England vs. India: 5th Test, Day 1 – Cook Triumphant. England Not So Much.

I have a confession to make: I like Alastair Cook. At least his batting. I am a natural contrarian, and therefore nothing pleases me more than watching the team I support grinding out a score at less than 2 runs per over. You can keep your flashy drives and slogs over deep midwicket, I’ll take 6 hours of leaves and nurdles every day of the week.

I therefore enjoyed the first two sessions of this game immensely. Joe Root won the toss, as he has in every Test this series, and chose to bat first. This gave Cook’s adoring fans (and our own LordCanisLupus) at the Oval a chance to watch their retiring hero at the crease. The first session of the day was slow-going, with little movement in the air and slow bounce from the pitch. Both openers almost reached Lunch before Jennings gave India’s leg slip some catching practice with a glance straight into the fielder’s hands. Hardly the shot of a player who you might expect to be facing Australia next summer.

Moeen Ali came in at three and, together with the greatest English batsman of all time at the other end, made it through to the Lunch interval. Fortunately they didn’t have to watch or listen to the coverage of Cook’s retirement because it honestly almost put me off my food. I had to turn it off in the end. I’m a fan of his batting, as I said at the start, but the way coverage of the former England captain tends to go completely over the top does make me sympathise with those of you here that dislike him immensely. I assume one of the other writers here will go into this week’s interviews and articles after the game finishes. Something for you all to look forward to.

After Lunch, It seemed like India had managed to switch the ball as they suddenly started swinging it round corners. It had all the hallmarks of an England Test collapse, but instead something incredibly odd and unusual happened: The two batsmen dug in and didn’t throw away their wickets. The session wasn’t without incident with two chances in the slip cordon going down, but given the conditions it was the kind of partnership that England have been sorely lacking in recent years.

As seemed almost inevitable after all of the pageantry earlier in the day, Cook reached his half-century with a drive down the ground for two. The accounts of the crowd’s reaction differ, with ESPNcricinfo calling is a “huge ovation” whilst the Guardian say it was “acclaimed like a double hundred”. Our field correspondent suggests it wasn’t quite as great an outpouring of affection as the press might suggest, although perhaps it should have been. It was the first fifty by either team’s openers in this series and only Cook’s third in the last year. If it wasn’t for Cook’s impending retirement, this level of celebration would seem almost sarcastic. The two batsmen continued to grind the Indian bowlers down, and survived to the Tea interval.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and Cook’s penultimate innings was no different. Five overs into the evening session, a quick inseamer from Bumrah caught Cook off guard and he dragged it onto the stumps. It was a good innings though, and had laid an ideal platform for the middle order to capitalise on tiring bowlers with an old ball which had stop swinging as prodigiously as it had in the previous session.

In the most predictable turn of events ever, England instead lost a couple of quick wickets. Root was first to go just three balls later for a duck, trapped in front by Bumrah. Not content with missing a straight ball, England captain also completely wasted one of their precious reviews. The question Root asked Moeen at the other end before taking the review is particularly worrying because he seemed very confident that the ball was heading down the leg side. If it was missing leg stump, it was only because it was heading for middle. Root only averages 24.25 this series, and he appears to have no idea where the stumps are when he’s batting. This brought Bairstow to the crease, but as people who have watched this summer will know he’s been prone to bat away from his body a lot recently. Well, he did it again on just his fourth ball and edged it through to Pant.

So despite England’s top order functioning as it should (for once!), England were still in a hole and needed rescuing by their allrounders yet again. India kept the pressure on the hosts by keeping things tight, and Ben Stokes was given LBW by a quick full delivery from Jadeja. Moeen Ali reached his own half-century a few overs later, then got a very faint edge on an Ishant Sharma outswinger. He had played and missed several times in his innings, and was maybe a little lucky to have lasted as long as he did in all honesty. Two balls later and Sharma induced another feather from Sam Curran as the allrounder was trying to pull his bat out of the way.

Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid struggled through to the end of play, although not entirely without incident. Buttler was given out LBW after Shami managed to hit him on the pad with a quick inswinger, and Jos reluctantly reviewed it in hope rather than expectation. To everyone’s surprise, including apparently the batsman, it turned out that he’d hit it. It’s often said that batters know when they’ve hit it, but surely the review system has disproven this quite conclusively.

So England, in spite of a strong start, are probably well under the par score on this pitch. At least the England fans in the crowd (including LordCanisLupus and a few others from the comments section, I think) have been able to watch 90 overs’ play today. A rare treat in this series.

As always, please comment below.


148 thoughts on “England vs. India: 5th Test, Day 1 – Cook Triumphant. England Not So Much.

  1. Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    Pretty much the perfect day for Cook media lovers. The old man (only 33) scores some runs, and then England collapse as standard. It ticks all the right boxes. Cook is a hero, and everybody else is not worthy.

    Delicate anyalsis required though. England’s collapse could be put down to dead rubber syndrome, but that would under value Cooks runs. On the other hand if the match is so vital then the media have to tear into the batting unit yet again. I suspect they will just gloss over. And in any case England may yet still escape to 300.

    If I was Root I would head down to my local blacksmiths, and have him make me a suit of armour with a thick metal helmet. He’s going to need it in the coming year. I don’t think the media will be as forgiving as they have been for the last four years. Not now their hero will be gone.

    A hard rain is gonna fall.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 5:51 pm

      They might have a point. Of the top 5, only Moeen averages over 30 in this series. Root looked shot for most of it, and Bairstow seems to have developed a fault with playing away from his body. The less said about Jennings the better.


      • d'Arthez Sep 7, 2018 / 6:00 pm

        The reason that Moeen averages over 30 is the runs he scored while batting at 7. He averages 29.5 while batting in the top 5.


        • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:02 pm

          Which is still 3 runs higher than Bairstow, the next closest. My point stands.


          • d'Arthez Sep 7, 2018 / 6:17 pm

            Only because you count the innings that Bairstow batted outside the top 5. Which was an innings at 7 a day after he broke a finger. He made a duck.

            Point invalid.


          • Silk Sep 7, 2018 / 6:19 pm

            Play nicely chaps…


          • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:20 pm

            No, he was technically right. Which is the best kind of right.


          • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:20 pm

            Fine, you convinced me. Bairstow can stay in the team, but he needs to work on his technique.


          • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 6:30 pm

            I view Bairstow as unfit at the moment. He shouldn’t have played the last test. And shouldn’t play this one either. What’s the point? The series is won. Get him healed up for the winter.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:31 pm

            I couldn’t agree more. Broad and (especially) Anderson fall into this category too. Honestly I’d consider resting the two bowlers from the Sri Lanka series. There probably won’t be much help for them there.

            Liked by 1 person

          • psoans Sep 8, 2018 / 8:30 am

            Baristow should have been rested but I think he fears losing the gloves. Anderson should have been rested too but I think he would prefer trying to get over McGrath in this series than wait until Sri Lanka. I think Sri Lanka will be brutal. England may have to play two spinners and Moeen. Best of luck to the esteemed selectors. Speaking about selectors; SKY was giving a lot of flack for dropping Pujara and including Kuldeep Yadav. They were probably tactically wrong but no one seems to be going after Smith and co. Moeen and Curran should have played all the tests. Bringing in Pope was probably positive but dropping him after one game is a little too unfair. It would have been better if he was not picked at all.


          • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 11:56 am

            I would rest Anderson and Broad for Sri Lanka, maybe Stokes as well.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Silk Sep 7, 2018 / 6:01 pm

    How is this batting unit going to make big scores in Sri Lanka? Rely on Curran and Buttler?

    Well played Mr Cook. And how lucky is Joe Root? No way we’d be 3-1 up if he’d lost the toss in the first or fourth test.


    • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      English players always bat remarkably well against spin, so I don’t forsee any problems.


      • Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 6:09 pm

        Haha! Just as our seamers always bowl equally as well in the sub-continent as they do in England.

        So everything should be fine for Sri Lanka. Hatfield of runs for the top order and lots of wickets for the clique twins.


      • psoans Sep 8, 2018 / 8:40 am

        In one of the Tests against South Africa only two overs of seam was bowled by Sri Lanka in two innings. If the track is a turner do you think Root will dare give Moeen or Adil the new ball?

        Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Sep 7, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      How is this batting unit going to make runs in Sri Lanka?

      Who knows, but I’ll put my neck on the line and say: better, much ‘much better.


      Cook’s gone.

      It’s not him per se, but it’s the damage the status he has been given that fucks the whole team.

      Now, finally, we can have an opening pair who might actually have parity of interest in their collective success…..without a monkey on their back….

      Without the monkey that says “you’re playing with Alistair Cock, the BEST in English cricket, fucking untouchable (so don’t even think about it), Chef, hero, nice man, farmer, father, non sweating best ever and YOURE FUCKED SUNSHINE BECAUSE WE LOVE ALISTAIR.

      Thank god he’s going.

      I thought I could wait (it was only a bloody week) before a diatribe and had held back on commenting on LCL’s great piece to allow everyone their views.

      Everything about Cook fucking stinks.

      I can accept he may not be aware (he’s clearly pretty stupid) of the poison his unimpeachable status had on the team. Doesn’t make it right.

      Essex are welcome to him.

      Liked by 1 person

        • jomesy Sep 7, 2018 / 9:54 pm

          Replying to Silk, Danny. Maybe OTT. It’s all subjective.


    • quebecer Sep 8, 2018 / 12:09 am

      Silkers, you know I respect your knowledge and opinions, but describing us as having a batting unit at all is the poorest piece of analysis I think you’ve ever ventured.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine SImpson-Long Sep 7, 2018 / 6:06 pm

    When Moheen reached his 50 Athers said that the crowd applauded him ‘but not as much as Cook’. I nearly spat out my tea. FFS

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      To be fair, applause for a half-century is usually polite and quiet, unless it’s a tailender. Of course, Cook has been batting something like a tailender recently so maybe that’s why they clapped so hard?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 6:23 pm

      Diasspointed Mike Atherton lowers himself to such tawdry levels of observation. There is no need for any comparison with Cooks last test match. I don’t remember previous debates about Strauss vs Trescothick or KP applause levels.

      Will this now be the standardl that all landmarks for England batsman will be judged by Cooks applause? Will Mike Atherton and Nasser be ready with a decibel machine and headphones to measure levels of applause?

      I would expect better of him than this. Piss poor childishness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Sep 7, 2018 / 6:46 pm

        The largest ovation I have experienced at a test match was when Thorpe scored a hundred in his comeback test v South Africa. Cook not close to that although I might be biased.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 7:02 pm

          Don’t tell Sky.

          Did you have a good day boss? Sounds as if it was bit boring? Dead rubber, slow scoring rate etc,etc.

          What was the customer experience like six years on from 2012? Was it a full house?


    • oreston Sep 7, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      I watched the C5 highlights and I swear I heard Mark Nicholas introduce Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box early in the day by noting that Sunny didn’t score “…quite as many runs” as Cook. Obviously I must’ve been imagining things because, even in jest, that would’ve been an utterly graceless observation. It also would’ve entirely lacked context. Over 10,000 runs scored in 35 fewer Tests? Career average over 50? Average of 65 against the 1970s and ’80s West Indies quicks? But no, more importantly his career run total is lower than Cook’s.
      Just to note that I don’t blame AC personally for all this fawning and swooning by grown up male commentators and former players (although maybe if he had a bit more about him him he might’ve at least been embarrassed and done more to prick the balloon). After this match is over, sick bag manufacturers are going to find themselves in for a pretty lean time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Sep 7, 2018 / 9:35 pm

        Driving home this evening the TMS commentators were saying how many people had only bought a ticket for today so that they could tell their grandchildren they’d seen Cook’s last innings. They then had to correct themselves to say his first innings after he’d announced his retirement and that there would (probably) be another “last innings”. They then moved on to say how today’s viewers would tell their grandchildren that they’d seen Cook’s almost last innings. SG waited, perfectly, and said “do you think they’ll actually talk to their grandchildren about that”?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 9:41 pm

          I wouldn’t tell my grandkids about that if I’d been there, SG is right. But I will tell them about the Saturday I spent at Edgbaston in the 2005 ashes, or the day I was at the Oval when Pakistan refused to come back out to play, due to certain accusations.


        • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 10:10 pm

          I think some of these people are quite mad. And I’m not joking. It’s a deep mental illness.

          As to Mark Nicholas that just sounds tactless and pathetic. Perhaps the ECB has them all on commission to show who can be the biggest brown nose.


          • Sophie Sep 8, 2018 / 6:28 am

            Mark Nicholas. A year ago, Brian Lara held some lecture at Lord’s or somewhere, and afterwards they had Anya Shrubsole and Jonny Bairstow in for some sort of Q&A. He introduced Shrubsole, “She’s a woman who’s just won the world cup,” and Bairstow, who’s played for England since 2011, and with some success, you could argue, “He’s a young man whose father killed himself when he was a child.”


          • Sophie Sep 8, 2018 / 6:33 am

            Well, actually I remembered that wrong, he said he tragically lost his father at a young age, but still, it was the entire introduction.


        • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:41 am

          And then their grandchildren will ask, “What’s cricket?”


  4. Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    On the debate, Cork says Cook had a test century nailed on today, so why did he get out for 71?

    He also says this is the greatest Indian seam attack ever, possibly?


    • Silk Sep 7, 2018 / 6:14 pm

      Kapil Dev, on his own, was a pretty special seam attack…


      • oreston Sep 7, 2018 / 11:28 pm

        You will insist on bringing facts into it. Facts are wrongthink! You should know by now that the Ministry of Truth has declared that Test cricket in ’80s and ’90s was nowhere near the exalted and ever improving standard we are privileged to enjoy today.


    • Benny Sep 7, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      Saw that Dominic “I’m telling you Charles” Cork was on the debate. Switched off


      • thelegglance Sep 7, 2018 / 8:01 pm

        I always think Charles Colville handles him rather well. A slightly disdainful pause.


        • Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 8:44 pm

          I agree and he also gives him some excellent looks, some almost withering stairs, as if to say ‘you blithering idiot’ or ‘you show pony hypocrite’. I do like Colville on the verdict.


    • Silk Sep 7, 2018 / 6:21 pm

      Was Cook nailed on for a ton when he was dropped?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Sep 7, 2018 / 6:22 pm

        It seemed like conditions were in his favour in the first session, but after that I was honestly surprised he managed to reach 50 (the dropped catch notwithstanding). He was more in control than Moeen, but scoring so slowly I just assumed he’d get out somehow. And he did.


      • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 6:26 pm

        I thought once great players past 20 let alone 50 that a hundred was required. If not demanded. Conversion rates and all that.

        Still, he will get a second go on Sunday.


    • mdpayne87 Sep 7, 2018 / 7:11 pm

      Saw a stat somewhere that this is the most number of wickets ever taken by Indian seamers in a series (58). Whether that’s down to their quality or poor batting is open to debate…


      • thelegglance Sep 7, 2018 / 8:02 pm

        I’m sure India find it hard to believe they’ve lost this series against this England side. They should.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dlpthomas Sep 8, 2018 / 1:35 am

          My guess is the only people who really understand how the Indian seam attack is feeling at the moment is the England seam attack. Neither side can bat (in these conditions).


  5. nonoxcol Sep 7, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Dropped slip catches cost 82 runs between them. It could have been a lot worse, as they say.

    C5 highlights reasonably understated. As indeed was an article I read this morning by (steady yourself Dmitri) Derek Pringle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. thebogfather Sep 7, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Well… that was a tediously inept performance by TeamECB/Sky whichever way you look at it…
    And to be honest, I can’t be arsed anymore


  7. quebecer Sep 7, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    A week or so ago I saw some oaf on the Gruniad BTL (Mark Jenkins perhaps?) said the current England side was like the old ODI side – all the parts required, good players, just need to find the way forward. Utter horseshit, obviously; the only thing this team has in common with the old ODI team is that they can’t score 300.

    I honestly think England are a genuine mess and this series has covered up the full extent of it. Goodness, India have missed a trick not beating us in this series! If ever a team was there for the taking, it’s us. True, they’ve lost every toss, and we’ve served up such result wickets (and I’m a bit ashamed of that, btw), and our philosophy of doing this and then keeping our fingers crossed that tourists score even fewer runs than we do really should not have stopped them.

    Joe Root needs to get himself sorted out completely. This isn’t just bad form. It’s where he is following a continuing decline over the last 2 years. He’s all wrong. He’s jumpy, has no idea where his stumps are (quite how he could have reviewed that one today…) and his head is in a terrible position pretty much most of the time. He’s not just a little out of touch: He’s lost the fundamentals of his batting.

    You don’t get to be as bad as we are without some very serious comeuppance happening at some point very soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anthony Bennett Sep 7, 2018 / 7:57 pm

      It isn’t, even now, impossible that England will win this series 4-1. And then in the winter they will be marmalised in Sri Lanka, and probably hang on in the West Indies, and nobody in authority will give a stuff.

      I must add that today’s innings was a horrible performance, with England batting as though they were losing the series and trying to avoid another crushing defeat, yet not quite believing they could manage that. The (specialist) batting lineup may actually be the worst I’ve seen in 50 years for England, and that includes 1989, when at least there was Gower, and Robin Smith. Give me those in preference to England’s greatest ever batsman, any day, please.


      • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 8:12 pm

        I’m afraid overseas Tests don’t bother the powers that be anymore. The only thing that is important is the right TV company gets the contract.

        I would love to see the much ridiculed side of the 1990s play this lot. I would bet they would marmalise Roots boys.

        Atherton, Stewart, Nasser, Thorpe, Hick, Smith, even dear old Ramps would score some runs. And Gough and Caddick would make these modern players play at most balls. Even Tufnell on the right surface would bowl this lot out.


    • thelegglance Sep 7, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      We won’t miss the Cook of the last few years. But my God we’ll miss Broad and Anderson.


      • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 8:16 pm

        Eulogy to Cook VS Eulogy to Anderson & Broad……..Shouldn’t it be more waited to the bowlers?


        • Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 8:53 pm

          Yes and when you consider Anderson’s stats of the last few years (which we discussed on here a few tests ago) have been phenomenal in terms of wickets taken and average, he and Broad will be a much greater loss than Cook. Let’s be honest, we lost the good Cook years ago now, whereas Broad and Anderson have generally carried on performing in that time.

          As much as I don’t necessarily warm to the 2 captains in all but name, they will be the ones who are massively missed, especially in home series.


          • thelegglance Sep 7, 2018 / 9:00 pm

            You can make a decent case that Anderson is getting better. Personally, I do think he’s a modern great. Cook, no. Anderson yes.


          • Rohan Sep 7, 2018 / 9:04 pm

            Yes, I have to admit, my views on Anderson’s greatness have really changed recently. I was wrong and, I think his stats over the last 3 or 4 years do back up your statement that he is a modern great. Still a nasty temperament at times though.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Sep 7, 2018 / 9:10 pm

            Being a pain in the arse at times is something I’ll never complain about*. Talented people often are.

            *shut up you lot.


          • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 9:21 pm

            Isn’t it bizarre how someone so talented as Cook is an all time great, and not a pain in the arse, but a paragon of virtue, and a friend, and all round genius, and good egg…….According to the media.

            As you say, I find Anderson’s personality more believable. Love him or loathe him I believe he is real. I don’t know who Cook is.


          • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:38 am

            I think Cook is almost certainly a nice, polite person. Selfish, oblivious and perhaps not especially smart, but nice. I think none of those characteristics suit the job of captaincy (or even being the senior batsman) especially well, but it probably would somewhat explain why journalists fawn over him.


          • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:31 am

            Absolutely. I think he has mellowed a bit recently, but his tough guy persona has been particularly annoying and unnecessary.


          • BobW Sep 8, 2018 / 5:17 pm

            But there’s a part of me that thinks if only he’d pitched the ball up another 12-18 inches in his career he’d have a hundred or more so wickets.


      • jomesy Sep 7, 2018 / 9:43 pm

        I tend to agree on this but they need to go too. We need new bowlers…and maybe their departure will force us to look outside of the flower-groomed environment (because that’s bare). Maybe there’s some talent out there where nobody’s got their mits on them. One reason I always hold a candle for Pakistan.


    • Deep Purple Fred Sep 7, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      A few comments.
      I was looking at that Jenkins guy. Seems like westie has died and been reincarnated, except without his brain. There’s a never ending stream of them, isn’t there?

      I agree, I’m astounded how badly the scoreline reads for India. There are many series where you could imagine it may have been a bit different (2005, 2013 for example) but this truely is a case of looking at the score and wondering how on earth that happened. India will be extremey rueful, if Kohli does rueful, but at least they can be proud of how they’ve handled themselves, unlike the last lot. How on earth did England win the last test, given the position they were in? Seems like Ashwins selection was fatal. Currans was potentially the deciding factor.

      And yes, comeuppance is imminent. SL can be very tough.

      It used to be that Smith, Root, Kohli and Williamson were mentioned in the same breath. Now its Kohli and Williamson, and Smith yeah but you know sandpaper, and that’s it. Root’s dropped to second division. Take the captaincy off him. England needs his runs more than his captaincy.

      I’ve agreed with pretty much all you say, which is very disturbing. I’ll need to reflect further.

      On another matter, I noticed the dinky little map that this blog has on the side, titled Read Around The World. There seems to be a very heavy concentration of readers in North America, and even on the east coast of South America. Is that map real, or a marketing trick borrowed from the ECB? It seems a strange distribution of cricket fans. There’s a little red dot up in the tundra, we all know who that is, but Iceland? Japan? Siberia?


      • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 8:37 pm

        I’m afraid I have to disagree a bit Fred. (I’ll try to do this without a rant seeing as you’re such a fan of my rants 😉 )

        England were there for the taking. Their batting is a joke. And this Indian team arrives as the number one test team in the world. (Stop sniggering at the back) Come on, who have India beaten away from home? A much weakened Sri Lanka, and the WI. There are no great Test sides at the moment. Many are good at home, but that’s it.

        When your lot used to arrive as number one or the WI in the 1970s and 80s there was real fear. Why do you think we had a open top bus tour of London in 2005? We thought it was a real achievement. I know many Aussies laughed at that, and I understand , but we felt we beat a proper side. We won’t even have a cycle ride through London for this.

        I do agree with you about Root, but we pick captains on image, and sponsors logos , and right type of schools. And who else is there bar Anderson? Butler is a dark horse if Root fails.


