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First Test – some thoughts

Although  this Test did not achieve the climax of the 1963 Test v West Indies at Lords nor v Australia at Trent Bridge in 2005 it shared with them a continuity of gripping excitement every day.

As at Headingly last year England chased down successfully a difficult total. At 117-5 this seemed improbable but I feel the case I argued for batting strength at 6/7/8 in the order and the selection of Chris Woakes was vindicated.

Other points:

Leg spin

Traditionally England produce world class  off spinners not leggies. Think of Jim Laker and Graeme Swann.

Even if they cannot spin the ball that much like Ashley Giles they are economic, not deadly. The Windies had no leggies in their attack and paid for it.

Leg spin, with its propensity to bamboozle particularly tail enders, is the forte of Pakistan: Qadir, Daneria, Mushtaq Ahmed and now another star in the green firmament, Yasir Shah who took 8 wickets in the match.

England seem fixated by their pace selection whilst there is scarcely one leggie of Test quality to choose.

Class is permanent, form temporary 

Up to his match winning 77 . Jos Buttler had a difficult time as batter and an awful one behind the stumps. He is now back to form with the bat at just the time we needed it.


The  England Spirit

Ben Stokes is an unlikely talisman but he has become the soul of the side. He extended commiseration to one and all in personal difficulty.

Perhaps his -to use an Aussie term – larrikin day are now behind him.

Home advantage 

We live in an era of home Test advantage. Behind closed doors I thought this would no longer be a factor but England are just as likely to win these two series as to lose the next two in the sub continent  and down under.

The media and selectors look to current and historic domestic form in selecting an overseas team, not the requirements of the destination e.g. hostile pace in Australia.

About Douglas Heath

Douglas Heath began his lifelong love affair with cricket as an 8 year-old schoolboy playing OWZAT? Whilst listening to a 160s Ashes series on the radio. He later became half-decent at doing John Arlott impressions and is a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. He holds no truck at all with the T20 version on the game. More Posts