0The Ashes urnThe Ashes: Second Test — Day 1

So, anoth­er day of excep­tion­ally enter­tain­ing Test crick­et is over, and the second test match is well and truly under way.   Pleas­ingly today hasn’t been marred by any poor decisions (by umpires or play­ers), but I was dis­gus­ted by the mis­taken boo­ing of Jimmy Ander­son.  I’ll talk a little more about that later, but first some pre­dic­tions (admit­tedly a day late)… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnHeart attack beckons after nervewracking finale

WOW!!  What a match. Gran­ted the shock­ing umpir­ing decisions (when you include 3rd umpires) per­haps made it a little closer than it should have been (although both sides suffered) but what a fant­ast­ic advert YET AGAIN for test match crick­et.

Going into this series it looked like it was going to be hard going for Aus­tralia. On paper only three play­ers, at best, would make it into the Eng­land start­ing XI from the Aus­trali­an squad – Clarke, Wat­son and Siddle. Few people gave them a chance.  But through some hero­ic dis­plays they proved that, when it comes to the Ashes at least, as a team they are great­er than the sum of their indi­vidu­al parts.… Read Full Art­icle

0Hotspot Snickometer Hawkeye DRSA growing number of bad DRS decisions…

So, the intriguing 1st Ashes Test at Trent Bridge con­tin­ues to be excit­ing with no clear win­ner emer­ging as yet.  How­ever I want to look back to a poten­tially key moment of the game — the “not out” decision giv­en to Australia’s Agar.  Let me be clear — no fault can be laid on any of the play­ers or on-field umpires — only on the DRS sys­tem and the umpire man­aging it.  There have been sev­er­al wrong decisions in this Test match and in the recent cham­pi­ons trophy, lets look at each of them in turn.… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnDays Two and Three — A Right Old See Saw

I was so incensed last night at England’s abil­ity to snatch defeat from the jaws of vic­tory by fail­ing to bowl a debut 19 year old num­ber 11 rab­bit out (helped by an appalling umpir­ing decision) and then their per­fect fol­low­ing of the script by los­ing two crick­et wick­ets in reply (note again – appalling decision) that I was unable to put key­board to laptop.

It looked that today might a have been a second day of radio silence but Eng­land man­aged to dig deep and loc­ate some so far as of yet reserves of guts and bottle (Ander­son aside). Well played to Cook and to KP for some decent con­tri­bu­tions but espe­cially to Ian Bell. I’ve been one of his harshest crit­ics of late – but only because he hasn’t been weigh­ing in with decent scores when they mat­ter. But today it was time to step up to the plate and he did so, ably assisted by Broad at the oth­er end.… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnDay One of the Big Battle. Disappointment

All I can say after the first day of this summer’s Ashes is that I’m hugely dis­ap­poin­ted. Intriguing test match crick­et at its best yes, but a strong mark­er put down by a dom­in­ant Eng­land against an aver­age test team, no.

Aged 33 I am used to Eng­land fold­ing against far super­i­or Aus­sie teams but this time round it was meant to be dif­fer­ent.

On paper Eng­land should wal­lop this lot. The bowl­ers are far super­i­or and the bats­men for the most part bet­ter than theirs.… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnIt’s time… Ashes predictions

So, the biggest sport­ing event of 2013 is finally upon us, which means it’s time for me to stick my neck out and pre­dict a res­ult. I’ll start by con­fid­ently pre­dict­ing an Eng­land vic­tory. I’m not so con­fid­ent of the mar­gin of vic­tory but I think it will be at least 2, but as I don’t think Eng­land will ever have a bet­ter chance I’m going to really risk the “com­ment­at­ors curse” and sug­gest Eng­land could man­age a 5 0 white­wash.

I’m not con­vinced that Aus­tralia have an exper­i­enced enough bowl­ing attack to exploit the Eng­land weak­nesses. I am sure the Aus­trali­an bat­ting line up is going to be giv­en a rough time by the Eng­land seam­ers and the 6 left handers are going to struggle on dry wick­ets against Graeme Swan.  Unless weath­er or injur­ies inter­vene I don’t see how the Aus­sies can outscore Eng­land con­sist­ently.

If Eng­land can make 350+ in the first innings (hav­ing won the toss) I expect them to win the first test.  I’ll guess the scores will be about 400, 350, 300, 200 which will give Eng­land a 150 run vic­tory around lunch on day 5. Let’s find out how silly I look by Sunday after­noon…

0Blofeld & BaxterBlofeld & Baxter — Memories Of Test Match Special

A couple of nights back I went to Shef­field City Hall with a few of the fam­ily to see Henry Blofeld and Peter Bax­ter doing what they do best — telling stor­ies and reveal­ing some of what goes on in the TMS box.  Unlike many “per­formers” they star­ted on time at 7:30 and car­ried on (with a short inter­val) until past 10pm.  If they’re com­ing to a place near you and you have a free even­ing I really recom­mend get­ting a tick­et and going down — it was one of the best even­ings of enter­tain­ment a crick­et fan could ask for… Read Full Art­icle

0Broken WicketBest bowling attack in the world?

Aus­trali­an coach Mickey Arthur has giv­en an inter­view in which he said that he thinks the cur­rent Aus­trali­an bowl­ing attack is the best in the world!  I’m tak­ing this in the spir­it of the tra­di­tion­al “Glenn McGrath” pre-ashes wind up speech, but Arthur didn’t say they were just bet­ter than the Eng­land bowl­ing attack (dubi­ous enough in itself) but bet­ter than all the oth­ers in the world too.  So should Eng­land really be quak­ing in their boots?… Read Full Art­icle

0Best England XI of the last 20 years

Reg­u­lar read­ers of my wit­ter­ings will know that Test Crick­et holds sway for me. It’s what makes crick­et great.

So the Cham­pi­ons Trophy cur­rently being played in Eng­land has got me thinking…what is the best XI for Eng­land in recent times?

The first ques­tion, of course, is how do you define ‘recent’? Well for the pur­poses of this art­icle I have decided on the debut test of middle order left handed bats­man Gra­ham Thorpe.

Thorpe made his debut in the drawn third Ashes test of 1993 held between 1 and 6 July. Thorpe made a ton on debut. Good lad.

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0Traditional Spirit of CricketWhere’s the spirit of cricket?

So we’re only x days into the ICC cham­pi­ons trophy and there have been 2 very dis­ap­point­ing incid­ents involving play­ers in the tour­na­ment, one on the pitch and one off.  Whilst crick­et has had issue with gambling related cor­rup­tion (e.g. Han­sie Cronje or the Spot-Fix­ing scan­dal from 2011) the game has a repu­ta­tion for good spir­it and hon­est play between play­ers.  Are these recent events a sign that times are chan­ging, or are they merely an unfor­tu­nate blip?
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