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  #1  
Old 07-06-2017, 01:43 PM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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First day of Joe Root's Test captaincy, and it's looking remarkably like Cook's captaincy so far. 49/3, 90/4 and then a recovery up to the close at 357/5. It would have been a different day if they'd caught Root with either of their chances. Or not overstepped on the two occasions they took wickets with no balls.

Good position though, eventually. And still some batting to come to hopefully get past 450!
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2017, 05:35 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Not so hot this morning - Root out early, and Dawson in the same over. (And SA could have had Broad if they'd appealed, apparently). A classic case of "add two wickets to the score and see how good it looks then".

Starting the next day after a big score seems to be tough for England captains. I remember reading that Strauss had a particularly bad record there. I imagine it's generally tough - a certain amount of expectation, the break in your rhythm and reading of the pitch, the tension between needing to get your eye back in vs kicking on, the bowlers that bit fresher than they were at the end of the first day - anyone got any stats on this?

Hopes of getting well over 450 have faded somewhat, but while Ali's in England can be hoping for around that, I think.

From yesterday, still questions over England's top order. It's been an issue for a long time now.
  #3  
Old 07-07-2017, 06:12 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Hopes of getting well over 450 have faded somewhat, but while Ali's in England can be hoping for around that, I think.
Why do I even say these things?
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:23 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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A bit of an Eric Morecambe innings this one - about the right number of runs, just not necessarily in the right order.

We continue to look very frail in the top order. Weight of runs in the SCC demanded Ballance's inclusion, but he has been tried twice and continues to have weaknesses against Test match quality bowlers. Jennings is right at the beginning of his career, so the jury has to be out on him until he's played a bit more. But if you've got two question marks and the opposition can get Cook and/or Root cheaply, we're back to what has been the case for some time - the middle and lower middle order bailing out the top order.

I read somewhere that, in 2016, the top run producing wicket for England was the 6th or 7th. Essentially when Mo comes in and one of the middle order is set. We must find top order batsmen, if we're going to make progress.
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:33 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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A bit of an Eric Morecambe innings this one - about the right number of runs, just not necessarily in the right order.

We continue to look very frail in the top order. Weight of runs in the SCC demanded Ballance's inclusion, but he has been tried twice and continues to have weaknesses against Test match quality bowlers. Jennings is right at the beginning of his career, so the jury has to be out on him until he's played a bit more. But if you've got two question marks and the opposition can get Cook and/or Root cheaply, we're back to what has been the case for some time - the middle and lower middle order bailing out the top order.

I read somewhere that, in 2016, the top run producing wicket for England was the 6th or 7th. Essentially when Mo comes in and one of the middle order is set. We must find top order batsmen, if we're going to make progress.
Yeah. It was a shame to see Cook go early when he'd been in form, but you're going to lose an opener cheaply every so often. That's why number 3 is such a tough role, and why Ballance isn't a safe bet for it. Dunno who though. Hameed looked good in India but has had a pretty shocking county season - don't know if that's a wobble, or if greater scrutiny has highlighted a weakness he needs to fix.
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:57 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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I think if Hameed had shown any sort of form in SCC, Ballance wouldn't be in the side and Jennings would be at 3. Going back to the well on Ballance smacks of desperation.

I have seen Hameed, very briefly, a couple of times this year. He looks very tentative outside off stump and every county has had a look at him last year, so they've got more developed plans. He's also still got a plate in his hand from the winter that needs to come out at some point, so he might be having trouble with his grip.

In general, this is an interesting time for England. I think we're in transition - especially with the bowling stocks, given the rate at which we're accumulating injuries and the age of Anderson - and we need to blood the right players soon. 2 and 3 in the order are also key positions we have just not got right and I think Mo has shown himself to be more capable than a number 7 (I'd consider playing a different wicketkeeper at 7 - someone like Ben Foakes maybe - taking the gloves off Bairstow and pushing him further up the order).

Got 450 in the end. Like I said, all the right runs, just not necessarily in the right order.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:00 AM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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Bit of last wicket hitting, and Broad's first half century for years, gets us over 450.

I personally think the answer to our top order batting lies in our frequent savior - Moeen Ali. Bairstow at 3,Root at 4, Ali at 5,and bring Buttler in to 7 below Stokes.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:09 AM
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I really wouldn't be against that - I think Mo is a 5, has always been a 5, and is the second spinner. Buttler is an interesting one. Bags of talent and a lower pressure position where he can come in and try and bash (especially when Woakes is at 8 as a bit of extra protection) might kick start his red ball career. He's in danger of being shuffled off to be a white ball specialist otherwise. We've got a lot of decent wicket keeper bats knocking around in the SCC too, so it would be easy to tell him to concentrate on LOIs and bring someone else in, which might be a waste of his ability.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:33 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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I like the thought of an "Eric Morecambe" innings Cumbrian, I'm stealing that one.

Thoroughly entertaining both yesterday and this morning. There were a couple Moeen Ali cover drives yesterday that were worth the admission price alone, I think I may have actually "purred" in appreciation.
Root was lucky on a couple of occasions but his consistency means he keeps putting himself in high scoring situations in order to take advantage of that luck, it was a lovely knock overall. The one thing I think he has as a batsman is an instinctive feeling for when to push and how much to push. It'll be interesting if he can translate that talent to the team in general.

Steady start by the sithifricins before lunch, I think our bowlers will be able to extract movement late this PM and early tomorrow. If Broad has his tail up after his 50 then he could be due another crazy session.

Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 07-07-2017 at 07:33 AM.
  #10  
Old 07-08-2017, 09:39 AM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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Good day for England so far. Hundred run lead, Philander of off the attack and the openers currently resisting the pressure.

They showed the incident that Rabada got his 3 demerit points for previous to this game ,that add up to four thanks to his send off of Stokes on Thursday, and frankly that should never have been an issue, never mind one that gets you 75% of the way to a suspension.
  #11  
Old 07-09-2017, 10:09 AM
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South Africa 28/4 chasing 331 to win, and the loss of Amla puts paid to any remote hope they may have had.

England's collapse earlier in the day has actually turned into a positive, as it has taken the draw out of the equation.
  #12  
Old 07-15-2017, 02:45 AM
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Honours even after the first day of the second test, with a lot depending on this next session. England will want to be batting by lunch, and with fresh bowlers and a ball that's still new they'll like their chances. But these two batted well yesterday, and if South Africa can bat beyond lunch and another 100/150, they'll think they've got the better of it, especially after that afternoon session yesterday.
  #13  
Old 07-17-2017, 09:47 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Honours even after the first day of the second test, with a lot depending on this next session. England will want to be batting by lunch, and with fresh bowlers and a ball that's still new they'll like their chances. But these two batted well yesterday, and if South Africa can bat beyond lunch and another 100/150, they'll think they've got the better of it, especially after that afternoon session yesterday.
Narrator: South Africa got the better of it.

340 run victory, a result of good (but largely not unbeatable) South African bowling and some pretty inept England batting, in both innings. We open weak (Cook is fading and Jennings and Ballance just aren't strong enough) and have a middle order which can dash runs out fine but can't grind them out. And sometimes in Test cricket, grinding out is what you need to do. Reading the over-by-over of the collapse, it felt like Bairstow, Stokes, Ali and Broad were getting out because they literally didn't know what else to do. "Play your natural game" is fine as far as it goes, but if your natural game doesn't include making 33 from 220 balls then you're going to need an artificial game you can bring out in situations like this.

Last edited by Stanislaus; 07-17-2017 at 09:48 AM.
  #14  
Old 07-17-2017, 11:53 AM
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That was some first test for du Plessis (following your link), wasn't it?! And yes, great example of a usually explosive batsman (de Villiers) reining it in when required.

Most of England's players today (Cook and Root excepted) batted like Root had said to them this morning something like: "Look, if we lose a couple of wickets early, we've no chance in this match, so just go out and smash it if you want, we'll have the day off tomorrow then come back and try again next time." Do you think there's a chance that was in fact the case? I don't know much about Root's mindset but I think it's possible. Or perhaps the batsmen just worked it out for themselves. Disappointing for the fans, though, especially any who fancied watching tomorrow. It's also a missed opportunity to practice that sort of batting for when you really need it, like when there are (say) 30 overs to survive rather than 180.

It was also some poor batting in their first innings that put England in trouble in the first place. In fact, they're more culpable for that than their second innings performance, when two good balls did for Root and Cook, their best batsmen at the moment.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:29 PM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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One day, a side in Test cricket will chase north of 450 to win a Test match. In order to do it, they'll need to have a pitch that, though wearing, isn't misbehaving too much (this one had a bit of low bounce but was otherwise reasonable), plenty of time to get the runs (England had a touch over 2 days to get this total) and conditions that suit batting rather than bowling (it was warm today and is forecast to be warm and sunny tomorrow, so less chance of swing and potentially sapping for the seam up bowlers). That's what makes this folding so abject. It would have been damn difficult to win this match but if you're going to chase a total that big, this was the situation to do it in. And they failed utterly.

Prior to lunch SA bowled brilliantly, helped by Jennings and Ballance continuing to exhibit technical frailties. The ball that got Cook was a snorting bouncer that surprised him (he's had down times before, I'm not ready to write him off) and Root got an absolute ripsnorter.

After lunch, we batted like absolute twats. Bairstow, Stokes and Mo all gave it away (I am a big defender of Mo - since the start of last summer, he averages 44.7 with the bat and 37.6 with the ball in 16 Tests - good figures - but that wicket was him at his worst, just brainless). The lower order weren't going to do much - maybe they could have put a respectable face on it, but they looked like they wanted to put their feet up. It was terrible.

Overall, this was a team failure though. SA should not have scored as many on Day 1 when the overhead conditions were in England's favour. Drying up the scoring rate would have been very useful but Wood and Stokes were very expensive (the latter took a couple of wickets but his econ rate was terrible; Wood, I think we should get into our heads, doesn't have a body that can play two back to back Tests and bowl at maximum lick in the second one - they probably should have rotated him). Dawson can't bottle an end up, so going to the spinner was not an option. It appears Root only remembered Mo bowls after Amla got out in the SA second innings. That first innings was Jimmy and Broad versus SA and you aren't going to get far that way. Then we batted poorly twice. The SA second innings doesn't warrant much analysis - the horse was already out of the stable door by that point.

We've been carrying at least two empty shirts in our batting line up and have had no settled front line spinner for the last two years at least. They must find solutions. Ballance does not have the technique for Test cricket, has been found out and needs getting shot of. They might even do it. I can't see Jennings going before the end of the series - but he must be on thin ice. Selection/management/coaching cannot be absolved either. England very rarely back a win up with another win at Test level these days. Invariably, if they win, the next result is a loss (Ashes 2015, Pakistan 2016, Bangladesh 2016). Preparation, consistency and selection. Everyone needs to do better.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:56 PM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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It's the problems highlighted in the first test (and have, in fact, been highlighted in these threads and everywhere else for the past few years) come home to roost. The batting today was appalling, but the batting in the first innings wasn't much better - I actually thought we'd done quite well in limiting South Africa's total to below 350 in the first innings, but responding to that with 200 meant they were never going to get back into the game.

There's a video on cricinfo of cuts from the post game press conference, where Root says he "can't believe" Michael Vaughan's criticism of his team's batting. I'm not sure what he was expecting.

EDIT: Gary Ballance is having a scan for a broken finger. If he misses the next test through injury, I doubt he'll be back.

Last edited by Teuton; 07-17-2017 at 12:58 PM.
  #17  
Old 07-17-2017, 01:56 PM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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EDIT: Gary Ballance is having a scan for a broken finger. If he misses the next test through injury, I doubt he'll be back.
I can imagine it now - like the scene from "Escape To Victory" where they break the goalkeeper's arm for the good of the plan.

Knowing the ECB though, I fully expect them to follow through on this and have Sly Stallone batting at 3 for us at The Oval.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:07 PM
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Here is Nasser Hussain on England's recent selection policies.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:24 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Cumbrian, I'm going to take this opportunity to say that it's always a pleasure to read you on cricket, and thanks for another insightful post. You're point that the conditions were there for a successful or at least close run chase is well taken - certainly getting to Day 5 was well within our reach.

It's no coincidence that Root and Cook fell to great balls. That's what it took to get them out. They were coping with good bowling just fine. But everyone else just seems to lack...I'm not sure if it's vision or confidence or willpower. But if you say to e.g. Stokes: "Go in there, bat for hours and score 250", then he's your man. If you say: "Go in there, bat for hours, score 40" then he'll not just fail. He (and the rest of the middle order) won't even know how to try. Sooner or later they get bored and try to go at 12 an over - with inevitable results. I don't know how to solve that, but we need to produce and select batsmen who have shown they can bat all day to save a match.

This is just another expression of England's big problem, which can be summed as "Yes, but who would you pick instead?"
  #20  
Old 07-20-2017, 09:55 PM
penultima thule penultima thule is offline
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but we need to produce and select batsmen who have shown they can bat all day to save a match.
Give 'em fair due.
How many instances in recent county cricket can you recall that a batsmen had an opportunity to 1) learn such skills or 2) demonstrate that they possessed them?
  #21  
Old 07-21-2017, 07:39 AM
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Give 'em fair due.
How many instances in recent county cricket can you recall that a batsmen had an opportunity to 1) learn such skills or 2) demonstrate that they possessed them?
It's not super frequent but it happens more often than you might think. In only the last round of SCC Div 1 matches, Middlesex won by one wicket on the final evening chasing 240 odd (not quite to save the game but still a run chase that went to a late pressured stage) and Surrey conceded 650 against Hampshire and then had to bat for a little over 2 days to save the game (Rory Burns carried his bat in the first innings, went straight back out for the follow on and batted for all but the final half hour pf play to see Surrey safe). Essex have also given some teams some fearful batterings in the opening half of the season, so plenty of opportunities to bat and save the game over long periods against them (the major problem being, no one has done it - Essex have won by an innings a few times this year).

In short, I'm not sure it's lack of match situations that allow this to come up (though the rain is obviously more of a factor than in Australia or India, where you might suppose that you have to do the batting rather than hope the elements come to your rescue). I think it's the players can't do it.

Stanislaus - thanks for your kind words. I quite like coming here to discuss cricket to be honest. Generally more thoughtful and less full of dicks than most other places (even The Guardian's international cricket comment sections have become infected by it over the last 18 months - the last haven on that site is the County Cricket Live blog, where everyone is a cricket tragic and no one wants to wind anyone else up).

Last edited by Cumbrian; 07-21-2017 at 07:40 AM.
  #22  
Old 07-21-2017, 09:17 AM
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Tom Westley of Essex has been named in the squad ahead of the injured Ballance, and have also brought in Dawid Malan, who got some runs for us in a T20 game earlier this year.

Westley is certainly due his go, but I admit to being a puzzled by the selectors ignoring of Stoneman, whose name has been knocking around for a while now and has a good year in the Championship (average 58, high score 197).

My suspicion is that Westley will come in at 3 as a direct replacement for Ballance, and they may well drop Liam Dawson to bring Malan in. As has been said above, though, I think a culture change rather than just a player change is needed to get consistency from the team.
  #23  
Old 07-21-2017, 09:59 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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As has been said above, though, I think a culture change rather than just a player change is needed to get consistency from the team.
This is probably the crux of it. There's been a lot of hand-wringing about the effect that the (re?)emphasis on LOIs and T20 in particular is having on the development of players to play Test match style innings - England aren't necessarily the only country to worry about this either.

I can see, in the medium to long run, a much more marked split between the LOI team and the Test team. From an England point of view, there will inevitably be some that play both (like Root, Stokes, Moeen) but I think we should be looking for a set of players that don't have the game for T20, won't ever go to the IPL and shouldn't be playing LOIs, to make up the bulk of the Test side. We're kind of on the way there already to be honest - Anderson and Broad don't play short form cricket anymore, neither does Cook, Jennings has no chance of playing short form, and the people moaning that Bairstow isn't playing LOIs should put it away and moan about the fact he's not playing enough SCC to be the most prepared for Test cricket that he can be (as he isn't going to usurp Buttler, and possibly Billings, any time soon). It's a shame Hameed has had a bad year - there's another player who shouldn't play much short form cricket, if it can be helped.

The added benefit of such a split is that those players going off to IPL and Big Bash, to get LOI experience in good competitions, can be happily let go, safe in the knowledge that it won't knacker whatever tour England's Test side deal with at the same time.

Westley looks pretty decent for my money but there's any number of players we have pushed up into the Test side recently who looked decent at county level only to fail at Test match level. He deserves his chance and hopefully, for all England fans' sakes, the weak law of large numbers is going to kick in and he'll actually be a player of substance. I'd consider Stoneman to be a touch unlucky - but he's the one I would be looking at for Jennings place, rather than filling the hole at 3 (not that there's currently much difference in England's current situation).
  #24  
Old 07-24-2017, 03:53 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Took the family to Lords for the WWC final yesterday, oh boy.

We didn't quite manage to engage the five year old. Which was always a risk, and the pace of the England innings - never really getting going, even and especially at the end - cemented that. The music and flares and the waving of the 4/6 cards for boundaries are a great way of getting attention, and if the boundaries are coming quickly then you can get her watching every (or almost every) ball. But they weren't. The batting powerplay was a particular disappointment in that regard, and we doubted they'd done enough. Overall, India did a great job of restricting the scoring.

So we said farewell to mum and daughter at about 3.30, and the 8-year-old and I settled in for what looked for a long time like a reasonably straightforward chase. When India needed 64 from 72 I was pretty despondent, and treated son's suggestions that all we needed was to take the remaining 7 wickets with amused tolerance for the naive optimism of the young. And then...

It was a fantastic atmosphere - the noisiest I've ever heard Lord's - and the final flurry of wickets had us all on our feet roaring. Credit for the atmosphere goes to the Indian fans, because they weren't shy about chanting and that got the English fans - who might otherwise have restricted themselves to polite clapping - chanting in turn. All of it thoroughly good-natured and family-friendly to boot.

So a great day out, a breathtaking finale, and if my daughter didn't get her head utterly turned, there's time yet. I have to say they've really committed to using this event to attract families - every under 16 at the match was offered a starter bat/ball/stumps set, for example - and it paid off brilliantly.
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:19 AM
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That's great to hear. I attend live matches extremely rarely, but I genuinely enjoyed a day at Cardiff in June (just with a friend rather than family - I don't think bringing my 3-year-old would be a rewarding experience for anyone). Despite England being soundly thrashed by Pakistan, it was a good day out, and I agree the Pakistan supporters in the crowd (I would guess in a slight majority by numbers, and a vast majority by noise level) really made it. The atmosphere was so much nicer than football or even rugby.
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:48 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Cook gets 50 (still going). More to the point, an England second-wicket partnership of 52 runs, which shouldn't be particularly notable but feels like it is.

However, Malan has just gone for 1 from 17 balls, Jennings went for 0 from 9 and Root started well but got tied up and was out for just 29. SA are bowling really well - between Morkel, Philander and Rabada, Englan -d don't really have the option of waiting for the weaker bowler -
and now we're into the middle-order I'm expecting/dreading a series of quick-scoring cameos rather than a defiant grind towards 200-4 at close of play. 250-7 seems more likely, if less desirable.

There has been rain, and it looks like early lunch and the subsequent break in concentration helped do for Westley, but otherwise it seems that Root, Jennings and especially Malan were just outplayed by the bowlers. Philander is 9-5-8-2, which is special.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:04 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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I have some bad news about the nature of reality.

