Category Archives: Uncategorized

Strauss hundred fails to overshadow weak middle order

Just to get things started – let’s talk about the positives of England’s performance on the opening day of the first test against India in Chennai. The tourists finished on 229-5 after an entertaining day’s cricket, but it could have been so much better.

After a bold move from Kevin Pietersen to bat first after winning the toss, the pressure was on Alistair Cook and Andrew Strauss to get England off to a good start. This is exactly what they did as the pair put on 118 for the first wicket. The cricket odds were backing a big score at this stage.

This effort in the first session of the test match was even more remarkable considering the bizarre circumstances in which the game was being played. Spectators were heavily outnumbered by army commandos and policeman as security was heightened around the ground.

Nevertheless, Strauss and Cook looked in decent form after lunch as the boundaries were being hit with more regularity. However, the latter fell shortly after reaching his 50 when he ballooned a ball from Harbajhan Singh into the hands of Zaheer Khan.

Strauss continued to impress though and made his way into the 90’s when tea came with England on 164-1. It was a solid start for Pietersen’s men and it was crucial that they built on it in the final session.

However, only two balls after the interval, Ian Bell was caught LBW by Zaheer to start a session that was to belong to the hosts. Strauss wasn’t fazed though and reached his century shortly afterwards. It was a remarkable effort for someone who had enjoyed such little preparation before the game.

Two more wickets were to give India the momentum as Kevin Pietersen – who looked extremely out of sorts – and Paul Collingwood fell in quick succession. The Durham man was very unlucky though as the ball was no where near his bat before Gambhir took the catch.

Strauss then fell to Mishra late on as Andrew Flintoff and night-watchman James Anderson led England off with the score on 229-5. A very disappointing evening session had completely undone what was an encouraging start to the series.

The thing I wanted to touch on briefly though was the frailty of England’s middle-order. Paul Collingwood is lucky to be included after a poor run of form, Andrew Flintoff by his own admission prefers to bat at seven and Matt Prior is yet to convince as a test match batsman. Overall, it seems rather frail.

India will know that two early wickets could land England in trouble. With Anderson, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar in the side – the tail is rather long as well.

Ever since the team was selected I have asked myself – why no Owais Shah? The man is pure class. During the recent ODI series against India, he was England’s best player and looked to cope against India admirably. How is Collingwood preferred to him?

Of course I hope that England’s batsman prove me wrong and reach at least 400 in their first innings, but I really do feel that Shah has been unfortunate to miss out. The way the team collapsed on the first day exaggerated this.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>
st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }
<!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-update:auto; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; font-weight:bold; mso-bidi-font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:595.3pt 841.9pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>


/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Former England keeper calls for team to head home

Leicestershire captain Paul Nixon has pleaded with the England cricket team to return home following Wednesday’s terror attacks in Mumbai. The former England keeper has said that it ‘isn’t worth staying over a game of cricket’.

Nixon – who is currently playing in the Indian Cricket League – believes that the whole situation is much bigger than cricket and considering the exceptional circumstances – the players have ‘got to consider’ going home at this stage.

The former England keeper was due to fly to Mumbai himself as part of a Rest of the World XI, but he admitted that he and his team-mates will now reconsider their plans. Other people to have their say on the situation are Simon Jones and James Foster.

Jones was part of the 2004 England squad that remained in Zimbabwe despite President Robert Mugabe’s decision to ban journalists from entering the country. The Welshman says that it will have to be a group decision and that ‘lengthy talks’ between the players and the relevant officials will have to take place. Much like they did in Zimbabwe four years ago.

As for Essex wicket-keeper Foster, well he is of the opinion that it will be ‘a little tricky’ for the England team to continue their tour of the country. He is confident that the ECB will make the right decision though.

As things stand, the two remaining One Day International’s have been postponed, but the test matches will still go ahead according to Indian cricket officials. The location of the second test – scheduled for Mumbai – will more than likely be changed.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Will India’s test series victory over Australia help or hinder England?

First things first – what a fantastic performance from India to secure a 2-0 test series win over Australia. To dominate the best team in the world as much as they did is nothing short of incredible and they can’t be praised enough for their achievements.

As much as this was a victory they would have thoroughly enjoyed, there is no rest for the wicked as they say. India need to pick themselves up again as they take part in the first of seven One Day Internationals against Kevin Pietersen’s England.

The biggest question for me ahead of this series and the following two test matches is – will India revel in the confidence of the Australia series or will they struggle to motivate themselves for the next challenge? In other words, will India’s test series victory over Australia help or hinder England?

Help

There is no doubt that the Indian team will be emotionally rather drained after what was an epic series against the Australians. Some of their players may believe that the hard work of their summer is done – now it’s just England to take care of. The cricket odds will be heavily favouring a win for the home side, so perhaps they will underestimate the threat England possesses?

Motivation will also be an issue. Having just beaten the number one team in the world so convincingly – are they really going to be as fired up against a team ranked fifth in the world? Will there still be the same sense of determination?

England could very well be facing a team suffering a ‘post beating Australia’ hangover and they must capitalise on this. Starting in Rajkot tomorrow where Sachin Tendulkar will not be present as he is being rested for the first three ODI games. Another Australian series related advantage for England.

Hinder

As much as there could be a sense of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ as far as India are concerned, they are also just as likely to use the momentum built up against Australia to really punish England.

They will field a very young side as they build for the 2011 World Cup and this will contain a number of talented and enthusiastic individuals. There is strong competition for places in the Indian team right now and every single one of their players will know that they need to perform to keep their place.

Something else the series over as Australia has done is renew the ‘feel good factor’ surrounding Indian cricket. The county is cricket mad at the best of times and now that the team in entering a new era by winning games – excitement and support is likely to be more significant than ever.

Perhaps we will learn exactly how things will pan out for India and England after tomorrow’s first game of the seven match series. If England emerge victorious, it could be a very tight series, although if India win – it could be a repeat of the 2006 series between the two teams when the hosts thrashed England 5-1.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Krejza lifts Australian hopes in the final must win test

Jason Krejza will never forget his test debut regardless of whether Australia record a victory in the final test match of the series against India. This is because the spinner helped ignite Australian hopes of forcing a positive result by taking an incredible 8-215 in India’s first innings.

These are the sixth best figures ever by a test debutant and go some way to ending the concerns about Australia’s spinning options. Krejza will have a long and successful future in the game if he continues like this, after all.

The wickets taken by the 25-year-old couldn’t have been more crucial either. Despite him taking three of the first five Indian wickets to fall, the hosts were cruising at 422-5. Mahendra Dhoni had just reached his 50 and was sharing a brisk partnership with Sourav Ganguly until Krejza really turned it on.

The wicket of Dhoni for 56 signalled the start of India’s collapse. After the new skipper fell, so did Ganguly, to Krejza – just two balls later. The spinner then took the remaining three wickets to reduce India to a much lower than expected total of 441.

Critics will point to the fact that Krejza was smashed around the park at times by the Indian batsman. However, no-one can take this achievement away from him and no-one can underestimate how important his wickets were. At 422-5, India were cruising and all cricket odds expected them to reach 600 at least.

Had this been the case, not many cricket bets would have been placed on Australia forcing the victory that they need to square the series. What Krejza’s wickets have done is give Ricky Ponting’s side hope.

Of course, 441 is still a decent total in a first innings. Therefore it was vital that Australia responded in a positive fashion. Well, despite losing Matthew Hayden early on – they have done just that. Simon Katich is unbeaten on 92 overnight and he has been joined by Michael Hussey who is 45 not out. They will resume tomorrow on 189-2 and they really need to push on.

There is still three days remaining in this match and Australia must believe they can win it. They need to build up a first innings lead and maybe even aim to only bat once. Katich will obviously play a key role, but other than him it is important that at least one of Hussey, Michael Clarke or Shane Watson also records a century.

An intriguing third day lies ahead.


By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dhoni expects Australia fight back after drubbing in Mohali

Mahendra Dhoni has had worse test matches. Not only did the stand-in captain lead his side to an impressive 320-run victory over Australia, but he also received the man-of-the-match award after scoring 92 and 68 not out. Then, there was the small matter of the two catches and a stumping he achieved. Overall, it will go down as one of the best few days in his career so far. The player himself admitted that ‘nothing went wrong’ during the entire test match.

 

The victory in Mohali gives India a 1-0 advantage in the series with two matches to play. It also gives them the belief that they can dominate the best team in the world and they can intimidate them. Because that is exactly what they did from ball one of this test match. Ricky Ponting even stated afterwards that India ‘outplayed us in every aspect of the game.’

 

It wasn’t just Dhoni that can be proud of his performance though – every member of the Indian team contributed something. Gambhir, Tendulkar and Ganguly were all in the runs and all of the bowlers got their fair share of wickets. As team performances go, it really was superb. Dhoni even claimed that it was ‘one of India’s best matches in test cricket’. That is quite a statement to make, but when you thrash a side that has only lost once since 2005 – it is probably fairly accurate.

 

As for Australia, well they will be very disappointed with the way they performed. After the last test match, Zaheer Khan said that he didn’t think Australia could bowl India out twice and in all fairness to him – he could be right. The tourists bowling attack lacked that extra spark someone like Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath would provide. Confidence was low and in India’s second innings they looked drained and were seriously lacking in belief.

 

This then affected the batsmen in the final innings of the match as they were brushed aside for just 195. No batsmen looked like taking command and even when Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin gave them renewed hope late on day four, the latter was bowled by Zaheer in the first over of day five. It was then game over as far as the second test was concerned and in many people’s eyes as far as the series is concerned. The cricket odds are now heavily favouring India to go on and defeat this dwindling Australia side in the remaining two matches.

 

The Indian camp won’t be taking this for granted though. Dhoni has said that he expects to have a much tougher battle on his hands when the sides meet again next week. He says that Australia are ‘still the number on team in the world’ and that they will ‘come back strongly’ in Delhi.

 

All I can say is that they would have to come back very strongly if they are to eclipse and India side that will be on an all time high after one of the most convincing test match performances in recent years.

 

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

India batsmen frustrate Australia in Bangalore

The first test match of the eagerly anticipated series between India and Australia is over and after five days of entertaining cricket, the teams go into tomorrow’s second match all square. Set a victory target of 299, the hosts reached 177-4 before stumps on the final day.

After the match there was criticisms aimed at both teams. First of all, Ricky Ponting claimed that Australia were ‘the only team trying to win the game’. This was because, in all honesty, India settled for the draw on day five. Sachin Tendulkar – who normally pushes the run rate along quite briskly – was extremely patient for his 49 off 126 balls. Then, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly made sure of the draw with a rather cautious approach. Lazman in particular was very willing to ‘dead bat’ the ball.

Ponting is bound to be unhappy with this approach from the Indians. In all fairness though, what did he expect them to do? Go out to the middle all guns blazing and present Australia with loads of wicket opportunities? The cricket odds weren’t exactly favouring India to reach their target, so they were perfectly entitled to see it out for a draw. Especially after they found themselves 24-2 and then 77-3.

The Australians weren’t immune from criticism themselves though. Zaheer Khan – who helped India reach 360 in their first innings with an unbeaten 57 – claimed after the game that the Aussie bowling attack was incapable of taking 20 wickets in a test match. Zhan pinpointed the weakness of their spinning options and the fact that neither of their opening bowlers – Brett Lee or Stuart Clark – were particularly threatening.

These comments may be rather accurate, but it has to be recognised that this is just one test match. Australia were the better side throughout and their bowlers will improve in time. Yes, they miss the presence of a Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath type character – but they are capable of bowling out India twice. They will prove this at least once this series – I’m sure of that.

Looking ahead to the second test that gets underway tomorrow, this Australia bowling attack that we speak about has suffered an injury blow. Stuart Clark, the man currently ranked as the second best test bowler in the world, has an elbow injury and will miss the match in Mohali. A 23-year-old debutant in the name of Peter Siddle will take his place. Ponting describes him as a ‘no nonsense’ type of bowler and it will be interesting to see how he does.

Finally, there is one major incident to look out for in this second test match. Tendulkar needs only 15 runs in his two innings to overtake Brian Lara as the leading test run-scorer of all time. He is already the leading One Day International run-scorer and holds the record for amount of centuries in both forms of the game. Not had a bad career has he really?! I just hope he can mark his latest achievement with a glittering century to set the second test match between these two teams alight.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about cricket betting

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Sports Site

www.thesportpages.wordpress.com has got all the latest sports news articles, feature articles and in-depth analysis along with photo galleries and videos. Please visit and spread the word.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized