Roger Alton Roger Alton

Spectator Sport | 6 August 2011

Unbeatable cricket

So how was it for you, The Most Extraordinary Test Match Ever? Keen readers may have noticed this column two weeks ago was in raptures over the extraordinary batting, keeping and leadership skills of the Indian captain, M.S. Dhoni. Well that went very well, didn’t it? Bad luck if you were left holding the fort in the August exodus, catching glimpses of scores on mobile phones and TV screens and asking yourself what on earth was Bell doing back at the crease? And does that really say England are on 500 for seven? And who’s that on 90 — Tim Bresnan?? Hard to do anything but stop and gawp.

My favourite moment came on the dot of Tea-gate, when you could see at the non-striker’s end Eoin ‘Oi’m just an easy-goin’ sort of a bloke who’d love to share a pint of the black stuff wid ya’ Morgan planting his bat so firmly in the crease he practically dug a trench as Ian Bell strode purposefully towards him. Well, he certainly wasn’t going to be given out, then.

Besides, who’d want to play England right now? They’ve got the professionalism and efficiency all down the order that the boys in Baggy Greens used to flaunt. With Stuart Broad top-scoring in the first innings and Bresnan’s brilliant 90 off 146 in the second, it must be pretty dispiriting trying to beat this bunch. I mean, if Curtly Ambrose cartwheels your middle stump, that’s one thing. But Bresnan? The man whose own teammate Jimmy Anderson labelled a fat Yorkshire pie-eater? He’s more Kapil Dev-stocky than David Boon-shaped these days, but as Andy Flower once diplomatically put it, ‘Tim always had a slight struggle on the fitness side.’

All the more power to his paunch, I say.

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