All Time XIs – Match Ups 47

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. Today starts with the Ls in the spotlight, with a score of 77 out of 105 and ends with the Ms taking their place there, having garnered 49.5 out of 60 points in the match ups in which they are alphabetically second.

THE Ls V THE Ws

The Ls have the better opening pair, but the Ws win the batting match uops at three, four, five, six and seven, though the Ls have the better keeper. The Ls have an advantage in pace/seam bowling, although Whitty’s left arm somewhat negates that. The Ws win the spin bowling, especially given that they have a third option in that department in Woolley. I think the Ws have this one, but not by a huge amount: Ls 2, Ws 3.

THE Ls V THE Xs

The Ls win all departments save keeping, where BoX outranks Langley, making this one very straightforward: Ls 5, Xs 0.

THE Ls V THE Ys

The Ls have the better opening pair and just win the match up at number three. The Ys win at number four. The Ys win the batting element of the match up at number seven, though Langley has to rate as the finer keeper. The Ls are massively ahead in pace/ seam bowling and also win the spin bowling, though less conclusively. The Ls are well clear overall and I see no possible scoreline other than Ls 5, Ys 0.

THE Ls V THE Zs

The Ls absolutely dominate the batting, have the better keeper, the better captain, by far the better pace/ seam bowling and the better spin bowling: Ls 5, Zs 0.

THE Ls FINAL SCORE

The Ls scored 17 points out of 20 in these last match ups, giving them a final total of 94 out of 125, 75.20% overall.

THE Ms V THE Ns

The Ms have the better opening pair by far, though the Ns win the batting match ups at three and four, albeit Macartney offers a genuine bowling option. Miandad blows Dave Nourse out of the water at number five, Miller outbats Noble and outbowls Sarfraz Nawaz, while both captains are superb. Nixon outbats Marsh, but the legendary Aussie was undoubtedly the greater keeper. Marshall and McGrath clearly outrank Ntini and Nortje as a new ball pairing. Muralidaran massively outranks Noble as an off spinner, and Mahmood’s leg cutters have no equivalent in the opposition ranks, while for all his status as a no3 batter, Macartney’s left arm spin outranks that of Nadeem. The Ms are at least a match for the Ns batting wise, and massively superior in bowling: Ms 5, Ns 0.

THE Ms PROGRESS REPORT

The Ms now have 54.5 out of a possible 65 points, 83.85% overall.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups 45

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. Today the Ls enter the spotlight, with 40.5 of a possible 55 points banked from the teams who are alphabetically ahead of them.

THE Ls V THE Ms

Considered purely an averages the Ls have the better opening pair, but 1) Labuschagne is batting out of position, 2)Morris and Merchant both played on uncovered pitches, Labuschagne didn’t, 3)Merchant’s test average is reduced by the fact that his career at that level was so very spread out – he played 10 test matches, spread over 18 years, with a world war in the middle, and in FC cricket where he played on a much more regular basis he averaged 71, second only to Bradman. In view of all of these considerations I give the Ms the better opening pair. The Ls have much the better number three, but Macartney compensates by offering a bowling option. Number four goes to the Ms, as does number five, though Lloyd rates above Miller as a captain. Miller wins the number six slot batting wise, and is of similar standard with the ball to Lindwall. Marsh comfortably wins the battle of the keepers. Both sides have superb new ball pairs, Laker and Murali are two titans of off spin bowling, while I think Langridge offers the Ls more variation than Mahmood does the Ms. I think the key here is Macartney, and for that reason I score this Ls 1.5, Ms 3.5

THE Ls V THE Ns

The Ls dominate everywhere except at number four batting wise. They also have the better keeper, a better pace attack and a better spin combination, while it is about even on captaincy. I see no way for the Ns to offer any sort of a challenge and score this one Ls 5, Ns 0.

THE Ls V THE Os

The Ls dominate, though the Os do boast the better keeper, and they have a more varied bowling unit. Still, this cannot be seen as other than exceedingly one sided: Ls 5, Os 0.

THE Ls V THE Ps

The Ls, the caveat about Labuschagne’s position notwithstanding, have the better opening pair, number three is a clash of cricketing titans, the Ps win the number four slot hands down and are marginally ahead at number five. Pant wins the batting element of his match up, though Langley was the finer keeper. Procter wins his batting match up, and probably rates close to Lindwall as a bowler. Lillee and Lohmann outrank S and P Pollock, and while Parker was a finer spinner than Langridge, Laker outranks Prasanna. I make the Ps a little stronger in batting, and the Ls stronger in bowling, and thus give the Ls the verdict: Ls 3, Ps 2.

