England vs. India: 4th Test, Day 1 – Here We Go Again…

…Same old s*** dog, just a different day.

After watching two of the three sessions today, I’m honestly not sure I can muster the enthusiasm to do my job for today. This is clearly something which I share with England’s specialist batsmen.

After England won the toss and chose to bat, anyone who follows cricket could guess how the day went. England’s top order collapsed, and they only avoided an embarrassingly low total thanks to the efforts of a lower order batsman or two. This time it was Moeen and Sam Curran.

It is amazing to me how much better India’s bowlers seem when they’re bowling at Cook, Jennings and Root. Yes, they’re facing the new ball, but when Buttler and Stokes come in to replace them it seems like they’re playing on a different pitch. What was a minefield instantly becomes a normal, flat, first day surface. What was a hand grenade crossed with a homing missile transforms into an ordinary cricket ball. What was the greatest seam attack since the West Indies in the 80s suddenly resembles a solid but not remarkable Test-quality attack. It’s not the conditions, it’s not the ball, it’s not the opposition. All four remaining specialist batsmen look shot.

Sam Curran obviously batted well to bring England towards an almost respectable score, with the other bowlers chipping in, but that’s not the point. The batting output from 6 onwards is supposed to be the icing on the cake. It appears to be England’s plan to produce, on a very regular basis, cakes which are approximately 90% icing. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU MAKE A CAKE!

There has to be a case now for dropping all of England’s batsmen. This isn’t hyperbole. This isn’t me being a devil’s advocate. I’m sick of it. Game after game, series after series, season after season. Cook has had an atrocious year, Jennings averages 17.57 in his latest run in the side, Root has resolved his problem of not converting his half-centuries in an unfortunate way, and Bairstow is inexplicably still being selected with a broken finger. I fail to believe that England’s batting lineup wouldn’t be improved by picking any four good county batsmen. Not Vince, obviously, but four other batsmen.

Not that I think the blame should solely be placed at the feet of the batsmen. It’s notable that no players who have debuted in the last four years or more have secured their place in the side. Now you could take the view that all 26 (or more, depending where you draw the line) debutants weren’t good enough for international cricket. Honestly, that seems unlikely to me. What seems more likely is that at least a handful could have played at that level, but something went wrong.

There has never really been a culture of responsibility at the ECB, but when you see poor batting, bowling, and fielding in the Test team you have to wonder what the coaches are doing. More importantly, you have to wonder how they can justify their positions. Take Mark Ramprakash, for example. He’s been England’s batting coach for almost four years, culminating in this series where the top order batsmen collectively average below 25. Rather than being sacked, which is the fate for most employees exhibiting this level of failure, he appears to be failing upwards. In light of Andy Flower’s temporary promotion he took control of the England Lions team, and he now is considered a top candidate for the vacant head coach role of Middlesex. Why?

Sam Curran’s exploits have at least given England an unlikely chance of winning this game, but they’ll need to bowl extraordinarily well tomorrow. Maybe they could follow India’s example and bowl at the stumps every once in a while. Or maybe they won’t, in which case it will almost certainly be another embarrassing defeat at home.


166 thoughts on “England vs. India: 4th Test, Day 1 – Here We Go Again…

  1. Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    Good stuff.

    I dont want to defend the indefensible (especially Ramps, because he’s an unpleasant shit) but I defy any coach, in the world, anywhere, to make a Test batsman out of Keaton Jennings. Or Gary Ballance. Or Hales, Malan or Moeen. There are glaring technical problems all over the place. He gets three days with them prior to a Test, but they all have their county coaches and specialists (like how Gooch is responsible every time Cook gets a hundred, and Ramps every time he fails).

    As to Sam Curran, look, obviously I’m pleased he batted well, and he seems a talented kid. But will he be another guy who keeps his place in the team through his proficiency in his “secondary” discipline, despite clearly not being good enough (yet) as a bowler?

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston Aug 30, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Curran’s not the finished article yet (why would he be at 20 yrs. of age?) so while he may have been selected as a bowler it’s entirely possible that batting may in the long run prove to be his stronger suite. In the meantime I don’t think England can afford to look a gift horse in the mouth. Which begs the question: If Woakes were fit for the Oval Test would Curran be dropped again? England seem to have a surfeit of all rounders (in inverse proportion to the number of genuine international class batsmen). Is a semi-crocked Ben Stokes a luxury we can afford at the moment, or might it not be an idea to give him a break and promote Curran a place or two higher up the order? Look, “England’s talisman” hasn’t been overly talismanic since his return, so am I really thinking the unthinkable?


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:36 am

        Well there’s a few things going into Stokes’ selection. For a start, it feels like his lawyers are looking for any excuse to sue the ECB over their treatment of him. It’s notable how the ECB are being at pains to prepare a disciplinary panel with their own lawyers, as opposed to their usual tactic of an immediate and overly harsh response (unless it’s a senior bowler, of course).

        Maybe, if the PCA were more forthright, every player would have the luxury of due process?


        • oreston Aug 31, 2018 / 11:02 am

          Silly me, I was trying to look at it from a cricketing perspective 😉


      • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:29 am

        Stokes, Curran and Woakes can’t all play in the same side. Add Ali, and it’s an unholy mess.

        If Stokes is fit to bowl, he starts, for me. In a shoot out between Woakes and Curran I go for the younger man. Woakes has looked miles out of his depth overseas, so Curran deserves a chance.

        Ali? For me he bats at 5, or nowhere. If Stokes were injured or out of form, or it was a rank turner, I can see sense in Ali replacing him and batting at 6. 7? That’s just stupid. I see no evidence that Buttler will ever be better than a 7 (Jack Russell has two Test tons, but no one was suggesting batting him at 6).

        So, fix the top 3 and we’re fine! Simples!


        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 8:40 am

          The question about Woakes and Curran is whether, as swing bowlers, they can be effective with the Kookaburra ball. The old Kookaburra at that, because barring injury they won’t get ahead of Anderson and Broad as new ball bowlers.

          Personally, I think I’d pick a few Somerset players for Sri Lanka. Bess, Leach, Hildreth, maybe another batsman. They’re the only English players with experience in spinning conditions.


          • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:53 am

            Well, Woakes averages 62 with the ball (12 Tests), outside England, so that seems to answer that question.

            Curran deserves his chance, I reckon.


          • oreston Aug 31, 2018 / 11:29 am

            Hildreth? I’ve just checked with the Ministry of Truth (they have offices in St. John’s Wood) and I’m pretty sure you’ve just made that one up, haven’t you? Deary me, Danny, suggesting your imaginary friends as potential England players? I had no idea things that got this bad! Repeat after me: Hildreth doesn’t exist, Hildreth doesn’t exist, Hildreth doesn’t…


    • psoans Aug 30, 2018 / 10:21 pm

      The main problem is with the exception of Anderson everyone else is expected to get runs. I can understand not being selected because of bad fielding or not being physically fit but ECB is hell bent on picking bowlers who can bat. Even then your place is not guaranteed. If you have no faith in your batsmen then why have them at all? Fill the side with bowlers and all rounders. There will be less burden on bowlers too.
      I stopped following the game after the first few wickets fell. I watched “Who Is America.” instead. It was more entertaining to watch the people interviewed making utter fools of themselves than watching England look absolutely clueless.
      The ECB does not need a new format to revitalise the game. All they have to do is ensure England wins.


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 1:08 am

        The bowlers aren’t bad at bowling in English conditions, and averaging almost 30 overall this series with the bat is a much-needed bonus. If England’s top 5 averaged 40 in this series, not unthinkable for virtually any other Test side, they’d be cruising to victory with this bowling attack at home.


  2. Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    Are opening batsman a luxury in the modern game? Would England be better off picking a couple of all rounder pinch hitters instead?

    Or maybe a top three of snails who are told you must bat till lunch on the first day, and it doesn’t matter if we have only scored 30 by lunch, but are no more than one wicket down.

    And another thing…

    So they troop off at 6.30pm (30 minutes past the official close.) with 7 overs stolen from the paying public. In the last test match they were still playing at 7.10 pm as India tried to win the match by claiming an extra half hour.

    The law is an Ass. But luckily for the authorities no one gives a s***. I’m still waiting for these people who want four day test cricket to prove to me you can bowl 95-100 overs per day. You are all dreamers.


    • dannycricket Aug 30, 2018 / 7:52 pm

      Slow over rates annoy the hell out of me, but the repetitive nature of England’s batting failures overshadowed that for me today. I want the ICC to introduce punitive run penalties to discourage overruning.


    • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:38 pm

      Mark, I don’t mean to dampen your mood, but wasn’t it 10 overs lost today? Either way it’s very, very poor!


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 8:15 pm

      This trot of poor form from Cook is getting to biblical lengths. Colvile really sticking it into Cook.

      Is Cork after a coaching job.


      • Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 8:24 pm

        Cork wanted Vince in. He also is a class player apparently. And had just made a hundred.

        Although as county cricket is not much good (one thing I agree with Cork on) what difference if Vince has made a hundred?


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 8:35 pm

          Colvile’s body language at the end of that show was something to behold. While Cork was prattling on the eyes rolled, the body shifted, the pen was played with.

          Willis is mailing it in on that show.


          • thelegglance Aug 30, 2018 / 8:38 pm

            Colville is extremely underrated as a presenter. So-so commentator, but excellent presenter in these discussions. He gives people rope to hang themselves with.


          • RufusSG Aug 30, 2018 / 8:52 pm

            I’ve seen some old clips of his commentary – why exactly did he feel the need to describe even the most banal passages of play shouting at the top of his voice?


          • thelegglance Aug 30, 2018 / 8:55 pm

            I think that’s why a lot of people dislike him – his commentary back then.

            Pity. He’s got a lot to offer when in the presenting role.


          • Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 8:56 pm

            I have been saying for years he is one of the best presenters Sky have. He should have been doing Gowers job for the last ten years. But he is not an ex player or ex England captain. He is an old fashioned journalist/presenter. He asks the questions the man on the Clapham omnibus would ask.

            Sporting bodies don’t seem to like that these days.


          • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:44 pm

            Agree with the above about Colville. I’ve always liked him, thInk he is excellent on the debate/verdict, but, however, I don’t know him as a commentator…….


        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:21 am

          Bell is being widely touted because he’s made three hundreds against Glamorgan, but mainly because he’s someone people feel nostalgic about. Against the other, better Division 2 sides his average is pretty average.


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:13 am

        I think the more pressing issue is the last year. Today’s score of 17 is his 8th highest since the start of the Ashes, in 21 innings (I think). Or, to put it another way, in less than half of his innings he has reached 17. Not what you’d expect from a ‘class’ batsman…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      Gah! I was hoping for James Taylor.

      The batsmen? World-class lads, they’ve shown it before with world-class innings from the lads. They’ll be working tremendously hard with Ramps, who is world-class, to get back to being world-class again, even though they never actually stopped being world-class in the first place. I call him Trevor Bay-world-class.
      The keeper? World-class lad, shown it time and again by being a world class lad. We’re lucky in this country to have 18 world-class lads vying to be keeper.
      The spinners? World class lads. All of them except whoever wasnt picked this week but its tough when you’ve got world-class competition for world-class places for world-class lads in a team full of world-class lads.
      The bowlers? Just world-class. Every time. Never waste a new ball, because they’ve shown time and again how world class they are. Lads.
      KP? Twat. I can say it now, because it got me a cushy job with a world-class establishment. Ed even let me look through his glasses the other day. They’re like Roddy Piper’s in They Live, except they show you who is world-class. Everyone. Except possibly James Hildreth.

      Liked by 3 people

      • oreston Aug 30, 2018 / 8:58 pm

        I was quite irritated before this game when Root said, apparently in all seriousness, that England are fortunate to have two “World class” wicket keepers in Buttler and Bairstow. That turd that arrives in the mail for him will be from Ben Foakes.

        Liked by 1 person

          • oreston Aug 30, 2018 / 9:19 pm

            Perhaps, but context is everything 🙂


        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:50 am

          I think it’s fair to say that Bairstow is now a Test-quality keeper. I am slightly less convinced by Buttler, and wouldn’t have minded Bairstow being replaced by a specialist keeper like Foakes in this game.


      • MM Aug 30, 2018 / 10:38 pm

        Totes world class, Gareth. I’ve always wanted some of those shades too.


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:15 am

        You’re just not taking into account weighted averages. They show that this team is by far the best available. Or they would, if the England team published them.


        • northernlight71 Aug 31, 2018 / 8:10 am

          Not only that, but they’re playing in the strongest era of international cricket ever. Alice told me, so it must be true.


          • mdpayne87 Aug 31, 2018 / 9:25 am

            Well the the combined strike rate of India’s fast bowlers on this tour, 44.2, is the best by any visiting fast-bowling group in England in over 100 years. So maybe he’s right.


    • Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      I know I watched it. “Cooks a class player.” The end.

      What is funny is the same people who make this argument that form is not important had a completely different view about KP. Form was everything, and he was obviously over the hill.


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:17 am

        I fear, like Prior, he’ll be given the opportunity to retire when he wants to. It’s a luxury that shouldn’t really happen in professional sports.


        • Zephirine Aug 31, 2018 / 12:23 am

          And he will never want to.


          • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:33 am

            I think Cook will retire at some point, if this poor trot continues. I know he’s stubborn and all that, but walking out to bat knowing you’re going to get another sub-20 score EVERY SINGLE TIME must be soul destroying.

            I reckon he’ll tour Sri Lanka, but if he can’t make runs on those surfaces, perhaps he’ll call it a day.

            Liked by 1 person

          • metatone Aug 31, 2018 / 9:38 am

            Also after SL there’s a really long break b/c of WC. Basically another year on the clock, he’ll either have to retool his batting action, or it’ll be clear he’s slowing down.


          • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 9:40 am

            There’s a tour of the West Indies in February/March, but I think the games aren’t 100% confirmed so they don’t appear on fixture lists yet.


  3. LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Meanwhile, Harrison:

    “It will still be cricket to all those people who cherish the game but it can be bigger and better if we’re prepared to think differently.”

    I feel like crying.

    “We want something that has global relevance, real commercial power, something that the whole game has ownership of and that reduces our reliance on international cricket, which is currently responsible for more than 90 per cent of our revenue.”


    • thelegglance Aug 30, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      “It will still be Coca-Cola to all those people who cherish it but it can be bigger and better if we’re prepared to think differently.”

      Oh dear.


    • Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      “It will still be cricket to all those people who cherish the game but it can be bigger and better if we’re prepared to think differently.”

      It’s life Jim, but not as we know it. FFS Harrison go away please, in the name of everything that is holy please leave us alone.

      ““We want something that has global relevance, real commercial power,”

      What, like the oil business?

      That is not your purpose. You are running cricket. If you don’t like cricket then go and invent something else. Like Love Island.


      • dlpthomas Aug 31, 2018 / 12:02 am

        ““We want something that has global relevance, real commercial power,”

        I just want to win a game of cricket.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 1:10 am

          Winning is secondary to making money. It’s the Manchester United business model, I hear…


    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:23 am

      Maybe they can build a hotel inside ECB HQ, and host a few concerts? That seems to be the typical way of making money in English cricket.


  4. Miami Dad's 6 Aug 30, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    I was disproportionately glad Curran bailed England’s top order out, and I couldn’t put my finger on why I actually cared about these hopeless lost causes representing the ECB, as usually I quite like it when they fail. Then I realised it was because Bogfather has tickets to Day 4 and I didn’t want him to miss out. Weird little blog BTL community feelings!

    Liked by 2 people

    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:27 am

      Yeah, I’m in two minds about whether I just want it over quickly or to go as long as possible. It doesn’t feel like England deserve to win this game, but maybe a second innings fightback could spark a competitive game 5. I’m not holding my breath though.


  5. Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Why do so many new players fail in this England set up? Could it be the cliquey nature of this team? There is a definite hierarchy in which Cook still sits at the top. Even the pundits are in awe of him to the extent that no level of failure is a problem. Must be pretty hard coming into a side where certain players are bomb proof no matter what.

    Curren is a breath of fresh air, he is only 20, and has no fear or it appears to worry about whether he is good enough. Perhaps he is too young for the endless coaches to mess him up, England needs root and branch changes of coaches and senior players. England’s only plan is for the lower order to get them out of Jail, and they may get away with it again. England could still win this series 4-1 and it will be out right robbery.


    • Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      I definitely think they set some players up to fail, and are overly desperate for others to succeed.

