England v West Indies: 2nd Test, Day Four

For three and a half days the West Indies have played well above themselves, indeed have played out of their skins.  But a side unused to winning, inexperienced, and ultimately lacking in quality anyway, finally wilted in the face of an England middle and lower order that is undoubtedly one that would cause a few tremors against much better sides than this.

There were chances missed, there’s no doubt about that.  The dropped catches ultimately added up to over 240 runs in England’s favour (though it should be mentioned that England have dropped a few themselves, which would balance that ledger to a degree), and the bowling discipline that was so evident in England’s first innings fell away alarmingly after tea, as Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes punished them for their indiscipline.

What might have beens are the stock in trade for weaker sides in every sport – the lower league football team that lets a lead slip in the closing minutes, the tennis underdog finally beaten in the fifth set – so to that end the turnaround in the match is one that could have been (and was) expected.  At the end of proceedings their performance over the first few days should be seen as the exceptional one, worthy of praise, and the return to the mean after tea on the fourth day more in keeping with where they are as a unit.  They have tried so desperately hard in this match, and the likelihood is that they will end up empty handed.

That there were errors made is beyond question.  Gabriel and Roach were overbowled in the morning session as their team strove for wickets, and by the time the new ball was due they weren’t sufficiently rested to take it before lunch, and weren’t that effective with it afterwards either.  But they are errors from over-enthusiasm in trying to force the win, and perhaps it is the hindsight that lends that judgement of it,  rather than how it was at a time when England were only 82 runs in front and four wickets down.  At that point the tourists were firm favourites, even as England were just beginning to get into a position where they had a chance in the match.

Dawid Malan did himself no harm in terms of selection for the tour to Australia with a gritty 61 over the first part of the day.  It lasted over four hours, he rarely looked fluent, and included a bit of fortune when being dropped at first slip; but above all else he wore down the seam attack and created the circumstances for Moeen to come in and flay a weary bowling unit around the ground.  Sometimes the less eye-catching innings are the important ones, and given the knife edge the game was on, he deserves considerable credit for his determination.  There is a great deal of focus on technique when appraising batsmen but the game is littered with those with excellent techniques who don’t succeed, and others with deeply flawed ones who do.  His 186 ball stay did more to suggest he has the aptitude than a bright and breezy innings of the same score could have done.  Whether he goes on to make it is of course unknown, but he played well today.

England’s total of 490-8 was their highest ever without anyone scoring a century, and had it not reached those levels, it’s not hard to imagine that a fair degree of stick would be coming in the direction of Stokes and Bairstow for the manner of their departures.  Stokes was caught on the boundary trying to hit a six, Bairstow bowled attempting a reverse sweep.  With Malan out too three wickets had gone down for 24 runs and England were seven down with a lead of only 158.  The game was unquestionably in the balance, yes, but some are no nearer to accepting players taking risks than they ever were.

Even though the numbers suggested it was tight, the mini-collapse couldn’t dampen the feeling that England were starting to get on top.  The advantage of their exceptional lower middle order is not just that they can bat, but they score so quickly.  Moeen Ali is one of the best players in the world to watch when he’s in full flow, and here the array of exquisite cover drives and clips off his legs were fully to the fore.  He had one piece of real luck, when caught behind on 32 only to be reprieved by a no ball.  Devendra Bishoo has had a truly miserable match, his captain plainly doesn’t rate him at all, and bowled him only when he had to – ultimately he got a decent spell only when the fast bowlers were on their knees.  And while Shannon Gabriel in particular got away with endless no balls not called, Bishoo was called on field at the most crucial of times, and it was sufficiently tight to suggest it may have been harsh.

The question of on field umpires not calling no balls isn’t a new one, and the Sky commentary team were quick to complain that in a tight match the extra runs an extra workload could have proved crucial, but if it’s unfair to the batting team, it’s also unfair to the bowler, who all too often doesn’t know he’s been repeatedly overstepping until he takes a wicket and it’s sent to the third umpire to be checked.  There are suggestions the fourth umpire could do it every ball (a more dull, soul destroying job in cricket is hard to imagine.  Scoring maybe), and perhaps that is a solution.  But umpires have managed to check the front foot for decades without the aid of technology, it seems hard to understand why it is suddenly not possible.

At tea, England were 357-7, a lead of 188.  Before play Jonny Bairstow had expressed the hope that they might get a lead of 200, and England’s bowlers would probably have fancied their chances had the innings ended there.  But the tea break seemed to be the time the magnificently battling West Indies finally cracked.  From the first over on resumption it all went wrong – Kraigg Brathwaite of all people bowled it, nominally to allow Bishoo to change ends, but it was simply dreadful.  The first ball was a high full toss belted through the covers by Moeen, and it didn’t get any better from that point on.  Shannon Gabriel looked utterly exhausted, and his two overs went for 28 runs.  The balance of the match had finally tilted.

If Moeen did what Moeen does (and does so well), he was complemented by Chris Woakes, a batsman who is ridiculously good to be languishing at number nine in the order.  Indeed, he has a better first class batting average than Mark Stoneman, which demonstrates the ludicrous strength in all rounders England possess.  In many international teams, he’d be a number six.  His fine unbeaten half century, initially in a supporting role, latterly taking control shows how even when he’s been a trifle disappointing with the ball on his return from a long injury layoff, he has the skill to make a contribution.

England had been behind the game from the first morning, and so perhaps it was a slight surprise that before the close Joe Root decided to declare.  A welcome one, for although England’s lead was by then sizeable, few expected it.  There aren’t so many recent captains who would have taken the miniscule risk involved in doing so.

Brathwaite and Powell survived a testing six overs, and if nothing else, it showed the kind of fighting quality that their team has exemplified for much of this match.  If they can manage it for just one more day, then they will come out of the game with immense credit, even if they lose.  They aren’t completely out of it, but 322 is a huge target for anyone, let alone a side such as this.  It’ll take a special innings from someone to get close, and as Mark Twain once put it, “the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but that’s the way to bet”.

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76 thoughts on “England v West Indies: 2nd Test, Day Four

  1. Benny August 28, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    Well judged review. This match is as much about what conclusions we draw as about the result.

    England were turned over in the first innings and, with our record breaking quickies, outbatted by the opposition. Our all rounders, as you say, have shown remarkable ability in the second innings. Now I worry. Normally, the specialists are primarily responsible for the heavy lifting (with hopefully a superstar like Sobers, Botham, Imran to stand with them). Currently, the pundits are getting excited about batsmen making a useful fifty – several in this innings. A century maker or two would be handy.

    I’m rambling a bit but I feel that England have a long way to go yet.

    For West Indies, I think there are encouraging signs (if their board don’t ruin things). Century makers, quickies who trouble batsmen, until they tire from overwork. Puzzled by Bishoo being chosen rather than Narine but maybe that’s a money problem.

    Like

  2. Neil August 28, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I read somewhere earlier that tennis have sensors for foot faults. Could cricket not do this?

    Like

    • Nicholas August 28, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      In tennis there is literally nothing in the path between the two sensors either side of the court (aligned with the base line). Therefore, when the player breaks the line, the sensors pick up the broken signal.

      In cricket, alas, this simple technology isn’t possible, as the non-striker would break any such sensor. I do recall an article about this as far back as 2001 (after England had lost that Old Trafford test following the Pakistan spinners taking lots of wickets off no-balls) in which Paul Hawkins, the inventor of Hawk Eye, said that he would be able to come up with a solution but it wouldn’t be cheap to develop and it wouldn’t be bought by the broadcasters as it was a really dull tool, unlike Hawk Eye, which was a very glamorous tool for Channel 4 and Sky to take on the cost of.

      Like

      • Neil August 29, 2017 / 6:26 am

        That makes sense. And yes I guess it would be a dull tool.
        Back to a person watching for no balls all day. A dull job, but I’d do it!

        Like

    • Mark August 29, 2017 / 7:34 am

      How about the umpires just call no balls like they did for 150 years? Since when did the ICC rule that umpires don’t have to bother with no balls except when a wicket falls?

      By not bothering with no balls any more to focus on the batsmans end it certainly isn’t improving their LBW calls.

      If you want to have technology to call no balls a third umpire with a camera at square legg is still the best option. You could have a couple of blokes who do an hour shift and then an hour off to keep them fresh.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. man in a barrel August 28, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    To be fair to Selvey, he did tweet that KP would have been pilloried if he had got out like Stokes. Congrats to England for fighting out of the hole they were in. It is a long time since an England team fought back like that. Maybe Brisbane 2010 ?

    Like

  4. quebecer August 29, 2017 / 1:49 am

    Before anything else, just wanted to say (as I have before) that the quality of the match reports here is always exceptionally high. Great job, again, and as always.

    Lots of good points made about Malan, but can I just make a couple of observation about his technique? Absolutely right to point to players with seemingly flawless techniques not making it while others who appear less correct do succeed, but a lot depends on what type of non-textbook technique we’re talking about. Sehwag, after all, only looked technically perfect if you took a still shot at the moment he hit the ball – but it was perfect at that crucial moment. Pietersen often didn’t need to get his foot to the ball, but rather make sure his head was in the right place – but that was Pietersen.

    Ayhoo, Malan. Firstly, you cold see in his dismissal today that his front leg was on leg stump to a ball pitching middle and off, in a kind of less exaggerated Duckettesque move. I think there is no doubt that limited overs technique has increased the instances of this and it does cause problems. I don’t think it needs much of an adjustment, but it needs some.

    Secondly, and I don’t know to what extent this is going to matter for him, when he plays forward defensively, his hands are soft and it’s not a heavy footed stride, but his hands do often push through the ball a little. A couple inside edges (in my opinion) were the result, and I wonder if this is something that might dog him.

    Still, an excellent and astute paragraph on him in the report.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. quebecer August 29, 2017 / 1:51 am

    oh, one thing about Stokes: the quality of his offside shot making in this match has just been stupendous.

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    • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 7:46 am

      The ball he got out to was actually an extraordinary shot. Quite how he timed it that well when it spun and bit was something else. He’s looking more and more like a real batsman, and given your fine points about technique elsewhere, his is exemplary. It’s a simple one, but he plays extremely straight most of the time, although he loses his shape a bit when in hitting mode.

      Like

  6. Mark August 29, 2017 / 7:41 am

    WI dropped this match with their numerous missed catches. Schoolboy stuff. I expect Ali to bowl out WI today. If WI get anywhere close then that would be a very poor bowling performance as the pitch is doing stuff now.

    I suspect England came into this match a bit complacent. Understandable considering how poor the WI are, but not what you expect from a team who’s media fans keep telling us they have designs on being number 1.

    Sorry, but this is not test match standard for me. Good job we have 5 days and not the 4 days wanted by administrstors or the WI would have got a draw by now.

    Like

    • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 7:43 am

      Had to smile Mark, Selvey sarcastically tweeted the exact same point as your last sentence.

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      • Mark August 29, 2017 / 7:54 am

        Oh, I must be be wrong then. I can never be in agreement with anything he says.

        Like

  7. Mark August 29, 2017 / 8:04 am

    In other news……another International player gives up a central contract to play hit and giggle…

    New Zealnnd bowler Mitchell McClenaghan has given up a central contract to play 20/20 tournaments around the world.

    “He will stay eligible for selection for New Zealand whenever available in the future, but it is hard to envisage a time when he won’t be busy playing in the T20 leagues.”

    That’s nice of him, he will be eligible for selection when he can fit them in.

    What is ironic is NZ have reduced their two test series this winter from 3 match series to two matches so as to cram in more International ODIs and 20/20. And yet still that won’t be an attraction for players. Is International cricket doomed?

    Like

  8. nonoxcol August 29, 2017 / 8:56 am

    The no-ball thing is one reason why I have fallen out of love with watching live cricket on TV. Might as well be a simulated video game. Soon the 2005 Ashes DVD will resemble an entirely different sport, with all its mistakes, human frailties and outmoded crap like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 10:25 am

      Whatever happened to when sport was meant to be enjoyed, and the winning and losing, though important, wasn’t a matter of life and death? That everything had to be right, and that if not, someone has to pay has become the norm?

      If there’s not talking points then these people have little to say of any circumstance. That’s the truth, they are bloggers with 100 test caps and 100% less of our honesty.

