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Posts Tagged ‘james anderson’

Jimmy Anderson’s first ever ODI five-for was a sight to behold (highlights here and here). South Africa’s batsmen, having been so imposing at Newlands on Friday, were in disarray as the hosts were skittled for 119, with the ‘Burnley Express’ taking 5-23, including the pivotal wickets of Amla, Boucher, and Duminy.

England’s tour so far has been more up and down than a kangaroo on a trampoline, but they find themselves 2-1 up in the 50-over series with one to play. Cue a 100+ run defeat for the tourists in Durban, probably.

As an aside, it may be worth noting that Kevin Pietersen failed with the bat again, lasting six balls and making just three runs despite getting a reprieve on his second ball when Morne Morkel dropped a sitter.

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The so-called ‘Langer dossier‘ detailing all of England’s failings (which, incidentally, Justin Langer almost certainly didn’t write) is getting a lot of coverage today – but it’s hardly full of revelations. In the words of Michael Vaughan, “If I had been asked to write a dossier on English cricket, I would have come up with many of the same points“.

Any English cricket fan could tell you that the team’s heads drop when they’re up against it, that Matt Prior and Graeme Swann have large egos and that Jimmy Anderson can fall apart when things aren’t going his way. Perhaps the dossier also contained suggestions that Pietersen rates himself highly and that Andrew Flintoff likes a beer or two.

A far more profound insight into the (lack of) mental strength of England’s cricketers could be gained purely by watching them bat in the current Test.

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England fans everywhere are carefully considering whether or not to get their hopes up after their side ended the second day of the Second Ashes Test at Lord’s needing only two further wickets to bowl out Australia, who currently languish 69 runs short of the follow-on target.

Jimmy Anderson in particular starred with the ball for the hosts, taking 4-36 in his 17 overs on Day 2, including the wickets of Cardiff centurions Ponting and North. Earlier, the “Burnley Express” had made a career-second-best 29 with the bat, most of which in a tenth-wicket stand of 47 which doubtless added to Australia’s frustration.

For the tourists, the task ahead is incredibly tough, but if they are asked to follow on, it could play into their hands, especially if the showers that are being forecast materialise at the right time (or the wrong time, depending on your viewpoint).

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Much has been made in the build-up to the Ashes about the supposed weakness of Australia’s bowling attack, but it is quickly becoming apparent that England’s isn’t quite as good as some people would have you believe.

Flintoff has bowled plenty of overs without looking particularly menacing; Panesar‘s only wicket was more or less self-inflicted by Ponting; Swann hasn’t proved as dangerous to the left-handers as was predicted, and has been outperformed so far with the ball by Nathan Hauritz, Australia’s alleged weak link; Jimmy Anderson has been Jimmy Anderson, threatening for a spell then innocuous until the second new ball; Stuart Broad has gone for nearly 4 an over.

If England want to bowl Australia out twice in a Test this series, then someone needs to step up. Graham Onions may be feeling confident about his prospects for the Second Test (as indeed may Harmison).

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Unless you’ve been hiding away in a University tower for the last couple of months, it can hardly have escaped your notice that the Ashes starts tomorrow with the First Test in Cardiff.

England’s fans (and some sections of the media) seem to have suffered a bout of collective amnesia (or perhaps repression), with the last series (which, of course, Australia won 5-0) as infrequently referred to as an old copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica or an Atlas that still has Yugoslavia and the USSR on it, and with many non-experts apparently believing that the 2005 series was in fact the last time these two sides met.

Nevertheless, the events of four years ago are likely to foremost in the mind of Ricky Ponting, who will be desperate to restore his reputation and prove the doubters (such as a certain Mr. Thomson) wrong. If Mitchell Johnson can bowl at his best and the openers can cope with reverse swing more competently than Langer and Hayden managed four years ago, then the tourists can more than justify their status as favourites.

The home side, meanwhile, are – as ever – reliant on Pietersen and Flintoff. The emergence of Graeme Swann as a genuine spin threat who can hold a bat (and a catch) adds some balance to the lower order, but there is a lot of pressure on Broad, Anderson and the fifth bowler (a position that my be filled by a number of players throughout the series) to take wickets, something which Flintoff hasn’t done much of in recent years. The top order needs to display more solidity than it did over the winter, and while Ravi Bopara may have the element of surprise (although not to the extent that KP did four years ago), he will struggle to sustain his brilliant early-season form against a bowling attach which – for all its much-heralded weaknesses – will be far more motivated than the Windies were (and, of course, won’t suffer from as many misfields).

Although it pains me to admit it, it’s tough to see past an Aussie series win.

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England’s selectors have announced their 13-man squad for the First Ashes Test at Cardiff, and there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is mainly for Graham Onions – his performance against the West Indies (as well as a strong start to the season for Durham) has seen him included, and also for Monty Panesar, with whom Onions is competing for the last bowling slot, albeit with conditions rather than form likely to be the final arbiter of the decision about who plays.

The bad news is for Steve Harmison (although he was expecting it, as he should have been after being left out of the 17-man training squad) and for everyone who hates Ian Bell, who has been included despite managing only 20 runs in two innings against the Australians last week. Bell is very much the 13th man, but an injury to any of England’s top order could see him play a part.

The squad in full is as follows: Andrew Strauss, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann.

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Whether or not it was due to Devon Malcomesque frustration at continually being bounced when taking the nightwatchman role to protect KP, or a preference for early-summer (read: winter) conditions, Jimmy Anderson has been bowling really well recently, and indeed has hardly looked back since his recall to the England side during 2008’s tour of New Zealand.

Whilst Matthew Hoggard (who Anderson replaced in New Zealand) has languished in the international wilderness, Anderson has gone from strength to strength, being named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Although it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, the fact that the ‘Burnley Express’ is now the most secure in his place of all England’s fast bowlers is quite a development. His ability to swing the ball both ways is crucial to England’s gameplan, and it’s certainly nice to be able to type his name next to the word ‘reliable’ without have to go via the ‘u’ and ‘n’ keys.

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