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?.