Afghanistan’s winning streak continued in their crushing 473 run win against a stunned Bangladesh side. Opening pair Janet Ihsanullah and Javad Ahmadi destroyed the bowling attack scoring 75 and 69 in the first innings before a mammoth partnership in their second innings of 620-8 declared virtually winning the match with Ihsanullah scoring a magical 242. Left armer Fareed Ahmad’s took 6 wickets on debut alongside 17 year old spinner Mujeeb, who led the spin attack with 7-99. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim gave Bangladesh a single positive note with two half centuries but Afghanistan go 3 from 3!
Australia bounced back from their morale damaging loss to Afghanistan with a comfortable 5 wicket win against Zimbabwe. Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch’s centuries led a platform for Australia who then forced Zimbabwe to follow on after a Josh Hazelwood blitz. Ryan Burl maintained his big score making with anther century whilst spinners Hamilton Masakadza and Graeme Cremer led the attack with the ball for the visitors. Pat Cummins took his first 5 wicket haul of the GTC as Australia racked up their second win at home.
In a thrilling contest in the heart of Hong Kong, Sri Lanka held their nerve in a tight finish to record a one wicket win. Sri Lanka’s spin duo of Danajaya De Silva and Malinda Pushpakumara shone with 12 wickets between them but it was the Gunathilaka and Samarawickrama knocks which pushed the tourists across the line. Nadeem Ahmed and Eisaz Khan starred with the ball for Hong Kong with 6 and 4 wickets respectively alongside a Nizakat Khan blockbuster century which put Hong Kong into a respectable position. Hong Kong’s fearless nature for a debut nation was amazing to see and despite losing 3 from 3 they have performed admirably.
India’s comprehensively defeated South Africa by 233 runs in a record breaking contest at Eden Gardens. KL Rahul’s amazing century scoring was at the pinnacle of India’s 400+ innings with back to back centuries to go alongside his consecutive centuries against Scotland. Hardik Pandya and Chetseswar Pujara also made centuries whilst zippy bowler Jasprit Bumrah terrorised the Proteas batting with 8-195. Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis scored the GTC’s highest individual score with 285 in South Africa’s valiant chase of 760 which had been forced upon them from their poor first innings total.
Ireland returned back to earth from their impressive away victory against Pakistan with an 8 wicket loss to neighbouring country Scotland. Safyaan Sharif headlined Scotland’s impressive bowling display with 7 wickets including 4 big scalps in Ireland’s paltry 197. Matt Cross gave Scotland the upper hand with a blitzing century whilst Kyle Coetzer,George Munsey and Callum MacLeod registered half centuries in the game. Andy Balbirnie was Ireland’s only supporting act taking 3 part time wickets before notching up 186 which wasn’t enough to give the Irish hopefuls a sniff at a result.
A Sagar Pun and Sandeep Lamichhane masterclass led Nepal to a historic and world breaking victory against the experienced Pakistan. Pun scored an unbeaten 130 in the first innings before scoring 109 in the second innings which set the platform for the successful chase. Lamichhane took 7 wickets and spun the game back into Nepal’s favour after Pakistan had taken a 100 run plus lead. Asif Shafiq and Fakhar Zaman provided the dim spotlight on a shell shocking loss with 144 and two fifties respectively. Nepal’s debut win will be remembered long into the Nepalese cricketing history as they push Pakistan to 3 defeats in a row!
New Zealand produced an impressive performance to annihilate Netherlands by 10 wickets. Tim Southee was the standout of the seamers with a five wicket haul backed up admirably by the rest of the attack whilst Tom Latham smashed an almost run a ball 158. Colin de Grandhomme muscled a quick fire 81 as Netherlands struggled to match 552 in both innings with only last match double centurion Ben Cooper hitting a core of note with 107. New Zealand knocked off the measly 38 in no time and swiftly moved to 3 consecutive wins on the bounce.
England take on the West Indies at Old Trafford where the hosts and the tourists will be striving to pick up their first points of the Championship!
Following last week’s teaser of a new console Cricket game, today England Cricket Twitter page confirmed the new game with the title of Cricket 19 with Big Ant Studios. This game is subjected to be released in May of this year, so well before the Ashes start and just before the beginning of the Cricket World Cup. Just the fact there is a new Cricket game to spend hours playing is simply fantastic and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I will link in the two videos with some analysis and the link of the information from the England Cricket website. Enjoy your days and week and I will be back at some stage next week.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
With the disappointing ODI series loss to India rumbling on, New Zealand have named two debutants for their T20I Squad which will face India between February 6 to 10. Rotation was key in selection as captain Kane Williamson returns but Trent Boult is rested. However, they have surprisingly left out in form batsman Henry Nicholls and allrounder Jimmy Neesham for Daryl Mitchell (not the Worcestershire captain) and Blair Tickner.
Leg Bye: Laurie Evans’s continued his scintillating form in the Bangladesh Premier League with a man of the match 76 NO for the Rajshahi Kings. Evans has scored 339 runs during 11 matches with a highest score of 104 NO with 2 half centuries and 1 ton at a impressive average of 37.66.
No Ball: Cameron Boyce had been in good form with the ball for the Melbourne Renegades and had shown glimpses of big hitting from the spinning allrounder in previous games but his innings against Sydney Thunder got him the spotlight. 51NO from 22 deliveries boosting the Renegades up to 140 before taking 2 wickets to beat the Thunder by 27 runs.
Wide: England’s one day specialist Alex Hales had been playing in the Bangladesh Premier League for the Rangpur Riders with one century and two half centuries at a strike rate of 167.03. However, frustratingly for Hales he has sustained a back injury ruling him out of the rest of the BPL and putting his place for the One day tour of West Indies in doubt.
4 Wides: Rassie van der Dussen’s South African ODI series debut against Pakistan was a dream showing which has surely established his World Cup squad. Scoring 241 runs in four innings at an average of 120.50 with three half centuries including a 93NO. His aggressive hitting and ability to see out a winning performance when chasing has boosted his stocks for the Proteas.
Ton up: Paras Khadka has become a national hero! A maiden ODI ton against UAE in their ODI series led his team to a memorable victory in an emphatic chase. His landmark moment was also Nepal’s first ever ODI century which will live long in the players and fans dream as the century capped off a series victory, their first, since gaining ODI status.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the Big Bash coming to its end soon and International cricket back with a bang (not for England) and one day formats, Short Leg looks at the next franchise league in the lucrative Indian Premier League 2019. Photos from @cricbuzz with Kolkata’s team missing so Short Leg will select players without the image of team. ( 1 from each squad – part 2 will have the other 4 teams.)
Prithvi Shaw (Delhi Capitals)
Shaw shot his way to prominence when he was just 14 after scoring 546 from 330 balls in a Harris Shield match for his school Rizvi Springfield. That innings contained 85 fours and five sixes – and since then has risen dramatically through the Indian ranks all the way to the Test squad at the age of 19. In those two test matches, he hammered a debut century and became the youngest Indian since Sachin Tendulkar to score a Test century. Shaw plays in an attacking style with fearless ball striking with his maiden Test century the third fastest 100 on debut in history. Despite missing out of the recent Australian Test series through injury, Shaw remains an integral part of the squad at such a young age. He featured 9 times in IPL 2018 for Delhi scoring 245 runs at a strike rate of 153.13 with a highest score of 65. Opening for Delhi was successful and his confidence from his performances for the national side as well as his domestic sides explain the reasons he is compared to Tendulkar and is expected to shine in IPL 2019.
Varun Chakravarthy (Kings XI Punjab)
The 27 year old mystery spinner has got his chance in the IPL 2019 season to kickstart his domestic and possible international aspirations. Making his List A debut in 2018 for Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare – Trophy, he performed consistently well becoming leading wicket taker for the competition with 22 in 9 matches. His bamboozling action and spin, predominately bowling leg spin but constantly fooling batsman, made him sought for around the IPL. Last year he got experience and featured as a net bowler for the Chennai Super Kings as well as the Kolkata Knight Riders and coach Carl Crowe was quoted saying, “The millionaire Varun.” Sold to the Kings XI at a massive 8.4 Crore, his chances of playing will be at a restricted rate with spinners Shadab Khan, Ravindra Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman ahead in the pecking order but his potential should get him a shot.
Shivam Dube (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Dube is a 25 year old all round package bowling right arm medium fast (mid 130s) and batting powerfully as a left hander in the middle order. Like Chakravarthy, Dube’s name didn’t get around in the youth system as he took a 5 year break before returning at 21. He also played in the 2018 Vijay Hazare and shined with his array of variations at a fantastic economical rate of 4.53 with 13 wickets – striking at over 135 in strike rate with the bat as well. His most impressive outing was in the Ranji Trophy where he has scored 454 runs and 21 wickets with two centuries and two five wicket hauls. His all round ability will be under scrutiny but the experience he will gain from playing with AB de Villers, Virat Kohli, Colin De Grandhomme and co will be invaluable in his quest for a spot.
Manan Vohra (Rajasthan Royals)
Vohra was labelled early on in his career by Yuvraj Singh as an outstanding talent which has yet to been utilized and proven to its best potential. Making his IPL debut in 2013, he played an eye catching 43 for the Kings XI Punjab and from there has had an indifferent career after moving onto to RBC and now the Royals. He is an experienced campaigner of IPL cricket, playing 49 matches at an average of 23.53 with a high score of 95 in the IPL 2017 for the Punjab side. After joining RBC in 2018, he featured very little as the team had a wealth of opening batters and when his chance came, he failed to make a good enough impression. The Royals have made significant changes to their side and Vohra will be aiming to replace D’Arcy Short (not retained) at the top of the order in a year where he will play for Lindfield in the Sussex Cricket League following the conclusion of the IPL.
The IPL 2019 is set to be another fascinating domestic competition to cure our winter blues and kickstart our summer excitement. One Indian player from the Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and the Chennai Super Kings will feature in Part 2 which you can see alongside many other topics on this site very soon.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
South Africa captain Faf dropped Buttler not once but…
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 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 by a fantastic delivery from Rabada who turned his first innings blues around taking 4-113 in an expensive spell.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Short Leg will provide match reports from the inaugural Global Test Championship round as England entertain South Africa desperate to start in winning ways at Trent Bridge in day/night pink ball conditions in a match including 10 dropped catches and plenty of maidens!
Cricket Captain Australia
Short Leg will continue the match reports in the travails of the Australian Cricket Side in Cricket Captain 2018 as the T20I Tri Series with Pakistan and Zimbabwe precedes the two Test match tour against Pakistan.
Big Bash 08
Short Leg will also review the Big Bash season at completion and update you on who is hot and who is cold down in OZ.
International Cricket – Tests and ODIS
Short Leg will be reporting on the “real life” test match series in Australia – Sri Lanka, West Indies – England as well as other topics involving the domestic and international competitions.
Who to Watch
An introduction of “Who to Watch” series of articles will begin across all levels and competitions of the cricketing world.
Ashes Cricket (PS4) Career Mode
Finally, more Ashes Cricket will begin with reports on my Career Mode as I take on the Adelaide club level with Mount Barker.
Mark Wood. A promising player that so far his international career hasn’t taken off due to predominately longer term injury and less match time in 4/5 day formats. He has pace – 90mph+ to be precise and has bounce that can frighten any top order batsman around the world. He has 156 first class wickets at an average of 27.83 and 8 five wicket hauls. His impact for England has come mainly in shorter formats with ODI being his stronger suit. Yet, going into 2019 his place at the Cricket World Cup looks in doubt due to his lack of match time and the better form from the likes of Tom Curran, Olly Stone and David Willey. Speculation before and during the 2017 Ashes series didn’t prove to be the case as he didn’t feature. At the age of 29, Wood’s playing days are shortening due to his various injuries and something needs to click for such a promising player.
His call up to the West Indian Test Series comes as Warwickshire’s Olly Stone flies back home with a stress fracture in his back. Stone has had limited opportunity on the International stage with his debut series coming in Sri Lanka (October 2018) and impressed with his pace and heavy bounce in the ODI series. Wood comes in as a like for like replacement but his lack of match practice in the Test arena might mean he plays as a back up seamer.
However, Wood brings a new dimension to West Indies which England should take advantage of with his old and new ball skills alongside his quick pace which will test the inexperienced West Indies batsmen. Whilst, England might not use Wood to change a winning formula, this will be Wood’s chance to show he can be an England Test fast bowler in a permanent position. He has the attributes but not the performances in the arena to show his worth to the side.
Away from Wood, England will be faced a tricky challenge with West Indies making wholesale changes to fix a losing team. But, England’s impressive form in Sri Lanka most notably with their spinners leaves them favourites in similar away conditions to make it 2 on the bounce.
Wood’s chance has come and he will be sure to make the most of it as his International selection hangs in the jungle. To read more articles cricket related, revisit the site and comment below whether Wood will start in West Indies?