THE Ls V THE Qs

Here the Ls absolutely dominate. The have the better batting by far, the better captain by far, the better keeper, they are utterly dominant in the pace bowling department, and though they have only two spin options to the Qs three those are the two best spinners on either side, thus there can be only one result: Ls 5, Qs 0.

THE Ls PROGRESS

The Ls have scored 19.5 out of 25 today, which moves them on to 60 out of 80, 75% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

This photo gallery comprises pictures taken between Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where I attended this morning for glaucoma tests. I compromised on the journey, using the bus on the way in but walking all the way home, hence the fact that the first pic is in hospital grounds.

All Time XIs – Match Ups 42

Continuing my extended analysis of how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another, ushering the Ks into the spotlight.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my extended analysis of how my teams fare against one another. Today the Ks enter the spotlight, with 37 of a possible 50 points banked from the matches against teams who precede them alphabetically.

THE Ks V THE Ls

The Ls have the better opening pair, though their advantage there is lessened by the fact that one of their openers is batting out of position. The Ls also have the better number three. However, Kallis outranks Lloyd with the bat, and offers an extra bowling option not available to the Ls. Both sides have excellent captains. The Ks win the wicket keeping battle. Lindwall, Lillee and Lohmann are a match for I Khan, King and Kortright, while Laker and Langridge are a better balanced spin combo than R Khan and Kumble. This is a proper battle, but I think Kallis just tips the scales the Ks way: Ks 3, Ls 2.

THE Ks V THE Ms

The Ms have much the stronger opening pair. The Ks win the number 3-5 slots, though number four only on sample size. Each side has one recognized bowler in their top five, and for my money Macartney outranks Kallis in that department. Miller against I Khan is just about the ultimate in match ups between fast bowling all rounders. The Keepers battle is also a clash of titans. Marshall outranks King as a bowler, but King is clear with the bat (King’s record in his era translates to averaging 30 with the bat and 23 with the ball on covered pitches). At the moment, though this is subject to change as the Afghan develops Mahmood outranks R Khan as a bowler. Murali outranks Kumble as a bowler. McGrath comfortably wins his match up against Kortright. The Ks, with their super powerful engine room at nos 3-5, and King at eight outranking Marshall in that department may just win the batting, but the Ms comfortably win the bowling. I make this a slightly more comfortable than regulation win for the Ms: Ks 1.5, Ms 3.5.

THE Ks V THE Ns

The Ks boss the top batting, with only Dudley Nourse close to his opposite number in that department among their top five. The Ks also have the better keeper, far the better pace bowling unit and the better spinners. Only in captaincy, where Noble is a worthy rival to I Khan to the Ns even come close, and that will not save them: K5 , Ns 0.

THE Ks V THE Os

The KO clash is indeed a KO – in the Ks favour. Oldfield, O’Reilly and Olivier win their match ups for the Os, but the other eight all go very comfortably in favour of the Ks. This has to be scored as Ks 5, Os 0.

THE Ks V THE Ps

The Ps have the better opening pair, although not by much, especially given that the one person who could claim to have sorted Ponsford out was an express paced bowler, Larwood. The Ks have two such, Kortright and I Khan, plus King who was also pretty sharp. Ponting and G Pollock win the number three and four slots more conclusively, Kallis winning the number five slot, and offering an extra bowling option into the bargain. Pant outbats Kirmani, but the older Indian was probably the better keeper of the two. Procter against I Khan is another titanic clash of fast bowling all rounders on the same lines as Miller against I Khan. King and S Pollock are hard to pick apart, as are P Pollock and Kortright. Parker and Prasanna are a better balanced spin pairing than R Khan and Kumble, and probably just about outrank them anyway. I just give this to the Ps: Ks 2, Ps 3.

THE Ks PROGRESS REPORT

The Ks have scored 16.5 out of 25 today, moving them up to 53.5 out of 75, 71.33% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (12)

Continuing my analysis of how the all time XIs I have created for each legtter of the alphabet fare against each other. Also a two part photo gallery.

Welcome to the latest post in my series analysing how the all time XIs I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. The Cs are in the hot seat today, starting with 10.5 of a possible 40 points.

THE Cs V THE Js

The Cs have a theoretical advantage when it comes to the opening pair, but the Js openers were both regular openers, the Cs not so. The Js win the number three slot, narrowly lose the number four slot and lose the number five slot, though Stanley Jackson holds his own as skipper with Chappelli. Jones wins the battle of the keepers against Carter. The battle of the explosive all rounders between Constantine and Jessop is great clash, though based on their FC records, and Jessop’s famous innings at The Oval in 1902 I would say Jessop has the higher ceiling. Vallance Jupp outperforms Cornwall in both departments. While Cummins and Croft beat Johnston and S Jones as a new ball combo, Johnson is miles better as third seamer than Constantine, and the Js have back ups in the form of Jessop and FS Jackson better than any available to the Cs. Jayasuriya was not nearly as good a bowler as Chandrasekhar but Jupp’s superiority over Cornwall and Johnston’s ability to bowl spin at need more than counterbalance that issue. I score this as Cs 1, Js 4.

THE Cs V THE Ks

The Cs outpoint the Ks in the 1,2 and 4 batting slots, while the Ks win numbers 3 and 5. Imran Khan comfortably outpoints Constantine at six. Kirmani wins the clash of the keepers. King and Kortright are certainly a match for Cummins and Croft, with Imran a far better third seamer than Constantine, and Kallis available as further back up in that department for the Ks. Rashid Khan and Anil Kumble are sufficiently different in method to make up for the fact that both bowl leg spin. Kumble outranks Chandrasekhar if only because he achieved his figures over many more matches, and Rashid Khan is well ahead of Rahkeem Cornwall as a bowler. The Cs have a marginal advantage in front line batting, but that is well and truly obliterated by the all round skills of Imran Khan, Syed Kirmani, Bart King and Rashid Khan. In bowling the Ks win comprehensively and that leads to my score: Cs 0, Ks 5.

THE Cs V THE Ls

The Ls are ahead with the opening pair, especially since Lawry was the only regular opener among the four players involved. Lara comfortably beats Chappelli in the number three slot, Compton beats Laxman, G Chappell beats Lloyd, while Lloyd matches Chappelli on captaincy. Langridge wins the number six slot comfortably, Carter wins the battle of the keepers. Lindwall and Lillee are a good match for Cummins and Croft as a new ball pairing, Lohmann is a country mile clear of Constantine as third seamer, Laker as a bowler is way ahead of Cornwall, and Langridge is not far behind Chandrasekhar in that department. The Cs have an advantage in the top line batting slots, but the Ls win the bowling comfortably: Cs 1, Ls 4.

THE Cs V THE Ms

In theory the opening pairs are about equal, but in practice Morris and Merchant were both regular openers, whereas Chanderpaul and Cowdrey weren’t, and also Merchant achieved his test figures in a career that was dispersed over a long period of time, and his FC average of 71 suggests he was a better batter than his test record suggests. Chappelli is ahead of Macartney in the number three slot but only just. Compton outpoints Mead, but again not by much. G Chappell is similarly a fraction ahead of Miandad. Miller is far ahead of Constantine in the battle of the all rounders, though Chappelli outpoints him as skipper, Marsh comfortably outpoints Carter in the battle of the keepers. Marshall and McGrath are clear of Cummins and Croft as a new ball pairing, Fazal Mahmood is far clear of Constantine as third seamer, and with Miller also available in that department. Murali is far clear of Cornwall as an off spinner and while Macartney’s left arm spin is not the equal of Chandrasekhar’s leg spin he was once a match winner for his country with it. Add to that the fact that Fazal Mahmood was a master of the leg cutter and that Miller could switch to off breaks at need, and the Ms dominate the spin department as much as they dominate the pace department: Cs 0, Ms 5.

