Cairns proves able stand-in

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The Independent Online

Chris Cairns, captaining New Zealand for the first time, led from the front as his side beat Australia by 23 runs in the fourth match of the VB Series in Sydney yesterday.

Cairns only took over the captaincy after Stephen Fleming was taken to hospital shortly before the match started after being hit on the left elbow while practising in the nets.

The new captain responded with a superb all-round performance, scoring 31 off 29 balls in New Zealand's 50-over total of 235 for 9.

He then dismissed the Australian dangerman Michael Bevan for 66 and ran out Damien Martyn as the hosts were bowled out for 212 in reply. The world champions have now lost all three of their one-day matches in this series following previous defeats to the Black caps and South Africa.

Centuries from Younis Khan and Yousuf Youhana helped Pakistan reach 429 for 7 at the close on day two of the second Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong.

Youhana remained unbeaten on 174 while Younis weighed in with 119 as Pakistan established a lead of 281. Having dismissed their hosts for just 148 in their first innings, Pakistan are now firm favourites to complete a 2-0 Test series win.

The former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee will coach two of England's most promising pacers. Mark Footitt and Adam Harrison, both 16, will travel to India for two weeks of tuition at the Pace Foundation in Madras, with Lillee lending his help.

The first meeting of the Referees Commission to look into the Mike Denness affair has been set for 23 February despite Indian objections over the make-up of the panel. The commission membership was confirmed by the International Cricket Council yesterday as South African Albie Sachs, who will chair the panel, Majid Khan from Pakistan and Andrew Hilditch of Australia.

South Africa's Jacques Rudolph is moving from opener to No 3 batsman to enhance his chances of playing for the Proteas. Rudolph, one of the players at the centre of the selection row which erupted on the recent tour of Australia, will begin his new role on Sunday in the Northerns Titans side to face Border in their Standard Bank Cup match in East London.

The move could pay dividends since South Africa's Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs appear to be well set in their roles as openers.

The women's Test between England and India in Lucknow, which will be remembered for the record opening partnership of 200 between Caroline Atkins and Arran Thompson, finished in a draw. After a match disrupted by heavy rain and bad light, India finished their first innings on 312 for 9 in reply to England's first innings total of 314.