A look at goings on in the county championship, a solution to yesterday’s teaser and some photographs.
We are just in to the afternoon session on day two of the current set of county championship games. This post looks at what is going on.
SURREY V HAMPSHIRE
This is the game I have been focussing on today. Yesterday Surrey dismissed Hampshire for 92, and were going well in response, with Burns and Amla established at the crease. Today Surrey have been hugely impressive, although Burns fell for 80. Amla is past his century, 137 not out, and Ollie Pope is on the verge of reaching 50. Surrey, 278-2, are already 186 to the good.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Sussex v Lancashire: Lancashire cleaned the Sussex tail up quickly this morning, restricting them to 328 all out, and have reached 55-0 in reply. Tom Bailey and Danny Lamb each took three wickets, and Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson and Liam Livingstone picked up one apiece. Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies are both in the 20s for Lancashire.
Notts v Derbyshire: Nottinghamshire scored 256 batting first, and had Derbyshire 86-8 at the end of yesterday. This morning they winkled out the last two, Derbyshire reaching 105. Nottinghamshire then declined to enforce the follow on, an understandable but cautious decision. Notts are 115-1 in their second innings, 266 to the good. Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett are going well for them. Luke Fletcher took five wickets in the Derbyshire innings, and Stuart Broad and Dane Paterson two each.
Worcestershire v Essex: Essex are 393-4, with Cook and Westley having scored centuries and Dan Lawrence 90. Alzarri Joseph has 2-92.
Durham v Warwickshire: By the close yesterday Warwickshire were already in the lead with all 10 wickets standing. They have lost one wicket today, and are currently 212-1 in response to Warwickshire’s beggarly 87. Lees has 86 not out, while Will Young has just gone for 124. Liam Norwell has the one wicket Warwickshire have taken.
Gloucestershire v Leicestershire: Leicestershire are 393-7, Ben Mike having just reached 50. Sam Evans and Lewis Hill both scored centuries. Daniel Worrall has 4-79 and Ryan Higgins 2-65.
Somerset v Middlesex: Middlesex batted first and made 357, Somerset are 14-0 in reply. Robbie White scored 92 for Middlesex, while Davey and Overton each took three wickets.
Glamorgan v Kent: Kent were all out for 138, and Glamorgan are 170-8 in reply, having resumed today on 109-2. David Lloyd followed his four cheap wickets with 62, and birthday boy Darren Stevens has 5-53, while Matt Milnes has 3-46. Were Stevens to get an England call up he would be the fourth oldest test debutant ever, behind James Southerton (49years 19 days old when the first ever test started), Miran Baksh (47 when called up in 1955) and Bert Ironmonger (46 when called up in 1928). If he went on to get selected for the Ashes tour he would be the oldest Ashes tourist since Hobbs in 1928-9 and the oldest to make a first trip to Australia since Southerton.
Yorkshire v Northamptonshire: Yorkshire reached 206 in the first innings, helped by a half century from Dominic Bess. Northamptonshire are 137-5 in response, Saif Zaib 31 not out and Tom Taylor 21 not out. Steven Patterson has three wickets and Jordan Thompson two. Wayne Parnell took five wickets for Northamptonshire and Gareth Berg three.
While I have been typing this Surrey have cruised on to 308-2, Amla 147 not out, Pope 68 not out.
