Bye: Chris Gayle has dusted off the cobwebs from his whites it seems as he has reversed his retirement decision and will continue on after the World Cup. He has hinted at a future Test match against the imperious India and will be looking to add to his two triple centuries in a Test career where his last appearance came 5 years ago – however he might want to inform his captain.
Leg Bye: South Africa have been a well talked story in the World Cup but for all the wrong reasons as their talented side crashed miserably out of the World Cup with games to spare. Losing Dale Steyn to injury was a blow but it has been the incumbent players that have not delivered with only Rassie Van der Dussen and Imran Tahir having a successful time. 4 fifties and no hundred alongside key players not performing as (wickets) Rabada (6) and Ngidi (7) haven’t adjusted to the conditions. Back to the 4 year drawing board!
No Ball: Previously banned David Warner leads the tournament currently for most runs scored with 500 followed by Australian batting partner Aaron Finch (496). Warner holds the highest score (166) whilst Shakib Al Hasan has been in super form becoming only the third player to score a hundred and take a 5 wicket haul in the tournament.
Wide: We have some amazing cricket matches with some nail biting matches including New Zealand’s pair of brilliant chases against South Africa and Bangladesh led well by Captain Kane Williamson! England’s collapses against Sri Lanka and Australia as well as a poor showing against Pakistan have had an old era about them. Cricket is on the up and it is a sensational sport!
It appears to be a traditional fantasy cricket game alongside the head to head leagues and will also feature the IPL (Indian Premier League 2019) and the ongoing JLT Sheffield Shield (Australia 4 day Domestic 2019) so if you didn’t want to just chance your arm at the county comp in England, these options are available for you.
With a busy year of Cricket for International players with the Ashes and the World Cup occurring, it will be a chance for some of the less experienced and younger players at the county clubs to step up and make a name for themselves. Likewise with the County season opening at the beginning of April, it is a fantastic opportunity for players to push their case for the Ashes squad (especially the top order!) later on in the Summer.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka) is making his first County Championship performance in his career FC: 10510 runs @ 46.16 35 hundreds and 43 fifties Tests: 4074 @ 36.05 8 hundreds and 22 fifties
Zak Crawley (Kent) FC 2018: 755 runs @ 31.45 1 hundred and 4 fifties
Will Rhodes (Warwickshire) FC 2018: 972 runs @ 44.25 4 hundreds and 4 fifties
Tom Haines (Sussex) FC 2018: 319 runs @ 31.90 1 hundred and 1 fifty 1-82(33.0)
Matt Renshaw (Somerset 2018 + Australia / Kent 2019) FC 2018: 513 runs @ 51.30 3 hundreds and 1 fifty
Ollie Pope (Surrey + England) FC 2018: 986 runs @ 70.42 4 hundreds and 1 fifty
Tom Moores (Notts) FC 2018: 616 runs @ 29.33 1 hundred an 2 fifties
Steven Mullaney (Notts) 601 runs @ 30.05 1 hundred and 4 fifties – 11 wickets @ 36.54
Matt Critchley (Derbyshire) 705 runs @ 28.20 1 hundred and 4 fifties – 32 wickets @ 36.08
Tom Helm (Middlesex) 12 wickets @ 33.71
Ben Sanderson (Northans) 60 wickets @ 16.70
Dom Bess (Somerset) 11 wickets @ 54.72
Jake Ball (Notts) 28 wickets @ 22.25
Mason Crane (Hampshire) didn’t feature due to injury but did feature in one Test in the 2017-18 Ashes series for England
I will post updates throughout the season to see how team Short Leg Cricket fares in the English County World. Stay tuned for some upcoming articles on the site all involving the Cricketing world. Thanks for reading and visit soon!
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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!
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.
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?
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 Armythough 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Sri Lankan Test Cricket is on the verge of meltdown. Only winning 4 of the last 12 Test series, over a dozen (and more…)debutants and a lot of experienced faces departing the International scene. Gone of the days where Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara leading the team with the bat and in the field and Murali Muralitharan, Rangana Herath and Chaminda Vaas destroyed batting line ups at ease with Murali’s indispensable 795 wickets imperative to Sri Lankan success.
Now, Angelo Matthews leads a side with his 80 ,experienced but still young caps, with increasing debutants coming and going with a settled side seemingly lost at the selection policy. The recent Australian series saw plenty of debutants as the depth of Sri Lanka cricket was tested right to the bottom including a seam attack full of debut players and Kasun Rajitha in the final test.
Consistency seems to be at the heart of the issues in a non stop cycle. Injuries have also been a major problem in finding the right test players. Roshen Silva had been having an impressive summer for the Sri Lankans with important knocks against England and New Zealand but had been side lined with an injury from the conclusion of the Black Caps tour and then surprisingly dropped for the Proteas.
Schedule has been gruelling on the Test front with England visiting and then subsequent Oceania tours against New Zealand and Australia and then the upcoming visit to South Africa. On the field form has been an issue but off the field drama has captivated and engulfed the side with disgruntled and unhappy players, coaches and selectors of late with the team manager changing regularly.
8 of the 17 man squad selected have played five tests or fewer
The surprise axing of Dinesh Chandimal as captain comes after taking charge in 2017 and despite team performances, his form has been above most other batsmen.
Four players selected are uncapped.
Ireland A matches and Premier League form seems to be at precedence to Test players
A pace attack containing an overall caps of just 8 caps (added to when Lakmal returns in the second test)
Angelo Matthews remains a key player missing through injury
Dilruwan Perera has 38 caps and has been a mainstay of the squad as spinners have drifted in and out of the squad but he has been axed
Wholesale changes indicate a more youthful look at the future.
Malinda Pushpakumara and Asela Gunaratne will surely be disappointed to miss out as Pushpakumara was touted as an experienced head to take the mantle of left arm spin from Herath and Gunaratne has an average of 56.87 in only 6 tests and a high score of 116.
Instead Lasith Embuldeniya takes the spinning mantle with other left arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan whilst batsmen Angelo Perera and Oshada Fernando take the batting spots. Some players have experience in age with Milinda Siriwanda returning from a 3 year hiatus and Kashual Silva returning from big scores in the Premier League. The tried and tested method has been chucked firmly out of the equation with chopping and changing the incentive for Sri Lanka’s demise but could be their turn around if the selected players perform against a potent South African attack and batting line up in foreign conditions.
On paper, it looks a comfortable victory for the Proteas in home conditions where the seamers create lively bounce and threatening pace whilst their batsman bat with poise and patience but don’t underestimate the Sri Lankans who all have an incentive to play for their spots.
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.
Theunis De Bruyn. A hard hitting South African batsmen who has conquered the domestic level yet on the International stage – its a different story. With the exception of his maiden Test century against Sri Lanka in July 2018, De Bruyn has failed to hit the heights so far of what was expected of him.
From making his debut in March 2017 against New Zealand to his most recent caps against Pakistan at home, De Bruyn has been in and out the team without cementing a place in the Proteas top order. With the retirement in 2018 of AB De Villers freeing up a top order spot alongside JP Duminy’s retirement from the national team in early 2017, places have been up for grabs. South Africa have been very successful in Test matches and bar the lost series against Sri Lanka, South Africa had won 6 on the bounce. Different formats of selection were chosen with De Bruyn featuring twice in England (2017) as a specialist batsman before the role being taken for 3 series by allrounders. AB De Villers retirement led De Bruyn straight into the team for the Sri Lankan series where he scored his first contribution to the Proteas. However, an underwhelming Pakistan series with debutant Zubayr Hamza impressing in the final test has led to reports De Bruyn will be dropped for the return of captain Faf De Plessis.
De Bruyn’s record at first class level is second to none with an average of 45.55 backed up with 12 centuries and 19 half centuries. An experienced campaigner of the domestic level at 26 shows his potential and undoubted ability at higher levels yet for South Africa so far an average of 20.55 only registering the sole hundred in a stand out match. As mentioned before, South Africa with the loss of a key fast bowler tend to have an allrounder at 6 and De Bruyn certainly hasn’t put up a case to be the fifth bowler. His first class level saw 11 wickets taken at 38.31 but his test bowling has been disappointing wicketless from 17 overs at an expensive 4.35 per over.
