Test action constriction and the case for a James Anderson ghola

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Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

Wickets advance a Test match. Yesterday therefore had all the meaningful action of two days’ cricket – 18 wickets – constricted into one.

Jerome Taylor kicked things off, but it was Jimmy Anderson who enjoyed himself to the full with six wickets for 42 runs off 12.4 overs. In the comments to yesterday’s post, we suggested that the ECB might like to start researching ghola technology with a view to opening the bowling with a James Anderson in perpetuity.

The main side effect of wickets being so cheap is the impact on the exchange rate. Runs in this match are becoming more valuable by the second. But how do you get them? The glory of Test cricket is that you can inch along for an entire day like Alastair Cook or slice sixes back over the bowler’s head like Jermaine Blackwood and both approaches are equally valid.

England are 39-5, just 107 ahead. It seems like they need quite a lot more, but who knows, maybe they already have enough. One decent partnership could decide this Test. That fragility and uncertainty is what will make all that follows to watchable.


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  1. I feel the biggest issue with the Anderson ghola is that he needs to die in order for the ghola to be created but England require a bowler for when Anderson retires, not when he dies…

    1. Does he have to be dead? Can we not just use some hair or toenails or something?

    2. My, admittedly limited, knowledge of gholas suggests gholas come from the dead, whereas clones come from the living

    3. Cells is cells. They can be taken while the subject is still living and put to use before they die.

      We demand Jimmy Anderson gholas!

  2. Does anyone get shades of early 2012, where England’s bowler having done everything in their power to give England a chance of victory then watch the batsmen do their best to throw it away?

    1. Yes, at least two different test matches against (not really ‘in’ but you know what I mean) Pakistan spring to mind. Painful.

  3. Where does sexual imprinting fit into all this, and can I have a go after Jimmy?

  4. On the one hand, I’m glad to see Chanderpaul depart this series without having much of an impact.

    On the other hand… Well, last time I so much as suggested anything about the former Grand Lord Megachief of Gold looking “a bit past it”, I was violently shushed, so I don’t dare.

  5. There’s some very po-faced Twitter commentary on the denouement of this Test. Feel like we’re the only person drinking too much Belgian beer and enjoying it.

    1. I’m with the po-facers on this one. When they seemed set to win after the conclusion of the WI first innings, England all out for 123 is grounds for po-faced-ness for me.

      Still, at least it won’t give them an excuse to go into the NZ series with an identical squad, claiming “a winning team shouldn’t be changed”.

    2. Oh yeah, there’s certainly room for criticism, but it’s amazing how when something goes wrong, it obviously means that everything is wrong.

      So much bile bubbling away under the surface.

    3. You thought England would win after the WI first innings?

      I thought they’d lose after the first day, and it only got more and more likely as the match went on.

      Not particularly upset though. At least they now know they need to find another opener, and have another think about 6,7,8. Which they should have known anyway, but at least they can’t deny it any more.

      It’s nice to have a competitive series, 1:1 in WI isn’t bad, and there’s NZ to look forward to. The Ashes? Meh. Been too much Eng-Aus cricket recently for me to be too excited, but I see no reason to think England won’t have a reasonable chance. Genuinely, I don’t think Australia are miles better.

    4. Oh absolutely, King. There will be some who jump straight on the “sack Bell, sack Root, sack Moeen” bandwagon. I for one think that, with one exception in the form of IJL Trott, that top eight was the strongest batting line-up they could have fielded. (Yes, Daneel, right down to 8 – while I can envisage other changes, they would weaken the batting at the expense of the bowling.)

      But in a way, isn’t that worse? England fielded almost the best batsmen they could, and they still crumbled to 123 AO. Against the West Indies. That’s terrifying. Where do they go from here, what do they do?

    5. Agree. Only a couple of things need changing (opener, fast bowler, perhaps a ‘proper’ spinner if we have one) but otherwise it’s about as good as we could field, on paper. Plunkett’s not that bad of a batsman, wouldn’t significantly weaken that lower-middle order?

  6. Broad is no longer a batsman, Anderson deserves to be above him. Has Broad really got scared to bat after his nose got hurt?

    1. Not scared, but prone to entirely human reflexes again. You know what cricket balls are like. It’s a force of will not to flinch.

      People joke about Jimmy being a number 11, but it always feels like they do it, not because of his batting, but just because you’re supposed to make fun of a number 11’s batting. Whenever they’re going: “Ho ho ho, Jimmy’s not going to get many,” we always think: “He’s not THAT bad. And also why are you laughing like Father Christmas?”

    2. After wearing a short ball on the side of the head (no helmet) in my mid 20s my batting went from competent middle/lower order to bumbling incompetent tail ender overnight.
      I suspect there is a good reason that so many of the great batsmen who are self assured to the point of arrogance are jesus freaks – it takes a special kind of person to back up again and again to the prospect of physical injury and thinking too hard about things is counter productive.

  7. Jimmy for opener?

    Adam Lyth is clearly not good enough because Trott was given the gig ahead of him and Trott was rubbish at it.

    Similarly, Adil Rashid cannot possibly be good enough as a batting spinner for similar reasons – if he wasn’t good enough to play on that pitch in Barbados he’ll never be good enough anywhere.

    We’re stuck/stuffed.

    The interview between Nasser and Mooresy was a classic. Nasser was just about keeping his temper in check and Mooresy was neither understanding nor answering the questions.

    1. I don’t want to rub salt into the wounds but two years ago England was just behind South Africa in the test rankings and both were streets ahead of any other team.
      Then through whatever reason (hubris?) they started messing with the team balance with an eye to the ‘future’ – Nick Compton was dropped for Joe Root (who subsequently moved to the middle order anyway) Since then it’s been a revolving door of mediocrity at the top of the order similar to that experienced by Australia when they dropped Kattich.
      That said the forthcoming ashes has a very 2005 feel to it, and Australia’s arrogance and complacency means that if England doesnt implode by the 3rd test you have an excellent chance to take the series by fighting all the way through the series.

  8. We will be fine in The Ashes. Nobody loses The Ashes at home anymore. But Moores has to go. He just comes across as a self-righteous prick, win or lose.

    1. Sad but true. The point about home series, don’t care about Moores.

      The best result would be if nobody wins the Ashes. At least the series, then it will have been a good series and we will all be spared the tedium of analysis that follows. Both England and Australia can be very irritating when they win.

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