Cow Corner

  • Groundhog Day suits England fine

    Neither side is going anywhere fast in Nagpur, where the series is inching headlong to its conclusion. If India were going to knock England out of their stride it was surely going to take something unexpected, or different at least, to get the job done.

    If you aren't a fan of the pitch, there was little to change your mind. 190 runs in the day did not make for thrilling cricket, but it was no different from the fare served up in the previous three days. According to one man with more time on his hands to research it than is strictly healthy, the current Nagpur run rate is the lowest Test

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  • Appalling Nagpur wicket damages Test cricket

    Cow Corner, it will surprise nobody to learn, likes Test match cricket. Loves it, in fact. Give him Zimbabwe v Bangladesh over five days and he'll try to find a stream from Harare and hunker down for the next 450 overs.

    T20 and ODI cricket is usually good fun as well, but the Test match is the thing — a contest between bat and ball, an examination of your talent and your application. And for the most part, despite the pay packets that the short form of the game has produced, the players themselves recognise that Tests are the format in which their skills will be judged and their legacies

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  • Root takes hold of number six spot

    Whisper it gently, but England may finally have solved their long-standing problem at number six.

    Joe Root's knock of 73 may not, once it is committed to the annals, sound like an overwhelming innings, but context is everything, and the omens are pretty good too.

    The last England cricketer to make his debut in Nagpur was also a 21-year-old batsman, and after a half-century in his first innings (and a ton in his second), it's fair to say that Alastair Cook has gone on to enjoy a half-decent Test career.

    On the evidence of this knock, Root possesses some of the tenacity and determination that

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  • Bell’s slump highlights sensitive issue of paternity leave

    Sportsmen — they're nothing like us, are they? They are globe-trotting superstars, never short of cash, attention or plaudits. We're just weary-eyed normal folk reading a cricket blog.

    But of course, it only takes a moment's reflection to remind yourself that that is nonsense.

    The key difference between you and, say, Ian Bell, is that Belly probably doesn't want to watch you work. There's probably a channel that would broadcast it, but England's middle order man will probably be doing something else.

    Like starting a family. Midway through this series, Ian flew home for the birth of his son,

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  • Indian press savage own team

    The fans who came in to Eden Gardens on day five saw 83 balls of cricket. They saw 49 runs and four wickets, but only one result — a foregone one.

    England had done more than enough in four days to allow themselves a mini-collapse on the fifth and still win with something to spare. Who knows — given how they dominated, losing early wickets may simply have been an elaborate ruse to allow the misfiring Ian Bell to play himself back into form ahead of the final Test in Nagpur.

    When Alastair Cook was born on Christmas Day of 1984 England were knee-deep in the last series they won against India.

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  • Excellent England or insipid India?

    As six wickets fell for 59 runs in the afternoon session at Eden Gardens, and the eulogies to Indian batting were being carefully crafted by the cricket writers, the debate rumbled on Eurosport-Yahoo!'s live text commentary: was this great play from England or desperate fare from India?

    As fans of a team, it is hard not to look at your results through the prism of your allegiance, rather than objectively. Win handsomely, and it is because you have eleven heroes in your team. Lose, and it was your boys who blew it. It is human nature to believe that whatever the result, it is largely in your

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  • So that’s how you get Cook out

    After 26 hours of batting in this series, and 547 runs, you'd forgive India for feeling just a little deflated about bowling to Alastair Cook.

    There he was, on 190 runs, cruising along despite twice being dropped (if Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma played for Cow Corner's local team that would mean they'd be buying the post-match drinks… for a while) and looking as if he might bat until the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse came trotting down past Eden Gardens.

    Screen grabs from Sky SportsBut it transpired that Cook does have a weakness — the freak run out.

    As far as dismissals go, it must count as one of the strangest

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  • Record-breaking Cook has only just begun

    As Alastair Cook lifted his helmet, raised his bat and took the plaudits for the 23rd time in his Test career, Cowers briefly found himself wondering whether the England skipper ever got tired.

    A quick look at the left-hander later, still not sweating after another five hours of batting in the Indian and sunshine quickly dispelled the notion.

    Like Sachin Tendulkar on the opposing side, any visit to the crease for Cook from now on is likely to bring with an assault on the record books. In fact, one of the landmarks Cook eclipsed today belonged to the Little Master - the youngest batsman with

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  • Ponting retires as one of the true cricketing greats

    It's not often that the retirement of a player prompts a barrage of tributes and tearful responses from team-mates, but that was the reaction for Ricky Ponting as he decided to end his international career.

    Indeed, even Australia's prime minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott broke off from a heated parliamentary debate to laud one of crickets greats.

    Ponting's successor as Australia captain, Michael Clarke, could not contain his emotions when he was asked to react to his friend's decision to quite the international game, while a standing ovation sent the veteran batsman on

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  • England spin it to win it

    India captain MS Dhoni wanted wickets which turned in this series against England. Even when his side romped to victory in the opening Test, he was agitating for a track which offered more. At least in the wake of defeat in Mumbai, he had the good grace to accept he had gotten the pitch he demanded.

    India loaded their team with three front-line twirlers — and they were comprehensively outbowled by two of England's. It was never before thus.

    England bowled 125.2 overs of spin, and took 19-329 in that time. India, by contrast, bowled 116.1 with spinners, garnering just nine wickets for 418.


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