Monday, 27 January 2020

Three - One to the Engerland

The fourth and final test was competitive for four sessions but then England took over.  Root won the toss and the openers put on 107 before Sibley fell.  At 157/4 the game was in the balance but another century partnership, this time from Root and Pope put England in control.  Back came South Africa, a maiden 5 for from Nortje reduced England to 318/9 but tenth wicket fireworks from Wood and Broad took the game away.  England were all out for 400 with Crawley top scoring with 66, his first half century.

England bowled, South Africa couldn't get the ball away and cracked under pressure and were all out for 183, only De Kock passed 50.  Mark Wood bowled at frightening pace to take 5/46 and England had a massive lead.  Root could have enforced the follow on but this would have given South Africa a sniff, so in went England again and despite a strange stop-start innings the lead piled up.  On the fourth day the Saffers resisted for a bit but Wood terrified them into submission again and England won by 191 runs.

Once again I followed the game via the Talksport commentary and I still haven't warmed to it.  With people like Nicholas and Manthorpe at the microphone it's OK but then you get someone like Gough or Peitersen chipping in and I find myself snapping "Fuck off" at the radio.  Comparing this coverage to TMS is like comparing a pint of 'Ghost Ship' to a glass of home brew.

Going forward England at last seem to have found some top order batsmen.  Things looked worrying when Rory Burns went home injured but Sibley and Crawley have come in and done better than we could have hoped.  We now have three viable options at the top of the order.  Unfortunately Joe Denly, who up until now has been just about doing enough to keep his place, hasn't pushed on and if all players are fit his days are numbered.

Root and Stokes are carved into the line up and another youngster, Ollie Pope has been fantastic at six, he is a star of the future.

I love watching Joss Buttler bat but like Bairstow he has been found wanting at test level.  Ben Foakes is our best keeper and deserves an extended run in the side.

Sam Curran had a reasonable tour, he chips in here and there without making a match winning contribution.  He is young and improving but at the moment I'm still not convinced he should always make the XI but is a good man to have around the squad.

We have a wealth of bowling options, especially in home conditions where Anderson, Broad and Woakes all do particularly well.  In spinning conditions we have relative newcomers Dom Bess and Jack Leach along with the experienced Mo Ali and Adil Rashid.  Matt Parkinson has also toured but hasn't showed us anything yet.

However what excites me most is with the pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood we have bowlers who can help us win test matches in Australia...

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Third Test

An almost perfect test match for England.  Win the toss and bat.  Build a strong platform and accelerate through the middle order to set a big total.  Then bowl the opposition out twice and win by an innings.  Once again the younger players led the way, particularly Ollie Pope with the bat and Dom Bess with the ball.  There were also decent contributions from Crawley, Sidley and Curran too.  Of the established players Ben Stokes once again proved that he has become a very special player, Broad was as consistent as ever and Root took some wickets!  The fourth and final test starts on Friday and England should feel confident of victory.

It's a national scandal that TMS has not had ball by ball commentary for this tour.  I've listened to the 'Cricket Social' but it doesn't quite cut it so I've been forced, reluctantly to tune in to Talk Sport.  It fills the role of giving me cricket commentary but it isn't even in the same school as TMS, let alone the same class.  The commentary team cannot hope to compete with the names and voices that have become our summer friends on TMS.  A few are OK, Mark Butcher for example, even if he does sound like he's just fell out of bed after a night on the piss.  Mark Nicholas would be a good commentator if he stopped trying to hard to sound clever and stopped sharing anecdotes of great cricketing performances given by people other than himself.  How many tests did you play Mark?  

Most of the Talk Sport commentators move me in no direction, Prior is OK, Harmison is out of his depth and Batty doesn't piss me off.  Then we get to the dregs.  Stats man is Aussie Jarrod Kimber who comes from the Cricinfo team.  He is a bell end.  Then there is the sickening KPego who has not found any humility since retirement.  It may be hard to believe but there is someone even worse in the comm box.  I loved Darren Gough as a player but his media persona is loud, opinionated and pig fucking ignorant.  Fuck off Goughie.  Talksport's greatest crime involves their self promotion at TMS's expense, with the tag line 'Less cake and more cricket'.  Fuck off and choke on some bill-tong.  Bring back TMS and all the cake, buses and pigeons. 

Friday, 10 January 2020

Second test

England won the second test late on the fifth day and so tied the series at one each.  This was a tough match that was made harder by losing our rising star Rory Burns the day before and the great James Anderson towards the end.

All eleven of England's players contributed to this win.  Ben Stokes was man of the match with an awesome all round performance, there were good contributions from Anderson, Root and Broad.  Most pleasing however was the success of relative newcomers to the team; Ollie Pope (aged 22) with a half century in the first innings and Dom Sibley's (aged 24) epic ton in the second.  Curran (21) took useful wickets, Bess (22) was brilliant as the controlling bowler and Zak Crawley (21) got a few runs second time around.  The future is starting to look a bit brighter.

With Burns and Anderson out of the tour we'll hopefully field a settled side for the next test with Archer coming in to replace Jimmy.  If England equal the standards set in the second test then we should win.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New year, more cricket.

The first test finished in the most predictable manner with a comfortable win for our opponents.  England will look to the illness sweeping the squad but it was still the kind of erratic performance that we have become used to.  We have a habit of losing momentum when in good positions, especially in the first match of a series.  Illness or not our preparation going into Test series is obviously not good enough.  Root winning the toss and putting South Africa in might have been the decisive moment.

There were good performances from Broad, Curran(!), Denly, Archer and Burns but others were under par.  Illnesses meant Bairstow got a game as a batsman but his contribution means he'll be easy to leave out if everyone else is fit.  The second test begins tomorrow, England can play much better but have to start straight away if we are to have a chance in this series.

So 2020.  We have two Teflon coated hired liars 'leading' Britain and the US.  We live in a world where women are paid less than men, where sex offenders can buy their way out of prison... I could go on and on and on but the whole shitshow is rigged to keep things pretty much exactly how they are now.  It's all irrelevant because the bastards making all the money are killing the planet.  But fuck all that, switch of the news and ignore it, just concentrate on the things that make you happy.  An England win would be a good start.