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Ashes Cricket (PS4) GTC: Oh Jonny Good!

 

England - West Indies Squads

Following successive defeats to South Africa and Sri Lanka in the opening rounds of the Global Test Championship fixtures, England return home to take on the West Indies at Jimmy Anderson’s hunting ground, Old Trafford.

Stokes Injured

We have made the 1 change to our playing XI which is enforced as Ben Stokes picked up an unfortunate hamstring injury whilst fielding late in the Sri Lanka game. This injury will side line Stokes for the next two matches as he looks to return and be ready for after the GTC fixture break. Stokes is only one of four batsmen to score over 100 runs in the England squad but was used sparingly and ineffectively with the ball and regardless of injury, his role was under pressure.

Jonny Bairstow NO.3 (2)

His replacement is the experienced wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow who makes the step up from the bench and straight into the line of fire at 3. An average of 39.77 with 17 fifties and 3 tons will undeniably improve our line up after not being selected due to the fantastic form of incumbent keeper Ben Foakes, who incidentally will keep the gloves.

Joe Denly

Kent’s Joe Denly comes into the 15 man squad as a batsman (and occasional leg spin bowler) who is capable of playing anywhere in the line up. His versatility and experience at the age of 32, will unquestionably boost our chances at a successful GTC campaign yet his last international match was in 2010.  He joins allrounder Sam Curran, fast bowler Mark Wood and fellow fast bowler David Willey, who replaces spinner Jack Leach due to the more favourable seaming conditions in Lancashire, on the side lines for the Windies encounter. The never give up motto has been applied by Denly!

England - West Indies Intro (2)

West Indies come into the contest off the back of a devastating loss to Bangladesh, who chased down 431 for the loss of only 4 wickets on a degrading Day 4, and a 201 run defeat to the Australians and will be looking like England to get their campaign started. Leg spinner Devendra Bishoo replaces the out of sorts seam bowler Kemar Roach with the conditions at Old Trafford profitable to some turn.

Be sure to revisit the site to see if Joe Root and his men can bounce back from consecutive defeats and collect their first Global Test Championship points with a positive result against the Windies. Many thanks for your support.

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Ashes Cricket GTC (PS4): England vs Sri Lanka – A new Smiling Assassin!

Opening picture

Following our lame defeat at the hands of the touring South Africa side at Trent Bridge, we hit the road and the sky and travelled overseas for the first time in the Global Test Championship with the aim of registering our inaugural Championship points at the desirable curtailment of Sri Lanka. 

Root 4 for 56

For the second consecutive time, we were inserted into a bat and we made history in the GTC but not in the ideal way. Lahiru Kumara ripped through our top order leaving us reeling at 3-29 in similar circumstances to the South Africa match with Jennings (1), Burns (14) and Stokes (4) falling foul of the extra pace on show. Jos Buttler’s expertise against spin started expansively and captain Root looked in prime form before left arm spin curtailed his innings for the third successive time. 

Foakes 5 for 74

The tourists were 5-87 at home to the Proteas and found themselves 5-74 in Sri Lanka within the first session with Foakes (0) the fifth to depart having made 1 and 85 against South Africa. However, Foakes’ excellent glove work and standout innings in the two test matches so far leaves his place at the moment is unthreatened. 

Woakes bowled

Chris Woakes bowled for a golden duck by Dilruwan Perera as Sri Lanka reduced us from 68-3 to 74-7

Spin was at the forefront of the Sri Lankan bowling and heavily speculated to who would fill the massive void of the experienced Rangana Hearth left. But, both Dilruwan Perera and Malinda Pushpakumara delivered when they needed to taking 9 combined wickets across both innings. Buttler fell LBW for 21 sweeping in front of the canny Perera who executed a great plan and his slower arm ball yorked Woakes (0) crushing England to 74-7 

Rashid and Ali 50 partnership

The tourists stabilized themselves from their precarious position with new inclusion Rashid combining with the Beard that is Moeen Ali and putting on an important 78 together momentarily denting Sri Lankan hopes of an early tea. Rashid has 10 first class centuries to his name alongside 37 half centuries and enhanced his batting credentials (mostly in the 2nd innings), one of the little positives we will take away from this encounter.

Moeen Ali 50 to 90

Moeen Ali smashed an unbeaten 90 and has been England’s most consistent performer in the GTC so far with 7 wickets @ 29.71.

Rashid departed for a gusty 13 and it seemed all hope was lost but Ali ventured on dominating the strike and hitting boundaries at aplomb. England’s tail was wrapped up quickly with Broad (2) and Anderson (0) failing to stay at the crease leaving Ali stranded on 90, which was exactly half of our total!

Ball confusion.jpg

An image summing up our efforts and performances in the Global Test Championship

Sri Lanka made good use of the extended period to bat on Day 1 with just under half of the day to build a healthy lead reaching 50 within no time. Opener Karunratne fell for 23 to the leg spin of Rashid just after 50 but keeper Samarawickrama and exciting talent Danajaya Da Silva developing an untouchable partnership. We toiled hard in tricky conditions for bowling with the pitch flattening out and the batsman maintaining their control. Veterans Broad and Anderson failed to lead the line with their conventional accuracy and wicket taking success as our spinners led with favourable turn and bounce which complimented Ali and Rashid but to largely no avail early on.

Run out or Not

We felt aggrieved at some umpiring decisions over the course of the match and this run out appeal from Burns was wrongly rejected or rightly dismissed?

dhanjaya de silva 84

Moeen Ali managed to rip one just enough to provide the edge which Foakes took comfortably with Samarawickrama departing for an elegant 56. Runs though were hard to stop with De Silva and now Gunathilaka settling against the varied England attack which caused threats with seam and spin but not sustained pressure. The Barmy Army though stayed in full voice right until the end of the day and it was maybe the singing that caused bedlam at the wicket with De Silva playing a rash shot on 84 nicking behind off the bowling of Woakes (catch above.) The last over ploy from Woakes with men around the bat setting up for the bouncer before bowling a pin point leg cutter. Day 1 finished with Sri Lanka 209-3.

We started Day 2 on a high and our rejuvenated attack struck with the second ball of the day as Matthews succumbed to Woakes’ cunning ploy, Rashid taking a smart catch. Ben Stokes hasn’t featured with the ball much in the GTC but proved golden arm with the tenacious Gunathilaka nicking behind for a well made 36. Keepers Chandimal and Dickwella rebuilt after a mini collapse but weren’t given an inch by England in a spirited bowling performance.

Root bowling

A composed 59 run partnership was ended by Rashid who found enough turn to dismiss Dickwella (24) before the introduction of captain Joe Root worked a treat as his clever off spin bowling cannoned into Chandimal'(39) middle stump leaving Sri Lanka 6-280.

Flying Foakes

Foakes taking a remarkable catch ending the Sri Lankan 1st innings.

England swiftly wrapped up the tail as Lakmal (1) and Pushpakumara (19) falling to Rashid (6-109) for his fourth victim in the 1st innings whilst Kumara (2) failed to impress with the bat gaining Ali his 4th and promoting him to our leading wicket taker in the GTC. 

Jennings 50.jpg

Provided the rapid nature of the match, we were intent on getting off to a good start in order to build a respectful lead. After a promising start, Burns departed for a solid 22 to a vicious Lakmal bouncer and Ben Stokes (4 & 1) increased the pressure and questions over his role in the squad, departing for 1. Jennings and Root both needed to ease the pressure on their positions and duly set about creating a successful partnership. Root in particular displayed a different side to his innings playing a more aggressive role with Jennings methodically making his first half ton in a lot of matches.

Hey Keaton

However, Kumara proved the villain and broke the stumps off Jennings which left him bamboozled and England still 25 runs behind. What followed was the England we know and love! 136-3 to 170-7! Perera took both keepers Buttler (7) and Foakes (4) before 1st innings hero Moeen Ali was bowled for 6 by Pushpakumara and Woakes (5) nicked to 3rd slip off Kumara.

Root 100

Root though stood tallest of all and whacked an important 114 in tough Sri Lankan conditions to temporarily restore English pride and passion into a lead which would be competitive chase. Adil Rashid merited his inclusion to the Test XI with a swashbuckling and attacking 68 with an 110 run partnership plus an 11th wicket partnership with Jimmy Anderson of 40 runs with Anderson adding 8. We ended up with 303 in a more spirited and determined batting innings yet we knew that 159 with 2 and a half days left would be a comfortable chase for the hosts if we didn’t take early wickets. 

Umpire sri lanka batting

Jimmy Anderson had a disappointing time with the ball in the 1st innings but was clearly fired up and broke through the defence of Karunratne (6). Then, a fortuitous umpiring decision by Aleem Dar meant that De Silva (15) was dismissed to Rashid through to Foakes’ 5th catch of the match. Sri Lanka were then reduced to 3-52 when Anderson produced some magic to run out opener Samarawickrama (27) – a top quality effort from the England and Lancashire veteran. 

Run out sri lanka batting

A direct hit from Anderson (0-32 & 1-27) giving England some hope.

Gunathilaka and Matthews though had other ideas and put on a mammoth and crushing 100 partnership with Gunathilaka reaching 50 through innovation. Rashid capped off his impressive GTC start and dismissed Matthews (47) to end the match with 6-109 and valuable lower order runs. Gunathilaka then scored the winning runs sparking excitement on the Sri Lankan balcony and despair for England with two defeats on the bounce. 

scorecard

This was an emphatic and hammer blow win for Sri Lanka who seem to have found some form after their opening victory against Bangladesh. A first innings bowling display which saw the tourists all out within 50 overs set the tone for a big victory. It was the shortest GTC innings to date and a sign of collapse and frailty in the England line up. Sri Lanka mainly had contributions with the ball as Kumara, Perera, Pushpakumara and Lakmal took noteworthy wickets. With the bat, De Silva starred with 84 as their depth in batting wasn’t nearly as tested as their previous game against Bangladesh. 

The first two matches have definitely been an experience and disappointing for us. 7 players have made individual half centuries whilst Root has been the only one to convert to a ton. In both matches, crumbling with the bat in the first innings has been the major difference between winning and losing as we scored over 300 in the second innings of both games. Joe Root is our top scorer with 168 with only Buttler, Ali and Stokes reaching above 100 runs. Our lower order do put on some runs though with Rashid and Broad scoring more than our two incumbent openers. In terms of bowling, Moeen Ali leads the way with 7 followed by fellow spinner Rashid as seamers Broad (2), Anderson (5) and Woakes (5) have struggled so far with the pink ball. There have been few influential and decisive contributions made so far. However, the atmosphere is still positive as we are intent on revenge to get our Global Test Championship rolling. 

Our next match sees us return home to the sunny skies of Lancashire, for the Old Trafford Test Match, to take on the West Indies who are also in the same boat after being defeated in their first 2 encounters. Pundits and speculation is rife over the squad, and changes can be expected with Jonny Bairstow amongst others in contention to feature with the apparent injury to Ben Stokes ruling himself out of the next 2 matches. However, we will review conditions prior to confirming any amendments to the squad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test Championship Round 2 Review

Disclaimer: The England result and report will always follow the overall round up of the Global Test Championship. Revisit to see the outcome of England’s travails in Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan vs Australia (2)

Afghanistan took the cricketing world by storm in a shock 3 wicket victory against the touring Australia. The sensational spin duo of Rashid Khan and debutant 17 year old Mujeeb Ur Rahman spun their web around the Aussie batsman with Khan taking 5 in the second innings to put him second in the GTC bowling stats and Mujeeb taking match figures of 8-149. Rahmat Shah and Asghai Stanikazi scored centuries whilst for Australia Aaron Finch smashed a ton and Mitchell Starc provided hope with ball and bat in a losing cause.

New Zealand vs Nepal (2)

New Zealand made it 2 from 2 with a thumping 292 run victory against the young Nepalese team. Colin de Grandhomme deservedly took MOM with two attacking centuries in big innings scores for the Kiwis whilst keeper BJ Watling narrowly missed out on 150 in the 581/7. Trent Boult shot his way up to first in the GTC bowling stats with 6 wickets added to his 10 against Ireland whilst Nepal saw Anil Sah make his maiden century and young leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane taking 8-246 in a high scoring match in Eden Park.

Pakistan vs Ireland (2)

Ireland stunned Pakistan away in a spirited and fantastic all round performance. Andy Balbirnie took a surprising but emphatic 3-4 in 4 overs to bowl Pakistan out for 207 before NO.10 Tim Murtagh played an amazing knock to guide his team into a leading position. Murtagh then took 3 in the second innings as Pakistan were bowled out for scores less than 250 twice. Babar Azam made a lone 73 as Imad Wasim proved his selection with an all round display but were comprehensively beaten by the Irish who made their home country singing and dancing on the street!!

Scotland vs India (2)

In a record breaking match, India emphatically crushed Scotland in a 693 run victory many thanks to a second innings stand out score. Their 708/6 declared broke record books for the highest scores as KL Rahul, Shaw, Kohli, Pujara and Pandya made tons as Scotland were made to toil hard. The isolated 708 came after both sides were bowled out for below par scores before Scotland were set a mammoth 834 runs to win. Michael Leask was the only major contributor with the bat for Scotland who were simply blown away by India’s run scoring after the first innings.

South Africa vs Hong Kong (2)

South Africa continued their impressive start with a dominant display against the inexperienced Hong Kong team. Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram hit fifties with the latter scoring consecutive half centuries following his 70 against England. Keshav Maharaj wasn’t fazed by the unsuitable spinning conditions and took 7 wickets added to his 8 at Trent Bridge and played a crucial act with the bat in the second innings. Hong Kong performed admirably for a young nation with Naweez Ahmed taking 6 wickets and Nizakat Khan continuing his run scoring streak and brought it up to 320 for the competition in match 2. 

West Indies vs Bangladesh (2)

Bangladesh defied the odds on a degrading pitch with a dogged batting display to defeat West Indies in another high scoring game. Chris Gayle’s reintroduction to the Test team looked to have payed off with a handy wicket and a century. Shai Hope scored a special century giving Bangladesh a tough and near impossible chase. However, Litton Das made 87 in the first innings before an extraordinary 209NO leading his team home alongside Mushfiqur Rahim who shrugged off last match’s disappointment with another century, leaving West Indies 0 from 2. 

Zimbabwe vs Netherlands (2)

Zimbabwe’s test home form continues to impress with a 248 run victory over the Netherlands who succumbed on a lively wicket. Chamu Chibhabba led the run scoring for Zimbabwe with a boundary filled 193 alongside Peter Moor who made 124 in the first innings alongside Ryan Burl who made two substantial knocks elevating Zimbabwe into a 632 run lead. Kyle Jarvis starred again with the ball with 7 wickets whilst captain Cremer took 5. Batting was short lived for the Dutch as the lower order contributed in both innings as Ben Cooper made an outstanding 236, one of the lowly positives for the Dutch on their travels. 

England’s travails against spinning Sri Lanka in Colombo will be the next source of Ashes Cricket content in an intriguing match. Until next time…

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Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – Part time spin shines but batting fright!

Here’s my avatar – (could be worse I guess!) A batting allrounder in the middle order and bowling part time dross. 

There’s only one way to go now and its up! Yes that will be the motto of the career mode. Much like Don Bradman Cricket 17, Career mode in Ashes 17 have the usual six local team structure with the formation of the South Australian Shield. However, this year career mode has more depth with five Three Day matches alongside One Day and T20 competitions which is fantastic to improve my player’s skills in all formats (which will be important.) I have joined the Mount Barker side and with no geographical knowledge or research of other teams in the South Australian Redbacks area, I will be enjoying the pleasure of visiting Renmark, Adelaide, South Adelaide, Kensington and Whyalla, get the sun cream and floppy hats out!

jamie hamilton 1st innings

Spin was a major issue in the Global Test Championship against left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and whilst the level of ability is much lower in the Australian club cricket, it doesn’t change the fact it is a major problem for me. A conservative 21 balls were faced as decision making against the elusive spin will need to improve to stand a chance of making big runs and progressing. 

jamie hamilton bowling

They say spin to win and when I was chucked the ball late in the Renmark innings with a 100 + lead with 3 wickets left and I did just that. 

matt quinn out to jamie hamilton

With an interesting field with leg slips and short legs and no cover, Quinn was out to my second ever delivery sweeping straight into the hands of the short leg fielder in roles reversed from the first innings. For a batting allrounder, the ball comes out quite nicely and turned even late in the innings on a newer pitch. 

steven rashid out to jamie hamilton

Much like his namesake (England international Adil Rashid), Steven Rashid made an indifferent duck as Brian Charles took another grab at short leg from an around the wicket doosra. The variety on this game is impressive however I would like to see more delivery options when it comes to spin and pace to nail those slower yorkers as well as your cannon ball.

I capped off an expensive yet rewarding spell of bowling (10-0-57-3) with the key wicket of keeper Rutherford who had made a good 77 with Charles yet again profiting another catch in a crucial area for spinners at short leg.

jamie hamilton 2nd innings dismissal

Two single figure scores to begin my 3 day campaign.

The second innings didn’t last longer than the first and I was subsequently out for two again to the mysterious spin which I can’t seem to grasp yet at any level with off spinner Webster taking the wicket. Whether or not I edged the ball or it hit my gloves remains to be seen as the umpiring and technology is still far behind that of International level. 

renmark vs mount barker result.

First 3 day match result went to the visitors Renmark who bowled and batted in a higher quality to ours with their spinners backing up their main seamer Carl Blake who took 7 of our victims. There was a definite gulf in class and we will look to improve and impress in our next game against Kensington. 

round 1 table

jamie hamilton 2nd innings

With the career mode, the emphasis and focus for me will be on the batting as with the bowling from the early indications I will be chucked on when we need to break a partnership or take a prized wicket. Just to point out I do very much enjoy bowling but being a batting allrounder the batting will be the main point in further teams selections into the future. Against seam, I feel confident and can score all around the grounds and I have improved my batting against spin over the course of the game’s release but it is still quite poor. With the low batting ability, sweeps will be unsuccessful until my player improves their skill set so I am thinking I will need to go with touch and precise shots to score my runs and rotate the strike.

I am really enjoying playing Ashes Cricket and my new Global Test Championship and hope the content provided is interesting and easy to enjoy and understand. Thanks for your continued support and be sure to revisit the site to see how my player progresses in South Australia. 

 

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Ashes Cricket (PS4) : GTC – In as quick as a Rash!

Following the indifferent performance leading to a 4 wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa in the opening round of Global Test Championship fixtures, England now battle Sri Lanka in an away encounter at the Colombo Stadium.

We have made 3 changes to the squad and 1 singular alteration to the playing XI. All rounder Sam Curran burst onto the test scene in the summer of 2018 scoring runs and taking wickets in valuable contributions but struggled at Trent Bridge against the Proteas. His inconsistency with the ball resulted in two wicketless spells and his woes with the bat meant in subcontinent spin conditions, Curran is best suited in the 12th man role before the next GTC match.

Adil Rashid replaces Curran and adds a handy leg spin option to compliment our off spin attack of Ali and part time Root. Rashid is known in the red ball world as a luxury spinner who can provide late order runs on his day. 

Two other changes were made to our training/playing squad with James Vince replacing Jonny Bairstow (who was injured on tour in the football warmup… ) and spinner Jack Leach replacing Jake Ball, but both alongside Curran and Dom Bess were not required due to our belief that the pitch would prefer more seamers than out and out spinners.

Rashid’s inclusion is a controversial one and has and will be highly discussed by many pundits as he has not played a red ball county match since the start of last year. But, Rashid is that luxury leg spinner that can wipe out the tail and even the top order batsman and after our opening defeat, he will be crucial in our attempt to kickstart our championship.

Can Rashid bowl the batsman out emphatically just like Joe Root’s dismissal in the first innings against South Africa to Keshav Maharaj

Be sure to revisit the site to see if Rashid and co can bounce back from defeat against the Proteas and score our first ever Global Test Championship points with a positive result and performance against the inconsistent Sri Lankans. Many thanks for the continued support!

Disclaimer: (I am trying a new format with new rules and one of the ideas I had was having domestic competitions matches from all 16 nations in break weeks. Breaks would come after every 5 GTC rounds and would allow domestic players the chance to climb into the national selection. Teams would play two four day matches over the course of the break which means all leagues would be inline with the International tournament. They would play under similar GTC conditions with the day/night conditions with the pink ball to allow players to prepare before the national side games. Now, whilst it wouldn’t work in real life, on the virtual game it will work so get ready for County Championship matches in January! More details will be released soon!)

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Ashes Cricket (PS4) : GTC – South Africa Strife!

The highly anticipated competition that is the Global Test Championship has arrived. In the first match of the GTC, and my first match in charge of the England side, it was pivotal that we started as we meant to go on in search for global glory.

anderson drops 1st innings bowling

James Anderson (3-63 & 1-29) had a very odd match in the field with 3 drops and 2 catches in a contrasting set of catching from the veteran.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, we got off to a bad start with Burns and Jennings departing for single figures. The visitors had the ball swinging and seaming around and were causing havoc amongst the ranks. With the fast bowling trio of Steyn, Philander and Rabada dominating early on it was a big surprise to see the next wicket to fall to spin. Up step Keshav Maharaj.
joe root bowled 1st innings

Root was emphatically bowled for 13 in Maharaj’s first delivery. 

Stokes had adapted nicely into his innings in his unfamiliar role at 3 with signs that he could become a future top order batsman. Steyn had continued to run in from the Pavilion End steaming up towards and in excess of 90mph and was rewarded as Stokes was dismissed from a flying catch by De Kock. With lunch looming, Buttler was the next to go for an unspectacular 21, Maharaj taking his second of four victims in the first innings. 

quinton de kock flying catch

Quinton De Kock (17 & 31) took 7 sharp catches behind the stumps including Stokes in an error-free display.

We were hovering at 89-5 at Lunch and the return didn’t inspire immediate confidence. Foakes couldn’t replicate his Sri Lanka heroics, falling to Maharaj for 1 and left us 105-6 coming into the tail. Woakes and Moeen Ali contributed the highest partnership of the innings with 42 but the pressure from the accurate Proteas was relentless with Mo departing for a composed 34 to the consistent Philander. 

maharaj photo

An incredible performance from Keshav Maharaj (4-26 & 4-28 ) including 12 maidens in 37 economical overs, spinning English batsman inside out and winning MOM.

South Africa wanted to wrap up the three remaining wickets and support for the lower order was in short supply, Curran (1) and Broad (11) falling before Woakes trying to accelerate was out for 40, the top score in the innings. We had been bowled out inside 60 overs from hostile, accurate and economical bowling mixed in with poor shot selection and stroke play. (England 181 Woakes 40 Stokes 35 ; Maharaj 4-26 Philander 3-30 Steyn 3-50)

We needed early wickets but Anderson and Broad couldn’t find a good line and length in home conditions for Broad. The breakthrough was made as Foakes cushioned an outside edge from Elgar off Broad. Unlike South Africa, we were expensive and poor with our bowling and were made to pay. 

Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla scored at a flowing rate with catches going down and edges flying through slips and gullies especially of Woakes. Sam Curran (0-44) struggled with the slope and terrain that Trent Bridge posed and his pace differential from the rest of our seamers was evident to see as he was an easy picking with his left arm seam. Markram’s half century demonstrated his onside preference scoring over half of his runs through the vacant midwicket area. Amla soon brought up his fifty with the Proteas taking full control of the Test match. 

amla half century dismissed

South Africa had been positive whilst laying a strong platform for the Proteas to build on and reached 144-1 before two quick wickets gave us a glimmer of hope. Moeen Ali found some extra turn and bounce to find the leading edge to Curran at short leg before Jimmy Jimmy Anderson, roared on by the Barmy Army, found the prized wicket of Markram in the penultimate over with Curran and Root juggling a catch at slip together. 

root and curran catch combo 1st innings

England’s fielding was a combination of the good, the bad and the ugly costing vital South African runs.

A peach of a delivery from Woakes cannoned into Bavuma’s stumps in the opening overs of the second day giving England the upper hand for the first time in the match. Roared on by the home Barmy Army, fans favourite James Anderson picked up 3-63 in South Africa’s first innings including the valuable wicket of Faf Du Plessis. du Plessis was peppered with consecutive bouncers before succumbing to LBW to a slower and straighter delivery in a well constructed plan from England’s head honcho of the attack.

mo ali

Moeen Ali (4-61 & 1-36) plus 45 with the bat, kickstarted a mini collapse in South Africa’s first innings, extracting similar bounce and turn to Maharaj but not to the same reward.

Ali found the edge of De Kock (17) through to Foakes before a huge ripping delivery from the off spinner turned viciously off the rough and into the off stump of left handed Phehlukwayo (1) as South Africa had collapsed from 144-1 to 199-7 in a spell of accurate and improved bowling from the hosts. 

philander

Philander and bowling heroic Maharaj derailed the England storm towards a lower deficit punishing a variety of lengths and lines but crucially remaining composed and patient – a demonstration to the middle order perhaps? 53 runs came from the 8th wicket partnership with Philander reaching his 9th half century frustrating the home faithful. Maharaj’s (18) resistance was broken by Anderson with another clever set up by the wily seam bowler. 

Anderson had halted England’s charge dropping two earlier catches from Woakes, but the Warwickshire seamer took his second of the match as Philander edged to gully where Ali took the catch – a position Anderson was removed from. 

anderson catching one

A lot had been made of our catching during and before the GTC began and Anderson finally caught one but annoyingly for England, 45 runs were put on for the last wicket with NO.11 Dale Steyn hammering 33NO off 37 in a counter attacking knock leaving the Proteas leading by 133. (South Africa 314 Markram 70 Philander 59 ; Ali 4-61 Anderson 3-63.)

 

jennings

Keaton Jennings had a difficult start to the GTC with his place under threat with his vulnerability to seam despite his heroics in the Sri Lankan series.

Burns and Jennings opened up aiming to improve on the first innings but Burns (7) went down in flames to half centurion Philander. We were soon two wickets down as Lancashire opener Jennings was well caught for 6 by fielding specialist Bavuma from the bowling of Steyn. 

root

Test captain Root was undone once again by Maharaj with a googly not picked and finding the edge through to De Kock, in a tough test for England’s top order against an accurate and hostile bowling attack. 

Stokes and Buttler defied expectations from the crowd and the pundits, playing maturely and aggressively when necessary as the Proteas showed the first signs of vulnerability in the face of attack. Stokes was the higher scorer of the pair and made his first half century at 3 and continued to motor on.

stokes 

Two impressive performances from Stokes as his batting was valued more than his bowling in an unfamiliar role at 3.

With the fifty run partnership up, Stokes counter attacking knock was ended as a lacklustre shot towards mid on resulted in a very lame dismissal and a chance of a century seemingly thrown away. Maharaj replicated his first innings form taking a key wicket in Moeen Ali as captain Faf took a superb catch at second slip as England edged over into the lead. 

Foakes and Buttler progressed on England’s lead with the aim to add on runs to be in the game when the Proteas bat. Both played in a conservative style defending and leaving well whilst attacking on the occasions the seamers and Maharaj strayed away from the tight length and lines. Successfully seeing out Day 2’s close, the pair continued to add on the runs most notably off Rabada and Phehlukwayo. 

faf 1

South Africa captain Faf dropped Buttler not once but…

faf 2

twice in a remarkable turn of events catching the Anderson virus (highly recommended to get treatment on.) Phehlukwayo was the unfortunate bowler and remained wicketless in the game. What might have been Andile! 

buttler 50

Buttler completed his half ton in a workmanlike innings with only the four boundaries scored with the value of his wicket most important. However, Kagiso Rabada had other ideas. He first bowled Buttler out for 53 ending his partnership with fellow keeper Foakes of 62 runs before top scorer in the first innings Woakes departed for a third ball duck. 

buttler bowled

Buttler bowled by a fantastic delivery from Rabada who turned his first innings blues around taking 4-113 in an expensive spell. 

foakes 50

Foakes registered a half century alongside Sam Curran who added the mere 10 in the partnership of consolidation before the latter fell to the left arm spin of Maharaj as 28 was added of 71 balls.

curran

Sam Curran’s wicketless return and struggle with the bat leaves him unlikely to feature against Sri Lanka in unfavourable conditions.

Foakes was joined by Broad and the latter played second fiddle as Foakes attacked on against the wayward seamers and played Maharaj out of the attack. At an almost run a ball partnership, nearing his second Test century, Maharaj returned to the attack and got the wicket of Foakes for a superb knock of 85 with shots of class and skill all around the ground. 

Broad 50.jpg

 In a bid to add late order runs to make the South African chase harder, Stuart Broad wowed the home and away fans at his home ground with a quick fire 50 coming off only 49 balls as Anderson watched on at the non striker’s end. The 48 runs for the last wicket came off 42 balls as Broad was sent packing by Rabada for a run a ball 50, with South Africa requiring 178 to win with two and a half days of action left. (England 310 Foakes 85 Stokes 72 ; Maharaj 4-28 Rabada 4-113)

elgar

Foakes not looking as happy as the slip cordon with the wicket of Elgar.

A relatively small total to chase for South Africa caused problems in the opening spell of bowling as Broad, fresh off the 50, dismissed Elgar for a second ball 1 as the opener struggled despite playing County Cricket in the previous year. The 119 run partnership duo were reignited at the crease but what followed saw ripples in the Proteas dressing room thanks to Moeen Ali.

mo ali run outs

After dropping the ball onto the onside, Amla stayed firmly in his ground but as slip fielding Moeen Ali retrieved the ball, he bizarrely stepped out of his crease which gave Mo a shy at the stumps and he hit in a freakish wicket. But it was deja vu for Ali and England as Markram repeated the same action and Ali promptly obliged leaving South Africa in trouble at three down. 

Captain Faf and Temba Bavuma steadied and rebuilt their innings and took away hope of an English comeback with every run scored. Faf reached his half century in a true captain’s innings playing sophisticated and counter attacking shots to reach a vital 50 for his side. 

foakes catch 2nd

England though never threw the towel in as James Anderson had Bavuma (25) caught behind in a smart catch by Ben Foakes, who showed his worth to the side, with sharp glovework and an impressive half century. Faf du Plessis was the next to depart with the score hinging on 5-115 as Moeen Ali found the outside edge through to Foakes in a crucial wicket for the hosts.

faf 2nd

De Kock and Philander weren’t fazed by the relentless pressure and attacked away from the close fields set and played smartly to get within touching distance in the final overs of the day. Any throw of the dice from England was seen off from the Proteas well as bowling changes were aplenty. 

de kock 2nd

England were celebrating for the last time as De Kock lost his patience from clever and economical bowling from Woakes finding the edge to Ali in a terrific catch.

moeen ali catch

Jonty Rhodes-esque???

South Africa win by 4 wickets.jpg

However, Philander and Phehlukwayo guided the Proteas home for a fantastic four wicket victory over the hosts in a match where their variety of attack and ability to score runs in a timely fashion gave them a deserved victory. 

In the end, we were outclassed in every department by the ruthless Proteas. Our batting, in particular the first innings, was lazy with too many players giving away their wicket to rash shots. Whilst we improved in the second innings most notably Foakes and Stokes, to win matches we need to bat time and be more patient against top quality attacks with spin giving us the run around. Furthermore, our bowling was a juxtaposition at times being too expensive and then too defensive with our lines and lengths but taking good wickets. We did perform in both innings and gave the Proteas a run for their money as Ali, Anderson and Woakes contributed to an above par bowling display. Our fielding – we won’t dwell!

table after round 1

Zimbabwe 14th, Ireland 15th and Pakistan 16th.

The squad to Sri Lanka will be named after careful consideration has been dwelled and provided on. Changes to our batting continues to be of importance to find the right XI as we look to sustain a more permanent line-up with some batters failing to deliver. Thoughts of adding a second or even third spinner in conducive Sri Lankan conditions will also be weighed up to find the right team balance. The team continue to be overwhelmed by your support!

On a personal note, thanks for the continued support as I really enjoy doing this blog and have some exciting adventures ahead with my content and be sure to revisit the site to see the performance against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ashes Cricket (PS4): Global Test Championship Round 1 Review

Disclaimer: Please note that there have been numerous issues with the  England vs South Africa match report but Short Leg and the team (only me) have now sorted them and will be out very soon .  Apologies  to keep you waiting and we hope to have the report out shortly. 

Afghanistan defeat Zimbabwe by 6 wickets thanks to MOM Rashid Khan who took match figures of 10-212. Brandan Taylor played an outstanding first innings knock of 244 at a strike rate of 91.39 as Zimbabwe’s second innings below par score, ultimately cost them a shot at victory after initially leading. A special mention to Mohamad Nabi who scored 208 which shot the Afghans close towards Zimbabwe’s first innings score.

australia vs west indies 

Australia thrashed the West Indies by 201 runs in another run fest. Pat Cummins’s maiden Test century elevated Australia into a 552 run lead alongside other valuable contributions which proved too much for the West Indies who had Shimron Hetmyer score 75NO in the first innings before a standout 112 in a losing side. Mitchell Starc starred with ball and bat taking 6-153 and Nathan Lyon turned Australia into a 17 run lead with another five wicket haul. 

