May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
There are a few things standing in the path of a Windies upset in the Second Test starting tomorrow, but none more so than the ‘Trent Bridge’ factor. England have won 6 of the last 8 matches there, with the last three games resulting in thumpings by at least 300+ runs.
In particular, it has been the brutal form of the bowlers which has seen such dominance. Whilst Stuart Broad’s bowling average at the ground is impressive with 15 wickets at less than 17, James Anderson manages to maintain that fearsome average and is already the second highest Test wicket taker at the ground with 33 behind just the great Alec Bedser. With third seamer Tim Bresnan currently boasting an absurd 12 wins in 12 Test matches and Graeme Swann bowling on his home ground, the omens look ominous for the West Indies.
There has been a considerable amount of talk surrounding the missing Windians; a lot of calls for Sarwan, Gayle, Narine, Pollard, amongst others. ‘Chris Gayle would have hit that for six’ was the murmur from Lords as the ball swung a poetic hoop around the flailing outside edge of Keiron Powell’s hapless bat and clattered into the top of off stump. I’m not so sure I buy into that theory. Gayle has played a considerable amount of Test cricket and won few matches. His average of just over 40 is lower than Andrew Strauss’, and if you look at his mid30s average against England you see problems further with a swinging ball. He may well be an improvement on Powell, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, one suspects.
Sarwan is a trickier case. He has been in good form for Leicestershire this summer with 2 hundreds already to his name in County Cricket and also has a decent average vs England (boosted by a 291* on the flattest, slowest pitch ever seen at Bridgetown). However, again he is a supposedly ‘world class’ batsmen who scrapes an average of 40, and hasn’t scored a half century in 13 Test innings, or in fact any sort of score for 3 years. We’re not exactly missing a Lara, here.
Then we look at the likes of Narine and Pollard. Neither of whom have ever played a Test but are being lamented in their absence as the West Indian Harbhajan and the new Sir Viv. Tosh, of course. Although I do like the sound of both they would be extra newcomers in a side with a starking dearth of experience already. Of those, Adrian Barath has twice managed to see the shine off of the new ball, looking classy before falling cheaply after lunch, and Dwayne Bravo has looked good in getting two starts, but needs to work on running between the wickets.
So I make that 7 in 9 at Trent Bridge for England. 2-0 in the Series. The Sheriff of Nottingham James Anderson inching towards if not past Alec Bedser. The Pudding of Yorkshire Tim Bresnan reaching 13 wins from 13. And the Morose Chris Gayle carting round some second-rate Indians in the IPL.