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Posts Tagged ‘owais shah’

England were looking a little wobbly in their second innings of Second Test at 43/3, but arguably the two least glamourous batsmen in England’s lineup put them back on track. Strauss and Collingwood, neither of them what you might call marquee players, put on an unbroken partnership of 129 runs to leave the tourists with a 247-run lead, 7 second-innings wickets in hand, and two whole days of play left.

Strauss in particular seems to have rediscovered his best form – he now has nearly 200 runs in the match, which is remarkable given his relative lack of preparation. Collingwood, under pressure from Shah for his place in the side, slipped somewhat under India’s radar to make a solid 60 not out. If the two of them can stay there for a period tomorrow morning, the hosts could find themselves with a very large target to chase.

Earlier in the day, India had been dismissed for 241, 75 runs short of England’s first innings total. Flintoff and Panesar both finished with three wickets as only Dhoni and Harbhajan offered any real resistance, putting on 75 for the 7th wicket.

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England’s slim hopes of salvaging something from the One Day series in India ended in dramatic fashion as the Fourth ODI was reduced to a 22-over slogfest. India, put in to bat by Kevin Pietersen, started their innings still expecting a 50-over match, but Sehwag behaved as if he was playing Twenty20 anyway, smashing 69 from 57 balls to take the home side to 106-1 after 17 overs.

A prolonged rain delay seemed at one stage to have ended all hopes of play resuming, but when it did India hammered 60 runs from their last five overs to take them to 166, a target inflated to 198 by the mystical workings of Duckworth/Lewis.

Nine runs an over was always going to be a struggle for England, and the only point in their innings when it looked attainable was whilst Owais Shah and Andrew Flintoff where smashing balls to all corners of the ground during their 79-run partnership. Once both had fallen, England had little to offer in the way of boundaries, and could only make 178 from their allotted 22 overs.

India win the series, and England’s attention may now drift towards the upcoming Tests. Shah’s knock at least bodes well for Middlesex’s chances in the upcoming Twenty20 Champions League.

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England take on South Africa in the first ODI of the series at Headingley tomorrow with a slightly re-jigged side, possibly featuring Matt Prior opening with Ian Bell, and with Owais Shah at number three.

The hosts will also make changes to their bowling line-up, partially forced by injury to Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Tremlett. Called up in their stead is Tim Bresnan. Former captain Paul Collingwood is still suspended, but Samit Patel may miss out to Luke Wright and/or Graeme Swann in the lower-middle order.

For South Africa, JP Duminy, Johan Botha and the tremendously-named Vernon Philander are all likely to play. Albie Morkel is definitely injured, and brother Morne is a doubt. Graeme Smith‘s side will be overwhelming favourites (although Duncan Fletcher is optimistic about England’s chances), and the return of Herschelle Gibbs to the side for the One-Dayers is likely to put bums on seats, as they say.

UPDATE: Harmison’s only gone and unretired himself.

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England Lions, that oddly-named band of fringe players and jilted England captaincy candidates, take on South Africa tomorrow at Grace Road.

The likes of Samit Patel and part-time model Chris Tremlett will be hoping to prove themselves worthy of inclusion in the full England One-Day side, whilst Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Luke Wright will be hoping to have a bit of a recce of the South African side. I imagine their report will be something like ‘they’re much better than England‘.

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England barely saved the follow-on against New Zealand. The top six have not pulled their weight, and (whatever Ian Bell says) changes need to be made.

But which changes? Collingwood’s recent form hasn’t been great, but the others seem to have a knack of making a big score just when the axe seems about to be wielded, so whoever is dropped will be able to complain that they’re no worse than others who have kept their place. Also, the likes of Bopara, Shah and Key haven’t quite done enough to bang down the metaphorical door to selection.

Maybe things will just muddle along as they are, but I hope not.

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The second division get second-rate previews-just a few words each.

  • Derbyshire – have got Mahela Jayawardene for part of the season, plus Rikki Clarke for the whole of it – should improve on last season’s poor showing.
  • Essex – have kept Andre Nel, and Bopara should play a fair bit, but the Eagles still lean heavily on Kaneria.
  • GlamorganDalrymple’s signing is a good sign, and the all-rounder could be a canny acquisition for the worst side in the competition last season
  • Gloucestershire – Steve Kirby was impressive for the MCC against Sussex, and much relies on his fitness as well as that of Jon Lewis.
  • Leicestershire – have made big changes to personnel, and it remains to be seen how well their new side (including five Kolpak players) will gel.
  • Middlesex – Ed Smith’s men have also made some significant changes to the side, and England rivals Shah and Strauss will have to take a lot of responsibility when they play.
  • Worcestershire Simon Jones is a slightly risky signing, but Fidel Edwards will be around from June to help out in the bowling department.

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