A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Saturday, 8 December 2012

3rd Test: December 5-9. Kolkata, Eden Gardens

Tour of India 2012 -2013

3rd Test: December 5-9. Kolkata, Eden Gardens


We really need to check this coin that they're using as yet again we lose the toss for the third time in row and India choose to bat.
When it comes to Test cricket, the age-old mentality of Indian players has been to view pastimes like fielding as no more than a pesky irritation that has to be experienced for a while until they go into bat. So once again, Dhoni, the Indian captain, could barely conceal his joy as once again stated that his side would bat first. I could barely conceal my depression at getting up at 3am to watch an opposing team swagger on a flat pitch again.

Our victory by 10 wickets in the previous Test was inspired by the spin twins, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, who took all but one of the 20 wickets between them. So this time the Indians were going to be prepared…..or so they thought. Quite simply, our pace bowlers were outstanding with Jimmy Anderson ( no relation) leading the way, finding swing with the old and second new balls on a benign pitch. Meanwhile, Finn, unlucky not take a wicket on his recall, bowled with pace and hostility to look intimidating.

The initial proceedings were given a bizarre boost with the dismissal first of Sehwag by his partner Gambhir,  who seems to have been reading Nasser Hussein's text book '101 ways to run out your partner' ( with a foreword by Geoffrey Boycott). Sehwag dabbed the ball to deep midwicket and wanted three runs. Gambhir had no interest whatsoever in a third run and was staring at the magnificent fielding by Finny and oblivious to Sehwag charging towards him.  Sehwag tried turning around with the balletic grace of someone without any balletic grace . The throw from Finn was fired in like a tracer bullet and Prior had enough time to pop back to the changing rooms for a quick shower and change of kit before whipping off the bails.

At the end of the first day Captain fantastic Cook and his band of brothers were outstanding in reducing India to 273-7. I have a good feeling about this.

INDIA Vs ENGLAND 3rd Test Day 1 - Wickets


During the night my good feeling decided to do a runner on me, so when the alarm went off at stupid o'clock for the start of play I fully expected the benign pitch to thwart our bowlers for a couple of hours so I decided to ignore the alarm. Oh me of little faith - England actually made relatively light work of getting rid of the India tail as Monty had Zaheer Khan trapped lbw for six and then rearranged Ishant Sharma's stumps in a nice symmetrical pattern of chaos.

So by the time I had wandered in my semi-comatose state downstairs to the TV, the heroic Cook and Compton were already making steady progress and annoying the Indian bowlers by being rather good again at playing spin. As play progresses the Indian fielders decide that their fielding would actually be much suitable if accompanied by the theme from the Benny Hill show as Cook is dropped on 17.  There are also a plethora of other Keystone cops moments in the field keep us all amused. I was hoping to include some pictorial evidence of the various comedic moments, however the row between the Indian board of cricket and the international press (yes, another one) means that there a few independent photographs of the action).

Things grow ever more surreal as the days play goes on with the magnificent  Cook setting a record for England Test centuries with his 23rd heeling us gain control of the match. Doing so  passed the total of 22 held by Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Geoffrey Boycott and Kevin Pietersen. Geoffrey is currently at the Test match commentating for TMS…….he didn't look pleased. Cook made 136 not out as England reached 216-1 in reply to India's 316 all out at the close of the day at Eden Gardens.

INDIA Vs ENGLAND 3rd Test Day 2 - All Wickets


Captain Cook apparently isn't satisfied with breaking cricketing records on what seems like a daily basis; The youngest ever batsmen to reach 7000 runs, highest ever amount of Test centuries for an England batsman and the winner of 'The square jawed hero of our time' competition, to name but three, well two. 

No, not only that, but unbeknown to all he had secretly put his name forward for 'The most unusual dismissal of the millennium' award today , and what a magnificent entry it is. Picture the scene……England are coasting on 359-2 when KP smacked the ball into the covers and declined to run. Cook was taking evasive action to avoid Kohli's throw but was out of his ground as the ball struck his wicket. According to the laws of the game, If Cook had grounded his bat before the throw, then ducked to avoid the ball, the umpire would have given him not out. As it was, Captain fantastic just stopped short of dropping his bat over the crease before allowing the ball to pass by and, by the time the stumps were hit, it was too late. Our Square-jawed hero knew straight away that it was bye-bye double century, putting his head in his hands as the umpires debated the decision.

Thus Captain Cook broke yet another record - Mr John Rabone (Dubai based architect, drumming legend and sadly, Man Utd supporter) informs me that this was the first time that Cook had ever been run out in 1st class cricket making it something of a world record. 

So another major innings from Cook, excellent return to form from Trott, Bell looked as rusty as someone who had been given leave to fly a round trip of oodles of miles to attend the birth of his new son and Patel was unlucky again.

The evening session saw Matt Prior and Graeme Swann adding an unbroken stand of 56, England closed on 509-6, providing a lead of 193. England are completely on top now in this Test match and barring a disaster of Abu Dhabi proportions (Oh god, the flashbacks!) there is very little chance of us losing this game. But can we win it and take a 2-1 lead in the series?

P.S.  As I write this entry at the end of the days play the TV coverage is still on. There are curious goings on out in the middle as the Indian warm-down apparently comprises of players lying prostrate on their front while the Indian physio walks up and down on their backsides……. well we all need a hobby I guess.

INDIA Vs ENGLAND 3rd Test Day 3 - Wickets


I had set the alarm for 3am. Realised that play had a while to start. Fell asleep. Woke up in time  to see that we had lost our first wicket in the very first over. Went to make a cup of coffee, came back and another 2 wickets had fallen. The final wicket falls before I can finish it. England are all out 523, a lead of 207. 

Suddenly getting up again at stupid o'clock doesn't seem like the best of ideas as the morning's play progresses with the Indian batsmen seemingly equipped with a backbone and some technique. (Though that may not be entirely accurate as it is possible that I may have fallen asleep for half an hour or so, coffee needs to be stronger methinks.)
Anyhow, the home side reach lunch with something of a regained swagger with the crowd as excitable as ever when the home team decide to have a go, the score is 86-0 at Lunch.

My natural unswerving optimism is starting to deplete. In fact it could be more accurately described as the possible onset of squeaky bum time as thoughts of Sehwag and Tendulker deciding that the time is right to give us another spanking. Not a good morning for Captain Fantastic and his plucky band of brothers.

Somewhere on this planet there is a very, very long line of people who all waiting to inform me that I'm a fool ( there's an even longer line of people that want to call me far worse!). That first list gained a few other members today - Oh me of little faith, as the afternoon session saw a collapse of, well, English proportions!
Firstly Sehwag fell to the very first ball after lunch from Spin twin Swanny, a HUGE bonus for the England band of brothers. All of a sudden, it's all happening. New man Che Pujara looks like he's batting in pit full of snakes, scorpions and very big spiders, with his first two balls spitting, kicking and generally causing him to have his own version of a squeaky bum time. A couple of overs later our friend Gambhir shows again his application for English citizenship and wish to go straight into our national see by this time running out ( or more accurately, selling out) Pujara. Gambhir prods the ball into the leg side and sets off. New daddy Bell is on it in a blink of an eye, hitting the stumps directly from mid-wicket, with the diving Pujara in no-mans land. Brilliant from Bell. Terrible stuff from Gambhir. Big boom boom bonus for England.

Indian wickets continue to tumble on a regular basis throughout the afternoon and after tea with the seamers looking particularly good and happy with the ever increasing variable bounce of the pitch. At one point six wickets fall for 36 runs - bliss!

Then, with the Indians on 161-8, I make a mistake of rookie, gargantuan proportions. It was almost as if I hadn't spent most of the last 30-odd years watching some of England's matches………yes, I started counting those proverbial chickens. For instead of the last couple of Indian wickets rolling over in a pitiful example of 'can't be bothered, want to go home' they instead decide against losing the match on the 4th day and actually make England fight for every ounce of the match. 
At one point we looked certain to wrap up an innings win, thereby saving me having to get up at stupid o'clock yet again tomorrow, only for Ashwin to score an excellent 83 to steer India to 239-9 at the close, a slender lead of 32 runs. Ashwin's brilliant solo performance , which featured an unbroken final wicket 42 with Pragyan Ojha, takes us into a final day. 

Can England do it?. Of course we can. Probably.



And in a flash its all over with the Indian innings lasting just 10 balls until Jimmy  Anderson (no relation) bowled last man Pragyan Ojha, leaving Ashwin stranded on 91 and missing out on a much deserved century.

This leaves Captain superb and his merry men just 41 to get. It seems that some of the team had other places to be on the day as any thoughts of taking ones time to reach the target were immediately thrown out of the window. At one (worrying) stage England were 8-3 until Bell (finally deciding to turn up for the match) and Nick Compton guiding us home to lead the series 2-1.

This win is a serious turn-around by England who were thrashed by by nine wickets in the first Test - remarkable stuff in the context of 3 lost tosses in a row. In all honesty, England have beaten India at their own game. The pitches have been true subcontinental in nature but have still outplayed the Indian team. 

 If England can avoid defeat at Nagpur, they will have won a series in India for the first time since 1985. Roll on Thursday, I can't blooming wait!


  1. An entertaining read. I doff my cap to you Mr Anderson (no relation). Regards Aggers (no relation)!!