England v India: 3rd Test, Day Two – Same old Song

Let’s start with the good news.  The series is still alive, and barring something supremely improbable, India will win to make it 2-1.  Given the fug of depression about how cricket is being managed in this country, that amounts to a small mercy – a Test series that will at least go to the fourth game with the outcome in the balance.

That’s pretty much it, from an English perspective at least, as this looks nailed on to be a second Test in the series that is hopelessly one sided, although this time in favour of the tourists.  That tight Edgbaston Test seems a long time ago now.

Play might have started late, but there is time added on at the end.  Wickets might have fallen, but there is half an hour to make up for delays.  And yet still, by the time of the close, the required overs were well short.  Yesterday was three overs, today was a quite staggering ten adrift.  For long enough the authorities have shown no interest in making the players complete the minimum of 90 in a day, and in truth a lot of fans aren’t that bothered either, but if they can get away with this without punishment, then this is only going to get worse.

The one advantage England have is that they are extremely good at compressing play into what’s available – certainly losing all ten wickets in a session for the third time in two years demonstrates an uncanny ability to take time out of the game and ensure that it doesn’t matter.

Indeed, a morning session where England rattled through the Indian lower order presaged what was to follow quite well.   It didn’t take a soothsayer to forecast a batting shambles, the only suprising thing was that Cook and Jennings batted really rather well initially to take England to the break unscathed.  The horror show that followed on the other side of lunch was utterly predictable, for all morning the ball had swung, and all morning India struggled against it.  That much was likely to be obvious for there has been endless coverage about how India’s batsmen have difficulty against movement through the air.  What gets less mention is that England’s batsmen do too.  It’s hardly the first time, whether home or abroad in recent times.  The Kookaburra ball may not retain its shine as long as the Duke, but it doesn’t stop England’s top order falling over in a heap on anything but a low flat surface (hello Melbourne).

Hardik Pandya may have taken all the plaudits with a well earned five-for, but it could have been any of them in truth, such was the total command over the England batting line up.  And yet, how many of the dismissals were down to what was excellent bowling?  Most of the wickets were down to poor shots, playing at deliveries they didn’t need to, edging behind ones that needn’t have been played at.  Cook could have been out three times immediately after lunch, driving loosely, being dropped at slip before finally being put out of his misery.  This isn’t even new – he has found problems with this line of attack for a long time now, and occasional big scores on a flat deck don’t counter the increasing evidence that his decline is looking terminal. Nor do repeated claims that he’s been undone by a wonder ball, when his technical shortcomings are making them look far better than they are.  He’s had a few good balls, sure, but a Cook in form would have coped with them.  This blog is constantly accused of being down on Cook, but it isn’t that he ought to be jettisoned, for there is no evidence at all that anyone else would do better – see the rest of England’s batting for an example.  But it would be nice if some balanced coverage noted that he has had, and is having serious difficulties.  Instead what is more likely is that after having spent a long while refusing to accept the obvious, they will pile on to him now suggesting retirement.  It is, after all, exactly what happened before Melbourne, after which it suddenly became all hagiography.

It’s no better elsewhere in the top order, with the exception of Root, who is at least scoring runs much of the time, even if conversion is an issue.  Five catches to the wicketkeeper and three to slip tell its own story of England utterly at sea against the moving ball.  The victory at Lords wasn’t built on a dominant top order any more than England have had that for the last few years, it was all about the all rounders rescuing the team from a position that was only competitive because of how badly the opposition had batted.

This is the position in which England find themselves time and again, and the pretence that a big score from someone like Woakes (however welcome) covers up the flaws means a failure to recognise that being consistently 80-4 is not just part of the problem, it a major problem.  There’s just no sign at all of any learning going on, or more likely, they aren’t capable of taking that next step.  In the hubbub over the selection of first Buttler and then Rashid from outside the county championship, few noted how the effective abolition of first class cricket from the heart of the season made those kind of decisions more likely, and how the concomitant difficulties of the Test team should come as a shock to no one whatever.  If it had been in rosy health in the first place, it wouldn’t have happened.  England have focused on short form cricket, and done so at the expense of Test cricket.  The odd victory here or there doesn’t mean that the trajectory is any less downward, and while the team may have successes, the game of Test cricket itself looks in ever more fragile health, in one of the two countries who really do value it.  At least the supporters do.

That England got as many as they did was largely down to Buttler, who was ironically freed of the requirement to bat like a Test player by the batting meltdown going on around him.  A few lusty blows at least saved the follow on (not that it would have been enforced) and showed what he is good at.

As is invariably the case when a team has a huge lead, India’s batsmen made it look far easier when they got their go.  Equally invariably, the questions over England’s bowlers surfaced, as if it was their fault that England can’t bloody bat.  Sure, there are always things they can do better, and some things that frustrate, but it remains laughable to focus on the bowlers who are consistently having to try and rescue a catastrophic position defending a pathetic total.  England’s bowling is a concern, and England’s bowling post Anderson and Broad is a serious concern, but it’s still not going to make that much difference if the batsmen are shot out repeatedly by anything more than medium pace, on any surface that offers movement or bounce, or any atmospheric conditions that allow the ball to swing.

It’s not new.  It’s not unusual.  It’s every single damn time, unless one of the all rounders has a golden day.  A strategy of hoping the opposition are even more abject with the bat than England can only work some of the time, while the question marks over five day Tests in England are symptomatic of a total inability to stay in the middle for any length of time rather than anything else.

England are getting stuffed.  And the excuses will come out yet again, preferably ignoring the huge body of evidence for how this has been going on for years without any sign or hint that anyone has a clue why.  At some point, it might be mentioned that they aren’t that good, and that they’ve been carried for a few senior players who are all at varying degrees of being near the end, no matter how much some have stuck their heads in the sand and asserted that there are no problems.  England being 2-0 up has led plenty to assert that all is well, in total defiance of what is in front of them.  England’s position today is not an excuse to go on the attack, but it is to cause a reminder than none of this is new, and none of it is unexpected.

We’ve had two days of this match.  India can bat for as long as they like (which would actually be a pleasant surprise if done by anyone this series), and grind England into the dust.  So they should too, for while it might not make riveting viewing, it is the logical requirement for a team in their position.  If they don’t, then this game might not go three days.  And that is undoubtedly the worst part.  This pitch is not a minefield, impossible to bat on.  The ball is hardly moving extravagantly.  These are slightly favourable to the bowlers Test match conditions of the type seen in this country for decades; the inability to cope in any way with them is what is new.



103 thoughts on “England v India: 3rd Test, Day Two – Same old Song

  1. Mark Aug 19, 2018 / 7:43 pm

    Just to say leg glance, bad luck on getting the job of having to write the review tonight. Not much has happened today hey?

    Now I will go and read your review.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 19, 2018 / 7:47 pm

      My head might have exploded. Instead I’m watching a nonsense golf tournament and reading Why Your Team Sucks on Deadspin (about each NFL team – it’s vicious).

      I just remember back to June. When I wrote that second day review. And knowing it wouldn’t take long to be proved right (again).

      I would not be stunned if we are in the last three tests of Alastair Cook’s career.


      • oreston Aug 19, 2018 / 8:07 pm

        We ought to be close to the end of Alastair, of course (and it must be obvious that I’m not a fan of the Cookie Cult). However in that case I think we’re also into “careful what you wish for” territory; because after him (and the senior bowling pair) comes… what exactly?


        • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 6:34 am

          I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. England’s struggles with the opening pair might be there because Cook is the other opener – an opening pair is just that: a pair. So struggles of one batsmen are never completely unrelated to the efforts of the other. We have gone through a dozen opening batsmen now, and we still have question marks over the openers. And now it is both of them. So it might well have been worth a punt to try Burns with say Jennings (or whoever did well in the County Championship) have Cook and Root at three and four, and then figure out the rest of the lineup. Cook started his international career at three, so it is not like he can’t bat there.
          Even if one of the openers picked proved to be a dud, you can always resort to opening with Cook again, if somehow a viable number 3 emerges on the county scene.
          At present, it is starting to look like Cook is already struggling to hold on to his place, despite all the other openers who have been tried not exactly setting the world alight.


          • oreston Aug 20, 2018 / 7:30 am

            I think the time to have tried the “move Cook to 3” experiment was a couple of years ago. It might’ve worked out then but I think he’s reached the stage where I can’t see it doing so now – particularly as we don’t have a rock solid opening pair available to protect him from the new ball. Realistically I think you’d need to move him down to about 5 or 6 for him to stand a chance and I can’t see that happening.


      • nonoxcol Aug 19, 2018 / 8:07 pm

        “I would not be stunned if we are in the last three tests of Alastair Cook’s career.”

        Yeah but… look where the next one is.

        Bet we can count 95 moist-eyed press mentions of The Holy Innings before he returns to the scene of his glorious salvation.


      • Mark Aug 19, 2018 / 8:08 pm

        I think you made the point earlier in the day that Cooks average is now 2 less than KPs. Nothing will bring his retirement quicker than the realisation of his ever declining statistics. Look at his Wikipedia page. This man is driven by stats. When people say he will play till he’s 40 that assumes he can keep averaging about 40 per series.

        Legglance berates me for not giving Cook the benefit of the doubt. But this is what the media have done. I’m actually quite sanguine about Cook opening the batting because who the frig else is there? Hasn’t he had about 10 opening partners in the last few years?


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 19, 2018 / 8:10 pm

          As I write, that limpet Chanderpaul, pushing 92 years of age, has affixed himself to the Oval wicket and will not be removed.

          We’d die for a 70 year younger version of that.

          Hameed was bowled for 22.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Aug 19, 2018 / 8:44 pm

            I had to do a double take a few months ago when I saw Chanderpaul was still playing county cricket. Does he still take guard by banging the bail into the ground?


      • Sean Aug 19, 2018 / 8:40 pm

        Why your team sucks is my favourite read. Don’t even have to be a fan of the NFL to enjoy it!


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 19, 2018 / 8:46 pm

          Do you get the Football Outsider’s Almanac. Worth it this year just for its review of the Josh Allen draft choice.


          • Sean Aug 19, 2018 / 8:47 pm

            Nope but I will now!


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 19, 2018 / 8:48 pm

            It’s not cheap. You can buy the e-version online. But I like big books.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Aug 19, 2018 / 9:01 pm

          Sounds like West Ham fan tv. A must watch almost every week now.

          To be fair they looked just a bit dazed yesterday.

          Liked by 1 person

      • jennyah46 Aug 19, 2018 / 10:08 pm

        You could well be right. It’s sure looking that way.


      • jennyah46 Aug 19, 2018 / 10:09 pm

        You could well be right. It sure looks that way.


  2. Tony Bennett Aug 19, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    I thought I was hallucinating when I saw Hardik Pandya had five wickets in five overs. Of course there is nothing very new here, as your theme indicates. Sometimes I hanker after the old days of the selectorial axe falling a bit more frequently than it does now. For example, Cook would never have survived in the 60s and 70s.

    “It isn’t that he ought to be jettisoned”, you say, but actually I believe he should be. His reaction time is far less than it was, as evinced by his fallibility at slip (forget the “wonder catch” yesterday. Anyone can nab one of those once in a while). Of course the old argument is raised that there’s nobody better out there. But we don’t actually know that until we put them in the team. There could hardly be any disadvantage throwing in Rory Burns, or bringing back Adam Lyth, for example. I’d dump Jennings too.

    I’m with you, by the way, in being glad that India have made a fight of it, and will almost certainly win this test. They surely deserve it. Incidentally all India’s seamers seem to have bowled faster than England’s – with the occasional exception of Broad – in this match. Surely some mistake….


  3. Miami Dad's 6 Aug 19, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Hardik Pandya must be the worst bowler since the Sri Lankan Dhammaka(?) Prasad in 2014 to embarrass this batting line up?

    As someone with Day 3 tickets to the Rose Bowl, today was a good day. An added note to say well done Rashid on another top order scalp on a non turning deck. There are enough good deliveries that you’d think if we can get his head right and some consistency/rhythm in his red ball game, he might be useful on a rank turner in Colombo/Galle this winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 6:39 am

      Prasad averaged about 25 when he returned to the side, in all conditions he played in. Somehow I doubt that Hardik Pandya will do the same; and thus that Pandya may well be the worst bowler since the difficult winter that England have gifted a 5-fer for at home.


    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 10:37 am

      I watched Mudassar Nazar take 6-32 against England. Nothing surprises me.


  4. man in a barrel Aug 19, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Would someone remind me what the coaches do to earn their money?


    • dannycricket Aug 20, 2018 / 6:40 am

      I assume they’re in charge of taking the positives. They never seen accountable for the team’s failures in their speciality, that’s for sure.


  5. Mark Aug 19, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    Isn’t it a bit suspicious that the cricketing authorities in this country in the last few years can produce feather bed pitches for 20/20games where 200 is often scored easily? Yet they can’t produce a Test pitch that can last five days? Is this cock up or conspiracy?

    Now I’m no horticulturalist of no fixed abode (one for the teenagers who may have ever watched Porridge) and I realise it is not an exact science. But surely you can produce pitches that don’t end with 3 day tests as the norm?

    The suspicion is that England know that any kind of flat pitch will mean their bowling attack will be rendered bland. And as their batsman struggle to score 400 on any surface that means total defeat. So instead they serve up pitches which might occasionally backfire on them. This has happened here.

    Truth is India should never have got 330. England bowled too short. England create a pitch for a pitch it up and swing it bowler, and then they dropped him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • metatone Aug 19, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Yes. I keep mentioning the pitch without articulating properly, but yes, the suspicion is we’re intentionally producing low scoring pitches and it’s all to cover up our weaknesses. Now that is a home team prerogative, but the frustration is home results are being used to justify the system which is failing to address our weaknesses.

      And yes, I too think England bowled too short in the 1st innings…

      Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Aug 20, 2018 / 6:38 am

      I don’t find it suspicious, personally. Most teams prepare pitches to favour themselves. The struggle is to work out what that is for England. A pitch that is so flat it’s penalised wouldn’t work, as England showed in the Ashes where (without Cook’s massive innings) they were still the team most likely to lose. England’s batsmen all seem to struggle disproportionately against seam, swing and spin. It’s honestly surprising to me that England win at home as much as they do.


      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 8:21 am

        “England’s batsmen all seem to struggle disproportionately against seam, swing and spin.”

        Well that doesn’t lkeave a whole lot does it? Aside from seam, swing and spin, they’re fine? MJ, Steyn, and Morkel might disgaree with that. Can’t remember if England has faced Rabada yet.

        I guess England struggle against swing as much as anyone, but England at least has very good proponents of the art, so swinging conditions are generally to Englands advantage.


        • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 8:49 am

          England’s advantage.


  6. Sherwick Aug 19, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    From the BBC Day 2 BTL
    “Maybe Stokes needs several vodkas to get him going.”


    Liked by 2 people

  7. metatone Aug 19, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Some thoughts:

    1) Bumrah bowled some very good balls without much reward. He really added some scare and some pressure. I think it made some of the difference.

    2) Seeing a lot of England fans write off Pandya – and while anyone can turn out to be a one Test wonder, he’s bowling as fast as broad and he pitched it up. The ball that got Bairstow out was pretty good IMO.

    3) I’m not having the England bowlers let off by the bad batting. India got to 300 b/c they didn’t pitch it up enough – and that set the pattern for the match. Pandya bowled fuller than Broad/Anderson did in the 1st innings and the effect showed.

    4) That said, a lot of the England batting was very bad. Tons of blame to go around there.

    5) Unfashionable but that “10 wickets lost in a session” stat isn’t that meaningful IMO. Much like the obsession with counting 100 – 105 as a century and really validating score, when 95-99 isn’t, losing (eg) 7 wickets in a session is usually just as bad for your winning chances as losing 10. Yes, bad collapses are a concern, but it really isn’t the first time England have been weak in this way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 19, 2018 / 8:44 pm

      The bowling one was an um and an ah when I was thinking about the post. The conditions were a bit different day one, and I don’t think England bowled badly by any stretch. So their score was kind of what you’d expect a decent Test team to achieve, and probably more. So while I don’t disagree with you that maybe they could have been a bit fuller, I’m loathe to mention that as it lets the England batsmen off the hook to a degree, i.e. “yes they batted badly but they shouldn’t have been chasing 320”, which is a bit of a cop out.

      Basically, I agree kind of, but don’t want to talk about it! 😉


  8. Rohan Aug 19, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    I was listening to some of the play on TMS today and England were 2 down for 80 odd (I think). I went to the shops and I was no more than 40 minutes. When I came out Anderson was in. I was not surprised and have to admit, I was actually happy. Well done India, great play, go and win this, but continue this way in the next test please!

    On another note, I have said this before, but I am continually impressed by LCL, TLG and many of the commentators on here. The insightful nature of many, their perceptive thoughts and ideas about the game are way ahead of the MSM. So often, as tonight with the debate, I watch/listen to these programmes and they seem behind the times, they discuss issues, matters or ideas that were often ‘floated’ on here months or years ago. They seem to be playing catch up. I guess it’s a reluctance to fully admit the problems England are facing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 Aug 19, 2018 / 10:14 pm

      Very true.


    • Silk Aug 19, 2018 / 9:49 pm

      Career averages are worth a look, too. One guy over 50 (Root), one other guy over 45 (Cook, and falling fast) and then … not much.

      As tlg points out, we get dug out by the all-rounders occasionally (without Curran’s 63 we’d be heading for 2-1 down now), and the bowlers (particular Anderson and Woakes) are excellent … in England.

      The sad thing is, if Jennings isn’t good enough, Buttler isn’t good enough and it’s too soon for Pope, then who else is there? Malan’s gone, Stoneman, Lyth, Robson, Hameed etc.

      In fact, I’ve just resorted to statsguru (last refuge of scoundrel and all that) and looked at top 5 English batsmen over the last 3 years. It’s a bloody ugly.

      Discounting nightwatchmen, we’ve had 19. Which is pretty bloody awful in 3 years. Still worse, precisely none of them have averaged over 50 in that time, Root (48) and Cook (41) average over 40, and YJB and Hameed are the only other guys to average over 30.

      Put another way, 15 of the 19 English batsmen to feature in the England top 5 over the last 3 years average less than 30. Less. Than. 30.

      If I was Ed Smith, and I was reading that, I’d draw the obvious conclusion. Namely than Dom Bess (scored 49 batting at 4 in his one Test in the top 4) needs to be got into the top 5 somewhere. (If you’re reading this, Ed, I think you are /really/ clever and should def. do that.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Aug 20, 2018 / 5:20 am

        There’s an argument that Robson (who was averaging just over 30) should have been given a bit longer. I’m not really a fan of his, but I did feel he was dropped because “the opening pair aren’t producing” and no-one at the ECB wanted to face up to Cook’s dodgy form.

        All of which makes me wonder if I’m too harsh on Jennings, but he seems to just keep getting out. On the other hand he’s usually hanging around a bit, which is better than nothing. And arguably these are not high scoring pitches for openers so far in this series.

        Final thoughts – there must be some options out there. I think it’s time to try Burns at 3, maybe gamble on Joe Clarke.

        That said, the high number of Surrey players with a good CC average makes you wonder if there’s an element of luck with pitches there – I haven’t been following. And overall, Jennings has a good CC average, so you wonder what kind of guide it is anyway.

        I fear we need a Duncan Fletcher to pick out some players on technique and temperament, rather than just stats…


        • dannycricket Aug 20, 2018 / 7:54 am

          Stoneman outperformed Cook in most innings, so I thought he was unlucky to be dropped.


          • metatone Aug 20, 2018 / 8:38 am

            Yes, I definitely thought that at the time too.


          • growltiger Aug 20, 2018 / 8:48 am

            Stone man did outscore Cook, but he looked worse with each outing, and was ultimately too painful to watch. Jennings is simply not good enough (average of about 20 including the century on debut must indicate that).


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 20, 2018 / 9:14 am

            For the last few tests he was batting like he had the noose around his neck. I don’t see many players surviving that. Certainly Jennings, Lyth, Westley, Robson et al did not. As I say, it was always James Vince who got the benefit of the doubt because he hadn’t showed “technical flaws”. We’re back to the 90s now when media pundits accentuate what the batsmen can’t do rather than what they can. Makes them feel expert, I suppose.

            Yet a technical nightmare like Cook gets a relatively free pass. It’s all about the temperament baby with him. 12000 runs does that to a pundit.


        • growltiger Aug 20, 2018 / 8:44 am

          If the Surrey batting averages were due to the wickets they play on, the team would presumably not be winning most of its matches. More plausible explanation is that the batsmen are better than most.


          • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 9:07 am

            Exactly. It is not like the Surrey bowlers are averaging 50 with the ball. In fact other than Dunn and McKerr (another Jennings in the making, but at least he did not captain South Africa U-19), all their bowlers average under 30.

            As far as I can make out, those bowling averages are not significantly worse than those of say Essex, Nottinghamshire or Yorkshire. So either Surrey have clearly superior bowling to all their competitors (which is doubtful), have had extreme luck with weather (similar to the Lord’s Test a week ago), or maybe the batting from Burns and co. is up to standard.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 20, 2018 / 9:11 am

            Surrey’s bowling has upped a gear this year. Jade Dernbach has been a key cog, and in the latest team, England test man from a few games ago, Tom Curran, has had to sit out. Clarke has bowled really well, we have a promising spinner in Virdi, have Morne Morkel, who isn’t bad, and Sam Curran has moved up a pace or two.

            Last year, The Oval was flat. Sangakkara made hay. Surrey yesterday were skittled for 211 on a largely blameless wicket. Their bowling has brought them back in it. Off their later today.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 20, 2018 / 9:07 am

            A few cautionary tales.

            Last year Mark Stoneman banged down the door on selection. He was scoring runs for fun, and I remember watching him take the champion attack apart (Essex) for 180+ runs on a rain-affected day in Guildford. He looked like a test opener, he was fluent, playing well and Jennings was failing. In he comes to the team and he becomes a bit stodgy, he doesn’t look technically or temperamentally out of his depth, but he doesn’t make the big one (not that that made a difference for Robson (ugly, wafts outside off stump), Lyth (flashes outside off stump), Jennings (leaden footed, nibbler outside off) who all made hundreds in their first or second tests). No, Stoneman got to 50 a couple of times and got out. Michael Vaughan, who in a particularly scumbag moment in the Ashes, went on radio to say he didn’t train like an international cricketer. Stoneman was undermined, sure, but he also never seemed quite to bridge the gap. It was also a summer when Surrey made a lot of runs and didn’t get many results. Pitches were flat, and Surrey benefited from them, but Stoneman played very well.

            Now to Burns. If he gets selected the media goons are going to have a field day. I will guarantee many of them won’t have seen him play so when that eyesore of a batting technique is put on world display, the coaches in the comms box are going to rip it apart. Dobell alludes to it in his piece. With England it only seems the privileged few are required to meet the how with the how many. Vaughan, for one, because Burns isn’t a member of the same management group perhaps, will feel no need to keep his opinions to himself. This stuff matters. I firmly believe Graeme Smith would never have been a fixture in an England team because Boycott, Vaughan, The Third Man, would dissect his technique. The other thing with Burns is that Stoneman outbatted him last year. Another thing with Burns is that clearly the England hierarchy don’t rate him, because he was being left out of Lions sides.

            Surrey have had Pope taken from there far too soon. Putting him in at number 4 resembles the time when the Pakistan team would not put either of their big three in as openers, with Bairstow, Stokes and Buttler, all senior players in the team group preferring to hide down at 5,6 and 7 (and still not making the runs). Pope has been a bit jittery, understandably, and as an additional concern, if you don’t make a 50 in your first four test innings, there is a very low correlation of you, as an England, player, going on to a great career. He has two to go. I saw Pope earlier this year and he looked a million dollars. However, so did Rikki Clarke, and no-one is asking for a recall for him, are they?

            It seems to me as though Joe Clarke is the next one up, or should be. James Hildreth has probably seen the chance pass him by. Nick Gubbins has a rap against spin. I don’t know what to say really. Great prospects are either talked up too soon (Hameed), never come through (Lees), disappear into mediocrity having hardly played on a Lions tour (Lawrence) or aren’t trusted unless they’ve been studied by the management team. Watch that North v South documentary on Sky. Each player was interviewed by the management group, straight out of a text book. In thinking that they are frightfully clever, they are possibly making international cricket more special than it is.

            Rambled on enough. It’s an indictment of our player development that no batsmen seem to develop. When they don’t, it isn’t the ECB or England taking the blame, it’s the counties. With 2/3 of the season in the first six weeks (April May) and last six weeks (end August to September) there’s a rather obvious solution. But in the words of Mick Hucknall, Money’s Too Tight To Mention, and it’s the Blast that pays the bills. For now.

            Liked by 1 person

          • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 10:56 am

            Thanks for taking the time for that detailed response Dmitri


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 20, 2018 / 9:15 am

      Nothing we haven’t been saying for four years, but hey, there is more joy in heaven etc….

      I will say one thing. If Cook gets wind of this piece, and he will despite saying he won’t, he’ll take this as a personal attack. He genuinely thinks the media were against him after the KP sacking.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 20, 2018 / 9:40 am

        It has got rather boring to be honest. There are so many other problems with the team that Cook’s performances don’t really catch my attention that much. Maybe he will really decide he’s had enough.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 20, 2018 / 9:44 am

          We don’t bang on about nearly as much as we used to. Thing is if he makes another ton the same MCG moronic behaviour will follow. The eulogies will be ramped up. We’ll be told to pipe down and we’ll rinse and repeat.

          I see Selvey thinks the solution is to put him at 3. No flaws in that plan.


          • nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 10:10 am

            One of the responses to Dobell’s article, from Twitter feed:

            You cannot make this s*** up.

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 10:15 am

            Another one says:

            “Feels pretty harsh to me. Maybe I’m biased cos I’ve met him and think he’s a fine bloke.”


      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 10:20 am

        It’s the one remaining aspect of his career to be played out, will he manage his exit with grace, a quality he has struggled with at times? He’s cussedly stubborn, which can serve him well at times, but it probably also means he won’t go easily.

        If the talk get too loud, we’ll probably start seeing PR material from the ECB about his leadership qualities, value in the dressing room, continuity, mentoring role with the young lads etc.

        As regards todays cricket, I guess India will just sedately settle in for the day, get some time in the middle, grind England, and prepare for the final push tomorrow.


        • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 10:43 am

          Dmitri’s comment about him thinking the media are out to get him is entirely true, so I’m not sure how graceful he’ll be about people starting to talk about the end in that media.

          And in truth, if playing for your country means anything at all, then having to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the side is no bad thing. I always admired David Beckham’s response to questions about retirement from international football when he said he’d be eligible for his country in his wheelchair. Of course, footballers don’t get paid for playing for England, ironically enough.

          But Cook’s response to losing his ODI place is probably the one to go with – and there were plenty of useful idiots prepared to talk about how unlucky he was to be dropped, aided and abetted by the ECB making a dog’s breakfast of how they did it.


          • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 10:51 am

            Was thinking about Ponting, who refused to admit what was plainly obvious to everyone else, that it was over. Until the day he suddenly did, called a surprise press conference, and that was it. Jumped not pushed (unless the selectors were whispering in his ear).
            Cook probably won’t jump.


          • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 10:58 am

            Nasser Hussain remains the benchmark for England about how to go with real style.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 11:13 am

            His reaction to being removed from the ODI team showed an attitude that was in complete contrast to all the propaganda put out about him in the very friendly media.

            “Great bloke, team man, wants the best for the team, great judgement, blah blah blah.”

            All of that narrative was blown away by his petulant manner. And his sneering remarks after the World Cup. His belief that the media is against him is bizarre, and again questions his judgement. He has had the greatest press of any England captain in my lifetime. No need for him to stand on the balcony at Lords wearing a tshirt with …”I’m still in charge” on it.

            Try being an England captain in the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s during the tabloid wars. Nothing was off limits. Front or back page.

            Frankly Im just not interested in him any more. There are 10 members of the team plus him. His place in the team is not up for question because to use a famous phase, TINA. The fact that it ruffles feathers when anyone even dares questions his place shows how absurd his belief the media are against him.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 10:19 am

    Oh, we hadn’t heard from him for a while. Nice of him to blow that “most skilful” klaxon I was on about last week:

    Gold in them there replies: never mind Steyn, who has a far superior record in this batsman’s era, he is actually arguing that Anderson might be better than Marshall.


    • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 10:35 am

      “Most skilful bowler in history.”

      And then they wonder why we won’t clap louder, and why we think the’re all absurd.


    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 10:37 am

      The article caption says “one of the most skillful”, and that is translated in his tweet into “the most skillful”.

      But in any event, what a bizarre measure. The top wicket taker in a decade? A completely arbitrary measure, which ignores any actual cricketing criteria or context. The highly skilled bowlers not represented on that list, such as Hadlee, McGrath, Akram, etc make it a joke.

      I guess a bit of data mining showed this to be the one where Anderson came out top, so he ran with it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 10:45 am

      I’m not sure how you can be so doubtful about a man who has clearly spent a long time watching SF Barnes to allow a reasonable comparison to be made.

      I always kind of hope (and I suspect it’s probably true) that Anderson will roll his eyes at this garbage. Whatever else he is, he has that cynicism towards people who overpraise him.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 11:12 am

    Kind of fascinating and indicative that in all the discussion, it’s never occurred to any of us to suggest that England bowl India out quickly and chase down a total…


    • northernlight71 Aug 20, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      That is rather strange. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast…
      So two isn’t much of a stretch.


  11. Sherwick Aug 20, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    So we’re all agreed then; England’s top and middle order are brilliant and world class, except against seam, swing, spin and pace.


  12. metatone Aug 20, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Hate to say it, but I am now a Botham fan:

    “funny to notice it, but in India, Rashid had 23 wickets, and the next England bowler was Moeen with 10… but Rashid was dropped…”


    • Rohan Aug 20, 2018 / 1:25 pm

      Yes I heard that as well, made me feel all warm and fuzzy towards Botham. I couldn’t believe I had heard that initially, but very glad he said it, good man!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. man in a barrel Aug 20, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    Woakes consistently less than 80 mph now. The English pace attack looks a little short of threat at the moment

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 1:01 pm

      Why flog yourself into the ground for no gain? I’ve never been that fussed when the bowlers rein it back in given a match situation that’s long since disappeared over the horizon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Aug 20, 2018 / 1:04 pm

        I was just pondering if India will bat all day today (probably, barring wickets falling in a heap). Can’t say it’s all that an attractive prospect as a viewer.


        • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 1:09 pm

          Nope, it’s very boring. I’ve got to write about it later too. Feel my pain!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rohan Aug 20, 2018 / 1:27 pm

            I disagree, they are doing what I wish England could do, but haven’t since circa 2010/11 maybe 2013 at a push, they are grinding England into the dirt with good old fashioned test batting; great stuff!

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 1:56 pm

            Oh I completely concur they’re doing the right thing. And let the pitch age too. It’s just not fascinating to watch – one sided matches never are


          • Deep Purple Fred Aug 20, 2018 / 1:33 pm

            Write about Cook!


          • oreston Aug 20, 2018 / 2:11 pm

            I know where you’re coming from, TLG, in that it effectively ceased to be a competitive match on day two. One team out there knows how to play a Test match (even if they looked clueless last time around) and one seems to have forgotten the basics. Maybe there’s a topic in that? If West Indies have arguably been the canary in the coal mine of Test cricket for the past number of years, a team like England no longer being able to field eleven players who understand how to build an innings and grind out a competitive total is surely akin to a full blown methane explosion (yes, Colin Graves has been lighting his farts again…)
            Did I see a stat somewhere according to which the England ODI team now scores a higher average innings total than the Test team, or did I dream that? If true, it’s pretty damning and gives a rather obvious clue as where the problem (in part at least) resides.


      • man in a barrel Aug 20, 2018 / 1:21 pm

        Up to a point I agree with you. But letting the opposition know that you don’t think you can bowl them out is probably not great strategy. And why flog your quicks, given how bodily fragile they are? Get the occasional bowlers on instead of forcing Woakes and co to go through the motions


        • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 2:00 pm

          Well they are [edit – bowling Root I meant]. I guess the aim is try to slow the scoring and keep them out there for as long as possible, but given it’s only day three, this is a pretty vain hope.


  14. d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Since Bairstow seems to have fractured his middle finger, the jigsaw puzzle continues for the next Test.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 1:12 pm

      Presumably the gloves to Buttler, but I guess it’s possible Bairstow could play as a specialist batsman with that. Good job England have such a solid batting line up they wouldn’t miss him at all if not though, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. dlpthomas Aug 20, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    I’ve just arrived home from work. After seeing the score, I wish I’d stayed there. Will Kohli declare when he reaches his hundred or will he want Anderson et al to bowl as long as possible?


    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      No real need to declare unless they’ve got a pressing golf appointment on Wednesday. The can just carry on…


  16. Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    329 & 270/3 plays 161. Discuss.

    Shall we talk about pitches? Is this a three hundred pitch or a 160 pitch? Or is this a 450 pitch? There is quite a variety here.

    Also, Harrison says if you drop Cook you will end his career. Ok, we better keep him them, And we better not sack anybody in their late fifties either because that will be the end of their career as well.

    Special Cook rules.


    • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      For Harrison that should be Harmison.


    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 3:46 pm

      I guess it’s a fair point in that it’s been the case with the previous batsmen that dropping them in their thirties has signalled the end of their careers. Anyone in that age can’t possibly have a dodgy run of form, it has to be that they’re past it. It’s always been vaguely silly – but hey, why shouldn’t it apply to Cook just as much as it did everyone else?


      • nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 6:26 pm

        Different times and all that, but I would be interested to know what Graham Gooch’s average after the age of 33 was.


        • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 6:48 pm

          Gooch averaged 47.98 after turning 33. And only 36.22 before turning 33.

          Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Aug 20, 2018 / 3:39 pm

      On the bright side, that means 77% of England cricket fans are not, despite the media and the ECB’s best endeavours, mindless sheep.
      From memory the choices provided for best EVAH were all from the last 20 years or so. They never give you the option of “none of the above.”


      • nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 6:16 pm

        My best England catch is still Ramprakash off Langer at Melbourne in 1998. Defies rational explanation.


        • oreston Aug 20, 2018 / 7:55 pm

          Ramprakash is certainly the man for defying rational explanation. The fact that the ECB renewed his contract as batting coach demonstrates that ably.

          Liked by 3 people

  17. nonoxcol Aug 20, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Any other batsmen ever made exactly 200 runs in two separate Tests in the same series?

    Kohli 149 & 51 Edgbaston; 97 & 103 Trent Bridge.

    Liked by 3 people

    • d'Arthez Aug 20, 2018 / 4:53 pm

      Intriguingly this is the third time he has gotten exactly 200 runs in a Test. Also the only Indian to ever make exactly 200 runs in a Test.
      Sangakkara the only other batsman to do it more than once (against Bangladesh in 2007, and against Pakistan in 2012).

      Liked by 1 person

  18. man in a barrel Aug 20, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    It looks as if Stokes has picked up a niggle. I was expecting the senior bowlers to be showing more signs of strain

    Liked by 1 person

  19. thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Obviously this doesn’t make the slightest difference given that India have more than enough runs by a distance, but I suppose the mathematically optimal position would be to be that if they were about 550 runs ahead by the close, with 180 overs remaining. Amounts to about 3 runs an over in the fantasy world of a chase, meaning that anything beyond that and it’s literally time that England wouldn’t have to bat.

    So that being said, I suppose a bit of a slog now and put England in for a few overs at the end of the day is likely.


    • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      If it was Flower and Strauss they would bat till lunch tomorrow.


  20. man in a barrel Aug 20, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    I imagine Kohli is waiting for Hardik’s 50. We saw him let Nair get that triple. It is of course beyond the abilities of anyone on Sky to work that one out


    • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      They’re literally not losing any time by still batting, so I’ve no problem at all with it. And there’s some merit in having the opposition openers craning their necks to the pavilion every few minutes wondering when they will have to bat.

      It’s all academic of course really. The idea of this England side batting for two days has just reduced me to helpless giggles. They probably have a better chance of winning!


      • thelegglance Aug 20, 2018 / 4:42 pm

        And there it comes. Just 521 to win, and 9 overs to go tonight.

        This could yet get amusing.


        • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 4:45 pm

          No Cook jokes!

          To be fair I don’t envy him or any of the batsman going out there now.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 4:47 pm

        We almost made 500 in a 50 over match recently. But I think that was only Australia. So not really serious opposition!


  21. OscarDaBosca Aug 20, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
    Anderson 22.0 7 55 1 2.50
    Broad 16.0 3 60 0 3.75
    Woakes 22.0 4 49 1 2.23
    Stokes 20.0 3 68 2 3.40
    Rashid 27.0 2 101 3 3.74
    Root 3.0 0 9 0 3.00

    Hope no-one calls for Broad to be removed with 0 wickets?


  22. Mark Aug 20, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    Rejoice, rejoyce!

    Probably the greatest nine overs of batting EVER in the history of test match cricket.


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