THE Cs V THE Ns

The Cs unequivocally win on opening pairs. Nurse beats Chappelli in the number three slot. Dudley Nourse beats Compton in the number four slot, but Dave Nourse comes a very distant second with the bat to G Chappell. Monty Noble wins the battle of the all rounders against Constantine, and matches Chappelli on captaincy. Nixon was better with the bat than Carter, but the Yorkshire born Aussie was probably the finer keeper. Cummins and Croft beat Ntini and Nortje as a new ball pair, but the back up options the Ns have in this department, Sarfraz Nawaz and Stan Nichols outweigh Constantine. While Noble outdoes Cornwall as an off spinner, Chandrasekhar comfortably outpoints Nadeem. The Cs are ahead on batting, behind on pace bowling and about even on spin bowling. I think the Ns bowling guns settle this in their favour but not by much: Cs 2, Ns 3.

Cs PROGRESS UPDATE

The Cs have accrued just 4 points today, from a possible 25, and are now on 14.5 out of 65 points, 22.31% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off has a variation today – it comes in two parts. Part one is pictures of last night’s full moon…

The second part of this sign off comprises some of my more regular photographs…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (3)

Continuing my analysis of my all-time XIs match up against each other. Today we look at the As against the Ls, Ms, Ns, Os and Ps.

Welcome to the continuation of my look at how my all time XIs for each letter of the alphabet match up against each other. Going into this post we have been through ten of the A XI’s match ups, and they are so far on 27 of a possible 50 points.

THE As V THE Ls

Among the top five batters the Ls have a clear advantage, even allowing for the fact that Labuschagne is out of position – only Laxman and Lloyd are not significantly clear of their opposite numbers. At number six we have a clash of left arm spinning all rounders. Shakib Al Hasan is ahead on the batting front, but there is very little doubt that Langridge was the finer bowler. While Langley was a better keeper than Ames he was a fraction of the batter that Ames was. Lindwall is outpointed by Akram, but Lohmann and Lillee are worthy adversaries for Ambrose and Anderson. Laker wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though he was a lot less of a batter than Ashwin.

Boiling it all down, The Ls have an advantage of the batting front, although their batting power is very top heavy, have the better keeper and are at least the equal of the As on the bowling front, and for my money definitely superior. There would probably be one occasion in a series when the As batting depth would count in their favour over the Ls top heavy power in that department, so I score it As 1 Ls 4.

THE As V THE Ms

Among the top five only Babar Azam for the As has a better batting average than his opposite number. Miller comes out slightly below Al Hasan on the batting front, way ahead on the bowling front. I suspect he was also the finer captain. Ames has an advantage on the batting front among the keepers, but Marsh was one of the greatest keepers ever to play the game. Marshall, McGrath and Mahmood a certainly a capable match for Akram, Ambrose and Anderson. Murali comfortably wins the battle of the off spinners on the bowling front, though Ashwin’s batting partly compensates for this. Additionally the Ms have a sixth bowling option, Charlie Macartney, who did win his country a match with the ball in hand. Miller once switched to off breaks on a Brisbane ‘sticky dog’, and took seven wickets, so even producing a raging bunsen for the benefit of Ashwin and Al Hasan might not be enough for the As. I find it hard to see any situation in which the As come out on top in this clash and accordingly score it As 0 Ms 5.

THE As V THE Ns

The As boss the opening combo. Nurse and Dudley Nourse outpoint Azam and Abbas, in one case by a minor margin in the other substantially. Azharuddin has a significant advantage over Dave Nourse. Al Hasan beats Noble with the bat, but the Aussie wins hands down with the ball and as a captain. Ames wins the battle of the keepers with the bat, and there is no huge difference in gkovework. Ntini, Nawaz and Nortje are comfortably outpointed by Akram, Ambrose and Anderson, and Nadeem is nowhere close to Ashwin in either department. The Ns do have an extra pace option in Nichols, but even that is not enough – The As have an overwhelming advantage in bowling and I expect that to tell in their favour: As 4, Ns 1.

THE As V THE Os

The As dominate this in all departments. The only member of the Os team the As would want in their own ranks is Bill O’Reilly. There can only be one scoreline here: As 5, Os 0

THE As V THE Ps

The opening pairs are closely matched here, the Ps dominate slots 3-5. Procter is massively ahead of Al Hasan as an all rounder – while the Bangladeshi has a better batting record, the Saffa is far ahead with the ball. Pant has a better batting average than Ames and is at least his equal with the gloves. Shaun Pollock is almost an exact match to Akram in terms of bowling figures and almost ten runs an innings better with the bat. Peter Pollock is beaten only by Ambrose among the As quick bowlers. Parker, a victim of selectorial malice in his playing days (a one cap wonder at test level in spite of that huge tally of FC wickets), is the best spinner on either side in this match, though Prasanna is outmatched by Ashwin. The Ps are stronger in batting, and Procter, S Pollock, P Pollock, Parker and Prasanna is not a definitely inferior bowling unit to Ambrose, Anderson, Akram, Ashwin and Al Hasan. I expect the Ps to win, and slightly more comfortably than a bare 3-2. Final score As 1.5, Ps 3.5.

