Sri Lanka v England ODI Series – And A Month Off!

Yes. We are very late to this series, and for that apologies. We aren’t full time bloggers, we have lives, we have busy jobs. When the pressures of these combine, and where there isn’t international cricket that stirs the blood, we struggle. So sorry to all of you who check in here day in day out for the lack of content. We usually go down for a while at this time of year unless there is something that really drives us.

From my personal circumstances, the last three weeks have been horrendous. First I came down with a pretty naughty virus, which without being too graphic, meant I lost a stone in weight in 7 days. Now the task is to keep those less than marginal gains off – those of you who have met me will know I need to lose a lot more than a stone! But with that stress came something a lot lot worse. Those of you who follow the Lord Canis Lupus Twitter feed will see the picture of my beloved border collie, Jake. He was 10 years old last Sunday. For a couple of weeks leading up to his birthday we were extremely worried he wouldn’t make it. He has long spells, around 12-18 hours, where he is listless, doesn’t eat, can’t move and generally looks terrible. It is heartbreaking to see. The vet has him diagnosed with early kidney disease, but we also fear it is neurological. 3 days between each of these episodes and you wouldn’t believe we have an ill dog. Both my wife and I are stressed beyond belief over this. So if you want reasons for why I’m not even posting comments, and my twitter feed is sparse, or talking about my dog, then you have them there.

So here is a post to comment on the current one day international series. The first game in Dambulla was rained off with England batting, and today’s looks like being curtailed due to the same issue. Despite getting up at 5:40 to walk my stricken pooch, I completely forgot the game had started, so no comments on our innings until I see the highlights. 278 looks a decent total, and the opening salvo, where England took 5 wickets before Sri Lanka got to 80 pretty much proves it. The sixth wicket partnership put on over 60 before the torrential rains interrupted, and for all money ended, the action. England will take a one-nil lead into the third game on Wednesday in Kandy.

Of course, Olly Stone bowled something a little quicker than we used to, bounced out Dickwella, and the media went quietly mad. I love it. We do love a small sample size. That said, we desperately need new bowling talent with our top test bowlers getting on in years. Chris Woakes at the other end bowled very well to take 3 top order wickets and keeps up his impressive record recently in overseas ODIs.

With the batting driven by Morgan (92) and Root (71), England get important middle order runs when we’ve increasingly relied on the top order fireworks or Jos Buttler bashing the hell out of it. It would be nice to see these guys all being able to contribute on the way up to next year’s World Cup.

So, comment away on the ODIs.

Elsewhere, since I last wrote, Surrey have won the county championship, Rory Burns has got an England call up, and more mysteriously to me so has Joe Denly (no, seriously, I don’t have a clue behind the thinking on that one. Joe Clarke has to be miffed. Please tell me he’s not been picked because he can bowl spin). The season even finished with an absolute thriller between Surrey and Essex carried live on Sky. I am biased, I know, as a Surrey fan, but it has been an excellent season for county cricket. The concept of the Hundred gets more and more ludicrous, but one feels, as is typical with pretty much all top management around the world, to admit an error is seen as grave weakness. Top management does not like to admit the hoi polloi have a better insight than them. To admit that would be to admit that anyone could do their jobs, and that wouldn’t do. Despite everything the guardian authority threw at county cricket this year, it threw it back with excellent county games, a really good Finals day with a terrific story (how good was Moeen as skipper?), and a fervent base amplifying their love for the game, not retreating. We all distrust sporting authorities. That comes with being a fan. But the relationship between a lot of supporters and the ECB is beyond distrust. It’s raw, unfettered rage.

And given what the Wisden Almanack review of this blog this year said, I’m probably the angriest one around. Weren’t impressed. The fulsome praise for Chris was absolutely merited. The preamble wasn’t. But hey, if they are talking about us, we’re winning right?

In the test match world we saw the awesomely talented Prittvi Shaw make a blazing test hundred. Only the Sky Sports Cricket Channel, there for all us devoted cricket fans, never bothered to buy the rights. Let me know if it’s available on Virgin Media, anyone. Shaw made 70 this morning as the Indians are just a few runs behind West Indies’ first innings total with four down and Rahane and Pant in full flow. As I said, I have to envision this in my head because Sky Sports Cricket can’t even red button this. Or is it hidden on one of their other channels.

In Dubai we saw classic test cricket. After two days attritional cricket, where “experts” queued up to decry this dull boring test cricket as killing the game, we saw just how great the sport can be. Australia looked to be killing off the game, but collapsed in a heap in their first innings. Pakistan got caught between two stools in their second innings, but still set up an academic 472 target. Khawaja, Finch and Tim Paine played magnificent innings in rearguard, and Australia had 12 or so overs left and five wickets in hand. A flurry of wickets, and it was 8 or so with two wickets. Nathan Lyon stuck it out with Paine for a thrilling draw. A terrific game, a great finish, and all from a test written off after two days as a killer for cricket. You think these people would learn.

I’ve caught some of the Carribean 50 over competition on BT Sport. Blimey its bobbins. No wonder the game is struggling.

So, once again, apologies for the lack of posts. We will try to do better. Hopefully Jake’s condition stabilises and I can think more about here, than on issues outside of here. It’s also MLB post-season and my Red Sox beat the MFYs (the Y is Yankees, you work out the rest) and will no doubt get belted by the Houston Astros in the semi-final stage. There’s a lot going on, and a lot to do.

Comments on all aspects of the sport at present, below. We will back sooner.



50 thoughts on “Sri Lanka v England ODI Series – And A Month Off!

  1. LordCanisLupus Oct 13, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    I did leave out the Test Match Social / Talksport / Guerilla Cricket stuff. Count me as a bemused bystander – and not so innocent.

    I am going to be honest. I once had to listen to Guerilla Cricket when I couldn’t get to watch or listen to the normal sources when I was on holiday in New Jersey. While I know my tastes are certainly not those of all, and more importantly I recognise that, I couldn’t get on with it. It was if they were trying too hard. They provide a service, but it’s the last resort for me. I absolutely recognise that others love it, and good on them. People either like this blog, or they hate it. As you know, I take those that hate it with good grace and equanimity!!!!

    Talksport have decided to flex their muscles again and TMS is booted off. Last time I remember them butchering the coverage, there were adverts a plenty, and lots of in game commercial plugs for the programme sponsors. I despise that. It’s the thing that grates on me with US sports coverage. I’ve not had the chance to listen to them yet, so have to go in with an open mind. Which is tough given it has Lord Haw Haw Nicholas on comms.

    Not listening to Test Match Social. Not for me. I’d rather read my book on the train!


  2. Rooto Oct 13, 2018 / 12:33 pm

    I’m particularly gutted that TMS didn’t get the rights to this tour as their commentary would have been guaranteed Lovejoy-free. As I have two Strictly Come Dancing obsessed daughters, the cricket is about the only time i can get away from his weirdly-grinning face.
    Guerrilla Cricket is fine for their commentary – some of them good, some tooth-grindingly annoying – but technically speaking, it keeps cutting out on me, so it’s a frustrating experience trying to listen on my phone.
    As for today’s match, it’s good to see Morgan in form. I just wish they’d play Hales instead of Stokes or Dawson. I think extra bowlers in a 50-over match is a bit of an extravagance
    Best wishes to you, Lady Lupus and your canis.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Benny Oct 13, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    Best wishes for your collie. Some things are more important than cricket or the internet

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OscarDaBosca Oct 13, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    Ill dogs are like ill children, much more important that this blog. Best wishes to Jake from me (and Sidney my 🐶)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zephirine Oct 13, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Paws are crossed here for Jake.


    • Rohan Oct 13, 2018 / 6:35 pm

      Yes, same here, lovely breed of dog!


  6. Rohan Oct 13, 2018 / 6:31 pm

    Good to have an update gents! Although looking forward more to the tests than this ODI series, however, it was good to see Malinga out there playing!

    On another note, just reading an Anderson interview on BBC website and I’m gobsmacked by this comment, surely it’s tongue in cheek, see for yourselves –

    “When Brendon McCullum was New Zealand captain, he made it all about being entertaining and showing off your skills,” he said.

    “Both Eoin Morgan in ODIs and Alastair Cook in Tests took from his way and tried to incorporate it into their captaincy.”


    • oreston Oct 13, 2018 / 7:50 pm

      Maybe there’s an alternative reality somewhere in the Multiverse where the Alastair Cook part of that quote makes some sort of sense. Maybe Anderson is an interdimensional traveller and he momentarily forgot which World has was in. You see? There are perfectly credible explanations available, if one only stops to think of them.


    • Zephirine Oct 13, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      I think the key word here is ‘tried’. Morgan also succeeded.

      Alternatively, Anderson said Alastair Cook but he actually meant Joe Root.

      Or Oreston is right and it’s those pesky parallel universes again.


  7. Zephirine Oct 13, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Morgan (92) and Root (71)

    That’s very pleasant to read, isn’t it?


    • Deep Purple Fred Oct 14, 2018 / 6:54 pm

      The rest of the world would be in deep shit if those two got their act together consistently. Fortnately for the rest of the world they havent.yet.


      • Zephirine Oct 15, 2018 / 10:10 am

        Typical Morgan, too – he gives a press interview where he says of course if doesn’t get enough runs he’ll be prepared to drop himself from the team, and then goes and makes a score that adds “but that won’t be necessary, thanks for asking”.


  8. dlpthomas Oct 14, 2018 / 2:12 am

    Early days but Ollie Stone looked good. (He’ll look even better with Archer from the other end)


  9. Rooto Oct 14, 2018 / 6:28 am

    Great fightback from W. Indies, and Jason Holder in particular, this morning. Now it’s time for Kraigg Brathwaite to pull out his ‘one big score per series’. I think all those people recently saying Alastair Cook was the last of his kind had rather forgotten about Kraigg Brathwaite. Come on Kraigg!


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 14, 2018 / 8:01 am

      Gone a bit pear shaped this morning. 45 for 4 as I write. Just when you get some hopes up, they go and dash them.


      • Rooto Oct 14, 2018 / 9:37 am

        Good job this isn’t the sort of blog that believes in jinxes, or I’d be in trouble…


    • Pontiac Oct 21, 2018 / 10:16 pm

      I got a whole lot of time for Kraigg.

      I mean, he’ll need it and all but I got it for him.


    • quebecer Oct 19, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      It certainly was an drastic invitation to engage in Pakistani cricketing stereotyping. I shall decline..

      Still. Bloody funny though.

      P.S. It really is depressing how good we made the Marsh brothers look last winter.


      • Grenville Oct 19, 2018 / 4:22 pm

        Also depressing is how good this Pakistan team could be if they ever got any cricket. 6 from Mohammed Hafez, Sami Aslam, Iman ul Haq, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail, Fakar Zaman, Samiudin and Fawad Alam has to have potential as a great unit. (sorry about the spellings). Abbass and Shah are the real deal. There has to be enough bowling depth in Pakistan to make a great team. Of course, they won’t get any games and they will all end up as bitter old men bickering over selection.


        • quebecer Oct 19, 2018 / 4:31 pm

          Fair point. Though we get lots of games but still end up bitter old men bickering over selection.


          • Grenville Oct 19, 2018 / 4:43 pm

            You’ll always have Leeds in May 2018.


    • oreston Oct 20, 2018 / 5:03 pm

      On reflection, having seen how this match panned out, I think Tim Paine’s celebration is just as funny as the batsman’s blunder as this seems to have been about the only break the Aussies got all game. This has to be the weakest Australian test team in at least 30 years. Maybe even since Kerry Packer era.


      • quebecer Oct 20, 2018 / 7:25 pm

        Absolutely fair pont re Paine. It was also very funny how those Aussie bats would stick their front foot out to Abbas and then wait to play a nervy unbalanced defensive prod afterwards. I could hear Jimmy giggling from up here on the tundra.


        • oreston Oct 21, 2018 / 3:55 am

          Not the most storied of batting lineups at the moment, is it? Especially with Khawaja injured. By the time Steve Smith returns next year a possibly rather chastened Australia is going to greet him like a messiah. Just in time for the Ashes – we weren’t going to get off THAT easily…


      • Deep Purple Fred Oct 21, 2018 / 9:19 pm

        Isnt this an English cricket blog? Should try to stay on topic or you risk being moderated.


        • quebecer Oct 22, 2018 / 3:07 pm

          Well, my old Aussie compadre, much like Shaun Marsh sticking out his front foot, think I’ll stay with what I know, My chances of moderation are about the same as Shaun’s are about getting dropped.


        • oreston Oct 23, 2018 / 2:09 am

          There’s an old saying: keep your friends close and your enemies (well, sporting rivals…) closer 😉
          Anyway, wouldn’t it just get boring if the Aussie team was great ALL the time? The entertainment value they’ve provided us all with this year has just been too good to ignore. That’s no reflection on Aussie fans, by the way. If it was, for the sake of consistency I’d have to agree that the England Test team being crap (a rather more frequent state of affairs) reflected on England fans – and that would never do. Not that I’m a fan, you understand. I’m outside cricket…


        • Deep Purple Fred Oct 23, 2018 / 11:22 pm

          Youre right Q, he’ll probably just scrape through the Indian home summer but then the Ashes will roll around again and he’ll be fine.

          Orestan there was some novelty value in the “entertainment” factor but I think thats long passed. Aus rebuilt after the legends retired. Then again after Ponting and Clarke retired. Then it was OK until SA demolished them at home so they rebuilt again. And now they have to do it again? On Swampy foundations (getttit?). Just doesnt seem fair. Would be great if they could just rebuild properly and be done with it for another decade.
          I had no problem with them winning all the time, wasnt boring at all. I thought it was great.
          World cricket needs a strong Australia.


          • oreston Oct 24, 2018 / 12:44 am

            “World cricket needs a strong Australia.”

            You’ll get no disagreement from me about that, Fred.


  10. pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 20, 2018 / 7:58 am

    End of the Sri Lanka innings in the 4th ODI. A score of 273 is possibly not bad on a slow turner I think


    • oreston Oct 23, 2018 / 1:55 am

      Alas Messrs. Duckworth, Lewis & Stern were called upon to officiate. What crazy loon scheduled cricket in the Monsoon?


  11. oreston Oct 23, 2018 / 1:50 am

    Herath’s retiring after the first Test (seems a bit odd not to hang on for the rest of the series, but whatever). Apparently he’s the last Test cricketer still playing who made his debut before the Millennium, so this will be the end of an era in more general terms too.


    • Zephirine Oct 23, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Worrying. Herath is one of those players about whom you feel that cricket is OK as long as he’s playing somewhere in the world. I know he’s 40 and all, but did he have to stop?

      Possibly he wants to play his last match for Sri Lanka at Galle, because that’s where he made his debut?


      • dlpthomas Oct 23, 2018 / 3:09 pm

        I think he is close to 100 wickets at Galle as well


  12. LordCanisLupus Oct 23, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    To all my friends on here, and I count you as that, just to explain that I’ve taken a long hiatus so far due to my dog’s illness and the attendant issues with it. We were given the diagnosis yesterday that he had an aggressive abdominal tumour and had a short time to live. After a 24 hours where we took him to his favourite beach, and our local playing fields, he was put to sleep this afternoon.

    Obviously I am in a lot of pain right now. I work through it by writing. I don’t feel that cricket is worthy of it right now, so please be patient with me. Jake was our life. He’s now at peace. We, my wife and I, need time to deal with it.

    Best wishes to all of you.


    Liked by 2 people

    • dlpthomas Oct 23, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      Dude, I’m so, so sorry. We put Milo to sleep over 5 years ago and I still think of him every day.


    • Zephirine Oct 23, 2018 / 8:22 pm

      RIP Jake. Forget about cricket and us lot for a while.


    • quebecer Oct 23, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      I had to take my dog Angus (14 year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) to be put to sleep almost 5 years ago and it still breaks my heart.

      With you, Peter.


    • Deep Purple Fred Oct 23, 2018 / 11:24 pm

      Deepest sympathies, and empathy.


    • oreston Oct 24, 2018 / 1:00 am

      Really sorry to hear this news. Your loved ones come first. You did the best thing you could for Jake and, yes, he is at peace now. That knowledge, along with your memories, will bring comfort as the raw pain you’re experiencing now recedes.


    • Stevet Oct 24, 2018 / 8:03 am

      Sorry to hear that mate. A dog becomes part of the family and it’s horrible when they go. For all the hurt I’ve been through, I wouldn’t take away all the wonderful times I’ve spent with dogs for anything. Jake’s in a better place now and you did everything you could for him.

      All the best to you both


    • Mark Oct 24, 2018 / 9:10 am

      Sorry to hear that Peter. I had to do the same thing for our old dog two years ago. It’s not pleasant, but it’s part of the job of having a pet, All you can do is make sure they have a good life, and don’t have any pain at the end. Some people will not have a dog because they don’t want to go through that process. But they lose out on all the years of good times to avoid this moment of sadness..

      As someone who has been around dogs all my life, my advice is get another dog/puppy as soon as you feel you can. It seems harsh to say it, but you did the best for your old dog, and now channel your energy into a new life.

      All the best through this time.


      • jomesy Oct 25, 2018 / 4:53 pm

        Peter – I’m very very sorry to hear your news. FWIW I think Mark’s advice is spot on. We lost our beautiful and strong 2 year old lab very suddenly two years ago to a burst heart valve. It was heartbreaking for all the family. We said we couldn’t replace him (and of course you can’t) but after two weeks of feeling heartbreak with the guilt of wanting to have another dog but thinking we would be commoditising dogs, we rescued a two and half year old lab from horrible circumstances. Best thing we did. It helped with the pain (and the guilt) for all us, restored the family status quo, Acker has a much (much!) better life and will be 5 this week. I still miss Stanley – particularly because he was so young, it was so quick (and unexpected), he was so lovely and we’d had nurtured him from when he was a puppy.

        Acker was a bugger for a week or so and clearly hadn’t come across the fairer sex (the dog and I are the only chaps in our household!) and so it took some adjustment. He has separation anxiety because of how he was treated before but he’s lovely. There’s a reason for the saying.

        Desperate sorry for both you and your wife but wanted to share.

        All the best


    • Rooto Oct 24, 2018 / 12:55 pm

      Gutted for you. Best wishes and strength to you both.


  13. Benny Oct 24, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    I’m very sad for you and your wife. Can understand how hard it must be. I’m sure the memories will always be precious


  14. BoredInAustria Oct 27, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    Been traveling in Africa and only signed in now.
    Sorry to hear that Peter.


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