Why the odd couple are on a record roll

Gough is smiling face of English cricket, I'm not. He likes the fame and attention, I don't. We respect each other

We have now opened the bowling for England in 18 consecutive Tests. Other pairs - notably Trueman and Statham and Botham and Willis - have done it more, but none has done it as many times in a row as Gough and Caddick.

We have now opened the bowling for England in 18 consecutive Tests. Other pairs - notably Trueman and Statham and Botham and Willis - have done it more, but none has done it as many times in a row as Gough and Caddick.

This is testimony to several things: continuity of selection, management of (and some luck with) fitness and injuries and, I suppose, the occasional taking of wickets. Gough moved into eighth place in England's all-time list on Friday when he went ahead of Jim Laker's 193. Not long after, I took my 150th.

Yesterday, on a magnificent afternoon for this team, those figures advanced a little bit more. As Sri Lanka's second innings crumbled to dust, my partner and I played our part. The first four batsmen all fell to the new ball, and Gough was quite rightly made man of the series for the way he has operated on these pitches.

We form a contrasting partnership. Different bowlers, different blokes, but we know how well, perhaps how much better, we have performed together. Some 113 of our total number of wickets have come in these matches over the past 18 months since the Wanderers game against South Africa.

It has been a small wonder that we have endured this winter on these pitches intact, but we have. Gough has donebetter but we have survived as the new-ball pairing. I think we have a bit left in our tanks yet, and I cannot see a more accom- plished, complementary pair of new-ball bowlers in England.

But it took the selectors a long while to alight on us as the combination which might do the trick. We had both made our debut years before we bowled up to the Wanderers in late 1999. We are helped by the fact that there is usually something in the pitch or the conditions which will suit one of our styles. He is shorter, skiddier, bustles in and gets pace. I am long and gangly, get a bit more movement and bounce. He has a big faster ball which can give the best batsmen the hurry-up and tries a lot of variation, I'm trying to swing it with a degree of movement off the seam. On a perfect day, it should not leave much room for batsmen to get settled early on.

Gough is the smiling face of English cricket, I am not. He likes the fame and the attention, I do not. There is no doubt that he is splendid for the game, no doubt that the game needs people with his demeanour, but that, I'm afraid, is not me.

There is another difference in the way our characters come through on the field. His bursting heart and titanic effort are there for all to see. I am a different, less bubbly, maybe more brooding, but that does not mean, as some may have perceived, that I am not trying with all his Yorkshire might.

We get on. He wouldn't live in my house and I wouldn't live in his, but we respect each other's abilities. Like many sportsmen who spend hours together in the confines of the dressing-room, we have a joshing relationship. He will call me a long streak of you-know-what, I will retort by describing him as a short, fat thingy. Hilarious, eh?

If we don't spend hours in each other's company, there is no friction. There is, however, rivalry. I suppose we reached our peak as a pair last summer (with, I fervently trust, more to come), when his doing well spurred me on to do well and vice versa. That is the natural competitive edge and it can only be good for the team.

The one thing we don't talk much in earnest about, except to realise that we have been thrown together and it works (mostly), is bowling. We don't discuss in any detail with each other how we might bowl at so and so, we just get out and do it. I'm afraid I'm resigned to the fact that he is always going to have first use of the new ball and also bowl with the wind. It doesn't make me any less slightly resentful, not least because he will say how much better I bowl into the wind. He can try it, then.

But the new-ball strike bowler he is. Gough followed by Caddick in the order. But not on the batting list. When he goes in ahead of me in the Test batting list, 10 to my 11, that's when I'll be really cross.

England lost the toss again in the Third Test in Colombo. Nasser Hussain can hardly win one (well, one out of 10), Sanath Jayasuriya can hardly lose one (well, two out of 18). Again it was important. It was a turning pitch on which batting fourth was nobody's idea of Utopia.

We have three one-day matches after this, and if thoughts naturally turn towards home our spirits are high, partially sustained by success and the vast influx of English fans. My team-mates have recently cottoned on to a new way of taking the rise out of me and a certain part of my anatomy as we travel round this country.

I find it easier now to get in first. Every time we pass an elephant I say: "Oh look, there's one of my family."

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Company decides to go for simply scary after criticising other sites for 'creepy and targeted' advertising

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Travel
travel

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

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past