India v England – 5th Test Preview

So people, this is it. Another year of test cricket for England comes to an end. Starting with the carnage in Cape Town, and the Ben Stokes bombardment, through a low-key home summer start v Sri Lanka, which gave us 10000 reasons to be bemused, incorporating a pulsating series against Pakistan, a defining drawn series with Bangladesh and a demolition job by India, 2016 has been full on. It’s been ever so downhill all the way, and now we reach Chennai. The end of the road. The next England test isn’t until July (the day before my birthday, hint hint) and by then who knows what might have happened. But for now there is a sense of finality. The show is over, say goodbye.

Of course, the main issue outside of the game from an England standpoint is is this the last time Alastair Cook captains a test match? There have been a multitude of views and such noise does not come out of the ether. The suspicion is that this will be his last time – I’m not sure because the ECB / Comma / Cook are laws unto themselves – and if so we’ll be filling plenty of pages with discussion on legacy, record, style and all sorts. But for now we have one final match to play on a tour that has gone increasingly awry.

I’m not going to guess at team selection because that’s a fools errand with this England tour. There won’t be changes in the batting line-up, although there’s always the possibility they will mess around with the order. I doubt we’ll play four seamers, in which case Liam Dawson must be in with a really good shout of a debut, and probably the tag as a one cap wonder, but let us watch the reading of the runes on Thursday (this piece is being written on Wednesday night as all three of us are “unavailable for selection” tomorrow night).

Before the concluding diatribe, let’s just go down memory lane and my recollections of previous Chennai tests. When I was a child / teenager India had four iconic test venues – Delhi, and the exotically named Ferez Shah Kotla; Mumbai (or Bombay) and the Wankhede Stadium with all the snorting and snickering that provided; Eden Gardens in Kolkata (Calcutta) with its massive crowds and teeming noise; and the Chepauk at Chennai (Madras), which was the venue for one of my favourite TMS test matches.

The first tour I recall was Keith Fletcher’s of 1981-2. Losing the first test, we proceeded to traipse round India, playing out a succession of tedious draws. The Chennai test was the 5th. Gundappa Viswanath made a double hundred. Yashpal Sharma made 140. India took over two days to make 481, in what looked to be an appallingly slow 152 overs. That’s tea on Day 2 at the current rates (supposed). That was England bowling! 17 wickets fell in the whole tedious spectacle.

In 1985, England recorded one of their greatest overseas victories when winning the 4th Test to take a 2-1 series lead. While many remember it for Graeme Fowler making 201 (and being dropped two tests later to make way for Graham Gooch) and Mike Gatting 207, the key to the match was Neil Foster’s finest (arguably) bowling performance when he took 6 for 104 in the 1st innings and removing Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Amarnath and Shastri. It took Chris Cowdrey to remove the two other danger men – Mohammad Azharuddin and Kapil Dev, as England bowled the hosts out for a inadequate 272. England made 652 for 7, and the pleasure of listening to that on school mornings was immense. I was in the middle of my Mock O Levels, and snow was on the ground in SE London. I then sneaked listens in one exam (naughty) as Amarnath and Azha, on Day 4 threatened to thwart us. Azha made another century, 2 in his first two tests, but we took enough wickets, frequently enough to clinch a great win, with Foster taking 5 more scalps.

We did not tour India for another 8 years, returning for the infamous Dexter Fletcher Gooch tour. This was the infamous dodgy prawn game, costing us the services of our captain Gooch, and Mike Atherton. It ended with India annihilating England, based on a Sachin masterclass (165) and major contributions from pretty much all the batsmen. India posted 560 for 6, with Ian Salisbury, fragile in all probability, taking one third of those wickets. India won by an innings, and without looking, can you name the four England batsmen in that match who recorded their top test scores?

We had to wait a long time to visit Chennai again. This time it was in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and a nervous England, under the leadership of Kevin Pietersen, returned to play a fantastic match. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the conclusion of that game 8 years ago, with Sachin Tendulkar making a composed ton on a decomposing wicket to take India home, ably assisted by Yuvraj Singh, and propelled to the winning line by a rocket named Virender Sehwag. The game was memorable for Comma, who made centuries in each innings, and putting England in a commanding position. Paul Collingwood also made a second innings ton. It was the match, sadly, which has enabled the various numbskulls who pollute Twitter to deride Pietersen’s captaincy. While by no means impressive, there have been greater clusterf*cks in my memory, that have received less bile. But it is what it is. Oh, and it’s also the test match in which Lovejoy debuted. Tomorrow’s match is going to seem tame by comparison, isn’t it?

So, to Test number 5. Number 17 this year. Number 31 is it in the last 19 months. Joe Root was there at the start, in Antigua. So was Alastair Cook. Jimmy Anderson was there but missed some time in the interim. Jos Buttler was there, but lost form later that year. Ben Stokes was in the team, but he’s had some injuries and was still promising, rather than a regular. And there was Stuart Broad, injured, but who may play as a bookend to that run of games. It’s no wonder they are frazzled, that comrades have been lost along the way, that performances might dip, that leaders may feel enough is enough. India will be loving the prospect – and isn’t in interesting how England supposedly can’t be arsed in these sorts of games, but the opposition is supposed to be more up for it – and should hand us another defeat. A win here would be one of the biggest shocks, because I can’t see India passing up the chance to do to us, what we did to them in 2011. Once finished, let the press fun begin. We might be the only organ Chris Stocks hasn’t written for by the end of it.

Happy to receive comments below. We’ll hopefully have one of us in a fit state to write a report on Day 1. That will be you, Sean……


72 thoughts on “India v England – 5th Test Preview

  1. Ian Dec 15, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Fairbrother, Hick and Lewis are three of the four I reckon.


    • Escort Dec 15, 2016 / 1:28 pm

      Richard Blakey for the other?


    • Silk Dec 15, 2016 / 5:16 pm



      • LordCanisLupus Dec 15, 2016 / 5:19 pm

        Fairbrother. Yes. Lewis with his only test ton. Yes. Hick’s ton came at Mumbai. Salisbury has a test 50 so no. Someone mentioned Richard Blakey which is correct. One more to go.


      • Ian Dec 15, 2016 / 8:23 pm

        I thought in this test it was Hick’s highest test score at the time?


    • Escort Dec 15, 2016 / 5:38 pm

      The cat?


      • Ian Dec 15, 2016 / 8:40 pm

        Sorry misunderstood.

        Vividly remember this test. Was at School and I used to leave my homework and do it in the early hours listening to TMS. The sounds of India fascinated me along with the crackly commentary.

        I also remember being excited about the runs scored by the three I mentioned above and in Fairbrothers case I really thought this would be a turning point for him but it wasn’t to be.


  2. northernlight71 Dec 15, 2016 / 12:37 pm

    Jimmy’s protecting his average I see. Isn’t this the last test he’d need to play for months? Why does he need a rest for heaven’s sake – it’s not likely he’ll bowl more than 10 overs in each innings anyway, unless he tells Cook he wants to.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. BobW Dec 15, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    Anderson out due to soreness? He bowled 20 overs in five days. Fred Truman must be spinning in his grave.


    • Escort Dec 15, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Growing pains???😂😂😂


    • Mark Dec 15, 2016 / 1:59 pm

      Just as well they ignored the medical staff, and let people like Newman diagnose from Daily Mail Towers surgery!

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Dec 15, 2016 / 2:11 pm

        As Silk points out on the kerfuffle thread, the press conference is a pretty clear indication that Cooky doesn’t do resignations. And I suspect that Anderson has opened up his fracture again – he was down on pace and scarcely bowled a bouncer. I don’t think he was match fit but Cooky needs his mates around him to tell him what to do.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mark Dec 15, 2016 / 3:20 pm

        Man in a Barrel, I’m so in agreement with you. They picked him on reputation rather than match fitness. They flew him in late which was a red flag the medics were not sure. He has bowlerd wide of off stump pretty much all tour, and with mixed effect. Whether that was to hide his lack of match readiness who knows?

        I so agree that this was a Cook pick. He wanted his mates rather those who were actually match fit. It is the ultimate in selfishness. He put his own demands ahead of the teams. It is everything we have said . Not quite the knight in shiny armour the media try to pretend he is.

        No doubt the “Form is temporary, class is permanent” brigade will disagree, but if he’s not match fit they are comparing apples and oranges.

        Liked by 3 people

      • man in a barrel Dec 15, 2016 / 3:55 pm

        I imagine that Broad will play in Chennai, regardless of how his tendons feel, just so that Cooky has a mate on the ground. A bit of gentle medium pace 2 feet outside off-stump might give Moeen and Rashid a bit of a breather. I have no idea why Woakes has not bowled more but we will probably need the single wicket he gets in Indian Tests. There have been rumours of Stokes having a back injury but we probably need his batting more than his bowling so he will not be allowed to claim flatwicket-itis. I cannot imagine why they would fly out Dawson and not play him so he must get a slot. I guess it comes down to a toss between Ball and Woakes. I hope Matt Prior does not drop in or Cooky will probably get him to play instead of Buttler.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. SimonH Dec 15, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    England play too many Tests of course. Since the last WC in 2015 the figures are (including Chennai): E 31, A 22, I 21, NZ, SL and P 18, WI 17, SA 15, B 7.

    However those cut-off points are a little misleading. England didn’t play a Test for 8 months before the last WC. Also many teams are just about to enter their summers and the figures will look somewhat different by April.

    The imminent tours listed on Cricinfo are: A v P 3 Tests; SA v SL 3; NZ v B 2; I v B 1; NV v SA 3; I v A 4. (If there are others I’ve missed, please let me know).

    So when Test cricket goes into its IPL-CT hiatus, the number of matches played since the last WC will be: E 31; A 29; I 25; SL and NZ 23; P and SA 21; WI 17; B 10.


  5. SimonH Dec 15, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    Nah, big bats and mints….


    • Zephirine Dec 15, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      It would be fairly astonishing if the sport was really as clean as it claims to be. Although England’s dodgy doctors seem to be more about perfomance-impairing….

      Liked by 1 person

      • BobW Dec 15, 2016 / 2:27 pm

        That did make me laugh out loud.


      • Zephirine Dec 15, 2016 / 5:32 pm



    • BobW Dec 16, 2016 / 1:02 am

      You know I read all the crap in the broadsheets and the Red Tops and then this comes out and hits you right between the eyes. I refer back to the article that Martin Crowe wrote about the psychology of batting. Making yourself bigger than you really are as a person/cricketer and for what? Just so you can fit in around you.
      I fear for Monty. How do you find your happiness when you have all that insecurity inside of you.


      • Zephirine Dec 16, 2016 / 11:01 am

        Monty may not be any more insecure than most ordinary people. It’s just he’s working in a field where top players are required to have this abnormal, almost sociopathic self-belief. And if you don’t have it, you’re ‘needy’, ‘difficult’, or ‘fragile’.

        But then, Martin Crowe would probably say that the confident ones are faking it too, but more convincingly.

        I wonder how much teaching/coaching Monty’s been doing? I always remember a piece by Mike Selvey about seeing Monty take a class of young bowlers and how brilliant a teacher he was. The ECB should put him and a couple of others (but not Graeme Swann) on salary and tell them to find and develop new spinners.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 15, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    I was at the Chepauk test 8 years ago, and if England had got a result in Mumbai, I would have made my way across there from here, I love dosas and Idli Sambar that are a prevalent food in that part of the world. It was a fine game too although it really did go pear-shaped. I did wonder in the stands at the time what sort of relationship that Pietersen and Moores had before things went mad in the press because every field change seemed to be following the bowling. That said I remember that Harmison, Anderson and Panesar bowled garbage, the former bowling short and wide to allow Sehwag to free his arms with impunity, Anderson all over the shop and Panesar seemingly warming up for world championships at Ally Pally rather than bowling spin at test level.

    Can’t see anything other than a comfortable Indian victory and some pretty glum faces following the game.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Dec 15, 2016 / 3:32 pm

      Don’t you just love the way the media keep setting greater and greater fences for the new captain to jump over, while ignoring completely that the existing captain has crashed and fallen at almost all the same hurdles?

      These people take selective memory, and hypocrisy to Olympic gold medal standards.


    • Zephirine Dec 15, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      Says James Taylor: It is in the nature of the English system at the moment that a lot of players make the transition into the Test team at a relatively young age, without having had many opportunities to lead their counties. That means that when they get there, they have limited captaincy experience.

      I am in favour of promoting the best talent as quickly as possible but it does mean that if an England captain decides to leave, you have to look quite hard for natural successors.
      This is indeed a problem. However
      That is why it is so key for the Lions to identify leaders at an early age and give them a taste of the job as regularly as possible.
      Ah yes. identifying leaders, Flowers-style. A strict regime of motivational speakers, survivalist awaydays, jargon vocabulary learning (with tests), emotional constipation and good old-fashioned masochism. Marvellous.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Rpoultz Dec 15, 2016 / 4:04 pm

        Said like someone who was lions captain so giving himself a massive slap on the back.


      • nonoxcol Dec 15, 2016 / 6:08 pm

        If that effing cockroach doesn’t get on Mount OutsideCricketMore then I’m issuing an ultimatum – something something something or I’ll quit the site. Then I’ll contact someone friendly and tell him I didn’t really mean to issue an ultimatum.

        Not James Taylor, by the way. You know perfectly well who I mean by now.


    • Escort Dec 15, 2016 / 6:58 pm

      Is Taylor not at the same PR company as Cook? Shiny Bed Pan won’t be to far away from this statement.


    • oreston Dec 15, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      It’s not even remotely likely that the present captain will be telling any “senior bowlers” they’re going to be dropped though, is it? Rested maybe, but never dropped. He’d have no mates in the team if he did that and we know that if your face fits you can carry on playing for as long as you feel like turning up, even if you’re carrying an injury.


      • oreston Dec 15, 2016 / 7:51 pm

        I was replying to SimonH. Not sure why this has appeared down here.


  7. SimonH Dec 15, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    And this is weird it must be some piece of avant garde performance art:


    • man in a barrel Dec 15, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      Surely a joke…let’s see who will rough up Smith. Anderson – probably cooked (see what I did there :)?). Wood – may never bowl again with any pace and with a physique and action that seems to guarantee injuries. Plunkett – lasts about 5 overs before getting injured. Woakes- seems to have a deceptive bouncer but…? Broad – starting to get too old to consistently rattle cages. Stokes – has the aggression but didn’t scare them too much last time. Ball – no idea.


      • SimonH Dec 15, 2016 / 4:30 pm

        “I’ll just take a break from preparing for a Test to stop us losing 4-0 to pop over to HeartFM and talk tough to a captain we face in 12 months time”.

        It’s genius coaching like that that earns £450,000 a year salary.

        Liked by 2 people

      • BoredInAustria Dec 16, 2016 / 8:24 am

        Five tall fast bowlers to rattle Australia? Now that is a genius ideas.


    • Escort Dec 15, 2016 / 7:16 pm

      It says much about Alec Swann that he listens to Heart FM. 😂😂😂


  8. Silk Dec 15, 2016 / 5:24 pm


    Cook, Jennings, Root, Buttler, Bairstow, Stokes, Ali, Dawson, Woakes, Rashid, Broad

    Despite having no tail, England to make chuff all runs in either innings, and lose. And bowl like drains. They’ve given up, like they did during the “difficult winters”.

    Cook to fail, without media comment. Jennings to fail, leading to many comments about him being dropped in his debut innings. Broad clearly not fit to bowl. Dawson to bowl like a club cricketer.

    Cook to announce that he feels, having discussed it with ‘Straussy’ (who is absolutely his boss and in no way his mate) that it is “In the interests of English cricket” for him to stay on as Captain.

    England do pretty well in ODI series but lose at semi stage. Written off as “just one poor game”.

    Saffers to beat us, with Philander shining and Anderson underperforming.

    Strauss to cut Cook and desperately hope Root can turn it around.

    England to beat Windies in unconvincing fashion, despite Windies batsmen being utterly unable to play FC cricket.

    England to lose the Ashes. Steve Smith to make A LOT of runs.

    Bayliss goes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH Dec 15, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      “They’ve given up, like they did during the “difficult winters””.

      Number of last Tests England have won in the last ten series, whether what went before was good, bad or difficult?

      One (which is the same number as they’ve drawn – eight have been defeats).

      Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Dec 15, 2016 / 7:52 pm

      Cook’s organised a jogging session for tomorrow morning

      Liked by 1 person

    • MM Dec 16, 2016 / 7:45 am

      Yep, that sounds right. Don’t forget a few retirements mid-Ashes, Swanny-style.


  9. LordCanisLupus Dec 15, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    “He’ll be fit for the Ashes”

    “England still on track for Ashes glory”

    It’s all about one thing, isn’t it?

    The conclusion to Nasser Hussain’s piece is basically “oh eff it. We have no chance in India”

    As for this tour of India, England just have to accept the fact that their system is not geared towards producing spinners like India’s.
    In the youth cricket I watch around England I see plenty of good young spinners — many of them Anglo-Asians and many of them with natural actions — but they seem to get lost along the way.
    England will always struggle to compete in India and will continue to be a one-dimensional side unless they can ensure those young talented players make it through.

    This just “happens”. Why is that? Well Nass isn’t going to bother himself finding out. Instead..

    This is a talented side which has made real progress and is captained and coached by three good men — Alastair Cook, Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace — who are doing their best with the raw materials at their disposal.

    Absolutely majestic.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. fred Dec 15, 2016 / 11:13 pm


    Head of Media Operations and Accreditation
    England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
    June 2005 – Present (11 years 7 months)
    • Manage a Media Operations team
    • Key liaise with broadcasters, written media, photographers, sponsors, sponsors agencies, non rights holders and venues
    . Guard the multi-million rights of our rights holding broadcasters (Sky Sports, BBC and Channel 5)
    • Responsible for the writing and implementation of policy, terms and conditions and procedures relating to Media Operations at all International games and domestic final(s)
    • Provide inside “expert” knowledge to Mike Selvey and other hacks, allthewhile without leaking, to safeguard and promote ECB image and defend sponsor image.

    (One of those bullet points may have been made up by me).

    Indeed, this is how things work. It’s not unique to ECB, or sport. Selvey showed his hand somewhat here. It’s why a rabid ratbag press is necessary, painful as that may be at times. Can you imagine Paxman interviewing Cook?

    Strange how incoherent her English is for someone who is a media operator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deep Purple Fred Dec 15, 2016 / 11:23 pm

      This was a reply to northernlight71.

      Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Dec 16, 2016 / 6:12 am

      Wish I could like that post 43 times and call it a hundred.


  11. amit garg Dec 16, 2016 / 1:48 am

    Some interesting bits from the DM.

    1. “Ben Stokes hits out at ICC inconsistency as England bemoan Indian stars avoiding punishment” – Indians probably felt the same way when Jimmy was let go on the England tour. I am fairly certain that the number of times players from Australia, England have escaped sanctions despite some really really terrible behavior over years, has often led to Asian players feeling the same way Ben feels now. There was no physicality in Ashwin’s incident – you only have to look at Stokes’ reactions on the field to know the difference.

    2. “James Anderson ruled out of England’s final Test with India in Chennai with ‘body soreness’ but Alastair Cook believes he’ll be fine for the Ashes” – Confirms most things we know such as

    a. Jimmy was never fit to tour to begin with
    b. Cook needs some help on the ground being clueless himself
    c. They still can’t say it in public that Jimmy was dropped

    3. “England are still on track for Ashes glory despite their humbling in India – there’s no need to panic – Nasser Hussain”
    Nas starts out stating the obvious – this is a strange conclusion after horror show in Bangladesh and India and then goes on to defend the statement.
    He believes lateral movement is the key difference between the 2 sides – one craves for it and the other can’t handle it. There’s probably a bit of truth in it, as Philander and Rabada showed in the last series. However, Australia are no pushovers.
    In Starc and Hazlewood, Australia have 2 very exciting bowlers. They are in better form than their english counterparts. Jimmy’s record in Australia is not great and while Broad can muster those spells, will these 2 be able to scare the Aussie batsmen if they find the form that left them against the South Africans? In recent times, their test batsmen haven’t produced the goods even while bowlers have come good. But to expect this English side to beat them still seems a stretch. More so, when there’s no certainty on the first XI. What’s the right balance of side in Australia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • amit garg Dec 16, 2016 / 3:25 am

      Forgot to add the reference to one of the best innings (70 odd that Root scored) played in India by an English Player in Nasser’s article. Attractive as it was, I would humbly offer that it was not a patch on the twin 50s that Flintoff scored in 2006 (also at Mumbai) – scored against Kumble and Bhajji who were both skilled operators in their own right.
      Root’s innings was one defined by a certain carelessness when the game was already slipping away. Flintoff batted almost 25 overs for his 50, in complete contrast to his usual image as a biffer. And, he set up the game that England actually won.

      Why are we not hearing anyone mention those gems?


  12. SimonH Dec 16, 2016 / 4:29 am

    Jennings struggled with round the wicket line and gone for 1 off 17 deliveries.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 16, 2016 / 4:33 am

      Switched it off, went back to bed, got the three blips from the phone signifying a wicket. As I say, judge after 5-7 tests. Not one.

      Stats show for England that to have a long career it helps to score high in your first two or three tests.


  13. quebecer Dec 16, 2016 / 5:05 am

    I’ve go tot say, the full reality hadn’t hit me until I saw out team sheet. I swear I involuntarily said, “Oh Christ,” out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rooto Dec 16, 2016 / 5:14 am

    Ode to Cook’s team:
    I’m leaving
    On a jet plane
    Don’t know when I’ll be back again


  15. d'Arthez Dec 16, 2016 / 5:35 am

    Handscomb scores his maiden ton. Renshaw has also looked quite good (yesterday), as well as in his debut Test against South Africa. If the Aussies get some time, they’ll sort their batting out soon enough. Don’t think there is an Ashes Test scheduled in Hobart, so barring some highly unusual weather, the batsmen should be pretty comfortable in the conditions they get to play in.

    If Starc and Hazlewood remain fit, it looks like they’ll have quite a handy attack. Not sure if Bird is part of that (in Aussie conditions). If they can find a third quality seamer, they’ll be an extremely tough proposition. It seems that Australia have the building stones to become a very good team. Not sure if they will make it, but the potential is there.

    Oh, and as I pointed out elsewhere, Australia hardly lose at home, with the exception of when they face South Africa. Even against England in the last 3 series the record is P15, W11, L3, D1. But I suppose, reporting on reality would be too much effort for some of the journalists.

    As I write that, Handscomb is 9th man out, for 105. Australia 380/9 now.


  16. Tom Dec 16, 2016 / 7:24 am

    All – just a quick off-the-cuff question. I notice both teams are wearing black armbands. My guess would be for the victims of the cyclone that hit Chennai, but could someone confirm? Thanks.


    • d'Arthez Dec 16, 2016 / 8:02 am

      Seems it was for J. Jayalalithaa, a chief minister in Tamil Nadu (the State in which Chennai is).


      • Tom Dec 16, 2016 / 8:28 am

        Thanks. Sometimes international news takes a while to percolate out this way…


  17. nonoxcol Dec 16, 2016 / 8:35 am

    Obviously a part of me is still invested in England, because this Joe Root conversion business is seriously working me up now.


      • SimonH Dec 16, 2016 / 10:27 am

        Talking of conversion rates, YJB has 3/14.

        The last twelve times he’s past 40, he hasn’t gone on to make a century.


  18. Silk Dec 16, 2016 / 10:10 am

    Er, I don’t want to bring anyone down or anything, but Pakistan (the team wot matched us in England last summer) are 73-8 having conceded 429 bowling.

    So much for “on track for Ashes glory”. If these new Aussie batsmen are the real deal (and are we actually going to have 3 fit seam bowlers?) then Aus have more than enough bowling to mess us up.


    • Tom Dec 16, 2016 / 10:56 am

      I have to admit I’ve been watching more of the Aussie vs Pakistan match this evening (my time of course). The Aussie attack looks pretty good right now. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to rule out some effect of Pakistan batting at night under lights. The Aussies coped pretty well, but in the last day/night test match against NZ, both Aussie and NZ batsmen seemed to struggle in the last sessions after batting well during the day.

      Too early to call I suspect, but the spectacle of watching test cricket under lights seems to be working quite well right now. The Aussie players and especially the crowd looked to be having a lot of fun, and think that’s not bad thing for the future of test cricket.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Dec 16, 2016 / 12:11 pm

        Not surprised to see Pakistan struggle. Since the England series, they have played in the UAE to Windies and were actually quite shaky at times, with Windies gaining their first overseas victory against a side that wasn’t Bangladesh/Zimbabwe for nearly 7 years.They have then had their 2 test defeat in New Zealand and have now got these games in Australia. This is another side whose schedule is starting to muck them up. To be honest, even if Australia had not much changed things around I would have thought they would win this series rather comfortably.

        There was always going to come a time when not even Younus/Misbah would dig them out any more and I think that time is coming. I’m also amazed that they went in with the 3 left arm seamer combo and I must say I didn’t think Yasir would have much of an effect on those Aussie pitches.


      • SimonH Dec 16, 2016 / 12:33 pm

        BTL is immediately full of morons crying “it’s a fix…..”


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Dec 16, 2016 / 11:22 am

      This sounds like a complete clusterfuck in the making…still…they’ve got nearly four years to iron out the details eh?


      • SimonH Dec 16, 2016 / 11:48 am

        “However, with a three-match series against Sri Lanka taking away the Test stars, and close to 100 leading white-ball players earmarked for the fresh Twenty20 tournament, the 50-over competition may feel like a second-team affair…. Ironically, what amounts to a downgrade will occur in 2020, the year after the 50-over World Cup is staged in England.”.

        May? Ironically?

        Liked by 1 person

  19. SimonH Dec 16, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    He really is morphing into Selvey:

    If you haven’t seen it, this is the end of a long exchange betwen the two. #39 started it off with a screen-grab of Handscomb looking a bit ungainly with comments about “is Glenn McGrath the batting coach?” and “#notechnique #handscomb”.

    Handscomb has of course since gone on to score a century…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Dec 16, 2016 / 12:17 pm

      During which his FC batting average of 11 is pointed out…

      Even Selvey never dared to write a book on batting.


  20. nonoxcol Dec 16, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    One for SimonH here:

    “Lovely piece.
    Is Andy Bull the best English language sports writer in the world?
    I haven’t read better.”


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