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Test Chatter: ENG v SRL, Edgbaston, 2006
Posted: 22 May 2006 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Harmison omitted from England side.

Can England really recover from snatching a draw from the jaws of victory? I still haven’t done any sabermetric analysis of the last match so I haven’t formed an opinion yet.


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Posted: 22 May 2006 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

Harmison has hardly bowled this Summer, so the decision is probably justified, although I have my reservations about Mahmood and Plunkett.

England’s batting was excellent in the First test, which of course was all about dropped catches - 9 in all.  If england had taken their chances they would have won.  I don’t see much for Murali at Edgbaston, and england should be favourites, particularly if they can bat first.

Posted: 22 May 2006 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]

It seems to me that the journalists have been very kind to Team England. They praise the choice of the young bowlers ahead of Jon Lewis, for example, even though they couldn’t bowl out the opposition. They generally praise the captaincy despite the different attitude in the field - high jinks while blowing a winning position and also obvious disappointment on the bowlers’ faces when catches were put down. But what worries me more than anything is the stupidity of Flintoff. Not just the short ball to Murali to get them taken off for bad light. He bowled himself for 50 overs when they had a spinner in the team - and it wasn’t even in a winning cause. He showed little faith in the three rookie bowlers preferring to rely on himself and Hoggard to do most of the bowling. They could have picked a hardened county veteran to do the donkey work. With another recognised bowler in the team, albeit one not yet established at Test level, Flintoff might have shown more faith in him.

Did England really want to win the game? That ball to Murali and then Collingwood’s dropped catch really made me wonder.

I don’t see this series now as the slam dunk that it looked after the first couple of days. I’d put England as slight favourites while Hoggard and Flintoff remain fit. But if he continues bowling as much as this, Andrew Flintoff will not last out the summer.

And give the captaincy to Andrew Strauss.

Posted: 23 May 2006 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]

I agree about the overbowling by Flintoff.  I found it odd, because he did not, by and large, do this in the tests in India - indeed, Hoggard said at the end of the Mumbai test that Flintoff was a bowlers’ captain because he didn’t overbowl them as Vaughan does on occasion.  Panesar was wasted.  I think he had little confidence in Mahmood, and neither do I, frankly, but with no Jones/Anderson/Harmison he’ll have to be picked and be used.

I foresaw a high scoring series that England would win; I still have faith in them at present.  I agree Flintoff should ration himself.  I would not put Strauss in, though.  the team’s success has been founded on continuity, injuries permitting, and when your stand in captain has got you a drawn series in India and the other players respect him, and the actual captain may well appear at some stage (well, that’s the official line) I’d stay with Freddie.  Strauss will have his day.

Posted: 23 May 2006 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FWIW, some facts:

In India, Flintoff + Hoggard + (Harmison/Anderson) bowled almost identical numbers of overs. Hoggard was very effective, Harderson effective (although Anderson was better), and Flintoff not particularly effective (although with a better strike rate than Harmison).

Panesar bowled more overs than any of these three, and totally lacked penetration. (Consequently giving rise to a theory of mine that spin bowling data in the County Championship is misleading.) I think his first inning heroics at Lord’s were written off as a fluke by those in charge.

By comparison, in Pakistan, Hoggard was ineffective, and Harmison and Flintoff were not particularly effective (although better than any Pakistan bowler except Shoaib Akhtar). Everybody else was rubbish. Flintoff bowled an awful lot of overs in Pakistan, and this actually had little perceptible effect on his “peripherals” (economy and strike rate) in India. However, including the Ashes series he has bowled nearly 500 overs since last summer. I don’t think such a rate is humanly possible to sustain at a player’s established level of performance. But I have no stats to base this on, only a gut feeling.

I’ve got a memory (somewhere I have an archive of an e-mail exchange) of Sri Lanka’s last visit to Lord’s in 2002, and exactly the same controversy erupted over the play of a spinner there - I don’t even think one was picked. (Although it may have been India in the same year.) I don’t think I’d blame the captain for that one.

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Posted: 23 May 2006 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]

Freddie did well in one Test - a typical heroic last-ditch effort. He did a very good job as skipper there. But then the team fell apart after blowing a winning position in the first ODI. They just blew a winning position in this Test.

Do the players respect him? Of course they like him and appreciate his considerable talents - how could they not? But Hoggard played as if the teacher had gone out the room, leaving his best mate in charge. I doubt if Flintoff has moved away from the shop floor where the northern bowlers hang out to the blazer bar reserved for the southern batsmen. I suspect that at some stage he will have to distance himself from the players he gets on best with. I don’t think he will handle it well. What’s more, I don’t see the need for him to do it. He has more than enough to do as it is.

Posted: 23 May 2006 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Richard - 23 May 2006 05:28 AM

I think he had little confidence in Mahmood, and neither do I, frankly, but with no Jones/Anderson/Harmison he’ll have to be picked and be used.

My objection is to having three rookie bowlers at the same time. England’s attack has been all about sharing wickets - they don’t get many five-fers but each bowler usually contributes. So when they lose Harmison, Jones and Giles (mustn’t forget Ashley’s contribution as he so often takes a couple of stubborn wickets), England need to get at least one bowler who can contribute now. They should make a choice between Mahmood and Plunkett, then put in a Martin-Bicknell-style choice - some old county veteran who knows how to bowl in England and who can bowl all day. He will take the pressure off the young players and allow the established players to have more of a rest. England need to keep a lot in the tank for the next 12 months as the stakes are going to get higher and higher.

Posted: 23 May 2006 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]

I?ve got a memory (somewhere I have an archive of an e-mail exchange) of Sri Lanka?s last visit to Lord?s in 2002, and exactly the same controversy erupted over the play of a spinner there - I don?t even think one was picked. (Although it may have been India in the same year.) I don?t think I?d blame the captain for that one.

I was at that Test on the Sunday.  I think it was very similar to the present test, though the roles were reversed, as Sri Lanka got a huge score and England matched them in the second innings - I saw Vaughan get a ton.  There was nothing in the wicket for the bowlers, and I don’t think it turned, although Murali was missing I think.

Posted: 23 May 2006 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]

They should make a choice between Mahmood and Plunkett, then put in a Martin-Bicknell-style choice - some old county veteran who knows how to bowl in England and who can bowl all day. He will take the pressure off the young players and allow the established players to have more of a rest. England need to keep a lot in the tank for the next 12 months as the stakes are going to get higher and higher.

This has worked well on occasions in the past, although it goes against the grain of Fletcher’s policy of continuity and blooding young players.  Is Caddick fit at the moment?  He’d arguably fit the bill better than most.

It is a shame Anderson is out along with everyone else, as he’d be the perfect candidate to slot in.

Posted: 23 May 2006 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Murali was missing I think.

Yes, I think so too. I believe he was hurt. But England hadn’t picked a spinner at all, and Blowers blasted at this point repeatedly during Test Match Special for the rest of the tour and into the Indian one.

I don’t think Fletcher believes a spinner is consistently effective at Lord’s, but I guess I need to double-check on that. IIRC, at the time, I concluded that he was mistaken. I recall something about the bowlers’ selection at the next (Trent Bridge?) being better for Lord’s, and vice versa.

Generally, I don’t think Fletcher is a very good manager of the attack, which was magnified when Nasser was captain, because he was an abomination of desolation, when it came to deploying his bowlers. Vaughan’s been better at it, but he is showing signs of slipping into Fletcherism. And I think Flintoff did too, at Lord’s.

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Posted: 24 May 2006 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The good news is that we are getting the Second Test live, so I might have a bit to offer.

I am watching England very closely this year for obvious reasons. How are the Aussies doingin the County season so far?? I have not checked anything…

Sidenote - Richard - Are you still coming for the Gabba test? I should be fine for tickets. I am registered etc etc and have friends who are and I have told them I have a friend coming from Hong Kong for the game.

Great to see we have a little cricket section now on Primer!!!!I mean BBTF!!!!

Posted: 24 May 2006 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]

Phil - I have only been following Gillespie for Yorkshire, who has not done much with the ball, but then again that goes for the whole team.  Their bowling attack is overmatched in Division 1.  Gillespie has, of course, also reverted to normal batting form.  I would be surprised if he plays a big role (or any role) later this year though.

Sidenote - Richard - Are you still coming for the Gabba test? I should be fine for tickets. I am registered etc etc and have friends who are and I have told them I have a friend coming from Hong Kong for the game.

Yes, still up for it.  Great news.  I’ll wait to hear from you re cost/timing of payment etc.

Posted: 25 May 2006 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Richard - 24 May 2006 09:20 AM

Phil - I have only been following Gillespie for Yorkshire, who has not done much with the ball, but then again that goes for the whole team.  Their bowling attack is overmatched in Division 1.  Gillespie has, of course, also reverted to normal batting form.  I would be surprised if he plays a big role (or any role) later this year though.

Sidenote - Richard - Are you still coming for the Gabba test? I should be fine for tickets. I am registered etc etc and have friends who are and I have told them I have a friend coming from Hong Kong for the game.

Yes, still up for it.  Great news.  I’ll wait to hear from you re cost/timing of payment etc.

My comments with regards to Gillespie made their way to the editors letters in a national sports magazine. Here they are…

You guys seriously think McGrath should retire and that Gillespie who was a COMPLETE AND UTTER DISGRACE IN ENGLAND should take his spot?

I must have missed the memo on Bangladesh being a good team

I’ll be in contact when I have tickets for the Gabba mate. Going to be one hell of a test series!

Posted: 25 May 2006 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]

Nice pithy comment, Phil.

Good start by England - Sri Lanka 3 for 1.  Hoggard strikes.

Posted: 25 May 2006 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m following this via the wireless at the moment.

What’s with the Sri Lankans? Are they having trouble with the conditions? Once Jayawardene they were at serious risk of not making 100 in the innings.

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cupiditas radix omnium malorum est

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Posted: 25 May 2006 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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How are the Aussies doingin the County season so far??

Take it to the County Championship Lounge!

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Posted: 25 May 2006 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
fra paolo - 25 May 2006 12:15 PM

What’s with the Sri Lankans? Are they having trouble with the conditions? Once Jayawardene they were at serious risk of not making 100 in the innings.

It’s a bit strange. The sun is out and it looks like a perfect batting day. The ball is doing a bit, but you see much more helpful pitches in England this time of year. You could say they have nicked the ball every time they’ve played a false shot, but then again England have spurned a handful of chances too. England’s bowling has been disciplined, good areas as they say, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sri Lanka simply haven’t batted well.

Posted: 26 May 2006 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Tickets for CA Members go on sale June 1st.

Just got an email then…

I’ll be buying tickets for us for days 1-3 right???

Posted: 26 May 2006 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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England trail by 3 runs with 7 wickets remaining in the 1st innings

England in command again, they should not throw this away, one assumes…

Posted: 26 May 2006 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]

Days 1 to 3 would be great, yes!

I caught an hour of the test last night - the hour in which the Sri Lankans put 50 on for the 9th wicket.  They hardly looked troubled, save for Monty’s drop, before he came on to bowl and nailed Malinga straight away.  Having seen the other Sri Lankan wickets to fall, and noted that the 2nd England wicket was a draft run out, I assume that philistine’s comment above is correct - it was just poor batting.  England should be hoping for a big lead.

Posted: 27 May 2006 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Richard - 26 May 2006 03:28 AM

Days 1 to 3 would be great, yes!

I caught an hour of the test last night - the hour in which the Sri Lankans put 50 on for the 9th wicket.  They hardly looked troubled, save for Monty’s drop, before he came on to bowl and nailed Malinga straight away.  Having seen the other Sri Lankan wickets to fall, and noted that the 2nd England wicket was a draft run out, I assume that philistine’s comment above is correct - it was just poor batting.  England should be hoping for a big lead.

Pieterson scares me sometimes. He can play and Australia hate bowling to him

Posted: 01 June 2006 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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So far I have tickets to Day One…

Should get Days 2 and 3 soon hopefully mate

Posted: 01 June 2006 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]

You’ve done really well - been reading about the internet carnage on Cricinfo.  Fingers crossed!

Posted: 01 June 2006 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Stupidly tried to get the 5 day pass early on, big mistake.

I almost had Day 3 covered and the ####### system crashed right at the end, they were good seats as well.

It is a madhouse for sure, these are the first tickets to be allocated so it’s not a major drama.

I’ll get them mate!!!

Posted: 02 June 2006 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I got tickets to Day 3 as well mate!! I’ll be able to get more

Pack your traffic cones, we hitting the piss!!

Posted: 02 June 2006 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]

Good work.  You are a gentleman and a scholar….

3rd test in the Uk today.  Sri Lanka to bat, Jon Lewis repalces Mahmood for England.

Michael Vaughan is playing country cricket but does not look fit yet.

   
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