There was a point in the fourth test between India and England when the hosts were 30-odd runs behind their opponents with only three wickets remaining.
It was a false dawn though and the masterful Kohli and magnificent Jayant Yadav (in only his third test) combined to take the match and with it any hopes of a series draw beyond the grasp of the visitors.
It served to underline the gulf in experience of conditions on the sub-continent. India rammed home their greater knowledge and understanding of how to play in such an arena. Through most of this series they have been the far better of the sides and a win was inevitable once a lead of 200 was surrendered. … Read Full Article
One test in, England are one-nil down. Well done Pakistan
Having brushed Sri Lanka aside England are in the midst of a much sterner test against an in-form Pakistan. And the visitors succeeded where many others have failed of late, i.e. to expose England’s weaknesses.
Perhaps England’s main weakness is a lack of top quality spinner. Moeen Ali is useful for a good few overs and tends to surprise many batsmen and trick them into a false sense of security. He is, however, a second spinner. If he couldn’t bat would he be in the side? Very unlikely. He’s a backup option, not lead the attack material. How and why England have chosen to ignore Adil Rashid amazes me. Over the decades English selectors have shown a reluctance to pig leg-spinners and Rashid is seen as susceptible of leaking a few runs – but he has proven in ODIs and T20s that he is able to keep it tight. Thankfully they have at least indicated they are willing to put this right by naming him in the 13 man squad for the second test. They must pick him – especially as Old Trafford tends to offer encouragement to the twirlers. England have a bit of a selection dilemma on their hands – I suspect Ben Stokes and Moeen are fighting it out for one place.
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The third and final test in the England vs Sri Lanka test series is now at an end after the rain brought a damp squib of an end to the match.
So what have we learned? Not a great deal really. We are almost where we were three tests ago. Nick Compton would appear not quite of test level is one obvious conclusion. Personally speaking I feel it would be a little harsh to jettison him – I would give him the Pakistan series to make a final decision on him. I doubt that will happen, however and Lords was the last we will see of him in the whites of the three lions.… Read Full Article
So the first test of the summer is at an end. Well done England for a victory for what was really a match of men against boys.
Sri Lanka are, to use that oft touted sound-bite, a team in “transition” and boy did it show. It must be remembered, however, that they kept a strong England batting line up to a tad under the 300 mark – and half of those runs came from the excellent Jonny Bairstow. Alex Hales did well too with a decent knock and must be kicking himself he didn’t convert it into a ton. Had it not been for those two it might have been a closer run thing. We will never know.… Read Full Article
Well done Alistair Cook. OK, so he missed out on making a century, just, but to score 95 when the chips were really down took unbelievable character. The only way he was going to silence the critics was with some runs and hopefully today’s score marks a permanent return to form. The crowd’s reaction when he scored his half century and the ovation when he left the field when speaks volumes as to the support for him amongst the cricket watching public. He’s a good man and didn’t deserve some of the diatribe fired his way.
Geoffrey Boycott has predicted a draw already – and the Rose Bowl pitch looks like it will produce another uninspiring match where the bat rules supreme. How ridiculous. We need pitches that have something on offer for both batsmen and bowlers, one that rewards top exponents of both disciplines. So what if the game is over in four days instead of five? Short term financial thinking risks undermining the entire fabric of the game – and then where will the money come from?… Read Full Article
Two days in and Australia certainly have the upper hand. But so what. The Ashes are won and won pretty convincingly at that. This is a dead-rubber match and is very reminiscent of Ashes series of old when England used to suddenly pull a decent performance out of the hat when the urn was in the possession of the Aussies. Players who time and time again let the team down would suddenly grab a five-for or score a century and their series average to the historic observer would look half-decent.… Read Full Article