Tag Archives: seamers

Australia set down Ashes marker… but should England be worried?

Awesome Aussies set down Ashes marker… but should England be worried

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 28 December 2012

There's no getting round the fact: the second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at Melbourne was not so much a game of cricket as a demolition job.

Australia won inside three days by an innings and 201 runs, while Kumar Sangakkara had his left hand broken by Mitchell Johnson and two other Sri Lankans stayed in the pavilion, absent hurt.

With back-to-back Ashes series lying in wait in 2013, this result was what you might reasonably call a statement of intent.

Star man: Mitchell Johnson (centre) was in fine form as Australia hammered Sri Lanka in the second Test

Star man: Mitchell Johnson (centre) was in fine form as Australia hammered Sri Lanka in the second Test

But how concerned should England be After all, the Sri Lankans have always been poor in Australia: this was their 10th defeat there in 12 Tests, four of them by an innings.

And Australian pitches could not be further removed from the slow heart-breakers routinely found in Sri Lanka.

Alastair Cook may also comfort himself with the thought that, more than anything, the MCG appears to have hosted the rebirth of Johnson, who returned match figures of 6 for 89 and hit an unbeaten 92.

If anything was designed to dispel the post-Christmas blues in soggy England, it is the thought that Johnson – a figure of fun during the 2010-11 Ashes – will be taking the field at Trent Bridge on July 10. The Barmy Army will be exercising their vocal chords.

Take that: Johnson punished the Sri Lankans with the bat as well as the ball in Melbourne

Take that: Johnson punished the Sri Lankans with the bat as well as the ball in Melbourne

The success on Test debut of Sydneysider Jackson Bird may be more significant, for Australia are compiling a stock of apparently interchangeable seam bowlers – the must-have accessory for any team aspiring to regular success in the fixture-heavy modern era.

Their problem, though, is fitness: everyone keeps breaking down.

As things stand, it is fairly pointless trying to predict which of their seamers will play at Nottingham. As for their batting, Michael Clarke remains in the form of his life, with Mike Hussey not far behind.

England's best hope here is that the law of averages kicks in, as it has done for every batsman in Test history bar Don Bradman.

Solid start: Jackson Bird can be happy with his Test debut for Australia

Solid start: Jackson Bird can be happy with his Test debut for Australia

And, although there were half-centuries at Melbourne for David Warner and Shane Watson, England will also be quietly confident about getting the better of Australia's top four.

Warner and Phil Hughes, who is being rehabilitated at No 3, may be too keen to play their shots to prosper regularly in English conditions, while Ed Cowan looks no better than steady, and Watson is yet to demonstrate he has the capacity for big hundreds required at No 4.

Having said all that, Australia are now 2-0 up with one to play against a team England beat only 1-0 at home in 2011, then lost to at Galle earlier this year.

And yet a better gauge of where the two Ashes sides are will be Australia's four-Test series in India, starting in February.

England are still luxuriating in their 2-1 win. The pressure will be on Clarke's side to match them.

England hit by second injury blow as Steven Finn doubtful for final India Test

Double blow for England with Finn set to join Broad on sidelines for final Test

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UPDATED:

09:42 GMT, 12 December 2012

Steven Finn gave England a huge worry
ahead of Thursday's crucial final Test here on Wednesday morning when he was
unable to train because of a disc strain in his lower back.

Finn had been unable to play in the
first two Tests because of a thigh injury but returned in Kolkata in
place of the out of sorts Stuart Broad and bowled brilliantly in
England's famous win.

Injury blow: Steven Finn was unable to take part in net practice

Injury blow: Steven Finn was unable to take part in net practice

England will assess the Middlesex man's condition in the morning but he must be a big doubt for a game in which Alastair Cook and his men have the chance to win England's first Test series in India for almost 28 years.

And with Broad officially ruled out of the fourth Test with a recurrence of the heel injury he sustained in a warm-up game at the start of this tour the potential absence of Finn could not have come at a worse time.

Tim Bresnan, innocuous in the first Test, is the most likely replacement for Finn but Graham Onions, who has been on the outside looking in all tour, is another potential choice. England will certainly not want to go into the Test with a fitness question mark over one of only two seamers in their line-up.

The pitch here at the VCA Stadium just outside Nagpur looks a good one, certainly not the raging turner many predicted, and it could well be that England now regret sending Stuart Meaker back to play with their Performance Squad in Pune. It could turn out to be the kind of flat but abrasive surface that would have suited the rapid Meaker.

There also remains a possibility that England will again change a winning side and bring in Jonny Bairstow for Samit Patel. Alastair Cook, the England captain, refused to back Patel when asked if he would play.

'Samit played in the first game in that second spinner role but with Monty coming in and doing fantastically well, clearly his chances with the ball have been limited since then,' said Cook. 'We will try to pick the team that we think gives us the best chance of winning this game.'

Missing: Stuart Broad has been ruled out by heel injury

Missing: Stuart Broad has been ruled out by heel injury

Cook was in relaxed but businesslike
mood as he assessed his side's chances of making history
with a third successive Test win in a country where it is famously hard
for visiting sides to prosper.

'On the eve of any Test I'm nervous
but there's a lot of excitement today too,' said Cook. 'It's an
incredible situation we find ourselves in and we've played some really
good, tough cricket to get here. We are keen as a side to continue that
here.'

England's recovery after their heavy
first Test defeat has astounded many but Cook insisted he always knew
his side had it in them.

'I've been pleasantly surprised with
the character we've shown. I think I said after Ahmedabad that if we
played to our potential we could get back into this series but the way
we have done that has really pleased me,' he said.

'Everybody realises how big and
important this game is. When we're out there we have to take that
emotion out of the game and make sure we fully focus on what we have to
do. We know how hard we have worked to get here and we have to do it
again now but we have to remain as calm as we can be. We can't get
carried away now. We are here to do a job. We have a great chance and
we're desperately keen not to let that chance go.'

But they will have to succeed again
without their vice-captain with Broad ruled out of this match and quite
probably the rest of this leg of the tour.

'Stuart is out of this Test and we'll
assess him over the next day or so to see if he has a chance of playing
in the Twenty20s,' said Cook.

'It's the nature of sport that some
people have good tours and others don't and unfortunately Stuart hasn't
this time. He's had injuries and illness and he hasn't quite been able
to get into this tour which is frustrating for him and disappointing for
us as a side but we all know the class of Broady and that he will be
back.

Broad has had a miserable trip,
suffering injury and illness and being dropped after going wicketless in
the first two Tests, but he would definitely have returned if Finn is
ruled out of this game. The worry for England now is that they will be
going into their most important game of the year without either.

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Cook and Panesar

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

England's last Test at Nagpur was at the city’s old venue, but it was the start of a new era with Alastair Cook flying in from an A tour in the Caribbean to score 60 and 104 not out on his debut.

It was also Monty Panesar’s first Test, which he marked by claiming Sachin Tendulkar lbw as his maiden wicket.

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

First Test

(Nagpur, March 1-5, 2006)

England 393 (Collingwood 134) and 297 for 3 (Cook 104no).

India 323 (Kaif 91, Hoggard 6-57) and 260 for 6 (Jaffer 100)

Match drawn

The Little Master later signed the ball, writing on it: ‘To Monty, once in a blue moon, never again mate.’

England’s third debutant in a game that ended in a draw was Somerset’s Ian Blackwell, who scored four runs, failed to take a wicket with his left-arm spin and was never picked again for his country.

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

The good news for England’s seamers was that Matthew Hoggard returned first-innings figures of 30.5-13-57-6.

Top spin at the Test: Spinners slow down "new Dravid"

Top spin at the Test: Spinners slow down 'new Dravid'

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UPDATED:

20:19 GMT, 23 November 2012

Cheteshwar Pujara is apparently immovable but England may have gained an insight into how to slow him down. Against the two seamers Pujara scored 47 runs off 99 balls, a strike rate of 47. But against the three spinners – including Samit Patel – he managed 67 runs off 190 balls, a less imposing strike rate of 35. Small mercies. After making 87 against England for Mumbai A earlier in the trip, Pujara has now faced 719 balls – only two fewer than the rest of India's top seven put together.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Assured: Cheteshwar Pujara

Broad's economy trouble

Stuart Broad had a pop at pros-turned-pundits on Twitter in the build-up to this Test. A few wickets yesterday might have strengthened his case. Instead, Broad, who was suffering from an upset stomach, drew a costly blank: his 12 overs cost 60. Only once before, against West Indies at Lord's in 2009, has he bowled more than 10 overs in a Test innings for a worse economy rate than the 5.0 here.

Yuvraj is left all at sea

When Yuvraj Singh walked out to bat, he must have known what was coming. Alastair Cook whisked Jimmy Anderson out of the attack and tossed the ball to Graeme Swann. Sure enough, Yuvraj was bowled by the first delivery he faced. But he has some way to go to match another Indian lefty: in 2011, Swann dismissed Suresh Raina for ducks three times, including twice at The Oval.

Sachin Tendulkar just keeps getting
bowled. Admittedly, the Monty Panesar delivery was a beauty, but
Sachin's stumps have been rattled six times in his last 13 innings.
Before that, you had to go back 42 innings to find the previous six
times he'd been bowled.

Nasser Hussain: Alastair Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on

Captain Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 21 November 2012

There clearly isn't much Alastair Cook needs to learn about batting in India, as his total of 217 runs in the Ahmedabad Test proved.

But while he comfortably outscored his opposite number MS Dhoni, he could certainly have learned a thing or two from him about the art of captaincy in that part of the world.

I am not saying that it's easy for a boy from Bedford School to adapt to conditions that are as far removed from England as you can imagine.

Crunch time: Alastair Cook will be hoping for an improved performance in the second Test

Crunch time: Alastair Cook will be hoping for an improved performance in the second Test

But, basically, Cook needs to be less English in his approach. Back home, captains can rotate their seamers until tea in the knowledge that the Dukes ball will remain hard and the quicker bowlers will always be in the game.

But in India, the seamers are often at their most dangerous when the ball is older and reverse-swinging.

Sometimes, the new ball does absolutely nothing. On the first morning at Ahmedabad, Cook (right) didn't realise the danger quickly enough, and by the time Graeme Swann came on to bowl, Virender Sehwag had already got India off to a flyer.

Contrast that with Dhoni, who opened the bowling with his off-spinner Ravi Ashwin. In India, it's crucial that players think on their feet.

If it's clear from the first over that there's no bounce for the seamers, try the spinner.

Adapt: Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain believes Cook should take a 'less English' approach

Adapt: Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain believes Cook should take a 'less English' approach

Zaheer Khan bowled only two overs out of the first 40 in England's second innings. And that's because Dhoni was adapting to the conditions.

Cook's bowlers have to help him out, too. Line and length might work on greentops, but it was noticeable how much more effective Zaheer and Umesh Yadav were when they pitched the ball up, aiming yorkers at the stumps.

These are early days for Cook, who has already done the most important thing as captain, which is to lead from the front with the bat.

But now he needs to show some inspiration as a leader in the field, too.

England need to show they can play – Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain: The time has come for you to go out and show us you can play

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 19 November 2012

England v India – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.
The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.
MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

England’s batsmen have proved themselves fine players with fantastic records over the years and we must not have short memories but enough is enough.

This was not the first time this year that the bulk of them have failed in subcontinental conditions and the time has come in Mumbai on Friday to put that right. You keep saying you are good players of spin. So go out there and show us.

One captain in Alastair Cook led brilliantly by example in Ahmedabad but the other one in MS Dhoni was more tactically astute and England have to stop being so English. The Indian captain bowled spin early and kept his seamers fresh for when there was reverse swing and that’s what Cook has to do in Mumbai.

The toss on Friday will be absolutely crucial.

The England bowlers will be looking
out at the middle saying, ‘Please win it, skip’, because if England are
really going to win two out of three Tests to win this series they have
to bat first.

Entering: Jonathan Bairstow (right) is likely to come in

Entering: Jonathan Bairstow (right) is likely to come in

If I was captain now I would love to have five specialist bowlers in the second Test because Matt Prior is clearly good enough to bat at six. But I would resist the temptation this time because there is so much uncertainty over England’s middle order.

A new batsman will come in for Ian Bell, presumably Jonny Bairstow in the interests of continuity, and I would stick with the others, including Samit Patel ahead of Eoin Morgan.

