Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Third test

Day one, England won the toss and batted!  But fluffed their lines and posted an inadequate 283 thanks mostly to 89 from Bairstow.  On day two good bowling and fielding kept England in the match, Stokes and Rashid were particularly impressive.  The third day saw India's lower order take the game away, Jadeja scored 90 on the way to an challenging total of 417.  A lead of 130 looked daunting and proved too much for England who lost four wickets before the close.  On the fourth day Root scored 78 and an injured Hameed made an unbeaten 59 but England could only set a target of 103 which India knocked off with eight wickets to spare.

This was a poor performance from England's batting unit who don't face high class spin often enough to be proficient at tackling it.  The bowlers are doing better than I expected on this tour but England's batting remains a worry.  Unfortunately Haseeb Hameed has a broken finger and will have to return home for surgery.  He's done enough in three matches to make himself a fixture of the England team for a long time to come.  Keaton Jennings of Durham has been called up as a replacement, to be honest I know nothing about him but its good to see another fresh face getting a chance.  Likewise Liam Dawson will come in to replace Ansari who is struggling with a back injury.

Two down with two to play it's hard to imagine England coming back to get a draw in this series but we England fans are forever optimistic.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Second test. Don't Panic!

The second test went as to script.  India won the toss and piled on 450+, Kohli was superb.  England went into bat and fluffed it, conceding a 200 deficit.  England's bowlers fought back to bowl the home side for 200 but were never likely to come anywhere near a 400+ victory target.  In the end it was an achievement to take the game into the fifth day, by which time the pitch looked like a chess board.  Eventually India won by 248 runs with Ashwin taking eight wickets in the match.

For England there were decent performances from Cook, Stokes, Root and Bairstow with the bat.  Hammed continues to impress too.  With the ball Anderson, Broad and notably Rashid done very well.  The next test begins on Saturday and despite the heavy defeat this time, I think England are capable of competing with India.  If all goes well this tour doesn't have to be as one sided as I predicted.  I think this England team has a bright future, more on this at a later date...

On Sunday 20th I went to see "Panic! at the disco" play at the Alexandra Palace.  I was going to write a review of the gig on here but my daughter has already done a better job than I could which if inclined, you can read here;

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

First test, second test.

The first test at Rajkot didn't go as expected.  England batted brilliantly with centuries for Root, Ali, Stokes and Cook.  We bowled excellently, the spinners threatened and the seamers kept it tight.  England fielded very well but there were a couple of dropped chances that might have swung things. In fact England outplayed India and were perhaps unlucky not to win.  However this was a good pitch and there will be far more difficult ones to come.  That said England will take confidence into the next match they suddenly look like a team.  The star of the show was nineteen year old debutant Haseeb Hamed who looked at home as a test opener scoring 37 and 82 in the match.  It looks like England have found a special player, if the openers role is filled this could become a great England team in the future.

Before I get carried away the second test starts very soon and this will be another very tough match.  Despite England's strong performance, India remain as favourites.  England can't play much better than they did in Rajkot but India can.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

England vs India

The first test starts tomorrow in Rajkot.  It looks like England will play the batting line up I wished for a week or two back, Hameed will open and Ducket replace Ballance at 4. The bowlers are undecided as yet but the smart money is on Gareth Batty returning.

It's impossible to predict how England will go these days but against the No.1 team in the world in spinning conditions, we will definitely be the underdogs.  We could play much better than we did in Bangladesh and still get battered.  Statistics show England have the best record of all teams to tour India since 2000 and are the only away team to win a series here in the last decade.  We could be brilliant and play out of our skins... But we don't have Swann or Panesar any more.  I'll stick my neck out and predict a 3-1 India win.

Elewhere there is the small matter of the US election.  The country that has given the world Neal Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Stephen King, Harper Lee, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraxier, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Quinten Tarrantino, Mark Oliver Everett, Kurt Cobain, (insert favourites of your get the point...) Marvin Gaye, Dr Dre, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Earnest Hemmingway, Woody Allen, Iggy Pop, Aretha Franklin, Lauren Hill, Jimi Hendrix, Roosevelt, Lincoln and yes Obama.
How the hell did they end up having to choose between a pair of psychotic clowns ?
Then again, this is a county where mad people are allowed to own guns...

PS  I don't dislike American people, I've known many over the years and have liked almost all of them.  Unfortunately their country is even more corrupt than ours.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Freedom of Speech

I’m confused.  It’s OK for a vile media whore like Katie Hopkins to get paid for spewing nastiness on the pages of some right wing rag but when Gary Lineker says something kind about refugees, another disgusting right wing waste of paper calls for him to lose his job.

It’s not OK to point out that the government hasn’t a fucking clue what to do about Brexit, there will be no control over immigration and the £350 million was total bullshit.  That makes me a whinging remoaner.

The right is the mainstream now, any dissenting voice gets shouted down.  Facism beckons.

But in case you think it couldn’t get any worse, take a look across the Atlantic…

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Piss poor

Most cricket lovers will be pleased to see Bangladesh win their first test match against major opposition but I am an England fan.  To be fair, over the two matches the home side were the better team and deserve their result.  I listened to the grizzly end while fishing in my boat in Norfolk, it was grim.  Will the name Mehidi Hasan Miraz go down in history on the list of great spinners or did England just play badly?

England's selection must come under scrutiny.  What has Ballance done to prolong his run in the team?  Is Duckett really a test opener?  The omission of Broad and Batty in the name of rest and rotation showed naivety at best and arrogance at worst.  The team England put out should still have been good enough to beat Bangladesh, whatever the pitch and conditions but they played badly.  I keep saying it, England are no closer to knowing what their best batting line up is.  There are also big question marks about the bowlers to play in India too.

The next leg of the tour will be even tougher.  England will be playing better, more experienced players on wickets that are bound to turn.  England could improve and play well yet still lose 5-0.
I like playing selector.  XI for the first test against India;
Cook, Hameed, Root, Duckett, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Batty.

West Indies are playing Pakistan in the UAE at the moment and although they are losing as you'd expect, it's nice to see them at least showing a bit of fight and definite improvement.  They are in with a shout of winning the third test.  Coming up soon is a test series down under between Australia and South Africa, could be spicy!

I can't believe I could possibly have been writing all these random whinges without mentioning Halloween at some point.  It's better to be safe than sorry.  When I was a kid 'trick or treat' was just appearing but was seen as cheeky scrounging.  A generation on it's the expected norm and to not take part marks one down as miserable.  Well fuck off then, I'm miserable.

Confession.  Yes, when my kids were young I walked the dark streets keeping an eye on my children while they scrounged sweets off strangers.  If I hadn't done so my kids would have been the only ones in their school that didn't take part.

These days it doesn't stop at kids, adults can't wait to dress like bellends and get pissed in the name of Halloween.  What the fuck is it anyway?  Actually I don't care,  It's an American tradition that has been imported purely to be used as another tool to encourage people to spend a load of money on stuff they don't really want and definitely don't need.  It's bollocks.