Well that was unexpected. Just as one of the nation’s best known cricket journalists suggests that England should go into the 5th test with five seamers, the management pick three spinners instead – two of whom are probably best seen as part-timers. Hmmmm.
I was a little surprised by England’s team selection. With Mark Wood missing through injury, I expected Plunkett to come into the side and the balance to remain pretty similar.
Of course, we knew that Jos Buttler wouldn’t be playing, but I didn’t quite expect such a radical shake-up. Do I sense that Bayliss likes the odd experiment? Maybe. But then again, perhaps I’ve just got used to intransigence from England over the years. I guess it’s refreshing to see the team willing to embrace change.
The again, I must admit I’ve got mixed feelings about the XI chosen though. I’m glad that Bairstow has taken the gloves. I’m also glad that James Taylor is finally getting a game. What I’m not so sure about is the stubbornness (it’s that word again) over Moeen opening the innings. I can’t see him opening in South Africa, so why persist with the strategy? Whoever opens against Steyn and Morkel etc over Christmas is going to be thrown in at the deep end with little acclimatisation. It will probably be a rude awakening. Good luck with that Alex Hales.
I won’t be able to write a match report this afternoon as I’m off to Wembley to watch some cheerleaders. Apparently there’s a game on too. However, England are doing pretty well thus far. Pakistan are currently 105-4 off 44 overs. The pitch seems to be offering the bowlers a little bit of help. There’s a little movement for the seamers and the spinners are already getting some tweak.
It’s a little difficult to know what a good first innings score might be. Any thoughts?