Possible England Bowling Attacks For Australia

A look ahead to Ashes, focussing especially on the bowling.

This piece was prompted by a little discussion on twitter this morning about this subject. Somebody who tweets as The Slog Sweeper was advocating the selection of five specialist bowlers, Archer, Stone, Wood, Leach and Anderson, all of whom I firmly believe should be in that tour party if fit, in the team at one the same time. I can understand the logic, but it seems to me to be too high risk, with virtually no runs coming from the second half of the innings. I am going to look at possible combinations for that series in more detail here.

THE ROLE OF THE SPINNER

Jack Leach is established as England’s no1 test spinner. Given that English off spinners have generally fared poorly in Australia and the paucity of options with even respectable first class records the only remotely likely choice for the role of second spinner would be Matt Parkinson (FC bowling average 25). Back for Leach in the role of left arm orthodox spinner is hard to find at present, unless Sophie Ecclestone gets offered her chance to try her stuff alongside the men. I have examined the role of left arm slow to medium paced bowlers in successful Ashes campaigns down under elsewhere on this blog. The only regular test venue in Australia that is remotely likely to warrant the selection of two specialist spinners is Sydney. It could well be the case that no spinner is selected in Perth, and at the other three venues Leach will be the chosen spinner.

BALANCING ATTACKS TO SUIT LOCAL CONDITIONS

At the Gabba for the series opener the right bowling attack would feature two out and out speedsters, Leach and Anderson. At Adelaide, where pitches are often favourable for batting there might be a case for slightly weakening the batting order in an effort to get 20 wickets and playing Woakes at seven, two of the speedsters, Leach and either Broad or Anderson depending on form and fitness. At Perth I might well gamble on all three out and out speedsters and a toss up between Leach and Broad for the fourth specialist bowler. The MCG is the one Aussie ground where I would be happy without two out and out speedsters and would pick whichever of the three is bowling best, both veterans and Leach, or possibly Woakes in place of one of the veterans. At the SCG I am either going two out and out speedster and two spinners (Parkinson coming in) or possibly two out and out speedsters, Anderson and Leach.

POSSIBLE XI FOR THE GABBA

The questions if any are over the top of the order. However, unless either:

a) Haseeb Hameed, with a test average before injury interrupted his career of 43, has an epic season and positively demands selection or

b)One of the younger openers hits their straps in the early part of the county season and establishes themselves at international level during the summer

I think that it will be a case of hoping that the existing top order can function well down under – it would be a huge ask of an opener to make their international debut in an away Ashes series. Thus my Gabba XI in batting order reads as follows:

  1. Dom Sibley
  2. Rory Burns
  3. Zak Crawley
  4. *Joe Root
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Dan Lawrence
  7. +Ben Foakes
  8. Mark Wood/ Jofra Archer (dependent on form and fitness)
  9. Olly Stone
  10. Jack Leach
  11. James Anderson

With two out and out speedsters, the skill and experience of Anderson, Leach and Stokes in the x-factor role I have considerable confidence in this side taking 20 wickets, and while the batting order would not be the deepest England have ever fielded it should be capable of producing enough runs.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Autistic Pride Month

Preparing for April, a.k.a Autism Awareness Month with a post that highlights the problems with the ‘awareness narrative’, suggests some improvements and provides links to a couple of other good autism themed posts.

April is upon us, and to the non-autistic world April is Autism Awareness Month. In this post I look at some problems with the ‘autism awareness’ narrative and put forward an alternative viewpoint. After my own bit I will share a couple of important related links.

THE PROBLEMS WITH AUTISM AWARENESS

At its most innocuous the ‘awareness’ narrative is simply laughably inadequate for the purpose. People being aware of autism, its challenges and its benefits (yes, the latter do exist) is at most a start. At its worst, as exemplified by a USian organization that is still allowed to call itself an ‘autism charity’ but is in truth an anti-autistic hate group (I will not sully these pages with the name of said organization, suffice it to say that if you see anything with featuring a blue puzzle piece avoid it like the plague) it is deeply destructive, contributing to the ‘othering’ of autistic people.

AUTISM ACCEPTANCE –
THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM

Autism acceptance means accepting autistic people as people, allowing us to be ourselves and express our talents and individuality in our own ways, not seeking to make us fit. Not only is forcing square pegs into round holes counter productive, you are highly likely to break the pegs in the process. If I write any further autism specific posts in the course of this next month I will not again mention ‘autism awareness’ – I have done so here only to highlight its inadequacies, I will be starting from a baseline of Autism Acceptance.

AUTISM APPRECIATION/ AUTISTIC PRIDE

Many of my greatest strengths come directly from being autistic, and actually what we need to see a lot more of is the talents and strengths of autistic people being appreciated. Part of that appreciation is acknowledging that we do have the talents and skills we possess in spite of being autistic, in many cases we have those skills and talents precisely because we are autistic. Look out when reading about autism for stuff written by autistic people, – there are plenty of us writing about autism and wanting to be found. Enjoy your April as much as you are able to.

TWO IMPORTANT LINKS

Kerry Anne Mendoza of The Canary has recently been diagnosed as autistic, and has produced her own piece tackling this subject, which you can read by clicking here.

Christa Holmans, aka Neurodivergent Rebel has produced an excellent piece titled “Rethinking the Way We Describe Autistic People From Problems to Possibilities“, which I highly recommend to you.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Brathwaite Ends Lean Spell

A look at developments in #WIvSL, some remarkable footage of a volcanic eruption (courtesy of Science girl on twitter), and my latest photographs.

In this post I look at developments in the game between West Indies and Sri Lanka that is just into its second day.

DAY 1: KRAIGG BRATHWAITE DEFIES SRI LANKA

With the West Indies batting first and looking to improve on the draw they recorded in the first game of the series Sri Lanka bowled very well. Veteran seamer Suranga Lakmal was particularly effective, bowling full and just a fraction wide (even in limited overs cricket the umpires would not have been calling wides – he was targetting the area that bowlers like to call ‘fourth stump’) to take three of the first four wickets. For much of the day it seemed that Brathwaite would simply not find anyone to bat well enough with him for the Windies to post a decent total, but then Rahkeem Cornwall, the off spinner who has a decent first class record as lower order batter, set about proving that his maiden test fifty, recorded in the previous match, was no fluke. By the close West Indies had got to 287-7, Brathwaite 99 not out, Cornwall 43 not out.

DAY TWO – LANDMARKS SECURED EARLY

It took one ball of the second day, which is just under way, for Brathwaite to complete his ton with a single, and Cornwall has subsequently got to 50. After three overs of the second day the West Indies are 299-7, Brathwaite 101 not out, Cornwall 53 not out. Lakmal is bowling at one end and left armer Vishwa Fernando at the other, and Cornwall has just brought up the 300 with a two off the latter, taking himself to 55.

LIVE FOOTAGE OF A VOLCANO

Someone who posts on twitter under the name Science Girl has posted some extraordinary footage from Iceland, where volcanic eruptions have been happening lately. You can visit the tweet by clicking here, and the video is embedded below:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off, with as evidence of changing seasons (the sun came out today and it has been genuinely warm here in Norfolk) my first butterfly sightings of 2021 – nothing very exotic, just some tortoiseshells.

As I publish the West Indies have still not lost any further wickets, the score being 302-7 after 92 overs.

ODI Series Decider Goes To The Wire

An account of the concluding ODI between India and England, plus some thoughts on over rates and some photographs.

This post is devoted to the events of yesterday’s final and deciding ODI between India and England.

THE PRELIMINARIES

England decided to retain both Malan and Livingstone, so Billings missed out. They also opted to replace Tom Curran with Mark Wood, a decision that would have been indisputable had Wood been fully fit, but it rapidly became clear that he was not. India replaced Kuldeep Yadav with T Natarajan, changing the balance of their bowling attack. Jos Buttler won the toss and decided to bowl.

THE INDIAN INNINGS

India got off to a flying start, with Sam Curran and Reece Topley both somewhat wayward. Mark Wood bowled fast in spite of obviously not being well. It took the arrival of the spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali at the bowling crease to stem the flow at all. Rashid accounted for both openers, one bowled and one caught and bowled, in successive overs, while Ali clean bowled Virat Kohli. Liam Livingstone had made his first contribution to the game with a fine piece of fielding out on the boundary that saved two runs. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant maintained the momentum and for a while it looked like something close to 400 was on for India, but then Livingstone got Rahul, as the batter could only put a filthy full toss straight into the hands of a fielder. Thereafter England picked up wickets regularly, and India were all out for 329 in the 49th over. At that stage it looked anyone’s game, with England possibly favourites.

THE ENGLAND REPLY

For once neither Roy nor Bairstow managed a substantial score, and Stokes and Buttler both also went fairly cheaply. At that stage it was 95-4 and England looked in deep trouble. Livingstone and Malan batted well however and at the end of the 20th England were 132-4, two fifths of the way to the target after two fifths of the overs and having lost two fifths of their wickets. Livingstone was fifth out, having batted well, and then Malan having completed a fine 50 was sixth to go. That brought Sam Curran in join Moeen Ali, with England in deep trouble. At the end of the 30th England were 196-6. Moeen Ali’s departure seemed to be the final nail, but Rashid provided Curran support, and then extraordinarily, Mark Wood, for all that he was obviously not well, continued the support work, while Curran was playing a very special innings. Wood was ninth out, but even Topley, the most genuine of genuine number 11s, did his bit, and at the end of the 49th England were 316-9 needing 14 to win, and crucially Curran was at the strikers end. He did his best, but the task was just too much, and England were beaten by seven runs, with Curran 95 not out off 83 balls.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

Sam Curran was named Player of the Match for his fighting knock, a decision which Indian skipper Kohli disapproved of. Shardul Thakur with 30 and four wickets was the obvious alternative candidate, and normally I would say that this award should go to someone from the winning side. However, at the point at which Curran came in to bat England were staring an absolute hammering in the face, with a three figure margin looking likely, and Curran turned that around to the extent that the game ended as a nail biter. Also most of Curran’s batting was done with the support of a no9, a sick no10 and a n011. Thus on this occasion I think the decision to give the award to someone from the losing side was justified, although I would not have quarrelled with the award going to Thakur.

OVER RATES

This match was conducted at a tempo that to borrow from the world of music could only fairly be described as ‘adagio molto’ – very slow. 100 overs occupied eight and a quarter hours of actual playing time, with England being in the field for three hours fifty minutes and India for four hours twenty five minutes. This leads me to revisit an old idea of mine in slightly revised form: based on the 15 overs per hour officially required in test matches I would allocate each team a fixed time slot to bowl their overs of three hours and 20 minutes, and for each over they have not bowled in that period the batting team get awarded penalty runs at a rate of ten per over or double the scoring rate, whichever is the greater. Obviously umpires would have to watch out for batters deliberately wasting time in the hope of securing penalty runs. If this was adopted there might be one ODI series/ tournament in which extras had a Bradmanesque aggregate but I reckon over rates would speed up pretty quickly. Here is a very famous slow tempo piece of music, Albinoni’s “Adagio for Organ and Strings”, from youtube:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Suggestions For Tomorrow’s Deciding ODI

A look ahead to tomorrow’s final ODI between India and England, some photographs and the resumption of one of NAS West Norfolk’s activities.

The main body of this post is devoted to looking at what England should do in terms of selection for tomorrow’s final match of the tour of India.

THE BATTING

Morgan remains unavailable, though Billings could be picked. Personally although most of the work was done by Bairstow and Stokes I think that both Malan and Livingstone did enough to warrant continued selection, so I would not recall Billings. I believe an element of flexibility is needed after the 1,2,3 – if the second wicket goes before over 30 then either Malan (if Stokes is second out) or Livingstone (if both openers are out, meaning that the left handed Stokes is still in) come in at no4. If the second wicket goes after over 30 then skipper Buttler should promote himself and treat it like a T20.

THE BOWLING

Tom Curran has to go – he is not quick, he does not take many wickets and he is not exceptionally economical. I hope Wood will be fit, in which case he plays. Also, Adil Rashid has not been impressive, and Matt Parkinson has been in bio-secure bubbles since January for no cricket, so for my money he has to play. Reece Topley did quite enough to retain his place, so he rounds out the bowling options.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

Bear in mind the caveats in the section about the batting, and that therefore this is a ‘likely’, not a ‘set’ batting order:

  1. Jason Roy
  2. Jonny Bairstow
  3. Ben Stokes
  4. Liam Livingstone
  5. Dawid Malan
  6. *+Jos Buttler
  7. Moeen Ali
  8. Sam Curran
  9. Mark Wood
  10. Reece Topley
  11. Matt Parkinson

PHOTOGRAPHS

This usual sign off has a variation to it: today for the first time in over a year an NAS West Norfolk activity happened: music therapy at the scout hut on Beulah Street. This was organized in two 45 minute sessions, and at no time were there more than four people in the room, which is a very large room, and the back door was open to keep it properly ventilated (and with a classic Norfolk ‘lazy wind’ – can’t be bothered going round you, so it goes straight through you – blowing outside I can tell you that the place was most definitely properly ventilated!). Explanation complete, it is finally time for the photographs…

India v England ODI Series Goes To Decider On Sunday

A brief account of today’s second #INDvENG ODI, telling the story of a remarkable chase.

This post is an account of the match that has just finished in Pune.

THE PRELIMINARIES

Morgan and Billings were both injured, being replaced by Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone, while Reece Topley came in for Mark Wood, leaving England without an out and out speedster. For India Shreyas Iyer was injured and Rishabh Pant was selected in his place. Stand in skipper Jos Buttler won the toss and decided that England would bowl, which at the time looked questionable.

THE INDIAN INNINGS

India started steadily, and built through the middle overs. Rashid Khan and Moeen Ali both bowled reasonably well but neither looked like getting wickets, and after 40 overs India were 210-3. Then, as in match one, England had a horror show in the final ten overs, as the Indian score mushroomed to 336-6. Though he picked up a couple of wickets among the mayhem Tom Curran has surely bowled his last for England. Moeen Ali was economical, but never looked like taking a wicket. India’s total looked formidable.

ENGLAND’S CHASE

Roy and Bairstow got England away to a strong start, but when Roy was out the game was far from settled either way. Ben Stokes came in at no3, and reached 50 from 40 balls, though he was a trifle fortunate to be given the benefit of the doubt on a very close run out caused by the fact that he had failed to realize the danger and was jogging rather than running full pelt. Having got himself a start Stokes proceeded to go absolutely berserk, blasting 49 from his next 11 balls before edging one behind to miss out on a century by the narrowest of margins. Bairstow and Buttler fell in quick succession, but England were so far ahead of the rate that even losing three wickets so quickly was barely a set back. Some solid blows from debutant Liam Livingstone and Dawid Malan took England home, Malan enjoying one moment of good fortune when an edged shot flew through third man for four – had India posted anyone in the slip area they would probably have been in business. I will draw a veil over the Indian bowling figures, none of which their owners would wish to be publicised. Hardik Pandya, supposed tn be an all rounder, was not called upon to bowl while his team mates took horrendous punishment. England had 6.3 overs as well as six wickets to spare when they completed the task and levelled the series.

FINAL THOUGHTS

England need to find a way of not being destroyed in the final ten overs – it has happened in both matches this series, though they made up for it today with the bat. They also have a virtual obligation to select leg spinner Matt Parkinson for the final game, given that he has been in bio-secure bubbles since January and played no cricket. India have a quandary in the spin bowling department – Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya were both slaughtered today. Also there are questions about their batting in the first 40 overs – it is not great to be reliant on a massive burst in the final 10, especially when it is not guaranteed that said burst will be enough: they scored 126 in overs 41-50 inclusive today and England made the chase look like an absolute cake walk. Sunday’s grand finale starts at 9:00AM UK time (an hour later than the first two games because British Summer Time kicks in overnight between Saturday and Sunday, with 12:59AM becoming 2:00AM as the clocks move forward an hour).

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

India Win The First ODI

An account of yesterday’s India v England ODI, some geological stuff and some photographs.

This post looks back at yesterday’s first ODI between India and England, which took place in Pune.

THE PRELIMINARIES

England’s chosen team was: Roy, Bairstow, Stokes, *Morgan, +Buttler, Billings, Ali, S Curran, T Curran, Rashid, Wood. Livingstone and Parkinson were players many would have wanted to see who were left on the bench. India handed debuts to K Pandya and Krishna, with KL Rahul named as wicket keeper. Their team was: Sharma, Dhawan, *Kohli, Iyer, +Rahul, H Pandya, K Pandya, Thakur, Kumar, K Yadav, Krishna. Morgan won the toss and chose to bowl.

INDIA’S INNINGS

Dhawan played superbly in the early part of the innings, but England also bowled decently and with 9.3 overs to go India were 205-5 with Krunal Pandya on international debut joining KL Rahul. Both these players batted beautifully, England bowled very poorly in the closing stages, a recurring problem for the current outfit, and the total mushroomed to 317-5 by the end of the innings.

ENGLAND’S RESPONSE

Roy and Bairstow began superbly, and at 135-0 in the 14th over that target of 318 was looking manageable. Then Roy fell for 46, his fourth recent instance of getting to 40 and not completing a half century. Stokes was unable to get going at all, Bairstow lost momentum due to the problems at the other end and missed out on his century, and as wickets continued to fall England looked a panic-stricken side. Moeen Ali hinted at a late revival with 30, but when he and then Sam Curran fell in short order to leave Tom Curran, Rashid and Wood nearly 80 to score between them the writing was well and truly on the wall. England were all out for 251, beaten by 66 runs. The debutant Krishna had 4-54, the best figures of the day, but the most significant contribution was from the experienced Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who had figures of 2-30 from nine overs, applying the squeeze at a crucial stage. Roy and Bairstow gave England an excellent platform, but once wickets started to fall no one was able to steady the ship, and the cold hard truth is that England lost all ten wickets for 116 runs on a flat pitch.

LOOKING AHEAD

The batting, Roy and Bairstow apart, looks unreliable. Billings and Morgan are both injury worries, and I think Livingstone has to come in- Stokes did not look comfortable at three, while Livingstone habitually bats high in the order. Among the bowlers Tom Curran has to go – he has taken one wicket in his last nine ODIs, and if you are not taking wickets you have to keep it tight, and he is not doing so at present – India scored 63 off his ten overs without having to exert themselves to punish him. Personally I would be inclined to change the balance of the attack and bring Parkinson in to replace him, but could accept the alternative of selecting Reece Topley in his place. India would inevitably look to target Parkinson if he was selected and I would counter that by giving him the new ball because openers sometimes struggle when confronted with spin first up. I am not going to call for Morgan to go just yet, but he could do with a decent score some time soon, and he needs to a little less inflexible – perhaps the occasional decision to bat first when he wins the toss, and perhaps giving more consideration to certain players.

GEOLOGY CORNER

Courtesy of twitter (in the form of Science, Space & Nature) I can provide some film of a volcanic eruption on Iceland (please click picture link below to view):

Collapsing Crater 🌋🇮🇸✨
•
the first eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula in over 800 years, situated in Geldingadalur by Festarfjall mountain. Definitely the most surreal thing to ever experienced. You could feel extreme heat coming from the lava
Credit: h0rdur/IG pic.twitter.com/rLZR2Ec9LH— Science, Space & Nature (@ScienceIsNew) March 23, 2021

From the Natural History Museum twitter feed comes some info about the first ever Geological Map of a country (Great Britain) – see screenshot below, and click here for more.

I end this section with a picture of one of the maps on display in my bungalow, an old palaeontological map of Great Britain and Ireland:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Accepting Extra Walking: Hampton Court Palace

An ‘accepting extra walking’ post focussing on Hampton Court Palace, an answer to mathematical teaser I set on Saturday and lots of photographs.

Before I get into my latest ‘accepting extra walking’ post, I need to stress something. At the moment very few places are actually open, and travelling for leisure purposes is just not on. People wanting to put some of these ideas into action will need to keep an eye on the changing situation, and make sure that it is safe to do so before making the attempt.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE AS CENTRE OF A DAY OUT

Hampton Court Palace (I use the full designation because there is a Hampton Court in King’s Lynn and I also know of one in Worcestershire, and the palace, originally built for Cardinal Wolsey when he was at the zenith of his power is the parvenu of the three) is served by its own station, just across the river Thames from the palace itself, the terminus of a suburban railway that runs out from Waterloo via Wimbledon and Surbiton. Other stations within easy walking distance for starting your return journey are Teddington, Hampton Wick, Hampton and Kingston. More ambitious walkers might consider heading on through Richmond Park, aiming for Richmond, or even walking all the way to Putney or Wimbledon – all of these longer walks I have mentioned being scenic in nature. The Richmond Park route would also offer a diversion to have a quick look at Ham House.

This corner of Surrey/ south west London would well repay a visit so long as circumstances allow. There are many ways I could do from King’s Lynn assuming it was safe to do so. The quick route would be to change at King’s Cross to the Victoria line and change at again at Vauxhall to a train bound for Hampton Court. The journey back would be similar, though if I had gone for Richmond I might well rather than use mainline railways take the District to Hammersmith and then the Hammersmith & City to King’s Cross, while if I gone hyper ambitious and walked all the way to Wimbledon I might have got a Thameslink train to King’s Cross or extended that walk by a few more minutes to South Wimbledon and got on a Northern line Bank branch train, again going direct to King’s Cross.

I conclude this section of the post with some map pictures, from my battered old A-Z and from google maps…

ANSWERS TO
SATURDAY’S TEASER

On Saturday I posed the following, taken from brilliant.org:

I mentioned that there had been complaints and a change of wording and asked you not just to solve the problem, but identify the complaints and decide whether said complaints were justified.

Brilliant is a mathematics website, and the question should be viewed in that light. This means that the correct container to select is the one that has nine litres of water in it. You fill the 18 litre container, top up your chosen 15 litre container and because 15-9 = 6, you now have in the 18 litre container 18 – 6 = 12 litres and are done. The complaints were based on the fact that one can measure out 12 litres with the aid of any of the four containers you are asked to choose from, but every other method requires multi step processes and wastes lots of water. Since it was being posed as a purely mathematical question the clarification that was added, specifying that the process be completed in the fewest possible number of steps was not strictly necessary, since for a mathematical question that should have been taken as read. Yes, there may well be genuine grounds for choosing any of the other options, but those grounds are not mathematical, and in any case ethical considerations should lead one in the direction of conserving water.

PHOTOGRAPHS

We end with my usual sign off…

India Take T20I Series

A look at today’s events in Ahmedabad, a mathematical challenge, a new nature themed project and some photographs.

I have a couple of bonus features as well as an account of goings on in Ahmedabad today.

THE PRELIMINARIES

England were unchanged once again, while India chose to give themselves an extra bowling option, selecting T Natarajan in place of KL Rahul. Kohli moved up to open with Rohit Sharma. Eoin Morgan won the toss and chose to bowl.

THE INDIAN INNINGS

Rohit Sharma batted magnificently, scoring a rapid 65, getting out when seemingly nailed on for a century and more. Kohli played the anchor role to perfection and there were explosive contributions from Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, promoted on account of his big hitting. India reached 224-2 from their 20, with no England bowler escaping. The highlight for England in the field was a dismissal that appears in the scorebook as C Roy B Rashid, one of the most misleading such entries in cricket history – the wicket was in fact almost solely down to Chris Jordan who ran round the boundary, made an amazing catch and had the presence of mind to realize that his momentum was taking him over the rope and the skill to lob the ball to Roy before that happened. It was a piece of fielding genius to stand with any in the game’s long history.

THE ENGLAND RESPONSE

Roy fell early, but Buttler and the much maligned Dawid Malan batted well for a time, and kept England in the hunt in the process. Both went past 50, Buttler making 52, and Malan going on to 68, in the process of which he became the quickest ever to complete 1,000 T20I runs, getting to that landmark in his 24th innings in that form of the game, two innings fewer than the next best, Babar Azam. However, both were out in quick succession and England soon dropped out of the hunt thereafter. In the end they were 188-8 from their 20, beaten by 36 runs. The crucial intervention on a day which saw 412 runs scored came from Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who took 2-15 from his four overs. Absent him 397 runs came of 36 overs, a rate of 11.03, while he went for 3.75 per over. He has quite correctly been named Player of the Match. More details of today’s events can be found here.

A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

As so often with these, my source is brilliant.org, but I am being a little unorthodox this time – they changed the wording of their question following complaints, and I am reverting to the original:

You can see this question in its original setting here, but I also have two subsidiary questions: a) what complaints do you think led to the wording being changed? b) Were those complaints actually valid given that this was posed as a mathematical not a philosophical question. Full explanations and answers on Monday.

NATURE AND PHOTOGRAPHS

As a segue into my usual sign off, I include a link to a twitter project being run by my friends Team4Nature. Below is a screenshot to explain things, while the tweet can be seen by clicking here.

Time for my usual sign off…

T20I Series in India Goes to a Decider

An account of today’s #INDvENG T20I cricket match and a solution to yesterday’s mathematical teaser, plus some photographs.

This post looks at an extraordinary game of cricket that has just taken place in India. I also provide a solution to the mathematical conundrum from brilliant.org that I posed yesterday and of course a few photographs.

THE PRELIMINARIES

England were unchanged, India had two changes. Ishan Kishan had a minor injury and was replaced by Suryakumar Yadav. Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped and replaced by another leg spinner, Rahul Chahar. Eoin Morgan won the toss and chose to bowl.

THE INDIAN INNINGS

Neither of India’s openers were massively convincing, and Kohli at no 4 also failed with the bat. However, Suryakumar Yadav played a quite magnificent innings, at one stage threatening to record a century, and Rishabh Pant also played very nicely. India put up 185-8 in the end, a total that looked defensible but not unassailable. Jofra Archer took four wickets, Mark Wood was also impressive, but Adil Rashid had an off day for once, and Jordan, Stokes and Curran were all unimpressive as well.

THE ENGLAND RESPONSE

Buttler failed, Malan got a bit of a start but did not go on, Roy reached 40 for the third time of the series and for the third time of the series got out with a seriously big score apparently beckoning. Bairstow and Stokes batted well together before Bairstow was out, and then it looked like Stokes and Morgan were taking England close. However, both fell to Thakur in consecutive deliveries at the start of the 18th. Curran and Jordan played decently for the rest of that over, but then Curran fell in the 19th. A four off the last ball of the 19th by Archer reduced the requirement to 23 off the final over. Thakur, who had put India in command with his bowling at the start of the 18th now lost his bearings and at one point the ask was down to ten off three balls, but then he regathered his nerve, and India emerged victorious by eight runs, setting up a final game decider on Saturday. Although the standard of play was high an both sides it is not really acceptable for 40 overs of cricket to occupy four and a quarter hours of playing time as happened today.

SOLUTION TO A TEASER

Yesterday I set you the following:

In total there are 512 small cubes in the structure. Of these 216 (6x6x6) are purely internal and therefore unpainted, eight are corner cubes and painted on three faces, which leaves 288 cubes painted on either one or two faces. The cubes painted on one face are those in the centre of each visible face, which number 36 on each face = 216 in total. This leaves 72 cubes painted on two faces, and 216 – 72 = 144. For a cube with side length n, there will eight corner pieces, (n-2) ^ 3 centre pieces that are thus unpainted, 6 ((n-2)^2) pieces that are painted on one face only and 12 (n-2) pieces that are painted on exactly two faces. Though these equations only start to work once n is greater than 2 – a 2 x 2 x 2 cube has eight blocks each of which are painted on three faces.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…