The Cricket Tier

 

Liam Livingstone news, plus Jan/Feb fixtures

Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone has been named in the England Test squad, alongside Jimmy Anderson, for the first time ahead of the upcoming series against New Zealand in March. The 24 year-old, who's a graduate of the Lancs Academy, was recently named Captain having averaged over 50 in the County Championship.    

After making his England debut in a NatWest International T20 against South Africa in Taunton last summer. He is now closer than ever to fulfilling his dream of playing Test cricket for England after his inclusion in the squad for this spring’s New Zealand tour.

In other Lancashire news, Livingstone's Lancshire team mate and England wicket keeper Jos Buttler has been named in the 16-man England squad for the Gillette International IT20 series against Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking of England bowler James Anderson, he's also come out recently and said there is no need for a ‘big upheaval’ after Australia won the Ashes 4-0 in Sydney. Australia completed victory on the final day in Sydney where England were beaten by an innings and 123 runs after being bowled out for 180 by mid-afternoon. We here at The Cricket Tier are not so sure, or is it just that playing home and away these days you have to prepare completely different squads and players.

In other news, last week also marked the start of the 500-day countdown to ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 in England and Wales. Next year’s tournament, which will feature 10 teams across 48 matches between 30 May and 14 July, will be the fourth time England & Wales have hosted the global event. In the meantime check out this month's fixtures:

JANUARY 2018

25 THU South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 3rd Test - day 2
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 6th match (day/night)
New Zealand v Pakistan at Auckland, 2nd T20I (night)

26 FRI South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 3rd Test - day 3
Australia v England at Adelaide, 4th ODI (day/night)

27 SAT South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 3rd Test - day 4
TBD v TBD at Dhaka, Final (day/night)

28 SUN South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 3rd Test - day 5
Australia v England at Perth, 5th ODI
New Zealand v Pakistan at Mount Maunganui, 3rd T20I (night)

31 WED Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, 1st Test - day 1

FEBRUARY 2018

1 THU Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, 1st Test - day 2
South Africa v India at Durban, 1st ODI (day/night)

2 FRI Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, 1st Test - day 3

3 SAT Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, 1st Test - day 4
Australia v New Zealand at Sydney, 1st Match (night)

4 SUN Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, 1st Test - day 5
South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd ODI

5 MON Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 1st T20I

6 TUE Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 2nd T20I

7 WED Australia v England at Hobart, 2nd Match (night)
South Africa v India at Cape Town, 3rd ODI (day/night)

8 THU Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 2nd Test - day 1

9 FRI Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 2nd Test - day 2
Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 1st ODI (day/night)

10 SAT Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 2nd Test - day 3
Australia v England at Melbourne, 3rd Match (night)
South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 4th ODI (day/night)

11 SUN Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 2nd Test - day 4
Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 2nd ODI (day/night)

12 MON Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 2nd Test - day 5

13 TUE New Zealand v England at Wellington, 4th Match (night)
Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 3rd ODI (day/night)
South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth, 5th ODI (day/night)

15 THU Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, 1st T20I (night)

16 FRI New Zealand v Australia at Auckland, 5th Match (night)
Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 4th ODI (day/night)
South Africa v India at Centurion, 6th ODI (day/night)

18 SUN New Zealand v England at Hamilton, 6th Match (night)
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Sylhet, 2nd T20I (night)
South Africa v India at Johannesburg, 1st T20I

19 MON Afghanistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, 5th ODI (day/night)

21 WED TBD v TBD at Auckland, Final (night)
South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd T20I (night)

England lose The Ashes in Perth again

England have lost The Ashes once again in Perth after a crushing innings defeat by Australia in third Test. The Aussie players embraced on the field in a half-empty ground after an earlier rain delay halted their victory. It's just 863 days since England had reclaimed the Ashes themselves at Trent Bridge in Nottingham in 2015.                 

