England’s encouraging endeavours in their warm-up game with New South Wales have been somewhat overshadowed by the dramatic withdrawal of Marcus Trescothick. The match didn’t descend into the farce it had threatened to. As much as 14-a-side warm-up games can be, it was highly competitive and, after a poor first day saw New South Wales reach 325-5, ultimately rather encouraging for Englishmen. But it is baffling England are not playing a four day encounter before the First Test.
James Anderson, confirmed before the game began as above Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett in the one-day pecking order, took 5-85 in the match, bowling with skill, accuracy and swing. If his was the game’s most uplifting performance, it was closely followed by the century stand between Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff. Pietersen, playing authoritatively and reassuringly well against the short ball, scored 122, the first hundred by a batsman on tour.
New South Wales’ four Australian international seamers – borderline selections Nathaan Bracken and Stuart Clark, and established stars Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath – were generally played well by the top order, but destroyed the tail with worrying inevitability.
As expected, Geraint Jones was selected ahead of Chris Read. In my earlier piece on the subject, I advocated selecting Jones above Read, on the basis of his greater batting prowess – particularly on Australian pitches where the pull and cut are especially profitable – and his improving keeping. He only scored 13 in this game, and, after keeping well in the first innings, missed a stumping chance in the second innings. Wouldn’t it be nice for him to score 50 in the South Australia game?
Ashley Giles recorded better figures than Monty Panesar this match, although the latter was very unlucky. Giles seems to be improving, and is also a more-than-competent batsman. But, would you accept him repeating his Ashes 2005 exploits: 20 with the bat and 57 with the ball? Picking Jones over Read is fair enough; picking Giles over Panesar would be a depressingly negative mood. As Tim De Lisle put it, Don’t do it, Duncan.
Tagged with: James Anderson, Geriant Jones, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar, Ashley Giles