Absolute mayhem at Lord’s yesterday and again this morning. Brilliant bowling by both sides, but deary me this is supposed to be Test cricket not white ball cricket. Is it possible that the match will be over tonight? If so I’ll have to delve into my records to find out if this will be the shortest Test match ever.
Well that’s torn it with the Kiwis now in a very good position to go one up in the series.
However Yorkshire have just scored their highest run chase at Headingley against Durham. Graham Clark with 65 and Ollie Robinson 56 set the tone for the visitors with a second wicket stand of 92 from 9 overs whilst Brydon Carse hit perhaps the biggest 6 ever seen at Headingley as they finished on 207 for 8 wickets whilst Yorkshire’s Jordan Thompson took 4 wickets for 32 runs. However Adam Lyth with 77 from 33 balls and captain David Willey with 75 not out from 39 balls saw the Vikings home with 14 balls to spare as Yorkshire climbed to 3rd in the table although only one point separates 6 counties in the Northern Table. For once Harry Brook failed with the bat scoring just 4 runs from 7 balls.
For those Yorkshire fans unaware, you can find highlights of all matches from Headingley on YouTube via the Yorkshire CCC website which I did earlier this morning.
Yes, an impressive performance by Yorkshire Ken. They do, however, seem to mirror Boro’s trait of inconsistency. “Typical Yorkshire”.
The one thing about this blog I like more than AV’s original is that we can discuss cricket without being castigated.
Talking about Yorkshire, I wish those numpties at our local rag would realise that Teesside is not a County. They keep referring to “neighbouring North Yorkshire”. They should know that areas of the former county of Cleveland south of the Tees are in North Yorkshire, the only point of separation being Local Council Boundaries.
We probably have a couple of generations now who know nothing about their heritage and identity as “Teessiders” who, they believe, are separate from Yorkshire. It winds me up something chronic. I guess that, as we old fogies shuffle off, discussions about Yorkshire CCC will disappear from this blog.
That should read “identify” as. Autocorrect is another pet hate but I should have read before posting.
What a strange pitch Lord’s has produced as Kane Williamson has failed once again. It would appear that facing the new ball produced problems for all batsmen, but once the shine disappears the pitch becomes so flat and benign. I wonder if that is actually the fault of too much use of the heavy roller between innings, or is the duke ball fit for purpose on sun-baked pitches once the shine has been eliminated. When average Kiwi batsmen like Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell look comfortable against seam bowlers who were so impressive when the ball is pristine, yet so ineffective once the shine has disappeared leads me to that conclusion.
Perhaps it’s all about the batsmen’s approach to be circumspect or belligerent. For England Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes are the latter and sometimes it comes off, but sometimes it doesn’t, whereas Joe Root usually tries the opposite approach and tries to build an innings. Root started his career as an opening batsman as did Michael Vaughan before him but both were better suited to red ball cricket rather than one-day cricket. The forecasters including me all assumed that chasing a score of 200 would be very difficult. Now today needing only 61 more runs for victory, it’s up to Joe Root to stay calm and hope that the tailenders can bat sensibly which Ben Foakes has done so far because the new ball is due in 15 overs time.
In any event it’s a fascinating days play to look forward to.
Who needs dreary football in June when cricket is King? I’ve had enough football this year so let’s celebrate the sport of cricket until at least August. Joe Root looks as if the shackles of captaincy have been lifted from him and maybe even the Gazette might acknowledge that cricket is King in the summer but I won’t hold my breath on that. Well done England and well done Joe Root! I bet even Chris Wilder enjoyed the last two days.
When I was a child and used to watch local football with no goal nets the excitement was tempered somewhat by not seeing the net bulge after a goal. A long putt or a hole in one was something to behold as was a Speedway rider overtaking an opponent on the final bend or a rugby winger running the length of the field to score a try, but moments like those were rare and didn’t have same impact for me.
But then along came cricket especially one day cricket when sixes galore were more exciting, but call me a sadist but my favourite moments are to witness a stump or even all three go cartwheeling out of the ground which I found more spectacular than any of those aforementioned spectacles. Yes sixes maybe more frequent, but I would vote all three stumps being scattered as my favourite moments in sport whether for or against my team. It seems to have that fatal conclusion.
I recall the story of Fred Trueman once being frustrated after having a couple of lbw decisions being turned down against a certain University batsman, then eventually scattering all 3 stumps out of the ground and then remarking to the astonished batsman “ By gum, I nearly got thee out that time!” He told that tale at Redcar’s Coatham Bowl about 40 years ago. Of course nowadays that ball would probably be sent up to the third umpire to check if it was a no-ball!
Last night I spent another enjoyable evening watching Yorkshire on the podcast of another remarkable win against Nottinghamshire, the county who have been somewhat of a bogey team to the Vikings in the last few years in the T20 competition. Apart from two years when the matches had been postponed due to rain, the Vikings have had a dismal record against the Notts Outlaws losing all 6 of the previous encounters. The visitors won the toss and inserted the home team at Headingley and it was imperative that Yorkshire made full use of the six over power play. 54 for 2 wickets wasn’t an encouraging start despite a couple of sixes from newcomer Kiwi opening batsman Finn Allen, but the next 4 overs produced 63 runs from captain David Willey and Harry Brook as Yorkshire finished the first 10 overs on 117 for 2 wickets.
So far so good, but the introduction of Jake Ball to Nottinghamshire’s attack becalmed Yorkshire’s scoring rate somewhat as only 26 runs were scored in the following 5 overs as boundaries became as rare as hen’s teeth. Thankfully after a quiet start Jonathan Tattersall opened up with a couple of maximums and a couple of fours to top score with 48 not out, although Will Fraine just couldn’t get going. The par score for Headingley is usually between 180 and 190, so 202 seemed a reasonable score against any county barring Nottinghamshire, so it was vital for the Yorkshire bowlers to keep things tight especially during the power play.
Former England opener Alex Hales is one of the most exciting and dangerous batsman in T20 cricket and for Dave Willey to bowl him out first ball was a real bonus, but when the power play had only produced 40 for 4 wickets Notts looked in real trouble, and although scoring 10 runs in the next over they lost Tom Moors to Adil Rashid in the first ball of the 7th over and a win for Yorkshire might have seemed like a formality. But credit to Steve Mullaney for his 79 and captain Daniel Christian’s 56 with a plethora of sixes and fours producing a partnership of 114 in 11 overs, Notts were still in the game just aboutneeding 39 from the last 2 overs to win. It seemed unlikely of course, though but nevertheless I was still relieved to see Mullaney caught on the boundary on the first ball of the penultimate over.
So Yorkshire go into the Roses match tomorrow and the final match of this springtime schedule on Friday against Birmingham currently in 3rd position in the Northern Group Table. But the scheduling of matches has been frankly ridiculous with Yorkshire having played 5 consecutive matches at Headingley in the space of 11 days to be followed by 5 away from home in the following 14 days.
Surprisingly though Yorkshire are undefeated away from home this year so maybe the disadvantage is no longer applicable any more.
Has anyone noticed that Joe Root puts his bat down in a perpendicular position? Well neither had I until Gary Lineker pointed it out on Facebook recently. Is Joe a magician in the dressing room as well as at the crease? Not quite, as apparently Joe’s bat is unusual having a flat base rather than the conventional arched one. Whether this accounts for his exceptional record as a batsman is hard to say, but it is certainly unique.
Strange that a former England international footballer should noticie that, but most footballers love cricket. In fact the late Brian Clough once stated that he would have loved to open the innings for Yorkshire, and Steve Bruce recently could be seen in Dubai during an international break, and it’s been noted that Forest manager Steve Cooper recently helped to heal the apparent rift between Forest fan Stuart Broad and Blades fan Joe Root by inviting them to sit together in the directors box in the recent playoff match match.
Of course it is also well documented that many football clubs including Boro owed their existence to cricketers wanting to keep fit in the winter months. Cricket of course was once England’s national sport and though many famous cricketers played football at a high standard, I can recall only two in my lifetime who were dual internationals - Arthur Milton (Gloucestershire and Arsenal) and William Watson (Yorkshire and Sunderland).
More about Joe Root later.
Another remarkable T20 Roses match at Headingley last night with Yorkshire winning the toss and inserting our opponents and containing them to 114 for 4 wickets after 14 overs despite Keaton Jennings and Steven Croft having scored 42 and 41 respectively at the half way stage. But then the Vikings were put to the sword as 99 runs were conceded from the last 6 overs by some ferocious hitting from Singapore’s Tim David who scored 66 from 32 balls including 6 maximums, 3 of which came in the 18th over off Jordan Thompson who had bowled quite tidily beforehand, though questions need to be asked why he was allowed to bowl his allocated 4 overs consecutively instead of 2 at a time, as the poor lad looked shattered. However the Singaporean was finally caught by a brilliant catch from Jonathan Tattersall in the penultimate over, though Steven Croft who hit 4 sixes finished on 40 not out as the Lightning finished on 213 for 5 wickets perhaps at least 20 runs too many.
To say that Yorkshire’s initial reply was poor was an understatement as Dawid Malan was caught first ball at long on, and then followed a maiden over by Richard Gleeson bowled to Tom Kohler-Cadmore who either missed the ball or found the cover field man. Maiden overs in T20 cricket are as rare as hen’s teeth and at 6 runs from 2 overs, Yorkshire already needed 11.56 an over to secure an unlikely win. Oh, me of little faith as though Adam Lyth was out for 38, the next 10 overs yielded 145 runs as Kohler-Cadmore suddenly found his range as the asking rate fell below 8 an over. Koehler-Cadmore was out for 77 in 43 balls, but as long as skipper David Willey was there, Yorkshire were favourites especially as 18 runs came off the 16th over. But once he was caught and bowled by Gleeson for 52 from 28 balls panic struck in with 21 required from the final 2 overs as Yorkshire were by then 193 for 7 wickets which then turned to 17 wanted from the last over. Matthew Revis managed to hit a six but come the final ball and 5 were still required. Dominic Drakes then was then caught on the boundary by Tom Hartley but the umpires first had to check whether Hartley’s foot had touched the boundary; it hadn’t and Lancashire had won by 4 runs.
A record 25 sixes for a Roses T20 match but Yorkshire are still in the top 4 playoff position in the Northern group as they travel to Edgbaston tomorrow to lock horns with Birmingham who are 3 points ahead.
An interesting discussion between Mike Atherton and Darren Gough on the field of play during the lunch interval at Trent Bridge today, and then later as Nasser Hussain interviewed Stuart Broad about his thoughts when he took 8 wickets for 15 runs there against Australia in 2015. The older I’ve become the more I’ve appreciated Cricket more as a spectator sport than football. To be frank if Middlesbrough didn’t have had a football team, I doubt that I would ever watch Football again. Obviously I didn’t always think that way, but in my opinion most international cricketers appear to be of a higher intelligence than international footballers and rugby players, and I wonder if that’s the same at junior level also. In some ways Cricket strategy is more like chess, whilst footballers seem to make the same mistakes time and time again, or have I become more cynical during my dotage?
Certainly Cricket is a statistician’s dream, and maybe that’s why I love it so much.
Joe Root was born in 1990 and educated at King Ecgbert School in Sheffield as a boarder and made his debut for the Yorkshire Second XI against Derbyshire at Abbeydale Park in 2007 scoring 57, but his dream-come-true moment was his selection for the First XI in the last match of the season against Essex in a 40 over match at Headingley where he was top scorer with 63. His first County Championship century was achieved at Scarborough against Sussex four years later.
He made his Test debut for England in the following season, and took over the captaincy from Alistair Cook and holds the record for the number of Test matches as captain totalling 64 with 27 wins, 11 draws and 26 defeats though most of those defeats have come lately during the coronavirus pandemic when selection of some of the top players was limited.
Having started his Yorkshire career as an opening batsman, he usually bats at number 3 or 4, the latter being his preferred number. He became the 665th player to represent England and was voted in the Test Team of the year in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2021. Amongst his other awards were Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2014 and 2022, England Test Cricketer of the Year as well as Limited Overs Cricketer of the Year in 2015, and Test Cricketer of the Year in 2021.
His 26 Test match centuries have been scored against India 8, West Indies 5, Sri Lanka 4, Australia and New Zealand 3 against each, 2 against South Africa, and one against Pakistan. His One Day International centuries total 16, with 4 against the West Indies totalling 4, India and New Zealand 3 against each, 2 each against both South Africa and Sri Lanka, and one against Bangladesh.
His Test match batting statistics are a total of 10,015 runs with a highest score of 254, a batting average of 49.57 and a strike rate of 54.78%.
His ODI batting statistics are a total of 6,109 runs with a top score of 133 not out, a batting average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 86.84%. His T20 batting statistics are a total of 893 runs with a top score of 90 not out, a batting average of 35.72 and a strike rate of 126.3%.
His best bowling Test statistics are 45 wickets with a best of 5 for 8 runs.
His best bowling ODI statistics are 26 wickets with a best of 3 for 52 runs. His best bowling T20 statistics are 6 wickets with a best of 2 for 9 runs.
He has also taken a total of 153 catches in international cricket.
Finally his overall total of runs scored in all First Class Cricket is 14,628 at an average of 48.92 including 38 centuries, 72 half centuries and 198 catches the major part as first slip.
As I’ve previously mentioned with his boyish looks, style and charm I can’t recall any other cricketer who is not only loved throughout England but through most of the cricketing world today, save for Shane Warne perhaps.
As you may have guessed, I’ve written this blog about Joe Root whilst still watching today’s play from Trent Bridge, so it’s not only the female sex who can do two things at the same time. I think it was Geoff Boycott who once said if you win toss and consider inserting the opposition, consider it carefully but still bat first. Has Ben Stokes made a mistake then today as New Zealand have finished on 318 for 4 wickets. Can’t find a live podcast from Edgbaston, though suffice to say that Birmingham have won the toss and have lost 2 wickets for 15 runs in the first 3 overs against Yorkshire.
Well that was the easiest win by Yorkshire ever in the T20 competition. Birmingham all out for 101 in 16.5 overs with David Willey taking 3 for 17 in 3 overs. Yorkshire didn’t too many risks, determined to not lose a wicket which they managed to achieve by scoring 106 for 0 which will help their average if Nottingham win their 2 games in hand. Just for the record Adam Lyth scored 58 and Dawid Malan 38 in this 10 wicket win.
I hadn’t realised that on a previous visit to Edgbaston for a T20 match the boot was on the other foot as Yorkshire were dismissed for 81 in 15.5 overs whilst Birmingham won by 10 wickets after scoring 82 in 11.3 overs, a case of what goes around comes around!
Need any more be said?
This Test match takes me back to 1957 at Trent Bridge against the West Indies when the most graceful batsman I have ever seen Tom Graveney scored 258 as England scored 619 for 6 declared against the West Indies and dismissed the visitors for 372 (Trueman 5 for 63) and following on 367 (Trueman 4 for 80) but just didn’t have enough time to win the match and finished on 64 for 1 wicket.
Graveney was my hero in those days, the only batsman to score over 10,000 runs for two different counties Gloucestershire and Worcestershire although he was born in Hexham, Northumberland. He was the most elegant and graceful batsman I had ever seen and in my opinion still is.
Nevertheless I’d like to see Joe Root beat Graveney’s 258 as England would still have a chance of winning this current Test match.
What I like best though about Root is his joy for Ollie Pope on his century today, a true inspiration for emerging young cricketers.
Yorkshire CCC are facing major payouts to former ex-staff including Andrew Gale and 5 other former members of staff after they won unfair dismissal charges following the Azeem Rafiq affair. The compensation awards are likely to amount upwards of £1.5. Also no sign of ex-England player Gary Ballance resuming his career either with Yorkshire or elsewhere.
Interesting last day in prospect at Trent Bridge today with all 4 results possible. First of all there have only been 2 Test matches that have ended in a tie. The first was in Brisbane in 1960 which I remember well. West Indies 454 and 284, Australia 505 and 233. The second tied Test match was more recently in 1986 at Madras where Australia scored 574 for 7 declared and 170 for 5 declared, India 397 and 347.
Surprisingly there have been 14 instances of a side scoring over 500 runs in their first innings but eventually losing, the most recent being in 2015 at Lords where England 389 scored and 478, New Zealand 523 and 220. Man of the match Ben Stokes. In those 14 instances this was the 4th time that it had happened to the Kiwis against England, so perhaps today will be the 5th!
What an amazing innings by Jonny Bairstow scoring 136 in 92 deliveries, his century being the second quickest ever scored as he and Ben Stokes’s winning partnership produced 179 runs in 20 overs as both batsmen went into T20 mode with Stokes hardly able to run far with a knee injury.
This Test match produced 243 boundaries including 24 maximums, the highest number of boundaries ever recorded in a Test Match. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, so who says Cricket is boring? And just finishes in time before the US Open Golf Championship starts at Brookline, Massachusetts. That’s me sorted then!
The postscript to yesterday’s Test Match is that attack is better than defence. However it won’t always come off, but it sure is entertaining. New Zealand are currently the World Test Match Champions and luck hasn’t been on their side. Firstly captain Kane Williamson, a player I have always admired especially for his sportsmanship was hit by Covid, Kyle Jamieson was unable to bowl yesterday, Tim Southee was probably at the lowest point of his career, and spinner Michael Bracewell was making his debut in this series. Would Williamson have made the same mistake as standin captain Tom Latham did yesterday in underestimating the power of a Jonny Bairstow in full flow by loading the short boundary hoping for Bairstow to make one rash stroke and be caught infield when the spectators had more chance of taking a catch than his fielders. After all Williamson was more aware of Bairstow’s prodigious power having played alongside Bairstow for several matches in the Yorkshire side between 2013 and 2018.
Let’s not get carried away too much, but the future certainly looks far brighter especially for Joe Root unshackled by Covid restrictions for two years. One other thing I noticed too is that cricket spectators stand up to applaud their heroes instead of running enmasse onto the field of play or even worse throw lighted flares onto the field of play.
And it’s good how they manage to stay sober all day too. 😉