      Like

  9. LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 10:13 am

    I had this day marked on my calendar for months. Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval. Day 2. Working day so booked a day off for it. Some mates were also due to come along. Was something I was really looking forward to.

    I started to have my doubts when I saw the Surrey team. Loads of kids, no Sangakkara, no Finch to replace him for this game like he did last year. OK. Seen Surrey teams like this before. Then last night an alternative to going was put to me, but then the beloved said it was ok to go. So this morning I decided to go.

    Got to the top of my hill, saw the two buses I could take whizz past just as I reached and decided that the already tortuous journey due to the Southeastern Trains shutdown into Charing Cross, Waterloo and London Bridge would mean I wouldn’t get there until 12:30 at the earliest and I faced the return journey after a day in the sun and a couple of beers. So I’m now back home.

    Now I know some of this may be down to my current fragile mental condition. It’s why I’m not getting involved in conflict, I’m not going on to Twitter very much, if at all, and I’m not posting. I am well aware that things are getting to me again, and I need to step back. But writing some things down can be a release. I am not only not in love with life at the moment, but I’m not with cricket. I’ve enjoyed a lot of this test match, but can’t help watching it through a window of hatred, an aperture of despising much of what goes on around it. Taking a step back this week has made me see the utter self-regard of the Twitterati. You know who I mean. It has meant me seethe as Sky becomes ECB TV. Agenda driven in one part, a herd of sheep on the other. Holding has shown more passion about Bishoo not bowling than he ever seems to have on the decline of West Indian fast bowling.

    But here’s the thing. If I really loved the game in all its guises, a two hour commute to a game wouldn’t have stopped me in a million years. But it has now. In three weeks time, when the travel is easier, and I have a week off, I intend going to the Surrey home game then, against Somerset. If I can’t be arsed then, then I think I know the game is up.

    It’s a long one, but it’s also a comment that says I’m just not that into it anymore. A sport cannot just rely on loyalty. It has to pull in the same direction. I just see people wanting to vandalise what’s good (four day tests for fuck’s sake) and enhance what is ordinary (T20). Combined with feeling terrible, it’s not a recipe for long success. Here’s hoping something comes along and changes all that.

    Peter

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark August 29, 2017 / 11:06 am

      Sorry to hear that, but I agree with you about cricket. The game has changed behond recognition in the last 5 years. And it’s not coming back. I have watched very little of this test match because I find it of no interest. The whole point of sport is to put on a contest, and WI are so bad that England couldn’t be bothered to wake up until day 4, and still that was enough to probably win the game.

      I don’t know about you, but I feel increasingly like that with a lot of sport these days. Football has become a very expensive joke. Problem is the joke is on most of the fans as they still view their clubs as special entities, and not the corporate brands they have become. Premier football teams are like washing powder brands. Interchangeable faceless corporations. I can’t wait for 4-5 of them to relocate to China with a few Spanish, and Italian clubs to start a new global league. Oh the wailing of the football media will be well worth watching. But Karen Brady will tell us it’s all about branding so alls well. Not that West Ham will be invited.

      Sport is always viewed through rose tinted glasses as is most of life. The summers were always warmer in our childhood memories The sport was pure. It’s all bollocks of course. But there does feel like something is different now. The charlatans running sport have always been rogues, but now they don’t even try to hide it. The media who once could be relied on to call them out are deeply imbedded looking for a job.

      Perhaps sport was always meant to be played rather than watched. I never understood ex players who said they didn’t watch much sport. They prefered to be out trying something else when they had retired. I can see what they mean now. Why would anyone want to be associated with supporting a major Footbal club these days? They will happily steal the shirt off your back. ( and they will steal your shirt off your back for a ludicrous price every year.)

      The one big advantage they have is time moves on, and a new generation emerges untainted by sport of the past. This is all they know it to be. 20/20 is just normal everyday cricket. Just like football didn’t exist before the Premiership. It’s only silly old up duffers like us that complain. “Get with the program grandad. “

      Like

      • AB August 29, 2017 / 11:21 am

        I have to say, I have less interest in watching professional cricket than I have done at any point since I was 9 years old.

        Most worryingly, I actively choose to watch the T20 Blast ahead of the test match at times last week – and I’m a traditionalist.

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      • Cricketjon August 29, 2017 / 11:31 am

        Mark, always enjoyed your comments and your recent post about sport becoming a business where there are effectively only two or three mega corps left in the world has now come to hit us…a most pertinent post and I hadn’t quite aligned it in that way before.

        I’m hitting 50 soon and the only joy I have watching any form of sport is going to my mates house and taking the **** out of the SkyComms. It creates a connection and maybe just maybe a new angle on life. But for the purists who cannot descend into cynicism chaos quite like I am capable of, they must be devastated at what they have seen the sport come to. The combo of Murdoch, Clarke and whoever at BCCI and Cricket Australia ( now there’s a funky piece of branding) has completed the transition from intent to implementation. Quite how effective that will be is yet to be seen in the mainstream although there are many on here who foresee it. ATB.

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        • Mark August 29, 2017 / 2:36 pm

          Thanks for that Jon. I think I just ramble on, and sometimes make some sense..

          If you can get enjoyment out of laughing at the pundits then why not? I find Match of the day, and most football shows so ludicrous and up themselves with ex footballers wearing suits that cost more than most people’s cars. Since when did Gary Liniker elevate himself to global ambassador?

          Like

  10. AB August 29, 2017 / 11:18 am

    The solution to the no-ball problem is easy. Change the laws so that its only called once the ball is dead. Umpires will no longer be terrified of calling no balls.

    Like

  11. Benny August 29, 2017 / 11:30 am

    You have all my sympathy. I think a lot of the difficulty is down to the fact that as we mature and, hopefully, become a little more financially stable, our standards rise, i.e. “Why should I have to put up with this?”

    I live 6 miles from the Hove ground. I won’t drive there. Driving through Brighton and Hove is tiresome. Bus(es) to get there is O.K. Coming back, the last bus is 5.30 and packed. The chances of watching a top player (Sanga, KP, Root … erm) are remote, refreshments are refusable. Can’t be bothered. Still retain a fondness for the Oval but Southern Rail aren’t that keen on running trains too often.

    Quite fancy popping into Hove for the final game for a last chance to see the brilliant Chris Read, if it’s not snowing by then

    Like

    • Benny August 29, 2017 / 11:33 am

      Ooops that was for Dmitri – and anyone else whose enthusiasm for hiking along to a match has waned.

      Like

    • Mark August 29, 2017 / 2:48 pm

      “as we mature and, hopefully, become a little more financially stable, our standards rise, i.e. “Why should I have to put up with this?”

      I have become far more intolerant of footballers on £100 grand a week who can’t pass the ball to each other or who can’t even take a basic corner or penalty. Ffs what are you getting paid for?

      And then their pundit mates come out and say the fans should get behind them, and not boo them. Please! Particularly when they have told me this is the best standard ever.

      As I get older I really love the old fairy story about The Emperors new clothes, and the little boy who pointed out the Emperor was naked. Completely applies to modern sport. All the hangers on telling us the cloth is the finest you can buy. Bollocks!

      Like

  12. SimonH August 29, 2017 / 11:58 am

    Dhaka dodged most of the showers again for play to end with Australia needing 165 with 8 wickets left. Warner scored 75* out of 109/2 which is odd because I thought he is a talentless slogger who only scores easy third innings’ runs at home – or so I’ve kept reading from the experts BTL on certain newspapers.

    The crucial moment was when Smith looked like he’d been stumped first ball and had almost walked off the ground when DRS revealed he had a 1mm of shore rubber behind the line. That was the ball after Khawaja swept one down deep square leg’s throat with two men back for the shot. Khawaja against the turning ball continues to be one of the mysteries of our time.

    Bangladesh are still strong favourites – but it could be a real squeaker tomorrow morning.

    Like

  13. SteveT August 29, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Loved him as a bowler, but Swanny is getting right on my tits with his daft impersonations. He’s just done Iron bloody Maiden FFS!

    Like

      • Elaine Simpson Long August 29, 2017 / 6:41 pm

        I have just clicked to follow you. Imhave changed my twitter account but it is me!

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 2:09 pm

      110 pages into his book. Everyone in authority seemed to turn against him. It is so odd.