After losing at The Gabba, Brisbane in the first test, then losing the second test at The Adelaide Oval in the ever first Ashes day/nighter in Australia we went to The Wacca, Perth in hope. It wasn't to be though and in the end we were outplayed. Batting first we started okay, then had a bit of a wobble before both Malan and Bairstow went on to get centuries which gave us a massive chance of getting a huge lead. Unfortuntely we went from being 368-4 to all out for 403 in just six overs. Not a great start for Joe Root as England captain.

Australia then went on to get 662-9 declared with Mitchell Marsh scoing 181 and captain Steve Smith racking up 239. They thought they had enough of a lead and they were right, bowling England all out for just 218 to win back the urn and win The Ashes. They'll now be looking for a 5-0 whitewash again.

England now need to bounce back and try and at least get a win in the remaining two tests to take some sort of confidence into the ODI and T20 series that are coming up. Plus there is a load more cricket coming up from the southern hemisphere which is listed below. Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

DECEMBER 2017

22 FRI India v Sri Lanka at Indore, 2nd T20I (night)

23 SAT New Zealand v West Indies at Christchurch, 2nd ODI

24 SUN India v Sri Lanka at Mumbai, 3rd T20I (night)

26 TUE New Zealand v West Indies at Christchurch, 3rd ODI
Australia v England at Melbourne, 4th Test - day 1
South Africa v Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth, Only Test - day 1 (day/night)

27 WED Australia v England at Melbourne, 4th Test - day 2
South Africa v Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth, Only Test - day 2 (day/night)

28 THU Australia v England at Melbourne, 4th Test - day 3
South Africa v Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth, Only Test - day 3 (day/night)

29 FRI Australia v England at Melbourne, 4th Test - day 4
South Africa v Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth, Only Test - day 4 (day/night)
New Zealand v West Indies at Nelson, 1st T20I

30 SAT Australia v England at Melbourne, 4th Test - day 5 

JANUARY 2018

1 MON New Zealand v West Indies at Mount Maunganui, 2nd T20I (night)

3 WED New Zealand v West Indies at Mount Maunganui, 3rd T20I (night)

4 THU Australia v England at Sydney, 5th Test - day 1

5 FRI Australia v England at Sydney, 5th Test - day 2
South Africa v India at Cape Town, 1st Test - day 1

6 SAT Australia v England at Sydney, 5th Test - day 3
South Africa v India at Cape Town, 1st Test - day 2
New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington, 1st ODI

7 SUN Australia v England at Sydney, 5th Test - day 4
South Africa v India at Cape Town, 1st Test - day 3

8 MON Australia v England at Sydney, 5th Test - day 5
South Africa v India at Cape Town, 1st Test - day 4

9 TUE South Africa v India at Cape Town, 1st Test - day 5
New Zealand v Pakistan at Nelson, 2nd ODI

13 SAT New Zealand v Pakistan at Dunedin, 3rd ODI
South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd Test - day 1

14 SUN South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd Test - day 2
Australia v England at Melbourne, 1st ODI (day/night)

15 MON South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd Test - day 3

16 TUE South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd Test - day 4
New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton, 4th ODI (day/night)

17 WED South Africa v India at Centurion, 2nd Test - day 5

19 FRI New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington, 5th ODI
Australia v England at Brisbane, 2nd ODI (day/night)

21 SUN Australia v England at Sydney, 3rd ODI (day/night)

22 MON New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington, 1st T20I (day/night)

 

 

The Ashes 2017 schedule

The 2017 Ashes series from down under in Australian has finally started and day one is done and dusted. Before the start I honestly had no idea which way the series will go, I'd also heard the weather hadn't been great in Brisbane either and with that in mine it could help both our bowlers and theirs.     

Click here to try out a ASHES HISTORY QUIZ

Whoever won the toss I thought would bat, and so it proved as Root won it and opted to bat with Smith confirming afterwards he'd have done the same. It was the obvious choice for everyone looking at the pitch, so any captain that chose to bowl will have been open to criticism. Saying that if Root or Smith had lost the toss I don't think they'll have to much to worry about as such.

England don't need to win the first test, but they do need to win one of the first two tests in my opinion to have any chance of success this time around in Australia. Nothing is decided in the first three sessions of a Test Match, but what you actually do in it can set the tone for the rest of the series. England therefore will be looking to get going from the very first ball, if there is any hope in them changing the odds on a bet on cricket by beating the Aussies down under this time around.

Therefore with Alastair Cook getting out in the third over this morning there was even more pressure on relative newbies Stoneman and Vince. The Ashes debutants didn't disappoint either, in fact they both stood up for themselves and didn't look out of place out there in the middle of The Gabba pitch.

Cook's wicket was the only one to go in the first session and Stoneman and Vince saw off all four of Australian's bowlers. The rain then came with over an hour's delay in play so mentally they both had to cope with that too. They did that and Vince in particular played some fantastic cover drives and he scored more quickly than his partner.

Some stats that are mentioned I roll my eyes out. However, when Alison Mitchell in commentary said that Stoneman and Vince's partnership was now higher than any England partnership from our last series out there I was taken back. Apparently Root and Pieterson's 111 at Adelaide was out highest. That to me sums up how poor we were as a team in the 2013/14 series.

Vince and Stoneman both got their first fifties which is a huge confidence boost at this stage but they couldn't go on to get centuries as we finished the day on 196 for 4. Captain Root was the other one to get out, also with a low score like Cook. However, Malan and Ali batted out the day which finished nine ball earlier than planned due to bad light.

Overall then, no team will feel they're on top of the other. It's about 50/50 to me still, so tomorrow morning could be decisive for both teams. The Aussies will want early wickets with England looking to get to 350 plus if they can.

In the meantime there is still plenty of other cricket going on around the globe to keep your addiction to our great sport going through until the Christmas, check out the fixtures below.

NOVEMBER 2017

23 THU Australia v England at Brisbane, 1st Test - day 1

24 FRI Australia v England at Brisbane, 1st Test - day 2
India v Sri Lanka at Nagpur, 2nd Test - day 1

25 SAT Australia v England at Brisbane, 1st Test - day 3
India v Sri Lanka at Nagpur, 2nd Test - day 2

26 SUN Australia v England at Brisbane, 1st Test - day 4
India v Sri Lanka at Nagpur, 2nd Test - day 3

27 MON Australia v England at Brisbane, 1st Test - day 5
India v Sri Lanka at Nagpur, 2nd Test - day 4

28 TUE India v Sri Lanka at Nagpur, 2nd Test - day 5 

DECEMBER 2017

1 FRI New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, 1st Test - day 1

2 SAT New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, 1st Test - day 2
Australia v England at Adelaide, 2nd Test - day 1 (day/night)
India v Sri Lanka at Delhi, 3rd Test - day 1

3 SUN New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, 1st Test - day 3
Australia v England at Adelaide, 2nd Test - day 2 (day/night)
India v Sri Lanka at Delhi, 3rd Test - day 2

4 MON New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, 1st Test - day 4
Australia v England at Adelaide, 2nd Test - day 3 (day/night)
India v Sri Lanka at Delhi, 3rd Test - day 3

5 TUE New Zealand v West Indies at Wellington, 1st Test - day 5
Australia v England at Adelaide, 2nd Test - day 4 (day/night)
India v Sri Lanka at Delhi, 3rd Test - day 4

6 WED Australia v England at Adelaide, 2nd Test - day 5 (day/night)
India v Sri Lanka at Delhi, 3rd Test - day 5
Hong Kong v Papua New Guinea at ICCA Dubai,

8 FRI Hong Kong v Papua New Guinea at ICCA Dubai,

9 SAT New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, 2nd Test - day 1

10 SUN New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, 2nd Test - day 2
India v Sri Lanka at Dharamsala, 1st ODI (day/night)

