Thursday, 17 May 2012

The start of the summer...

The Home of Cricket
We may have had our summer all ready (do you remember the few nice days we had in March?) but today is when it really starts!  Yes that's right, today is the first test match of the Summer - I don't think I get as excited at Christmas!  As usual, the first test is also at The Home of Cricket - Lord's.  That's special for every visiting team, it's the place everyone wants to play given all the history that surrounds the ground - every player would love to get their name on the honours board.

Who wouldn't want their name up there?
Personally I'm a little disappointed as I believe Cardiff were initially awarded the test - Cardiff is the easiest test ground for me to get to and I would have gone.  I'm not surprised that the West Indies wanted to change this though, like I said, everyone wants to play at Lord's!  I'm going to have to get a ticket for a test there one day!

As for the series itself I am genuinely excited.  The last few times West Indies have toured they haven't been the best of sides (in 2009 they lost both tests comfortably, 2007 they lost 3-0 out of 4 and 2004 they lost all 4 - they haven't won a test in England since 2000 and then they still lost 3-1).  Given that they've only beaten Bangladesh and Zimbabwe away from home in since 1995 you'd have thought that this record isn't going to change, however there have been some promising signs from what is a pretty young team.  They were very competitive in their recent defeat by Australia and have some very talented players who may relish the occasion.  

I of course expect England to win, but it may be tougher than many think.  If the West Indies frustrate England at Lord's then it could cause a bit of tension to creep in after what was a tough winter.  England really need to start off well.  They have won the toss and bowled first so they really need to take wickets and pile on the pressure.  The selection of Bresnan I feel is a sensible one, he's played 11 and won 11 tests which says it all.  Him coming in at 8 really makes our batting line-up look strong, especially with Broad at 9.  Graham Onions may have been a good shout though since he took 10 wickets for 73 runs against Middlesex there earlier this year and has taken 23 wickets at 14.52 so far this year.  Steven Finn can also be a little unlucky having taken 16 at 18.68 in one fewer (3) matches this year.  However Bresnan is played 11, won 11 - how can you argue with that?

It'll be a great day for Jonny Biarstow, 22 year old batsman (also keeps for Yorkshire) making his debut.  I also think this is the right call given that Ravi Bopara is injured, there were a few names in the frame and I'm pleased Bairstow got the nod.  He's proved he's got the right sort of temperament after his match winning knock on his ODI debut against India.  He also averages 46 in first class cricket, which playing his home games at Headingley is no mean feat (I think when fellow Yorkshireman Michael Vaughan came into the England side he averaged under 40).  He's also had a good start to the summer with two centuries.  Hopefully he'll take his chance.  James Taylor and Nick Compton can feel a bit disappointed to not take the place but it is promising that they are waiting there in the wings with Ravi also there and hopefully Eoin Morgan also working on his game. 

The future looks bright, I'm expecting a 2-0 England win, but hoping for 3-0 but most of all hoping for a good performance from the Windies.

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