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Post by Gooseberry Mon 11 Jan 2021, 7:14 pm

First topic message reminder :

Duty281 wrote:
JDizzle wrote:
Duty281 wrote:So the most likely scenario is an Australia/New Zealand final at Lord's.

There are many things wrong with the WTC - points system is convulsed and perhaps not particularly fair - but Test cricket at neutral venues is something worth getting excited about! Shame it is only one game.

Yeah, I can't personally say that I am a fan of the WTC. The points system doesn't work properly, fixtures are of unequal value and weighting, and boiling an entire test championship down to one solitary fixture to decide the winner doesn't seem right to me.

That said, I think that Australia and New Zealand are the two best test teams in the world right now and, if that is the final, it would be the right fixture. A shame, as you say, that it's only one game and not, at least, a three-game series.

The current system is a temporary fudge to get around the unforseen situation and make the best of whatever fixtures could be fulfilled.

Had it gone to plan all the teams wouldve played home and away fixtures and had equal opportunities to earn points. That hasnt been the case, but at the same time I dont think anyone can argue theres not a clear top 3 teams with England sat just behind them and the rest of the world a significant step back from that.

One off game may be a bit unfair in that the toss could well play a major part in deciding it, but its always been about providing a focused big televised event rather than genuine competition. However the remaining fixtures pan out we should end up with two teams who deserve to be in the final even if New Zealand have just played at home. A long series in a neutral country just isn't viable in the modern calendar or that interesting to anything other than the hardcore fans.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:30 pm

Guildford - Pakistan rightly punished for stupidly using a nightwatchman
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Post by Gooseberry Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:48 pm

Good demonstration of how genuine pace can be as much of a weapon as spin in Asia in this test. Not a great shock that SA didn't post much, expected a bit more from Pakistans top order at home but good to see Rabada shining away from home.

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Post by James100 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 1:08 pm

https://www.sportstats.com.au/nightwatchman.html

'Proof' that the nightwatman fails more than it succeeds - good one to vindicate Olly, Guildford and other sceptics

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Post by msp83 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 2:36 pm

So South Africa didn't exactly make it count batting first and with most of their batsmen getting starts. The top 7 all made double figures but nobody more than Elgar's 58. Then those stupid run-outs.
But They had KG Rabada back and upfront, he bowled a fine spell and took out the Pakistan openers. Then Keshav Maharaj, who didn't have much to do in the 2-0 series win against Sri Lanka recently, took the big wicket of Babar Azam and the nightwatchman was spectacularly packed off by Nortje's pace.
Azhar Ali is still there, and Fawad Alam has an outstanding FC record and a late opportunity to show he can do it at the top level, and Mohammed Rizwan who is a fighter, are capable of still taking the game away from South Africa. But there is some considerable pressure that they will have to deal with.
South Africa would hope that the bowlers wouldn't learn from their batsmen and end up ruining a fine start.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 4:29 am

Despite Stirling hitting two centuries, Ireland went down 3-0 to Afghanistan in an ODI series in the UAE. They were completely befuddled by the spin of Mujeeb and Rashid Khan. Not a surprising result, but a blow to Ireland's chances of qualification for the 2023 World Cup, with only one win in their first six games. 

In a different ODI series, a new-look West Indies side lost 3-0 to Bangladesh in Bangladesh, after an utterly atrocious effort from the tourists with the bat in all three games. I think the West Indies will struggle to make the top eight places in the Super League, and they may need to play the secondary competition just to make the World Cup.

As for the test match, great to see test cricket back in Pakistan. Didn't watch it live, but did catch some highlights and it appears it was a very tough pitch to bat on, with an abundance of inconsistent bounce and some turn for the spinners, even though it was just day one! The type of pitch where a batsman is never truly 'in', though I must say South Africa didn't help themselves with the run-outs. Difficult to see it going into day four.

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 5:42 am

Fawad and Azhar sticking together in the early exchanges. Pakistan 56-2, Rabada and Nortje unable to separate the overnight pair.
Do have my sympathies for Fawad Alam, despite topping domestic charts year after year, he was ignored for very long by the Pak selectors and team management despite their batting troubles particularly after MisYou retired. Doesn't come across as the most conventional as a batsman as far as his batting stance is concerned, but he scored tons of runs in domestic cricket with that, and in Pak domestic cricket, the seam bowling and spin bowling quality is not that bad. Even if he succeeds, his will go down as an unfulfilled career, but I hope he has some late success to make something out of all those struggles...

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 6:43 am

Azhar and Fawad doing the job for Pakistan so far. They've moved along to 91-4. The going hasn't been easy and scoring, except for the last 20 minutes, has been difficult. There was a controversial review as well, LBW turned down on field, SA reviewed thinking its pad first. 3rd umpire unable to conclusively determine whether it was pad first and so went with on field call, but interestingly, despite the third umpire not being able to decide conclusively if it was pad first, SA lost their review. It was no different to umpire's call and yet SA lost their review. An aspect of the system that needs some work...

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 6:45 am

South Africa on twin spin attack for the moment, and they aren't able to make much of an impact. Both Maharaj and Linde are not able to keep the scoring in check though Pakistan aren't running away with it. But if this partnership lasts beyond lunch, then with some batting to come, Pak should be in a good place to take a decisive first innings lead.

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:06 am

Pakistan 145-5, Fawad has brought up a half-century and Rizwan along side him. Maharaj took out Azhar Ali, but besides these 2, South Africa also will have to get through Faheem Ashraf who played a couple of crucial hands with the bat in New Zealand recently. The 2nd new ball still some 15 overs away...

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:13 am

Duty281 wrote: Not a surprising result, but a blow to Ireland's chances of qualification for the 2023 World Cup, with only one win in their first six games. 

In a different ODI series, a new-look West Indies side lost 3-0 to Bangladesh in Bangladesh, after an utterly atrocious effort from the tourists with the bat in all three games. I think the West Indies will struggle to make the top eight places in the Super League, and they may need to play the secondary competition just to make the World Cup.

As for the test match, great to see test cricket back in Pakistan. Didn't watch it live, but did catch some highlights and it appears it was a very tough pitch to bat on, with an abundance of inconsistent bounce and some turn for the spinners, even though it was just day one! The type of pitch where a batsman is never truly 'in', though I must say South Africa didn't help themselves with the run-outs. Difficult to see it going into day four.

Its a bit of a surprise in that Afghanistan have never won 2 ODIs in a row before let alone 3. Does show a continuation of a trend over the past few years of Ireland declining and Afghanistan improving though. Ireland simply dont deserve to qualify for the world cup based on this tour, they cant even blame not being used to the conditions by the end of it. Seems odd they aren't finding new players coming through now, its not like England are picking them all up. Morgan belongs to that golden generation of the early 2000s, since then it feels a bit Sri Lanka with the old boys dropping out and the replacements being a step down in spite of the improved investment and facilities there. Course might be that they are focused more on test cricket now, as England found out.

West Indies was an absolute B team playing as you say so its hard to criticise too much. They really struggle being able to afford to get their best players to turn up to tours outside the big 3 which does skew the rankings a bit, but this was a really extreme example. Hard to know how much it was effort on top of a lack of ability and experience in the conditions. The Captain has played a decent number of ODIS but has always been that bad. Looking at the scorecard for the last one it appears Bangladesh were taking the pee by the end though getting through 8 bowlers.


SA test Pakistan today have shown how poor their top orders efforts were, and maybe that SA are a bit reliant on the new ball to terrorise them. Still likely to end up around parity at best which leaves SA in the stronger position, but if they bat with a bit less flapping fancy they'll pull off a win. Just dont rate SA's chances of posting much with the bat, so they really need to wrap up the tail for as little as possible here. Still very much open though, like you say only the draw off the table really.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 9:42 am

Pakistan have been incredibly fortunate today. Ball's been doing all sorts, but the edges have mostly flown safe. Still a good chance for South Africa to take a slender lead into the second innings.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 10:50 am

Australia squad for Sa has been announced, Head back for Wade. Careys in the squad but unsurprisingly they are sticking by Paine, fancy it might be Englands gain if thats still the case come the Ashes but it was pretty inevitable for the short term.

Stekeete getting a call up over Richardson after tearing through the BBL.

