Your England squad for the North Western Hemisphere Test Championship Round Six match against Scotland at Scotland Cricket Ground is as follows:
Joe Root (Captain)
Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
Dawid Malan returns to Test cricket after impressing in the first half of the Global ODI Invitational. Though not normally an opener in this format Dawid is a seasoned opening batsman in limited overs cricket, already has Test experience and we believe is an adaptable cricketer capable of thriving at the top of the order in Test cricket.
James Anderson returns to the squad having been rested for our last Test but Jamie Porter retains his place after performing well on debut. Liam Dawson provides another spin bowling option having performed superbly in the early stages of the Global ODI Invitational.
The team are looking forward to the business end of the inaugural North Western Hemisphere Test Championship and pushing for a place in the final. The players are extremely grateful for the continued support of our committed fan base.
We’ll see you in Scotland!
In Amsterdam we reduced our hosts to 74-7 before Suman Engels (29 not out from 25) and Shane Snater (28 not out from 22) belatedly put their feet on the pedal for the Netherlands.
Sam Curran (2-28), Ben Stokes (2-7) and Tom Curran (2-22) led the way with the ball. Ben Foakes seized his opportunity behind the stumps by claiming five catches including a couple of absolute stunners.
Disappointingly we lost a few wickets in the chase but Joe Root (39 not out) led us to a six-wicket win after Ben Stokes had top scored with 44.
At the halfway stage of the inaugural Global ODI Invitational we stand undefeated and two wins clear of second place the Netherlands who’ve now lost their last two matches.
Disclaimer: This is a short write-up. Please look out for an update on my plans and how I intend to play the game given that things have become a little easy.
From an encouraging 34 without loss visitors Nepal freefalled to collapse to just 77 all out from 45.4 overs in Leeds. The side from the mountains actually scored at four runs per over for the first few overs and hinted at providing us with a rare contest but 34-0 became 34-3 in the blink of an eye and then deteriorated to 50-8 in a lot more blinks. Nepal dragged the innings out the best they could, highlighted no more so than by Reginald Purcell’s 71-minute 58-ball innings of 9.
Chris Woakes led the demolition with 3-18 while fellow new-ball bowler, debutante Lewis Gregory (1-22) claimed his first international wicket. After conceding one run in his first over, another debutante in the form of spin bowler Matthew Carter (1-6) bowled five consecutive maidens. Having already had the possible final wicket dropped (An absolute sitter by Dawid Malan!) the Nottinghamshire youngster provided captain for the day Jonny Bairstow with yet another tournament catch.
Surrey’s Sam Curran (2-8) picked up two wickets whilst brother Tom (1-11), Ben Stokes (1-4) and Liam Dawson (1-0) snaffled one each.
Nepal’s limp effort was particularly disappointing after opening pair Gamesha Murthy (22) and Akanksha Shroff (12) had started reasonably productively. Adopted Nepali Lyle Bradley contributed an encouraging 18 not out from number nine.
In pursuit of the small victory target Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone compiled 53 for the opening wicket before the former was deceived by a Pramod Kapadia slower ball and trapped plumb LBW for 21. The world’s worst review couldn’t save the Middlesex man! Lancashire’s Livingstone was scratchy at first but had moved to 32 from 27 before top edging and being caught by slip behind the keeper again of the impressive bowling of Kapadia (2-17). Joe Root (9*) and Jonny Bairstow (15*) were promoted up the order to provide their county fans with a rare glimpse of their homegrown stars and the experienced duo guided us to an eight-wicket victory.
Some of Nepal’s players come from the country’s capital Kathmandu but the men on the field could do nothing to save their nation from a heavy defeat. The batting of Murthy and Bradley as well as the bowling of Kapadia should at least provide some encouragement to one of Asia’s emerging cricket nations.
We now stand alone at the top of the table after the Netherlands failed to chase exactly 200 in Canada. Of course it’s a trip to Amsterdam for us next in the final ODI before returning to the Test format. Look out for our squad announcement soon.
We posted 354-8 from our fifty overs before a confused American outfit delivered their Second Class reply.
The Trumpets spent about 45 overs of their chase seemingly under the impression that despite the coloured clothing (Their kit was beautiful by the way!) and white ball that this was a Test match, summed up no more so than opening batsman J-J Morrison’s 26 from, wait for it… 114 deliveries! “TEST MATCH”. They then switched into T20 mode for the final few overs led by Henry Wilks (54 not out from 61 balls) but still fell an agonising… 203 runs short!
All our batters chipped in after Dawid Malan (51) and Liam Livingstone (66) had compiled an opening stand worth 98. After that, Joe Root (69) and Moeen Ali (59) put on 120 in tandem. Spin bowler Tahla Pittman claimed figures of 10-0-74-2 with the cork and leather before later making a decent 22 with the willow. Rufus Suarez also collected a brace finishing with analysis 8-0-47-2 and was the visitors’ most economical bowler.
As regards our bowling unit, all were impressive: Stokes (2-23) was the pick whilst Moeen (2-41) and Archer (2-39) also snapped up two wickets each. Liam Dawson’s figures of 10-2-22-0 were also impressive and some consolation after he was run out without facing a ball. Moeen was superb in the field and Jos Buttler also had plenty of running to do.
Gloveman Jonny Bairstow claimed another seven (7SEVEN!) catches to cement his position as the world’s leading wicketkeeper.
That’s three wins from three and now it’s onto Edgbaston to take on opposition from the Orient in the form of Hong Kong.
Here’s my suggested England Test squad for the match against Ireland and ultimately the start of the Ashes…
Joe Root (Captain)
Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
Mark Wood/Jofra Archer
James Anderson/Chris Woakes
The suggestion is that Archer and Woakes have injuries that need managing and may have to wait their turn. Of course Anderson is currently out of action and Wood is not going to play five consecutive Tests. Extremely good players are going to have to miss out and that may be the case for Sam Curran. I think that variety is essential in an attack but with slow left-armer Leach meriting selection ahead of Moeen that doesn’t help fellow leftie Curran’s case. I still believe in Moeen but he’s gone AWOL as a batsman and Leach should’ve played in West Indies. His batting and fielding have come on too. Moeen would be best served getting some county cricket under his belt. If somebody in the top/middle order fails after a few Tests then the others could be shuffled to accommodate Moeen as a second spinner or even allow Curran to come into the side. He himself is capable of batting at least as high as six.
On the batting front, Sibley merits selection. His ‘form’ isn’t just that. His sensational run started last year and included a hundred overseas. He clearly has a lot of ambition and concentration and could be just what England need. I’d have no concerns about tempo from the openers. Test matches last five days!
I also firmly believe that Malan is good enough to succeed at this level but his optimum batting position is number four. That’s why Root must move to three and embrace it. He might not like it but he’ll have a better team for it. Yes Malan has played before and averaged 27 like everybody else but he hinted at being good enough and is knocking the door down with an axe. You only have to look at the likes of Mark Butcher, Justin Langer and Marvan Atapattu, even Jonny Bairstow for players that came back stronger and age wise look at Mike Hussey, Kumar Sangakarra and Misbah-ul-Haq, even Andy Flower. Malan could yet have his peak years ahead of him. His inclusion helps maintain a good left-hand/right-hand balance throughout the batting order.
The likes of Gary Ballance and Toby Roland-Jones as well as Dom Bess could all be hitting form at the right time to keep incumbents on their toes. Sam Northeast is another one for whom a place in the XI is a genuine possibility. Like I say though, good players will have to miss out. That’s theory of numbers. Coad, Gregory, Porter, Denly and Roy etc, you cant squeeze them all in.
Regarding Roy, he simply can’t be trusted to be fit enough to field long enough to be allowed, in accordance with the rules of the game, to open the batting thus rendering his inclusion pointless if everybody else has to move higher up the order than they want too.
One more thing. What a shame that the England Lions players as well as most county squads can’t watch the World Cup final. Who scheduled this?!
Don’t worry England fans. It was our hosts that capitulated in the majestic surroundings of Ottawa Oval. Such a picturesque setting deserved far better than the syrup served up by the home team. Please don’t blame messrs Curran or Woakes though. They were only doing their job. Spare a thought for Joe Root as well. The Yorkshire lad flew all that way and didn’t bat or bowl.
At least Jos Buttler got to toss a coin! To think that there were those that questioned the decision to bowl. Though paying fans may wish that we’d batted first.
If it weren’t for two out of control top edges off ‘throw the kitchen sink’ hook shots from Darcy Harris off the hostile bowling of Jofra Archer then Canada wouldn’t have even totalled the paltry 38 all out that they did.
New ball duo Chris Woakes (3-11) and Sam Curran (3-3) did the damage at the top of the order before slow-left-armer Liam Dawson, having replaced Tom Curran in the side, chipped in with 2-8. Archer (1-14) then got in on the act before Moeen Ali struck first ball. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow took the innings ending catch to make it seven for the day (A new ODI record!) and already into double figures just two outings into the competition.
Dawid Malan (19 not out) and Liam Livingstone (18 not out) saw us comfortably to a ten-wicket win.
Such as a one-sided affair has led to questioning the integrity of the competition from some quarters. We’re only two matches in and there have already been some reasonably high scoring close encounters so far in the tournament. We’re participating in order to help promote the game across the globe. I guarantee that Canada will perform better when we meet again later in the competition.
Next for us we host USA at Old Trafford. You can expect a strong squad to be named for that one.
Having reached the halfway point of the round robin stage of the inaugural North Western Hemisphere Test Championship, here are some statistical highlights from our performances. Remember that we lost to Scotland in our opening match but have gone onto beat Canada, USA, Ireland and Netherlands.
Highest Team Total: 493-8 dec vs. USA at Edgbaston
Highest Individual Innings: Haseeb Hameed – 154 vs. USA at Edgbaston
Highest Batting Average: Joe Root – 52.25
Leading Run-scorer: Joe Root – 418
Most Catches: Jonny Bairstow – 41 (Forty-One!!!)
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: Sam Curran – 13.50
Leading wicket taker: Sam Curran – 28