England vs. Sri Lanka – 3rd Test, Day 2

It’s on days like this that it is sometimes difficult to muster the will to write much about the game as from first observations nothing much really happened. The pitch looks like an absolute road with no seam movement or swing for the bowlers and a surface that is deader than John Cleese’s parrot. I said in my pre-match report that I felt that Lords would prepare a dead, flat wicket and unfortunately my cynicism towards the ECB has been proved right again, money before entertainment has been the order of the day in this Test.

With the pitch looking like something akin to Antigua in the 1990’s, England’s first innings of 416 looks no more than par on this pitch and dependent on how Sri Lanka bat in the first innings it could end up being at least 100 light as to what it should have been. As for the good today, Bairstow batted like a man in the form of his life and would’ve likely gone on to make a double ton had anyone stuck around with him and the Sri Lankan top three showed they have both decent techniques and some fight on a pitch that offers very little for the bowlers. As for the bad, England’s bowling attack again looked fairly military medium in it’s nature (always a worry when England come across flat pitches away from home) and Bairstow’s horrendous drop of Karunaratne, when it seemed more difficult to drop the ball than it did to take the catch (Atherton, Selvey and others may have tried to blame conditions at Lords, but for me, it was just a poor piece of wicketkeeping).

The Jonny Bairstow wicketkeeper conundrum is going to be something that rears itself time and time again. It isn’t just the fact that he keeps dropping chances, it’s the fact that the chances he has dropped are ones a club wicketkeeper should expect to take. Sure this is a dead Test (despite the amazing super series points on offer) but what happens when Bairstow drops Kohli on 1 in Mumbai over the winter? How many runs will that cost this England team in a series where you need to take every chance on offer? I can see why England are persisting with Bairstow at wicketkeeper/batsman, because quite frankly without his batting England would have been a complete shambles this series, but is it really prudent to pack the side with all-rounders who aren’t quite good enough at one or more of the disciplines (Bairstow with the gloves, and Moeen with the ball as an example) in the hope that they can score enough runs to compensate for our consistently woeful batting in the top order? Despite all the protestations of the progress that we have made in the Strauss era, we still don’t have a convincing opener, our number 3 is toast, our number 5 (albeit 3 games into his career) isn’t pulling up trees and our spin option looks as threatening as Min Patel. Sooner or later our lower order is going to fail to dig England out of a hole of their own making and the results are unlikely to be pretty.

A final note on the pitch again (sorry pitches are a big bugbear of mine), no-one wants to see sides being consistently rolled out for under a hundred (unless it’s Australia, then it’s supremely hilarious), but equally no-one wants to see 500 vs. 500 on featherbed either. This pitch is not like Adelaide where things are likely to start happening on Day 4, this is Lords and the chances are the pitch won’t change over the next 3 days. The reason I mention this is ‘entertainment’ as after all, that is what sport is about. Cricket is about to go up against the Euro’s and the Rugby Union over the next couple of weeks and to stand a vague chance of retaining people’s interest, then it needs to produce some compelling action not the yawn fest that this Test match has produced (hell I’m bored of it and I’ve only watched the highlights on both days). Perhaps I’m missing the point again, after all the ECB has the type of people they want packing out the game at Lords over the weekend and they’re very happy to pay £75 a ticket et al, so why bother spreading the game to the masses, after all the average punter probably can’t afford to be a part of the ECB’s exclusive club. Let them have their football…

Day 3 thoughts and comments below:

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70 thoughts on “England vs. Sri Lanka – 3rd Test, Day 2

    • Sean B June 10, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      I know we’ve had some awful spinners over the last 20 years, but Min is still the one that springs to mind first. Perhaps Peter Such a gallant second?

      Like

      • SimonH June 10, 2016 / 8:13 pm

        Leave Peter Such alone! An average of 33.5 when he played 7 of his 11 Tests against the 1990s Australians is not all that bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B June 10, 2016 / 8:26 pm

        Well Thar serves me right for doing no research, that isn’t a bad average at all. Just remembered Such virtually appealing after every delivery and being a bit of a joke figure when I was growing up.

        Will now need to find a new terrible England spinner to rival Min that isn’t Ian Salisbury 😊

        Like

  1. Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    The Bairstow conundrum interests me. If one of your top batsmen, in prime form, recognised already after a few Tests as an international class performer capable of winning matches, happens also to be your wicketkeeper, then you need to take the latter job away from him. Not because he has no ability or promise as a keeper, but because you don’t need to make him do it. There are other, better, keepers. Everyone knows it. It doesn’t weaken the team to make Bairstow into a specialist batsman coming in at 4 or 5, it strengthens it.

    I don’t want to hear the endless arguments about where is best for a keeper-batsman to bat. The bloke is a proper batsman. The (non-Bairstow) keeper can be picked primarily for keeping ability and come in lower down and may make a few useful runs. There are enough all-rounders in the England team to allow someone like Simpson, Foakes, Foster etc etc etc to slip seamlessly into the side and bat at eight.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sean B June 10, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    I’m inclined to agree with you, despite stating the opposite at the start of the series. Bairstow may as well bei batting at number 5 at the moment, owing to the consistent collapses of our top order.

    As for a true WK, I’m a Middx fan, so I rate Simpson as a very good WK, but I’m not sure his batting is anywhere near Test Level. Foakes is the one who interests me the most. I haven’t seen a lot of him, but I’m sure there are a few on the blog who have.

    Like

    • Tuffers86 June 10, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Seen Foakes out here in UAE during Yorks v MCC and he looked very good. But like Westley, who also impressed, I think they are a year to 18 months away from any serious consideration for a call up. Foakes has only just taken on the gloves full time in Div 1 cricket, so he needs to mature a bit.

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      • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 9:31 pm

        I had really only mentioned Foakes as others have been doing so. Not seen him keep, but I agree he cannot be the finished article yet. Mind you, Alan Knott [nostalgia alert!] was picked for England at 21. James Foster is still the real deal and ought to be getting at least his 100th cap around now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B June 10, 2016 / 9:36 pm

        Foster is/was a great keeper, the problem was Gilchrist (damn Aussies), changed the view of what a great keeper is. Put it this way, if Foster (or Read) was around in the early 90’s, one of them would’ve been capped a lot more

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      • hatmallet June 11, 2016 / 10:44 am

        Foakes could become an option next year. This year, England have four home Tests followed by a tour of the sub-continent. For the latter, they’ll want to bring Rashid back in and if they replicate the balance of the team seen in the UAE, that means dropping a batsman – probably Vince.

        Maybe this XI:
        Cook / Hales / Borthwick / Root / Ali / Stokes / Bairstow / Rashid / Broad / Finn / Anderson

        So taking the gloves off Bairstow now would create a problem for the winter tours. You’d either need to give him back the gloves, or move everyone up a spot with Root at 3 (which he doesn’t want) and, tbh, the idea of Ali/Stokes/Bairstow at 4 in India doesn’t fill me with confidence.

        Come next summer though, it could be different. And of course, if Bairstow continues to make mistakes then England may have to make difficult decisions this winter.

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    • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      But if Simpson’s batting isn’t at test level – as a batsman – I don’t think it matters. He’s shown plenty of character for Middx and could do a useful job. We shouldn’t be expecting the keeper to do the job of a specialist batsman.

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  3. Mark June 10, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    While I agree with you Sean about the corporate wickets at Lords I don’t think we can complain too much after we ridiculed the first 2 test matches. 160 odd overs the first test lasted. Without the rain breaks we would barely have made it to tea on day 2. Instead of dreaming up test championships and 2 divisions why doesn’t someone at the ICC/ECB create better pitches and scheduling of tests?

    Assuming Sri Lanka can continue tomorrow England will have to bat again. The last weather forecast I saw was not great for Sunday and Monday.

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    • Sean B June 10, 2016 / 8:46 pm

      Very true Mark. Though this game for me, has Eng vs. SL at Lords in 2006 written all over it. That is still the most boring days cricket I’ve ever witnessed.

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  4. nonoxcol June 10, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    But Sean, might I remind you that the England captain is the youngest ever to 10,000 runs, and he did it on “proper cricket pitches, mostly”, unlike that dilettante Indian fella. Only dastardly foreigners prepare roads, and it was of course Steve Harmajhan Singh who came up with the phrase “chief executive’s pitch”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B June 10, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      You’re right as always NONOXCOL, apologies I left my Paul Newman crib sheet at work today 😊

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    • Grenville June 10, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      this is a flat wicket, but it is also possible that both attacks are a bit over reliant on helpful conditions. The ‘pace’ deserves those scare marks and England lack quality spin.

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    • Mark June 10, 2016 / 9:52 pm

      I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into a test match championship. The football world cup is once every four years, crickets wil take 4 years to play once. We already have a Test match ranking system that updates after every test match. And guess what? Nobody gives a shit. Nobody looks at the rankings and says “I will go and watch this match or that match because of where the country’s are ranked.”

      Ask yourself this as an ENGLAND fan. Would you rather win and hold the Ashes, or be world test champions?

      This is going to be the greatest White Elephant cricket has ever created. Why not spend money on better pitches? Better entertainment?

      Like

  5. Nicholas June 10, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    Cook’s got a CBE. I’ll repeat that for you all. Cook’s got a CBE. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Like

    • jennyah46 June 10, 2016 / 9:52 pm

      Stuart Broad has got an OBE.

      Like

      • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 10:00 pm

        Only an MBE I believe. On a par with the 2005 Ashes victors other than Vaughan (who did get an OBE).

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    • Mark June 10, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      The absurdity of Cook, and the honours system is brought together in perfect harmony.

      They deserve each other.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      It is astonishing, isn’t it? How many cricketing CBEs have there been, ever? Colin Cowdrey got one in 1972. And he had to wait another 20 years before he got a knighthood. But of course Cook will need to wait for a shorter period than that. I can’t immediately find any other example of a cricketing CBE. I’m no fan of the honours system but this is beyond parody.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas June 10, 2016 / 10:07 pm

        Giles Clarke has a CBE. It was rumoured last year that he might get a knighthood soon. It really is a joke.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol June 10, 2016 / 10:15 pm

        I genuinely have no idea how people with functioning brains and consciences regard the British “honours” system with anything less than total contempt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 10:17 pm

        Thanks Nicholas for reminding me about Clarke’s CBE, but I suppose if the honours system is to mean anything at all, it should reward people who finance their way through university by gambling, which is apparently what Clarke did at Oxford according to his Wikipedia entry.

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    • nonoxcol June 10, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      Joy.
      Rapture.
      So he and Alan Shearer are one notch higher than the late Bobby Moore, and somewhere below Lynton Crosby.
      Just about sums up the whole pointless farce.

      Like

  6. jomesy June 10, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Wow…time to turn in, forget this happened and spend time with my family. SNAFU.

    Like

  7. Mark June 10, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch, who also has a CBE, can play him in ‘COOK THE MOVIE.’

    Like

    • Tony Bennett June 10, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      Ah yes, having watched The Hollow Crown Part 2 recently, I am aware that Cumberbatch has some experience of playing an individual who, from unpromising circumstances, ensures the removal of all obstacles in his ascent to the top job.

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      • Mark June 10, 2016 / 10:30 pm

        There is something Shakespearian about Cook. But is it tragedy or farce, or is it that he should be on Rainbow with zippy?

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    • Zephirine June 11, 2016 / 12:39 pm

      Macbeth.

      “Captain thou art, and ten thousand
      and shalt be CBE hereafter….”

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 1:15 pm

        As far as the Ashes 2013/14 he was a Completely Blameless Entity. Then after KP, Cook’s future Came Before England’s. The decision on Cook was made by a Certifiable Bloody Eejit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • sidesplittin June 11, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      Oh the mirth.

      It is indeed astonishing that, of the 670 men who have played test cricket for England over 139 years, the individual who has scored the most runs should be officially recognised by the country he represents. M

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      • RufusSG June 11, 2016 / 3:08 pm

        To be fair, let’s not pretend that the honours system isn’t largely a complete joke in this day and age: whilst it rewards many incredibly deserving people (one of my old school teachers was rewarded for 40-odd years with an MBE for some of the best service anyone could ask for) in all walks of life, it is abused severely by elites wanting to reward their cronies seeking political gain. I don’t think the vast majority of even Cook’s harshest critics wouldn’t begrudge him, despite his faults, some form of recognition for his achievements on the national stage, but it is obviously ridiculous that a, ahem, disreputable chap like Lyndon Crosby gets a higher honour than, for example, Leslie Collier, who helped develop the smallpox vaccine. And, yeah, I was a bit surprised that Cook was given as high as a CBE, considering how few cricketers of any stripe have got one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • sidesplittin June 11, 2016 / 3:27 pm

          Fair comments all but, if you’re already an OBE (as he is), then a CBE is ‘next cab off the rank’.9

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          • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 3:31 pm

            I think he went straight from MBE to CBE. That was the surprise.

            Ian Botham wasn’t knighted for cricket – he was for his cricket AND charity work. The list of knighted cricketers due to their test careers isn’t long. Cowdrey, Hobbs, Hutton, Warner (sure that was for admin as well) et al, but only Hutton (1956) was close to his test career (ended 1955).

            Charlotte Edwards received a CBE, so this may be the new guideline.

            All said and done, it’s a nonsense, though.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Grenville June 11, 2016 / 10:38 am

    The pitch doesn’t look so flat now. I find this England team unlikeable, but they are bowling well.

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  9. nonoxcol June 11, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Most predictable moment of the day, called by anyone with eyes and a memory:

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    • nonoxcol June 11, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Oh, and this one was also given by Ravi. Of *course* it was.

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  10. Sean B June 11, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    England’s ’12th man’

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    • nonoxcol June 11, 2016 / 12:29 pm

      Just to be crystal clear, I’m not doubting those lbw decisions he made today. Simply a) asking how he could be so inconsistent yet again, and favour the Big Three side yet again, and b) where does Hawkeye get off saying all three of these lbws (including Bairstow yesterday) are “umpire’s call”?

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      • d'Arthez June 11, 2016 / 1:16 pm

        Exactly. The bias is so obvious. In a 2-Test series against New Zealand, he cost the tourists an innings’ worth of batting with his decision making. Maybe he wants to break his record?

        I dread for whoever has to suffer Ravi in a series against England or Australia. At least those playing India will be saved from his atrocious umpiring.

        Also nice to notice that the software is not in the public domain. So who knows – it is perfectly possible that there are some tweaks included to favour home teams. Not saying that it is the case, but Ravi is not exactly helping to engender trust in DRS.

        At least if the ICC has not killed Test cricket in a few years (it seems to be their mission to do so), Ravi at least will have contributed by making fully electronic umpiring the go-to option for international cricket. Because it is a farce. How many marginal decisions have Sri Lanka gotten, and how many have they suffered?

        Related question: when in a bilateral series, have England got the worst of the umpiring decisions?

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol June 11, 2016 / 1:23 pm

        Your last question – probably quite a few, certainly 1989/90 in WI and Aus 06/07. In one case that had no bearing on the overall result; in the other well hmmmmm

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      • d'Arthez June 11, 2016 / 1:33 pm

        Well, obviously I did not watch the series against WI you mention. And yes, there were some dubious call in the 06/07 Ashes. But that is nearly a decade ago – and England have played 34 series since that one. There might have been a few others that have happened since then.

        Now, I imagine that some people might recall more recent series in which it has happened – I have not watched all series involving England since then.

        But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that that 06/07 AShes was the last series in which England got the worst of umpiring decisions. Statistic chance of getting such a run of umpiring results (neutral or biased for a certain team), assuming chances are equal for getting biased decision-making for or against, or neutral decision making? Extremely slim. Close to 1 in 800 000.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol June 11, 2016 / 1:46 pm

        I genuinely think they get the rub of the green far more often now than they did when I was growing up. Two Ashes incidents stick in my mind, both involving Ian Bell oddly enough: the over-rule of Aleem Dar when he’d heard a nick in Sydney (later confirmed by Snicko, which in those days couldn’t be set up quickly enough, and how pathetic was that); and a bizarre juxtaposition at Lord’s in 2013, where both Bell and Watson were given lbw to essentially the same delivery, yet Bell’s was somehow *missing* and Watson’s umpire’s call on review. The same series also included an inexplicable review decision against Usman Khawaja. In 2015 there was this, re Jos Buttler (look at the reactions):

        The absolute worst Big 3 v non Big 3 incident of recent times, however, was surely the Nigel Llong special in Aus v NZ last winter.

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  11. RufusSG June 11, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Mercifully, it has been reported that a recommendation has been made that the umpire’s call margins are going to be altered and made smaller so that less of the ball has to be hitting the stumps for it to be given out. It’s been a problem for years now, and hopefully this leads to less inconsistency in certain decisions: the Bairstow one reminded me of one in a Sri Lanka/Australia game a few years ago, when Australia suffered a similar denial at the hands of Aleem Dar.

    But, and I know I’ve made this comment previously, the (pretty transparent) insinuations I’m seeing above that the ICC is actively rigging the DRS in favour of Big Three teams, and that umpires might be maliciously inclined to give decisions in favour of them to further their own careers, just seems beyond even them to me: that’s a spectacular level of corruption being alleged here. We can accuse the ICC and the Big Three of many nefarious goings-on, and there’s no doubt that the non-Big Three teams have suffered some ferociously poor luck in recent times: the Llong decision against New Zealand was one of the most appalling judgements I’ve seen for a long time, especially considering the possible impact it had on the match’s outcome. But do we really think it came about because an English umpire cared so much about his future umpiring engagements, the prosperousness of Australian cricket and the detriment of New Zealand’s, that he turned a blind eye to the hot-spot because he thought he might get a sack of cash in the future for umpiring Indian games or something? Do the Big Three even have that much of a say over who gets appointed to the elite panel, which I’d assume they’d have to have to hold power over which umpires get which games?

    Regarding Ravi’s performance in this game, once could even argue that after he had a chance to look back on his decision after the furore, he could have resolved to be more decisive about his decision making on lbws for the rest of the game. Of course, I admit that’s unlikely and a far more plausible explanation is that he’s just an inconsistent and useless umpire: but I personally think a far less likely explanation is that he’s doing it on purpose to be given Big Three matches in the future.

    There’s mountains and mountains of healthy, totally justified scepticism at how the Big Three and the ICC are damaging the future of the sport as we know it – revenue distribution, locations of world tournaments, active shunning of Associates, any organisations with Giles Clarke buried at the heart of it – and there’s not a great deal of stuff I would put past them to be capable of when it comes to bad governance: but this is frankly bordering on tin-foil. (I don’t mean that in an insulting way, it just seems to be asking a lot.) I invoke the “incompetence-over-maliciousness” phrase in most umpiring controversies.

    Liked by 3 people

    • sidesplittin June 11, 2016 / 2:36 pm

      Quite – if cynicism becomes an Olympic sport there’s some great prospective Gold medalists for GB hereabouts.

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      • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 3:40 pm

        “Show me somebody who is always smiling, always cheerful, always optimistic, and I will show you somebody who hasn’t the faintest idea what the heck is really going on.”

        “Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist — someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • sidesplittin June 11, 2016 / 3:52 pm

          Who’s quotes ?

          I had the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela in 2001. His optimistic outlook was palpable.

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          • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 3:53 pm

            I don’t mind cynicism. I wouldn’t.

            Oh I don’t know. I picked them off the net. Thought they were amusing!

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    • d'Arthez June 11, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      Most biases by nature are not conscious.

      Reputations of teams and players influence referees. As do crowd reactions (and it is one of the reasons why home sides find it easier to get penalties). The refs in football won’t admit it, but it is not a conscious thing. Those subconscious factors are the hardest to control. And research has demonstrated time and again that bias does creep in. And FIFA happily does nothing to improve decision making. Remember Byron Moreno, he of South Korea – Italy 2002 fame? He was involved in more dodgy refereeing. But all the results stood.

      It happens in rugby too. So, why should cricket be magically immune?

      How is it “poor luck” when it is systemic? I can take you through the 2012 South Africa series, and it is really not hard for me to mention half a dozen dubious calls that were made by the umpires, which favoured England. Or close to half a dozen dubious calls that were made by Ravi in the New Zealand series of 2015 alone. Or to the South Africa – West Indies series of 2014/15 where West Indies copped a few atrocious decisions.

      The only Big Three team that often gets poor decisions is India (not nearly as often as say the West Indies, New Zealand or Bangladesh though).

      Ravi has been a disaster in England before. For that performance he received a promotion to the Elite Panel. Yes, he got promoted for being incompetent. In fact, he has learned so much from that performance, that he is doing the same thing AGAIN.

      I am sorry. But if incompetence gets rewarded, that is more than a whiff of “luck”. I would go as far as to say it is systemic corruption, because nothing gets done to actually separate the bad umpires from the good ones. Or to actually arrive at the correct decisions, all the protestations about DRS notwithstanding.

      As I pointed out above, the chance of a team going on a streak of 34 series without the getting the worst of umpiring are close to 1 in 800 000. If umpiring was indeed unbiased, there is basically no chance in hell that New Zealand ought to get as many dubious decisions against and so little for them as they did in 2015 (in England and in Australia). The one good thing coming from that experience? The Australians won’t be complaining about Broad not walking in 2013.

      You’ll see the same thing when you send out a CV to a prospective employer. If your name is Ahmed bin Laden, chances that you will be picked for an interview are much smaller than when it is say Thomas Green, even though the credentials may be exactly identical. Bias creeps in, and though few of the HR-people who make the call will express overtly racist / anti-Islam sentiments, there will be many who think they’re unbiased and won’t bother to invite Ahmed while they will invite Thomas, even though their CVs are exactly identical. This is not a wild assertion: it has been backed up by research time and again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez June 11, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Rufus,

      I read your post again, and you seem to think that bias has to be conscious. If it were only that simple. It is not. If it were that simple, then human decision making would be a lot better than it actually is. Related to that, advertising would be far less effective than it actually is.

      I certainly would not go as far as to question the integrity of every umpire who made one or more wrong calls. Wrong calls happen from time to time. And I certainly don’t even want to argue that Llong is corrupt or was unduly influenced. He made a mistake, and it happened to be a series-defining one. That makes it all the more galling, for him, and the affected players (with the exception of Lyon, who seemed to be quite well aware that he ought to be given out).

      But if there was no bias, then all teams ought to be equally affected. And all umpires would be equally likely to give the occasional dodgy call to Bangladesh as they are to England or Australia. I don’t think anyone can really maintain that that is what is actually happening.

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      • RufusSG June 11, 2016 / 3:47 pm

        Don’t get me wrong, I do get that unconscious bias exists, I’ve studied it as part of my philosophy course at university (not saying I’m an authority or anything but I’m aware of the concept). It exists in all manner of businesses, whether it be by gender, ethnic background or whatever, and stuff like blind testing on job applications and exam papers are good methods to reduce it where possible.

        I equally agree that there’s no reason cricket should be more immune than any other sport: historically, of course, there have been many biased umpires (just ask Michael Holding or Mike Gatting). I would also accept that it’s more likely that home teams in general might get the rub of the green, due to the atmosphere of the crowd playing on the umpire’s mind or whatever. I just feel like the Big Three relationship in particular doesn’t seem as likely a factor to have an unconscious effect on the decisions an umpire makes. I saw that South Africa/West Indies series you’re talking about and I agree that the West Indies got some dreadful decisions, but neither of their boards are particularly loaded (although SA are definitely better off than the Windies) and have much influence at the ICC. And yet despite that, the umpiring was still uneven.

        I’m simply sceptical that if that if a factor like that were having an impact on an umpire’s performance, especially given how well the Big Three arrangement is known to the umpires (although I get that with other types of unconscious bias, as with the name example you gave, this isn’t always enough) and how it isn’t any sort of underlying stereotype about someone, it would seem more likely in my view to be a conscious factor than an unconscious one. The idea that it’s happening to the extent being implied is what I find far-fetched.

        Like

  12. LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    There ends Nick Compton’s test career.

    And not Joe Root’s finest ever test match.

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    • BoredInAustria June 11, 2016 / 3:50 pm

      nor Vince’s….

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      • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 3:52 pm

        54 runs in four tests at home to Sri Lanka.

        Early days, but that’s not the form of someone who was lauded from the rooftops, and not just by ISM.

        Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez June 11, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      They still have to field, unless the weather makes it impossible to even start a 4th innings. But it seems reasonable enough to suspect that this is the end of the line for Compton.

      So Vince had a bit of bad luck getting those balls he got out to. So England still seem to have several vacancies (at 3 and 5). They might stick longer with Vince (series average of 13.50 is quite dismal, Thirimanne-esque), but he has not made a strong case for retention. And you would think that the Pakistan bowlers will be a tougher proposition than the Sri Lankan ones.

      Still England has a healthy lead, as they are effectively 178/3 (or 4 if Cook can’t bat again).

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 4:00 pm

        No, I think Vince needs to be given the full summer. I’m not able to see the dismissals, and thus not in a position to see whether he is being technically undressed, but it doesn’t augur well. Most (not all) of our really successful batsmen started quite well in tests (to partly regress once other teams got to know them). Hard to think of a real top player who started with these scarce results.

        Just seen the dismissal (UPDATE) and yikes! Still given the Root wicket, it looks like we’ll be taking an unassailable 12-0 lead in the Super Series and thus providing ample context for the ODI and T20 to come!

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      • SimonH June 11, 2016 / 4:04 pm

        Gooch and Martin Crowe, to name two.

        Mind you, both were up against Lillee and Thomson and Crowe in particular was very young.

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        • LordCanisLupus June 11, 2016 / 4:11 pm

          Point taken, but I’m thinking of more modern times and England in particular.

          Like

        • LordCanisLupus June 12, 2016 / 1:52 pm

          Seems George might have been reading….

          “It’s not just that he has been bowled twice in this match by balls coming in at him down the slope – he has only played one previous first-class match at this ground so might be forgiven a bit of inexperience – but that research has shown that players who endure poor starts to their Test careers face a disproportionately tougher challenge to establish themselves.

          There are, of course, numerous examples of players who have recovered from early setbacks to enjoy great careers – Graham Gooch and Steve Waugh are among the most obvious examples – but it doesn’t take long for the voice of self-doubt to grow in volume.”

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      • Tony Bennett June 11, 2016 / 5:54 pm

        Certainly most modern-day successful England Test batsmen started their careers well. Even Hussain got runs without establishing himself (then he came back with a bang). Derek Randall springs to mind as a player with a poor run of form to start, but it was only a handful of innings before he came good with his Melbourne 174.

        Vince is worrying because he hasn’t managed anything, and at least a half century in the first couple of Tests would have been confidence-building. Confidence may well be the key. Obviously he will be feeling the pressure when the Pakistan series starts.

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      • Tony Bennett June 11, 2016 / 5:56 pm

        Gooch was given only two matches against Lillee & Thomson, in the last innings of which he managed to score 31. He would have had longer nowadays.

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      • SimonH June 11, 2016 / 8:04 pm

        Collingwood didn’t get off to a fast start (119 runs in his first 8 innings).

        Gooch got caught on a rain-hit wicket in his debut Test – was that the last one in a Test in England? He also wasn’t ready though – it was better for him that the selectors recognised it and he was given more time to mature in the CC.

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  13. SimonH June 11, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    Newman having a stopped-clock-twice-a-day moment:

    Like

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