Still Alive

What a weekend of cricket. I’ll start by quickly mentioning the Pakistan and Afghanistan contest, which was one of the best ODIs I’ve seen in ages. Although I feel desperately sad for Afghanistan, who really should have won, I tip my hat to Pakistan’s middle and late-order. It was some comeback.

The game was so intriguing because in a low scoring affair every run mattered. It was deliciously old-school. Once the rate climbed above a run-a-ball, one sensed Pakistan would be strangled and extinguished by Afghanistan’s excellent spinners. However, the Afghan captain inexplicably turned to seam at a crucial juncture. And this poor decision effectively cost his team the game.

The England versus India game, on the other hand, was a complete contrast. The pitch was excellent for batting and so a typically high scoring contest ensued. England batted well – most notably by targeting the short boundary to one side of the ground – and then Chris Woakes, the world’s greatest living Villa fan, sealed the win with an astonishing opening spell. It’s probably the best he’s bowled in pyjamas.

Once India found themselves 28-1 off 10 overs the game was effectively up. You can’t start an innings this slowly when you need almost 340 to win. There were plenty of nervous nellies on Twitter but I was always extremely confident that England would win from that position. And so it proved.

Obviously as an England supporter I’m incredibly relieved at the result. England gambled by including Jason Roy (who some described as only 80% fit) and also took a punt with their team selection.

Just as an aside, I hate it when England pick five seamers and just the single spinner – a 4:2 balance is more natural and covers all bases in all conditions – and I really didn’t like the look of England’s longish tail. If the selectors no longer have faith in Moeen then they should have picked Dawson. And moving forward they should choose between Wood and Plunkett.

Fortunately, however, it soon became clear that this would be England’s day. We won the toss, which was extremely important in the circumstances, and Roy and Bairstow were able to get England off to a solid start with a little more help from lady luck. Jonny in particular lived a very charmed life in the first few overs. But to his credit he battled through and went on to make a cathartic hundred.

I won’t talk too much about Jason Roy as I’m getting a little tired of the hyperbole. He batted very well and obviously makes a huge difference to England’s top order. However, I did smirk when, after waxing lyrical about Roy all day, Rob Key claimed (without a hint of irony) that if Roy was called Adam Gilchrist then he’d be waxing lyrical about him all day.

Joking aside I think there’s a danger that everyone’s becoming too Roy-focused. What happens, for example, if he gets out early against New Zealand? It could precipitate an unnecessary panic. Roy has always been an important part of the team but he’s just one cog alongside our many other destructive hitters. England can win games with or without him.

The other star with the bat was undoubtedly Ben Stokes, who has been England’s player of the tournament so far. He was the catalyst for some late pyrotechnics that turned a decent score of 300 into a rather more imposing 337. I love watching Stokes bat. Perhaps Rob Key might want to make some Adam Gilchrist comparisons here too? At least Ben is left handed.

At the halfway stage I thought England were favourites but India’s batsmen were clearly a threat. Sharma and Kohli are obviously two of the top players in the world, and I feared defeat should one of them make a century.

In the end, however, it didn’t matter. Rohit took too long to find his feet and his pedestrian start, in which he looked more like Ishant Sharma than Rohit Sharma, possibly cost India the game. Although he eventually managed to raise the tempo the rate was too demanding for new batsmen arriving at the crease.

Credit must also go to England’s bowlers, of course. I thought Woakes’s opening burst was the defining passage of play in the match – he would’ve been my man of the match rather than Jonny – and Plunkett also showed how valuable he is in the middle overs (again). Jofra Archer also underlined why he makes England’s attack look so much better.

I should stress, however, that we should all keep our feet firmly planted on the ground after this win. After all, it didn’t really address the frailties we’ve displayed earlier in the tournament. Yes we won, which is obviously great, but we did so (a) setting a total rather than chasing, and (b) in conditions that couldn’t have been more favourable to us.

Although England deserve to encounter the odd wicket that suits them – home advantage has got to count for something, right? – this one couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. The pitch enabled our batsmen to play in their gung-ho fashion and it completely nullified India’s spinners.

With England facing elimination from the tournament – something I very much doubt the authorities want – the pitch was exactly what the doctor ordered. Although perhaps introducing the word ‘doctor’ or ‘doctored’ here probably isn’t advisable considering that hardcore India supporters are already spitting feathers!

Those concocting wild conspiracy theories will no doubt find plenty of ‘evidence’ after yesterday’s events. After all, it wasn’t just the pitch that suited England down to the ground. Although I’d previously read that the ICC have instructed groundsmen to prepare strips in the middle of the square during this tournament, this particular pitch was curiously off-centred. In fact, it left a very short boundary of just 59m on one side.

This, erm, coincidence, was duly noted by Virat Kohli both before and after the match. Obviously when the away team have two leg-spinners, one of whom is amongst the leading wicket takers in the tournament, it certainly helps the home batsmen if slight miss-hits sail for six. And all this at Edgbaston, the home ground of England’s director of cricket ;-)

James Morgan


  • I don’t think India can complain too much, after all England have also been playing two spinners and changed the team, potentially to accommodate the short boundary problem.
    Pakistan fans are probably melting the Internet at the moment, however…

  • Given the way India seemed to just give up for the last 5 overs, hardly playing a shot in anger, it looked to me as though their main focus was trying to knock out Pakistan.

    • Yeah I thought that it was a bit weird at the death. I imagine they just thought ‘we’ve lost’ and didn’t bother trying. Pakistan will feel differently though!

      • When Hardik was dismissed they faced a pretty standard IPL situation – about 60 in 5, 12 an over with 5 wickets left. A 1 in 10 shot, yet they chose to die wondering. 10 years ago what happened would have been betting related, but it was far too transparent to get away with that these days. “A bit weird” is an understatement. Pakistan fans have a lot of justification for their anger.

        • Imagine how pissed some off the Indian fans must be as well. They left so much out on the pitch.

        • DPaksitan fans would do well to get angry at their own team than blame India. The mundane explanation is that Dhoni & Jadhav have had poor strikerates for the last 2 years now, and with a longish tail, they decided to play safe. Can’t say I agree with it, but that’S how it goes.

  • Pitch location and condition, Roy’s convenient “bruised arm” and India’s curious unwillingness to go for the runs – one does wonder.

    • The “bruised arm” was seriously naughty. He should have had to field with it! India always seem to find a way to get Jadeja onto the field, too. Whole thing needs clamping down on.

  • Only 30 runs in it. 5 wickets left. Dhoni in freeze frame, Pakistan? Conspiracy theories? Make your mind up.
    But we’ll played England and Bairstow is a while lot better with his old mucker back.

  • Speaking as a nervous Nellie I would like to add my tuppence worth. I see the bowling choice as being between Ali and Wood depending on the pitch. Plunkett has proved himself too invaluable to be left out, ever.

    • I agree, between Ali and Wood rather than Plunkett and Wood. If the pitch is quick you really shouldn’t be leaving Wood out. He can be a bit innocuous on pitches which don’t suit him but come on… two bowlers slamming them in at 95mph! He’s accurate too. I love the idea that once a batter has seen off Archer they have an even quicker bowler still to come.

      I don’t see them leaving him out at Durham vs NZ. It could be his chance to shine at his home ground .

  • I knew there’d be qualifications about a great England win. Even Kholi admitted his side were outplayed.
    The pitch was no road, as the ball held up off the surface when it hit the seam and there was some turn. The short boundary was the same for both sides. India could have played an extra seamer, but the fact that they hit the crowd once, against our dozen says more for our bowling. If the Indian spinners had displayed more courage and tried to take wickets rather than run scared of the short boundary they might have won. We played to our strengths and they didn’t and as fortune favours the brave we continued in that vein whether there were occasional edges, plays and misses or possible chances given, which is our way. A more cautious approach at the start would have limited the total and that’s not what we’re about. Roy is a real talisman as if we’re going to get match winning totals we need a good start and he is key to this. For the first time in this tournament the Indian bowlers were put under pressure and found wanting. Great use of the feet largely nullified the much vaunted spin attack and by the end Dhoni and co had given up the chase, something we’ve seen before from him when captain, strange for such a big hitter.
    None of the Indian batsmen displayed the variety of shot or placement into areas just vacated by changing field settings that ours did, especially Bairstow, who is so much more confident when opening with Roy, so taking the pressure off him to be the starter motor. I don’t recall seeing the reverse sweep used so often and to such effect recently. Feel sorry for Root, who once again played a great foil, but on the highlights was hardly featured atall, not for the first time. Also great to see Vince displaying such emotion when taking a couple of decent catches. Shows how good morale still is in this camp.
    For god sake James try looking for the positives out of a win. No team can be all things to all people. We’ve now got a huge psychological advantage over the Indians if we have to meet them again. Comments about Roy like ‘what happens if he gets out against New Zealand’ reflect this perfectly. Do you suppose a winning mindset can concentrate on such negativity. What happens to India if Kholi gets out early, to New Zealand if Williamson gets out early or Australia if Finch gets out early. I don’t think any of those sides will be thinking that way. They will all be planning a winning strategy, not an avoiding defeat one. There is a difference. One is playing to your strengths and the other playing to an opposition’s weaknesses. Very often you can’t do both. It’s a mentality thing and one of the reasons Australia are so difficult to beat. Look at the fearless way Carey plays, even when faced with a backs to the wall job. He epitomises this attitude and would fit perfectly into the England set up.

    • I said it was a great win. It was! And obviously India were outplayed. I’m just saying that conditions suited us. They did! And the pitch was good. It was! 650 runs in the day despite two relatively slow starts by both teams. I have to look for negatives in a win just as one must look for positives in a defeat. Otherwise it’s not much of an analysis.

      The comment about Roy was not at all a criticism of the way he plays. I certainly wouldn’t advocate that he plays any differently. I just think a narrative has emerged whereby Roy is seen as an all-important player i.e. we win if he plays and lose if he doesn’t. I’ve even seen talk that Bairstow can only score runs when Roy plays. This is daft imho. Of course England can win and Jonny can score runs if Roy doesn’t play. It’s a team game and it’s silly to get preoccupied with one guy.

      • The problem is the general trend on this blog is to look for negatives, there’s very little positive vibe about this World Cup or our present team. Contributions are rarely more positive than negative when we win, so the balance is usually lop-sided. This actively encourages the prejudices of the ‘one dimensional flat track bully’ brigade. It’s getting tedious and it’s not conducive to balanced analysis. When we win the positives must come first, not just be added on almost as an afterthought. This happens regularly. Yes the pitch was good, but it was good for both teams, yet you give it a negative connotation, implying that if it had been more bowler friendly we wouldn’t have won. That’s just speculation, not analysis.
        Roy is probably the most important piece of the jigsaw for us as at the moment, as he is the intimidatory glue at the top of the order that paves the way for our middle order to run in match winning totals. We rarely make big scores without a contribution from him and Bairstow is clearly more at home with Roy as his opening partner. Clearly the England set up feel this.
        I honestly believe, in order to make this blog more balanced and interesting you need to adopt a more positive demeanour, as your articles set the tone for debate, which are becoming too predictable with the same prejudices regurgitating unchallenged. This is why I try to redress this imbalance with probably overly ‘pollyanna-ish’ comment. It is not my natural nature, which tends to the more glass half empty, but I feel this blog needs more confrontational comment to provoke justifications for opinions. I feel there’s too much spouting of opinion as though it’s fact and not enough constructive analysis as to how the game can move forward, rather than living in the past, which is never constructive.
        As it’s effectively your blog I think you have to take more responsibility for leading the direction of debate not just using the blog as an arena for venting arbitrary spleen. I don’t mean this in a patronising way, because it’s often an interesting blog, but there’s too much emphasis on slating what’s wrong and leaving it at that as though it’s all sorted and we can move on.

        • Thanks for your thoughts Mark. In my defence the article clearly leads with all the positives. 75% of the article praises the players and the performance. There are only caveats in the last few paragraphs. And after talking about England’s tendency to win high scoring games on good pitches for the last couple of years, whilst struggling on more difficult surfaces, it would have seemed somewhat ridiculous and hypocritical for me to ignore the fact this was a good pitch in a high scoring game that suited us.

          In terms of changing my perspective to influence the debate below, one of the big reasons people read blogs rather than the mainstream media is their honesty. I just write what I think and don’t particularly care about the consequences too much. If I start getting clever and somewhat manipulative then I’m not really being fair to the readers. What’s more, I leave myself open to accusations of double standards or contradicting myself when I finally do write from the heart.

          This blog is essentially a fan’s perspective. It’s about venting one’s spleen. It’s about expressing the emotions one doesn’t see in the mainstream press. And it’s about strong opinions. If you don’t agree with something then disagree! Try to balance things up yourself. Call me a miserable old git. I can take it! But I can’t write what I don’t believe.

          Had England won the game against India by chasing down a score on a slow wicket with great skill and flexibility then I would’ve shouted it from the rooftops! I want us to win the World Cup by proving we’re the best team. By proving we can win in all conditions. I don’t want us to win through getting favours, otherwise it all feels a bit hollow. What would it prove, for example, if India won the world cup on a series of Delhi dustbowls? Everyone around the world would think ‘so what’.

          • I don’t mind you being a miserable old git if that’s what you want, but you have a responsibility to lead debate, as your articles set the tone, so prioritise a bit. The most important thing is that we outplayed India, allegedly the best one day team in the world. This was not mentioned in your original article and in your first reply merely featured it as an afterthought, ‘obviously India were outplayed’ . It’s a bit like a wife asking a husband if he loves her and he replying you know I do, without ever actually mentioning the fact.
            The fact is the pitch was the same for both teams, the boundaries were the same for both teams, even the weather stayed similar all day. The toss was, I grant important, but that’s no guarentee the result would have been different. It’s almost as though this team can’t do anything unreservedly except fail.
            I’m not asking you to get clever or manipulative I’m asking for a stance to generate debate not regurgitation of prejudices, which it what negativity does. This does not make for interesting debate it just encourages put downs. It’s your article that does this.
            There’s nothing innately wrong with high scores on good pitches. Who really wants to pay to see good batsmen struggle against ordinary bowlers on dodgy pitches. Most teams struggle in more difficult conditions, it’s not just an England trait. The wickets in this World Cup have mostly been slow anyway. Most batsmen have found timing the ball difficult, particularly in the early part of the innings. Even the pacemen have largely been reduced to using the slower ball to take their wickets. The Delhi dustbowl argument doesn’t work either as conditions here favour the batsmen, so results are not a lottery, every side has a decent chance of making a game of it with a few runs. Look how even Afghanistan have run a few sides close. This is not ‘road’ cricket.
            As I said before white ball cricket is about the batsmen, everything is geared to that and always has been. You can’t judge it by the same standards as red ball. This present England batting outfit is the most entertaining the game has ever seen, why can’t we celebrate it, even the inconsistencies it brings as an inevitable consequence of its high risk attacking nature. When it comes off it’s beautiful to watch, when it doesn’t it isn’t, but the excitement it brings to the game has to be worth it. The only one dimensional thing about it is the mentality. I see no sign anywhere on this blog of appreciation or even acknowledgment of this. I am sure all the players feel provelidged to be part of something special. When you listen to Finch, Kholi and Williamson talk about us there’s clearly huge respect in the game for our style of play, and it gives the opposition a chance. There’s nothing mechanical about it, it’s heart on the sleeve stuff. It won’t be long before these players retire, so let’s enjoy them whilst they’re in their prime.

            • I’ve done the ‘this is exciting cricket!’ bit to death years ago. Times have now moved on to the next objective: winning the world cup. It’s perfectly legitimate to point out that development has now stalled somewhat – which endangers achieving this objective. Even the mainstream press are pointing out that England have vulnerabilities.

              I’m sorry if you think my article above is negative but it really isn’t. You ask me to start with positives after a win and then end with negatives. But that’s exactly what the article above does.

              • Of course we have vulnerabilities and as I’ve repeatedly said, that’s the nature of the beast. I think we’d better finish this particular debate as there’s clearly no meeting of minds here. Our ideas of positivity and negativity don’t gel, so let’s agree to call it a day and move on to better things. The last thing I want to do is Labour the point.

        • May I suggest that if you don’t like the tone of James’s blog, you produce one yourself. It’s very easy to criticise the work of others but initiating something may prove more difficult.

          • I’m not criticising James right his own views, that’s the point of a blog, but as he sets the tone for each blog with his articles I’m criticising the negativity they tend to encourage, largely by their prioritising of events. If we win start with the positives, if we lose start with the negatives. It’s simple enough. There’s nothing complicated about it. We could easily initiate an alternative blog, but what’s the point when you have a decent enough one at hand. All the raw material is here, but the lop sidedness is becoming tedious. With some it’s just an ‘I hate it so it’s crap’ article without any reply from James. If you’re leading a blog you need to jump on this sort of thing to encourage people to justify their opinions.
            By the way yours was exactly my point when I came to Bairstows defence of his critics.
            I’m just trying to get this England team a fair hearing by countering the eyes wide shut, ‘one dimensional flat track bully’ brigade, whose largely unchallenged prejudices are taking over. I want to encourage constructive debate rather than pontification. I don’t want to convert people, I just want more reasoned less emotive analysis.
            I’ve just as much right to my views as anyone, so if I disagree with the tone, better to point out why and try to redress the balance from the inside rather than give up and bugger off. I don’t claim my view are facts, If you read my stuff it Is peppered with ‘I feel’, ‘I think’, ‘in my opinion’ and I always try to give back up evidence for opinions. If someone comes along with a more positive take on white ball cricket in general I tend to reply with a thank you, but it doesn’t happen very often. I’m merely trying to encourage more constructive debate. The last thing I want is for people to get on their high horse about it. After all we all want to see cricket’s profile increased.

  • I reckon the Roy factor is pretty significant, this World Cup alone is interesting to compare on the basis of the games he has played in and has missed.

    You always get the feeling with him that if he bats a decent number of overs (say, 20+) then England will almost certainly win. He has that impact.

  • Woakes was the reason India had such a slow start. He not only got a wicket he was miserly. He bowled brilliantly against Australia as well without a wicket. It’s quite possible that Kholi who had to come in early was mindful of how Warner and Finch played out the first 10 overs against Woakes. You can’t overlook his importance in England’s win against India. A number of the commentators said that India lost the game in the first 10 overs obviously not true but they were always trying to catch up,
    The greatest living Aston Villa fan is Ian Bell of course. Injured but still alive! Must have loved the brilliant Woakes catch!
    I agree with James. Conditions did suit England. They were praised for playing to their strengths! But lessons don’t seem to be learned and the talk now is that they went into their shell when they lost. No. They were clueless when it came to winning by different methods. You have to have a Plan B or C. Not sure though that this isn’t media hype rather than the dressing room. Last time England played New Zealand at the Riverside they won after being 45-5 hitting out wildly against a good attack. They were rescued by Bairstow who was the sub for Buttler. I was there and Jonny played a classical innings of rebuilding to hitting to all parts. First Billings then Rashid alongside him. I’m there again on Wednesday. I want to see England win on a pitch which is usually more testing of batsmen. Assessing a good score will be key. Everything will be key. Not only Stokes and Wood on their home ground. Local Middlesbrough lad Plunkett learnt all his cricket here during the great Geoff Cook era. Could be special.

    • Good for you. It’s great to see folk on this blog with something positive to say about the white ball game. Especially when’s they clearly have an active spectator interest. So much criticism is from people who say they wouldn’t go near a game as it’s destroying ‘proper cricket’ whatever that is. There’s just as much skill and craft with ramp shots, reverse seeeps, variations of pace and ‘new age’ fielding as anything we see in test matches. To me the important thing is to embrace each format of the game for its own sake.

  • Didn’t the Edgbaston curator say that the pitch would suit England before the match?

    I don’t think there is a problem with tailoring wickets to the home team. Might as well play it on astroturf if that is taken away from the game.

    • Ashely Giles, who knows a thing or two about Edgbaston, said before the game that it was the best pitch he’d seen at Edgbaston for some time.

  • Elsewhere some of the Indian performance during the game, which was at times bizarre, was mentioned in the same breath as the observation that a great deal of money had been bet on the game. One hopes there is no connection.

    • I’ve had emails from India fans claiming their team lost on purpose. I just don’t buy this I’m afraid. They probably realised that the run rate was too high and that they’re likely to qualify anyway regardless of the result – so they just gave up. Regardless, I don’t think they would’ve chased the runs even if they’d tried harder. England were too good on the day imho.

  • Well you can analyse this to minute degree, but India lost by 30 runs because they did not bother in the last 12-15 overs, even with only 5 wickets down. Blimey all these guys play T20 so I don’t see a major problem. I am sure betting has nothing to do with it, but I am very inclined to think for several other reasons already mentioned above this was a “good loss” for them. Hardly in the spirit of the game though is it any more than Roys “bruised arm” for that matter.

    • Have you seen Dhoni bat for the last 2 years? He’s been Mr.Slow & Steady for a quite a while now. Also, did not botehr in the last 12-15 overs? So was Pandya lying down on the pitch and eating samosas out there?

  • I had feared for England in this game, so delighted to be proved wrong. Good to see the Bairstow-Roy partnership working well, even if I don’t like the “bruised arm” ruse to justify the sub fielder. India’s spinners took some tap and it was odd when Kohli persisted with spin for so long. Bumrah and Shami were treated more carefully. Root did his usual excellent job of rotating the strike and keeping busy and Stokes continued to show maturity and great skill. The only batting negative would be Morgan’s poor shot to get out, I imagine he’ll get a few bouncers from Ferguson at Chester-le-Street.
    Woakes was a star with the ball and took a superb catch later on, well supported by Plunkett and Archer and good fielding, apart from Root’s mistake in the slips. Still wish we had someone who could bowl the sort of Yorkers that Starc does !
    Pakistan fans are certainly thinking it was all a fix, well some of them anyway. I cannot believe Kohli would deliberately throw a game but there were some odd happenings eg the non-review of Roy’s glove to MS Dhoni and the lack of urgency in the chase, although Pandiya was looking dangerous for a while.
    England must not take NZ for granted on Wednesday. Today’s WI v SL game was high scoring, but on another pitch. Hoping for a win, those 2 points are still needed to be secure.

    • The groundsman will do his best to prepare a cracking batting pitch that suits England. Whether the ECB / ICC will lean on him to do this I have no idea.

    • I’m assuming here, always a dangerous thing, that a doctor has to confirm any injury preventing a player from fielding. Otherwise the way is open for all sorts of shinnanikins.

  • England performed as expected for the conditions. They have really confirmed what we already knew, that they can play very well when conditions suit. They are still suspect when conditions don’t suit. I read else where that India may have planned to lose to keep Pakistan out of the finals. What a sad day it will be be when politics determine the outcome of a game.

    • Honestly doubt that is true about deliberately losing to stop Pakistan – although they may see it as an upside of losing. Kholi has too much pride, and even now Pakistan can still make it if there is seam and swing at Chester-le-Street.

    • I don’t get this argument as India have the hex over Pakistan in recent years, so why would they want to promote their exit in favour of England, who provide a much more obvious threat should they have to play them again later.

    • Every team is more suspect when conditions don’t suit. There have been plenty of ordinary scores in this tournament on slow wickets with a bit of turn and slow bounce, making timing difficult. No one seems to mention the likes of India against Afganistan or New Zealand against Australia.

  • Seeing some strange conspiracy theories in the comments

    More likely that pitch fixing happened than match fixing. Given the Giles connection this is literally the Chief Executive’s pitch

    I have nothing against pitch fixing btw. Just the sanctimony & hypocrisy that pretends that it is not happening

    And congrats to England. In Roy & Bairstow they have their very own Sehwag & Ganguly

  • Mmm – didn’t India bat on a pitch with the same boundaries that England did? (If not, that would really be worth investigating!).

    Some of the umpiring has been below what one what wish for. Rashid Khan had the Pakistani batsman who scored most of the late runs ( I forget his name) absolutely plumb LBW; given not out and no review left.

    • Indeed – and it was quite amusing to see Kohli, in the Bangladesh match, caught on the boundary he had been deriding as ridiculously short a couple of days previously.

  • btw, on the conspiracy theories, surely it would have been much more in India’s interest to eliminate England rather than Pakistan from the tournament at this stage? Although England somehow managed to lose to Pakistan, on the whole we would be the more feared opponents….

  • It was good hitting again on a good deck. Sadly as soon as I saw the deck the result was inevitable. I did stop watching after the Roy and Bairstow hitting started as it was pretty predictable again.

    Pitch defo made to order as this side can’t win without a decent deck

    • As the white ball game is designed for batsmen, all the restrictions being on the fielding side, good batting tracks are part of the deal for tournament organisers. Who wants to pay and see batting talent nullified on dodgy wickets that make ordinary bowlers match winners. Bowlers should have to work for wickets as in white ball batsmen have to take more chances in an average innings so are more vulnerable anyway.
      The weather has led to a plethora of slow wickets in this tournament where timing the ball has been difficult, particularly early on. There have been a lot of moderate scores, even on grounds with short boundaries. All the teams have struggled occasionally. I’ve only seen Trent Bridge provide a wicket where the ball has come onto the bat.

      • Yes but the best teams should be able to read and play on all types of wickets and conditions not just flat tracks. The most exciting games in this tournament to me have been the low scoring ones. I don’t really want to watch 400 plays 400 or games where sides don’t even bother to chase a big total. But you pays your money and all that.

        • The denouements may be exciting but what about the hours of struggle beforehand as batsmen cannot time the ball and bowlers merely have to vary their pace a bit to get wickets.
          There’s only been 2 innings even close to 400 out of around 80 in this tournament. The vast majority have been well under 300, so where are these alledged flat tracks everybody keeps criticising groundsman for preparing.

  • So the Final scheduled for the same day as the Wimbledon Final and the British GP won’t be shown on any FTA platform?

    For some reason I find myself thinking of that ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode where Basil organised a party and put on the advertising “no riff-raff”….


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