Ashes watch part one: Australia will begin this summer’s Ashes series in England with a new vice-captain after Shane Watson, left, quit yesterday following a turbulent stint as Michael Clarke’s deputy. The 31-year-old all-rounder was suspended during Australia’s disastrous tour of India for failing to submit a written self-critique to coach Mickey Arthur. Watson stood in for Clarke as India completed a 4-0 series win with a six-wicket victory in Delhi. His own form has been patchy and he cited that as a reason for resigning. “I want to be the best Test player I can be and think I can do that by focusing my attention on scoring runs and taking wickets.”
Wright stakes England claim
Ashes watch part two Chris Wright’s electrifying start to the season continued as the Warwickshire fast bowler took six for 31 against Durham at Edgbaston, consigning Paul Collingwood’s side to a humbling 318-run loss, their first defeat in eight Championship matches since being beaten by Sussex at Arundel last July. Wright has 18 wickets in three first-class games so far this season – 10 in the Championship – and having outperformed Graham Onions in this match may now be ahead of the Durham bowler as an Ashes contender,pressure on Steven Finn to adjust quickly to his remodelled run-up.
Key romps to century No 47
Batsman of the day Rob Key gave up the Kent captaincy after seven seasons, saying he was “worn out” and feared losing his enthusiasm for cricket. A wise move? Yes, judging by the 33-year-old’s unbeaten 104 – his 47th first-class century – to secure a draw in their Championship game at Leicester.
Allenby shows all-round class
Bowler of the day Glamorgan seamer Jim Allenby – named the leading all-rounder in 2012, with 733 runs and 42 wickets – scored 78 in Glamorgan’s first innings and took three wickets in 12 balls as Worcester were bowled out for 205 in Cardiff, setting up a 10-wicket win for the Welsh side.
Fraser denies a row with Finn
Extras Vinny Codrington, the Middlesex chief executive, caused a stir in the match programme for Durham’s visit when he wrote that “the conversation between Angus Fraser and Steven Finn over his ‘new’ run-up would probably have sold tickets.” But Fraser dismissed suggestions of a row. “We had a chat. I’ve got some views but they’re between me and Steven,” Fraser told Cricinfo. “But he wants to work with it and we’ll support him.”