India Demonstrate How Not To Polish Off an Innings

Some thoughts on the current test match, some mathematics, some climate change themed links and some photographs from an upcoming militgaria auction.

INTRODUCTION

Although my first and main focus in on the current test match between England and India I also have my usual assortment of other goodies.

SWITCHBACK RIDE AT THE OVAL

When England were 120-1 at one point yesterday it looked like they were making a solid if slow start. India then took control of the game, England finishing the day 198-7, with Jos Buttler looking to marshal the tail in a recovery act (the first time this millennium that an uninterrupted test match day in England has yielded less than 200 runs). When Rashid was out fairly early this morning to make it 214-8 the question was whether the Broad and Anderson could last long enough to see England to 250. Thanks to some crazy Indian tactics the final England wicket did not fall until the total had reached 332, Buttler top scorer with 87 and Broad a useful 38. Buttler was last out when it finally occurred to India that it might not be a good idea to allow him singles at will and set a field that necessitated improvisation if he wanted to farm the strike.

The “tactic” of concentrating all one’s efforts on the tailender and declining to make any effort to pressurise the senior batter is not one I have ever approved of, and today saw one of it’s many ignominious failures. 

Having failed yet again Jennings now surely has one innings left to save his test career. There are seven test matches for England, six overseas and one at home against recently elevated Ireland before the Aussies come calling, and it is those matches which can be used to bed in a new opening pair (it would be a major ask for an opener to make their debut against them) – and I do not see Jennings being one half of that pair. As I was writing this paragraph Stuart Broad picked up the first Indian wicket. Those who read my previous post know that I have my own highly unorthodox solution to the problem of who the new opening pair should be (the driver of the bus I travelled home from work on yesterday, who is a follower of this blog, commented approvingly on the controversial element of this, so I am not alone). 

If, as now seems to be one of two live possibilties (a draw and overall 3-1 being the other) England end this series with the scoreline 4-1 in their favour India will have chucked this match in the first part of day 2. Virat Kohli is a great player but on all available evidence he has precisely no aptitude for captaincy. In thirty years of being an avid cricket follower I cannot recall a finer demonstration of how not to polish off an innings.

TEASERS

First up solutions to the problems I set on Wednesday (all problems in this section come by way of brilliant.org):

WHICH STAR IS CLOSER?

astroproblem

First the answer:

Star answer

The blue star has changed relative position more than the red, hence it must be closer, while all the other stars are so far distant that they have not changed relative position. 

BULLETS

Bullets

The answer:

Bullet answer

Here is Brian Moehring’s solution:

BMbullets

NEW PROBLEMS

31 problem

Here is another problem:

squacubes

LINKS

Three closely related pieces here. 

  1. Richard Murphy brings news of a campaign victory – the BBC has admitted to getting its coverage of climate change wrong and has warned people that it is not necessary to give airtime to climate change deniers for the sake of balance. Here is the end of Murphy’s piece on this:
    Of course I am pleased.

    And massive credit to Rupert Read for achieving this.

    Next the BBC should stop platforming tax deniers.

    And those who will not disclose their funding.

  2. Rise for Climate – this is a new source of information about actions being taken to combat climate change – feel free to visit and sign up for emails as I have.
  3. Anna presents a detailed and very clearly laid out Q & A on the campaign the prevent the building a big new road through Trosa. An English version follows the Swedish.

PHOTOGRAPHS

These pictures all come from our militaria sale that will be happening on September 19th. Disclaimer: one of the items pictured is a relic from one of history’s vilest regimes – I show it because it is a remarkable specimen which has already attracted large amounts of interest.

