Posted by: tootingtrumpet | August 2, 2010

England vs Pakistan First Test – England Report Card

Scored more for England than for Pakistan

Andrew Strauss – Scored just 45 runs in the match and 30 of those were courtesy of Kamran Akmal’s dismal keeping. Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger will have noted that Strauss edged fellow leftie Mohammad Amir to the keeper three times in 78 balls. Whether either of them have the control and movement of Pakistan’s prodigy remains to be seen, but Strauss has work to do in this series and beyond. As captain, he has very impressive weaponry at his disposal these days, at least in swinging conditions, so could possible attack more in the field. Understands the Umpire Decision Review System rather better than his opposite number.

Alastair Cook – Averages an impressive 47 in 2010, but this double failure will start the whispers running. The next three Tests against an impressive, but overworked, opening attack will stop those whispers or ensure that they grow into a howl by Brisbane. Michael Slater’s brutal dropping in a year in which he averaged 40, serves as a reminder that the game is a lot crueller than it looked to Cook when making a century on debut four years ago.

Jonathan Trott – Dug in to help England weather a mini-crisis in the first innings and got a shooter in the second. Looks much more of a Number Three than Ian Bell, but will never have the crowd leaping to its feet – except possibly in order to tell him to get on with it.

KP – Had not played cricket since July 3 and it showed. Batted with an anxiety that is hard to credit so soon after his World T20 performances. Will need time in the middle to get that sorted, but he plays so little county cricket that he might keep getting good ones or punished for his errors in the harsh glare of the Test arena. He’s a century away from being in good nick, but needs that century soon.

Paul Collingwood – Played a terrible shot to be out cheaply in the second innings and plenty of terrible shots to be out for a gutsy 82 in the first. But that is what Colly does – make ugly runs when needed, even if half of them should be credited to Kamran Akmal’s hideously fluffed stumping. Caught four catches in the slips, which is mighty impressive for a man of nearly 35 years of age.

Eoin Morgan – Hindsight tells of an easy, almost inevitable England win, but it didn’t look that way when Morgan walked to the crease, a small, slight figure in a team of six-foot plus giants, with the scoreboard showing 118-4. He left to a standing ovation having raised his first Test ton with a six, dominated what proved to be the only substantial partnership of a bowlers’ match and put England in a strong position. That he plays like Graham Thorpe is a big compliment, not just to his technique, but to his phlegmatic approach to the game. Last year, Ravi Bopara looked good too – but surely this lad is here to stay?

Matt Prior – Involved in comedy run outs in both innings, but turned a good position into an impregnable one with a second innings century that showed a fluency only Morgan matched until its crawl through the 90s. On a difficult pitch for keeping, he outplayed his opposite number, but was at best adequate in his glovework.

Graeme Swann – Not required as a bowler, but biffed 28 useful runs in the second dig before being hit on the back of the head and departing in the next over. Can expect plenty of short balls in the future.

Stuart Broad – The least impressive of England’s three seamers, but that’s only because the other two were so good. Bowled with real pace at times and used his height well on a track that played like a third or fourth day wicket from day one. Even showed a hint of that wonderfully balanced batting technique, but needs a lot more time in the middle to get back to his days of scoring Test fifties.

Jimmy Anderson – Eleven wickets do not flatter him at his favourite ground on which he averages 16 and is sometimes unplayable: at some other grounds, as we know, he is eminently playable. As Sophia at Testmatchsofa.com pointed out, he’s a one-trick pony, but it’s a helluva good trick when it works.

Steve Finn – Ran in very fast and bowled with an intelligence that belies his youth and inexperience. Had Jimmy not been so good, we’d all be talking about the tall man from Middlesex who, like his much shorter county colleague, looks born to play Test cricket.

This summer, you can hear the Trumpet commentating ball-by-ball atTestmatchsofa.com and read his Performance of the Day column at Cricket on Five.

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Responses

  1. Harsh on all those batters who had to bat against the new ball and on the 2 keepers who had to keep to it. That said, it is hard to forgive Kamran Akmal’s performance.

    Hard to read much into a Test that favoured the ball far more than it should have.

    • I take the point Graem, but it was a time to tough it out a bit against the new ball and technique and mental strength wasn’t up to it too often. I agree that the combination of a bit of an untrustworthy pitch and cloud overbalanced the game towards the bowlers, but it’s so often in favour of batsmen that a little redress was welcome!

      • Possibly a new ball thing, possibly just a typical English morning thing?
        I make it 132 overs before the mid session drinks for a combined 368/28 to 130 after it at a combined 510/12. That and the dropped catches behind the stumps. (On a side note – still shaking my head that Watson got man of the match at Headingly after dropping Farhat at the start of the second inning. As Pakistan proved here, it undid any good he had contributed to the match and basically handed Pakistan the win).

  2. I don’t think Bopara is the correct comparison. Ravi always seemed more flash than substance. The one I’d be lining Morgan’s stats up against is JP Duminy. Here’s hoping Ian Chappell labels Morgan the new Ponting before the ashes starts!

    • Yes Duminy. He looked a fantastic player, but he seems to be struggling now. Morgan should think hard about him and how fickle form can be.

      • Ravi Bopara has never been consistent other than in IPL.

  3. AUS walks all over WI and PAK at home.

    AUS and PAK roll the dice in England, the only outstanding performance being some PAK swing in good conditions.

    ENG walks all over PAK at home (so far).

    What do we know and what can we predict? Nothing really. Various little subplots have come along, but nothing definitive anywhere.

    Meanwhile SL and IND slug it out like a couple of punch drink boxers.

  4. Cricket is utterly fascinating at the moment.

  5. Not at all sure about Morgan as a Test bat, not at all.


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