Don Bradman Cricket 17: Career Heading North!

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Yes I designed that bat and yes it looks great doesn’t it? Thank you very much!

After nearly a decade on the T20 club circuit, the call finally came. Yorkshire County Cricket Club selected the Leeds captain Paul Morris in their County Championship side. No messing about with the pyjama stuff for me. They sent me straight in at the deep end without any armbands to take on Australian pace ace Mitchell Starc.

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Always happy to provide free promotion to my friends at UNICEF.

I made my way to 8 runs on my First Class debut before Starkers came onto bowl. Three deliveries later I was back in the pavilion. After safely negating his first two deliveries via solid defensive shots, I then pushed at the third, got a nick and the ball flew (And I mean flew!) to third slip.

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Wouldn’t wanna get sunburnt!

I went onto dismiss Pakistan Test batsman Umar Akmal in Leicestershire’s second innings, my maiden First Class wicket.

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Day One pre lunch strike rate: 170.0. Let that sink in for a minute!

Derbyshire didn’t have Mitchell Starc and so I promptly made hay against their attack. Having registered only four half-centuries in ten years on the club scene, I smacked 61 before lunch on the first morning of my second professional outing but was disappointed to be out in the last over of the session. I’d arrived signed, sealed and delivered as a First Class cricketer then promptly got out to the last ball of the day for a duck in the second innings!

After a quiet third match, I batted really well against former England Test spinner James Tredwell and co. in making 48 against Kent but again was out to the very last ball before an interval, in this case lunch. I did however settle things after a wobble in our second innings by striking a composed 33 not out in partnership with skipper Gary Ballance.

I hope to get a call-up to the one-day (List A) side soon. If my international ambitions are to be realised then I really need to make headway at domestic level pronto.

It’s been a long hard slog on the club scene for the last decade and though I’ve been sincerely honoured to represent and captain the city of Leeds, to have finally played First Class cricket for my home county of Yorkshire has fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition and to have made a small contribution to the team so far provides me with great pride. I still have work to do to cement my place at this level and to have a fulfilling career as well as chasing international ambitions but I’d like to take this opportunity to put on record my gratitude to all that have supported me in my career thus far. Many thanks to you all.

Paul Morris

Leeds and Yorkshire Cricket

All Broom but no Handle!

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It’s been a while since Neil Broom got a mention here at Silly Point. The New Zealand bat gained some airtime when he ditched a county contract to answer a recall to his nation’s limited overs side and promptly topped the run charts with 228 over the three-match series against Bangladesh. This included a maiden international hundred (109 not out in Nelson) followed by a run-a-ball 97, also in Horatio’s city.

Broom did register a score of 73 against Australia but in the absence of Ross Taylor, greeted the Test world off the back of a ODI series against South Africa that brought him scores of 2, 2 and 0, so it probably didn’t come as a surprise to many when he lasted only four runless deliveries against the same opposition in the second Test in Wellington, Rabada-de Kock the combination responsible for his downfall. For those of you missing our old favourite…

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… here’s an International Duck Watch special just for you, courteousy of Neil Broom!

Extras

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Bye: Zim a Bad Way!

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Needless to say that my last Test match on Don Bradman Cricket 17 didn’t merit a full write-up. Liam Livingstone’s Test debut consisted of two single figure visits to the crease and a handful of wicketless overs. Though compared with some, he actually had a good game!

Leg Bye: Intercredible Malan!

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There was a pretty deplorable T20I defeat against Pakistan too. Only Liam Dawson (3-41) walked away from the game with any credit though Dawid Malan took three catches including this midair triumph.

No Ball: Majestic Morris!

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This chap’s career is coming together though. Must be the UNICEF helmet!

Wide: Please be aware that due to a technical error, some images are currently missing from previous posts. The Silly Point technical support team are currently working on resolving this unfortunate issue. Please accept our apologies if you’re reading archival Don Bradman Cricket 17 match reports that are not currently furnished with maximum imagery.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v Namibia Test Match

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After our battering at the hands of the Scots north of the border, we were grateful to return to home comforts when we entertained Namibia in Arundel. Tom Curran and Jack Leach were dropped from the XI, with Jake Ball recalled to the side and Toby Roland-Jones handed a Test debut.

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Toby Roland-Jones snapped up his first Test victim.

Such was the unrelenting quality performed by the opening bowlers, Roland-Jones had to wait until after lunch for his opportunity but soon claimed his first Test wicket. In truth however, it was his Middlesex colleague Steven Finn (5-34), man of the match against the Scots, who really shone, ably supported by the returning Jake Ball (3-24).

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Aneurin Donald (16), was unlucky to be given out LBW in the first over of the final session.

After restricting the visitors to just 110 in their first innings, for the second match in a row Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond held things together before being run out for 46. Stumper Jonny Bairstow (35) and fellow Yorkie, captain Joe Root (30), both innings consisting of just twenty deliveries, complimented DBD to lift us to a slightly underwhelming 173 all out but a vital lead of 53.

Jake Ball (4-31) led the way as we made early breakthroughs in Namibia’s second innings. Hampshire spinner Mason Crane (2-36) struck in the first over of the day and was a constant threat whilst debutant Toby Roland-Jones (2-45) looked like taking a wicket at any point before eventually doing so, claiming two more victims on Test debut. Namibia recovered well from 67-5 but Keith Barker (11-5-31-0) built pressure with his economical and consistent line before Steven Finn (2-42) removed both the African side’s top scorers, Bagel (69) and wicketkeeper Gardiner (32). After they were gone, Namibia collapsed from 176-6 to 189 all out. The number of maidens that we bowled was a vast improvement on past efforts as was our catching, only letting ourselves down on a couple of occasions late in the piece. Credit must also go to skipper Joe Root, his bowling changes or even non changes and tactics as a whole, were outstanding.

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Sam Northeast (55 not out) recorded a maiden Test fifty and in doing so, led his country to victory.

Ben Duckett (0) and Aneurin Donald (5) were amongst those soon back in the hut as we slipped to 59-4 in pursuit of 127 for victory. Despite strong performances in the field, their Test futures now hang by the finest of threads. The fact that it may be fair to stick with a winning side will possibly, possibly save them. The likes of Liam Livingstone (12th man in this match), Alastair Cook, Nick Compton and Scott Borthwick to name a few, wait in the wings should we opt to make changes. Number three Sam Northeast showed how it should be done, as he put on a fifty partnership with Warwickshire’s Keith Barker (28) to alleviate any fears of an England slip-up. Barker was needlessly run out before Jonny Bairstow (8 not out) clobbered the winning runs. It was Kent batsman Northeast’s composure though, in striking a maiden Test fifty (55 not out) in only his second Test match to lead the side to victory, that can provide an example beacon to others in England’s batting line-up.

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A five-wicket win was a welcome response to the Scottish episode. Though some places in the team are still up for grabs, many players have really placed two hands on their position in our strongest XI.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Scotch Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot!

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Well, there’s no disgrace in losing to Scotland by 373 runs. Oh no, wait!

I won’t lie. I’m not quite as enthused about writing this article as I normally would be. A 373-run defeat at the hands of the mighty Scots can, I’ve found, have a rather enthusiasm draining effect.

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We dismissed the hosts for 270 then were ourselves dismissed for 259 in reply. Up to this point our efforts were basically a one man show. Steven Finn, playing his first Test match during my reign, recorded fantastic figures of 6-42 before striking an equally fantastic fifty, exactly. Jonny Bairstow also made bang on fifty. We may have reached parity had number eleven Mason Crane not been adjudged caught at short leg when he hit the ball into the ground and it then ricocheted up, hit his bat again and was caught. Despite reviewing, the Hampshire spinner was still given out. From that point on, we simply fell apart. Captain Joe Root dropped a catch in the first over of Scotland’s second innings and eighty overs later, a chance would be put down in Finn’s first over with the second new ball. In between the two drops off the bowling of Finn, eighty overs apart, we must have dropped approximately 13,578,921 chances!

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Scots skipper Kyle Coetzer (145) and Richie Berrington (163) both hit chanceless (Ha!) centuries before we eventually dismissed our Northern neighbours for a whopping 512, just one wicketless delivery shy of the arrival of a second new ball!

Ben Duckett’s (22) attempt at a David Warnesque chase, lasted all of nine deliveries before Kent duo Daniel Bell-Drummond (53) and debutant Sam Northeast (27) appeared to lay the foundations for a record run chase. Not for the first time in the match though, Northeast threw his wicket away and DBD aside, our batting subsided as we collapsed to 150 all out and a mammoth 373-run defeat.

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As both selector and coach of the side, this result leaves me with much to ponder in regards to whether or not I really am the right man to lead this side in the future…

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Living the Dream!

