blackout, a full match report can’t be provided. What can be reported is that England captain Joe Root (17.33) still averages in the teens in the competition and Liam Dawson averages 8.13 with the bat and 419.00 at a strike-rate of 701.00 with the ball! On the plus side, Mason Crane does now have some Test wickets to his name. You can see him snapping up his maiden victim in the above photo.

Next up for England is a trip to India. They’ll have to up their game immensely if they’re to achieve any kind of result. The opportunity to become the first ever Global Test League Champions is slipping from England’s grasp.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test League – Calypso Calapsyco!

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Calypso music originated in Trinidad and that’s where England’s cricketers collapsed in epic fashion to squander a first innings lead and succumb to defeat against West Indies in the latest round of Global Test League fixtures.

Disclaimer: Let’s step aside from pretending this is all real for a moment. Ashes Cricket’s developers Big Ant Studios released a mid-match patch whilst I was sailing to victory against the home side. Ultimately Big Ant have made the game harder/better. Batting in Tests is now actually like batting in Tests in real life. Well maybe not quite but you get what I mean! I’m looking forward to playing more and adapting my game, having to graft with the bat but in regards to this match, when you’ve become used to smacking the ball to all parts, it’s a difficult habit to break.

In the first innings of the match, England reached 60-0 having chose to bat but lost both openers (Jennings 38/Stoneman 22) in quick succession before being bundled out for 222. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes top scored with 55 and England were indebted to a career best 34 from Durham pacer Mark Wood on Global Test League debut.

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West Indies lost opener Kraigg Brathwaite before a run was scored and the wickets were shared around as England gained a 50-run first innings lead. The Caribbean side were aggrieved at a couple of umpiring decisions, including the one above that was given out would you believe? After David Willey claimed his first victim of the match, England actually took a team hat-trick that included back-to-back run outs!

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Mark Wood (11-3-34-2) claimed two wickets in two balls to mop up the West Indies’ tail in their first innings.

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As well as Wood, James Anderson (2-39), Stuart Broad (2-32) and the critic silencing David Willey (2-25) each claimed two scalps as did run outs.

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It soon went all wrong for England though. The visitors were 32-6 at one stage in their second innings before Dawid Malan (34) and Mark Wood (24) grafted 63 for the sixth wicket. On GTL debut, Wood put a number of senior batsmen to shame. Captain Joe Root’s horror show of a competition continued. Scores of just 5 and 1 bring the Yorkshireman’s tournament total to a paltry 211 runs at a woeful average of 16.23. This is the worst of any specialist batsman in the inaugural Global Test League. Root has been able to get away with this whilst his team have been winning but when the team starts losing, both his captaincy and place in the team will come under scrutiny.

West Indies were left needing 154 for victory and though England occasionally checked the hosts’s progress and hinted at pulling off a heist when reducing the home side to 107-4, a missed run out chance put paid to their chances. Shai Hope (54 not out) and Roston Chase (24 not out) saw West Indies to a famous victory.

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Young Hampshire spinner Mason Crane bowled respectably enough in the West Indies first innings but was let down by numerous misfields in the second. Crane finished with figures of 16-1-66-0 but in truth there was little threat. His Hampshire team-mate Liam Dawson (17 & 1) failed with the bat having been promoted to number six and barely turned his arm over (7.3-2-24-0) in this match. He now averages a competition high 382.00. A record not to be proud of!

Congratulations to West Indies on a thoroughly deserved victory. England now head to Zimbabwe having lost to them at home in the opening round of the competition. England need to get back to winning ways immediately at the race for the title of Global Test Champions hots up. With the hosts’ pitch expected to favour spin, the composition of England’s XI will be fascinating and may present an opportunity for England’s spinners to finally prove their worth. Mark Stoneman will be sweating over his place while the likes of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid amongst others will hope for a recall.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test League – England vs. South Africa

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Following England’s win in Pakistan, the side hosted South Africa in a Global Test League top of the table clash at Sussex. The performances of Stuart Broad and James Anderson (Pictured above) would be crucial to England’s chances of success…

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David Willey (0 & 4) failed to make an impression with the bat but claimed some vital South African scalps (1-60 & 2-98) on Test debut.

