Friday, August 21, 2009

England unearth a gem

While most of the England team looked a bit shaky and fragile in the afternoon sessions one man stood out and was solid, the debutant Jonathan Trott. Yet it was his first Test. He reminded me quite a bit, both by his rock steady defence and his calm looking temperament, of one of the greats in the world today, one Jacques Kallis. They even have similar looking faces and both hail from Cape Town. By his 41 runs under pressure Trott showed he may well have what it takes to succeed at this the highest level, and was unlucky to be run out when well set. Despite appearing to play very patiently he still accumulated his runs at a comfortable pace of over 3 per over.

It is high time England selected a real batsman of substance, as opposed to the flakiness of the other middle order incumbents, Bell, Bopara and Collingwood, who all look about as solid as card houses. Remarkably, apart from the aforementioned, only 4 other new batsmen, Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and Owais Shah, have been selected for England in the past 6 years. That's 1 new batsman per year, in 10-15 Tests. And Trott is the first new batsman in 2 years since Bopara. This may all be ok if the batsmen were performing and the team were winning, but this has not been the case. It has been a very closed shop policy, and Trott must have had to really kick the proverbial door down with his performances these last few years to get a look in. It is surely no coincidence that out of all the above only Strauss and Pietersen, South African born like Trott, have truly looked the part in Test cricket, and Trott now looks as though he'll be equally at home. Perhaps English cricket, quite like New Zealand, are really struggling to produce proper batsmen from within these days.

England meanwhile are in a good position in this match at 307/8 because the conditions look tricky for batting and the pitch, already from day 1 is breaking up faster than the Beatles. So although England may have blown their chance for a big first innings score it looks as though a result may be on the cards in this match, and Australia, having to bat last, and having wrongly not selected a spinner, are at quite a sizeable disadvantage as it will be harder for them to score the same amount of runs. Hopefully the pitch won't go dead like Cardiff, and the game will be a sizzling scrap for ultimate supremacy all the way. And a treat to watch.

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