Boring? Cricket? Not When England Play.

15 01 2010

As I settled down to watch the Fourth Test yesterday and took note of the TV screen, I thought ‘Oh no, its raining. They’re showing the highlights and I can’t justify slipping off from work to be here if its raining’. All that was being shown was a procession of England wickets along with the odd boundary guided through the slips. Nevertheless, watching any cricket is better than work so I persevered in the off chance that play might restart.

As I watched I began to notice things that I didn’t remember having happened. I haven’t seen Pietersen out caught at mid on in this series, have I? Or Cook refer an LBW? When was this game I’m watching?

Slowly, ever so slowly, the realisation dawned on me that I was watching this horrifying spectacle live.

I have written before about the pitfalls that an England cricket supporter faces when sitting down to watch a game with any semblance of confidence. Inevitably this confidence is misplaced and bad things (from and England perspective) happen. Two days ago I wrote a piece on KP in which I said he would score a hundred and put England on course to winning the series. When writing it I hesitated, deleting it twice before deciding the argument I was trying to put across was more important than a cricketing superstition. How wrong I was.

Therefore in the interests of redressing the balance here is my prediction for the rest of test match… Smith to score a big hundred, possibly a double, Kallis or De Villiers to score a hundred and Boucher to chip in with an irritating 60 or 70. They will be all out for around 460 leaving England needing to bat for the best part of 3 days to  get past South Africa’s total and secure a draw. Unfortunately predictions for the opposition sometimes come true so I am not holding out too much hope.

It must drive other sides crazy when playing cricket against England as you never know which England side is going to turn up. The world beaters who can win a game in 3 or 4 days by huge margins, or the England that collapses like an underdone flan. In the last year England have also perfected the ‘exciting draw’ meaning that there is a further element of doubt to be thrown in. This last option is however sadly out of reach in this game.

All out for 180 England’s only hope is to take some quick wickets this morning but I’m going with my prediction of 460 all out. That way England have a slight chance.

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