As PROGRESS SO FAR

This has been a tough set of match ups for the As XI, and even with one 5-0 in their favour they score just 11.5 of a possible 25 points in this segment of the alphabet, putting them on 38.5 out of 75, a score of 51.33%, down from the 54% they were on going into this post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter L

A couple of pieces of news and a continuation of my exploration of the All Time XIs theme with a team whose surnames all begin with L.

Before I get to the main meat of this blog post – another variation on the all time XIs theme I have a couple of pieces of news to share.

HERITAGE OPEN DAY

Yesterday I got the news of my stewarding commitment for Heritage Open Day (Sunday 11th September), and I regard it as a plum posting: the Red Mount Chapel, between 10AM and noon. I have visited this remarkable place a number of times, including during last year’s Heritage Open Day.

PRESS COVERAGE OF WNAG

Your Local Paper have produced an article about the Beer Festival at Stewart House raising funds for the West Norfolk Autism Group.

Now we move on to the main meat of the post, a look at the greatest cricketers to have surnames beginning with the letter L.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

  1. Bill Lawry (Australia). A dour left handed opener, his test record speaks for itself.
  2. Marnus Labuschagne (Glamorgan, Australia). One of the best contemporary test match batters in the world. He generally bats at three, but I am moving up one place to open due to the number high quality batters I have to accommodate and the fact that there are not many regular openers of quality who had surnames beginning with L.
  3. Brian Lara (Warwickshire, West Indies). The only person to twice hold the world record individual score in test cricket and one of only two (Bradman being the other) to simultaneously hold the world FC and test record individual scores.
  4. VVS Laxman (India). A monumental 281 vs Australia in 2001 helped set up only the third instance of a team coming back from being made to follow on to win a test match. He was part of a massively strong middle order, playing alongside Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly in their prime.
  5. *Clive Lloyd (Lancashire, West Indies). A shoo-in for the captaincy of this side, as one of the two greatest West Indian skippers ever (Frank Worrell being the other). 110 test matches yielded him 7,515 runs, and he quite often only had to bat once because of the immense strength of his West Indies side.
  6. James Langridge (Sussex, England). A left arm spin bowling all rounder, his international opportunities were limited by him being a contemporary of Hedley Verity who had first dibs on the left arm spinner’s spot. Nonetheless his test averages were the right way round, while in the course of his long first class career he averaged 35 with the bat and 21 with the ball.
  7. +Gil Langley (Australia). One of the many great wicket keepers produced by Australia over the years. He was the first keeper to make as many as nine dismissals in a single test match, a feat later equalled by Rodney Marsh and bettered by Jack Russell.
  8. Ray Lindwall (Australia). One of the greatest of all fast bowlers and a handy enough lower order batter to have scored two test centuries.
  9. George Lohmann (Surrey, England). The cheapest wicket taking average of anyone to have claimed 100+ test wickets – 110 at 10.75 each, also by far the quickest strike rate of any taker of 100+ wickets at that level – one every 34 balls.
  10. Jim Laker (Surrey, Essex, England). For my money the greatest off spinner ever to play the game. 193 wickets in 46 test matches, at 21 a piece. His absolute peak was the 1956 Ashes when he took 46 wickets at 9.60 a piece in the series, including a test AND FC record match analysis of 19-90 at Old Trafford. In the tour match for Surrey v Australia he took 10-88 in the first innings of the match, bowling 46 overs on that occasion. His most shattering single piece of bowling came at Bradford in 1950 when playing for England against The Rest he took 8-2 (one of the singles being a gift to Eric Bedser) as The Rest collapsed to 27 all out.
  11. Dennis Lillee (Northamptonshire, Australia). A former holder of the record for most career test wickets – 355 in 71 test matches. He was at least two great bowlers – a fire and brimstone quick in his younger days, and a superbly accurate fast-medium bowler late in his career.

This team has a strong top five, albeit one of them batting out of position, a great all rounder, a great keeper and four great and well varied bowlers. Two genuine quicks in Lindwall and Lillee, a very crafty medium pacer in Lohmann, Laker’s off spin and Langridge’s left arm spin represents a strong and superbly balanced bowling attack.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

I considered two specialist openers in addition to Lawry. John Langridge, brother of James, scored 76 first class hundreds and tallied over 34,000 FC runs but never gained an England cap. The other possibility, as a rebuke to Cricket South Africa for their treatment of her, was Lizelle Lee, hounded into international retirement by her board. However, although I recognize that there is an element of a gamble in playing a regular number three as an opener I would challenge any who insist on selecting one of these openers to say who out of Lara, Laxman and Lloyd you will drop to accommodate Labuschagne in his preferred number three slot.

Another fine middle order batter who had to miss out was the little West Indian battler Gus Logie.

The choice of James Langridge as all rounder meant that two high quality left arm spinners missed out: Tony Lock and Jack Leach. Left arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott may well merit consideration for this XI in a few years time, but he has played very little long form cricket as yet.

The best quick bowlers to miss out were Bill Lockwood and Harold Larwood. Lockwood was one of the pioneers of the slower ball, but as fine a cricketer as he was he could not dislodge Lindwall. Harold Larwood had one great test series (the 1932-3 Ashes when he claimed 33 wickets), but otherwise a fairly ordinary international career, and could hardly therefore be seen as a challenger to the consistent excellence of Lindwall and Lillee. Brett Lee was quick but somewhat erratic, reflected in his slightly high test bowling average. Geoff Lawson had a patchy career and was not worth serious consideration.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Our look at the letter L is at an end and it remains only to produce my usual sign off…

100 Cricketers: 4th XI Numbers 3,4 and 5

A continuation of my “100 cricketers” series, dealing with numbers 3,4 and 5 in my 4th XI and containing some photographs and a bonus feature.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, dealing numbers 3,4 and 5 in my 4th XI. Having taken the bowlers out of position for reasons made clear in that post I will be finishing the 4th XI with the all-rounders, in which post I will also introduce the 5th XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the post in which I introduce the 4th XI here. We go straight to the business area of the post today with…

SUZIE BATES

I have commented before on the lack of test cricket played by the women, and the fact that Suzie Bates has played none of this form of the game (though over 100 times in each of ODIs and T20Is) demonstrates this point starkly. Her averages are the right way round however, and both are very respectable (42.64 in ODIs and 30.69 in T20Is). Her right-arm medium pace is very much secondary to her batting, but averages of 33.29 per wicket in ODIs and 24.67 per wicket in T20Is show that it is not entirely negligible. She has 10 ODI centuries to her credit with a best of 168. 

BRIAN LARA

The only man ever to hold world records for the highest test and first-class individual scores simultaneously, and the only one to set the world test record twice (375 at Antigua in 1994 and 400 not out at Antigua again in 2004, Matthew Hayden having battered 380 against Zimbabwe at Perth in the meantime, being his two test records – I heard commentary on both, England being the victims on each occasion, the latter of which still stands, as does the 501 not out he scored for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994). A caveat against these three huge scores is that all came in drawn matches – the team had no opportunity to push for the win. In the case of the Warwickshire innings he actually asked his captain not to declare as he fancied going for the record (this is one of the incidents recorded by said captain, Dermot Reeve, in his book Winning Ways). The pitch at St Johns where he played the other two innings (the second match was relocated there after the brand spanking new Sir Viv Richards stadium was discovered to be unfit for play) is notorious for its flatness, to the extent that it has been joked that the prisoners who help to prepare it (it adjoins the prison) should made to bowl on their creations since they are supposed to be being punished.

However, Lara has also played a number of high quality match-winning innings in all forms of the game. He remains the West Indies leading test run scorer with 11,953, just ahead of Shivnarine Chanderpaul who racked up 11,867 in his very different style.

V V S LAXMAN

After his amazing 281 which, helped by 180 from Rahul Dravid and some excellent off-spin bowling from Harbhajan Singh turned the Kolkata 2001 test match on its head, leading only the third (and at the time of writing last) occasion on which a team following on went on to win a match (Sydney 1894, England victorious by 10 runs and Headling 1981, England beating Australia by 18 runs were the other two) it was said that those initials stand Very Very Special – actually they stand for Vangipurappu Venkata Sai. Undoubtedly that V V S was the best recognised set of initials post “W G” (these stand alone and unchallengable as the most recognisable initials in sporting, never mind cricket history) until A B De Villiers and M S Dhoni came along. 

