England v Scotland, World Cup 2015, Group A, Christchurch February 23, 2015

The athletic streaker

Plays of the day from the Group A game between England and Scotland in Christchurch

Why me? The ball kept following Freddie Coleman © AFP

The statement

After two humbling defeats, the temptation to make changes must have been strong. But by naming the same XI that had been beaten in their opening games, England's selectors made a statement of belief in their team and their tactics. As if to say, whatever else has gone wrong, there will be no panic.

The chance

Had Freddie Coleman been standing a foot closer at cover, the whole complexion of this game could have been altered. As it was, Coleman was just unable to gather a low chance offered by Moeen Ali, driving Josh Davey uppishly, when he had scored 7. Moeen went on to score 128 and provide the only fluent contribution in the England total.

The other chance (at redemption)

Eoin Morgan had scored 11 from 21 balls when he launched into a pull of Iain Wardlaw. Had Coleman, at deep midwicket, been on the fence as he surely should have been, the ball would have gone straight to him. But Coleman had drifted in about 10 feet and instead the ball passed over his head and landed on the foam-covered boundary rope. Morgan went on to clobber 46 - perhaps recovering a little form in the process - and taking England's total above 300 and out of Scotland's reach.

The shout

Alasdair Evans, in his first over, thought he had trapped Ian Bell, who was also on 7, leg before with a delivery that nipped back and kept a little low. Umpire Rod Tucker was unconvinced, however, and adjudged the batsman not out. Replays showed the ball would have hit the leg stump but Scotland's decision not to utilise their review was vindicated by the "umpire's call" verdict. It was a decision that could easily have gone the other way.

The difference

Scotland were always likely to run into trouble with their fifth bowler. The problem was exemplified when Richie Berrington, as gentle a medium-pace bowler as you will see in international cricket, ambled in off a few yards and delivery an innocuous full-ish delivery on off stump. It may have been a decent ball in club cricket, but Moeen, who has faced significantly more hostile bowling in recent games, lofted his drive with an ease that belied the power in the shot. The 10 overs supplied by Scotland's part-time trio of bowlers - Berrington, Matt Machan and Kyle Coetzer - conceded 73 runs.

The record

England's record for the opening partnership had stood since the first World Cup in 1975 when Barry Wood and Dennis Amiss posted 158 against East Africa at Edgbaston. But Moeen Ali and Ian Bell bettered that with 172 in 30 overs. The record was broken with the shot - a slog sweep for six by Moeen off the spin of Majid Haq - that brought up Moeen's maiden World Cup century, which ended 27 years without an England batsman scoring an ODI ton in New Zealand.

The streaker

Generally there is nothing more tedious than a flabby streaker who runs on to a pitch and we certainly don't want to encourage any more. But the man who interrupted play towards the end of this match showed a turn of pace and a quickness of foot that just might have been the most athletic thing witnessed all day. He sidestepped a dozen or so stewards before vaulting the boundary, running up a grass bank and racing over the net area where he scaled a wall to escape towards the park and the centre of the city. Eventually he was caught. His nakedness did make him stand out a little.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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