England planning for Ashes without Ben Stokes say captain Joe Root

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What will Joe be watching this afternoon?

All-rounder Stokes will not fly out with the rest of the squad to Australia on Saturday, having been suspended following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

The 26-year-old vice-captain remains under investigation after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

Stokes, who also suffered a broken finger, has not been ruled out of the five-match Test series which begins in Brisbane on November 23, but he is out of consideration for selection until further notice.

England captain Root has yet to name his vice-captain for the tour, but revealed that is also a discussion that will take place down under.

“We’ll sit down and come to that conclusion over the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“I think (Stokes joining the squad) is something we can look at when it’s a possibility. We’ve got to make sure we plan and prepare as a squad and look to approach it as if this is our team going out there for the tour.

“We can’t look at what is out of our hands, we want to get out there and get our teeth into the cricket.”

The Bristol incident prompted accusations of a drinking culture among the England team, something which Root denies.

However the 26-year-old batsman, embarking on his first Ashes tour as skipper, did promise there would be no repeat.

“We will sit down and make sure nothing like this happens again, we know it wasn’t good enough,” he added.

“I don’t think there is a drinking culture but we will address the issue, we are grown men and we will make sure things like this don’t happen again.”

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Sri Lanka's inexperience shows and other key talking points as Pakistan win first T20I

Ashish Peter 26/10/2017
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Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.

Pakistan overcame a new look Sri Lanka comfortable in the end after a brief stutter to take a 1-0 lead in three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi.

With the islanders having named a much changed lineup for the T20 series, the new look side were put to the sword by Pakistan’s bowlers as they were bundled out for 102 runs.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s men chased down the modest total with seven wickets to spare in the end to take the early initiative in the series.

We look at the key talking points of a match dominated by Pakistan’s bowlers.

Sri Lanka’s inexperience shows

Sri Lanka cricket had chosen a revamped squad led by all-rounder Thisara Perera for the T20I series following the hesitation of several senior players in touring Lahore for the final match.

The inexperience in the side showed after only two batsmen managed to cross the 20-run mark for the islanders after they were put into bat. Danushka Gunathilaka started with a bang but departed soon after and only Sadeera Samarawickrama and Seekkuge Prasanna showed any application with the bat.

With the squad of a mix of fringe players and relative newcomers, Sri Lanka found the going tough against a Pakistan unit which has looked extremely good in the limited-overs format.

Sri Lanka's inexperience in the batting line up showed.

Sri Lanka’s inexperience in the batting line up showed.

 Pakistan’s bowling attack comes to the fore once again

With Hasan Ali in the form of his life and the likes of Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim and Usman Khan chipping in, the Pakistan bowling attack has been on a hot run of late as they continue their domination over opposition batsmen.

On Thursday, the complete bowling attack was on point once again with wickets being shared among all the bowlers.

After Imad Wasim struck with the new ball as is custom, the Pakistan spinners seized the initiative as Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez created havoc on the pitch. Hafeez showed why is ranked as the number one all-rounder in this format to pick up two wickets in quick sucession while Shadad had to settle for one.

Hasan Ali returned to clean up the tail as Usman Khan and Faheem Ashraf too found themselves among the wickets.

Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with two quick wickets.

Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with two quick wickets.

Shoaib Malik sees Pakistan through after brief stumble

With just a modest target of 103 to get, Pakistan sure did make a meal of the chase after Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam departed early.

Zaman yorked himself after advancing down the track to a Vikum Sanjaya delivery where as Azam was deceived by some exceptional turn and flight by spinner Sachith Pathirana to be stumped by a mile. Ahmed Shehzad struggled to get going in a laboured 22-run knock before being dismissed by Sanajaya.

In the end, the job to see Pakistan through fell to the experienced heads of Shoaib Malik and Hafeez and the duo did not disappoint with excellent knocks.

Malik looked really good in his  31-ball unbeaten 42 as he imposed himself on Sri Lanka’s inexperienced bowling attack, especially the spinners.

Malik's 31-ball 42 run cameo saw Pakistan through with ease.

Malik’s 31-ball 42 run cameo saw Pakistan through with ease.

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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on spot-fixing approach: 'I was scared of watching myself on TV'

Ashish Peter 26/10/2017
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Sarfraz revealed that he was nervous watching himself play on TV.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has said that he was afraid to watch himself on the television after reporting a suspicious spot-fixing approach from a bookie during the recently concluded five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Sarfraz said he was relieved that the episode was over but still felt a certain nervousness watching himself play on television despite reporting the approach as soon as possible.

“Whatever happened, it is done and I did what I was supposed to do. But I wasn’t frightened after informing; in fact, I was more scared watching myself on TV. I was discussed on TV so much that at some stage I started to feel fear. But by the grace of Allah, everything is getting normal. When you are going into a series you need to be normal and everything is going good so far,” the skipper said.

Sarfraz had duly reported the matter to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit officials during the series which Pakistan swept 5-0.

Pakistan had completed a 5-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in the series.

Pakistan had completed a 5-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in the series.

Pakistan’s South African coach Mickey Arthur had commended his skipper for his integrity and stated that Sarfraz was a role model for other players in the team.

“To be honest the player reacted unbelievably well, he did everything required of him and we had a chat straight afterwards. It was handled brilliantly and I think that is a real example to our team and to the cricket world that a really important player was approached and acted to the letter of the law and did exceptionally well as a true ambassador of the game.

“I am very comfortable with our players, they are outstanding and I have no doubt that if anyone is approached they will do the same way as the individual did,” Arthur added.

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