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Multi-dimensional men

David Lloyd - David Lloyd Posted 6th September 2007 view comments

What a thrilling game of cricket that was! Full credit to India for chasing down 316 - that sets us up nicely for the deciding match of the series at Lord's on Saturday.

This series has been great, largely because we have had some great pitches. You get good pitches, you get good cricket.

My Sky Sports colleagues and I saw the pitch at the Oval before the match and we knew that we were in for a run-fest.

Shah and Mascarenhas offer new options to the team

Shah and Mascarenhas offer new options to the team

When England knocked 316 we knew that they would need every one of those runs as it was such a belter of a pitch.

When you compare the England we saw lose to the West Indies earlier in the summer to this England team you can see that they have much more confidence.

Paul Collingwood has taken over the team and that has been a good move. He has played brilliantly. I just had a worry when he took over about what would happen if he had a disaster. Where would England go to then? But he's responded to captaincy and he looks like a captain out there.

We've got some really exciting cricketers around - we scored 316 without Ravi Bopara and Andrew Flintoff in the team!

Quotes of the week

Watch England v India, Saturday, 10am, Sky Sports 2

Another improvement has been in the field. I'm still only giving them a seven out of 10 but they have improved their mobility - they've still got one or two donkeys in the field but we've also got some decent fielders.

Explosive introduction

From our position up in the commentary box Luke Wright's debut was an absolute revelation. I've seen this kid come up from England Under-19s and to be honest I thought he was just an enthusiastic cricketer. But he took international cricket by storm at the Oval.

That innings means that he now has to play every game and the vulnerable player now is Alastair Cook. Ian Bell would then open and your number three can be a complete floater - it could be Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Wright... It gives us a lot more flexibility in our batting line-up.

Wright has come on an absolute bomb - I couldn't believe it! I'll put my hand up and say 'watch out for Luke Wright'. For me to think he is nothing more than enthusiastic is a bit of a put down really, looking at how well he has played this season.

Again, well done Peter Moores for bringing Wright in from county cricket, as he did with Ryan Sidebottom.

Owais Shah batted superbly and he had to after being involved with that run-out with Kevin Pietersen. I think Kevin would have throttled him if he hadn't gone on to make a big score. I don't know what was wrong with his hearing or maybe he just didn't understand the cry of 'NO!' It was a clear call from Shah but Pietersen kept running!

He's an interesting character is Shah. He puts a lot of pressure on himself; he's a bit Ramprakash-like. And another just like him is Vikram Solanki. He needs to understand that now and again, as a batsman, you'll fail. He's just got to back his ability, but having watched his innings at the Oval you just hope that he will be able to do that now.

Everybody was saying that he shouldn't have been dropped at the beginning of this series as he played well against the West Indies. He got some 40s but I think it was right to leave him out and say 'nice 40s, yes OK, but let's get some hundreds'.

I think he will kick on now. There's nothing better than getting into the team and doing what you've been challenged to do. Being left out, the challenge was for Shah to score hundreds. And we've been guilty in one-day cricket for years of scoring pretty 50s and 60s. Batters have got to get hundreds. Well, Shah did everything expected of him.

Explosive finale

Dimitri Mascarenhas' five sixes from the last five balls of the innings was stunning wasn't it. We've got some really exciting cricketers around - we scored 316 without Ravi Bopara and Andrew Flintoff in the team! It's giving us so many options.

Mascarenhas had been left out at Headingley - he hit five sixes at Bristol and was then left out! Why did they leave him out? Because he was scoring too quickly? Bringing in Jon Lewis was a mistake; we should have stuck with the opening bowling attack of Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson and left Mascarenhas in.

Anderson's figures of 8-0-79-0 were deceiving as I thought he bowled brilliantly. Anyone would have been whacked early doors on that pitch. The number of outrageous shots that the India batters played against him was unbelievable - thick inside edges, and outside edges over the keeper's head.

Anderson couldn't have done any more, he was looking to get that fast yorker in but he just couldn't stop the tide. But that won't affect him in the slightest going into the decider at Lord's on Saturday, I can tell you that. His attitude will be 'I could get five for 20 in the next game'.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the way that England have played in this series and I haven't been able to say that about us in one-day cricket for a long time.

We have a big game coming up on Saturday and the momentum is now with India, but I would suggest that if you win the toss, you win the game. Have a bat and don't even think about bowling first at Lord's.

Now to your email...

Bumble, I was listening to your Sky commentary with Athers when you mentioned your journey over to Headingley on the M62 and you mentioned the farmhouse in the middle of the Motorway, many believing the farmer wouldn't sell when they constructed the M62. I also used to think likewise but this is a myth. The planners never wanted the carriageway to go where the farmhouse was so despite it being a great myth, it isn't true but it's amazing how many people still drive past it and comment that the farmer refused to sell. On to cricket now, how do you think the late, great Fred Truman would have gone on in today's one-day games and what was it like to face such a great bowler? Regards, Brian in Bolton, but originally from Yorkshire.

Bumble Replies: Hello Brian, Trueman was a great bowler and probably England's best ever. Fred was a great character and a great competitor - you could put him in any cricket match and he would believe that he was the best. I only faced him at the back-end of his career but I saw a lot of him and he's the greatest I've seen. If he played today he would be fine, he would be used in a similar way to Darren Gough - at the top of the innings and then at the death. Fred always used to say 'I can't believe I don't get five-for every game'. He would get both openers out, then a couple of the middle order then he would come back on to clear up the tail. He would score some runs as well.

Dear David, Bring back Andy Caddick. High up in the bowling averages, has taken 66 wickets - more than any other bowler and generally get four or five wickets every innings. Finally which team is top of two leagues this year? Could the selectors learn anything from that? Hugh Jeffort

Bumble Replies: Caddick is just brilliant isn't he. I can't believe that he's still running in! He's still got his pace and enthusiasm and he is one of those great blokes who has to bowl - like Angus Fraser, you just can't tell him to rest. He'd just tell you to get stuffed would Caddick. Let's not forget that he's bowling on the best batting wicket in the country at Taunton and he still gets wickets. He very nearly played for England again this year - he was a hairs breadth off playing when they had a few injuries and wanted a tall bowler but instead they opted for Chris Tremlett. Caddick was in for a long time and I guess his age went against him in the end. Andy Caddick is a great man who is often misunderstood and for the future of the team you've got to go for these younger players and give them a chance. But in a one-off situation in a must-win game Caddick would get you wickets, there's no doubt about that. If a few of England's bowlers break down, he will be waiting for another crack and I would usually look at age, but with Caddick I'm not bothered as I know he will perform. Also at Somerset James Hildreth is a fine prospect but he has lots of competition in the likes of Shah, Wright, Pietersen, Ian Bell etc. He needs to make big scores consistently to get a look in because England's batting is pretty well set.

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