Ishant Sharma with the short ball at Lord’s

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It’s an unlikely Cluedo solution, but it happened. We saw it with our own eyes.

Joe Root was the third caught attacking the short ball after lunch and he did a cracking Charlie Brown slope upon being dismissed. It was really, really first class. We were in awe.

We don’t know anything about rhythmic ceremonial rituals. Is there a dance called The Retreat where you take one step forwards and then two steps back? That’s the way England are operating at present.

Do The Retreat

They take a few top order wickets, then concede a bunch of runs to the tail. Alastair Cook shows signs of being a less than desperate captain, then fails to score any runs with the bat. They get within a spit of batting out the morning session without losing a wicket, then Moeen Ali is dismissed off the final ball of the session triggering alarming subsidence.

Maybe as well as taking the positives, they should also take the negatives and put them in the debit column. It’s shitty accountancy to only look at one side of the ledger.

But at the same time…

Top win by India and it’s also heart-warming to see Ishant Sharma getting the wickets. He usually draws adjectives such as ‘gangling’, ‘awkward’ and ‘hapless’ but yet there was Rahul Dravid describing his spell as being one of the greatest by an Indian fast bowler.

But as we said yesterday, this match wasn’t won on the last day. Sharma’s contribution was the final layer of gloss. The construction work has been going on throughout. This is no fluke built on foundations laid down by one individual. There’s been Ajinkya Rahane’s blinding hundred, Murali Vijay’s stout resistance, Ravindra Jadeja’s joyride and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s everything.

But it’s more than that, because India haven’t won away from home since 1912 when they beat a hungover Shropshire side by one wicket. They had to overcome that record and will themselves to kill England. Sometimes that’s the hardest bit, but they bravely grasped the pillow and put the home team out of their misery as swiftly and effectively as they could.


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. yep, just under a ton of runs, that’s about bang on i reckon.


    cook has GOT TO GO


    even if just for a bit… like a long lie-down somewhere without the sound of “thwock” and/or the death rattle

    1. I wholeheartedly agree, but… who would captain in his place?

      The vice-captain, Prior: needs to go as well.
      The replacement captain when Cook’s ill, Bell: about as untroubled as his leader at the moment.
      The replacement ODI captain, Morgan: first-class record that compares favourably with Anderson’s.
      The T20 captain, Broad: scarily, might actually be the best bet… but can you see that happening?

    2. Can we just fire everyone who wants Alastair Cook to stop being captain, thank you.

    3. Or, as a subset, people who put any value whatsoever on the World Cup may at the least be disregarded as human existences.

    4. No issue, insanity is always fun so fire away, though I’m not sure there is anyone left.

    1. Obviously the worst thing about this match is that I’m going to be overtaken by all the people who picked Ishant. Obviously.

  2. But will there be changes? Let’s face it, Stokes is batting about 4 places too high at the moment, bless him, so he’s only pickable as a bowler. Jordan to come back? Is it time to say a fond farewell to Prior, or stick him in the nets 24/7 against the short ball? If he goes, who comes? Buttler’s not the wicket-keeping ticket yet, so who? And if Michael Vaughan’s call for Morgan as skipper (which would at least be interesting) is heeded, does Root go back to open? Plenty of topics to keep us distanced from work this afternoon…

    1. Graeme Hick to come back in as captain. Jack Russell as keeper. Mark Ilott as opening bowler. Eddie Hemmings as 12th man.

    2. my missus once went to an afternoon’s rain break at the oval – courtesy (albeit via a roundabout route) of aftab habib. his cousin worked for the same company as she did and they had a mutual friend. unfortunately it was sold out and he could only muster one ticket. er, i went round the corner to some friends and may have got stoned. she didn’t see any criggin fricket anyway, like i say…

      so yeah, bring him back.

      i always thought they gave up on mark lathwell far too early as well.

    3. Bairstow to keep. Woakes for Stokes. Lyth for Cook. Jimmy A to captain and break all the northern/bowler rules against being captain.

  3. Jimmy! Why hast thou forsaken us?

    Rather disappointing innings from Anderson I thought. Just when 81 runs would have helped, he gets 2. Meanwhile everyone is calling for Cook’s head, but consider this. Before this test Cook was incapable of scoring any runs and a frankly useless captain. After this test he remains incapable of scoring any runs and a frankly useless captain, which were EXACTLY the conditions under which he was picked AS CAPTAIN for this match. Nothing has changed. What did he do in this test that anyone is surprised about? Therefore he will be picked again, as captain, because he has met everyone’s expectations and hasn’t let anybody down.

    1. Just to be absolutely clear, the thing that should happen in the next match is for Cook to play as Not Captain. This is the thing that hasn’t been tried recently, so why not give it a go?

    2. Because he’ll score runs and some bright spark will decide that means he can be captain again

    3. No one has tried having Cook as captain and not playing. That could be tried in the 4th test if need be.

  4. I can’t figure what the hell Kapil Dev is trying to say on the telly, but I love to hear him talk anyway.

  5. Don’t mind me. Just testing what happens to my animal when I change my username by one letter.

    1. Ah, that’s disappointing. Was hoping that by changing a letter at a time, I might be able to slowly move its limbs around, give it thicker hair, until I’d made a perfect pink caricature of Ishant Sharma. By which point my username would probably be h8/eXi_!, but it would be worth it.

  6. Right. Stokes out of my fantasy team. Jadeja in. Considering dropping Anderson and Broad too.

    1. Do you need to have an account to make changes? I can’t do nothing to mine.

    2. I have six Indian players already, so dropping Broad is going to be difficult. Might get rid of Dhoni as my all-rounder for Moeen.

  7. So no more Prior (this summer at least). Allow me to start the James Foster bandwagon right here, right now.

    1. I’m afraid that bandwagon is going to crash directly into Jos Buttler’s bat and go up in flames.

  8. “Paul Downton is a thoroughly good man but he cannot possibly have known what he was getting into”

    -sez mark “everyone’s favourite pundit” nicholas. er – does anyone understand what he’s talking about here? england had just got slaughtered in the return ashes series, KP was very noisily out, flower too – which part of all that suggested a nice easy ride for whoever took over?! the whole thing looked like an absolute clusterfuck, which is precisely what it turned out to be… where is the surprise?

    and yeah i guess i agree with others – there is not really anyone to replace cook (except that vaughan may have a point – morgan may not have much of a test record but he can’t really do much worse..? vaughan seems to be getting less and less mature as he gets older, but he may actually be right about this one). it’s a ludicrous situation to be in: they are picking the captain first and then building the team around him, i.e. back to brearley days, with one obvious excpetion brearly was known to be an exceptionally good captain and thus could justify his selection that way. we are now picking a captain who is no good (alec stewart admits cook’s captaincy would not be missed if he stepped down right now), and building a team around that??


    1. Sounds like Morgan’s about to sign with International Sports Management.

    2. The thing with Morgan is that he is not Cook. It’s a bit like when Brearley took over from Botham – the important thing that did for England was give us Botham back. We desperately need Cook the batsman, we have no need for Cook the captain.

      Much of the talk around who might captain has been based around not ruining anyone else. Anderson, no he’s too important as a bowler. Broad, ditto. Bell, doesn’t need this when he’s trying to get back into batting form. Everyone else is too young. So Brearley, I mean Morgan, fits the bill perfectly, and it might (might) get his batting going as well.

  9. “We desperately need Cook the batsman, we have no need for Cook the captain”

    – damn straight..! and yet the silly bugger is insisting he won’t give up – which is all very steely and all that, but does he really believe he is the man to turn this series round? (is anyone else currently feeling a historic series win for the tourists?)

    again, according to nicholas anderson remains pre-written onto the team sheet because he “so obviously cares for the greater good”. this is the same bowler who got sucked into a personal battle during the last match and completely lost sight of the bigger picture, the match situation, the needs of the team etc as opposed to the dictates of his own ego


    one solution they haven’t thought of yet: reinstate KP, make him captain and sack everyone else. no? 🙂

    1. “is anyone else currently feeling a historic series win for the tourists?”

      No, a lot of us are feeling a historic f*ck-up opportunity.

      Surely N Srinivasan with his infinite power can convert this into a 3-test series. At least then we can go back to the familiar territory of defensive fields and bowling 2 feet outside off.

      This need to win more than one test in an away series is an entirely unjustifiable demand on our fledgling team, and should be stoutly resisted by the board.

  10. “Not too long ago Zimbabwe was a frontier too tough to conquer at home…fast becoming a non-entity in International cricket. #sad”

    Yeah, sorry about that guys, India was getting a bit boring because it had Aakash Chopras in it, so we had to get a replacement.

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