Saturday, 4 December 2010


The England vs Pakistan series seems a long time ago now, but it's worth returning to one particular match, and one particular moment.

Let's go back to the Oval. England were two-nil up in the four match series, but while our bowlers had proven adept at skittling Pakistani batsmen cheaply, many of our own batsmen were also struggling for form. Only Morgan and Prior had scored centuries, and of all England's batsmen Cook was looking particularly uncertain. Never mind what had happened on the far-away winter tours, no matter that he had competently understudied as captain in Bangladesh, in the English summer season he had posted scores of 7, 23, 29, 8, 12, 17 and 4 prior to the Oval Test, where in the first innings he had again succumbed for just 6. Even against some clearly highly capable bowling, for an opening bat this was simply not good enough. At that point, frankly, he was for the high jump.

So in the second innings, Cook was under serious pressure. It showed. His innings was not one of those where you very quickly see that a big score is coming, it was one of those where every ball survived seems a decided bonus. He hadn't come in to form, he just seemed to be riding a rare flush of good luck. Somehow, he rode this luck all the way to 96, but there was nothing certain about his transition to three figures until another generous dollop of good luck came his way. He blocked a ball back to bowler Asif who, frustrated by Cook and Trott's continued presence, pick the ball up and shied at the stumps with a throw so wayward it went directly over the keeper's head, and on over the boundary to give Cook his first and only century of the summer. Cook's ticket to Australia was finally booked.

That overthrow has so far cost Australia 438 runs...

No comments:

Post a Comment