Justin Langer feels Australia have a long way to go to be considered as a great Test side

Sport360 staff 16/09/2019
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Justin Langer has issued a fresh challenge for Australia.

Head coach Justin Langer feels Australia still have some way to go before being considered as a great Test side after they squandered the chance to win the Ashes series on English soil.

The visitors led twice in the five-match series but were pegged back in the next Test by England on both occasions with the Ashes ultimately ending all square at 2-2.

Although his Australia side have become the first visiting team since 2001 to retain the urn on English soil, Langer has issued a fresh challenge to his players to take their game to the next level.

“To fight back from a tough loss (at Headingley) is admirable, and I said how proud I was with everyone for that,” the Australia coach was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“But also, over the last couple of years, we haven’t necessarily performed at our best after a win. We had a really good opportunity after winning the first Test, but we didn’t necessarily turn up to the Lord’s Test as well as we could have, and we didn’t turn up to this Test (Fifth Test).

Australia head coach Justin Langer.

Australia head coach Justin Langer.

“Really good teams do that. I think that’ll be part of the maturity of our side. The way we were in this series, we aren’t a great team yet. We are a good team, we are a maturing team and we’ve got some great players in it, but we’re aspiring to be a great cricket team.”

Batting failures, especially in the opening department, proved to be Australia’s undoing at Headingley and the Oval even though Steve Smith himself racked up 774 runs in just seven innings.

While admitting his team’s shortcomings with the bat in the series, Langer took comfort from the displays of the bowling unit led by the No1 ranked Pat Cummins.

“There’s a real challenge for young Australian batters,” Langer said.

“The ones who want to step up and score lots of runs and work hard on their footwork patterns and techniques and ability to score runs – it’s a pretty exciting time.

“That’s a big challenge moving forward. But with this exciting fast bowling group we’ve got, if we start batting well we’ll win a lot of games of cricket.”

After a long and extensive tour of England which included the 2019 World Cup as well as the Ashes, Langer and Australia will enjoy a brief break before they turn their attentions to the home T20 clashes against Sri Lanka and Pakistan towards the end of October.

Their next assignment in the ICC World Test Championship will come in a two-match series at home against Pakistan in November.

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Misbah-ul-Haq names 20 Pakistan probables for upcoming Sri Lanka clashes

Waseem Ahmed 16/09/2019
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Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has named a 20-man probable squad which will undergo a training camp for the upcoming limited-overs clashes against Sri Lanka at home.

The training camp is set to get underway at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore on Wednesday and will help prepare the side for the three ODIs and as many T20s slated to take place against Sri Lanka.

Misbah will announce the final Pakistan squad for the Sri Lanka clashes on September 21 following the conclusion of the training camp at Lahore.

The two biggest omissions from the 20 probables are veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez who had both been earlier granted a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to participate in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League until October 12.

Pakistan will first face Sri Lanka in a three-match ODI series which begins at Karachi on September 27. The entire ODI leg will be held at Karachi before the two teams move on to Lahore for the three T20s which will culminate with the third and final clash on October 9.

However, there has been a spanner thrown into the works for the proposed Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan with SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket) currently reassessing the security conditions. The development came in the light of a tip-off from the Sri Lankan government for a potential terror threat to the tour.

Meanwhile, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani has stated that the tour will not be moved to a neutral venue and is expecting Sri Lanka to honour their commitments towards visiting Pakistan.

10 senior Sri Lanka players including Lasith Malinga and Dimuth Karunaratne had earlier pulled out of the tour citing security concerns with SLC subsequently naming rejigged ODI and T20 outfits led by Lahiru Thirimanne and Dasun Shanaka respectively.

Pakistan probables for Sri Lanka clash

Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Babar Azam (vice-capt), Abid Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari, and Wahab Riaz.

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Joe Root says England must manage expectations around 'special' Jofra Archer

Rory Dollard 16/09/2019
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England pacer Jofra Archer.

Joe Root knows England have “something special” on their hands in Jofra Archer but has already started the job of managing expectations around the breakout star of the summer.

Four months on from his international debut, Archer has already played a starring role in England’s historic World Cup win, leading the team’s wicket charts and bowling the decisive super over in the Lord’s final, and excelled in the pressure cooker of the Ashes.

He picked up 22 Australian scalps in four Tests at an average of 20.27 and was responsible for some hair-raising spells of fast bowling.

The 24-year-old drew a blank on his final day of the series, when England’s 135-run win at The Oval squared the score at 2-2, but his fiery battle with centurion Matthew Wade in the afternoon was arguably the highlight of the contest.

Not for the first time in his short Test career Archer cranked the speed gun past 95mph and whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he peppered the batsmen with short balls.

He is a box office talent and one that leaves Root battling conflicting instincts: as a cricket lover he is plainly enthused, as a skipper he is understandably protective.

“When I faced him in the nets against the red ball it was pretty clear he’d be something special,” said Root.

“He’s come in and been fantastic. He has a way of having a huge impact on the game. His spell here… you saw the way he changed the whole atmosphere at the ground.

“For someone right at the beginning of their career to have such a gift, it’s great to be able to captain that and I very much look forward to the rest of his journey.

“But we’ve got to be careful not to expect too much of him, he’s a young guy. He’s still learning and I’m still learning how to get the best out of him as a captain.”

Root was particularly keen to warn against burdening Archer with the expectation of bowling at electric pace every time he takes the field. He has varied his speeds depending on conditions and is as happy probing for outside edges as whistling the ball past helmets.

To see him at full tilt is a thrilling sight, but not one Root expects him to produce on demand.

“At times he might not always bowl at 90mph, but he will still go at 2.5 an over and create chances,” said Root.

“Making sure we don’t expect him to average 12 over the next two-and-a-half years is important, but knowing he’s got that ability to turn a game on his own is exciting.

“One thing we can expect is he’s going entertain and he’s going to make things happen.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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