Twenty-eleven is over as far as English cricket is concerned, so I am getting a jump on the year end reviews. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a top ten so early, but then I realised that I would probably forget in December. Here, then, are my top ten cricket moments of 2011:
10 – Nasser Hussain v Ravi Shastri. Just the best of all the times over the summer the Indians were cross with Nass over a perceived slight.
9 – MS Dhoni recalling Ian Bell at Trent Bridge. It was a very polarising moment, but I think MS Dhoni did the right thing by recalling Bell. Bell was an idiot, but it wouldn’t have been right to take a wicket like that.
8 – Lancashire force a super over on T20 finals day. Lancashire lost in the super over, but only got that far courtesy of a six off the last ball of the innings to draw the scores level. I include it because it was probably the most exciting moment in a T20 I have ever seen.
7 – KP scoring 200 in the first test against India. In an odd way it was one of KP’s worst innings. He was under some pressure coming into the series after a run of low scores. He did not look comfortable for most of the innings, but once he got to his century he found another gear and slogged his way to 200 before the declaration.
6 – England record their highest ever innings total in Australia. It was a tour of records and one of them was England scoring 644 in the first innings of the Fifth Test. Never before had they scored so much in an innings in Australia, though they had declared on 620-5 at Adelaide.
5 – England complete the 4-0 whitewash of India India fought back well in the last Test, but needing less than 30 to make England bat again with five wickets in hand they suddenly collapsed and England won by an innings and eight runs.
4 – England’s spectacular victory in Cardiff. Only 900-odd turned up in Cardiff to watch the end of what looked like a rain affected draw. Instead England blew Sri Lanka away for 82 and won by an innings and 14 runs.
3 – Stuart Broad taking a hat trick against India. After batting England back into contention in the first innings, Broad blew away India’s lower middle order to keep England’s deficit manageable. Admittedly, Harabajan Singh should not have been given LBW, but it was India who refused to use the DRS so I have no sympathy.
2 – Lancashire winning the County Championship. The County Championship went right down to two wire for the second year in a row. Warwickshire couldn’t bowl out Hampshire on the final day and Lancashire thrillingly chased 211 in the last two hours to bring the trophy to the northwest for the first time in 77 years.
1 – England winning the Ashes. It’s the only thing that could beat out the Red Rose to the top spot. A first win in Australia for 24 years topped off by Jonathan Agnew doing the sprinkler.
Honourable mention: VVS Laxman losing his off stump as England marched to victory at Trent Bridge.