England vs South Africa 2nd Test Day 1 & Day 2

Posted: Monday, December 28, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England are 190/3 at Lunch on Day 3. Cook is on 75 from 173 balls. I'm glad he finally scored runs. When he came to the crease, he was fully aware that he has not scored many runs in recent times. This is his 50th Test. He has scored 2 centuries in his last 25 matches while he scored 7 centuries in his first 25 matches. Cook is the youngest ever player to play 50 Tests for England. Seems like England are never going to drop Broad or Cook. I would have said Anderson too, if England wouldn't have dropped him in the 1st Test against West Indies in the Caribbean earlier this year. The reason why I wanted Cook to be dropped is because he has technical flaws. I want him to work on them and come back into the team soon. When Strauss came into the side, he was an aggressive batsman but, to cement his place in the Test side, he changed his game a bit. He is still capable of playing aggressively, which he showed in this Test too. Cook, on the other hand, went the other way. He was picked to play Tests for England way back in 2006 against India. He has been scoring runs with a good strike rate in County cricket to prove that he is good enough to play ODIs for England. I want Cook to play in Tests only and Broad to play in ODIs and Twenty20 only. Test cricket is tough, wickets are hard to come by. Also, he can become a better bowler in ODIs if he concentrates just on them. England have better bowlers. I can't believe Sidebottom is still sitting out.
The review system is a funny thing. It didn't benefit England one bit in the 1st Test but in this Test, when the umpire gave Boucher not out, the 3rd umpire gave it out, using technology. Then when Morkel was not out and England reviewed it, they took 45 seconds to do it, which is a lot. The review system has worked in this Test but it still kills the excitement. Imagine watching the 5th Ashes Test, England need 1 wicket to win the Test and the Ashes, England appeals, the umpire gives it out, England players and fans are celebrating, Australia reviews it and the 3rd umpire says it's not out.
By the way, in the KP run alone marathon in the 1st Test, KP wasn't out, Trott was, as KP kept running and passed Trott, who was slightly out of the crease. This Test will be a draw, if bad light or rain interrupt the game like they did on Day 1 and Day 2. I simply adored the 7 overs bowled after tea on Day 1, which produced 3 wickets. On Day 2, Onions and Anderson were rather awesome with the new ball, created trouble for Morkel and AB de villiers, but it was Broad who got the reward. Onions bowled much better than what his figures will tell you. But the MOMENT OF THE MATCH was Smith's run out by Cook.

England vs South Africa 1st Test Day 5

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

My apologies for a late post. The Day started with my top 2 crushes Jimmy Anderson and vice captain Alastair Cook batting though they didn't last long. Though Anderson struck a four like batsmen, he must be enjoying batting with his batting buddy. Cook and Smith didn't score runs in both the innings. Bumble said that he heard England will play Cook in all 4 Tests no matter what. I was surprised to hear that he is the vice captain. England were in a good position until Kevin Pietersen ran alone. You never know whats gonna happen with this guy. His life is like a movie. Read his wikipedia page. England were 172/3 before he got out. I actually thought England can win it from here. Trott was at his usual best, 55 off 152. Wonder why he scores runs at a low strike rate in South Africa. Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, said during the Test that he heard his players saying, "Hey Trott. How are you, Trotty?" and one of the South African fast bowlers had lunch with him. No wonder he doesn't appreciate all this. Fat ass. Trott made 69 off 212 balls. Swann left England at 218/9 with 19 balls left to survive. At that time I thought, whether Onions will play the next match or not, will be decided now as Sidey is a better batsman than him. But he survived 12 deliveries. I loved Swann's Man Of The Match speech, "I was just telling the guys that we are keeping Test cricket alive single-handedly." I think they remembered the Cardiff Test as much as me.

England vs South Africa 1st Test Day 4

Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England finished Day 4 at 11/1 after South Africa declared at 301/7. England need to score 364 to win the match, which is a mammoth total on this pitch. South Africa got Strauss early. All 4 days belong to South Africa. England only ended Day 3 on a high note. It has been seen, that on all days, a lot of runs have been scored in the last hour. England sent James Anderson as a nightwatchman who looked as determined as he did at Cardiff. He is England's wall. Swann must not be happy, he'll bat at No.10 and he won't have Jimmy as partner this time. The reason why England can save this Test is because the No.10, the nightwatchman has as much ability of playing for long as the openers. Cook was watchful this time and I hope Kevin won't be too defensive (Remember how he played at Cardiff?). I haven't seen England got out quickly except the 1st Test against West Indies at Sabina Park and 4th Ashes Test at Headingly this year. England have a good tail, Onions is better than most teams' No.11 too. Anderson has gained some confidence by coming out as a nightwatchman after Hoggard retired. For tailenders to score runs, you have to show faith in them.
I'm quite gutted at the way most English batsmen got out in their 1st innings. No, I'm not angry at them. Kevin was bowled on a no ball which wasn't given as a no ball, Bell's head probably freezed when he got out, Broad's dismissal was full of drama. South Africa took 34 seconds to review and Broad claimed that the South African players received a signal from their dressing room. Now I know why their fat coach was laughing. Such a chumpstain. South Africa hired Jeremy Snape and Duncan Fletcher in the past few years, which is nothing else than funny. I don't think it's helping them one bit. It's funny that they hire thier staff with England in their mind.
This time, it may not be a matter of runs. It's the competition of playing most deliveries. This is prefect for Trott, who scored 28 off 117 in the 1st innings. In the warm up game too, he was 3 off 50 before hitting a few boundaries. I guess this is the way he likes to play in South Africa. Cook and Anderson were not taking singles yesterday. In the 2nd last over, Anderson turned Cook down, referring that he'll play the dangerous looking Morkel while Cook plays Harris. Then, in the last over Cook turned Anderson down. To be honest, I don't like this stuff. I'm glad they survived but this target isn't impossible to reach. And even if your team is 8/9 wickets down and you are playing with a No.11, you should still take singles because if you don't, it gives the bowler confidence and more deliveries to work at you. Looking forward to watching my top 2 crushes batting together, I don't get a chance to see this everyday. Goodbye.

England vs South Africa 1st Test Day 3

Posted: Saturday, December 19, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

It's Lunch on Day 4. South Africa are 80/4. Yesterday was a good day. England did well to reach 356 after being 242/8. Twitter buddies James Anderson and Graeme Swann shared a partnership of 106 runs! Swann scored 85 while solid batsman James Anderson scored 29 off 78. This was Anderson's second highest score in Tests. This is the second time he has scored 29, the first time being in the 2nd Ashes Test a few months ago. His batting has improved a lot. By the way, he scored more runs than his batting buddy Alastair Cook. And this time, Anderson was looking to play shots as well. He hit Harris for a six, which was quite unbelievable for me. It was his first six in Test cricket. It seems as if Cook is only in the team for fielding, he fields quite well though. Even though Broad got rid of Kallis in the 2nd innings, Swann and Cook played a big role in it. England had tied down  Kallis by some brilliant stops, he scored 4 off 32.
When Anderson and Swann were batting, I wanted England to bat till the end of the day but Anderson's wicket probably made Swann feel quite bad, he didn't show much faith in Onions and started playing shots. The applaud Anderson got when he got out made my smile wider. I've always felt that the breaks work better for the bowler than the batsman. Anderson took a short break because of cramps in his hand just before he got out. That is enough to break concentration. England didn't bat till the end but they got an early breakthrough which was fantastic. Anderson bowled Prince and South Africa sent Harris as a nightwatchman, who didn't annoy England much as Anderson sent him back to the pavilion early in the morning. England must have had a good night after ending the day on a good note. They have a big task ahead. Anderson may have to do what he did at Cardiff but that's not what the batsmen would want. Cook must get some runs now. In the 1st innings when Cook was batting, I felt that I havn't seen him in long. Oh yeah, the last time I saw him, he was England's captain in the Twenty20 lol. For the next Test, I would bring in Sidebottom for Anderson (if he is injured) or Cook (even he is not injured). Yeah, I won't get to see all my crushes if the two Andys think the way I do. There is no use of playing an injured fast bowler. For England to win, they must get South Africa all out for less than 150. Hope they field well and support the bowlers. I'm leaving, the twitter buddies are bowling, Cheers.

