One of the slightly annoying vagaries of the Test Match season is that work rather gets in the way of my ability to watch any of the game and I’m afraid that is the case today and will also be the case tomorrow too, with my only chance to catch up on proceedings being through the Channel 5 highlights.
From first glance, England very much have Jonny Bairstow to thank for digging them out of a very large hole of their own making on a flat and benign pitch at Lords. Fair play to Sri Lanka who bowled well and tightly on this pitch, but it was an often repeated story as England constantly threw away their wickets at regular intervals, with only James Vince being able to convincing argue that he got a good’un. Hales’ mow at Herath showed that he is not an international class batsman as of yet and Compton’s fidgety, sometimes painful innings was bought to an end when he nicked off chasing a wide one. It is hard not to sympathise with Compton as a fan of the game, he has worked hard to get his chance but it just hasn’t happened for him at Test level. This will now have been his 16th Test in an England shirt (and fair play to Bayliss who has resisted the MSM pressure to give him a decent run in the side) but he just hasn’t scored the necessary runs, nor convinced that he can operate at this level and so the search for a new number 3 will now start in earnest. The vultures over at the MSM of course didn’t have any sympathy mind declaring that it had been a waste of everyone’s time to pick Compton in the first pace:
A note to the likes of Newman and Berry, no it wasn’t a waste of time in picking Compton, he was picked because England felt that he was the best number 3 that we had. It hasn’t unfortunately worked out for Compton or England, but the real waste of a summer would be read the nefarious drivel that you consistently insult your readers with. Rant over.
As for captain courageous, he got a start, looked good and then got out in the 80’s. I’ve kept my powder fairly dry in the ‘is Alastair Cook a great of the modern game?’ This clearly gave us our answer for all to see, a great player would have gone on and made a big hundred against a weakish attack on a placid pitch, Alastair Cook did not, again. Cook’s average may look pretty healthy over the last 12 months but that is mainly down to a monumental score on a featherbed in Abu Dhabi and a couple of not outs and when you dig a little further, it’s not quite as healthy as his followers would tell you. Put it this way, when was the last time Cook scored a match winning hundred to ultimately turn a game in England’s favour? Answers on a postcard? The ability to do that on a consistent basis in my opinion, should be the mark of a great batsman, sure Alastair Cook is a very good international batsmen, but a great? I can give you 10,000 reasons why he falls short.
The Decision Review System came under scrutiny again today, when umpire Ravi, England’s favourite umpire gave a decision not out, when it looked for all the world to see that the ball was cannoning into leg stump. Now I’m not blaming S Ravi for the system not being up to scratch (though he is an extremely poor umpire in my eyes), it is more the fact that we don’t seem to be getting the right result from the technology. My own view is that either you trust the system implicitly and a batsman is given out if any of the ball is forecast to hit the stump or you ditch DRS completely, not stick with this halfway house which is making us all look a little bit stupid. The fact that the bowling (or batting team) loses a review for an umpires call is even more galling and something really does need to be done to address this issue ASAP.
Apologies for the slightly sparse report tonight, watching the highlights doesn’t exactly give me too much to go off.
Day 2 thoughts and comments below: