Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 25, 2011

England vs India First Test Day Four – The Final Over of the Day

India's wicket-keeper - batsman.

Ball One – Alastair Cook, due a failure or two, delivered one with indeterminate footwork leading to an edge through to MS Dhoni off the canny, but not really threatening, bowling of Praveen Kumar. Having looked about as in form as it’s possible to be since the end of last summer, Cook was very scratchy and it was no surprise when he nicked off. These things happen of course and the joy of this England top order is that failures don’t really matter that much, because one or two men always come off.

Ball Two – England 72-5 at lunch – hands up who saw that coming? Not me, that’s for sure. England’s much vaunted batting has been blown away partly by good disciplined bowling, especially from Ishant Sharma, taking responsibility in the absence of Zaheer Khan and partly due to some poor footwork. Quite how this is explained is beyond me. But it’s another example of Test cricket’s remarkable capacity to confound us. What a game it is.

Ball Three – Quite why the first over after lunch was entrusted to the part-time spin of Suresh Raina is beyond me – but MS Dhoni has led his team to the Number One ranking, so who am I to argue? But the old adage of doing what your opponents least want is not a bad tactic – England, coming out after losing the morning session very badly, must have been delighted to face anyone other than Ishant Sharma.

Ball Four – Eoin Morgan did all the hard work, leaving the ball particularly well, then threw it away with a slightly anxious pull for which he paid a full price. That won’t quieten his doubters, but he’s not the only one to fail today. He’s the man in possession and, as the selectors showed in picking Broad over Bresnan, they are going to be loyal and, I venture, they are going to be rewarded.

Ball Five – I love a Number Eight and Stuart Broad, as talented a Number Eight as I can recall in an England shirt, showed why today, taking England from a position that was strong, but not entirely comfortable, to total dominance. One of the reasons Eight is so crucial is that there’s a sense in which all their runs count double, since the last of the recognised batsmen is at the other end, who is often set and scoring well. Yet many pundits claim that the only consideration in selecting an attack is to pick the best four bowlers – indeed, some have suggested an England lower order one day comprising Swann, Anderson, Tremlett and Finn. With Swanny not the batsman he once was (since he plays so little county cricket) that’s just too reminiscent of the infamous quartet – Caddick, Mullalley, Tufnell and Giddins.

Ball Six – With Anderson not firing in terms of pace or line, Strauss turned to a Broad transformed by his first innings bowling and batting and was rewarded after just three deliveries. This England XI has plenty of alternatives batting and bowling – the mark of a decent side.

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

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Responses

  1. Yesterday was a prime example of why test match cricket, and often sport in general, can be so compelling. If you’d have taken a survey in the morning of what people expected to see then I suspect they would all have replied something along the lines of “England will look to get a lead of 450 and then hope for a wicket or two before the close”.

    Come the close of play they’d have been shown to be right, but what took the game to that position was fascinating from start to finish. To borrow from the Califonian book of life-affirming nonsense: the journey is the prize.

  2. Nail on the head sir!

  3. Correction: Mark of a Great Team. I’d like to believe it is India but these Englishmen(well, and South Africans and Irishmen – doesnt matter – I hope ECB and hysteric British newspapers and Guardian BTL posters will not scream if a talented Indian qualifies for Bangladesh – and the tragedy about these folks is that I am not entirely sure that the same guys who are quick to (rightly) dismiss criticism of south africans playing for England, will not shamelessly turn volte-face and criticise in that instance) are the guys who are going to inherit the Waugh-Ponting-Warne-McGrath mantle.

    • Where a cricketer is born is irrelevant. What’s important is the colour of his cap and the camaraderie and respect of his team-mates.

      Rather than criticism England deserve success for their selection policy. Some very fine men nailed an early nail into the despicable Apartheid regime in South Africa by supporting Basil d’Oliveira in his quest to become a professional cricketer.

      England’s policy of choosing their best from everyone eligible dates way back to the 19th century. It’s a tradition that began because England cricket teams of the past weren’t national squads but invitational XIs of the best players the Marylebone Cricket Club could muster under the England banner.

      Here is a provisional list of non-English born Test players to ponder. I haven’t included Scotland, Wales or Ireland as the list would be thrice as long.

      AUSTRALIA: Billy Murdoch, John Ferris, Sammy Woods, Albert Trott, ‘Gubby’ Allen, Adam Hollioake, Ben Hollioake, Jason Gallian, Tim Ambrose.

      SOUTH AFRICA: Basil D’Oliveira, Tony Greig, Ian Greig, Allan Lamb, Chris Smith, Robin Smith, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ian Trott.

      WEST INDIES: Lord Harris, Pelham Warner, Roland Butcher, Norman Cowans, Wilf Slack, Gladstone Small, Phillip DeFreitas, Devon Malcolm, Chris Lewis, Neil Williams, Joseph Benjamin.

      NEW ZEALAND: Andy Caddick.

      INDIA: K.S. Ranjitsinhji (‘Ranji’), Edward Wynyard, Richard Young, Neville Tufnell, Douglas Jardine, K.S. Duleepsinhji (‘Duleep’), Nawab of Pataudi, Sr., Errol Holmes, Norman Mitchell-Innes, George Emmett, Colin Cowdrey, John Jameson, Bob Woolmer, Robin Jackman, Nasser Hussain, Minal Patel.

      PAKISTAN: Usman Afzaal, Owais Shah.

      ZIMBABWE: Graeme Hick, Paul Parker.

      KENYA: Derek Pringle.

      ZAMBIA: Phil Edmonds, Neil Radford.

      GERMANY: Donald Carr, Paul Terry.

      ITALY: Ted Dexter.

      PERU: Freddie Brown.

      HONG KONG: Dermot Reeve.

      PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Geraint Jones.

      DENMARK: Amjad Khan.

      Note: Murdoch, Ferris, Woods and Albert Trott had earlier played for Australia. Nawab of Pataudi Sr. later played for India .

  4. I’ve never heard an England fan say anything about any other country’s selection policy, even the New Zealand All Blacks which are stuffed with Pacific Islanders.

  5. 75 over left today – still time enough for Sachin to get that 100.


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