Gary Ballance sloughs his skin

Gary Ballance doesn’t so much score Test hundreds as cut them. Short and wide, fair enough, but our Gary seems to play the shot to middle stump half volleys as well. Fair enough. Whatever works.

Ballance isn’t the only England player who appears to be sloughing his horrifically stained World Cup skin. We questioned how Stuart Broad had got back into the team earlier in the Test, but being as he’s here, it’s reassuring to see that there are signs he could return to good form.

As several have pointed out, it’s not that Broad’s incapable of bowling quickly right now, it’s just that he can’t do it regularly or for long. Hopefully this will come as his body again adapts to Test cricket and there will hopefully be a window of optimal performance before his pace starts being eroded again due to too much cricket.

Jos Buttler seemed to benefit from some declaration batting and there’s every reason to believe this will snap him out of the bizarre strokelessness that delivered a 22-ball duck in the first innings. With Ben Stokes batting well and Moeen Ali returning, this begs the question as to who will bat at eight. England’s tail may just have been docked.

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19 Appeals

  1. 9 Jordan 10 Anderson 11 Broad is not a bad tail at all.

    • Does Moeen come straight back in for Tredwell? Does he bat at six, Stokes seven, Buttler eight?

    • That’s what I’d guess – Stokes/Moeen, Moeen/Stokes, Buttler. With Buttler carefully taken aside and told that just because he’s one further down the order, it doesn’t mean we love him any less.

    • Stokes bats better at 6 (certainly as a batting allrounder) than he did at 8. I would quite happily swap in Ali for Tredwell but it seems unfair on a man who took 4 wickets to gift England a 100 run lead in the first innings.

    • I think you mean “winkled out 4 wickets”, Alec. Remember: never “took”.

  2. Jordan’s catch late in the day – wow!

    That’s really two wickets to his credit, although not to his name as a bowler.

    He’s a useful late order bat too.

    But we do need the likes of Stokes and Jordan both to justify their places as pace bowlers.

    We won’t beat Kiwis, let alone Aussies, if we have a long tail but cannot take 20 wickets.

    I have a slight sense of foreboding about Day 5 – that pitch looks well flat. England will probably need to bowl very well and/or pluck the odd “extra wicket” from the air, much like that second wicket last night, if they are to prevent the West Indies from hanging on for a draw.

    Oh boy do I love first class/test cricket.

    • Seconded. Most of that, anyway.

      I thought that Stokes bowled reasonably well in the first innings? Just didn’t get any wickets – which is what it’s all about, I suppose.

    • Jordan’s catch was good, but many have said it’s the best ever. In history. Ever. Not so sure about that.

    • Best catch ever was the one taken by one of our ringers playing against a club side last year.

      He took this diving, one handed effort inches inside the boundary, crocked his shoulder and still kept ahold of it. And this was from a bloke who made Gary Ballance look streamlined.

  3. Blinder of a Badger this week, yer Maj. The Jordan catch (which I hadn’t seen), “Manforce”, and best of all: more imaginary horse jousting news. Hoping for that to become a semi-regular feature.

    • I was also much taken by the pinball reference. I “misspent” large chunks of my youth playing pinball.

      I say misspent, but it was worth the investment of every minute.

      Cracking game, pinball. Especially when you don’t have the talent to play cricket at any sort of decent level.

  4. Ed Smith “exploding” at Devon Smith’s dismissal is one of the funniest things I’ve heard this week.

  5. Oh my this is hard to watch. I hope that Holder whazumps himself a century in winning this.

    • It’s England’s* way of promoting test cricket or whatever, they basically play out a 5 day test which is boring and mostly pointless. James Tredwell is in the team so that people watch it, obviously, also so that Holder can hit easy boundaries and KC commenters are left ambiguous about this action. They benefit from the football practice and the continuing mid-table status of West Indies cricket after its frequently-publicised decline.

      * ECB-related.

  6. Holder is my new favourite cricketer. Love him.

    Oh, and Cook out now please.

    • Cook wasn’t playing for the West Indies, they can’t be held responsible in that sense for their being the weaker side.

  7. Cook’s verbal ahhhh ticks are uuummm, getting aahhh worse.

    If he doesn’t score some runs soon, his post match gibber will just be on long ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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