Wash, rinse, repeat. Today’s ODI was pretty much the same story as the last one but with two interesting but ultimately inconsequential differences: this time England batted second, and this time the captain made some runs.
Unfortunately we still lost the game because, well, our bowling attack is still the same ineffective collection of barely adequate popguns that is was 72 hours ago. And unfortunately this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Unsurprisingly the surprise omission of Rashid, one of our few ineffectuals that actually takes wickets now and again, didn’t make a rat’s bum of difference.
Once again our batsmen did little wrong. Making over 350 in a chase is always a decent effort. We can’t blame the willow wielders. And we especially can’t blame the captain this time. Eoin Morgan made an excellent century – his first in 26 innings – at more than a run a ball. Hopefully this gives him the boost he’s so desperately needed. The important thing now is for him to show some consistency and improve his conversion rate – which stood at 5 tons in his last 100 matches before today.
Jason Roy is another player who needs to kick on a bit. He’s a brilliant talent but he still finds ways to get out unexpectedly in innocuous ways. Today was another example: he played beautifully, and looked odds on for a ton, until he inexplicably missed a straight one.
Generally however, our batsmen played very well again. Root and Moeen both made 50s and even Plunkett hit a few lusty boundaries at the death. It’s just a shame about his bowling – which was unfortunately Dernbach-esque. In fact, he might have broken some of Jade’s records. These pitches really don’t suit him.
Although I’ve slagged off our bowlers (again) I do have some sympathy for them – for two reasons. Firstly I must admit that Dhoni and Yuvraj played brilliantly. They rescued India from a precarious Woakes induced hole, and basically scored at will – even though the rest of the attack’s attempts to bowl yorkers at them was generally laughable.
Secondly, it didn’t escape my attention that several pretty miserable mishits still somehow went for six. I don’t know about you, but I think one day cricket is now weighted far too heavily in the batsman’s favour.
The authorities seem to think that cricket fans are generally stupid, and that we’re only excited by a relentless flurry of boundaries accompanied by shit pop music. Surely it’s tension – the sense that batsmen are taking a risk by hitting out – that creates real excitement.
An even contest between bat and ball is what creates the most compelling cricket. Who cares if average totals are now 50-100 runs higher if these extra runs are easy to come by?