Archive for March, 2010
When it was announced that Alistair Cook would be England’s captain for the tour of Bangladesh, he was immediately put in a no-win situation, especially during the two match Test series.
If England failed to win either Test match or struggled for form against the minnows of Bangladesh, Cook was obviously going to be criticised. They weren’t exactly going to be labelled as the world’s best if they emerged 2-0 winners either though, so it really was a case of get in, win, and get out for Cook and co.
In fairness to the temporary England captain, this is exactly what has happened. The tourists secured a 2-0 series win this morning after chasing down their target of 209 with the loss of only one wicket in Mirpur.
There were moments where Cook’s inexperience as captain showed, but the end result is as good could be expected. England have gone to Bangladesh and done everything that could be expected of them. Other than the series win, there were some other positives to take into the World Twenty20 and the English summer.
The batting of Alistair Cook is one of these. He well and truly led from the front and guided his team home this morning with a responsible unbeaten 109. During the two Test matches, his scores were 173, 39, 21, 109* – not bad for someone under pressure during his first stint as captain.
The introduction of James Tredwell won’t please the likes of Monty Panesar, but it seems as though England have found the natural back up for Graeme Swann. He took six wickets during in the second Test and contributed a handy 37 with the bat in England’s first innings too.
Kevin Pietersen seems to be getting there when it comes to his form. Yes, the opposition isn’t the strongest, but KP’s unbeaten knock of 74 to help steer England home this morning will have done him the world of good. It followed scores of 99, 32 and 45 in the Test series, so it has been productive tour for him. Now he just needs to peak for the English summer and then the Ashes.
There were a few other standout performances in the series, with Ian Bell looking like he has cemented the number six batting spot, Swann continuing his excellent form, Tim Bresnan making useful contributions with bat and ball and Stuart Broad lasting for two back to back test matches.
Add Andrew Strauss and James Anderson to the fold and England look in pretty decent shape ahead of an important few months. Credit to Cook and the team for their progress in Bangladesh.
Next stop – World Twenty20.
Meanwhile, in football news England fans with a World Cup 2010 free bet are hurrying to place it on their side who are currently third favourites for the competition.
In the world of horse racing the Aintree Grand National is set to take place on April 10th and promises to be a fantastic day out.
In the beginning it looked as though it was going to a cakewalk for England. They amassed a massive first innings score and then dismissed Bangladesh for 296 in the first innings. Due to the heat, they decided not to enforce the follow-on. Live betting wasn’t fazed by this either way.
After a quick 200, it set the hosts a total of 513 to win. The scoreboard doesn’t belie the fight and the struggle that Bangladesh put up. They only scored 331 and lost by 181 runs. On paper this looks like a thrashing but doesn’t tell the true story.
England has begun their tour of Bangladesh well with a clean sweep in the one-dayers. Bangladesh put up a good fight but in the end England had too much firepower for the hosts. They simply had no match for the likes or class of England.
This is the second time England is playing in Bangladesh. They first played there in 2003. Then England was represented by the likes of Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain and Graeme Thorpe. There won’t be a single survivor from that side. In the First Test England won by seven wickets. In the second they had an easy 329 run victory. Bangladesh will provide much stiffer opposition this time round.
It is impossible to ignore the impact Eoin Morgan has had on international cricket. The England batsman has become a permanent fixture in England’s one day international and Twenty20 sides, producing a number of memorable displays along the way.
Most recently he helped England defeat Bangladesh in the second ODI to secure a 2-0 series lead with one game to play. Chasing 261 to win, England looked in trouble on 68-3, but Morgan played beautifully to record an unbeaten 110 off 104 balls.
He won the game in the penultimate over with his second six of the innings and after the game everyone was talking about the former Ireland international. Morgan had played superbly well and earned praise from captain Alistair Cook who said it was a “fantastic knock” under pressure.
However, it wasn’t the first time Morgan has made an impression on the international stage. It may well have been his first century for England, but he has won a game for his country before – hitting a 34-ball 67 against South Africa during the Champions Trophy in September 2009.
This was then followed by an unbeaten 45-ball 85 against the same opponents in a Twenty20 match as part of England’s tour this winter. Overall, his record in the shortest form of the game is very encouraging with an average of 59.
The innings against Bangladesh showed that he can help England finish games in the 50 over format too, so what about a future in test cricket? Can Morgan one day convert his obvious talent into something that would succeed in the five-day game?
In fairness to him, all the ingredients are there. He has an excellent temperament, he clearly plays well under pressure and, perhaps most important of all in the modern game, he plays with confidence and flair.
Morgan has something about him, just like Kevin Pietersen did when he burst on to the scene. Most England fans feel comfortable when he is at the crease as he knows his game, but he will also pull out an inventive or powerful shot at just the right time.
Morgan’s game at the moment does ideally suit the ODI and Twenty20 formats, but there is no doubt that he could become equally as affective in the test arena at some stage.
However, England’s World Twenty20 betting odds suggest they will struggle in the competition, despite the emergence of Morgan.
Meanwhile, in football news, Spain have secured their position as favourites in the World Cup online betting markets after a friendly win over France last night.
Temporary England captain Alistair Cook has called on his side to improve in certain areas of their game after defeating Bangladesh to go 1-0 up in the One Day International series on Sunday.
Cook is standing in for the rested Andrew Strauss as England skipper and he got off to a winning start as his team chased down 229 to win with the loss of just four wickets. Paul Collingwood’s unbeaten 75 made absolutely sure of the victory, while Cook himself chipped in with 64.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Cook’s England though and despite the fact that the hosts recorded a relatively modest total in their innings, they did get off to a flying start. Tamim Iqbal scored a magnificent century and helped his side reach 63-0 off the first 9 overs.
At this stage, Cook admits that Bangladesh “took the game away” from England and that the tourists were in danger of losing their grip on proceedings. So, even though England’s bowlers fought back well, Cook will want them to use the new ball more affectively in the coming games.
The Essex batsman then admitted that his team are taking nothing for granted ahead of the remaining games because there are still “a few areas” where they can improve. Bowling with the new ball being one, someone in the top six going on to make a century being another. Then there is the form of Kevin Pietersen – who was dismissed for just one – to think about.
There was time for Cook to praise certain areas of his team though, namely Collingwood who showed his vast experience to guide England home. Speaking about the Durham man, Cook said that he ‘keeps delivering the goods at crucial times’, something which makes him a hugely valuable player for England.
Overall though, Cook will be pleased with his side. They won the game with relative ease and this is all that can be asked of them. They are certainly an improving ODI side and maybe a couple of the negative aspects of the team can be ironed out in the next two matches.
The England ODI betting indicates they should win the series, but Bangladesh should push them hard.
Meanwhile, in football news Joe Cole could miss the Football World Cup 2010 after being left out of the squad for England’s friendly with Egypt.