Bopara and Shah

I haven't been posting much recently, for which apologies. Something to do with spending time rearranging my house, standing on a freezing touchline watching thirty public schoolboys attempt - and largely fail - to play rugby and toasting the past cricket season over several pints of Otter and some food with some mates from my club.

During the past few days, when I've been in, I've had the first India-Pakistan Test on, but never managed to watch much of it, which meant that I was left with a pretty sketchy idea of what went on. It was good to see Munaf back, even if he didn't pull up any trees, and there was penetration with ball and bat from Kumble, Laxman, Ganguly and Jaffer. India looked worthy winners of a tight contest, which augurs well for the rest of the rubber.

England, meanwhile, continue an uneasy build-up to their first Test in Sri Lanka, with the most interesting sub-plot for me being the contest between Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara for the final batting place. While seeing the merits of both, I always felt that Bopara was likely to nudge in front because of his youth and ability to bowl (if not his 'bowling ability'). Having scored 47 to Shah's 26 today and taken two wickets with the new ball after Harmison and Anderson went lame, you have to feel that the deal is all but done, however high Moores' regard for Shah.

Ravi seems sure to be there, but who (apart from Hoggard and Broad, the most nailed-on debutant for years) will do the rest of the bowling?

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