        • Anthony Bennett Sep 7, 2018 / 9:41 pm

          His form is a bit of a shame but I did have reasonably high hopes that Jennings would make a decent skipper. And now it must be questionable whether he will even get into the tour party. I’m afraid I’ve had to jettison my support for Eoin Morgan as test captain given he averages something like 6 in first class cricket this year.


      • Deep Purple Fred Sep 7, 2018 / 10:51 pm

        Nah, England got lucky. India, despite their flaws, were just a couple of held catches or one or two innings away from a different result. Such is cricket, key moments.


        • Mark Sep 7, 2018 / 11:47 pm

          Luck? Doesn’t wash if you are the best side in the world. You get a side down you finish them off. India couldn’t do it because they aren’t that good outside of India.

          Kohli is a class player. Take him out, and this series would have been a rout 5-0. You could take almost any of England’s top five out and it wouldn’t have made a shred of difference.


          • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:49 am

            If you take Sam Curran out (as a batsman) England might be losing though.


        • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:47 am

          The coin tosses were crucial as well. India have to suspect a dodgy coin because Kohli always calls heads and it’s been tails every game this series.


      • quebecer Sep 8, 2018 / 12:20 am

        Fred: see the red dot right up on Hudson Bay? That’s not me.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 8:55 am

          If an IP address is from a country only the red dot is plonked in the centre of the country.

          I lost faith in that when I logged on in Colombia and Peru in February and nothing came up.


    • metatone Sep 8, 2018 / 7:40 am

      I said this on the other thread, but to expand a little.

      I’m going to mark this down with the SA series a while back where SA were without their top two bowlers for key points of the series. Likewise, I really do think this would have been a much more difficult series if Kumar had been fit and if Bumrah had been fit from the start.

      Now, it’s true “you can only beat what is in front of you” but in terms of looking ahead and assessing the quality of your own team, a little realism is important too. (And all that is before we ask tiny questions like “what if India had won the toss at Lords”.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Sep 8, 2018 / 7:43 am

        To ramble on a bit more – in a few more years, no-one but me will remember that SA tour as an odd result. It’s just a win in the cricinfo stats. Likewise with this series, but if you want to get better as a team (are you listening Ed Smith?) you can’t afford to ignore the details.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Silk Sep 7, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    If Anderson hangs up his boots at the end of this Test we are in deep shit.


    • jomesy Sep 7, 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Disagree. We’re be route to a team where individuals not named Broad, Anderson or Cook can have a proper say. I quite like the idea. Sorry, I love the idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 6:27 am

        So Root as captain doesn’t have a say? I get you despise those three players but come On, really?


        • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 6:45 am

          I don’t know, under Cook and now Root they’ve largely been left to their own devices. Broad and Anderson are kind of untouchable. Literally in some ways, if you look at how Duckett was dropped from the Lions for pouring a drink over Jimmy when players who had done it to other people that night weren’t punished at all.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 8:47 am

            That had all the hallmarks of teaching a kid a lesson while satisfying the press (and by extension the public) that discipline was in place. Tail wagging dog everywhere.


    • metatone Sep 8, 2018 / 7:47 am

      OOH of course you can’t lose a bowler with his recent stats and not feel it.
      He’s not the GOAT, but he is very, very good, esp. when conditions suit.

      OTOH, for home series, Broad, Woakes, Curran with Stokes as allrounder isn’t a bad start to a bowling lineup.

      As for SL… never been Jimmy’s hunting ground really. (Bowling average, 40.02) More worried about the campaign to drop Rashid and bring in Leach.


  9. man in a barrel Sep 7, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    Thought experiment… Would Karun Nair get into this England team 3


    • quebecer Sep 8, 2018 / 12:16 am


      In all honesty, MiaB, I didn’t have to think that hard.


      • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 5:51 am

        For the Sri Lanka series, there’s probably at least 20-30 Indian players who would be picked in our top 5 ahead of what we’ve got. Even Root and Bairstow’s form is poor, so maybe more than 30.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 8:57 am

      I can think of 303 reasons I would have picked him today. Just to remind us all how the epic captaincy reign ended.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 9:44 am

        He should be playing regardless. India have missed a trick with some of their selections all series.


  10. BoredInAustria Sep 8, 2018 / 4:58 am

    From the Aggers interview some nuggets (apologies for the long quotes)

    On Captaincy:
    “I suppose you could say I was always having to defend my style of captaincy. I did get a lot of criticism – some of it justified, other times as part of a tactic. I have no doubt when Shane Warne criticised me, that was a tactic because he was such good friends with Australia skipper Michael Clarke. I was very stubborn in believing I knew what was right for my game, so that is what I did with the captaincy. I didn’t listen to anyone.”

    On SABMOB:
    “It was the toughest time of my career and there’s no doubt that it affected my batting. The day when Straussy came out and said Kevin wasn’t going to play for us anymore, that was a massive weight off my shoulders. I was involved in the original decision, but the England captain doesn’t have the final say on hiring and firing. I agreed with it, but I said ‘why don’t we give him some time off, we can go away and maybe KP can come back later on’. Paul Downton, Strauss’ predecessor, wanted clarity and a clean break, because people would always be asking when is Pietersen coming back. You had to back his decision because that’s what his job was.”

    The fallout was pretty nasty and I don’t think the ECB handled it well or appreciated how social media worked back then. I bore a lot of the brunt of it, but I suppose that’s what being captain is.
    I would refute anyone saying that I was the one that chucked Pietersen down the stairs, but I was involved in the decision and I believed it was right at that time. What could have happened a year later, I don’t know. Looking back, I can safely say all the decisions I made were done for the best of the England cricket team at that time. On that one, there were a lot of other people, way above my head, also involved in it. I felt like I was being left alone as the captain.”

    On Gooch:
    “Telling him that he was no longer going to be the batting coach wasn’t great from me, even if I believed it was the right decision. Andy Flower had just left and, because he and Graham were so close, if we still had the same sort of message coming through, I didn’t think we’d move forward. I thought we needed a fresh start. Even though I thought it was right, I don’t think I should have been the one to tell Goochie that we didn’t want him as coach – that will be a major regret.

    It was over a phone call because we kept trying to meet up but couldn’t. It was sad and I should never have allowed it to happen that way. Now, I probably wouldn’t have done, but it’s the sort of thing that happens when you’re growing up as a captain. It’s possibly not the captain’s job, but I can only blame myself for doing it.”

    Roughly 40 mentions of I and me.

    My conclusion he is in life as in batting, completely focus inwards, mostly on himself, fully unaware of others and what his actions have as an effect on his surroundings. There might be some analysis of a situation on a rational level, but none on any emotional level. And in more complex situations (outside his batting bubble) he remained an immature child that should never have been let close to the captaincy (or a microphone). Stubborn, self-centered and self righteous. In this regard I am with Jomesy – it must be very hard to bat with him.

    These were the abilities that allowed him to grind out an amazing amount of runs, but also to become a very useful tool for the various suits to follow their various agendas. It is hard to imagine this is a grown up, battled hardened (Flower and his war games!), a leader of a national team. He does come across as a bit thick and very naïve, and did they take advantage of it!

    I will miss him, as I did lately enjoy the kick in checking the score to see if the first wicket had fallen…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Sep 8, 2018 / 8:06 am

      He’s more like Boycott than anyone realises. The “choir boy” thing is no more real than the “blunt Yorkshireman” thing. It’s all about them.

      England realised Boycott would be a terrible captain and gave it to Denness, which led to Boycott’s mega sulk.

      Waitrose played it a different way. To the detriment of the side, I think.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Silk Sep 8, 2018 / 8:32 am

        Late, blindingly obvious, thought – And KP, of course. Externally different, under the surface very similar.

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 8:53 am

      Thanks. No apologies required. I’ll have a look at this all next week. Sort of think it’s expected of me!


    • man in a barrel Sep 8, 2018 / 9:25 am

      He had to phone Gooch because they were unable to arrange a meeting. Two men who worked for Essex and England, not exactly 24/7 activities are they? And despite working for the same organisations they could not arrange a meeting. Where were they, somewhere lost in space? Does neither of them possess a car with a satnav? No wonder the team was such a shambles under them. It is all so much bullshit

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:06 am

      The interview reminds me of the person who says……

      “I have been driving for fifty years, and I have never had an accident, not so much as a scratch. Mind you, I have witnessed plenty.”


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:09 am

        This line. Just this line could make we write an entire piece…

        Cook has not spoken to Pietersen since but did not rule out burying the hatchet. ‘I guess time is a great healer,’ Cook says during today’s Test Match Special.

        ‘We spent a lot of time together and created some amazing memories. The thing is, we never actually fell out. Since then the internet has fallen out for us. He will have a different opinion, I’m sure.’


        • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:19 am

          “Since then the internet has fallen out for us.”


          How would he know, he says he doesn’t do social media? And notice again it’s some one else’s fault or in this case something else’s fault. A thing, called the internet.

          He’s quite childlike.


          • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 12:08 pm

            So they haven’t fallen out although they haven’t spoken for over four years, everyone on the internet (so that’s everyone, then) thinks they’ve fallen out and KP might have a different opinion to AC as to whether or not they’ve fallen out. These are the garbled thoughts of a weak and indecisive man who lacks insight into himself or anyone else and lives in denial. No wonder he’s never done anything to challenge the media’s personality cult or to present himself as a regular bloke. He wouldn’t know how and he’s been too comfy in the bubble provided for him.


          • thelegglance Sep 8, 2018 / 12:11 pm

            It makes me think he’s one of these people who can’t cope with conflict and shuts himself off from it, buries his head and hopes it goes away. That’s the only way he can think they haven’t fallen out – because he didn’t speak to him.

            Amazingly self-absorbed (which incidentally reflects on his batting style), and unaware of the impact it has on others.

            Liked by 1 person

          • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 1:31 pm

            It totally explains his approach to batting. I think The Boy In The Bubble might be my rather belated nickname for him.


          • nonoxcol Sep 8, 2018 / 7:59 pm

            I used to be like this, to
            my detriment. I made myself change. It’s why I could see through all the stuff written about him.


  11. OscarDaBosca Sep 8, 2018 / 7:43 am

    This is sophistry of the highest order

    So basically we all know he’s a terrible captain, but through devising a system that awards points for wins and draws (and basically longevity) they have him 3rd behind Vaughan and Strauss.
    Brearly? 7th
    Illingworth? 8th
    Jardine? 14th

    So a captain that lost just under 1/2 his matches (40%) is our 3rd best captain. It’s unreal the lengths they go to.

    ‘One way of ranking England’s captains is awarding two points for a victory and one point for a draw. Based on this rating having played the most games he comes in third’

    Such chutzpah

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Sep 8, 2018 / 7:49 am

      Just embarrassing, that article…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Miami Dad's 6 Sep 8, 2018 / 8:43 am

        Who is England’s worst ever captain? Let’s start with a list of who has lost the most matches…

        Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 8:50 am

      It’s this stupidity that riles us. Well me. Longevity is a part of “greatness” and of course it should be. But come on now.

