Versatile Moeen Ali is now a key figure for England

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Influential: Moeen.

Moeen Ali’s versatility has helped make him a key part of England’s plans across all three formats, but the all-rounder admits he does not know what role he will be asked to perform on any given day.

Moeen opened the batting in this year’s World Cup, played as a specialist spinner and went in at number eight during the Ashes and made an unbeaten 72 at three in England’s narrow Twenty20 victory over Australia on Monday.

He was called on to bowl a solitary over in that match, but it was the most economical of the innings and included the crucial wicket of Glenn Maxwell.

Moeen’s ability to fill a variety of slots will be a priceless commodity as the rebuilding of England’s limited-overs game continues under coach Trevor Bayliss. But, with the one-day series against Australia due to get under way in Southampton from tomorrow, he is still unsure about his place in the batting order.

“I haven’t been told… I didn’t know I was going to play in Cardiff until the day before either, so I don’t have a clue,” he said. “I can bat from anywhere from one to 11 really… you’ve still got to try to smash it.

“Wherever the team wants me to bat, I will bat, and if that’s three then so be it. I have done it before so it is not a problem.”

– UAE: U19 struggles continue with dismal defeat
– #360cricket: India must back Pujara after heroics
– England: Moeen and Morgan shine in T20 win

Moeen has a clear preference for opening up in limited-overs cricket, where he can take advantage of fielding restrictions and use the pace of the new ball to his advantage, but England are keen to give the explosive pairing of Alex Hales and Jason Roy a run at the head of the innings.

“Yes, I love opening the batting but if not then I’m still happy,” he said. “I think with the fielding restrictions it doesn’t really matter now but most of the time I enjoy the newer, harder ball because I don’t have to hit it as hard.”

Monday’s victory in Cardiff was Moeen’s first white-ball appearance since the disappointment of England’s World Cup campaign.

He did not feature in the exciting clashes against New Zealand earlier in the summer, with England preferring to leave him playing first-class cricket with Worcestershire as Ashes preparation. But he was an interested observer as a new-look squad made their names with some impressive series wins over the highly-rated Black Caps and was eager to join up with the group.

“I was playing the four-day stuff at the time but watching was very exciting and I wanted to be part of it,” Moeen said.

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Ishant Sharma and Dinesh Chandimal banned for misconduct

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Misbehavior: Ishant Sharma.

India’s Ishant Sharma was suspended by the International Cricket Council for one Test match and Dinesh Chandimal of Sri Lanka banned from a one-day international for misconduct during the final Test in Colombo.

Two other Sri Lankan players, Dhammika Prasad and Lahiru Thirimanne, were fined 50 percent of their undisclosed match fees for similar offences during the match, the ICC said in a statement.

All four players were involved in a heated flare-up during the fourth day’s play on Monday, prompting match referee Andy Pycroft to charge the players under the ICC’s code of conduct.

Tempers rose in the final session as Sharma and the Sri Lankan fielders had a heated exchange after Prasad bowled three consecutive bouncers to the Indian tailender. Chandimal nudged Sharma with his shoulder and Thirimanne also joined in the verbal spat forcing umpires Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker to step in to calm down the players.

As Sharma hurried off the field after the Indian innings ended, Prasad sprinted behind him and television pictures showed the two players speaking to each other outside the dressing rooms.

Sharma, who had been fined 65 percent of his match fees for misconduct during the second Test at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo, was penalised again for taunting opener Upul Tharanga after he dismissed him.

– REPORT: India win first series in Sri Lanka since 1993
– UAE: U19 struggles continue with dismal defeat
– #360cricket: India must back Pujara after heroics

– GALLERY: Kumar Sangakkara’s career in pictures

The lanky fast bowler will miss India’s first Test against South Africa in Mohali from November 5, the ICC said. Chandimal will sit out the one-day international between Sri Lanka and the West Indies in Colombo on November 1. “Monday’s incidents were not good advertisements for international cricket,” Pycroft said.

“These experienced cricketers forgot their fundamental responsibilities of respecting their opponents as well as the umpires, and got involved in incidents which were clearly against the spirit of the game,” Pycroft was quoted as saying in the ICC statement.

“Their actions cannot be condoned and must be discouraged.” All four players admitted the offences and accepted the proposed sanctions, the statement added. Indian captain Virat Kohli said the incidents had benefitted his team because it fired up Sharma in Sri Lanka’s second innings.

“An angry fast bowler is a captain’s delight,” Kohli said after his team’s series-clinching 117-run victory at the Sinhalese Sports Club on Tuesday.

“It happened at the right time because we had to bowl after that. I was very happy that he has an aggressive mindset.”

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#360Stats: Sri Lanka vs India - Wicket-keeping history, century man Pujara

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Use #360stats to have your say on Mohandas' column.

Following India's historic series win in Sri Lanka, Sport360 cricket statistician Mohandas Menon gives us a run down of the numbers that mattered most in Colombo's final Test.

– REPORT: India win first series in Sri Lanka since 1993

– UAE: U19 struggles continue with dismal defeat

– #360cricket: India must back Pujara after heroics
– GALLERY: Kumar Sangakkara's career in pictures

** Kusal Perera became the 130th player to represent his nation in Tests and the 19th Sri Lankan to keep wicket in the format. 

** Also on debut, Naman Ojha was the 285th player to appear in Tests for India and the 35th to keep wickets. 

** At 32 years, 39 days, Ojha is the fourth Indian since 2000 – after Saba Karim (November 2000), Sameer Dighe (March 2001) and Stuart Binny (July 2014) – to make his Test debut for India above 30 years of age. Ojha is the third oldest wicket-keeper to make his debut for India after Saba Karim (32y-362d) and Sameer Dighe (32y-161d).

** It is not often we see wicket-keepers from each side making their respective Test debuts and in this match, Naman Ojha and Kusal Perera were the 14th such instance. The last time this happened was in November 2000 at Dhaka when Saba Karim and Khaled Mashud played for India and Bangladesh respectively.

** Cheteshwar Pujara (145*) scored the 7th Test century of his career. He now has a century against all the six opponents he has played against. 

** Pujara also became the 4th Indian Test opener, after Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, to carry his bat through a complete innings. He is the 43rd opener to do it in Test cricket. 

** Only two Test batsmen have carried their bat against Sri Lanka and both are Indians – Virender Sehwag (201*/329) at Galle in 2008 and now Pujara.

** Pujara became the first batsman in Test history to get a duck after carrying his bat in the first innings and the first Test batsman to achieve this dubious feat on the same day! Three other Test batters have made a duck in the first innings and then carried their bat in the second innings of a Test match; Australian Bill Woodfull (Dec 1928) Englishman Geoff Boycott (Dec 1979) and Pakistani Saeed Anwar (Feb 1999).

** Pujara now has more Test centuries (7) to his credit than fifties (6). He is now behind Mohammad Azharuddin (22/21) as the other Indian to have more centuries than 50s in his Tests.

** Amit Mishra (59) registered his third 50 in Tests. This is the first time he has reached the half century mark while batting at a positon below number five. His previous two scores of 84 and 50 came as a night-watchman at no 5 and no 3 respectively.

** Mishra, incidentally is the first Indian batsman to record a 50+ while batting at number nine against Sri Lanka. Previously Ajit Agarkar had made a 48 at Ahmedabad in December 2005. In the second innings, Ashwin (58) became the second.

** The 104 run stand between Pujara and Amit Mishra is the best for India against Sri Lanka for the 8th wicket in Tests. The pair bettered the previous best of 70 runs between Kapil Dev and L Sivaramakrishnan at the P Sara Oval in September 1985.

** Kusal Perera (55) is the fifth Sri Lankan keeper to make a 50+ on debut innings in Tests. For the record, two Sri Lankan keepers have the distinction of scoring three figures on their debut: Brendon Kuruppu (201* vs New Zealand at ColomboCCC in April 1987 and Rumesh Kaluwitharana (132* vs Australia at ColomboSSC in August 1992). Niroshan Dickwella (72) and Dinesh Chandimal (58) are the others to make a 50 on debut innings.

** Ishant Sharma's 5/54 in Sri Lanka’s first innings – the best by an Indian quick in Sri Lanka – is the fourth five wicket haul by an Indian paceman on Sri Lankan soil, after Chetan Sharma (in 1985), J Srinath (in 2002) and Venkatesh Prasad (in 2002). 

** Both Amit Mishra (59) and R Ashwin (58) made half centuries while batting at no 9 in each innings of this Test match. This has occurred only three times in Test cricket history. 

Individual fifties in each innings at number 9 for same team

Player 1st inns 2nd inns For Opposition Venue Month, year Result
Peter Siddle 51 50 Australia India Delhi March 2013 Lost
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 58 63* India England Nottingham July 2014 Drawn
Amit Mishra/R Ashwin 59 58 India Sri Lanka ColomboSSC August 2015

Won

Note: Had Rangana Herath (49) also made a fifty it would have been the first time in Tests, where three scores of 50+ had been made by batsmen while batting at nine.

** This is the first time in his Test career that Dhammika Prasad has managed to claim an eight wicket (for 169 runs) haul. His previous best match figures were 7/135 against Pakistan earlier this year at the P Sara Oval, Colombo in June 2015.  

** The highest opening stand in this series is the 15 from the Sri Lankan pair Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva on the very first day of the series in Galle. It is now the lowest stand to be registered as the top opening partnership in any three Test series for either team in their history. The previous lowest highest opening stand in a three match Test series was the 22 (between MSK Prasad and VVS Laxman in the second innings at SCG) in the Australia-India Test series in Australia in 1999/00.

Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne (r).

** The opening wicket aggregate of 71 runs in 12 innings from both the sides is now the second lowest in Test cricket history for a three Test series. The lowest aggregate still remains 61 runs in 10 innings between the home side South Africa and England in February-March, 1896 – nearly 120 years ago!

** Kusal Perera (55 & 70) becomes the third keeper to make 50+ scores in each innings on debut after Dilawar Hussain (59 & 57) for India in January 1934 against England at Calcutta and Sri Lankan Dinesh Chandimal (58 & 54) in December 2011 against South Africa at Durban.

** Perera is also the 38th batsman in Tests to make two fifties on debut match. Interestingly, the only other Sri Lankan to do so was Chandimal.  

** Angelo Mathews is the fourth Sri Lankan captain to make a Test 100 in the 4th innings of a Test match after Duleep Mendis, M Jayawardene and K Sangakkara. He is also the sixth captain to do so in the fourth innings against India.  

** Ishant Sharma became the 8th Indian and 65th bowler overall in Test cricket to claim 200 wickets.

** By doing so in his 65th Test match, Ishant Sharma has taken most number of Tests, excluding all-rounders, to reach this landmark. Former teammate Zaheer Khan had taken 63 Tests to reach his 200th wicket in March 2009. For the record, South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis took 102 Test to reach his landmark in May 2006.

 ** Amit Mishra (157 runs and 15 wickets) is now the first Indian to score 150+ runs and also claim 15 or more wickets in a three match Test series.

** This is the only third time India has managed to win a Test series after losing the opening Test. The previous two both at home – in 1972/73 against England (won the five match series 2-1) and in 2000/01 against Australia (won the three match series 2-1).

** India’s last away series win came in the West Indies in July 2011, four years ago! Incidentally, this was India’s only second series win in Sri Lanka. They last won in 1993, 22 years ago, when Mohd Azharuddin’s team took the three match series 1-0.

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