The left-arm pace of David Willey replaced the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson following the Hampshire twirler’s wicketless display in Lahore. Unfortunately for Willey, the Yorkshire and former Northamptonshire all-rounder would be dismissed first ball on his maiden Test outing but did claim match figures of 3-158. Those figures might not sound too great but Willey snapped up the crucial dismissals of Quentin de Kock (35) in the first innings and Hashim Amla (96) in the second. Having made 104 in the first innings, Amla fell just four runs short of registering a century in each innings.

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Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (6-115 & 3-67) was the key reason for some all too familiar England batting collapses.

Maybe Liam Dawson can learn from the tourist’s own left-arm spinner, Keshav Maharaj. Whilst pacers Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel failed to take a wicket between them, Maharaj finished with figures of 9-182.

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Former Essex stumper Ben Foakes compiled a maiden Test ton in only his third Test match.

Surrey gloveman Ben Foakes (112) scored a crucial maiden Test century. This was when England had slipped from 212-2 to 261-7. Keaton Jennings (113) also made a hundred, his fourth of the competition. It will be Stuart Broad (103) and James Anderson’s (56 not out) last wicket stand of 126 that will live long in the memory though. That’s 118 runs in seven innings without dismissal for Lancashire’s Anderson in the GTL.

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England skipper Joe Root dropped Hashim Amla on 49 in South Africa’s second innings. Amla went onto make 96. In all, the home side dropped four catches in the visitor’s second dig!

After South Africa had been dismissed for 330 (Amla 104, Broad 3-63) and England for 565 (Jennings 113, Maharaj 6-115), South Africa set about erasing the defecit and went onto set England a testing total of 313 to win. The visitors having made 547 in their second innings. As mentioned before, Amla followed up his first innings 104 with 96 but it was the scintillating AB de Villiers, whose knock of 266 not out took him ahead of Jennings to the top of the competition run charts and helped get South Africa back in the match. James Anderson stuck to the task though and was rewarded for pitching the ball up and getting some movement. He claimed the home side’s first ever Global Test league five-wicket haul (5-121) and finished with match analysis of 7-198 to go with his undefeated half-ton. With 20 victims in total, Anderson is England’s top GTL wicket-taker.

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Dawid Malan (58 not out) and Stuart Broad (5 not out) saw England home though the result was not without a fright!

For the second time in the match, England’s opening batsmen, Keaton Jennings (73) and Mark Stoneman (53) put together a century partnership to lay the foundations for England’s run-chase. They were dismissed in quick succession however before England suffered an all too familiar batting collapse. Jonny Bairstow, recalled to the side at number three at the expense of James Vince and playing as a specialist batsman, followed his first innings seven with just nine. He did at least claim a maiden Test wicket in the match, Keshav Maharaj the unfortunate victim. Chris Woakes looked to be taking England to victory but fell for 53 with just five runs required. Dawid Malan remained composed however and finished 58 not out, fittingly being joined by first innings centurion Stuart Broad, who would hit the winning runs and secure England their fifth straight victory following the shock opening round loss at home to Zimbabwe.

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England now stand alone at the top of the inaugural Global Test League.

Next up for England are West Indies in the Caribbean. In terms of selection for that match, though Mark Stoneman failed to convert scores of 59 and 53 into a maiden Test hundred against South Africa, two century opening stands alongside Keaton Jennings mean that his place is safe for now. Jonny Bairstow will have to wait and see if he gets another chance at three following his double failure. Chris Woakes struggled with the ball but made a vital half-century in England’s run chase and though David Willey didn’t set the world on fire, he did claim some vital scalps on Test debut. Liam Dawson may get one more chance to prove himself in helpful conditions though Moeen Ali will be considered for a recall and Mason Crane could even win a Test cap. Until next time…