England should take great pride in their batting over the past few days. It wasn’t that long ago (19 years ago in fact) when they were skittled by West Indies’ Curtley Ambrose for 46 in their second innings in Trinidad. Ambrose (who took 11 for 94 in the game) was one of the greats of the game. But he needn’t had been. This was an age when they were regularly getting routed by all and sundry, good, the bad and the distinctly average of world cricket.
Nowadays, England can be content that they give a good account of themselves against some of the world’s fifth best test sides — often making three figures in the process! On taking up his position as..er…wait a minute, I have it here…er…yes, here it is: COACH of the English team, Andy Flower was quoted as saying “My Goal is to get this side to a level when they can play out a whole spell by Nathan Lyon without losing any more than two or three wickets. Also I’d like to turn Mitchell Johnson from the Sunday Morning Lummox he currently is, into someone who can run through our upper and middle order like Jimmy Savile in a Children’s Ward, no matter how many times he telegraphs his short balls (Johnson, not Savile, that is).” Only Mr Fowlers’ strongest critic would accuse him of failing to achieve his goals.
DECEMBER’S “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” COMPETITION ANSWERS:
That 1994 Match Summary:
West Indies 252 (Richie Richardson 63, Brian Lara 43; Angus Fraser 4 for 49, Chris Lewis 4 for 51) and 269 (Keith Arthurton 42, Jimmy Adams 43, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 50; Andy Caddick 6 for 65) beat England 328 (Mike Atherton 48, Graeme Hick 40, Graham Thorpe 86; Curtly Ambrose 5 for 70) and 46 (Curtly Ambrose 6 for 24) by 147 runs.
…and by 2013 England have improved to this:
Australia 570-9 dec & 132-3 dec beat England 172 & 312 by 218 runs
Andy Fowlup calculates that, at this rate of progress, by the year 2030, England can expect to rack up scores of well in excess of 500 against a Bangladeshi Presidents XI, and even offer Holland a Five Test series.