England vs Pakistan: 1st Test, Day Two

Well isn’t this going swimmingly?

Call it a radical thought, but perhaps in the discussion around how to fix the away form, England have overlooked a slightly bigger problem.  They’re really not very good.  And when not very good, a preparation consisting of the IPL and very early season games on damp tracks might not be totally conducive to good performances at Test level.  England have only had three areas where they’ve been second best in this match – namely batting, bowling and fielding, against an inexperienced but talented Pakistan side who have gone through the highly unfashionable approach of preparing properly.  Ireland have an opportunity in future to ensure they get Test cricket at home by serving as high quality warm up for an England series, and while this seems condescending given England’s current woes, the difficulty of the fringe sides in gaining Test exposure is well documented.  A future of thoroughly prepared overseas teams against England sides who are anything but could prove a highly ironic development.

Of course, when England play poorly it is often the bowlers who pay the price, and it may be the case that here too they become the ones at risk for weirdly failing to adequately turn 184 into a decent score.  England didn’t bowl that badly today – it could have been better, certainly, not least if England hadn’t shelled six or seven (depending on how harsh an observer is feeling) catches.  Cook was particularly guilty, though it does tend to be first slip who is most culpable when a team gets the drops, just because he usually gets the most chances.

350-8 in many circumstances would be an adequate enough day, the problem is that yesterday was so bad it makes it look disastrous.  It certainly could have been substantially better had those catches been taken, but a poor batting display also has the effect of taking the pressure off the opposition batsmen and placing it on the bowlers and fielders who have to (again) try and rescue the team from the mess of their own creation.  Struggling teams miss chances, confident teams take them.  Anderson and Broad in particular passed the edge repeatedly, and did keep their lengths fairly consistent throughout.  They could have been luckier, certainly.  Stokes was the most effective of the other bowlers, working up decent pace at times as he did his best impression of someone livid at the match situation.

For Pakistan it was a case of sharing the workload.  Four players passed fifty, and they never looked to be in particular difficulties, remorselessly grinding England down, first to eliminate the modest deficit overnight and then to stretch the lead.  The nasty blow to Babar Azam’s arm allowed England to claim some late wickets, making the first two days merely horrendous rather than utterly catastrophic.  Pakistan thoroughly deserve their commanding lead, they have totally outplayed England to this point.

166 is already an enormous advantage, and it’s possible – especially if Babar bats tomorrow – that they could push it closer to 200, a situation in which England would need to bat out of their skins to have any chance at all, and where recent history suggests an innings defeat is more likely.  England have lost five of their last seven Tests, winning none of them, and six in eight is well and truly on the cards.  But is anyone really surprised?  The ECB have tried to point to away form as being the problem, without ever seemingly recognising that being a thoroughly modest team might be the bigger reason for such a lack of success.  Whatever the issues around a tail off in Cook’s form, even the lesser Cook is a batting titan in this poor team, while Broad and Anderson are intent on demonstrating to everyone that even as they get older the prospect of the team without them is quite terrifying.  Once again, the most familiar sensation is that of watching the West Indies attack as Walsh and Ambrose reached the end of their careers.

Tomorrow England will need to knuckle down, bat time and try to whittle down the deficit, yet so few of the batting order are capable of that kind of approach.  The selection of Buttler at seven has merit when a side is sufficiently strong to flay the opposition bowlers when pushing for a win, not so much when England are consistently in trouble.  What is he supposed to do, bat in a totally alien way to his strengths?

Yet again the teams fell short of the required number of overs in the day, this time three short, yesterday six short.  Yet again there’s no sign of anyone especially caring.  The range of official excuses has become tiresome – whatever delays there might be during play (and certainly there were a couple today, not least the injury to Babar Azam) ought to be catered for by the additional half hour.  The only conclusion is that the ICC don’t care, and nor do the national boards or indeed the players.  In truth, there’s not that much evidence that spectators are that bothered by it either, but it doesn’t mean that it is acceptable, it’s robbing spectators of part of their ticket fee.  It is particularly noteworthy given the various discussions around the Hundred, and the supposed shortening from T20 to fit into the allotted time.  That the authorities don’t care when play takes far too long is by far a better indicator of the problem than any artificial creation to ensure play is within a specific timeframe.  Yet it appears that those objecting are shouting into the wind, even if David Lloyd, to his credit, is one of very few commentators who consistently complains about it.  Given the match situation, perhaps fewer overs is indeed a mercy.

A three day finish is quite possible.  A huge defeat is quite likely.  And more than that, it could be seen coming.  But the ECB have Test cricket as their top priority, so no need to worry, right?


78 thoughts on “England vs Pakistan: 1st Test, Day Two

  1. Mark May 25, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Is it time for a complete overhaul of central contracts? Have they made England’s cricketers soft, and complacent? They were supposed to be about giving the ECB control of the top players and allow them to rest from county slog. A rest…..not a permanent beach towel and cocktail cabinet.

    Time for a bit more performance related pay, and less fixed guarantees? And why pay any of the so called coaches? They are either completely inofective or the players are too stupid or complacent to learn from them.

    It’s all got a little bit to cosy me thinks.

    They will probably score 450 second dig now and win easily. But so far it’s been dire.


    • Zephirine May 25, 2018 / 7:06 pm

      ‘Time for a bit more performance related pay, and less fixed guarantees?’

      I think, but not sure, they get the same match fee, win or lose (in addition to their salary). Perhaps a very very small match fee for losing and a much much bigger one for winning would clarify a few minds.


      • metatone May 26, 2018 / 3:48 am

        I’d keep central contracts for bowlers, because they are the ones who were getting injured from overwork (and control there does help) and send the batsmen out to get more practice.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Grenville May 26, 2018 / 9:30 am

          You need there to be a first class game between mid May and September for that to do much good.


  2. Grenville May 25, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    Having caught the tail end of ‘the cricket debate’, I started thinking about ‘development pathways’. One thing is clear, Flower needs the sack. The whole development set-up is failing. Now, the romantic in me says that any ‘elite development pathway’ will fail. The cricketer will only succeed when she is returned to her community. She can only learn when her success means something. It’s for that reason that England, with their Sky millions an their positivist approach to metaphysics, are in free fall, but that’s completely unevidenced, romance. More likely it’s simply a case that you do better playing with adults in meaningful competition as a teanager than by honing your ability to land it on a length in the indoor school.


      • northernlight71 May 25, 2018 / 7:07 pm

        Am I surprised? No.
        Am I really, really, really, really depressed?

        Answers on the back of a ten pound note addressed to C.Graves Esq.


      • OscarDaBosca May 25, 2018 / 7:34 pm

        Oh ffs, Ramprakash now applying his coaching skills to the Lions.
        I am glad I haven’t invested any energy since Adelaide watching this team.

        I’m not even sure a NZ style Home nadir (Hussain’s first match?) will change anything because no one watches anymore so no one cares

        I urge everyone to rewatch Death Of a Gentleman like I did the other night. This is the denouement of the defenestration of test cricket and the film just looks even more prescient

        Oh and Selvey disagrees with it all – so that’s another recommendation

        Liked by 2 people

    • d'Arthez May 25, 2018 / 7:50 pm

      “The cricketer will only succeed when she is returned to her community. She can only learn when her success means something. ”
      Exactly. This cannot be stressed enough. But I fear you talk too much sense for the ECB to actually seriously pick this up. If they were, they would have found a way to get rid of Clarke after the odious comments about Cook’s family.
      Other than a few freaks of nature, cricket requires a lot of work to get good at, a lot of effort, even when the chips are down. You have to enjoy playing the game, enjoy watching the game, to get really good at it. Since it is a team game, that also means, athleticism, and a lot of interpersonal skills to deal with both the proceedings on the field as well as those off the field. And that requires a lot more than just doing the basics “right” in an artificial setting.
      The problem is that now actual results do not even matter. The ECB has even admitted it themselves. And as results become increasingly meaningless to players, they look after their own interests, rather than their teams’ interests. So you have bowlers protecting their economy rates, batsmen playing the glory shots in search of IPL contracts, and as such you end up with 11 grumpy individuals on the field when things are not going their way (“disinterested” as one of our betters put it in 2014).