2
Lot 2 – this dagger is definitely genuine – and will go for a lot of money.

2-a2-b2-d2-e2-f2-g2-h2-c2-i

10
Lot 10, this will be on the front cover of the catalogue.
51
Lot 51

51-a51-b51-c51-e51-f51-g51-d

231
Lot 231
402
Lot 402
406
Lot 406
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Lot 405

405-d405-c405-b405-a

404-c
Lot 404

404-b404-a404

204
Lot 204

204-a204-b204-c

373
Lot 373
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Lot 372

372-a372-b372-c372-d372-f372-e

407
Lot 407 – this uniform will bring the cujrtain down on the sale.

407-a407-b407-c

Failing to Convert

A post provoked by an asinine comment I saw on cricinfo yesterday, dealing with the question of failure to convert in cricket.

INTRODUCTION

This post was provoked by something I saw yesterday morning on cricinfo’s online coverage of the second ODI between England and Australia (I was at work, so could not listen to the commentary, but having this tab open and peeking occasionally in between doing other stuff was manageable – I was constantly using the internet for work purposes anyhow). 

ENGLAND 2-0 UP IN SERIES

England won this match by four wickets, with plenty of time to spare. Joe Root was there at the end on 46 not out. In the first match he had been there at the end on 91 not out. This coincidence that both times he was just short of a personal landmark led to a character posting under the name Dave (knowing what I do of such types I am not prepared to say that this is actually their name) to post a comment about Joe Root failing to convert. My response to this display of asininity is as follows:

  1. Failing to convert implies regularly getting out before reaching important landmarks and Joe Root was undefeated in both innings.
  2. Individual landmarks are valuable, and generally to win one needs someone to go to and well beyond several such, but cricket is a team game, and on both occasions Root missed his landmarks through playing a support role to people who were going more fluently at the other end (Jason Roy in game one, and Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes in game two).
  3. Joe Root has proven frequently that he can go on to and well past significant personal landmarks.

To end this section I quote a post from a few minutes after Dave’s which provides an indication of how good Root actually is in ODI chases:

Hypocaust: “Joe Root now has the 3rd highest average (87.06) in victorious ODI chases (min. 20 innings), behind Dhoni (102.72) and Kohli (93.64) and just ahead of Bevan (86.25).”

A PUZZLE

Here courtesy of brilliant is a puzzle:

LC

A SOLUTION

Here is the solution to the problem that I included in my post England One Day International Record:

solution

PHOTGRAPHS

As usual we end with some photographs:

 

A Spectacular Recovery

An account of the dramatic finish to yesterday’s ODI between England and Sri Lanka, some links and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post is about the closing stages of yesterday’s ODI between England and Sri Lanka, which I listened to once I had got home from work.

A DISTANT PROSPECT

When I switched the commentary on Sri Lanka had made a respectable 286, which by that stage was looking positively mountainous since England were 39-4. When skipper Eoin Morgan was out for 42 to make the score 73-5, and Moeen Ali also fell cheaply to a poor shot the situation looked even grimmer for England, as Chris Woakes walked out to join Jos Buttler…

A GREAT PARTNERSHIP

Buttler and Woakes fared better than had seemd posssible when they came together, and gradually victory moved from the realms of fantasy to a distant but imaginable outcome to a genuine possibility. Two wickets in quick succession, Buttler and then Dvaid Willey seemed to have once again settled things in Sri Lanka’s favour, but Liam Plunkett (surely the most talented batsman ever to be at number 10 by design) played well alongside Woakes who established a record score for a number 8 in an ODI. In the end it came down to…

A SPECTACULAR FINAL OVER

At the start of this final over 14 were needed for England to win. Good bowling restricted England to seven off the first five, meaning that unless a wide or a no-ball was bowled England could no longer win. Neither was forthcoming, but Liam Plunkett did hit that final ball for six to level the scores and earn England a tie after a come-back of epic proportions.

LINKS

My first link, just to tie up the loose ends from the first part of this post is to an official account of yesterday’s ODI, courtesy of cricinfo.

My remaining links are all on the subject of referendums and one referendum in particular. I start with David Hencke’s post about why he will be voting for remain.

