Loud and Long

It's a little worrying that we're now twelve days into December and this is my first post of the month. Time was I'd be into double figures by now, but there are reasons. For one, I haven't had internet access at home for several weeks (which I'm actually quite enjoying and which may be why I haven't got round to getting the problem fixed) and so have had to do all my blogging at work, and just recently I haven't been at work all that much, having spent a very enjoyable few days in Paris, taking in the sights and the titanic Heineken Cup game between Stade Francais and Harlequins last Saturday.

Before I went away I was very doubtful about England's Tests in India even taking place, and I certainly didn't expect to be writing after the second day of the first of them about England being in a very strong position. But I am, and they are.

There are reasons for that too, including a cool century by Andrew Strauss, some equally well-judged lower-order batting from Matt Prior and an eventful maiden Test over from Graeme Swann, who I, for one, am pleased to see in the side.

At 29, time is against his chances of developing a long career in the five-day game. His bowling style (slightly old-fashioned orthodox off-spin) doesn't help either, but he's always impressed me as a confident, humourous, open and articulate character who bowls in a more attacking vein than many a similar English bowler.

He also appeals loud and long, as Daryl Harper will testify. The two lbw decisions which Adelaide's finest gave were far from being stone dead (especially Dravid's) but my initial impression was that both were well worth a shout and the vehemence of Swann's representations may just have done the trick.

This was highlighted by Nasser Hussain on Sky, who said something along the lines of 'you've got to work your umpires', which was a bit less controversial than what he may have been thinking, which may not have been dissimilar to 'Darryl Harper's an inconsistent, occasionally weak and often downright poor umpire who's only stayed on the Elite Panel as a result of some typically mad ICC decison-making'. Well, to be fair to Nasser, that's just what I think, and those two decisions were far from being among Harper's worst, but if you can make sure he knows what you think you've always got a chance.

Going into day three, England have a decent chance too.

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