Australia seamer Peter Siddle signs two-year county deal with Essex

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Peter Siddle playing for Essex in the County Championship.

Australia seamer Peter Siddle has signed a two-year deal at Essex after a couple of successful spells at the club this season.

Siddle ended his latest stint at Essex following the defeat to Surrey at Chelmsford this week, having taken his wickets tally to 37 in seven County Championship Division One matches this year.

The 33-year-old, whose international career has comprised of 62 Tests, 17 one-dayers and two Twenty20s, will return to Australia but has signed a new contract with the county until the end of the 2020 season.

The news comes in the same week as Essex announcing a fresh three-year deal for Alastair Cook, who will end his record-breaking England career at the end of the Test series against India.

Siddle said: “I have loved my time at the club so far with the players and staff giving me a great welcome, and I really feel part of the team at Essex. As an overseas player, I am always committed to taking the whole experience in and not just picking up my money and being on my way at the end of a contract.

“There is a wealth of talent in this squad who are hungry for more success and I am thrilled that I can join them for a further two seasons and be part of it.
I’m also really excited to play alongside Cooky, we’ve had some really great battles in the past and it’s going to be fun to play on the same side as him rather than against him.”

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Jack Wildermuth hits 20 off last over to lead Australia A into quadrangular series final

Alex Broun 27/08/2018
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Jack Wildermuth is congratulated after smashing the winning runs

An incredible 20 run final-over onslaught from Queensland all-rounder Jack Wildermuth led Australia A to victory against India B at Alur, and a place in the final of the ‘A Team’ quadrangular series, which also involves India A and South Africa A.

Requiring 19 from the final over, Wildermuth faced all six balls, and with five needed to win off the last ball he smashed a six over mid-wicket to win the game.

The 24-year-old finished unbeaten on 62 off just 42 balls, as player-of-the-match Usman Khawaja saw the innings through from start to finish with a brilliant century (101 not out off 93).

It will now be a rematch in the final at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, with Australia A to face India B.

“I knew I had to take the innings deep,” said Wildermuth after the match. “Ussie’s (Khawaja) obviously the set batsman, so I tried to not put too much pressure on him and if we could take it deep we were always in with a chance.”

But as the overs ran down the Melbourne Renegades star felt the game was slipping away.

“We were really trying to go there for a few overs but we couldn’t get the ball out of the meat of the bat,” he explained.

“It was ‘watch the ball, try to put it over the fence’. We needed 19 off the last over so we needed boundaries.”

Of the final ball maximum, Wildermuth said he had tried the winning shot a couple of times earlier in the over.

“I’d been trying to play that same shot a couple of times during the (last) over and I didn’t get them,” he said. “So I just made sure I watched the ball really hard and I knew if it was there I could probably put it over the fence.”

In a rain-affected match, Australia A reached 132-4 from 24.2 overs before the covers came on, in pursuit of India B’s 276-6 from their 50 overs.

Travis Head won the toss and elected to bowl, with Michael Neser (3-47 off nine) the pick of the Australian bowlers as India B captain Manish Pandey (117 not out off 109 balls) reached three figures.

Australia A’s target was revised to 247 from 40 overs after the rain break, a further 115 runs from 15.4 overs to win.

Alex Carey (23) made an impact alongside Khawaja at the top of the order in a 77-run opening partnership, while Marnus Labuschagne (13) and Ashton Agar (15) also made starts either side of the rain break.

But it was Wildermuth and Khawaja who held their nerve in thrilling finish, as the run rate crept up to 11 an over with six overs to go, and then 28 runs needed off the last two overs.

The first two balls of the final over- bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna – went for two runs each, followed by a four and another two.

With nine needed off the final two balls, Wildermuth found the boundary on both occasions – a four followed by a maximum with Australia A finishing their 40 overs at 248-8 to win by five wickets.

Relieved to reach the final, Wildermuth said the team “knew we needed to win” against India B.

“We didn’t probably start the tournament as well as we had liked but the last two battings innings have been really great, especially from our top order.

“Someone’s stood up and got a hundred which is great, Ussie and Heady (Travis Head), so it’s great to get some momentum going into the final.”

Australia A quadrangular series results: 

August 23: Australia A (151) lost to India A (152-5)

August 25: Australia A (322-5) beat South Africa A (290)

August 27: Australia A (248-5) beat India B (276-6) via DLS method

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Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson retires from all cricket

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Mitchell Johnson in action for the Perth Scorchers

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said Sunday he was retiring from all forms of cricket as his body was “starting to shut down”, almost three years after he stepped down from the international game.

The 36-year-old quit Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) team the Perth Scorchers last month, but had not ruled out playing in the Indian Premier League or other domestic T20 competitions.

“It’s over. I’ve bowled my final ball. Taken my final wicket. Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket,” Johnson wrote for the Perth Now news website on Sunday.

“I had hoped to continue playing in various Twenty20 competitions around the world until perhaps the middle of next year. But the fact is my body is starting to shut down.”

Johnson said he experienced back problems during this year’s IPL and “that was probably a sign that it was time to move on”.

“I’m ready to break clear of playing cricket and move on to the next period of my life,” he added.

“If I can’t play at 100 percent then I can’t give my best to the team. And for me it’s always been about the team.”

Johnson said he would consider channelling his “competitive edge” into a coaching or mentoring role in the future.

Renowned for his ferocious pace, Johnson announced his retirement from international cricket during the Test series against New Zealand in Perth in November 2015, saying he had lost the hunger to play the long form of the game.

From the coastal Queensland city of Townsville, Johnson made his first class debut with the state in 2001 before getting his start in the Test team in 2007.

His best haul was 8-61 against South Africa, at the WACA in 2008.

Described by long-time mentor Dennis Lillee as a “once in a generation” bowler, the former ICC Cricketer of the Year played 73 Tests for Australia, claiming 313 wickets.

He also claimed 239 wickets in 153 one-day internationals, and 38 wickets in 30 T20 internationals for Australia.

Johnson joined the Scorchers following his retirement from international cricket. In the IPL, he had stints with the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab.

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