England cheered by Panesar and Flintoff
England 290-8dec & 185-2 Warwickshire 102
Friday 03 July 2009
England are coming. In a warm-up match that was as perfect as a three minute egg everything went right yesterday for the team which in five days will begin their attempt to reclaim the Ashes.
Their bowlers bowled, their batsmen batted again and most of them did so swimmingly. Of course, they will never have it so easy against Australia (though if they do it will mean the tourists are really going downhill) and Warwickshire turned up for an exhibition match more than a Test.
But wickets are wickets and runs are runs. Of the former, Jimmy Anderson took five, Monty Panesar three and Andrew Flintoff two. Of the latter, in the afternoon, Andrew Strauss scored 61, Ravi Bopara 88no and Paul Collingwood grafted grittily away for 21no, all without ever getting their timing quite right, thus prompting an obvious observation about England after the revelations of the last few days. Is this sort of failure in time-keeping a disciplinary offence? England finished 373 ahead.
Kevin Pietersen came and went for the second time, steering carelessly to second slip, but it hardly seemed to matter. If such conclusions can be a hostage to fortune, Pietersen tends to save the innings that matter for the matches that matter.
The bowling looked pretty nifty. Anderson swung the ball both ways, Flintoff worked up a head of steam that probably took him upwards of 90mph and Panesar turned the ball appreciably. As the new leader of England's attack from who so much is suddenly expected, Anderson struck in the day's fifth over when he moved one away to take the edge of Jonathan Trott's bat.
With due respect to Tim Ambrose, the swinging ball that squeezed through his defences might have done for more illustrious wicketkeeper-batsmen. And with similar deference to Anderson, whose star has been rising inexorably since he spent his winter trying to flog life from the dead horses which passed for cricket pitches in the Caribbean, it was slightly more heartening for England to see that both Flintoff and Panesar were in good order.
Flintoff had Tony Frost leg before and then produced a brute of a lifter to Jim Troughton. When he chased a leg-side drive off his own bowling and outstripped Alastair Cook in reaching the ball he might have been showing off a bit, but he was also proving a point.
Panesar, who as usual provoked cheers as soon as he came on, span the ball sharply. He mopped up the tail before and after lunch. England had fielders round the bat throughout, four slips and a gully to the seamers, short leg and silly point for the spinners.
Warwickshire did little more than go through the motions and if there was nothing in it for them, it all rather pointed up the difference between international and county players. In the dressing room, England were making plans for tougher assignments by watching England Lions against the Australians on TV.
"We have kept an eye on it and in fact we have computers in the dressing room with info from previous games they've played so we can have a look at their batsman and bowlers as well as watch them," Anderson said. "We're trying to get an idea about what we are going to do next Wednesday.
"I think we just want to get started really because the hype has been going on for so long now." And so say all of us.
Five days to go:
It's probably not what England fans want to hear, but Graeme Swann admits that he can be a bit of a pillock. "I've got streaks of idiocy," he says.
VIDEO: Did Marcos Maidana bite Floyd Mayweather during their bout?
Arsenal vs Manchester City: How did Danny Welbeck do on his Arsenal debut?
Manchester United vs QPR comment: Glimpse of Radamel Falcao lifts United hearts but Daley Blind keeps things ticking
Hull City vs West Ham preview: Sam Allardyce backs Alex Song to inspire new team-mates
Manchester United vs QPR player ratings: Who was the star man? Angel Di Maria? Daley Blind? Wayne Rooney?
- 1 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly