The Light Roller: Too manly Cook foils the chop

Diary of a cricket obsessive

England are at their lowest ebb since ‘99

Well, flipping Norah, that was pretty awful wasn't it?

At least during the winter there was the excuse of being away from home against a demonstrably better opposition. India are decent enough but for England to have lost so comprehensively on a tailor-made Lord's pitch is genuinely grim. It has not felt so depressing to be an England fan since the defeat to New Zealand in 1999 that left us at the bottom of the world cricket ladder. 

Quite where things go from here is anyone's guess. The captain looks shot; the keeper's form is desperate (and has seen him bow out); the bowlers can't break key lower-order partnerships; the chap who stood up to Mitchell Johnson and scored a thrilling ton from number six in Perth can't get off nought.

Joe Root's despairing drop of his bat when he holed out against the bowling of Ishant Sharma and the final indignity of Anderson's run out (by Jadeja of all people) told those still watching yesterday afternoon all they needed to know about how low things had fallen.

 

 

Can England take heart from India’s renewal?

To give India their dues, they played a collectively brilliant game at Lord's. And to a certain degree, the ability on show - and the obvious sense of team unity - might at least give England heart that, after a difficult period of transition, renewal is possible.

On the other hand, to look at the class oozing from Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, and to remember the brilliance of Kohli and Dhoni, neither of whom has really fired in the series so far, is to wonder whether England have the same potential in their current ranks.

In MS Dhoni especially is personfied that extra something which India have over England just now: a feeling of certainty. It isn't that he gets every call right or that there aren't times when the game gets ahead of him. But throughout it all he carries a calmness, a rightness, that Alastair Cook cannot emulate at the moment.  That said, the England skipper is nothing if not tough, which is why he has – so far at least – avoided the chop.

 

To watch the perfect cover-drive is to be embraced by summer

One bright moment amidst the general gloom was a glorious back-foot on-drive by Gary Ballance during his first innings century.

Ballance certainly seems to have the pugnacity to bat at number three, which is lucky given the frequency with which he arrives at the crease within the first few overs. He also has a technique which enables the classiest of shots.

It is one of the great pleasures of life to discuss which, of all the shots in the book, is the most enjoyable - to watch and to play. When spectating it has to be a down-on-one-knee extra-cover drive, or perhaps a dainty late cut. But when playing? The thrill of hitting a straight six is hard to beat.

 

Derbyshire’s surge will come too late but they can return to the top next year

Last week's decision to focus on the minnows of Leicestershire and Derbyshire has clearly started to pay dividends.  Derbyshire’s victory this morning over Glamorgan saw them leap to the heady heights of fifth in division two of the county championship. 

It has generally been a tough return to the second tier for Derbyshire, having had a very mixed season in division one 2013.  But the club is well led by Wayne Madsen and has the evergreen Shiv Chanderpaul to rely on for every situation.  There are also a raft of players who have been given a second chance after their experiences at previous clubs did not quite work out and who have repaid Derbyshire’s faith in them handsomely.

Wes Durston, Tony Palladino, David Wainwright and Mark Footitt (among others) all began their careers away from Peakland but since coming to Derby they have genuinely prospered.  While Derbyshire are not going to complete the double yo-yo this year by returning to division one, there is the strength to put up a sustained challenge in 2015.

@willjgore

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee