Twitter reacts as Kane Williamson hits century at Lord’s

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson has made his 10th Test hundred after scoring 132 comes off 148 balls against England during the third day of the first Test at Lord’s.

The 24-year-old is the sixth Kiwi batsman to score 10th Test hundred for New Zealand (BLACKCAPS).

Here is how twitter reacts as Williamson’s ton gave tourists a significant lead over England on Saturday.

Why the flexible Alex Hales can help us to forget about KP

Were England right to effectively end Kevin Pietersen’s international career? Have they handed the Ashes to Australia? These questions remain but at 35 and with injuries continuing to affect the latter stages of his career, it seems obvious now that KP will never pull on an England shirt again.
As supporters, we must all look to the future and one man who can help us to forget about the spat between Pietersen and the ECB is Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales. A regular in the national T20 set up for some time, Hales is gradually forcing his way into the One Day squad and test recognition should surely follow.

A man for all formats

Those who have only seen Alex Hales perform in the T20 arena, either for England or for Notts Outlaws in the Nat West Blast, could be forgiven for seeing him as a very one dimensional cricketer. This is a top order biffer, sent out to score as quickly as possible with a view to taking the game away from the opposition very quickly and he’s done it very successfully.

After making 99 against West Indies in 2012, Hales went on to become the first English cricketer to make an international T20 hundred with a brilliant 116 against Sri Lanka. Earlier in May, six consecutive sixes in a domestic game against the Bears earned the 26 year old a lucrative short term IPL contract with Mumbai Indians.

More to offer

Hales can certainly accelerate but there is much more to his game and a quick look at his first class stats at the opening of the 2015 season show a more patient element. Before he departed for India, the right hander had scored 532 runs at an average of 66.50. Most notably, his strike rate stands at a fraction over 64 and he has only hit one six in eight innings.

Those figures show two things: Firstly, Alex Hales isn’t the reckless hitter that many perceive and secondly, he is fast enough to fill a need that has been hampering the test side for nearly a decade.

Pedestrian pairings

Since Marcus Trescothick retired from the international game, England have lacked a player to give them any real impetus at the top of the order. In the period since the Somerset left hander departed, Alastair Cook has been a mainstay but his partners have included Andrew Strauss, Nick Compton, Sam Robson and Jonathan Trott; all fairly pedestrian openers who have failed to leave their mark.
Cook will start the test series against New Zealand with Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth at the other end of the 22 yards but if the selectors want a more positive approach to the new ball, Hales is a perfect foil.

New ball questions

Another popular misconception is that Hales is exclusively an opener but at Nottinghamshire, he plays his County Championship cricket from number 3. So, if there are any concerns about his ability to handle the new ball, there is some flexibility.

In his last one day international against Afghanistan, the Notts man did open and should have been caught first ball so if there are doubts, England have further options. In fact, why not play Hales in the Pietersen role?

KP’s most effective innings came in matches where his side were already on top. With the openers laying a platform, Pietersen would come in at number four against tired bowlers and the old ball and in a short space of time, he had bullied England into a winning position.

As we’ve seen, Alexs Hales is by no means a one dimensional cricketer. If England need a more positive opener, an adaptable number three or even, dare we say it, a new Kevin Pietersen, the foundations to each position are already there in the Nottinghamshire batsman.

Middlesex sign Kiwi bowler Mitchell McClenaghan

Middlesex have secured the services of New Zealand fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who signed a contract with the English county club to play six T20 Blast matches this summer.

The 28-year-old, who is currently representing Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, will arrive at Lord's in the start of the July as a cover for South Africa’s Kyle Abbott, whose contract with the club expires in June.

"Replacing one high quality overseas fast-bowler with another was not easy but we have managed to do this with the signing of McClenaghan," Angus Fraser, the managing director told the club's official website.

"Mitchell's style, left-arm fast, gives him a point of difference and his skill has allowed him to take wickets wherever he has played."

The left-arm fast bowler added: "I am delighted to have signed for Middlesex for the NatWest T20 Blast. It's every player's dream to play at Lord's and I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so wearing a Middlesex shirt.”

McClenaghan has played 35 ODIs and 16 Twenty20 International for New Zealand, will be available for their final six group game of T20 Blast campaign.

Aussie gloveman Brad Haddin retires from ODIs

The Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has officially announced his retirement from one-day International cricket.

The 37-year-old, who plays for Sydney Sixers in Big Bash League, has announced his immediate retirement, a day before leaving for four months tours of the West Indies and England. 

The World Cup winner has scored 3122 runs in 126 ODIs at an average of 31.53 including two centuries and 16 fifties to his name.

"I have had a privileged one-day career and I have been fortunate enough to be involved in three World Cups and now is the right time to walk away," The gloveman said.

"Not many players get to write a script like mine at the end of their careers and I have been lucky enough to do just that after winning a World Cup on home soil.

"I leave the team with Australia ranked No. 1 in the world and I am proud of everything we have achieved.”

Haddin, who made his ODI debut in 2001, will continue to represent Australia in Tests.

What Clarke has to say about Pietersen’s snub?

Australian Test captain Michael Clarke has claimed that it is a mistake to ignore English batsman Kevin Pietersen for the summer’s Ashes 2015.

England will be weaker without Kevin Pietersen, the 34-year-old claimed as he prepared for the Ashes in England starting in July 8. 

"There's probably two sides for me - there is the personal side where obviously I feel for KP [Pietersen] because I get on well with him and I would love to see him back playing cricket for England," Clarke said at a media conference at Sydney Airport

"His form has been outstanding, he's still a great player, I know he still wants to play so I feel for him on that side. 

"On the other side, we go there soon to play against England. Any team without Kevin Pietersen in it, I don't think is as strong." 

The most controversial batsman was sacked by ECB last year following a 5-0 defeat to Australia.

However Pietersen was told last week by Andrew Strauss, who is a director of cricket, that the 34-year-old will not be playing for the country again due to “trust” issues with players and the management.

The Aussies will be looking for their first Ashes win away from home since 2001 when they meet England in Cardiff on July 8.

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