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.
… 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
So the Ashes are now at end with England the victors and Australia put back in their place. A 3–2 scoreline flatters the green baggied ones a little but in truth the last test was a dead rubber for England. They were never going to play to the same level on intensity as when they were trying to claim the little urn back from our Antipodean cousins.
… Read Full Article
Two tests in, 1–0 to India. England’s poor summer continued apace today with a shocking (sorry, appalling) collapse after lunch today to hand the visitors the initiative going forward into the rest of the series. On current evidence it would be hard to see past India winning the series.
… Read Full Article
For what I am about to say may I be struck down from above…but I am glad that this Ashes series is at an end. Quite simply Australia have played far better than the sum of their individual parts and England have been, for the large part, absolutely diabolical.
As sure as night follows day the Aussies wrapped up a devastating 5–0 series win, yet again bowling England out for a pitiful total not worthy of an international line up. The visitors now need to go back, re-group and pick up the pieces from this potentially disastrous tour down-under.… Read Full Article
English winters are a terrible thing. Cold and wet, the season also means no home cricket whatsoever.
Christmas is one shining light in the fog of the cold and to add to this the thought of an annual test match that starts on Boxing Day and usually held under blue skies and warm temperatures is one that stirs the imagination and one that I will raise a cold beer to.
Boxing Day tests have been held every year since 1980 (except 1989 when a one day match vs Sri Lanka was played instead (boo – ed) and at the Melbourne Cricket Club in Australia – aka the MCG). They have also been dominated by some massive crowds (which have approached six figures on occasion).… Read Full Article
Amongst the wreckage of the Ashes tour comes another seismic bombshell — the best English spinner in a generation has handed his ticket in.
Yes it’s true — Graeme Swann has announced his immediate retirement. What a massive loss. Swann was a great player, competitor, fighter and all-round team man. He could even hold a bat the right way round.
Having taken 255 wickets in his test career at a shade under 30 a piece, his record is there for all to see and it’s going to be very hard to replace him. As always with England there’s hardly a queue of spinners banging down the door to take his place in the side. So does that mean we go back to the days of only ever picking a twirler when the pitch suits rather than a first choice?… Read Full Article
As I sit listening to the T20 freak-show (it marginally beats whatever soap based rubbish the wife is watching) I’ve been contemplating the debate that’s been stirred after England rested five key players for the ODI series.
Captain Cook, Bell, Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson and T20 captain Stuart Broad are all putting their feet up and letting a new-look England take on the Aussies for the five match series.
Former Captain Michael Vaughan has had his say and Stuart Broad has fired back. The media have of course jumped on to a healthy debate and stirred it into a bit of a row.… 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
I’ve been away on holiday for the past 2½ weeks and haven’t had chance to write about the cricket. During that time there have been 2 more Ashes test matches and England have extended their lead to 3–0. Having been away from all the talking heads I haven’t heard what they have to say, so here are some of my own thoughts, uninfluenced by the pundits.
… Read Full Article