First Test, day four: England in the Gabbatoir
The Guerillas 26th November 2017
England stepped into the mincing machine that is the Gabba with a lot of hard yakka ahead of them to rescue something from a match that had tilted Australia's way through the third day batting of Steven Smith and the late hostility of Josh Hazlewood. To their credit, Mark Stoneman (grittily) and Joe Root (classily) quietened an already soporific Sunday crowd with an hour of calm strike rotation and risk-free accumulation.
First Test, day three: the tension rises
Gary Naylor 25th November 2017
Saturday in Brisbane and the match was as balanced as a fine Coonawarra claret, as England looked to snap the steely partnership of Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh and Australia aimed to bat and bat and bat. To nobody's surprise, Joe Root deployed his 900 or so Test wickets opening bowlers against Smith's captain's average of 70+ with hostilities re-engaged at 165-4. Ten runs had been added without incident when, extraordinarily and inexplicably, Marsh, on 51, lifted an attempted drive off the splice in a gentle arc to a delighted Jimmy Anderson at mid-off. England had one of the two wickets they craved before the new ball became due around the midpoint of the session.
First Test, day two: Australia roar back, then England respond and we finish where we started
Gary Naylor 24th November 2017
England began the second day of the First Ashes Test on 196-4 with expectations of 300, hopes of 400 and dreams of 500. For 90 miniutes, things stayed that way until... Dawid Malan, batting beautifully having posted a patient and composed half century, ignored the bleedin' obvious leg trap and lifted Mitchell Starc's bouncer to Shaun Marsh, stationed 3/4 back at square leg for EXACTLY that shot.Though Starc earns some credit for flogging lift out of a plasticeney pitch, Malan's shot was wrong in conception (it's what Steven Smith wanted him to do) and in execution (his hands below the ball sending it up, but without the full-blooded commitment to the stroke required to clear the boundary). 56 superb runs accumulated, but a poor dismissal.
First Test, day one: honours even at the end of a compelling day of Ashes cricket
Gary Naylor 23rd November 2017
At last, after all the off-field sledging, it was time to take the trash talk on to the ground – and, glory be, to play some actual cricket. Joe Root won the toss and, eschewing the Nasser Way, elected to have a bat and send Mark Stoneman's heartrate up to 150. Stoneman's job, of course, was to get that number for a score. There was no movement for the new ball and it looked a good toss to win, but Mitchell Starc found a length outside off stump and Alastair Cook nicked off to Peter Handscomb, one of three wicketkeepers in the Aussie XI, on duty at first slip. Cook's familiar indeterminate footwork early in his innings and a misalignment of head and delivery exacted a full price – 764 runs still to get to match 2010-11.
Roy and Bairstow wipe floor with lacklustre West Indies
Hendo 29th September 2017
Fifth ODI: West Indies 288-6 in 50 overs England 294-1 (Bairstow 141*, Root 46*) in 38 overs. Jason Roy continued to make the most of his unexpected second chance as a one-day international opening batsman as England romped to a fourth victory in the series against West Indies at the Rose Bow and ended a difficult week – and long season – on a high. The Surrey batsman, who seemed likely to face a long spell in the wilderness as understudy to Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow, having been displaced by the latter towards the end of the Champions Trophy, added another fifty to the one he scored on Wednesday at the Oval and was desperately unlucky not to turn that into a fourth 50-over hundred.
Brilliant Lewis left to feel the pain as spectacular knock proves in vain
Hendo 27th September 2017
4th ODI: West Indies 356-5 England 258-5 (Moeen 48*, Buttler 43*) England win by six runs on DLS method. Evin Lewis staked his claim as Universe Boss-elect with a storming innings that dug West Indies out of a hole but it was not enough to claim victory for the tourists at the Oval, with England grateful for the efforts of the recalled Jason Roy and the inspired Moeen Ali who clinched the series with a little help from the Duckworth-Lewis system.
England v West Indies 3rd ODI
Alec Paton 24th September 2017
David Franklin at Guerilla Towers. A hard-hitting 94 from Chris Gayle briefly threatened England's monumental 369-9 at Bristol on Sunday – but once he was run out by a lightning throw from Adil Rashid, the game petered out to a comfortable England win. Gayle spent much of the innings as a reluctant runner between the wickets, preferring to deal in sixes – and lofting the ball hansomely into the flats behind the sightscreen on several occasions.
Deja vu for West Indies as Jonny B Good
Hendo 19th September 2017
First ODI: Old Trafford: West Indies 204-9 from 42 overs; England 210-4 from 30.5 overs (Bairstow 100*, Stokes 23*). As in the rather pointless one-day international series in the West Indies in March, this was a cakewalk for England. After a two-hour delay for 'overnight' rain – don't even mention that this was a day/night game not due to start until the aftenoon in any case – umpires Tim Robinson and Simon Fry deigned to allow us some cricket.
Lazy Gayle, Limp England and the Roaring Bear
Paul Howarth 16th September 2017
West Indies won this rather pointless T20 by 21 runs. England won the toss and elected to insert Windies. Six overs later, they might have been regretting that decision as the tourists had raced to 72. Universe Boss Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis taking Willey (tee hee), Root (ho ho), Raisin CurranT and Jordan to task. Gayle ran himself out in a display of torpor unmatched since Absolutely's brilliant sketch: Slob Squad – Nobody Move. He set off for a comfortable single, stopped, ambled away again, decelerated, and was out by a foot. Classic Gayle.
Testlings shepherd England to victory after Anderson Test best
Paul Howarth 9th September 2017
Done. Dusted. No more Test cricket on these shores until 2018. The inevitable England victory came at 4.15. Earlier, when Jimmy Anderson removed the stubborn Shai Hope shortly after lunch, he achieved a five-for of five-fors at Lord's. The milestones keep on coming. Bishoo's was an innings of two halves: 50% handsome defence, 50% being comprehensively castled. 155/8 and Jimmy had six. Could he yet achieve his best-ever figures?.
Anderson makes history but incurs umpire's wrath as deciding Test stands on a knife-edge
Hendo 8th September 2017
Third Test, evening session, day two: West Indies 123 & 93-3 (S Hope 35* Chase 3*) England 194. With the clock beneath Father Time ticking round to 5.17pm, Jimmy Anderson lined up at the top of his run at Lord's, the imposing members' Pavilion rising up behind him, to deliver the final ball of his second over in the West Indies second innings. Kraigg Brathwaite, the West Indies opener, looked up to see him in that familar, polished roll to the wicket. A split second later, Brathwaite was staring back at broken stumps, Anderson was surrounded by congratulatory team-mates and history had been made: the Burnley Express had steamed his way through 500 Test victims, the first Englishman to do so.
All eyes on Stokes as wickets tumble on compelling opening day
Hendo 7th September 2017
Third Test, close of play report (day one): West Indies 123 all out England 46-4 (Stokes 13*, Malan 13*). Not for the first time – and it almost certainly won't be the last – Ben Stokes managed to steal the thunder of one of his team-mates on a remarkable first day of the decisive third Test at Lord's.on which 14 wickets fell. Jimmy Anderson had moved to the brink of 500 Test wickets by removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Kyle Hope in a first session disrupted by rain but a devastating spell from Stokes, who wasn't even brought into the attack until mid-afternoon, left Anderson still waiting for the one scalp which would take him to a milestone achieved by only two pace bowlers before him.
A triumph of Hope over expectation: West Indies pair drive tourists to historic victory
Hendo 29th August 2017
Close of play report: England 258 & 490-8dec lost to West Indies 427 & 322-5 by five wickets. It is rare that a Test match reaches tea on the final day with all four results possible. That it should do at Headingley with the unlikeliest of those results an England win is testament to the resilience of this West Indies team and in particular the grit and skill of opener Kraigg Brathwaite and the less experienced but no less talented Shai Hope.
Inimitable Moeen Ali grabs initiative to give England sight of victory
Hendo 28th August 2017
Close of play report: England 258 & 490-8dec West Indies 427 & 5-0 (Powell 1*, Brathwaite 4*). Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes led a charge after tea against lifeless West Indies bowling to almost certainly put the second Test out of reach of the tourists. Having established a lead of 321, Joe Root was able to put England's opponents in for a tricky six overs before the close. The all-rounders had come in when England had hit a trough as they tried to navigate to safety mid-afternoon and having stabilised before tea, began to open up with a series of elegant strokes. Moeen drove as elegantly and imperiously as ever while Woakes provided the ballast, with a series of late cuts breaking the spirit of the spinners.
England v West Indies 2nd Test day 3: like the scales of justice this game is in the balance
Andy Ward 27th August 2017
The West Indies extended their lead to 169 in an exciting session of Test cricket. Fans had barely settled into their seats before Jimmy Anderson nipped out Shai Hope with the first ball of the morning and Shane Dowrich with the second. Somehow Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood survived a frenetic 15 minute spell, although only Moeen Ali knows how he shelled Blackwood at mid on from a simple chance.
We had joy, we had sun, we had several hundred runs
Paul Howarth 26th August 2017
On and on they marched. Messrs Brathwaite and Hope picked up in the evening where they'd left off in the afternoon. Shai reached his century, the first in his 12 Tests, and joined his partner in three figures. It's the first time West Indies have had two centurions together at the crease in a Test innings since Samuels and Brathwaite at Port Elizabeth in 2014. On the Guerilla mic, The Bear posited the theory that Chris Woakes needs a better haircut. Ye gods, it's not hair but teeth that we need. The England attack as a whole was looking as edentate as a grass carp with gingivitis.
Ben Stokes rides his luck to complete compelling century
Hendo 25th August 2017
Close of play report, Headingley day one: England 258 West Indies 19-1 (Brathwaite 13*, Bishoo 1*). Ben Stokes's desire to attack is beginning to look more like a carefully considered approach than a compulsion. The England all-rounder could have perished on a number of occasions on the first afternoon on day one at Headingley but, when his wicket was not being endangered, his commitment to a series of stinging strokes threatened to rip the filling out of a much improved West Indies performance.
Britsa beats Beefy, England crush Windies
Paul Howarth 19th August 2017
137 is all the West Indies managed in their second dig. A crushing defeat by an innings and 209 runs is not in any way a flattering scoreline. History was made by Stuart Broad, the fading boy-band star surpassing IT Botham's Test wicket haul of 383. He did it in the grand manner, too, nibbling Shane Dowrich's off peg with one that nipped back. Broad's partner in crime Jimmy Anderson moved closer to his 500 when he bowled Kemar Roach and ToRoJo took the final scalp, Stokes pouching the catch offered by Alzarri Joseph at third slip. It's the first time England's top two Test wicket takers have been in the same XI since 1963. Trueman and Statham, as we're sure you know.
Rain rescues West Indies from trial under lights after Alastair Cook's fourth double hundred
Hendo 18th August 2017
First Test (day 2, close of play report) England 514-8 dec; West Indies 44-1 (Powell 18*, K.Hope 25*). West Indies were spared too forensic an examination under lights when rain came half an hour into the final session at Edgbaston and washed out play for the day. They had already lost opener Kraigg Brathwaite in a testing period before the suppertime interval after Alastair Cook's fourth Test double century had enabled England to declare perhaps earlier than expected on an imposing 514 for eight.
Joe Root and Alastair Cook hit centuries as England make West Indies toil
Hendo 17th August 2017
First Test, first day:Close of play report: England 348-3 (Cook 153* Malan 28*) v West Indies. Captains present and past scored untroubled centuries as England dominated West Indies on the first day of the inaugural day/night Test in this country at Edgbaston. Joe Root, the incumbent, went to his hundred shortly before the end of the second session, and his predecessor Alastair Cook joined him as the floodlights took effect lending, in combination with a setting sun, an almost ethereal ambience to a special occasion. Root finally went for 136 after the pair had added 248 for the third wicket but by the close, Cook was still there, undefeated on 153.
Marvellous Moeen's all-round skills prove too much for South Africa
Hendo 7th August 2017
End of game report: England 362 & 243 bt South Africa 226 & 202 by 177 runs. It is getting to be a habit. Moeen Ali wrapped up the third Test match with a hat-trick – the first in 100 Tests at the Oval – and ended South Africa's resistance at Old Trafford with wickets in successive balls. It gave him figures of five for 69, no more than he deserved as he bowled the decisive spell shortly before tea to match his exploits with the bat on the third evening, and a total of 25 wickets in the series – by far the best haul on either side.
Ali turns up heat to take game away from South Africa
Hendo 6th August 2017
Close of play report (Day 3): England 362 & 224-8 (Ali 67*, Broad 0*) South Africa 226. Moeen Ali's growing significance in the England set-up was emphasised in the final session at Old Trafford as he quashed any hopes South Africa had of forcing an unlikely victory with a superb counter-attacking innings. Moeen smashed an 11th Test fifty after his fellow big guns had laboured to press home the advantage England had taken on first innings after leaving their opponents with a 136-run deficit.
Anderson marks opening of his own end in inspirational style
Hendo 5th August 2017
Close of play report (fourth Test, second day). England 362 South Africa 220-9 (Morkel 18*). James Anderson backed up his words with actions as he celebrated the opening of his own end at Old Trafford in dramatic fashion to put England in a commanding position in the second Test. Anderson, insistent that redemption Down Under remains a target after the 2013-14 Ashes drubbing, produced a wonderful spell after tea, clean bowling Temba Bavuma and Faf du Plessis in the space of three balls, then finding Theunis de Bruyn's outside edge to have him caught at second slip.
Yogi Bear (Stow)
Paul Howarth 4th August 2017
Another sedentary – but entirely satisfactory – session for England. The run rate hasn't threatened 3 all day but, frankly, who gives?. Duanne 'Laurence' Olivier took the wicket of Root 66, bowling a good old-fashioned wicket-to-wicket line and trapping him LBW. Root's sheepish review was in vain. However, he had at least reached 50 for the tenth consecutive Test. More mature batting from Ben Stokes, the ginger wizard striking another half-century via a combination of solid defence and judicious stroke-play. Comparisons with Sir Garfield Sobers are not fanciful. No, really. KG Rabada had the last laugh, however, castling Stokes with a fast in-swinging yorker. Dawid Malan knows how you feel, Stokesy.
Moeen's hat-trick rounds off victory despite Elgar's resistance
Hendo 31st July 2017
Final report: (Third Test day 5). England 353 & 313-8 dec bt South Africa 175 & 252 by 239 runs. Moeen Ali finished off the historic 100th Test match at the Oval in appropriately memorable style with a hat-trick – the first in a Test match at the famous ground – to give England an emphatic victory and put them 2-1 ahead in the series with one to play. Ali finally ended the resistance of the admirable Dean Elgar, who almost single-handedly defied the home side, when he was induced to drive at one that turned from the footholes, and gave a simple catch to Ben Stokes at slip.
Du Plessis facing humiliation as England dominate day
Hendo 30th July 2017
Close of play report (third Test, day 4). England 353 & 313-8 dec South Africa 175 & 117-4 (Elgar 72*, Bavuma 16*). If he wasn't aware already, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was this evening made horribly cognizant of the dramatic changes in fortune cricket can deal its protagonists as South Africa's top order succumbed again to England's pace attack in the final session at the Oval.
Lunchtime score: England 20/0, SA 175; England lead by 198 (third Test, day 3 morning session)
Chris1209 29th July 2017
England 20 for none v South Africa (Cook 6*, Jennings 10*), lead by 198. Rain cut short an edgy first session of the third day of the 100th Oval Test, with England in complete control of the match despite some stubborn early resistance from Temba Bavuma and Morne Morkel. Toby Roland-Jones and Stuart Broad failed to extract the nip and bounce of the previous day, creating only one real moment of drama in the first dozen overs when Bavuma edged the famously petulant blonde seamer to Ben Stokes at gully only for the chance – difficult, fast and away to his left – to fly off his outstretched palm to safety.
Rain 2, England 1, South Africa 0
Nakul Pande 29th July 2017
Stumps, day 3: England second innings, 74/1, lead by 252 runs Tea: England second innings, 74/1, lead by 252 runs Nuff said. Oh, yes: Morne Morkel bowled Alastair Cook with the greatest ball no-one will remember.
Bloodied South Africa feel the full force of Stokes and Roland-Jones
Hendo 28th July 2017
Close of play score (third Test, day 2, evening session). England 353 all out South Africa 126-8 (Bavuma 34*, Morkel 2*). Ben Stokes went to a fifth Test century in a blizzard of sixes and Toby Roland-Jones enjoyed a dream-like introduction to five-day cricket as England carved out a commanding position on an exhilarating second day of the third Test at the Oval. Stokes, who hit 112 from 153 balls in an innings of impressive maturity, cleared the boundary three times in successive balls as he went in the blink of an eye from 91 to 109, before Roland-Jones, making up for lost time that meant his debut was delayed until the age of 29, found a glorious rhythm.
Cook in the swing as South Africa's bowlers find pitch to their liking
Hendo 27th July 2017
Close of play score (third Test); Eng 171-4 v South Africa (Cook 82*, Stokes 21*). There was rain, cloud, a greenish pitch, a moving ball and regular interruptions. In other words, the perfect conditions for Alastair Cook. The former England captain provided the kind of stern resistance that seems to be going out of fashion as South Africa's bowlers made the ball talk in any number of languages on the first day of the third Test at the Oval.
Sniper Shrubsole pulls trigger to halt India's charge to house of victory
Hendo 23rd July 2017
There are many paths to the Home of Victory, but India were unfortunate to choose the one guarded by Anya Shrubsole. Like a sniper in the bushes who finds some extra bullets after fearing she has run out of ammunition, the England medium pace bowler, who was named (wo)man of the match, picked off five of her opponents in a stunning 3.2-over spell. An Indian victory, which looked a nailed-on certainty an hour earlier, was snatched from their grasp. Shrubsole, whose figures at one point were 6.2-0-34-1, finished with 9.4-0-46-6.
Sorry, but like England, we couldn't be bothered
Hendo 17th July 2017
Second Test Day 4 England 133 all out: South Africa win by 340 runs. Because England couldn't be bothered to turn up today, Guerilla Cricket has decided we can't be bothered to write a report on a shambolic performance. If and when England decide to put their heart and soul back into their Test cricket, we will put our heart and soul back into our writing. We may write a review of this Test match in the coming days...if we can be arsed.
ENG v SA 2nd Test day 3: England face a long climb with no oxygen
Alec Paton 16th July 2017
ENG v SA 2nd Test day 3 Trent Bridge. Morning session. The morning started with both teams knowing what was needed. England needed to induce a catastrophic collapse from the visitors in the mold of the 2015 Ashes test. South Africa needed only to prevent that happening. Of the two, du Plessis' boys were likely the happier by lunch. Anderson and Broad opened the bowling and in spite of a few moments of concern, the two overnight batsmen continued more or less untroubled, save a snorting ball from the home-town boy, who induced a nick from Amla that was heard by the keepers and the slips, but crucially neither the bowler nor the umpire noticed it and Root continued his indifferent form with the DRS by failing to review.
Less Rourke's drift, more Isandlwana? England capitulate on day two
Will Cockerell 15th July 2017
Morning session. The first session was one of the most bonkers and barnstorming sequences of Test Match play you'll ever see – a superb advert for the finest format of the game. The swings in fortune, the drama and daredevilry were quite dazzling, none more so than Jimmy's astonishing figures of 4 for 4 in 3.2, quite simply Nobody Does It Better. After Philander failed to add to his overnight 54 with a soft spoon to Dawson, Maharaj was at least one too high up the batting order as Root dove for a super catch to send the confidence pumping through his already gung-ho veins. Chris Morris faffed around rather as his scratchy strike rate of 43 belied that of one of the world's great stroke-makers, and Morkel after driving Broad twice for four was out flashing.
Philander ensures honours are even after see-saw day
Hendo 14th July 2017
Second Test: close of play score: (day one): South Africa 309-6. Stuart Broad dragged England back into a game that was getting away from them with the crucial wickets of Quinton De Kock and Hashim Amla shortly after tea on the first day of the second Test. With Ben Stokes chipping in with the scalps of Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma the hosts appeared to have taken control by midway through an elongated final session. But the game swung again in the last hour or so as Chris Morris and Vernon Philander, with his second fifty of the series, prevented England making further inroads with an unbroken stand of 74 that could yet have a crucial affect on the final outcome.
If you don't like Moeen Ali, you don't like cricket
Nakul Pande 9th July 2017
Final report: England (458 & 233) beat South Africa (361 & 119) by 211 runs. Moeen Ali is only one bad spell or loose shot from people who are wrong to call for him to be dropped. But even they can only rise, along with all of Lord's and all here at GC Towers, to salute England's bearded wonder, who was deservedly named man of the match. The 87 runs in the first innings were compiled in classically beautiful, at times breathtaking fashion. But it was his 10-112, dismissing all of South Africa's frontline batsmen bar Duminy at least once, that not just underlined but writ large across the cloudless London sky his all-round value to this England team - he bowled with turn, bounce, accuracy, and subtle variation in pace, making him a joy to watch with ball in hand.
England in driving seat after Philander injury adds to tourists' bowling woes
Hendo 8th July 2017
Close of play report (Day 3) England 458 & 119-1; South Africa 351. England had moved into a commanding position by the end of the third day at Lord's as South African's bowling woes deepened after a nasty injury to strike bowler Vernon Philander. The tourists' options for the next Test at Trent Bridge had already been affected by the suspension of Kagiso Rabada, who was sanctioned for swearing at Ben Stokes after he dismissed him in the first innings (combined with a previous offence), but they were left a bowler short as England batted for a second time.
Middle order steadies tourists after Moeen wins battle of the bewhiskered
Hendo 7th July 2017
Close of play report (day two) South Africa 214-5; England 458 all out. Moeen Ali's capacity for getting crucial wickets helped give England the advantage on the second day of the first Test at Lord's. The off spinner has often been derided for his unimpressive average but his knack for picking up big players at important moments mitigates in his favour as far as his admirers are concerned.
Brilliant Root in dreamland on captaincy debut
Hendo 6th July 2017
Close of play report: England 357-5. Many of the 80 men who have captained England in Test cricket have performed as if restrained in a straitjacket. Not Joe Root. The man elected to succeed Alastair Cook when the Essex opener decided he'd had enough five months ago found the position a perfect fit and records tumbled as England made a superb start to the four-match series. Root batted most of the day for an excellent undefeated 184, becoming the fourth highest scorer in history on Test captaincy debut and the highest scorer among new England skippers. He hit 21 fours, complemented by a beautifully driven six down the ground towards the pavilion, and if he rode his luck at times - he was dropped twice and stumped off a no-ball - his brazenness and impish grin meant few could resent him.