Posts Tagged ‘England Cricket’

Written by Rod Crowley: Were the England cricket team, their fans and the media far too optimistic for their own good when believing that they could beat a Pakistan team on a pitch that is completely suited to sub-continent teams?

After all, England’s record in test match cricket in recent years on the sub-continent has been dismal, so why should we have expected anything other than the humbling the England team were given in the first test in Dubai?

Perhaps it is because England are now the number one test cricket nation in the world and have a team that can bat in depth with a bowling line-up that is arguably the best we have had since the Botham/Willis era.
This match proved if nothing else that rankings are futile in cricket, because outcomes of matches are decided on the surfaces of the pitches and whilst England would have possibly reversed the result at Lords they were simply outclassed by Pakistan on a sub-continent style Dubai pitch.

Perhaps the rankings should carry a caveat with something like “England are the best test cricket team in the world but not in the sub-continent”, that would certainly make more sense, particularly should they lose the second test which starts on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

There is no doubt that the 10 wicket massacre sent shockwaves through the England camp and although plenty of blame can be placed upon the poor decision making of the England batsmen, the match was really lost by the bowling feats of Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul. Add to the mix that four of the Pakistani batsmen made fifty or more tells its own story.

There was also the small matter of national pride for England to contend with. Pakistan are remain extremely embarrassed by the spot fixing scandal that saw three of their top players jailed for the parts that they played and knew that victory over England would go a long way to burying that nightmare.

Perhaps in some respects England were lucky that the spot fixing scandal happened otherwise they would have been up against an even stronger team.

Only Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and possibly Jonathan Trott can come away from the first test with any batting credit, which is quite embarrassing as two of these three players bat in the lower order. Swann of course also weighed in with four wickets and Prior, proving to be an outstanding wicket-keeper these days took three catches.

For Pakistan and England cannot say they were not warned, Ajmal was always the man that could destroy them and he did just that. In fact he was a revelation coming away from the match with ten wickets, seven of them in the first innings which more than anything else was the reason why Pakistan won so convincingly.

Gul of course ripped out the top order of the England batting line up in the second innings with a devastating spell of bowling where only Trott managed to handle him. He was helped by three further wickets from Ajmal and three from the unorthodox spin of Abdur Rehman.

In the batting stakes Pakistan managed to ‘run considerable salt into England first innings wounds’ by managing an opening wicket stand of 114 between Mohammad Hafeez and Taudeeq Umar.

Both went beyond fifty with Hafeez top scoring for his team with an excellent 88. There were also fifties for the captain Misbaq ul Haq and Adman Akmal.

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Sri Lanka stand-in skipper Sangakkara saved his country from losing the test series 2-0 today after putting up a great fight taking the tourists to 334-5, Sangakkara was standing in for the injured Tillarkaratne Dilshan and made his first Test hundred on English soil.

England won the series with a 1-0 after rain took out the afternoon session, Andrew Strauss England team had tried to get the Sri Lankan’s out before the rain was schedule to fall, but Sangakkara stood up tall and England found it hard to take out the Sri Lankan’s.

Thilan Samaraweera weighed in with unbeaten 87 as Sri Lanka reached tea with a substantial lead of 141, but once the rained started to fall down, both captains shook hands on a draw on the third and final test.

Any hopes of a thrilling final session were dashed by the heavy rain meaning no further play was possible after the interval.

Jonathan Trott came to England’s rescue today in the first test after hitting his second double century in Tests for England when England reached 491-5 against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

Sri Lanka initially scored 400 in the first innings and after rain had interrupted play on both days, England replied in fine fashion with Trott resuming on 125 after the morning session was effected by the rain. Trott put on 160 with county team-mate Ian Bell, who was left on 98 not out at the close of the play.

Alastair Cook was out early on only adding four runs to his overnight 129 while Kevin Pietersen made only three runs when he was caught lbw by the TV umpire following a referral.

Swann Wants T20 & ODI Success

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
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England spinner Graeme Swann wants England to maintain their winning ways by beating Australia in the upcoming two T20 matches, followed by seven One Day Internationals.

Both sides will be looking to fine-tune their preparations for the forthcoming World Cup which starts in February.

England pulled off an historic win by retaining the Ashes, winning the series in Australia. The first time this has been achieved for twenty four years, the spinner wants to make put the icing on the cake with a winter to remember by winning the T20 and ODI matches.

“It’s nice to win the Ashes, I won’t lie to you,” said Swann.

“It’s been a great tour for us so far and the worst thing for us would be if we stuttered and stopped at the end of the tour.

“We want to go home to 50,000 people at Heathrow cheering us which, if we lose the one-dayers, might be down to about 40,000.”

He added: “It’s important that we show the good one-day form we’ve shown recently because we want to be number one in all forms.

“Let’s face it we were (ranked) number seven or eight not so long ago and we were garbage.

“We’ve had some very good series results recently. We beat the Australians at home last year and we won the Twenty20 in Barbados to win that World Cup.

“Both teams have changed quite a bit since then so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”

England cricket coach Andy Flower has suggested that he may make some changes to his bowling line-up when they play their fourth Test in Melbourne. England slumped to a heavy 267-run defeat as they struggled to break down the Aussies in the Third Test.

Australia’s fast bowlers dominated in Perth and it is thought that Flower may turn to Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad. Both have yet to feature so far this tour with Chris Tremlett deputising for the injured Stuart Broad

“A five-Test series is hard on everyone, both physically and emotionally. For the fast bowlers even more so, I would say,” Flower said. “We’ve got a few days now to reassess prior to Melbourne and the bottom line is we’ll pick the XI that we think will have the best chance of winning in Melbourne.

“The workload on our bowlers is heavy. In the absence of a quality all-rounder we’re sticking with our four-bowler attack and we’ve shown over the last 18 months that it’s served us well.”

Andy Flower is considering promoting Ian Bell up the order after Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood have failed to deliver in the middle order.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our side,” Flower said. “Ian Bell looks in very good form, he’s very confident and he’s played beautifully throughout this tour.

“Jiggling with batting orders and personnel is always an option but you also have to be careful about altering a side that’s been very successful over the last 18 months.”

England Aim For Third Test Glory

Posted: December 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
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England go into the third Test match tomorrow at Perth in hope of wrapping of the series this side of Christmas, an England win will see them retain the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1985.

While confidence is high following their triumphant victory in the last match at Adelaide, the tourists know Australia will be looking for a better performance.

Australia will make some changes for the third Test and it is thought that both Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson will return to the side.

Both fast bowlers missed the last test and this wicket will suit their style.

Australia insist that they haven’t decided on the final XI yet.

“We haven’t got a team yet,” said Ponting on the eve of the match.

“We’ve had a good look at the wicket this afternoon. It’s changed a little bit since we’ve been here today so we want to just want to have a look at it again tomorrow before we finalise what our XI will be.”

“(It’s) still particularly grassy and I’ve had a good chat to Cameron (curator Cameron Sutherland) today about the wicket.

“It’s different grass than there’s been on the wicket before, so we’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to think about yet before we finalise it.

“Looking at the wicket you’d think there’s going to be a result in this game, so obviously that has to be a positive one for us or it’s game, set and match.”

England will need to make just one change to side after Stuart Broad was ruled out for the rest of the tour following a stomach injury he received during in the last Test.

Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad are all vying for Broad’s position, but it is thought that England will go with Chris Tremlett.

“All three bring different skills to the party, and we have to work out which one is going to be best for Perth and onwards,” Strauss admitted. “The way we’ve got to look at it is which bowler will help us take 20 wickets.

“When you’re only playing four bowlers, they’ve got to be able to do their primary job.

“We’re going to have to try to read the wicket – which is always a bit of a mysterious art.”

KP scores 213 not out

Posted: December 5, 2010 in Uncategorized
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England picked up where they left off in the Adelaine Test. Kevin Pietersen smashed an unbeaten double century after turning the screw on Australia.

The English team are now more confident of victory than ever – particularly after Pieterson’s extraordinary unbeaten 213 runs from 296 balls.  This now puts England 306 runs ahead of their Australian opponents with just two days of the second Test left to go.

England resumed play on day three of the second test match. Alastair Cook went for 148 in the morning, but with Paul Collingwood hitting 42 and Ian Bell scoring 41 not out it helped Pietersen to be the only fifth English player to hit double centuries in Australia and the second in two days.

Kevin Pietersen, who scored 213 not out, hasn’t registered a century for England since March 2009 in Trinidad, but has now reaffirmed his status in the England batting ranks.

Australia appeared to have run out of ideas. England totalled 551 for 4 wickets when the umpires called a halt to play when rain started to fall in the middle session.  The covers went on and the players went off to tea. The conditions didn’t improve enough for the players to take the field again.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “You go through tough times in your career, it’s how you get through that.
“I knew doing the basics and keeping things simple I would come good. To get some time in the middle in this fixture has been great.”

Pietersen also paid tribute to coach Graham Ford after going back to basics, gh said: “It came back then. He just went through bits and pieces I had forgotten.”

Pietersen now wants to help the team press on for victory. He added: “It’s about the team’s position. The Ashes is still nil-nil and we now need to go about winning a Test match.