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Sri Lanka vs England, first test review

England captain Joe Root’s double century in the first innings of the first test, helped The Three Lions on their way to a seven wicket win over hosts Sri Lanka. Tourists England who had skittled the 1996 world champions out for just 135.

In reply to this paltry total, England largely thanks to Root (228) and some good support from Dan Lawrence (73) on debut, were able to pile on the runs (all 421 over them). The hosts, were now well and truly on the back foot.

After a crushing defeat by South Africa, you wouldn’t have blamed Sri Lanka for feeling a sense of ground hog day.

To the Asian side’s credit, they dug in, in the second innings. Angelo Matthews (71), Kusal Perrera (62) and emotional Lahiru Thirimanne century (111) helped the home side make 359 all out second time round.

The second innings was a much better showing by Sri Lanka. Nothing summed out their second innings better than Thirimanne’s second test ton, seven years after his first.

Despite a battling second innings showing, tourists England just needed 74 to win the first test in Galle.

What seemed a very small total, was threatening the to be a challenging one. Sibley, Crawley and Root were all back in the pavilion cheaply.

England’s scorecard read 14-3, which really raised the question of a shock win. Jonny Bairstow (35 not out) and Dan Lawrence (21 not out) saw the tourists home without any further scares.

The second and final test of this series will also be in Galle. England, will go into that test looking to extend their unbeaten nine game run in tests.

Sri Lanka, will go into the final test, no doubt looking to restore pride. The final test starts on 22nd January.

The Masters review

Twenty-year old Chinese star Yan Bingtao came the second youngest player to win in The Masters after beating former two-time winner John Higgins, in what proved to be a gripping final. Bingtao, who beat world number two Neil Robertson earlier in the tournament, showed he is a player for the future by displaying admirable battling qualities.

In other matches, the 20-year old won on final frame deciders, the final all though not going to a final frame decider was still hard fought. Former four-time world champion Higgins, who many thought was ‘past it’, silenced some doubters here.

On another day, Higgins would have come out on top. The 45-year old veteran did lead 5-3 and 7-5, but Bingtao won five of the remaining six frames to clinch his maiden rankings event title. This win in Milton Keynes, (the makeshift home of The Masters, due to the Coronavirus) will add to the Riga Masters title Yan Bingtao won last season.

World number six Higgins showed the snooker world, he still has something to offer, that brilliant win against Ronnie O’Sullivan a tournament highlight, but this win for Yan Bingtao, the world number 11 shows that he is a force to be reckoned with.

World number one Judd Trump had to miss the tournament due to Covid concerns, but sitting at home, he will be in the knowledge that he has a new challenge to over take his supremacy at the top of the world game.

Yan did come close to winning a ranking event in 2017, only to beat edged out ny former world number one mark Williams 9-8 in the Northern Ireland Open. So this win, three years on will be all the more sweeter.

How to manage a lockdown

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards on digital media and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My brothers, I hope you’re well and looking after your beards. Brothers, as you know of course, we are in a Coronavirus Pandemic and in a Lockdown too. My Bearded Soldiers, I know this brings it’s challenges, but I am here for you.

My beloved’s this Lockdown maybe a bit inconvenient, but it doesn’t have to be this way. For most of you, you are working from home, not having to wake up an hour earlier than the sane humans. The insanity, is from those who decide to shave their face.

To make sure you do it carefully and properly, it takes 20 minutes of your day, 20 minutes of your day that can be used elsewhere! There’s also not a need to run out of the door and eat your toast whilst starting your journey of being stuck in a traffic jam. If only you just grew a beard!

The only jam, most of you have to deal with, is the stuff you put on your toast. So, with the morning routine done and arriving at work, some of you will start work as per normal. For those who are homeworkers, you won’t have to contend with the morning traffic jam and you can start your day working at your make-shift office.

Working from home is great, toilet isn’t out of order, the canteen is great and there’s no rush hour to contend with when getting back from work. It may seem advantageous, but with us being in a lockdown, a daily schedule could get repetitive.

