Dubai Day 5 (and tales of heroism and error)

Dubai-City-Tour

130 for 3. It is set up with the odds in Pakistan’s favour, with two of the England batsmen capable of causing trouble for the hosts back in the hutch. Seven wickets to take and with memories of how rapidly they can go fresh from Saturday morning, the game looks to be up. But England have been resilient in the past decade and one can but hope that someone other than Root stands up to be counted. I wouldn’t rely on it, but let’s be hopeful.

You know, I could be forgiving of someone who didn’t give the impression as being so above the plebs, but in a piece dripping with his usual superiority, the inability to remember Pakistan’s first innings (and how memorable was the last over of Day 1) in a piece is, well, quite outstanding.

MIsbah hundred Cropped

Misbah missed twin hundreds, but Younus completed his, and this, of course brought out the “he is inexplicably excluded from the conversation over great players”. Well, you may have excluded him, and so do many other British cricket correspondents who last saw him play three and a half years ago, but those on here who watch cricket around the globe know of his brilliance. The winning innings in Sri Lanka being a fitting stamp of class that the experts almost revel in not paying attention to. Saying Younus Khan is unrecognised would be to label the same status on Hashim Amla, who we don’t see for every three years or so on the international circuit. I’m not quite sure what the blind spot is? All the while Asad Shafiq is having a jolly decent series too. He looks a nice little player in the bits I’d seen of him before, and I’ll be fascinated how he does in England this summer. The batting woes of 2010 may be a thing of the past.

I’ll be interested to see what the media make of Cook’s shot. Yes, he was injured – you only had to watch him run for that – but Cook can block and leave better than anyone in test cricket. He top edged a sweep to deep backward square, and there was barely a word of complaint against him. Bell, meanwhile, in Selfey’s piece is called careless for not getting his glove out of the way, while Moeen, rightly, is giving a telling-off for a waft outside off stump. I know people will say “oh no, it’s you having a go at Cook again” but it really isn’t. It’s other people being called out for brain farts, and our captain not. He’ll be excused due to an injury, but really? I was a bit miffed and wonder if any of you really were?

Also, I wish we didn’t do this. It makes us look like whingers.

That said, Cook needs to be fit for the next game. The selection policy, well sign-posted, was that Moeen was the man incumbent in the UAE and that if things went well, they’d consider him for South Africa, and if not, Alex Hales would get a go. There is a feeling out there that this was a mistake, and the worst thing that could possibly have happened would be Cook getting injured. If the captain can walk, he plays. But what if he can’t? Cook looked awful between the wickets, and while he couldn’t channel his inner Gordon Greenidge, he is still an important, no vital, part of this team when playing well. Again, no problems at all in saying that.

I do say that any thoughts of calling Joe Root the best all round player in the world were rather put to bed by another AB deVilliers masterclass in Mumbai, as the visitors destroyed the Indians and put Dhoni’s comments that it would be difficult to score rapidly in the last 10 overs under the new rules into context. Three centuries in the innings, the others by De Kock and Du Plessis, sent South Africa into the stratosphere. India never came close. De Villiers hit 11 sixes in his knock, while Du Plessis went into beast mode as his leg cramped up. England fans should circlet 12 February. We play them at the Wanderers. Hide behind the sofa.

Rain prevented play in Colombo. So all my comments yesterday roll forward to tomorrow.

All comments for Day 5, a morning when I’ll be in wall-to-wall meetings so keeping up to date is going to be tough, should be posted below.

I leave you with Newman….

The official line is that England have ‘no concerns’ about Cook and with five days before the final match in this three-Test series there is a little more time than usual in the packed international calendar for the captain to recover.

But it was painful enough to watch Cook bat let alone for the captain to actually do it as he hobbled his way through 22 balls before falling when his body restricted his attempt to execute his first sweep shot.

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100 thoughts on “Dubai Day 5 (and tales of heroism and error)

  1. jennyah46 Oct 25, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    What on earth was Cook doing attempting a sweep shot anyway? They don’t suit him at the best of times.

    Like

    • paulE Oct 26, 2015 / 12:22 pm

      Cook is being set up as England’s ‘Black Knight’.

      Like

  2. Arron Wright Oct 25, 2015 / 5:31 pm

    The Abu Dhabi reference remains uncorrected. More surprisingly, no-one BTL has pointed it out. Mind you, they’d probably get a “do you never make a mistake at work” for their trouble.

    It is remarkable that one can crowbar and shoehorn in all sorts of tangential stuff about a certain other player, yet miss something so fundamental about a man far more prominent in *this* particular match.

    But that’s why he’s number one 🙂

    Like

      • Rooto Oct 25, 2015 / 7:46 pm

        But I felt obliged to couch my correction in very soft terms and hide it in a comment that included other stuff.
        It’s now been changed, 4 or 5 hours later.

        Like

  3. Fred Oct 25, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    These complaints by England about Pakistani ball tampering are childish. I thought that culture was changing, but Root seems to have picked up the batton.
    Still it’s not going to change anything.

    Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 25, 2015 / 6:36 pm

      Anyone trust the England management to be so gung-ho about Cook’s fitness? They don’t have a great record when it comes to managing their players injuries over the last
      few years.Worst thing would be is if an obviously injured player tries to play through the next test and possibly damage things further. It is bad enough that England really only have two batsmen of obvious test match quality bordering on world class but to possibly compromise 1 of them when the other also has a back issue. Not promising……………….

      Like

  4. SimonH Oct 25, 2015 / 7:02 pm

    Just watched the highlights of the Saffers marmalising India in the deciding ODI.

    Wow.

    Like

  5. Rooto Oct 25, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    Just as England (that’s the team, the players – not the establishment) appear to be getting more likeable, we get reminders that for every Moeen, there’s a gobby Stokes and for every calm Bell, there’s a feisty, competitive and occasional annoying Root.
    What the French call an “opération seduction” from Team England, i.e. “a charm offensive”, may be fizzling out too soon. Shame.

    Like

    • Fred Oct 25, 2015 / 9:36 pm

      I don’t really mind Stokes being gobby, just like I don’t mind aggression from Kholi, MJ etc, it’s natural that guys wound up to compete will boil over sometimes.
      The calculated moral slight on the opponent is less attractive, especially when followed by a coaches visit to the match official after play.

      I suppose I don’t really know what happened given I wasn’t there, but after Wahab Riaz’s extraordinary bowling achievement, and England’s batting capitulation, complaining about ball tampering, on the flimsy basis that he touched it with his foot, just sounds a wrong note. Sounds like sour grapes.

      The long mouthful that Stokes gave Misbah in frustration yesterday is, while maybe not attractive, inherent in the situation and the game. But accusing someone of cheating on bugger all evidence is poor behaviour.

      It’s not a big deal, hopefully it will fade away. The big story was the performance of Pakistan. Especially Misbah’s trick shot:)

      Like

    • THA Oct 25, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      Players who have a naturally aggressive streak – up to a point – don’t concern me. In fact, I think they’re necessary. The England teams of the 90s were beaten by the Australians before they took the pitch. It wasn’t until Michael Vaughan – with the likes of Flintoff, Pietersen, Hoggard, Jones – could stand toe-to-toe and refuse to be intimidated, that their ability got to do the talking.

      I remember Graeme Smith commenting on coming up against England and just assuming he could bully the slight figure of Vaughan, and being surprised – hurt, even – by the vociferous backlash. People found England a very hard team to bully, and England started winning matches from positions they would previously have lost – basically just given up – from.

      What I found really unpleasant and unpalatable, though, was what came afterwards. The origins are touched on in Fletcher’s hideous autobiography, Under The Shades. England associated aggression with winning and wanted to recreate what they’d had before, but the self-confidence and intimidation of the 2005 team came naturally to the players involved. they tempered it with a fair amount of charm and likability. Fletcher (and his successors) tried to recreate that by institutionalizing aggression, sledging, forced intimidation and a win at all costs mentality. That resulted in the very unpleasant atmosphere surrounding the team – and I think had a fair hand in the whole KP business, as well.

