There’s quite a bit of Test cricket going on at the minute. Savour it, because it’s not long before we make a sharp turn and embark on the long, straight approach to the 50-over World Cup. After this week’s final Test, England don’t play the longest format again until the middle of April (whereupon they will play 17 Tests in the space of nine months).
The Africa derby
Zimbabwe have put up a bit of fight in the one-off Test against South Africa, but will lose.
Sri Lanka v Pakistan
First blood to the Lankans. Everyone’s going on about Kumar Sangakkara’s double hundred, but Rangana Herath took nine wickets, including six for not-very-much in the second innings. He’s a canny, doughy, squat little devil and his team are increasingly thankful to have him.
Saeed Ajmal’s action has again been reported. They’ll do some tests.
We’ve mixed feelings about this. People struggle to comprehend that a bent-armed bowler can bowl legally and this is compounded by misleading photos and footage which appear to show straightening where there isn’t any. At the same time, Ajmal’s action is quite extreme. It’ll be interesting to hear the findings.
Motives and attitude
In the wake of India’s twin collapses in the fourth Test, there’s been a return to people questioning their attitude, which was a common theme last time they toured. We’re not enamoured of this.
Players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are first and foremost Test cricketers; Murali Vijay hit a hundred and two fifties in the first two Tests of the series; and Gautam Gambhir has only just got back in the side. We don’t see these as being players who don’t give a toss; who are throwing their wickets away so that they can spend more time counting their IPL rupees.
That’s most of the batting line-up. Virat Kohli was the other specialist at Old Trafford and if England fans want him to prove that he has the stomach for Test cricket, they should perhaps be careful what they wish for. After all, the series is 2-1 with one match to go. Just because you’re reading that India are a beaten side about nine times each day doesn’t make it true.
We forgot to mention the latest Shire Horse, so we’re doing that now.