All your thoughts welcome on the sixth ODI between Sri Lanka and England in Pallekelle, which is currently under way.
As I write, England are heading for defeat at 146 for 6 off 29 overs.
If you’ve not long been up, you’ll be amazed to hear that Alastair Cook once again went cheaply, LBW to Senanayake for 1. Cook used to be vulnerable to fast bowling outside off stump but confident and fluent against spin. Now he can’t play anything. He’s just missing the ball.
As DanDanBoom wrote on our comments board for the previous match.
Never, in my cricket history (for those with a care, back as far as 1980), have I witnessed any person so ill-equipped for the rigours of international captaincy. He is very socially awkward, he is lacking in charm, he is incapable of making English sentences, with meaning. Also, his batting form has been destroyed by his insistence on playing ODI’s. In Tests, Cook knew how to leave a ball. In ODI’s he had to learn how not to (he didn’t), and it ruined his finest quality – patience.
Moeen Ali made a good start, and Joe Root’s shown gumption. Earlier, in the field, Woakes was fast, Jordan was expensive (9-0-68-2) and Tredwell was the pick (10-0-37-1).
Assuming England proceed to lose this match, and with it the series, ECB sympathisers will say, “well, you can’t infer anything about the World Cup from this – the conditions will be completely different in Australia and New Zealand”. So why go to Sri Lanka, then?
If you can’t afford to subscribe to Sky Sports, or abjure the channel on principle, you may be reliant on Test Match Special for coverage of this series. Any views on the commentary team for this tour? My quick snapshot: Simon Hughes – rapidly becoming an old fogey but surprisingly engaging on the radio; Simon Mann – solid but dull; Russel Arnold – concise and insightful; Graeme Swann – mercifully absent.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Indian Ocean, an enthralling conclusion to what sounds like a magnificent test match between Australia and India. Chasing 363, India made a spirited fist of it – only losing by 48 runs, and at one point well placed on 277-4.
Michael Clarke’s chronic back and hamstring problems have ruled him out for the rest of the series, and he even admitted “there’s a chance I may never play again”.
You can’t but wonder if Clarke only played at Adelaide – in the teeth of significant injuries – to serve the memory of Phillip Hughes. Perhaps, deep down, he knew he might never get another opportunity.
If Clarke does retire, who would replace him? There’s no blindingly obvious heir apparent. And what would the implications be for the 2015 Ashes?