Only one of my top five in this XI is left handed – Lara, but as you will see when I deal with the two I selected as all-rounders there is still a frontline left handed batter to come.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LINKS

When I saw a post on whyevolutionistrue titled “An Underground Map of Science” I was naturally intrigued at a juxtaposition of two favourites. I reproduce the map below, linking to the WEIT post, and the original map, from crispian.net can be viewed here (requires scrolling as it is bigger than the screen).

scimap.jpg

I conclude this post with some of my own photographs:

P1210952P1210955P1210956P1210957P1210958P1210959P1210960P1210961P1210962P1210964P1210965P1210966P1210968P1210971

100 Cricketers – Third XI Opening Batters

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series and using the photography section to mention an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers“. Today, having finished the second XI we start going through the third XI, with the opening pair. For those who are new to the series and would like to catch up here are the most important staging posts so far:

  1. The post in which I introduced the whole series.
  2. The post in which I completed my coverage of the firxt XI and introduced the second XI.
  3. My most recent post, in which I completed my coverage of the second XI and introduced the third XI

CHAMARI ATAPATTU

She owes her presence in my list to one innings , but what an amazing innings it was. In the 2017 Women’s World Cup, facing one of the pre-tournament favourites Australia she scored 178 not out. None of her team mates were able to handle the strong Aussie bowling attack – her dominance of this innings is reflected in the fact that Sri Lanka as a whole tallied only 255. 

As a one-person show it had few precedents (Viv Richards, 189 not out in a total of 272-9 v England at Old Trafford in 1984 and Kapil Dev, 175 not out coming in at 9-4 to get India to an ultimately winning 266-8 v Zimbabwe in the 1983 world cup are two that come to mind, while in test cricket there was Graham Gooch’s 154 not out at Headingley in 1991 which got England to 252 all out). Unfortunately for Atapattu her amazing innings was not quite enough – Australia won the match in spite of it. A full account of the match can be read here.

The England Women are starting a series in Sri Lanka this Saturday, and I for one hope for more fireworks from Atapattu during it. 

VIRENDER SEHWAG

One of the select few batters to have scored two test match triple hundreds (Don Bradman, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle are the others), and alone in having scored 100 runs in each session of a test match day (Bradman’s 309 on the opening day at Headingley in 1930 saw him score 220 not out in the first two session and then add a mere 89 in the third), Sehwag’s aggression has been well an truly backed by results. I remember a series opener between India and England when India needed 384 to win in the fourth innings of the match and a very rapid innings from Sehwag completely knocked the stuffing out of England, enabling India to win with considerable ease.

He also bowled occasional off-spin, with his batting and bowling averages being just the right way round, although it would be a risible over-statement of the case to describe someone who paid 47 runs per wicket as an all-rounder. 

Finally, as a right-handed bat he contrasts nicely at the top of the order with the left-handed Chamari Atapattu, meaning that opponents of this XI would face a varied challenge right from the start. 

In my next post in this series I will cover nos 3, 4 and 5, and given who two of those are, and who I have down at number 6, I think most would agree that the luxury of an all attacking opening pair is one that this XI can well afford.

PHOTOGRAPHS

This morning was an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning, using a new venue, a Caribbean Soul Food establishment which has recently opened on Tower Street. It is an excellent space, and they were sensible about the background music – they did play some, even though it was a morning, but the volume was not too loud. There was a good tunrout, including several very welcome new faces, and I had an enjoyable morning getting away from my bungalow for a bit (something that has not been easy of late). Here are some photographs I took while I was there:

P1210844
In the summer months this seating area may suit us well, but today was definitely not the day for it!

P1210845

P1210846
The establihsment includes an art gallery.

P1210847P1210848P1210849P1210850P1210851P1210852P1210853P1210854P1210855P1210856P1210857P1210858P1210859P1210861P1210862P1210863

P1210866
Just across the street from the front entrance is this bakery which was also doing good business.

P1210867
This staircase is an impressive sight.

P1210868P1210869P1210870P1210871