All Time XIs – Match Ups 15

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

Welcome to the latest installment in my extended analysis of how the teams I created for each letter of the alphabet fare against one another. This post features a ‘changing of the guard’ – the Cs occupy the hot seat at the beginning, and then we start the Ds. The Cs start today with 33 out of 115 points.

THE Cs V THE Ys

The Cs definitely have the stronger opening pair, nos 3,4 and 5 are very close, with Younis Khan outpointing I Chappell to the same extent that G Chappell outpoints Yallop. Norman Yardley outbats Constantine but loses the bowling element of their match up. Also, Chappelli is the better captain. S Yousuf outbats Carter but is out kept by the Aussie. Cummins and Croft have to be ranked above Younis and U Yadav as a new ball pair. Jack Young comfortably outmatches Cornwall as a finger spinner, while P Yadav vs Chandrasekhar is an even contest. The Ys have a marginal batting advantage, and win the spin bowling, but the pace bowling advantage is strongly with the Cs, and I think that will count for more than anything else and accordingly score this one: Cs 3, Ys 2.

THE Cs V THE Zs

The Cs dominate the top batting, with only Cowdrey arguably losing his match up against I Zadran. Zulch outbats Constantine, but does not offer a serious bowling option. Carter wins the wicket keeping match up, and Zaheer Khan and Monde Zondeki are way behind Cummins and Croft in the fast bowling stakes, while Constantine is the only back up pace option available to either side. The Zs probably win the spin department, but I don’t see that making much difference to the outcome of this one: Cs 4, Zs 1.

THE Cs FINAL SCORE

The Cs finish with 40 out of 125 points, a total score of 32%, comfortably bottom out of the three XIs who have been fully under the spotlight so far.

THE Ds V THE Es

The Cs have one solid pro and one genius opening the batting, one of the greatest number threes of all time, two legendary stroke makers at four and five, and a number six whose record at the top level suffered because his elevations was massively delayed by his personal circumstances and who still had a fine record. Dujon was an excellent keeper and a stylish batter, their pace trio is awesome, with Daniel probably third seamer behind an opening pair of Davidson and Donald, and they have a great spinner who was unlucky to overlap with two even greater ones of the same type – Wilfred Rhodes and Colin Blythe. The Es have two left handed battlers to open the batting, a number three who is less far behind his opposite number than figures suggest on two counts – 1)Dravid batted in an easier era for batting than Bill Edrich, and 2) Edrich lost six prime years to WWII, in which he distinguished himself as a flying ace. Emmett and R Edwards are undoubtedly well behind Donnelly and Duleepsinhji, and Endean is beaten by D’Oliveira. Dujon wins the batting element of his match up against Evans, but the Englishman was an even greater keeper than the West Indian. The Es have a left/ right opening pair of pacers, and a couple of crafty slower bowlers in Evans and Ecclestone. Evans v Daniel is not strictly a match up since they were very different types of bowler, and it is hard to say who would be preferable. I rank Ecclestone ahead of Dennett as a slow left armer. The Ds are ahead on batting, the Es may be ahead on front line bowling, but the Ds have an extra option in D’Oliveira. I score this one as Ds 3, Es 2.

THE Ds V THE Fs

The Ds have a marginal advantage when it comes to the opening pair, and Dravid rates above Flower as a number three. Donnelly beats Fletcher confortably, and Duleepsinhji beats Faulkner with the bat, but as against that Faulkner offers a bowling option. The Ds are stronger with the bat at nos 6,7 and 8, but the Fs have the potential of useful contributions from Flowers at 9. The Fs boss the bowling, Foster, Freeman and Ferris being at least as good a pace combo as Davidson, Donald and Daniel, and the Fs having three front line spin options to the Ds 1. I expect the Fs to win this comfortably and score it Ds 1, Fs 4.

THE Ds V THE Gs

The Ds have the edge in batting, though by less than it seems at first glance, the Ds also have the better pace attack, with only Garner in the same class as their trio. The Gs have a significant advantage in the spin bowling department, and they have the redoubtable WG as skipper. I still make the Ds favourites and score this one Ds 3, Gs 2.

THE Ds PROGRESS REPORT

The Ds had 8 points out of 15 from their three previous encounters. They are now on 15 points out of 30, exactly 50%.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – Match Ups (12)

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

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

THE Cs V THE Js

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

THE Cs V THE Ks

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

THE Cs V THE Ls

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

THE Cs V THE Ms

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

THE Cs V THE Ns

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

Cs PROGRESS UPDATE

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

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

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

All Time XIs – Match Ups (11)

Welcome to the next post in my series analysing how the all time XIs I selected for each letter of the alphabet fare against each other. The Cs XI currently occupy the hot seat, and they enter this post on 3.5 out of 15 points.

THE Cs V THE Es

The Cs are ahead in each of the top five batting positions, though Elgar and J Edrich aren’t out of position whereas Cowdrey and Chanderpaul are. Also Bill Edrich lost six prime years to WWII, so Chappelli’s advantage over him the bat is slightly illusory. Endean outbats Constantine but doesn’t bowl. Evans is marginally behind Carter with the bat, but compensates by being the finer keeper. Tom Emmett and Gideon Elliott look capable of matching Cummins and Croft, and Emmett’s left arm is an extra point of variation. Edwin Evans beats Cornwall with the ball, while Ecclestone against Chandrasekhar is a close contest. The Cs have better back up bowling options, with Constantine, Compton, Chanderpaul and G Chappell all capable of offering something, whereas only Bill Edrich is remotely close to being a back up bowling option for the Es. This is a close contest, but I think the Es superiority in front line bowling is just enough: Cs 2, Es 3.

THE Cs V THE Fs

The Cs have the edge in batting, although the Fs extra depth in that department narrows the gap. The Fs are dominant in bowling – Ferris, Foster and Freeman are all arguably superior to any of the Cs pacers, and whoever out of Foster or Ferris ends up third seamer knocks Constantine out of the park in that department. Similarly, the Fs three front line spin options, Faulkner, Fender and Flowers are all better than Cornwall, with Faulkner and Flowers both clearly also ahead of Chandrasekhar. For all their marginal batting advantage there are no circumstances in which I can envisage the Cs having the advantage, and Fender is one of the few skippers not to lose that contest to Chappelli. I score this one Cs 1, Fs 4.

THE Cs V THE Gs

The opening pairs are apparently closely matched, but Gavaskar and Greenidge are in their natural positions, while Chanderpaul and Cowdrey are not. Similar Chappelli at three is not as well placed over Grace as the figures make it look – Grace came late to test cricket – 32 when he made his debut, almost 51 when he finally retired, and that batting average of 32 is worth at least half as much again in more modern times. Plus he provides a bowling option. The Cs win the number four and five slots. However Gilchrist knocks the spots off Carter with the bat, though the latter was probably the better keeper. Gregory outpoints Constantine in the battle of the fast bowling all rounders. Geary and Garner are a little behind Croft and Cummins as a pair, but not significantly so. Grimmett outpoints Chandrasekhar, and from a bowling point of view Gibbs is the proverbial country mile clear of fellow West Indian Cornwall. The Gs are definitely ahead in terms of the front five bowlers, and their sixth option, WG Grace, outpoints at least two of the Cs front five as well. The Gs have a significant advantage, and a skipper who will certainly stand up to opposite number Chappelli. Not even Chappelli can salvage anything for the Cs from this one: Cs 0, Gs 5.

THE Cs V THE Hs

The Hs win the first four batting positions, G Chappell just having the edge on compatriot Hussey at no 5. Hendren is far superior with the bat to Constantine, while Healy clearly beats Carter. Hadlee and Holding at least match Cummins and Croft, Harmer and Herath beat Cornwall and Chandrasekhar. The Cs have the better fifth bowler, Constantine outdoing Hammond in that department. The Cs extra bowling depth does not make up for their lack of front line strength or for the fact that they are badly outgunned with the bat: Cs 0, Hs 5.

THE Cs V THE Is

The Cs boss the first five batting positions, , though the Is win the next three. Bowling wise the Is win on spinners, but lose heavily in the pace department – Iremonger may rate as a better third seamer than Constantine, but the new ball pairing does not compare to Cummins and Croft. I score this as Cs 4, Is 1.

Cs PROGRESS REPORT

Even with four points in the final match up the Cs have scored just seven points out of 25 today, moving them on to 10.5 out of 40, 26.25% so far.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

All Time XIs – The Letter C

Continuing my all-time XIs theme with a look at the letter C.

The temperature here is back to what would be expected of England in July after two days of serious heat. Peterborough, just over an hour to the west of me by bus was one of various UK places to top 40 degrees yesterday, while the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge, south of me, clocked 39.9. Holbeach and Marham, either side of King’s Lynn and closer still, both also had temperatures between 39 and 40. I am continuing my series of all-time XI posts with a look at the letter C.

THE XI IN BATTING ORDER

  1. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Lancashire, West Indies). The Guyanese super stacker was not a regular opener, but with due respect to his achievements this season I could hardly pick Ben Compton, and nor did any other regular openers beginning with C jump out at me. I reckon he can handle the job, and as you will see going down the order I have a stack of quality players who belong in the middle order.
  2. Colin Cowdrey (Kent, England). Not a full time opener, but he did the job with success during the low scoring 1956 Ashes series. Also, when summoned out as an emergency replacement to the 1974-5 tour as a 42 year old who was short of practice, he stood up to the terrifying pace of Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee as well as any top order English batter (only middle order batters Greig and Knott could be said to fare well with the bat in this series).
  3. *Ian Chappell (Australia). Had an excellent record as a test match number three and was also a shrewd and ruthless skipper, a role I have no hesitation in assigning to him in this XI.
  4. Denis Compton (Middlesex, England). To maintain an average of 50 over a career of 78 test matches which was disrupted by six years of war and a knee injury one has to be class player. Denis Charles Scott Compton was also a prime entertainer. In addition to the batting he was a fine fielder and bowled presentable left arm wrist spin.
  5. Greg Chappell (Somerset, Australia). The first Australian to top 7,000 test runs, one of the safest slip catchers in the game’s history and an occasional bowler of both leg spin and medium pace.
  6. Learie Constantine (Nelson, West Indies). I mention his Lancashire League club, a club he served phenomenally when is his prime because his deeds as a league Pro are an essential part of the package that was Learie Constantine. An attacking batter, a fast bowler (before later turning to medium pace and spin with the odd quicker one interspersed) and one of the greatest of all fielders, he was a true all rounder.
  7. +Hanson Carter (Australia). The Yorkshire born keeper took over behind the stumps from the long serving Jim Kelly and yielded his spot to the legendary Bert Oldfield. He loses little even by comparison to these legends of the stumper’s art.
  8. Rakheem Cornwall (West Indies). Off spinner and useful lower order batter. He is on my own admission the most questionable pick in this side, but I have opted for him to give the bowling attack extra balance.
  9. Patrick Cummins (Australia). Currently the best test match fast bowler in the world, and a better batter than his test average suggests.
  10. Colin Croft (West Indies). Another fast bowler, similar in height and in bowling with his right arm to Cummins, also has a magnificent record, but the two are utterly dissimilar in other ways. He has the best innings figures in test cricket by a WI fast bowler, 8-29. He was also the second after Gary Gilmour to take a six-for in an ODI (6-15). I have positioned him one place above his usual spot in the batting order because there is an even more undisputed no11 to come…
  11. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar (India). One of a quartet of spinners to play for India in the 1970s (Bedi and Prasanna were both also indisputably world class, Venkataraghavan less so). He bowled leg spin at a fairly brisk pace, turning the withering of his right arm by childhood polio into a huge plus for himself. Only one bowler not have played county championship cricket took more FC wickets than Chandra, another leg spinner in Clarrie Grimmett.

This side contains a powerful top five (the only conceivable question mark there being whether Chanderpaul could handle the opening gig), a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and varied quartet of bowlers. Cummins, Croft and Constantine are a fine trio of pacers, and leg spinner Chandrasekhar and off spinner Cornwall constitute a decent spin attack. In support if needed are Compton, G Chappell and Chanderpaul in that order of preference.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Sir Alastair Cook might have had the slot I gave to Chanderpaul, but my feeling having witnessed both is that the Guyanese was the better cricketer. Cook benefitted from being part of an exceedingly strong line up, something Chanderpaul rarely experienced. Another Cook, Jimmy of South Africa, is the ultimate ‘what might have been?’ – his domestic record was outstanding, but bearing in mind another southern African, Graeme Hick, I have to rule him out.

The best batter I was unable to accommodate was Martin Crowe (Somerset, New Zealand). I had positive reasons for including Compton and the Chappells (including the captaincy in the case of the most vulnerable of the trio to the Crowe challenge, Ian Chappell) rather than negative reasons for leaving Crowe out. Michael ‘Pup’ Clarke had a fine test record, but not quite the equal of anyone I selected. Another Aussie named Clarke, Belinda, might have got an opening slot. Medium pacer and useful lower order batter Tom Cartwright was the challenger to Cornwall for the number eight slot, and if you prefer relying on one front line spinner I accept that. Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter, an Australian fast bowler who was killed during WWI was on the fringes, as was West Indian Sylvester Clarke. Neither Lance nor Chris Cairns quite merited a place. I end with the reverse of an honourable mention: Zak Crawley is a current England opener, but few have ever been less deserving of the position – his record is an opener puts him down in the ‘Brearley without the captaincy’ class, and even for Kent he barely averages 30 an innings.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Adelaide Antics

An account of two and a half extraordinary days of cricket at Adelaide.

The first test between Australia and India in the latest series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has ended after only half the allotted time, with Australia winning by eight wickets. Two and a half days proved ample time for some extraordinary happenings as we shall see…

THE MATCH

This match was a day-nighter which made it slightly easier to follow from the UK (the BBC have rights to Australian radio broadcasts for three years, so there was live commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra) – just a very early morning start as opposed an all-nighter. Both sides had questions over their opening pairs due to injuries. For India Prithvi Shaw got the nod to open with Mayank Agarwal, while with both Warner and heir apparent Pucovski hors de combat for Australia they opted for Matthew Wade, who had never previously opened a first class innings, never mind a test one to partner Joe Burns. The other question was over India’s choice of keeper, and they opted for the superior keeper, Wriddhiman Saha rather than deepening their batting by selecting Rishabh Pant.

India won the toss and chose to bat. The second ball of the game exposed a gap between Shaw’s bat and pad through which an HGV could have been driven, leading to the ‘death rattle’ and India were 0-1. Agarwal also fell cheaply, before Chesteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli stabilized things. Pujara batted well up to a point, but did not do quite enough to keep the scoreboard ticking. Ajinkya Rahane now joined Kohli and for a time all was rosy for India, as the pairing prospered. The falling sweep twitter account piped up to mention that Rahane had never been run out in a test innings, to which I could not resist responding with a question as to whether that related to good running or an ability to ensure that his partners lost their wickets when mix-ups occurred. A few moments after this exchange Rahane proceeded to stitch his skipper up, and India were four down. Rahane himself followed not long after, and Hanuma Vihari also fell cheaply, bringing R Ashwin into join the keeper Saha. None of the remaining members of the batting order, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami could lay claim to any real batting skill, although Bumrah had just notched his maiden first class 50 in a warm-up game against Australia A. Saha and Ashwin made it to the close with the score at 233-6.

The second day began with a flurry of wickets, as India were quickly rounded up for a total of 244. Australia made this total look quite respectable, and it was only a fighting 73 not out from captain/ wicket keeper Tim Paine that kept their deficit to 53. India missed a cartload of chances as well – officially five catches went down, and there was more than one incident of an edge falling short of a fielder who had positioned themselves too deep to make the catch. Among thos reprieved was Paine himself on 25.

India began their second innings 25 minutes before the cut-off time at which stumps had to be drawn, which I thought represented a case for promoting Pujara to open in place of the clearly vulnerable Shaw (check my twitter account and you will see that I posted to this effect at the time). India felt otherwise and in to bat trooped Shaw and Agarwal. This time Shaw did get off the mark, but with four to his name he was bowled in pretty much identical fashion to the first innings, the ball going through a veritable chasm between bat and pad to hit the stumps. Bumrah was then sent in as nightwatchman, and managed to see things through to the close at 9-1.

For some reason known only to themselves the BBC were not joining the broadcast of the third day’s play until 40 minutes after the start, so I missed the beginning of the end, the commentary being joined just as Kohli was dismissed to make it 19-6. I heard commentary on the dismissals that I had missed, as playbacks were presented during the coverage of what remained, and I heard the end of the Indian innings and the entire Australia chase. Agarwal and Bumrah took the score to 15 before Bumrah was out, the first of four successive wickets, the others being Agarwal, Pujara and Rahane to fall with the score at 15. Saha and Ashwin fell in successive balls as well, and that was 26-8. At 31 Vihari, the last recognized batter was ninth out, and five runs later Shami was struck on the arm and retired hurt, leaving the Indian 2nd innings all over for just 36, their lowest ever test score (previously 42 versus England). Australia thus required 90 to win. Burns and Wade batted well, before Wade was run out with Australia 20 short of the target. Labuschage holed out with eight still needed. The end came with Joe Burns hitting a six that also took him to a half century.

His 73 not out, captaincy and excellent wicket keeping, including a fistful of catches in that second Indian innings earned Paine the man of the match award.

THE INDIAN 2ND INNINGS

Normally when a team is out very cheaply there is at least some culpability on the part of the batters. When England sank for 46 to lose a match they had been ahead in at Trinidad in 1994 the rout began with Atherton padding up to the first ball and being plumb LBW, Ramprakash falling in the same over, also to a dismissal that suggested a player and a team in a funk. Here, apart from Shaw at the end of day two, the wickets all seem to have fallen to magnificent bowling, Cummins (four wickets, including his 150th in test cricket) and Hazlewood (five, at one stage 5-3, 5-8 by the end of the innings, including his 200th test wicket) bowling a perfect line and length and benefitting from some good fortune which both thoroughly deserved, as they found numerous edges and each edge was pouched, mostly by the keeper, some by other fielders. 36 all out in a test is a shocker, but here any honest observer has to credit the bowling, not blame the batting.

One crumb of comfort for India: immediately after the 46 all out I referred to earlier, and which I regard as a worse collapse, for all that England then scraped up 10 more runs than India managed this time, England travelled to Barbados where the West Indies had not been beaten in 59 years, and proceeded to win comfortably, Alec Stewart notching a century in each innings.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Obviously India have a mountain climb, and the fact that Kohli is leaving to be with his wife as she gives birth and Shami is in jeopardy due to his injury today makes it even steeper, but they must not give up. The next game is at the MCG, where they won comfortably last time they were in Australia, and Bumrah in particular will have fond memories of that match. At the start of the 1902 Ashes Australia were bowled out for 36 in a single innings, albeit then being saved by the weather, and rebounded to win the series 2-1, with England’s lone victory coming in the final match at The Oval. I await the match in Melbourne with great interest, having enjoyed this one very much.

PLAYER RATINGS

I will start with the winning team:

Matthew Wade – given a job to do that he had never previously done he can be proud of his contribution to a low scoring match. 6/10
Joe Burns – many were questioning his presence in this team, and his first innings effort was far from encouraging. He also struggled in the first part of his second innings, but in the end emerged with flying colours. 7/10
Marnus Labuschagne – a gritty effort in the first innings when the rest of the Aussie front line batters all fell cheaply, and he fell in the second innings when trying to speed Australia over the winning line. 7/10
Steve Smith – R Ashwin demonstrated in the first innings that the least elegant but most effective batter in the game can be dismissed cheaply, and he did not the opportunity to make a noteworthy contribution to the 2nd innings. 3/10
Travis Head – an anonymous match for him. He failed in his only batting innings. 2/10
Cameron Green – a hugely exciting young all rounder of whom I expect to be hearing much more. He did enough in this game to demonstrate that he belongs at the highest level. 5/10
Tim Paine – a gritty innings, some fine keeping and good captaincy (although his use of the DRS still needs plenty of work). His player of the match award was well merited. 9/10
Pat Cummins – the right arm quick demonstrated why he is currently ranked the no1 test bowler in the world, bowling very well in the first Indian innings and magnificently in the second. 9/10
Mitchell Starc – good with the ball in the first innings, not much needed in the second. 7/10
Josh Hazlewood – a superb bowling effort in the second innings in tandem with Pat Cummins, and adequate in the first innings. 8/10
Nathan Lyon – the off spinner was out bowled by his rival Ashwin, but in a match where the quicks were more prominent he was far from failing. 7/10

Now we turn the Indians:

Mayant Agarwal: not a match the established opener will look back on with any pride. 4/10
Prithvi Shaw: a nightmare for the youngster who has a magnificent record in Indian domestic cricket but is not yet established as a test player. I cannot see him continuing as an opener – it is an early wicket every time for the Aussies if he does, but he may have a role in this series nonetheless as there will be a vacancy at no4, where he will be less exposed. 1/10
Cheteshwar Pujara: he did a solid job in the first innings, although he should have done more to keep the scoreboard ticking. Failed in the second innings. 4/10
Virat Kohli: before being stitched up by Rahane in the first innings he looked nailed on for a century. 7/10
Ajinkya Rahane: played well in the first innings, but a lot of the good he did for his side with his personal score was negated by his role in Kohli’s dismissal and his own subsequent dismissal shortly afterwards. Including the run out of Kohli the last 16 Indian wickets plus Shami retired hurt raised just 89 between them. 3/10
Hanuma Vihari: two failures for the youngster. 2/10
Wriddhiman Saha: kept superbly as usual, and looked to have done a valuable job with the bat in the closing stages of the opening day. 4/10
R Ashwin: good work with the bat near the end of the first day, but dismissed right at the start of the second when a decent morning’s batting could have put India out of reach in the match. Bowled beautifully in the Australian first innings and was rewarded with four wickets. 7/10
Umesh Yadav: bowled respectably in the first Australian innings. 5/10
Jasprit Bumrah: bowled impressively and commanded respect from all the Aussies. It must be said that there was little evidence of his much vaunted improvement with the bat and using him as nightwatchman was probably a mistake (if India were going to protect any of their major batters it should have been Shaw, which they could have done by promoting Pujara one place). Still, he did little noticeably wrong, and did manage the nightwatchman’s first task of surviving to the close of play. 6/10

Looking at the players India have available for the second match I would suggest that they select Shubman Gill to open with Agarwal and fill the temporarily vacant no4 slot by moving Shaw down from his current opening berth.

If you wish to see a scorecard and some more recognized views about this match, click here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

100 Cricketers – The Seventh XI Bowlers and Introducing the Eighth XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, finishing the look at the seventh XI and introducing the eighth XI in batting order. Has some bonus features as well as the usual photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, which features the specialist bowlers from the seventh XI and introduces the eighth XI in batting order. There are also a couple of extra features near the end of the post. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post which introduces the seventh XI is here and the previous post in the series is hereWe start our look at the bowlers with…

THE QUICKER BOWLERS

I have two players in this XI who are picked principally as pace bowlers. Anya Shrubsole in this combination would be third seamer, while the new ball would be taken the two genuinely quick bowlers, Imran Khan and…

PAT CUMMINS

The 25 year-old who consistently bowls at speeds of over 90mph has thus far played 20 test matches in which has taken 94 wickets at 22.02, while he has at times also made useful contributions as a lower order batter, with 528 runs at 20.30. He has also been effective in shorter form cricket, with 82 ODI wickets at 26.53 from 48 appearances and 25 T20I wickets at 21.24 from 20 matches. In the 2018 Boxing Day test match at the MCG when Australia as a whole were roundly defeated, confirming India as holders of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, he was the one Aussie to emerge with his reputation enhanced, playing a fighting innings and bagging six cheap second innings wickets after India had declined to enforce the follow-on. He is the only current Australian player I would definitely want to find a space for in the England team were such permissible (Steve Smith, a shoo-in on past performances is as far as I am concerned out on behavioural grounds). As this suggests my reckoning based on recent performances by the two sides is that England are heavy favourites to regain The Ashes this summer, but the presence of a fit, firing Cummins will make their task harder – and I hope that is what we see – I would always want each team to be at full strength. 

ANYA SHRUBSOLE

She has had only five test matches (17 wickets at 24.52), but her records in ODIs (61 matches, 77 wickets at 26.51) and T20Is (63 matches, 86 wickets at 13.96) are splendid. She was the star of the 2017 world cup final, her 6-46 consigning India to defeat after they had looked like winning for most of the match and earning her many accolades, starting with player of the match on the day and also including becoming the first woman to feature on the front cover of Wisden. We now turn to the…

SPIN BOWLERS

Those who have followed this series closely will recall that as well as naming her vice-captain of this XI I made a point of mentioning Heather Knight’s off-spin bowling. In view of the fact that I already had an option, albeit not quite front-line, in that department it was natural for my front-line options to select two spinners who represented different varieties of spin bowling. I went for having a full range and plumped for a legspinner and a left arm orthodox spinner…

DANIEL VETTORI

The Kiwi played 113 test matches, scoring 4,531 runs at 30.00 and taking 362 wickets at a slightly costly 34.36. He also played 295 ODIs scoring 2,253 runs at 17.33 and taking 305 wickets at 31.71. That slightly elevated test bowling average not withstanding I reckon that among New Zealand born spinners only Clarrie Grimmett, who not only had to move countries (to Australia) but was on to his third Aussie state before mkaing the breakthrough was better. I saw him action in 1999, when his fine bowling played a major role in consigning England to the series defeat that plunged them to the bottom of the world test ratings. In the year 2000 two developments, a two-divisional championship and central contracts came into force, and since then England have fared much better on the international stage. In later years his batting became almost as significant for New Zealand as his bowling, and he was also did fairly well captaining the side. 

AMANDA WELLINGTON

This is a pick with the future in mind. The 21 year-old legspinner has only played one test match, has 15 ODI wickets at 31.80 and 10 T20I wickets at 11.20. However, she bowled well in the Womens Big Bash League this year, and had an OD match for South Australia v ACT in which she scored 29 and took 4-35. I expect to hear a lot more of her in future, having been favourably impressed by those bowling performances that I have heard commentary on.

INTRODUCING THE EIGTH XI

Here in batting order is my eighth XI:

  1. Matthew Hayden
  2. Justin Langer
  3. *Michael Vaughan
  4. Dilip Vengsarkar
  5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
  6. +Andy Flower
  7. Richard Hadlee
  8. Graeme Swann
  9. Stuart Broad
  10. Linsey Smith
  11. Terry Alderman

EXTRAS

This post will end in the usual way, but first a couple of extras.

ANSWER TO MATHEMATICAL PUZZLE FROM YESTERDAY

Here is an official solution to yesterday’s mathematical puzzle, posted by Mahdi Raza:

solution

We also have a bonus feature…

AUTISM PLAN

I was alerted to this via twitter, but the main detail is in a facebook post which you can view by clicking on the graphic below:

Autism Plan

It costs NAS West Norfolk some £15,000 a year to run activities for our members (over 380 families currently signed up). There is a new fundraiser now on just giving for those who can afford to donate, and all money raised will be used by NAS West Norfolk for activities that help autistic people. We finsih of course with…

PHOTOGRAPHS

P1220323P1220324P1220325P1220326P1220327P1220328P1220330P1220331P1220332P1220333P1220334P1220335P1220336P1220337P1220338P1220339P1220340P1220341P1220342P1220343P1220344P1220345P1220346P1220347P1220348

 

 

 

 

 

England Seal ODI Series Victory

An account of the third ODI between Australia and England, and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Just after 11AM yesterday UK time England completed a victory over Australia in the third One Day International that also secured them the series victory with two matches remaining. This post tells the story of that victory

THE MATCH

Steve Smith won the toss for Australia and sent England in to bat, which given that England had won the first two matches batting second was a sensible decision. Moeen Ali’s dismissal to the first ball of the 39th over left England at 181-6, at which point Australia looked favourites, and Smith’s decision to send England in looked to be thoroughly vindicated. Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes then batted so well in the last 11.5 overs, the former reaching his 5th ODI hundred along the way, that England finished their 50 overs with 302-6.

Australia in response were then ahead on comparison for much of the way. In the closing stages Stoinis and Paine batted well up to a point but they were dropping further and further behind the rate. When Stoinis holed out at the death Australia needed 19 off three deliveries which meant that Woakes only had to avoid overstepping or slinging the thing wide – and he very comfortably achieved this, England’s final margin being 16 runs. Stoinis played a quality knock, but Tim Paine’s 31 not out off 35 balls was as clear an example of a match-losing innings as I can recall (though skipper Smith’s 45 off 66, which first put Australia behind the rate merits a dishonourable mention in this category). 

A CONTROVERSIAL DISMISSAL

Smith was given out caught by Buttler. The onfield umpires referred with a ‘soft decision’ of out, meaning that to give Smith not out the TV Replay Umpire needed to find incontrovertible evidence that it was not out. The mere fact that even with replays to help them people were not in agreement as to whether it was out or not says that the evidence was not incontrovertible, so the TV Replay Umpire was right to stick with the decision of out. Also, because of camera foreshortening TV replays are notoriously unreliable when it comes to assessing whether catches have carried (and I write this as a fan of technology overall). Finally, the way Smith was batting his dismissal benefitted Australia at least as much as it did England.

A TALE OF TWO 49th OVERS

England went into the 49th over of their innings on 264-6. Pat Cummins not only got smacked around (always likely at that stage of an innings), he also unforgivably bowled a wide, and then with the seventh delivery, which had been necessitated by the earlier misdemeanour, a no-ball. The eight delivery, necessitated by the no-ball, and a free hit for that reason, was walloped for four. The meant that the over cost 25 in total, and Cummins’ indiscipline accounted for eight of those 25 (1 for the original wide, 2 for the no-ball, one taken off the no-ball and the last four).

Australia went into their 49th over at 273-6, needing 30 to win. Mark Wood was disciplined enough to limit his over to the regulation six deliveries, and he managed one dot ball, conceded four singles and only one four – eight off the over – a good fairy offering that outcome at the start of the over would have found herself one-handed! The difference between Cummins’ over and Wood’s was 17 runs (25 minus 8), and England’s winning margin was 16.

PHOTOGRAPHS

La TraviataMoorhensMerulaIMerulaIIMerulaIIIscout hut roofCrescent moon 1Crescent moon 2Crescent moon 3Crtescent moon 4Moonlit North Lynn

 

Ashes Composite XI

My composite Ashes XI with reasoning and justification. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A common feature of final days of series is the selection of a composite XI based on performances in said series. This is my effort for the current Ashes series. I am going to name my team in batting order first and then explain/amplify/justify these selections.

THE TEAM

My team in batting order (England player names in dark blue, Aus in green):

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. David Warner
  3. Dawid Malan
  4. Steven Smith (Captain)
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
  7. Mitchell Marsh
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jimmy Anderson

MY REASONING

The openers need no justification – the only major contribution from an opener not named Warner in the series was Cook’s monumental innings at the MCG. Number three is a thorny one. James Vince has demonstrated clearly that he does not belong there, and his huge score here at the SCG notwithstanding I remain skeptical about Usman Khawaja, hence my decision to promote England’s leading run scorer in the series to a position he occupies for his county. Number four, and with it the captaincy was the easiest selection of the whole lot. Shaun Marsh has not put a foot wrong since being called up to replace the inadequate Handscomb at number 5, and I regarded him as a must pick. Jonny Bairstow and Tim Paine have both had good series with the gloves, but I have opted for Bairstow as definitely the superior batsman. Mitchell Marsh has had a magnificent series, and was an absolute shoe-in at number 7, especially as Moeen Ali has had a terrible series – he has batted poorly in every match and his bowling average reads like a Bradman batting average. Of the specialist bowlers I have picked those at number 8,9 and 10 in the batting order are absolute stand outs. Number 11 was tricky, since Anderson with virtually no support has had a good series, and the better supported Hazlewood as also had a fine series. Accepting that even were it possible vivisection is not permissible (though ‘Anderwood’ is only one letter removed from a former test great!) I have opted for Anderson as I rate his the greater achievement. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Looking at the makeup of the team (and accepting that Hazlewood for Anderson and Khawaja for Malan would both be valid changes), Australian picks predominate in both batting and bowling, though it is especially the bowling, which in my team comes out at 4-1 (including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh) to Australia and is reality more like 4.3-0.7 (rating my selection of Anderson over Hazlewood as a 70:30 pick) which has split the sides. England have collected barely more than half of the 100 wickets that were available to them at the start of the series, whereas Australia assuming that they take the six England wickets that remain in this match will have managed 90, failing to take 20 opposition wickets only on the MCG pitch. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I always like to include a few photographs in my blog posts, so I end with these recently taken pictures:

FW
The first five pictures were taken while walking to the Scout Hut on Beulah Street for Musical Keys yesterday.

FW2FW3MHIMHII

PW1
These last four pictures were taken in Fakenham on Thursday.

PW2PW3LBB