In his first Test, Toby Roland Jones has scored 25 from 25 balls at No 9, including a 6. He has now taken 4 for 47 from 6 overs against a very useful SA top order. There is a very real possibility that we are living in a ten-year-old's daydream.
  #28  
Old 07-28-2017, 11:10 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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As Anderson takes du Plessis's wicket for 1, I am torn between thinking this is going rather well and wondering if the Day 4 tickets I splurged on this morning are going to see the light of day.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:48 AM
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You're being unfair to TRJ - his figures (as I write) are 4/22. 47 was SA's entire total at the time of your post (I believe)!

Do tickets for unused days get refunded, or does it depend on the type of ticket? I would indeed be looking at alternative plans for Monday if I were you! SA are now 61/7. Rain over the weekend may help your cause.

ETA: effectively 61/8, as Philander won't bat today and it seems unlikely he will be able to offer much resistance even if SA manage to survive until tomorrow.

Last edited by Dead Cat; 07-28-2017 at 11:49 AM.
  #30  
Old 07-29-2017, 10:56 AM
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Jennings and Westley putting together a partnership, at 74/1. Good to see. Hopefully there will be enough play in the next two days for England to force a win.

There was a comment on the cricinfo commentary earlier today about how rare close finishes have been in English test matches recently, win or lose. You can get statsguru to give you a list, and you can see that there was a 22 run win in Chittagong last year, but other than that you have to go back to a 14 run victory over Australia in 2013 for anything less than a 70 run win. The last time tail-end batsman carried England home was Giles and Hoggard in 2005.
  #31  
Old 07-31-2017, 08:56 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Well.

Moeen finishes the match off with a hat trick (albeit with an over from Stokes between wicket 2 and 3). This following both Stokes and Roland Jones taking 2 in 2 balls earlier in the innings. Elgar's 136 remains a hugely impressive innings, even if in a losing cause.

I was at the match yesterday. A pretty good day's cricket - SA did well to keep the scoring slow in the morning session, before Bairstow and Stokes cut loose after lunch. From the luxury of my metaphorical armchair, I thought the declaration could have come a bit sooner (400 would surely have been enough) but 4 wickets after tea made Root's decision look pretty sensible.

Westley made a 50 (and Jennings made 48, to be fair) which has been taken by most reports I've seen as a positive sign. I'm not so convinced. He looked very hesitant and scratchy, playing and missing at way too many balls and struggling to get behind the line. He got badly bogged down in the 30s and responded by trying to hit big at balls that weren't there to hit. Root came down to have word with him several times. The reports say he was "gritty", "patient" and "determined" but that wasn't the innings I saw.

Individual highlights would be Bairstow's ramp for a one-bounce four, Stokes pair in successive balls and Bavuma's rocket of a throw from right angles of the wicket that ran out Moeen. (Not quite as spectacular as this, but still)
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:03 AM
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I have spent the last 5 days at The Oval watching the entirety of this Test match, dropping probably somewhere in the region of 500 all told for (minimal) travel, tickets, food and drink. It was all worth it to see something I've never seen in the flesh before - a hat-trick - and doubly so, for it to be a) done by my favourite current player and b) to see the look on Mo's face when the three lights went red; just pure delight.

As for the match, the players and the performance overall: I think England got a bit of a break when Philander fell ill, as he was making the ball talk on Thursday morning - if he'd be able to play all day Thursday and Friday, England's total might have been somewhat lower and this game a lot closer; especially as he would have taken overs off Morris who was poor, particularly on the opening two days. Jennings looked a bit better in the second innings - still scratchy as anything mind, as he looks like he's trying to find some form - but in the first innings, he faced 9 balls from Philander, every one of which looked like getting him out, until one did. Not ideal when you're looking for form.

England pressed home the advantage well in the end, I thought. Thursday was a difficult day to bat; Cook, Westley and Root did well given the conditions. Friday was tremendous fun, as Stokes played his most mature knock to date, then cut free to get his ton. The match was then largely over bar the shouting at the end of the day. TRJ plays more innings like that he could be a cut price Glenn McGrath, just putting the ball in a difficult area over and over, over after over, and letting natural variation play out. Obviously early days though and, away from England, he would need to be very accurate I suspect.

Agree with Stanislaus that Westley in the 2nd innings had a much more difficult time of it. He scored a lot off his pads, taking up an off stump guard to allow him to work shots into the leg side but once SA worked him out, his scoring dried up noticeably. He's going to need a couple more scoring shots to prosper at this level I suspect but, for the time being, he'll do. He played, at least in his first innings, an innings Ballance is not capable of at Test match level. Still, both he and Jennings, if they are the men in possession for The Ashes, are going to have to play quite a bit better than this, I think.

SA are a decent side when everyone is fit. They need another opener - I'm really not convinced by Heino Kuhn. Bavuma always plays well against us, but his record otherwise is nothing to write home about. Hopefully he can kick on. Arguably, he should be coming in where De Kock is, with De Kock in at 6, where he is less likely to be exposed to a new ball and could do some serious damage. The bowling unit, Morris aside, is better than decent - Rabada is going to be awesome and the ball he detonated onto Malan's stumps was a highlight of the match for me - and will pose further problems in the final Test. Finding the runs can be an issue though, particularly when their captain pads up like a muppet twice in two innings; those guys need to help their bowling unit out and give them something to target. Nasser Hussain was saying on the TV, if England stick up first innings runs, they're difficult to beat. I'd say the same about SA too though (and possibly every side in Test cricket - I'm not convinced it's a piece of searing insight).

I take it we've all seen the TMS wind up of Geoff Boycott? Worth seeking out on YouTube/Facebook if you haven't.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 08-01-2017 at 06:05 AM.
  #33  
Old 08-01-2017, 11:01 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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The Boycott wind up was masterful. Brilliantly planned and executed. (Particularly in the critical part of a wind-up, which is telling the victim before they get too wound up.)

Watching a full Test is definitely on the bucket-list. And you definitely picked a good one, even if much of Saturday was washed out. And what a finish!

I agree with all your points, especially about the impact of Philander's illness. On Westley, I did notice that they had two men on the cover drive for him, which is his only off-side scoring shot. By contrast, when Root was on strike one of those men went to deep point, which is where he scores a huge chunk of his runs. (I think 22 of his 50 came from the singles he knocked out there, all of which were basically saved fours.) Compared to TV, being at the match does give you a better perspective on fielding strategies, I think.
  #34  
Old 08-01-2017, 11:03 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
You're being unfair to TRJ - his figures (as I write) are 4/22. 47 was SA's entire total at the time of your post (I believe)!

Do tickets for unused days get refunded, or does it depend on the type of ticket? I would indeed be looking at alternative plans for Monday if I were you! SA are now 61/7. Rain over the weekend may help your cause.

ETA: effectively 61/8, as Philander won't bat today and it seems unlikely he will be able to offer much resistance even if SA manage to survive until tomorrow.
Missed this - yes, I did TRJ a disservice there.

For short days, you get a full or partial refund depending on how much play. They only need to show you a ridiculously small number of overs to avoid the refund though - c.15 IIRC, which is half a session.

But I did go (on the Sunday) and it was fine!
  #35  
Old 08-02-2017, 06:46 AM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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Yes indeed - pleased/jealous for both of you!

Also, thanks for the insights (again, from both) - always a good read.

I think the Ashes this winter will be an intriguing contest as both sides are sort of in transition, neither able to find much consistency, so with any luck that will translate into some competitive matches. Australia have to have the edge as the home side, if it were in England I'd give them the benefit.
  #36  
Old 08-05-2017, 03:56 AM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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The cricinfo headline after day 1 is "honours even", but with England at 260/6, I'm not sure that SA aren't a little ahead. Bairstow and Ali are going to have to add a few (at least a hundred to get any sort of edge), and SA will be thinking they could be batting an hour before lunch.

At least they got 90 overs in.
  #37  
Old 08-07-2017, 04:21 AM
Teuton Teuton is offline
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Will, they got a few more runs, and then South Africa collapsed again and are looking down the barrel. The pitch looks as bad too bat on as any I've seen since that one in the West Indies where they abandoned the test,and England have 3 50 lead with power to add and 2 days to finish. I don't think England will last until lunch, and it will probably take rain interruptions to take the game into tomorrow.
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