A dazzle of yellow amidst the dark skies
As expected, the international cricket season could not have started on a more wonderful note with a convincing 2-0 series victory. It has also soothed the wounds of the shocking and anguishing series loss two years back. It is pleasing to see the lads get a couple of comfortable and less fought out wins on their way. The Sri Lankan team still have not recovered from the retirement of their two greats, appear rather withdrawn and they have not competed enough as a team. However one-sided the series has been, there have been some incredible highlights and personal milestones for all the players and supporters to cherish.
One man in particular who I couldn’t be happier and prouder of is none other than our skipper Alastair Cook – who reached the huge milestone of 10,000 runs, being the youngest cricketer and first Englishman to do so on Day 4 of the second test. From his debut in 2006 till now, he has shown immense resilience and character; not only has he been an extremely reliable batsman but has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for England’s success, especially in overseas tours. And another senior player seems to be shining in James Anderson. 450 is a huge number and Jimmy is in scintillating form, beautifully and deftly in-swinging and out-swinging the ball, as a result taking 18 wickets. Their contributions have been extremely vital and it is hard to imagine England cricket without them.
For us fans, it is heartening to finally see a wicket-keeper batter score some runs. Bairstow has been in and out of the team but with runs in SA and the current home series he, at last, looks to have come out of his cocoon. His batting is attacking and shows intent but he needs to do some work in the wicket-keeping front to be among the best. Alex Hales' potential as a Test opener is appearing highly promising after hitting scores of 86 and 83. After his horrific series in South Africa this winter, the responsibility he took in rebuilding the innings reflects that he has temperamentally adjusted and matured for the longer format. Ironically, Alex does not want to beat his captain; his strike rate has been lower than that of Cooky’s! Fortunately for England, the absence of Ben Stokes was not felt. Woakesy came to the party as if he belonged there. His 3-9 provided the impetus and paved the way for a very clinical performance as Sri Lanka was dismissed for a mere 101 runs. Mo grabbed the promotion to 7 with panache and authority. His score of 155* was critical in posting a total of nearly 500 runs and his timing was so immaculately perfect that the ball just kissed the bat as it whistled down to the boundary. Compton and Vince have so far been relishing in others’ shadow; both did have a positive approach in the last match and the batting friendly conditions at Lords can be their best chance to score big and establish themselves in the squad. As a Rooty fan, I hope that he makes a Daddy hundred at one of his favourite grounds!
Overall, the side is boding really well and the form we are in white ball cricket, this summer, English cricket seems to be seeing only the glowing sun and not the pattering rain across their horizon.