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May 18, 2007
Finally, some good news for Canada's preparations for the Intercontinental Cup final. After Thursday's tale of woe - missed planes, lost kits and rain - the sun shone on Friday and suddenly everything looked brighter. What a difference a day makes.
Despite the miserable forecast, they managed to fit in a 60-over match against a select England XI at Loughborough Town. It wasn't quite the two-day match that their coach Andy Pick had envisaged when organising the game, but the match was fudged so that Canada's batsmen could at least get two innings, with the tailenders sacrificing their time at the crease. John Davison and Ashish Bagai got some runs under their belts, while Bagai will have profited in part from getting some captaincy practice.
And, with Canada bossing proceedings, having the ECB at 40 for 5 in their first dart, before a recovery, and then 60 for 6 next time out, Pick was delighted to report "a really good day". Finally.
More than anything, playing outdoors will have done them no end of good, and they will return to outdoor nets at the ECB Academy in Loughborough for Saturday, as organised by Pick. They will then be followed on Sunday by a rest day, allowing the players to recover from their jet lag, before heading to Grace Road for some outdoor practice once more, ahead of Tuesday's final there against Ireland.
The whole team are together at last - and Davison and Geoff Barnett have even been reunited with their luggage.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Graeme Pollock has been among the top three finest players his country ever produced; and not far off that pace in the world rankings either
The sequence of recent stuttering starts in ODIs, with the middle and lower orders picking up the pieces, does not bode well