Following our opening round victory at the hands of Papua New Guinea, we return to a familiar venue, the Home of Cricket, to entertain Hong Kong with the aim to win consecutive games on the bounce.
After consulting with Ed Smith and James Taylor, we have decided to alter our squad slightly with the aim of using home advantage and knowledge of conditions to bring a winning formula. Test great and our stalwart James Anderson has retired following the PNG match and we would like to take the chance to congratulate Jimmy on his fantastic record breaking career and note he will be sorely missed in our future plans.
The playing squad for our EHTL math against Hong Kong is:
Joe Root (Captain)
Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
Additional Squad Members:David Malan, Ben Foakes, Jake Ball
Fast bowler Mark Wood makes his eagerly anticipated return to Test Cricket in place of Anderson. Wood’s hostility and extra pace/bounce will make him a valuable asset to our bowling group as Lords is quite two paced. The Durham man is a dynamic player who provides a different point of attack which could be crucial against a strong Hong Kong outfit should he make the XI.
Hampshire’s Liam Dawson retains his place and provides healthy competition for incumbent spinner Moeen Ali and should Lords take a twist towards spin favouring conditions, Dawson is more than capable of stepping up.
The team look forward to gracing the field again in the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League and are excited by the competition created for spots which should push our players to their best. We are extremely grateful and thankful for the support shown in the opening match and hope the fan base can deliver once again whilst we hope to have two wins on the bounce.
Jamie Hamilton, Selection Drafter and Designer, England
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!
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 took the cricketing world by storm in a shock 3 wicket victory against the touringAustralia.The sensational spin duo of Rashid Khan and debutant 17 year old Mujeeb Ur Rahman spun their web around the Aussiebatsman 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 forAustraliaAaron Finchsmashed a ton and Mitchell Starcprovided hope with ball and bat in a losing cause.
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.
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!!
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 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.
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’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…
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.
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.
Afghanistandefeat Zimbabweby 6 wickets thanks to MOMRashid Khan who took match figures of 10-212. Brandan Taylor played an outstanding first innings knockof 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 thrashed theWest 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 theWest Indieswho hadShimron Hetmyerscore 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.
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.
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 whilstGloucestershirerecruit Stuart Whittinghamtook 4-40 as the seamers all took scalps in a winning performance.
India’s all round performance steered them to a smashing 258 runs against a feeblePakistanteam. 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 whereasPakistan couldn’t convert their good starts,with Shafiq, Zaman, Ahmed and Shadab Khanscoring half centuries meanwhileHasan Alitaking 6-128 against a mighty victorious India.
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.
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.
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.