Cricketweb 'A' vs England XI
@ Fardin Qayyumu CC (3 Day Tour Match)
Ball By Ball
The next stop on England's tour of Cricketweb Land was at the home of Colts as the tourists were playing the host nation's so called Second XI. With spots in both teams first test side on Monday up for grabs this was an important match, most interestingly the battle to replace the injured Will Kerr in the Cricketweb XI middle order could be decided in this match.
Andrew Strauss won the toss for the visitors and chose to bat first on an even looking surface, like always at the Fardin Qayyumi CC openers need to work hard for their runs in the first session and this sort of commitment was lacking in the English top order. Strauss himself could have few complaints when he was trapped in front by Red seamer Dave Watt for 8, Watt who has been in and out of the Red side at times this season looked right at home against international class batsman and the way he handled the new ball suggests he wouldn't be out of place in the First XI. Alistair Cook battled hard for 40 while uncapped Michael Carberry wanted to play every shot in the book, this brought to demise as he tried to loft a ball from Bryce Cunningham into the next postcode but unfortunately he missed it by a foot and he lost his off stump. There was little joy for the rest of the middle order as Cricketweb 'A' captain Sean Fuller destroyed them with some quality swing bowling, some say Fuller has been vastly under used by Blue this season and perhaps he was sending a message to his own skipper Travis Demeza with an excellent spell of 5/53 from 11 overs. Despite a late cameo from Stuart Broad England struggled their way to 197 all out as they could barely bat out half of the first day, perhaps it was the minor interruptions they had for rain or maybe it was just the quality of bowling for the home side but this England team looked very underdone during this innings.
Nick Scott and Josh Ritchie came out to bat for the 'A' side knowing they had a fabulous opportunity to post a big score, Scott has been the form opener of the Dev League this season while Ritchie salvaged his spot in this side with a recent ton for Black. Scott was the first to go, as he attempted to duck under a Graham Onions bouncer he left his bat a little high and the ball deflected to Graeme Swann at gully who took the easiest of catches. Ritchie looked in improved form as he hit his was to 45 before being trapped in front by Mark Davies, Sean Fuller was next to go after a 95 run partnership with Robert Cribb, the skipper was on his way for an excellent 88. CW Red batsman John Heads was returning form injury to play this game looked a little out of sorts, the talented middle order grafter could only make 11 as his dreams of a test debut all but vanished as he walked off the field. Two guys who did take their chances though were Robert Cribb and Rob Bowen, Cribb has had a new lease of life since leaving Blue to join Green in the off season and the number 4 batsman celebrated his first 'A' team match with a typically controlled hundred, the 233 ball innings yielded him 117 runs as he played himself into prime position to snatch a spot in the test side. That was until Rob Bowen got going, the Blue vice-captain went into the game intent on playing his natural game, the result was his third hundred of the season all at a strike rate of around 150. Today's effort was a 66 ball hundred and by the time he was dismissed he had made 146 runs from only 100 balls. David Richards showed his worth with the bat by scoring an unbeaten half century as CW'A' batted for the declaration, the call came from captain Sean Fuller with the score at 512/7, Mark Davies was the pick of the bowlers with 4/123.
England had the best part of four sessions to salvage something from this match but things weren't exactly going to plan when Strauss fell to Heath Davis, this time off the very first ball of the innings, the captain looked dejected as he walked off the field knowing the whole tour was in danger of going up in smokes unless his team dug in. His opening partner Alistair Cook didn't last long and his 3 runs barely made a dent in the deficit. Michael Carberry again looked like the most likely of the top 3 but he only scraped together 21 runs, it was failures again for Davies and Paul Collingwood so it was left up to Kevin Pietersen to hold the innings together. Their star batsman knew the score, he had to play within himself to avoid the innings defeat, he did eventually go on to score a hundred and his strike rate at well below 50 showed the effort he was willing to put in for his side even in a tour game, all rounder Stuart Broad also did his part in batting England to a safe position as he scored a patient 97 down the order. The job wasn't done though, the tourists were still 29 runs behind when the last pair of Broad and Graham Onions came together, they did manage to put on 64 runs for the last wicket but it was the time it took up that was key. While Broad was excellent during his innings Onions too can be credited with scoring an unbeaten 33 and lasting out 86 balls. England were all out for 350 with David Richards and Heath Davis taking 3 wickets each.
Cricketweb 'A' were faced with the virtually impossible task of scoring 36 runs from 2 overs to win the game, with pretty much all the England fielders on the fence Nick Scott ame out to open as expected, however he was joined by the unfamiliar Rob Bowen in a sign that the home side were going to have a dig at the runs regardless of how unlikely it was. 10 runs came from Graham Onions opening over meaning 26 was required off the final over, with Bowen on strike and capable of hitting the cricket ball a long way they were still a minor chance, however it was not to be as he went for a wild swipe outside off stump he succeded only in dragging the ball onto his stumps. With the wicket of Bowen the match was called off as CW'A' finished at 10/1 and it was a draw.
England XI 197
AN Cook 40, MA Carberry 36, SE Fuller 5/53, DJ Watt 3/63
Cricketweb 'A' 512/dec/7
RF Bowen 146, RGEWS Cribb 117, SE Fuller 88, M Davies 4/123
England XI 350
KP Peitersen 105, SCJ Broad 97, HT Davis 3/66, DP Richards 3/91
Cricketweb 'A' 10/1
RF Bowen 6, SCJ Broad 1/0
Man of the Match: RF Bowen (CW'A')