Today confirmed a few things for me.
Nick Knight is an excellent addition to the Sky Sports cricket commentary team. His calm, gentle voice and excellent analysis are well worth listening to. Big thumbs up for having him alongside David Lloyd. Chris Gayle truly is on another planet to the rest of us, but in a good sense. Such a relaxed and cool individual. I would love to meet him to try and see what makes him and keeps him so relaxed. Would the recent returnees from the IPL be ready for a day’s test cricket?
Andrew Strauss didn’t quite get the execution of his back foot cover drive right and nicked it. It’s a shot that scores him plenty of runs so there’s no reason to be alarmed yet. Alastair Cook played nicely enough but the first time he really played away from his body he inside edged onto the stumps. His bat didn’t seem to be coming down as straight as it should be.
As KP walked out I said to the cat “If I were Fidel Edwards I’d be looking to pitch it up a bit, on middle or middle and leg, swinging away…”
KP edged an absolute pearler to Denesh Ramdin who took a great catch, moving as he was to the leg side.
“… just like that!”
I kept reviewing the highlights on the red button option. A well thought out, beautifully executed piece of bowling. And a hell of a ball to get first up. As Nick Knight said on commentary “How do you play that?” Geoffrey Boycott would surely have replied “From the other end lad!”. Knight pointed out that KP has had trouble with that kind of delivery before and suggested that his balance was perhaps not quite right.
In February I wrote
Does KP have a technical flaw to the well pitched up outswinger on middle stump? Compare his dismissal in the 2005 Oval test match (where he was bowled by a similar beauty from Glenn McGrath) to his being bowled by Jerome Taylor. If memory serves in the Oval test he was playing straighter there than across the line as he tried to play to leg. Is this a definite technical flaw? If I can notice that then you can bet John Dyson, the West Indies coach and former Aussie batsman has.
You can bet the Australians will have noticed this and will factor this technical flaw into their plans. Whether or not playing straighter at that particular ball would have made any difference is an interesting and probably irrelevant point – had KP missed it then the top of off stump was in danger, had he played straighter then Chris Gayle may well have had catching practice.
But… West Indies dropped six catches in the final session alone, so there’s no guarantee that had KP played straighter and nicked to slip the catch would have been held. Fidel Edwards was again the let-down bowler. Words will be had tonight in the West Indies hotel rooms and dressing room. England should be in a far worse situation.
Ravi Bopara had three lives on his way to his first hundred at Lord’s. His on driving in particular was beautiful. As an Essex supporter anything I say about Essex players might be slightly biased so I’ll just say congratulations to him. Three dropped chances during his knock helped the England score.
Stuart Broad again looked good and if he continues to develop he will become a good all rounder. A batting average of 35 plus is not impossible for him. His shot selection needs to improve a bit – he had three chances as well – but his development should be encouraged and not pressured with monickers like “the new Ian Botham” or “the new Freddie Flintoff”.
Matt Prior smacked a long hop outside off stump to the covers. Bit of a Jamie special that, if the inswinger doesn’t work then the half-tracker will surely do the job. He looked great up to that point and surely groaned as loudly as I did when I heard how his wicket fell.
The summer has arrived well and truly.