Gilbert Jessop’s record stands test of time but England likely to surpass feat | Andy Bull

Fastest Test century by Englishman set 120 years ago but hell for leather cricket by batters suggests it will finally be beaten

England were 48 for five when Gilbert Jessop got to the middle, 215 runs behind. The pitch was tricky, soft, and pitted from where they had been playing on it after the rain, and Australia’s spinners, Hugh Trumble and Jack Saunders, had swept through the best of the batting, Archie MacLaren for two, Johnny Tyldesley for a duck, Lionel Palairet for six, three wickets for 10 runs in as many minutes, then Tom Hayward and Len Braund, both caught behind in single figures. The bookmakers chalked up odds of 50-1 against on the blackboards around the ground. And here’s Jessop. “I bet you don’t make a century,” MacLaren told him as he walked out. “Done.”

You should know this story by now, or at least, over a century later, have an idea how it plays out. “‘Jessop’s in,’” wrote a journalist under the byline A Country Vicar, “the words caused a shiver of excitement, a cold sensation down the spine.” You can feel a little of it now just reading about it.

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The Spin | Ben Stokes’s all-conquering captaincy marks daring England win a true great

Rawalpindi stands out due to the captain’s utter confidence in both the ballsy plan and his team’s ability to carry it out

Joel Wilson knew it was over. You could tell from the way he pointed his finger, almost directly at Naseem Shah: so decisive, so cinematic, the gesture of a man who expects it to be replayed many times.

But first there was the review, and as often in this match, it took ages to come. A gripping denouement was eked out even longer as everyone waited for ball-tracking, and the crowd, who had started their “oohs” too early, were forced to drop an octave and begin again. Even Brendon McCullum looked as if he was feeling the tension.

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Historic Pakistan Test to go ahead despite virus striking England players

  • England’s first Test in Pakistan in 17 years derailed by ‘viral infection’
  • ECB have confirmed they have enough players to field an XI

The long-awaited first Test between Pakistan and England in Rawalpindi will begin as planned after the tourists confirmed they have enough fit players to field a team.

England’s first Test match on Pakistani soil for 17 years had been thrown into turmoil when a “viral infection” swept through the touring party during the build-up, leaving them struggling to muster enough players for the 1 December start.

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Jos Buttler not fussed by a series defeat? Take that as a red flag on fixture overkill | Andy Bull

Can international cricket stay relevant with dead rubbers cropping up all over a dead-rubber logjam of a schedule?

If you were listening carefully you might just have learned the answer to an ancient riddle in Melbourne, where Australia finished off their whitewash of England in the Contractual Obligation one-day international series on Tuesday. They won the third game by 221 runs, the largest ODI defeat in England’s history. A record, then, and not the game’s only one. There were 10,406 paying spectators in the ground, the smallest recorded audience for an Australia one-day game at the MCG.

It turns out a team falling down when there’s no one around to hear it do still make a sound and it’s something like Jos Buttler’s maudlin after-match interview. “I’m not fussed at all about the results, to be honest,” he said.

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Rehan Ahmed in line to become England’s youngest men’s Test cricketer

  • Lericestershire leg-spinner added to the squad for Pakistan tour
  • Eighteen-year-old has impressed with England Lions in UAE

Rehan Ahmed could become England’s youngest men’s Test cricketer after Leicestershire’s teenage leg‑spinner was added to the squad for the tour of Pakistan next month.

If selected during the three-match series that begins in Rawalpindi on 1 December, Ahmed, aged 18 years and 102 days, would beat the record held by Brian Close (18 years and 149 days against New Zealand in 1949) and become his county’s first England player since James Taylor in 2011.

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Essex’s Sam Cook and England Lions hungry for a taste of cricket’s big time

England’s development squad take on the Test team in Abu Dhabi and Essex seamer says more than pride is at stake

Across the sea from the football and following a bellyful of white-ball cricket, England’s men turn their attention to the red. Abu Dhabi hosts a three-day match against the Lions starting on Wednesday before Ben Stokes and his squad jet to Pakistan for next week’s first Test in Rawalpindi.

As well as a tune-up for the three-match series, this comes at an interesting time for the Lions. English cricket’s high-performance review may have met stiff resistance over its proposed domestic structure but among the recommendations which can be adopted without approval from the counties is greater investment in the second string.

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