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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?