Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 3, 2011

England vs Sri Lanka Third ODI – The Final Over of the England Innings

No words required.

Ball One – I know I write this too often, but in an age of multi-purpose stadiums that look more and more like airport terminals, Lord’s is a wonder. Not that anything is likely to despoil it, but it really should be a World Heritage Site.

Ball Two – It’s hard to know exactly why it should be the case, but there’s a real sense that England’s ODI batting depends heavily on KP and Eoin Morgan. Perhaps that’s not so surprising since they are England’s best ODI players. What is a little strange is that their batting is so much less crucial in a Test unit that has been delivering big runs through Cook, Trott, Bell and Prior – three of whom play today.

Ball Three – The KP conundrum continues. Do you criticise him for playing a high risk shot with thirty overs still to play or do you applaud him for being unselfish in seeking to up England’s run rate above four an over? In a partnership of 49 with his skipper, KP made 41 of them off 43 deliveries, with Cook making just 7 from 20.  Maybe KP would not have played that shot had Cook been more positive at the other end.

Ball Four – It’s almost an article of faith in English cricket never to select two frontline spinners unless it’s India away, but how many other ODI outfits would be happy with KP as the second spinning option? It would take an absolute banquet of humble pie to be eaten by the selectors if they were to bring him back, but Ian Blackwell’s brand of darts and biffs would surely improve this XI. Unfortunately, Blackwell’s penchant for banqueting on pies doesn’t help his cause.

Ball Five – Overs 28, 29, 30 and 31 and four balls of the over 32  fail to produce a scoring stroke above a single, as Cook and Bell underline the boring in the Boring Middle Overs.  If a lower order need that level of protection, it needs changing.

Ball Six – Alastair Cook can’t win really. In making 100 off 127 balls, he either misread the pitch when electing to bat or paced his innings badly, putting pressure on the man at the other end to go at a run a ball – still a big ask in England. With Tim Bresnan comfortable at a strike rate of 100 or so, you have to think it’s the latter.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On Five and Testmatchsofa.com.

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