Day One at St George’s


You’d think that England would be inspired by this ground. St George is our patron saint, after all. Unfortunately however, the pitch made inspirational all but impossible. The words turgid, pudding and dull spring to mind instead.

I completely despair at surfaces like this. Everyone who cares deeply about test cricket should be extremely disappointed. I appreciate that a groundsman’s job isn’t an exact science, but would it really be that hard to leave a little grass on the pitch?

I suppose England tried their best on the dead surface but I still wasn’t particularly impressed. A score of 188-5 is probably worth 240-5 in normal conditions. Honours are even at the moment.

What’s more, England’s performance must be put into context. We’re not battling away against the likes of Younis Khan or Misbah-ul-Haq – the type of top class batsmen England might encounter on dead pitches in the UAE – we’re playing the West Indies. A side our chairman said we should beat easily.

I don’t want to be too harsh on the Windies as they’ve shown a lot of fight, and do have some promising players, but they’re the easiest opposition we’ll face this year by some distance. It’s New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and that trip to the UAE to play Pakistan to come.

Let’s get this into perspective people. This Windies side isn’t much better than a division one county team. Only two of their batsmen average over 40 in first class cricket (let alone test cricket), and we all know that the standard of domestic cricket in the Windies ain’t exactly brilliant.

Of the five wickets we managed to take yesterday, Devon Smith didn’t hit it, and Bravo and Chanderpaul played terrible shots. Only Braithwaite (who got a snorter from Jimmy) and Blackwood were out to good balls.

I thought our bowling was a mixed bag. Sky’s pundits kept giving England top marks for effort, but isn’t that the minimum you’d expect from any international team. You’d expect them to try their best, right? Have expectations really sunk that low?

Anderson and Stokes were the pick of the bowlers. The latter has really impressed me. He was charging in all day, and consistently topped 90mph in the final session – a clear benefit of playing five bowlers.

On the other end of the richter scale, Stuart Broad struggled to top 80mph in the final session. It’s a real worry now. He should be over his injuries. Medium pace isn’t going to cut it at test level I’m afraid.

I was also disappointed with Moeen and Jordan. The former was clearly rusty, so there’s a caveat to his performance, but the latter just doesn’t have ‘it’.

Take away Jordan’s brilliant fielding, and his potential with the bat, and all you have is a bog standard medium-fast seamer. Jordan can ‘crank it up’ (if this is an appropriate expression) to fast-medium in his early spells, but he fades away late in the day. I hate to say it, but bowlers like this are two a penny at international level. I just don’t get the hype I’m afraid.

Anyway, I expect I’m being a little grumpy today so I’ll leave it there. I just want England to be ruthless. We’re playing an inferior side so we need to exert our authority.

When it’s England’s turn to bat, big runs are needed. Without Jerome Taylor, the Windies bowling attack is there for the taking. If Cook and Trott continue to struggle against this lot, we’ve got no hope in the Ashes. I just hope that easy runs won’t create a false sense of security.

James Morgan




  • With Buttler batting at 8; 9 10 & Jack don’t need to get runs they need wickets and frankly neither Jordan or Broad look like getting them. On a flat lifeless pitch I see no threat from this bowling attack apart from Anderson’s skill with the new ball and Stokes bending his back.

    This series is increasingly looking like an opportunity missed to field an attacking bowling line up away from the scrutiny of a major home series. A lot of the pre-tour chat was about an old middle order batsman, but it’s the top and bottom of the line up which needs a serious look at.

    • I would agree with all of that.

      However, one of the reasons that so many of us were pissed off at the way a certain ” old middle order batsman” was removed from the side was it showed an obsession with putting talent secondary to the right face fitting in.

      Add to that the managements never ending conservative approach to selection, and a one trick pony bowling strategy that involves ‘drying up the runs’ as opposed to trying to get people out and you have the kind of scrambled thinking England now suffer from.

      Of course this series should have been about blooding new players, like the leg spinner. We need to know if he can play at this level. Maybe he can’t, or maybe he might rise to the big occasion (wouldn’t be the first player to do so) but we will never know if we don’t pick him. We also need to have some fall back position in the opening batsman role. If Trott doesn’t return to test match form and Cook keeps failing we may need two new openers by the end of the Ashes.

      Does the management think Plunket is not accurate enough and not to be trusted?

      • Can’t disagree Mark.

        Trott has merited a recall but unfortunately for him England have found a good young No. 3 in Ballance so he should be made to wait for an opportunity rather than being shoe-horned in as an opener.

  • Urgh.

    I can’t see Trott and Cook enjoying this. Gabriel and Roach aren’t going to bang it in halfway down and hope for the best. They are going to pitch it up and demand the batsmen play shots.

  • Not exactly a great advert for Test Cricket. An absolutely awful pitch. Just 185 runs in a day – my youngest daughter saw the score this morning and asked me if it was a T20!

    Jordan is doing ok. Not great but ok. Broad needs a long, long rest. Stokes is trying very hard but just one wicket from forty-two overs so far this series isn’t that great. We need to get him on earlier in the day and let him really get at them. Least said about Mo’s bowling yesterday the better.

    No doubt one we do eventually get them out Ballance, Bell and Root, supported by Stokes, Buttler and Moenn will see us home to another not very exciting draw….

  • I wonder how many wickets Anderson would have taken if he pitched it up and made the batsman play. He seems determined to “bowl dry” no matter what the conditions.

  • England will still win as WI are that poor but even if cook and trott gets big tons this test/series things need to change. These ‘world class’ batsmen should have been scoring the tons already, I’d expect cook who in theory is the ‘best england batsmen’ to have scored at least 4 tons in 6 tests against his ram shackle team. He hsn’t and probably won’t. Time to rebuild and clear out the egos (broad), deadwood (Cook) and not upto it players (mo, jordan and co)


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