The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring numbers 3,4 and 5 in my seventh XI. Also contains some of my photographs.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, delayed as it has been by cirucmstances (see here for more details). The introductory post to this series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the seventh XI here, and the most recent post in the series here
13,378 test runs at 51.85 and 13,704 ODI runs at 42.03 are testament to Ricky Ponting’s outstanding quality as a batter. His first ashes hundred came as long ago as 1997, when he scored 127 at Headingley in a match in which England were absolutely marmalised. At Old Trafford in 2005 his 156 saved Australia when they looked certain to lose and go 2-1 down in the series, although the way in which Ponting and team then celebrated that result miade it clear who was now on top, and although there were some nervy moments are Trent Bridge in particular, and also on the final day at The Oval the position never really changed in that series. A crushing revenge was eaxcted in 2006-7, featuring huge scores in the first two matches from Ponting himself, but in 2009 he did little as England again won the series, and in Australia in 2010-11 he had his worst ever series as a batter, with his only score of anything approaching substance being 51 not out at The Gabba when the match had long since been settled as a draw (England 517-1 declared in the second innings). At The MCG after Australia had mustered a beggarly 98 on the opening day he suffered a horrendous on-field meltdown during the England innings over an umpiring decision that was clearly a correct call in any case. This incidcent ended up costing him an amount of money that would have meant nothing to him and no ban of any description. When he took over from Steve Waugh and still had some of the great players who had helped Australia dominate world cricket for a decade he fared well as captain, but as they departed the scene and replacements had to be found cracks appeared that he was able to do nothing. The 2010-11 Ashes was the nadir for Ponting the captain, with two innings defeats on his watch ensuring that England retained the ashes, and his stand-in (he was injured) at Sydney, Michael Clarkeoversaw a third loss by an innings to ensure that the series scoreline was a fair reflection of the balance of power. This, and a few other things, such as the Gary Pratt incident at Trent Bridge (when after being run out Ponting made a prat of himself over the fact that it was a sub who had accounted for him) in 2005 and his decision not to go for an eminently chaseable looking 330 off 84 overs at Adelaide in 2009 (I was there and was fully expecting a decent finish), are why although he commands a place in one of XIs for his batting (and how!) I do not even consider him for captaincy honours and have sought to make the position crystal clear by going to the extent of naming a vice-captain for this XI as I have not for others. Here is the Pratt incident:
9,282 test runs at 46.64 and 7,910 ODI runs at 49.74, the former aggregate including the only international triple century by a South African are impressive testament to both his skill and his appetite for batting. A solid rather than spectacular player, he gives us a nicely balanced top four, with Haynes and himself as stickers and Greenidge and Ponting more inclined to attack.
She has only played in six test matches (358 runs at 32.54, with a highest score of 157, made when England badly needed it, and 1 wicket for 40 runs), but she has a very respectable ODI record (92 matches, 2,503 runs at 37,35, HS 106, and 44 wickets at 25.02 with a best of 5-26). It is her batting that earns her selection, but her bowling is a legimate sixth option for this XI. Once I had decided that for this XI I was going to name a vice-captain the only question was which way round it would be between her and Imran Khan, who we will look at in the next post in this series. Heather Knight had a tough act to follow in Charlotte Edwards(see this postfor more details) and has done a magnificent job, including leading her team to a world cup triumph (something England’s men have yet to achieve) and achieving many other fine victories, but I think that Imran, also a world-cup winning captain had the tougher task in having to bind together a Pakistan team who were riven by factions, and so I have made him captain and Heather Knight vice-captain.
My thoughts on the recently concluded series between England and South Africa mens teams, plus some photographs from work.
On Monday I listened to what turned out to be the final day of the test series between England and South Africa (Tuesday would have been available had South Africa taken the game that far but they never really looked like doing so). In this post I look back at the match and the series.
England batted first and made at least 50 more than they should have done in the circumstances, getting to 360. When the ninth England wicket fell South Africa turned to the “clever ruse” of dropping the field back to allow the major batter (Jonny Bairstow on this occasion) to take singles so that they could bowl at the no11. This is a dubious tactic in any case, but South Africa’s execution of it was downright bad – on a number of occasions Bairstow took twos early in the over, which should never happen when this tactic is in play. I can think of no occasion on which it can be demonstrated that a side fared worse by attacking at both ends than they would be adopting this tactic, whereas I offer the following examples of times where adopting it caused problems:
Perth 1978 – Australia eight down for not many facing and England total of over 300, Mike Brearley gives Peter Toohey with 50 to his name singles so as to attack Geoff Dymock. The ninth wicket pair stage a very irritating partnership. In the end England’s superior skill and professionalism tell (Australia were depleted by the Packer affair and Graham Yallop proved to be a very poor captain). My source for this story is Brearley himself in “The Art of Captaincy”.
Melbourne 1982 – The ninth Australian wicket in their second innings falls with them still needing 74 for victory. England allow Border singles so they can attack Thomson, the no 11. Australia get to within a boundary hit of victory before Thomson flashes at a wide one from Botham and is caught by Miller with an assist from Tavare.
Sydney 2010 – Pakistan have bossed the game against Australia, leading by over 200 on first innings, and Australia are only 80 to the good with two second innings wickets standing going into the 4th morning. Pakistan decline to attack Hussey, and Siddle plays a straight bat the relatively few deliveries he has to face. In the end Pakistan need 176 to win, which is far more than they were expecting. The pressure is too much for an inexperienced batting line up, especially once Mohamed Yousuf has compounded his failure as captain by falling to a very poor shot to leave his side 57-4. Australia end up winning by almost 40 runs.
South Africa’s response, if it can be so described, was to scrape together 226 for a deficit of 136. A fine innings by Moeen Ali in the second England innings takes England to a lead of 379. Dean Elgar fell cheaply to start the South African second innings, and by the lunch interval Heino Kuhn and Temba Bavuma had also been accounted for. Amla and Duplessis resisted stoutly for a time, but the dismissal of Amla sparked a collapse, with no one else making a significant contribution as 163-3 at the high point of the innings subsided to 202 all out. Moeen Ali took five of the wickets to finish with 25 for the series alongside over 250 runs for the series (the first time this double has been achieved in a series of fewer than five matches). Moeen Ali was player of the match, and also player of the series for his all-round efforts.
THE SERIES AS A WHOLE
Barring the aberration at Trent Bridge this was a series that England dominated, and 3-1 is a fair reflection of that fact. Lord’s (it is named after Thomas Lord of Thirsk, so Lord’s is technically correct) saw the only really huge first innings tally of the series, and from that point on England were always going to win that match. I wrote in some detail about the Trent Bridge debacle at the time. At The Oval (these days there is always a sponsor’s name attached but I refuse to mention them whoever they may be) England made a respectable first innings total and South Africa crumbled, while this final match at Old Trafford went along similar lines.
I am going to finish the text element of this post by looking at both sets of players, starting with South Africa.
Dean Elgar – a tough competitor whose second innings 136 at The Oval when all around him were surrendering was a stand out performance.
Heino Kuhn – resembles a test-class opener about as closely as Liam Dawson resembles a test-class all-rounder. The only surprise out his dismissal during the morning session fo what turned into the final day of the series was that it did not come sooner.
Hashim Amla – a magnificent batter now nearing the end of his illustrious career. This was not a great series for him but his fighting 83 in the final innings was a splendid effort.
Quinton De Kock – fine wicketkeeper and on his day a very destructive batter, but was miscast in the key number four role where was too often coming in with the team reeling from early blows. He was moved down for the final match of the series, but this was his equivalent of Adam Gilchrist’s 2005 in England – batting wise a series to forget.
Faf Du Plessis – it continues to be debatable whether he is worth a place as a batter, but the team play much better under his captaincy than when he is not present.
Temba Bavuma – a very reliable batter. He needs to develop ways of keeping the scoreboard ticking – at the moment it takes him a very long time to score his runs.
Theunis De Bruyn – anonymous in this series, he did nothing significant with the bat and his bowling was not much used.
Chris Morris – occasional moments with his hard-hitting batting but his bowling was very expensive.
Vernon Philander – a great cricketer, but like Alan Davidson and Chris Old before him he is somewhat of a hypochondriac. He did not contribute fully to this series.
Keshav Maharaj – South Africa’s leading wicket taker of the series.
Kagiso Rabada – A fine fast bowler who bowled well in this series and at times did enough with the bat to have embarrassed some of bhis supposed betters in that department.
Morne Morkel – A solid series – it was not South Africa’s bowlers who were chiefly responsible for their defeat in this series.
Duanne Olivier – more will certainly be seen of this young fast bowler.
Now for England…
Alastair Cook – continues to steadily ascend the test run scoring lists – in the course of this series he went past Allan Border’s aggregate. His effort on the truncated first day at The Oval put England in control of that game, a position consolidated by Ben Stokes’ century.
Keaton Jennings – surely he has run out chances after a series in which his highest individual score was 48 and during which he never looked convincing.
Gary Ballance – given a chance to re-establish himself in the side because he scores so many in domestic cricket he failed, and looked out of place. He was deservedly one of the casualties of the Trent Bridge debacle.
Tom Westley – a solid start to his test career. He looks like he belongs in the test arena and I expect to see a lot more of him.
Joe Root – his first series as test captain, and with a 3-1 series win and himself being leading run scorer on either side for the series it was a splendid start.
Dawid Malan – came in to the side after the loss at Trent Bridge and has not yet done much.
Jonny Bairstow – an excellent series with both bat and gloves.
Ben Stokes – regular contributor of runs, wickets and catches. Like the man I will be dealing with next he is that rarity, a genuine all-rounder.
Moeen Ali – deservedly named player of the series, he was outstanding with bat and ball.
Liam Dawson – my comments about Heino Kuhn suggest that I do not rate Mr Dawson, and that impression is correct. He has neither the batting nor the bowling to be of use in test match cricket. If conditions warrant two spinners pick a real spinner, and if they don’t Moeen Ali will be the sole spinner.
Toby Roland-Jones – he started his test career firing with both barrels – a five-for including the top four in the opposition batting order, and has done well in both his matches so far.
Stuart Broad – a good series for the big fast bowler.
Mark Wood – two matches in the series, total figures 1-197 – ’nuff said.
James Anderson – 20 wickets in the series at 14 each. At the age of 35 he remains arguably the finest user of a new ball in world cricket. The authorities at his home ground of Old Trafford have recently paid him the compliment of naming one of their bowling ends in his honour – and he responded by taking four cheap wickets from that end at the first time of asking. I reckon he still has a couple of good years left in him which would enable him to sign off with a home world cup followed by a home Ashes series.
I always like to include photographs in my posts, and although I have none relating to cricket, here are a few from yesterday at work (these will be going under the hammer on August 30th, our second end of August auction, with a sale happening at our shop on Friday August 25th – more on this in a later post):
An account of two recent cricket matches involving England and South Africa, first the England men’s humiliation at Trent Bridge, and then the nailbiter of a Women’s World Cup semi-final at Bristol.
Both of the matches of my title were cricket matches between England and South Africa. The first was the test match between the men’s teams, and the second was the women’s world cup semi-final. A couple of notes about links in this piece:
Some links are in red – these are to video footage.
IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES
England had won the first test match of the series handily, with Joe Rootscoring 190 in his first innings as England captain and Moeen Ali being player of the match for his first inning 87 and match haul of 10-112. Among England’s male players only Ian Botham with 114 not out and 13-106 v India in 1979 has topped Ali’s all-round haul in a single game (Enid Bakewell was the first player of either sex to combine a match aggregate of 100 runs with a haul of 10 or more wickets, hence the earlier caveat).
Thus at Trent Bridge England should have been strong favourites. South Africa won the toss, batted first and made 335 in their first innings and England by bad batting handed South Africa a lead of 130, South Africa extended this to 473 with two days to play before sending England back in, messrs Elgar and Amla having demonstrated how to make runs on this pitch, each batting a long time. England’s second innings was quite simply shambolic, with batter after batter handing their wickets away. Four wickets down by lunch on the penultimate day it worse afterwards, with England being all out for 133 at approsimately 3PM. South Africa, having given themselves two days to dismiss England a second time had required less than two full sessions and were victors be 340 runs.
The first mistake England made was with the selection of the side. According to the powers that be Moeen Ali is happier as a second spinner than as either a sole spinner or as first spinner. However I find it hard to believe that even he could really consider himself no2 to Liam Dawson. Dawson is an ill thought out selection reminiscent of the dark days of the 1990s. For his county he averages in the low thirties with the bat and the high thirties with the ball, so even at that level he comes out as clearly not good enough in either department to warrant selection – the reverse of the true all-rounder. If a pitch warrants two spinners (and no Trent Bridge pitch in my lifetime ever has) the other spinner should be a genuine front-line option such as Dominic Bess (first class bowling average 19.83 per wicket – what are you waiting for selectors?). The other logical alternative would have been to bring in an extra batter (there are any number of possibilities) to strengthen this department. England’s batting in both innings smacked of panic. Other than Root whose 78 in the first innings was a gem and Cook who played well for a time in the second no England batter is entitled to be other than embarrassed by the way they played in this match. The scorecard, in all it’s gory detail, can be viewed here.
IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES
On what should have been the final day of the men’s test match but for England’s spinelessness the women’s teams convened at Bristol for a world-cup semi-final. The final will be played at Lord’s and is already sold out. South Africa batted first and were restricted to 218-6 from their overs, Mignon Du Preez top scoring with 76 not out, and Laura Wolvaardt making 66. South Africa bowled better than they had batted, and the outcome remained in doubt right to the end. Anya Shrubsole who had earlier finished with 1-33 from her 10 overs settled things by hitting her first ball, the third-last possible ball of the match through the covers for four. Sarah Taylor’s 54 and a brilliant wicket-keeping performance highlighted by the spectacular stumping of Trisha Chetty off the bowling of Natalie Sciver earned her the player of the match award. Sciver incidentally is the pioneer of a shot that in honour of her first name and the f**tballing term ‘nutmeg’ commentator Charles Dagnall has dubbed the ‘Natmeg’, one example of which she played in this match. Video highlights of this amazing match can be seen here (runs for just under five minutes), while the scorecard can be viewed here.
THE ROLE OF EXTRAS
To set the scene for the rest of this section here are the extras (a cricket term for runs scored not off the bat) from both innings:
When South Africa batted:
When England batted
(b 5, w 17, nb 3)
A note on the designations within extras: Byes (b) stands for runs scored when there is no contact made with the ball but either the batters are able to take runs, or the ball goes to the boundary unimpeded, legbyes (lb), of which there were none in this match, are runs scored when the ball hits the pad but not the bat. Wides are deliveries that are too wide for the batter to be able to play, and no-balls are deliveries that are ruled illegal for some other infraction (bowler overstepping the crease, high full-toss etc). The 21 run difference between the two tallies shown above is of major significance given that England reached the target with just two balls to spare, and there is yet a further point.
WIDES AND NO-BALLS – WHAT APPEARS IN PRINT DOES NOT TELL THE FULL STORY OF HOW EXPENSIVE THEY ARE
England bowled four wides in the match, South Africa 17 and three no-balls. That is a 16-run difference, but the actual costs are likely be even more different because:
When a delivery is called wide, as well as incurring a one-run penalty an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a wide costs the original penalty, plus possible extras (if it goes unimpeded to the boundary it costs 5, the original 1, plus four foir the boundary) plus any runs scored off the seventh delivery of the over, which the bowler had they been disciplined would not have had to bowl
When a delivery is called a no-ball, the batter can still score off it, the delivery immediately following it is designated a ‘free-hit’, meaning that the batter cannot be dismissed off it, and as with a wide an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a no-ball actually costs the original penalty, any runs hit of that delivery, the lack of a wicket-taking opportunity on the next delivery and any runs of the seventh delivery of the over (which would otherwise not have needed to be bowled).
Therefore the discrepancy between the sides in terms of wides and no-balls is probably much greater than shown on the score-card, and this in a very close match. Sarah Taylor certainly deserved her player of the match award, but the much tighter discipline shown by England’s bowlers than their South African counterparts was also crucial to the result.
After over 1,100 words those of you are still with me deserve some pictures, so here we are: