English cricketing eccentrics, No. 1 – Bryan ‘Bomber’ Wells

This is the first instalment in what will hopefully become a reasonably regular feature on some of the more interesting characters from the history of the English game. We decided not to start with one of the glaringly obvious English eccentrics (W.G. Grace and Jack Russell will both follow in due course) but rather to have a look at someone you’ve probably never heard of. He never played a Test and his overall career figures were little more than decent. What he did do was play cricket for fun (arguably too much fun a lot of the time) and it is for that reason that he’s remembered by us. Here follows the tale of Bryan ‘Bomber’ Wells.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Day 4

Well, it looked at one point like England might actually win that one, but ultimately there’s a reason why sides don’t regularly chase down 300 plus in the fourth innings:

Justice in the end was done – forget getting out of jail, if England had won this match it would have been like the complete four series box-set of Prison Break. Apart from the bowlers, who, as we mentioned before, are pretty much immune from criticism on current form, England were poor overall. Sri Lanka were better in the field, particularly close in where they were quite brilliant, and ultimately England’s crap first innings cost them the match.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Days 2 & 3

The usual daily update for yesterday rather went the way of England’s batting line-up in the first innings – it didn’t show up. Now that we’ve had a bit more time to do the whole blogging thing, here’s a composite of yesterday and today for your delectation:

It’s time to stop sweeping, put the broom away for good and buy a vacuum cleaner instead… or something like that. Anyway, England’s batsmen need to understand that the pre-meditated sweep is a relatively high risk shot that should be used sparingly, instead of, as it would appear they think it to be, a get-off-strike-free card. Two players in particular should banish the sweep to the far reaches of their repertoire – Strauss and Broad. Strauss because he’s never played the sweep well, having got out to it more times than we care to remember (more often than not by comically bottom-edging the ball into his boot, whereupon it kindly loops up for a close fielder to grab); Broad because he seems to get out LBW far more than is healthy, and when he does he almost always fruitlessly wastes a DRS review, as though he is personally affronted that the umpires dare give him out in such a fashion. God help us when Broad actually gets to make DRS decisions as a fielding captain.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Day 1

Well we all need a cold shower after that day of cricket – absorbing stuff as expected:

Samit Patel cemented his status today as England’s No. 1 spinner. On the first day of his Test career, Patel took two wickets, whereas neither Swanny nor Monty took any – we’ll gloss over the fact that both of the wickets were pretty awful missed sweeps (Chandimal’s was particularly inexcusable) and probably due to the fact that the SL batsmen were trying to up the pace against England’s fifth bowler. On a day when the spinners were pretty well countered by Jayawardene et al, Monty may have been the pick of the bunch, but Patel got the rewards (plus Monty’s very definitely in the doghouse elsewhere).
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Sri Lanka v England – 1st Test preview

And we’re (nearly) off.

Well after a couple of months without being royally humiliated by spinners, England are off to Sri Lanka.

We get under way in Galle, where England’s record is frankly rather horrible, the best they ever get there is the worst of a rain-soaked draw. Put it this way, if it doesn’t tip it down midweek, history suggests England are doomed. With that cheerful thought in mind, here are a few points to whet the appetite for the frankly ungodly hour we’re getting underway tomorrow:
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The cover ring – 25th March

And now… the news. Sam’s going to write a preview of the Sri Lanka – England Test match starting tomorrow a little later, but here’s what else has been going on in the world of cricket since the last update:

Windies giving Australia a run for their money – After years of being the running joke on the international circuit, it’s great to see the West Indies once again showing the signs of becoming a force in international cricket. Ever since Walsh and Ambrose retired, they’ve been in the doldrums somewhat. There are real indications they are capable of competing with the best once more – their fielding is sharp and athletic, their bowling more incisive and their batting more robust. Admittedly this Australian side is in full-on rebuilding mode, but it still takes a certain amount of skill to roll them over. If they can sort out their administration and internal squabbles, we could see sustained improvement. It’s also fantastic to see crowds in the West Indies up in this ODI series. It had long been feared that basketball was stealing fans away from WI cricket, but on the basis of the last few matches, support for the team is still strong. Let’s hope we see such crowds in the Test series. Staying in the West Indies…
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The useless XI

If you live in a cricket-loving household like ours, a regular Friday night conversation after a couple of pints is ‘So what would be your all-time _____ XI?’ which is followed by much headscratching about whether or not you can really leave Len Hutton or Geoffrey Boycott out of an England greatest hits team. So in a moment of inspiration we decided to turn the tables and put together an XI of ineptitude – eleven players with records they really wouldn’t want. Now we’re going to have to go largely on statistics because, as early twenty-somethings, we’ve hardly seen first-hand the vast majority of Test history. That said, there are some fairly spectacularly inept statistics to go on. So here we go:

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100-ton weight off Tendulkar’s shoulders

Congratulations, Sachin.

There, I said it. I’ve written before about the arbitrariness of the ton of tons, but whatever you think of it, it is some achievement, one that is unlikely to be replicated any time soon. Tendulkar deserves all of the accolades he will get although the man himself, as ever, probably doesn’t really want the attention. I don’t propose that anything that I can say about Tendulkar will be in any way novel, as legions of journalists and commentators have already picked over every aspect of the man; every loose thread. However, I wanted to try and put his achievement in context – what does it really say about Tendulkar the man and Tendulkar the cricketer?
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Man scores hundred

(Dhaka, Bangladesh) A 38-year old Indian man today scored in excess of 100 runs in a cricket match. Various sources confirmed that this is something he has done several times before.

First thoughts from Sri Lanka

Just in case the title was a bit ambiguous, we’re not actually in Sri Lanka. However, some white-kneed English tourists are, and they’ve just played the first couple of days of their opening tour match. Obviously we’re not so sad or dedicated to provide daily reports on tour matches, but as a few interesting things have come out of it so far, here’s a bit of comment on it:
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