Cricket 19 – NWHTC – Final Statistics

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Having reached the conclusion of the inaugural North Western Hemisphere Test Championship here are our statistical highlights…

Highest Team Total: 619 vs. Canada at Lords

Highest Individual Innings: Haseeb Hameed – 154 vs. USA at Edgbaston

Highest Batting Average: Moeen Ali – 63.38 (Minimum 500 runs)

Leading Run-scorer: Haseeb Hameed – 942

Most Catches: Jonny Bairstow – 59

Best Bowling (Innings): Sam Curran – 6-26 vs. USA at Edgbaston

Best Bowling (Match): Sam Curran – 10-127 vs. Canada at Ottawa Oval

Best Bowling Average: Jamie Overton – 18.28 (Minimum 10 wickets)

Leading Wicket Taker: Sam Curran – 39

Cricket 19: NWHTC – New York, Same Old Story!

USA were victorious at the tossing of the coin and once play had commenced they progressed efficiently to 30 without loss. In the space of three deliveries though they faltered to 30-2 and were soon struggling further at 48-3.

c Bairstow b J Overton

c Bairstow b J Overton

c Bairstow b J Overton

Get used to the above folks!

Messrs Potter (17), star man Trujillo (0) and the stoic Morrison (13) all fell to the above combo. Overton was making the most of the hard deck and delivering one of the most threatening spells in the competition. America’s batsmen were simply blown away.

Following the triple strike USA resisted courtesy of a 40-run stand between Ayan Jeffries and Tahla Pittman. With more than a little fortune Ben Stokes accounted for Pittman (19) after the ball deflected off various parts of the batsman’s body before he inadvertently back-heeled it onto his stumps. Jackson North then joined Jeffries to take the score to 106-4 at lunch. USA’s score benefited from an alarming amount of extras, our quicker bowlers getting a little bit giddy on such a lethal deck.

Jeffries and North went onto compile a fifty partnership but a struggling Sam Curran thought he’d dismissed North LBW immediately after switching to around the wicket. Unsurprisingly the right-hander reviewed and the rather poor on-field decision was quite correctly overturned. The pair then went past 100 as a duo before Joe Root turned to his new go-to man in the shape of Overton. Immediately upon the Somerset man’s return things started to happen. With the final delivery of his new over he executed a perfect slower ball to dismantle North’s (52) timber. Root then immediately brought Moeen Ali (1-17) onto bowl and he knocked over a bitterly dejected Jeffries’ (76) middle stump via a delivery that left the batsman clueless. Henry Wilks could possibly have protected the set batsman so soon before tea. Following stand-in skipper Jos Buttler’s sharp captaincy against Canada, Root brought his tactical nous to the fore. 202-6 were the details at the second interval.

Just three deliveries after the break Overton induced Wilks to nick behind and claim his first five-wicket haul at Test match level. The decision to bowl from around the wicket to the left-hander was justified as USA slipped to 202-7. Rufus Suarez then played Overton straight back down the ground for a glorious four, the shot of the match up to that point but then edged to Moeen at gully the very next ball as Overton’s rampage continued at full steam.

Root then continued his captaincy evolution with a successful decision to review an LBW shout. Having given Shaurya Napier (4) not out the on-field umpires were forced to change a decision for a second time. As a result Chris Woakes (1-32) gained a confidence boosting wicket having beaten Napier four balls in a row.

Sam Curran returned to bowl a much better second spell but Niall Kerr (8*) and Asher Kennedy frustrated for a while before Kennedy (10) became Rob Keogh’s maiden Test wicket. Once again Keogh (10.5-3-15-1) had kept things exceptionally tight and in his second Test finally claimed that elusive wicket courtesy of a well executed arm-ball. USA finished on 229 but we gifted them 23 extras.

Undoubtedly the star of the show was Jamie Overton. The tall express paceman bowled an electrifying opening spell then returned to break a threatening partnership. 6-37 were his figures backing up the 4-41 he recorded on debut. Test batsmen across the globe are struggling to sleep at night because of Overton!