Monty Panesar has to come in because Patel is no more than a part-time bowler and I would select him ahead of Tim Bresnan.

Both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson would remain in my side because you have to remember how little there was in the pitch on the first two days in Ahmedabad. There should be a bit more bounce in Mumbai.

Bumble at the Test: England finally wake up and join the Test

Bumble's Test diary: England finally wake up and join the Test series

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UPDATED:

12:34 GMT, 18 November 2012

England have joined the tour. Abysmal in the first innings but they have finally entered the series, and Alastair Cook has been outstanding, while Matt Prior’s knock was fantastic. All we have heard is 'England’s batsmen can’t play spin', but these two have put that to bed. And they can definitely get something out of this game today…

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Captain Cook stays cool under pressure

It’s the captain Cook show. He has already batted longer than any other England player in a follow-on situation and has also now made more centuries on the subcontinent (five) than any other Englishman. And it’s no sweat for him. He doesn’t perspire and never changes his gloves. Magnificent.

KP looks out of sorts as England's batsmen struggle

However, the lack of runs from other big names in the top six (Trott, Pietersen and Bell) is a worry. Pietersen looks out of sorts generally, and against left-arm spin in particular. Bell of course flies home now for the birth of his child and Jonny Bairstow should replace him for the second Test

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

England must admit they got it wrong… and turn to Monty

The nailed-on bowling change for Mumbai is Monty Panesar for Tim Bresnan because the pitch will spin and England do not need three seamers. They must admit they picked the wrong side. England should also consider bringing in Steven Finn, but this would be at the expense of Jimmy Anderson or Stuart Broad, so I don’t see it happening, even though the latter has struggled lately.

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

Ojha leaves Ashwin in the shade

Monty and Graeme Swann lose nothing in comparison with Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Ashwin is supposedly India’s star spinner but he has now gone an eternity without taking a wicket.

Fire alarm broke my sleep pattern

My sleeping patterns are all over the place! After my oversleeping episode on Friday, I was hit by a double whammy last night…the fire alarm went off in the hotel and there was a wedding reception! I need to get my head down…

Nasser Hussain: England haunted by old demons

Old subcontinental demons come back to haunt England

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 16 November 2012

England have been, well, just too English in this Test. What works for them at home will not work in India and this was such a flat pitch that the bowlers should have tried to take it out of the equation.

Where were the yorkers and the cutters Instead England tried to bore India out by bowling a tight line and length and that was never going to work. Can you imagine Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram bowling like that in these conditions

Old demons: Jonathan Trott lost his wicket late on day two

Old demons: Jonathan Trott lost his wicket late on day two

India v England – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

I cannot fault the effort of the bowlers and it has to be remembered they were bowling at a formidable Indian line-up who had everything in their favour. But England seemed to have no tricks up their sleeve and nobody appeared to go to the captain Alastair Cook and say: ‘Let’s try something else.’

For the seamers to bowl 70 overs with such little success shows that England read the conditions wrong. And as they did, why didn’t Kevin Pietersen bowl more The sight of Ravi Ashwin then opening the bowling for India perfectly demonstrated how England should have bowled much more spin.

As I said on Friday, I know England’s strategy is based around what their ‘Moneyball’ man, analyst Nathan Leamon, is telling them. But I would rather Andy Flower and Graham Gooch had looked beyond the statistics, looked at the pitch and trusted their 60 years of cricket experience and knowledge.

I said before this tour that I would have opened with Jonathan Trott and found room in the middle order for Jonny Bairstow and nothing that happened on Friday changed my mind.

I have nothing against Nick Compton and now he is playing he deserves a fair run in the side but it was always going to be a very hard place to hand someone their debut.

David Lloyd misses Emmerdale star Chas Dingle – Bumble"s Test diary

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: England have picked the wrong team… but why I'm in a tizz over Chas

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 15 November 2012

MONTY, WHERE FOR ART THOU, MONTY

England have picked the wrong team. Monty Panesar should be playing. It’s crying out for two specialist spinners. Samit Patel bowled 14 overs but he is only a supplementary option. Monty is the man for these conditions. England picked three seamers but conditions were against them, and Tim Bresnan only bowled 10 overs. India always play two seamers and two specialist spinners at home and England should have followed suit.

Watching brief: England's Monty Panesar during a nets practice session at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad yesterday

Watching brief: England's Monty Panesar during a nets practice session at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad yesterday

SWANN BESTA

Saying that, Graeme Swann has been exceptional. He is in exalted company now after overtaking one of the all-time greats yesterday, Jim Laker.

Swann is right up there, make no mistake. Some say Swann has picked up plenty of wickets because of DRS, but I'd counter that by pointing out that Laker played on uncovered pitches.

Fitness permitting, Swann will pass Deadly Derek Underwood and reach 300 Test wickets.

DROPPED CATCHES LOSE MATCHES

England can’t afford to keep dropping catches. Four chances were missed. I put it down to psychological pressure. It was the same against South Africa and the likes of Hashim Amla (in particular), Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. The fielding mindset is ‘I can’t afford to drop this class of player’ and you find yourself snatching at chances or going with hard hands. Also, the continuity in fielding positions has not been there. England miss Paul Collingwood. Jimmy Anderson has had a go in the slips and now Jonathan Trott.

Another brick in the wall: Mumbai A's Cheteshwar Pujara earlier this month during England's tour

Another brick in the wall: Mumbai A's Cheteshwar Pujara earlier this month during England's tour

UH-OH THE INDIANS HAVE BUILT ANOTHER WALLL

If Virender Sehwag had a wish list, in first place would be ‘this pitch’. There is no movement, little pace or bounce and he’s just stood there and thought: ‘I’ll smash it everywhere.’

Conditions are 100 per cent in his favour. England will be relieved he ‘only’ got 117.

A quick word about this lad Cheteshwar Pujara, who has replaced Rahul Dravid at No 3. He’s controlled, careful and watchful – oh no, he's a ‘Junior Wall’!

/11/15/article-2233465-160C2F28000005DC-564_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle…: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie” class=”blkBorder” />

No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle...: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie

No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle…: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie

Chastity Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) panics when she wakes up next to Colin McFarlane (Michael Melia) and discovers he's dead

Chastity Dingle

Just not cricket: Chastity Dingle (Lucy Pargeter,) panics when she wakes up next to Colin McFarlane (Michael Melia) and discovers he's dead (left) and posing all demurely (right)

EARLY START MEANS BEEFY'S FULL OF BULL

As you’d imagine, I had a full English (in a plastic carton) which was very nice. As I said, I woke up at 2am but I didn’t get my breakfast till 5.30am – that’s when the rest of the staff come in.

Sir Beefy took a different approach – he just had an inordinate amount of Red Bull!

AND WHILE I'M AT IT…

Petula Clark was 80 yeterday. I was a big fan back in the day. All together now: 'Downtown…'Finally, I read the other day that Frankel’s stud fee has been set at 125,000. Nice work if you can get it…

Petula Clark

Jockey Tom Queally kisses race horse Frankel, following the Champion Stakes (Class 1), British Champions Middle Distance race at Ascot, England on October 20, 2012

Star-studded: Happy 80th birthday Petula Clark (left), while Frankel (right) has has his stud fee set at 125,000

Follow Bumble on Twitter @BumbleCricket

Retaining the World Twenty20 crown will be harder without Kevin Pietersen: Paul Newman

Hales looks the part but can he turn it on against spin kings

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 22 August 2012

Let us get one thing straight. It will be a lot harder for England to defend their World Twenty20 crown without Kevin Pietersen in Sri Lanka next month. There is no point us dwelling on that, should things start going wrong.

The dispute that threatens his international future is bigger than that, so we will just have to get along without him.

Alex Hales may have scored 99 in Pietersen’s place in a Twenty20 international against West Indies, and remains an excellent alternative, but it’s a different kettle of fish entirely trying to do what he did at his home Trent Bridge ground on slow sub-continental pitches against top class spinners.

Stepping in: England's Alex Hales hits out

Stepping in: England's Alex Hales hits out

An indication of how tough life will be for England, without their one batsmen who has shown he can be dominant in alien conditions, perhaps came when Hales and Notts came up against Abdur Rehman, one of England’s winter tormentors, playing for Somerset in a CB40 match.

Hales was out lbw for seven to the Pakistan slow left-armer, who went on to take six for 16.

Talking of left-armers, there will be another absentee in Sri Lanka who could prove as sorely missed as Pietersen.

The pinnacle of Ryan Sidebottom’s career was his starring role in England’s World Twenty20 triumph in Barbados two years ago and left-arm seamers in general have been mightily effective in short-form cricket.

Reece Topley showed again that he is very much a left-arm seamer for the near future with his outstanding performances in an otherwise undistinguished England Under 19 World Cup campaign in Australia, but he is not ready yet. The absence of anyone like him or Sidebottom could be costly in Sri Lanka.

Happier days: Kevin Pietersen celebrates after England won the World Twenty20 in 2010

Happier days: Kevin Pietersen celebrates after England won the World Twenty20 in 2010

As for the batting, England have some good options, but there are two omissions that stand out.

More from Paul Newman…

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Paul Newman: Tremlett is back and ready to hit the heights once more
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Paul Newman: It's hardly the Ashes but Aussie duels will set hearts racing…
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It remains a mystery why Matt Prior cannot be a success in limited-overs cricket and there must have been a temptation to include him, however impressive Craig Kieswetter has been with the bat.

And I thought England would take Alastair Cook as their spare opener, because he has shown in 50-over cricket that he can respond to the different challenges the limited-overs game can throw up.

Cook can succeed in Twenty20, no doubt about that, but England clearly do not want to over-burden a man who will, sooner or later, become their Test captain, too.

None of this is to dismiss England’s chances but it is going to be a very tough assignment. They only need to defeat Afghanistan in one of their two group matches to virtually guarantee progress to the Super Eights, but even they can be dangerous opposition, especially as the shorter game encourages upsets.

Before then England will take on South Africa in five 50-over matches and three Twenty20s to conclude the international season, starting in Cardiff tomorrow, and have another world No 1 ranking to defend.

England have won their last 10 ODIs and will be looking to equal their best ever winning run in Wales.

If they do so they will at least bring a turbulent week to a happy end.

KP makes attempt to put things right

It was Kevin Pietersen who contacted Andrew Strauss late on Monday to ask when they could meet to try to thrash out their problems rather than the other way round.

A small difference, perhaps, but Pietersen at least seems genuinely contrite now and wants to take the initiative on mending the broken relationship that most blocks his England return.

Time to put things right: Kevin Pietersen must apologies to Andrew Strauss

Time to put things right: Kevin Pietersen must apologies to Andrew Strauss

Strauss told him he was going to Spain for a few days and will play for Middlesex at Worcester next Tuesday so any window of opportunity before then will be a small one.

They may meet on Sunday or Monday but it is not certain. When they eventually do, KP has to be totally open about his ‘provocative’ texts and show regret together with a vow that he will change.

Only then will there be any chance of a way back for him.

Tourist misinformation

South Africa may have been brilliant on the pitch to defeat England 2-0, but they have not been so good off it. From the moment Sportsmail revealed the existence of the texts that may cost Pietersen his England career, the South Africans, in the form of manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee, have been disingenuous about the affair.

Firstly Moosajee said the texts were ‘merely banter’ when we knew they were more than that. Then he said that England had not contacted the tourists to ask for help in identifying what was in them when we reported that they had.

Keeping to their side of the story: South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said the text messages were 'banter'

Keeping to their side of the story: South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said the text messages were 'banter'

Andy Flower confirmed on Tuesday that the ECB had indeed sought the tourists’ assistance. And the good doctor said that the texts were not sent to Dale Steyn and AB De Villiers. A question of semantics, perhaps, but they were.

Thank heavens Moosajee doesn’t work for the ECB.

What with all the kerfuffle going on with KP, which has dominated everything, we’ve forgotten all about Jonny Bairstow.

The lad was absolutely brilliant at Lord’s. What an examination of his character! He came through it with flying colours.

Bumble's final word

We now know that this is a fantastic South African attack and if he can come through against them he can play against anything. England may have lost the series but they’ve found a real truly English player here. No doubt about it.