My next two links are both to posts from that legal eagle of the blogging world jackofkent, first a detailed analysis of what he sees as the flaws of referendums, and second, acoompanied by a screenshot below and some subsidiary comments of my own afterwards a proposal for banning referendums:

JoK

I would change clause 2 of the above act to read:

2. This Act can only be repealed by a unanimous vote in the house (for the purposes of this Act abstentions and absences count as votes against).

PHOTOS

For anyone who has read all the foregoing text here is your bonus in the form of some recent photographs:

DSCN6784DSCN6785DSCN6787DSCN6788DSCN6789DSCN6790DSCN6791DSCN6792DSCN6793DSCN6794DSCN6799DSCN6800DSCN6802DSCN6803DSCN6804DSCN6805DSCN6806DSCN6808DSCN6809

DSCN6810
Although the day rider plus that is my standard bus ticket specifically excludes the coasthopper whose route map is pictured here, coasthopper buses sometimes run other routes, notably the X8 between King’s Lynn and Fakenham.

 

The Ashes 2015: A Personal View

A last look at the 2015 Ashes.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of a several posts I shall be producing today. I hope you will all enjoy it.

AUSTRALIA WIN THE BATTLE HAVING ALREADY LOST THE WAR

Australia won the Oval test match very comfortably to narrow the series score to 3-2 in England’s favour. Although it takes a little gloss of England’s overall victory this cannot really be considered significant – there have been many occasions when a side who have already won the series early have failed in the final match. Examples include England in 1928-9, 1986-7 and 2015, and Australia in 1902, 1924-25, 1968, 1993 and 1997. For the rest of this post I am going to look at England’s players through the series…

ENGLAND SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

So, who did what?

Alastair Cook: as captain he unequivocally did was required – his task was to win the Ashes and that objective was achieved with a match to spare. As a batsman he had an ordinary series, with no century and only two really significant scores, one of which was made with the match already lost (85 at the Oval).

Adam Lyth: he was an unequivocal failure at the top of the order. Nevertheless, while I would have no quarrel with him being dropped at this point, I maintain that the England selectors were right to give him the whole home season of tests in which to make his mark – and as a veteran of the second half of the 1980s and the whole of the 1990s, during which England were an international laughing stock I saw far too many occasions when selectors chopped and changed and changed and chopped so that no one ever knew whether they were coming or going I was delighted to see this example of consistency of approach.

Ian Bell: By his own standards a poor series – only three 50 plus scores and none of them a century.

Joe Root: Quite simply magnificent – his century at Trent Bridge on a pitch on which the Aussies had rolled over for 60 in 18.3 overs was a classic innings, made when runs had to be earned.

Gary Ballance: Only played the first couple of matches, but he will be back.

Jonny Bairstow: A fine innings at Trent Bridge, when he backed Joe Root splendidly, but not much else to show for his participation in the series.

Ben Stokes: Mr X Factor – runs, wickets and the moment of the series – that catch at Trent Bridge.

Jos Buttler: A shocking series with the bat, adequate behind the stumps.

Moeen Ali: A fine cricketer, but not in the way England used him in this series – he is not a front-line spinner. In the UAE where pitches are likely to take spin he could be useful as an opening batsman (a role he plays for his county) and back up spinner to Adil Rashid and possibly another.

Mark Wood: A good prospect, and Cook’s decision to give him the opportunity (which he took) to wrap up the Trent Bridge match was an excellent piece of captaincy.

James Anderson: The only England bowler to date to have taken 400 test wickets – it is a tribute to messrs Broad, Finn and Wood that he was not missed at Trent Bridge. The UAE would be a good tour for him to miss – there will be no assistance for him there, and he will be needed in South Africa.

Stuart Broad: Can one be player of the series almost entirely on the strength of one spell of bowling? Yes, if that one spell is 8-15 off 9.3 overs and makes the outcome of the series effectively certain.

