England will climb to the top of the one-day international world rankings if they can maintain their fine form in the format, all-rounder Ben Stokes said after the side completed a series victory in Bangladesh.
Stokes played a key role with an unbeaten 47 as England won the deciding third match against the hosts in Chittagong on Wednesday to wrap up a third successive one-day series triumph, having beaten Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home earlier this year.
England are fifth in the ODI rankings, behind Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India.
“It’s really exciting. If we carry on like this we’ll achieve our target of being world No. 1,” Stokes, who was named the man of the series, told Sky Sports.
England’s loss to Bangladesh in Adelaide, which knocked them out of last year’s World Cup, spurred a string of changes to the national team setup and Stokes said the squad are starting to yield the dividends of the strategy.
“The team we have had together for the last 18 months have been playing unbelievable cricket,” the 25-year-old said.
With skipper Eoin Morgan sitting out the Bangladesh series over security concerns, wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler was tasked with leading a young and inexperienced squad against a side that had won their six previous home ODI series.
“Me and Jos work quite well. We’re quite aggressive in how we want to play our cricket, not just with the bat and the ball, but with field placings,” said Stokes, who was vice captain for the series.
S AFRICA, AUSTRALIA
AP, CAPE TOWN
South Africa sent Australia to their first-ever 5-0 whitewash in a one-day series, winning the final game at Newlands by 31 runs on Wednesday and making David Warner’s brilliant 173 a losing effort.
Rilee Rossouw’s 122 and J.P. Duminy’s 73 set up South Africa’s big total after Australia’s bowlers failed to take advantage with the Proteas on 52-3. South Africa fought their way out of that uncomfortable position, with the Rossouw and Duminy partnership worth 178, a record for a fourth-wicket stand for the Proteas against Australia.
Chasing South Africa’s 327-8, opener Warner took Australia to 288 in the 48th over, but the required rate was too much and he was run out trying to push for a second. Australia were bowled out for 296.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Australia captain Steve Smith said of Warner. “The rest of us just didn’t stand up. This has been a tough series. We have been outplayed.”
The last time Australia, the No. 1 team in ODIs, failed to win a game in an ODI series was a 4-0 loss to England in 2012. They had never lost all five games in a series before.
Warner’s dismissal was the second of three run outs to end the Australia innings and the series, although Australian hopes disappeared for good with the exit of Warner.
His 173 off 136 deliveries was the highest ODI score at Newlands, the highest by an Australia batsman against South Africa and not far off Shane Watson’s Australia ODI record of 185 not out.
Australia hang on to their No. 1 ranking from South Africa, but the series was an abrupt reality check for them.
“This whole series, whatever Australia threw at us, we’ve just had more answers,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said.
PAKISTAN, WEST INDIES
AFP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bat in the first Test — a day-night affair using a pink ball — against the West Indies in Dubai yesterday.
Pakistan, who are playing their 400th Test, handed Test caps to batsman Babar Azam and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
They were 81 without loss at press time last night, with Sami Aslam on 36 not out and Azhar Ali on 39 not out at the tea break, taken after the first session.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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