Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So the Ashes weren't just a fluke

Rather relieved and happy that the England team managed to outbowl India in the final day of the Test in Mumbai today. The team has been plagued with ill-luck since arriving in India - losing Vaughan and Giles almost immediately through injury, then Jones and Harmison; and Trescothick returning home for personal reasons. I wonder how long Flintoff can manage to be both batsman, bowler and captain, as well as having the hopes of the entire (cricket-loving*) country hanging on him. It's amazing he's managed to pull so many important performances during the last few matches. Good luck to him!

Apparently this is the first Test England have won in India for 21 years. I don't know whether this says something about the quality of the respective teams since 1985, given that India's record at home to all visiting teams is pretty good. Of course England and India don't play each other as often as England and Australia do, so a losing (or not-winning) streak can last longer because of fewer opportunities.

Although the bowlers performed well - nice to see James Anderson back in the side and taking wickets - it is little worrying that one of the spin replacements for Ashley Giles was the 37-year old Shaun Udal. I've got nothing against Udal at all, and his bowling today was very tidy, but surely there are some younger spinners out there who would take to Test cricket? Aren't there?

I check the New Zealand cricket results from time to time, partly to marvel at Stephen Fleming's ability to hit hundred after hundred, and partly to see what new injury has stopped
Shane Bond fulfilling his awesome potential. If the man could stay fit he would be the best fast bowler in the world - he's very fast, accurate and his economy rate is astonishing. When he's actually on the field. Sadly (at least for him and for New Zealand cricket, anyway - I don't suppose the other teams are weeping at the loss) he doesn't seem able to keep fit for long, whether it's because of injuries or stomach bugs. Still, his absence doesn't seem to have hampered the Kiwis beating the West Indies. NZ are one of those teams who don't really have star performers (Fleming and Bond, perhaps, excepted), but their talents seem to combine synergistically, so the whole team performs better than the sum of its parts.

Ah, roll on summer, with Sri Lanka and Pakistan visiting...

* I recognise that the vast majority of Brits don't care two figs whether the cricket team win or lose, though some of them might have heard of Flintoff by now...


At Wed Mar 22, 07:32:00 pm, Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

Come, come. Bit of an sweeping statement in the last paragraph. I will be posting about this tomorrow (I post about 7.30 in the morning usually, so today's was posted while I listened to our sweet victory).


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