England win by eight wickets!

It’s been a disappointing winter, but England have finished it on a high. Chasing 94 to win at an absolute canter with KP hitting the winning runs with a six of none other than Dilshan (who conceded 16 to that man off four balls in the final over). I could not have asked for any more from the end of the match, really. It means that England cling onto the number one Test ranking still and will have a bit of confidence going into India this winter. It was straightforward in the end. Sri Lanka never developed a really threatening partnership and only the early wicket of Strauss threatened to disrupt England’s chase. KP took the bowling by the scruff of the neck again, however, and England ended up chasing the target in just 19.4 overs. KP got a deserved Man of the Match and almost did enough to back up his statements about not having a problem against left-arm spinners. Almost.

For now though, attention can shift in the short-term for the County Championship, and the battle therein for the number six spot in the English batting order, and the Test series in the West Indies as a good build up to their tour of England in a couple of months. Both promise to be fascinating, but I think the battle for number six will be more so. Samit Patel acquitted himself well in the second Test, but always looked like a horse for a course and it seems unlikely that he is in England’s plans for the summer. That would mean back to Bopara, back to Morgan, Bresnan or a Lions player. Simple. Morgan and Bopara should be discounted by the selectors, however. The former decided to play in the IPL rather than bat himself back into form for Middlesex and Bopara is Bopara. Bresnan seems unlikely as a six/seven batsman and given the recent preferences of the selectors will probably be the third seamer, batting at eight, or not play at all. Which would leave a Lions player. Which one will probably be down to LVCC performances, though it is interesting that James Taylor was not included in the England Performance Squad.

There is also a smaller battle to be had now for the third seamer. Bresnan would appear to be the first choice, as almost a proper all-rounder, but Finn seemed to outbowl him in the final Test. As I said above, I don’t think Bresnan will play as a sixth bat/fourth seamer (though I think he is well-qualified to do so). Once again, performances in the LVCC might make the difference, but right now I think Finn would get the nod.

Those are all things on which to keep an eye over the next six weeks. For now though, time to celebrate a much-awaited victory and the retention of the number one spot!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s