Thursday, August 4, 2011

England On The Brink of World Domination

“That’s a Cherry, a Peach, a Rip-snorter” enthused Shane Warne on Sky Sports yesterday, as Jimmy Anderson sent VVS Laxman’s timbers kart-wheeling across the Trent Bridge outfield. There really is no more glorious a sight on a cricket field than seeing stumps sprayed across the turf courtesy of a fast bowler in prime form, and Anderson certainly was in prime form yesterday.
In fact, Anderson has been in devastating form all summer and India have not yet learnt how to cope with his swing and seam movement. But Anderson isn’t the only one the tourists haven’t figured out yet. Broad had re-discovered his form and is bowling better than at any other point in his career right now and yesterday Tim Bresnan joined the party taking 5 wickets in his role as enforcer, a position that seems to suit him better than the jobs previous incumbent, Broad, and he fairly terrorised the Indian batsmen yesterday, peppering them with uncomfortable short stuff – he took 5 but it could have been more with the amount of edges he induced.
Unlike Broad’s enforcer carnation though, Bresnan still pitched the ball up occasionally, and it was this variety that helped Bresnan secure his 5-wicket haul.
In short, England are developing a bowling attack to be feared the world over, with pace, seam and swing all thrown into the mix and executed with real skill and aggression. On top of this, they still have Chris Tremlett to come back, and lord only knows how he will fit back into the side now that his replacement, Bresnan, has staked such a strong claim. Evening Standard writer Tom Collomosse suggested both Bresnan and Tremlett could play in the next test at Edgbaston, the latter replacing injured Jonathan Trott in a move that would see Ian Bell promoted to Trott’s number three spot, with England playing 5 bowlers and Bresnan batting at 7.
It would be bold, but England’s bowlers are destroying India right now, so why not continue to make it uncomfortable for them? Also Bresnan and Broad are in fine form with the bat, as is Prior, so England would still have enough in the batting department. However, England’s selectors are nothing if not consistent, so I won’t be surprised to see a batsman replace Trott – perhaps Bopara, with Bell moving up to three? We shall see.
Anyhow, why mention Warne at the start of this piece, you might ask? Shane is fast becoming my favourite cricket pundit. He’s witty, takes the mick out of Nasser Hussain (which is always entertaining), but most importantly, he speaks with the experience of a man that knows what it’s like to play for the best team in the world and what’s more, what it takes to remain there too.
When he talked about England’s intensity at Trent Bridge yesterday it was like he was talking about the great Australian team he was apart of for so long. England’s bowlers have hunted in packs in both test matches so far this series and have terrorised all of the Indian batsmen. Yesterday Yuvraj looked totally out of his depth, Dravid was out in single figures and captain Dhoni left an in-swinger that had him plumb LBW without troubling the scorers. Even Sachin left one he never should have which had him LBW too, albeit after a splendid half-century.
In my lifetime, I can vaguely remember watching the West Indian side of Walsh, Marshall and personal favourite Curtley Ambrose, as well as the great Australian attack of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne. Both those sides destroyed opponents before they’d even marked out their crease and whilst England have a long way to go before reaching those levels, they are developing an attack that will be as feared by opponents as their great predecessors were in their hayday.
England had Australia 2-3 in Adelaide last year and India 37-4 here yesterday, and India boast Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar in their ranks. This is the destruction of cricketing institutions, first Australia on their own patch, and now India, albeit under-strength, but still the world’s number one team, being crushed and made to look very ordinary indeed.
Warne knows this England team is going places. He was talking about this England side in the way we used to talk about his Australian side for so long. England are winning the close tests and are crushing opponents by an innings or hundreds of runs when their opponents struggle. England are ruthless and devastating and in Andrew Strauss they have a leader that will never let the team rest on their laurels.
Great teams have bowling attacks that almost always get their opponents out for below par scores and batsmen that can score big and tire the opposition out by keeping them in the field for days on end. England have both of those attributes working in tandem now I believe; A group of bowlers that will scare opponents before they even take to the field, who know how to bowl in different situations, and how to get the best out of the conditions they are presented with.
Sehwag, Gambir and Zaheer may return for the third test, but I wouldn’t bet against another England win – they are looking superb right now.
Tom Huelin for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Tom on Twitter @tomhue1

No comments :

Post a Comment