England

Broad and Anderson the ultimate bromance

Sports like football and cricket, are beautiful sports for several reasons. Games can be decided and won through good teamwork or individual brilliance, yes that knock by Ben Stokes in the Ashes at Headingley comes to mind.

As important as those factors are for winning games, I want to talk about the need to build good partnerships in a duo, the bromance or the Romeo and Juliet pairings if you will. Let me elaborate.

Football fans, do you remember the Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer partnership for Blackburn Rovers, which helped the Lancashire side win the Premier League title in 1995.

Or what about the Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer partnership for England, or even the legendary pairings that both included Andy Cole, it’s fair to say someone is loved. First Cole and Peter Beardsley in the early ’90s, who combined to score more than 60 goals. If combining with Beardsley and scoring a sack load of goals wasn’t enough, it was when Andy Cole teamed up with Dwight Yorke at Manchester United that did an ultimate bromance develop.

In that 1998-99 season, as brilliant as Beckham and Giggs were, it was the deadly two upfront.

From the telepathic linkup play in the game against Barcelona or the semi-final win against Juventus in the 2nd leg, Cole and Yorke were brilliant, in fact so brilliant that then Blackburn manager Graeme Souness reunited the duo at Rovers.

In this blog, what I want to talk about are some of cricket’s deadly duo’s. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Alan Donald and Sean Pollock or Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. In terms of the latter two players, they sound more like a solicitors firm rather than a potent Australian bowling attack.

In the example of every duo, that I have listed, one player seems to compliment the other, which I think can be said of the example I want to use now, the example of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

With 1100 wickets between them, it’s obvious to see that despite Joffra Archer, Olly Stone, Sam and Tom Curran at their disposal and many more bowlers in the production line, England will revert to type and go to their two premier bowlers at any given opportunities, it’s with good reason.

Despite Broad being 34 and Anderson 38 respectively, these two are the men who seem most likely to answer the call of need for England.

The ongoing test between India and England seems to be proving my theory. This may be a bit harsh, but at the time of writing Archer and Ben Stokes combined have bowled eight overs between them and have conceded 43 runs.

Yes, the West Indies born pacer does have a wicket in the India innings, but compare that to the legendary duo of Anderson and Broad, they two have conceded just 31 runs in 15 overs. Both Stuart Broad and Anderson have been able to produce bits of brilliance on several occasions in their brilliant careers.

To be fair, the supporting cast have produced at times, but there’s an over-reliance on Broad and Anderson. With 1100 wickets between them, this thinking is natural. Until England area able to find this formula of winning games without Anderson (easier said than done) then England will remain stuck in the past.

India (Bumrah), South Africa (Rabada), Pakistan (Shaheen Afridi), New Zealand (Trent Boult) and Australia (Pat Cummins) have younger main strike bowlers than England. All I will say is, I don’t envy Joe Root’s dilemma, but until they find a formula I think England will be stuck in the past.

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India vs England third test, the tale of the wounded animal

They dared to win the first test and win at a canter.  That looks to have been the worst thing that they could have done. England since winning that first test in Chennai, have since been the victims of an Indian backlash. The sparkling double hundred from skipper Joe Root seems like a distant memory.

That 578 all out that they scored was this the same team? There have been some subtle changes but otherwise, the core of this batting unit has been the same.

Since that Stella knock by the England skipper and well backed up aggressive 40 in the 2nd innings, captain Root by his high standards has failed to get a score of note in the two innings since.

In that first game, both Bess and Leach did make significant contributions in the first test with the ball, but it was just Jack Leach who made a 2nd innings contribution with the ball. To get over the line, England were indebted to James Anderson like they have on so many occasions to help them finish India off.

At the time of writing, tourists England are again under the cosh. After making a paltry 112 all out, which included a Zak Crawley 50. To their credit Joe Root’s men have grabbed two quick wickets, to just put the brakes on proceedings.

Coming into this test The Three Lions would have wanted to lick their wounds after a chastening defeat in the 2nd test, but India are still obviously aggrieved that England had the nerve to win a game in this series.

With Anderson and Broad in their side, England will always have a chance, but if they didn’t know the task at hand, they will surely know now. A lot will depend on their start tomorrow, with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the crease, the signs look ominous.

