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“The Root, the Root, the Root”

Come on, don’t say that you didn’t join in the chants with the rest of the Lord’s crowd. It was hard not to as England’s newest member of the team, stepped up to the occasion to appear as if he had been playing Ashes cricket all his life.

I think (no, I know) Root has cemented himself as opening batsman after that stunning knock at the Home of Cricket merely hours ago.

Honestly, I have rooted (sorry had to be done) for him to be in the England side for the past two years and after his ‘honour’s board worthy’ 180, and fantastic figures of 2-9 I don’t know how anyone can argue against the young guy’s talent.

I’m still sat here now, saying to myself 2-0. Is it really 2-0? England lead 2-0 in the Ashes. Yeah… it still hasn’t sunk in.

But what do the lads think?

 

I don’t want to jinx anything but could we go all the way, *cough* whitewash.

I don’t see why we can’t, Bell’s in superior form, our bowlers are excelling and we have Captain Cook at the fore.

With now a 10-day break between the next Ashes Test at Old Trafford, we are going to have to wait even longer to see if England can actually win the Ashes. As yes, if we win the next test that Ashes Urn will remain in English hands!

Could this battle be any more tense? I think not. #RISE

And to sum it up in the words of Graeme Swann… 

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On what would have been the last day of the Test between England and Sri Lanka, I find myself reminiscing about another England defeat, and an opportunity missed. In a struggling position, England had to pull out all the stops to be able to pull off a remarkable run chase in subcontinent conditions. They did manage to get within a small margin of victory, but once again, the batsmen failed to take advantage of a decent start.

So where did I leave it last, well Sri Lanka ended Day 2 in an uncompromising position on 84-5, but still with a lead of 209 runs. With only 5 more wickets for England, it should have been over and done with pretty early on in the day. What was not forecast though was the gritty innings of Jayawardene, this time Prasanna, not Mahela, which saw Sri Lanka climb to a great 214 all out by which time saw English bowlers flagging. Unable to restrain the tail-enders, whatever option was tried, the wickets were just not falling. Don’t get me wrong, once Chandimal’s wicket fell to Panesar caught at slip, Randiv and Herath soon followed both to Swann, with a beauty coming round the wicket to the latter to have the ball crashing into his stumps. Eight down and England were in a fantastic position to claim the last two, to reduce their deficit. However, with P. Jayawardene still at the crease, Welegedara and Lakmal, individually played a huge supporting role as Jayawardene passed the half-century mark. But it wasn’t as if we didn’t have the chances to dismiss the batsmen, a costly no-ball from Broad, and an easy run-out opportunity were missed, vital causes of Sri Lanka’s final deficit of339, meaning England had to face a mammoth task of chasing 340 to secure a Test match win. Optimism was surely needed at this point, we are currently struggling for runs, as if I haven’t mentioned this before, but I still kept the faith that we could (with very hard graft) achieve the total. And let me tell you, even though we lost both openers within the space of 19 overs for a collective total of 42 between them, finishing up on 111-2 exceeded my expectations. Trott and KP kept composure, and left England on Nelson at the end of Day 3; Trott especially with a steady 40 runs already acquired.

229 runs were needed over the last two days of the Test to ensure an England victory, which now was looking even more possible. Although Pietersen returned to the pavilion with a mere one run added to his overnight score, and Bell had a doubtful umpire decision go against him for 13 runs, all was not lost. I must say though that shot selection has not been our forte on these overseas tours, a chip to midwicket from KP, and Bell pulled out the deadly sweep shot… please guys just forget the sweep shot for the time being! Anyway, this left England on 152-4, Trott joined at the crease by Prior which set up a partnership that witnessed England climb ever closer to that daunting score, and Trott slave away to claim his 7th Test century in the 86th over. This is what England needed, a centurion like Sri Lanka had in their captain, Mahela, in the first innings. So with two batsmen settled in nicely, it was down to these pair to help England over the line, but as we are coming accustomed to, somehow England have a tendency that if they lose one wicket, they lose them all. This time, it was the turn of Prior to spring out that sweep shot, only having it caught at short leg, making way for Patel to take his second chance in Test cricket. Seven overs later, and with spin in full flow, Herath, with four wickets already to his name was not content, and happily had Patel skew one to Dilshan at cover, England 252-6. Trott still standing tall at this time didn’t stay around for long, with increasing pressure all England needed was 88 runs with four wickets remaining, Randiv managed to have the prized wicket of Trott caught at leg sip for 112. And there it was, the moment the game changed.

The lower order of Broad, Swann, Anderson and Panesar collected 11 runs between them, the former being not out at the end of the innings, as the three latter batsmen all fell to spin. Swann was Herath’s 6th and final wicket of the Test as he collected a match haul of 12-171, fantastic figures for a spinner still not highly regarded as world-class on the International stage. England could only manage 264 losing by a margin of 75 runs, their fourth consecutive Test defeat. To make matters worse, if they lose the final game commencing on 3rd April, then England will suffer the devastating loss of their World Number 1 status. I know that I am not alone in saying this, but I will be behind them 100 per cent, as they need to maintain that number 1 ranking as we all know they are capable of achieving.

It was unfortunate that England couldn’t capitalise on their decent start, from 111-2, England looked to have it in the bag, what a difference a day can make. I suppose it is in the makeup of Test cricket though as we should all be expecting the unexpected. There are highlights to be taken from this game though we do show signs of brilliance once again, namely Trott and Swann.

Who impressed over the last 2 days?

Jonathan Trott – The star of England’s 2nd innings, although unable to sustain his form post his century, Trott led the way for England and gave them a glimpse of hope as to achieving victory. Without Trott’s contribution, I can say for sure that the margin England lost by would have been far greater, all he needs to now is carry his form into the last Test of the series.

Rangana Herath – As aforementioned, Herath isn’t widely accredited as one of the world’s greatest spinners. However, with a haul of 12 wickets, not only did he highlight England’s continued weakness against spin in the subcontinent, but only on 7 other occasions have bowling figures exceeded Herath’s. His performance means he is only the 5th Sri Lankan to pick up 10+ wickets in a match.

So that concludes this first Test match, which sees Sri Lanka take a 1-0 lead, and with only one more game to play, it is all or nothing for England. With one bowler down, having announced Stuart Broad will not be fit for the last Test, another bowler will be making his way into the side; will it be Finn or Bresnan? We are yet to know, but I think that all that matters at the moment is England put in their best performance to seal a victory from Tuesday onwards!

Photo Credit: AFP (espncricinfo.com)

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Yesss! This is the moment we have been longing for, a series whitewash over in the UAE. After the humiliating Test defeat, the England boys can finally hold their heads high in a 4-0 victory that was full of outstanding talent from start to finish. With Pakistan posting a decent total of 237, England for the 4th consecutive time bowled Pakistan out, this is the first time England have ever bowled their opposition out in every game of a series! This just highlights how fantastic our bowling unit has been. Then we had the run chase, despite the early wicket of Cook for 4, Pietersen gave everyone another master class as he stormed towards his successive ODI century. With 4 balls to spare, and 6 wickets down, England managed to cross the line in style to take that wonderful series victory.

However, the team that were victorious today was somewhat different in many ways. With niggles for Swann and Bopara, and the experienced pace attack of Anderson and Broad in need of rest before the T20s, it was the perfect time for Cook to make changes in the team. Bringing in debutants Jos Buttler and Danny Briggs, along with Bresnan and Dernbach reappearing in the side, these four had a great opportunity to take England to a superb victory. Which they certainly did, winning by 4 wickets and taking a lot of pleasure in all that they had achieved over the series. As always I have picked the players who I felt today made the most vital contributions to England’s win…

  • Jade Dernbach – Definitely the star with ball as he made his way back into the England side for the first time this tour. Striking with the second ball of his over removing Hafeez, Jade later removed fellow opener Azhar Ali breaking the crucial partnership, when it looked as though Pakistan were on course for a large total. But Dernbach made his most significant contribution in the latter half of the game, removing the ever-dangerous Misbah on 46, along with Ajmal in the space of two balls to conclude the innings, finishing with 4-45.
  • Kevin Pietersen – Well what can I say? Firstly, he does not get an ODI century for 3 years, then his gets two in a row. This time the better of the two saw KP rack up 130 runs, his best ever ODI score, complied of twelve 4s and two 6’s, a purely fascinating innings to watch. With England in a spot of bother on 68-4, KP stuck in for the long haul and took England virtually all the way. Unfortunately hitting one straight to point with only 2 runs needed, KP couldn’t believe the shot he had played; nevertheless, he was pivotal in England’s win.
  • Craig Kieswetter – With runs needed on this tour, Kieswetter pulled it of the bag when England required it most. England were stranded on 68-3 when things went from bad to worse as unlucky Buttler fell for a duck on his ODI debut. With a partnership the only viable option, Kiesy took it in his stride with a valuable innings of 43, as he and Pietersen safely took England to 177-5 and within touching distance of victory. Kieswetter unfortunately suffered from a run-out, departing 7 runs off his half-century. Despite this, Kieswetter played the supporting role for KP, and made a great contribution of a well-deserved win.

How can I not also have my performers of the series?

BatsmanAlastair Cook – Who else? MOTS in what was a fabulous series for Cook, including 2 centuries, and pure captaincy talent that saw his side unbeatable in this ODI duel. Announced also today that Cook will be staying with the side for the T20 series due to Bopara’s niggle, it is sure to say that Cook is currently in the form of his life, and long may it continue!

BowlerSteven Finn – With nothing but impressive performances this series, Finn was the leading wicket taker with 13 under his belt. Another 2 wickets today for just 39 further accentuates my point that Finn has grown so much over the past few months, and still continues to develop, a test place as I said before, is surely on the cards again?

And finally how did the debutants fare… well it was a little bit of a mixed bag:

  • Danny Briggs (Hampshire) – This was Briggs’ first international call-up to the senior side, and with England bowling first Briggs was soon facing the expectation of many. I have been keeping an eye on Briggs for a couple of years now, and it must be said that his left-arm spin is pretty impressive. Hoping he would earn a place sometime this tour, I was elated when he finally made his debut today replacing Swann. Finishing with an economy rate of 3.90 from his 10… well it just shows the talent Briggs has at present. To top it off Briggs debut could not have been better, than when he took his first international wicket – that of Umar Akmal, caught at long off by Dernbach for 12! Also obtaining the wicket of Shoaib Malik LBW for 23, it really wrapped up a remarkable performance by the young debutant, one that will certainly be a memory to treasure.
  • Jos Buttler (Somerset) – Now to the opposite end of the spectrum unfortunately for Buttler. When it came to Buttler’s turn, coming in at 68-3, we really needed his supreme batting skills. With every England fan looking forward to his arrival at the crease, Buttler could only manage 2 balls before he left, pushing one to short leg for 0. The expectation of Buttler coming in to rescue the England side had been dampened. This being his ODI debut – having already played T20 cricket for England – it could not have been worse for Buttler with a duck to his name. You could only feel sorry for his disappointment, as everyone was willing him on from the start, but you have your ups and downs in your cricketing career, be it domestic or international. All Buttler can do is come back stronger when he gains his second chance.

So there we have it, a fantastic day’s cricket as I have said so many times this series. It really has encapsulated everything I adore about the game, and I couldn’t have wished for a better result, a 4-0 whitewash! Nothing beats the feeling in cricket of a whitewash, and the boys had better celebrate in style, as they fully deserve it. The performances we saw by the England boys were spot on time and time again, the T20 series that is approaching on Thursday I am sure will also provide superb cricket as always.

Once again, England could not have given this series any more than they did, full credit to them! :D

No champers though :) Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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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, I am back with my first 2012 post *cheers*, your wait is over and you can divulge into my lasting musings for another year… so be ready and prepared for a fun-filled, roller-coaster year in the cricketing calendar. Firstly if you are new to my blog, welcome, it is great to have new readers and I hope you enjoy what I can only describe as the true fans guide to the world of cricket, as I encourage everyone to share their views. I try to provide everyone with all the latest news, whilst adding that female twist to the game – yes I am female, and yes I love cricket! Secondly, hello wonderful regulars it is great to have you back for another year, and I must say a huge thank you for the support and lovely comments throughout my ‘debut’ year in 2011.

With all that out of the way, this year I hope to make Caught At Slip really successful, in terms of attracting more cricket lovers to the site who wish to air their views on Domestic or International cricket. So any of you out there who knows someone with a passion for the game, or you have a friend who is slowly becoming a fan… then you know where to direct them!

Right now down to the cricket at last. For those who struggled with the lack of cricket over the winter, we are being treated to a Test Series between the Aussie’s and the Indians. I know it is not really a substitute for you die-hard England fans, but the sheer skill of both sides is evident, even though India’s prestige seems to be slipping as they are losing the series 2-0 with two still left to play. We have already witnessed the likes of Clarke, Hussey and Ponting at their best – 329*, 150* and 134 respectively. Let me tell you that was impressive to see, the slick cover drives and square cuts it was pure brilliance if I may say so! Not forgetting also the “Little Master’s” seemingly harder challenge to conquer the 100th ton feat, the agony to fall at the final hurdle – what can’t you like about this clash?

But I don’t know if it is just me, as the England winter tour versus Pakistan is about to begin this Tuesday the excitement is just about containable. Yet we are what, 11 days into 2012 and there has already been plenty of ‘goings-on’ within the England camp. Namely that of Tim Bresnan having to fly home due to his elbow not having fully recovered, plus throw this into the mix, Tremmers is currently suffering from an eye infection (I did say it would be a roller-coaster year)… but it isn’t all doom and gloom as it does just happen to clear the way for Finn to show-off his skills on the UAE pitches. Having already beaten the ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI – try saying that quickly – by 3 wickets things are looking good for 2012, not that I want to jinx anything of course. Having the ICC boys at 90-6 we we’re sailing through, but an upsurge in runs enabled them to reach 281, which was a slight challenge. Managing to reach 185 for the loss of 8 wickets, Captain Fantastic declared, which I must say in hindsight was definitely the way to go, considering we then knocked ICC over for 164 leaving England with a total of 261. It was a close run match but England clinched the win despite the loss of 7 wickets, a winning start is always wonderful even if it is a tour match. Oh and how can I not include that Stuart Broad, after making his return, received a 7 wicket match haul, get in there Stuey! Actually as I write this England are currently involved in their second tour match this time versus the Pakistan Cricket Board XI, England finishing Day 1 on 269/9 declared, with the PCB XI at 23-0, the highlight being Cook standing tall with 133… need I say more?!

However it is not only the big boys who are excelling over in the UAE, the England Lions are now also in action over in Bangladesh in an unofficial ODI series consisting of 5 matches. We have a mix of and old and new Lions touring this year, and exciting ones at that, such as Roy, Vince, Mills, Buck and Maynard. Losing by six wickets to Bangladesh A in their first game their top order seemed to struggle with the pitches in the ‘Desh. However Buttler did manage to rack up 45 to haul the Lions to a mediocre total of 139, with Buck impressing in the latter half of the game with two maiden-wicket overs! Needing to improve their game somewhat, the Lions didn’t disappoint in their second outing only yesterday, turning the tables to win convincingly by 6 wickets. Despite Nazimuddin’s 99*, recent England star Meaker reaped four wickets, whilst spin bowling trio, Briggs, Borthwick and Kerrigan chipped in with 7 collective wickets, to reduce Bangladesh A to 176. Losing the two early wickets of Roy and Root, Vince and the captain, James Taylor put on a stand of 48, whilst Bairstow and Buttler hit aggressively to claim 50* and 41* respectively. Levelling the series, the Lions have it all to play for now, not that I want to sound too dramatic or anything!

So what a great 11 days of the year we have had so far, there will be many more to come as well, trust me on that… or maybe I am just a little bit biased about our wonderful England teams? Nah, surely not.

I’m looking forward to 2012 as I do have a few surprises in store for you all, that is, if they go to plan which fingers crossed they hopefully do. So stay tuned, not just for this surprise in the next few weeks, but also for all the latest surrounding England’s tour, the new County season, as well as the recent developments concerning the Morgan review. Can’t wait for what is in store for this blog in 2012, it is going to be a great cricketing year. I hope you have all had a great start to the year and have enjoyed my first blog in 2012, there will be plenty more to come I assure you!

FB :)

P.S – Don’t forget to keep up to date, either subscribe to the site, or check my Twitter posts to see whenever I post a new blog!

Photo Credit: ecb.co.uk

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Finally England secured a win on Indian soil, yes it may have been in a single T20 game, but it was a win all the same. We are T20 Champions so securing this win was crucial, if we’d lost it down to number three in the rankings we would go. I can’t begin to tell you how ecstatically happy I was, having been used to England domination over the summer it had been hard to see them suffer consecutive defeats. But we had done it once again albeit in the shortest format of the game, and regained that winning form. However, hopefully England will keep up their form in the New Year, as I regret to say this is the last game of the year, yeah I know I am asking myself the same question… what are we going to do? I suppose all I can do is wait, and wait – January is the time we will see the best format of the game (in my opinion anyway) Test matches against Pakistan, so roll on next year!

Well just focusing on now, yesterday saw a thrilling game that had the best of starts for England to say the least. So just 4 balls in and Steven Finn once again passing the bat and bowling superbly (as he has done all series I must say) managed to get Rahane to edge behind enabling Kieswetter to pull off a stunner of a catch, one-handed as well, incredible stuff! A loud cheer came from my end to make up for the lack of spectators at Eden Gardens, rather too loud I think but we did have the Indians on 1-1. Anyway on with the game, just four balls after Finny’s glorious wicket along came Bresnan with a great delivery that caused Uthappa to get a slight edge and allow Kieswetter to pull off another fantastic dive. What was this, India on 5-2? *Wild celebrations ensue* England could hardly believe it, yet alone I! It was onwards and upwards for England, Kohli departed in the 6th over for 15, and sent the ball into the safe hands of Alex Hales at deep midwicket, who took an absolutely remarkable catch. Tiwary and Raina left in successive overs to Patel and Finn, Patel bowling Tiwary beautifully on the off stump, with Finn having Raina cut to Bairstow at point. Things got worse for the Indians who fell to 74-6, as Finn reaped rewards for his brilliant bowling taking Jadeja’s wicket to claim 2 in 2, leaving him on a hat-trick. There was unfortunately no hat-trick for Finn but Bopara soon added further to the Indian’s woes. He was able to the wickets of Pathan and Kumar which left India facing a downfall as they only had 3 overs left, and just 91 runs on the board. But thankfully for them their captain along with Ashwin managed to take India to 120, with Dhoni especially chipping in with much needed boundaries… however not being out throughout the whole series Dhoni looked like he was going to survive in the T20 also. This wasn’t to be as MS took a risk that certainly didn’t pay off as he was run-out by Dernbach off the last ball of the innings.

Onto England’s chase then, I must say I was happy for the boys to chase down 120. Don’t get me wrong it was a good score, but on that pitch the Indians could have scored around 140+ which to be honest we couldn’t have chased down as we left it until the end to cross the line. England didn’t get off to the best start with their batting it must be said, as openers Kieswetter and Hales had both departed by the end of the 7th over. KP and Patel though had a decent partnership to take England to the 100 mark, Patel left to the spin of Kohli but it was KP who was the man in charge. Pietersen stormed to 53 from 39 even bringing back out the spectacular switch-hit… oh yes it seems to have returned! Hitting three 6’s KP helped England to take the game out of the Indians hands, but all was not yet complete. KP did have to depart as he was given out LBW to Raina attempting a reverse sweep, so with 2 new batsmen at the crease it was left up to Bopara and Bairstow to finish off what was started. Slowly but surely the pair held it together to prevent another wicket falling, it was truly wonderful to witness and you would think England hadn’t won a game since the Ashes as I was so, so happy. To see the smiles return to the England lads’ faces was a picture, the sheer amount of hard work that has gone into their cricket, not just in India, but over the summer as well had definitely taken its toll… so much credit to them. As I said it was their last game of the year, and even though I cannot wait, it will surely give the team a very well-earned and well deserved break.

To round things off this was my first full season of cricket covered on my blog, and even though it is the end of the season the blogs will still be written – but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read them. As it is the first time I have ever written a blog I wasn’t sure how well it would be received but have been happy by the response, and can’t wait for a cricket filled year next year! On a final note congratulations England on yesterday’s win as well as the absolutely amazing summer that has given me so many memories… but for today that is all! :D

Photo Credit: ecb.co.uk

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