England’s lack of top-order runs finally caught up with them during a spectacular series loss to the West Indies.
A colossal 381-run defeat in the first Test in Barbados was followed by Saturday’s 10-wicket thumping in Antigua where, in a reversal of cricket stereotypes, the West Indies grafted hard for their runs while England produced yet another ‘calypso collapso’ display.
No one better exemplified the difference than West Indies batsman Darren Bravo, whose 331-minute fifty, spanning 215 balls on a lively Antigua pitch, was the third slowest Test half-century in terms of time.
By contrast, England’s second-innings 132 lasted only 38 more balls more than it took Bravo to get to fifty.
Prior to arriving in the Caribbean, the allrounders in England’s XI repeatedly bailed them out of top-order collapses in a home series win over India before they won away to a weak Sri Lanka.
Yet only once in seven home Tests in 2018 season did England reach the benchmark total of 400 and not once in Sri Lanka did they make 350.
As for the ongoing series in the Caribbean, with next week’s third and final Test in St Lucia to come, England’s meagre scores of 77, 246, 187 and 132 have left their bowlers with an all-but impossible task.
Talking of England, following their impressive Six Nations victory over Ireland, bookmakers have cut the odds on them winning this year’s Rugby World Cup title in Japan. Eddie Jones’ side were dominant in their 32-20 win at Lansdowne Road in Cardiff over the defending champions on Saturday.
As a result, leading bookies have cut England’s odds to 6/1.
The All Blacks, searching for a hat-trick of Webb Ellis Cup titles, remain favourites at 11/10, followed by Ireland – at 333/100 – who have drifted from 3/1 previously.The Springboks are next best at 15/2, followed by Australia (12/1) and Wales (14/1). France (20/1), Argentina and Scotland (both 33/1), complete the list of realistic contenders. The 2019 World Cup kicks off on Friday, September 20 as hosts Japan face Russia.
The following day will see a mouth-watering encounter as the All Blacks and Springboks square off in Yokohama .The loser of that blockbuster is likely to face the winner of the Ireland v Scotland Pool A clash, in the quarter-finals. I am already excited for the world cup , roll on September.
FC Platinum once again disappointed again at Barbourfields where they again could not find the back of the net in their CAF Champions league group stage against Horoya. What is the worrying thing for them besides limiting their hopes of qualifying for the group stage is that they can’t seem to find the back of the net. In five games thus far, they have only scored one goal . They sit bottom of the group with just a point . Alarm bells will certainly be ringing . They travel to Guinea for the return leg next Tuesday . They will need some Platinum magic if they want to advance.
Now away from sport . The cleanup programme introduced by President ED is a great initiative and I fully support this noble cause to clean up what we once called the Sunshine City, or did we? Under a former mayor we had a relatively clean city . Anyway while I agree, I don’t agree that, in present circumstances this should be a focus of his attention . Currently the economy is bleeding and actually nothing is improving and businesses are in serious dire straits.
The City of Harare has not collected rubbish for weeks in my area , road edges and curbs are overgrown as they can’t afford fuel or are struggling to get fuel. Litter is still a major issue, and fines for this should be increased to levels that should be not affordable to teach ignorant folks who think someone else is going to pick up after them.