Anorak News | England Expects

England Expects

by | 27th, May 2003

‘ZIMBABWE were as bad as we expected them to be in the first Test of the summer at Lord’s, so it is hard to make judgements on the England performances.

The new McGrath

However, we couldn’t be anything but encouraged by the fact that the batsmen scored over 450 again – for the seventh time in eight home Tests- even if it was against some pretty poor bowling.

And, as for the bowling, James Anderson is obviously someone who can lead the England attack for many years to come, injury and form permitting.

Steve Harmison bowled with far greater control than he did in Australia, but still didn’t look as threatening as he should.

For a start, he needs to make the batsmen play more deliveries; he doesn’t move the ball a lot, but he seems to lack a plan to get batsmen out with his main weapons, pace and bounce.

As for Matthew Hoggard, I thought he was the pick of the England bowlers in both innings and was unlucky to be overshadowed by Anderson on Saturday.

With Andrew Caddick and Andrew Flintoff both looking to regain their places after injury and Darren Gough looking for an international return, there is genuine competition among England’s pace bowlers for the first time in ages.

As for the batting, Marcus Trescothick looks a much better player now that he has reverted to his normal game.

The Somerset opener is not as technically gifted as, say, Michael Vaughan – but he has a good eye and a method that more or less works for him.

He will, we imagine, always be suspect against the best attacks, but in the meantime he will mash a few more average ones.

Mark Butcher has cemented his place as No.3 for some time to come with his second successive Test century.

Butcher’s average may be a modest 34, but since the beginning of last summer (and including a difficult Ashes tour) he has been averaging a much more respectable 48.

Robert Key will surely get another chance, but he needs to take one of them very soon and establish himself in the middle order if he is not to be overtaken by one of the other young pretenders.

With Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart established in the side at least for this summer, the other question mark hangs over Anthony McGrath.

What do the selectors do when Andrew Flintoff is fit?

The Yorkshire captain’s debut could hardly have gone better, but it was against a very poor Test side.

Flintoff looks the better bet as a Test player, while McGrath’s international future will probably be confined to the one-day game.

No-one, however, can take away his fifty and three wickets on debut at Lord’s.

Posted: 27th, May 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink