Some thoughts on the second Ashes test at Lord’s and a lot of photographs.
The weather-hit second Ashes test at Lord’s ended yesterday evening, with Australia undoubtedly the happier of two sides to come away with a draw. This post contains my thoughts on the match and today’s announcement of an unchanged England squad for the third test, which gets underway on Thursday.
A GREAT TEST MATCH
A third of this match was lost to the weather and yet it was not far away from providing a definite result even so. England scored 258 in the first innings, Burns and Bairstow making fifites, and Denly producing a classic “Vince” – a well compiled 30. England bowled well to claim a slender first innings lead. Jofra Archer struck Smith a blow to the head, from which he briefly resumed, before getting out for 92 (progress for England after he had scored twin tons in the first test match). Smith did not take the field for England’s second innings and his place in the batting order was taken under the concussion rule by Manus Labuschagne. England did not start well – Roy and Root (who does not look to be relishing the no3 slot) both fell cheaply, Denly had a second “Vince” of the match, 26 this time round, and Burns fell for a gritty 29. However, Stokes in the company of first Buttler and then Bairstow dug England out of a hole and then propelled them to a declaration, being on 116 not out when England declared to set Australia 267 off 48 overs (a little overcautious – surely the declaration should have coincided with Stokes reaching the hundred). Archer was electrifying with the ball on this final afternoon and evening and Leach confirmed the rightness of selecting him as first spinner by taking three cheap wickets and comfortably outbowling Lyon, an absolute reversal of what happened with Moeen Ali in the first test match. Australia finished on 154-6 when Aleem Dar called time with three balls left in the match and four Aussie wickets standing (evidently he felt there was no chance of someone being stumped off a wide, then followed by a hat trick to finish it – and I can’t argue with that). A combination of overcaution on England’s part and the fact that, good is he is, Leach is no Underwood saw to it that the impossible did not quite come to pass, but this was still the second best match to take place at Lord’s this season.
England’s huge improvement in this match should not mask the fact that several problems remain in their line up. I am going to run down the list player by player with my thoughts (click on the player name to view their cricinfo details:
Rory Burns – his fighting efforts in both innings here, following his Edgbaston ton confirm that he has arrived at the highest level, meaning that there is now only one problem in the opening slots.
Jason Roy – I believe that it is right for England to persevere with him, but I do not see him as a test match opener – no3 or 4 is more like it. Both his dismissals in this match were down to bad batting and not good bowling.
Joe Root – it was right for England to move him up to no3, and such moves should be given a fair trial, but I for one will not surprised to see him back at no4 before too long.
Joe Denly – batted decently for a time in both innings but then got out (again his wickets were given rather than being taken, in both innings). If he has a longish term future at test level (bear in mind that he is already 32, ) I think it more likely to be as opener than no 4, however he would not be part of my long term plans.
Ben Stokes – his second innings century was a quite magnificent knock, starting cautiously, with England in trouble and then opening out as prospects of defeat faded. If England can accept that at test level he is not a front-line bowler, but rather someone who may bowl a few overs here or there I could see him batting higher up the order – he is technically excellent and has a full range of scoring shots at his disposal. Only Root in the current squad is definitely ahead of him on batting ability.
Jos Buttler– he played well in the second innings, when England badly needed it.
Jonny Bairstow – He had his best test match with the bat in some time, and there were no huge howlers behind the stumps. I still rate Foakesahead of him in both departments, but his return to form is welcome.
Chris Woakes – bowled well, and made a solid effort with the bat in the first innings.
Jofra Archer – a magnificent test debut, he was electrifying with the ball in his hand. He has taken to test cricket the way ducks took to 1990s England scorecards!
Stuart Broad – In the absence of Anderson (likely to be out for the series) he is leading the bowling attack, and his performance in this match was one of which he can be proud.
Jack Leach – He bowled well in this match, with his three second innings wickets being less than his bowling merited. As mentioned earlier he outbowled Lyon in this game, confirming along the way his status as England’s no 1 spinner.
England still have to find a second opener alongside Burns (Dominic Sibley has to be considered, there is still time to try my ultra-radical solution and as another outside bet, young George Bartlettof Somerset has had a fine season, plays fast bowling well and is better suited to long form cricket than limited overs stuff), unless Root starts delivering from there soon no 3 also remains a problem. There is also the question (and in the not distant future England will be playing somewhere where such a bowling attack is mandatory) of who will be second spinner (depending on how radical you are prepared to be I suggest either Matthew Parkinson, or for an attempt at a ‘mystery bowler’ option Helen Fenby). I would like to see Sam Curran and Lewis Gregory accommodated somehow as well. However, unquestionably after this performance England are looking in better shape than they were a few days ago.
England v Ireland and some of the things I have done this week.
I have a lot to share since I last posted, besides the situation in the cricket. However the first focus is indeed…
ENGLAND V IRELAND
England went into this test match with two test debutants, Jason Roy andOlly Stone(Lewis Gregory, in the 13, missed out for reasons beyond my comprehension). England won the toss and chose to bat. Some good bowling from Ireland and a terrible batting performance by England resulted in a total of 85 all out. Ireland were themselves all out before the end of day 1, and England sent Jack Leach into open with Rory Burns, shielding Jason Roy. Burns was out cheaply, but Leach and Roy shared an excellent stand that put England into credit, before both were out, Leach for 92. Joe Denly has just been run out as I write this, making England 194-4, a mere 72 to the good. Ollie Stone bowled well in his first test match, picking up three wickets. Burns deserves a little longer to prove himself, and Roy has one fine innings to his credit here, though I suspect that no 3 at test level suits him better than opening. I am unconvinced by Denly, who is nearer the end of his career than the beginning. I continue therefore to argue for the ‘Beaumontsolution‘ to England’s current opening woes. Bairstow had just completed a pair, plunging England into trouble. The successful bowler was Mark Adair, surely to acquire the nickname “Red” if he has not already done so, who along with the veteran Murtaghhas been Ireland’s best.
If England can put together another 80 or more the prospect of a fine finish remains, but at the moment I make Ireland strong favourites (and good luck to them, they have earned it).
THE KING’S LYNN FESTIVAL
Yes, it is festival time in King’s Lynn. I attended the first of two early music concerts on Saturday evening. It featured the London Handel Players, with a programme of:
Telemann – Concerto for Recorder and Flute in E minor
Vivaldi – Concerto for violin and cello in F major Il Proteo o sia il mondo al rovescio
William Herschel– Symphony for strings in F Minor (yes, he was also Astronomer Royal and a distinguished mathematician in his day)
Vivaldi – Flute Concerto in D minor Il Gran Mogol
J S Bach – Brandenburg Concerto no 4
It was an excellent and enjoyable evening, although the wine was overpriced even for such an event. The Herschel piece was not quite the equal of the others, but that is only to be expected given his other work.
NEW PHYSIO SESSIONS
I will be starting new physio sessions at Tapping House a week today. This will help with developing my fitness.
On Tuesday NAS West Norfolk had a steak night at The Globe near the Tuesday Market Place. I was given a lift both ways, and it was well worth it – the evening was excellent.
Celebrating the inclusion of Lewis Gregory in the England squad for the game against Ireland.
Some of my recent posts(particularly those about England test teams accommodating two spinners) have taken the inclusion of Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory as read…
IT IS NOW
Today on cricinfo I was delighted to see that on this occasion at least what is obvious to me has also proven obvious to Ed Smith (whose opinions matter rather more in the current scheme of things!) and Gregory is in the squad announced for the one off test match against Ireland next week. True, given what he has been doing for Somerset recently this was a totally obvious call, but anyone who has followed English cricket as long as I have knows that that does not necessarily mean that it will happen!
I am delighted that Lewis Gregory has been given the call-up and I seriously hope that he plays rather than winding up as drinks waiter. A second of my calls – Jason Royinto the test team off the back of a tremendous World Cup – has also been made by a higher authority. My biggest call of all has yet to be made, but ever the optimist I am not prepared to abandon it just yet.
A look at the permutations for the semi-finals of the Men’s Cricket World Cup (nb the inaugural Women’s Cricket World Cup took place in 1973, two years before the men got started), plus a shed,load of photographs.
The 2019 cricket men’s world cup semi-finals are all but sorted now. This post examines the possible permutations.
Afghanistan, The West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan are heading home after the group stage unless Pakistan can beat Bangladesh by 320 runs or thereabouts (due to the workings of “net run rates” Pakistan cannot go through if Bangladesh bat first).
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SEMIS
Barring an astonishing miracle result for Pakistan against Bangladesh the semi finals will be Australia v New Zealand and England v India. Three of these four teams definitely deserve to be there, while New Zealand are somewhat fortunate, and arrive in the semi-finals on a serious downturn having been thumped in their last two games, one by England.
SEMI FINAL 1: AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND
Australia will be heavy favourites for this one, having played well throughout, while New Zealand have been poor in their last two games. Although I would love to see New Zealand deliver a sucker punch to the Aussies I cannot see it happening, therefore my prediction for this one is that Australia will win and go through to the final.
SEMI FINAL 2: ENGLAND V INDIA
Having put themselves under pressure by indifferent early from England have hit top gear just in time, despatching India and New Zealand in their last two games, both by comfortable margins. India had already secured their place in the semifinals by the time they came up against England. In view of the record of chasing sides in this competition so far I reckon that whoever wins the toss must opt to bat first and get their runs on the board. If England win that toss and make the right decision I reckon that they will win, just as they did in the group game between the two sides. If India bat first they will be favourites but I will not rule out England completely even then. Overall prediction: England, but I would not put money on it.
Australia v England – This will depend heavily on the toss – if England get their runs on the board they will be favourites, likewise Australia. I think England would be marginally less likely to lose chasing than Australia, so by the thickness of a cigarette paper I make them favourites if this final materialises.
Australia v India –Again this will come down to the toss – assuming they make the correct decision whoever wins it collects the cup.
New Zealand v England – New Zealand would be cock-a-whoop at beating Australia but may also be unable having achieved that to summon up the resolve for one last effort, and based on the group game between the two I would make England firm favourites for this one.
New Zealand v India – India would be favourites for this one for the same reasons as England in the one above.
Of these potential finals I would most like it to be New Zealand v England, with England b Australia 2nd choice and New Zealand v India third choice. A win for either New Zealand or England would be a first in the men’s world cup, while for India it would be their third triumph and for Australia their sixth. A final thought: If the miracle happens in the Pakistan v Bangladesh game then I believe that sheer relief at managing to qualify will be enough to propel Pakistan to victory – in that circumstance they would be alone among the four semi-finalists in having no pressure on them.
Some thought’s on the cricket world cup 2019 and some pictures.
This is my first post for a while. I have lots of pictures to share. Aside from my continuing recovery from cancer (I have am expecting a date for my operation in the not too distant future, having recently had a pre-operation assessment) the cricket world cup has been centre stage for me since it got under on May 30th.
AN OVERLONG TOURNAMENT
Today is the 19th day of the tournament and the game currently taking place between Bangladesh and the West Indies marks the halfway point of the group stage (match 23 of 46). The reason why cricket world cups stretch on like this is because by and large only one match is scheduled per day (there have been a handful of days with two matches in this one, but very few), because the TV companies prefer it that way. During the last world cup I produced my idea for how to run a cricket world cup and not have it take such a ridiculously long time, and I reproduce that below:
THE SUTCLIFFE FORMULA
There has been much talk at the Cricket World Cup about how the tournament should be formatted, especially given that there are those who would reduce it to a ten team tournament (so utterly harebrained a notion that I do no more than mention it). Several of the associate nations at this world cup have given good accounts of themselves, with Ireland having a strong chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
My formula for a Cricket World Cup would be as follows:
16 teams to play in the tournament. Stage one would involve two groups of eight teams, the top four from each group progressing. Each group would play its matches in sets of four (hence two groups of eight), making seven rounds of matches for each group, to played on alternate days (i.e. this stage would span two weeks, with each side having a day off between matches.
After the group stage would be a three day break before the quarter-finals, which would be played all on one day. After a two day break the semi–finals would take place. Then following another two day break the final would take place. This would mean that the tournament would be played in a period of three and a half weeks (a sensible length for a global tournament).
As for the TV people: If they don’t like it they can lump it.
THOUGHTS ON WORLD CUP 2019
Apart from being miles too long once again this has been a good world cup so far. It has not featured the ludicrously high scoring some predicted, and the highest successful chase has been of a mere 244. That could go today however, as Bangladesh are 70-1 after 10 overs chasing 322 to beat the Windies.
A look at the ODI between England and Pakistan and the County Championship, a few other things including plenty of photographs.
The current round of County Championship matches are approaching their conclusions (some being already finished), and the ODI between England and Pakistan is at the halfway stage. This post looks at what is going on, starting with…
England won the toss and put Pakistan in. Pakistan have just finished their 50 overs on 340-7. This might look a good total, but England at this ground have recently scored 481 versus Australia and 444-3 against Pakistan, and that 340 is the lowest total of the series to date. Thus I expect England to chase these down trivially easily, just as they did when facing 358 a few days ago (they got home with over five overs to spare). Babar Azammade a hundred for Pakistan, but was slow by modern day standards, being only just better than a run a ball. There were four wickets for Tom Curran, albeit at a cost of 75 runs from his 10 overs. Now we move on to…
THE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
This is what is going on in the County Championship…
Kent v Yorkshire – Yorkshire 210 and 469, Kent 296 and 207-9.
A massive second innings by Yorkshire turned the tables on Kent, and the only question now is whether Yorkshire can get the wicket they need before time runs out. I fully expect them to do so. Ballancemade 159 in that Yorkshire innings. The Kent second innings has been a tale of batting failure, with Bell-Drummond top scoring with 41. Ben Coad has 5-48 so far.
Surrey v Somerset – Surrey 380 and 255-8, Somerset 398 – Match Drawn.
A combination of bad weather and decent batting by Surrey saved the defending champions in a match dominated by Lewis Gregory who must now be firmly on England’s Test team radar. Somerset did not try George Bartlett’s offbreaks even though Jack Leach had three second wickets with his slow left arm. Burns made 78 in the Surrey second innings and Will Jacks 54.
Warwickshire v Hampshire – Hampshire 354 and 302-5 declared, Warwickshire 233 and 109, Hampshire won by 314 runs.
Hampshire made early inroads into the Warwickshire second innings yesterday evening and comfortably finished the job today. Only youngster Robert Yates topped 20 in a dismal second innings effort by Warwickshire. The wickets were shared around the Hampshire bowlers.
Glamorgan v Gloucestershire – Glamorgan 250 and 481-8 declared, Gloucestershire 463 and 103-5 – Gloucestershire need a further 166 with five wickets standing and 16.4 overs remaining.
This looks like a marvellous recovery by Glamorgan thwarted by their unwillingness to risk defeat, which has led them to an overcautious declaration leaving insufficient time to get the wickets. Glamorgan’s recovery after being made to follow on was built on a partnership of 231 between Nicholas Selman (150) and Labuschagne(137), following an opening stand of 133 between Selman and Hemphrey(58). The fifth Gloucestershire wicket has just gone down, giving Glamorgan s shot at victory, although the draw is still favourite. Offspinner Kieran Bullhas two wickets in this fourth innings.
Middlesex v Leicestershire – Middlesex 349 and 223, Leicestershire 268 and 226-5, Leicestershire need 79 runs with five wickets standing. It is raining in London at the moment, which may baulk the fans of what should be a fine finish. Ackerman is 70 not out for Leicestershire.
Lancashire v Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire 230 and 200, Lamncashire 415 and 17-0, Lancashire won by 10 wickets.
Lancashire claimed the extra half-hour to attempt to finish this yesterday, but could not quite do so. However, they finished the job this morning. Gleeson picked up his second five-for of the match in the Northants second innings.
I have received my first European Election publicity – a leaflet from the English Democrats which I tore into tiny pieces and put in the recycling (they are absolute b**t**ds), and this from the Green Party:
It being a dull day today weather wise I have spent some of this afternoon mounting stamps for display:
An update on my slowly improving health, some of the recent cricket, a few interesting links and lots of photographs.
This post looks at my slowly but surely improving health and a few other things as well.
My last set of predictions did not work out too well. I was right on one, and wrong on two, albeit the second wrong one (Scotland/Afghanistan owing more to a D/L calculation that gave the match to Afghanistan when rain intervened with them needing 57 off 31 balls with seven wickets standing (it was the latter that helped Afghanistan), a target that they would almost certainly not have succeeded in chasing down had the match gone the distance. Had Middlesex started less dreadfully they may have borne out my prediction of a successful chase, since even after slumping to 24-5 they finished up not far short of the target. In the semi-finals, which took place yesterday, Somerset thrashed Nottinghamshire while Hampshire won a closer game against Lancashire. Thus the final will be between Hampshire and Somerset, with the former starting as favourites.
In the first match of their ODI series England beat Pakistan by 12 runs in an extraordinary game which saw 734 runs scored in 100 overs – England 373-3 from 50, with a very rapid century from Jos Buttler, Pakistan 361-9. Left-arm medium pacer David Willey bowled superbly in the closing stages to save England from potential embarrassmAent.
There are County Championship games starting tomorrow, so watch this space!
Yesterday I was feeling sufficiently good to venture somewhat further afield than for some time, although still not very far, going as far as the pond opposite Harewood Parade. Today I was again feeling good, and encouraged by the continuing sunshine did the same thing, although I had forgotten that BB Care were due to visit and missed them in my eagerness to get out. There is a long way to go, but things are definitely improving.
LINKS AND PICTURES
An article appeared in Saturday’s Times in which the head teacher of Stowe School (£38,000 per year to have your children educated there) had the cheek to complain about the fact that slightly more state school students are now getting into Oxbridge. Many have pitched into him, but the best evisceration of both him and the article came from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK: