Panesar perplexes Pakistan


Today was memorable. England won, yes, and Steve Harmison took 11 of the 19 wickets to fall (there was a run-out in Pakistan’s first innings) – but the most notable aspect of the win was Monty Panesar’s performance. He bowled quite superbly – the best by an England spinner that I have seen (which isn’t saying much, frankly).

Ashley Giles, I’m afraid your time is up. Even if fit, I simply cannot see England dropping Panesar. He is a metronome, like all good spinners, landing it on a sixpence whenever he so chooses. Some of his deliveries (I lost count, but in the region of eight or nine) turned ala a wrist spinner and ala Shane Warne. Monty is a left-arm finger spinner for crying out loud. What is he doing spinning it a foot? Not even Danish Kaneria, the second best legspinner in world cricket, could turn it that much.

Time to have a beer to celebrate England’s win. I’ll post more thoughts tomorrow and, in the meantime, offer your own below.

Mahela Jayawardene gives South Africa a hiding

He’s approaching Brian Lara’s record score of 400. After losing Sangakkara for 287, to bring to an end the all-wicket record partnership of 624, Jayawardene has kicked on, to now be 373 not out of Sri Lanka’s 4 for 754. There is still two full days to go for Sri Lanka to go so do not expect a generous declaration anytime soon!

Ashwell Prince’s debut Test as South Africa captain is proving to be memorable in more ways then he would like.

Update – Top-shelf mozz from the Corridor, as Jayawardene is bowled for 374. Only Lara (twice) and Hayden have scored more.

England v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day

Third day from Old Trafford. Get talkin’

England v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 2nd day

The second day from Old Trafford. A fabulous day for England yesterday, who bowled Pakistan out for a paltry 119 before racing (relatively speaking) to 168 for 2. This Test is moving at great pace and in no way will there be a draw – which is always a very splendid thing. A disappointing lack of comments by you ‘orrible lot yesterday. Come on – this is high summer between two very talented sides!

Anyway. About 10-and-a-half hours to go, so chat away. I better crash and get 40 winks.

Get chatting!

Live scorecard and commentary

Thoughts: Eng v Pak, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 1st day

Too knackered to offer anything of substance. However, don’t underestimate the importance of yesterday’s performance by England. The draw at Lord’s was deserved for both teams. Yesterday, England raised their game by several notches – largely thanks to Steve Harmison who bowled a quite magnificent spell. I can’t help but feel irritated, though, that our leading fast bowler can’t produce such spells on a more regular basis. He is the most natural, ridiculously gifted fast bowler England has had since…I don’t know when. He was unplayable yesterday, and even made Lord’s double centurion Mohammad Yousuf look a bit silly…jumping around like a cat on hot coals.

Well played England. Well captained Andrew Strauss. It might be a 24-hour bright-spot quickly forgotten by this time tomorrow but, at the very least, there was an intent shown by the bowlers, and latterly England’s batsmen, which vindicated Strauss’s rallying cry yesterday in which he longed for his side to rekindle the passion shown last summer.

I feel it’s important not to forget Monty Panesar’s role yesterday either. He bowled brilliantly. As a notable cricket journalist commented to me this evening, he is still “only” a left-arm spinner and thus not a matchwinner. I see more in Panesar than I saw in Phil Tufnell (incidentally Strauss, off the record, believes Tuffers was the greatest spinner he ever faced…in terms of raw natural ability). He is more attacking than Daniel Vettori, who perhaps receives more credit than he is due but who nevertheless holds the mantle of the world’s best left-arm-spinner!

Panesar has something special. Few young bowlers have an action so well oiled and natural, so lacking in awkwardness. It’s fluid and fluent, so natural and so untouched by the evil bowling coaches. This fact alone has already helped him in his brief career; instead, unlike Liam Plunkett, of worrying about how the ball is “coming out”, he simply concentrates on his line. Natch, this is how all the best bowlers perform, but it’s not necessarily an art you are born with. It is, though, for Panesar (seemingly).

When he bowls in the second innings he might get carted for 100 from 18 overs and you’ll all call me a twat. But more likely is that he’ll contain Pakistan and out-think some of the best players of spin. Not bad for a left-armer from Luton.

England v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Old Trafford

Another Test, another foray into the land of the unexpected. Interesting times; Younis Khan returns for Pakistan, and Andrew Strauss leads an England side further depleted by injury. I’m very curious about Duncan Fletcher’s decision to omit Jamie Dalrymple which, to me at least, rather suggests he eyes Monty Panesar as a key weapon to dismantle Pakistan’s batting lineup. Either that or Dalrymple called him a rude name behind his back.

Anyway, do hope you’ll all be tuning in and leaving comments and generally making an absolute nuisance of yourselves here.

Chat away!

The death of G.O.Jones

From Patrick:

On nights like these, when I am stuck in the Times office in soulless Wapping, the arrival of the following day’s newspapers sends a wee buzz of excitement through me. Flicking, as one does, to the obituaries section, I was astonished to see on page 61 that a certain “G. O. Jones” had passed away on the eve of the Old Trafford Test. Was this finally Chris Read’s big chance?

No, instead of Geraint Owen, the England wicketkeeper, it is Gwyn Owain, a physicist, who is no longer with us. As one colleague just said: “I presume if it was Geraint who had died, it wouldn’t be because he had caught something.”


All out for…five?

Five all out. Brilliant. It’s been all over the press but in case you missed it, read here.

Welcome to The Corridor

Following on from yesterday’s events I’ve decided to surrender to the threats, with a bitter taste in my mouth, so the site is now formally known as The Corridor. In no way is this associated with The Corridor Of Uncertainty; with Andy Clark; with his fanzine, domain or website. It is simply The Corridor, written by me, and I trust the matter is resolved and we can get on with talking about cricket.

Thanks, though, for the mass of emails and advice, although I’m surprised at the number (seven) of lawyers reading this blog! Cricket and law…well I never. Thanks to all who offered advice, and to Norm for putting it on his blog, and I’ll respond to each one in turn as soon as I have a spare minute. Oh and some of the names you offered, in the comments, were stupendously mad and brilliant.

Pavilion Street


I had to buy a special present for somebody a couple of days ago. In fact, it was yesterday. So I went to good’ol Peter Jones where I rightly suspected it might be quiet and tolerable. Nothing worse than a packed shop, even for tallish folk like me. As my Godmother once said to me, “never underestimate other people’s stupidity” and so it has come true. Of particular annoyance lately are those cretinous fools at the top of escalators who, with great force, slam on their brakes leaving you to back-peddle and cause people behind you to do the same.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to take any deep breaths or even restrain myself – it was cool, quiet and pleasant. However, like most blokes who venture into the dark, mysterious world of “shopping”, I failed spectacularly. If there was an award for Most Hopeless Shopper, I’d be well up there with a chance of presenting the award the following year, or gaining presidency of People Who Hate Shopping Anonymous.

Wandering around with a constant frown creasing my forehead, all the ideas and thoughts which I’d painstakingly scrutinised over had, suddenly, vanished. Twice I was asked if I needed any help, to which the first time I replied “Oh no! Ohh no, I’m just browsing. Thanks” and the second “Why is everything so expensive?” And it’s true. Why is everything so expensive? I saw a fork for £8. I could make an entire set for that money.

This is all by-the-by, as usual. After sending the lifts up to the top-floor like the four-year-old which I pretend I’m not, I escaped into London’s concrete radiator for a stroll round Sloane Square. It’s not my type of area if I’m brutally honest, but actually I warmed to it with the near-constant presence of half-naked Sloanies. Everywhere, they were; jumping in, and out, of their Chelsea Tractors and generally having a rah rah lovely time of it.

I then found this street, a cobbled mews with old, restored garage-doors and great (and not so great) cottages. Like something out of Dickens. You don’t see that much in London. Sure enough two of the garages had been ripped out by a particularly chic-looking designer store, who surely can’t gain many visitors tucked away so far from the high street. It was a flipping great street to live in, I imagined – and it’s name?

Pavilion Street. Clearly I’m destined to live there.

If any of you do live there, and/or have a 2-bed place nearby to rent to me for about £500/month (each), let me know. I’m a brilliant tenant, fabulous cook and sometimes drink beer.

Any cricketing streets near you?