By the close of play on day one, opening batsmen Dawid Malan and Haseeb Hameed had reached 117-0 with no alarm whatsoever.

On day two is wasn’t too long before Malan frustratingly fell for 71 with the score double that at 142. Malan was acrobatically caught and bowled by left-arm pacer Napier (1-66). Ben Stokes (20) made another breezy but unsubstantial knock at number three but was given out LBW to the spin of Pittman. Despite opting to review, the Durham man had to go.

Having batted so well Haseeb Hameed (86) succumbed to a beautifully drifted and angling in delivery from Pittman that went between bat and pad before clipping the very summit of off stump. Moeen, having been dropped on 4, made 24 before edging behind to wicketkeeper J-J Morrison. Jonny Bairstow’s lean run continued when he was caught at mid-wicket first ball before Root (58) was caught at first slip off an attempted reverse sweep to present Pittman with a five-wicket haul.

Rob Keogh made a career best 11 before lazily nicking behind to give Jeffries a first wicket in the innings. Sam Curran (24) then fell to Pittman (6-68) in the same manner, a third catch for gloveman Morrison. Jamie Overton (18) had a good time if not a long time before Woakes (12) joined the list of those who could’ve done better. Both Woakes and Overton fell to the unheralded spin of Jeffries (3-79). James Anderson finished unbeaten on 13. To collapse from 142-0 to 342 all out, losing all ten wickets for exactly 200 runs after such a strong start was extremely underwhelming. All but the first wicket fell to spin and that’s something our batsmen clearly need to work on. Still, we’d constructed a lead of 113.

In their second dig, USA progressed productively to 35 without loss but Sam Curran seemed to have made the breakthrough when he trapped Potter LBW. The decision was overturned however, Potter surviving by a matter of millimetres and Curran left frustrated once again. It mattered little though as Chris Woakes sent Potter’s (21) stumps cartwheeling the very next over, Woakes’ first, and there’d be little point in reviewing that!

Stuart Trujillo walked to the wicket determined to make amends for missing out in the first innings and was quickly into his stride. Curran did soon get a wicket after all when he lured Morrison (21) into an edge that was held by Stokes at gully.

USA then resisted but to continue the theme of overturned decisions we reviewed a not out decision against Jeffries (6) and the on-field umpire was forced to give Jamie Overton a wicket just as the Americans approached parity.

Ben Stokes (1-79) bowled Pittman (19) as he’d done in the first innings to leave USA 148-4. Jackson North batted well alongside the imperious Trujillo to lift the score to 194-4 at the close of day two. Trujillo (Test best 99) would sleep on 94 with the lead a healthy 81.

Only one wicket fell during the premier session of the third day’s play, that of Jackson North (49), edging to Bairstow off the impressive Woakes. Trujillo marched on though with Wilks for company and the lead was up to a frightening 194 at lunch with five wickets still in hand.

Soon after the interval the new ball paid dividends as Curran (2-64) had the big wicket off Trujillo caught by Woakes at gully for a magnificent if at times fortuitous 177. After another frustrating passage of play Jamie Overton (2-61) knocked over Rufus Suarez’s (26) stumps and not too long after that Woakes (3-50) won an LBW shout against Wilks. Left-hander Wilks resisted for 105 deliveries in making 38 valuable runs. James Anderson (2-79), having conceded over a ton of runs in the match eventually claimed a wicket, that of Napier (13) caught by Bairstow after the batsman nicked a rising delivery. Anderson then clean bowled Kerr (8) to wrap things up for 393 leaving a challenging chase of 281 for victory. It was a delight to see Chris Woakes return to form and Joe Root’s inspired captaincy.

After surviving one over before tea, our run chase ultimately got off to a horrible start when Hameed (2) was outstandingly caught and bowled by Asher Kennedy. Kennedy (3-77) then had Stokes (11) foolishly caught on the boundary and Malan (23) caught at slip following a horrible slash outside off stump. Kennedy bowled an exceptional line outside off that moved away off the seam and lured the batsmen into the drive. Moeen (37) also fell to an ugly waft outside off and captain Joe Root (23) didn’t cover himself in glory when being caught at mid-wicket. Napier (1-52) and Suarez (1-43) the respective bowlers.

An under pressure Jonny Bairstow (32) steadied the ship with some responsible batting in a partnership of 95 with Sam Curran to lift us from 101-5 to 196-6. Seemingly intent on seeing the team home Bairstow nicked behind to Morrison off the much improved Wilks but was at least ‘Got out’ by the bowler.

Rob Keogh’s (Caught behind off Pittman for 2) travails continued and it may be that Test cricket is too much of a step up for the Northamptonshire man. Having bowled magnificently Chris Woakes (1), failed to replicate that standard with the bat. The Warwickshire all-rounder provided the immaculate Morrison with a fourth catch of the innings off the bowling of Wilks (2-39). Jamie Overton (35*) then put our top order batsmen to shame by compiling 54 with Curran (88*) to reach the close with us an agonising 13 runs shy of victory.

Rather anti-climatically following a sleepless night for all, the nail-biting two-wicket win came with little threat posed the following morning. Number ten Jamie Overton, playing in only his second Test finished unbeaten on 41 whilst Curran finished heroically yet cruelly 97 not out and denied the possibility of Test tons in consecutive matches.

Huge respect to USA for an amazing Test match and pushing us right to the wire. I’m hugely proud of our team though for pulling through in the end. There were some excellent performances throughout the side from individuals under pressure both in regards to the match situation and their place in the team.

In the other matches Scotland thrashed Netherlands in Edinburgh by ten wickets thanks in part to Saul Skinner’s second innings 6-17. In Ottawa Canada helped our and their own cause by defeating Ireland by 64 runs. Batsman Brooklyn Anderson notching another ton whilst Sydney Napier claimed 8-108 in the match.

Our next match away in Ireland could see us seal a place in the final or alternatively let Ireland stay in the hunt!

Disclaimer: Though the match was played in New York the way the match played out wasn’t a familiar tale. I love the headline though so am sticking with it!

Cricket 19: NWHTC – Over and Out!

As was the case against Scotland, opening duo Dawid Malan and Haseeb Hameed laid solid foundations constructing an opening stand of 94. Malan (52) will have been gutted to be superbly caught and bowled by the threatening Ned Daly the very ball after reaching fifty. A century on his home ground had seemed written in the stars. Ben Stokes made a brisk 23 but to last only twelve balls was criminal.

Debutant Rob Keogh got off the mark first ball before Hameed (44) inside edged to Canadian wicketkeeper and captain Dougie Jordan. Hameed had been fortunate when Daly’s first delivery found his edge but didn’t quite carry to slip. Once again the Lancastrian began well but failed to convert. Credit to quick bowler Rico Ewing (9-0-112-2) who was expensive but dismissed Stokes courtesy of a tempting wide delivery and excellent diving catch by Noah Dodd at gully. Ewing then accounted for Hameed just two balls later.

Keogh was starved of strike then fell for just 4 from 7 unconvincing deliveries.

Stand-in skipper Jos Buttler (1) was caught after playing an inexplicable shot before Sam Curran was naively run out for the same score. All the while Moeen Ali batted beautifully to maintain his magnificent form. At 222-6 we’d collapsed but still had optimism. All that optimism disappeared immediately after the interval.

Moeen was run out for 73 to only the second delivery of the session before Chris Woakes fell to Dodd for 16 in the same over. Stuart Broad soon followed for 3, bowled around his legs before James Anderson had his stumps rearranged first ball as Dodd (4-33) scythed through our tail. Debutant Jamie Overton remained unbeaten on 10. After such an encouraging start our innings fell apart in all too familiar and unacceptable fashion. Meaning no disrespect to Canada who bowled well after an inauspicious start, it simply wasn’t good enough on our part.

Anderson and Broad then bowled some threatening deliveries but Canada’s opening batsmen Daly and Rayyan Goode applied themselves well.

With the score on 54-0 Overton entered the fray and promptly dismissed Daly (30) with his first ball in Test cricket. Right-hander Daly was out courtesy of a sharp catch by Curran at gully having edged a ferocious snorter. Overton soon struck again when he trapped Niall Klein LBW for 15, this time via a much fuller delivery. Not one to be far from the action at the moment, Moeen then accounted for Goode (25). The left-hander was superbly caught by Malan at first slip just above the turf after the ball had deflected off gloveman Buttler. 54-0 had become 74-3 before Canada reached the interval with no further damage.

After the interval it was, like the opening stand, a left-hand/right-hand combo, this time in the form of Brooklyn Anderson and Hamza Turner who batted maturely to combine for a partnership worth 84. It was Overton yet again who, to quote Elvis Presley, shook things up, this time with an absolute beauty to demolish Turner’s (33) stumps. Seven Tests into his career and still Turner remained without a half-century. He applied himself well in the first innings at Lords however to aid his team’s recovery. Moeen then trapped the tortured soul that was Darcy Harris LBW for a duck. Playing in his seventh Test, Harris walked to the crease with a Test batting average of 2.45 and was out when he missed an ill-advised sweep. 157-3 was suddenly 158-5 but captain Jordan helped see Canada to the close some 62 runs behind. It had been a topsy turvy first day of thrilling Test match cricket and ended with the game finely balanced.

The Canadians frustrated us on the second morning as Jordan went on the attack whilst Anderson calmly continued towards three figures. After Anderson (0-39) and Broad (0-35) were removed from the bowling attack, Woakes (1-33) produced a fine spell of high quality swing bowling and accounted for Jordan (25) LBW. The Warwickshire man was unlucky not to claim more than one wicket. Moeen then attributed for the key wicket of Anderson for 95 courtesy of sharp work by Buttler behind the stumps. The pair then combined again to see off Dodd, who used up 48 balls for a useful 16 and Ewing for 6.

Countless replays eventually confirmed that Ewing’s bat connected with the ball via possibly the thinnest edge in Test history. Canada had acquired a lead of 30 runs before quinoa salads were served.

Just nine deliveries into the next session and Canada were all out for 270, a useful lead of 34. Overton struck with a brand spanking new ball to finish with outstanding debut figures of 4-41. Fittingly Moeen (5-46) held the catch to dismiss Napier (1) with Breen left on a well played 20 not out.

Freakishly, our opening pairing of Malan and Hameed then put on 94 for the first wicket having done exactly the same in the first innings. This time it was Hameed (39) who perished first, once again edging to Jordan, this time off left-arm quick Harris having failed to convert a strong start… once again! Malan moved to another fifty on his home ground and after a little working over from Daly, the runs were soon flowing from fellow left-hander Stokes’ bat. The score 188-1 at tea, a lead of 91.

With Canada’s spinners unusually failing to pose serious threat, skipper Jordan turned to the expensive but wicket-taking potential of Ewing. With the leg-side almost devoid of fielders, Stokes (56) got underneath one when trying to go big and after some serious hang time, Dodd, the one and only fielder remotely in the vicinity, covered ground and held his nerve to claim the catch. Debutant Keogh then lasted only three torturous deliveries before nicking behind off Harris without scoring. It was a bitterly disappointing show for the Northamptonshire man having only made 4 in the first innings.

Malan and Moeen then lifted the total from 221-3 to 327 before a visibly fatigued Malan (153) was bowled by Sydney Napier’s spin. Moeen then put on 60 with Buttler but threw his wicket away for 98 when needlessly going for a huge hoik to raise a ton. An ultra-aggressive Buttler soon fell for a quick-fire 35 but after that giddiness messrs Curran and Woakes saw us to the close of day two on 430-6, a lead of 396.

Curran then went ballistic on the third morning, dominating a stand of 99 with Woakes (28) before the latter was caught with the score on 500. Overton helped Curran add another 51 with Curran reaching his ton via a six off Napier.

The left-hander finally fell at the hands of Dodd for Nelson, 111 off just 51 amazing deliveries including four maximums. Broad crashed and burned for 5 but Overton and Anderson (13*) added yet another 52 runs for the final wicket before Overton’s (60 from 30) superb knock was terminated by Ewing (2-185). 619 all out was out sum total, meaning that Canada required 586 runs to achieve the highest run chase in Test history. Credit to Canada’s bowlers (Dodd 2-69, Harris 2-99, Klein 2-101, Napier 2-138 and Ewing 2-185) who persevered and despite taking some major tap still picked up wickets. Spare a thought though for Rico Ewing whose match figures of 28-0-299-4 (10.68 rpo!) broke the undesirable record for runs conceded in a Test by just 1 run.

By the time soup was served Canada found themselves in deep trouble at 31-2. Broad (2-46) prized out both Daly (3), caught at slip and Klein (8), caught behind. Broad’s opening spell included one of Test cricket’s greatest ever overs, dismissing Klein with a ball that he had to play at before beating Anderson four times out of the following five deliveries.

Stokes (1-48) backed up the theme of bowling brilliantly and clean bowled Goode (24) with a superb inswinging delivery. Another good start for Goode but further confirmation of why he only averages in the early twenties. Curran then claimed the key wicket of Anderson (22) via an inside edge to Buttler but the visitors fought back courtesy of messrs Harris and Turner. Both batsmen produced career best performances to raise the score from 71-4 to 122-4 at cuppa time.

After refreshments the not out pair then continued to plough on with Harris’ survival instincts contrasting well with Turner’s fluid attacking nature. Having finally found fifty for the first time in Test cricket and having compiled 123 with Harris, Turner (90) nicked behind off another excellent Overton delivery to fall ten runs short of a ton at the home of cricket. Despite an optimistic review, Turner had to turn around and walk back through the Long Room to the pavilion. Turner had turned many heads though with his performance. Turner’s demise didn’t deter Harris however as the right-hander brought up a maiden Test half-century from 150 epic and gritty deliveries. It was a monumental effort from a man averaging little more than 2 when he strode to the wicket. Canada closed day three on 209-5 still 376 runs in the red.

First thing on day four, Canada went all Groundhog Day on us by repeating their day two efforts and frustrating us by moving to 243 before Jos Buttler displayed his captaincy nous. Buttler ignored the new ball and finally brought a refreshed Moeen into the attack. Having claimed a five-wicket haul in the first innings, Moeen (1-12) terminated Harris’ 178-ball vigil by knocking his middle stump out of the ground with his very first delivery. Harris had fallen for 54 defiant runs but head honcho Jordan, in the words of the Beautiful South, carried on regardless and soon passed fifty. By the time lunch was taken Jordan and Dodd had added 67 and the North Americans were still plugging away on 310-6.

Having already seen two of his troops in the shape of Anderson and Turner fall in the nineties in this match, skipper Jordan was determined not to do the same. Unfortunately for him Buttler pulled another rabbit out of the hat when he recalled Anderson to the attack and just four deliveries later Jordan was gone for 94, defining plumb LBW. Kudos for having the balls to review the decision! Anderson (3-27) then dismissed Breen (7) thanks to a phenomenal leg-side dive from Buttler after Breen got an inside edge before trapping Ewing LBW for a golden duck.

A struggling Woakes (1-58) then unearthed a beauty of a delivery to dismiss the valiant Dodd for a 134-ball 64 to seal a hard-fought but impressive 212-run win. The Canadians represent what this competition is all about and have the makings of a strong side.

One blemish on our efforts was the performance of debutant Rob Keogh who managed scores of only 4 & 0 with the bat and finished with combined analysis of 41-9-90-0 with the ball. He looked out of his depth with the bat but actually bowled some good deliveries and conceded runs at little over two per over. We hope to be able to provide him with further opportunity but Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow await recalls to the side for our next match in the USA.

We’re now joint second in the table alongside Ireland after they defeated table-toppers Scotland by just 30 runs to throw the competition wide open.

Our squad for the voyage to America is as follows: Dawid Malan, Haseeb Hameed, Ben Stokes, Joe Root (C), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (W), Sam Curran, Rob Keogh, Chris Woakes, Jamie Overton, James Anderson, Ben Foakes, Lewis Gregory, Mason Crane

Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad are rested.

Filling the Void

James Anderson and Stuart Broad won’t be around forever, so who can fill the void for England when these two have rolled into retirement?

In English conditions then Chris Woakes and Sam Curran should be reliable options but overseas it’s a different story.

Could any of the following step up for England with the new ball in the future…

Jamie Porter 275 First Class wickets @ 23.78

Is Porter destined to be a nearly man?

He continues to take wicket upon wicket at domestic level but by the time Anderson and Broad have departed, will the ship have sailed for Porter?

The spearhead of Essex’s attack has overcome injury, not unlike Anderson and could be primed to fill the void.

Ben Coad 103 @ 19.70

Yorkshireman Coad is behind Porter in the pecking order and is absurdly still awaiting Lions recognition. Any suggestions of him being a one season wonder have already been dispelled. Another campaign of the sort he’s had in recent seasons should surely see him knocking the door down.

Tom Bailey 155 @ 26.05

Anderson’s Lancashire colleague Bailey had nearly slipped under the radar despite his regular ripping up of wickets on the county scene. This winter however he got the recognition he deserved with a call-up to the England Lions squad.

Has he learnt a few tricks from England’s record wicket taker that he can bring to the Test arena himself?

Jamie Overton 130 @ 33.22

Were it not for injuries then Somerset’s Jamie Overton may have already debuted for England. His extra pace and bounce would be welcomed on Australian decks (Hopefully by England, not Australian batsman!) but can he last five days or even ten overs?

Steven Finn 531 @ 28.96

254 international wickets but little case can be made for selecting Middlesex man Finn. If he can hit the ground running in 2019 however and snaffle a giant bag full of wickets then maybe England could yet get the best out of him.

There are plenty of other options and it will be interesting to see who England turn to when the time comes to… fill the void!

Will Wood Burn or Flicker?

What do you do when you lose a player from a whole tour due to injury?

You call up a player with absolutely no history of injury ever right?

Err, wait… Mark Wood, IPL star (!), more time on a sickbed than Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient!

To be fair, it’s not as if the two Jamies, Overton and Porter, haven’t attended the treatment table so many times that they got a session free!

Let’s hope that in the absence of Olly Stone, Mark Wood can keep the English fires burning during an Arctic winter… yes I know, the cricket’s in the Caribbean!

A Shame for Stone!

Fast bowler Olly Stone is out of England’s tour of West Indies courtesy of a stress fracture. Stone made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka last year but his chequered history of injuries has come back to haunt him. Jamie Overton, no stranger to injuries himself, could be promoted to the touring party whilst Jamie Porter, who has been a squad member in home Tests, could once again flirt with the opportunity of making his Test debut.

Hopefully Stone can recover and be back amongst the county wickets and international reckoning before too long.

Predicting England’s Next Test Cap

Who will be England Test cricketer number 690?

Silly Point has a go at guessing who will be next to don the Test whites (Or cream!) of England.

Will it be a player plucked from the county scene, a franchise star or a groomed England Lion?

Silly Point predicts that England’s next new Test cricketer will be… Jason Roy!

Whilst we’re at it, we may as well do ODIs as well.

Silly Point boldly predicts that England’s next debutante in One-Day International cricket will be… Jofra Archer!

In the past, some of England’s selections have been…. boggling! The days of picking rabbits out of hats seem in the distant past however. As for the team’s next new blood in T20Is, how about… Jamie Overton?

Such is both the competition and make-up of England’s current squads in each format, that it’s difficult to see how and where new players can sneak in. A recall for an already capped player wouldn’t necessarily be the backwards step that it would’ve been considered in the past, only an acknowledgement of England’s current riches.

Players such as Joe Clarke (Off-field activities) and Matthew Parkinson (Injury) would’ve been serious contenders but I was dissuaded due to their current circumstances. Of course they may yet be England’s next new caps!

Disclaimer: Please note that I’ve ignored players such as Joe Denly and Olly Stone who are uncapped at Test level but in the squad for the West Indies series. My selections are based on further ahead or if any other players are to be called up during said tour.