The Third Test Preview – I Say A Little Prayer

Dr Dmitri doing his rounds…..

Dateline: Thursday 16th August (the time of writing most of this) 2018. 

Date of Examination: Saturday 18th August at 11 am for initial tests.

Series Condition: 2-0 to England. India in serious trouble. Could be on life support. Host’s cranium expanding in domestic environment.

Prognosis: Could be all over by Tuesday (4 day tests, innit). Full recovery chances slim for visitors. For host, a case of feet outgrowing footwear eminently possible.

Symptoms: Indian batting in disarray, bowling not able to cover the cracks, single person dependency. England have greatest ever fast bowler* on top of his game, bowling better than ever. Batting may need further operations, although lower half provides a solid base for upper torso convulsions.

Cure: Well, this is England playing. They can be good. They can be bad. A hard fought match keeping the series alive might be just the tonic.

Enough of that. Report cards get me into trouble.

It’s time to say a little prayer. I wasn’t a huge fan of Aretha Franklin, but even I recognise when a legend passes, and she surely was one. Hell, she even worked for Donald Trump. No greater sacrifice. That’s your politics quota for the year from me.

It feels a bit trite using my favourite of her songs for the title of this blog post, but although the song has, quite understandably, sod all to do with cricket, the title resonates with how I feel about test cricket. And yes, we are just two weeks after a really gripping match. There is a more worrying trend that the Edgbaston Epic didn’t mask, and I’ll outline that later. I felt very low after Lord’s. Not because England won easily. Not because of the cheap shots passing themselves off very poorly as humour (mainly because of some of the protagonists) at Adil Rashid’s lack of contribution. Not even because the English summer seems over. No. There are trends, I follow them, and they worry me.

When this series started there were a number out there, sensible people, who wondered how we would ever bowl India out twice. India’s prowess maybe slightly overstated, certainly overseas, but these aren’t callow youths out there. They have scored runs on tricky surfaces. Where in India you wonder when they’ll fail to get 500, now we wonder if they will make 200 in an innings, something they have failed to do in 8 out of the last 9 attempts in England (and the one they did relied on a superb solo effort by their captain). I’m saying a little prayer for another Edgbaston Epic, but that would probably mean our batting would need to live down to order. I’m saying a little prayer for a competitive match, but Indian bowling will need to get better, and they’ve been not so bad so far. I’m saying a little prayer that when I get to go to the test at The Oval on 7th September, there is something worth watching and not an Indian team ready to pack up and go home. Like they were in 2011 (I was there) and 2014 (you couldn’t have paid me to go).

This test really revolves around how India bat and of course that will depend on the surface and atmospheric conditions. The test at Trent Bridge four years ago saw a pitch widely pilloried for producing boring cricket, James Anderson’s test best batting, an Alastair Cook wicket and yes, a draw – but the weather for that test was warm and dry too. Since then Trent Bridge may have become the batting paradise in ODI cricket, but it has not been so amenable for test matches. There was, of course, the Australian subsidence in 2015, and last year was the “you don’t take test cricket seriously” test (Shiny Toy) as England got thumped by South Africa. There’s every expectation that we’ll see another seamer friendly surface at the ground Jimmy Anderson has, I think, the best record at. The weather looks a bit iffy for Sunday, but early forecasts suggest that will be the main impediment over the scheduled five days, but there isn’t talk of glorious unbroken sunshine either. The arrows are all pointing in one direction. But this is England we are talking about.

After the events of this week, the key focus will be around Ben Stokes, who has been brought back into the team for “his own wellbeing”. Well, that’s lovely (stop laughing at the back – is it really six years since Textgate?). Having bowled the last rites at Edgbaston, received the plaudits for removing Kohli on the last morning, and then having missed Lord’s to be with m’learned friends, he’s back. Put back into the squad without so much as a moment’s hesitation, perhaps as a charitable act, Ben is almost certain to play, resume his spot at number 5, and the cards will fall where the cards will fall. Logic suggests that the man to make way will be Sam Curran (and selfishly, if it is, get him down to the Oval for the Lancashire match), as young Sam’s bowling isn’t quite automatic selection stuff, and the batting isn’t quite up to Stokes’ class either [Update – this change has been announced]. The rest of the debate, if debate there is, drags us down that slippery old slope of “sending messages” to the fans, to Sam Curran, to England, to Ben Stokes, to the public, to the media, hell to whoever does and doesn’t want to listen. The problem with sending messages is the recipients speak 907 different interpretative languages, and few make sense. Except mine. Mine always does. To me.

