Duel In The Desert #3 – This Time It’s Sharjah

You lot don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. WordPress have changed the post drafting interface again. Jeepers. Leave it alone, peeps.

Anyway, enough of the moans, here’s your comments space for the third one dayer to be played in the venerable old stadium in Sharjah, scene of famous triumphs of the past, and an unimpeachable reputation.

The series is level at 1-1 as England revert to glorious inconsistency. The glimpses of something are there, almost tangible, but not quite. Alex Hales made his first ODI hundred in the second match in Abu Dhabi, while Jason Roy made a half century. We’ve rather been here before with Hales, when that T20 century against Sri Lanka made his future selection almost irresistible (but resist we did for six months), but the England man he reminds me most of, Ali Brown, made a century in his third international and it was, with a couple of exceptions, all she wrote.  Hales will certainly be backed for much longer than Brown, and we should wait for Roy too. But as I noted on a separate Twitter feed on another subject, Quinton de Kock has eight ODI hundreds and isn’t 23 yet, while Hales is 26, and this is his first. I love watching Alex play, but the press have over-reacted again, pumping up his tyres, asking us to sort of forget some of his early struggles.

Bowling was also a concern after game one, but those extra runs and the early wickets certainly made the task easier. These guys have Wood and Finn to compete against in the not too distant future (Broad, I think, won’t be tried again) so competition is there, which is good.

Pakistan? Well who knows which team will turn up. They are like England at the moment, rather unpredictable.

We also have Day 5 of the Australia v New Zealand test, which looks nailed on a draw. There is Day 4 of the water polo match between India and South Africa.

Some upcoming news. TLG is nearly back from his manic workload and is working on a major piece, or pieces, on the cricket media – a subject we know nothing about. It’ll be broad in scope and take some work, so keep checking in. I’ve written up an introductory piece, with the interaction between the blog and the media its focus, while also finally announcing the top 10 worst journalists, as voted by you (and me).

I’d also like to thank all of you who contributed to the ODI pieces at the weekend. I’ll do a couple more bringing the pieces together, and perhaps one on T20s to coincide with the Pakistan v England series. And, I know you all want to see this, The Bogfather has written one of his poems (not the filthy ones he puts on Twitter) and it will be coming (oooo er) to you soon.

Double century watch – well Ross Taylor and David Warner, of course, but also Natraj Behera, who made 255* for Odisha against Haryana in the Ranji Trophy. He’s 27 and this is his career best.

So, comments on all the cricket below, and your white ball views too….