It was good to see England bounce back with a win in the first ODI today after last weekend’s T20 thrashing.
In typical fashion, after I suggested in my last blog post that England should consider leaving Jimmy Anderson out of the 50 over team, he goes and produces a Man of the Match performance with figures of 4/18 from just the 5 overs.
It just sums Jimmy up though, he is unplayable when the conditions suit him at home, but on tour and on flat pitches with no help, he tends to struggle – which was my reasons for saving him for the test team.
It was also more like it with today’s team selection. Mainly with a return for Ian Bell, after the disgraceful decision to leave him out of the T20 team. For the life of me, I still can’t work out the logic behind that decision.
As a Warwickshire fan, I may be a touch biased with it comes to Bell. But I think the view of just about every fan or correspondent I’ve heard or read since has backed up this opinion.
With just the 8 players capable of bowling playing in the game, I think it’s fair to say that Stuart Broad had a base too many covered. He also didn’t need to pack the team with big hitters at the expense of stroke players. Lumb, Kieswetter, Pietersen and Morgan are all capable of clearing the ropes, so why the need for Luke Wright as well, with Ravi and Patel also in the team?
In the aftermatch interviews, when Mahela Jayawardene was describing himself, he said he wasn’t a rope clearing batsman. I couldn’t help at the time thinking ‘if you were English we wouldn’t pick you, as you’re not a big enough hitter.’
That’s why we picked Luke Wright ahead of Ian Bell, Wright rarely bowls these days either, which makes the decision look all the more baffling. There was simply no justifying the decision.
Back onto today and I’m still not convinced by Cook’s place in the side as captain or batsman just yet, but I was impressed with the selection of the team which had a balanced look to it with orthodox players picked to simply bat or bowl, as opposed to bits and pieces cricketers.
It was right to leave Chris Woakes out, Jade Dernbach looks the better prospect at the moment and Tim Bresnan is a first choice pick for the 50 over side when fit.
I thought Sri Lanka should have been overwhelming favourites at the start of this series – the bookies disagreed and made England favourites. Tonight was a good start, not just because of the win, but as I stated earlier, the make up of the team. It was a more solid looking compact England.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of this series goes now. I expect Sri Lanka to come back strong on Friday, they made England struggle with the bat at the end of our innings, and they were probably undone mainly because of the conditions when they batted.
They shouldn’t be underestimated.