100 Cricketers – The Eighth XI Opening Batters

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the opening batters from the eighth XI.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. In this post the spotlight is on the openers from the eighth XI. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the previous post in the series in whicb I introduced the eighth XI is here.

A GREAT OPENING PAIR

As with the my seventh XI, with Greenidge and Haynes, this XI features an opening pair who batted together in real life, and did mighty well as a combination. They had one poor series, the 2005 Ashes, which Australia ended up losing.  In the 2001, 2002-3 and 2006-7 Ashes, all featuring this opening pair and won by Australia, the Aussies rarely started an innings badly. The 2010-11 Ashes saw Australia regularly losing the first wicket early, and with Ponting at 3 and Clarke at 4 also having shocking series with the bat a series of inadeqaute totals resulted, and England not only won the series, but on three occasions out of five they won matches in they had to bat only once. England’s own inconsistency in the test arena recently stems from not getting enough runs at the top of the order – since Strauss’ retirement England have not had a reliable opening combination, and the more recent retirement of Cook has opened another big hole at the top of the order. The second post in this series contains a radical solution of mine to this problem, meanwhile with a new county championship season under way tomorrow it would be particularly good timing were a young opener or two to hit their straps right from the start. Now on to the players themselves, starting with…

MATTHEW HAYDEN

The tall, dominating left hander scored 8,625 test runs at 50.73. At Brisbane at the start of the 2002-3 series Nasser Hussain won the toss and put Australia in. By the end of day 1 they were 364-2, Matthew Hayden 197 (he would score another century in the second innings after Ponting declined to enforce the follow on), the match and series were both as good as gone. In between Brian Lara’s two efforts he held the individual scoring record for a period with an innings of 380 against Zimbabwe at the WACA. His one blip came in the first four matches of the 2005 Ashes (he made 138 at The Oval in the fifth match, but with Australia needing to win, and therefore by all logic to spend as much time out in the middle as possible, he was twice party to the team going off for bad light (by the rules of the day the batters had to be asked if they wanted to go off). The match ended in the draw the allowed England to regain The Ashes (I fully expect that the Ashes series later this summer will likewise end with England winning, though it will probably be settled before the final game).

JUSTIN LANGER

A left-hander like his opening partner, but much shorter in stature, though no less aggressive in approach in his own way. He scored 7,696 test runs at 45.27, witrh 23 centuries and a best of 250 against England at the MCG. Like Hayden he struggled for most of the 2005 Ashes before making a century in the final match. He played in the county championship for Middlesex and Somerset, which helped him to reach 86 first class hundreds. With this pair to get the innings underway for them my eighth XI will usually have a good base for the middle order, featured in the next post in this series to build on.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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100 Cricketers – The Sixth Remaining Specialist Batters

The latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series, featuring the remaining specialist batters from my sixth XI, and also including some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. In this post we look at the remaining batters from our sixth XI. The introductory post to to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the sixth XI here, and the most recent post in the series here. Just before I get to the main meat of this post there is a piece of cricket news from today…

ENGLAND WOMEN SWEEP T20 SERIES IN SRI LANKA WITH A DOMINANT DISPLAY

The England women had already secured a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series, and this morning they made the scoreline in the T20 series the same. Having chased successfully twice they batted first this time, and scored 204-2 from their 20 overs, Amy Jones (of whom more in my next post) scored 57 off 38 balls, Danielle Wyatt 51 off 33, Natalie Sciver 49 not out off 24 and Tammy Beaumont 42 not out off 25, with five extras completing the total. Sri Lanka were then restricted to 108-6 in reply, giving a winning margin of 96 runs (absolutely huge in this form of the game). Everyone who was asked to bowl contributed, although left-arm slow bowler Linsey Smith was a little expensive, taking 1-33 from her four overs. Freya Davies with 1-12 from her four was the most economical bowler, while Kate Cross with 2-20 from her four was alone in taking more than one wicket. Laura Marsh (1-17 from 3) and Heather Knight (1-13 from 3) also got wickets while Wyatt bowled 2 overs for 7 runs. A scorecard can be viewed here and an official report here. Now to our main business, starting with…

VIRAT KOHLI

77 Test matches to date have yielded him 6,613 runs at 57.26, 227 ODIs have produced 10,843 runs at 59.57 and 67 T20Is have produced 2263 runs at 50.28, making unquestionably the best batter across the formats in world cricket today. With Steven Smith yet to return to international cricket after serving his ban for involvement in a cheating scandal only Joe Root of England and Kane Williamson of New Zealand are close to him for performing in all formats. Although I have made him captain of this XI I have reservations about him in this area, having not been impressed when England beat India 4-1 last summer. However, the only other person in this XI whos been a long term captain is Courtney Walsh, and there are often problems with specialist fast bowlers as captains, so I stuck with him, although I did briefly consider bestowing the captaincy on off-spinning all-rounder Deepti Sharma who will feature in the next post in this series. 

HARMANPREET KAUR

Harmanpreet (note that Kaur is a middle name shared by all Sikh women – it means princess, and her actual full name is Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar) like so many of the women has not had the opportunities in test matches (she has played twice in this format), but her records in ODIs and T20s are both good, and a best score of 171 not out indicates that she does know how to play a big innings. 

CHLOE TRYON

The big hitting South African (71 sixes in all forms of international cricket) is still only 25, so should still be improving as player. Although it is a middle order batter that she is in this squad she does bowl occasional left-arm medium fast as well. With Jayasuriya, Sidhu, Kohli and Harmanpreet as well as the all-rounders who we will look at next, and and an awesome bowling line-up to defend whatever the XI manage to score we can well afford the presence of a bit of a wild card.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I sign off in my usual fashion…

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The first 26 pictures here come from The Badminton Book of Cricket, before we end with a few outside photographs.

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100 Cricketers – Third XI Numbers 6 and 7

Continuing my “100 cricketers series, with a look at nos 6 and 7 from my third XI. Also features some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 Cricketers” series. The introduction to the series can be found here, and the most recent post can be found here. Before I get into the main meat of this post, as it is cricket themed I will briefly mention…

AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND

The inaugural test match between these two newly elevated nations is taking place in Delhi at the moment. After one day’s play Afghanistan are 90-2 in reply to Ireland’s 172 all out. At one stage it looked like being a lot worse for Ireland – they were 69-8 at one point and then 85-9 before George Dockrell and Tim Murtagh performed a rescue act, the latter top scoring with 54 not out from number 11. Whatever happens over the next four days one of these sides will make the best start to their test match involvement since 1877 when the first two test sides, England and Australia each one won match – each have only played once before, so the winner will record a success in their second outing. Now onto business, with the man at no 6 in my third XI…

STEVE WAUGH

Normally I would have an all-rounder at no 6, but Steve Waugh can hardly be so described, even though when he first got the call-up in the mid 1980s he was seen as a bowling all-rounder. He seemed to positively relish difficult situations, such as the occasion at Manchester when 21 players failed to achieve anything of significance with the bat due to a difficult pitch and perpetually overcast conditions, while he chiselled out a century in each innings to win the game for his side.

He really arrived as a test match player in the 1989 series in England when he made big hundreds in the first match at Headingley and the second at Lord’s, both times being supported by lower order batters who were inspired to play above their usual station (Merv Hughes with 71 at Headingley, Geoff Lawson with 74 at Lord’s), and scored over 350 runs before being dismissed for the first time in the series.

Time again through the 1990s and in to the early 2000s Australia would look be struggling and then Steve Waugh would come to the crease, and right when it was most needed would make sure he was still there at close of play, with Australia firmly back in control. Teams often tested him with bouncers because he rarely played the hook and often looked less than comfortable against short stuff, but I cannot recall him ever losing his wicket to it.

He was the third in the sequence of long-serving Aussie captains that started with Allan Border and ended with Ricky Ponting. Earlier in this series when I covered Border I rated him the best captain of the four, based on the fact that he turned the fortunes of Australian cricket around when they had been in the doldrums. Steve Waugh, who made a team of champions even stronger, so that they became as near as any team in history to be absolutely unstoppable is for me number two in that ranking, with Mark Taylor a respectful distance back in third and Ponting a poor fourth.

JEFFREY DUJON

Teams were just starting to take seriously the need for wicketkeepers to have potential as runmakers when Dujon came on the scene. Alan Knott’s England career was just coming to a finish, and many matches therein had been influences by his ability to contribute runs from the lower middle order, and England were frantically looking for a replacement (it would take the emergence of Matt Prior some quarter of a century later before they found someone who was good enough in both departments, since when there have also been Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes). Other countries also started requiring regular runs from their wicketkeepers.

Dujon scored four test centuries, averaged over 30 when that was unusual for a wicketkeeper (and generally made his runs when they were badly needed) and was an excellent keeper standing back to the fast bowlers. There is no way of knowing how we would have handled keeping to top class spinners, as the only person picked as a front-line spinner by the West Indies during his time as keeper was Roger Harper (who was also a fine middle-order batter and one of the greatest fielders the game had ever seen), but the fact that I have named in this XI rather than holding him back for the XI featuring a quartet of West Indies quicks tells you what I think – he would have been as good keeping to spinners as he was keeping to quicks.

NEXT IN THIS SERIES

We cover the bowlers from this Third XI and introduce the Fourth XI in batting order.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photographs to finish…

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A mallard drake and a herring gull standing side by side in the sun yesterday.
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Mallards come calling this morning…
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…close up of the female.
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A picture at Tapping House that took my fancy.
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the fish tank in the reception area at Tapping House
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A close up of one the fish in the tank.
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Spring flowers near Tapping House
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This building, probably once a village school, took my fancy on the way out, and I managed to phoyograph it on the way back.

 

 

 

 

100 Cricketers – Second XI – The Remaining Specialist Batters

A continuation of my “100 cricketers series”, with links to three important petitions – if you are able please sign and share them.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, in which I deal with the remaining specialist batters from my second XI. My most recent post in the series dealt with the all-rounders so as to tie in with International Women’s Day. After the cricket part of the post there will be some photographs, and then some links to petitions that I am suffiiciently concerned about to share on this blog. The next post in this series will feature the bowlers from second XI and introduce the third XI in batting order.

SACHIN TENDULKAR

I first saw Sachin Tendulkar as a teenager in the 1990 series in England, in the course of which he racked up a century. He also took an amazing catch in that series, making a lot of ground before holding on to the chance. 

His amazing subsequent career is well documented. The greatest batter in the history of cricket, Sir Donald Bradman, publicly rated Tendulkar as being, along with Brian Lara, the best of the moderns, and also noted similarities between himself and Tendulkar, his attention having been drawn to them by Lady Bradman, while they were watching him on television.

At the moment Tendulkar is the only person to have scored 100 international hundreds. As a a testament to his longevity he also stands alone in having played 200 test matches. 463 ODI appearances and a T20 in addition mean that approximately four years of his life have been spent in international cricket action.

Although cross-era comparisons are generally invidious (Bradman’s colossal – 40 runs per innings – margin of superiority over the rest making him an exception) I feel sure that Tendulkar would have had had an outstanding record whatever era he had been born into and whichever kind of bowling he had had encountered.

ALLAN BORDER

An outstanding captain of Australia over many years, and a great left-handed batter whose career had two distinct portions.

For the first decade of his long international career Australia were a struggling outfit. He started in the 1978-9 Ashes series, won 5-1 by Mike Brearley’s England, and it was not until their unexpected triumph in the 1987-8 World Cup that things really started going right for Australia. In these circumstances Border was very often battling to save his side from defeat, and many of his innings were through sheer force of circumstance defensive in nature, batting as long as possible.

In the latter years of his career when he was finally in charge of a strong, confident side he showed that given the opportunity he had plenty of strokes and was willing to play them – in all of his last three Ashes series (1989, won 4-0 by Australia and would have been 6-0 but for major rain interruptions in the other two matches, 1990-1 and 1993 he batted in attacking fashion at every opportunity).

