Saturday, 20 December 2008

England In Hospital


As predicted by Nightwatchgirl, Gambhir was thinking about making his highest score (almost got there, it was his second highest. His top score is against Australia - 206, NWG felt it necessary to mention), and made a more than decent 179.

And then there was Dravid, who made 136.

And they made England bowl 676 balls at just them.

Clever.

Right. The positives:

1. Tendulkar, Laxman and Yuvraj scored 67 runs combined. Which is excellent.
2. Swann (3-122) and Flintoff (3-54) bowled well-ish.
3. It's a Saturday.
4. It's almost Christmas.

Negatives:
1. England will never score more than 400, let alone 453.
2. Yuvraj was dropped when on 8 or 11, NWG can't remember now, but it was bad.
3. England must be tired. NWG knows she is.
4. It's almost Christmas.
5. NWG has had enough. It is doubtful she will watch the rest of the day's play.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Brutal India Give England a Black Eye and Broken Jaw

When the Earth is nearest the Moon; when the constellation of Taurus is perpendicular with the Sun; when it is winter and cold and dark; cricket comes along and gives Nightwatchgirl two Test matches to watch. (For the Australian Test, see cricket news)

How nice.

Only trouble is, the India v England series is becoming rather one-sided.

KP lost the toss (again). India batted like robots programmed by WG Grace. The only difference being that it wasn't Sehwag smacking the England bowlers around for fun. It was Gambhir and the almost-sacked Dravid (bet they're relieved they didn't get rid of him in the end).

That seems to be the trouble with the India batting line-up. Get rid of one, and another just comes along to replace him. So Sehwag was out for a duck. Big whoop. Gambhir and Dravid clocked up 179 runs. And then there's Tendulker, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Harbhajan. Will it never end?

This leaves England nowhere. Their bowling was not of the highest order. The batting is certainly not of the highest order.

Nightwatchgirl cannot get up at 4am just to watch England being smacked around. It's like watching your neighbour's husband hitting his wife: brutal, illegal and morally reprehensible.

England. Call the police immediately.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

It's Cheese And Crackers Time

It's great day when Nightwatchgirl can feel that she can be moderately neutral. She has no vested interest in Australia or South Africa winning. Both beat England pretty regularly and both seek to beat one another. This makes her feel like she can be truly honest.

It's wonderfully liberating.

Day two has been another cracker. Mitchell Johnson, with figures of 7-42, ravaged his way through South Africa, leaving them 243-8. A lot of runs behind Australia.

Johnson, ever the eloquent cricketer, summed up how his performance went today: "it all just seemed to happen." Is that modesty or does he have a bit of the James Anderson about him?

Either way, South Africa must recover from their 5-7 debacle late in the last session and take to the field with some purpose, and Australia must be looking to consolidate their lead with piling on the runs tonight.

England must take heed from this series. They need to (somehow) find Australia's weak points and learn how to exploit them, whilst also concentrating on the start of the second Test tomorrow. Is KP capable of thinking about more than one thing at once?

Answers on a postcard.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Just Like A Ripe Melon

Well, well, well.

Day one of the Australia v South Africa Test and things are as juicy as Nightwatchgirl predicted.

Hayden (12) and Ponting (0), after talking the talk failed to walk the walk (and Hussy (0) to be fair, but he's not a big talker).

And it was the grafters who turned things around (Katich (83) and Clarke (62)).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Katich missed "a fifth Test hundred of 2008." Going by that logic, Andrew Flintoff has missed eight hundreds this year and Monty Panesar has had nineteen.

But let's not forget the lower order, who expertly showed the 'proper' batsmen how to do it. Lee (29) and 'crazy' Krejza (19*) proved scoring runs was possible.

Nightwatchgirl is very much looking forward to tonight and seeing if South Africa can match Australia's score.

The battle of the Titans continues.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Excuses Will Get You Nowhere

Since India's impressive and dramatic victory yesterday, the England camp have been rather forthcoming with a range of excuses to explain how it was they lost.

1. "When you're trying to set fields to a magician like that, it's very difficult." KP

2. "We didn't capitalise on our position." Geoff Miller, selector.

3. "I have got a fractured rib." KP

4. "I don't think it's tactics, it's skill." Peter Moores.

5. "I think we were a little defensive." Andy Flower.

6. "We must look to capitalise on our momentum." Andy Flower.

7. "In some ways, I feel for Monty in that our preparation was compromised alot." Peter Moores.

Seven reasons why England lost.

Seven made up excuses for why India are better than England.

Nightwatchgirl's dog has a suggestion, how about getting more runs and not declaring?

England, back to the drawing board. Immediately.

Answers:
1. -get over it. 2. - yup. 3. - so what? stop moaning. 4. - no, it's tactics and skill. Two things England lack. 5. - A little? Try a lot. 6. - once again, stating the obvious. 7. - Everything was compromised.

Monday, 15 December 2008

All's Well That Ends Well (or not)

Bloody hell.

What did Nightwatchgirl say? Never declare.

In fact, avoid playing any good teams in the future. England are clearly not good enough.

India showed today how a side, with their backs against the wall, can turn a game around and win.

Win.

A concept England are not familiar with.

But England needn't lose complete heart; India are the best Test team in the world right now. No more Australia, no more South Africa.

England need to re-group, re-focus and get that ridiculous notion out of their minds that they really stood any chance today of beating a side filled to the brim with the best batsmen this side of the milky way.

They did not.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Nightwatchgirl Declares Declarations are Scary

Declarations are a risky business. Declarations suggest that you have enough runs to last you till next year, that you have no fear that the other team will even get near it. Declarations are for Australians and South Africans, not the English.

This is why:

1. England's bowlers hate pressure (a worrying fact, NWG knows, but still true).
2. India's batsmen are unbelievable (bloody Sehwag, 83 off 68 - does he not know this is Test cricket?).
3. Monty Panesar was never likely to score a hundred, but still, he could have added maybe one or two runs to the total.
4. A team can never have too many runs when playing India. Repeat five hundred times.

Now England fans are left with getting up (again) at 4am and watching some of the greatest batsmen of our time (basically the whole top order of India) whittle down the total and unless something great happens, something completely and utterly fantastic, the game will be a draw or India will win.

England need another Edgbaston performance from Flintoff or Harmison's golden Test against the West Indies way back when. Swann needs to channel Crazy Krejza. And all India need to do is to not get out.

It will be a tense day, just how Nightwatchgirl likes it.