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England Win Surreal Series. But Will English Cricket Lose In The Long Run?

Rejoice. We’ve beaten the number one test team in the world. It was a superb series and test cricket was probably the winner overall. Who says you need high totals and bat dominating ball to create exciting cricket? The authorities can put that in their pipe and smoke it. It might blend well with the wacky baccy they’ve obviously been consuming in large quantities.

However, although this series has produced some very tense and compelling cricket, the quality of that cricket has generally been pretty low. At least from a batting stand point. So has this series been good for test cricket or not? I guess it depends on whether one prefers quality or pure adrenaline.

I really don’t know what to make of it all to be honest. I’m glad that red ball cricket has proved itself (yet again) to be the best form of the game, but the purist in me is rather sad about things. There really wasn’t much to celebrate in terms of batting technique this summer. If that’s the way test cricket is going then it’s quite depressing.

I also have mixed feelings about whether England winning will be good for the English game in the long run. After Trent Bridge I sensed that the ECB’s mismanagement of our domestic structure, and the criminal marginalisation of the county championship, was beginning to creep into mainstream discourse somewhat. It was even brought up (although predictably never really discussed) on Sky’s Cricket Debate programme.

I fear this win will silence the dissent once again. After all, the ECB can sit back smugly and say “hey we’ve just beaten the best team in the world so we can’t be damaging the first class game too much”. Obviously the consequences of recent decisions won’t become fully apparent for some time – so it would be disingenuous for them to claim this – but some will say it nevertheless. What’s more, it might be too late by the time everyone wakes up.

As a result – and I’m quite ashamed to admit this – part of me was actually hoping England might lose this test match, if only to keep the pressure on the ECB. As it stands, one senses the authorities will be quite happy winning at home and getting thrashed away if the money keeps rolling in and they can implement Harrison’s Harebrained Hundred without too much gnashing of teeth. I was beginning to enjoy the “why aren’t they addressing batting techniques rather than implementing an extraneous hit and giggle competition?” narrative. Now I imagine it will all go silent again. Sigh.

On the other hand, I find it impossible not to back our lads when they’re on the field. Consequently I’m simultaneously delighted we’ve beaten India. I’m particularly pleased for Moeen, who has always been one of my favourite cricketers. I have to confess I wouldn’t have picked him for this series, simply because I want England to find a spinner who can help us win abroad, but I certainly can’t begrudge him his continued  success on home soil. Many will argue that he could, and should, have played ahead of Rashid all series.

Mo now averages a Swann-esque 30 with the ball at home. And his strike rate is just as good too. In fact, it was better than Swann’s at one point last summer. The problem, of course, is that he’s absolutely terrible overseas. And it wasn’t just in the recent Ashes debacle. Mo has been consistently bad every time he’s travelled. It’s why he averages a pretty embarrassing 52 with the ball overseas after 22 tests on foreign fields. Giles averaged 39 away, Monty 40, and Adil Rashid currently averages 36 overseas in case you’re interested.

Having said that, Moeen has been tinkering with his action this summer so perhaps he might be more effective when England travel to Sri Lanka this winter? He obviously gets along famously with Saqlain, who always seems to raise Mo’s game, so let’s hope we can keep him around on tour. In the past he’s disappeared after a couple of games. Having Saqlain on hand could make a huge difference to Mo’s confidence and rhythm. He certainly bowled wonderfully well in this test match and deserved his man of the match award.

The other curious thing about this series win is that England’s success has come about almost entirely by accident. Only Sam Curran, Moeen (who were both left out of the side at Trent Bridge), and Jos Buttler have enhanced their reputations this series. And let’s not forget that young Sam was picked primarily as a bowler. Yet it was his runs that proved decisive. I wonder what Dom Bess makes of it all?

Other than Anderson and Broad, who also enjoyed decent series, all England’s other players were disappointing to various degrees. Cook and Jennings were miserable, Bairstow was a big disappointment, Root never looked comfortable at 3, and Stokes didn’t quite have the impact with either bat or ball that many predicted. England basically won with half a team. It’s extraordinary really.

England have also managed to win this series despite having no coherent strategy. Moeen won this game with the ball, even though he was supposed to be the No.2 spinner, and all the team’s runs came from players batting 6-8. Only two England players made centuries, one of which was Chris Woakes, and the batting order became so unstable that Moeen was speculatively promoted to No.3 in the second innings. The selectors and the management basically made things up on the fly. They even thought it was a good idea to pick a specialist batsman at 7 at one stage.

