It’s a good job nobody was

watching the latest England test match.

Andrew Strauss welcomes the dull draw

Maybe this was the ECB’s thinking when they sold the TV rights for all England’s games to Sky, they knew this summer was building up to a big let down after last year so make sure the smallest amount of people can witness it.

The guy from the ECB (can’t remember his name) who was questioned by Jonathan Agnew on TMS the other day wouldn’t say what the live viewing figures had been this year, Aggers was trying his best to be Jeremy Paxman to the ECB guys Michael Howard, but the poor old Leicester trundler doesn’t quite have Paxman’s killer instinct and so we were told it’s impossible to say. Didn’t take that long for figures to come out when records were being broken on Channel 4 last year during the final throws of the Ashes, funny that :roll:.

So the good old county audience of one man and his dog have seen England go from totally inept on the one dayers to dull & inept in the first test against Pakistan, after a not too inspiring series draw against Sri Lanaka.

Yup there’s been injuries to the key players, how we miss Vaughan’s captaincy, Jones’ swinging bowling and a fit “Freddie”, but it would have been nice for stand in captain Strauss not too have been so damn cautious, having Steady Fletch the coach in his ear can’t have helped.

But the way England’s second innings limped to stumps on Sunday evening and then carried on for another half hour on Monday morning was a waste. Once Bell was out they just seemed to clam up yeah Hoggy is great at hanging round but you want some quick runs, declare with enough time left on Sunday to give the bowlers a few overs to go full out, Harmison go out there and give it the long handle get just warmed up enough with the bat that he’s loosened up for some fast bowling.

Pakistan also needed a total to chase on the final day so they would go for it and wickets should be easier to get, well easier than when they can just clam up and not go for anything. But Strauss would rather relinquish the captaincy to Freddie in the second test as undefeated.

What also didn’t help was the bowling.

Was Steve Harmison’s rise to the top of the world rankings a few years back a total freak ? Think back to the Ashes and in reality he wasn’t great after that first morning at Lord’s, when he was battering the Aussies and helping skittle them out with a five-for, you’d think he’d go on to dominate throughout the series…but no.

Two wickets each in the next two tests, four in the fourth and one in the final at the Oval, wasn’t exactly a great return. Yeah he got the wicket that won the second test at Edgbaston but it was more luck than judgement.

Save for one ball in that second test when with a slow ball he scattered Clarke’s stumps, there wasn’t much to write about with Harmisons bowling through that glorious summer, except for the fact he was either too short or spraying it about either side of the wicket. And have we ever seen that slow ball again, can’t remember it, was a great ball but doesn’t fit in with his half-pitchers that do sod all.

Boycs thinks Harmison can be the next Curtly Ambrose if he gets a consistent line and length and puts the ball in the same place 5 times out of six, think we’d settle for 2 times out of six at the mo.

You have to wonder what the bowling coaches have done to him since his 7 for 12 against the West Indies in 2004, when he made batsmen actually have to play at the balls not just watch them sail down leg or over their heads.

Unfortunately Plunkett seems to be using this Harmison as a mentor not the top class one.

It was also interesting to see some of the bowling on the other side after Martin Crowe’s Cowdrey Lecture in which he said –

Having been pinned in the head by chuckers over 15 years, having been bowled first ball in a Test by a certain Sri Lankan bowler, I’ve had more than enough of this aspect of the game.

This is cricket’s Achilles heel. If the umpire believes he has seen a throw then he should, as part of the laws of cricket, be allowed to no ball it or at least report it.

The law was fine 10 years ago. Now it simply gives room for the laws to be bent. Martin Crowe

Wonder who he was talking about 🙄

But then you hear of a Pakistan spinner who got up to 80mph with an action that was matched by that he used to get the ball in from the boundary to try and get a run out, as Boycs said – he’s legal now 🙄

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