The last time I found myself at the Rose Bowl, Aaron Finch bludgeoned his way to a world record 156 in an international T20 match, and England, in spite of posting 200+ themselves in the chase, found themselves falling rather short. It was Finch’s greatest innings to date, and one suspects it’ll retain that mantle for the rest of his career.
It wasn’t the first Australian ‘innings for the ages’ I have been witness to; I was there for Michael Clarke’s elegant treble against India at the SCG, as well as a brutal 160* from Shane Watson against England in an ODI in Melbourne which saw Australia chase down a record total. Three Australian batsmen, performing the greatest acts of their lives, in front of a miserable and bitter Janner, sat there wishing them to fail.
I honestly can’t remember much from English batsmen that would compare to any of these three knocks that I have seen live – I certainly don’t think I’ve seen a “career definer” of an innings like the three above, though.
Actually that’s a lie – “I WUZ THERE” for Samit Patel’s 5fer against the South Africans in an ODI at the Oval in 2008. Err, yes that is right: some people get to see Bell’s and Trescothick’s double tons, KP 150s, Vaughan in Adelaide, etc, and I get fat Samit’s five-for in a bleddy One Day International – (“scalps”: Ntini, Boucher, Morkel, Morkel and Botha). Harumph. I think it’s time to take this post back to Finch and the Rose Bowl:
Since that day in late August last summer, England’s record is not so grand: beaten 1-2 in the following ODI series at home, then rotten tour Down Under which saw 0-5 in the “Return Ashes”, 1-4 in the ODI series and 0-3 in the T20 series. A patchy tour of the West Indies (a 2-1 series win and a 1-2 series loss) was the warm-up to a shocking World Cup (W1, L3) which of course included humiliation at the hands of the Netherlands. Edging desperately home to English conditions didn’t help; series’ losses to Sri Lanka is Tests (0-1), T20 (0-1) and ODIs (2-3) and we are now facing a (0-1) reverse at home to India.
W8-L27 – not a pretty stat. I could include the one off fixtures against Ireland and Scotland; if I were a Cook/ECB fan I probably would. It still wouldn’t make good reading, though.
As for tomorrow, there might be a spot of rain about. It has threatened to hum it down all week here in a very humid and warm Hampshire. It hasn’t done so yet, though. No doubt saving itself for mid-morning tomorrow.
The Rose/Ageas/Pudding Bowl tends to play true and reasonably fast – Finch’s knock wouldn’t have been achievable at Lords. Thus unless there’s extremely good overhead conditions for swing I’d back the side batting first to score runs. Whoever bats second will probably score runs too. Third and fourth might be slightly trickier, but only slightly. If there is a winner it’ll be down to which side collapses unnecessarily worse, but the verdict must be for a draw.