Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 30, 2011

The Final Over of the Day – England vs Sri Lanka Day Four

Derek "Arkle" Randall with another sliding stop that didn't work - or maybe not.

Ball One – From the vantage point of the Press Box, it’s extraordinary to see just how much is happening while no play is actually underway. Ground staff are on and off the paddock, moving covers, painting creases, roping outfields – these guys (like the Media with whom I sit, they are definitely guys and not gals, though, like the Press Box, there’s no reason for this gender imbalance) work bloody hard. Unsung heroes of the game, they are.

Ball Two – The word “unflusteredness” does not exist, but it should, as it’s a very useful quality in batsmanship and one possessed in unfeasibly large quantities by Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. Not since Graham Thorpe’s heyday have England fielded players so at ease with themselves and their games.

Ball Three – KP strides to the crease in the kind of situation that hasn’t suited him – England ahead in a game likely to peter out, innocuous bowling and not much glory to be gained. Unlike at other times in his career when faced with such a situation, KP does have something to prove. With young batsmen queuing up behind him (and Ben Stokes’ bowling a very handy option to supplement a four man attack) and a solid look to a majority of England’s six batting slots, the whispers about his place in the side are not just coming from the usual suspects determined to see the worst in him – the whispers are coming from his fans too. Like the Trumpet.

Ball Four – And almost as I punch the full stop key on Ball Three, KP is out to a shortish ball from Herath that squatted, hurried on and trapped him LBW. In one sense, KP can count himself unlucky, as Hotspot was not utterly conclusive in its evidence – it might just have been bat on pad. In another sense, on a pitch that has seen balls keep low since Day One, going back to play a slog-pull so early in his innings was not advisable. What Would Trotty Do? is a handy mantra for an England batsman to bear in mind – Trott probably wouldn’t have played that shot on 133 never mind 3. And not to one’s personal demon: left-arm spin.

Ball Five – Last weekend, Farvez Maharoof was getting Lancashire over the line in a gripping, and crucial, Roses Match. I’m sure he’s delighted to be playing for his country, but after an unfortunate dismissal with the bat and the assuming of a stock bowler’s role on a dying pitch, he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t think back wistfully to his early season spell when he was the biggest fish in a smaller pool.

Ball Six – Why do players deploy the sliding stop when they could run the ball down bending to flick it back (as they did for decades prior to Derek Randall’s madcap antics in the 70s)? There are certainly times when the slide is essential, but Ian Bell is neither the first nor the last batsman to benefit from a mistimed, and unnecessary, slide on the boundary.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On Five, Spin Cricket and



  1. Sliding is fun, that’s why.

    • Depends where you slide – and with whom…

  2. As much as Morgan got me out of my Sunday afternoon slumber, and I want to see him bat some more, I do hope England declare at some point. If only because the two Notts bowlers looked like they needed more bowling under their belts during the first innings.

    • I feel that if we get any cricket at all today, it’ll be preparation for Friday.

      • If I was generous I’d say it has felt like that since Tea on Saturday, but to be honest it has felt like that since the first hour of play. Keeping Sri Lanka out on the field for an extended period at a damp Cardiff is hardly the same as same as keeping Australia out on the field at a hot Brisbane. About the only good it could serve is if a few of the Sri Lankan’s catch colds.

  3. But KP cant play like Trott no? (God forbid, indeed).
    This is KP. Deal with it. If you think another Trott will serve England’s purpose, good luck – there are going to be situations where you need KP’s style right? You dont want to write wistfully advising the Trott-clone who replaces KP about “What would KP do?”, do you?
    (That’s a very clumsy sentence I boxed myself into writing. Sorry!)

    Hopefully, Trott will show a different gear when needed.

    • On career strike rates, KP would finish a full day’s play on 168 and Trott on 131. Not that different.

  4. But, Toots, it doesnt work like that, does it? The fact of the matter is very few players go and live out their average on the field often. Kevin Pietersen is going to have those few occasions when he grabs the game by its neck and turn it in England’s favour and other days like yesterday, do nothing. His average will be a result of both these days. Trott looks like the one odd player who will actually reproduce his average day like it were Groundshog day every time.

    What I mean is Trott’s groundhog day might not be helpful if England need a KP-day, and there is no KP.

    The nature of test batting units being what it is, a complete failure by KP in this series should be tolerated and he allowed to play against India. Chances are England might need his particular style of Cricket then. I mean, his average would still indicate 168 against Tortt’s 131 on a given day but on that particular day, he’d score 268(because 168 being his average, and with the failure against Sri Lanka, 268 is what would keep the 168 average) while Trott will hover close to 131. (I hope you see what I mean here becausee I am not being very clear but I can see what I mean).

    Basically, Trott is the kind of player you need on most days because he sets things up. KP is only needed to fire on those grab-the-moment days, and we should discount his failures in days such as yesterday to count his value – that’s what I am trying to say.

  5. What I am also trying to say that in the fresh flush of the success of Trott’s attritional cricket(valuable no doubt), we must not forget the need for game-changers like KP in the batting unit. They should not b e compared to Trott becuase they bring something different and need to be evaluated on thosee parameters.

    This is ofcourse assuming Trott doesnt have that extra-gear, ofcourse. I might be entirely wrong on that – in which case KP needs to definitely watch his back.
    Also, Eoin Morgan’s success might further undermine the need for KP in the role I am outlining for him.

    • The problem for KP is that Bell and, if he works out, Morgan already fill the gamechanger role now.

    • Kaminey – you’re right of course. Too many KPs and too many Trotts would not be good things. KP’s problem at the moment is that the game-changing knocks are becoming too infrequent, a fact covered to some extent by the excellence of those around him. At the moment, if England stop making big scores and the batting needs a shake-up, it’s KP who is likely to be the one to go.

  6. One thing that I’ve found interesting is the thought that, based on the two hot-spot referral successful overturns in this match, it appears that the benefit of the doubt now belongs to the bowler, not the batsman. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong that this should be so, but I do seem to have missed the debate that led to this decision. Surely such a significant change in the spirit of the rules couldn’t just have happened by itself, could it?

    • gg – This is a grey area. I’ve heard people say that there is no such thing as the benefit of the doubt, just evidence that needs to be weighed. My concern – and it’s related to yours – is does the umpire have to be convinced by the evidence on the balance of probabilities or beyond reasonable doubt. These are, of course, the standards of proof in civil and criminal cases. I’m afraid that I don’t know which is used.

      • It’s an interesting question. My understanding is that a batsman should only be given out 9in real time or on referral) if the umpire feels no uncertainty; i.e. benefit of the doubt to the batsman. I’m now beginning to feel that they are given out if the (fallible) technology indicates that they most likely are out. That’s a significant shift.

        • The phrase “benefit of the doubt” does not appear in the Laws as far as I know – I think it’s a convention. There does seem to be a change underway – how many wickets would Deadly have got if he had Hawkeye on uncovered wickets?

  7. As the 5th wicket falls and I try to cover my speculative England win bet with a draw bet I find Bet365 has suspended their inplay beting on the match.
    Now the 6th has fallen. with 33 overs to go. So this is how the house always wins. Shutting up shop like a bloody turtle.
    Things have moved along quickly as they say.

    • Handy bet Jim!

      • Maybe it’s because I’m not English, but win, lose or draw, the English cricket team have made me more money than any other sports team on the planet.

  8. 7 down now – do not have access to the TV but cricinfo is suggesting nothing on hotspot – but it’s given out which would be a departure from rulings in previous series involving England.

  9. Finally – with 8 wickets down, BET365 have been able to figure out what odds they need to offer on a draw. I officially don’t care about the result now! Time to switch back to the Irish game. Even without a senior pro at Warwickshire, Boyd Rankin does look like he has made another stepped up in his development this season.

    • Good effort by Ireland, but well done Pakistan. Younis Khan and Umar Akmal just too good. Not sure why Porterfield took Rankin off when Pakistan took the powerplay. I know he could be expensive at the death, but he’d bowled well all day (9 overs 1/29) and they needed to really use up their best bowlers.

      • Agree; daft decision.

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