‘Du Plessis found guilty’ reads the Cricinfo headline. We don’t really feel it necessary to add much to your likely response to reading that. The effect of imposing black and white morality on the sport’s grey trivialities could barely be clearer.
Here’s something we wrote last time Du Plessis buggered about with a cricket ball. It’s still relevant.
“If he does come in I think he’ll give it his best shot,” said Trevor Bayliss about the likely inclusion of Jos Buttler in England’s third Test team instead of Ben Duckett.
We’re rather hoping to see plural shots, but England are in no position to impose such lofty expectations on a man who presumably thinks of red cricket balls as being exclusively reserved for use in the nets.
At the same time, Buttler is a player for whom his first-class record appears to tell but the smallest fragment of the story. We’re excited about his return.
Had England brought him back into the team for a home Test match despite almost no first-class cricket in recent times, there’d had been an outcry. Plucked from an emaciated touring squad, his inclusion can more easily be justified.
Perhaps it was always a deliberate ploy to take Gary Ballance on tour only to instantly drop him.
Basically still what we said after the first day of the second Test: “On pitches that deteriorate over the course of a five-day match, England are capable of having the better of things when they bat first. When India bat first, they are good enough that they seem almost certain to dominate. That appears to be the difference between the sides.”
Given a pitch that deteriorated quicker, England could have won the first Test. Given a pitch that didn’t deteriorate so much, India could still have won the second. The tourists need a lot more things to go their way than the home team to win Test matches here.
We’re going to stop writing about grey trivialities now.