Posts Tagged: First Test

0Pitch Perfect England Need a Sterner Test

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

0The Ashes urnFirst blow to England

So the Ashes are under way again with no great sur­prises so far.  Aus­tralia won the toss and bat­ted, Eng­land came out with the ball and made life dif­fi­cult for a very aver­age look­ing Aus­trali­an bat­ting line-up.  The man of the day was without doubt Stu­art Broad, who should have now silenced all but the most loud-mouthed of his crit­ics.… Read Full Article

1The Ashes urnAustralia hold the upper hand — in a dead rubber match

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

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

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…

0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: First Test — England Claim the Honours

After such a slow start to the game the first test fin­ished at break neck speed today – and what a per­form­ance by Stu­art Broad to raise the chequered flag.

Not only did he club 20 odd import­ant runs (not out) as England’s innings came to a quick and dis­ap­point­ing end but he fol­lowed that by a spell of supreme fast-medi­um bowl­ing which decim­ated the New Zea­l­and order.

When Broad is on-song like that he was today there is simply no stop­ping him and he can be vir­tu­ally unplay­able. The last time he delivered a per­form­ance like this was against the Old Enemy at the Oval in the 2009 Ashes clash. I recor­ded the high­lights of that day’s play and kept them for a few years just so I could watch it again and again. That day he got a 5‑for, claim­ing the scalps of Wat­son, Pont­ing, Hus­sey, Clarke and Had­din – so pretty much the Aus­trali­an top order.… Read Full Article

0England v New ZealandEngland v New Zealand: First Test, Day 3 — Match Nicely Poised

What a topsy turvy match is prov­ing to be! Three days gone and it’s still very unclear who is on top.

Until just before 6pm it was very much England’s day.  The bowl­ers stepped up to the plate and man­aged to eek out a slight lead. And then the young pre­tend­er Root hit a steady half cen­tury well sup­por­ted by the even stead­i­er Trott.… Read Full Article

0England v New ZealandEngland v New Zealand: First Test, Day 2 — Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson…

Or so the song goes.

A review of the second day’s play would always be incom­plete with a nod towards shin­ing star James Anderson.

By dis­miss­ing Kiwi open­er Peter Fulton (his second wick­et of the innings) Jimmy became only the fourth mem­ber of England’s pres­ti­gi­ous 300 club. Ian Botham, Bob Wil­lis and Fiery Fred True­man are the only oth­er cur­rent cus­todi­ans.… Read Full Article