      They were desperate for NIck Compton to fail. The first time so Root could open, and the second time, after he’d just been MotM Bayliss wanted “two attacking players in the top three”.

      The whispering campaign against Adil Rashid started a full year before his Test debut (the mystery net in West Indies) and after taking 30 wickets in a winter he was dropped for…haha…Liam Dawson. Mark Stoneman didn’t “train like a Test player” according to Shiny Toy. I suspect Burns would be another one who they’d already have a whispering campaign against.

      But then on the opposite side of the coin, some players are sent back to county cricket (Hales, Ballance, Vince the first time, Jennings) to apparently work on weaknesses and come back ASAP having changed about as much as Jennings got today. Headline the day after Pope’s debut (before he’d even batted) in the Daily Mail was about Pope being another super decision by Ed Smith or some claptrap like that.


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:42 am

        I can see the point, sometimes. You’d think it would be possible for players like Vince, who times the ball, to learn control. Clearly it’s not that simple though.


    • RufusSG Aug 30, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      I think you’re exaggerating the extent to which Cook is supposedly exempt from criticism these days.

      Plenty of journalists, even the ones who defended him before, have said his recent form is unacceptable.


      • RufusSG Aug 30, 2018 / 9:00 pm

        Oops, replied to the wrong comment – was meant to be further up the thread, apologies.


        • Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 9:21 pm

          Apology not accepted! I demand resignations and the end of your posting career!



      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:47 am

        Yes, but they still back him to bounce back. Class isn’t permanent, which is why Botham, Swann and other past greats aren’t still in the side. Age, or declining health, claim all players eventually. There seems a fair chance it’s just Cook’s time.


        • RufusSG Aug 31, 2018 / 8:38 am

          To be honest I think you’re right, Cook’s time is almost certainly up at this point.

          Perhaps I’ve finally become the cynical one (at long last) but I’ve always felt that lots of fans (and journalists) treat declining players differently simply on the basis of whether they like them or not.

          If you’ve always been a fan, then “form is temporary, class is permanent” and the next big score is always around the corner.

          If you’ve never liked the cut of their jib, then they should be kicked out tomorrow, their eyes have gone, they’ve lost the hunger, whatever.

          (I’m sure you can think of a few examples for both…)

          I don’t think this is exclusive to cricket either. It’s hard to let go of players we’ve enjoyed watching for years and ignore the cold hard facts of their declining performance – I’m certainly guilty of doing it myself.

          Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:39 am

      One thing about many of the new batsmen in the last few years is that many have scored a century in their first couple of games then got progressively worse. The usual explanation is that a technical weakness is ‘found out’, but poor coaching or an oppressive dressing room are other potential causes.


      • Pontiac Aug 31, 2018 / 1:51 am

        The likes of Carberry, for instance….

        I’m convinced that the veteran players destroy anyone else new, and the team will only improve – as a team! – once Anderson, Broad, and Cook are no longer in it.

        England could never have a Nathan Lyon. Or a Brathwaite, or a Cowan – those who at least half the time take the shine off the ball. A Shannon Gabriel would be discarded. A Kemar Roach would never return. Ishant Sharma would have been broken and discarded like Finn. And so on and so on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 1:57 am

          I think Carberry was simply dropped because of his age. He outscored Cook in the one series he played, I think. It was early in the hunt for an opener and England assumed that they could find someone just as good but 10 years younger. This did not happen.


          • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 8:06 am

            From memory he was positive about KP attitude on the tour.

            Dropped for not toeing the party line.

            From memory his performances were pretty handy and should certainly have been in possession for the following summer.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sherwick Aug 31, 2018 / 12:08 pm

            Saying anything positive about KP is simply not acceptable by anyone in or around the team.


  6. LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    This evening I saw a test opener pinged on the head by Morne Morkel, then take guard and dig in against a decent Surrey bowling attack. He’s as exciting to watch as paint drying, but in his own way it was gripping to watch him survive. Kraigg Brathwaite is an example to many. Failed earlier in the day, but still there tonight, Getting rid of him will probably give Surrey the game tomorrow.

    If he were English, he’d be nowhere near the test team.

    In unrelated matters, glad to see Dan Lawrence make a ton today. I thought, think, there’s a lot to him, but he’s not put his hand up.


    • RufusSG Aug 30, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      I’d love someone like Kraigg Brathwaite in the team. He’s not exactly classical, but his technique works for him and he’s made tough runs in a variety of conditions.

      Besides, by England’s standards a test average of 38 is almost Bradman-esque.


      • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:52 pm

        It made me laugh during the last test, when the sky commentary team were discussing that Che Pujara really had a chance to nail down his place in the team, after being in and out of it for years, really, really? What England wouldn’t give for a number 3 averaging just below 50, with well over 4000 test runs and 9 (I think) test centuries!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 10:05 pm

          Wrong, 14 test centuries!


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:54 am

        England had Ballance, who had an average of around 45 when he was first dropped and an ugly action. His average was ignored because he had ‘padded’ it against weak attacks like India. What we’d give for someone in the top 4 who could pad their average against India now…


        • Rohan Aug 31, 2018 / 9:09 am

          Thing was though, Cook was lauded fo his fine 95 against the same India attack at the Ageas, yet Ballance’s centuries were written off, hmmmm, rat, smell.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 31, 2018 / 9:14 am

            Ballance has a technique only his mother could love. The press box sages said he had to change. He said it got me here. He was branded arrogant. When he failed in they piled. The sheep followed.

            It is better to get the press to admit your struggles and have cooing words making stubbornness a virtue then to dismiss the critics and be called all sorts.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Pontiac Aug 31, 2018 / 2:05 am

      Brathwaite is distilled truculence. He doesn’t harvest. He plows. And in the context of the team he plays in this is exceptionally valuable. I think he’s only going to be getting better over time.


      • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:36 am

        Reminds me of Shiv, not in style, but in just getting better. Not more stylish. Not more powerful. Just more bloody…obdurate.


    • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 9:14 am

      Mitchell does this for Worcester season after season. Saw him wear a few vs Lancs on tricky pitch at New Road recently he scored a ton. By all accounts did the same at Scarborough last week. You’re right LCL. All the qualities required. Never mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 31, 2018 / 9:18 am

        Until he got pinned by Virdi in the twilight last night I was really impressed by Libby of Notts. Know very little about him or his performance so far. Really solid.

        He’s up against Morkel and Tom Curran, McKerr who impressed me, Rikki Clarke and our spin hope Virdi. Cork ought to watch that bowling attack before spouting his crap. See also Somerset.

        Maybe we don’t have the depths of bowling because we send our promising youngsters to Loughborough and they come back broken with broken backs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 2:16 pm

          Duckett to Notts. One week after Slater. Doesn’t look like Libby is in the plan!


  7. Nicholas Aug 30, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    There was an odd little bit of the Sky build-up this morning, when all of Ward, Hussain and Holding were arguing that Bairstow should still be keeping in this match, largely because it was what he wanted to do, making it sound as though there had been a policy decision made by England, rather than Bairstow being injured.

    Holding even went as far to say, “I *hope* that this decision has only been made because of his injury”, before Ward started saying that Ian Healy would never give up his gloves for anybody, even if he had a broken finger.

    Maybe it’s the ex-pro mentality versus those of us who are just armchair supporters, but I thought it was pretty much common opinion that there was no way Bairstow would be able to keep in this match because of his injury, and that even him playing as a specialist batsman was risky.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 9:36 pm

      Odd. Because Ian Healy wouldn’t have played as a batsman only, or am I missing the point?

      Still, in checking something out, this was interesting….

      During the lead-up to the 1999–2000 season, the selectors made it clear that they wanted Adam Gilchrist to keep for the Test team as well as the ODI side. Initially, Healy requested that he be allowed to play one more season and then retire, which was refused. He then asked to play the first Test, scheduled for his home ground at Brisbane, as a farewell. This, too, was refused, so he announced his immediate retirement from all forms of the game in a statement released on 28 October 1999. In response to the tremendous public farewells afforded to Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer at the end of the fifth Test at Sydney in 2006–07, Healy called for long-standing players to have their farewells to the game managed more appropriately than his own.


      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 31, 2018 / 7:48 am

        New boy Gilchrist was apparently booed to the crease at that Brisbane match. Up in Brisbane they don’t just save it for the Poms.


      • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:38 am

        I bloody hated Ian Healy. Every time (it felt like) we were in with a sniff, he’d slam the door shut.

        A class act.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 31, 2018 / 9:21 am

          A self made great and that is praise. Even though I loathed him. But I found his sense of entitlement over a departure sad. Sure, he must have watched others exit and say why was I treated like that, but this isn’t a good look. Only Hayden didn’t get the grand ceremonial of the main crowd.


    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 12:57 am

      My view is this: Bairstow is one of just 3 Test players you’d bet on still being around in two year’s time. Do you really want to risk his long term health for the marginal improvement he offers over a less talented but more healthy batsman?


      • Pontiac Aug 31, 2018 / 2:58 am

        Or even: maybe if injured he’s not better than someone else, who might turn out to be long term good and how else are you going to find this out anyway?

        I vaguely recall Bairstow himself batting usefully in a test series vs India in 2010 or so, even the lab behind a cipher lock behind another cipher lock behind a guard desk behind a barbed wire fence I was working in at the time.


    • man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 7:13 am

      It’s odd because that Australian team was remarkable in that there were ready-made proper world-class (rather than Cork-class) replacements for almost everybody in the team.

      England don’t have enough Cork-class players to create one team. So why risk one of them playing with a finger injury in a game in which fingers are so important? You have to harbour your resources when you have so few of them


  8. Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    Bravo, bravo and, this “cakes which are approximately 90% icing. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU MAKE A CAKE!” had me in tears; genius.

    Danny, this is the most concise and to the point summary I have read in ages, it is, sadly, all too true.


      • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:55 pm

        That made me laugh. No such thing, honest. I was just impressed that a rant about something I would struggle to keep to less than a full blown novel, was so ‘on point’.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      I don’t know. The icing is the best part in many cakes. Like fruit cake….



      • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:59 pm

        My mum used to make a fruit tea loaf, nice enough cake and, then cover it in floursescent pink or sea green icing, bizarre. To this day I’ve never found fruit tea loaf iced any where else. Oh, I forgot, she used to decorate it with a frilly metallic thing around the outside. Should have got her to send one into TMS…….


  9. LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Tonight, here’s your “I wanted to be a selector but I’ve never seen Rory Burns bat” Mike Selvey tweet…

    Bairstow to open.

    Fuck me, we dodged a bullet there.

    And in the shock, I missed that he selected Rashid! Hell hath frozen over.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 9:45 pm

      Of course he’s never watched him bat – he lives in a van parked outside Adil Rashid’s house, monitoring the phone lines for signs of mental weakness.

      Liked by 4 people

    • northernlight71 Aug 30, 2018 / 9:52 pm

      Why “Mo?” Everyone else gets a surname, but “Mo” doesn’t even merit his full name.
      Oh, it’s because they’re bezzie mates, innit?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      Rashid still in his team, whaaaaa, gobsmacked!


    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 1:00 am

      I honestly wonder what would happen if England literally reversed the order. I think Broad and Anderson could outlast Cook and Jennings right now…


  10. LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    Newman on the openers….

    “It has reached crisis point now because it is just happening time and again, with England conceivably now looking not only for yet another partner for Alastair Cook but perhaps a replacement for the great man himself.

    Certainly Keaton Jennings has now reached the point where surely only a century in the second innings here will save him from a sad and premature end to his second coming as a Test batsman – and that probably means for good.”

    Ah… “the great man himself”. Warms the cockles of your heart.

    “There is still hope for Cook, not least because of the dearth of alternatives, but the time is coming when he will be faced with deciding whether he must bring an end to his distinguished career. He is still more likely to jump before he is pushed by an England set-up who still believe in him.”

    You have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 30, 2018 / 10:02 pm

      Reading that, it occurred to me that the “England set up who still believe in him” can be translated as “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…”


    • Mark Aug 30, 2018 / 10:24 pm

      Good lord, it’s positvely regal. You can almost here old man Dimbleby…….

      “The Standards flutter at half mast, signifying the passing of the old great king, and the coming of the new.”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. LordCanisLupus Aug 30, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Other opinions available.

    Vic Marks…

    Alastair Cook’s dismissal, poking at Pandya, was another frustration since he had looked as secure as anyone. In seven of his nine Test innings this summer Cook has reached double figures without many alarms, which is supposed to be the hard bit.

    Bull S**t

    “There are an awful lot of ways for a batsman to fail and England’s top order ran through a few on the first morning. After grafting for an hour, Alastair Cook steered a wide ball straight to third slip as if he wanted to give Virat Kohli the catching practice. But if Cook gave it away, Jennings never had it to begin with. His top-order teammates at least tried to play the deliveries that dismissed them. Jennings left his well alone. So far as decisions under pressure go, this was a poor one, because it hit him on the back pad flush in front of middle stump.”

    Struggling to find logic in there. Cook “it’s the way he plays” is a new one on me, when he’s poked and nicked his dismissals this summer when he’s not missed straight ones from Ashwin.


  12. oreston Aug 30, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    You’re right about dodging a bullet, but you must admit it would’ve been great fun watching him flounder and peddle ever more desperate and deluded excuses for the Test team’s performance.


  13. Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    Imagine if Cook wa still captain.


      • Rohan Aug 30, 2018 / 10:19 pm

        Could you write the whole of ‘imagine’ as an ode to Cook? I reckon Selvey could.


          • Sherwick Aug 30, 2018 / 11:21 pm

            No KP below us..

            Above us only Sky*tm

            Liked by 2 people

          • Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 9:11 am

            Imagine theres no Cooky
            It’s easy if you try,
            No sheep up on the hillside
            and bowlers bowling wides

            Imagine all the sheeple
            Trotting down to Lordsssssss

            Imagine there’s no hundreds
            An average going down
            Imagine opening partners
            Racking up a score

            Imagine all the sheeple
            Crying down at Lordssssssss

            You may say that I’m a dreamer
            But I’m not the only one
            Maybe some day
            we can find a new number one

            Liked by 2 people

          • Rohan Aug 31, 2018 / 12:14 pm



        • man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 7:24 am

          All you need is Cook
          All you need is Cook
          All you need is Cook, Cook
          Cook is all you need

          There’s nothing you can knick that can’t be knicked.
          Nothing you can drop that can’t be dropped.
          Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game

          Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Aug 31, 2018 / 8:15 am

          Just read Cricinfo’s profile of Alastair Cook.

          The pseudonym “ESPN Cricinfo staff” is fooling nobody.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jomesy Aug 31, 2018 / 5:19 pm

            Nonox – it’s fooling me! Can you say?


          • nonoxcol Aug 31, 2018 / 5:37 pm

            I believe that only Selvey could have written it.


          • jomesy Aug 31, 2018 / 6:22 pm

            Sorry – was pulling your leg!


    • Gareth Aug 30, 2018 / 10:31 pm

      Oh my God – he’s Northern and drinks beer! WHAT IS THIS WORLD OF HILARITY????


  14. dlpthomas Aug 31, 2018 / 12:11 am

    Bumrah’s dismissal of Jennings was followed by a strange hissing sound almost as if thousands of English fans all muttered “Shhhhhhit” at the same time.

    Bumrah – told you so.


  15. BoredInAustria Aug 31, 2018 / 4:46 am

    Sipping my coffee and looked in the Guardian:

    “Back when Keaton Jennings was a coming man, he was one of a group of English players picked to take part in a military training camp. One of the tasks, Jennings said then, was that the players had to fix a broken boat during a storm.”

    I smell a Flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Aug 31, 2018 / 4:48 am

      The point of the boat, Jennings said, was to practise for the moment “when you are under the pressure and a million people all over the world are watching, and you have to make a decision that will impact the rest of the game”.

      I wonder what Kohli would say to that.


      • man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 7:33 am

        If that were the case, everybody who ever won It’s a Knockout would be world heroes


      • Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 9:13 am

        Great, so in the second innings he can take a life jacket out with him to bat!


      • thebogfather Aug 31, 2018 / 9:28 am

        I think Jennings has vastly overestimated the Sky viewing figures…


        • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 9:34 am

          He could dress up as a penguin with a bucket on a spinning platform (at 3rd slip)

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 7:31 am

    6 weeks ago I watched Keaton Jennings bat for Lancashire at New Road. He showed great judgement on which balls to leave, looked supremely confident and in great form.

    For a guy’s technique to fall apart in 6 weeks. He’s basically unrecognisable.

    What the f*** are they doing in the England setup?


      • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 9:32 am

        I’d like to know what it is they are actually doing to the players.

        How are they communicating?

        Ramps was known as a very intense player. Is this translating to the players that come in? This is where my wish list was for Gillespie. He clearly sets up a trust with the players that leads to better performance.

        But maybe it’s a wider issue in the setup?

        What do you think?


        • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 9:36 am

          One way you can judge Gillespie is to look at what’s happened at Yorkshire since he left. Players are leaving (including, you’d assume, Adil Rashid) and they’re facing possible demotion to Division 2.


  17. Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 8:24 am

    I’m starting to wonder if Cook will announce his retirement after this Test. He can have his stage managed farewell at the Oval.

    The one thing that will convince him is for his reputation to be tarnished by a further drop in batting average. I think he is around 9th in averages of England openers over 1000 runs just below Tim Robinson.


    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 8:29 am

      I worked it out a couple of games ago. Even if he gets a duck in every innings until the end of the Ashes, his career average won’t fall below 40. I figure that going below 40 would finally force the selectors to drop him.


      • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:41 am

        I guess the alternative is that he goes on for another 5 – 7 years and ends up with a Test average lower than Mike Atherton…


      • Riverman21 Aug 31, 2018 / 8:58 am

        That’s a very scary thought Danny. He’s undroppable isn’t he?
        Walking out to beat Sachins record runs in 2028. I can hear Aggers “a tremendous reception as he walks to the wicket. Could this be the day. It was only a year ago today that he scored that tremendous 12 to get within 100 runs. Surely today he will be crowned the greatest batsman of all time” etc etc

        Liked by 3 people

        • Sherwick Aug 31, 2018 / 12:37 pm

          But surely even a 0 would still mean a wonderful walk out to the wicket and a tremendous walk back?


      • Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 10:06 am

        I think it’s really funny Danny that you would sit down and work out his average if he got 0 for the next few series to the end of the Ashes!

        Our critics will say you are obsessed.


  18. Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 8:44 am

    I think this article, excellent as it is, could have been even more concise. How about “Poor batting, bowling, and fielding in the Test team. Test after test after test. Draw your own conclusions.”

    Flower has been stealing a living for 5 years, and he’s done untold damage in that time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance Aug 31, 2018 / 8:45 am

      The temptation to write “that was absolutely abysmal” and leave it at that has been strong at times…


      • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 9:00 am

        I am very tempted to just copy and paste this post the next time it happens, crossing out and replacing a few names for accuracy.


    • dannycricket Aug 31, 2018 / 9:00 am

      That’s fair. I think it’s the shortest post I’ve ever done, and to be honest it was as much about venting my anger than concision or wit. But yeah, I think we all know what’s likely to happen when England are batting now.


      • Sherwick Aug 31, 2018 / 12:37 pm

        Just write ‘crap and leave it at that?


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 31, 2018 / 1:41 pm

          Adjourn to the pub after Surrey’s win to see Root drop Rahane. Tough it may have been but you need to take them to win games like this.


  19. Deep Purple Fred Aug 31, 2018 / 9:21 am

    From Dobell
    “But its glass chin – its inability to play pace, or swing, or spin or even to concentrate – will prevent it enjoying consistent success.”
    Remarkably similar to a comment I read here recently. They really come into their own though against straight up and down military-medium.

    England had something of a rebirth after getting bowled out for 51 aganst the WI a while back. I wonder if they can pull that off again? Not sure, the whole setup seems a bit sclerotic at the moment.


  20. Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 9:24 am

    The biggest indictment of Cook is the very thing they used to use to justify his captaincy……
    Namely TINA.

    He only remains in the team because there is no one else. We can’t find a partner for him or a number three. All this garbage about him being a class player would be meaningless if there were county players knocking on the door. His form has been poor, with the odd score for the last couple of years.

    But there is nobody else. The cupboard is bare. It’s not the failures that disappoints, but the desperate bloody hope he will come good.


    • Silk Aug 31, 2018 / 9:56 am

      To cap it all, I woke up this morning thinking “Hey! Crossrail will be open soon. That’s something to look forward to!”

      Hope. I hate you.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Big day for India this morning. They talk the talk, can they walk the walk? At 2-0 down they were dead and gone in this series, which allowed them a bit of freedom in the last test match. But they have England down now, can they finish them off?

    To be honest they let England escape to the score they got. It could have been 150/175 all out. Anyway, if they bat all day with a handful of wickets down at the close they will be in a position to win this game. Let’s see if they can do it or will the old war horses save England’s bacon again?


    • dlpthomas Aug 31, 2018 / 4:04 pm

      “They talk the talk, can they walk the walk?”
      Not without tripping over it would seem.


  22. d'Arthez Aug 31, 2018 / 10:33 am

    Still no opener with a fifty to his name this series, unless Dhawan surprises us this innings. That is no fifties in 27 innings now. That is pretty unprecedented as far as I am aware.

    Oh, and at the moment we’re looking at the worst performance in England for Cook. Only Jennings (2 occasions one of which is ongoing, so a marginal improvement compared to Cook will see Cook overtake Jennings on at least one occasion), Gooch and Lyth have had worse performances for England while opening … (worst averages in a series, without a score of 50+). Interestingly, England won all those series with terrible performances from openers.


  23. Rohan Aug 31, 2018 / 11:19 am

    Watching this morning, is it just me, or does Curran bowl more deliveries that the batsmen must play than the other England bowlers? He seems to bowl at the stumps!

