Another day, another kick in the teeth for our beleaguered captain. Things could not have gone much worse for Cook yesterday. First, India’s last wicket pair humiliated the hosts with a century stand (thus wiping out the promising position England had established immediately after lunch) and then he failed with the bat yet again – this time bowled behind his legs after getting too far across.
Cricket can be unbelievably cruel sometimes. In trying to improve his offside game, and better judge what to leave outside offstump, Cook forgot about the leg peg. Oh dear. He was a little unlucky in that the ball deflected onto the stumps via his thigh pad, but it was more bad technique than bad fortune.
Other than being woken up at 6.30am on a Saturday morning by a small child jumping on your head, last wicket stands are the most annoying thing in the world. It’s the hope that kills you. The prospect of rolling over the opposition for a low-ish score fills you with optimism, only for two guys with no batting pedigree to cream your best bowlers to all parts.
Before yesterday, Shami’s best test score was three. Yesterday he made a maiden fifty. That just about sums things up. What’s worse India’s number nine, Kumar, who actually has some batting pedigree, looked a lot more solid than Cook, Robson and Ballance: he plays straight, has an orthodox technique, and was incredibly composed.
Once again the pitch didn’t exactly help our bowlers. Notts’ hope that the pitch might quicken up proved about as accurate as a Brett Lee beamer. England’s seamers therefore racked up in excess of thirty overs each – a nightmare considering the ridiculous upcoming schedule.
Was the last wicket partnership Cook’s fault? Perhaps. He was somewhat helpless considering the conditions – England’s modus operandi this summer has been to bounce out the tail – but he still could have bowled Ali more. Tail enders can’t resist a good slog – and so it eventually proved.
Cook tried plenty of things in the field. At one point we had three men close in front of square on the legside. However, none of his plans worked. When lady luck deserts you, she kicks you in balls before marching off. Poor Alastair just can’t get a break.
Before I sign off, I’d just like to point you in the direction of this article on Bleacher Report. It’s not in my nature to plug articles like this (especially not ones from bloody Bleacher Report), and I’ve tried to be relatively objective in my handling of all things KP in recent times, but I found this a fascinating read.
Those who think Paul Downton’s excrement smells of the sweetest pot-pourri are advised to stay away. It will raise your blood pressure and possibly give you a heart-attack.
However, those patronised by Mike Selvey’s ill advised reference to the “fringe idiots” and their “carefully orchestrated hate campaign” against Cook (as if idiots are actually capable of carefully orchestrating anything!) the piece will be music to your ears.
It certainly made me think. Something about Graeme Swann’s analysis on TMS hasn’t quite seemed right. Similarly, Botham’s support for Moores and his refusal to mention the word ‘Pietersen’ all summer (despite being someone who loves mavericks and dislikes the establishment) also seems a little fishy.
I’m not saying this article hits the nail on the head, but I’m certainly more sceptical about the impartiality of the mainstream media now than I was six months ago. See what you think.