      Root reminds me a lot of Vaughan, both in technique and in character. I commented on it in his first game for England. I suspect he has an inner toughness and cockiness which give him a strength and confidence others don’t have. That might make him annoying sometimes (although that’s not my experience) but he’s far, far more annoying to the opposition. Comments in Australia suggest – like Vaughan – there’s something about him they find very distracting. Stokes, in a different way, has that punchy character and inner belief which saw him hit that ton in Australia when all around him his team were giving up and just trying to get home as quickly as possible. I went to some of those games. The atmosphere for the English was horrific. I didn’t even like sitting anonymously in the crowd, being on the pitch must have been unbearable. For a debutant to play the way he did took something really special inside – something a lot of more talented players don’t have. That can manifest itself in a negative way, too, but it’s a quality England have often lacked.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred Oct 25, 2015 / 10:39 pm

        England got a bit tangled up with that whole aggression thing. Anderson, Bell and others thought that posturing made you tough, rather than actually being tough making you tough. They worked through it though, especially since a few have retired.

        “The atmosphere for the English was horrific. I didn’t even like sitting anonymously in the crowd, being on the pitch must have been unbearable.”
        I spent a day sitting alone at Lords in 2005. The people around me seemed reasonable, but the antagonism against the Australians was surprising. When Ponting was dismissed the contempt for him as he walked off shocked me. And this is Lords!
        I suspect most players learn to block it out, and take it as part of the deal. Just like politicians must.

        Following your comments the other day about reverse swing, I was amused to read Wahab used his foot today because his hand was too sweaty and he didn’t want to touch the ball. Moisture control!

        Like

  6. Rohan Oct 25, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Another intriguing days play, definitely not one for the Selvey types or the BTLers, but one I appreciated even though we were on the wrong end of it. Why is it that selvey’s ilk can’t appreciate this tough, testing and different (well it is really as we are only here once every 3 years) and yet incredibly interesting!

    One thing that has really irked me, apart from Cork on the verdict (especially last night, what a plonker), is the constant referral by most of the TMS crew to how the Pakistan batters will fair on seaming/swinging pitches next summer in England. I think it is disrespectful and also highlights the insular nature of a number of our media. Concentrate on what is in front of you and the superb batting on display from Misbab, Younus et al…….

    Like

    • Grenville Oct 26, 2015 / 12:04 am

      I love Pakistan cricket. I have since watching Wasim and Waquar in the early 90s (91 might be the tour date). I just love them. They were so unenglish. They played cricket with such joy and brilliance and they were a great mix of flash, brash prima donnas and the lordly, refined prima donnas. I still love Pakistan. I also think that there is a nasty prejudice in the British (English?) media. They can’t quite believe that these uncultured types from a benighted, backward part of the world could really be so good at cricket (That, btw, is not my view of Pakistan or Pakistanis). You know, maybe they can bowl well – by bending the rules, naturally – but, by jove, they lack the moral fibre to bat properly. Of course, neither Younis nor Misbah fit that bill at all. Both, though Misbah is on the decline, I think, are impeccable technically and mentally. Asad Shafiq has become a superb player. Safraz looks the real thing. Azhar Ali is pretty organised and he might not get back in the side. (ditto for Shezad, though that could be my bias). They would struggle on a green seamer, they never get to play on one, but, but, but this pitch is a bloody good cricket wicket. There was some good bounce on day 1 and 2 with a bit of seam movement. It has reversed consistently and is progressively taking more turn. The Pakistanis are winning because they are better bats and much better bowlers. It is ridiculous to think otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 25, 2015 / 8:43 pm

      South Africa making 244 in 148 0vers, I think, is amazing. AB batting for over 4 hours for 33. Have that match on DVD.

      Like

    • SimonH Oct 25, 2015 / 10:42 pm

      There’s something gone wrong with that list because, for example, the timeless Test of ’38/39 should be on there (200+ 8-ball overs!) and the Mackay-Kline match in ’61 as well (and therefore probably others too).

      Can any Statsguru wiz (D’Arthez?) see why they are missing?

      Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 5:15 am

      Simon, I am really not sure why the query does not show the 1939 Test. I suspect it may have to do with the fact, that while the total number of overs bowled is known, the data for the individual players is incomplete.

      I checked it by looking at all 4th innings with at least 1 ball bowled in 1939. The Timeless Test does not show up, and this is the only explanation that I can come up with. Not sure how statsguru works, but it may simply be working by means of summing up all players’ individual’s ball’s faced in an innings. Hence the 1939 Timeless Test is not showing up.

      Like

  7. MM Oct 25, 2015 / 10:42 pm

    If England get out of this I will eat my abdominal protector.

    Now they’ve whinged about Wahab I really hope they don’t.

    Like

  8. man in a barrel Oct 25, 2015 / 11:04 pm

    Where does the Hanif rearguard fit in? I thought it was more than 2 days? 334 “v West Indies

    Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 5:26 am

      It was a third innings – Pakistan were asked to follow on. That innings lasted a mere 319 (!) overs. That is 1914 legal deliveries.

      Like

      • man in a barrel Oct 27, 2015 / 12:44 am

        puts most things into the shade 319 overs nis almost an entire 5 day Test match today.

        Like

      • SimonH Oct 27, 2015 / 8:43 am

        It certainly is on one of Strauss’s juiced-up green-tops…..

        Like

  9. man in a barrel Oct 25, 2015 / 11:19 pm

    It would be good if someone would come out and talk the truth… Moeen has qualities but is not a Test opener…
    neither Rachid nor Moeen is a holding bowler, and England needs another specialist batsman

    Like

  10. man in a barrel Oct 25, 2015 / 11:27 pm

    Curious readers should look up the record of Tony Greig….. The man was serious batsman. Better than Flintoff. Madras 1976. A century in India on a turning pitch against Bedi , Chandra, etc….

    Like

    • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 7:21 am

      He was quite seriously unwell during that innings as well.

      Like

      • Rohan Oct 26, 2015 / 7:56 am

        Remember checking his record some years ago and being very impressed. It lead me to question why, generally speaking, the media only seemed to bang on about IT Botham, then obviously Fred once he came along, but never really Greig as a great all-rounder. KP syndrome?

        Like

      • dlpthomas Oct 26, 2015 / 8:00 am

        He was never forgiven for joining World Series cricket.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan Oct 26, 2015 / 8:53 am

        Pathetic that he was never forgiven for that DLP, yet the apartheid tourers are welcomed with open arms. As often seems to be the case with supposedly difficult English cricketer types, was he not loved in Aus…….

        Like

      • paulE Oct 26, 2015 / 12:17 pm

        And being a Saffer mercenary of course……..

        Like

  11. man in a barrel Oct 25, 2015 / 11:28 pm

    If England wanted to win this series, it would be down to Anderson and Broad.

    Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 5:22 am

      Anderson’s stats are mostly based on getting Masood out. Other than having Masood as a bunny, he has been rather ineffective. Wood is probably the pick of the bowlers, and with his injury record (and the fact that Anderson had a bit of a break from bowling due to injury at the backend of the Ashes), that is rather worrying. If England lose this Test, then it will be a real puzzle to strengthen the bowling attack.

      One way would be to include Samit Patel, since the Pakistan lineup has a ton of right-handed batsmen. But who to drop? And what happens to the batting order then?

      Another way would be to exclude either Rashid or Moeen / not use one of them at all. Pakistan have an okay runrate against the seamers (about 2.5), but they are really cashing in against the spinners (4+). So reducing the overs of spin being bowled by Rashid and Moeen makes sense.

      Like

  12. Pontiac Oct 26, 2015 / 5:02 am

    Epically off topic, but I believe a while back I said that Kraigg Brathwaite was serious business.

    (hyenas snuck off but have snuck back.)

    Like

  13. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 7:24 am

    Misbah stops Yasir in the middle of the over. Yasir bowls the googly he doesn’t have (TM Sir Ian) and bowls Bairstow. Yasir runs straight to Misbah.

    Captain Fantastic.

    Like

  14. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 8:14 am

    After Buttler’s dismissal, we’ve had three shots on TV within about ten minutes of Buttler sitting with Cook and Farbrace. I’m probably being overly cynical – but it had a rather set-up “we’re standing by our man” feeling about it.

    No blame for Buttler on the dismissal – just a beauty of a leg-break that got him.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 8:15 am

      If Taylor can’t get in now he might as well give up or change nationality.

      Like

      • Rohan Oct 26, 2015 / 8:56 am

        He needs to be patient like Rashid was, apparently going on tour, carrying drinks and not playing is a great experience and learning curve 😉

        IK2 strikes after lunch……

        Like

  15. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 10:07 am

    Peach of a yorker from Wahab to get Broad.

    Like

  16. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Rashid and Wood still there and not been looking in too much trouble.