Whilst coach Ottis Gibson is backing De Bruyn, his poor form and his failure to replicate the first class form he has shown consistently will lead to questions about his spot in the side. With captain Faf returning from a one match suspension, either Hamza or De Bruyn are likely to be axed and with Hamza performing well on debut, De Bruyn looks certain to be dropped.
Be sure to revisit the site with more international and domestic cricket topics and articles as well as virtual gaming coming very soon! Short Leg
Short Leg discusses the Test Cricket Arena with the coveted Test Team of 2018 revealed.
Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of hopefully many on Short Leg Cricket where we discuss various topics. As we embark on a Cricket filled year with the World Cup and the Ashes the highlights, Short Leg reviews the 2018 Test matches with a Test Team of the Year and the major factor in 2018 of the “Sandpaper gate”. 2018 saw new nations Ireland and Afghanistan play their first official test match in a positive step by the ICC to include more nations whilst other nations experienced top quality cricket in challenging conditions for the contest between bat and ball. From the conclusion of the Ashes , to the ban of Smith, Warner and Bancroft, to away series wins for England and New Zealand in Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively and the current test match series in Australia and New Zealand, 2018 showed Test Cricket still has a place in the game for the future.
A lone star in the most recent home series defeat against England scoring 256 in 6 innings ranking him just behind England debutant keeper Ben Foakes. At the top of the order, Karunratne showed his experience where others struggled as he weathered off the attack with seam and spin scoring 3 fifties. He was the unfortunate victim of being on the receiving end of England’s outstanding fielding by Stokes and Jennings on 3 occasions. However, his most impressive innings was his undoubtedly a match winning 158NO against South Africa in Galle. This came in the first innings and in the second made 60 where no other batsman passed 50 in the game. In a tough year for Sri Lanka, on and off the field, Karunratne led the battle from the front and still has some years left to convert those fifties into hundreds.
Tom Latham (New Zealand) M: 7 Runs: 658 Ave: 59.81 HS: 264NO 100s: 2 50s: 2 4s: 62 6s: 2 SR: 43.06What a gusty year from Latham when he needed to cement his position in the New Zealand line up. Coming off 83 against England, he underperformed in the series win against Pakistan and was rumoured to be replaced by Will Young heading into Sri Lanka at home. But he quashed those rumours with a 264 unbeaten knock in Wellington with pure class and elegant strokes. He backed up his form with 176 the next week, in a winning cause. His gritty determination in his spirited performances, shows he has undeniable talent at this level. And whilst more than two thirds of his runs came in the most recent series with Sri Lanka, he has a knack of making big runs when needed.
Classy stats for a classy player! Williamson plays with such ease in a smooth and steady nature and is surely the most consistent batter at this time. He edges out Kusal Mendis who played 6 more matches and his brilliance leading from the front is rewarded by Short Leg as captain. 2 very important centuries led to historic wins against England and Pakistan, most notably the 139 scored against Pakistan in challenging batting conditions to win the series. His contributions, ably supported by others, led to a breakthrough year for New Zealand who for the first time had won 4 successive Test Series and was untouchable at times.
The world’s best batsman delivers again. Unlike Ian Poulter, he delivers every day (including Sundays) scoring a shade over 300 more runs than anyone else. In a tough looking schedule for India playing South Africa, England and Australia away in a calendar year, Kohli was in a class of his own scoring centuries for fun, just when India needed them. Questions were asked about his previous records, but he outlined his supreme qualities silencing each critic one by one. With a match winning 153 in South Africa to a crucial 123 in tricky Perth conditions, Kohli did it all and saved many of the negatives highlighting India’s current performances (excluding their current lead in Australia) with a flamboyant yet perfectionist style.
A contender for most improved player of the year as his sensational performances have aided the Kiwis to a record 4 successive Test Series victories. Much like Latham, Nicholls needed to have a good year to cement his spot and boy did he do just that. In an outstanding year, he partnered Latham in a mammoth partnership contributing a record high 162 runs taking the match away from the toiling Sri Lankans. A huge century in Pakistan in spin friendly conditions, allowed the New Zealanders a chance to win the away series which they duly did so. With the highest average of any batsman in 2018, Nicholls firmly sealed down his spot in the middle order.
At the beginning of the IPL 2018, Jos Buttler wasn’t expecting to make Short Leg’s team let alone being involved with the test side. However, the shrewd pick from a high scoring IPL tournament, Buttler made his presence on the test side batting as a specialist batsman. His mix of counter attacking and aggressive shots with defensive and mature batting to rotate the strike, Buttler had a phenomenal year. He saved and revitalised England when they need it a home and away with his ability to adapt to the conditions special to watch. Making 6 fifties was fantastic but he achieved his aim in a wonderful century capping off a spectacular year where he became an integral part of England’s Test team.
A captain certainly leading from the front for West Indies and his best year yet at test level. Constantly performing with the ball, taking crucial wickets with his accurate medium pace at a fantastic economy rate of below 3. As a captain, he led with his heart on his sleeve, consistently outperforming the main strike bowlers and impressively taking 1 of 4 five wicket hauls against the mighty India including the scalps of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. It was his batting which took most by surprise entering the top 50 for the year with two valuable knocks returning to the shades of the former batsman of a few years ago. A player sought after and admired by many nations.
In a turbulent year for Australia, Cummins showed their is life, hope and promise in the national test side with some emphatic performances highlighting his credentials. In the ongoing Indian series, he registered his highest knock of 63 in a gritty and courageous innings to give Australia some cheer. He has also led with the ball with fiery spells including a test best 6/27 against India to gain the Aussies some pride. In the field, he has set high standards and exceeded with some beautiful pieces of fielding. A true a cricketer has woke up into the Test arena and been a solid rock and warrior throughout their tours especially South Africa. An athletic and energetic player has sparked the Aussies into form and is a genuine allrounder.
The leading wicket taker in the world and he is only 23! The energetic, dynamic fast bowler caught the eye early in the year with a fantastic spell of fast hostile bowling against Australia prior to the Sandpaper incident. His bowling does catch the eye of the match referee as well due to forthcoming altercations after taking a wicket and has ended up in a match ban during that series. Home conditions usually suit Rabada’s nature but away from home was the real sign of a great bowling in the maker taking the most wickets in Sri Lanka which is suited for spin. At this tender age, his progression is sky-high and could become one of the best fast bowlers in the world and history if this form continues.
Dilruwan Perera is a near miss but what brings Lyon is the fact he has played less test matches in the sub continent fortress of spin that Perera has. Year after year, the Australian tweaker continues to bring spin to Australia in most times less conducive wickets for spin. With back to back 5 wicket hauls against NO.1 ranked side India and his stunning burst of 4 in 6 balls against Pakistan, Lyon has ripped the heart out of many batsmen. His undoubted experience is improving his game and continues to make positive strides forwards. How long though can Lyon go on for before he heads to the inevitable retirement and is there someone ready to replace him?- I don’t think so!
How is this his first year of test cricket? Why have India waited so long to bring in a fast, zippy bowler? He has been so impressive over the year especially in Australia where he has bowled bouncers, fast pace deliveries and variations to fool and take the wickets of the Australian inexperienced batsmen. India had a tough and gruelling schedule away from home, but Bumrah has stepped up to the plate when experienced heads like Umesh Yadav have struggled to replicate wicket taking balls. His zippy action is durable for the long forms of the game and has taken 5 wicket hauls in South Africa, Australia and England showing his asset to each team he play
Men that miss out and are 12th man : Mohamed Abbas (Pakistan) Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka) Joe Root (England) Chetseswar Pujara (India) Tim Southee (New Zealand) Dilruwan Perera (Sri Lanka) Mohamed Shami (India) Taijul Islam (Bangladesh) Jimmy Anderson (England) Babar Azam (Pakistan)
There will be more articles and posts coming out soon all about cricket and moving into the 2019 season.