England’s long winter has reached its conclusion. It began with fifties for each of England’s Ashes virgins and it has ended the same way.
Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan have each bookended their Australasian adventure with half-centuries in Brisbane and Christchurch.
For Hampshire’s Vince, it began with 83, run out on that fateful day Down Under. The Ashes were lost there and then. It ended with 76 across the Tasman and in truth, there wasn’t a lot in between.
For Middlesex man Malan, there was the most extreme performance of the three. His 140 in Perth means that whatever happens, he has a Test ton to his name. He made three fifties in four innings in the T20Is as well. His one failure coming when he was fantastically run out by… David Warner! Though he contributed little in his first three innings in The Land of the Long White Cloud, he has at least rounded things of with a fifty.
For Surrey’s Stoneman, well, he did what everybody expected and what his track record, particularly when he was up at Durham, suggested he would do. He fought, he battled, he occasionally punched a couple of boundaries in quick succession but he didn’t go on. He didn’t register a century.
Without fifties in their final innings of the tours, Vince almost certainly and Stoneman possibly, would have bid farewell to their Test careers. Even another failure for Malan could have proven critical provided England’s desperation to have Ben Stokes bat at five. Malan need only look as far as Stoneman’s former county colleague and opening partner Keaton Jennings to know that a hundred doesn’t necessarily keep you in the team for long.
Of course England are currently advertising for new selectors, so whether or not any of said three batsmen ever play for England again is very much up in the air!
No sooner have you scripted an article in which you’ve dropped messrs Stoneman, Vince and Broad from England’s Test side…
… do they go and do just about enough to save their places come the start of the summer…
In Broad’s case, he’s actually done more than enough. Rocky and Invincible will still need to start the County Championship convincingly to be assured of their places. An England win in Christchurch should help their cause. Their 123-run partnership has been vital to England’s chances of a rare away win.
Hopefully in New Zealand’s second venture to the crease, bowlers Mark Wood and Jack Leach can secure their immediate Test futures as well. As the old adage goes, never change a winning team (Of course we haven’t won this match… yet!).
A couple of ducks were spotted on the water in Christchurch today as New Zealand wrapped up a 2-0 Test series victory at home to Bangladesh. Sabbir Rahman and Nural Hasan both fell to the Wagner / Watling combo as New Zealand romped home by nine wickets. Henry Nicholls had earlier registered a career best 98 for the hosts and Colin de Grandhomme (Who we never doubted!) smacked 33 not out from just 15 deliveries including four sixes but not a single four.
After a grand start to his Test career, Colin de Grandhomme is now not doing so grand. After going wicketless with the ball in Bangladesh’s grand first innings total of a grand 289, the New Zealand all-rounder lasted a grand total of just three scoreless deliveries before grandly being bowled by the grand Shakib Al Hasan.
In both second innings of the grand second Test in grand Christchurch, de Grandhomme will hope to put in a more grand performance and achieve grander results.
De Grandhomme is the grand sum of today’s grand episode of the rather grand International Duck Watch.
Today’s ducklings (Or are they Turkeys?) are:
Mahmuhdullah and Mustafizur Rahman who contributed 00 as Bangladesh went down by 77 runs in the first ODI in Christchurch against New Zealand.
Away from the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, complete duck avoidance was achieved on the premier days of Test matches in both Port Elizabeth and Melbourne.
Aaron Redmond (Because opening the batting with his dad would be cool!)
Rodney Redmond (Because opening the batting with his son would be cool and he scored a century in his only Test!)
Stuart Carlisle (Captain)
Ben France (Who was born in Brunei!)
Charles Coventry (Wicketkeeper and everybody’s favourite bespectacled one-innings wonder!)
Chris Jordan (Who went to school with Rihanna, which he much prefers people to talk about rather than his cricket!)
Remaining Squad Members
George Cork (Because his dad’s in the team!)
Hamilton and Wellington Masakadza but not Shingi!!!
Why their parents didn’t call him Auckland, Christchurch or Tauranga I don’t know!
I know, I know, Chris Jordan at six. Jordan, Cork and Ireland’s all-round abilities between them make them just about acceptable as a six, seven and eight trilogy.
Anymore for anymore…?