Talking Heads

It's been a while since I've posted, largely because I've been away at the Lord's Test for most of the last week. I'll try to make up for it over the next few days.

As most of the talking heads in the media have been saying, the West Indies will have taken more from the outcome of the first Test than England. The tourists went into the game with hardly any practice behind them and ultimately made a fair fist of competing at Lord's, although they were helped by England's bowling, which, with the exception of Panesar, was wayward and insipid. They can take a lot, though, from the defensive certainty, in both innings, of Daren Ganga, and the more exciting lower-order contributions of Dwayne Bravo and Denesh Ramdin which enabled them to avoid the follow-on. The bowlers still need work, and they'll surely get it at Headingley.

England's batting was consistently excellent, with the only discordant notes struck by the twin failures of Strauss (whose place must be in doubt if both Flintoff and Vaughan return) and Owais Shah (who's already gone, but is hopefully not forgotten). However, I was extremely dubious about the tactic of batting Shah at three. Bell did relatively well there in Australia, and, even though the place seems to have been ear-marked for Vaughan it would surely have been better to keep Bell there and give Shah the chance to bat under less pressure at six. As it was Shah looked nervous and hesitant and so may not have done much better at six, but we'll never know.

Cook was Cook, Collingwood was Collingwood, Bell was Bell and Pietersen was Pietersen. Matt Prior, however, was outstanding, and his powerful hundred against a tired attack and tidy keeping may indicate that England have finally found a worthy successor to Alec Stewart. I hadn't seen him play live before and I was hugely impressed. My old favourite Steven Davies might have to wait a bit longer but that's no bad thing.

England's bowling was poor. Monty did all that could have been expected in largely unhelpful conditions with the assistance of Asad Rauf, but Plunkett was a random mixture of the very good and the very bad, while Harmison was just bad, looking once again like a bowler devoid of form, desire or confidence. It was instructive that he had taken some good wickets at a low average for Durham, though, so perhaps he's just developed a mental block about Test cricket, which would explain a lot.

At the moment Harmison's form represents Peter Moores' biggest challenge. It's one he needs to meet - perhaps by appointing a new bowling coach - as soon as possible.

No comments:

Subscribe in a reader