30 June 2010

Total Gloucsification

Gloucestershire v Middlesex

Highlights included after each match day.

Day 1

Gloucestershire elect to field as there is a hint of green on the pitch. Berg still out with a slight back injury, which gives Josh Davey another chance to shine, Tom Smith in for Shaun Udal's split webbing, Toby Roland-Jones replaces Iain O'Brien. Hand not informed as to why Danny Evans isn't playing then. Turns out both Robbie Williams and Danny Evans are currently on the road with Middlesex Second XI.

Promising signs at the top of the order: Sam Robson  (c) PA Photos
[1st innings]

Robson and Newman edge a few but nevertheless seem not too uncomfortable, but as Newman (25) goes he triggers a collapse, Shah out next for about zilch and eventually Robson (39) has to leave due to a dodgy decision, 77-3. Another must-win match for Middlesex with a suboptimal start. Oh hell, at 83 Dexter goes for a duck when his team would have needed a captain's knock from him. Four wickets before lunch. And then also Simpson manages to nick one, five down before lunch, I think the cake is eaten. Oh as Middlesex bat first they can't be made follow on, how practical, one must clearly look for a positive side here. Maybe they can benefit from the green top still today, if the tail doesn't stand up.

Gloucsman Chris Taylor is the fielding coach of the English Women team, IOB says their fielding has improved dramatically in the last years.

After lunch Malan and Davey settle in, Malan (29) is the first to go though, 134-6 after only 38 overs. Murtagh already padded up looking not the happiest. Haha. Perhaps we are gonna see Middlesex all out before tea.
156-7, Smith (7) out. Davey on 26* after 51.4 overs.

181-7 as Murtagh (17, four fours) edges it. IOB not happy, Murtagh is a good player, he can bat, Hand adds "but obviously he always finds ways to get himself out". If he has a batsman at the other end, like Davey currently, it is not his job to go for "these shots", but to hang around. IOB adds he should have tried to get Josh to his fifty. He criticised earlier that Murts always goes for the big shots instead of trying to wear the bowlers down and stay in as long as possible. Toby Roland-Jones needs to pick up the job to get Davey to his half century now.

You wouldn't believe it but after exactly 60 overs the 200 comes up for Middlesex, and at 218 Josh gets his fifty. Very well-deserved milestone, and Middlesex are actually not all out before tea. That is quite a recovery from the lower order here. 224-8 at tea, this is slowly starting to look like a score.

234-9 as Roland-Jones (19) departs after tea, it's the fifth wicket for Anthony Ireland. Collins is the last batsman to come in but it is Davey (60) who gets killed by a bouncer, would have deserved to be not out, but if it rains it pours. Middlesex all out for 236. There goes my hope for at least 250 :/ Would be nice if the bowlers could get some early breakthroughs here, Hand expressed high hopes in the seamers earlier, Roland-Jones and Davey will surely be trying to chip in with some victims as the quicks make good use of the green surface.

Total 236

[2nd innings]

It's a pitch on which you'd like like Finn and O'Brien, without any disrespect to Murtagh and Collins, says Hand. 28 without loss in the 7th over as the covers come on, the long anticipated rain has obviously arrived at the ground. Hand can't spot any real threat though and a minute later the covers are coming off again and the umpires reappear. Hand is annoyed by all this yee-haw but says ah well that's cricket.

Collins gets the breakthrough as Kadeer Ali (13) loses his offstump. Gloucs are 30-1. A minute later Batty could have been run out, but Robson throws the ball to the wrong end. Obviously Murtle is giving Batty a hard time, it's not over yet tonight but the curfew is approaching quickly now. ARGHHH second time that Batty chips it over mid-off i.e. Newman with a leading edge. All excitement in vain.

Ohhhhh big lauds of Warner's shoulders, who is obviously subbing at the moment. Collins suddenly bursts into a huge appeal and Batty (20) is gone, trapped in front, out, out, number 2 goes, 11 overs still to play tonight, well well, go Middx! Gloucs are 41-2.

Josh Davey, who turns 20 in August (awwwww), comes into the attack and bowls four wides, but he has three consecutive First Class fifties on the scoreboard now, so I guess we love him tehehe. 53-2 for Gloucs and Toby R-J is warming up. Nothing happening though,

81-2 at the end of the day.

Day 2

Nothing happening either, the early wickets haven't come, Murtle bowls a not too inspired spell according to Hand, IOB arrives. The pitch is said to be a little softer today. Still dead pants on the field, as we say over here.

Instead we are getting informed about IOB currently trying to behave himself and denying himself the ice cream. He likes carrot cake. Gloucs are now only 100 behind with 8 wickets remaining, Hand doesn't quite understand why T R-J was opening and not Collins. Gloucs are scoring a couple of sixes. 150-2 in the 42nd over. The skipper brings himself on but gets belted as well.

DT arrives, Roland-Jones finally gets the wicket of dangerman Dent (53), bounces him out and Dent gets caught at square-leg by Newman. Well done, 167-3. Dent, the 19-year old, might have provided the match-changing half-century here and the deciding partnership with Hamish Marshall (55*). Skipper Gidman comes in for Gloucestershire.

Dawid Malan added 29 before he fell  (c) PA Photos
The Pietersen discussion rages on. Some people seem to disagree verily, saying this ego will mess up the dressing room, something that Middlesex don't exactly need now. DT sort of admits that KP loves attention. Others are very positive about the idea, pointing out that KP could bring a lot of experience and useful batting into the side.

193-3 at lunch. Upon return Dexter bowls Marshall, the other half centurion (68), with the first ball after lunch! A short while later 199-5 as Dexter gets Taylor! I'm very happy for the skipper, leading from the front here taking key wickets! A couple of unnecessary runs. Hand finds Collins quite good, he remembers how nobody understood why Middlesex would sign a player that couldn't get into the Surrey side, but he has turned out quite good, very economical, DT agrees. Again nothing happening and this allows Gidman to reach his half century, 260-5, Gloucs lead by 24 runs.

Before tea Malan comes on and gets Gidman (61)! The Gloucs skipper goes lbw. DT says it's not a good decision but the main thing is Gidman is gone. 275-6. Middlesex need to wrap this up now! Hand mentioned earlier that Malan also has a googly.

Sudden laughter, the sub fielder's identity is unclear, he looks like Camilla Parker-Bowles! (wtf??) "medium to long strawberry-blond hair" What is strawberry-blond hair? They are calling him Camilla now. IOB oracles something about Camilla being a Gloucs NZer called Ollie. I have looked it up, there is no Ollie in the Gloucs squad. Fred knows who O'Brien was referring to. The lead is 68. Nothing until tea, 319-6.

After tea Tom Smith comes on, 324-7 as he gets Lewis, who was on 30 already, a good and necessary wicket.

IOB thinks Finn is 21 and needs to bowl a lot, he says he himself (IOB) needs to bowl a lot to stay on top of his game.

357-7 as Gloucestershire gain the 4th batting point, they took all three bowling points as well, James Franklin patiently batting towards a high score.

Finally, finally!!! Franklin goes on 99, Gloucs 399-8, that must have been the fourth time that he misses out on a century this season. Dexter takes his third and Smith catches. Let's hope Middlesex can take the remaining two wickets quickly now. Gloucs already lead by 163 runs :/

DT insists that Paul Collingwood is not a Test player: "He's just not a batsman". (Huh?)

Gloucs are past the 400 now, DT urges Tom Smith to give it a bit of air "Come on, float it a bit!!!", speculations as to whether Middlesex will actually be able to chase this down. Hand argues that Malan and Dexter are in good nick but none of the guys sounds really convinced. General disappointment by today's bowling. Middlesex can't take the two remaining wickets either.

404-8 at stumps, and Gloucestershire lead by 168 runs with two wickets left.

Day 3

The day is a lot colder. Very disappointed emails coming in about Middlesex conceding more than 400 runs on a green top, while in their own innings the pitch seemed like a minefield. 419-8 after 128 overs. Eventually the tailenders fall, Kirby (9) bowled Smith caught Newman and Ireland (0) bowled Roland-Jones caught Malan in what must have been a rather curious fashion. Gemaal Hussain remains unbeaten on 28*.

420 for Gloucestershire, they lead by 184 runs. Well well.

Anthony Ireland didn't take any prisoners: 5 for 25 in the first innings  (c) PA Photos
[3rd innings]

This is a disaster. In the second over Newman (5) goes lbw to Lewis, 5-1, unlucky decision, Newman is convinced he got bat on it. Owais comes out. Goddammit. I hope Sam Robson will keep impressing though, I have a good feeling about him. This is obviously a 400+ pitch now so please Middle, make something of it.

Gidman has five slips in, or four slips and a gully, Hand lauds the aggressive captaincy. Middlesex are staring at the ugly face of an innings defeat if they collapse now. Kirby keeps bowling his beauties. Shah looks very twitchy, keeps edging it. Arghhh Robson (12) departs, Jon Lewis killed him by line and length, Robson nicks it to the keeper, Umpire VA Holder does a Koertzen, but eventually raises the finger. 40-2 in the 10th over. Dawid Malan and Owais Shah (15*) have to anchor the innings or it'll all be over tonight.

Hand blames the absence of Finn, Berg and O'Brien, it would have been a different bowling attack with these three. Suddenly a noise goes "moop", Hand "Oh dear what was that, hopefully not a vuvuzela, maybe just a car horn somewhere" hahahaha. Terror! But he calms down quickly reporting about the arrival of the ice cream van.

IOB pops in for a rant, apart from that nothing happening, 65-2 at lunch.

Shah (32) edges it to the keeper, Lewis gets him with a fuller one. Next wicket Malan (13), caught at second slip. James Franklin the bowler. Alright. I predict Middlesex all out before tea. Okay well but still tonight. Hand points out that Dexter has a huge work load, needs to produce a captain's innings now, is the main spinner and fields in the slips (like most captains)

"When you're in good form you actually end up having more luck than when being not" or so. IOB getting carried away here a little. Dexter has raced on to 46* with the lucky shots IOB just mentioned, 19 runs of that last over. 127-4 after 32 ov.

A fair while of nothing and suddenly Dexter (54) nicks Hussain to second slip. 139-4. Very very big wicket. Speculations that Gloucs are probably motivated by the prospect of having a day off tomorrow. Simpson and Davey now the guys to save Middlesex from an innings defeat. IOB is a barrel of info and opinion again. Simpson (23) goes but no one knows for what. Umpire gave lbw. IOB's top scores: 44 for Wellington and 38 against Pakistan in Tests. Not long until tea, 180-6, Middlesex still trail by 3 runs.

Hand hasn't even sat down properly as Davey (9) gets picked up by Hussain first ball after tea. Very very bad, he played a great innings and Middlesex could have needed another good effort from him. Murts comes in now. Smith out for 18 to Gemaal Hussain, cuts it to point. Toby Roland-Jones in. He hits a four and a six. Middlesex have avoided the innings defeat, TRJ and Murtle hanging around for a bit. 209-8 after 65 overs. Murts (8) out to Ireland, 216-9. The tailenders, namely Toby R-J and Pedro Collins, are frolicking around now, both score boundaries, but as expected the fun doesn't last for ages, Toby gets removed by Lewis for 23 and Pedro survives on 7*.

Middlesex have accumulated a total of 228 runs, that's a lead of 44, which has to be defended now before the players are allowed to have dinner.

[4th innings]

Josh Davey opens the bowling with Toby Roland-Jones. Gloucs are comfortably cruising towards the target. At 33-0 Dawid Malan comes into the attack. Gloucs are making an epic drama of it now because none of the openers wants to go out. They are snailing along exactly until Kieswetter in the Eng v Aus ODI gets removed, just for the mere sake of annoying me, before they finish the chase after 13.1 overs.

Well well, one can clearly state that Middlesex' weakened attack robbed them of the majority of their chances. I think Middlesex are now about bottom of table in the CC and the chances against weaker opponents in the FPT20 have also been spilled. Strauss and Morgan off to national duties, and Finn, IOB and Berg as well as Udal out with injury or by prohibition cannot be compensated. Shah alone can't pull the chestnuts out of the fire and as long as guys like Newman keep failing and the team mainly consists of guys aged 23 and younger one cannot expect the big battles from the boys. Anyway, this shall not diminish the achievements of the youngsters, Davey's vital first innings half ton and very promising signs from Toby Roland Jones indicate where the journey could be going. Middlesex need to take the bull by the horns no matter what the cost, they can survive one more year in misery and shame, as long as these young talents stick to and grow with them.

Not grumpy,

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