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Crane spins South to 3-0 series win

South 228 for 8 (Bell-Drummond 81, Roland-Jones 43*) beat North 208 (Livingstone 50, Crane 4-39) by 20 runs
Scorecard

Mason Crane produced a stunning spell of legspin to secure a 3-0 whitewash for the South in a rain-affected climax to the new North-South Series in Abu Dhabi.

The North seemed on course for victory in a game restricted to 40 overs per side by rare desert rain, with Ben Duckett providing a flying start to their pursuit of a modest South total of 228 for 8, and Sam Hain and Liam Livingstone sharing a mature third-wicket stand of 67 to steer the North to 146 for 2.

But Crane, the 20-year-old Hampshire legspinner who recently became the first overseas player to represent New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield since Imran Khan, then offered further evidence of his exciting potential by taking four wickets for one run in the space of 10 balls under the floodlights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Hain was bowled for 44 from 97 balls, Joe Clarke was also bowled for a golden duck, and Crane went close to a hat-trick as Jack Leaning's edge fell short of second slip.

Leaning was out in the next over, also bowled and bemused, and finally Crane claimed the key wicket of Livingstone, the Lancashire allrounder who excelled on the recent England Lions tour of Sri Lanka, and had just reached his first half century of the series.

He was lured down the pitch and smartly stumped by Ben Foakes, and despite another battling innings from Tim Bresnan, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Curran polished off the North tail.

Other performances of note in the tightest contest of the series included 81 from Daniel Bell-Drummond, continuing the good List A form which has brought him a Lions century in Sri Lanka and 92 not out in the first North-South contest in Dubai.

Roland-Jones underlined his allround value by thumping an unbeaten 43 from 24 balls to give the South important lower-order runs, while Mark Wood continued his encouraging comeback after ankle surgery by taking 2 for 38, and the North spinners Josh Poysden and Graeme White both impressed - Poysden taking 3 for 55, and White claiming James Vince and Bell-Drummond as classic slow-left-arm victims.

The game was delayed by almost four hours by steady morning rain, and North captain Keaton Jennings chose to bowl when he won his third toss of the series.

Both teams were forced to make one change, with Sam Northeast ruled out for the South after feeling a twinge in his hamstring when making a century in the second game in Dubai on Sunday, and Durham allrounder Paul Coughlin unavailable after suffering cramp in his hamstring during that game.

The South also recalled Lewis Gregory in place of his Somerset team-mate Tim Groenewald, with Crane replacing Northeast, while the North brought back White in addition to Wood, with Nottinghamshire's Harry Gurney dropping out.

Wickets fell steadily on a tricky pitch, but Bell-Drummond again displayed patience and skill to hold things together before Roland-Jones provided those much-needed late runs.

Duckett responded by whacking 37 from 17 balls with seven fours and a six, but Roland-Jones prevented him from inflicting any further damage, and Liam Dawson produced another tidy spell of left-arm spin before Crane's match-winning burst.