South Africa vs England: Fourth Test, day four [Sticky – Other Posts Below]

Providing the weather holds, South Africa ought to win the final Test of the series some point tomorrow afternoon.  For the match has been thoroughly one sided throughout and unless England somehow escape through their own endeavours, which is possible but unlikely, a draw seems most possible only with the help of a thunderstorm or two.

If that were to happen, then perhaps the finger could be pointed firmly at the home team’s captain and coaching staff, for the lack of urgency in building the lead in the second session and after tea was unusual to say the least.  It’s not exactly a matter of batting on too long, more that with a more positive mindset they would have been able to declare somewhat earlier.  Still, with three early wickets already taken South Africa would be disappointed if they failed to finish England off, so the point will probably be a moot one, but just occasionally, this conservatism comes back to haunt teams, as England found on a number of occasions, most notably in managing to lose a series in the Caribbean they dominated, but where sheer timidity cost them two Tests and one collapse ultimately the series.

Certainly South Africa’s reluctance to take risks was justified early on, for with Anderson taking two wickets in an over early on, there would have been some concern even though at 182 ahead for three wickets down, it was hardly disastrous; given the collapse in the last Test, perhaps it was forgivable.  But the lack of acceleration after lunch was less so, as by that point they were 254 runs ahead with four wickets down.  England probably weren’t too upset.  Between lunch and tea they only scored 102 runs in 30 overs, and after tea 65 runs in 15.2 overs – a small acceleration, but hardly putting their collective foot down.

By that point, and with England going through the motions to an even greater extent than they have in the Test is a whole – bowling wide of the off stump and wide of the leg stump in an effort to restrain the scoring and keep them out there, the Test really wasn’t going anywhere, except for a debate as to whether they were intending to let Bavuma score a century.  It was a touch peculiar, and suggested a side seriously lacking confidence, for there was no sign of an imminent declaration.

The rain break forced their hand and with a pretty nominal 382 required in 109 overs, England were left with just a draw to play for.  They didn’t exactly start very well.  Alex Hales did get one that kept a touch low, but that he hasn’t had a great series is plain.  As ever, it needs to be qualified that he’s hardly alone in not having a great series.  The radio report from Jonathan Agnew this evening highlighted that he’s averaged 17 across the Tests, and that is indeed not great.  Yet it is as striking as it always is that this point was followed with saying that Cook was the next to be dismissed, with no mention of him only averaging 23 in the series.

It is tiresome to have to keep writing this, but it does Cook no favours to be treated as the prodigal son all the time.  Yes, he has a very strong record behind him, and yes anyone can have a bad series.  But to specifically, repeatedly and consistently overlook when the chosen one doesn’t do well as though it is of no consequence is failing to properly scrutinise matters.  That does not mean for a second that Cook is or should be in any kind of danger of his place, for he had a decent 2015 after a disastrous 2013 and 2014 and has the fine career as evidence of his skill and ability.  But what it does mean is that he has had a bad series.  It happens.  It’s worth noting.  It’s worth mentioning.  It is something that when totally ignored draws attention to the disparity in treatment.  Sky have managed to skilfully ignore his poor series but still mention that he’s closing in on 10,000 Test runs.  That will be a fine achievement, and worthy of comment as the first England player to reach that mark – though another would probably have done so sooner had his career not been curtailed.  It is also true that he’s not had a great tour.  It is quite astounding how the media will go out of their way to ever mention these things.  Once again, it is not a case of criticising him heavily, querying his position, calling for his removal or any such thing, but it unquestionably is about highlighting how TMS can entirely ignore it, yet tweet a question as to whether Compton has convinced in this series with an average of 30.

For tomorrow, England do have a long batting line up, but assuming a full day’s play of 98 overs, pulling off a draw here would be an outstanding achievement.  Indeed, nigh on impossible though the target might be, with a middle order as attacking as England’s is, it would probably be more likely that England win rather than bat out a draw, and that’s very unlikely indeed.  And if South Africa do win the Test, then Scyld Berry’s point that it would have set up a fifth Test perfectly is ever more apposite.  It was meant to happen, for the ECB promised it would a few years ago. It didn’t.  And while the home team have to approve the scheduling, there has been a remarkable silence on the part of the ECB that their desire for five has been flouted.  Four Tests is at least an improvement on the dreadful three match series in 2012 that was blamed on the Olympics, but five is the best Test format for big series for very good reason – as previous England – South Africa encounters have demonstrated amply.  It’s not being wise after the event, plenty of people who love cricket were disappointed it wasn’t five before the series started.  Apparently, only India and Australia are deserving of this.  The Big Three who have accrued all the power and money to themselves, allowing five match series between themselves.  Try to contain your shock.

England’s repeated defeats in the final Test of a series, dead rubber or otherwise, is beginning to look careless.  Curiously, it isn’t so long ago that they suffered from losing the first Test of a tour consistently.  The series win is a fine achievement, and whether South Africa are quite the side they were doesn’t change that.  But if they do want to be the best side in the world, there’s plenty of work ahead of them yet.

Day Five discussion below.



78 thoughts on “South Africa vs England: Fourth Test, day four [Sticky – Other Posts Below]

  1. Arron Wright Jan 25, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Cook’s average of 23 is his lowest ever in a series of three or more Tests, sneaking under the 23.85 he managed at home to Pakistan in 2010.

    Just saying (again), because I’m not entirely convinced you will see any of our beloved top ten point it out.


    • thelegglance Jan 25, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      I didn’t want to shamelessly nick your stat Arron!


      • Arron Wright Jan 25, 2016 / 8:16 pm

        I’m not possessive about it! Poor show when this is treated like a state secret. 🙂

        It’s a fact, that is all. Just like Compton’s 30.63, which is still higher than Cook managed in two thirds of his Ashes series.


      • Arron Wright Jan 26, 2016 / 8:17 am

        Other secret stats include that one Dmitri pointed out regarding defeats in final Tests that AREN’T DEAD RUBBERS.

        Later today it should be seven of the last eight, of which four were NOT DEAD.


    • Sherwick Jan 25, 2016 / 7:54 pm



    • rpoultz Jan 25, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Cooks failures are airbrushed out of any reports from our favourite media personalities. As TLG points out he should not be up for dropping or writing off but just worth pointing up when criticising others about their poor series with the bat.

      Again, like Anderson’s 400th wicket, Sky will totally overplay anything associated with the test when Cook gets the 10000th run. As I have said today it will always come with an asterisk and the feel of it being tainted after his role in the sacking of the man who may have beat him to it. So when he does get it I for one will not be celebrating that fact. For this moment will just be another (iron) rod to beat KP and his fans with. The irony of the situation where one man helped sack the man who could have beaten him to this milestone will be lost in all the hero worshipping of everyone’s favourite deer killer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jan 25, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      To paraphrase Basil Faulty…..”Don’t mention Cooks average, I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.”

      It’s wall to wall TINA now anyway, and 10,0000 to infinity.

      Oh The Grand old Duke of York, he had 10000 runs, he marched them up to the top of the hill and then he marched them down again.


    • jomesy Jan 25, 2016 / 8:16 pm

      But he wasn’t bowled once this series…and were you at the rose bowl?


  2. Sean B Jan 25, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Some good points made as always Chris. It does strike me as a little sinister that there is simply no acknowledgement of Cook’s failings as well as his strengths. The constant deification of Cook by Sky and the MSM only reinforces the mistrust of him in many of our eyes. Cook’s had a very bad series (and didn’t do much in the UAE, bar the massive knock in Abu Dhabi, which was an absolute road of a pitch), Hales has had a stinker and Compton, Anderson and Taylor (one more innings to put it right) haven’t been great.

    As has been mentioned, everyone can have a poor series and I hope Cook comes right for the English summer, we can’t find one decent bloody opener let alone two, but it would be far more helpful for this to be recognised rather than lumping more pressure on the new boys of the team. Cook is a senior player and we need him to stand up and make lots of runs with a batting line up, which is at best, in transition; however judging by the musings of the MSM, here we have the golden boy of England’s past and present, who can do no wrong. It doesn’t sit well with me.

    On a last note, I saw a Twitter exchange yesterday, claiming Cook has had to put up with more vitriol than ‘he who cannot be mentioned’. This seemed strange to me, as Cook has the pleasure of a concrete enclave where everyone tells him how great he is and the other chap, well he gets murdered for scoring some runs. Funny world we live in….

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 Jan 26, 2016 / 10:40 am

      Cook has the pleasure of a concrete enclave outside of social media! Social media is needed for balance but it can go over the top, as with KP.


  3. Mark Jan 26, 2016 / 12:27 am

    Can I just say we give Sky a bashing from time to time, but the Verdict was a classic tonight. Dear old Bob doing mastermind on specialist subject Bob Dylan. The 3 guests all.speak well and are knowledgeable and amusing. Mark Butcher would be a good addition to any commentary box.

    I have said before’ and I will again that Sky waste Charles Colvile. He is a great host and broadcaster. His problem is he never played at the highest level. A sin in Sky world. Note to Sky, you don’t need to have played to be a good jounalist/frontman/broadcaster.

    Anyway great show.


    • Tuffers86 Jan 26, 2016 / 7:50 am

      Butcher is great, but he must be on two strikes for slamming outside cricket and then the hiding behind the sofas line.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OscarDaBosca Jan 26, 2016 / 8:43 am

    So within 20 minutes England have lost 4 wickets, only one to a good ball (Taylor). Must have a media golf day this afternoon


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 26, 2016 / 8:45 am

      In fairness I thought the Bairstow dismissal was a good ball too though I take the general point that the level of application has been negligible

      Liked by 1 person

      • OscarDaBosca Jan 26, 2016 / 8:53 am

        South Africa have only two fit pace bowlers, surely the plan would be to see out the morning and wear the bowlers down a bit. Easier said than done, but Boucher is on TMS right now essentially saying the same thing, bad attitude from the batsmen coming out and trying to hit everything

        Liked by 1 person

  5. PaulE Jan 26, 2016 / 8:45 am

    There are no vacancies in the middle order. Oh no…….


    • d'Arthez Jan 26, 2016 / 8:46 am

      Tossing away 4 wickets in 9 overs is something that well established middle orders do, when trying to save a Test. Right?


  6. PaulE Jan 26, 2016 / 8:46 am

    Can’t help thinking Trevor Bayliss’ issues around the top three could be fairly easily resolved…..Oh.


  7. Rooto Jan 26, 2016 / 8:58 am

    Non MSM stat corner:
    England currently 91-8. Their lowest all-out score versus SA since readmission is 99.


    • Rooto Jan 26, 2016 / 9:09 am

      Avoided. 101 ao is *only* the 2nd most pathetic score versus SA on 25 years.

      Hell of an arrival on the world scene for Kagiso Rabada. Really well done him.


  8. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Look at the depth of this batting line-up! Chris Woakes at No.9! Look! Oh dear….

    By the way, this morning puts SA’s batting yesterday in some perspective. This is a difficult pitch to bat on now. Amla’s innings was something of a masterclass and will now maybe get the credit it deserves.

    England also don’t tend to make the most of cracked pitches because there is still a tendency to bowl too wide of off-stump so that when the ball jumps or shoots the batsman misses it and it misses the stumps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Jan 26, 2016 / 9:08 am

      7 wickets in fourteen overs. I am sure India fancy playing England on that Nagpur village road they served up 2 months ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Topshelf Jan 26, 2016 / 9:04 am

    Botham on losing a dead rubber: “It’s understandable, it’s human nature.”
    Holding: “Not if you played for the West Indies in the 70’s and 80’s.”

    There you have it.

    England have been as poor with the bat today as they were with the ball on the first morning, so there is at least some pleasing symmetry.

    Liked by 3 people

    • paulewart Jan 26, 2016 / 7:31 pm

      Yep. Mikey knows a thing or two about winning cricket.


  10. Arron Wright Jan 26, 2016 / 9:05 am

    And the final Pringlescore is:

    Won 7
    Lost 7
    Drawn 3

    Ding! Better luck next time, Derek!

    Oh, and anyone who thinks this series isn’t completely different with a fully fit Dale Steyn is a muppet. Hope, for the sake of Test cricket, he makes it to 2017 in England.


    • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Wait a minute. Isn’t it 5 from 3 or 5 from 2 now?


      • Arron Wright Jan 26, 2016 / 9:12 am

        No, the 17 matches are done.


      • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:16 am

        So, it’s 5 from 0 then?


      • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:17 am

        Or 4 from 0. Heck, I can’t remember that idiot’s prediction. What did he say? If they win 11 or 12 from 17, Strauss will be vindicated (or something like that)?


    • Rooto Jan 26, 2016 / 9:13 am

      I’ll take great pleasure in watching more of this SA team (and some of the Eng side too) over the next few years. Will Steyn, Morkel, Rabada and Philander ever all play together?


      • SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 11:01 am

        “I’ll take great pleasure in watching more of this SA team (and some of the Eng side too) over the next few years”.

        They’ve got all of four more Tests scheduled for the rest of the year (two against NZ in August and two against SL in December). Try not to blink….


  11. Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:11 am

    From the Beeb: “08:46
    The England dressing room looks like the Green Room before an episode of Jeremy Kyle. A warring family not talking to each other. Paul Farbrace sits at one end, head in hand, literally staring in the opposite direction from everyone else.”

    Tut tut Paul – I hope that you’re not *STARING OUT OF THE WINDOW*!

    Anyway, just so long as he doesn’t.. pick KP (!!!*DANGER DANGER – SELVEY/PRINGLE/BRENKLEY/WCTT SELF-COMBUST ALERT!!!), all is rosy and tickety-boo in ECBland.

    Liked by 3 people

    • BoredInAustria Jan 26, 2016 / 11:24 am

      Happy dressing room then…..


  12. dlpthomas Jan 26, 2016 / 9:11 am

    What utter shit. I suppose people will argue that it was a dead rubber. However, it’s still a test match, the result affects our world ranking and a lot of people have travelled a long way to support England. And the Saffer’s were a bowler down.

    It’s a great effort to win the series but there remain many questions about this side.


    • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:13 am

      “And the Saffer’s were a bowler down.”

      Actually, they were 2 bowlers down (Philander).


      • dlpthomas Jan 26, 2016 / 9:23 am

        I may have worded that badly as I actually meant that Abbot was injured but your right – just imagine if Steyn and Philander had been fit.


      • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:28 am

        Ah, see what you mean. Apologies!


  13. Arron Wright Jan 26, 2016 / 9:11 am

    This is when you know things were *really* pathetic:

    mike selvey
    ‏@selvecricket Anderson lbw first ball, to Rabada of course, and game is over. SA win 280 runs. Rabada 13-144 in the match. Eng display utterly deplorable

    mike selvey ‏@selvecricket · 1m1 minute ago
    Cook will collect the D’Oliveira trophy and do so with a touch of embarrassment I hope.


    • dlpthomas Jan 26, 2016 / 9:25 am

      Is that pig-shit on my roof???


  14. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:11 am

    Best match bowling figures ever in a Test at Centurion for Rabada.


    • SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:14 am

      Also second best match figures for SA ever (behind Ntini).


  15. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:20 am

    England with Finn this winter:
    P3 W2 L1

    England without Finn this winter:
    P4 W0 L3 D1

    Just saying….


    • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:26 am

      What are the similar stats for Anderson..?


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 26, 2016 / 9:51 am

      Surely that’s W2 D1 but yeah the bowling unit would have looked a whole lot stronger with him in instead of Woakes.


      • SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 11:02 am

        Oops PK, you’re right of course.


    • sidesplittin Jan 26, 2016 / 7:57 pm

      Bit facile – the tests Finn missed he was injured, otherwise he would’ve undoubtedly been picked, as he’s now a first choice. Clearly Eng are stronger with him in their line up.


  16. Topshelf Jan 26, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Team of the series? I’ll have a go…

    1. Cook (S)
    2. Elgar
    3. Amla
    4. Root *
    5. Bairstow
    6. Stokes
    7. de Kock (wk)
    8. Ali
    9. Rabada
    10. Broad
    11. Morkel

    Not sure that’ll match up with any in the press!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alec Jan 26, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      I’d swap Finn for Morkel but that looks pretty good.


  17. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:47 am

    A few more points on England’s poor run in last matches of series since Sydney (just the one win against an abysmal India and seven defeats):

    1) The margins of defeat: 281 runs, 100 runs, 5 wickets, 199 runs, innings & 46 runs, 127 runs, 280 runs.
    2) First innings’ batting: no score of over 400 (highest 365 against SL).
    3) Second innings’ scores: 166, 249, 123, 255, 286, 156, 101.


  18. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 9:55 am

    Nasser Hussain giving his England player ratings for the series:

    1) Compton given the same rating (5) as Cook, Taylor and Woakes and lower than Anderson (6).
    2) Moeen Ali given the same rating as Bairstow (7).


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jan 26, 2016 / 10:17 am

      If I did rankings for our players it would be this.

      A Cook 3, his weaknesses against pace bowling have been exposed again. He also showed little appreciation of changing the bowlers early in an innings when too often Anderson and Broad would start their new ball spell poorly. Often it was crying out for an early introduction for Finn or Stokes. Cook reverted back to being rather reactive or was just scared of p*ssing off his senior bowlers. Either way the idea he’s now become a proactive captain took a backward step this series.

      A Hales 2. Never looked a particularly clever selection although it was ignored that he outlasted his opening partner in the first 4 innings of the series. He looked to have a cluttered mind by the last test and then received a grubber to finish his series.

      N Compton 5. A promising start to the series and he was pivotal to holding the first innings at Durban together and then just seemed to lose his game. Did the pressure of needing to rotate the strike more get to him? I don’t know but he’s probably going to either remain in post or perhaps go to opener again.

      J Root. 8. A proven world class player now. Perhaps he could have converted some more of his scores here and this has been a slight quibble over the last year but nonetheless our best batsman by far.

      J Taylor 5 A fine start in Durban like Compton but struggled more on the bouncier pitches. He gets a slightly higher mark than he might have got because of his insanely good short-leg fielding.

      B Stokes 8 – Great fun to watch with both bat and ball. Box office.

      J Bairstow 7 – A breakthrough series with the bat, a poor series with the gloves which marks him down a bit.

      M Ali 5 – A fine match with the ball in Durban but disappointing thereafter. A disappointing time with the bat over the last few months was alleviated by a good effort in the first innings up to a point.

      S Finn 7 – He could have well been man of the series with a little more luck and not getting injured when he did. Much of his pace and menace have returned and I think I’ve said before his return from seeming cricketing oblivion is a real feel good factor.

      S Broad 9 – Fabulous at Durban and Joburg. For that he just about makes England man of the series for me.

      J Anderson 4 – Out of sorts in his first couple of games, not getting loose too quickly and far more erratic than he’d been for a long time. Having a decent effort 2nd innings in Centurion just about drags him up a little.

      C Woakes 2 – Simply not up to test class with the ball.


      • sidesplittin Jan 26, 2016 / 8:12 pm

        Wish I had the same “weaknesses against pace bowling” as Cook, then I’d have scored nearly 10k test runs opening up 🤔 The stats show how rare it is for any team to win series away from home over the past decade, so if you skipper a side that bucks such a trend, a bit of objectivity suggests yr worth a tad more than 3/10.


  19. Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 9:56 am

    A Cook: “Ben Stokes has thrived under Trevor. They have an unusual relationship of just swearing at each other; they seem to get on.

    Wonder what would have happened to anyone who swore at Flower?

    Liked by 2 people

    • paulewart Jan 26, 2016 / 7:33 pm

      More evidence that it isn’t Cook’s team or dressing room anymore. Loved AB’s damning with slight praise.


  20. Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Cook: “I’m looking forward to getting home and, within a week, I’ll be back doing something to sheep”

    Yes, he really did say that.


    • Escort Jan 26, 2016 / 10:30 am

      Really??? How revealing.


      • rpoultz Jan 26, 2016 / 10:41 am

        Didn’t know Cook worked on a farm away from cricket. Media have kept that quiet

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Jan 26, 2016 / 10:44 am

          One could be really mean and say the local fawns have a week’s notice!

          The KP comments on the Telegraph have doubled overnight but is it me or is one special love note missing that was there before…..


      • rpoultz Jan 26, 2016 / 11:09 am

        For some reason the comments are not coming up for me. Could you let me know what has been said or post a link?


      • SteveT Jan 26, 2016 / 2:20 pm

        The poll in the DT is up to 87% in favour of You Know Who being selected for T20 World Cup (even though we know it will never happen). But don’t listen to them, just a vocal minority of bilious inadequates with an obsession.


      • Sherwick Jan 26, 2016 / 2:44 pm

        Bilious ODDBALL inadequates, I’ll have you know! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Jan 26, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      Killing them, most likely. Spring lamb’s about due to appear in the shops, isn’t it?!


  21. Grenville Jan 26, 2016 / 10:47 am

    He was asked something like, ‘back to the lambing season now is it?’.

    I’ve enjoyed this series. It is a shame about Steyn, but there has been some good cricket. Cook had a poor series, but it wasn’t because he struggled against pace. His technique was shot. He’d reverted back to the dark days of ’14. He seemed to have his game back together by the end of the series. I didn’t like the way he laid into Bairstow. He could have acknowledged his own poor catching and returns with the bat when criticising his players.

    Taylor needs sticking with. He didn’t do so well, but he didn’t do so badly. Not everyone is a run machine from day 1. I don’t know if he’ll make it, but you’ve picked him, so back him. I’d probably say the same about straight outta, but he is older, so it may not be so applicable.

    I only read cricinfo and here, so I can’t comment on the press. Having said that can we pension off Botham and Gower, please?


  22. Mark Jan 26, 2016 / 11:30 am

    Well that was pathetic, very little fight in them. Thankfully it’s a dead rubber so we can forget about it!!!

    Another very one sided test match. Seems to be the way these days. Once a team gets on top the other team just folds like a cheap deckchair.


  23. Zephirine Jan 26, 2016 / 11:47 am

    Hooray, some ODIs next! No, I’m not being sarcastic. I like the one-day sides and I find I can forget the politics when I watch them, though the T20 side, at least, could use another batsman.


  24. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Hold the front page! FICJAM prefers Springsteen to Bowie:

    And he thinks Dravid was better than Tendulkar. Now, I love Dravid in a way I never loved Tendulkar but that’s ridiculous. Has he tried asking an Australian? In their era, Australia were the supreme test – Tendulkar averaged 55 against them with 11 centuries while Dravid averaged 38 with two centuries. It couldn’t be that our great intellect only watched them against England where Dravid tended to do better (especially later on)?

    What’s it all add up to? The horrible media undervalue conservatism. Again.


    • PaulE Jan 26, 2016 / 12:17 pm

      Christ, you just know he got into the wrong Springsteen for the wrong reasons at the wrong time. What are the odds on his falling in love with Born in the USA around 1987 because he thought it was a patriotic anthem.


    • thebogfather Jan 26, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      The Last Laugh by John Betjeman

      I made hay while the sun shone.
      My work sold.
      Now, if the harvest is over
      And the world cold,
      Give me the bonus of laughter
      As I lose hold.

      Yes FICJAM, you certainly give us the bonus of laughter and have lost hold of reality too


    • Mark Jan 26, 2016 / 12:59 pm

      Of course FICJAM is going to be suspicious of Bowie. He was original, different, outrageous, and innovative. And controversial.

      What is funny is he writes continually about how coaches must think out of the box, and not be regimented. Yet when he is confronted with someone different, he always prefers conservatism and normal.

      He is wasting his time writing about this subject because he doesn’t seem to understand what to do with someone different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Jan 26, 2016 / 7:35 pm

        Indeed, there’s never been anyone quite so *in* the box.


    • paulewart Jan 26, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Quite why anyone would compare Springsteen with Bowie is beyond me. English cricket is appallingly conservative. I was reading Vic Marks’ piece on the late Jack Bannister t’other day. Can you imagine any other trades union supporting the apartheid regime?


      • sidesplittin Jan 26, 2016 / 8:20 pm

        A fair point about his politics – misplaced at the time and worse with hindsight. Personally I found his commentary fustily conservative, FWIW.


  25. SimonH Jan 26, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    Political corruption is sad. Still, nothing much to be done. Let me tell you a long rambling anecdote from over a century ago. See, that proves it. Greed is always with us. Nothing to be done.

    Can anyone imagine the Guardian printing words to that effect?* Yet it’s good enough for cricket:

    * The answer I’m looking for here obviously is “no”. I’m not so sure nowadays though.


    • Arron Wright Jan 26, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      Meanwhile, there’s enough whitewash in that “five things we learned” piece for a new series of Brush Strokes.


  26. thelegglance Jan 26, 2016 / 8:32 pm

    I’m doing the series review at the moment. 1,500 words, I’m only half way down the England team and I haven’t yet mentioned Alastair Cook.

    Oh dear.


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