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Liam Livingstone hit the headlines in early 2015 when he struck 350 off 128 deliveries in a club match…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/cricket/liam-livingstone-world-record-350-9078151

Then he hit the headlines again later that year when he got glassed in a fight…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/cricket/lancashires-liam-livingstone-lucky-injuries-9875869

A few weeks later he didn’t hit the headlines when he was dismissed first ball in the Natwest T20 Blast final…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/natwest-t20-blast-2015/engine/current/match/804711.htmlhttp://www.espncricinfo.com/natwest-t20-blast-2015/engine/current/match/804711.html

He hadn’t exactly hit the ground running in the shortest format of the game and still averages below 20 but he didn’t half hit the ground running in the County Championship last year. Though his season tailed off slightly, he still finished with in excess of 800 runs at an average of just over 50. Having played a lot of club and second XI cricket and in an era where many players make their professional breakthrough whilst in their teens, I was hesitant to the idea of Livingstone being rushed into the England set-up too soon. The structure of the England Lions however provides great opportunity for he and others to acquire more experience and develop. Oh and how he’s developed! In England Lions current match against a decent Sri Lanka A outfit, LL has made scores of 105 and 140 not out…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/scorecard/ECKO41600

His First Class batting average has now soared to 54.52 and recalling England’s batting horror show in India, it’s encouraging to see a batsman prospering in the sub-continent. England head to Oz next winter for the Ashes but even if Livingstone doesn’t make the breakthrough to the full national side soon, it could be that he’s saved for the next time England head to spinning terrain.

Last term, even if he wasn’t making runs, his name was all over the scorecards as he claimed catch after catch (31 in 17 FC outings to date) and his leg-spin bowling has some potential.

Elsewhere for England Lions, Toby Roland-Jones has led the line and contributed with the bat whilst the Curran brothers (Tom and Sam) have continued to enhance their reputation. It’s been a bleak winter for Jack Leach however. The Somerset man has struggled with the required adjustments to his action and was left out of the Lions side because of those struggles. Upon his return, his first innings figures of 18-1-97-1 don’t make for pleasant reading. The winter has not been so bleak for the consistently penetrative Ollie Rayner however. The German turner has surely usurped Leach in the England spin queue.

It’s been good to see that the Lions set-up hasn’t just been for the kids and that seasoned county players such as Roland-Jones and Middlesex colleague Rayner have been presented with the opportunity to press their case for international selection. If they did so, they wouldn’t be the first players to have successful international careers having only entered the stage around the age of thirty mark… Mike Hussey, Chris Rogers, Adam Voges and Misbah-ul-Haq amongst them.

Update: Jack Leach immediately responded to my bleak assessment of his winter by claiming figures of 2-3 as England Lions nearly pulled off a marvellous heist in Dambulla. Stumper Ben Foakes also claimed ten dismissals (8c / 2s) and contributed scores of 30 and 54 in this match.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/1080255.html

Four Day Test Matches

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Four days, four innings, one innings of 100 overs per day, as simple as that… or is it?

You know about my plans to restructure world cricket…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-complete-restructure-of-international-cricket/

Well maybe to aid this, chopping a day off Test matches wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In the third Test between Australia and South Africa in Adelaide last November, centuries were scored in the first three innings of the match. Usman Khawaja used up 308 deliveries and 465 minutes in his first innings before the perceived to be rather attritional Stephen Cook, scored at a strike rate of 43.33 in compiling 104. Following that, debutant Matthew Renshaw faced 137 deliveries in making 34 not out to get Australia home… on the fourth day!

In conclusion, results can still be achieved and there would still be room for ‘old-fashioned go-slow’ players.

Say for example that in the first innings of a Test between England and Zimbabwe that England are 300 all out in 75 overs. Spectators who have paid their money deserve near enough a full day’s play, so Zimbabwe could acquire England’s lost 25 overs and therefore have 125 overs in their first innings, 25 of which would begin on day one. The exception to this could be that if a team only acquires 10 overs or less, they could have the option not to take them because of the risk of losing wickets late in the day and start with the standard 100 overs, not for example, 110 overs, the following morning. If England made 355-8 in 100 overs then so be it, wickets not lost would not be carried forward in any way. Innings could still commence at any point during the course of the day as we enter the third and fourth innings but the slate is clean at the halfway point. For example: England 300 all out in 75 overs, Zimbabwe 280 all out in 66, England would start their innings the 42nd over on day two but would not acquire Zimbabwe’s lost overs or if they did they would only acquire 34 not 59… or maybe they could acquire all 59, these are all possibilities to be considered.

Rain. Bloody rain! Why can’t things be simple?

Would it be only fair that both sides lose an over for every five minutes lost?

There’s definitely room for thought but as a starting point for trimming Test matches to four not five days, I don’t think that my idea’s that wide of the crease.