Friday, 21 December 2012

The Prodigy- Brixton Academy.

I love live music and every couple of months I find myself at a concert.  Mr Green is the organiser, he’s often emailing me, asking if I want to go and see some band or other.  If I can, I usually do often seeing an act I’ve never even heard of.  Usually Mr Red is along for the ride, often Mr Blue joins us too and sometimes Mr B.  These are some of my oldest friends, we’ve all known each over twenty years minimum, there is 100% trust and when we get together its always magic.
The Prodigy at Brixton Academy is an event that we all want to be at but Mr B missed out, next time…  Any way the remaining four of us made the trip down to London.  Mr Green always drives, he doesn’t mind and he’s never let us down.  There are sometimes unplanned diversions, often hilarious but we always get to the gig.  In fact the fun starts as soon as we get in the car, with Mr Green also our DJ as well as driver.  With good mates who don’t see enough of each other there’s always loads of stuff to chat about, jokes to share and non stop banter.  Every time we go out we know the entertainment of the journey will be so good the event doesn’t even matter, even when it’s the Prodigy.

Refreshment began, which meant a lay by break just before the M25.  More refreshment, the night got strange, then we were in the madness of the big city which was all a haze but the sights were nice.  Then we were there.  Somehow Mr Green managed to park in a street literally round the corner from the venue.  We were early so had time for a pint in a pub and a stroll through Brixton, then back to the Academy.  I like this venue, always a good atmosphere.

More refreshment, things got stranger still.  Jaguar Skills was DJing and I really enjoyed what I heard as almost all the audience seemed to be.  He went, big build up then its midnight, before I knew it the Prodigy were on and the place was exploding.  This is the third time I’ve seen them and although it’s always a little different you know what you’re going to get a damn good show whatever they play.  Loads of beats, mad and loud.  By now the night was very strange.  I can’t remember what order the set went in (I think they started with Voodoo people but could be wrong…) but it ripped and the crowd was loving it Breathe, Firestarter, Poison, Invaders, Omen.  Mr Red and Mr Green had ventured into the madness at the front of the stage but Mr Blue & I stayed a little way back and bopped in more space.

It was a good show all right but for me not a great one.  It could be because I’ve seen them a few times fairly recently and I know what to expect.  Maybe I’d have liked to heard more of the older stuff, I love “Jilted Generation”.  Maybe it was because I’m 44, had been awake for 19 hours and was thoroughly knackered.  Whatever the reason I just hadn’t felt part of it and was ready for the show to end when it did.  The verdict from the others varied, Mr Green said “best Prodigy show yet”, Mr Red was somewhere in between and Mr Blue was as knackered as I was. 

We staggered back to the car and I collapsed into my seat, totally fucked.  The journey home seemed to fly mainly because I dozed in and out of sleep but the others had more stamina than me.  I used my last remaining reserves of energy brushing my teeth and taking a piss.  The following day was spent in recovery, mostly sleeping. It was well worth it though, it’s always great going to an event like this with my friends.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The best team won!

Sunday morning and I’m rolling out of bed in the dark.  Kettle on, quickly tune the radio in to catch up with the match while I get ready for a mornings fishing.  By 8am I had two rods fishing for Pike and two ears listening to TMS.

Catch up…India batted for an hour for only 30 runs then declared 4 runs short of England’s total.  Since then England had ground out a couple of partnerships but Cook got another poor umpiring decision 48-1,  Compton got a strange decision but done well for 34 and it’s 81-2.  After tea the KPego leaves a straight one 94-3..  A few dodgy moments, spice on the field with angry India upset at decisions but the important stat is 161-3 at the close.  Bell stayed with Trott for an unbeaten partnership of 67 which we’d definitely have settled for.  Just as I was settling down to listen to Aggers’ & Sir Geoffrey’s summary I was disturbed by the only Pike of a bright, mild winter morning.  Can’t see England letting it slip from here.

When I woke up this morning, Trott & Bell were still batting.  I can’t remember the score but that wasn’t important, the series was ours!  Both batsmen passed 100 and the partnership was worth 206 when Trott was finally out for 143.  Root came out and scored a few then England declared and the series was clinched 2-1.  A tame draw in the end but this pitch was just useless.

The first test was an Indian steamroller but with hindsight the England recovery began with their second Innings in that match.  Since then it’s been all England who have stomped all over India by outplaying them in every aspect of the game.  Firstly we batted better, Cook (man of series) & KPego stand out but all the batsmen chipped in.  Prior was superb with both bat & gloves and we were by far the better team in the field, three run outs testimony.  Panesar, Swann and Anderson were the most threatening bowlers on either side.  It’s nice that at some point in the series just about every member of the squad made a crucial contribution.  The only ones who were below par were Broad and Bresnan, who both looked unfit.  This is a massive achievement for England even though India is definitely a team on a slide.  Things might get worse before they get better.

Next up is New Zealand in February so the selectors will have a lot to think about.  If any member of this squad should be threatened it might be Samit Patel who did nothing at all wrong.  He hardly bowled on this tour and if he’s not going to bowl in India he won’t get many over in New Zealand.  Perhaps the selectors will feel a quicker bowling all rounder would be more useful?  Alastair Cook's England has a bright future.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Can England clinch it??

4th Test
England won the toss and batted first on the slowest pitch ever.  Early wickets, Cook got a dreadful LBW decision.  Trott and the KPego steadied the ship but another cluster of wickets brought Prior & Root to the wicket.  The experienced player in good form and the youngster on debut made it to the close, honours even.  The pitch is not fit for test cricket with no carry and a run rate barely over 2 per over.

Day two was all England.  Prior & Root took their partnership to past 100, both passing 50.  After Prior fell, Swann joined in scoring his first 50 for three years, in his fiftieth test.  Root was the star, eventually out for 73.  India batted and Jimmy removed Sehwag 3rd ball but Gambhir & Pujara dug in.  Great bowling from Anderson and a lucky wicket for Swann and its 87-4 at the close.

Day three, another twist.  Dohni & Kholi batted for two sessions, grinding out the runs to bring India back into the game.  Kholi gets a century but soon departs, LBW to Swann, he and Anderson share wickets then Cook runs out Dhoni for 99!!  At the close India are 33 runs behind and have 2 wickets left.

With two days to play all 4 results are possible and it could be a nail biter but England are slightly ahead, especially as they’re bowling last.  They are confident and I think they’ll bat for long enough to clinch the series and maybe the match too.

It's got a bit milder here in the east, I might go fishing tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

2-1 to the Engerland!!

 Thanks to another big hundred from the captain and 50+ scores from all of the top four along with useful runs from 6&7 England batted all of the third day.  Cook was brilliant again for 190, Trott next best with 80+.  Worryingly only Bell failed.
India skittled England out quickly on the fourth morning then their openers made hay right up until lunch when the counter attack brought then to 86-0.  However, first ball after lunch Swanny bowled Sehwag and after that our bowlers ripped through the top order taking six wickets in the session, Finn & Anderson taking the paudits..  Three more followed after tea but at the end Ashwin held England up and took the match into the final day.  Jimmy got his 7th wicket of the match 10 balls into the 5th morning and an easy England win looked sure thing however at 8-3 things looked a little sticky.  Compton stayed fast and Bell found a bit of fluency to lead England to a seven wicket win.
England were dominant winners without a major contribution from the KPego, which is reassuring.  Man of the match was Cook for his 190 but all four of England’s bowlers made big contributions in this match.  In fact every member of the team stepped up at some point in the match, including Samit Patel who has done little wrong in these matches but still must be most vulnerable to a change.  I’ve said it before, if we’re not going to use his bowling then we could get more runs from number 6 by picking a better batsman.
India have responded by dropping three players from the squad, have we seen the last of Harhajan, Zaheer & Yuvraj in tests?  I can see India improving in this next match but not enough to prevent England clinching the series.
So we wait the final test with England holding an unassailable lead and hoping to win the series.  Who would have predicted that?  Oh yea…..

Thursday, 6 December 2012

3rd Test days 1 & 2

An hour or so into my work day I suddenly remembered there was a test match, a quick fiddle with the phone revealed we’d lost the toss and were in the field, pisser!  However Jimmy & Monty had wickets each and India were 200-4 with Tendulkar steady at the wicket.  Playing catch up, Sehwag run out. England’s bowlers keep chipping away, Sachin out for 76 Jimmy getting him for the 8th time in tests and equalling Murali’s record.  Swann gets one too.  At the close India are 273-7 with Dohni & Zaheer together.  Definitely England’s day!  Meanwhile we’ve had the first snowfall of this English winter in East Anglia.

Another good day!!!  Over breakfast the radio told me the story, Monty & Finn polished off the tail leaving India 316 all out.  Cook & Compton were still together with the score at 60.  By the time I reached work it was nearly 100!  Cook passed 7000 test runs then broke the record for English test centuries & marched on.  Compton recorded his first 50 in tests eventually falling for 57.  This brought Trott to the wicket and he kept the captain company to reach 216-1 at the close.  All England today! 
So after two days England hold all the aces.  If they can bat all day tomorrow they’ll be in a great position, can Cook score a double hundred?  If we’re still batting after lunch for a bit on the 4th day, that’ll be even better.  From this position they should win the test match.  England’s bowlers continue to look better than India’s
Back home another snowfall last night.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Great! Great, thanks, see ya


It occurred to me that we’re only a day away from the third test and I’ve yet to make any comment about the last one.  A thumping England win!  Who would have predicted that?  Well I did, see below. 

There were great performances with the ball from Monty and Swann, along with another century from Cook and an innings of genius from the KPego.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of a great run of form for him and who knows we may forgive him yet. As two mornings play fell on my weekend I was able to keep in touch with TMS and watched Monty rip the top order to shreds in the second innings, brilliant stuff!  How can England ever even think about leaving him out of a test on the sub continent?

So on to the next match.  I expect the team to change very little, Bell will probably return so if Patel isn’t going to bowl it may as well be him miss out.  I’d like to see Finn in the side too but I can’t believe they’ll drop Broad.  My prediction?  Another good performance from England and another win.

Elsewhere in the world, South Africa have retained their No.1 ranking with a 1-0 win in Australia.  I didn’t see much of it but from reading the reports the series and matches swung to and fro.  The difference in the end being another great innings from Hashim Amla.  Can’t argue with South Africa’s top ranking after that.  This series also saw the retirement of Ricky Ponting.  Without doubt modern day great batsman, if not the most likeable Aussie captain we’ve ever seen.  Even though he’s never been a player I’ve enjoyed watching bat for too long I’m honestly disappointed with Ponting’s retirement.  I was really hoping he’d be a hole in Australia’s middle order for the next Ashes series.