Where is Moeen Ali when you need him? He seemed to have Kohli’s number. If England didn’t know what they were in for, they do now. After all, it was England who were the last team to beat them in India, that was some eight/nine years ago.

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PSL review; the poor man’s IPL?

No matter what will happen, they will always be in the shadow of their older brother.
In families, they usually say the smaller one gets spoilt alongside the older child and the middle child is like a ghost in the family household.

Now in this scenario, they’re not exactly the ghost, but the Pakistan Super League has been in the Indian Premier League’s shadow.
As both India and Pakistan are neighbours, of course, the attention will be on one another as the world looks to see both staging their equivalent of a T20 domestic cricket masterpiece.

This tag, all be it unfair has been on the organiser’s necks, that they will not be good as the IPL.
The same could be said of the BBL and any other t20 league around the world. It’s a fact that India, were the trailblazers in the T20 format.

The Indian’s some 11/12 years ago created a T20 league which helped build a new audience to a sport that many thought needed a new spark to it.

Slow, boring and an old man’s game has been some of the accusation’s thrown at the real beautiful game.
Bouncers at 90mph, a straight drive through the covers, then football players fall down with a little bit of a tickle.
Arguably somewhat behind their Indian counterparts, Pakistan have closed the gap and keep closing the gap on the rest of the T20 world cricket family.

Gradually, getting better each year. This years tournament, the sixth, started today as defending champions Karachi Kings faced 2019 winners Quetta Gladiators.

There were plenty of star players on show in this game. Former captain Sarfraz Ahmed who’s captain of the Gladiators, the very talented Azam Khan, Chris Gayle, Ben Cutting and Pakistani paceman Naseem Shah, just to name a few.
Champions Karachi were packed with talent too with the likes of Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram and Mohammed Nabi.

As impressive as this list of talent is, there is more talent that is on show in this years PSL.
In terms of English players Alex Hales (Islamabad United) Cameron Banton (Quetta Gladiators), Joe Clarke (Karachi Kings) and Phil Salt also Islamabad United, shows that the talent card had improved upon other years.

As for today’s match itself in a game that many thought would be tight turned into a one-sided affair. Quetta were bowled out for just 121. In reply, Karachi Kings knock off this target with six overs to spare.

This tournament has already produced a great game. Poor man’s IPL? The organises will be out to prove that theory wrong.
Here’s to hoping for some more brilliant cricket tomorrow.

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Three Lions roar on as England win series 2-0

England’s cricketers beat Sri Lanka 2-0, to clinch the two match series against Sri Lanka, with six wicket win. Tourists England, showed one change from their first test win as Stuart Broad made way for all-time highest fast bowling wicket-taker James Anderson.

The hosts Sri Lanka, who were well beaten in the first test, fared better with the bat in the first innings this time round. Dinesh Chandimal’s side scored 381 all out, largely helped by 110 by star all-rounder and former captain Angelo Matthews.

Wicket-keeper batsmen Niroshan Dickwella (92) and skipper Chandimal (52) provided support for Matthews as the hosts Sri Lanka for the first time in the series frustrated England’s bowling attack. Spinners Jack leach and Dom Bess were wicketless, and only were able to dismiss Sri Lanka’s batting line-up, largely due to veteran James Anderson’s brilliance (6-40).

In response England, got their reply off to the worst start as England’s openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley again feel cheaply. Just like in the first test, The Three Lions were indebted to their captain supreme Joe Root. The 30-year old Root, who scored a brilliant 228 in the first game, backed this up with another superb knock of 186.

It was only Jos Buttler (55) who was able to offer any kind of support for his captain. Despite this, England were still able to get close to Sri Lanka’s first innings total and ended up being just 37 runs behind Sri Lanka’s total.

Having been in a position of dominance, inexplicably the home side self destructed and in their second innings scored 126 all out. Star bowler Lasith Embuldeniya , who has starred with the ball in this series, ended up top scoring with the bat, the spinner top scored for the Sri Lankan’s with 40.

England were left with a low target to chase of 164 to win the second test and complete a whitewash over their hosts. Just like throughout the series opener Zak Crawley fell cheaply, but just like the first test in the second innings, the tourists England had a wobble.

From the English perspective, thankfully Dom Sibley (56 not out) was able to return to form and Jos Buttler (46 not out) were able to guide the tourists home, winning by six wickets. Tougher challenges await Joe Root’s side, who play India 5th February in Chennai’s Chidambaram Stadium.

Sri Lanka vs England; tourists edge out day two

England, thanks to James Anderson’s superb bowling figures of 6-40 helped the tourists keep in touch with their hosts on the second day of the second and final test against Sri Lanka. Anderson, who was rested for the first test win in Galle, rolled backed the years with a superb spell of bowling.

Anderson, the world’s leading wicket taker for seam bowlers made a mockery of his age and became the oldest player (38) to take a five wicket haul in tests. Critics had been circling the ‘Burnley Express’, saying that he wasn’t able to replicate his performances in home tests, away from home.

The Burnley Brian Lara, as he is also affectionately known by, has taken an impressive 49 wickets in just 14 tests away from home. Anderson’s brilliance was needed as spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess toiled. To put into context the pair send down 65 overs and conceding 195 runs.

To put that into context, their joint economy (Leach and Bess) was three runs over, which was more than double James Anderson’s (1.38 an over). Mark Wood was able to chip in with three wickets and Sam Curran one wicket as hosts Sri Lanka added another 152 runs to their total, before being dismissed for 381.

After their first innings showing in the first test, where they were shot out for just 135, hosts Sri Lanka will be delighted with their showing here. In reply to that impressive first innings total, England again fell into trouble as out of form pair of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both fell cheaply Lasith Embuldeniya.

Just like in the first game, England were indebted to their captain. Root, who scored a first test double century (228), followed that effort up with a counter attacking 67 off just 77 balls. That enterprising knock, helped Jonny Bairstow play a more watchful innings at the other end.

The Yorkshire man, will join his captain on 24 not out. An interesting days play, which leaves the test finely balanced.

Sri Lanka vs England 2nd test

All-rounder Angelo Matthew‘s patient century, helped hosts Sri Lanka to just about dominate day one of the 2nd test in Galle.

The hosts got their innings of to the worst start after after falling to 7-2. James Anderson claimed two early wickets, and picked up another to leave the Asian side reeling at 76-3.

In the gruelling heat, former captain Mathews hit a measured 107 not out and put on 117 with captain Dinesh Chandimal Sri Lanka closed on 229-4.

Wicketkeeper batsmen Niroshan Dickwella finished the day 19 not out. Sri Lanka have arguably scored slowly on a flat pitch.

Credit goes to England, who limited the scoring on a pitch offering little movement for their fast bowlers or turn for the spinners.

Veteran James Anderson (3-24) was the tourists’ main threat with the ball as Jack Leach and Dom Bess remained wicket less.

So it was Sri Lanka, who edged day one but only just!

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.

Plunkett To The Rescue!

 

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Liam Plunkett’s late cameo helped England secure a thrilling tie in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka

 

Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett hit a last ball six to ensure that England’s one-day series with Sri Lanka ended up in a thrilling tie. England in the one-day format are under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan. In the last 15 months much has been made of the Three Lions’ attacking approach, England were hoping to carry on their winning momentum from the test matches into the one-day series.

Winning the toss, home captain Morgan opted to field. The decision seemed justified as Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, and Kusal Mendis were all back in the pavilion before the score reached 100. Those early dismissals brought Sri Lanka’s experienced duo of Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews to the crease.

The pair put on a watchful stand of 64, the main reason for that was due to the brilliant and well-disciplined bowling of the ever improving Adil Rashid,who bowled quite wonderfully in his 10 overs.

Adil’s superb bowling was putting pressure on the Sri Lankan’s to up the scoring and that helped break the partnership. Moeen Ali was able to profit from Chandimal’s impatience as the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper was well caught by Chris Woakes. The tourists were still in trouble at 120-4.

When Prasanna came into the crease, he was able to add much-needed impetus to the Sri Lanka innings. The Sri Lankan clubbed 59 off just 28 deliveries, which was exactly what the tourists scorecard needed, but when Prasanna was out off the bowling of Chris Woakes, Upul Tharanga also was dismissed very soon after.

A collapse seemed on the cards which has happened far too often this summer in the Sri Lanka batting line-up. Thankfully for Sri Lanka Shanaka and Farveez Maharoof were able to help get the Asian side’s score up to 286-9 in their 50 overs.

On a pitch that seemed like it was giving some assistance to batsmen, Sri Lanka seemed to be about 15-20 runs short. What happened next in this match I don’t think anyone saw this coming, if anyone. England got their run chase off to a disastrous start.

The usually reliable England to order crumbled, Alex Hales,Jason Roy and Joe Root were all back in the hut before the score had got to 20. Outcome Bairstow next, the man who had been England’s saviour in the test series, but even he didn’t really trouble the scorers as the Yorkshireman was out for three.

It was left to Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to recover the situation, but when Morgan was the fifth man out with the score not even getting over 100, an absolute mauling for England was on the cards.

Thankfully for England in the one-day format, they have been able to call on Jos Buttler and yet again the wicketkeeper-batsmen produced the goods. After Moeen Ali’s fell in quick succession to his captain’s, it was left to Chris Woakes and Buttler to drag the hosts back into the game.

The seventh wicket pair brilliantly put on 138 for the seventh wicket to drag England right back into contention. Sadly for England disaster struck as Joss Buttler holed out and was excellently caught on the long off boundary by Dasun Shanaka. David Willey was the next batsmen in.
Yorkshire all-rounder Willey has impressed with the bat over the years, but sadly in this game, the 24-year old struggled to make an impression. David Willey was duly put out of his misery and was dismissed for just seven.

At this point, Sri Lanka were firmly in the box seat, but what was about to happen next I am sure not even the most optimistic of England fan would have saw coming. The hosts England were needing 15 an over, which with the greatest respect to England seemed near impossible, but cometh the hour cometh the man.

That man on this occasion was Liam Plunkett. The Yorkshire all-rounder has been in good form with the bat this year and the 29-year old took his good form on to the international stage for England. The Three Lions thanks to lusty blows from Plunkett were able to tie a game that they seemed almost certain to lose.

The tie was secured with a six off the last ball, this was only the eighth time in England’s one-day international history that they had a tied a match. The second one day international between the two sides will be on Friday in Bristol.

Dan The Man For England

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A last-gasp Daniel Sturridge goal helped England get their Euro 2016 campaign back on track as The Three Lions edged out Wales 2-1 in a game that was dubbed ‘the battle of Britain’. England came into this game knowing that one result was only really going to suffice, victory.

For football fans from the UK, much build-up wouldn’t have been needed for this game, but with Slovakia defeating Russia yesterday the pressure on England to win grew even more.

Coming into the game Wales who impressively beat Slovakia in the last game after being pegged back, made two changes to their side. Jonny Williams and Dave Edwards made way for Hal Robson-Kane and Joe Ledley respectfully.

As for England,their team showed no changes in a match that anything other than a win would see the Three Lions all but knocked out of the tournament. The match itself in the early stages after quite a big build up, disappointed as England struggled to assert themselves in the game and Wales were looking a little nervous.

The 1996 semi-finalists were lacking a cutting edge and an end product for all their possession they were having. Raheem Sterling though however, who was later taken off had a glorious chance to put his side in front after skying over when well place to convert Adam Lallana’s centre.

That miss, though, however, wasn’t going to be costly for the English. There was a scare for England before hand as Wales’ star player Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a stunner of a free-kick.

Just like in the Slovakia game, England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s positioning was questionable as a free-kick from some 40 yards shouldn’t be really finding the back of the net.

England were no doubt a bit rattled, manager Roy Hodgson who has a wealth of experience, really needed to draw upon that now as his side were staring down the barrel.

Roy’s men were in need of a good team talk, some might even say a ‘Carlsberg team-talk’. One thing was for certain if the score stayed the same England would have been all but out of the tournament.

If you are of the England persuasion, however, you would be happy in the knowledge that didn’t happen. Knowing England needed to change the momentum of the game. Hodgson made what would turn out to be two very inspirational substitutions.

In the first-half Wales’ back three weren’t tested enough, but with the introduction of subs Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, England had more pace in the side and were eventually starting to ask questions of the Welsh backline.

Sturridge, in particular, seemed to make his intent clear, he wanted to be more direct. Although the Liverpool man saw a few speculative efforts go well over the bar initially, the former Manchester City and Chelsea would make go on to make a key contribution in the end.

Fellow sub-Jamie Vardy would help get England back into the game by scrambling in an equaliser. That goal was the least England deserved at that point, from that point onwards there only looked to be one winner, England.

Wales who hadn’t offered much going forward were in need of a firm rearguard to keep out the wave after wave of England attacks. The Welsh were getting deeper and deeper in their own half after the England attacks intensified.

An England winner looked inevitable and the winner duly came from the boot of Daniel Sturridge, in the 92nd minute. From sadness, the English fans were ecstatic as their team pulled off a dramatic injury time win.

Quite a different story from the Russia game, what a difference a week makes.

The One’s To Watch In This years World Cup

James Taylor has blossomed since entering the International Arena, while his England team mates have struggled, he most definitely hasn't.

James Taylor has blossomed since entering the International Arena, while his England team mates have struggled, he most definitely hasn’t.

With the cricket World Cup is very much in full flow now, this tournament promises to be a cracker. The team here at Asian Sunday take a look five players who we think will ‘light up the tournament’.

Although the World Cup is just a few games old there are already a few players who are catching ‘the headlines’. In New Zealand’s emphatic win over Sri Lanka, unsurprisingly Corey Anderson caught our eye as well as his New Zealand team mate and captain Brendan McCullum. Ultimately we want to chose some players that you might not be aware of.

Corey Anderson (New Zealand)

The New Zealand all-rounder who hit the headlines with the fastest one day international at the time off 36 balls is a key player lower down the order for the Kiwis. Even in the World Cup Opener against Sri Lanka,Anderson showed the cricket world why he is a key player for the Black Caps. A cleaner striker all around the ground and a decent bowling option, Corey Anderson could be a key man for New Zealand in this years World Cup- but also for many years to come for New Zealand overall.

James Taylor (England)

When analysing a game, not many would give a mention to a player on the losing side – but James Taylor’s brilliant knock was the undoubted highlight of a very lacklustre England performance against co- hosts Australia. Although small in size this young Englishmen is very quickly becoming a man of ‘giant stature’. After a good season for Nottinghamshire the 24 year old has finally been given his chance at International level. Taylor may have a different style to Corey Anderson – but will be effective in a slightly different way. England have been crying out for so many years for a player who can rotate strike and remain calm under pressure. In James Taylor we are convinced England have their man.

Harris Sohail (Pakistan)

The 26 year old Harris Sohail has only just broken on to the international scene now, how the world of cricket mourns over that fact. Sohail a 26 year old left handed all rounder is truly the whole package, a very useful spinner of the cricket ball and a clean striker of one. For us though it’s Harris Sohail’s very good temperament in pressured situations that have already impressed us in his career so far.

Ajinkya Rahane (India)

In a batting line up including Rohit Sharma (a world record holder) , Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, you might be surprised that we picked out Rahane. The Rajasthan Royals opener has been selected in our list for his temperament and all round good game, a similar reason to James Taylor. A batsmen who has exceeded in all formats, Ajinkya Rahane could be a key factor in the tight games. Rahane does boast of scoring centuries in England and South Africa, Rahane has all the shots so it’s fair to say the 26 year old can most definitely ‘walk the walk’.

David Miller (South Africa)

Just like Rahane, Miller is potentially another surprise choice – but if you have watched the Indian Premier League in recent months, I really don’t think anyone will be that surprised why he has made our list. The Punjab Super Kings player like Corey Anderson is destructive if the bowling is to straight. Time and time again the Punjab player has made big knocks when his team needed him. Although Miller maybe unproven in International cricket, we feel it’s a matter of time before the whole cricket world takes notice of this man. Well it’s always going to be tough to be seen as dangerous batsmen, especially when you’re in the same side as AB DeVilliers.

The best thing about tournaments like this one is that it help other players get noticed that even we might have failed to notice. Regardless who plays in this tournament, the tournament it self plans to be a cracker.