South Africa vs England: 3rd Test, day three

Whatever was expected for day three, it wasn’t this.  England grabbed the moment, and with it the match and the series. The headlines will be all about Stuart Broad, and so they should be.  For he has now taken 5 wickets in a bowling spell seven times in his career, which is remarkable.  I was fortunate enough to see the first “Stuart Broad Day” back in 2009 when he ripped through the Australian batting order to effectively win the Ashes back for England, and there’s something about him when he gets going that makes him irresistible, he goes through batsmen like a knife through butter.

Broad is one of those players who seems to attract as much criticism as praise, and he’s not even close to being one of the best loved of England cricketers.  His demeanour over the years has sometimes irked people, and his tendency to blow hot and cold has often frustrated – as tends to be the case with explosive players, some remember the bad times rather more than the good.  The same applied to Kevin Pietersen of course, where some would choose to deny the match winning performances and point to the failures, as if that meant anything.  Those who make the game look easy at times are cursed to be berated for not producing excellence on every occasion.  Yet Broad’s overall record as a bowler is now a genuinely fine one.  He didn’t have a great start, and his bowling average didn’t dip permanently below 40 until his 21st Test, and only went below 30 after 76 matches.  And yet that average continues to fall and is now at 28.54, which is more than respectable.

Nor is this just a golden spell for him, for his bowling average over the last five years is 25.67, and over the last two it is 23.97.  This suggests not only a player who is of Test class which has been apparent for years, but one who is now world class.  He should now be at his peak, and James Anderson may well be nervously looking over his shoulder as the England record wicket taker, for over the last year or so Broad is just beginning to reel him in.

England have been on the receiving end of games like this often enough, where the team becomes crippled by uncertainty, unable to score, and reduced to resembling startled rabbits, transfixed in the headlights of a rampaging bowler.  And yet few of his wickets were batting errors, they were instead outstanding bowling.  He won the man of the match award for it, and although some felt Joe Root’s hundred the greater contribution, it was Broad who created the result, and perhaps given the name of the award, that is the right approach to it.

South Africa are unquestionably a team in transition, the loss of their great players to retirement and the absence of Steyn and Philander through injury have reduced them to a shadow of the outfit that reached number one status in Tests, but both age and injury are facts of sporting life, and it’s never been an excuse when England have lost, so nor should it be now.  However, there is a strong sense that these are two sides heading in opposite directions.  If this is purely a cricketing circumstance, then for the English it would be a reason for celebration; this England side is one that is full of verve and vigour, playing an attacking and incisive style, and responding to adversity by going after the opposition.  There is much to like about them.

The trouble is that with Test cricket in the state it is, any pleasure from it has to be tempered with real concern about the future.  The ICC stitch up with the resulting loss in relative income means that the potential for South Africa to lose their best players to T20 wealth is high, and if that is so, then building another fine side could prove beyond them.  For the point about Test cricket is that to take the maximum pleasure from your own side winning so handsomely, it must be in the knowledge that in future the tables will be turned.  That is after all why the English and Australians gleefully tease the other, because they know next time they’ll get it back to the same extent.  Success is only special when failure is an option.

England’s win means that South Africa are dethroned as the side at the top of the ICC rankings.  India for now take over, with Australia in second place.  England may well be currently fifth, but with home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to come, are more than likely to move up the table quite quickly.  In short order the top three Test sides will almost certainly be India, Australia and England.  Quite the coincidence.

With that proviso, it remains an outstanding feat to win the series, for since being accepted back into international cricket, Australia and England are the only sides to have won series there.  That is perhaps not so surprising as it might seem, for South African conditions are entirely alien to all other sides bar perhaps New Zealand, who you wouldn’t expect to win there often if at all.   Yet those predicting a healthy England win before the series were considered outliers, and understandably so.  England have unquestionably exceeded expectations, the younger players have brought verve and joie de vivre, and the side appears a very different one to the nervous, hidebound and risk-averse outfit under late era Flower and Moores.

Which means praise for Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace in particular – and indeed Andrew Strauss for appointing the former and backing the latter.  Good decisions should always be acknowledged, in the same way that bad ones should never be brushed under the carpet.  The style of Bayliss and Farbrace appears to be to remain in the background, encourage the players to express themselves, ensure the captain runs the side rather than being a cipher for the backroom staff, and to play attacking cricket wherever possible.  What sets them apart is that so far they’ve actually done it, for every coach says these things, but they have managed the ultimate coaching trick of getting out of the way.  Cricket is not football, and prescriptive management isn’t going to work.  Being a support and an adviser is, and early stages though it might be, the signs are excellent.

England aren’t a very good side just yet.  But they might become one.  From the depths of disaster, largely self-inflicted, that’s considerable progress.

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59 thoughts on “South Africa vs England: 3rd Test, day three

  1. LeningradCowboy January 16, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Regarding the comparison between Broad and Pietersen, the Cricinfo text commentary today described Broad as a bowler of great spells and not a great bowler….

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    • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 7:52 pm

      That label has been thrown at Broad for many years and, perhaps, in his early test career was true. Now, however, I think the stats quoted by TLG above, show this to be a fallacy. Average of 25.67 for past 5 years and 23 odd over the past 2 years,Mehta is impressive. I wonder, what would his strike rate be in the 5 year and 2 year period?

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      • thelegglance January 16, 2016 / 7:56 pm

        Last two years it’s 51.4, last five years it’s 51.6, so pretty much unchanged in that time. Overall his strike rate is 56.4, which is still very good, anything under 60 is.

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      • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 8:22 pm

        Cheers TLG, not as much difference as I thought there might be.

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      • thelegglance January 16, 2016 / 8:26 pm

        Remember that overall figure includes the last five years and will have been dragged down by it. It’s probably dropped from the mid sixties to that, which is a big change. I’ll check on Statsguru later.

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        • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 8:38 pm

          The last five words of this reply are words I never thought I’d see TLG write.

          You’ve changed!

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      • thelegglance January 16, 2016 / 8:53 pm

        I thought it was a wonderfully subtle hint for someone else to do it for me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 9:28 pm

        Ah, I see, bit slow tonight me 😉

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  2. Rohan January 16, 2016 / 7:49 pm

    Well that was unexpected. I now think Broad is a better bowler than Anderson (some may say he has long been, others may argue he is not,Meath to their own).

    Anderson can swing it prodigiously and sometimes at good pace and he can reverse it. Broad, however, can swing it, seam it, bowl some genuinely fast spells, he has height (6″6′, only 1 inch off Finn), he uses his height well, he bowls intelligently on sub-continent type pitches (he taught Anderson how to bowl cutters), the list goes on. I really do believe him to be better than Jimmy and far more happy when he bowls as well, especially when in one of his ‘spells’.

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  3. Rohan January 16, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    Great review TLG. Ironically, the style of Bayliss and Farbrace, that you mention, would, I believe, have been perfect for KP. More akin to Fletcher and Vaughan. What a shame Bayliss did not come in earlier, pre Moores Mk2

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy January 16, 2016 / 8:06 pm

      Agree on article and re bayliss but re latter, he couldn’t because he would have wanted to select pietersen…hence moores mkii.

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      • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 8:25 pm

        Good point, but so wrong. Don’t select your best player and don’t employ the potential best coach, because he wants the best player back. Abysmal by the ECB.

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  4. rpoultz January 16, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    Does anyone else find it hard to get excited about England victories? There are some genuinely exciting players in this side which I personally like but ever since the debacle of 2 years ago I just cant enjoy any English victory. I can appreciate the brilliance of Broad today and the ton that Root scored but I just seem the side as Team ECB. I guess it may be something to do with the fact every victory seems to be greeted with an ‘I told you so’ mentality from MSM and certain twitter users. This may be just me though, I accept.

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    • Zephirine January 16, 2016 / 8:16 pm

      It’s not just you. I’m the same. I just enjoy them as individual players now.

      It’s Team ECB, and these aren’t matches between national sides in a world sport but part of a league system determined by money.

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      • Rpoultz January 16, 2016 / 8:23 pm

        I’m glad that it is not just me then.

        The great point you make about it being determined by money will obviously only become more apparent as time goes on. For me it’s almost as if south Africa’s reign for the last few years is the last time we will someone from outside the big three top the test rankings for any period of time. So while it is an end of south Africa’s era of being the top side but also draws a line under the time when Any side could become world number 1.

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      • SimonH January 16, 2016 / 9:08 pm

        LCL wrote his piece about money ruining sport not long ago. At the time, I thought international sport couldn’t go the way of club sports because there aren’t the transfer market issues (except in diluted forms like for players with dual nationality or who are willing to go through a residency qualification).

        I’m not so sure now. Is a world where SA or Pakistan could top the rankings going to become as distant as one where Everton or Aston Villa could win the Premiership? It feels like it very well might.

        This win has the lurking sense of a sporting equivalent of Starbucks closing down a local coffee shop or Waterstones obliterating the last independent bookstore in town.

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      • pktroll (@pktroll) January 17, 2016 / 12:03 pm

        Outstanding spell it undoubtedly was I can’t get over the batsmanship on display just as I couldn’t with the Aussies at Trent Bridge. I just don’t think players of even a few years ago would have been so found wanting in helpful conditions as those of now. There are a few exceptions to this rule but only a few.

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    • jomesy January 16, 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Feel the same and I’m probably worse in that whilst I like much of the side, I cannot stand the fact that Cook will have an away win record against the number one ranked team at the time which, no doubt, will be lauded from the roof tops without context (SA missing their two main bowlers and Cook’s own lack of runs).

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      • jomesy January 16, 2016 / 8:32 pm

        Ps – I did feel something of the old feelings with Taylor’s catches, particularly the second and when he tore off in nothing else but sheer, unadulterated joy!

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      • Ian January 16, 2016 / 8:49 pm

        Enjoy England winning? Yes I do definitely. However I never enjoy the bum licking Cook is getting. Root set it up for Broad to win the game, neither had anything to do with the Captain.

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    • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 8:28 pm

      Same here. Admire the individual performances and very pleased when talented youngsters and ‘Mavericks’ like Stokes do well. But struggle to support team ECB as a whole.

      For me it’s partly for the reasons you and Zephirine state, but also because they are tarnished by what happened with Cook over the past 2 years.

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      • Rpoultz January 16, 2016 / 8:37 pm

        I shouldn’t do it to myself but unfortunately that is all it has been online today. Cooks record now with two ashes wins and wins away in SA and India. Of course they conveniently forget the whitewash, home series loss to Sri Lanka and draw against West Indies. Such a shame as because an Essex fan I should be proud of cooks achievements with England but cannot bring myself to do it. It may not be so bad if it wasn’t thrown in our faces constantly each time England do well…such as the Anal-Lysts tweet earlier

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      • greyblazer January 16, 2016 / 10:05 pm

        I can’t fathom this team “ECB” thing. Its England. This team includes a Geordie, a couple of Yorkshireman, a brummie of Asian origin, a Lancastrian, an england legends Grandson and others captained by an Essex farmer.
        The players can’t do anything about the administration.

        If you’re not enjoying the cricket that’s being played by this very exciting team, why are you watching it?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright January 16, 2016 / 10:02 pm

      Rpoultz

      Of course it’s not just you. It’s a lot of us (by us I mean people who come to this blog, not “England cricket lovers”). It’s a large part of the reason this blog’s predecessor took off. Your sentiment tends to go hand in hand with a very deep (nay fathomless), well-founded mistrust of the people running cricket, and a genuine respect for the journalists who have tried to cast some light on the vital wider context of all this relentless so-called moaning.

      I have spent three and a half years ploughing this furrow on blogs and the Guardian BTL, during which period (thanks to naked greed) England played 11 Tests against Shane Watson and what looks like being one against the greatest fast bowler of his era. I have totally and utterly lost any sense that England are “my” team. I cannot help that. I cannot *pretend* to feel something I used to feel instinctively for 30-odd years. I am speaking only for myself, albeit relieved to find a group of people who feel the same to a greater or lesser extent. Unfortunately there are some people out there who are a bit slow on the uptake, and still haven’t quite grasped the nuances of this position, so they prefer to misrepresent and mock what is an entirely valid and mature response to developments over the last few years.

      I’ve just about had enough of it, tbh. I honestly don’t know how Dmitri carries on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 10:15 pm

        Arron,

        One – Don’t get fed up coming on here. I think you offer a sense of perspective that I respect totally. You pretty much sum up where I am on the dial. I saw a cricket authority tell a large number of its supporters to stick it up their arse, and now want us to come back saying they were right all along. I can’t say today had much impact on me at all, other than to watch a wonderful bowling performance by Broad, an absolutely special spell, acknowledge its total brilliance and not get so excited that you couldn’t have prised me away from the 6:30 highlights to go through it all again. I did that for 30 or so years watching cricket, and now I don’t.

        Then, to pile on top of that, we are seeing the rapid decline of test cricket. I’ve been in denial for a while, but when you see what’s happening, you have to be wary of the future. This summer we should be looking to do what we did in 2004 – run the table. Sri Lanka are a pale shadow of the team we saw two years ago, and Pakistan – well, who the hell knows what we’ll see, but it might struggle in English conditions. I don’t know. Then there are two tests away at Bangladesh, which I’ll be surprised if we play given the precedent Australia have set, and then India for five – which I’ll wager will see raging bunsens a la the last home series they had. This time we won’t have Swann and we won’t, in all likelihood, have Panesar. So that’s going to be tough.

        I understand how people still follow the team with huge enthusiasm. I really do. When I was a mad loyal Millwall fan, I excused all sorts of nonsensical behaviour of our fans, saying it was over-hyped (a lot was) but then you sort of realise the outsiders had a point. But I still recognise there’s lots of good lads who don’t agree with me. Different strokes.

        I also found that the best thing I’ve done this year has to reduce my exposure to stupidity. Sadly, stupidity follows me around! They’ve provided many hits today.

        Keep moaning!

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      • RufusSG January 17, 2016 / 12:24 am

        Arron, I definitely understand the reason behind your stance. It’s easy to be concerned about the way English and world cricket is run with decisions purely based on the monetary gain to be had, and with previously documented contempt for supporters of all stripes and anyone or team outside the Big Three. England as a cricketing entity in and of itself, especially the ECB et al., are complicit enough in this to make cynicism in But at the end of the day, I view the England team (and a lot of their coaching staff, to be honest) as a group of individuals who want to make their country proud on the sporting stage, regardless of the fuckwittery of the administration that employs them and has other agendas to pursue – especially with the team more likeable and enjoyable to watch these days, you’re reminded that all the players want to do and have dedicated much of their lives to is win cricket matches for their country. So I get your cynicism of the off-field stuff and how it’s affected your enjoyment, but ultimately I still derive great pleasure from seeing England play well because I know they’re not there through desire to further the ECB’s goals, they’re there because they love playing cricket. I try to separate the England team from “Team England”, to put it one way: it feels like those individuals are representing me, not the ECB.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus January 17, 2016 / 12:39 am

          Precisely, Rufus. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

          At the end of the day you have to be true to yourself. I played the sport, badly for 30 years, so of course I dearly love it. I went abroad to watch England when we were bad. And when we thought we were good and ended up bad! I have explained this many, many, many times.

          So those say “why do you still watch” are miles off the mark. It’s why I have so much cricket on DVD (and formerly on VHS but had to bin) that I can watch when I want. I hated the Aussie side of the late 90s and 2000s, but I stayed up all hours to watch them. I watched today. I have an emotional investment in the sport. If I lost it for England, then perhaps people might ask “why?”.

          It’s dense. But it’s long since been about that for some. Sad really.

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      • greyblazer January 17, 2016 / 1:20 am

        OK if the “if you can’t enjoy, why are you still watching” is wide off the mark, then how about this question. If the sport is upsetting you so much, why continue watching?
        Understand the history and the emotional investment stuff, but if its not the game you recognise anymore, the one you fell in love with isn’t divorce the only remaining option?

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    • northernlight71 January 16, 2016 / 10:19 pm

      It’s not just you. I find myself spectacularly unmoved by the result today. And I hate the ECB and the people involved in English cricket who have made me feel like this. Without wishing to make the occurrence of international sport all about me, taking pleasure in England winning a cricket match has been one of the few positive things in my life up until recently. Having that taken away by the poor excuses for human beings that run and write about establishment cricket has truly diminished my enjoyment of life, and as hard as I try, I can’t get it back yet.
      And can somebody, please, teach Cook how to talk and be interviewed. If he says “uhmmmm” one more time in an interview, I swear I am going to renounce my natural pacifism and find him just so I can punch him.

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      • Arron Wright January 18, 2016 / 12:24 pm

        I see you’ve been modded for asking why the cricket correspondent keeps writing about the difficult future for SA without paying any attention to underlying factors.

        Now *there’s* a shock.

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    • "IronBalls" McGinty January 17, 2016 / 10:31 am

      Agreed! I “lost the love” a while back, for pure non cricketing reasons, but through administrative duplicity, mealy mouthed lies, and downright crookedness. Not to mention the complicity of the embedded MSM. The ” love” is returning, albeit slowly, but the ECB and their sycophants have stolen something from me, and that was unbridled passion for the England team. Sadly, I doubt that may ever return? We’ll see!

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  5. SimonH January 16, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    England’s seam attack looks the strongest in world cricket at the moment (assuming Steyn and Philander are finished which looks distinctly possible). Pakistan’s I’d probably rate second. Australia’s could be up there if they can get Starc and Cummins fit but that’s a big ‘if’. Having a strong seam attack can cover a multitude of sins in other departments – and, not least, is probably the best protection against being ‘bombed’ in the next away Ashes.

    What could go wrong? Only burning out key players probably (I’m not at all convinced by the quality in the reserves). It isn’t like the ECB have arranged 17 Tests for this year – the second highest amount ever for any team (after India’s 18 in 1983). Oh….

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    • amit January 17, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      I agree.
      In fact this was all that I could think of, when I saw the scoreline yesterday.
      Didn’t get to watch it, as I was out and by the time I got back, the game was done to my BIG surprise.
      But, then these are are the two most experienced bowlers out there at the moment. No other team now has the same experience in its lead pair. Steyn is great but probably close to calling it quits because of injuries. Philander has had a great record in the short time around but then he’s not been playing for long and I don’t think he belongs in the same category of “great”.
      These 3 bowlers (Jimmy / Broad / Steyn) could lay claim to being the last of great test bowlers because I really don’t see many others coming close to playing as many tests as these guys have.

      Pakistan attack is half decent (may be more than that, i will concede) but they aren’t playing enough and the batsmen used to playing in UAE will struggle in England / NZ / Australia / SA. So they are unlikely to make enough to bring their bowlers in the game.
      India will still be competitive at home but have an extremely inexperienced bowling attack (outside India) barring Ishant. Australia too haven’t really played without Johnson and while they do have able replacements, experience is still the key.

      So year, we should indeed see England rise up in the test rankings soon given the difference in skill and upcoming home games.

      Now if these two were to fall prey to freak injuries, it might be a different matter.

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  6. Ian January 16, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    I admit up until 2013 I used to moan about Broad loads but then in that Ashes summer it hit me how vital he is.

    If only he’d had some back up with the ball in 2013/14 then it might not have been five nil and what happened afterwards might not have happened.

    The difference between his quieter tests and his excellent tests is also smaller than it was.