I’m torn, but then I’m not. My rule of thumb is that you should pick your best team, and let the rest fall into place (my exceptions are gross insubordination, professional irresponsibility and illegality). If FICJAM Ed Smith, James Ubiquitous Taylor, Joe “nice 50” Root, Trevor “yukka plant” Bayliss and Chuckles Farbrace want him in the team, think he forms part of the best England team and now has no legal issues to stop him, then yes, he plays. It was good enough two weeks ago, so unless he’s sobbing in the corner every five minutes or walking around like a zombie on Jeagerbombs, then he plays. If he is suspended in a open and transparent way, then that’s the call of the England hierarchy. No whispers, briefings or good journalism.

That said, and pay attention here all those who could and would cast the “best for the team” mantra aside for an individual dislike of a player, I really have little time or love for Ben Stokes the cricketer. He might be the best player we have, he might have the most talent, but I won’t erase that knockout punch, or the barely tethered anger on the field from my memory. But just because I don’t like him doesn’t mean I want him to fail, or want him dropped. He justifies his place in the team on performance, that’s it (subject to obvious caveats). End of. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. I don’t forget. Hypocrites.

Miami Dad’s Six has had his say on selection, so do read that below. The test itself starts on a Saturday, which is mad, but who cares about Monday and Tuesday crowds anyway? #pinnacleofthesport .

The weather doesn’t look that special, but decent enough, the Indian team look like having a redux of both 2011 and 2014 – Trent Bridge was where the wheels fell off in 2011 – but we live in hope. This should be a massive test match for India. They should be right up for it. With Kohli as captain I have more hope that they will be compared to before, but that’s all I’ve got to go on right now. Remember, back in 2007 India inserted England on a difficult wicket, bowled them out quite cheaply, grafted hard (including a certain Dinesh Khartik) and took a decent lead and then chipped away to win. A nice precedent. Then again, five years prior to that Michael Vaughan bowled Sachin Tendulkar at Trent Bridge, so what does that prove.

We hope a specialist England batsman – one of the top four – might make a hundred and not rely on the all-rounders to bail them out. We hope that one of the Indians remembers they can bat. The last thing we need is another one-sided test match, and an Indian subsidence. Test Cricket can be amazing, but often it is not. It needs proper R E S P E C T. Say a little prayer the next five days. Rest In Peace, Aretha.

Comments on Day 1 below.

*Wonder how many will bite.


119 thoughts on “The Third Test Preview – I Say A Little Prayer

  1. thelegglance Aug 17, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    Tickled no end at seeing you had called the Stokes/Curran selection before they announced it.


  2. psoans Aug 17, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Brilliant piece. I really would like to see the video of Root’s announcement. It is sad to see SC being left out. It is hard on him. How long a rope will they give Stokes? It is harsh for him but maybe as long as he is around the squad then he can continue to learn.
    It would not have been an easy call to make. My fear is not about the performance or lack of it by Stokes. There is a good chance that Woakes got the nod before Curran because of the century he hit and the expectation that he will do it again.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2018 / 1:09 pm

      I’m genuinely surprised that anyone is surprised. If Stokes was in his 30s, I think the call would have been tougher, but not now.

      As much as I like Sam Curran, he was the 4th seamer and he batted at 8. That’s not indispensable stuff, when you can replace him with a 4th seamer who bats at 5 or 6. Sure there are nice stories in there, and we all love to watch young players develop, but it did not shock me one bit. It seemed obvious. Pope might have been in the frame, but they do need to find a middle order batsman. Woakes is the third seamer, would be the opening bowler were either of the older two be out of the game, and he’s come off a century at Lord’s.

      This isn’t your 2005 Ashes, and it isn’t KP taking over from an ageing Thorpe.


      • psoans Aug 17, 2018 / 1:18 pm

        I’m not surprised. It was logical. You can’t leave Rashid out in case the seamers fail. You can’t leave Pope and Buttler out in case the top order fails. Stokes is likely to give India more headaches than Curran and he is more talismanic.


        • man in a barrel Aug 17, 2018 / 1:32 pm

          And you can bet the Indians will go large on “banter” just to see if he can control himself

          Liked by 1 person

          • psoans Aug 17, 2018 / 1:59 pm

            Or all of the slip fielders May wear helmets.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2018 / 1:39 pm

        Meanwhile, our friend being, well, our friend….

        This followed from a Tweet saying he knew how it felt to be bowling well and then being dropped from a Test.


        • Zephirine Aug 17, 2018 / 2:08 pm

          Are we able to ascertain when exactly it was that Rashid ran over MIke Selvey’s dog? I can think of no other explanation for such persistent animosity.

          It can’t be a generalised prejudice against Asian spinners, since he ‘s usually OK about Moeen and was actually very strong in defence of Monty Panesar.

          Dog it is then. Or else it’s some Yorkshire clique thing.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Mark Aug 17, 2018 / 2:38 pm

          He is demented on this issue.

          Rashid has become an obsession for him. It is starting to reach almost mental illness levels.


          • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 18, 2018 / 5:31 am

            Remember Pringle on KP? Same thing. I could never work out why


      • Mark Aug 17, 2018 / 2:48 pm

        I’m not at all surprised by his recall. The ECB literally telegraphed it during the trial.

        I’m more surprised they didn’t drop Rashid to make way for the prodigal son. Not because it would be totally ridiculous to have five seamers, but the hositaliy to Rashid has become unhinged. The one thing in Rashid s favour is Smith has just repicked him so that would be shooting yourself in the foot. Also, for all Ed Smiths eccentricities I think he realises the need for a wicket taking spinner when England travel abroad.

        But he may get little to no bowling if he pitch is what they normally serve up in recent years. Then Selvey can write another piece about how he doesn’t do anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean Aug 17, 2018 / 7:32 pm

          I think he’s just pissed (well we all know he’s a bitter sod) that Rashid has many more caps than he does. In Selvey’s mind he deserved at least 100 caps and that chip on his shoulder has been prominent for the last 25 years…

          Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2018 / 8:58 pm

            Jesus. Love how he would described Headingley 81.

            Weapons grade nonsense.


          • Sean Aug 17, 2018 / 9:08 pm

            English cricket is literally nothing without him. NOTHING I TELL YOU..


      • Sherwick Aug 17, 2018 / 2:53 pm

        From Cricinfo “Thorpe announced his retirement from Test cricket after the England selectors chose Kevin Pietersen instead of him for the first Test of The Ashes in July 2005. Thorpe averaged over 49.00 against Australia, but given the impending back complaint and 2005/2006 winter tour unavailability the selectors felt the decision to replace Thorpe with Pietersen the correct one. After announcing the squad England chairman of selectors David Graveney described it as “the most difficult decision that I have been party to in my time as a selector”.”


        • Sherwick Aug 17, 2018 / 2:55 pm

          And from that decision 13 years ago, we come round full circle through many tumultuous events, to today.


          • Zephirine Aug 17, 2018 / 3:30 pm

            There’s a piece by Barney Ronay today about how rich and powerful Stokes has become through the IPL:
            The ECB has lost the balance of power here. Who was Stokes’s ultimate boss last September? Trevor Bayliss? Rajeev Shukla? New Balance? Ben Stokes Ltd? Stokes did not create this situation. It is unplanned and unmapped. But it is still tempting to wonder about the effects of this, the feeling of latitude granted, signs overlooked, a player operating to slightly different gravity.

            They fought tooth, nail and claw to prevent this very situation developing with KP and yet with Stokes, ooh look, how unexpected, it’s just happened, it’s all been ‘unplanned and unmapped’. Like hell it has, players and their agents have been mapping this journey since Flintoff.

            Liked by 2 people

          • metatone Aug 17, 2018 / 4:12 pm

            Zeph – Fully agree that all of this has been obvious for years.

            I’d add that there’s a bit of nonsense here. The 2 best paid players in the history of football were out there this summer straining to drag inferior teams to international glory. Their pay deals dwarf even the imagination of Stokes’ agent.

            If Stokes doesn’t want to play for England and live off IPL riches, good luck to him, I say.

            Yes, there’d be the sense of lost opportunity (esp. come the T20 WC) but in the end England will never have the money to make him feel he needs England, so they have to let him find the motivation.


        • dlpthomas Aug 17, 2018 / 4:55 pm

          I could never understand why they dropped Thorpe. I would have played Thorpe and KP and left Bell out.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sherwick Aug 17, 2018 / 6:04 pm

            “I could never understand why they dropped Thorpe. I would have played Thorpe and KP and left Bell out”

            Yes, I keep thinking that (since 2005, in particular when Bell made a pair in the 5th test I think) and was wondering the same as I posted above.
            But hadn’t Thorpe said that he wasn’t available for the winter tour (he’d abandoned a previous one I think) and hadn’t Bell come off a brilliant 2004 (albeit against Bangladesh?).
            Anyway, Thorpe was already 36 years old and had had his Nasir-like vindication the year before, raising his bat with his headband on, after making a brilliant century…


          • Sean Aug 17, 2018 / 7:28 pm

            Yep completely with you on that one.


          • man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 3:26 pm

            Was Thorpe actually fit at the start of that series? I seem to recall there was some reason why they couldn’t pick him


  3. northernlight71 Aug 17, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    “I think the difficult part is the fact that everyone is performing so well,” Root added

    Apparently delivered with a straight, nay even sombre, face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • quebecer Aug 17, 2018 / 1:48 pm

      I understand the problem is that they feel they can’t leave out Buttler or Rashid, and perennial golden boy Woakes just got a ton so the only person to leave out is Scurran, but there is a serious problem, and we should have learned it after leaving out TRJ for Woakes last year.

      Scurran hasn’t just been contributing – he’s been as influential as anyone over the first two tests in terms of contributing to victory. Obviously Dmitri’s point about him being 4th seamer/#8 means he must surely be the one who is superfluous makes sense and is therefore usable as justification, in terms of how important his wickets and runs have been, it’s a dangerous step to willingly take them out of the team performance equation.

      The other point is that Stokes’ batting hasn’t looked good at all. His balance looks all over the place to me. He bowled very well in the first test, but his batting looked flakey to me.
      On a slight tangent, it is interesting what behaviour is considered acceptable, forgivable, and what isn’t. The booze culture influences this, I suppose, but it is striking to me how in cricket you can essentially get away with anything as long as you’re not someone who questions THEM (whoever they might be at the time). You simply cannot question authority in any way, and heaven forfend, don’t be right when you do it. Other than that, whatever. All good.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Zephirine Aug 17, 2018 / 2:24 pm

        it is interesting what behaviour is considered acceptable, forgivable, and what isn’t .
        It is indeed. We apparently don’t mind England’s players being completely pissed in public, arguing with bouncers*, generally acting like yobs and getting arrested. I mean, that’s representing Engerland, innit?

        * unless they’re Monty Panesar and then it’s unforgivable.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Deep Purple Fred Aug 17, 2018 / 3:53 pm

          The irony of the Australian T20 comp considering him persona non grata is just perfect. Made my day.
          Selection for England was inevitable though given the ECB. Was it Groucho that said something lke ‘these are my priciples, if you dont like them, Ive got others?


        • Elaine SImpson-Long Aug 17, 2018 / 8:41 pm

          Oh how I agree with you. I was happily thinking this year that Ooh goody Cook might retire, Broad and Anderson, both unpleasant toads, are coming to the end of their careers and then perhaps I can start liking and supporting England again.

          And then along comes Ben who seems to think that being vile on twitter about a disabled child, go out get rat arsed, call a bouncer a c**t, kicks the living shit out of somebody, is the sort of behaviour that is acceptable, and I am back to square one

          I am just hoping he loses his temper, hits himself over the head with his bad and smashed his fist through the team fridge.

          I find him a poor excuse for a man and a father

          Liked by 2 people

          • Zephirine Aug 17, 2018 / 9:23 pm

            Yes, Stokes has small children, clearly doesn’t intend to set them a good example.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2018 / 12:55 am

            To be fair, Ben punched the “living shit out of somebody.” It was Hales who did the kicking. To use an Australian expression, Stokes has white line fever. Unfortunately, he gets it on both sides of the white line.


        • RufusSG Aug 17, 2018 / 11:19 pm

          Eh, given that Monty still got selected for the 2013-14 Ashes tour after his excursion with the bouncers I don’t think it’s fair to say that the England management found the incident unforgivable. His career stalled after that series because a) he bowled hopelessly and missed his chance after Swann’s retirement left the door open, although in his defence he was captained pretty poorly by Cook and b) by his own admission his mental health issues badly affected his game and personal life whilst trying to get his place back.

          I get the parallel you’re trying to draw, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say England kicked him out forever specifically because of that incident. They left him out at The Oval in the immediate aftermath, but even Stokes got the bare minimum of missing a stack of games. I think England could have done more to help Monty keep his career on track, for sure.


          • Zephirine Aug 18, 2018 / 11:41 am

            Ah, fair point Rufus, I’d forgotten the timeline. I was thinking it happened after he’d changed counties and his England career was then pretty much over.


          • man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 3:19 pm

            However, would the Australian cricket board have been able to get Stokes, on a criminal charge, into the country? That would have been an occasion for merriment. Of course, Stokes might have used his Kiwi passport but that gives a strange slant to the fact of him playing for England


    • quebecer Aug 17, 2018 / 1:49 pm

      Er, much as I like replying to you northern, that wasn’t supposed to.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jomesy Aug 17, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    To me his selection feels wrong, very wrong. I accept the argument that sportspeople shouldn’t have to be role models. But he’s a common thug and I just don’t think he should have been rushed back into the team. Feel very sorry for Curran.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 17, 2018 / 1:42 pm

    I too am amused at the Stokes call given the ‘insider’ stuff that you have called out over the years. I know it wasn’t that at all but couldn’t but allow myself a bit of a giggle. Good thing too as I’ve had a maniacal time recently.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 17, 2018 / 2:09 pm

        I might be around on Tuesday given a fair wind for a couple of hours. I have my last midweek hit and giggle game Monday night!


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 17, 2018 / 2:14 pm

          Subject to management permission, domestic not work, having spent all day there on Monday, Tuesday may be pushing it! But I am going to try.

          To be very fair, she’s usually really good about it, so should be fine.


  6. metatone Aug 17, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    I too expected them to drop Rashid, but that would have been v. stupid b/c it would only take a shift in the weather to leave us wishing we had a front line spinner. So for once, Ed Smith’s ego works for good.

    Hard on Curran who had performed well, but reasonably logical. Hope that he gets a chance (and some old bones get rested) if we’ve won the series after this match.

    No real hopes for an interesting match. Absent massive sunshine Trent Bridge is a banker for some swing for Broad/Anderson. I’d expect India to front up a bit better than at Lords (given no rain interruptions to play on the batsmen’s minds) but really, can’t see them being able to turn it around so quickly (and that of course is one of the problems with Test cricket these days, back to back matches help create lopsided results). All that said, if Bumrah is fit, I hope to see England’s batsmen challenged a bit more.


    • dlpthomas Aug 17, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      I agree about Bumrah – I was really looking forward to seeing him bowl in English conditions.


    • man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 3:32 pm

      Swann seems to be on record saying that it rarely swings at Edgbaston….


  7. Riverman21 Aug 17, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    Does anyone know how Wade bowling for Northants tonight has an economy of 52.94!!!!


    • Sophie Aug 17, 2018 / 8:29 pm

      Bowled a no-ball, which counts for 2 runs apparently, plus one run on the first ball, then got hit for 4 on the free hit type thing, so ball 1 went for 7. Then he bowled another no-ball for 2 more and was taken out of the attack because you can’t bowl more than two no-balls in an over, or ever, I’m not sure, so 9 runs, but still only one ball, times 6 is 54. (Which his economy ended up being according to all and sundry.)


      • Zephirine Aug 17, 2018 / 9:26 pm

        At least he can be assured of immortality in cricket quizzes and rainy days on TMS.


      • Riverman21 Aug 18, 2018 / 2:33 pm

        Thank you. That makes sense. Incredible sequence.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. man in a barrel Aug 17, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    I guess the message is that it is OK for an England cricketer to get pissed and beat up a stranger, as long as you don’t hint that your skipper and coach are not the most intelligent people you have ever met

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Aug 17, 2018 / 11:03 pm

      The best/worst bit was when I read that Joe Root “sat him (the pugilist) down” and asked “him where he was?” in terms of cricket.

      Turns out he was up for it.

      Amazing. Really.

      I’d be up for my job too if I’d just got off Scot free for that.

      Joe Root can bat. Fine. But do I now have to accept that no future England captain has any brain cells?

      Give me a fucking break.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dannycricket Aug 18, 2018 / 6:35 am

    I suspect that one aspect of Stokes coming straight back into the England team is that it sounds like his lawyer (or his agent’s lawyer) has been involved in the disciplinary process. The thing about much of the ECB’s discipline against players is that, from the perspective of employment law, it’s been on pretty shaky ground. So far no one has been prepared to actually take them to court or tribunal, even KP who must have had a solid case, but it’s hard to see the ECB winning if it ever did.


    • metatone Aug 18, 2018 / 7:54 am

      I tend to agree (although I have no inside info).


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 9:12 am

      I’m glad Joe has cleared it all up…
      “There are still a lot of things that need to happen and we can’t really look too far ahead until a lot of things have taken place, so there is stuff to consider further down the line.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherwick Aug 18, 2018 / 9:29 am

        I wonder if there’s a dossier…


      • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 9:35 am

        Clear as mud!

        Translation into English……

        We pick whoever we want to pick, and what they do in their private life at 2 am on the backstreets outside a seedy night club has got jack shit to do with the public. If we like them that is all that matters. And we will sit here and talk bollocks until the end of time rather than admit the truth. Now piss off back to your overpriced seats, and start munching on your rip off burgers and fries. Oh, and clap louder.

        Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Aug 18, 2018 / 10:48 am

      Big hitters
      Suddenly have a strange ring

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Doesn’t Murdoch own a slice of Talk Sport?

      So that would explain why Sky are happy to let their so called big hitters work the other side of the street.


  10. metatone Aug 18, 2018 / 8:41 am

    Looked at the weather forecast…

    Best hope for a closer match is India to win the toss and bowl first I think.
    Bit of swing, Bumrah back, they could at least make it interesting.


    • metatone Aug 18, 2018 / 10:12 am

      Big chance for Indian batsmen to prove me wrong…


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 10:33 am

        Started OK. Not hooping around, but still something there for the bowlers. But bowling dry purists will be loving the lack of a fine leg.


  11. LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Good lord. David Gower just witters on doesn’t he? Given Kumar to work with he just blathers on.

    So Isa is stood down from this one? She was stood down for the last one? Commentary change upcoming.


    • Sophie Aug 18, 2018 / 11:10 am

      I wrote a complaint to Sky because David “Bumbling Idiot” Lloyd mocked Rashid.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 11:23 am

        It didn’t take them long did it? As if Rashid stole his match fee.


  12. LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 11:08 am

    Very good first hour, with the ball moving around, but India still not out of the woods. They have survived, Dhawan has put away some of the jollop served up by Stokes, and 43 for 0.

    Hang about Robert Key has been given a go as well at tests? Interesting. Sky have too many to please at the moment.

    So, it appears no Guha, Botham and Nasser?

    UPDATE – So it’s no Nasser and Ian Ward then on comms this time around?


    • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2018 / 11:29 am

      I quite like the idea of rotating commentators


        • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 11:36 am

          They never frigging rotate Gower!

          He’s a permanent fixture. Like the moon.


        • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2018 / 11:38 am

          There’s been a major “rotation” in the commentators in Australia with Foxtel and Channel 7 taking over the cricket coverage from Channel 9. Fingers crossed it will turn out to be a change for the better. (It’s hard to imagine it could be any worse but you never know…..)


      • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 11:40 am

        I do as well. It’s quite an expensive choice by Sky to do it that way.


  13. Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 11:09 am

    Amazing….first hour they managed to bowl 15 overs ….just! Helps when there has been no wicket or no reviews.

    England have bowled a touch short in my view. Signs of swing now, although Lovejoy informed us that Nottingham doesn’t swing.

    Oh, and this when Stokes came on to bowl,……….”Applause and cheers from the crowd”, says Dobell. He’s obsessed!


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 11:23 am

      It wasn’t the roar for a hero returning. A small ripple of applause as it came over on the TV.


      • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 11:33 am


        So its a puzzle why Dobell thinks it warrants comment? I hate it when they try to manufacture hero status. We had enough of that with Cook.

        How long before the first call for him to retain his vice captaincy role? And does anyone think they might one day let him become captain?


        • Rooto Aug 18, 2018 / 12:16 pm

          BBC website text commentary called it “a mixed reception”, “some boos”, “generally positive but not a hero’s welcome”. Maybe some of the cheering was in George’s own mind/ throat.


          • oreston Aug 18, 2018 / 12:47 pm

            It’s all going a bit Ted and Ralph.

            Liked by 3 people

  14. thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    This is a decent magazine programme by Charles Colville about the pressures of bowling. I remember watching the Scott Boswell spell at Lord’s. It was hideously painful to see – someone falling apart in front of your eyes. I’m not at all surprised he had mental difficulties after.


  15. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    Just listening to Bumble and Atherton rambling about fishing. Why don’t they just fuck off and go fishing?


  16. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    Is there a commentator slower on t7he uptake than Botham? Presumably that was why his stint as captain was so short


    • BoredInAustria Aug 18, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      OBO:On Sky, Ian Botham immediately declares it the finest catch of Cook’s career.


      • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 3:59 pm

        To be honest, I’d be hard pressed to think of a better one he’s taken. He’s always been solid rather than spectacular. Seen others take better ones, sure. Cook? That was very good.


        • man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 4:10 pm

          It was travelling quickly but he didn’t have to dive or reach very far. You would expect Sharpe, Simpson, Cowdrey, Taylor etc to catch this about 99.999 %


          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 4:21 pm

            I’d argue that they’re harder in many ways than the full length dive ones where you’re going towards the ball and have room.

            Cook is a competent slip fielder, not a brilliant one. I didn’t say that was one of the greatest catches of all time, I said I suspect it will be up there in terms of the ones he’s taken. And I’d stand by that, it was.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 4:21 pm

          Those sort of catches come so quickly you don’t have time to think about it. They either stick or they don’t. Probably for Cook it was better he didn’t have time to line it up. Just shove out a hand and hope for the best.

          If it sticks it looks great, but little thought has gone into it.


          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 4:22 pm

            Yes. *shrug* but he held it. It’s a very good catch – I’m not going to downplay it because it was Cook.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 4:48 pm

            I’m not saying it was a bad catch. Those always look very spectacular. But as usual it’s the media who have to spoil it. It’s like we said the other day, They have done Cook more harm than good in my view.

            He can never be judged just on the cricket. There is always an agenda. Done him no favours.


          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 4:50 pm

            Couldn’t disagree more. Saying it was one of the best catches he’ll have taken in his career is nothing more than the truth. He ain’t a Collingwood.


    • dlpthomas Aug 19, 2018 / 3:57 am

      It was a very good catch but should the keeper have gone for it?


  17. Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Oh goody, West Ham tv on you tube will be must viewing tonight.

    Karen Brady sits smugly on The apprentice telling people how to run a business, perhaps she should look in the mirror.


  18. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Stokes bowling wide outside leg. Shades of Bailey against Australia in 1953 trying to save the game


  19. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Key on commentary, talking about Rashid bowling too fast. At last some decent commentary


      • BoredInAustria Aug 18, 2018 / 4:43 pm

        Did Kohli..


        • OscarDaBosca Aug 18, 2018 / 4:53 pm

          Kohli wouldn’t get out to Rashid in tests, Selvey assured me this.

          Liked by 2 people

          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2018 / 4:55 pm

            Nonsense. It was a totally dominant Kohli smashing him to all parts and getting unluckily caught on the boundary. Not beaten in the flight, oh no definitely not….


          • man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 4:57 pm

            Classic leg spin dismissal. Bit of flight, not pushed through flat as Selvey would want (as an authority on spin bowling), ball grips, turns and takes the edge. Hard to think of a batsman who would be certain not to be out to that


          • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:07 pm

            Point is Rashid is a wicket taker. He makes things happen even if it’s the batsman beating himself. Problem is England and Selvey are drenched in the Flower Strauss theory of bowling dry, so they are obsessed by run rates.

            Still say he would have been a real handful at Brisbane in the first Test match.


          • nonoxcol Aug 18, 2018 / 5:12 pm

            Lest we forget (I never will), Selvey is also the man who assured us that “playing to your strengths” in India meant leaving Panesar (11 wickets at 25 in his last three Tests in UAE and SL) out for Bresnan (2 at 93 in home conditions v SA) at Ahmedabad.


          • quebecer Aug 18, 2018 / 5:19 pm

            NOC, having previously done the same thing with the same result in the UAE.


  20. Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    Blimey the way Chelsea have started this game they are going to to score more than India. Arsenal player has just missed the biggest open goal of the season as well.


    • OscarDaBosca Aug 18, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      Thanks, I was trying to likely lads this one 😉


      • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:03 pm

        Sorry Oscardabosca. Perhaps you need to hide in a church,

        Arsenal have just missed another open goal as well. How much do these blokes get paid?


        • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:24 pm

          Cracking first half. You definitely want to watch it. It’s raining goals!


          • OscarDaBosca Aug 18, 2018 / 5:29 pm

            I’m looking forward to it


  21. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    Good idea for England to complain about footholds and slow the game, just when they could do with some more deliveries. What a bunch of clueless twats!


  22. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Starting to think that if Cook was one-dimensional as a captain, then Root has about 2 fewer dimensions


    • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:22 pm

      As we now select captains on the right type of school they attended, and as the last two captains have had the charisma and tactical ideas of a plate of mushy peas, im starting to think that some of these schools are pants.

      They bowled the required 15 overs in the first hour. So they have failed to bowl the required 75 in he remaining five hours afterwards. Even with the extra half an hour which is now seen as compulsory they will still be short by probably one over.


  23. man in a barrel Aug 18, 2018 / 5:28 pm

    Has anyone noticed how Jimmy and Broady are dragging their lengths back… Until the crap and badly directed yorker


      • Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:39 pm

        Anderson is very good with the Duke ball, and the bigger seam. It’s moving off the seam like anything.

        Just as well Rashid got rid of Kohli other wise India were heading for 450. Now they will struggle to make 350. Still, could have been worse when put into bat. At least it means the match should extend beyond day three now.


  24. Mark Aug 18, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    Shock horror Sky experts have just discovered to their amazement that Rashid has got Kohli out four times in Test cricket.

    Gower looks crest fallen. No agenda here, nothing to see, look over there the pitch hasn’t got the nip they were expecting.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2018 / 6:15 pm

      I never mentioned in at the time of his recall, did I? In response to the “he only gets tailenders out”.


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