This has been one of the worst test matches I’ve seen. Runs have been ridiculously easy to come by. Of the specialist batsmen on display, only Misbah, Masoon and Bairstow have missed out. Only sixteen wickets have fallen in four whole days. And some of those came when the slog was on at the end of Pakistan’s first innings.
I cannot bear it when there’s no contest between bat and ball. I feel exactly the same way when the bowlers are on top. Those one-day finals in September, in which Jon Lewis used to look more like Curtley Ambrose than Alan Davies, used to wind me up a treat. The batsmen had no chance in the first hour. Survival was often a matter of pure luck. The toss decided the game.
Consequently, batting achievements in this match should be taken with a liberal pinch of salt. Does taking a five-for on a green pitch at the Riverside in May, in which the match is finished inside two days, mean as much as a five-for at Adelaide on a hot day? Absolutely not.
All records should be seen in context. Has Shoaib Malik suddenly emerged as a world class player? No. But he has proved his ability to concentrate for long periods in oppressive heat. Good on him. Let’s see how his career goes from here. We wish him well.
Then we come to poor Adil Rashid. A couple of days ago our unfortunate leggie recorded the worst ever bowling analysis by a debutant. That’s some achievement. Some pretty rubbish bowlers have played test cricket over the years, but none of them had a shocker as bad as poor Adil.
So should we write poor Adil off now? Absolutely not. It’s now been proven that he was bowling in nigh on impossible conditions. He had no help whatsoever. He can’t read anything into his performance. Zulfiqar Babar, who has taken 381 first class wickets at an average of 22, has prised just one scalp in 70 overs in this match thus far.
If there are any people out there praising Malik to the rafters while laying into Rashid, they need to be slapped round the face with a wet haddock. Let’s have some perspective please.
However, although this test has been as boring as an episode of Eldorado, at least something interesting happened today. Alastair Cook completed the longest innings by an Englishman (in terms of minutes) in test history. Even though the bowling was about as threatening as a mango, it’s still some achievement.
Did we learn anything new about Cook today? No we didn’t. Everyone knows he’s absolutely brilliant at concentrating for long periods. He’s made a career out of scoring daddy hundreds when conditions are in the bastmens’ favour. It’s what makes him so valuable.
However, this shouldn’t detract from what I see as an incredible physical feat. Just think about this for a second: Cook has been out in the middle (fielding and batting) in thirty-seven degrees for four days straight. I can’t lie down in thirty degree heat for twenty minutes without needing to dip into a swimming pool every so often. It’s an absolutely incredible achievement.
Consequently, the next time you see Mo Farah running ten thousand metres, or one of those Kenyans winning the London Marathon, just go ‘pffffffff’. Tell everyone around you that England’s cricket captain survived for four full days in the middle of the desert. And he didn’t even break sweat. Literally.
“However, this shouldn’t detract from what I see as an incredible physical feat. Just think about this for a second: Cook has been out in the middle (fielding and batting) in thirty-seven degrees for four days straight. I can’t lie down in thirty degree heat for twenty minutes without needing to dip into a swimming pool every so often. It’s an absolutely incredible achievement.
Consequently, the next time you see Mo Farah running ten thousand metres, or one of those Kenyans winning the London Marathon, just go ‘pffffffff’. Tell everyone around you that England’s cricket captain batted for four full days in the middle of the desert. And he didn’t even break sweat. Literally.”
Well said James.
It’s a poor excuse for a test match, but at least we have something to remember it by.
And yet, people crow over players such as Warner, Buttler, smith who are flat track bullies. Can’t have it both ways, we either want proper test cricket on wickets that require a batsmen to have the skill to negotiate a seaming/swinging ball and bat for a long period for 50 runs.. Instead, we crow over guys who simply hit their way to high scores on roads more often than not, then call them ‘world class’ because they average high.. Well of course they do, they play on roads, against worse bowling than ever, smaller grounds, bigger bats..
I can’t really work out where you are coming from but you are clearly not a happy bunny. Obviously we want pitches that are a true tussle between bat and ball but Cook’s concentration, patience and endeavour are no less of a skill in given circumstances. And tbose runs do count.
Didn’t say cooks runs don’t count. I was saying that people crow over modern day ‘test’ batsmen who are odi players due to the fact they mainly play all their games on roads, small boundaries and unfortunately, there is a general lack of bowling quality around currently (most bowlers are odi types who can’t bowl line and length ball after ball) . So said player averages high and people crow about how good they are. Buttler is no test player, Ali etc etc. just one day hitters in white kit and it’s a sad way for test cricket to die. Amateur cricket has already died with the draw being removed and it becoming hit and giggle 300 plays either 300 or <200 ao.. Boring
Incredible effort. I really wonder if he will go on a run like he did late 2010- early 2013.
It’s possible. I didn’t really buy the argument that Cook’s problems stemmed from playing too much one day cricket, but I’m beginning to think there’s something in it now. Since giving up ODIs his balance & shot selection have been so much better. I’ve never been convinced by Cook’s technique against world class pace bowling, but I thought he played pretty well in the Ashes. Although he didn’t score a hundred, he was generally pretty solid.
It was an amazing feat of endurance. Malik could not take the field on the third day and needed to be on a drip twice to be fit enough to play yesterday.
Cook is a legendary, stoic and tenacious opening bat. That is who he is, how he plays and what he is selected to do. I never understand why he is criticised for being himself and making the most of his own particular talents. His record stands for itself
I think that freeing him of the ODI responsibility has made a huge difference to him. It allows him play his natural game in an environment that suits him better.
I’d just like to make it clear, as I’m being thrown to the wolves over at the other place.
I haven’t “targeted” TFT or BOC, I asked a question to both as to whether they would be covering Cook’s achievement of being the highest non-Asian run scorer in Asia, I think it’s a pretty good landmark.
No mention of the past or past “arguments” I’ve had, it’s not attention seeking either. I was just wondering if anyone was bothered.
Something rather more interesting happening on day 5….
Though it’s looking as though timewasting might win the draw.
Of course some might argue that Cook’s inability to accelerate made the win impossible…
(for the sake of clarity, that’s not my position.)
I’ve seen that thought in many places already!!
Willis was angry at Buttler last night for not batting time. Never been a game such as cricket to polarise opinion
Probably a perfect way to introduce Rashid to test cricket.
My impression is that he needed all those overs under his belt, followed by the equal failure of the Pakistan spinners, to settle his nerves in order to show what he is capable of on a wearing pitch.