Pakistan in sharp-Finn soup

Firstly apologies for that terrible pun (or inspired, depending whether or not you work for The Sun). It’s been an odd day at TGECF. What with preparing for job interviews and the student wing of our esteemed organ having some actual work to contemplate, we naturally kept all eyes and ears squarely on the cricket. While we’re very much Test cricket animals, it was this or doing something more important. So, some thoughts:

The ‘Olé!’ trumpet jingle in these games must go. What happened to the ripple of polite applause? The quiet buzz of conversation? The cucumber sandwiches? All sadly gone, to be replaced by that bloody trumpet and whatever the locals class as cheap, tinny, pop music suitable for the 18 men and a dog (Surely camel? Ed.) watching. It doesn’t make it a better “entertainment product” or whatever the marketing goons have told you, it doesn’t add anything at all (well, except waking us up from our Bob Willis-induced narcolepsy). It’s just a bloody nuisance.

Oh Simon Taufel. It’s no good looking pissed off, Cook’s was a big edge and there were a couple of others overturned. We’ve mentioned before that he must hate the DRS, now he must really hate it.

It’s good to see Afridi back. He and Pietersen are what ODI cricket is for, which is why it wasn’t a huge shock when Boom Boom bowled KP. In contrast to Cook, who is really still a TMS-on-longwave-being-interrupted-by-the-Shipping-Forecast kind of cricketer, these two are brash and exciting -cricketers made for Twitter and hyperbolic Cricinfo rantings. The game needs both like Kevin needs runs.

The England collapse, caused by the Powerplay – as inevitable as Tuesday following Monday. It might have come a bit late, but after playing Ajmal without a serious crisis, he took five in his last four overs. England went from what looked like being a brisk jog to 270 to a desperate scramble to 250. Why were we even surprised? Perhaps Cook’s serene progress lured us into a false sense of security.

We promised knee-jerk analysis and here it is: Swann to open anyone? He has done some when he was at Northants and can he really do a worse job than the shambling collection who’ve auditioned for the role of watching Cook grind to a hundred from the other end? Probably not. Mind you, we aren’t ones to judge anything – it took us until half way through the Pakistan innings to notice which Akmal was playing today, to our shame (can you blame us though? The keeping was awful, it’s a family trademark…).

This Steven Finn looks a useful cricketer, doesn’t he? Nipping it in at genuine pace Finn is really starting to look the real deal. Our last memories of him (after having the India tour expunged by experimental neurological surgery) were of him wanging the ball aimlessly down the leg-side against Sri Lanka at Lord’s. Now he’s doing a passable impression of a very handy bowler. Assuming England keep going with three seamers, they’ve landed themselves a very pleasant selectorial dilemma.

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