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    • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 10:20 pm

      His bowling in the UAE was much much better than I’d seen when he wasn’t the strike bowler able to knock people over. He is learning more and more, still, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was with him absolutely not letting the hosts off the hook today. 330 wickets in 90 tests, and if he stays fit…. well, he’ll certainly get a chance to get to 400!

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  7. Rooto January 16, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Must say that TLG’s excellent analysis of the coaching staff indirectly leads me to another conclusion: that Cook is probably a decent leader *when left to his own devices*. This may be a case of the new team of Bayliss and Farbrace lucking out having decided on TINA, or of some spark one of them saw in the Deer Hunter’s eye that convinced them. More likely, I suppose, is that their style of play suits the team, and leaves Cook with a happy band of men to lead rather than a fearful and under-fire battalion.Whatever, he has as many good days as bad now.
    A**y F****r really has a lot to answer for. It’s a scandal he’ll never be forced to do so.

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    • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Lol, took me a moment to work the starred bit out. Thought you meant Arse* *ucker and was thinking who is that? Then realised it was the man who presided over the ‘difficult winter’. Duh, I am slow tonight!

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      • Rooto January 17, 2016 / 6:23 am

        Having read your comment, I can only think of him as Andy *ucker now. Apt, I suppose!

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    • jomesy January 16, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      He’s a good leader as long as he can lead people. He couldn’t lead the bowler clique and he couldn’t manage KP. So, yes, he can lead younger guys but his days are numbered as a leader because he’s not a true leader. Still, lovely wife, nice family, used to sing in choir, shoots deer (and looks like he’s in rapture).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. MM January 16, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    I was impressed by Team Waitrose in this match – Broad, Root, Bairstow and Stokes in partic, of course. But not moved emotionally. It just doesn’t feel like my team anymore. I have more emotion for South Africa’s decline.

    I find myself anticipating the suspicion-loaded angle of the MSM when we line up against Pakistan, and the creative excuses for next Winter’s comedy batting versus spin in India.

    Don’t think I’m a fan anymore. Shame. Maybe it’s me age. Love reading everyone’s input though. Don’t stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      I don’t know how many times I have to say this. I understand why people are happy.

      I wish that courtesy is offered to those who are not rejoicing.

      But hey. They are snitches, and as far as I know, we are not. I can live.

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      • MM January 16, 2016 / 11:23 pm

        Yep. There’s none more hopelessly enslaved than them that falsely believe they are free. Does that apply? I love cricket but I won’t go headlong off the edge of a cliff following Strauss, Giles, and all for a £6 baguette and 80 overs per day of “ain’t Cooky wonderful”.

        Keep asking the awkward questions, peeps.

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    • Rohan January 16, 2016 / 11:44 pm

      I agree with that completely, very disappointing to see the decline of SA! I find their decline more compelling than Cook’s latest redemption. As defined by Botham stating live on air, close to the denouement, that he was ‘very pleased for Cook’….not the players who created the victory (Root and Broad), or the team, or the new structure in place, no, just pleased for Cook. Of course!

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      • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 11:53 pm

        Cook is doing a decent captaincy job at this time. To say otherwise would be churlish, and I’m not a relentless churl.

        People have to realise that this constant deification isn’t helping. When you buff someone up when they don’t deserve it, praise more false dawns that the Tony Orlando Fan Club, and tell us decent performances are some sort of miracle, then when someone does well, you have nowhere to go except act stupid.

        There will be tough times. I mean, it’s not as if we’ve won the majority of our test series since the great Strauss was appointed?

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      • Rohan January 17, 2016 / 12:31 am

        I am not saying Cook is not doing okay at the moment, but because of what the MSM have/are doing regarding him, it’s tough to take when we win as it is unjustified over the top praise for Cook. Often misplaced at the expense of other players more deserving. So I guess we agree LCL?

        For what it’s worth, ummmmmms aside, I actually think Cook has spoken better to the media of late. I thought his post match comments today were fine and, did not leave me cringing as they did in the past; I agree he is doing better….

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    • jomesy January 16, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      There’s two forms of choking that I’m aware of.

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    • MM January 16, 2016 / 11:27 pm

      Is this gonna get rolled out EVERY time? Jeez.

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      • Arron Wright January 16, 2016 / 11:37 pm

        Cut, paste, don’t parrot bollocks about Steyn and Philander.

        At this rate, SA v Aus 2013/14 might go down as the last truly great Test series.

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    • LordCanisLupus January 16, 2016 / 11:50 pm

      I was once admonished because one of our commenters nicknamed him “laughing”. The same person then tweeted nonsense when KP was making his 170 against the Uni and we were laughing at the house media getting their knickers in a twist, and to be fair, he did say it was misjudged.

      This is just laughable. I’ll keep that one in the repository.

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      • rpoultz January 17, 2016 / 7:53 am

        Wow! He is robbing a living keeping producing this tired old story. So much wrong in that. One of the reason which turns me away from supporting England is the MSM bull**** which is trotted out each time England win. Sickening it really is.

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  9. Benny January 17, 2016 / 1:47 am

    I’ve been anti- establishment and cynical for as long as I can remember. It feels natural. I don’t feel any obligation to be loyal to the England team. After all, imho the players selected are often not those I want in the team. First and foremost, I love watching cricket and excellent players.

    Yes, I did enjoy this match and England’s performance. They look like a watchable team again, more so than in Flower’s all grind together days. I wouldn’t knock any of them atm, although I’d still like to see Foster behind the stumps and Monty back firing on all cylinders.

    For me, the ECB are nasty, incompetent and, above all, unnecessary. This does not affect how I feel when I sit down to watch a test match any more than it would if it was run by a bunch of nice guys.

    As for the hyperbole, nothing still compares to 1981.

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  10. Grenville January 17, 2016 / 2:41 am

    My own feeling of let down is, I think, because, up to Broad’s spell, it was a cracking game of cricket. Broad the son produced some magic. It was thrilling to watch. I wanted the saffers to stumble, recover, threaten to take the game away from England only to be pegged back, and for England to at least inch towards the line. At that point it could end with a hapless dart from Finn and Anderson, or Jonny B. edging the ball down to third man and running like hell. It had been that good up to lunch today. Broad’s magic was magical, but it was an unsatisfactory ending (unlike at Durham in the last home ashes but one).

    I’m sad about the decline of test cricket, angry at the sacking of KP, furious about the big three, but right now I feel bereft that my Sunday won’t involve scintillating cricket.

    Like

  11. Rooto January 17, 2016 / 6:58 am

    Interesting discussion about taking pleasure or not from the win. When I was about 13, I remember reading about an England XI losing to Holland (about 1988, team included my hero Rob Bailey), and commenting to my big sister and her even bigger, scarily cerebral, boyfriend “I can’t believe we lost”. The reply was “Who’s we? Were you playing?”. Very cutting to a sports-mad kid. Nearly 30 years on, and I’m turning into him.
    I took pleasure in the win, but not as much as if Cook had scored 2 and Compo hit the winning runs. Most of the players I root for, though, and it’s because a) I love the sport and b) the knee-jerk, Pavlovian ” it’s England and I’m from England” response, which only gets stronger when you live abroad.
    After the match though, you read the articles in the press and half the comments underneath and feel a bit dirty, as if you’ve been suckered. How could I have rooted for them again? It’s why a lot of us feel so attached to this place where we can let off steam (along with the warm welcome and excellent writing, of course!).
    Sport used to be a way to escape the unpleasant realities of life. Now it seems to be an escape from the unpleasant realities of … er … sport itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. alecpaton January 17, 2016 / 8:01 am

    I still feel loyalty to the England team as a whole, I feel that I owe it to the sport not to leave them to big beasts of corporate culture to dictate terms.

    That said, when England play Pakistan all bets are off. I can’t help myself and will happily admit to fluffing the Tebbit Test when it comes to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville January 17, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Me too, and I’m a white Jew.

      Like

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