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Well, what a long time since my last post! Sorry about that, but at this time of year revision, and revision alone becomes your life, well okay that may be a slight exaggeration. Finding time to fit in a blog post has been hard, but today I have dedicated my time to give you a quick review of how the Championship is looking so far in 2012.

Both the Division 1 and Division 2 tables are shaping up nicely, what has been witnessed though, is that nearly every county game to date this season has been thwarted by rain, leaving many drawn games appearing in the table. This is the reason I want to allocate to Durham for so far residing at the bottom of Division 1, I can’t help but feel this is not the case however, take Somerset for example, in the same position as Durham (in terms of drawn games) but they remain in 4th, having taken 9 more bowling points. If I am honest, I did not expect Durham to have fared so badly this season, a crop of younger players, namely Borthwick and Stokes along with the experience of Benkenstein, Collingwood and Di Venuto highlights the strength of their side. Although, it is only early days with 11 games still left to play, I am sure they can pull something out of the bag, the Championship title I fear will not be one of them though.

Nonetheless, those who are in contention for the title are clearly making their mark in the Championship, as Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire have a clear lead at the top. Although Notts currently have 78 points, Warwickshire are proving to be the ones to beat, just 7 points behind the 2010 Champions the Bears have played 2 less games and look set to continue their great form. Both bowling and batting units have impressed for the Bears this season, and after narrowly missing out on the title last year to Lancashire, I am going to say that Warwickshire look like they could come home with the silverware in 2012… and no it isn’t just because I am a huge Bears fan, well okay, maybe to some extent!

Also, looking towards who is in with a chance of promotion this season, we have the Division 2 teams. Well, one of last year’s relegation sides, Yorkshire, are proving why fans were extremely disappointed with moving down into Division 2 after last season’s disappointing performance. Currently joint at the top of the table with Derbyshire, both sides have won 2 of their 5 games, leaving them in a comfortable position with a lead of 9 points. It is surprising to see Yorkshire’s transformation in just a short space of time, but with the likes of Sayers, Gale and Ballance in the batting line up, Yorkshire have been impressive. Along with England Lions players, Root and Bairstow, the latter today selected for the senior side for the West Indies Test at Lord’s, Yorkshire look to have a promising season. Promotion is certainly their main goal, as it is for Hampshire, but as of yet Derby, Yorkshire and Kent are all in contention as they near the halfway stage.

At the other end of the scale, we have Glamorgan who are yet to win a game this season. With just 17 points secured from 5 games, it’s the batting that is letting this Welsh side down. There is no disputing that their bowlers are making the breakthroughs, but having not yet surpassed the 200 mark in any match, it is the lack of runs, which is causing Glamorgan a serious problem. Any chances of promotion look unlikely this year unless a serious turn of events occur, all Glamorgan can really do is improve their position in the table, as Leicestershire who remained at the bottom of the table in 2011 are already a clear 18 points ahead.

With the CB40 competition also underway, it won’t be long until the cricket season is in full flow without any weather-affected games, fingers crossed! The Championship gets back underway on Wednesday, only to be followed on Thursday for what we have been waiting for since April, the return of English Test cricket. Taking on the West Indies at Lord’s kick-starts England’s 2012 summer, let’s hope for some fantastic performances and results… until then that’s me done :)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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Wow! Well my nerves went through the roof at the end; I think I am just about recovering from what was an incredible end to a fantastic T20 series. It was nervy stuff, but England held on to be crowned victorious. It wasn’t certain though that England were going to walk away with the series, losing the first game and then levelling it 1-1, England had to pull out all the stops today to get over the line. They did just this, going right down to the wire; Pakistan needed 6 off the last ball, but a fabulous last over from Dernbach saw an elated England team overwhelmed by winning the series 2-1!

Getting off to a decent start as always seems to be the case; England had another mini collapse in the middle overs, which made the outcome of the innings seem ominous. With the middle order annihilated by spin, yes no surprise it was Ajmal, Kieswetter went first, despite getting off to a great start with a 4 and a 6 already to his name. Bopara, Morgan, Bairstow and Buttler all failed to reach double figures, with only Bopara falling to the pace of Cheema, who had a surprisingly good spell of bowling, proving to be tricky for the England batsmen. Patel supported KP with a good knock, keeping off the pressure, as he also hit a 4 and a 6 taking him to 16 before becoming Ajmal’s fourth and final victim. It was opener Pietersen though; that I suppose you could say saved England’s innings.

  • Kevin Pietersen – With England falling to 89-6 and already 15 overs in, Pietersen provided a stable, yet powerful innings that helped push England’s innings up to a decent total. With 6 wonderfully timed fours, and 1 crisp six, KP’s innings seemed to ooze skill and class, which is not something we always see. However, it must be said that in spite of what we all think about KP, he is great to watch when in form, especially in the shorter formats. Reaching his second 50 of the series, KP hit his way to 62* soaking up the applause at the end of the innings, and he was the vital batsmen in England’s line up.

The chase now being set at 130 had to be defended by England; it was a tough job, especially on the slow pitch in Abu Dhabi. The first breakthrough was early on, that of Hafeez, with a caught and bowled by Dernbach, his second in two matches. Pakistan on 8-1 were in a tricky situation if they didn’t kick on, but the middle order put up a fight. Partnerships between Shafiq and Zia (40), and Misbah and Akmal (37), really spurred them on even though Broad, Swann and Dernbach were in the wickets. Along with running out Shafiq and Afridi for 34 and 3 respectively, Pakistan were reduced to 120-5, needing 10 runs with just 4 balls remaining. Unable to hit the winning runs, it was all down to one man who left his best over until last…

  • Jade Dernbach – The specialist death bowler has helped England out of a tricky spot or two, but today was just that little bit different. Pakistan needed 13 to win from the last over, and every England fan seemed to be on the edge of their seats. A wide increased the tension and the last ball was nearly unbearable to watch… what actually happened though was fantastic. Dernbach unhappy with just a dot wiped out Misbah’s middle stump with a slower ball. Let the celebrations begin! A superb final delivery, Dernbach wrapped up the game, and the series with it, figures of 2-24 highlighting his feat.

It was such a relief to see England go all the way, and finishing the tour on a high England can walk away from the UAE with their heads held high. Yes losing the Test series was a bitter disappointment, but they can only come back better, showing glimpses of hope by walking away with successive series wins. The limited over formats were kind to England this tour, but it’s all about the Test in Sri Lanka, let’s hope there are some much-improved Test performances. It does raise a few questions though, namely over Morgan’s form, will we see him selected in the tour to Sri Lanka in late –March, well we’ll find out tomorrow morning as to who has made selection.

With this being England’s last game for just under a month it was great to see smiling faces and a victory for them to walk away with, expect much more blogging to come as we approach the Sri Lankan series. Not forgetting the County season, which I have mentioned will soon be around the corner!  However, for now it is time to reflect on a tour with mixed emotions, but one in which England came out on top at the end, Pakistan certainly played well throughout and did deserve their Test victory. I hope you have enjoyed this UAE tour as much as I have, and there is still plenty more cricket to come! :D

Photo Credit: ECB (ecb.co.uk)

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The series is now wide open with England defeating Pakistan in the second T20 leaving it all to play for.  England bouncing back after a mediocre performance on Thursday had improved their game ten-fold beating their opposition by 38 runs in an England dominated match. Perhaps the difference being England winning the toss elected to bat first, leaving Pakistan to chase a very reasonable 150. England got off to a great start, bringing up 35 runs within 5 overs, with both KP and Kieswetter looking in good form. However, each innings isn’t perfect, but losing 4 wickets in the next 5 overs was just a little bit nerve-wracking. At 79-4 it didn’t look really promising, with both openers gone and 10 overs still left for England to face. But for one man he loves a challenge, and he certainly wasn’t fazed by the mysterious spin of Ajmal, or at least he didn’t show it…

  • Jonny Bairstow – Not coming into the T20 series with great form, or little practice aside from Thursday’s game, Bairstow definitely took charge from the start. Powering his way to his maiden T20 half-century Bairstow controlled England’s innings, and with wonderful memories against the Indians’ last summer, Jonny once again made his mark. Towering sixes, plenty of boundaries and superb skill against spin, this batsmen is one for the future, as England undoubtedly require Bairstow’s talent. Remaining 60*from just 46 balls at the end of the innings, meant he thoroughly deserved the MOTM accolade.

So, as Bairstow boosted England’s chances of a defendable total, it was the turn of the bowlers to turn hope into reality and prevent losing the series just two games in. As always, the bowlers impressed from the beginning, Finn and Dernbach striking in their first overs made a huge impact; especially as Pakistan were five down for a mere 50 runs. Yet with Afridi ever-present things were not quite finished, destructively taking 17 off Patel’s only over, Afridi sent one miles into the stands. However, even he could not defy England’s bowlers as Pakistan fell to 112 all out; a fantastic performance particularly from Finn taking 3-30, but the bowler that stood out for me today was…

  • Stuart Broad – Let alone being captain, Broad took control producing figures of 2-12 off just 3.2 overs in today’s innings. Taking the crucial wickets of opener Zia, who didn’t look in great form to be honest, as well as the damaging Afridi, Broad, seemed to continue his form from the Test series. With Afridi being the last man to depart it was fitting to see Broad have him hit one high to Morgan, running from backward point, to round off a match that saw England excel as a team once more on this tour. Broad’s captaincy has aroused controversy, but it can’t be said that a bad job is being done, just take a look at how England are performing.

With the series now level, it is up to the decider on Monday to figure out who will come out on top next time around. It will be of no surprise that I am hoping for a repeat show of what was on offer tonight. If the fielding is anything to go by England will win hands down, superb catches from Bairstow, Morgan and in particular a stunning take from Buttler, are highlighting the skill this team possesses as their fielding can never be faulted – well maybe the odd exception!

Monday’s game will be England’s last for nearly a month, before they take on Sri Lanka in late March, so enjoy every minute of it. Before we know it will be the 5thApril, and the County season will have begun… yes people the cricket season is nearly upon us and I cannot wait! Bring it on :)

Photo Credit: ECB (ecb.co.uk)

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The music, the cheerleaders, the excessive boundaries… they are all here, which means the T20 series is now up and running. Actually don’t get me started on the first two; the less said about them the better.

As people always say, cricket is usually a batsman’s game, today however, defied this theory as it was the turn of the bowlers to star in a close-run T20, which saw Pakistan eventually beat England by a margin of 8 runs. With Bopara fit to play, Cook didn’t feature, along with Hales who unfortunately missed out on a place, whilst the two young guns Buttler and Bairstow featured in the middle order. So with everything in place, Broad elected to bowl and despite an expensive start from Finn and Dernbach, the bowlers, namely Swann and Broad, pulled it back. Reducing Pakistan to 144 with a late boundary surge from Misbah, it was a decent chase, however, it would have been far trickier to achieve if it wasn’t for one man in particular…

  • Graeme Swann – Not having the best of starts, dropping a crucial catch and then miss fielding the ball for 4, Swann needed to up his game. The run-out of Shafiq for 19 soon spurred him on, and so with the ball in his hand Swann was keen to impress on this tour. Hafeez was the first of Swann’s ‘victims’, slog-sweeping to Bairstow at deep-midwicket, just two balls after Shafiq’s run-out. In a spot of bother at 65-3, Swann starred in a fantastic over that reduced Pakistan’s chances of a reasonable total. With the dangerous Afridi at the crease, pitching it on leg stump Afridi hit it straight to Morgan at midwicket for an easy chance. What was to come was even better as Umar Akmal; the second danger-man departed with a duck merely 3 balls later, Dernbach takes an impressive catch running in from long off to give Swann his third. A double wicket-maiden for Swann left him with excellent T20 figures of 3-13 going at just 3.25 – amazing!

So with England needing 145 to win it was the turn of the batsmen to do their job. KP and Kieswetter were the men to open, and a great start was made reaching 41 before the first wicket fell. Pietersen was on great form smacking 33 from 21 balls; however, Afridi despite failing with the bat removed KP, which slowly led to England’s downfall. Kieswetter and Morgan followed suit, both failing to defeat the spin of Hafeez, Kieswetter’s the bizarre dismissal of the night after he returned to his old ways of moving away from the stumps, hence unable to reach the ball. After the World T20 when Kieswetter first entertained us with this shot, I certainly didn’t think we would see it again! It was from hereon in, with England on 80-3, that the innings unravelled…

  • Umar Gul – The destructive death bowler, Gul, returned to the side today and definitely made an impression. First removing Bopara, England’s vital cog at this current moment on 39 from 32 was bowled with a leg-stump yorker, potentially thwarted England’s chances. But with Buttler and Bairstow at the crease, everyone was sure things would go to plan. Yet did we know that 2 overs following Bopara’s dismissal and in close range of victory, Buttler, being inventive with his shot selection, unluckily hit one straight to Ajmal at short third man. Well England fans weren’t expecting this kind of display, still, our batting line up was capable of crossing the line. Gul hadn’t stopped there though, he wasn’t happy until he had Patel for a golden duck plumb LBW, shattering England’s chances as they stood on 121-6 in need of 24 from 15 balls. With figures of 3-18 and an economy of 4.50, Gul was the stand out performer for Pakistan when they needed it most.

Bairstow and Swann were unable to smack the winning runs, leaving England with an unlucky defeat when they were on target for yet another victory. With two games left to secure the series win, England have to dramatically improve their game plan if they don’t want to be whitewashed for the second time this tour. Hopefully though it won’t come to that and England will maintain their winning form from the ODI series, but it is just a matter of time.

After a game dominated by the bowlers it will be good to see what the second T20 brings… roll on Saturday, let’s see if England can conjure up a magical win in order to level the series! :D

Photo Credit: ECB (ecb.co.uk)

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At last England record a victory against Pakistan this year, their hard work has come to fruition in what was a fantastic match filled with batting, bowling and fielding of the highest quality. The England boys were on top form from the word go, and even managed to end Pakistan’s seven-match ODI winning run, as England conquered their test match difficulties (well to a certain extent) and claimed victory.

The selected squad consisted of: Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Bopara, Morgan, Kieswetter, Patel, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Finn. So as expected we had the regulars within the one-day side, but Bopara got the pick over Bairstow which I hadn’t predicted, and Jimmy had another chance in the ODI side as Dernbach didn’t make the grade. However, this decision bodes well, with three ODIs and T20s remaining, Dernbach will be on the side-lines if needed, but looking at our performance today this may not be the case. Bresnan also didn’t make the team today, the decision being made due to the uncertainty of how well his injury had healed.

Beating Pakistan by a comprehensive margin of 130 runs, it was early on in the day when the inroads for victory were first created. There were some thoroughly outstanding cricket played today, but who were the outstanding performers.

  • Alastair Cook – The captain who showed his team how to conquer the skill of the Pakistani bowlers. Racking up a mammoth 137 runs off just 142 balls, Cook silenced his critics once more as he proved his selection in the one-day side. Surviving until the 47th over, Cook looked comfortable from the outset hitting fourteen 4s along the way; and despite the two early wickets of KP and Trott in successive balls leaving England on 57-2, Cook remained undeterred. Finally dismissed after misjudging a sweep shot to Ajmal, Cook certainly played the captain’s innings as he truly showed his class at the crease.
  • Ravi Bopara – Despite being in and out of the team, in both test and one-dayers Bopara also expressed why he deserved his place. Now I am not the biggest fan of Bopara as a player, however, after today’s innings he took the pressure off Cook and played a very substantial innings to steady England after a brief fall of wickets. Dismissed just after reaching his half-century, Bopara played a risky shot and ended up stumped off the bowling of Ajmal; nevertheless he played a crucial role in England’s final total.
  • Saeed Ajmal – Ajmal was once again the pick of the Pakistani bowlers as he obtained five wickets in a spell of 5-15, to leave him with match figures of 5-43. Causing the middle order to collapse once having Bopara stumped, Ajmal picked up the wickets of Morgan, Kieswetter, Cook and Broad, to reduce England from 188-3 to 232-7. His tantalising bowling once again proved to be too much for England as they failed to pick the spin, with Ajmal reaping the rewards.
  • Steven Finn – The pick of the England bowlers this time certainly has to be Finny. Making his return to the England side after appearing last September against India, Finn made his mark and secured his place I would say for the rest of the tour. Making the early breakthrough, Finn soon had the Pakistani top order (Hafeez, Shafiq, Kahn and Farhat) out for a mere 40 runs; two LBW appeals that went his way, along with two catches behind the stumps that saw Pakistan crumble. Unable to recover, despite no more wickets for Finn, Pakistan were reduced to 130 all out, as Finn obtained career-best figures of 34-4 from his 10 overs.

England really were the team on top today and seemed to show-off their skill in what happens to be the weaker side of their game. Even though this is the case, there are still three ODIs remaining as aforementioned, so if England are to seal the series their hard-work needs to continue, which it undoubtedly will. The England bowlers were all in top form, and England’s fielding was far superior to that of Pakistan’s. For England especially, behind the stumps Kieswetter excelled, namely taking a beautiful catch diving full stretch to his left, off the bowling of Finn. So all round each and every player made their mark on today’s game, some more than others but where would we be without them all? With the next match in two days’ time on Wednesday, England will have to pursue a second and successive win to put the Pakistani team under pressure.

For now though let’s revel in England finally becoming victorious over in the UAE, it was an amazing day full of top match performances and fantastic cricket, hopefully to be repeated over the series!

FB :D

Finn was the outstanding England bowler! Photo Credit: AFP (espncricinfo.com)

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Tomorrow is the day on which we will be able to get an inkling into which team is looking on course to be the superior side in the limited overs series. England are set to face Pakistan in four ODIs as well as three T20s, and hopefully they will be able maintain their pride by resisting another humiliating whitewash. The current England squad that we have lined up are the cream of the crop as expected, but who do we think we make the final cut, and what changes have been made since last summer against India?

  • So one thing is for sure, our openers – Alastair Cook will be partnering Kevin Pietersen, pushing Kieswetter into the middle order, where he first began his career with Somerset. After impressing in the recent Lions’ series over in Sri Lanka coming in at 5, Kieswetter feels confident with his new role, and so let’s hope KP stands up to the mark.
  • Tim Bresnan was an uncertainty a few days ago after doubts over whether his elbow injury had fully recovered, but as of today he has declared himself fit to play which is definitely a bonus to the England side. But do we think Bres will be given the opportunity of a game tomorrow?
  • ‘Newbies’ to the squad are also present, Jos Buttler and Danny Briggs. Buttler has previously played for England in the T20 format, but this is his first call up to the one-day side. Whilst Briggs, the talented Hampshire off-spinner, receives his first England call-up; I would love to see Briggsy get a game especially after his success in the Lions series just gone.
  • Unfortunately though we won’t see Buttler get a game tomorrow, due to splitting the webbing in his left hand during the England Lions’ final match against Sri Lanka A. Hopefully he will be fit and ready to go in the remaining games, we could definitely do with his supreme batting skills over in the UAE.
  • Ian Bell has missed selection for the one-dayers which is a shame, being out of form during the Pakistan Test series he hasn’t made the final pick. Now this is a tricky one as we do have some great new talent coming in through the ranks, the likes of Buttler and Bairstow, but Bell brings along that experience – so hopefully he will return to the ODI side in the summer!

Bar all of the above news, the ODI side remains the same and in full working order (fingers crossed). Now if I was a selector I would have a hard time selecting which of the guys would get their place, obviously there are the main men who will undoubtedly be in the team, for others however it is just a matter of time. However I have picked my squad which I would love to see play in tomorrow’s game, it is as follows in batting order –

My selection: Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Morgan, Kieswetter, Bairstow, Patel, Broad, Swann, Finn, Dernbach

Now that was difficult, I really wanted to include Briggs but that would really be at the expense of a batsman such as Bairstow or Patel. So I have decided to stick with two spinners to maintain that balance, and have Jonny in at 6, with Patel then at 7, although the latter may be further up the order. I have stuck with Finn even though he doesn’t provide the batting of Bresnan, but I feel Finn’s recent performances have been fantastic, namely in the England v England Lions match two days ago; Dernbach has also been in great form hence his inclusion.

So with the team being released on game day tomorrow it will be interesting to see who Cook and Flower have chosen. But what I would really like to know is who you would pick to be in your final 11 – so I would love everyone to comment below with your selection, and after tomorrow’s game we can see who was on the same wavelength as the selectors, so get commenting! I look forward reading all of your selections :)

Full ODI squad for the UAE: Alastair Cook (Essex, captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Stuart Broad (Notts), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Samit Patel (Notts), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Graeme Swann (Notts), Jonathan Trott(Warwickshire)

England are without power-hitter Buttler for the 1st ODI Photo Credit: ecb.co.uk

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Hello all, yep I’m back again! This time though with a right mix of all sorts, namely the progress of the England Lions over in the ‘Desh, and not forgetting the build-up to the much anticipated 2nd Test between England and Pakistan. A little bit of a mix, but I’m just full of surprises.

First up the Lions over in Bangladesh, when I last covered them back on Jan 11th they had just levelled the unofficial ODI series with Bangladesh A 1-1 with three left to play. As it so happens at the end of the 4th ODI our boys had already lost the series, with Bangladesh A beating them by 75 runs and 6 wickets in the respective games. In the third game managing to reduce Bangladesh to 218-9 with three wickets for Briggs, their prospects looked promising. However, despite a partnership of 48 between openers Hales and Vince, wickets began to fall in the middle order with Maynard, Bairstow, Buttler and Borthwick all trapped at the crease LBW. It was Borthwick who was the man to steady the innings at number 7 with a crisp 44 from 52, offering some hope to the Lions, but as the tail fell for a total of 16, England were bowled out for a mere 143 and 75 runs short.

Moving onto the 4th ODI, batting first England seemed to be in a reasonable position, losing opener Hales, Taylor and Maynard early on leaving England on 67-3 you may have thought this was not the case. Fellow opener Root however, along with Bairstow and Buttler all chipped in with helpful runs, Root especially top-scoring with 81 before becoming Farhad Reza’s third ‘victim’. With a decent foundation built with 155-5 before Root departed, it was up to the tail to haul the Lions to a respectable target, losing the last 5 wickets within 50 overs for only 53 runs was not on the cards and left Bangladesh A, a total of only 209 to chase. This was made ever easier by an unbeaten century by Imrul Kayes (110*), with an opening stand of 72 the base was set for victory, even despite losing Faruque and J. Islam for just 31 between them. Bangladesh were aided by a well-timed 40 by N. Islam, which brought them within inches of victory, as they soon won with 28 balls remaining and the loss of just 4 wickets.

The final game of the series though was a different story and a morale boost for the Lions, as they beat Bangladesh A by 6 wickets (with 73 balls remaining) – thank goodness! Restoring their pride this meant the Lions pulled back the series to leave them with a 3-2 defeat. A superb effort by the bowlers in the 1st innings saw Bangladesh reduced to 152 all out, with 3 wickets for Brooks, and 2 for spinners Kerrigan and Root, the top three were skittled for just 8 runs! None of the Bangladesh batting order really got started, with number 9 N. Hossain top-scoring with 38. Turning our focus over to the Lions top order, Root departed for a duck, but Hales and Taylor put on a decent partnership of 52 before Hales (26) and then Maynard (0) left in quick succession leaving England on 60-3. This was not a problem for Bairstow and Buttler though, as between them they racked up 60 runs, both aiding the captain, Taylor, to secure victory leaving him unbeaten on 65*, his highest score of the series and the MOTM. So a face-saving win for the Lions, gave them much more of a boost entering the first of 2 T20’s.

The unofficial T20 series concluded today in fact, and ended 1-1, England winning the 1st by 32 runs, and Bangladesh winning the latter by a small margin of 11 runs. With a score of 143-6 in the 1st T20 by the Lions, and contributions from Roy with 40 from an astonishing 19 balls, Vince (32), and Taylor (28) the Lions bowled Bangladesh A all out for 111, with wonderful figures of 3-16 by Buck from his 4 overs. Eight of the eleven Bangladeshi batsmen remained in single figures and enabled the Lions to claim a comprehensive victory. Reversing the tables in the last T20 the Bangladesh A side brought up 166-6, with a 62 from opener Kayes, Buck was the stand out performer in the bowling department again with 3-22. It was a different story though for the England batsmen as both openers, Roy and Hales fell for 0 and 1 respectively! Putting them back on track, Maynard with 68, and 43 from the captain enabled the Lions to push up to 101-4, losing three more wickets hereafter meant that England fell to 155-7 within their 20 overs, unable to win the series outright.  A mediocre performance over in Bangladesh raises hopes that the upcoming series’ versus Sri Lanka will prove more successful for these future England hopefuls. Jade Dernbach, Craig Kieswetter, Samit Patel and Chris Woakes all join the Lions squad for this upcoming series, taking the places of Simon Kerrigan, Tom Maynard, Tymal Mills, Boyd Rankin and Jason Roy who return to their counties. Hopefully we will see a more victorious Lions squad over in Sri Lanka; we may also see a few of their faces in the International 50-over side to face Pakistan next month.

Right, with the Lions news out of the way for today, finally we have the England Test starting in 2 days’ time. With England’s disappointing performance being the pick of conversation between most cricket pundits and fans alike, there has been talk over selecting a different line-up. Who knows what to expect until the day, but I have an incline that there may be a minute chance that they bring in Monty as a second spinner, but do you all think this is the way to go? Let me know as I would be interested to know who you would select as your 11! Hopefully though whatever the decision I am hoping for a far more improved England on show, back to their number one best if possible. I feel that the last test was a small hurdle to come across for the England boys, but now it is all in the past they can hopefully conquer the conditions in the UAE. So don’t forget to tune in and set those alarms ready for the early wake-up call for those who can cope with it, as it is soon approaching.

So there we have it, a mix of the England Lions news, as well as the build-up toward the anticipated second duel between two highly-performing test teams. I will be here as usual with all the England Team news to keep you up to date, and keep up that support for the England lads as I am sure they will be bouncing back to full form!

Thanks for reading as always! FB :)

Photo credit: BCB (espncricinfo.com)

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