      There are plenty of ways to give Cook his due. Why invent some?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Deep Purple Fred Sep 8, 2018 / 10:15 am

      ‘One way of ranking England’s captains is awarding two points for every farm you own with a wife named Alice and one point for every deer you shoot. Based on this rating having played the most games he comes in clearly the greatest captain the world has ever seen’

      Liked by 2 people

      • OscarDaBosca Sep 8, 2018 / 10:46 am



  12. pktroll (@pktroll) Sep 8, 2018 / 9:40 am

    I actually thought that the afternoon session was some of the most captivating test cricket that I had personally watched for some time. The Indian seamers really should have had Cook and Ali long before they did. Yet both dug in, the latter against his own natural instincts and never really gave in to playing a rash shot. Yes he was dropped, yes he played and missed to a nigh on ludicrous extent for a guy who is in essence expected to be a test class contributor as a batsman. Ok anyone with a brain knows he’s no test #3 but he looked often like a club hack.

    By tea one would have thought that England were well placed with the obvious and time old caveat that a wicket might bring 2 or 3…….and how.

    Dmitri/LCL, sorry I didn’t come around, I caught up with guys from my cricket club and got waylaid. Some other time hopefully.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:26 am

      No problems sir. Hope you had a good day.

      The cricket was tough in the afternoon, but I can’t help feel England allowed themselves to be tied down, just as much as there was good bowling. Think this morning is showing how it could have been done. I’m emphasising this all the time, i don’t blame Cook. He was on pace for 110 runs in 90 overs and had well over half of the total when he was out. He was playing his game. Others didn’t.


  13. Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:11 am

    Hands up who think England already have a winning score? Perhaps they will declare!


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:18 am

      A bit like yesterday’s morning session when India seemed to be going through the motions. Then it all went off!


  14. LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:17 am

    I think a lot of yesterday was about intent. On a surface, and with swing like this, there’s a ball with your name on it. It appeared to me as most of the players were waiting to get out, some bringing that fate a little too soon. I was sat at deep backward square/extra cover for our left handers, so can’t really tell the movement and I’m not a great watcher of the big screens as I am also there to take pictures (just the 195 yesterday, that I’ve been cropping). Cook was batting at his normal pace, but Ali was either too passive, or massively out of his depth against the swinging ball.

    One thing I found out yesterday. I’m too old for this shit. I could have slept for a fortnight after it.

    This morning we’ve scored 60-odd runs in 1 and a quarter hours. They’ve shown a bit of intent.


    • thelegglance Sep 8, 2018 / 11:24 am

      It wasn’t easy at all. The collapse after showed that. Personally I thought Moeen batted pretty well in testing conditions. As did Cook for that matter.


    • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:24 am

      Does the oval usually swing as much in recent years?

      I don’t remember it being a swing ground. In the old days when it was probably the best batting track in England it was fast with could consistent bounce. But little sideways movement.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:29 am

        Surrey, and our opponents, couldn’t take 20 wickets on it for a couple of seasons. It isn’t a swinging ground usually, whatever that is. The suspicion on that has to go towards the ball. Are this batch of Dukes the culprit?


        • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:40 am

          Ah yes, the magic Dukes.


  15. LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:24 am

    India letting England off the hook. England getting off the hook with some positivity. I’m a believer in attitude being an important factor. Cook can be passive, it’s his game, it’s what had given him the career he has. It doesn’t suit others.


    • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:35 am

      It’s why I slightly disagree with Fred about England being lucky. Over a five test series you can’t keep letting the opposition escape without it being poor play. Without Kohli this series would have been embarrassing. And with him it could get still end 4-1

      I just can’t take India seriously as the best team in the world. The fact that they are makes Cook’s claims that Test cricket is as good as its ever been look ridiculous.


      • LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:40 am

        “It would not be a surprise if there is a loss of edge….. the series has gone….. it’s a dead rubber.”

        Atherton just now.

        The prosecution rests your honour with your most credible witness confirming what we thought.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:52 am

          GOTCHA Athers!!! Serves you right for doing applause comparisons for fifty’s yesterday. Do not become Agnew!


  16. thebogfather Sep 8, 2018 / 11:46 am

    The best thing that could happen for England’s Test team future is for Root to be injured for the Sri Lanka tour.
    Let Jos skipper and bat at 5, Stokes 6 if fully fit, if not then Pope or another young batsman, Jonny WK 7 and give Mo a long go at 3…as for the openers… pick Stoneman and Burns and tell them to get on with it for the winter.


    • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 11:51 am

      Why is it good for England for the captain to be injured?


      • thebogfather Sep 8, 2018 / 12:02 pm

        Root needs to go back to purely being a batsman. He is not a tactical leader, the captaincy is affecting his game. Jos, however is proving his ability to adapt and learn, has skippered well when covering for Morgan in the shorter formats and is growing in confidence too. He can become a Test captain worth the title, by deed and performance.


        • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 12:13 pm

          Good call Bogfather!

          But England don’t appoint captains on cricket matters alone. Sponsors, right image, all play a part.

          Stag doos in Amsterdam may not fit with the higher ups.


        • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 12:53 pm

          Well he can’t go back to being a batsman if he’s injured, can he? Fair enough re Buttler, I don’t agree but see where you’re coming from.


    • Sophie Sep 8, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      I suppose what they should be doing is push Buttler up to 6 and Bairstow down to 6.


  17. Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 11:55 am

    Double first at Cambridge head selecter dusts off running shoes, and limbers up for latest lap of honour!


  18. LordCanisLupus Sep 8, 2018 / 11:57 am

    Background on Rob Key and Ed Smith….

    There was no romance, however, about Symonds’ return to the county he played for last season, after his clash with Ed Smith, the intellectual who played three Tests for England in 2003. Symonds and Robert Key were seen as the ringleaders in refusing to recognise Smith’s captaincy after the full-time skipper, David Fulton, was injured. Later, when Fulton made Symonds captain for the Twenty20 competition, Symonds dropped Smith from the team. In Kent circles, Symonds was admired as a cricketer but will not necessarily be remembered fondly.