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 10:55 am

Pakistan into the lead. Faheem is playing his shots, and Alam is closing in on his hundred.
225-6.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 11:42 am

Lead up to 50 now, really blown the game apart with this partnership. Pakistan should win from here.

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Post by alfie Wed 27 Jan 2021, 11:49 am

I see Pakistan has rallied and moved into a solid lead.

Perhaps the night watchman wasn't such a bad idea after all Smile

Won't call the game yet as they will still have to bat last and it is not beyond SA to post a good second innings.

If they can get the Pakistan later order out , of course.

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:06 pm

Fawad Alam out for 109. He has gone pass 50 3 times in test cricket, and is yet to make a half-century! Hundred percent conversion rate!

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:09 pm

Hasan Ali is been turning himself into a kind of a bowling all-rounder of late, after his axing from the team. He forced his way back not just with his wickets, but with a few runs as well. Would be a good time to score a few and take Pakistan to 350, the only hope for South Africa then would be that they are playing Pakistan! But they don't usually mess around with the ball, so hard to see a South African fightback here.

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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:10 pm

Faheem gone after a fine hand, all down to Hasan Ali to take that lead to safe zone.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:23 pm

msp83 wrote:Fawad Alam out for 109. He has gone pass 50 3 times in test cricket, and is yet to make a half-century! Hundred percent conversion rate!

What odds would you get on that Whistle

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 12:28 pm

alfie wrote:I see Pakistan has rallied and moved into a solid lead.

Perhaps the night watchman wasn't such a bad idea after all   Smile

Won't call the game yet as they will still have to bat last and it is not beyond SA to post a good second innings.

If they can get the Pakistan later order out , of course.

Lead of over 80 now and looking like that could go over 100. SA have picked a bowling side rather than a batting one and have been woeful against spin for a long time now. Their top 6 isnt bad but its a long tail, on top of which Markrams confidence and form are in tatters. I cant see them making much more than their first innings total, unless de Kock does something spectacular, which really wouldn't leave Pakistan a lot to do.


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Post by msp83 Wed 27 Jan 2021, 2:13 pm

Markram was among runs in the Sri Lanka series and had come into that series with lots of FC runs. But he's had issues against spin, and his last tour to the subcontinent, to India was a pretty poor one. But if the lad gets going, he can be quite handy and transfer pressure to the opposition quickly.
Again, their choice of going in with both Ngidi and Nortje and not Mulder or Pretorius seemed a poor call at the outset, and seems to have not changed afterwards. If your spinners are not all that good, there is no point playing many of them. George Linde seemed strictly average when he played in India. Hasn't done much today either. At least, if they wanted 2 spinners, should have gone in with the attacking option in Shamsi. Completely muddled selection strategy, it seems. And more than de Kock, Mark Boucher has to shoulder more responsibility for that. QDK is in charge only for the short term, Boucher seems to be the one in charge off the field...

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 27 Jan 2021, 3:56 pm

Very good effort by P today to recover from 33-4. The lead already a more-than-useful one.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 28 Jan 2021, 8:24 am

Even better effort this morning to get a lead over 150! That tail should not be getting that many runs, not sure whats happened but SA at 60/1 currently suggests the pitch must be holding up pretty well. Pretty embarrassing for Pakistan's top order all round, but they are still in a should win position.


Not sure what section this goes in but India tour dates for england are up. Two 4 day warm ups against their A team, then the A team to play two counties and possibly the Lions during the test series. Gives good opportunities for some of the county grounds to get extra income, suspect the two warm ups will be very popular. As good a set of warm ups as youll see for India in modern tours, and they will also probably have played in the world final a few weeks before.

Could be a very rough year for Englands test team.

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Post by msp83 Thu 28 Jan 2021, 11:14 am

Good fight back from SA so far. Elgar got hit on the finger and didn't last too long afterwards, but Markram and Van Der Dussen are doing a good job and have nearly done away with the deficit. Both men have got to their 50s, would be hoping to learn from Fawad, particularly Van Der Dussen, who has gone pass 50 4 times before this in test cricket, and is yet to register a ton.

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Post by Gooseberry Thu 28 Jan 2021, 11:54 am

175/2 puts a different take on things, turning into a classic here! Huge innings for Makram now a very dogged 74/no

Still only a very small lead with two down but if theres another big partnership Pakistan will suddenly be under a lot of pressure. Both teams have posted massive fight bacs in the test already so not going to try and predict what will happen again

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 28 Jan 2021, 12:11 pm

Van Der Dussen and then Du Plessis go in short succession, and Pakistan are well back on top in the game again. South Africa effectively 28-3, and a second new ball on the horizon
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 28 Jan 2021, 12:13 pm

And now Markram goes too!

South Africa's hard work today being undone in these final 10 overs of the day
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Post by Gooseberry Thu 28 Jan 2021, 12:28 pm

Classic kiss of death there...also classic sending in of nightwatchman and the senior batsman gets out from SA.

Rollercoaster ride of game but Pakistan end the day back firmly on top

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 3:20 am

South African batsmen did it again, got in got a start, a couple of them threatened to make something really substantial, and lost 3 for not much to hand the control back to Pakistan. Admitedly, Yasir was too good in those last 40 minutes or so. But it has to be said that SA let a good position slip badly. Quinton de Kock is still there and instead of a nightwatchman, they send in a bowling all-rounder of sorts in those dying moments of the day. Maharaj, if he doesn't go bonkers, can be one of their better bats against spin. Hope he stays focused, and QDK and Bavuma can then do something substantive to give the bowlers at least 200 to try and defend. Tough ask, and probably not enough even then.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 5:09 am

Surprised the test has lasted this long, with all this low bounce. Maharaj got his stumps rearranged by the very first ball of day four, so South Africa's task has gotten just a little steeper. If they can somehow scramble to a 180 lead I think they've got a fairly decent chance...but that's a long way off, and there's a second new ball to come in a few overs.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:30 am

Pakistan continues the good work. Packed off QDK and Maharaj early, and though Bavuma and Linde put up a bit of a partnership, Nauman Ali has now broken through and got the latter to edge to leg slip. At 234-7, South Africa is well short of the 200 lead that could have challenged Pakistan a bit in the 4th innings. KG can have a decent day with the bat now and then, Nortje can hang around. Ngidi is pretty much a number 11. So, not much support that Bavuma, batting on 34, can now hope for. So despite the fightback from Markram and Van DerDussen, South Africa well and truly under the pump, those 40 minutes with the poor first innings finishing them off here.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:35 am

Nothing proactive from Bavuma yet. Not making any aggressive efforts to play his shots, not shielding Rabada from the bowling. Taking whatever is on offer, and letting Rabada do his thing. KG has been restrained so far and has looked relatively comfortable out there. But neither Yasir nor Shaheen/ Hasan have had a crack at him yet.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:42 am

KG's restraind didn't last long, he tried to smash Nauman all the way to South Africa and got dropped by Hasan Ali! Only to have Rabada driving at the next one with a big gap between bat and pad for Nauman to drive through! South Africa 239-8.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:48 am

South Africa need to revisit their batting order. Quinton de Kock bats 5 and Bavuma 6 in this lineup. Think Bavuma is more suited to batting 5 in terms of his temperament. QDK is much better off at 6, He'll get to bat with a batsman and an all-rounder to start with, and then he's far better at upping things when batting with the lower order. He did it in the past, though he is a serious batting talent, he's not AB to bat in the top order and adapt his game to the situation, particularly when it demands focus on defense. Bavuma not have the range of De Kock, but is stronger in defense and is suited to 5 a lot more.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:49 am

And unless he creates history by taking 10-25 or something in the 4th innings, they should bring in Mulder for Linde for the next game. And if they feel strongly about the 2nd spinner, bring in Shamsi for Nortje or Ngidi.

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Post by msp83 Fri 29 Jan 2021, 7:07 am

So SA bowled out for 245. Should be a walk in the park for Pakistan. Bavuma the last man out for 40. Nauman Ali, the 34 year old left-arm spinner caps his debut with a 5for. After Fawad's wonderful hundred, another career that may have seemed to be finished in the grind of domestic cricket, is making a late step up.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri 29 Jan 2021, 7:39 am

msp83 wrote:South African batsmen did it again, got in got a start, a couple of them threatened to make something really substantial, and lost 3 for not much to hand the control back to Pakistan. Admitedly, Yasir was too good in those last 40 minutes or so. But it has to be said that SA let a good position slip badly. Quinton de Kock is still there and instead of a nightwatchman, they send in a bowling all-rounder of sorts in those dying moments of the day. Maharaj, if he doesn't go bonkers, can be one of their better bats against spin. Hope he stays focused, and QDK and Bavuma can then do something substantive to give the bowlers at least 200 to try and defend. Tough ask, and probably not enough even then.


"Good position" is maybe pushing it a bit, they only had a lead of around 20 when the second wicket went down. Glimmer of hope and a lot of hard work from Markram who absolutely dogged out his score wasted. The good position was when they had Pakistan 4 down, the bowling let them down every bit as much as the failures of the batsmen.

No easy fix on the batting front. Dropping Linde will only do so much when they are carrying Bavuma who after 40 something tests still averages around 30 (although he was one of the higher scorers here!). Faf just isnt the player he threatened to be in his early years , not terrible but not a star, hes 36 now so surely ripe to retire after Aus series. De Kock is another decent bat but again not quite good enough to be part of a world class top 5. Elgar decent by modern opener standards but never going to be a great, Markram is showing a lot of potential but has had some rough times too, Van Dussen still struggling to establish himself as a test player, and at his age isnt likely to get much better or be a long term solution. Its not like the reserves are brimming with top 6 talent, although Bavuma is clearly there because of transformation targets that alone cant be blamed for SAs batting woes. The players coming through just aren't in the Smith, Kallis, ABD or Amla class.

Short term swapping out the all rounders wont do a great deal. Mulder had a stellar start bowling on green tops at home, but not sure his dibbly dobblers will be that effective in Pakistan. He has a lot of potential for them in places like England and at home, but using him to shorten the tail slightly will put more load on the front 4 bowlers to deliver here. Given tehy are only likley to win low scoring games due to their poor top 6 its probably not a bad shout though.

Can see things getting worse for SA before they get better, especially with the impact covid will have had on their game and finances this year. Australia should fancy their chances out there, but they too have issues picking 11 players worth a spot.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri 29 Jan 2021, 10:34 am

Pakistan ended up making heavy weather of that after lunch but still a comfortable win. Bit if a concern with the top order folding to SA pace attack again.

On reflection think SA would best served replacing ngidi or linde with mulder to add some depth to their batting.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Fri 29 Jan 2021, 11:54 am

Be interesting to see what they'd do with their team for the 2nd test - maybe bring in Shamsi for Linde and Mulder for Ngidi? Bit more of a spin threat and Mulder adds to the batting and can be a handy 5th/bang it in option.

Ultimately though they need to bat batter. They'll be needing Elgar's hand injury to not keep him out...
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Post by sirfredperry Fri 29 Jan 2021, 5:01 pm

This is now a very weak SA team and I can see P winning the next Test too.


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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sat 30 Jan 2021, 11:15 am

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/langer-s-intense-coaching-style-in-the-spotlight-after-testing-summer-20210129-p56xxs.html

Cracks in the Aussie camp...?
Definitely have my money on Matthew Wade being the one taking a toastie onto the field in his pocket
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Post by king_carlos Sat 30 Jan 2021, 4:50 pm

Good Golly I'm Ollyhttps://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/langer-s-intense-coaching-style-in-the-spotlight-after-testing-summer-20210129-p56xxs.html

Cracks in the Aussie camp...?
Definitely have my money on Matthew Wade being the one taking a toastie onto the field in his pocket
Wade does come across as a weapons grade muppet it must be said.  Laugh

To me it sounds like a classic case of if a team is winning they are close but if they lose they can come apart a bit. There seem to be a lot of characters in that side.

Starc has had scans on both knees and is awaiting results which would seem to confirm suspicions that he was having fitness issues during the last two Tests against India.

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Post by alfie Sun 31 Jan 2021, 8:16 am

James100 wrote:https://www.sportstats.com.au/nightwatchman.html

'Proof' that the nightwatman fails more than it succeeds - good one to vindicate Olly, Guildford and other sceptics

Interesting statistical analysis...

Though I suppose one might also say that you can prove almost anything with statistics if you choose the right ones Smile Won't argue with these figures though. I suspect that , more often than not , the nightwatchman either doesn't gain much or actually has a negative impact.

However I am not wholly opposed to use of the tactic in the right circumstances. And that , of course , comes down to the skill of the skipper in weighing up the various elements :1/ state of the match - what are you seeking to achieve in this innings ? 2/ Conditions (pitch , light, bowlers) 3/ Mental state of batsmen - can be quirky beggars. 4/ Aptitude of your tailender for the task. ... and so on.

Just because a tactic isn't the overall percentage play doesn't mean it never works , or should never be used. Just have to pick the right times as a captain.

And get lucky Smile

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Post by Soul Requiem Sun 31 Jan 2021, 8:23 am

For me it depends on who you use as a nightwatchman. I was always opposed to using Hoggard in that role because it invariably resulted in a slow start to the next day. At the time it should have been Giles if anyone, decent technique with a few scoring shots.

Too many teams choose someone purely for stickability which is wrong.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun 31 Jan 2021, 10:17 am

Soul Requiem wrote:For me it depends on who you use as a nightwatchman. I was always opposed to using Hoggard in that role because it invariably resulted in a slow start to the next day. At the time it should have been Giles if anyone, decent technique with a few scoring shots.

Too many teams choose someone purely for stickability which is wrong.

As noted, I am very much against the idea...but agree with Soul, if you are going to use one, use one who can get some runs the next morning, ideally fairly quickly. If England are to use it, someone like Wood/Broad ahead of Anderson/Leach should be used imo
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Post by Duty281 Tue 02 Feb 2021, 9:51 am

Australia's tour of South Africa has been cancelled.

Means that New Zealand are guaranteed to be in the Test Championship final against (almost certainly) either India or England.

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Post by KP_fan Wed 03 Feb 2021, 12:19 pm

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/new-zealand-qualify-for-world-test-championship-final-after-australia-south-africa-postponement-1249849

Aus refused to travel to SA and that puts them in difficult situation to qualify for WTC inal
NZ is thru
If India win 2-0 or 2-1 or better they are thru
Eng need to win atleast 3-0 to leave India behind
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Post by alfie Wed 03 Feb 2021, 1:00 pm

I thought a 3-1 win would be enough for England ? Probably academic anyway , rather unlikely result.

Think it will be either India or Australia to take on World Number 1 NZ Kiwi

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Post by Duty281 Thu 04 Feb 2021, 8:36 am

Couple of tests taking place currently. Bangladesh have made an imposing 430 against an increasingly sorry-looking West Indies side, which is without Holder and Dowrich.

And the second test between Pakistan and South Africa started today. Pakistan in early strife at 22/3, but Babar Azam (such a lovely player to watch) and Fawad Alam have rebuilt the score to a more stable 97/3, on a slow pitch which is already taking considerable turn. South Africa's Linde had to go off injured with a possible broken finger earlier, which hinders their bowling resources.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 04 Feb 2021, 9:12 am

Duty281 wrote:Couple of tests taking place currently. Bangladesh have made an imposing 430 against an increasingly sorry-looking West Indies side, which is without Holder and Dowrich.

And the second test between Pakistan and South Africa started today. Pakistan in early strife at 22/3, but Babar Azam (such a lovely player to watch) and Fawad Alam have rebuilt the score to a more stable 97/3, on a slow pitch which is already taking considerable turn. South Africa's Linde had to go off injured with a possible broken finger earlier, which hinders their bowling resources.

Watched the highlights of day 1 for Ban/WI yesterday...West Indies only missing Holder from their first choice attack in this one...didn't look particularly threatening. Warrican and Cornwall looked poor to me.

Mehedi Hasan's first ever first class hundred...always been a handy lower order bat but I think that might show the effectiveness of the WI attack. The woeful John Campbell already dismissed cheaply by Mustafizur in reply...Bangladesh are a fun side at the moment, particularly in home conditions with Shakib back!
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