I followed the paths onward from the Monet inspired bridge, taking a few detours along the way, until I arrived back near the entrance. I had brought food and water with me, and I consumed them at this point, and finished my book while waiting for the next stage of the day, the ride on the Pensthorpe Explorer.
The same question/challenge that I introduced yesterday’s photo section with applies today…
A look at today’s cricket action and a lot of photographs.
Today’s ODI between England and Pakistan is just past the half way stage. There are also fixtures under way in the county championship. This post looks at all the action.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
First the ODI:
England v Pakistan at Bristol – Pakistan 358-9 from 50 overs, Eng 46-0 after 7 overs.
Pakistan have put up a good total, but not one that is by any means out of England’s reach.Imam-ul-Haqwith 151 was the principal contributor. Chris Woakes took 4-67, a superb performance in the circumstances. I reckon England will chase these down.
With the close of play approaching on day 1 this is what is happening in the County Championship:
Essex v Nottinghamshire – Nottinghamshire 187, Essex 35-0.
This is looking good for Essex. Forties from Ben Slater and Joe Clarke were the only notable batting efforts for Nottinghamshire. Jamie Portertook 4-75 for Essex, while Simon Harmer had 2-20 from 17 overs, an extraordinarily economical performance for a spinner on day 1.
Kent v Yorkshire – Yorkshire 210 all out, Kent 114-4. Yorkshire were 96-6 at one point, but a lower-order fightback got them to respectability, and they have then bowled well. No Yorkshire batter topped 30 – Brook and Tattersall with 29 each were top scorers. Milnes took three wickets and Podmore two. Zak Crawley is going well for Kent, having passed 50. Tim Bresnan has taken two wickets for Yorkshire.
Somerset v Surrey – Surrey 325-6. Centuries from Rory Burns and Dean Elgar saw Surrey dominate most of the day, but late wickets for Somerset have brought them back into things. Lewis Gregorywith 3-44 has been by far the most successful bowler for Somerset.
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with nos 3,4 and 5 in my third XI. Also features some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Today we look at numbers 3, 4 and 5 in the third XI. For those who are new to the series, the introductory post can be seen here, the post introducing the third XI is hereand the most recent post in the series is here.
With an all attacking opening pair, a player of a different nature was indicated for the number The slot. Jonathan Trott’s adhesive qualities at number three were seen at their finest in the 2010-11 Ashes series, when he helped Alastair Cook to save the opening game in Brisbane, shared a partnership with Cook at Adelaide that set the stage for Kevin Pietersen to deliver a mighty slaughtering and was the rock around which England’s innings in Melbourne was built after Australia had slumped to 98 all out in their first innings. A double century in the series against India in 2011 that saw England claim the world number one test ranking was also noteworthy. Trott’s international career ended up being terminated by mental health issues, but before that happened he had done comfortably enough to prove himself a top test match batsman.
The Kolpak ruling, named in ‘honour’ of the Slovenian handball player responsible for its creation enables players born in foreign parts but having home qualifications through one or both parents. Jonathan Trott benefitted from this ruling to come to England in the first place, but he was clear from the outset that he intended to qualify by residence to represent England, did so and did very well. My real objections are to players who do not intend to make their skills available to the national side but do intend to come and play anyway. I refer both to players who are signed as easy space fillers but who have no real international pretensions and to players such as Jacques Rudolph, Kyle Abbott and Duanne Olivierwho had already played for their native land at full international level. Please note that I am not remotely bothered by birthplace or ancestry – I am concerned with who the players intend to make their skills available to.
A middle-order stroke player who averaged over 50 in test cricket, kept wicket regularly and occasionally had moments with his medium pace bowling, this man forms a neat counterpoint to those who immediately proceed and follow him. Shrewd observers will note that my numbers three and four are both right handed batters, which means that we need a second front-line left hander to go with Chamari Atapattu who is one half of an explosive opening pair, which brings us to…
With three of the top four very attacking in nature, someone who was a bit more of a sticker is called for at number 5. Hailing from one of cricket’s historic cradles, the area round Farnham where Hampshire and Surrey meet, the nuggety left hander averaged in the middle 40s for England at a time when dependable players of any description were at a huge premium for England. He started his international career with a debut century against Australia (had Graham Goochbeen more aggressive with his declaration England may well have won that match) and made runs all around the world thereafter. Eventually he made way for Pietersen, a middle-order batter of very different but just as successful type.
I finish with some of my recent photographs:
The first five pics were taken yesterday when ducks paraded outside my window (possibly fresh a West Indies scorecard!)
Obviously I was not going to miss out on this one!
An account of the 1st ODI between England and the West Indies.
After a test match series most of which is best forgotten England last night started the ODI series against the West Indies in emphatic style. I followed the action on cricinfo, since there was no live commentary.
A RUN FEAST
Chris Gayle, playing his last international series at the age of 39, clubbed a spectacular century for the West Indies. The problem was that although he was smashing sixes like the Gayle of old he was no longer able to run at any sort of speed, and as a result his overall scoring rate was not actually that quick by modern standards as there were too many scoreless deliveries there.
The early lead in England’s response to the West Indies 360 was taken by Jason Roy who pretty much matched Gayle for freedom of stroke play and was also able to run properly, with the result that his strike rate was colossally impressive. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan then took over once he was out, and just before the end Root reached the third inidvidual hundred of the day, while Ben Stokes made an unbeaten 20 at the end to ensure that there would be no final wobble. Root was out at the death, caught of a dreadful full toss that was only just a legal delivery, but England’s margin was six wickets, with eight balls to spare, and at no point during the England innings did the West Indies look other than second favourites.
Although Gayle had a higher score the player of the match award went quite rightly to Jason Roy whose innings put England firmly in the driving seat, a position they never subsequently relinquished. In a match in which 724 runs were scored in 98.4 overs Ben Stokes’ bowling figures (3-37 from 8 overs) were noteworthy. Chris Gayle’s 135 came off 129 balls, so just above 100 runs per 100 balls, while Jason Roy’s 123 occupied just 85 balls – a strike rate of over 140 runs per 100 balls. A full scorecard can be viewed here.
In the early hours of tomorrow morning UK time, the England women take on India in an ODI, while the second match of the series in the West Indies gets underway later the same day.
Pictures of ducklings exploring the Gaywood River.
I saw two broods of ducklings while on my way to a Musical Keys session on Saturday.
I was delighted to see the ducklings, particularly in that location, on the Gaywood River, where they are far enough from the Great Ouse that they should not fall victim to large and aggressive gulls (yes, gulls do target ducklings).
Links to some of the best pieces from today, includign several about autism, a solution, a problem and some photographs.
This post is divided into three main sections – a sharing section, because there has been some truly outstanding stuff come to my attention today, a problems and solutions section and some photographs.
I have already reblogged stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights, but I take the opportunity to point you all in that direction once again, complete with a jpg of the suggested Bill of Rights…
My remaining shares in this section are all from a new find…
Is Autism a Disability? A wonderful post which tackles head on some of the ways in which the conversation about autism is currently cooked against us from the start. I quote the closing lines of the post as an appetiser:
It’s a label that holds me down and pushes me into a box I can’t escape from. Give me some new words to define me. Or better yet, let me define myself.
Although not as dramatic as a few weeks back, The Walks, King’s Lynn’s best known park, is still somewhat lacustrine, which has led to it receiving a most unusual visitor – an Oystercatcher, a wading bird which would normally visit a park and for which King’s Lynn would be the extreme South of its possible living area…
As you will see there were a few other fine birds on show today…
Some thoughts on the recent test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, solutions to my lest set of puzzles and some photographs.
This is a two part post – first of all a bit about the test match that finally ended in a draw at about 6AM UK time, and then the companion to piece to “Puzzles and Pictures“, answering the puzzles posed there.
England had the better of Australia in the fourth test match of this Ashes series, but neither team stood a chance against the real winner of this drab affair – the MCG pitch which offered no assistance to any kind of bowler and was also so slow that batsmen could not play their strokes. Alastair Cook ended his poor run of form emphatically, with an innings demonstrating once again his astonishing powers of concentration. Australia without Mitchell Starc and on a pitch that was utterly lifeless looked an ordinary bowling unit.
At lunch on day 1 Australia were 102-0 with Warner going well and Bancroft surviving, but that was the only session of the game that Australia unequivocally won. Although wickets were in short supply on that opening day Australia reached the close at 244-3 – a definite failure to build on that fast start. The second day belonged to England – Australia were all out 327, losing their last five wickets for 13 runs and England in response reached 192-2, Cook 104 not out, Root 49 not out. The third day was also England’s – 491-9 at the end of it, with Cook 244 not out. On the fourth day rain intervened. Anderson lost his wicket to the first ball of the day, giving Alastair Cook yet another place in the record books – highest score by anyone carrying their bat through a complete test innngs, beating Glenn Turner’s 223 not out v West Indies. Bancroft and Khawaja were both out fairly cheaply, but when the rain finally halted proceedings for the day Australia were 103-2 with Warner and Smith in occupation. On the final day Warner fell 14 short of his second hundred of the game. Smith did reach his own hundred, after seven and a quarter hours, and then declared which officially ended the game as there was no time left for England to chase to 100 they would have needed to win.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a huge seating capacity, and the Boxing Day test is for that reason the best attended of all test matches. In particular, the Boxing Day Ashes test is habitually hugely attended. Because of the failure to produce a proper pitch the biggest crowds test cricket ever sees got a game that was not worthy of the occasion, and that is not acceptable. The MCG need to sort this out – on proper pitches test cricket can be the most fascinating of the three forms of the game, but on lifeless rubbish such as the MCG groundsman produced for this match it is a poor spectacle. The ICC (cricket’s global governing body) should come down on the MCG like the proverbial ton of bricks.
Alastair Cook’s epic innings deservedly gained him the player of the match award. A full scorecard and links to further detail about this match can be found on cricinfo. The final match of this series is in Sydney, starting on January 4th, and I sincerely hope that they produce a better pitch (they cannot produce a worse one – such a thing does not exist).
As we switch focus the the puzzles I presented a couple of days ago, here are some bird pictures from yesterday:
PUZZLE 1: LOGIC
As I said when I set it, this one is very straightforward. The key is that person B has said “I am the Knave”. The Knight cannot say this as it would be a lie, and the Knave cannot say it as it would be true, so the only person who can say “I am the Knave” is the Jester. Therefore the Jester is person B (note that both Knight and Knave can say “I am not the Knave”, so we cannot say which of A and C is which).
PHOTOGRAPHS – THE GREAT OUSE
PUZZLE 2: AREA CHALLENGE
The red sgements in the four corners of the shape are each half the size of the red segments along the sides of the shape, which in turn are each half the size of the blue shapes in the middle of the pattern. Thus counting the smallest segments as 1 there are (4 x 1) + (8 x 2) red segments = 20 red segments. Each blue shape in the middle comprises four segments and the are four of them = 16 blue segments. Thus the ratio of red area to blue is 20:16 = 5:4
PHOTOGRAPHS: THE WALKS
The Walks was still flooded yesterday, although less than it had been when I took my last set of pictures there two days previously.
PUZZLE 3: EVEN AND ODD
Instinct suggests that the answer should be no, but this is one of those occasions when one should mistrust one’s instinct. To demonstrate a solution (one of many along these lines), I choose as my three even numbers 6, 8 and 4 in that order. Six divided by eight is 0.75, and 0.75 x 4 = 3 = an odd number.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MUSCOVY DUCKS 1
The Muscovy duck that I had seen in The Walks recently was not there yesterday, so I finished my walk by heading towards the place where I had firstseen the species. I waqs rewarded when just on across Littleport Street from that location I saw the entire flock. Here are some of the pictures.
A Boxing Day post composed of pictures and puzzles – enjoy!
