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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

England attack more than tripe and Onions

England 6/569 6 dec (A Cook 160, R Bopara 108, M Prior 63, P Collingwood 60*) Defeated West Indies 310 (R Sarwan 100,J Anderson 5-87, S Broad 3/62) and 176 (C Gayle 54, S Chanderpaul 47, Anderson 4-38, T Bresnan 3/45) by an innings and 82 runs: T#2/ 2 at Chester-le-Street, Durham.

Very good batting and superb bowling, admittedly in favourable (sub-arctic) conditions, propelled England to a commanding match and series victory against a demoralised West Indies.


The TV commentators, especially Messrs Atherton, Gower and Lloyd, in their extended post match inquest seemed to be of the opinion that England now have the makings of a team fit to compete with Australia in the Ashes. That remains to be seen though, writing on the eve of the announcement of the Australian Ashes touring party, I'm apt to agree. Whether England can actually win the series I'm not so sure. I shall have more to say about this and related matters anon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some interesting inclusions and omissions in contract list

Cricket Australia's 25 player contract list for the next year contains a few surprises.

The list is:

Doug Bollinger: NSW, 27
Nathan Bracken: NSW, 31
Stuart Clark: NSW, 33
Michael Clarke: NSW, 28
Callum Ferguson: SA, 24
Brad Haddin: NSW, 31
Nathan Hauritz: NSW, 27
Ben Hilfenhaus: TAS, 26
Brad Hodge: VIC, 34
James Hopes: QLD, 30
Phillip Hughes: NSW, 20
David Hussey: VIC, 31
Mike Hussey: WA, 33
Mitchell Johnson: WA, 27
Simon Katich: NSW, 33
Brett Lee: NSW, 32
Graham Manou: SA, 30
Shaun Marsh: WA, 25
Andrew McDonald: VIC, 27
Marcus North: WA, 29
Ricky Ponting: TAS, 34
Peter Siddle: VIC, 24
Andrew Symonds: QLD, 33
Shane Watson: NSW, 27
Cameron White: VIC, 25

A noteworthy inclusion (not only to parochial South Australians) is Graham Manou, the long serving SA wicketkeeper and latterly captain whose batting has flourished in recent years. Another is Brad Hodge, the seemingly perennial reserve batter.

Brendan McArdle in The Age goes into bat for Hodge and poses some pertinent questions: "why does he constantly get overlooked, and how will his career be perceived in time?"

Two omissions which have raised some eyebrows are Phil Jaques and Shaun Tait, both of whom have been afflicted by injuries, Jaques after a long Hodge-style time in the wings and Tait after touching the heights in the 2007 World Cup. Will they return? I think that both could but that Jaques' age and questions about his fitness may make it had for him. Tait should be able to but seems to have accepted being typecast as a limited overs specialist.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

English conditions= English supremacy

England 377 (R Bopara 143, G Swann 63*, F Edwards 6/92) and 0/ 32 defeated West Indies 152 (G Onions 5/38,G Swann 3/16)and 256 (B Nash 81,D Ramdin 66, Swann 3-39, S Broad 3-64) by 10 wickets: T#1/2 at Lord's.

OK, it wasn't just the conditions which were typical of an English May (the earliest a Test has been played there). Though they did play a big role in the convincing English victory.

The West Indies fielding was atrocious and the batting well below par, though England's batting wasn't much better.

How reliable a guide to the Ashes the performances in this match of the England successes Ravi Bopara, Graeme Swann and Graeme Onions will be remains to be seen. Bopara and Swann look good though whether Onions will be able to trouble Australian batters in July and August remains to be seen.

Scorecard .

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Great ball of fire

England 7/289 (90 ov, R Bopara 118*, F Edwards 4/93) v West Indies: T#1 D1 at Lord's.

Fidel Edwards' first ball to Kevin Pietersen seemed to be going down the leg side but it pitched and moved away, touching the edge of the bat as it went through to keeper Ramdin, who had changed course in the nanosecond after this pic (which I took from a TV replay).

Not perhaps quite as good as the famous Warne delivery to Gatting, but pretty good nevertheless. Look out for footage on TV and/or YouTube.

For me this was the highlight of a day in which England, after being sent in by the West Indies, made 7/289 from 90 overs. This is not to overlook Ravi Bopara's 118*, which may well turn out to be the highlight of the match and perhaps, if he continues in similar vein, of the summer .

Fidel Edwards carried the West Indies bowling but was badly supported in the field - at least six catches, few of them difficult, went down in the latter part of the day.

On paper the match looks even but conditions favour the bowlers, so if England can add a few more runs they should be well situated.