    25 overs left. They should just about get them all in

    Like

  17. d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Rashid and Wood are batting quite well, and have already negotiated 95 balls in this partnership. Pakistan still favorites, but the number of balls is slowly decreasing (a minimum of 147 now). Could develop in a real nailbiter.

    Like

  18. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 11:51 am

    20 overs left. This is when Anderson came in at Headingley against SL in 2014.

    Pakistan don’t have any reviews left having wasted both of them on LBW appeals for Babar that were missing leg stump (one was an inside edge to boot).

    Like

  19. paulE Oct 26, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    What odds on Mike Selvey attributing England’s success to Captain Cook rather than Rashid. His show of character, leading the time out despite his injury, inspired his team mates to great deeds. Similarly, what odds on ‘journalists’ rolling out the same old cliche about Cook being ‘the man you’d want out there’ when the side’s in trouble despite evidence to the contrary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 12:20 pm

      “He was absolutely marvellous in the dressing room.”

      (c) Peter Moores, Headingley 2014, the day after Cook basically threw a winning position down the toilet.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    I think this is not a bad game, considering that the toss decided the outcome. Copyright Mike Selvey.

    Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 12:55 pm

      England did not make it. And as much as Rashid will be criticised for that shot, he really gave England a good chance to escape with the draw. And it won’t be mentioned, but his innings lasted longer than anyone else’s in this innings (even if it is just one ball more than Root).

      Liked by 1 person

  21. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 12:30 pm

    Wood gone – good ball, good catch.

    11.1 overs for the last pair to survive.

    Like

  22. Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    #OperationBlameRashid

    Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 3:20 pm

        Would it be terribly unfair to juxtapose this with the TMS interview you posted and conclude that he really does have a problem with Adil Rashid?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 4:21 pm

        “Then, for no accountable reason, his concentration wavered.”

        Oh, so he wasn’t f***ing tired then, Mike?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Oct 26, 2015 / 4:24 pm

          When you think how lucky at times Matt Prior was in Auckland (and no criticism from me on that knock) it makes you laugh. Cook played a bad shot but he’s an inspiring leader. Adil almost saves the game and he’s to blame (in some eyes).

          Adil, you were superb. A brilliant rearguard. A wonderful effort. Proud of you.

          Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 5:14 pm

        To be fair to Mike Selvey: he probably would not know about getting tired while batting in extreme heat. His longest Test innings was 30 balls. In Manchester.

        Like

  23. BoerInAustria Oct 26, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    If Cook had batted faster in the first Test, they could have won.
    If Cook batted for more then 22 balls in the second innings, they would have drawn.

    Blame it on the chef I say.

    PS Great test series.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Like

    • Silk Oct 26, 2015 / 1:11 pm

      Ouch. The defeat in 2005 immediately after the Ashes was the most painful for me. England for me went from being brilliant to complacent.

      Bell was exceptional on that tour. Everyone else meh. Bell then had a poor tour of India and was, of course, dropped.

      What’s our record in overseas series immediately after Ashes series victories? Not good, I expect.

      Like

      • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 10:29 pm

        In my time following cricket: L 1-0, L 5-0, L 2-0, D 1-1, L 5-0.

        Not good, no.

        Like

  25. paulE Oct 26, 2015 / 1:02 pm

    Simon Burnton’s very kindly written Mike Selvey’s article for him (sans the heroism, of course, as we all know there’s only one hero in the England side):

    ‘Where did that shot come from? Such patience. Such maturity. All impeccable safety-first stuff, and then, from nowhere, a lavish cover drive straight to a lonely fielder. Rashid can hardly be blamed after a frankly heroic 172-ball 61, but at the same time, why, Rash, why?’

    Liked by 1 person

      • Silk Oct 26, 2015 / 1:29 pm

        My goodness, did anyone watch cricket in the 60s? Watch England you were pretty much guranteed a draw! Urgh.

        Like

      • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 1:48 pm

        MJK Smith doesn’t seem to have been the most cavalier of captains…..

        One thing that stands out from that is how good Hutton was. I raised this once on the Guardian BTL and got replies that it only showed how rubbish everyone else was at the time!

        Like

      • Arron Wright Oct 26, 2015 / 7:03 pm

        This stat appears to have sent wctt over the edge and he ‘s fallen foul of the mods. Whatever did he say?

        Liked by 1 person

      • BoerInAustria Oct 26, 2015 / 7:17 pm

        westcorkthinktank holdingahighline 1h ago
        always got time for a Cook slag eh?

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 8:23 pm

        Poor old corky – a mere factual statement of Cook’s record constitutes slagging Cook off?

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      Simon, you’re being generous. To Cook here.

      Three out of those wins came against Bangladesh (2) and West Indies, who have hardly won a series at home against top opposition (Full Members, excluding Zimbabwe and BD) in recent times.

      I am pretty sure that the side Atherton captained against and won against were a bit better? Same story for Nasser. Never mind the fact that when Nasser took over, England were quite dismal.

      So in terms of overseas losses, you can argue, that Cook has the worst record of the lot.

      Oh, and Vaughan’s W/L record is 1.8 – that compares quite favorable to Cook’s 0.625. And the press are desperate to tell us that this side is better than the 2005 vintage?

      Like

  26. Silk Oct 26, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    It’s bloody inevitable. Root should be opening. He should have been opening since he was opening in 2013.

    Like

    • metatone Oct 26, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      That made me smile.
      He did open for Yorkshire for a while.
      But I have to say that given at the moment he is England’s most complete batsman, I’m not sure he should open.

      Like

  27. greyblazer Oct 26, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    England have shown a lot more fight than the No.1 ranked side that played in 2012 or the AUS unit that visited UAE in 2014.

    Like

    • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 1:44 pm

      But considerably less than SA (who won by an innings here after losing the toss) or SL (won by 9 wickets here after choosing to bowl first). Okay, one could argue SA are simply a better team (except all that stuff about England going for the No.1 ranking….) and SL are more suited to the conditions.

      A good benchmark for England is NZ. NZ don’t have a good record in Asian conditions and had a number of inexperienced players. They were 1-0 down going to Sharjah last year and pulled off a great win to level the series.

      Like

      • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 2:06 pm

        Actually Simon, New Zealand drew in Sri Lanka the last time they toured there, just before Ross Taylor was stripped of the captaincy. Okay, they have lost a few series in India recently (1-0 5 years ago in a 3-Test series and 2-0 in a two-Test series a couple of years later), but neither of those series was a walkover for India. They were in with a very decent shout to win in Bangalore (2012), and that is no mean feat. Mind you, New Zealand have gotten a lot better since then.

        You can’t really bring up England’s record from 2012, since Pietersen, Trott, Strauss (UAE, Sri Lanka), Prior, Monty and Swann are either retired or not available for selection. And none of the replacements is as of yet as good as the people they have replaced, with the exception of Root.

        New Zealand may not have the greatest record in Asia. But I don’t see this England side significantly outperforming New Zealand anywhere to be honest at the moment. Sure, there is potential in this England squad, but you have to say the same thing about New Zealand, who are mostly a fair bit younger compared to their England counterparts as well.

        Like

      • greyblazer Oct 26, 2015 / 2:51 pm

        When Mark Craig took 10 wickets, and BMac/Williamson put on 300?
        New Zealand is the right benchmark for England at the moment, can they emulate the Sharjah result. Do they have what is needed?

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 26, 2015 / 6:51 pm

      Inclined to agree. Pleased they put up a fight today. That’s what we want to see when the batting messes up. Going to need that resilience going forward.

      Like

  28. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    A few bits from the post-match discussions on TV:
    1) Cook said something (I didn’t hear exactly what) that has been taken as meaning that Moeen Ali is going to remain as opener.
    2) Virtually every Englishman who’s spoken (except to his credit, Sir Ian) has said something along the lines of “well, of course they’ll be preparing a road in Sharjah…. “.
    3) There’s been much more discussion about Samit Patel coming into the team than James Taylor (or Hales).

    Liked by 1 person

    • pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 26, 2015 / 3:42 pm

      I’m still surprised that we haven’t seen a pitch with more in it for the spinners in the first two games as it may have created a bit more intriguing cricket throughout the test. That said the last day’s play of both tests have been fun. I think most folk here knew that the issues re the batting and spinners would get exposed and it is not as though they have too much of a moan given that the previous two pitches have been roads too.

      Like

      • metatone Oct 26, 2015 / 8:47 pm

        Typically Sharjah is the best pitch of the 3 for spinners.
        And I would expect it to spin like usual.
        It won’t have as much for the seamers, but that’s not “making it a road” it’s just the way it always is in Sharjah.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Oct 26, 2015 / 8:50 pm

          The sheer chutzpah at “making the pitch a road” while we served up two surfaces that ended up in three day routs is lost on our media.

          After all, isn’t it OK for the home team to set the pitch up how they like it?

          Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Oct 26, 2015 / 8:50 pm

      Like England didn’t prepare pitches this summer….these people are beyond parody.

      Like

  29. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    Selvey on TMS at lunchtime:

    “I’m starting to think we’ve approached this series from the wrong direction. We came here last time with a world-class bowling attack and got beaten because we didn’t bat well. We don’t have a world-class bowling attack, and we’ve been trying to force a template of two spinners.. Seamers take more wickets here and keep the runs down. There’s a case for going into the last match with five seamers, plus Moeen and Joe Root. Play to your strengths.”

    He then added:
    “The most successful overseas bowlers here are James Anderson and Stuart Broad, then Dale Steyn, then Shaminda Eranga… the only visiting spinners who’ve had any success here are Rangana Herath, Shane Warne, Monty Panesar, Mark Craig and Graeme Swann. At the moment, Rashid has seven wickets at 59, Moeen has six at 52.”

    (Just the five successful visiting spinners then? And he’s left out Imran Tahir who took 5-34 here).

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Oct 26, 2015 / 2:18 pm

      Can’t do the link on the phone but how long will Vigo the Carparthian’s disgraceful comment be left up?

      And I’ve copied it when or if it’s removed.

      Like

      • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 4:07 pm

        Gone after about two hours.

        Like

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 2:50 pm

      Warne was pretty decent with returns of 16/154 too. But of course, don’t mention that. Tahir has returns of 8/130 from just one match.

      Thus MS is arguing that pretty much all the visiting spinners have been successful, if Craig is deemed successful with 13/541 (which is an average of almost 42). Even the likes of Duminy (5/135); Paul Harris (7/230) also deserve a shout as being successful.

      The only ones that have not done well (45+ averages) are Lyon, Botha and Sodhi (of those who have played more than one match. Oh, and of course Rashid and Moeen.

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Oct 26, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      If Anderson, Broad, Wood and Stokes can’t get more than 4 wickets in the 2nd innings (which they didn’t) it’s hard to see how adding an extra seamer – Jordan or Plunkett is suddenly going to turn things around.

      Like

  30. d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe in the first T20 of their series. Great result for Afghanistan.

    Like

  31. Ian Oct 26, 2015 / 3:03 pm

    Pringle has tweeted just once about this test and that is to moan about Rashid getting out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Oct 26, 2015 / 3:11 pm

      Well, Pringle needs 6 wins from 5 Tests now. Anyone foolish enough to put money on Derek’s predictions can only hope that the English cricket press can redefine the meaning of the numbers “6” and “5”. Sadly, it is not beyond them to try.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BoerInAustria Oct 26, 2015 / 3:34 pm

        He will change it to “deserved” wins.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        There’s always our old friend “days won” to fall back on as well. He hasn’t had a good outing since the SL series.

        Cook claimed after the match England had won or drawn nine of the ten days of this series so far. Even if that were true (it isn’t), England were unfortunately utter shit on the tenth day.

        Liked by 2 people

  32. thebogfather Oct 26, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    TheSlogfather Just now

    cockwomble….def: A selfry, variation; a, comma selfry, indiginous; reversant of a Cookwomble, a lesser EdSmithWordsmith (all greek to me)

    still being pre-modded, so this won’t get through anyway…lo

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Oct 26, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      Gu mods still akip, so having a lil MSM/ECB rip! lol

      Like

  33. SimonH Oct 26, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    Special agents Selvey and Newman will no doubt flush this one down the memory plughole in their usual double quick time. It can join a couple of Headingleys, a couple of Lord’ses and Bridgetown so while it may be forgotten at least it won’t be lonely.

    I’ve noticed that for an Agincourt-observing, Shakespeare-quoting patriot, Selvey seems fairly sanguine about losing this series. He predicted England would lose the series and of course Selvey likes nothing more than being right. But it couldn’t be, could it, that if England got something out of this series, then the 2012 cl*sterf*ck presided over by his mates would look even worse than it did at the time?

    Liked by 1 person

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