Cow Corner

  • Does this see-saw Test have one final twist left?

    It looks as if England have finally got the better of Australia after a wonderful start to the Ashes at Trent Bridge.

    This blog has cast its doubt on the quality of the contest at times – but not for a moment the drama and entertainment. This has been breathless, fluctuating fare, the sort of contest that very few contests other than Test cricket can provide.

    How many times has the momentum swung one way, only to go the other? And that is why, despite conventional wisdom suggesting England have this in the bag, it would be a brave man who bets against a final twist.

    To illustrate the point,

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  • A controversial incident involving England's Stuart Broad was played down by players from both sides after a gripping third day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Friday.

    The blond all-rounder edged spinner Ashton Agar on to the gloves of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and through to Michael Clarke at slip but, with the Australian players celebrating, umpire Aleem Dar did not raise his finger.

    Broad refused to "walk", leaving the Australian players shaking their heads in disbelief and sparking a huge debate on Twitter about the spirit of cricket.

    England batsman Kevin Pietersen said his

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  • Broad ‘cheated’ spectacularly and unashamedly

    Stuart Broad 'cheated'.

    That’s really the only place you can start on this incident.

    If you didn’t see it, let’s begin this piece with a short explanation of the circumstances.

    Broad was 37 not out in a promising partnership with Ian Bell. England were all but batting their way into a match-winning lead when Broad edged a wide ball from Ashton Agar. Brad Haddin let the ball slip through his gloves – but it popped up for Michael Clarke to take the catch.

    WICKET! appeared in the live comments. Sky Sports rolled their wickets tally on from six to seven down.

    Image - Sky Sports

    Everybody saw it.

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  • KP and Cook – same record, different perceptions

    Back in November 2012 Cow Corner wrote about how valuable Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen were to England, and rarely more so than when in partnership at the crease.

    Their partnership record is one of the most prolific and successful in England's Test history.

    When batting together, they have amassed 3362 runs in 54 innings at an average of 65.92 - bolstered by their 13th 100-run partnership in the second innings at Trent Bridge.

    Today's (and last night's) dig moved England from a deficit and real peril at 11 for two to the relatively strong position of a 56-run lead. Pietersen's dismissal

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  • Sky’s Hot Spot gaffe costs Trott his wicket

    England were left to rue a tough lbw decision against Jonathan Trott - and Sky's own Ashes coverage was responsible for costing him his wicket.

    Trott was given out leg-before wicket after a successful review from Australia. Mitchell Starc's delivery was clearly going on to hit the stumps, but there appeared to be a chance that he had got a faint inside-edge with the bat before it hit him on the pads.

    Hot Spot - which uses infra-red cameras to sense and measure heat, thereby establishing whether the ball has made contact with the edge of the bat - did not show anything front-on, but television

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  • Even England fans were upset when Ashton Agar fell for 98

    Ashton Agar had cricket fans agape with a stupendous innings of 98 on his debut - from number 11 - at the age of just 19.

    He broke record after record, finally eclipsing Tino Best's 95, the previous best from number 11.

    As the final landmark approached, even England fans found themselves willing him on. As journalist Kevin Mitchell put it:

    "If anyone doesn't want Agar the Orrible to get a hundred, he or she is bloodless. That said, 100 is quite enough, young man"

    But just as he hooked the ball towards the boundary for his century, he was caught by Graeme Swann in the deep.

    Twitter let out a

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  • Cricketing lexicon: ‘The next hour is crucial’

    In a semi-regular feature during this Ashes series we will be bringing you some terms you may hear bandied about in commentary and explaining their uses.

    Term: ‘The next/first hour is crucial’

    When it’s actually applicable: Almost always

    Why that’s true: When play began this morning, for example, the next hour was obviously hugely important. Negotiate it safely, and Australia have the rest of the day in sunny conditions on a flat pitch with England a bowler down to build a lead. If England strike early, it’s them who might be able to bat through the afternoon and evening sessions and turn the

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  • The Premier League of cricket contests

    There’s an advert on television at the moment for the Co-Operative supermarket. Against the sounds of Christmassy feel-good tune It’s the most wonderful time of the year they show roasting summer days, barbeques and good times (all made better by some delicious and affordable food and drink).

    Cow Corner rather likes that ad – because when an Ashes series approaches you do find yourself counting down the days (there’s a little Mike Gatting-inspired pie in every window of Cowers’ Ashes advent calendar). You wonder what history will be written, who will emerge with their reputations enhanced or

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  • England are sure of themselves. Very, very sure of themselves. The players are brimming with confidence, the coaches have reason behind their expectation and the fans are already considering the scoreline of the series rather than the result.

    'I'm going for 3-1'; '4-1 for me'; 'It will be a whitewash!'; 'The Aussies won't win a match against us all year'. The certainty with which England supporters are predicting a comfortable win over Australia in the Ashes series that gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday is startling, but understandable.

    England, ranked comfortably above Australia in

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  • England v Australia: Predicted Ashes line-ups compared

    The eagerly-anticipated first Ashes Test between England and Australia gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, and one team is considerably more settled than the other.

    It is often said that cricket is a team game made up of individual contests: between bat and ball, opposite numbers and one-on-one battles. The scrutiny of the two respective line-ups is always relentless and this series is no different.

    England's team is fairly settled under the composed captaincy of the talismanic Alastair Cook with only a choice of three pacemen from the five in the 13-man squad to be made by the

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