bangladesh vs sri lanka

Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh by 280 runs in a crushing victory which didn’t reflect the overall score line of the match. Danuska Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal hammered big centuries whilst Dilruwan Perera shined with the ball taking 7-212. Mushfiqur Rahim came agonisingly short of a double ton for as Bangladesh fell in a disappointing second innings – the match had 1798 runs scored. 

hong kong vs scotland

The two debuting Test nations fought out in a good contest which saw Scotland prevail by five wickets. Nizakat Khan was instrumental in Hong Kong’s effort scoring two consecutive not outs (92) and (108) whilst Cam McAuslan was the next highest scorer with a maiden half century. Dylan Budge led with the bat scoring 136 whilst Gloucestershire recruit Stuart Whittingham took 4-40 as the seamers all took scalps in a winning performance. 

india vs pakistan

India’s all round performance steered them to a smashing 258 runs against a feeble Pakistan team. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane scored important centuries whilst young gun Prithvi Shaw hit an attacking 89 leading to a declaration. All Indian bowlers impressed especially the unorthodox Jasprit Bumrah whereas Pakistan couldn’t convert their good starts, with Shafiq, Zaman, Ahmed and Shadab Khan scoring half centuries meanwhile Hasan Ali taking 6-128 against a mighty victorious India. 

ireland vs new zealand

Malahide hosted Ireland’s opening GTC match as the visiting New Zealand took a convincing 7 wicket win. Trent Boult took charge with the ball with back to back five wicket hauls with match figures of 10-122 and Mitchell Santner toiled hard to take 7-239. Henry Nicholls scored a sensational century alongside two half centuries by Ross Taylor as Gary Wilson scored an amazing 135 in the second innings to back up his 80 in the first innings. Max Sorensen and Andy Balbirnie require a mention also with their contribution with ball and bat.

nepal vs netherlands

Netherlands rounded out the run fest of the GTC with a 231 run victory against Nepal where NO.10 Michael Rippon was the deserved Man of the Match. Taking 8-178 in the match, he backed it up with his batting with a stunning 105 lifting the Netherlands to 571, the highest total of the championship. Wesley Barresi also made a ton whilst Nepal bizarrely scored 295 in both innings as Paras Khadka scored outstanding back to back tons and Shakti Gauchan took two five wicket hauls in a positive showing for the lowest ranked side in the Championship. 

Be sure to revisit the site for more Ashes Cricket and Global Test Championship action as England host South Africa and then head off to Sri Lanka. 

Until next time

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Ashes Cricket (PS4): The inaugural Global Test Championship!


The two squads ahead of the debut match in the Global Test Championship. Both teams play 1 spinner at Trent Bridge. Ben Foakes’s impressive debut series in Sri Lanka means he is retained ahead of the experienced Jonny Bairstow. South Africa prefer allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo to seamer Lungi Ngidi.

Welcome to the new Global Test Championship. 16 nations will compete against each other, once home and away, in a total of 30 games for each nation to decide the best Test team in the globe. In usual Test match format, there will be 5 days of gruelling competitive action with 4 points for a win, 2 for a draw and an extra bonus point for a first innings lead (full rules can be seen at the bottom of this post.) In a major twist to the regular Test matches, each match played will be a Day/Night match with the pink Kookaburra ball use, for only the 11th time in an official Test match. Along with the 12 full Test members, the GTC gives an opportunity for Nepal, Netherlands, Scotland and Hong Kong to join the elite in their historic debut test matches. The GTC is all about opening cricket onto a wider platform in exciting conditions and contests with the introduction of new Test nations only further supporting the objective.

As Team Manager and Chairman of Selectors of the England team, there will be regular updates of the trails and travels of the side and how they perform. We will be looking to be challenging and be in contention for the finals come the end of the 30th round of action. County form for all countries and domestic competitions will lay an integral part in the selection of squads. For each side in the GTC, an initial squad of 15 will be chosen and then a 13 man squad selected on the eve of the match to decide the playing XI.

For the playing sides (seen at top of page), England omitted wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow, leg spinner Adil Rashid (12th man), seamer Jake Ball and allrounder Dom Bess, who were all released back into the County Championship. South Africa chose to leave out seamer Lungi Ngidi (12th man), allrounder Thenuis De Bruyn, wicketkeeper batsman Henrich Klassen and up coming seamer Duanne Oliver.

The opening ball – comment below who you think will the virtual match and also the whole competition!

100 overs per day ; New ball at 80 overs ; Pink ball ; Various batting and bowling bonus points applied to each inning ; Demerit and disciplinary points and deductions + Flashing zing bails!

Trent Bridge will be the home to the GTC beginning but be sure to revisit the site for further updates on the outcome of not only this Test match but the rest in a highly anticipated competition. I hope you look forward to joining me on the quest to be the best in the globe as we take on the Proteas!

(Disclaimer): Information regarding the other Test matches will be in supply but not in as much detail as the main England side. The team are humbled by the support and hope for a positive start.

Short Leg (Ashes Cricket PS4 GTC)