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*** The Official Cricket Thread ***

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2 hours ago, kplfishtank said:

Both got tons. Root still in.  Rain stopped play 😡

I think it's got draw written all over it. But I'm happy Root found some batting form.

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Former England captain Bob Willis has died at the age of 70.

The fast bowler took 325 wickets in 90 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming a career-best 8-43 to help England to a famous win over Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes.

He captained England in 18 Tests and 29 one-day internationals before his retirement from all cricket in 1984.

Willis subsequently worked as a summariser on BBC TV before joining Sky Sports as a commentator in 1991.

He continued to work for Sky and was part of their coverage of this summer's Ashes series.

Willis represented Surrey for the first two years of his professional career before spending 12 years at Warwickshire, finishing with 899 wickets from 308 first-class matches at an average of 24.99.

In a statement on Twitter, Surrey said the club was "devastated" by the news of Willis' passing.

The Sunderland-born bowler made his international debut aged 21 in the 1971 Ashes after being called up to replace the injured Alan Ward and played the final four Tests of the seven-match series as England won 2-0.

Despite needing surgery on both knees in 1975, he became one of the finest fast bowlers of his generation, playing another nine years and claiming his 325 wickets at an impressive average of 25.20.

At the time of Willis' retirement, only Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee had taken more Test wickets.

James Anderson (575), Stuart Broad (471) and Ian Botham (383) are the only England bowlers to have since surpassed Willis' tally.

Bob Willis career record

MatchesWicketsAverageBest

Tests9032525.208-43

ODIs648024.604-11

First-class30889924.998-32

List A29342120.187-32

The pinnacle of Willis' international career was arguably the stunning 18-run victory against Australia in the third Test of the 1981 Ashes at Headingley.

England, trailing 1-0 in the series, were forced to follow on and needed Botham's spectacular 149 not out to force Australia to bat again, setting them 129 to win.

With his Test career on the line, Willis produced a devastating spell, taking a Test-best 8-43 as Australia were dismissed for 111.

England went on to win the series 3-1 and Willis finished with 29 wickets at 22.96 in six matches.

He was appointed captain for the 1982 India tour of England after Keith Fletcher was sacked.

Willis oversaw a weakened team during his tenure, after the likes of Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott and Derek Underwood were banned from international cricket for three years from 1982 for taking part in a rebel tour to South Africa.

He finished with a record of seven wins, five defeats and six draws from his 18 Tests in charge before he was sacked and replaced with David Gower prior to what proved to be Willis' final Test series against West Indies in 1984.

In 29 ODIs under Willis, England won 16 and lost 13.

Lord's Cricket Ground✔@HomeOfCricket

We're very sad to hear of the passing of MCC Honorary Life Member, Bob Willis.

A Lord's legend & former England captain whose name is on the Honours Boards three times.

Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

445

16:06 - 4 Dec 2019

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Willis made his ODI debut in 1973 and played in the 1979 World Cup but sustained a recurrence of his knee injury in the semi-final win over New Zealand and missed the final, which West Indies won by 92 runs.

He captained England at the 1983 World Cup where his side were beaten by eventual winners India in the semi-finals.

Willis played his final ODI in 1984, finishing with a record of 80 wickets from 64 matches at an average of 24.60.

Willis moved into commentary soon after his playing career ended and worked alongside former team-mates Botham and Gower.

After moving away from live commentary and summariser duties in 2006, Willis continued to work as a pundit on Sky Sports programmes such as The Debate and The Verdict.

He was frequently firm in his criticism of current players, which was seen by some as being unfair.

Yet Willis also played up to his persona and had a humorous side, telling current captain Joe Root he would "have you back in the dock" with bared teeth after the England batsman's impersonation of Willis during the 2015 Ashes.

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James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood have returned to the England Test squad for the tour of South Africa starting this month.

Seamer Anderson, 37, has not played for England since suffering a calf injury in the first Ashes Test in August.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow was dropped for the recent 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand.

Pace bowler Mark Wood has been out since the World Cup final in July because of side and knees injuries.

The uncapped Saqib Mahmood is the only member of the squad for the recent 1-0 series defeat in New Zealand not to be included in the 17-man touring party.

Moeen Ali, who took a break from Test cricket after being dropped during the Ashes, remains unavailable.

England will play four Tests - the first starting on 26 December - three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in South Africa.

England Test squad for South Africa tour: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope (wk), Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, bowled only four overs in the Ashes opener against Australia at Edgbaston.

He played two games for Lancashire second XI later in August, but his season was ended when he felt pain in the calf during the second of those.

Part of his recovery has involved using the facilities at Manchester City, and he has been continuing his rehabilitation - along with Wood - at a specialist pace bowling camp in Cape Town, South Africa.

Wood's most recent Test came in the West Indies in February.

"It is not predicted that Mark will be available for selection for the earliest matches," said national selector Ed Smith.

"There is no exact date given for his return, but the medical team is working towards him becoming fully available for selection during the tour."

 

Pleased to see Jimmy back. 

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Aussies v New Zealand Boxing Day test. 

Been lucky to have done  a few Boxing Day test matches and it’s special. 

Best ever was Aussies all out for 98 and we finished on something like 157 /0. I was with my Aussie cousin and not sure he appreciated my exuberance 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🍺🍺🍺😎😎😎

Then we start our 4 test series at Centurion, a place I’ve wanted to go but just any time we play I can’t make it. 

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The Aussies are starting to look like a properly good team just now.

Fantastic fast attack and Lyon is a top class spinner.

Middle order still looks weakish, but they are only a player or two away from being the clear #1 test side IMO.

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10 hours ago, Badger said:

The Aussies are starting to look like a properly good team just now.

Fantastic fast attack and Lyon is a top class spinner.

Middle order still looks weakish, but they are only a player or two away from being the clear #1 test side IMO.

Pity they are a bunch of convict wankers.

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4 hours ago, kplfishtank said:

It’s not the first time he’s done this.  

 

Aside from the obvious reasons, with the bout of illness to Archer and Broad especially, I never understood not giving them an extra days rest by batting first. 

It was a decision that seemed always likely to have England chasing the game. 

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27 minutes ago, Badger said:

 

Aside from the obvious reasons, with the bout of illness to Archer and Broad especially, I never understood not giving them an extra days rest by batting first. 

It was a decision that seemed always likely to have England chasing the game. 

Root in his early days as captain often got England out of trouble because he was the best test batsman in the world. I don’t think his decision making has ever been great, often individual brilliance rather than tactical acumen won us tests.

Now other teams have caught up with us, his baffling decisions as captain are starting to become highlighted more. Why on earth do you bowl first when you’re bowlers are sick and you’re in difficult conditions abroad? Absolute madness...

 

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Jimmy Anderson needs 19 more Test wickets for 600. Stuart Broad needs 22 more for 500. There are 91 more potential wickets available for England this winter. So, what are the chances they’ll reach those milestones a) before the summer, b) in the same Test?

I'm enjoying this test and big KP is pretty decent in the commentary box. 

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England are playing decent, but the wickets made it as easy as you could hope for on a day 3 pitch. Very slow and flat- balls did nothing today.

Didn't expect that, thought it would deteriorate further as it looked to be getting tricky yesterday.

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1 hour ago, Badger said:

England are playing decent, but the wickets made it as easy as you could hope for on a day 3 pitch. Very slow and flat- balls did nothing today.

Didn't expect that, thought it would deteriorate further as it looked to be getting tricky yesterday.

I think England bowled superbly. But of course we will see when South Africa bat last on the pitch. It might be as flat and lifeless as you said.

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13 hours ago, TEFTONG said:

I think England bowled superbly. But of course we will see when South Africa bat last on the pitch. It might be as flat and lifeless as you said.

England bowled really well yesterday, the pitch was also quite dead for a bit, but the bounce came later on - a good patient display and got their rewards when the wicket started doing something. TBH as disciplined an England performance as I've seen these last 5yrs. 

The pitch was dead today.  I don't think South Africa were particularly awful, just the ball did almost nothing all day.  England batted well, but I won't get too carried away - I don't think it was particularly challenging for the batsmen other than being a bit slow to score on. 

May be interesting if the pitch stays like this and England stay in until after lunch tomorrow - but conditions look like the ball might start to swing a bit tomorrow.

England can't lose from here. Even if the pitch stays flat, it's a slow scoring wicket, and it would be tough for South Africa to get the 300 odd needed in 4.5 sessions to salvage a win. 

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