I have five puzzles to share (all via the mathematical website Brilliant– I am approaching a double century, my current solving streak now extending to 199 days) and photos that I have categorized in four groups. Therefore I will be interleaving puzzles and pictures.
PUZZLE 1: LOGIC
This is an easy one – Lestrade would probably solve it without amateur assistance!
PHOTOGRAPHS 1 – CAIRINA MOSCHATA
In preparation for the Christmas Day festivities I went for a walk yesterday morning, and many of the photos you will see were taken during that walk – others were taken at other times of the day. I first came across these birds when they were in a group near Kettlewell Lane, and since then I have seen a single specimen, in The Walks, on three separate occasions, most recently yesterday:
PUZZLES 2: AN AREA CHALLENGE
This one should not be too difficult either:
PHOTOGRAPHS 2: BUILDINGS
When everything is closed the opportunity is there to get unimpeded pictures of buildings that are usually busy.
PUZZLE 3: EVEN AND ODD
This is one is tricky rather than difficult per se – and only 37% of solvers on Brilliant managed to crack it:
PHOTOGRAPHS 3: LOCAL HISTORY
Recent renovations in the building that my aunt’s house is part of have revealed some very interesting little details, and I also got some interesting shots from the house of the person with whom we had Christmas lunch.
PUZZLE 4: A DIVISABILITY TEST
Not at all difficult, but very enjoyable to tackle:
PHOTOGRAPHS 4: WILDLIFE
We finish our photographs as we started, with a nod to nature:
PUZZLE 5: THE INVESTMENT EXPERT
We end with a fairly tough problem to which I have added an even tougher subsidiary question.
My follow up, adapted from a question raised by someone named Anne on Brilliant is this: What is the minimum initial deposit required to ensure that Fred’s money grows at a sufficient rate for him to become a trillionaire if he lives for as long as Earth remains an inhabitable planet (the increasing size and temperature of the sun will cause this in 1 billion years, assuming that some stupid species has not already done so,
Christmas report on the England men’s team, and some Muscovy duck pictures.
While the England Women’s team have had a fabulous year, thoroughly deserving to win Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards (and had there been any justice Anya Shrubsole would have been Sports Personality of the Year) life has been tougher for the men. The confirmation in the early hours of Monday morning UK time that the Ashes had been lost (yes folks, I was listening to TMS right to the bitter end) lies behind this post (going up now through a combination of thinking before I wrote and work commitments yesterday). I end as usual with some of my own photographs.
THE FIRST THREE TEST MATCHES
Gritty fifties from Stoneman and Vince on the opening day notwithstanding Brisbane was a bad match for England. The ease with which Warner and Bancroft knocked off the 170 needed to win in the second innings, and the immovability of Aussie skipper Smith in their first innings were the most worrying sings.
Adelaide kicked off with Joe Root deciding to field first when he won the toss. An Australian tally of 442-8D in the course of the first day and a half made that decision look worse than it was (it was still poor, though not down there with Nasser Hussain at Brisbane 2002). England were then all out for 227, and as this was as a day-night test with the night session due to start it seemed mandatory to enforce the follow-on, but Steve Smith declined to do so. Australia stuttered under the lights to 50-4, and England’s best bowling effort of the series so far continued the following morning reducing Australia to 138 all out, leaving England 354 to get. England made a decent fist of things, and at 170-3 it looked like they might just get them. Unfortunately both for England and for cricket as a whole (there are a lot of captains these days who almost automatically decline to enforce the follow-on, and had England chased down this target of 354 it might have made those people think) a wicket just before the close of day 4 and then a clatter the following morning put paid to that.
So it was on the Perth for the last Ashes game to be staged at the WACA (a new stadium just across the road will stage future Perth tests), a venue where England had only one once, way back in 1978. Precedents for a comeback from 0-2 down in a five match series are equally thin on the ground – the only successful example being Don Bradman’s 1936-7 Aussies (Bradman himself produced scores of 270, 212 and 169 in the third, fourth and fifth matches of that series, and also produced a tactical masterstroke in those days of uncovered pitches in that third test when faced with a terror track he sent in tail-enders O’Reilly and Fleetwood-Smith to miss everything until the close of that day – Bradman emerged the following day at 97-5 to join regular opener Jack Fingleton who had come at no 6, and with the pitch now eased they put on 346 for the sixth wicket to settle the issue), although 42 years earlier Australia had won the 3rd and 4th matches after being 0-2 down before England won the final game of that series.
