Mitchell Starc will continue to ignore criticism from Shane Warne, saying he "may as well retire" if he listens to the former Australia star.

Warne has again been unflattering in his assessment of Starc's bowling in recent weeks, writing in a newspaper column after the first Test against India that some of his play had been "atrocious".

Those comments appeared to reignite a feud from 2015, when Warne criticised Starc's body language and the Australia man riposted that he had "nothing to prove" to the bowling great.

Reports suggested Starc was unhappy with this analysis, but he says he is not putting much stock in Warne's opinions, insisting the focus will remain on beating India.

"I still don't know what he said," Starc told FOX after day three of the second Test on Sunday. "I've been told about it.

"But if I keep listening to Warney, I may as well retire. I'll just keep going about my stuff, as I have done over the week."

Australia led by 43 runs after the first innings in Perth, stretching that advantage to 175 as they reached stumps at 132-4 on Sunday.

Starc (2-79) took the early wickets of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara as India batted for the first time, before their recovery was halted by the controversial dismissal of captain Virat Kohli.

Jasprit Bumrah said India were "a little surprised" with Virat Kohli's contentious dismissal on day three but is confident they can chase down any target to beat Australia at Perth Stadium.

Australia opener Aaron Finch was cleared of serious damage after taking another blow to the finger on day three of the second Test against India at Perth Stadium.

Tom Latham expressed his gratitude to "world-class" New Zealand captain Kane Williamson after the opener made a patient century on day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve.

Latham fought it out for a seventh Test hundred - and his first for almost two years - and was unbeaten on 121 when the Black Caps closed on 311-2.

Williamson made a classy 91 from only 93 balls after Jeet Raval was dismissed for 43 and Ross Taylor will resume on 50 not out on day three, with New Zealand leading by 29 runs.

Latham felt indebted to his skipper after they put on 162 for the second wicket to put the hosts in command.

"At the start of my innings, I wasn't playing that quickly, but the way Jeet Raval played and the way Kane came and played - that took the game to the opposition and kept the scoreboard ticking over," said the left-hander.

"It was good for me. I could just keep going. The most important thing we talk about was making those partnerships big ones and I managed to get a good one with Kane.

"Kane came out and hit the ball fantastically well - I guess he's a world-class player and is hitting the ball unbelievably well in all conditions,

"You look at some of the shots he plays - from ball one - those early boundaries set the tempo for his innings and he kept doing that.

"He's a fantastic player and one to get a few more tips off. When guys are going like that it's almost easier to give them the strike and let them do their thing."

South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has been ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan due to a hairline fracture of his right thumb.

The Proteas had already lost Lungi Ngidi for the three-match series and Philander will also miss the Boxing Day Test at Centurion after only recently recovering from an ankle injury.

South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson said: "I really don't even want to think about what would happen should there be another injury

"If you look at where we are, [Dale] Steyn, [Kagiso] Rabada and [Duanne] Olivier become very important to us. We just want to manage them as best we can.

"We've seen how Dale's been going. I don't want to say we've seen a transformation because he's always been a top player, but he's back to full fitness and performing like the player of old. KG [Rabada] as always is very important to us.

"We've looked at a few bowling options over the past 14 months and we've got what we feel now is a very good bowling attack and group,

"You've got Steyn, Rabada, Philander, Ngidi and Olivier, who's been in and out, but always in our thinking. That's the making of a good attack in any form of the game.

"My job now is to keep them fit and fresh for them to be at their peak at international level."

Virat Kohli's controversial dismissal proved key as Australia took a big step towards levelling the four-match series with India on day three of the second Test.

Kohli added to his overnight 82 to score his 25th Test hundred, but was given out on 123 as Peter Handscomb looked to collect a catch at second slip off Pat Cummins. The soft signal was out and replays were inconclusive as to whether Cummins actually got his fingers under the ball.

A clearly unhappy Kohli trudged off and India soon collapsed, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma quickly departing the crease as India lost three wickets for three runs, slumping from 251-5 to 283 all out in response to Australia's first-innings 326 in Perth.

Aaron Finch was forced to retire hurt on 25 in Australia's second innings after being struck on the right glove, though scans have ruled out serious damage. Despite that blow, Usman Khawaja's unbeaten 41 helped them to 132-4, a lead of 175, at stumps.

Kohli brought up his hundred with an imperious straight drive and, though Hanuma Vihari departed, the India skipper appeared in a position to move the tourists into a lead.

However, his hopes of doing so were ended in contentious circumstances and, while Rishabh Pant (36) provided some resistance, Nathan Lyon had little difficulty knocking off the tail as he took 5-67, moving him into the top 25 all-time Test wicket takers.

There were fears Finch may have broken a finger, his injury leading the umpires to call tea, with India unable to claim a conventional dismissal until Jasprit Bumrah removed Marcus Harris for 20.

Shami impressed for the India attack with 2-23, claiming the wickets of Shaun Marsh (5) and Travis Head (19), which were sandwiched by Handscomb's (13) exit at the hands of Ishant as Australia's middle order wilted.

Yet Khawaja, who scored just 36 in two innings in the first Test defeat, provided a steady presence on an erratic pitch to guide Australia to the close. It will be up to him and captain Tim Paine (8 not out) to set India an imposing target to chase when the hosts resume on day four.

An unbeaten Tom Latham hundred and Kane Williamson's fine knock capped a dominant day as New Zealand took control of the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Ottis Gibson has no concerns over South Africa's top order ahead of the Test series against Pakistan after the likes of Hashim Amla endured a torrid time in Sri Lanka.

Amla, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram failed in a 2-0 Test series whitewash against Sri Lanka in July.

Proteas head coach Gibson is confident the trio can put that behind them in a three-match series against Mickey Arthur's side, which gets under way on December 26.

There is no concern with regards to them," said Gibson. "What happened in Sri Lanka has no relevance here even though Pakistan may choose spinners. Here in South Africa‚ wickets don't spin as much as they do in Sri Lanka.

"Aiden scored 1,000 runs last year and he is back in familiar home conditions. With regards to Dean‚ he is an absolute street fighter. He is always close to hitting a double-hundred and that is fantastic." said Gibson.

"Coming to Hash [Amla]‚ he has been carrying niggles that have not allowed him to do the things that he wanted to do.

"For him, it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚ but he is an experienced player for us.

"He has had dips in form but he knows what he needs to do. I have spoken to him since I arrived in the country on Wednesday night and he will be desperate to get back into action. I have no concerns about them."

Pakistan head coach Arthur feels his batsmen can be more effective outside of the United Arab Emirates as they attempt to show a positive response to a series loss to New Zealand.

"I'll make a statement now, that our young batting group now bat better outside the UAE than they do in the UAE." said the former South Africa head coach.

"There's some very talented young batsmen there. They don't stand on leg stump anymore. Our batsmen get to off stump, they cover the bounce, they cover the pace and they cover the swing.

"And they play very well in these conditions."

Usman Khawaja is unconcerned about his disappointing start to Australia's Test series against India.

After a stunning 141 to salvage a draw against Pakistan in Dubai was followed by knee surgery in October, Khawaja has scored just 41 runs across three innings versus India.

The batsman, who has only found the boundary once from 205 balls faced during the series, has been relied upon to shoulder a greater share of responsibility at the top of the order with David Warner and Steve Smith suspended.

Despite a difficult start against the top-ranked Test side, Khawaja is remaining upbeat about his chances of making an impact.

"Cricket is a funny game, it goes in circles," Khawaja told a post-match news conference.

"I've scored a lot of runs this year. A lot of runs in first-class cricket over in Glamorgan, then [for] 'Aussie A', and then in the UAE. 

"There's going to be a couple of innings here and there where I don't, and that's just part of the game. Nothing changes a lot. Credit to the bowlers when they bowl well to you. 

"If you're not scoring runs you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You just go out there next time and get some more runs.

"It could be a lot worse. I could get three first-ballers."

Australia were all out for 326 in the first session on Saturday and had India in trouble at 8-2 in reply, but unbeaten fifties from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane got the tourists to stumps in a strong position at 172-3.

Khawaja hopes his team can make an early breakthrough on day three and put some pressure on what appears to be a long India tail.

"If we get a couple of wickets early [on Sunday] and break this partnership right now - it's not an easy wicket to start off on," said Khawaja.

"If we do that we'll have our chance at that tail, but we still have to be quite disciplined."

The presence of Virat Kohli at the crease has Ishant Sharma confident that India can seize control of the second Test against Australia on day three.

India captain Kohli ended the second day unbeaten on 82, leading the tourists to a solid position on 172-3 after they made an awful start - slumping to 8-2 after just 31 balls - in pursuit of Australia's 326.

While there is still work to be done when play resumes on Sunday, Ishant says the India dressing room will remain in high spirits as long as Kohli is out in the middle.

"Whenever [Kohli] is batting, we have to feel pretty confident," he told reporters. "We feel good, because we have finished the day in a strong position.

"Hopefully it can continue tomorrow [Sunday]. Right now, I can say it's equal. Hopefully we will win the first session [on Sunday] and turn the game in our favour."

Cheteshwar Pujara supported his skipper with 24 off 103 balls - during a restorative partnership of 74 - before Ajinkya Rahane added 90 alongside Kohli and ended the day 51 not out.

Ishant credited Pujara for keeping the Australia attack at bay in trademark fashion, while heralding the importance of Rahane's knock after the hosts belatedly made a breakthrough.

"We know that when Pujara defends, the ball doesn't go past," Ishant said. "He is someone you need in your team. I have played against him and I know how difficult it is to bowl to Pujara.

"When he plays, he makes the bowlers really tired, it takes its toll. We know that if he stays on the wicket, he can do wonders for the team. It was very unfortunate the way he got out [caught down the leg side off Mitchell Starc]. We don't get those kind of wickets, bowled down the leg and caught behind.

"Then Ajinkya came in and played some pretty good shots to shift the momentum. We ended the day pretty well."

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane made unbeaten half-centuries as India battled back against Australia on day two of the second Test, leaving the match in Perth delicately poised. 

A 59-run partnership between Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (19) helped Australia get to 326 before they were bowled out in the first session, with India's response reaching 172-3 by the close of play. 

The tourists had appeared to be in serious trouble after losing opening duo Murali Vijay (0) and KL Rahul (2) in the first six overs of their innings, but Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli (82 not out) dug in from 8-2 to stop the rot in the second session. 

Nathan Lyon (0-34 from 22 overs) and Cummins (0-40 from 17 overs) combined to give little away in an intense battle with Kohli and Pujara, the two batsmen having to wait more than 21 overs between boundaries before the latter eventually fell for 24 to a great catch from wicketkeeper Paine. 

However, Australia had no answer for an unbroken 90-run stand between the India captain and Rahane, who was on 51 not out at stumps.

The hosts had resumed on 277-6 and after a strong start from Paine and Cummins, the latter was bowled by Umesh Yadav (2-78) and Australia's skipper wasted a review after being trapped leg before by Jasprit Bumrah (2-53). 

Mitchell Starc (6) and Josh Hazlewood (0) edged successive deliveries from Ishant Sharma (4-41) to bring an end to Australia's innings, but they wasted no time in putting India under pressure. 

Starc (2-42) cleaned up Vijay with a full, inswinging delivery to make the breakthrough before lunch and Hazlewood (1-50) dismissed Rahul with a stunning yorker after the break, in the process claiming a second early wicket. 

Kohli sent Hazlewood for three fours in the same over but the boundaries dried up for the tourists during the afternoon. 

Cummins thought he had struck a blow in the absorbing battle by getting Pujara lbw on 23, but ball tracking showed the delivery was going over the top of the stumps. However, there was no doubt when Pujara edged Starc down the leg side and was taken by Paine, leaving India three down. 

Rahane picked up the run-rate immediately, with two fours and a six encouraging Kohli to hammer Cummins over gully and bring up his half-century. 

After back-to-back fours off Hazlewood, Rahane reached 50 with a single off Lyon, his efforts helping put India in a competitive position ahead of what looks to be an intriguing Sunday.

Tim Southee claimed a five-wicket haul on an even opening day in the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Southee (5-67) produced a scintillating first spell at Basin Reserve in Wellington as the tourists were reduced to 9-3.

But Angelo Mathews (83), Dimuth Karunaratne (79) and Niroshan Dickwella (73 not out) led a Sri Lanka recovery as they reached 275-9 at stumps.

Mathews and Karunaratne put together an important 133-run partnership for the fourth wicket to help Sri Lanka into a decent position after being put in to bat on a green pitch.

Southee was superb early as Danushka Gunathilaka (1), Dhananjaya de Silva (1) and Kusal Mendis (2) fell inside four overs.

Gunathilaka was trapped lbw by a delivery that came back in from Southee, who also produced a beauty to have Dhananjaya caught behind.

Mendis, however, gifted his wicket, flicking Southee straight to Ajaz Patel at midwicket.

Desperately needing a response, Sri Lanka got it from Mathews and Karunaratne, who were relatively comfortable through to lunch.

The biggest lapse came from Karunaratne after he was caught at midwicket off Colin de Grandhomme (1-35), only for replays to show the paceman overstepped.

The duo looked scratchy after the first break before Karunaratne departed, gloving Neil Wagner (2-75) through to BJ Watling.

Dinesh Chandimal (6) fell to a short-ball plan from Southee, before Mathews gloved the paceman behind to give him his eighth Test five-for.

With Sri Lanka 187-6, the Black Caps had another opportunity, but Dickwella produced a wonderful lower-order innings.

He was aggressive when required and got enough support, despite the departures of Dilruwan Perera (16) and Suranga Lakmal (3).

But just as Dickwella and Kasun Rajitha (2) looked certain to reach stumps, the latter edged Trent Boult (1-77) behind on the final ball of the day.

Ashley Giles has been appointed as the managing director of England men's cricket by the ECB, replacing Andrew Strauss.

The former England spinner is a director with Warwickshire and will now take on a role with the national team, making him responsible for the long-term strategy of the side, the performance pathway into the set-up and the coaching and management structure.

Giles, who played 54 Tests for his country, coached the limited-overs team between 2012 and 2014, leaving the ECB in a shake-up following England's Ashes humiliation.

However, ECB chief Tom Harrison has led the recruitment of Giles in the past month and believes he has identified the "standout candidate".

"Ashley was the standout candidate amongst a very strong field," Harrison said.

"He will bring a fresh perspective to the role and build on the excellent work carried out by Andrew Strauss over the past three and a half years.

"He has a tremendous passion for England cricket, extensive knowledge of our county game and a wealth of experience, from playing at the highest level to becoming a respected leader in the sport.

"He will lead the England men's teams forward in what is a pivotal year with an ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and the Specsavers Ashes Series, both on home soil. This is a key appointment and we are excited about Ashley's arrival."

Strauss resigned from the directorial role in October in order to take a more flexible position within the ECB.

The former batsman had stood down temporarily for the English summer on compassionate leave to support his wife, Ruth, as she underwent treatment for cancer.

Steve Hansen has no issue with Nehe Milner-Skudder's decision to turn his back on New Zealand and join Toulon.

Toulon on Thursday announced that All Blacks utility-back Milner-Skudder and South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth will join the Top 14 club next year.

Hurricanes flyer Milner-Skudder starred in New Zealand's 2015 Rugby World Cup triumph, but has had terrible luck with injuries.

All Blacks head coach Hansen can understand the 27-year-old's reasons for ruling himself out of contention to add to his 13 caps.

"It's important that when these guys make their decision, the first question I ask is 'have you thought about this? Have you thought about your time in the jersey?" said Hansen, who will end his tenure after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"All you can do is support them. Nehe hasn't had much luck at all in the last probably two years. He's getting a little older, so he's starting to think 'I need to make sure that I support my family, and the money's good, so I'm going to go.'

"Again, we support him and wish him all the best. He was good enough to ring and explain to us, that's all we can ask."

Jasprit Bumrah believes the second Test is still "in the balance", despite a largely difficult first day for India against Australia in Perth.

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