If you fear this, worry not, your Captain is here! Brothers, first thing that is needed is a good start to the day. how to achieve this , is when you wake up, thank the one who gave you your beard. Clean yourself and your beard!

Your man fur, is your money maker and needs to be cleaned. TLB (Tender love Of Beard) is necessary. I am sure you know that there is Beard Shampoo, which emphasizes the need to care for your beard. Exercise your mind, and your body too.

An active body, can help keep a mind active and healthy too. In these times, a healthy mind is crucial. Look after your beard, comb it and put product on it too. A tidy well kept beard shows discipline and helps you make you more organized. It brings in some law and order.

An unkept and untidy beard, opens up to laziness. Laziness can have the polar opposite effect on a mind, that’s dangerous. Brothers, I have wrote somethings you can do to help you in lockdown, but not in a religious order.

What’s necessary is that you make sure you complete your check list. Comedy videos, embarking on your creative side also can help you too. Brothers, we did in a previous post talk about surviving in lockdown, but I felt the need to remind to just remind myself of a tidy beard.

One reason which made me type this out, was that Father Malik had to address me about a messy beard. Brothers, a tidy beard and physically combing and styling your beard works wonders. Find time for you, and find time for your beard, you will grow grey and old together.

Your friends and family, are being forced to social distance from you, but your beard though? That’s exempt. Remember that brothers your beard will go into isolation with you if need be. That’s true love my Bearded Soldiers, just don’t forget that love your beard will show you, ever.

It’s over and out from your Bearded Captain.

Liverpool vs Manchester United, post match review

Title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, played out an inevitable draw, in a result that although didn’t damage The Reds’ title defence, it surely didn’t help it. Liverpool who before kick off, were three points behind current league leaders Man United, went into this one in woeful form.

I say that, due to the high standards the Anfield club have set themselves in the past two seasons in particular. It’s well documented, that Liverpool have had some defensive issues to contend with, but the issues have been up the pitch.

Famed front three, Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane failed to score for the third game in a row. Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t gone on such a run since 2005, that season was the season of the 2005 Champions League win.

With summer signing Diogo Jotta, not back until February, what seemed a team that was indestructible is arguably on the course of self destruct? Such an accusation is harsh, especially since current leaders Manchester United have hardly been flawless themselves.

A 6-1 mauling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the season isn’t results of champions elect, but this season has been a strange one. Anyone has beaten anyone. The gap is three points, a Man City arguably would have taken full advantage in this game, as hosts Liverpool huffed and puffed but never looked like scoring.

Home debutant, Thiago was superb. The Spaniard, has added an edge to what seemed to be an already complete Liverpool midfield. Former Bayern Munich man Thiago, was time and time again dictating the pace and tempo of the game. Despite the 29-year old’s best efforts, he couldn’t help his team be composed in the final third.

The best chance Liverpool did half came from Thiago, who forced Man United keeper David DeGea into a smart stop. Having to play with stand-in centre backs Jordan Henderson and Fabino, United did have two good chances to score the opening goal.

Bruno Fernandes who was on the whole quiet in this one, had a shot well saved by Alison, who superbly saved a Paul Pogba effort to ensure the score remained 0-0. Two points dropped arguably for Man United, but if they were told they would get a point at the start of the game, The Red Devils surely would have taken it.

The theory proved wrong?

Hello, and Greetings my bearded soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag-bearer of all beards. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

Brothers, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and also looking after your beards. My Bearded Soldiers this is a lockdown we’re in, so I hope you’re looking after yourselves. Please feel free to contact me, if you feel you need to in these times if you want to Skype, Whatsapp or communicate in any other way you see fit.

Now, my brothers I am sure you remember my passionate blog post about being loyal to one takeaway and not ruining takeaway night with a ‘dead lemon’ (going to take away that doesn’t meet your expectations).

If you don’t, here is the link of that article https://ayyazmalik.com/2021/01/14/the-takeaway-theory/.

This evening brothers, I have fallen in love (look away now Mrs Malik hehe), but her name is New York Crispy.

She lives on Wilmslow Road’s Curry Mile! Ok, enough sarcasm, for now. My Beloved’s, tonight, treating the experience like a ‘free hit’, I went to one of the best chicken takeaway shops in Manchester, for the very first time.

This wasn’t my opinion, as I hadn’t tried it, but it is now! Double chicken burger, red salted chips and a very generous serving of curry sauce all over the burger, made for a delicious textured burger.

For my taste buds, the curry sauce was spicy, but not too much that it would burn my lip.

As I devoured the burger, bite by bite my pallet was just left in awe of such wonderful tasting beauty in the mouth.

Service was excellent and in no time I could set my eyes on this burger beauty , the burger bun was nice and soft too.

The chicken breast was succulent and thankfully not tasting processed as I have tasted in other takeaways that they sell chicken.

I have been to some takeaways, where I could swear blind, the chicken hasn’t been cooked properly.

New York and their chicken though, no such problems and the chicken was nice and crunchy too.

Long I have been someone who was vocal about not trying a new takeaway and if you do and it’s not nice don’t give them a second chance.

This rule I had almost lived and died by it, but sometimes in life, you need to break the rules lol. With New York Crispy, I broke a rule by trying a new takeaway , what a wonderful tasting meal it was!

For me, the two best burger places are Philadelphia and Miami, but New York needs to enter into the conversation of the best burger places in Manchester.

That was an excellent showing this evening guys. No doubt see you again soon! It’s over and out from The Captain.

Liverpool vs Manchester United preview

Tomorrow’s top of the table clash between Liverpool and Manchester United will be the first time in more than 20 years, that these two arch-rivals will be squaring off as first and second in the table.

The rivalry might have died in recent years it could be argued. With United top of the league and leading by three points, reigning champions Liverpool will want to and be eager to make up ground on their arch-rivals.

Win and The Reds are top, lose and Liverpool will be further behind. They won’t be out of the title race, especially since Man United will need to still play Man City, Tottenham and Leicester.

Trying to claw back a six-point deficit, although not impossible won’t be easy.

This Manchester United team, although not being at their sparkling best, they have been good enough to win several matches this year.

Merseyside club Liverpool have a very proud home record, and The Red Devils are unbeaten in 15 games away from home. The game between these two promises to be a classic.

Rashford and co coming up against a patched-up Liverpool defence, but Jurgen’s men have on the whole done well this term despite a depleted team sheet.

United’s defence, having conceded six against Tottenham earlier this season, have somewhat tightened up in recent weeks.

The return to form and fitness of Eric Bailly has been crucial to this renaissance. Ivorian Bailly, will be crucial to Manchester United’s hopes of getting a positive result from this top of the table clash at Anfield.

Liverpool centre back Joel Matip, who is close to full fitness, will be assessed before a decision is made to see if the former Schalke will feature .

As for the visitors United, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof and midfielder Nemanja Matic will be looking to prove their fitness.

As for my prediction, sorry to be nice and boring … I am going for a 1-1 draw. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Australia vs India day one review

Marnus Labuschagne impressed again for Australia with yet another 100.

After failing to win the third test, Australia got their innings off to a solid start after the hosts made 274-5.

Tourists India, who have done well to put aside together after the injuries suffered in the drawn third test, were punished for two drop catches as Marnus Labuschagne made his fifth century.

The South African born Labuschagne who was dropped on 37 and 48, took full advantage of those reprieves and made his century off 204 balls.

The Asian side, who were without Hanuma Vihari and Ravid Jadeja, were arguably missing the presence of these two men on the field as India’s inexperienced bowling attack toiled on the first day.

The day did start well for the tourists as David Warner (5) and the recalled Marcus Harris (1) both fell cheaply. Hosts Australia were able to steady the ship through Steve Smith (36) and Matthew Wade (45).

Captain Tim Paine (38) and Cameron Green (28) put on 61 for the sixth wicket, as the world champions looked to press home their advantage. India’s inexperienced bowling attack toiled, even opener Rohit Sharma sent down one over.

On the flip side, should the visitors get an early breakthrough, they’re right back in this test match. It’s well documented that, the tourists have a depleted bowling attack, but they still have a very solid top order.

Tomorrow’s first session will be very important, one thing is for sure is that this test promises to be a classic.

The takeaway theory

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital media and digital broadcast media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My brothers, I hope you’re well and looking after yourselves, but most importantly looking after your beards. Bearded Soldiers, Bearded Beloved’s what I want to talk about this evening is takeaways. My beloved’s when you go to a takeaway how many of you try a new takeaway?

I am of the opinion that when it’s take out night, you don’t tend to venture out and try a new take away place after you have found a take away place. As much as I do this, the thinking is flawed I admit (but I still do it). It’s takeaway night, they don’t come around everyday so why waste your shot at takeaway night right?

If you’re like me, it’s something that you build yourself up for, and if you try a new place and it isn’t up to standard, nothing is more soul destroying! Why did you waste your go you ask yourself, when you know (in my case this is), Philadelphia and Miami Fried Chicken never have a bad day in the office.

On the time you say ok, I am going to try a new place, only for the takeaway to be disappointingly below what you expect. Are you like me and give a one strike and you’re out rule? Can you honestly forgive the takeaway place another chance after they ruined takeaway with poor quality food?

Me personally, I just think it’s unforgivable. Forgive but don’t forget as they say. The last thing I want to offer my opinion on in the world of takeaway food is getting your food delivered … I don’t agree, for me I like to see my food prepared and well if I pick up my food, I can maybe eat it in the car if I am too hungry to wait.

Perks like that are priceless. So there’s my thoughts on all matters takeaways, what do you think of my thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Sports and COVID-19

For the past year, it’s dominated our lives and it’s dominated the news headlines too. I am not referring to Brexit, which in amongst itself has been a constant topic on everyone’s lips, I am indeed talking about the Coronavirus (Covid19). What started in December 2019 it’s believed (hence the name) has been a topic and an issue that’s still just as prevalent as it was over 12 months ago.

The virus has affected all aspects of life. From work, to shopping, to getting  a haircut and sports athletes too.  Supermarkets were rationing, which in turn lead to a Royal Rumble in its own right. In England and the rest of the UK is in yet another lockdown, where barber shops are closed and a lot of shops- recognised shops from the high street are closed. Here, I want to talk about the Coronavirus from more of the sporting side of things.

As mentioned, sports stars/athletes have been affected by Covid19 with many of these sports stars we adore and idolise suffering from Covid. So sports has been carrying on, but not with some of the worlds best and most known athletes. Football matches have been cancelled and rearranged and sports like snooker are just competing in one arena.

This year’s snooker masters tournament, just like with the other snooker tournaments that have been in a bubble environment. Cricket has been the same too, but in this article I want to talk about sports and is sports setting a bad example during covid?

Well, yes sport is but at the same time, I feel sport is unfairly targeted. Problems in the world, such as racism .. it seems like sport is solely responsible to sort the problems of society on the whole. The other side of this topic is, there’s been moments like football players clearly breaching lockdown guidelines, but at the same time the nations Prime Minister has fallen foul of the rules too.

Now if our leader isn’t following the rules, then how can we single out sports stars? There has been incidents such as India’s cricketers being seen at a Melbourne restaurant. Or the fact the Milijovic and Mitrovic been seen together.

But the one case which really took the biscuit was Manchester United’s women taking a trip to Dubai. This has caused a knock on affect in this current time for the women’s game. Sport has been seen by many as being some form of antidote to those who have mental vulnerabilities during this lockdown.