England batted first in Perth, and at 131-4 a familiar pattern seemed to be emerging, but then Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow got going, and both made hundreds. Malan went on to 140. Once their 237 run partnership was broken the rest of the innings subsided quickly, but 403 still seemed a respectable total. When Australia were 248-4 England still looked in with a shout, but by the end of day 3 Australia were 549-4, Smith having set a new career best and Mitchell Marsh in front of his home crowd turning his maiden test hundred into 181 not out. Smith and Marsh both fell quickly the following morning, and Starc was also out cheaply, but Tim Paine and Pat Cummins made useful contributions, and Australia declared at 662-9, leaving England four and a half sessions to survive for the draw. By the close of that fourth day Bairstow and Malan were together once more, with the only convincing batting effort up to then having come from Vince, who played very well for his 55 and was unlucky to get an absolute brute of a ball from Starc.
It rained overnight, and the covers at the WACA proved inadequate, leaving a wet patch on a good length at one end, which delayed the start of the fifth day’s play. Root argued for an abandonment, while Smith of course tried to hasten the start of play. I fully understand why Root tried to get play abandoned, but actually I am glad he failed in the attempt – to keep a series alive in that fashion would have been deeply unsatisfactory. At Headingley in 1975 a delicately poised final day (Australia 220-3 needing 445 to win, and Rick McCosker five away from what would have been a maiden test hundred) was abandoned after protesters sabotaged the pitch (“George Davis is innocent” – according to Peter Chappell, namesake of two members of that Australian team, but not according to the courts, or his future record – released from that sentence for armed robbery, he was soon back inside for another armed robbery to which he pleaded guilty).
Once the game finally commenced it was soon obvious which way the wind was blowing, and for the third time in the space of a year (following two occasions against India last winter) England had managed to lose by an innings margin after tallying 400 first up.
ENGLAND PLAYER BY PLAYER
Alastair Cook: 150 tests, the last 148 of them in sequence – remarkable longevity. At the moment he is having a rough trot, and when Cook is having a rough trot (as he did in the early part of 2010) it is often hard to imagine where his next run is coming from.
Mark Stoneman: some gritty performances thus far, but he needs to start turning those fifties in to hundreds some time soon.
James Vince: to put it mildly a controversial choice for the crucial number three slot, and notwitshstanding two fine innings so far, one in Brisbane and one in Perth, he has not yet done enough to convince – see my closing comment about Stoneman.
Joe Root: would seem to be the latest in a long line of England players to suffer captaincy-itis, not only he is failing to make runs, he is getting out in un-Rootlike ways. England need his batting to be at its best, so perhaps someone else should be made captain (see later for my controversial suggestion).
Dawid Malan: his 140 at Perth and fighting effort in the second innings as well confirms his arrival as a test batsman of quality. Also, while it never looked threatening his part time leg spin was at least economical.
Jonny Bairstow: other than his first innings performance at Perth not thus far a great series for the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Moeen Ali: Fulfils a useful all-round role, although England offspinners have rarely been successful in Australia (the chief exceptions being Laker in 1958-9, Titmus in 1962-3 and Emburey in 1986-7). Also, if England do decide that Root needs to be replaced as captain to enable him to concentrate solely on what he does best – his batting – then Moeen would be my choice for the job.
Chris Woakes: Save for his bowling in the second innings at Adelaide he has not looked very threatening in this series. That game was also the scene of his only significant batting effort of the series so far. Right-arm medium fast when the ball is not deviating (and it generally doesn’t in Australia) simply will not trouble good batsmen.
Craig Overton: Looks like he belongs at this level, but my comments about Woakes’ style of bowling in Australian conditions also apply to him.
