England stand by Michael Carberry as series fizzles out
The time has almost come for Australia’s tour of England to end. It will be a merciful release. The arrival of autumn and the familiarity of the teams have conspired to lend a perfunctory air to the later proceedings.
There is a feeling, right or wrong, that these matches, despite the full and enthusiastic houses, are being played only because they are in the schedule. They are being used, by both teams, as a kind of trial run for the World Cup in 2015 – who’s up for it and who’s not – but most observers are already talking far more about the next Ashes starting in November.
Only one of the three matches so far in the NatWest Series has been played to a conclusion and the sponsors, while probably wishing for a more fitting valediction, may be delighted that they are jumping ship to be associated only with Twenty20 in future.
The fourth match will be played today in Cardiff with forecasts suggesting that it may at least proceed as planned. Both teams are likely to be unchanged. England will persist with Michael Carberry at the top of the order. This may be the correct thing to do because he has to be offered sufficient opportunity but it is difficult to see Carberry featuring in the World Cup.
Perhaps of more relevance to that tournament may be whether to continue with Kevin Pietersen (above) as opener when Alastair Cook and Ian Bell return. It will be exercising the mind of the coach, Ashley Giles, although Pietersen has some work to do yet.
All this stopping and starting and the melancholy attached to the contest has done little good for the game. It is difficult to rebuff the notion that the international season goes on too long. True, the 2005 Ashes, the greatest series of all, did not end until 12 September. But that was that, there was nothing to follow.
There is inevitably a feeling that the real business has been conducted when limited-overs matches follow the Tests and that is more pronounced after the Ashes. Even avid one-day fans and incorrigible T20 aficionados must wonder what is going on when they know that everything in this English summer was geared to the Ashes.
Fourth ODI: Details
K P Pietersen, J E Root, I J L Trott, E J G Morgan (capt), R S Bopara, J C Buttler (wk), B A Stokes, C J Jordan, J C Tredwell, S T Finn, W B Rankin.
Australia S R Watson, S E Marsh, A J Finch, M J Clarke (capt), G J Bailey, A C Voges, M S Wade (wk), J P Faulkner, M G Johnson, C J McKay, Fawad Ahmed.
Umpires Ravi Sundaram (India), Rob Bailey (Eng)
Television Sky Sports 2, 09.30-18.55
Weather Sunny spells with possible showers later. Max temp: 15C
Odds Eng 5/4 Aus 8/13
West Ham vs Arsenal match report: Sam Allardyce fumes at referee as Arsenal push on towards top four
Tottenham vs Manchester United match report: Hugo Lloris blocks Manchester United from putting pressure on Premier League title rivals
Liverpool vs Swansea preview: 'Jonjo Shelvey is lazy, he needs to wise up,' says Garry Monk
Arsenal transfer news: William Carvalho to be subject of £20m bid
West Ham 1 Arsenal 2 player ratings: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Andy Carroll? Alexis Sanchez? Who was the star man?
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg