Thoughts on the first test

  • Chris Jordan looks like a proper player. Skilful fastish bowler that could get faster with a smoother run up and more aggressive follow through. He’s a handful now, and will get better. He won’t ever be Marshall or Tweety, but he could be as good as we’ve had. He can bat properly as well. He played an on drive for four that was seriously classy.
  • Gary Balance has the calm to be a test match batsman. It’s not just about skill. It’s not just about being able to play great shots. It’s about being able to forget the last ball for up to 10 hours batting, with the ball coming at you at 90 mph. Balance might not have had a trial by fire, but he showed enough calm and ability to just bat to suggest he might well have a big future
  • The England cricket team looks comfortable again. They looked like they’d been through combat after the Ashes. At least they look like professional cricketers again. It’s a start, but as Joey the lips says in the Commitments, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, give yourselves a pat on the back from a job well done”
  • Matt Prior took a small step back. Looked good behind the stumps. Took a good catch or two. Looked in form with the bat, although could have been out early. It’s a start again, but I’d still have a fit and in form prior above any keeping in the country. Butler’s time will come, just not quite yet.
  • We need a real spinner. Moeen Ali looked like he might be a test match bastman in the making. That’s great. What he isn’t yet is a test match spinner, even in the constraining, hold up an end sense. He might become this, but he’s not there yet.
  • I’m not sure how long we’ll get from James Anderson. He remains an excellent swing bowler in English conditions, but he looks like he might be close to losing that nip that is vital to take wickets of the best batsmen. I hope I’m wrong, as he’s great to watch.
  • I’m not sure about the batting order. It worked well enough against a fairly straightforward Sri Lankan attack, but there remain serious questions about opening.
  • Who gives way for Stokes – or is Stokes now at the back of the line?
  • Plunkett was admirable, but to me, didn’t look lightning. He’s a strong all-round cricketer, but if he can’t put an extra 2-5 mph on and bowl better on a good length he might be marking time before Finn gets his mojo back.
  • I can only stand so much G Boycott and I’m finding M Vaughn rather annoying. I know professional sportsman have to have bullet proof self confidence, but the hectoring “I’m right” tone from both of them is beginning to get on my wick(et).
  • I still love TMS. The burble in the background, keeping me and Kirsty up to date with the test as we drove back from the New Forest.

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