      Like

      • Mark August 29, 2017 / 3:26 pm

        Did they? They never created a dossier on him.

        Wasn’t he thrown off a Lions tour early on? I remember seeing him in an ODI game on Sky and thinking why isn’t he in the England set up? Face didn’t fit I guess. Makes you wonder why he was such a Cook fan.

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        • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 4:03 pm

          He mentions in the book how that first ODI cap meant nothing to him. He wanted to go home, but then Ashley Giles had a minor knock and he had to stay on. He played one game and then flew home in his blazer. Swanny being Swanny, and all charm and bantz, he blagged a first class meal for his early trip home.

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          • SimonH August 29, 2017 / 5:48 pm

            Does he mention the incident with Gough?

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          • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 5:49 pm

            Yes.

            Absolutely no idea why he got smacked.

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  14. "IronBalls" McGinty August 29, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    A moot point, but, it seems to me that dropping TRJ was maybe not the smartest trick in the book?

    Like

    • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      You could maybe counter that by pointing out Woakes got an unbeaten 50. But I get your argument. Long way to go yet…

      Like

  15. thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    What a shame. Magnificent pair of innings from Kraigg Brathwaite.

    Like

  16. thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    The hard bit is yet to come. Usually there’s full panic mode at this point, but it’s a lot of runs still to get, especially in a Test where they can just bowl wide of off stump if need be. We may yet get a really tight finish. I’d forgotten what those were.

    Like

    • Mark August 29, 2017 / 3:20 pm

      I haven’t see any of it today. Is it taking spin? There looked to be something in the pitch yesterday. I thought Ali would bowl them out. A Leg spinner might have been good against the WI. What a shame we haven’t got one…….oh wait!

      Like

      • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 3:28 pm

        Not as much as you might have thought. The pitch seems to have flattened out a fair bit. England haven’t bowled brilliantly, but it’s not really doing plenty out there at all.

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        • Mark August 29, 2017 / 3:37 pm

          Cheers!

          As you say….. the pressure will ramp up on th WI now. Will they go for it or play for the draw? Perhap leave themselves 50 odd off the last 10 overs.

          Like

          • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 3:45 pm

            Anderson and Broad have just started to squeeze a little bit.

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    • BoredInAustria August 29, 2017 / 3:23 pm

      I almost forgot what 5th day meant…

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      • nonoxcol August 29, 2017 / 3:41 pm

        Fittingly, when I just checked the site there were guess how many comments?

        Yes indeed, there were 39…..

        What a plank.

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          • BoredInAustria August 29, 2017 / 4:02 pm

            I wonder who really wrote it?

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 4:05 pm

            Hey. He is the pioneer of the sports qualification…

            Ed is Course Director of a ground-breaking MA in Sports History 1800-2000, part of the University of Buckingham’s London Programmes.

            I’m wondering what might be the new course text.

            Rope money for old. Rearrange.

            Like

          • Mark August 29, 2017 / 4:17 pm

            What’s the definition of “modern sport?”

            I bet it’s got lots about Roger Federer in it.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 4:18 pm

            I’ll buy it, then I’ll lend it to you.

            I hope he goes on about baseball. He knows so much about it.

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          • Mark August 29, 2017 / 4:37 pm

            I wonder who gave him the job at the university of Buckingham? A degree in sports history? How much do you have to accumulate in debt to complete that course?

            What do you do with a degree like that? Write a column for The New Statesman…. once your teacher has retired.

            Like

          • Mark August 29, 2017 / 4:45 pm

            You just had to go and spoil my day didn’t you?

            I wonder if the shareholders of NG telecoms know the management are pissing their profits up the wall?

            “Growth culture?” I didn’t know growth had a culture. Was that Growths acoustic phase?

            Who pays for this nonsense? Oh yea, other shareholders of other companies. I bet they are always moaning about a few extra taxes, but they can shell out for this.

            Like

  17. man in a barrel August 29, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    I know that various guys have been dissing this match but it is bubbling into something memorable. Sadly, having watched the first 3 days I am now in non cricket territory. Who will be able to hold it together. Root can’t just throw it to Anderson, because he’s already done 17 overs. Moeen’s threat seems to have been overstated. Wow! Maybe Stokes will do it. Give it up to Braithwaite! He is a champ

    Like

    • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      I’m desperately hoping for the West Indies to need two runs off the last ball, 9 wickets down with Shannon Gabriel on strike, after his brain fart against Pakistan.

      Like

    • Mark August 29, 2017 / 4:26 pm

      I think the quality of the cricket on the first few days was dire. In particular the catching has been woeful. Almost by default of the amount of dropped catches this match could go down to the wire.

      The irony of a very close finish, which could go either way is hilarious as the administrators want to kill off 5 day cricket. Even when they stumble by accident into a tense close finale they want to abolish it.

      They don’t deserve the game they are killing. Can’t they bugger off and sell crisps or something?

      Like

      • man in a barrel August 29, 2017 / 4:42 pm

        So the centuries by Braithwaite and Hope were rubbish. Just what is your idea of good cricket?

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        • Mark August 29, 2017 / 5:11 pm

          Fair enough, but I thought the bowling and catching of both sides was very poor.

          Good luck to the two WI boys for making hundreds. They certainly deserve credit after the first test debacle.

          Perhaps my judgement is coloured by Cook informing us that the modern game is as good a standard as ever before.

          Like

          • thelegglance August 29, 2017 / 5:22 pm

            It doesn’t have to be of the highest standard of all time to be thrilling. The West Indies are a weak side, who make mistakes. Dropped catches happen, and in struggling sides they happen more. This has been a brilliant game, and a truly stunning run chase. For all the problems cricket might have, I don’t know how anyone can’t get up for this.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Sri.Grins August 29, 2017 / 5:53 pm

            Personally, rather than worrying about the relative standards, politics of the game, administrators etc, it may be better to focus on the pleasure of good cricket being played be it by England or WI. finally, it is not about the quality of cricket but that it is a game of cricket. meant to be watched if 8 year old kids are swishing at deliveries wildly. 🙂

            Like

  18. jomesy August 29, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    If they win will they take their shirts off and need a new skipper for the “horror” of it all?

    Like

  19. nonoxcol August 29, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    Well done! Perhaps their equivalent of Kingston 1990 in many respects.

    And now we wait with bated breath for….

    #Cookwouldnothavedeclared
    #ThatgamewhereRootcaptainedYorkshireandtheoppomade472for3

    But we can still laugh scornfully at 39 and Shiny Toy…

    Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol August 29, 2017 / 6:14 pm

        Oh I was thinking about the 17 years without winning away and finally doing so with a very much unheralded side.

        Like

  20. metatone August 29, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    Headingley can often be rather flat at this point in the season. This was a great preview for how our bowling will look Down Under. Not very optimistic at the moment, have to say.

    Like

    • metatone August 29, 2017 / 6:03 pm

      That said, massive congrats to the WI batsmen who have shown real mental strength coming back from a horrible 1st Test and then again holding firm after England came back in the 2nd innings.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 6:09 pm

        Still can see you Simon, even though you blocked me. Every coach needs a Selfey.

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus August 29, 2017 / 6:06 pm

      This prick was the England captain I revered. False idols.

      “Another GREAT Test match at Headingley …. Never fails to disappoint …. All Tests should be Up north …!!!!!!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cricketjon August 29, 2017 / 8:13 pm

        “Beware of false prophets.”
        Neil,Godwin, 2002

        Like

  21. Grenville August 29, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    What a brilliant game. I know England were off their game on day 1 and 2, but the West Indies took their chance. It after that it was intense and hard fought. I ❤ Shai Hope, what a weirdo. He doesn't even seem happy or pleased with himself.

    Also, Root, what a hero. Good declaration and a very a gracious acknowledgement of the opponent. He also managed not to patronise them. I'm happy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Grenville August 29, 2017 / 6:15 pm

      Also he (Hope) batted superbly.

      Like

  22. Silk August 29, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a test victory so much since the Oval in 2005. Which, given I’m English, shows how detached I am from this side.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Benny August 29, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Despite my earlier waffle about losing enthusiasm for cricket, I wish I’d been there at Headingley today. Watching on TV, I was hooked. Delighted the underdogs came through – quite easily.

    Like

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