Saturday, 13 December 2008

Andrew And Paul: The Fab Two

Day 3 of the first Test against India, and England have once again had a damn fine day. Where has this team come from and why didn't they show up during the ODI series?

England now lead by 247 runs after bowling India out in under 70 overs for 241.

Andrew Strauss (73*) has been a re-revelation. Nightwatchgirl knows he is a great batsman, this isn't news to her, but maybe England should be thinking of sticking him in to the one day side too.

England's less reliable batsmen (Cook - still to really prove himself, Bell - sometimes rings, other times misses his cue, Pietersen - two innings and only 5 runs to show for it, that really is poor) left England in a pickle (or other words to that effect) at 43-3, but Strauss and Collingwood (60*) grafted and finished the day on 172-3.

Perhaps if Cook spent less time putting on mascara and Pietersen concentrated on the cricket instead of his wife's up and coming performance on the less than classy 'Dancing on Ice,' England might be in an even better position.

Friday, 12 December 2008

England Fight Back

What a cracker of a day. Finally what Test cricket has been after (or England at least). Jimmy Anderson obviously had a quick peruse on NWG and decided to give his female counterpart something to cheer about, scoring 19, but off a massive 82 balls - the very definition of a nightwatchman (and showing KP how it's done). And Prior, not NWG's favourite players of all time, managed a half century, taking England's total to a well fed 316.

Commentators were saying last night that England needed at least 370 to make it competitive, but given their performance in the field this morning, NWG needn't have worried. The excellent bowling from the England boys ensured all top six batsmen were licking their wounds (especially Yuvraj, who looked decidedly unsettled after each Flintoff spell), leaving Dhoni and Harbhajan to face their wrath tomorrow.

Whatever the result, England have shown some fighting spirit today, something of a necessity if they're going to get through the next year of cricket.

Nightwatchgirl is grateful and excited. England weren't lucky today, they showed aggression, skill and determination, key attributes for a winning side.
The only downside is that NWG has been up since 5am and now feels like she should be eating her dinner. Time difference is confusing for both brain and stomach.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Nightwatchgirl and Nightwatchman Sitting By the Tree....

Test cricket has returned. And it's about time. NWG had missed the whites and red balls (ok, what she really means is that she's missed Andrew Strauss).

England started well. Better than expected. Strauss (a magnificant 123) and Cook (52) were actually scoring runs quite nicely. And then it went a but wrong. Bell (17), Pietersen (4) and Collingwood (9 - but wasn't out. Clearly a mistake) all came and went in quick succession, leaving Strauss and Flintoff (18*) to hold out till end of play. They didn't.

But, the best news of all, and something that makes NWG feel all warm and fuzzy inside is that Jimmy Anderson (2*), not known for his batting prowess came in as Nightwatchman. Finally NWG feels at home.

And he did her proud. Blocking here, there and everywhere, even scoring some runs (probably accidentally), but still a run is a run and at 229-5, they need every last one.

Nightwatchmen are not to be underestimated. Part of a now dying breed (previously Matthew Hoggard had been Mr. Reliable, but is currently unceremoniously shunned from the England side), Anderson has taken up the challenge. And as he has 40+ Test appearances without a duck (impressive), he seems to be a sensible choice.

NWG hopes that Jimmy will stick around and have a good go tomorrow.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

KP: One Large Foot Inserted Into One Large Mouth

The England captain, for which the hopes and dreams rest on his dainty South African shoulders, has come out today with a few crackers.

KP, ever the subtle and intelligent man has strangely said: "you could say we couldn't lose in this situation."


KP. Yes you can. If India beat you, England lose. Does NWG need to run through the rules of Test cricket with you again? Because that'll be the fourth time this week.

The selectors went with Graeme Swann and Matt Prior (big surprise) to play ahead of Ambrose and Broad.

KP has these kind words to say about Swann: "he's a lovely confident boy." Hang on a tic. Swann is actually a year older than KP. Some would consider that kind of comment a tad patronising. And annoying (NWG certainly did).

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A Great Dane To The Recue

With the realisation that Ryan Sidebottom is still too crook to play in the India Test series, the England selectors had a little something up their sleeve, and it wasn't a really long flag, pulled out endlessly to the ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd.

And while it wasn't a pastry filled with apple deliciousness, it did have something to do with a Danish twist.

Amjad Khan, born in Denmark (and played cricket for Denmark - who knew?), has received his first England call up at the age of 28. A Kent player and another bowler partial to an injury or two, Khan is known for his cleverness with the enigmatic skill of reverse swing.

Picked ahead of Sajid Mamood and Liam Plunkett (where have they been hiding all year?), England have high hopes for Khan (no pressure there, then).

And if he plays in the Ashes next year, Nightwatchgirl can add him to her Top 10 Ashes heroes born in another country to which they played for on Line and Length.

Monday, 8 December 2008

The England Tour

England will tour India for their brief two match Test series. This is great news for England, England fans, and most importantly, India. Britney Spears is even getting in on the action by donating her big, burly bodyguards. There is Christmas spirit after all.

The only downside is that England will most definitely lose. And on top of that, will lose badly. But this is not the point about these games. These games now represent defiance, stiff upper lip syndrome and comradery.

So, when Thursday comes and England are out for 100 and India have posted 1693-3, fans can remind themselves that cricket is more than just a game and it's about more than just winning (or in England's case losing).

Nightwatchgirl has one more thing to add: cricket rules all.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Harmy for the Tango?

Is Steve Harmison the next cricketer to sign up for Strictly Come Dancing? By the looks of this picture, he has the flexibility for it.
And maybe a bit of Saturday Night Fever.
He'd get NWG's vote.