England vs South Africa 1st Test Day 2

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,

There was a bit more to Day 1 than my last post. The first spells by James Anderson and Stuart Broad were pretty good. Broad got a wicket but Jimmy didn't. James Anderson swung the ball both ways, which is a great ability. Without a doubt, he is the best swing bowler in the world at the moment. Anderson lacked enthusiasm and was struggling from a knee injury but his bowling wasn't that bad. He deserved the wicket of Kallis much earlier than he got it. Kallis was out lbw, the umpire gave it not out and so did the fucking review system. There have been 3 instances so far when the review system has given the wrong decision. Once, Kallis was out off Anderson, then de Villiers was out, caught by Prior off Swann, a few balls before he actually got out and then the most bizarre, just before lunch on Day 2, Morkel was given out off Swann but the HawkEye said it's going over the top! Oh come on, HawkEye is not always right, hot spot works better than that.
Currently, England are 143/3 on Day 3 after bowling South Africa out for 418. Anyone can score runs but the key wickets are Strauss, Pietersen and Trott and they have got rid of 2 of them. The thing is, for England to collapse on any given day, you have to get these 3 out quickly. If these 3 score some runs, the rest can take it to 350. There are more chances of a draw or South Africa winning it than England winning it as the pitch is deteriorating. On this ground, England have never lost a Test and South Africa have played 14, won 11, 2 drawn, lost one to England!
Swann is a champion bowler. He took 5 wickets in the South Africa 1st innings. He doesn't have a natural talent for spin bowling but he is very smart, strong mentally. In County, he used to open the batting and play as a handy spinner. I don't know why Rashid and Tredwell, called as cover, are in the squad. I don't know why teams do this. There is no use of keeping a player in their 15 man squad when he is not going to play in the series. England have more than 15 because a few were called as cover for injured players. These guys should just be playing matches for England performance squad or development squad since the County season is over rather than sitting around. I also heard that County matches will be played early next year at Abu Dhabi so that players can play more, which is a good news.

England vs South Africa 1st Test Day 1

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,

South Africa finished Day 1 at 262/4. The score will tell you that the equation is balanced but it's not. Not when England are playing 4 bowlers and 2 of them are struggling with fitness- James Anderson and Graham Onions. Jimmy's knee injury has been a problem for long. He isn't fit since the 4th Ashes Test. England should have played Sidebottom in place of Anderson. There is no problem with playing 4 bowlers but you have to use them well. When Michael Vaughan was England's captain, 4 bowlers seemed enough. In fact, more than enough against New Zealand last year. England's batting improves under Strauss but I'm not so sure about bowling.
As a girl, I love to watch James Anderson but not when he is down in the dumps. England must be thinking that playing Luke Wright instead of Ian Bell would have been better. It's still pretty early for Wright to make a mark in Tests, he is just trying to play well in Internationals. I'd reckon playing Tim Bresnan wouldn't have been a bad ploy. Flintoff retired because he wanted to finish on a high but England still need him. Yesterday, I just felt really good to watch a Test match. I'm predicting a draw. The match is about to start. Until next time, take care.

England vs South Africa: Bring It On

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,

The rivalry between England and Australia only exists on-field now except for the pre-Ashes banter. But the rivalry between England and South Africa is heating up. They hate to see each other win. By wrapping up the one day series 2-1, England became only the third team to win a one day series in South Africa and only the second team to win a bilateral one day series in South Africa. India have climbed up to rank 1 in the ICC Test rankings. Oh for fuck's sake, they don't play better than all teams in Tests. They have only played 6 Tests this year, 3 at home, 3 in New Zealand.
Back to England vs South Africa, James Anderson took 5 wickets in the 4th ODI and then commented that he has bowled better for England. I couldn't agree more. I remember the Natwest series between England and India in 2007 in which he was superb. I also remember England tour of New Zealand and New Zealand tour of England in 2008, in which Sidebottom and Anderson took all the wickets and Broad was the supporting bowler. In his career, he has usually bowled well in South Africa, England and New Zealand but he hasn't had much success anywhere else. Figures won't show but he learned a lot during England tour of West Indies earlier this year. I havn't seen any series as unfair as that Test series.
England are playing very well now. I don't want any change in the squad. They are a good team in all formats now, probably after 1992. They have the potential to be the World No.1. Bresnan is the only one in the team who can be replaced but he can play when you have wicket takeres because he is economical. The matches between World XI and Australia show us that the best players don't win, the best team does. But considering the history of England cricket, changes are must. Freddie will be back, probably in the summer of 2010. Also, Collingwood, Jimmy, Strauss may not play in Bangladesh. Cook will captain England. It's hard to understand how ECB works, Cook captained England in their 2nd Twenty20 International but he didn't feature in any of the ODIs. He is good enough to play for England in Tests, ODIs but now we have Trott, Morgan so he should play in Tests only. This will sound bizarre but the place of the future England captain is in danger. He is trying hard to secure his place in the One Day and Twenty20 England squad. He should just concentrate on developing his batting for Tests. I heard James Anderson and Alastair Cook, both want to captain England. This is so funny for me. I never thought my top 2 crushes would be battling for captaincy. Jimmy said that being from the north and a fast bowler, he is unlikely to captain England. I would say he should just worry about his bowling, I doubt if captaincy will work for him. He has a lot to learn. He is more consistent now, he is naturally a better bowler but he has to find a way to take wickets when England aren't playing in South Africa, New Zealand or England.
Apart from the One Day series win, there is another good news, England have won the inaugural Cricket Legends of Barbados International Cup in the Caribbean. There are talks of a Test Championship, which I'm in favour of, given that West Indies or any other minnow don't play. Cheers.