West Indies 172-4 (20 overs). England 173-3 (19.4 overs)
In what was by far the most important sporting event played anywhere in Europe yesterday (ahem), England stormed to yet another impressive victory against the Windies at the Oval.
What’s more, we’ve unearthed a new talent in the process. He’s called Alex Hales. He’s played before and looked crap. Yesterday he looked like the second coming of Kevin Pietersen. Well, not really, but why come up with an insightful comparison when a lazy and obvious one is much easier. The mainstream media don’t bother, so why should we eh.
Alex Hales stands at six foot five. He’s a strapping lad. Some might say he’s too tall to become a truly world class player. But in this era of slow pitches and busy schedules, where bowlers with real pace as a rare as an England football team capable of winning of penalties, he might just get away with it.
Giant batsmen from yesteryear (like Tom Moody for example) didn’t stand a chance. The likes of Patrick Patterson would lick their lips at a target that big. These days, however, it’s much easier for tall batsmen to get on the front foot and dominate. It will be interesting to see how Hales develops. Promisingly, many of his big shots yesterday were pulls.
The other huge bonus from yesterday’s run chase was Ravi Bopara. He looked absolute quality. Any batsman that can hit the ball inside out over cover for boundaries has both talent and class. It was great to see a somewhat tortured soul like Bopara express himself. If only he can overcome his mental demons in test cricket and fulfil his potential. Who knows, maybe he will one day.
There is a growing body of opinion that he will be a better bet against South Africa than Jonny Bairstow. And besides, if Bopara plays then Jonathan Trott will never have to bowl again. What a relief that would be.