      • thelegglance May 25, 2018 / 7:54 pm

        It remains one of my favourite things that when Downton made that “disinterested” remark, Pietersen replied denying he was uninterested…

        Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel May 25, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      The archetypal folk evidence goes back to Wilfrid Rhodes trying to pitch the ball on a sheet of paper with his dog fetching the ball back. Except I have never seen an account that explains what Wilf did for spending money or food that winter


    • quebecer May 25, 2018 / 10:50 pm

      I think what’s most striking is the absolute refusal to look at the reality of it simply not working. Everything the ECB has put in place, and this is the result. Quite how they can keep witnessing the consequences of their ‘pathways’ and still think they’ve got this right is beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance May 25, 2018 / 10:54 pm

        “If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • Quebecer May 25, 2018 / 11:47 pm



        • northernlight71 May 26, 2018 / 7:47 am

          I’m far from an ECB apologist but it is possible…… bear with me……. that they have actually got the best structures and pathways in place, but are confronted with the difficult fact that none of the players coming through have the same talent as previous generations? We all know that cricket has all but disappeared off the radar for many people born this millennium and so an athletically talented teenager who’s looking at his or her range of options when they realise they are pretty good at all sports might not choose to pursue cricket, might not even have ever played it perhaps, before deciding they want the glamour of a football career or the kudos of an Olympic medal.
          We’re at a stage now when we might be looking at young players who simply don’t remember the 2005 Ashes. Cricket is anonymous.
          This brings me to another thought, which is that whatever else one might think about T20 franchise leagues, it does at least make cricket look like a sport that can buy you a nice house and a big car. I know, I know….. materialistic and base considerations, but at the very least they can act as nudges to children and parents when thinking about where to spend their time and money as they grow up. I speak as someone who used to ferry my daughter to gymnastics training 5 times a week for 2-3 hours at a time who occasionally, to my shame, thought “I hope she enjoys this because she isn’t going to get fame and fortune out of it.” (NB She didn’t enjoy it and we’ve stopped going now!)
          I’m not sure what my point is or was. There might be some great players who aren’t fulfilling their potential because they get too much Andy Flower or Mark Ramprakash or Loughborough in their lives. I’m sure that happens.But they might just not be the best athletes of their generation. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they can’t be improved to a level better than that which we’re currently seeing….

          I’d still clear out the coaching staff and start again though. Just in case.


          • Grenville May 26, 2018 / 9:54 am

            You might be right, we are talking counterfactuals afterall, but I hope not.

            The first observation is that population size doesn’t seem to make a difference. It does seem to be something about sporting culture. Aus at cricket, W Indies before the IMF decimated the Caribbean renaissance. NZ rugby. The list goes on.

            I think that this is, in part, because sport means something. I don’t mean tribal nationalism, but something like the expression of the human personality and that, if you are with Arendt, is something that onlymakes sense in a shared public world.

            Less romantically, I think that D’Arthez nailed it with his (?) observation that excellence requires more than mechanical skills and even the will to acquire such skills requires love for the game.

            Finally, as AB will testify, the elite performance squad just means the kids in the local public school 1st team. They are the ones who are coached by the County development officers.


  3. oreston May 25, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    Chill, TLG! Didn’t you get the memo? This is just a little early season knockabout – a mere warm-up for the Kohli show. You wouldn’t want Team ECB to peak too early, would you? Nothing to see here 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. man in a barrel May 25, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    Whatever the question, I doubt that Mark Wood is the answer. However you wonder why you should ask your least tall quickie to bowl Bodyline. I don’t think Larwood bowled round the wicket but somehow it’s now OK to bowl Bodyline. Fielding restrictions take the sting out. But if Pakistan started a twitter meme about racist Bodyline bowling by Stokes, what would the reaction be? Of course, when India did it at Lords in 2015, and won, it was OK. Wasn’t the great Jos Buttler, finest batter of all time, one of the “happy hookers”?


  5. Silk May 25, 2018 / 9:48 pm

    I still don’t care, but Mark Wood really isn’t very good, is he?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. thelegglance May 25, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    On other matters, does anyone know what the story is with Carberry being relieved as Leicestershire captain?


    • northernlight71 May 25, 2018 / 11:51 pm

      Carberry is no doubt relieved that he is no longer part of the horror story which is the England batting order.


      • Pontiac May 26, 2018 / 3:32 am

        One of a procession of openers over the last several years who weren’t quite good enough but who nevertheless in retrospect would have wound up being better than whoever replaced them.

