Another rain affected game, this time meandering to a draw before being killed, perhaps prematurely with an hour to play. Once again, England reacted slowly to the circumstances. Oddly enough they ended day 4 with enough momentum to push the game forward. It was the period immediately before lunch when a declaration could have been pursued, and only 50 runs were scored in almost 13 overs. As is often the case, the lack of incentive (particularly in the official ratings) for a win over a draw means England will go to the Rose Bowl unable to lose the series; but at the expense of an interesting end to this game.
Not that it was completely without interest. Cook was within a boundary of twin centuries, Dilshan within two of a double century, and a result was never out of the question. England must wonder what possessed them to pick three tall players; the argument that they are the best three bowlers being nonsense, when "best" is conditional on prevalent conditions. And regardless of selection, the lack of control, so evident throughout the Ashes was a telling factor as both sides rattled along to decent totals.
Sri Lanka were better than Cardiff, but still look incapable of getting through the English batting without some help from the opposition. They'll be much more effective when they return home and their spinners can dominate, but the first few overs at Lord's aside they've struggled to penetrate. Another flat deck however, and the real story might be the inability of England to do the same with any consistency. The performance of Broad in particular will bear watching.
Why are we bothering? Apart from the money that is. The WICB will bank a lazy $30m in TV rights or so from having India tour, with another $10m or more in sponsorship. Whether those same bodies will be pleased with their investment when it has turned into a virtual A tour remains to be seen. In a battle of the benches India is even more likely to dominate, and perhaps the only real interest will be seeing who can press their case for selection when the stars return. As a test match spectacle though, it is further proof that cricket has serious issues with its structure that need addressing.
Scotland, reigning finalists, versus Netherlands, one of the few associates to improve their reputation at the World Cup ought to be a tight battle. But, as with the abve series, the absence of county players in the sides makes a mockery of the form book. Likely to be low scoring, probably rain affected given the early summer start, but very important in a competition spanning so few games. Scotland's development last season was impressive, but it is the Dutch who've had the better form in the ODI competition, and a close game is likely. The game appear unlikely to be streamed live, despite indications it might be earlier, but keep an eye out in case that changes.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 13th June, 2011 20:27:35 [#]
Ratings - 13th June 2011
Ratings - 13th June 2011