Which Somerset spin bowler should England pick as a top order batsman?

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Jack Leach (via ECB YouTube)

England v Ireland, only Test, day two

England desperately need to bolster their top order batting. The way we see it, two men who could really improve things are Somerset spin bowler Jack Leach, who batted at 11 in the first innings but made 92 yesterday, and Somerset spin bowler Dom Bess, who averages 37 in Test cricket.

Which Somerset spin bowler would make the better England top order batsman? (Because Thomas Lord knows, they can’t rely on anyone else to make the runs.)

It’s a difficult choice. Leach batted well yesterday and by no means disgraced himself with his unbeaten 1 in the first innings, but the fact remains that the 92 is really his only Test innings of note.

Bess, on the other hand, has only really failed the once. After being caught for five in his debut innings, he followed up with 57 before making 49 in his only other Test innings, batting at four as nightwatchman.

But then Leach does have more top order experience. You might think it unusual that a number 11 should open the batting for England – and in many ways it is – but Leach also stepped up in place of Keaton Jennings in November. He made 1 off 11 balls.

So there’s not much to choose between them really, except that Leach bats in glasses and made his 92 despite the fact they were repeatedly getting steamed up in mafting conditions.

On that basis we conclude that until such time as Dom Bess sees fit to renounce the contact lens, Jack Leach is the Somerset spin bowler England should pick as a top order batsman.


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. Dom Bess was masquerading as a Yorkshire “Viking” last night. Is that a factor in the decision?

  2. Mohammad Amir, when?

    Now, that’s when. Retiring from test cricket aged 27, to focus on LO cricket.


    1. Steady on. There’s too much cricket. Also $$$. Can’t blame the lad.

      On another note, I have a theory that England’s Test team looks such a mess because the captain won’t bat at three.

      I think they need to find a way to get Woakes, Curran and Stokes in the wide, plus two opening bowlers and a spinner. Stokes is mainly a batsman these days anyway.

      If Root goes at three it looks like this:

      1. Opener 1
      2. Opener 2
      3. Root
      4. Bairstow if someone can teach him how to play straight
      5. Stokes
      6. Buttler
      7. Mo
      8. Woakes
      9. Curran
      10. Opening bowler
      11. T’other opening bowler

      1. I’d agree with most of that, although 5 is too high for Stokes, I’m not sure Mo justifies his place on current form…. and I’d reverse the top 2.

      2. Bairstow’s just pulled off a blinder as if he’d heard your criticism, Balladeer! He’s obviously not been angry enough of late.

        On paper I think that’s the strongest top 3 England have put out for quite some time.

  3. Some magic from a bygone era with that cartwheeling stump action on the Stone dismissal.

    Thought it was the off stump off the back pad at first but it’s hit the leg-side edge of leg stump, sending it to the off side! No way the ball should be getting through to there!

  4. Flippin’ heck, cricket. Have a day off. Maybe The Ashes will be really boring after all this.

  5. I think being an Ireland supporter must feel a lot like being an England supporter. Circa 1990 maybe?

    1. I chatted to some Irish guys for a wile, then wandered around London, occasionally drinking beer. I was kind of hoping to sit in one place occasionally drinking beer whilst watching Ireland get to 175 all out, but I’ve still had a pleasant day, thank you.

    1. Didn’t someone once get a man of the match for fielding, having not batted or bowled?

      1. Can find at least 4 instances where man of the match was awarded to a fielder, Gus Logie, Viv Richards, Jonty Rhodes and Mark Taylor.

  6. Anyone round these parts managed to see ‘The Edge’ yet? Highly recommended. KC, if you want a review I’d be happy to oblige…

    1. Is it on in any actual cinemas in the North, Sam? I haven’t been able to find it showing anywhere within easy reach.

  7. I am happy to see that England continue to enjoy just enough success to maintain their flawed batting line up at home, and then get taken to task during the overseas winter.

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