Ellyse Perry’s 99 helped put Australia in a good position at stumps on the first day of the women’s Ashes Test against England at Trent Bridge.
In other cricket news, Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran scored centuries to help the West Indies beat Zimbabwe in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup qualifier.
Meanwhile, Jannik Sinner is through to the ATP Halle quarterfinal after a win over compatriot Lorenzo Sonego.
Carlos Alcaraz too has reached the Queen’s ATP quarterfinal, while Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff lost in the second round at Berlin.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 23, 2023:
Perry powers Australia in Women’s Ashes
Australia’s Ellyse Perry hit an eye-catching 99 before Sophie Ecclestone led England’s fightback on the first day of the women’s Ashes on Thursday.
Perry was Australia’s driving force as the tourists reached 328-7 at close of play in the lone Test of the multi-format series at Trent Bridge.
In the biggest moment of a dramatic day, Perry overturned an lbw verdict off Lauren Filer’s first ball at international level.
Perry, who had scored only 10 at the time, went on to reach her fifth 50-plus score in 10 Tests against England.
Just as Australia looked set to take a stranglehold on the Test, Ecclestone dismissed Jess Jonassen and Australia captain Alyssa Healy, for a duck, in the same over.
Filer eventually claimed the prize scalp of Perry as she eyed a century, while slow left-armer Ecclestone bowled Tahlia McGrath, who smashed 61 in a 119-run stand with Perry.
The five-day Test is worth four points in the series and will be followed by three Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals.
Australia, buoyed by their T20 World Cup triumph earlier this year, were in control at 226-3 before losing three wickets for 12 runs in the space of 24 balls to give England renewed hope.
Annabel Sutherland (39 not out) and Alana King (seven not out) will hope to blast Australia towards 400 when play resumes on Friday. The visitors finished at 328/7 at stumps.
West Indies beat Nepal
Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran hit centuries to propel the West Indies to a convincing 101-run win over Nepal at the World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Thursday.
Hope scored 132 while Pooran made a brisk 115 as the pair put on 216 for the fourth wicket to help the two-time champions post 339-7 after a bad start to the innings.
Kyle Mayers fell for just one and Johnson Charles was out for nought as the West Indies slumped to 9-2. Opener Brandon King made 32 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
“We were put on the back foot there,” said Hope.
“The key was absorbing as much pressure as possible and then find a way to transfer that pressure in the back end.
“Pooran made it a lot easier for me. The aim was to take it as deep as possible give us the best chance towards the end.”
Nepal’s chase began poorly with Alzarri Joseph uprooting Kushal Bhurtel’s off stump in the second over. Bhim Sharki soon followed when he was caught behind off Holder trying a scoop shot.
Several Nepali batters made decent starts but only Aarif Sheikh passed fifty, reaching 63 before falling to a stunning Pooran catch in the deep as his team was bowled out for 238.
Holder took 3-34 for the West Indies with Joseph, Paul and Akeal Hosein all picking up two wickets.
The West Indies have won their first two matches and moved above tournament hosts Zimbabwe on net run rate at the top of Group A. The two nations meet in their next match on Saturday.
Jannik Sinner came out on top in an all-Italian clash against Lorenzo Sonego to reach the quarterfinals of the Halle grass-court tournament on Thursday.
Sinner, ranked at nine in the world, saved all eight break points he faced to clinch a tough 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 second-round triumph.
“It was a tough match for sure. He had a lot of chances,” said Sinner after reaching his ninth quarter-final of the year.
“I made a couple of mistakes in the tie-break but that can happen. On grass courts it’s never easy, and the way I reacted, especially mentally, I guess I did a good job. Obviously playing against him is never easy.”
Sinner will next face Alexander Bublik who reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 victory against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
World No 7 Andrey Rublev pulled off a straight sets win over Yannick Hanfmann to reach the Halle quarterfinals on Thursday, avenging a shock defeat to the German in Rome last month, in a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win.
Top seed Aryna Sabalenka and US star Coco Gauff suffered setbacks in their Wimbledon build-ups when they slumped to second round losses at the Berlin WTA tournament.
World No 2 Sabalenka was defeated 6-2, 7-6 (2) by Veronika Kudermetova whose Russian compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova saw off seventh-ranked Gauff 6-4, 6-0.
Alexandrova and Kudermetova will meet in Friday’s quarter-finals, just five days after they fought out the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Carlos Alcaraz reached his first quarterfinal on grass as the world No 2 crushed Jiri Lehecka in the Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen’s Club.
Alcaraz is competing at Queen’s for the first time and the Spanish star is gradually finding his footing on the lawns of west London.
The 20-year-old routed Lehecka 6-2, 6-3 as he improved on a laboured first round win over Arthur Rinderknech.
Top seeded Alcaraz will face former Queen’s champion Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals on Friday after the Bulgarian defeated Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 7-5.
Andy Murray’s first round conqueror Alex De Minaur defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-2 to book a quarterfinal against France’s Adrian Mannarino, who beat Taylor Fritz 6-4, 7-6 (7).
British No 1 Cameron Norrie meets American Sebastian Korda in the last eight.
Venus Williams narrowly failed to reach her first WTA quarterfinal in four years as the American legend was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in the second round in Birmingham.
Williams had enjoyed her first victory over a top-50 opponent in four years on Monday when the former world No 1 beat Camila Giorgi in her Birmingham opener.
But the 43-year-old, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, was unable to make it two in a row as she succumbed to a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 loss to Latvia’s Ostapenko on the Edgbaston grass.
Root defends Bazball
Joe Root backed England’s aggressive approach in their first Test defeat against Australia as the former captain admitted he wished he used Ben Stokes’ game-plan at the start of his own reign.
Root was part of the England side beaten by two wickets in a thrilling conclusion to the opening Test of the Ashes series in Birmingham.
England’s commitment to the attacking principles of ‘Bazball’ was criticised in some quarters after skipper Stokes declared on the first day of the match.
But England’s players remain completely supportive of Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum.
Now Root has joined the chorus, insisting the only thing he would change if he had his time again would be to bring a similarly aggressive style during his own reign.
Asked if England would like to reverse their decision to make the fastest declaration in Ashes history, Root said: “That’s not what we’re about as a team. If I could go back in time, I’d go back and start my captaincy tenure the way Ben has and try to play in a similar manner to how he does it.
“It’s far more exciting, far more interesting and I think we are getting more out of our team and our individuals. We’re playing better cricket to watch and producing better results overall.”
Far from shying away from those principles, Root believes England will be even more committed to putting pressure on Australia when the teams meet in the second Test at Lord’s next week.
“A lot of times that would peter out to a draw. The wicket we had was very slow, it could have made for a long, mundane game, but the way we went about it we gave ourselves a great opportunity to win the Test match,” Root said.
“We feel like we’ve ran the game for five days and we might be on the wrong end of it but there’s still so much more to come in that dressing room. It’s a great spot to be in.”
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day