11 MON New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, 2nd Test - day 3

12 TUE New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, 2nd Test - day 4

13 WED New Zealand v West Indies at Hamilton, 2nd Test - day 5
India v Sri Lanka at Mohali, 2nd ODI (day/night)

14 THU Australia v England at Perth, 3rd Test - day 1

15 FRI Australia v England at Perth, 3rd Test - day 2

16 SAT Australia v England at Perth, 3rd Test - day 3

17 SUN Australia v England at Perth, 3rd Test - day 4
India v Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam, 3rd ODI (day/night)

18 MON Australia v England at Perth, 3rd Test - day 5

20 WED New Zealand v West Indies at Whangarei, 1st ODI
India v Sri Lanka at Cuttack, 1st T20I (night)

22 FRI India v Sri Lanka at Indore, 2nd T20I (night)

 

How long until The Ashes start?

If you're anything like me then you'll know exactly when it starts, I've had the date listed on my calendar for over six month now. If not, then you'll be pleased to know it starts exactly one month today on November 23rd, when both teams will enter the field of play at The Gabba in Brisbane.                         

England of course will be without one of their main men, Durham's Ben Stokes. The all-rounder was arrested after an incident in Bristol last month after an evening out at a nighclub with friends. Since then The ECB have confirmed he will not be travelling down under with England captain Joe Root and the rest of the squad. It is a gutting loss for England but a huge bonus for the Australians as he is one of the key men that they surely feared. Is it the correct decision to leave him out though? Well, I'm afraid it has to be as they do not really have much choice with a police investigation still pending.

The last time England played down under they were well and truly beat in a 5-0 whitewash to the aussies. Going into this tour I don't think we had much chance but the last will just have to regroup and get on with it. Speaking of which, I came across the quiz earlier today, I'm ashamed to say I only got 50% correct in three minutes of The Cricketer magazine's quiz on how many of England's 18-man squad from 2013/14 can you name? See how you can do.

In the meantime there is still plenty of other cricket going on around the globe to keep your addiction to our great sport going, so check out the fixtures below. Not listed below though is the Women's Ashes and that has already started with Australia beating England on Sunday just gone.

OCTOBER 2017

23 MON Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 1st Test - day 3
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 5th ODI (day/night)

24 TUE Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 1st Test - day 4

25 WED Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 1st Test - day 5
India v New Zealand at Pune, 2nd ODI (day/night)

26 THU Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 1st T20I (night)
South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 1st T20I (night)

27 FRI Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 2nd T20I (night)

29 SUN Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 2nd Test - day 1
India v New Zealand at Kanpur, 3rd ODI (day/night)
South Africa v Bangladesh at Potchefstroom, 2nd T20I
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore, 3rd T20I (night)

30 MON Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 2nd Test - day 2

31 TUE Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 2nd Test - day 3

NOVEMBER 2017

1 WED Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 2nd Test - day 4
India v New Zealand at Delhi, 1st T20I (night)

2 THU Zimbabwe v West Indies at Bulawayo, 2nd Test - day 5

4 SAT India v New Zealand at Rajkot, 2nd T20I (night)

7 TUE India v New Zealand at Thiruvananthapuram, 3rd T20I (night)

16 THU India v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, 1st Test - day 1

17 FRI India v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, 1st Test - day 2

18 SAT India v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, 1st Test - day 3

19 SUN India v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, 1st Test - day 4

20 MON India v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, 1st Test - day 5

 

 

Kumar Sangakkara retirement

This week sees the final games of the 2016/17 County Championship in England & Wales and this is where Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara will retire from the first-class cricket. The 39-year-old Surrey batsman finished with Test cricket in 2015 but has continued playing here for the past two seasons.

Specifically he will retire Old Trafford has his team plays away to Lancashire in their final game of the season. When he finished his Test career back in 2015 though he was fifth in the list of all-time Test run scorers. Averaging more than 57 runs across 134 Tests, whilst making 11 double centuries.

"What a player. What a captain. What a man." is how we have described him.

On a personal note he has been the best player I have watched over the past decade or so and I will miss him in the world of cricket. I believe you may go on to play some T20 cricket and then possibly into commentary or coaching but I'm aware he has over interests outside of the game. I shall be doing a special blog on him in the coming months but in the meantime I'd like to wish Kumar all the best for this and his family's future.

The domestic scene here in England and Wales is coming to a close with some promotion and relegation positions still to be sorted. As for the International scene, he are the upcoming fixtures:

OCTOBER 2017

2 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 1st Test - day 5
South Africa v Bangladesh at Potchefstroom, 1st Test - day 5

6 FRI South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 1
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 1 (day/night)

7 SAT South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 2
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 2 (day/night)
India v Australia at Ranchi, 1st T20I (night)

8 SUN South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 3
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 3 (day/night)

9 MON South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 4
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 4 (day/night)

10 TUE South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein, 2nd Test - day 5
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 2nd Test - day 5 (day/night)
India v Australia at Guwahati, 2nd T20I (night)

13 FRI Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dubai (DSC), 1st ODI (day/night)
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan), 3rd T20I (night)

15 SUN South Africa v Bangladesh at Kimberley, 1st ODI

16 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 2nd ODI (day/night)

18 WED South Africa v Bangladesh at Paarl, 2nd ODI
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi, 3rd ODI (day/night)

20 FRI Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 4th ODI (day/night)

22 SUN India v New Zealand at Mumbai, 1st ODI (day/night)
South Africa v Bangladesh at East London, 3rd ODI

23 MON Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 5th ODI (day/night)

T20 Blast finals day 2017 is coming soon

That's right on Saturday 2nd September the Natwest T20 Finals Day will take place once again at Edgbaston in Birmingham, but who'll be there to win it? With some big names already out of the competition like Lancashire, Yorkshire from the north group, along with both finalists from last year too in Northamptonshire and Durham.                

Then you have Kent and Essex who missed out from the south group, so there is everything to play for over the next week for some teams. There has been some big scores so far this season already and last night there was another one as Hampshire racked up 249-8 against Derbyshire to eventually win by 101 runs. The exact amount that Shahid Afridi (pictured below) himself smashed off just 43 balls.

Tonight is Glamorgan vs Leicestershire which I think will be a very close game but I'm going to go for a win for the Welsh outfit. Then two more cracking games tomorrow and Friday as north group table toppers Notts take on Somerset in Nottingham and then Surrey against the Birmingham Bears. With home advantage then I can see the full semi-finals line up as possibly:

Hampshire, Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire and Surrey

As well as the domestic T20 Blast coming to an end the International fixtures are still ongoing and for the next month you can find those fixtures here below. The Windies of course are currently touring in England but with the first Test Match between the two being pretty one sided we may have to wait until the one day games between the two teams.

AUGUST 2017

24 THU Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 2nd ODI (day/night)

25 FRI England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 1

26 SAT England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 2

27 SUN England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 3
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 1
Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd ODI (day/night)

28 MON England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 4
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 2

29 TUE England v West Indies at Leeds, 2nd Test - day 5
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 3

30 WED Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 4

31 THU Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka, 1st Test - day 5
Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), 4th ODI (day/night)

SEPTEMBER 2017

3 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), 5th ODI (day/night)

4 MON Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 1

5 TUE Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 2

6 WED Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 3
Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (RPS), Only T20I (night)

7 THU Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 4
England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 1

8 FRI Bangladesh v Australia at Chittagong, 2nd Test - day 5
England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 2

9 SAT England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 3

10 SUN England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 4

11 MON England v West Indies at Lord's, 3rd Test - day 5

13 WED Ireland v West Indies at Belfast, Only ODI

16 SAT England v West Indies at Chester-le-Street, Only T20I (day/night)

19 TUE England v West Indies at Manchester, 1st ODI (day/night)

21 THU England v West Indies at Nottingham, 2nd ODI (day/night)

 

Stoneman Must Seize England Chance

Mark Stoneman will become the 12th batsman to open alongside Alastair Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.

England have named the Surrey opener in their squad for the first Test of their series against the West Indies at Edgbaston, with the 30-year-old replacing his former Durham team-mate Keaton Jennings in the lineup.       

Jennings endured a miserable series against South Africa, averaging 15.87 from his eight innings, failing to notch a score over 50 in the four matches. The 25-year-old had a bright start to his career in India, and although he struggled against the Proteas, if he returns to the county game and scores runs his time with the Three Lions should come again.

However, Stoneman now has the opportunity to come into the team and nail down his place for the Ashes. The 11 men before him have had their moments in early moments of their career, therefore it’s vital that the opener finds his feet immediately and more importantly is able to kick on.

Despite their issues at the top of the order England managed to overcome South Africa and will be desperate to brush aside the West Indies to build momentum ahead of the Ashes. Root’s men are backed at 1/16 in the latest cricket betting odds to win the series, with the Three Lions aiming for a 3-0 whitewash.

The Windies have struggled in Test series of late, losing their last six on the bounce. They will play without key players Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels, with Jason Holder leading an inexperienced outfit. Therefore the Three Lions will be confident of delivering a dominant series of performance to end their summer on a high note.

Edgbaston will host the first Test with a slight twist given that it will be the first day/night Test to be played in England. The players got a taste of the action in a round of County Championship matches, although a large portion of them were ruined by rain.

Making your England debut is hard enough, but in completely new conditions to the game, Stoneman will have his work cut out to establish himself. He made 30 for Surrey against Yorkshire in their day/night contest, and for the majority of his career played on one of the most challenging grounds in the country for batting against seam bowling in Durham.

The 30-year-old was an essential part of the north east side’s County Championship title win in 2013 and has been a perennial fixture at the top of the run-scoring charts in Division One.

This term following his move to Surrey he has taken his game to new heights, averaging 57.23 and scoring three centuries. Only his team-mate Kumar Sangakkara has scored more first-class runs than the opener this season, highlighting the form Stoneman enters the first Test with.

Previous men have come into the England side with form and have fallen by the wayside very quickly. The 30-year-old must ensure that he does not become the latest on the production line to fail to thrive alongside Cook at the top of the innings.

A great way to learn all about cricket

Cricket fans will love to dress the bowler, batsman, wicket keeper and fielders in their cricket gear, organise the players on the pitch and place their team in the perfect position to score a century in this brilliant sticker book. With over 450 stickers, including pages on the rules of cricket, this is a great way to learn about cricket. 

I can totally agree with this too, we got a copy of this book as soon as it come out and my seven-year old lad absolutely loved it. I had to stop him putting all the stickers in one evening. He's learnt so much from it as well though as we have kept the book in our front room, so whenever there is cricket on he has a look into the book to check on field positions etc. We have also taken it down our local cricket club and he has looked up different stood whilst down there and showed it to the cricket players as well.

There is so much stuff to learn with the game of cricket, it can sometimes take years to get all the knowledge but this book certainly help the younger generation from an early age. Only downside is that it shows him all the various cricket equipment for players that is used and he now wants that all himself hah. Nah just kidding, it's a fantastic book and have even looked through it myself.

As for the International cricket scene, here are August's fixtures:

AUGUST 2017

3 THU Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 1

4 FRI Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 2
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 1

5 SAT Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 3
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 2

6 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 4
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 3

7 MON Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), 2nd Test - day 5
England v South Africa at Manchester, 4th Test - day 4

12 SAT Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 1

13 SUN Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 2

14 MON Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 3

15 TUE Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 4

16 WED Sri Lanka v India at Pallekele, 3rd Test - day 5

17 THU England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 1 (day/night)

18 FRI England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 2 (day/night)

19 SAT England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 3 (day/night)

20 SUN England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 4 (day/night)
Sri Lanka v India at Dambulla, 1st ODI (day/night)

21 MON England v West Indies at Birmingham, 1st Test - day 5 (day/night)

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