Cricket: Eng­land bounce back

The Week - - Sport News -

It is a cu­ri­ous sport that sees a team oblit­er­ated one week, then “dom­i­nant to equal de­gree the next”, said Mike Ather­ton in The Times. But hav­ing been ham­mered at Lord’s by Pak­istan last week, Eng­land re­cov­ered on Sun­day to win the sec­ond and fi­nal Test at Head­in­g­ley by an in­nings and 55 runs. It was a wel­come vic­tory, af­ter a sorry run of six de­feats in their pre­vi­ous eight Tests. It would be wrong, how­ever, to draw too many con­clu­sions from the match: “des­per­ate” in the first Test, ex­cel­lent in the sec­ond, Eng­land are re­ally some­where in the mid­dle.

It was Jos But­tler who made the dif­fer­ence, said Ali Martin in The Guardian. Re­called af­ter an 18-month ex­ile from Test cricket, this “uber-tal­ent” scored 80 not out, his sec­ond suc­ces­sive half-cen­tury; had he not run out of bat­ting part­ners, a maiden Test cen­tury “would surely have fol­lowed”. In the first half of his in­nings, the 27-yearold was re­mark­ably “stoic in defence”; in the sec­ond half, how­ever, he let loose the “rocket-fu­elled” bat­ting with which he has lit up the In­dian Premier League. But­tler has al­ready had a cru­cial in­flu­ence on the side, said Simon Hughes in The Sun­day Times. In the first Test, he was the only bats­man who tried “strolling up the pitch”, bat­ting fur­ther for­ward than nor­mal. It’s a tech­nique that “re­duces the pos­si­bil­ity of LBWS” and, when em­ployed ef­fec­tively, it can make bowlers feel “im­po­tent”. In the sec­ond Test, other bats­men fol­lowed But­tler’s ex­am­ple – and Eng­land were re­warded with a score of 363. It was a promis­ing show, too, by Do­minic Bess, the 20-yearold spin­ner, said Lawrence Booth in the Daily Mail. Hav­ing made his de­but in the first Test, he scored a “com­posed” 49, be­fore tak­ing three wick­ets for 33 runs. A cheery, en­er­getic player, Bess may be the so­lu­tion to Eng­land’s spin woes.

Bess and But­tler cel­e­brate

“It would be ex­tremely help­ful if some of you could start iden­ti­fy­ing as women”

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