    On another note, my friend was watching Surrey the other day and said Tom Curran bowled really well. What chance he and Sam will play together for England at some point; test team?


    • Mark Aug 31, 2018 / 11:52 am

      That is what I liked about him on his debut. He wasn’t afraid to pitch the ball up and attack the stumps. There will be days when he goes for runs on flatter pitches. But if there is anything in the pitch he will challenge the batsman. As you say he makes them play.


  24. metatone Aug 31, 2018 / 11:49 am



    • Rohan Aug 31, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Bowling for his place in the team!


  25. Rohan Aug 31, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    My posts/replies have stopped appearing!


  26. Stevet Aug 31, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    Are my eyes deceiving or is Cook wearing Root’s shirt (it’s cap #655, I’m sure Coo is 630). Is there something we’re not being told?


  27. d'Arthez Aug 31, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    Kohli gone for a measly 46. That is still more than most of England batsmen have achieved through the course of the series …
    Silly question perhaps, but how is Rashid supposed to take wickets if he only gets 2 out of 45 overs to bowl? Even Moeen has gotten six overs under his belt.


    • Stevet Aug 31, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      They’re saving him for the tail as they are the only batsmen he can get out. Never removes important players or anything.


    • d'Arthez Aug 31, 2018 / 4:06 pm

      So, he is picked as a batsman, but basically ensures that the specialist spinner does not get a worthwhile bowl. And we wonder what Moeen’s role in the team is, when the selectors and players themselves don’t know it.
      Fifer for Moeen, but some dreadfully pathetic batting from India here. The lower middle order was comfortably outbatted by Ishant Sharma, the second greatest ever fast bowler to grace the earth.


  28. Stevet Aug 31, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    Stokes seriously lucky there. I thought that was probably a no-ball but umpires have been instructed to give benefit of any doubt to the bowler, so fair enough as it was very tight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 2:49 pm

      Not only dodgy as to the no ball but it seemed less than a certainty to hit the stumps with the amount of swing after bouncing that we have seen this afternoon. The ball had a fair way to travel before it might have hit the stumps


  29. RufusSG Aug 31, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    An interesting point re the over-rate discussions. Sky put up a graphic earlier in the series (https://i.redd.it/5ppt2hioqtax.jpg) which showed that over-rates worldwide are only very slightly down from the 80s (from 14.44 to 14.01: assuming a six-hour day that’s only only about two overs a day down in 30 years). The pace dominance in the 80s meant there weren’t that many spinners to rush through a few either.

    Given the over-rates have sometimes been down at 12 an hour this series I’m not going to pretend they haven’t been a problem, but a lot of commentators seem to imply that back in their day everyone got through 20+ an hour no problem and over-rates were absolutely fine. Guys like Vaughan and Botham who make the biggest noise about this presided over some pretty average over-rates themselves (and for an overseas example, Sourav Ganguly regularly got warned) but I don’t remember the same level of discussion.

    Of course ideally we’d be at 15 a hour all the time. I just don’t think it’s as simple as “teams are slower now than they ever were”. Did people feel they were getting ripped off in the 80s and 90s? Do the increased scoring-rates and time taken over retrieving boundaries play a part too?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 31, 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Difference was back then that play went on until the overs were completed, so although there may have been some unhappiness about the length of the day, spectators did get what they’d paid for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 31, 2018 / 4:59 pm

        A real disgrace is that thy are around 11 overs short by scheduled close of play.

        Re Mo’s success, him banging on about it overlooks the too many occasions that he (Mo) looks like a club hack with both bat and ball. I appreciate the vastly superior records he possesses at home v away but I’ve watched too many spells that have lacked imagination and construction that you expect of a guy who’s played 50 or so tests.


  30. man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Benaud and Laker regularly commented on it in the 70s and 80s. As did Brian Johnston on the radio. The Aussies were angry about over rates in 1970-71.

    However, there was lots of discussion about the very slow over rates on Hutton’s Ashes tour of 1954-55. Also the Bodyline tour. But both of those involved 8 ball overs.

    I might try to find the figures. But once the West Indies went for the 4 man pace attack in 1976, it seemed the establishment and media outrage increased. Interestingly, in the 30s, West Indies played most of their Tests with a mostly pace attack – Constantine, Francis and Griffith, or Constantine, Hylton and Martindale – without too much in the way of complaints.

    Recently, it seems to me that few media people are bothered, apart from Bumble.

    But I have been talking about teams with fast bowlers. For England, with its bunch of fast-medium morons to bowl at less than 15 per hour is taking the piss. And they should be fined where it hurts. Someone should paint “I drive slowly” in HUGE letters on their sponsored cars

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Stevet Aug 31, 2018 / 3:21 pm

    Selvey’s going to be bloody unbearable


    • man in a barrel Aug 31, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Does anyone remember when the playing rule for County matches (and, for a while, Test matches) was to bowl 20 overs in the last hour of a match, or continue until 20 had been bowled? And in the 70s didn’t County teams have to bowl 17.5 per hour, on average over the season?

      The stipulation was probably to stamp out the abusive slow-down performed by Amateur Trevor Bailey under the captaincy of Professional Len Hutton in 1953 versus Australia at, was it?, Headingley. I think he got it down to 12 or so, deemed outrageously slow at the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. dlpthomas Aug 31, 2018 / 4:06 pm

    Moen having a great game and England’s catching has improved (though to be fair it couldn’t have gotten worse.)

    It will be interesting to see how Ashwin bowls on this track.


  33. Stevet Aug 31, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    Suddenly Curran’s runs are taking on increased significance.


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