Stephen Finn: After a couple of years in the wilderness he is back to some thing like his best, he achieved one of a run of four straight six plus wicket hauls by four different England bowlers (the others were Anderson, Stokes and Broad).

Thomas’s Composite Ashes XI

My composite Ashes XI, with a controversial choice at no 5.

INTRODUCTION

This post, which is purely and simply what the title says will be followed by one of more my more usual posts.

AN END OF SERIES TRADITION

One of the things that people do as an Ashes series approaches its conclusion is pick a composite team. A team is not simply the 11 players who have had the best series – to be properly selected it has to be capable of functioning as a team, so it needs sufficient batting and bowling resources and a genuine wicket-keeper. Having set out my criteria I will now begin selecting:

THE OPENERS

None of the openers in this series will remember it with especial fondness, but with Warner now established as the Caddick of batsmen (much better in the second innings than in the first), and Lyth having not had a big score at all, the selection is quite straightforward: Chris Rogers and Alastair Cook (Captain).

THE MIDDLE ORDER

Number 3 is clear cut – Stephen Smith is a flat track bully, not to be trusted if the ball is doing anything, whereas Ian Bell produced two fifties in the third match to help restore England’s lead in the series. Verdict: Bell by the proverbial country mile.

Number 4 is even more of a no-contest – Michael Clarke has barely scored a run in the series while Joe Root has been superb. Verdict: Root on a walkover.

Number 5 is a difficult one. There have been no convincing performances from anyone at number 5. I am going to resolve it by thinking outside the box, to someone who regularly bats no 5 and has been in superb form recently. It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that my choice for no 5 goes to … Ellyse Perry.

Thinking outside the box: Ellyse Perry's excellence cuts the gordian knot of who to select at no 5 in the composite ashes XI!
Thinking outside the box: Ellyse Perry’s excellence cuts the gordian knot of who to select at no 5 in the composite ashes XI! (acknowledgements to cricinfo for the picture)

Number 6 takes us back to no-contest territory – it is Mr X Factor himself a.k.a Ben Stokes who stands out like the proverbial sore thumb for this position.

Number 7, and wicketkeeper is a bit tough – I have no doubts that Jos Buttler is the superior cricketer of the two keepers, but Peter Nevill has had a fine series whereas Buttler has not. Final verdict: Nevill, on ground of faring better in this particular series.

Number 8 and we are in the territory occupied by folk who are in the side for their bowling, and England’s domination in this area over the series is indisputable. Hence, this position and nos 9 and 10 are all occupied by England players. In the position of No 8 itself is Stuart Broad.

At Number 9 I have given James Anderson a promotion on his regular position in order to fit in my remaining two bowlers.

Number 10, back to his best after a couple of years in the wilderness is Steven Finn, probably third seamer behind Broad and Anderson but possibly sharing the new ball with Anderson.

We are at Number 11 and there is no recognized spinner in the side. In this area, and this is why the tail of my composite side is so long, there is no proper contest since England’s designated “spin option”, Moeen Ali, is in my humble opinion nothing of the kind (though a fine cricketer), so this slot goes to Nathan Lyon.

Here then in batting order is Thomas’s Composite Ashes XI 2015: (nb an asterisk next to a player designates captaincy, a plus sign having the wicketkeeping gloves)

C ROGERS
A COOK*
I BELL
J ROOT
E PERRY
B STOKES
P NEVILL+
S BROAD
J ANDERSON
S FINN
N LYON

A Wonderful Weekend of Sport

INTRODUCTION

As well as the sporting events that I shall be writing about I have some important links to share. Faced with more sport than I had time to follow I had to make choices, and with I settled on cricket and athletics (in the form of the European Team Championships). I will write about each in turn starting with…

A FINAL MATCH THRILLER

To set the scene for Saturday’s action, the series was level at 2-2, and records had been tumbling left, right and centre throughout. The actual result was pretty much a secondary consideration given the quality of the cricket that had been on show through the series.

NEW ZEALAND BATTING

Very early on in their innings New Zealand passed their all-time record aggregate for a five match ODI series, a feat that England had achieved in the previous match. For the first time in the series batsmen found it difficult to really get going, and it took some big hitting in the closing stages to get New Zealand to their eventual 283-9, the lowest first innings score of the series.

THE INTERVAL AND DUCKWORTH-LEWIS

During the interval between innings it rained, and it kept raining for some time (this is England after all). Eventually, by the time play was possible again there was time for England to bat for 26 overs, and the Duckworth-Lewis calculation (a very complicated formula that has produced the least unfair way for resolving rain affected ODIs yet devised) gave England a target of 192 off 26 overs.

ENGLAND’S CHASE

The England innings got off to a disastrous start, with three wickets falling in next to no time. The fourth and fifth wickets did not take a whole lot longer to fall, and at that stage England were looking down both barrels. Then Eoin Morgan and Jonathan Bairstow, the latter only playing because of an injury to Jos Buttler (scorer of the first and second quickest ODI centuries by an Englishman) shared a good partnership. When Morgan was out, England were still second favourites, but Adil Rashid joined his fellow Yorkshireman Bairstow for a partnership that gradually brought the asking rate back to manageable levels. Seventeen were needed off the last two overs when for the first of them the ball was given to a debutant who until his late call-up had been playing Devonshire League cricket. Bowling the penultimate over in these circumstances would be tough for anyone, and in the end the last over was not required, as a combination of fine strokes from Bairstow and Rashid and a loss of nerve by the bowler settled the issue.

A RAPID TURNAROUND

Just a few months ago England were having their all-time worst ever World Cup campaign, being hammered by all and sundry and being exposed as being sadly behind the times in their approach to one day cricket. To have come from that to even taking part in a series that is a jewel in the crown of international cricket (and ultimately winning it) is an extraordinary transformation. What brought this about? Well England were forced to recognise by the sheer awfulness of that World Cup campaign that they had to change. The new picks for this series were guys noted for 20-20 (ultra-short form) success. Also, however there has been an attitude change. In this series, England never went on to the defensive, there was never a period of seriously slow scoring. Even when those three early wickets went down on Saturday, there was no ‘consolidation’. In the second half of the summer England have another set of visitors from the antipodes to contend with, and it will be interesting to see what kind of account they can give of themselves in that situation.

EUROPEAN TEAM ATHLETICS

The European Team Athletics championship, which I watched on i-player, is decided on a points system. The top nine countries from last year, plus three promoted from the second group, do battle. Twelve points are accrued for winning an event, down to one for finishing. A disqualification in a track event, or a failure to record a valid distance/ height in a throwing or jumping event results in a zero.

In the end, after a some excellent results, and some very bad ones, Britain finished in fifth place, behind Russia (winning comfortably on home  soil), Germany, France and Poland.

Probably the person who overachieved the most for Britain was Rhianwedd Price who, on international debut, came third in the 1,500m.

LINKS

CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT THE FAIRY POSSUM

This tiny marsupial is on the critically endangered list, and the campaign to protect it by creating a preserved environment for it is being run by The Wilderness Society. I have two important links for you:

1)The article which gives full detail about what is happening.

2)A petition which I hope you will sign and share.

WAR ON WANT PETITION TO CANCEL GREEK DEBT

Just a single link, which I urge you to follow up.

AN ACCOUNT OF A TRIP TO THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

This is an excellent piece detailing both the visit and what was seen, and the differing approaches taken by Autism Mom (the author of the piece), the Navigator and Autism Dad. I have already shared this piece with my twitter and I am delighted to include this link to dinos-photos-and-his-own-world.

CONCLUDING REMARK

I hope that you have all enjoyed this post, and that you will be encouraged to share it. For those of you who have stayed with this post right to the end I have a final message…

TY3