        It’s sorta like an order topology.

        England suffers a lot from delusions of finding Mr. Right when what they should do is work with Mr. Right Now.


    • Riverman21 May 26, 2018 / 7:48 am

      Paul Nixon interview says the management team felt he was too reactive not proactive. They may have asked too much by giving him the captaincy. They want him back out playing. No health issues thankfully.
      Sounds like a straightforward decision to swap to Horton.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. quebecer May 25, 2018 / 10:59 pm

    Well, first of all, well played Pakistan. Secondly, is there a person here who isn’t genuinely happy for Grenville and other Pakistani followers? I doubt it.

    Thirdly, we know we only have 5 test players in our team, but I swear I’d swap them for three, if those three were Lara, Ambrose and Walsh. Many people were blinded last summer by one big knock each from Root and Cook and a remarkably effective Toby Roland Jones in to ignoring (Stokes’ batting aside) how poor we were the rest of the time.

    Strauss’ ‘we have beed crap away from home for 40 years’ implies we’re good at home. I think our home record in recent years is enormously flattering to us. And we’ve been getting worse. And here we are. Pretty bloody poor.

    Mistakes on every level are catching up with us in a hurry, and the last shreds of denial are about to be blown away this summer. I’m optimistic this will happen.


    • thelegglance May 25, 2018 / 11:01 pm

      Actually, I was going to expand on the home record, but the trouble is the raw results look pretty reasonable. They’ve probably over performed – that 3-1 win last year v South Africa is a seriously impressive result given this England side.


      • dannycricket May 25, 2018 / 11:39 pm

        My impression (and I haven’t checked this) is that England win more close games than they lose at home, and so it won’t take much more deterioration before they lose a few more close games and can’t win anywhere in the world. Apart from Sri Lanka, who are presumably preparing English-style green tops now to avoid the appearance of doctored pitches.


      • Quebecer May 25, 2018 / 11:58 pm

        Yep, I think like Danny the nature of the wins (and losses) should be examined. it seems to me a bit like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff in a Roadrunner cartoon.


      • metatone May 26, 2018 / 3:54 am

        I’ve said it before, but (before this game) England have really been a “home conditions” (= lateral movement) team. Their home record is some devastating spells from Broad or Anderson wins games and when the weather dries up, they get into trouble.

        Couple of ways to view this match so far:

        – Got the toss wrong against a team that likes these conditions too.

        – Branderson getting older, not as able to perform in a shootout. i.e. We’ve won a bunch of games at home with poor batting performances by virtue of the bowlers. But not this time…


    • Grenville May 26, 2018 / 10:03 am

      It has been fun. I feel really quite sad for poor Babar. He was looking good for a maiden test century. I felt like he was close to cracking test cricket. hope that they bring in Sami Aslam. He looked good last time Pakistan were here.

      We will see a lot of short stuff at Headingley and, I predict that Pakistan will handle it better than here.


  8. Sri.grins May 26, 2018 / 2:45 am

    A contrary view.

    Sometimes test talent just does not come through. See Sach, dravid, vcs, sourav, sehwag and what we have now as batsmen.

    The numbers have increased but quality of Indian test batsmen have dropped

    Interestingly, the next bunch of younger batsmen (21 and below) look far better at their age than the current test batsmen including kohli did at that age.

    None of the top 5 batsmen in the English team played in the ipl. I doubt if Stokes and jos would have profited as their batting game styles are anyway not oriented to watchful defence.

    Likewise only one bowler played in the IPL.

    It now seems to be a convenient clothes peg to hang anything on.

    It is just a phase and probably the next set of younger English batsmen and bowlers may be very good.

    It seems more a cyclical scene on England like in India and not really a fall like the WI.

    Forget the ECB all their errors of omission and commission. It is when your team is not doing well they need the support of fans who support England.

    I understand the desire to say ‘I told you so’. But, I think being constant prophets of doom is unlikely to turn things around.


    • dannycricket May 26, 2018 / 6:12 am

      Yes but in this year’s Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand, India won and England came 6th. England have also had the major issue of players not improving after being picked, which suggests either that they were already playing at their potential or (as I suspect) the coaching by the ECB is absolutely pants.

      So, for example, no player who has debuted from 2014 onwards has secured their Test place. This handily coincides with Andy Flower taking over the England Lions and (I think) under 19s. And the England Lions, who are supposed to be the future of the Test team, appear not to be very good either compared to other countries’ A teams.


      • Sri.grins May 26, 2018 / 7:30 am

        I agree that player development is poor. Fans should focus on this issue and ask for Andy flower’s resignation. Enough pressure from fans will get even flower out. Maybe a good idea to start a hash tag calling for flower to be removed from any role in player development. Whether it works or not at least it will be a concrete step forward for most of the fans

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark May 26, 2018 / 10:33 am


          You just said ……Fans should “ask for Andy Flowers resignation.”…..”start a hash tag calling for flower to be removed from any role in player development.”

          But you also said prior to that…….. “Forget the ECB all their errors of omission and commission. It is when your team is not doing well they need the support of fans who support England.”

          These are completely contradictory positions. The ECB relys on the servitude, and loyalty of fans to avoid any change. They hide behind the team to cover up their incompetence. We on this site have called for real change , and we are attacked by the powers that be who don’t want to lose their jobs.

          I have been saying for years that the ECB is managing the decline of test cricket while moving us on to a more 20/20 model where they believe the money, and the audience might be. I just wish they would be honest about it. They are happy to still take our money from tv and tickets while destroying test cricket but happily pretending they are doing something about it. As far as I can see they are just enjoying a free ride on money taken on false pretences.

          They may be right, and there is nothing that can be done. All the issues that Northern light says……. about changing culture, celebrity lifestyles, and all that. Maybe test cricket was a 20th century concept that has little place in the 21st century. My view is this is why they are so determined to push franchise cricket as they want to keep control so they can still profit from it and keep their lavish lifestyles. After all, if cricket is to become a private franchise model why is there any need for the ECB? Who needs all these committes and free lunches if International test cricket dies?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.Grins May 26, 2018 / 11:40 am

            The positions are not contradictory.

            When I referred to the ECB, I was talking of the hundred, the way they handled kp, the protection provided to cook etc

            Removing ineffective coaching and development resources can still be done even by a dumb organization. After all even the BCCI removes some staff who they find ineffective without in anyway being a model organization.


          • d'Arthez May 26, 2018 / 11:55 am

            The are contradictory, because the ECB use the fans’ blind allegiance to cover up their own incompetence. Time and again. Whenever a scandal breaks, that is the first line of defence employed by the ECB.

            So obviously, fans can’t support the team, because that legitimises the blatant corruption within the ECB.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark May 26, 2018 / 12:26 pm

            Of course they are contradictory.

            Why would the ECB take any notice of us fans when we call for Flower to resign when at the same time you say we should stop criticising the very same ECB and back the team?

            I don’t really think you understand how the ECB and sports governing bodies operate Sri. Some on here won’t even support the England team anymore because the ECB gets the benefit of that support, and uses it as a shield to hide behind their stupid policies and appointments.

            Nothing will change until people stop going or paying the wages of the officials. People keep going because of the love of the sport. The unscrupulous sports bodies play on that.

            They are not going to get rid of Flower. They brought him back after just three months after he resigned after the 5-0 Ashes shambles. Now they have elevated him to top man while Strauss deals with personal matters. There is a mind set, that will not be deviated from. A group think if you like that can not be challenged. The ECB is more like a cult than a governing body.


          • Sri.grins May 26, 2018 / 1:55 pm

            Mark /arthez

            Where have I said that you should support the ecb?

            I have said that dislike of the ecb should not impact the support you give your team. A lot of Indians hate the bcci. I am indifferent to it but I still support my team and hope they win even of they keep failing tour after tour. This is true of most other Indians too.

            I and other Indian fans can criticize the decisions, selection facilities etc provided by the bcci and hate srini or paws but still back my team.

            If you think because you support your team the ecb will take advantage that is your call.

            My cricket team comes ahead of any hate for bcci or selectors


          • d'Arthez May 26, 2018 / 2:30 pm

            The problem is, as stated before, that supporting the team is taken by the ECB as a measure of support for their idiocy. If the ECB are good at one thing, it is to monetise every penny they can potentially generate.

            Time and again. It has gotten to the point that most cricket journalists in the Mainstream media could easily be mistaken for professional cheerleaders (because the ECB control the MSM cricket narrative these days). There is zero attempt to hold the powers that be to account. Whether it is Pietersen (2014), Stanford, Big 3 money grab, blatant refusal to play Bangladesh, the Hundred, the idiocies in the pre-2015-WC ODI team, or the complete lack of transparency and integrity with regards to hiring decisions (Downton, Moores, Flower in his various job incarnation, Loughborough, Strauss etc). I can hardly think of any cricket media in the world that has voluntarily opted to remove its backbone like this.

            Hell, even the PCA (the professional cricketers association) has fallen for that line time and again, to the point that they do not even take representing their members seriously anymore. It is like a trade union advocating to shoot strikers for rightful grievances with the bosses, because the bosses complain they don’t have enough caviar for their sumptuous lunches.

            The only language the ECB understands is the one of the filthy lucre. So, as long as people buy the tickets, buy the merchandise, and sign the sponsorship deals (in case of corporates), the people in the ECB are happily drawing huge salaries for destroying the game in England.

            And they won’t change one iota, unless their incompetence is drying up the monies (squeezed out of the rest of the cricketing world, because I suspect that the ECB take more out of international cricket than they actually contribute). By that time though they may have succeeded in destroying English cricket, and due to money they have looted for themselves also cricket in a few other countries.

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol May 26, 2018 / 3:02 pm

            I would like this a hundred times if I could. Don’t know why you had to say it though. I thought it was obvious this is not a forum for England fans. If it becomes one I’m off.


    • northernlight71 May 26, 2018 / 7:49 am

      I just wrote something a bit similar up thread before finding you’d already said much of it already, and in a considerably shorter manner! Great minds think alike…. (or fools never differ?!)


      • Sri.grins May 26, 2018 / 9:11 am

        Your post makes a lot of sense and as an English cricket follower, a better assessment of English players as well as I only know the English international players at a long distance.

        Also financial rewards do motivate parents to allow free rein to their children in taking up sports.

        In India, quite a few young cricketers hung up their boots or migrated for higher studies pre 1990 because their parents felt it was not worth pursuing and parents do still play a significant role in career choices at an early age in India. But, now parents in India see much bigger opportunities in sport thanks to cricket, badminton etc.


  9. S. Sudarshanan May 26, 2018 / 4:42 am

    Well compiled. At the start of this Test, I thought, “Ahh, well England are back to the comforts of their homes. Now we could be treated for some quality stuff from them…” But no, they’ve been anything but great. And to expect a turnaround from the situation they’re in now is asking too much.


  10. Prime.Evil May 26, 2018 / 7:54 am

    Hear ye! Hear ye!

    All you fine fellows in the English cricket team, your salvation is at hand. I have in my possession and for the measly price of two bob, I can let you have it, Dean Elgar’s best-selling self-help book:

    “Coping with slip fielding when one suffers from cricket’s very own yips – butter-fingers”

    Pakistan played conditions and match-awareness so much better than England. Pakistan may yet toss the game in a session but if they continue with the same determination they have shown so far, the game is theirs.

    England, you were piss-poor. Show test cricket some respect. Where is your fight, where is your passion, where is your balls? Maybe you have given up already seeing you came up with this 100-ball monstrosity. Maybe you think “well, we invented it, we’ll shit all over it if we feel like it.” No sir, it belongs to those of us who love it. Even though most of us can’t always flock in huge numbers to watch tests live, we are “there” through tv, internet, radio or newspaper reports.

    We like to think of the BCCI as nasty and accuse of them of all sorts of nefarious deeds. The Indian team, and certainly supporters behind them, are a different proposition. They are very passionate and very willing to fight. If the team shows some of the resolve shown by Virat Kohli in SA, England is going to have a real miserable time shortly.

    Maybe England is tired of being “the hated” in the world. Sure, in SA, in rugby in particular, we hate losing to the All Blacks – it does not go down well. Losing to England is a FUCKING DISASTER! Beating England stands for something because England stood for something, I am the best, I beat the best.

    Shape up, England!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. thebogfather May 26, 2018 / 9:02 am

    Yet another Strauss/Flower ‘New Dawn’
    Team selection from ‘ThePlagiarist’s’ spawn
    Where the problem areas, so long and lingering
    Ne’er get more than a calloused fingering
    Move up one, play, play, play up, the ‘Empty Suit’ game
    Be soothed by four, right arm swing nay shame
    Play fielding places like a game of scrabble
    Flay outside off like a 16/4 empty stadium, overpaid rabble
    Picking one’s nose easier that plucking a catch
    Slick corporate bollox speak after the match
    Oh well, never mind, pay, pay, pay up, the ECB – be shamed!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. oreston May 26, 2018 / 10:43 am

    And so it begins… Cook gone for 1. England effectively -178/1. Anyone with tickets for Sunday is probably going to be disappointed.


    • LordCanisLupus May 26, 2018 / 10:46 am

      It was excellent bowling.

      In case you forget, it was excellent bowling.

      Stoneman gets that and Nasser will be examining technique and casting it in the narrative….

      Liked by 2 people

      • oreston May 26, 2018 / 10:56 am

        You have to ask (but I’m guessing the Sky commentators probably won’t) how it is that Pakistan, who have just prised out a living God, are merely 7th in the ICC Test rankings. They’re ahead, lest we forget, of only Bangladesh, Windies and Zim (Ireland aren’t listed yet).


      • Mark May 26, 2018 / 11:03 am

        If Nasser had an ounce of sense he would start standing up for his own generation, and their talent. His contemporaries faced far greater teams, and bowlers than the current generation.

        Yet Nasser revels in the modern cult of the “greatest ever” to describe the current generation. He buys into Cooks ludicrous claim that test cricket is as good as it has ever been.

        Your selling yourself, and the likes of Thorpe and Atherton down the river Naz.


  13. thebogfather May 26, 2018 / 11:26 am

    Ahh, SkyCricket… (I’ve had it free for two weeks less than a year, not a word from them since).. and yet, the most memorable moments of what I’ve seen or heard over the first two days were an elongated, uncommented upon view of Strauss and Plagiarist laughing and joking despite Comma’s personal situation and Ed’s initial team selection failure, sat on high from their elite seats while TeamECB were struggling just after lunch day one…
    The second being Sky’s unerring ability to capture Cook picking his nose at slip…

    Bogeymen all…


    • Mark May 26, 2018 / 11:55 am

      Is it true that Smith has been kept on by BBC test match special as a commentator even though he is now the national chief selector employed by the ECB? Surely that can’t be right? He can’t commentate on the players he has selected.

      If it is true, it just confirms my view of the broadcasters arrogance, and their contempt for independent journalism, and their audience. I don’t listen anymore which is why I’m asking the question.


      • Nicholas May 26, 2018 / 10:02 pm

        Mark, I’m pretty sure that Ed Smith severed all his ties with the BBC when he took up his new role.


    • Benny May 26, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      I dumped Sky for Virgin. Now I get begging letters from Sky every week to come back. Won’t happen


  14. oreston May 26, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    He may not be Mr Popular for 101 reasons, but Acting Director Comma is right about the domestic structure hampering the Test side and even ventures that, “I don’t think it is controversial to say that.” I guess for all his huge failings he is speaking from the POV of a coach. Still, I wouldn’t trust him to enact a sensible solution. Anyway, how’s this going to square with Harrison and Graves’ vision?
    Or perhaps (donning my tin foil hat…) has he in fact just been put up to say this to quell the rumblings of discontent as he’s in a temporary role and what he says therein can be conveniently forgotten about in a couple of months’ time? The ECB wouldn’t pull a stunt like that, would they?



    • thelegglance May 26, 2018 / 12:58 pm

      Its interesting that. It’s a statement of the bleeding obvious to a fair extent, and whatever we might think of Flower, I’m not sure there’s that much doubt that he views Test cricket as the primary form of the game – his focus when coach made that pretty clear.

      The question is, do they want to do anything about it at the ECB? The irony is that it may well need England getting a hammering this summer for there to be any chance of that happening.


      • oreston May 26, 2018 / 2:20 pm

        The first few taps of that potential hammering are coming down as we speak, but if it does come to pass what will actually happen? There’s nobody really holding our present crop (infestation?) of supremos to account and they certainly don’t show much acknowledgement of having a duty of care towards the First Class game. There’s nowhere near enough push back from the counties yet and I doubt many of them will feel strong enough to offer much resistance. Any proposed change of course perceived by Graves and Harrison as regressive or which would disrupt the Board’s fiscal pact with the devil (the broadcasters) will no doubt be deemed to be off the table.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 26, 2018 / 2:29 pm

          One thing I should be pleased about. I still feel bloody angry. I don’t know why. But I am raging.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark May 26, 2018 / 2:55 pm

            Once the rage goes, you can’t get it back.

            I should care, but I just find it hilarious now. The ECB are the greatest vaudeville act going.


      • LordCanisLupus May 26, 2018 / 2:31 pm

        This “expert” tweet at the end of day one has aged well.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Mark May 26, 2018 / 2:46 pm

            They are holding an entire evening to let him and his chums celebrate his opinions. Tickets are like gold dust I’m told.


        • LordCanisLupus May 26, 2018 / 2:40 pm

          Another avenue closes…

          They’ve binned it because they can’t repeat it? Lamest reason ever. They’ve binned it to cut costs because they’ve massively overpaid for sports rights.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark May 26, 2018 / 2:52 pm

            He’s rapidly burning through various broadcasters and means of employment. BBC, Guradian, Sky….

            They binned it because no one gives a shit anymore. Sky have also dumped the 1 hour verdict as well, and replaced it with a half hour version. Even Bob Willis can’t maintain the required level of outrage these days.

            He just shrugs and says this is the best they have. Which is probably true.


          • nonoxcol May 26, 2018 / 3:00 pm

            Is he actually congenitally incapable of criticising Sky? Like, for ANYTHING AT ALL?

            Liked by 1 person

  15. d'Arthez May 26, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    I feel like the first over after the drinks break, in which Amir took care of Malan and Bairstow may well put the fight out of England. Still adrift by 84 runs, and four batsmen gone. And with England’s tail in this game, I can’t really see the tail adding 150 runs here.


    • d'Arthez May 26, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Guess I was wrong, but there was hardly a thing in the wicket for the bowlers in the last session. Buttler and Bess cash in, and finally England have won a session in this Test.
      Mind you, it is effectively 56/6, so still not a great position for England. If only they had not suffered the four wicket madness in the 40 minutes before tea …


  16. Rohan May 26, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    Underestimate Pakistan at your peril. This is exactly what England did, they were probably a little arrogant and complacent and thought on seam/swing friendly pitches, Broad and Anderson would be enough and they would win easily.

    Pakistan are better prepared than England, look like a team and deserve to win this test. Who knows if they will be as good in the next test, but I would imagine England can’t be much worse…..

    If England lose (probably likely), cue the usual platitudes and nonsense about ‘young side’ and ‘a disappointing performance’ but ‘we will learn from this’ etc. etc. etc. It’s all meaningless twaddle, nothing will change, the wider setup is rotten and the team just not good enough.

    On to the second test. Can England salvage some pride?


  17. Mark May 26, 2018 / 2:40 pm


    For the first ….”but they’re playing fantastically well in the nets.”

    Yes, because they’re playing against our bowlers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan May 26, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Cookie was great for Root in the changing room, a real bastion of steel clad support!


  18. metatone May 26, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Just want to put it on the record (since you know how the commentary is going to go after the match) – total runs for the match, Cook 71; Root 72

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston May 26, 2018 / 3:47 pm

      I imagine we’ll hear all about Joe’s failure to convert a 50 into a century again. If only he could’ve made a double ton like the Blessed GOAT of Melbourne…

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Mark May 26, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Ed Smith grinning on the screen, and ever so slowly inching forward in his seat… just beginning to believe he might be the next Sir Alex Ferguson.


    • oreston May 26, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      It’s a pity Roger Federer isn’t available for selection.


  20. Deep Purple Fred May 26, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    I love it when England resists in a lost cause. It’s just delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. oreston May 26, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Butter’s going to find himself in BIG trouble. He hasn’t played his natural game like he was picked to do.
    Seriously, well done to him for the level of application he’s shown today – especially coming out to bat in such a dire situation – and for his evident determination to thumb his nose at those who doubted he could curb his white ball instincts. He’s doing Ed Smith a favour too – although that’s more by luck than judgement.


  22. Cricketjon May 26, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    New ball in the first 15 minutes tomorrow.


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