Fri, 23 Oct 2020

England's Stuart Broad become just the seventh cricketer to take 500 Test wickets during the West Indies series, which the home side won 2-1, before new-ball partner James Anderson joined an even more exclusive club by taking his 600th wicket on the last day of the series against Pakistan.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes produced heroics with the bat during the second Test against the West Indies, with scores of 176 and 78 not out, while Zak Crawley hit a superb 267, his maiden Test century, against Pakistan.

Yet the visitors shone too. West Indies won the first Test and Pakistan, following a fine 156 from Shan Masood, were poised to follow them when they reduced England to 117-5 chasing a target of 277.

But a stand of 139 between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes turned the tide in England's favour and ultimately proved the difference as England won the series 1-0.

Ireland, well beaten in the first two one-day internationals, upset England in the third with Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling both hitting hundreds as they chased down 329.

There were more white-ball thrills between England and Australia, the hosts taking the T20 series.

But Australia hit back to seal a 2-1 one-day international triumph over 50-over world champions England with a three-wicket victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday after recovering from 73-5 to chase down a target of 303.

Glenn Maxwell, whose dashing hundred was key to Australia's win, said he had "really enjoyed" bubble life.

But having previously taken time out from cricket because of mental health issues, he urged administrators to understand players' need to be "around loved ones and still have a bit of normality in life".

This was also the season where the Black Lives Matter campaign made its presence felt in cricket, with West Indies great Michael Holding and former England women's international Ebony Rainford-Brent speaking powerfully about the need to combat racism.

For all the debate about whether teams should take a knee, something England did against the West Indies and Ireland but not in subsequent matches, the test in England will be whether there is a greater influx of Afro-Caribbean talent and support into the domestic game.

But it was a sign that while the matches may have been staged in a bubble, cricket was not taking place in a vacuum.

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