Cricket: Yardy spin with a Bang

RAVI BOPARA and Michael Yardy were the two players who yesterday put themselves in the frame for significant roles in England's ICC World Twenty20 campaign.

Bopara's 62 from 49 balls helped England canter past Bangladesh's 126 for seven at the Kensington Oval. Yet it is Yardy – after his three for 20, in conducive conditions likely to be replicated throughout the Caribbean over the next two weeks – who is the likeliest of the two to retain his place once the competition begins in earnest.

Yardy's brand of left-arm spin can help strangle the scoring on slow pitches and, when the ball is turning too, he does not just take wickets because of scoreboard pressure.

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England batsman Craig Kieswetter said: "Spin is going to be a massive part in this competition, the way the pitches are looking. I think 150s or 160s are going to be winning totals, if you've got some good spinners."

As for his own prospects of playing, he knows it will be tough to oust Kevin Pietersen – and he respects the claims of opener Michael Lumb and those lower down in the middle order too.

• SOUTH AFRICA also made a winning start to their campaign yesterday, beating Sri Lanka by five wickets with three balls to spare in their warm-up match.