Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hooray! We've Won One At Last!

Andrew Strauss, England's fourth choice skipper, played a captain's innings to ensure that England finally won their first One-Day International on this tour of India. The key to the victory was the 107 run opening stand between Strauss and Bell and despite a mini-collapse at the end, England's comfortable 5 wicket victory with nearly 10 overs to spare was never in doubt.

The main question now is who should captain the final game should Flintoff come back into the side. Flintoff may be the man in possession, but his record of four games and four losses suggests that his captaincy inspires him more than it does his teammates.

I think England's One Day team should be dancing to Strauss's tune.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Warning: This England Team Will Self-Destruct in 2 Overs

At 148 for 3 after 28 overs England looked well placed to make a big score. Pietersen and Flintoff, the two biggest hitters in the England team, were at the crease and had already shared a partnership of 31. Dravid's decision to go for the second power play looked as if it had been taken by the batting, not the fielding side. Two overs later the self-destruct button had been well and truly pressed. Flintoff and Pietersen were back in the pavilion and England's hope of a challenging total was reliant on the fragile lower middle order and tail, who subsided rather than collapsed from 155 for 5 to 237 all out. The most disappointing fact is that India did not have to work for their wickets. The occasional spin of Yuvraj Singh and Sehwag accounted for two wickets each and there were two run outs.

With India still requiring over 80 runs to win England took two quick wickets, to bring about the perennial agony of false hope that all England fans have to endure. Anderson's two late wickets gave the result a fig leaf of respectability it hardly deserved.

England have now lost all four of the matches in the series so far and none of the games have been the nail-biters that One Day matches typically bring. This One-Day team are in danger of being humiliated 7-0.

While those players who were unavailable for this tour may fear for their Test places, their places in the One-Day side are assured.

Monday, April 03, 2006

England Reserves Go 3-0 Down

Another defeat for England, another match winning partnership for India. Whilst being flogged to all parts of Goa, the bowlers looked to the fielders for support. Unfortunately the only two chances offered by Raina were squandered by Jones, who missed a stumping and Strauss, who missed a run out.

One Day Internationals tend to be won by the batsmen, but that does not excuse the selection of such an inexperienced bowling attack. Mahmood looked totally out of his depth and is likely to join the burgeoning ranks of former England players whose international careers are finished before they start. With the exception of Blackwell, the England bowler's were cannon fodder to the blades of Yuvraj Singh and Raina.

Facing a mammoth 295 to win, England at least managed to make a game of it, before slumping to a 49 run defeat. Collingwood's 93 of 84 deliveries could have inspired Dylan Thomas to write Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. But heroic failures are not enough and England's One Day game remains in the shadows.