Take my Problem to the United Nations

Ah, May.  A time for the preparation of pitches up and down the summer, for club batsmen to walk ruefully back to the pavilion having horribly mistimed one that stuck in the pitch, and for England to begin their Test schedule for the year with the joys of what is always a warm up series no matter how they try and pretend otherwise.  And this year it’s Sri Lanka.  Again.  It was only two years ago they were last here, when of course they rather memorably won a two Test series, where Alastair Cook had a thorough meltdown as captain, where the glorious Kumar Sangakkara scored a memorable hundred at Lords, and where Jimmy Anderson ended in tears at being out to the penultimate ball to settle the result.

Now apologies are due for mentioning any of that, but it seemed wise, given that this particular series appears to have been wiped from the collective memory banks of the great and good in the media, but it was remarkable for the contrast between sublime and shambolic, and more remarkable still for apparently never having happened.  Yet to come back only two years later for another go is in itself worthy of comment.   It’s really Bangladesh’s turn, who haven’t been to England since 2010, and aren’t scheduled to either.  It will be at least ten years between tours of England for them, and most likely longer.  Pretences about the sanctity of Test cricket and the importance of the game should always be viewed in the context of the ECB not remotely caring about Bangladesh.  The same applies of course to Zimbabwe but here at least they can point to the government not allowing them over, but given the Bangladesh situation, it is not exactly radical thought to believe it would be no different.

Instead we have a young, inexperienced Sri Lanka side shorn of their greats, who in May conditions in the north of England should be beaten comfortably.  There are a couple of points about the venues for these games, Lords of course gets two Tests each summer, but after last summer’s Ashes which didn’t venture north of Nottingham, only one of the main event against Pakistan is in the north of England (Old Trafford).  With Headingley and Chester-Le-Street selected for the lesser series, and only one of the Pakistan series in the north, a year after none of the Ashes matches were suggests that the jibe that Strauss and the others won’t venture outside London seems to have some validity.  Perhaps the ECB boxes aren’t as good.  Indeed, last year and this London will have had six Tests, while the whole of the north of England only four – and only one of those against the main attraction of the summer.

The second issue that always crops up is the supposed unfairness of Sri Lanka and other similar sides being forced to play in the colder spring rather than in conditions more conducive, and here the sympathy is in less abundance.  For few complain about England being forced to play in the heat of Colombo, and it’s no different in principle.  Touring sides play in alien conditions, that’s always been the case, and England don’t get given a free pass for when it doesn’t suit them, and nor should they.

What it does mean is that England’s defeat last time around remains one of the more abject in recent times, made worse by being largely self-inflicted on so many levels.  It is unlikely this will be repeated in 2016, for England, for all their faults, are a better side than they were then, and Alastair Cook’s captaincy has been unquestionably liberated by the replacement of Flower and Cook and is, if not exactly dynamic, rather more competent than it was two years ago.

Cook himself will almost certainly reach the landmark of 10,000 Test runs this series, and it is undoubtedly an achievement of serious merit.  What it won’t be is the mark of all time greatness that the thoughtless will undoubtedly bestow on him.  It is so often regarded as being sour, but it is simply being realistic.  Cook is an excellent player and one of the best England have had in the last 30 years.  He has technical problems certainly, but his ability to overcome them is worthy of high praise, and his concentration levels are genuinely astounding.  When he’s in, he grinds on remorselessly.  So it is nothing other than setting it in context, that a player who plays as long as he has done is likely to reach landmarks that those of the past could only dream about even if they played for the same period in terms of years.  The 16 Tests across the calendar year of 2016 are evidence of that.  Number of Tests played is now the indicator, not time and certainly not age, no matter how often some try to roll out the stat about reaching landmarks earlier than Tendulkar.

Hyperbole rules across so many areas of modern life, but it creates entirely unnecessary resentment by hagiographical approaches to what is a fine achievement on its own terms, without trying to pretend it is something else.

James Vince seems quite likely to make his debut in this series after the health enforced retirement of James Taylor, and he will join a batting order that is still somewhat in flux.  Joe Root, Cook himself, Ben Stokes are all secure, but this is a big series for Alex Hales and also for Nick Compton.  Hales had his troubles in South Africa but is not the first at the top of the order to have had difficulty against strong opposition.  Indeed his record in that series was barely any different from Cook himself, which within the context of one of those players having a thoroughly established record and the other not, still needs to be considered  – seemingly the selectors have done so.  Yet it is probably the case that this series is where Hales needs to make some kind of impact.  Given England’s remarkable ability to go through openers not called Cook (sometimes even when they’ve done better than someone called Cook) it is to be hoped that some stability is around the corner.

Compton on the other hand did ok in South Africa.  Not outstanding, certainly, but he did alright.  The scrutiny on him always appears to be more about his character than anything else – precedents have been thoroughly set.  Further down the order Jonny Bairstow’s main task is to improve his wicketkeeping.  He had a wonderful series with the bat in South Africa, but less so with the gloves.  He’s a part time keeper over much of his career, and patience is needed with him.  Most of the mistakes he made were those of someone who doesn’t do it all the time.  He will get better, and if delving into the dangerous territory of predictions, it would be to say that as his keeping does get better, he’ll go through a drop in batting form.  Getting both disciplines to work at the same time is always a tough challenge.

The exclusion of Ian Bell from this series does suggest England are unlikely to go back to him.  It is to be hoped that England have at least told him where he stands, and done so on the basis of truth not expediency.  England are just terrible at this – there comes a time when it is right to move on, but they so rarely handle it well.  Which brings me to another matter: In the women’s team, Charlotte Edwards’ more or less enforced retirement was entirely out of keeping with the service she has given England over 20 years.  It may well be entirely the right decision to go with younger players, but surely it cannot be right for someone who gives half their life to the England cause (much of which was not paid remember) to be unceremoniously discarded that way.  Cricketing decisions need to be made, but respect is due to her for her achievements and commitment, and it appears to have been forgotten.  Her statement that it came as a shock suggests no-one had talked to her about how they saw the future over the last year, and that’s just poor for such a great servant.  It is is easy to add two and two and make five, so let’s just say it is to be hoped that Sarah Taylor’s sabbatical is unrelated to the management of that.

The Test series beginning tomorrow is one that I shall miss almost in its entirety.  Work is calling and I shall be out of the country until the middle of June (Thailand, Laos and Indonesia if you’re asking – and you haven’t) so all the comments will be my means of keeping up with what has happened.  See you on the other side.

Day One comments below please


104 thoughts on “Take my Problem to the United Nations

  1. nonoxcol May 18, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    Like the tribute to old school Dmitri/HDWLIA thread titles!

    The distribution of venues is a longtime bugbear of mine, re-awakened by a Spin piece yesterday that completely failed to notice a rather large elephant, namely the bidding process and a creeping bias against the northern Test venues. I genuinely have no idea how you can give Headingley, Leeds one Ashes Test in four series, and four May Tests in four years against only two different opponents, and then turn round and blame the place for not attracting bigger crowds.

    The raw stats were covered at some length here, eighteen months ago:



  2. SimonH May 18, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Cook has announced at the press conference that Steve Finn plays tomorrow.

    I’m astonished that they’re not following Selvey’s advice to drop the bowler with the best average and best Strike Rate.


    • nonoxcol May 18, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      I see the win in South Africa didn’t stop Dave Tickner…


  3. Ian May 18, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    Bangladesh were here in 2010. Ten years though between tours is unacceptable.


    • thelegglance May 18, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      i bloody knew that when I was writing it! Doh! Corrected now, blonde/senior moment. Thanks,


  4. metatone May 18, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    On the one hand, of course if SL want to be the best, then they need to be able to win on frozen greentops as much as barren tropical bunsens.

    On the other, given the state of English domestic cricket, being forever scheduled for the beginning of the year basically removes any real chance of them getting a proper acclimatisation in.

    (We should never forget that the Ashes Miracle Down Under (TM) took place after an unusually long prep tour in Aussie conditions.)


  5. Mark May 18, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    I think the ECB see the Lords crowd as the prefered image of English cricket. All those expensive corporate boxes stacked to the gunnels with celeratiies like Archer, Major, Fry, Parkinson, Micky Jagger, Eric Clapton and all. (I wonder if they all pay for a ticket or are “guests?” ) Good TV publicity when the cameras swing round the ground. I bet if they could, they would pick them all up and carry them round the country. Nice shots to beam around the globe.

    If I had been Charlotte Edwards and they had offered me the chance to retire or be dropped I would have forced them to drop me. While they may think it gives a dignified exit, it is dishonest, and tries to get,them off the hook if the team perform badly later on. As it is, she went public straight away, so it rather defeated the object. Everyone knew the reality.

    As for this Test match it has all the makings of a public execution for the crime of pissing on Cookies coming out parade two years ago. I smell vengeance in the air. Gawd help us if Sri Lanka manage to escape with a draw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) May 18, 2016 / 7:36 pm

      ‘I bet if they could, they would pick them all up and carry them round the country. Nice shots to beam around the globe.’

      I believe it’s been discussed but, like the Ashes urn itself, they are so old and decrepit that they fear they’ll fall apart if they leave Lords.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 18, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      And SL were “playing above themselves” last time. Add condescension to gracelessness…..

      What an utter, utter Strauss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH May 18, 2016 / 8:56 pm

        Within 25 comments, a moderately questioning post about the presentation of Cook’s record has been accused of being written by a “dildo” (since moderated).

        That vitriol and bile…..


      • nonoxcol May 18, 2016 / 9:56 pm

        I see the “nine trophies” concept (a fortnight ago I knew of only four actual trophies, as named in Wisden) has also been given an airing. What a coincidence.


      • northernlight71 May 18, 2016 / 10:15 pm

        Is that what it said? I missed it.
        What a thoroughly unpleasant person. How come my other Guardian sign on is still in Pre-mod when I’ve never said anything so rude?
        Well, except to Julian Glover. But I invoke the self defence rule there. He really was a . . . .


      • nonoxcol May 18, 2016 / 10:22 pm

        NL, you were making a perfectly fair point in a polite manner. Selvey is not “just stating the facts”, he is putting a spin on them, and it is the same one he always puts on. You are simply pointing out that Selvey is not giving readers a balanced view.

        Quite when that became cause for being called a “dildo” I have no idea. Love the way he accuses you of reporting him as well, as if moderation never takes place on Selvey threads unless someone reports a post.


      • alecpaton May 19, 2016 / 5:45 am

        Can people please stop saying it’s 9 trophies? It’s ten. Engalnd and India play for the Pataudi Trophy in England and the Anthony De Mello Trophy in India. As England won both their last series against India they currently hold 8 of the trophies they need, and a successful summer could see them pick up the 9th and 10th.


    • nonoxcol May 18, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      That Headingley defeat never has anything remotely to do with Cook on day four either, does it? It’s repeatedly presented by this writer as some sort of heroic, cruel, unlucky, shattering loss England did everything in its power to avoid, like fecking Bridgetown 1990 or something. As if, you know, Cardiff, Centurion, Cape Town and Auckland just weren’t enough for one era, he needs to shoehorn the not-quite-there of Headingley 2014 in as well.

      Bloody ridiculous man, he truly is.


  6. Julie May 18, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    If there is a god of cricket he will give the first game to Sri Lanka.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alec May 19, 2016 / 3:26 pm

      Well, he certainly seemed to be trying for the first half of the day.


  7. Nicholas May 18, 2016 / 8:06 pm

    I’ve just trekked through an email survey that the ECB sent me. You wouldn’t believe one of the images…

    It’s like a bingo chart from this place – Joe Root playing his ukulele and Cook, Alice and the sheep. Deary me. They are beyond parody!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mark May 18, 2016 / 10:34 pm

        What a joke. Finn trying to look like James Bond. Is that Stokes in the top middle with shit all over his face? Then Joe Root trying to look like Hank Williams. And a strange shot out of Farmers weekly in the bottom right.

        Nest week James Anderson and S Broad try their luck at pot holing. Mind your head boys!


      • Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 9:17 am

        Totally reveals the way they think. As I keep saying, this is why all the stuff about Cook. They think all they need to get people back to the sport is some personalities.

        Interesting who’s not in those ghastly pictures. Morgan. Buttler. Bairstow. Do they not play the game and pose for stupid pics, or does the marketing department not know who they are?

        The only one of those that’s tolerable is Moeen with the kid.


    • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 9:30 am

      The lack of any actual cricket in any of them is revealing – and scary.


      • Nicholas May 19, 2016 / 10:04 am

        I should say, in the interests of fairness, that it then threw up a collage of pictures of them training and then a montage of pictures of them playing, and you were also asked to rate those collages between 1 and 10.

        It was an email I got via the TwelfthMan membership scheme (I am only a member because I signed up about 9 years ago for email updates and have never got round to unsubscribing) – they seem to be looking at what members want. Later on, there was a question about the types of emails I’d open from them. One was “Look at this prank played on Stokes in the dressing room”, so clearly they think that people do want the *lol bantz* type of personality thing.

        Needless to say, I banged on about getting cricket on FTA whenever I had free reign with an answer.


      • Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 11:13 am

        TwelfthMan seems to be aimed a bit at da kidz, so maybe it’s excusable.

        No, it isn’t really.


    • Sherwick May 19, 2016 / 7:06 am

      Who? Is this the man with zero credibility?


      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 8:15 am

        They let him out of the cupboard and we get incoherent idea of the week. Two or three counties had to be saved? I think the role demands a bit more precision than that. Oh and the people will never see live tests on terrestrial TV again. So eat it, peasants.


      • Sherwick May 19, 2016 / 9:59 am

        I hope you read that in the tone of “Is this the gentleman who ruined the buffet at the Harrow Club this morning?” from Beverly Hills Cop, cos that’s how I meant it. 🙂


      • nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 8:40 am

        Someone should reply with Nicholas’s fan survey tweet above. Would make a nice juxtaposition, don’t you think?


    • AB May 19, 2016 / 9:31 am

      Colin Graves: “The younger generation do not watch terrestrial television, they use social media.”

      ok, so how do we get them hearing about and talking about cricket on social media?

      Well, according to this article about twitter usage.

      “At peak times, 40% of all UK tweets are about programmes currently on [UK terrestrial tv].”


      Why is this abject moron still in a job when he comes out with eyebulgingly stupid stuff like that? That’s a genuine question. If I made a public statement that was so obviously incompetent and fundamentally stupid and erroneous I’d expect to be packing up my desk within an hour.


    • nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 7:46 am

      Oh yes, the inevitable has happened:

      “In the absence of a proper league system for Test Cricket – which is what we should have – trophies to indicate that you have beaten every other side at least once without defeat seems like a better measure of achievement than points in an over-elaborate, semi-comprehensible ranking system.”

      Take a bow, ECB PR department. A very basic system used on International Cricket Captain > long-established rankings that we were perfectly happy to stick by when they said England were world number one.



      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 8:13 am

        Laughable. There went independent thought. Even Etheridge thinks this is contrived.


      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 8:12 am

        Cheer harder. Harder still. You aren’t a true fan.

        I must have missed the bit where I’m calling for KP to return to the test team. But accuracy hasn’t been these muppets’ strong point.


      • Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 9:20 am

        Even KP isn’t calling for KP to be recalled to the Test team. But true fans don’t let facts, etc.


    • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 8:09 am

      He’s the only relatively current player to get to 10000. Well Sanga retired 18 months ago, Kallis was about 2 and a half as was Mahela (on train so can’t look up stats). Noone else is near it (Amla? If they play enough) as in an act of self loathing we eliminated the other one who would have got there, perhaps.

      I’m not sure any of us are saying it isn’t an achievement. We’re just saying there is an awful massive fuss and we know full well why! And it’s little to do with 10000


    • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 8:16 am

      Someone rightly raised the quality of bowling attacks. That should get that heretic sent to the Guardian BTL Tower.


      • Mark May 19, 2016 / 8:50 am

        You should know by now Dmitri the quality of the bowling attack or the opposition in general is irrelevant as far as Pit the Younger is concerned. This is a man who lists his scores from his school days on his wickapedia page.

        Competitive dad has got nothing on this bloke.

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 9:25 am

      Jeez, there’s no end to their idiocy. This writing about opening the batting in England as if it’s walking a tightrope across the Niagara Falls does my head in.

      There’s no evidence that opening in England in the modern era is more difficult than anywhere else. In an era of weak fast bowling and dry pitches, opening is not necessarily tougher than batting in the middle order. Middle order batsmen face the new ball if wickets fall or when it’s taken the second time. They have to bat more on wearing pitches. They seldom have to bat with the tail.

      People say – but yes, only one opener has 10k runs so that proves how much more difficult it must be. I must work out somewhen the number of openers who’d have 10k Test runs if they’d had 22 innings a year in their careers. Gary Kirsten would have done – I’ve worked that one out. Graeme Smith, Langer, Hayden, Sehwag, Barry Richards, Jimmy Cook, Gooch if he hadn’t gone Rebel tour-ing, Boycott if he’d been made captain and anyone who disagreed with him kicked out, probably Chris Rogers if he hadn’t clashed with Langer and Hayden…..

      Not blaming Cook, of course – he’s had opportunities and he’s taken them. I’m getting at the scheduling. England play a little too much (10-11 Tests a year would be my ideal) and others outside the B3 are not playing enough.


      • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 9:26 am

        That’s a reply to NOC’s 6.58am post, of course.


      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 10:41 am

        I’d make the point that both Amla and DeVilliers made their debuts before Cook, have better averages, and are nowhere near 10000. AB has just passed 8000, Amla 7300. Amla was in and out for a bit, but not for long.


      • d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 11:34 am

        Yeah, likewise there is no evidence that England is the hardest place to bat in the world either.

        Over 5 Tests abroad, 247 players have managed to average 50+ away from home. Now obviously, there are a few outliers (Tendulkar in Bangladesh being one).

        Now, I am listing the countries, and the number of players who have achieved it:

        Australia: 30 (12 England players have achieved this: Barrington, Ranji, Vaughan, Hobbs, Hammond to name but a five)

        England: 37 (17 openers have done so. Graeme Smith managed to average 67.75 – other openers include Greenidge, Arthur Morris, Langer, Mark Taylor).

        South Africa: 28 (Hobbs, Strauss and Hutton appear here as openers; in fact only Australia and England have had visiting openers average 50+ in SA)

        West Indies: 45

        New Zealand: 31 (Gibbs, Gayle, Graeme Smith, and Greenidge are the only openers there to average 50+).

        India: 38 (with 11 openers)

        Pakistan: 16 (with 4 openers: Sehwag, Mark Taylor, Gavaskar, Jayasuriya)

        Sri Lanka: 9 (with 3 openers: Saeed Anwar, Sehwag, Sidhu)

        Even if you correct for the fact that England have played more Tests at home than anyone else, several caveats could easily be applied (pre-WW1 averages of 50 were almost impossible to obtain), but the bare numbers do not suggest that batting in England is harder than it is in Sri Lanka. And for openers, opening in Pakistan, Sri Lanka or New Zealand seems to be just as challenging, if not more challenging than in England.

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 1:06 pm

        Oh, and if you’re putting in a minimum of 25 Tests at home, and an average of 50, there are now exactly 50 batsmen who qualify.


        9 England batsmen qualify. Sutcliffe, Compton, Hutton, May, Pietersen, Hobbs, Trescothick, Barrington and Hammond.

        Two South Africans (Amla, Kallis) qualify, 2 New Zealanders, 6 Pakistanis, 6 Sri Lankans, 7 Indians, 7 West Indians, 10 Australians.

        Again, the stats do not suggest that batting in England is harder for local batsmen than anywhere else.


  8. Mark May 19, 2016 / 8:44 am

    “Trophies” has become the latest buzz word. Last year it was ” building.”

    ” we are building for the future.” Oh and ” Trust.”

    I seem to remember something about players having to play for the dressing room, and it was not about personal achievements, but the trust of the dressing room. Didn’t take long for that to go out of the window when it’s a personal landmark for Cook on the horizon.

    They just make it up as they go along according to their own agenda. They lie all the time. Would you buy a second hand car off any of these clowns?

    We could have a very ECB hypocritical situation in this test match. Cook gets the required runs to warrant a national jubilee celebration. With the media fawning and dribbling all over him. Yet at the same time Compton could grind his way to a slow century setting up the game, and be pilloried for playing for himself.

    As I say, they just pull it out of their arse.


    • SteveT May 19, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Quote from Mr Skipper himself this morning:

      “It would be nice to get those 36 runs [to reach 10,000 in Tests] so people can stop talking about it.”

      Can’t knock him for that. Trouble is they won’t stop talking about it.


    • SteveT May 19, 2016 / 10:11 am

      Well he was pilloried enough for a slow 80-odd in SA which helped set up a win (Yes Swanny, I am referring to you)


  9. Ian May 19, 2016 / 9:45 am

    Well hopefully he gets these 36 quickly then we can get it over with. Of course if he hadn’t been such a passenger in SA then he would have got there by now.


    • SteveT May 19, 2016 / 10:02 am

      And they’d still be talking about it!


  10. Mark May 19, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Strauss….. “We believe the Super Series will provide that context and relevance by connecting the formats and ensuring that every game counts for something more than just itself.”

    In that one statement he completely destroys the importance of the 9 trophies. How can they be relevant? There was no point system in place.


    • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 10:42 am

      Read Steve Waugh’s autobiography to see what he thought of these tinpot trophies.


    • Simon K May 19, 2016 / 11:37 am

      “The younger generation do not watch terrestrial television, they use social media.”

      What an odd statement.


      • d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 11:39 am

        He will be hoping that the negotiators at Sky have not picked up on this …

        Back to the cupboard Colin!


      • Mark May 19, 2016 / 12:02 pm

        That statement f******* annoys me. As if the ECB give a flying shit what the kids want. Why can’t he just be honest and say it’s not coming back to terrestrial TV because the ECB desperately needs the money? It’s got nothing to do with getting down with the hippidy dippidy kids.

        Treat us with a bit of respect Mr Graves. We have had enough double speak from you about KP being given a second chance.

        Liked by 2 people

      • AB May 19, 2016 / 1:24 pm

        Right, and what do they talk about on social media? What they’re watching on tv.

        If its not on tv, its not going to be on social media.


  11. Nicholas May 19, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Did we know that the BBC have picked up in-play clip rights for their website from the ECB this summer, just like they did with the ICC for the World T20 onwards?

    It’s a small step forward, at least. I hadn’t seen this announced at all. You can see one small clip on their live-text page.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this leads to online highlights reels on the BBC website like the ICC deal, too.


    • Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 11:16 am

      Aha. Well spotted.


  12. nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 11:09 am

    I thought this was interesting, from the OBO:

    Cook is 83 runs away from becoming only the second man to record 5,000 Test runs in England and Wales (Gooch, 5,917).
    Cook (13,229) needs 102 runs to leapfrog Ian Bell (13,331) into second spot for most runs for England in all formats.
    Cook is 65 runs away from becoming England’s all-time highest run-scorer as Test captain (Atherton – 3815); he’s currently 249 shy from becoming only the eighth man ever to reach 4,000 as a Test skipper.

    Especially the first one, when you see how far ahead Gooch still is in England. 6 more matches, 1,000 more runs, higher average, innings (we all know the one) on this ground I will never be convinced that Cook could have played.


    • Burly May 19, 2016 / 11:10 am

      I’m pleased you found something interesting on the OBO. I can’t work out what’s more ponderous, England’s batting this morning or those interminable fucking Zebra jokes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 11:15 am

        Yeah, I think Dave Tickner has the zebra caption market covered in perpetuity really. Still, at least there have been mercifully few sightings of the ordinary OBO punter also known as the Guardian cricket correspondent.


      • Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 11:20 am

        I thought Mike Selvey’s contribution about the pitch was an entry for the zebra captions.

        It would have been quite a good one, suggesting that the zebra has acquired some cricketing knowledge during its years of service.


  13. The Vickster May 19, 2016 / 11:33 am

    I totally called on Twitter that Cook wouldn’t get it until the 2nd innings! Pressure is telling….


  14. d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Well Compton got a duck. Calls for him to be dropped will now be broadcast over the news – if only anyone at the BBC thought cricket was still in the public domain / interest …


  15. d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 11:45 am

    Well, Vince would not have imagined walking in at 51/3, after 49/0. Shanaka has picked up 3 on debut already.


  16. pktroll (@pktroll) May 19, 2016 / 11:46 am

    I wonder if the media will give Compton absolute pelters for his shot while not bagging Cook for his fishing?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. oreston May 19, 2016 / 11:52 am

    51/3. ECB 11 in a spot of bother. Captain Fantastic still 20 runs south of the landmark that will make him The Best Evah. What a pity I can’t watch…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Burly May 19, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    At least our media didn’t blithely assume it would be a walk in the park for England. Eh? Oh.


  19. Sherwick May 19, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    Good grief, that was a terrible shot by Cook (to precipitate the collapse, as they used to blame someone else…)


  20. nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 12:11 pm


    387 at 29.76 since Abu Dhabi.


    • nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 12:25 pm

      His last 35 Tests, incidentally, since the end of his imperial phase: three hundreds and 18 fifties, average 39.61.

      Six hundreds, 15 fifties, 44.86, since you ask.

      The period that was used to say we can do without him, i.e. his last two years: 26 matches, four hundreds, ten fifties, 38.72.


  21. SimonH May 19, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    Prasad’s out of the second Test and 99% certainly for the rest of the tour.


  22. Mark May 19, 2016 / 12:21 pm

    So was it a magnificent 16? Wally Hammondish?

    We have had a serene 17 before. Or I think I remember one of the best 22s you are ever likely to see.


    • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      He made “a defiant 19” once. That was in a warm-up match in the West Indies, according to Chris Stocks.

      And let’s not forget the 45 that was actually 43 and was worth a hundred, according to….. well, you know who!


      • Mark May 19, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        Ah yes, the famous 45, how could I forget.

        He’s probably saving the 10,000th run for Lords.


  23. SimonH May 19, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    On the subject of “holding all the trophies” (TM), here’s Australia’s record since WW2:

    1959/60 – 1964/65
    1974/75 – 1977
    1995/96 – 1997/98
    2004 – 2005
    2006/07 – 2008/09

    Shortly after losing to India in 97/98 they lost in SL and didn’t play them again for another five years which is why they achieved it less in the peak Waugh-Warne-McGrath era than one might have thought.

    England in the Vaughan era didn’t quite manage it because of the defeat in SL in the 2003/04 series (bloody hell, what a series that was). His team also didn’t beat India (“iconic series” TM). England had lost 1-0 in India in 2001/02 (chapeau to anyone who can remember India’s centurion in their win) and didn’t beat them until 2011.


    • DmitriOld May 19, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      Dees Dasgupta. And I didn’t look it up.

      Hope it’s right.


      • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 1:56 pm

        Can’t catch you out!

        I must have watched quite a bit of it but can’t remember a thing about his batting. I can remember Yohannan and thinking India had found a decent seamer – what happened to him? Jimmy Ormond getting Rahul Dravid LBW has stuck in the memory for some reason.


  24. nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    Anyone else feeling mildly irritated that Steyn and Philander weren’t around to reveal a more balanced picture earlier this year…?


  25. d'Arthez May 19, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Stokes gone. Hales still there. 83/5.

    Maybe Sri Lanka had come to do something else than applauding for Cook for 9 days – or however long the series would be according to the pundits?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. oreston May 19, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    83/5. Not bad for a pop-gun attack…


  27. mdpayne87 May 19, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Should have picked Darren Stevens. He’d have a field day on this pitch.


  28. Sherwick May 19, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Come on JB!


  29. LeningradCowboy May 19, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    Just received a TwelfthMan email about the Super Series containing this from Strauss:

    “We believe this will enhance the international game over all formats, at a time when we all recognise the need to keep all forms of international cricket exciting, relevant and engaging for the public.

    It will also help in linking our performances in red and white ball cricket – committing the players in our different teams to an overall cause.

    We have to recognise that the world of cricket is changing very quickly. We’ve seen some fantastic innovations recently such as the first ever day-night Test Match in Australia last year, and I see this as something similar for all formats – a way of keeping them all relevant. It’s part of our ongoing efforts to modernise the game of cricket. I hope you enjoy it.”


    • thebogfather May 19, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      Oh Joy, the c’nut further destroys, any belief or relief, that remains….such a sweaty stain on our outside pants, a p’nut with self empowered rants, our cricket, his and Giles free (not to air) to destroy…..


  30. Burly May 19, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    Bloke on the OBO calling Compton the worst #3 in Test history.


    • SimonH May 19, 2016 / 2:55 pm

      Derek from Cambridge?


    • Alec May 19, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      Has this poor, misguided soul never heard of Rob “test batting average of 3” Quiney?


      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 3:59 pm

        What’s this I am reading on twitter about cook talking to Hussain and playing the “I was exposed” card on KP?


      • nonoxcol May 19, 2016 / 4:02 pm


        Apparently one of Hussain’s questions was “Do we not appreciate you enough?”


      • LordCanisLupus May 19, 2016 / 4:47 pm

        Lowest test average of someone with more than 10 innings at number 3 in tests appears, at first review, to be Mark Ramprakash. 110 runs at 10. Best of 24. Mike Atherton averaged 16.5 in 13 knocks. Compton averages 27.


  31. SimonH May 19, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    Anyone heard a figure for the crowd?


    • Mark May 19, 2016 / 3:44 pm

      Don’t know Simon, but the over rate is crap. 53 overs in two completed sessions. Can’t claim it’s very hot or lots of very fast bowlers on duty.


      • Mark May 19, 2016 / 4:27 pm

        17500 capacity.

        They will be having all test matches at Lords soon.


  32. Mark May 19, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    Can’t wait for this day night test cricket to come in. I mean it only gets dark in England about 9pm. We will be starting test matches about 7pm

    They might as well nuke test match cricket now. I know, lets have a big tent over the the whole ground and we can have clowns, and clown cars. And Elelephants and tigers, trapeze artists. Roll up, roll up. Can’t wait!


  33. Zephirine May 19, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Here’s a dumb question, since they’re messing about with formats: why hasn’t there ever been two-day cricket? Two innings of 50 overs each. Played on a Saturday and Sunday. ?


  34. northernlight71 May 19, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Did anybody listen to Director Comma talking to Agnew on TMS at lunchtime? It was great stuff. He sounded like one of my old area managers trying to enthuse the staff about the latest wheeze from Head Office whereby we excite all the customers by dressing up the low-quality product we already struggle to sell in shiny paper to make it more attractive.

    To be fair to Agnew, he deadpanned a lot of it, in his jolly-middle-England way.

    I got bored about ten minutes in so don’t know if Straussy got the deadly question.. “So, Andrew…..a test match is worth half of an ODI or a T20, is it? You plank…..”


  35. Clivejw May 19, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you, Dearest Sri Lanka, for once again raining on Cookie’s parade!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s