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Posts Tagged ‘stokes’

Luck definitely is not a word appearing in the England team’s vocabulary this winter. With 5 ODIs and 3 T20s England managed just one win across both formats.

Whatever happened to Australia over the course of four months I don’t know, or to England for that matter?

Is it bad that I’m going to focus on England’s ODI win? Just for a little bit at least, you have to give me something to be happy about where cricket is concerned.

Again, it was Ben Stokes who stepped up to the mark in the 4th ODI with 70 runs and a nice 4 wickets to accompany that. Bell, Cook and Buttler were also among those who performed, the latter in particular pulling out all the stops to stop what could have been another Australian whitewash.

To be fair England weren’t too bad in the limited overs, ok they were, I mean the scores show that. But Balance, Morgan, Root and Bopara individually made pretty decent contributions across the board.

But like I’ve said so many times already these past few months, and yes Australia revel in your glory, as they were just the better team… again.

As an England fan it’s been tough going sitting through defeat after defeat, all I want is just a glimmer of hope and to take a series win away with us this winter.

Not too much to ask is it?

I hope not as we have the West Indies limited overs series’ coming up at the end of this month, not to forget the World T20 (my hopes will be high, whether that’s a good thing or not).

And whether we win or not it will be without controversy maker number one, yes, KP. As we’ve seen, Pietersen no longer forms a part of the England cricket team and never will. Shall we call it KP-gate? That’s what most people seem to do now.

Regardless, a big shake up is happening, Flower’s resigned, Swanny’s no longer the team joker – yes I’m still in shock – and a new England set-up is already in the making.

Hopefully exciting and new challenges lie ahead, don’t know if you agree but I totally feel it’s time for something different, especially with such poor results Down Under.

All we can do is see what’s to come this summer, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be the England team we know.

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So that same old feeling returns, the one we haven’t felt for the past couple of years and one we would rather be without. The Ashes are back in Australia’s hands. Just the words alone are painful enough.

I am sat here quite embarrassed, having said in my first post of this 2013/2014 Ashes series that England could still win in from 1-0 down. If only I had hindsight hey?

Having been on such a role recently and with one Ashes win already under our belts from the summer, it was like we had reverted back to the England team of old. Whitewashed and no win to our name.

I’m surprised every England fan isn’t having nightmares about our play this winter in the Land of Oz. Only one simple point can be made, Australia were hands down the far better team.

Our batting line up just ceased to exist, our bowling wasn’t really up to scratch and don’t get me started on team morale (you all know where I’m coming from).

It really is a shame to be honest, so many good players just not a decent result to show for it. It begs the question, was it worth the lack of sleep and dreading the alarm the next morning just to watch the below-par performance?

Wait, silly question… it’s still the Ashes after all!

But it doesn’t go to say that I wouldn’t have like to have seen a win in Adelaide or Melbourne, of course I would. Or even just a sparkling show from Cook, Bell, Anderson or Broad.

Well anyone if truth were told.

Instead it was left up to the young guns, Ben Stokes namely in Melbourne, top scoring for England across both innings and 8 wickets to his name. So maybe England did something right with Stokes’ selection.

The continual changes to the team, however, tells me that something’s not going right – ok well that’s obvious with us not winning anything – but like I said earlier I don’t think team morale is up there with the best.

I suppose all we can hope for now is a tiny miracle, or for a game just to go our way in the limited overs games coming up.

And seeing as keeping my fingers crossed hasn’t worked so well this series I’m not sure that’s the way to go, so we’ll see what we get shall we?

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Hmm, so what was painful watching over the past two tests over in Australia was made even more so at Perth. Yes, as hard as it is for me to say, the little urn is back with the Aussies.

After many late nights and early mornings to catch up on the goings on Down Under, it all seems that little bit disappointing that the England boys couldn’t secure, not just a series win, but at least one win so far.

Yes, I know we have two more tests still left to go, but for us that’s all about regaining form and pride as there’s not much left to do now than avoid that ever-humiliating whitewash.

It has to be said that Australia have played far superior than they have over the past few years, with Smith, Warner and Watson all racking up three figures at Perth.

England did play a somewhat better game, however, breaking the 300 barrier for the first time this series. Mainly this was all down to one man, Ben Stokes.

Now in my last post I did say runs would be lovely from him and well, it seemed to work didn’t it? I did not expect however, a brilliant 120, England’s first centurion of the series that reduced their defeat to a miserly 150 runs.

Bar Stokes’ maiden ton, England yet again seemed outplayed throughout the five days. Moving onto the Boxing Day test at Melbourne we’re definitely going to have to pick up our game.

With Stuart Broad now injured yet again this means our number one wicket-taker spot is up for grabs, so I think we’re going to need a little bit of Jimmy magic.

Especially if we hope to replicate the 2010/11 Ashes score at the MCG, Australia all out for 98 and a victory of an innings and 157 runs.

What a day that was, what a series in fact.

But that’s now all in the past and England are faltering, we may have lost the Ashes but I know we can regain them just as quick as we lost them this year.

Let’s just see if they can keep them as long as we did, yeah?

Well anyway, we’ll leave it with Belly to have the final word…

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Well, where do I start? I think it’s a little bit of an understatement to say I was hoping for a better result, just the tiniest bit of improvement at The Adelaide Oval.

Instead, we were treated to Australia leading the way, just as we had done in the summer… oh how long ago that now seems.

Australia winning by 218 runs was not my prediction, neither was another great consecutive spell of bowling from Johnson, or Clarke and Warner yet again scoring runs aplenty.

And what’s happened to England? I’d rather not mention our batting if I can avoid it. It’s quite similar to a horror movie, in the sense that you want to hide behind the sofa, scared of what is coming next.

Again, there were glimpses of hope from Carberry, Root, Bell ad KP, but we can’t keep relying on those few individuals.

The question comes about whether we should change the team but I really do hope it’s just a phase – hope being the operative word.

We’ve already introduced debutant, Ben Stokes, into the fold but it looks as if we’ll have to wait and see what he has in store for the test team (runs would be lovely please).

With the third test at Perth arriving quickly it hasn’t left much time to get used to the idea that England are now 2-0 down in  the series already.

It’s not as if we’re renowned for winning at Perth either, 35 years since we last did in fact.

So England aren’t just going to want to win to break that spell but it just happens to be Captain Cook’s 100th Test, Captain Clarke’s too as it goes so Australia will be pulling out all the stops too I guess.

So two big momentous occasions for the captains, but it all depends on the result. Cook I couldn’t say it better myself.

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I don’t just want an England result, of course it would be great, but we need it too – lose at Perth and we lose the series and come on we don’t want that to happen now do we?

So all we can do is watch in suspense, oh and keep our fingers crossed to help secure that England victory.

If not I think I’m just going to stay behind the sofa…

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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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Yes as you may have already heard England suffered their first defeat in over two months yesterday to the West Indies by 25 runs. Rather unexpected I must say after the low score by the Indies, I thought it was victory all over for England but then again I didn’t factor in a batting collapse on our behalf. However I am not letting this dampen my spirits of what has been an amazing summer of cricket, and considering this was sort of an ‘unofficial’ game it doesn’t really blemish the International successes this year.

It all started with England bowling first and with an early breakthrough things looked rosy. It was Dernbach with the wicket of Smith LBW in the fourth over and was the first of the previous game’s danger men to be removed, Bascombe also fell LBW, this time to Patel for just 3 and the West Indies were 24-2. With spin brought on early, well Patel opened in fact, it was the turn of debutant Borthwick to show us what he’d got. It was the penultimate ball of Borthwick’s second over, and a full-pitched googly was too good a ball perfectly knocking down Charles’ stumps in the process. When the fourth wicket fell only 22 runs were added in the space of 5 overs. Barnwell departed due to a fantastic catch to Hales off the bowling off Patel. Now down to 64-4 off 14 overs the West Indies looked in a lot of trouble, but with the captain Sammy and Samuels at the crease a decent partnership was made. After Sammy holed one out to Borthwick in the outfield for the second great catch the West Indies finally ended on 113 which to be honest seemed an easy enough total for the England boys to get.

That is easier said than done. Hales and Kieswetter had both left the field within the space of four overs both bowled by Santokie and Mathurin respectively, with 12 between them leaving Bopara and Stokes to pile on the runs. Bopara didn’t last long, with England on 24-3 the two inexperienced batsmen Stokes and Bairstow were left with a struggling task. Twenty runs were added however and they managed to get England down to needing a run a ball, so there we were thinking the job was almost done… or maybe not. Bairstow within the space of two overs was Mathurin’s third victim, with Patel following shortly after, this time however he was to be the first of four, yes four run-outs! England were 52-5 and this time it looked like the West Indies were on top, Stokes and Buttler were the men in the middle. Stokes unfortunately could not overturn an LBW decision meaning he departed for a valuable 31 from 23 balls, but with England still only needing a run a ball with 6 wickets down the game was not yet lost.

But I must admit at this point I was starting to doubt just how much our lower order hitters could take us over the line. Bresnan only lasted one over after that becoming the 7th man to succumb to the West Indian bowling attack, Borthwick was the next man in and being on debut he must have had some nerves surely? He and Buttler though did manage to salvage something for England, taking them to 83-8 with a partnership of 23 and showing up the other more experienced batsmen in the line-up. But then came the downfall, both were run-out within seven balls with 2 extra runs added and England were facing defeat. Dernbach was finally the last man out once again a run-out victim, and 26 runs behind you wouldn’t have thought this was the all-singing, all-dancing team (okay a bit of an overstatement) that have been nearly undefeatable this summer.

England will come back fighting I know they definitely will, but for now it’s onwards and upwards as we look towards October for the limited overs series in India, we won’t see another Test series until January but I’m sure England will be able to reign supreme over in India (fingers crossed). After this defeat it will put things into perspective for England and make them come back stronger and I really can’t wait to see what the team has in store!

The end of the cricketing summer has finally arrived just imagine what next year will bring.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Jonny Bairstow is his name, and yesterday with such flair, such class, and such power, he gave the performance of his life. Not only did Jonny help England pull off an amazing run-chase, but he also played a fantastic innings that powered England to a comprehensive series win, and once again leaves them undefeated against India! I think you would agree when I say that this has been one spectacular English summer, no actually that is an understatement!

On to the game itself and what a cracker it was? With Broad and Stokes injured, and Jimmy rested, it opened the way for Bairstow to enter the side for his debut. It also allowed Patel and Finn to keep their places within the team. So after England chose to field they took the two opening wickets of Patel and Rahane leaving India on 2-57, which left Dravid in his last ever ODI for India, and Kohli at the crease. Swanny managed to break through the solid defences and break that crucial partnership, but Kohli still remained and in imperious form to. At only 22 years of age Kohli managed to rack up his 6th ODI hundred off just 87 balls including eight 4’s and a 6. But only 7 runs into his century Kohli was the next man to go, suffering some shall we say very bad luck. So now at 4-236 things were improving slightly, with Dhoni also now on fire he sped to a quick half century from 26 balls whilst Raina at the other end kept steady with 15. India finally finished on 304-6 which in hindsight I felt to be a very tough target, and one which could earn India their first win of the series.

After several interruptions however, England’s target was reduced to 241 from 34 overs which made England’s run-chase even more of a mountain to climb. It was left though to Cook and Trott, the former decided he would like to smack the ball to the boundary a couple of times, whilst Trott hit two maximums (I know), and yes these were his first ever ODI sixes. But as they both registered half-centuries it wasn’t long until Cook departed for a 54-ball 50 to Kohli. Once Trott left only an over later with 63 off 60 balls, it meant that Bopara and debutant Bairstow were the men to finish off the job, with England needing 75 runs off just 50 balls. But that was no problem for young Bairstow scoring 41 from only 21 balls, as he felt that slog-sweeping a four and a six followed by two more maximums was the way to go about things, and boy did he impress. Bairstow punched the air once they crossed the line and the smile never left his face. I’m not surprised either as his performance won him the Man of the Match, on debut as well.

The game was definitely one to watch, it had excitement, it had tension and it had the nerves that really make cricket one of the greatest sports around. With this game wrapping up the series for England, it means that India once again are left defeated and being World Champions they certainly were below their best, pushed down to fifth in the ODI rankings with England moving up to fourth.

 

Photo Credit: ecb.co.uk

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