Tuesday, 10 April 2012

One game. One win. What have we learned?

Not a huge amount more than we learned from pre-season to be frank. As Chris Adams said after the win against Sussex, there was no stand out performance over the three-and-a-bit days.

Jade Dernbach picked up five wickets, Jon Lewis four. Chris Jordan bowled impressively in patches and Stuart Meaker was a danger more or less throughout. Maynard was excellent in the first innings and cut off in his prime (alright, it was a bad shot) in the second.

The major positive was Hamilton-Brown's second innings 89, his highest score since that big hundred against Essex at Whitgift last year. As Andrew Strauss well knows even winning games as captain isn't enough to completely quell fears about your own batting. The skipper will be very relieved to be back in the runs.

Where do we go from here then? Lord's on Thursday, and if the forecast is to be believed it could be four days of rain breaks. Adams will be loath to change a winning formula so would be well within his rights to name a side very similar to that which overcame Sussex.

However, in the event that he doesn't, four names will probably be in the hat for review. The allrounders, Jordan and Batty, may be looked at. Jordan will slip down the order to number seven presumably, as Steven Davies is now back from Sri Lanka. Does this diminish his role in the side? Not in my view, if anything it enhances his credentials. His hard-hitting, combined with an apparent willingness to knuckle down a bit, could make him a very useful lower-middle-order bat.

So what of Gareth Batty? His place is probably never under any real threat but a rainy week at Lord's in April might be the only time his name hovers anywhere near the chop. At the Oval his 27 overs of off-spin offered the usual control and two very handy second innings wickets but he lasted no time at all with the bat in either knock.

That brings me to the next name in the mix, here's the broken record again; Jason Roy. Adams was at pains to praise Roy's committment in the field as 12th man in the Sussex game and could do a lot worse than bring him in to provide a bit of extra insurance in the batting. Innings of 264 and 273 in April might not immediately suggest a crisis in the batting department but 11-2 and 55-4 indicates all is not quite right. The question, as ever, is would the presence of the extra batting option make the top order play with more or less responsibility? We won't know that until its too late to change. Roy's latest chance to impress, for the Second XI against Sussex 2s was not grasped with both hands however, he scored only 41.

Adams may take the view that Steven Davies' presence at the top of the order means the two allrounder route at 7 and 8 carries less risk. I would argue that we felt a bowler heavy over the course of the Sussex game and with conditions at Lord's likely to favour the seamer (overhead and the pitch - Middlesex only have the allround spinning talents of Ollie Rayner to call on at present), four seamers might be the way to go this week.

The fourth name? Tim Linley. Given the solid performance of all three frontline seam bowlers against Sussex he will find it hard to force his way into the side for the very next game. It could be another frustrating few days ferrying the drinks for the Viscount.

After all that, I still expect Adams to field more or less the same XI, with Davies coming in for Rory Burns. The squad should be announced tomorrow, so not long to wait to find out!


Jerry said...

Oh well, a win's a win! Can't wait to get up there soon and take in a game.

GreenJJ said...

Indeed, got to take the wins that come along, things, and the weather, won't always go our way this year!