A stumpy trying to apply pressure

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This latest England team is a stumpy. It’s not completely without tail – there’s an Anderson-shaped nub there – but there really isn’t much. Presumably, should he return, Ben Stokes would replace Liam Plunkett, which would only strengthen the main spine further.

Lower order batsmen rarely contribute on tougher days – when runs are more valuable – but they can definitely make the difference between decent scores and intimidating ones.

But if there’s any side unlikely to succumb to that modern panacea, scoreboard pressure, it’s Sri Lanka. They play most of their cricket in Colombo and have therefore been tempered to withstand far greater run pressure than any other team.

To Sri Lanka 575-9 is nothing to write home about. Whereas to most of us, anything over 500 is simply ‘loads’, the Sri Lankans probably distinguish between a 575 pitch and a 650 pitch. We’re not sure which they think this is.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. The selectors played a game of Pin The Tail On The Test Team, and oh my, hilariously they pinned it on the wrong end. What japes.

  2. panacea..?

    (not sure which word you were reaching for there, but i suspect it wasn’t that one)

    1. No, that’s the word we meant to use. Captains and coaches often talk about scoreboard pressure as if it’s a remedy for everything. We know that scoring lots of runs is a large part of the game, but its spoken of as if it dismisses a team as well.

    2. I think I had some of that panacea stuff in my pasta the other day. It tasted lovely.

      Meanwhile, England have performed well in this test match so far – no amount of burrowing away at the tactical details – several of which I too disagree with – can detract from a decent performance.

      I would hope to see England perform even better at Headingley, which should be an interesting match – especially if the current one, as seems likely, peters out into a draw.

    3. Given the score line I just woke up to I’d be delighted with a draw. Useless chumps.

    4. Moral victory? A loss, sure, but with some positive morals. Maybe, despite the loss, the team become closer friends, showing us all that winning isn’t everything

    5. 1)Win
      5)Draw-with-scores-tied e.g. the David Lloyd “we murdered them…we have flipping hammered them” test in Zimbabwe.

    6. Rob, that comment makes me feel like I’m watching a cricket-themed episode of Pokémon.

    7. mea culpa KC. didn’t quite understand what you meant.

      i will hold my hand up there, KC just played better than me today. i’m hoping to see the positives in that and it’ll make me stronger going forwards.

    8. Word on the street is that Monty Panacea might still be the first choice spinner later in the season, despite his problems on and off the field…

      …I’ll get my coat.

  3. More bizarrely defensive captaincy from Cook, but at least he is letting Ballance have a chance to get a century. That’s what we want from an England captain – looking after the chaps in a nice way irrespective of the effect on the match. That’s presumably what Giles Clarke meant when he said he’s the right sort. Marvellous stuff.

    1. Yup, couldn’t really understand why he didn’t declare and have a few overs at the Lankans tonight.

      Only three possibilities, none of which reflect well on Cook’s judgment as captain.

      1) Bert’s “let a fellow get a century” theory;
      2) Cook got so nervous when England wobbled earlier in the day, he was unable to adjust his mind set later in the day when the ship had been steadied;
      3) Fear of a “Middlesex v Yorkshire” denouement…-


      …a Lord’s match fresh in the minds of several of the England players. But, vitally, that CC pitch was several strips further up the hill, where they tend to just get flatter and flatter. Also importantly, Middlesex scored all those runs on Day Three, concluding half way through Day Four. That is manifestly not the last few overs on Day Four and the whole of Day Five.

      England still have a decent chance of bowling Sri Lanka out, but Sri Lanka have a better chance of achieving a draw now.

      But I don’t come from the right sort of family, so what the heck do I know?

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