Hazlewood questions Jason Roy's Test credentials ahead of England opener's Ashes debut

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England opener Jason Roy is set for a maiden Ashes appearance.

Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood has cast doubts over whether England opener Jason Roy’s technique will be suitable for the challenges of red-ball cricket.

Roy has been one of the most explosive limited-overs openers in the game for some years now and the right-hander’s displays in the recent World Cup have seen him earn a maiden Test cap against Ireland.

He is now set to open for England in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston beginning on August 1 after registering a scratchy 72 in his debut match against Ireland. Hazlewood, however, remains unconvinced about the Englishman making a successful transition to Test cricket.

“We’ll see how Roy goes in Test cricket. He’s has only played one Test match and it’s a lot different opening the batting in a Test than a one-day game, that’s for sure,” Hazlewood said.

“In England, opening is probably the toughest place to bat, which probably made Alastair Cook’s record all the better. To play attacking cricket in those conditions is tough.”

The Aussie bowler cited the example of ODI skipper Aaron Finch’s failure in the Test series loss to India last year as a cautionary tale for Roy.

“Aaron Finch found it tough last summer against a quality India attack on wickets that didn’t do too much, to be honest,” Hazlewood stated.

“I think he found it a big step up, to be honest. He found the ball swung and seamed around and the wickets were a lot different to a one-day wicket.

“He’d played a lot of his four-day cricket at five or six and I think Roy is the same at Surrey. It’s hard to bat five at a level below and then open in Test cricket. We’ll see.”

In 84 first-class matches so far for Roy, the right-hander has managed to score 4,722 runs at an average of nearly 39 with the help of nine centuries.

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Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur not surprised by Mohammad Amir's Test retirement

Waseem Ahmed 30/07/2019
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Mohammad Amir has bid goodbye to Test cricket.

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has admitted that a Test retirement for Mohammad Amir had been on the cards since over a year.

Amir sprang a major surprise earlier this week when he announced his decision to walk away from Test cricket at the age of just 27 in order to prolong his white-ball career.

The left-armed pacer has struggled for fitness and a troublesome knee since making his return to international cricket in 2016 after a five-year suspension for spot-fixing.

“It was on the cards for a long while,” Arthur said about Amir’s retirement in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.

“Amir had been speaking to me about it with me for some time now. His Test career was taking a strain on his body. It’s not about management here. It’s about his desire to play Test cricket and the effects it has on his body.

“I think Amir’s an unbelievable bowler and reluctantly I accepted his decision because that’s what he wanted to do and that’s what he thought was best for himself. What it does do is give us a white-ball bowler that I think we can get a longer period from.”

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir.

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir.

Amir bows out of Test cricket with 119 wickets in 36 appearances with an average of just over 30. Arthur is now hoping that the pacer can become even a more potent asset for Pakistan in the shorter formats of the game.

“We get a white-ball bowler who’s going to be rejuvenated, refreshed, and with a T20 World Cup just around the corner, in 18 months’ time we’ve got a potential match-winner because we know he performs on the big stage,” said Arthur.

“Like every other player who plays for Pakistan, he’s going to need to put in match-winning performances.

“But he’ll certainly get the opportunity to do that, and he will start in our white-ball cricket.”

Amir had recently finished as Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2019 ICC Word Cup in England with the southpaw picking up 17 scalps in eight matches.

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Avishka shines as Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh for first ODI series win at home in more than three years

Sudhir Gupta 28/07/2019
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Sri Lanka batsman Avishka Fernando.

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in the second ODI in Colombo to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Opener Avishka Fernando top-scored for the hosts with 82 off 75 balls while Angelo Mathews was unbeaten on 52 as Sri Lanka chased down their target of 239 with more than five overs in hand.

Bangladesh has recorded 238-8 off their 50 overs, with Mushfiqur Rahim finishing on 98 not out. Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana and Akila Dananjaya each took two wickets for Sri Lanka.

It was Sri Lanka’s first bilateral ODI series win at home in three-and-a-half years. Despite the historic win, man-of-the-match Fernando said he was disappointed at missing out on a century.

“I am disappointed to not get to the three-figure mark and hopefully I can convert my starts in the future,” said Fernando. “The track was a bit slow and also spun a bit. I am glad that I was able to make a contribution.”

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said winning at home after such a long period was a huge relief.

“We’ve done very well. Heard we won after 44 months at home. Bowlers did a great job, the spinners Akila and Dananjaya in particular. Avishka went for it in the beginning, unfortunately missed his hundred,” the skipper said.

His Bangladesh counterpart Tamim Iqbal said it was a disappointing outing and said his players simply did not put in the extra effort required.

“We needed to start well. Four down for 50 doesn’t help but the way we bowled even 300 would not have been enough. We just weren’t ready to do the hard work and chose the easy option,” Tamim said.

The hosts won the first ODI by 91 runs on Friday and the third and final match of the series will be held on Wednesday.

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