Posted by: tootingtrumpet | March 16, 2010

Bangladesh vs England – First Test England Report Card

Man of the Match... again!

Alastair Cook – Must have been delighted to be asked to bat by his even younger, even rawer opposite number and then went out and laid the foundations of the first innings lead that pretty much guaranteed the win. His secondary role as captain was less successful, showing him to be too defensively minded when key moments come along. Did nothing in the field to dispel the notion that he is captain because he looks like one, not because he has the authority and ideas required.

Michael Carberry – 30 and 34 are ugly scores for an opener, especially in the second innings when England needed quick runs and Carbs’ strike rate was a pedestrian 38. His chase, turn and throw to run out the stubborn Naeem Islam showed what he can bring to the fielding. Might only get one Test, but that’s a fine reward for a man who has rebuilt his career more than once.

Jonathan Trott – As you do in the middle of a bad, er.., trot, he got a poor decision in the first dig and perished when looking to press the accelerator second time around. Still in credit after his extraordinary debut at The Oval, but needs a few in the Second Test, probably as opener.

KP – 131 runs off 159 balls in the Test answered anyone questioning his technique or motivation. This series might just be what he needs to rediscover the arrogance so crucial to his dominance of the bowling. Looked happy in his work.

Colly – Continues to deliver big scores without looking in form at any time – a handy knack, but you feel a run of low scores can’t be far way. Will be worried by dropping a sitter in the slips – approaching 34, his eyes cannot be as good as they once were and the slip cordon may not be his best home on the field.

Ian Bell – Came in with 400 up and looked like Michael Clarke, timing the ball better than anyone in the match and moving his feet wonderfully well to the spinners. Threw away a hundred in the acceleration, but that’ll stop people claiming that it was a cheap one.

Matt Prior – Wore a few for the team with the ball keeping low and effected the crucial first innings run out of Islam well from a poor throw. Did the job in a quiet Test for him – quiet in the sense of not being needed, not in terms of chatter behind the stumps, which was as dispritingly bland as ever.

Stuart Broad – Roughed up Bangladesh’s top order in the first innings, but carried little threat once the ball went soft. Did little to suggest that he has either the nous or ability to set a batsman up for a dismissal. To be fair, few bowlers do, but after 27 Tests and some fine performances, he should be hinting at bowling the kinds of spells that became commonplace from Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose.

Graeme Swann – Man of the Match and the key man yet again! Having selected the wrong side, England needed their sole spinner to deliver and, over 79 overs, Swanny irrefutably did. His curve and dip in the flight is a testament to his technical excellence, as his strong pivot and long fingers allows him to impart a real rip to his deliveries. He varied his pace well and never let the batsmen get away, despite the inevitable periods when it wasn’t really happening for him. A ten-fer for an English off-spinner – who would have thought it?

Tim Bresnan – Brought back happy memories of Flintoff’s round the wicket mauling of Gilchrist in 2005 with his jaffa to dismiss the talented Tamim Iqbal in the first innings. His 17 maidens in the match shows that he can build pressure and the speedgun showed that he is, like lots of bulkier bowlers, quicker than he looks. Might never be a front rank seamer, but Test bowling is a squad game these days and he has shown that he can come in and do a job.

Steve Finn – Nervous in his first spell, he settled in to build a promising debut. Wastes the tremendous advantage of his height by collapsing a bit in his delivery stride and probably has too much going on in his action to be metronomic. Whatever it costs, the ECB should pay Glenn McGrath to sit down with the lad and talk to him about the technical, physical and mental demands of Test cricket. Finn has three more years of learning to do before he is the same age as Pidge when he started his torture of batsmen.

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  1. Think you’re a little harsh on Broad. He was below his best in this game, possibly because he hadn’t had much beyond net bowling in the run up to the game. But what were his spells in the 5th test last summer and the 2nd test in SA if not ‘the kind of spells that became commonplace from Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose’?
    Good point about Finn’s front leg – I felt similarly and was surprised Bob Willis didn’t mention it in the commentary.
    Cook looks a really ordinary captain. Ultra conservative and unimaginative.
    And excellent though Swann was, I was disappointed with his send off to Rahim (I think) today). I like a bit of edge in a game but that was graceless and unneccesary.

  2. Phil – maybe a little harsh on Broad, but he was the senior seamer. The spells to which you refer show his potential, but after 27 Tests, I’d like to see, if not regular “running through them” at least a consistent threat and a clear plan. Despite the odd spectacular performance, his strike rate and average are only improving slowly.

    Swanny has got the balance between aggression and focus pretty much correct since his return to international cricket. The send-off shows that he’s veering too far towards aggression – I hope he’ll learn. Charmless indeed!

  3. England just seem to splutter along don’t they? Never really convincing, either when they beat lowly Bangladesh, nor (through gritted teeth) Australia.
    Petulance has no place, although at least Swann had the decency to make a genuine apology. Apparently Finn showed a bit of lip too, maybe Broad is acting as his mentor.

    “Colly – Continues to deliver big scores without looking in form at any time – a handy knack, but you feel a run of low scores can’t be far way.”
    Very harsh, but he’s probably used to comments like that by now. Would have been sufficient to say “Colly – Continues to deliver big scores”.

    • Fred – perhaps harsh on Colly, but I have to call it as I see it and the luck doesn’t always go in one direction, especially as his age.

      You can only beat the opposition in front of you, something England are doing at least as often as the opposition do it to them – a handy knack.

  4. I’m surprised that Swann wasn’t fined for swearing at a batsman and giving him the finger. I’m disappointed that, once he’d calmed down, he didn’t apologise publicly nor was he asked about it (as far as I can tell).

    There was no need for it – in fact I’m surprised the England players didn’t clap the batsman off out of respect for his century.

    For someone who had been a breath of fresh air, Swann left a bad smell to this Test.

  5. Dominic; I agree that it left a sour taste but he has apologised now, stated that he regretted it almost immedietely and made it clear that he meant no disrespect to the batsman. Too little too late perhaps, but better than nothing.

  6. Great stuff mate! Keep writing more. Visiting the blog for the first time, but def gonna be here more often.

    • Very kind Rohit – I hope to see you below the line in the future too!

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