West Indies v England, 3rd Test, day 3

It seems distinctly possible that day three of this match will see a conclusion. Boards around the world hate this, the loss of revenue if a match finishes early is something of a disaster.  But just like it has been said that for Formula One to be exciting, just add water; so for Test cricket to be exciting, just add a pitch that does a bit.  And isn’t that the point?  Give the bowlers a chance and suddenly every ball matters, because you really aren’t certain what will happen.

18 wickets fell on day two.  I’m sure there will be complaints that it is somehow unfair that the ball dominated, and it’s always struck me as peculiar that when bat dominates you might get comments that it’s boring (and it is) but rarely unfair.

Trott’s cheap dismissal probably marks the closing of the book on his Test career.  I’ve written about his contribution, but perhaps the best response was that of the England fans out there – a standing ovation; not for his innings, brief as it was, but for the player and what he achieved.  Perhaps in days to come he might appreciate that.  I hope so.

So much happened today that there are a myriad of things to mention.  Anderson certainly deserves a shout out – a player who has spent most of his career trying to drag his average below 30 is suddenly on the cusp of taking it into the 28s, it’s now 29.20, and I’m not sure I’d bet against it dipping below 29 in West Indies 2nd innings.

But the bit today that made me sit up and take note was Jermaine Blackwood’s innings.  He got some stick for holing out at the end – that always strikes me as the way everyone else can get a duck, but let’s blame the bloke caught on the boundary for 96.  The West Indies would have been dead and buried without him, it was a brilliant, timely, aggressive, brave knock.  A run a ball 85 to get the team within 70.  It may yet be a match winning hand.

Cook was out in familiar fashion to that we have seen so often.  Let’s just say I’ve no reason yet to move on from the technical criticism I’ve bored you senseless with already.

So England are a shade over a hundred ahead, and half the side is out.  I’d say England are still favourites as the pitch deteriorates, but – and I know this will come as a shock – I’ve been wrong before.

Day three tomorrow.  I can’t wait.  Comments as ever below!



2015 Test Century Watch #18 – Imrul Kayes

Imrul Kayes1

Imrul Kayes – 150 v Pakistan at Khulna

So while Tamim was setting the national record at one end, Imrul was making the seventh highest score by a Bangladesh player at the other end, setting record opening partnerships with him, and becoming fifth player to pass 150 in tests for Bangladesh. It was a carve up in Khulna.

So with all the ground records and national stuff out of the way in the Tamim piece below, what else do I have for Imrul’s knock in statistical terms? This was Imrul’s third test century and his first not at Chittagong. He has a decent conversion rate – 5 scores over 50, just two falling short once he passes 50 of the century mark (one being his first innings 51 – the other a 75 at Lord’s). That test average is still in the mid-20s, but don’t underestimate a knock like that in saving the game. He doesn’t stop at 100, with scores of 115 and 130, so while a DBTA of 31.67 isn’t top drawer, it isn’t nonsense either.

Imrul’s century was the 11th made at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium, and he nestles into 5th = with Shiv Chanderpaul (who made a not out 150) for the stadium honours board list. Five hundreds have been made by home players – Tamim has two, Shakib al Hasan one and Abul Hasan one. Three hundreds were made in one test by West Indies players in 2011.

On to 150. Have you ever seen a 150 Dmitri? The answer is no. There have been 30 scores of 150 in tests, and if I had to associate the number with one innings I recall, it is Mike Gatting’s at The Oval to take us to a series losing draw v Pakistan in 1987, when the visitors had racked up 700 on us. The first 150 was made in 1911, and by one of the few test players with a surname beginning with the letter Z outside the subcontinent. Billy Zulch, at the SCG, while following on against the hosts, made 150 for South Africa in a losing cause.

“When South Africa followed-on, Zulch made a great effort. He batted extremely well in the latter half of his innings, but he might have been out three times before he had scored seventy.”

A “Cook-esque” ton then 🙂

The previous 150 made in tests was Shiv Chanderpaul’s effort at Khulna three years ago. Sydney and Georgetown have had three scores of 150 apiece, so Khulna, in its limited life as a test venue is punching above its statistical weight. The last Englishman to make 150 exactly was Gatting, with just two others making that score – Len Hutton and Derek Randall. The last one in England was by Ricky Ponting at Cardiff to kick off the 2009 Ashes. Ricky Ponting, along with Gary Kirsten, are the only two players to make 150 twice in tests.

Imrul Kayes 100 came up in 150 balls and contained 11 x 4 and 3 x 6.

2015 Test Century Watch #17 – Tamim Iqbal


Tamim Iqbal – 206 v Pakistan at Khulna

Tamim Iqbal, once, as I always like to remind him, compared to Virender Sehwag by Jonathan Agnew, is really hitting form. Today he reached the pinnacle of Bangladesh test batting by setting its record score. His 206 broke the record set by Mushfiqur Rahman (200) two years ago in Galle against Sri Lanka. It took his test batting average over 40. It was his seventh test hundred, he’s a good over or two’s thrashing from 3000 test runs, and he’s just 26. It’s a bit of a transformation for him, and Bangladeshi test cricket. On the batting front there are green shoots of recovery.

This was the 16th double hundred made in tests in Bangladesh (we set out the country record and ground record holders in the Mohammad Hafeez piece). 206 places Tamim in 9th place in the list. When he reached 182 he passed Monimul Haque for the highest score by a Bangladesh test batsman in their host country. This was the 14th double ton in Bangladesh involving the host nation – two Pakistanis made their doubles against Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship. This was Tamim’s second ton at Khulna, his fourth in Bangladesh (he has two in England) and only the third of his centuries to pass 110.

206 has been made 14 times in test cricket? Have you seen one Dmitri? Well funny you should mention that but I have. It was in Adelaide, funnily enough, and it was Paul Collingwood who made it. I wonder how that test panned out?

The first 206 was made in 1938 by Bill Brown, who carried his bat for that score at Lord’s in 1938 after Walter Hammond had made a big double for England in the first innings. Lord’s saw the second 206, when Martin Donnelly of New Zealand made that score in 1949. Lord’s shares the distinction of having two scores of 206 with the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, where both Everton Weekes and Ricky Ponting have made that score. Also, Adelaide has two – Collingwood and Arthur Morris. The last 206 was Chetshwar Pujara’s unbeaten innings against England in Ahmedabad. You know, the game Arron refers to a lot when it came to our selection of bowlers (and rightly so). Another notable 206 innings came from Ravi Shastri in Sydney (Shane Warne’s debut).

Tamim Iqbal’s 100 came up in 124 balls and included 11 x 4 and 3 x 6. His 200 came off 264 balls, with 17 x 4 and 7 x 6, with the final tally for his innings being 278 balls. A National Record to be proud of Tamim. Bangladesh may well be on the rise.

West Indies v England 3rd Test Day 2

240-7 after day one represents a fairly poor day for England having won the toss. Most of the coverage has focused on Alastair Cook scoring his first century for two years, and without him England would be deep in the mire.

This looks a result pitch, and England badly need to get up to 300 at the very least. The West Indies are certainly brittle, and it’s perfectly possible that it’ll prove a competitive total in this game. But it was not a good day, and no amount of Cook love can disguise that.

Comments here as usual.