Of the four long-serving Australian captains of my lifetime I rate Border a very clear first – looking at their records in this specific role we have:

  • Allan Border – took over a weak, struggling side that had little idea of how to win, and left for his successor a side who were by then acknowledged as the best in the world.
  • Mark Taylor – took over from Border and maintained Australia’s position at the top of the cricket world.
  • Steve Waugh – taking over the captaincy of a team who were already acknowledged as champions he made them even better, a highlight of his term of office being a record run of 16 consecutive test match victories.
  • Ricky Ponting – in his first few years in charge he won a lot of matches with the remnants of the great Australian side of the previous era, but he lost three Ashes series out of four, including one on home soil in which his team were three times defeated by innings margins. 

In this XI, where the batting is overall exceedingly attacking in nature, Border is the person who in the event of bad start could dig the team out of a hole, while at the same time if the innings is going well he would be perfectly capable of stepping on the accelerator. His presence also means that there is a left-hander in the middle order, valuable from the point of view of giving the bowling side a different challenge. Finally, although not by any means a major part of his game his occasional slow left-arm did once win his country a test match against the West Indies (11 wickets in the match, including 7-46 in the first innings), and his safe hands (156 catches pouched in the course of his 156 test matches) would also be useful.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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A pair of mallards whose Sunday morning walk took them past my front window – you can just see the tail feathers of the female as she heads into the lavender.
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The male, keeping an eye on his companion.

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A couple of close-ups of the female as she emerges.

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PETITIONS

First up, a petition on 38 Degrees produced by the Grenfell survivors, calling on the government to make our housing system work for tenants. As someone who has recently moved into social housing through force of circumstance this is particularly important to me. To sign and share please click on the screenshot below.

Grenfell petition

My final two petitions are both on the official UK Government petition site, meaning that only UK citizens are allowed to sign. The first is a call for increased funding for Children’s Mental Health. If you are able and willing to sign and share please click the screenshot below:

Childrens Mental Health

Last and by no means least is a petition calling for police officers to be given mandatory autism training, something that I as an autistic person consider to be very important. Again, please click the screenshot below to sign and share.

police autism training

National Park Cities Thunderclap

Introducing the concept of National Park Cities, publicising a thunderclap about the same and displaying some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

To take part in a Thunderclap you have to be on at least one of facebook, twitter or tumblr, so for the benefit of those among my readers who cannot take part I am also including some recent photos of my own that tie in well with this particular thunderclap. 

NATIONAL PARK CITIES

The idea behind this thunderclap, set up the folks at team4nature is that there are recognized health benefits to people having easy access to nature. Among the potential pioneers of the concept of a National Park City is London, and you can declare your support here. To take part in the thunderclap click here, or on the image below, which shows the story in full:

NPCTC

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my recent nature pictures, which also feature the two main parks in King’s Lynn, The Walks and Lynnsport Park and sections of Bawsey Drain and The Gaywood River.

GullsMerula IWalks IWalks IIWalks IIIWalks IVWalks VMerula IIMerula IIIMagpieGulls IIbirdsSmall birds ISmall birds IISmall birds IIISmall birds IVMerula IVbrown patchesOmniaOmnia IIgrey specklesdark muscovydark muscovy IItwo foron the bridgedark muscovy IIIGreymuscovies and mallardseightPanoramaParting shot

Links, Puzzles, Pictures

Links, puzzles and pictures. Public transport features, as does some general politics, and mathematics. The pictures are of course my own.

INTRODUCTION

I have many links to share with you, and wilkl be setting a puzzle. I will be putting up another of my tree posts immediately after this one, so my pictures feature stuff other than trees.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This section comes in two parts, starting with…

NEWS FROM MY LONDON TRANSPORT WEBSITE

Just before lunchtime today I received the following email:

Dear Thomas.

I am writing regarding http://www.londontu.be 

My name is Andrew and I work for Nicola at Tour London. Nicola is a tour guide in London UK who takes individuals and groups to the most famous landmarks in London, as well as discovering hidden gems along the way! We were wondering if it were possible for us to appear on your “links” page in any way given that we share such a similar topic.

Alternatively would you be interested in content pieces? Nicola has a vast knowledge of London and would love to share it with your audience. 
Finally, If not content, do you have any other advertising opportunities?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Andrew | Marketing Executive
Tour London
Tourlondon.org.uk

 

Naturally, I was delighted to receive such a communication, and I have since put in some links, done a special post about this site and ‘pressed’ a couple of their pieces. Please visit londontu.be to read about this in more detail, and then explore tourlondon to see what they have to offer.

WE OWN IT – TRANSPORT

The campaign group weownit have created a resource with the catchy title Privatisation Fails. Below is a screenshot of the homepage for this resource:

pf

Of course, I followed up the bus and train links. Here is a paragraph from Privatisation Fails Buses:

Buses

30 years ago, our bus services were deregulated and privatised. This has been a disaster for our buses. Fares went up and routes that weren’t profitable were cut, meaning you now pay more for less.  In 2017, the Bus Service Users Bill was passed, which included a clause which bans local councils from creating their own public bus companies. 

On this page are the Big Five bus companies that grew out of deregulation and privatisation in the 1980s – together they control 70% of the bus travel industry in the UK. Many of these companies either own, or are owned by, rail companies as well.

Read more about bus services, and how and why we want to bring them into public ownership, here.

Next up comes Privatisation Fails Railways:

Railways

British Rail was broken up and privatised between 1994 and 1997, and since then rail services in the UK have been provided by private companies. There are 16 rail franchises in the UK, where the government gives train companies funding to run services for a certain period. 

Many of the companies that run our trains are European state-owned companies who reinvest millions of pounds a year in dividends from their British operations into their own transport systems. As you’ll see, these companies often own franchises within franchises. You might be surprised to learn who owns your morning commute! We’ve also listed three ‘ROSCOs’ or rolling stock companies, who lease trains to rail companies.

Read more about the privatisation of rail and what we can do about it here.

POLITICAL LINKS

Royal Mail workers have voted by a huge margin to take strike action. The official voting figures are:

Turnout 73.7%
Yes 89%
No 11%

This means that 65.593% of all those eligible to vote cast their vote in favour of strike action. I did this calculation myself, entirely in my head, but here for the record is how to get there…

Calling Turnout T and Yes votes Y and Overall Percent Yes as O we have O = TY/100. Putting the known figures into this we have O = (73.7 x 89)/100. To avoid decimals until absolutely necessary we change this to O = (737 x 89)/1000. To calculate 737 x 89 we can reduce to single figure calculations as follows:

737 x 89 = (700 x 89) + (30 x 89) + (7 x 89), and then splitting these up 700 x 89 = (700 x 80) + (700 x 9), 30 x 89 = (30 x 80) + (30 x 9) and 7 x 89 = (7 x 80) + (7 x 9). We now have a series of multiplications which can all be treated as single figure multiplications, with in some cases zeroes to be stuck on the end. Multiplying them out gives us 56,000 + 6,300 + 2,400 + 270 +560 + 63. Adding these together we get 65,593, and dividing by 1,000 requires a decimal point to go between the first and second five, giving us 65.593%. PS It took a lot longer writing this out than performing the calculations in my head!

I have two links for you about this vote:

A SKWAWKBOX QUADRUPLE BILL

The Skwawkbox, one of the best new media sites around, has had several particularly outstanding pieces recently:

PHOTOS 1 – ANIMALS

From Monday and yesterday:

Swan IV
Mute Swan (first four images) on the section of the Gaywood near Kettlewell lane.

Swan IIISwan IISwan IDucks and drakesMallard drakeMoorhen

Squirrel with Conker
This squirrel was sufficiently occupied by its shiny new conker for me to get this picture.

A TEASER

This puzzle comes courtesy of brilliant:

PNQ

PHOTOS 2: VIEWS

Minster Lumiere
Although all these pictures were taken in varying degrees of darkness none involved the use of the flash, which is an absolute last resort for me.

CH Lumiere VCH Lumiere IVCH Lumiere IIICH Lumiere IICH LumiereCustom House IICustom HouseNar meets Ouse, high tideWL Churchtownscape at dusk

 

 

A Day-Night Mismatch

An account of the first day-night test match on English soil, with some photographs at the end.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this account of the first test match in the series between England and the West Indies, which should still be going on but actually finished on Saturday.

THE FIRST DAY-NIGHT
TEST MATCH IN ENGLAND

One of the test matches in Australia later this year (the second of the series at Adelaide) is going to be a day-night test match, featuring sessions played under floodlights, and as part of that pink balls (as opposed to the usual red). England not fancying this being their first experience of the format decided to schedule a day-nighter at home beforehand. The problems with this decision are:

  • England because of the long twilight periods when neither natural nor artifical light are really good is not a suitable place for the day-night format.
  • The current West Indies side can hardly be considered to pose a challenge of anything like the magnitude of that of the Aussies in their own backyard.

THE MATCH ITSELF

England lost debutant opener Mark Stoneman and number three Tom Westley (also recently elevated to this level) early on, but then Alastair Cook and Joe Root put the bowling in perpsective with a huge and largely untroubled third-wicket stand. Root just pipped his predecessor as captain to the hundred mark. When Root was out for 136, Dawid Malan joined Cook and they took England through to the close of day 1. On Day 2, England lost a few wickets, including eventually that of Cook for 243 – this last triggering a declaration with the score at 514-8. Rain intervened with the West Indies 44-1. 

On Day 3 the West Indies had a horror start, largely thanks to James Anderson, with 44-1 rapidly becoming 47-4. Although Jermaine Blackwood showed some spirit with a rapid 79 wickets continued to tumble and the West Indies first innings ended on 168 from 47 overs. While many captains have become cautious about enforcing the follow-on in recent years this was one occasion when any captain declining to do so would surely have deserved to be presented a white feather and their P45. Joe Root duly sent the West Indies in again. Early in the West Indies second innings there was some speculation about whether England would take the extra half-hour to finish the job, but it soon became clear that the West Indies would not be batting long enough for the question to arise. Once again resistance was conspicuous by its absence, and the West Indies were all out for 137 in their second innings, this time from 45.4 overs. The most noteworthy feature of this innings was Stuart Broad moving ahead of Ian Botham to number two (behind Anderson) on the all-time England test wicket takers list. 

England had won by an innings and 209 runs with a couple of hours of possible playing time remaining on day 3 (taking the rain that shortened day 2 into account this was effectively a victory in half a test-match worth of playing time). 

While I hope to see Stoneman, Westley and Malan get some big runs in the two remaining tests I do not think that performances against these West Indians will count for anything down under, and nor for reasons already outlined can I really consider this dreadful mismatch any sort of preparation for Adelaide in November. On this occasion it may actually be genuinely the case that Geoffrey Boycott’s mum would have scored runs and/ or taken wickets such was the feebleness of the opposition (for the uninitiated, based on his comments as expert summariser Geoffrey’s mum would appear have a batting record to compare with Don Bradman and a bowling record not dissimilar to that of S F Barnes!).

Most of all, in the remaining two matches of this series I would like to see the West Indies show a bit of heart and spirit, and at least make England work for the victories, as they signally failed to do at Edgbaston. Anyone who had booked seats for the fourth and fifth days is highly unfortunate – the refunds policy covers bad weather but not one side playing bad cricket.

What we saw in this match was a proficient, professional outfit dealing severely with opposition who were not remotely in the same class – well done England, but in a few months you will be facing much tougher opposition.

A scorecard of the match can be viewed here, and if you so wish you can explore from there to read more about this match.

PHOTOGRAPHS

We end with a regular feature – some of my pictures:

Moorhen2Mallard11-13 King StreetK&HMoorhenGullPollinatorPollinator2Pollinator3Pollinator4

Rathskeller
The Rathskeller, where I shall be attending a Beer Festival in the run-up to Heritage Open Day

StageTB2TB4white butterflyBannerBPBP2BP3Cormorant

flying butterfly
A butterfly captured whiel in flight

GG