    But, as Al said, time can be a healer.

    There’s more…

    Tension rose further when Smith deputised as captain for the injured Fulton in a match against Worcestershire last summer and Symonds and Key refused to obey instructions about fielding positions.

    The players were upset about Smith allegedly having a clause about being the next captain of Kent written into his playing contract, which they had condemned as a “Toff conspiracy”.

    Smith could probably claim this wasn’t his decision and had to obey the powers that be.


    • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 12:17 pm

      Ha ha ha “Toff conspiracy” hey? English cricket is riddled with them.

      If Smith did get a clause like that in his contract it does make a lot of his writings about merit absolute garbage.


      • Rohan Sep 8, 2018 / 1:59 pm

        Sounds plausible from what we know of the plagiarist!


  19. Rohan Sep 8, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Just read this on a BBC comments section, I was gobsmacked, a pointless stat to blow smoke up cooks bum!

    “I love stats – interesting one
    Tendulkar – 14 ducks
    Kallis – 16 ducks
    Ponting – 17 ducks
    Dravid – 8 ducks
    Sangakarra – 11 ducks
    Cook – 9 ducks (at the moment)

    To have 9 scores of nought as an opener is pretty damn good. Btw, Hayden got 14”

    Selective stat mining as LCL says on here! Absolute rubbish people will trot out.


    • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      Cook probably “shot” the other ducks!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Sep 8, 2018 / 2:21 pm

      Since Bert Sutcliffe only registered two ducks in his Test career, I shall call that more evidence that Cook isn’t the GOAT England opener. Incontrovertible now I’d say!


      • Rohan Sep 8, 2018 / 2:49 pm

        Equally, no surprise someone like Hayden had more ducks, he was a more attacking and exciting batsman in style.


  20. oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Moeen’s in his fifth over, every other bowler has had a spell but still no sign of the unperson Adil Rashid. Obviously now wouldn’t be the time to throw the ball to him because he’s not at all an attacking bowler and he’s never dismissed Kohli.


  21. Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I like Curran a lot, the way he pitches it up without fear, and I understand what this ESPN cricinfo commentator is referring to, but why do they have to over egg the pudding?

    “Curran to Rahul, OUT, this is like Wasim Akram to Dravid at a slower pace, and slight less seam, and slightly less dramatic.”

    So in other words not really like Wasim bowling to Dravid.


  22. Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    Alastair Cook in talks for swift move to commentary box.

    Just to let Sky know, that if you do this I will be cancelling my Sky account. I realise you don’t give a toss about me. However, if you hire someone who can’t string two sentences together, and has spoken how he ignores said media…….you are showing contempt for your customers.

    Will be a shame to leave, but there you are. Have to find something else to spend my £700 odd a year on.

    Obviously if it’s the BBC, I have no redress because I am taxed with no choice.


    • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 4:02 pm

      The vague talk is that it could be Talksport. Did you even read the article?


      • dannycricket Sep 8, 2018 / 4:18 pm

        Talksport have been known to share commentators with Sky though, like the BBC do with Channel 5. Be afraid.


      • Mark Sep 8, 2018 / 4:22 pm

        No I didn’t read the article because I don’t click on every link. Seeing as you can’t throw a cat in the Sky commentary box without hittiing an ex England captain it seemed logical they would be the ones. Especially when his good mate Nasser was already there.

        Perhaps they feel they have already cornered the marked in speak your wait pro ECB talking points.


    • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      Will his halo have to be PAT tested?

      I’m sure he’ll combine the evocative lyricism of Arlott with the insight of Benaud. #killmenow


    • Rohan Sep 8, 2018 / 5:49 pm

      Please no, anything but this. Mark I’m with you. Cook on SKY is more than a good enough reason for me to cancel my subscription!


  23. Zephirine Sep 8, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    Root’s refusal to bowl Rashid is just getting silly.


      • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 5:28 pm

        Maybe with the extra variation he’d bring they’d have bowled even better with him. He is, after all, in the team as a bowler. Funny how as soon as Moeen returned Adil Rashid became the part time spinner, even though it’s his primary discipline and Mo is now batting at 3. Why wouldn’t you have given Adil, say, a few overs at Kohli when he first came in? I’d love to hear your tactical thinking as to why that wouldn’t have been a thing to do. Yes, I know Stokes just got Kohli. After a 50 run partnership that’s not at all the point.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Sep 8, 2018 / 5:47 pm

        He’s proved to be rather good at getting Kohli out, for one thing. Would have been worth a try.

        Fortunately Rashid has batted well so he’s made a good contribution, but it almost looks as if Root’s trying to turn him into a passenger on the bowling side.

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 6:17 pm

          Agree. Very strange captaincy and doesn’t reflect well on Root.


          • mdpayne87 Sep 8, 2018 / 6:55 pm

            1) Trying to get reverse swing.
            2) Ali getting plenty of purchase out of the rough.

            Just not convinced there is a huge conspiracy against Rashid is all.


          • oreston Sep 8, 2018 / 10:01 pm

            You’re right. It’s probably more of a petty and small minded conspiracy! He’s bowled an average of only 12.4 overs per match across the series including the current Test to date. Not sure quite what Moeen getting purchase in the rough demonstrates vis-à-vis Adil not bowling and I’m not completely convinced by the reverse swing argument. That may have been a factor but the ball is 51 overs old now.


          • BobW Sep 8, 2018 / 7:09 pm

            I’ve said it before but I think there are issues between the two of them. Something has happened at Yorkshire CC that have not been resolved.


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