England Re-establish Lead in T20 Series in India

An account of India v England yesterday, some stuff about the environment, a mathematical teaser and a bumper crop of photos.

Yesterday the third of five T20Is between India and England took place in Ahmedabad. The first part of this post gives an account of proceedings in that match, and then I have a couple of bonus features as well as my usual sign off.

THE PRELIMINARIES

For England Mark Wood was fit again and came back into the side in place of Tom Curran, and that was the only change. For India Rohit Sharma returned to the ranks and Suryakumar Yadav who had not even batted on his debut was benched to make way for him. England won the toss, and with the series 1-1 and both matches won by chasing sides, chose to bowl first, the correct decision (although if he wins the toss tomorrow he should gamble and bat first as there as World T20 Cup coming up in India and England will probably need to win at least one match batting first to lift that trophy).

THE INDIAN INNINGS

England bowled magnificently in the Power Play overs, restricting India to 24-3 from the first six overs of their innings. After 15 overs India were 87-5, but they then had what would prove to be their only good period of the match, plundering 69 off the final five overs of their innings to post 156-6 from their 20 overs. Half of this total came off the bat of Virat Kohli. Mark Wood, at his best, had 3-31 from his four overs, and 16 of those runs were hit off the third, fourth and fifth balls of his final over. Every other bowler contributed to a fine team effort, with Rashid being wicketless but bowling his full four overs for 26 runs.

THE ENGLAND RESPONSE

Roy fell cheaply after successive good scores in the first two matches, but Buttler underlined his status as England’s finest white ball batter, looking in complete command right from the start of his innings. Malan got a start, but on this occasion did not turn it into anything big, though he still managed to contribute to a fifty partnership. Bairstow, a superb white ball batter, joined Buttler, and these two players were still together when the match was won in the 18th of 20 overs, Buttler 83 not out off 54 and Bairstow 40 not out off 26 balls. None of the Indian bowlers looked terribly threatening, and Yuzvendra Chahal, their chosen leg spinner, looked leagues below Adil Rashid. Washington Sundar is an economical off spinner, but what India desperately needed and could not get were wickets. A total of 180 might have been defendable by keeping things as tight as possible, but 156 was never. likely to be defended unless India got wickets, and a lot of them. Buttler, who had also done well with the gloves, was the only conceivable candidate for Player of the Match.

THE REMAINING FIXTURES

Although some people either through mischief or through idiocy were questioning Malan’s place in the England side based on two comparative failures the truth is that there are only two changes at present that would make any real sense, and I would be disinclined to make either while the series remains live: Moeen Ali to replace either Sam Curran or Chris Jordan, giving an extra spin option, and/or Liam Livingstone to replace Stokes as no5 batter and sixth bowling option (he can spin the ball both ways, although he is not a regular bowler).

For India things are more complicated – their top order batting has struggled in this series, with fatally poor starts in the first and third matches and an indifferent one in the second, and the bowling attack as currently constituted is simply not good enough. He did not fare too badly this time, but for me if he is going to be worth his place Hardik Pandya needs to be batting in the top half of the order and being India’s sixth bowler, not their fifth. I do not see how Chahal can retain his place – he is leaking runs consistently and rarely threatens to take wickets. The obvious struggling batter is KL Rahul, with one run in his last four innings (note to Malan bashers – that IS the sort of form on which you can talk about dropping a highly ranked batter.

ENVIRONMENT THOUGHTS

The Green Party candidate in the London Mayoral election, Sian Berry (please, Londoners, do the right things this time and elect her) has proposed the creation of a ‘habitat crime unit’ which would tackle habitat and ecological crimes in the capital. I think this is an excellent idea. You can read full details of it by clicking here.

The London Parklet campaign today tweeted out a superb graphic created by Emma Paxton on redesigning cities to be greener. You can see the tweet by clicking here, and I present a screenshot of the graphic below:

A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

I have not presented one of these for a while, but I enjoyed solving this one this morning:

This was originally set as a multiple choice question, but I am not giving readers that luxury, although you can see it in it’s original setting by clicking here. Solution in my next post.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Now it is time for my usual sign off, including my first blue tit of 2021…

Two Formats, Two Successful Chases

A look at two successful run chases from yesterday.

Yesterday was the fifth and final day of the second Afghanistan v Zimbabwe test match and also the day of the second T20I between India and England. This post looks at both games.

AFGHANISTAN V ZIMBABWE

Going into the final day Zimbabwe had a small lead but only three second innings wickets standing. For a time the overnight pair of Sean Williams and Donald Tiripano kept the resistance going, with Williams reaching 150. Tiripano fell only five runs short of becoming only the second ever batter named Donald to rack up a test century. The resistance did not quite end there, with Zimbabwe finally being all out for 365, an advantage of 107. Afghanistan were never in serious trouble in the chase, though the loss of three wickets as the target approached reduced the margin from nine to six wickets.

While acknowledging Zimbabwe’s great fight back I am personally pleased that Afghanistan won and thereby levelled the series. They had very comfortably the better of the game overall, and also if they had lost the follow on (see my previous post)would have become obsolete in the minds of a lot of captains. The truth is that Zimbabwe’s great fightback has no bearing on the decision to enforce the follow on, and I wonder how many were questioning it when Zimbabwe were 142-7, still 116 short of making Afghanistan bat a second time. If any Afghanistan decision was questionable it was the decision to declare the first innings at 545-4 rather than pushing on past 600.

The other notable feature of this match was the workload shouldered by leg spinner Rashid Khan – 99 overs in the match, in which he captured 11 wickets (he now has 34 test wickets in five matches at that level, including two hauls of 10 in a match), three more than Zimbabwe as a whole managed across both Afghanistan innings. This was the most since Muralitharan sent down 116 overs of off spin at The Oval in 1998, taking 16 wickets in the process. The overall test record was set by Hedley Verity, at 774 balls across the two innings of the last timeless test (eight ball overs in that match), while in first class cricket CS Nayudu tops the list having once bowled 917 balls in the course of a match. Another notable workload was the 124 overs bowled in the Adelaide test in the 1928-9 Ashes by JC ‘Farmer’ White (13 wickets, and England won albeit only just). The single innings record was set by Sonny Ramadhin at Edgbaston in 1957, when he wheeled down 98 overs in England’s second innings. Tom Veivers bowled 95.2 overs in England’s innings at Old Trafford in 1964 (A 656-8 declared, Simpson 311, E 611 all out, Barrington 256, A 4-0).

A full scorecard for the match can be viewed here.

INDIA V ENGLAND

Mark Wood had a niggle and was replaced by Tom Curran, a decision that many questioned at the time. India won the toss and put England in. No one really sparked for England, though Roy managed 46, and there were several scores in the 20s. It was only poor fielding by India that enabled England to reach 164-6 from their 20. When Sam Curran opened the defence with a wicket maiden things looked interesting. However, Kohli and Ishan Kishan, making his debut, soon put India well on top. No English bowler was really impressive, and the fielding was sloppy, lowlighted by bad dropped catches on the part of Buttler and Stokes. By the time Kishan fell for a magnificent 56 off 32 balls the game was effectively up for England. There was still time for Pant to score a rapid 26, while Kohli anchored the chase. The skipper finished things with a six, taking him to 73 not out. Shreyas Iyer was 8 not out, following his 50 in the previous match. Tom Curran bowled two overs for 26 and never looked like causing anyone any problems. Although Kohli had the highest score of the day Kishan was quite correctly named Player of the Match for his game changing innings. For India Rohit Sharma is now available again and will presumably displace KL Rahul who has had a horrible time of late, while they might also look at ways to give themselves a sixth genuine bowling option – although it did not affect them this time, Hardik Pandya as fifth bowler seems a trifle hair raising. For England Wood will return in place of Tom Curran if fit, if not either Reece Topley or if England want an extra spin option Moeen Ali could come in. The other possible move is Liam Livingstone, mainly a batter but also capable of spinning the ball both ways, to come for Stokes. A full scorecard can be viewed here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Consolation Victory for NZ Women

A brief look back at last night’s ODI between NZ Women and England Women, plus a look at my chosen England XI for the first IND v ENG T20I and some photographs.

This post is a two parter, first looking back at last night’s game and then looking at selections for the T20 leg of England’s tour of India.

NZW V ENGW

With the series safely won (note to the England Men’s team – this is how you do it) England rested veteran pace bowler Katherine Brunt ahead of the upcoming T20 series. Heather Knight won the toss and chose to bat. Tammy Beaumont came up trumps (88 not out) and so did Knight herself (60), but no one else was able to anything significant, and England were held to 220, with every New Zealand bowler doing well. Amelia Kerr with 4-42 had the best figures.

New Zealand lost two early wickets, and were still 170 short win Sophie Devine was third out, but Amy Satterthwaite was already playing brilliantly and Amelia Kerr now joined her, and try as they might England could do nothing as New Zealand reached the target with this pair still together, Satterthwaite 119 not out and Kerr 72 not out.

ENGLAND XI FOR THE 1ST 20

There is a ‘choose your England XI for the first T20’ up on wisden.com, which is fun to play. The XI I chose attracted some comment on twitter, mainly positive, and I am now going to go into more detail here. Below is my XI:

https://wisden.com/mysquad/team-selector-pick-your-england-t20i-xi-to-face-india/c92da4c_202102271627

There were five players available to be picked who I did not select: Liam Livingstone, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Reece Topley and Mark Wood. I regarded the top four as must picks, given their records, considered Stokes as a necessity since very few good T20 sides don’t have a front line bowler who bats in the top half of the order, and Morgan is the current captain and it would be huge shout to replace him and name a new captain. Sam Curran has genuine all round skills, as does Moeen Ali with the only member of this XI to have no sort of batting pedigree at international level being Jofra Archer at no11. The five players picked mainly on account of their bowling skills re respectively left arm fast medium, off spin, leg spin, right arm fast medium with lots of variation and right arm fast, an excellent range of bowling, with Stokes, right arm fast medium, there as a sixth genuine option. This latter is an insurance policy against someone having a horror day with the ball. My second choice line up from the players available would be to have the two Bs, Bairstow and Buttler open the batting, Malan at three, Livingstone (who can also bowl spin, though he is not a front line option in this department) at four, and nos 5-11 unchanged.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off, bolstered by some full moon shots from Friday evening…

South Africa 0 England 3

A look back at the recently concluded T20I series between South Africa and England, a petition, a link and some photographs.

The T20I series between England and South Africa ended last night, and what an ending it was! This post looks back at that series.

MATCH 1: BEURAN HENDRICKS’ HORROR SHOW

South Africa bossed this match for most of its duration, but in the 17th over of the innings Beuran Hendricks lost his bearings completely and in so doing lost South Africa the match. England had needed 51 off the last 24 balls to win, but by the time Hendricks had reached the end of his over, taking nine deliveries instead of the regulation six to do so, that had become 23 of 18, and England were suddenly in full control, and duly completed their victory with four balls and five wickets to spare.

MATCH 2: NGIDI’S PYRRHIC VICTORY OVER MALAN

Once again England were behind for large parts of this match, and with three overs to go in the chase they needed 28, which looked a tough proposition on a slow pitch. Ngidi;s final over was the 18th over of the chase, and although he dismissed Malan with the fifth ball of it the previous four had been dispatched for 14. The dismissal was immediately followed by a wide and then two off the extra delivery necessitated by the infraction, which reduced the target to 11 off 12 balls. South Africa opted for Nortje rather than Rabada to bowl the 19th, and by the end of it England needed just three to win, and gamely though he tried not even Rabada could prevent that.

MATCH 3: THE MALAN MASTERCLASS

South Africa won the toss and batted. After 10 overs they were 66-3, by the end of the 15th this had improved to 107-3, and then Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis went crazy in the last five overs, plundering no fewer than 84 further runs to finish on 191-3, a daunting looking total.

Roy made 16 before holing out, which brought Dawid Malan, the world no1 ranked T20I batter, in to join Buttler. Malan hit 10 off his first two balls, and simply kept on going. Buttler supported him well, and by the end of the 10th over England were 85-1, needing 107 in the remaining 10 to complete a 3-0 sweep. By the end of the 15th, such was the onslaught they now launched, this target had been reduced to 29 in the final five overs, and in the 18th over Malan hit his fifth six to move to 94 and put England within six of the target. The next delivery was a wide, and then Malan hit a four to level the scores. Off the fourth legal delivery of the over Malan took the match and series winning single, finishing unbeaten on 99 off 47 balls. This victory took England to the top of T20I rankings, and Malan’s innings saw him become the first T20I batter to have a rating of over 900 points – 915 to be exact. In his 19th T20I it was tenth score of 50 or more, and his average in the form of the game now stands at 53. Before this match began, for all his ranking, there were those still questioning whether Malan was worth his place in the team. He provided the most emphatic of affirmative answers to that one, and I trust we will hear no more of such nonsense.

The first two matches of this series were closely fought, with the result in doubt until quite close to the end, but this was every bit as much of a shellacking as a margin of nine wickets with 14 balls to spare suggests. Less than eight hours after this game finished Australia set out to make at a 3-0 sweep of an ODI series against India, and failed to deliver, going down by 13 runs, the hitherto dominant Steve Smith (rapid centuries in both the first two matches) contributing just seven.

A PETITION, A LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Jenny Jones of the Green Party, a former deputy mayor of London and now in the House of Lords, drew my attention to this change.org petition calling on current London mayor Sadiq Khan to take control of arterial roads in the borough of Kensington & Chelsea. It is quite clear from the information contained in the petition that RBKC are failing miserably to do the job. A screenshot of the petition can be seen below:

Please sign and share this petition.

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has put up a post titled MMT: a primer, which I heartily recommend you to read. If you want to explore the subject in greater detail, as I hope, then as well as Richard’s blog I recommend that you get hold of a copy of Stephanie Kelton’s “The Deficit Myth”.

Finally, here are a few photographs:

Three Contrasting Cricket Matches

Accounts of three very different cricket matches, an important link and some photographs.

From the beginning of the first of these matches to the end of the third a grand total of 31 and a quarter hours elapsed. Before I get in my detailed coverage of each game I have one other thing to do…

SHARE YOUR BLOG

The wonderful Phoebe MD has once again offered people a chance to share their blogs with a wider audience. Please visit the post here, post a link to a post or posts from your own blog, and check out the links others have posted.

GAME 1: AUSTRALIA V INDIA

This one was a 50 overs per side runfest notable also for the spectacularly slow over rate – from the start of coverage on the radio to the final delivery over nine hours elapsed. Australia batted first, and Aaron Finch and Steve Smith each ran up centuries, while Glen Maxwell produced a spectacular cameo at the end. This left Australia with 374 to defend, as only Mohammad Shami among India’s bowlers managed to exercise any kind of control over the scoring rate.

India began the chase brightly, helped by some early waywardness on the part of Mitchell Starc, but then Josh Hazlewood took three wickets in very rapid succession, and although they continued to score at a decent rate India never really got back into the contest. Leg spinner Adam Zampa picked up four wickets as India got desperate.

Australia ended up with a comfortable victory and India looked to be lacking depth in both batting and bowling – they had only five regular bowlers at their disposal, and the fifth wicket pair were faced with the double challenge of maintaining a rapid run rate and staying together until quite deep into the innings due to a lack of batting to come.

The umpires were far too lax on time wasting, allowing Steve Smith a ridiculous number of changes of batting gloves to give just one example. I understand that some disciplinary action has been taken, but the problem will only be properly addressed if a)the umpires are absolutely rock hard on time wasting, being prepared to do things like telling Steve Smith that no he cannot have a 27th new pair of batting gloves for the innings, he must make do with his current pair, and b)failure to bowl ones allocation of overs in the allotted time is punished by a fine of runs – I suggest ten per unbowled over or twice the batting side’s scoring rate, whichever is the greater (this latter being to ensure that the measure is actually punitive).

GAME 2: SOUTH AFRICA VERSUS ENGLAND

This was a 20 overs per side match. England had to decide which of the four batters they had who habitually bat in the top three in limited overs cricket would go down the order, and they opted to place Bairstow at number four, going with a top three of Buttler, Roy and Malan (the current no1 T20 batter in the world). They also opted for only one genuine spin option, Rashid, with Moeen Ali missing out. England gave themselves two major bowling variations besides Rashid’s leg spin: the left arm of Sam Curran and the extra pace of Jofra Archer, which latter proved a doubtful asset on a slow surface. For South Africa Nortje was injured, while George Linde, a left arm spinner, was given a debut.

Morgan won the toss and chose to field first. England began very well, and after three overs SA were 12-1. The next three overs went for 45 however, so that at the end of the powerplay South Africa were 57-1 and headed for a big total. Rashid was respectably economical, but unthreatening, finishing with 0-27 from his four overs and never really looking like taking a wicket. Sam Curran was the best England bowler, taking 3-28 from his four overs. Unfortunately Tom Curran blotted the family copybook by racking up the wrong kind of half century – 55 being belted from his four overs. A final total of 179-6 was good but less substantial than it had looked like being at times.

South Africa commenced in the field by reinventing the cricketing wheel, starting with the left arm spinner Linde in partnership with Rabada, a combination of left arm slow and right arm fast that was popular a century and more ago (Kent won four county championships using Colin Blythe and Arthur Fielder, just such a combination, and Lancashire at the same period habitually used Briggs and Mold, another combination in the same mould). The bold move (especially bold given that the spinner Linde was on debut) paid an immediate dividend when Linde got Roy with the second ball of the innings. Buttler and Malan also fell cheaply, and at that stage England were well behind the rate, a situation that was still the case when Linde finished his bowling stint with 2-20 from four overs, a truly remarkable effort by the debutant. When he then caught Ben Stokes England looked in trouble. After 16 overs England had got to 129-4 with Bairstow going well, answering every question about his ability to handle batting at no4. The 17th over of the chase was the fourth and last of Beuran Hendricks’ (left arm fast medium) allocation, and he proceeded to lose his team the match. The over contained nine deliveries in total, and between the wides, one of which raced away to advance the score by five and several juicy legal offerings no fewer than 28 accrued to England, reducing a daunting looking 51 off 24 balls to a stroll in the park 23 off 18 balls. This also saw Hendricks join Tom Curran in the ‘wrong sort of half century’ club, leaving him with 0-56 from his four overs. Bairstow, appropriately given his innings, ended proceedings by hitting the second ball of the final over for six to take England to 183-5. It was also appropriate if England were to win that the other England star of the day, Sam Curran, was there at the death.

George Linde deserved better for his magnificent debut effort than to finish on the losing side, and he has my sympathy. I also feel sorry for South African skipper Quinton De Kock who made a bold move at the start of the England innings, and should have seen it bring victory. I can see no case for Hendricks playing any further part in the series. I would also look closely at the involvement of Jason Roy whose recent international form has been very poor.

Other than Hendricks the other let down of the day was the Talk Sport 2 commentary team, who failed to do justice to an excellent game.

GAME THREE – MELBOURNE STARS V SYDNEY THUNDER

This was the final of the Womens’ Big Bash League, which tournament has been very enjoyable. It also duplicated Australia’s oldest internal rivalry, the one that led to the creation of Canberra, since neither of the two biggest cities would countenance the other being named capital.

Melbourne Stars won the toss and batted first, but that win of the toss was the only thing that went right for them. Shabnim Ismail, the South African who is probably the quickest bowler in the women’s game at present, bowled one of the greatest spells in T20 history, by any bowler, either male or female. She bowled her four overs straight through at the start of the innings, finished with 2-12 and would not have been flattered by a five-for. She put Melbourne Stars firmly on the back foot, a position from which they never extricated themselves. They eventually limped to 86-9 from their 20 overs, Sammy-Jo Johnson just improving on Ismail’s figures by taking 2-11 from her four overs. Lauren Smith, an off spinner, went for 18 from two overs, but England captain Heather Knight filled in the remaining two overs, taking 1-9. The top scorer was another England star, Katherine Brunt who finished with 22 not out, just topping Annabel Sutherland’s 20.

This total of course was never remotely defensible, and Sydney Thunder won by seven wickets, with 6.2 overs to spare. There were useful contributions from Tammy Beaumont (another England star), Rachel Trenaman, Heather Knight (26 not out, the highest individual score of the day), and skipper Rachel Haynes.

Quite rightly Shabnim Ismail’s magnificent bowling earned her the player of the match award.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To finish, here are some of my photographs:

England v Pakistan Final ODI At Halfway

A look at the cricket world, especially the England v Pakistan ODI, an all-time England ODI team and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The final ODI between England and Pakistan has reached its halfway stage. I will look at that and other stuff in this post.

CRICKET STUFF

England departed from their usual practice and decided to bat first after winning the toss at Headingley. They have amassed 351-9 from their 50 overs, a good but by no means unassailable total. Big scores from Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were at the heart of things, and there were contributions all down the order. Shaheen Shah Afridi took four wickets but paid dearly for them (82 being hit of his ten overs). The real bowling star was Imad Wasim with 3-53 from his 10 overs. This is a close one to call, but I think England have just enough on the board and will defend this total.

Elsewhere Afghanistan bowled Ireland out for 210 and have just started their reply. Paul Stirling made 71 and William Porterfield 51. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran and medium fast bowler Aftab Alam each took three wickets and highly rated legspinner Rashid Khan took 2-45 from his full 10 overs.

Pakistan Women have won a T20 match against Pakistan with four wickets and two balls to spare. Tazmin Brits made 70 not out for South Africa and had support from Nadine De Klerk (36) and Sune Luus (28 not out). Offspinner Rameen Shamim took 1-20 from her four overs and while medium pacer Aliya Riaz took 1-26 from her four. Pakistan lost their top three cheaply but Iram Javed (55) with good support from all-rounders Nida Dar (32) and Riaz (30) did the job. South Africa’s opening bowlers Shabnim Ismail (2-12) and Mosaline Daniels (3-13) were outstanding but none of the other bowlers did anything.

Update: I am now rather more confident of England’s ability to defend their score as Chris Woakes has bagged three quick wickets, thus far without cost.

The cricket section of the BBC website is offering you the opportunity to pick your all-time England ODI team – click the screenshot of mine below to do so:

ODI XI

The overall most popular selections will be announced on The Tuffers and Vaughan show tomorrow (unfortunately I shall be in bed by then, but I will look it up on Tuesday).

RAINBOW

This appeared outside my bungalow yesterday evening…

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MORE STAMPS

I have been continuing to mount my stamps.:

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Work in progress – a new page begins tot ake shape.

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FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Multiuple edits of the same shot (four in this case) to do full justice a very handsome little bird.

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A sparrow caught in flight.

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My second example of a photo edited multiple times (three in this case)

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