I also find it odd that we don’t know who will keep wicket in Sri Lanka anymore. During the Ashes Jonny Bairstow was the only player who won his individual duel with his opposite number. If anyone had suggested that his role would be uncertain eight months later would’ve been consigned to the mad house. Bairstow behind the stumps used to be one of England’s few shoo-ins. Even that’s up in the air now.

And then there was the Ollie Pope situation. What a ridiculous decision it was to promote a young talent with limited first class experience and expect him to produce the goods at 4. Mark Butcher, who is Surrey through and through, said he was ‘angry’ at Ed Smith for exposing Pope like this. I don’t blame him. I really hope Pope’s confidence hasn’t been knocked by all this. He’s a tremendous young talent.

Yet England have triumphed. We’ve won. And for many that will be enough. Perhaps it should be enough for all of us? It just all feels rather odd. Normally I’ve got a smile broader than Merv Hughes’s gut when England win a test series. But this time I feel a bit, well, hollow really. I’m not sure we deserve it. But then neither did India. Neither side played well enough to deserve victory at the end of the day.

Great series though.

James Morgan

2018-09-02T19:01:02+00:00 September 2nd, 2018|Eng v Pak 2018, Test Cricket|43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Paul September 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hi James, first off well played England, they were better than us. Woakes & Curran really cost us a couple of test matches, England’s 6-8 is way better than ours. Pandya & Ashwin were useless in the 4th test, I would drop them as well as Dhawan for the next game and pick someone new. Our batting has also been poor, it was basically just Kohli, with Pujara & Rahane to a lesser extent, the rest just came and went. Our lone bright spot has been the pace bowling, unfortunately bhuvaneshwar kumar was unfit, he would have relished the conditions and is handy with the bat.

  2. John September 2, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    A tense and fascinating contest, but it wasn’t Test cricket. It was -with the exception of Stokes who is our best option at 3 – four white ball innings played with a red ball. When it gets to the point that other than 1 & 2 – a resounding success – they draw the batting order out of a hat, then Test cricket in any meaningful sense no longer exists.

  3. dangermash September 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I’d like to see some experimentation for the final test now that we’ve won the series. Rest Broad and Anderson and give the new ball to Porter and Woakes. Give Pope another go further down the order. Try out a young spinner. Give Bairstow a rest after his awful batting performance at Southampton. And I’d ideally be trying out two new openers and a number three but we can only have eleven in the team, so maybe Moeen will have to open. The middle order is so full of runs that I might even give Vince a run at three. His batting is attractive to the eye & he could be really good if he learns to stop giving his wicket away.

    Burns, Moeen, Vince, Root, Stokes, Pope, Buttler, Woakes, Curran, Bess/Leach, Porter.

    If we weren’t talking The Oval, I’d be bringing in a second new opener, moving Moeen to middle order and leaving out Bess/Leach.

    • AndyB September 3, 2018 at 7:45 am - Reply

      I agree with the call for changes now we have won. But I cannot agree about the keeping position. Buttler may have done better with the bat in this series than previously (not hard given his awful prior record) – but his keeping in this game was dreadful. It was captured in one ball, when Anderson sprayed the ball down leg, Buttler got both hands to it (not one) and all he could do was push it round the corner for 3 byes, like a goalkeeper. If we are experimenting bring in Foakes for Buttler.

      • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 8:57 am - Reply

        I agree Andy. I thought Buttler looked noticeably worse behind the stumps. The ball certainly doesn’t melt into his gloves. He’s serviceable but he wasn’t quite as tidy as Jonny. Bairstow isn’t exactly Bob Taylor but he looks the more natural keeper of the two imho (not that I know much about keeping!)

        • dangermash September 3, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

          Yes – I’d be happy with Foakes for Buttler. With so much strength in middle to low order, we hav ethe luxury of being able to pick a wicket keeper for his wicket keeping. Jack Russel would have loved it if we,d had so many all rounders back in his day.

  4. Metatone September 2, 2018 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Happy for the team, but like you I fear the longer term impacts.

    I’d argue that one way to look at this series is that we never really got Test quality pitches.

    Yes, it’s fun when the ball dominates the bat, but a whole series of that takes on elements of lottery, where things like rain delays and the toss take on more importance than they should. In that vein, it’s nice that Curran’s batting has set up 2 wins, but it feels like it highlights the problems more than anything.

  5. muffin September 2, 2018 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Well, yes, we won, but I can’t be proud of the last wicket. – if India had a challengc left it would have ben clearly demostrated to be “not out” – missing the leg stump by about 6 inches,

  6. Jomesy September 2, 2018 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    The only batsman who has done well in this series is Kohli, and very very well done him, because last time he had a nightmare.

    Is it a crime to say that’s what I want to see? A player challenging himsel. They might be good, very good or great – I don’t care, I just want to see them challenging themself to be the best they can be, no matter the conditions.

    This series has been utter shit for anyone who actually cares about test cricket.

    I’m done with SKY and their agenda:

    – telling me how gripping it is (it’s interesting but shit quality)
    – their wash up programme which promises “insights”, “challenge”, the rest…. – bollocks
    – constantly telling me what great test match cricket this is and then throwing in (all the sodding time) how it’s ended inside four days
    – how great mo is (he really, really isn’t… otherwise there would not be any debate and he wouldn’t have been dropped. He picked up half his wickets this test to atrocious shots)
    – how expensive Rashid is (he really isn’t *that expensive* given the wickets he takes)
    – how great Broad and Anderson are (they’re extremely good but they are not the best I’ve ever seen so stop fucking telling me they are)
    – that Alistair Cook is the second, third and fourth coming all at once, who gets jaffas all the time when he’s out, can’t take some catches but, when he does, fuck me, that’s the best catch ever (until he catches another one)
    – that Joe Root is doing a good job

    This was shit 4-day cricket played by mostly players who don’t have a clue how to play 5-day cricket.

    If that’s what the majority want they’re welcome to it.

    • Marce Evans September 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      I have mentioned this before but if we go back to ‘classic’ line-ups of the recent past how well would they have managed in these conditions and against this present classy Indian attack. Would you be confident in the likes of Gower, Gatting, Lamb, Smith, Botham, Stewart and even maybe Atherton and Gooch, scoring over 500 runs in the match. It certainly would have been an interesting challenge and by no means a foregone conclusion. Foot movement was always a big issue with these batsmen as well. How many of them got caught on the crease time and time again. It has been a huge criticism of test players for decades. Certainly Gooch, Lamb, Smith, Botham and Stewart all played hard at the ball with their heavy bats.
      I am not defending the present structure of Game in general, which has become confused and rudderless in persuit of the cash cow, but there are no obvious test candidates out there and this is what we need to address. Harrison and Smith are a sign of the times and I fear, like many, they will use this series victory to justify their actions.

      • Jomesy September 2, 2018 at 8:00 pm - Reply

        You have a point re: 500 runs and the old school batters you named but that only highlights the fact that we’re not getting proper 5-day wickets.

        Seriously, I love YJB (I wanted him to be captain because I think he’d actually be good at it), but THAT shot in the second innings? It was as bad as it can get for a first ball in what is supposed to be Test Match Cricket.

        • Marc Evans September 2, 2018 at 11:44 pm - Reply

          The weather was a major factor this year in that we had months of hot dry weather, followed by sudden heavy downpours, where the surface was so dry the water didn’t drain through properly. It is difficult to create a 5 day wicket with no balance between wet and dry periods, as the grass roots haven’t spread out enough to hold the turf together, going deeper to find water, leaving the immediate surface unstable. Artificially using tap water to supplement this only has a cosmetic effect.

          • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

            Thanks for this comment Marc. Interesting info. I have no idea regarding the science of preparing pitches.

            • Marc Evans September 3, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

              Cheers James. I only developed an interest when as a teenager I was drafted onto what was laughingly referred to as the ‘groundstaff’ (a staff of 1) at my local club as penance for pratting about scrumping in the adjoining gardens, using the partition fence to get access to the trees. I was however allowed to drive the ‘sit on’ mower as the ‘staff’ had arthritis. Boys with toys eh?

  7. muffin September 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Not sure waht happened there (part from the mispellings) – the site kept refusing to accept my comment….

    • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Sorry Muffin. Could be time to update the software.

  8. ian September 2, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    What a lot of moaners. We have just won a test series with a match to spare against the number 1 ranked team in the world. Yes we have a problem in the top order but Butler has played well despite his detractors, Moeen has shown he is a test spinner, Stokes has shown application in his batting, and we some top class pace bowlers.