Stuart Broad: A nightmare series for him, not because he has bowled especially badly, though he has consistently been pitching it too short, but because he has looked completely unthreatening and has bowling figures that reflect that.
Jimmy Anderson: continues to climb the wicket taking charts. His 12 wickets at 25 apiece in this series, while all his colleagues have been taking drubbings is a remarkable effort in the face of adversity. I fully expect that in the early stages at Melbourne he will move ahead of Courtney Walsh in the wicket takers list (current Anderson 518, Walsh 519), leaving only Glenn McGrath among the quick bowlers ahead of him. He has bowled beautifully this series but with Broad off the boil his ‘support’ has simply not been up to standard.
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Before I get into this section let me clear that I do not believe for an instant that had the likes of Ben Stokes, Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones been available England would be doing a whole lot better. Certainly to be deprived of the services of three such excellent cricketers simultaneously is unfortunate but England are 3-0 down because they have been outclassed throughout this series (only in Adelaide to England ever look close to making a game of it – the Malan-Bairstow partnership in the first innings at Perth was the only other major period in the series to date in which England had the whip hand).
The good news for England is that their records at Melbourne and Sydney are better tahn their records elsewhere in Australia. While the batsmen need to score more runs, it is the bowlers who (Anderson apart) really need to pick things up – England have not yet taken 20 wickets in a match in this series, and at Perth they failed to even take 10.
I think England can pick themselves up and win at least one of the two remaining matches. In many ways it would be an injustice to Australia were England to win both and make it look respectable at 3-2 – this England side does not deserve better than 4-1 (though I also think it does not deserve worse – it is not as shambolic as Flintoff’s 2006-7 squad who really did deserve to be on the wrong end of a 5-0, as in the end they were.
The take home message of the three matches played so far is one that England should already have learned a long time ago – a bowling ‘attack’ of four right-arm medium-fast bowlers and an offspinner will not cut the mustard in Oz.
A little while back I reported sighting some birds which turned out to be Muscovyducks (Cairina moschata). Well, I have seen another (this time a single bird), this time in The Walks.
An account of the opening salvos in the Women’s Ashes and some photographs.
Unlike the original Ashes, which have been fought for since 1882, the Women’s Ashes is contested across multiple formats. The current scoring system awards two points for a win in a limited overs match, 1 for a no-result and 0 for a defeat, while the sole test match is worth four points.
A Classic Match
The first of three ODIs that the women will be contesting took place at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Australia won the toss and put England in to bat. Several England players got starts but none managed to build a really substantial score, Lauren Winfield leading the way with 48. A total of 228 off 50 overs did not look like it was good enough, and in the end it wasn’t.
Eng;land bowled better than they had batted, and at 87-4 Australia were looking distinctly shaky. Alex Hartley failed to hold a return catch offered by veteran Alex Blackwell when the latter had 35 to her name, and Australia were behind the rate, Talia McGrath having occupied 26 balls for a score of 7. This missed chance and some aggression from Ash Gardner (27 off 18) made the difference, Australia getting home in the final over with Blackwell unbeaten on 67.
A highlight of this match was the preponderance of quality spin bowling on show – in Gardner, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Jess Jonassen Australia had three high-class practitioners, while Hartley and the experienced Laura Marsh both bowled well for England.
ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ‘WOMEN’S ASHES’ AND ‘ASHES’
This applies across the board, and not just to cricket between England and Australia, but this seems a suitable place to mention this. I see the distinction between these categories as that between a restricted (“Women’s”) and an open category – if a woman is able to play alongside the men she should have the right to do so – the existence of Women only teams is an acknowledgement that few women could because the men are generally larger and stronger. Similarly if a disabled athlete happens to be performing comparably to their able-bodied counterparts they should be able to compete alongside them.
In terms of cricket I would expect that a woman who earned selection for ‘The Ashes’ as opposed ‘The Women’s Ashes’ would not be a specialist fast-bowler, but I could see spinners, wicket-keepers or batters earning selection.