England Continues to Shock in 2011; Wraps Lanka for 82 to clinch 1st Test

Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,

Thanks to a double century by Jonathan Trott and centuries by Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, England amassed 496/5. After adding just 5 runs to their overnight score, England declared to give themselves a herculean task of bowling Sri Lanka out cheaply. The reason to bat on Day 5 was obvious, Ian Bell needed two runs for his century. But, it not only meant England batted for 2 overs, it also meant a loss of 2 overs. In the end, England managed to win by an innings and 14 runs but if Sri Lanka would have managed to keep 1 or 2 wickets in tact, questions would be raised about whether a century is more important or a victory. And we all know what the priority should be. So, yeah I don't agree with their decision.

Though they don't deserve much flak after their unbelievable victory. Before the Test, I did expect England to win, despite the ground being Sophia Gardens, where England and Australia stocked up 1361 runs for the loss of 25 wickets together in the Ashes '09. Sri Lanka escaping a Test defeat in England just doesn't make sense. But only 298.2 overs were bowled in this Test (450 overs are bowled if a result is not achieved). A result was achieved here, but the rain delayed start of play on almost all days. Here is a quick recap:
Day 1 - Four and a half hours
Day 3 - Three and a half hours
Day 4 - Four hours
Day 5 - Four and a half hours

Here is what Blake from Australia sent Cricinfo before the start of Day 4:

How can England become #1 in the world when they don't believe they can clean up a team in one day?" asks Ryan. "Remember what Australia did to them at Adelaide in the 06/07 Ashes?
That's ridiculous. You don't have to clean up a team in a day to be world #1. The top teams should be able to survive a day and world #1 only means being the best, better than all other teams. The way Sri Lanka batted in their 2nd innings, it seemed as if England were bowling to Bangladesh. I wonder what Blake has to say now. 

More from Blake: 
Since there is not enough time for england to amass enough runs and then bowl out sri lanka for a chaseable target, England may as well bat the next 2 days, give a chance for Cook and trott to knock up 200-300 each. 
 He knows what it's like to watch these two bat all day. 

Jonathan Trott, who has played 19 Tests averages 66.77. He is behind only one man, Don Bradman, among the batsmen who have played at least 5 Tests. That's a perfect start to his career and going by how stubborn he has been so far, England have found someone they can rely upon. I hope you enjoyed the 1st showdown of the summer and learnt something from this post. Cheers.

Don't miss the live action from the Mecca of cricket, Lord's - 2nd Test, June 3, 10:00 GMT.

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Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott carry winter dominance into summer

Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

Day 3 proved to be England's day self-evidently as the runs galore. Run machines Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott carried their winter form into the summer. It was a privilege to watch them pile runs with ease. The Sri Lankan bowlers not only struggled, but had no options, no plans left. Sri Lanka's opening bowler, Lakmal wasn't effective, in fact, he was probably practising his bowling. This is his third Test by the way.

Cook and Trott were unstoppable. Let me remind you, Cook was the highest run scorer (with a whopping average of 127.66!) in England's Ashes victory down under. But, Trott wasn't too far behind, as only Hussey & Cook preceded him. These two just won't give their wicket away. They don't just stay on the field and wait for the runs. They are no Kevin Pietersen, but the stylish Cook knows how to maneuver the field and make the opposition surrender. He may not play attacking shots as often as he can, but announces his supremacy by dictating the terms. There were some shots which no one ran after - as they were out of reach the moment they left his blade.

You might be interested in knowing that the 26-year-old 'Chef' has now scored 17 hundreds for England. He is possibly on his way to scoring most hundreds for England, as he is at No.10 on the list. Cowdrey, Hammond and Boycott are all at the top, with 22 centuries. From the current lot, Andrew Strauss has scored 19 tons, while Kevin Pietersen has exactly as many as Cook.

The play has just begun on Day 4, three and a half hours after the scheduled start, England are 292/2. I hope you are enjoying it as much as me. Bye for now!

Read Captain's Diary 2008: A Season of Tests, Turmoil and Twenty20 by Ricky Ponting here.

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India finally get their man; England keep theirs

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , ,

It was a tale of two Zimbabweans this week as their respective teams got their house in order ahead of a clash that will go some way to deciding who the best test team in world cricket currently is – and the fact Duncan Fletcher and his successor Andy Flower will go head to head will only add spice to an already engrossing contest.
But while England only ever had eyes for Flower, Duncan Fletcher was eventually appointed Gary Kirsten’s replacement after a lengthy and at times damaging recruitment process.
Kirsten stepped down following a successful stint in charge of the cricket mad nation, and he left them in rude health; with the World Cup tucked safely under their arms and sitting atop of the test match rankings.
It would be a difficult act for anyone to follow, but the fact that Kirsten is a protégé of Fletcher’s only serves to set the former England man up for a fall, especially given the success Kirsten enjoyed during his time with India.
“He became one of the greatest influences on my life and career” said Kirsten of Fletcher in his autobiography, and the Zimbabwean has been accredited with transforming Kirsten’s career when the pair met at the University of Cape Town.
But now the roles have been reversed and it is Fletcher who is following in the path of his young charge, and must prove himself in a job which it became apparent he was far from the first choice for.
In fact, it was Flower himself who the BCCI turned to when their overtures of South African Graham Ford were rejected for the second time (Ford turned down the job back in 2007).

The younger of the two coaches was said to be tempted by the offer - who could blame him when the money on offer was more than double that of his wages with England – and for a while there was a real possibility that he could leave the job that he had gained following the fallout of Peter Moore’s acrimonious departure.
Although the former batsman publicly refused to comment on his future, little should be read into his unwillingness to pin his colours to the mast. Flower is nothing if not stoic and stubborn, unwilling to leave anything to chance – much like the technically minded Fletcher – and was always unlikely to comment unless he fully understood his options.
The main one of which was his reluctance to tour while he has a young family at home. Already a vocal critic of the international calendar, Flower was able to name his demands and present the evidence of an Ashes win and a Twenty20 World Cup victory as enough to convince the ECB that his demands must be met to secure his services for another three years.
And now both have made their beds and must lie in them, the prospect of a battle of the wits between the pair has been set up.
An already enthralling summer of cricket has just been turned up to 11.                     
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