May 29, 2012

West Indies in England 2012

The most enduring opening partnership

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook passed 5000 runs together on Monday as England beat West Indies by nine wickets in the Trent Bridge Test to take the series. With Strauss having rediscovered his batting rhythm, Simon Hughes, in the Telegraph, writes about the most prolific batting combination ever in English cricket.

Opening pairs set a tone in a dressing room. If they are nervy in their behaviour and hurried in their movements, it sends an apprehensive message to the waiting batsmen. Strauss and Cook generally exude confidence and transmit a relaxed ambience from the middle. They meet regularly between overs for a soft glove punch and a genial chat. They are givers, not takers, unselfish with the strike and happy to run each other's singles. Communication is excellent.

In the Independent, James Lawton writes that in the often treacherous business of captaincy, few men have ever re-exerted themselves quite so impressively as Strauss has.

You do not re-make yourself under the recurring pressure of world-class sport. If you have done your work, and learned your lessons, you simply apply the values you have come to trust. They are the ones that have informed Strauss every step of England's march from the shambles that followed the divisions which led to the resignation of Kevin Pietersen to their current position of strength.

Marlon Samuels, who resisted England again with an unbeaten 76 in the second innings, has recognised that his career was slipping into obscurity and has decided to do something about it, says Vic Marks in the Guardian.

Jonny Bairstow found out the realities of Test cricket very quickly when he was given a working over by Kemar Roach. He will be targetted again, and has no choice but to sort it out, says Geoffrey Boycott in the Telegraph. The problem is, there is hardly a genuine fast bowler in county cricket, he says.

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