    • Jomesy September 2, 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      “What a load of moaners”

      Enjoying the propaganda obviously Ian.

      We’ve just beaten the world No1 team but…

      I’ve said what I think, and you come back with that?

      All is well then.

      But clearly it isn’t given this article. Did you read it?

      • Ian September 3, 2018 at 10:16 am - Reply

        It’s only propaganda or “Fake News” if you disagree with it or can’t accept it because it doesn’t fit with your ideas. Everything is not well but there are plenty of positives. I did read the article and don’t know why we have to have this constant blame and criticism of selectors, administrators, certain players, and limited overs cricket in general.

  9. Sean September 2, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Well The Oval is traditionally a flat deck so you might get some runs there.

    I see your point James. I have similar feelings but apply them to the World Cup. If England do win this World Cup it’ll vindicate the Strauss-led white ball prioritising. I actually couldn’t give a monkeys about England winning the thing. But I’ll always support test cricket and England at test cricket. Test cricket is impregnable even against those clowns – however much they try to destroy it.

    • AndyB September 3, 2018 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Never underestimate the power of marketing. As Dilbert said, the only difference between marketeers and criminals is that criminals have to pay for their own drinks.

  10. Doug M September 3, 2018 at 5:35 am - Reply

    This has been a tight series because both sides have not made big scores because of various batting frailties that have been widely discussed, and the fact that both sides have bowled well, India maybe with a slightly better attack. But their spinners didn’t come into play did they. India probably had the worst of the toss and conditions, and it was closer than 3/1 suggests. England won largely because of Curran and Ali.
    I can t remember a recent season where the ball has seamed so much in the Tests and domestic cricket. If you like 3or 4 day tests ok, but this type of test cricket isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t see England playing any better abroad; the problems are still there. You watch I doubt they’ll change the side for the Oval.

    • James September 3, 2018 at 7:33 am - Reply

      I agree the series is closer than 3-1: in fact, in a way, I’d like to see India win the final test, because 3-2 is about right. James is right to say that England have won the series with half a team, but they probably also played against half a team. Kohli has more or less held the Indian batting together (with Pujara in this test, who is also top class), but the bowlers have been excellent (on helpful pitches). Neither of these teams are “great” (neither would hold a candle to the West Indies team of, say, 1980, or the Australian team of 2000), but this has been a good, well contested series. Let’s remember, though, that England were thrashed 4-0 in India 18 months ago. We’re still, overall, some way behind them.

  11. Down at Third Man September 3, 2018 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Surely there will be little or no change to the team (or squad). Selection is politics. To change now would be to admit error in previous selections and to divert attention from previous ‘inspired’ picks.

    Long term? When a young batsman is ‘taken into’ an England development squad his game is quickly remodeled on attack – on what works best for the white ball, (which also works in most overs in pink ball cricket). The base is king, weight transfer occurs within the confines of the base. Hands necessarily are less confined. It is a ‘game’ designed not with a moving ball in mind.

    Where does the next generation of 1 – 5 red ball batsmen come from? If, at home, England can bowl sides out for less than 275, and in total score 60 runs more than the opponents 3 time out of 4, should we expect further battles of attrition like the last four Tests?

    • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 9:04 am - Reply

      I wonder if Haseeb Hameed has been affected by what you describe above? He came into the side as a very defensive player (“Baby Boycott”) but his form has fallen off a cliff. I know that injuries have certainly played their part, and I really have no idea whether he was told to play positively, but it’s worth speculating. I’d love to pick his brains and ask him what, exactly, he thinks are the reasons behind his miserable two years.

      • Down at Third Man September 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

        James M – possibly have an answer. If you follow me on Twitter, even if temporarily, I will DM a thought. Meanwhile Boycs’ advice was a sound starting place.

    • James September 3, 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      “The world of T20 franchise cricket has hurt County Cricket.

      “Why would the best pro’s play CC when they can earn big $$ playing T20’s.

      “Therefore, the standard of CC batting has declined rapidly which means the growth of youngsters is a lot slower than where it was”

      The above is a tweet from Kevin Pietersen.

  12. AndyB September 3, 2018 at 8:04 am - Reply

    I now fully expect Woakes to be relegated to the role of drinks carrier for another 12 months, as the Surrey cheerleaders big up the Currans. And whilst Sam did well with the bat he is no test bowler (unless as a fourth seamer). Useful when it swings but utterly innocuous in other conditions. No doubt the cricket establishment will also continue to suggest Broad is a world beater (as is obvious from the commentators praising his dismissal of Rahul – the only thing he did was bowl it straight and see it shoot along the ground). Jon Agnew’s piece on the BBC website today discussing all rounders is a clear pointer – he names every all rounder in England, except Woakes (he has always been the biggest critic of Woakes, which is ironic coming from the worst seamer ever to play for England – except Pigott). The England selectors need to ask themselves who will take over from Anderson or Broad with the new ball – and until a new face comes through Woakes is the only prospect (at which point his test average will drop below Broad’s when he gets to use something other than a battered old ball).

    But being more positive; Curran looks a real prospect as a batting (not bowling) all rounder. Pope looked a bit more promising than the other young bats and it is great to see Moeen come back. And even Buttler looked like a bat on occasions (shame about the keeping). And Jimmy keeps going for another year.

    • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 9:07 am - Reply

      I tend to agree Andy. There’s so much to love about Sam Curran, and I don’t want to say anything negative, but he clearly benefitted from playing in very friendly conditions. I know the likes of Chaminda Vaas have proved that left armers don’t need express pace to do well at test level, but Sam must thank his lucky stars that he made his debut in the conditions we’ve had this summer. Meanwhile, I bet Tom Curran and Craig Overton must be cursing their luck. Sam’s batting, however, looks really promising, and I agree with those Surrey supporters who say he’ll end up as a batsman who bowls rather than the other way around.

  13. James September 3, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

    As a side issue, it’s great to see the spirit in which this series has been played. In particular, I thought Virat Kohli was eloquent and gracious in his interview after the game.

    • James Morgan September 3, 2018 at 9:09 am - Reply

      People like to knock Kohli as he’s aggressive and struts around like he owns the place. However, he usually backs this up with his deeds with the bat so fair play to him I say. What’s more, Kohli is a big champion of test cricket, so he’s a goodun as far as I’m concerned. Definitely a positive for the game overall, although I wish India had bowled their overs a bit quicker (ditto a lot of sides).

      • James September 3, 2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply

        There’s nothing wrong with a batsman strutting around like he owns the place, if he can walk the walk. Viv Richards walked to the crease like he owned the place. 4 hours later, he often did. Kohli undoubtedly can walk the walk, and it’s evident how much the England bowlers prize his wicket.

        India’s over rate at Southampton was appalling (as was England’s). Maybe they should get Sir Jadeja in the side.

        Javed Miandad, Andy? As far as I know, Kohli has never tried to hit anyone with a bat.

    • AndyB September 3, 2018 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Agreed. I have been a critic of Kohli in the past, mainly because of his attitude to his youngsters (open criticism on the field) but he does seem a more relaxed man this year. I withdraw my comparison of his personality with that of Javed Miandad!

  14. Ryland September 3, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Cook announces retirenment – great player – wish him well on his retirement

    • James September 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      I was about to point that out. Excellent timing on Cook’s part, I think (not something that was always the case recently). If the plan is to take Rory Burns on tour in the winter, he should be selected to make his debut in the next test (rest Jennings), at his home ground.

      Cook will probably make a double century on what is traditionally a flat pitch.

  15. Simon H September 3, 2018 at 11:05 am - Reply

    I like a lowish-scoring, four-day Test as much as anyone – but not when they are a constant diet and not when I feel that it’s what the authorities are trying to engineer to serve certain agendas (like maxmising the home team’s chances and pave the way for four-day Tests generally).

  16. Mike September 3, 2018 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I don’t t think you guys could ever be accused of being glass half full people could you ? Honestly its been a fantastic series and we have beaten the current number one side in the world. Wasn’t that long ago people were whining that the drainage systems meant there was nothing in the pitch for the bowlers and it was boring seeing teams rack up the runs.

    Obviously there is stuff to discuss, the batting line up is a mess and selection muddled etc etc. If everything was perfect would be a bit boring anyway as we would have nothing to talk about.

    Its a bit silly to say everything is right with the world but its far sillier to not unreservedly enjoy what has been a cracking series. Honestly, life is a million times better when you try and enjoy it not look for ways to be negative.

    Re Woakes. Whilst I agree he is best qualified to take over from anderson and broad. He must be pushing 30 now. We should be looking for younger options who will be approaching not past their peak when the big 2 call it a day. Curran isnt the answer for that spot either.

  17. Comte September 3, 2018 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    The good thing about the series was its unpredictability. Both teams contained some good players but some lightweight ones as well. Is anyone confident as to who should be in our best team? I’m not but I know who I’d axe.

    Cook’s just beaten the swinging blade. Good luck to a decent guy wHe shouldn’t have been picked when unfitho I hope will find peace and contentment in county cricket.
    Jennings – a Div 2 second XI player, no way good enough for Tests. Rashid – no place for someone who doesn’t play red ball cricket. Need a proper number 3 (Mo’s not the answer there at the moment) and Stokes may have more of what it takes than most. Bairstow is the best keeper. To hell with Motormouth. Who should be our main back-up seamers? Dunno.

  18. Norman Duggers Dugdale September 3, 2018 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Not enough high praise is being given to young Currie for his match winning runs, only ever getting out when he is running out of partners. I watched every ball at the Ageas Bowl and he was batting on the same track, as he did at Lord’s as all the other England batsmen that failed rather poorly. He hardly ever got a new ball in his hand and getting the final wicket yesterday was no mean feat! yet it appeared that he was only brought on when in the 55th over, when a 90% fit Stakes had given up trying to get India’s second best batsman out! Don’t underrate this lad, he has a long long road ahead of him and as I implied earlier, wind the game for England with his 100+ runs; not bad for an opening bowler!

  19. Marc Evans September 4, 2018 at 12:32 am - Reply

    If the Oval surface is true to type could do worse than take a look at one of the Warwickshire quickies that have come through this season. Despite their age both have topped 90 mph. They blood them young abroad, so until the advent of something better on the seam front, why not try one for a test here?
    I agree there is a lot to respect about young Curran but he’s there as a bowler, and must be judged on that.
    I would make a few changes for the Oval, but I don’t expect the powers at be to change anything not enforced. Hopefully they’ll try a couple of proper openers and not just promote Vince.

  20. SaxophoneAlex September 7, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    We have beaten India, with one test to go. However, we are still not that convincing as a team. The batting is often a shambles. Root’s form is poor at the moment, and I feel he does struggle with the captaincy. Now that Cook is calling it a day, I feel that Rory Burns deserves a chance on tour this winter. He seems to be doing well season after season, although I for one have never actually seen him play. Jennings, judging by any online clips I have looked at, looks technically floored. One hopes he can overcome this but could be be another Gary Ballance ie given a chance a Test level when the technique probably wasn’t good enough in the first place.
    Bairstow’s batting form is a cause for concern. I actually think they should have rested him for the final two games of this series after he sustained the finger injury. Buttler has had his moments with the bat, although Bairstow is the better keeper in my view. Curran has been a breath of fresh air and you feel that he could turn out to be something very special indeed. He is one of the positives of the summer. There is this danger that England have become a team of talented all-rounders when at times we need a few more specialists. I hope that Bess and Leach will tour this winter, Moeen should stay as an attacking batsman and wicket taking threat on the right surfaces. Rashid has had his moments too, and I imagine that Leach might be the unlucky one to miss out, I remember Ed Smith sneering about Leach when Smith was still a TMS commentator. From what I have read about Leach, he has good control even on pitches that do not turn, unfair to judge him on that one test in NZ when the pitch wasn’t helping him and England were a shambles after the drubbing in Australia. If I were England, I would rest Anderson and Broad this winter and save them for next year.
    Kohli has looked by far the best batsman on either side, Pujara and others have had their moments too. Some of the seam bowlers have done well for India and they have been the better team when it comes to slip catches.

  21. SaxophoneAlex September 7, 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Should read “flawed” in my above post re Jennings. Writing too fast, sorry !

  22. Sanjib Kumar Das September 14, 2018 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Every team plays good in their home condition .england always have a x factor that is anderson ,broad ,with moeen ali has 5 th bowler .being a 5th bowler moeen ali delievers better which get rids of extra burden ,2016 moeen ali in india was a different bowler taking too much pressure ,but in 2018 against india at home conditions ,with anderson ,broad on either side moeen ali is a good weapon ..overall england team is really good ,with stokes ,buler,bairstow,jamer curren with anderson and broad is really deadly.
    https://bhavitra.com

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