Cow Corner

  • Two days ago Cowers penned a piece in celebration of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, but watching him in this Test it is becoming clear that there's a downside to Shiv as well.

    He's rated the best Test batsman in the world at present, has faced 270 balls in this match without being dismissed. On the face of it, it's perverse to point out any negatives.

    Michael Holding was fascinating on the subject of Chanderpaul on a commentary stint in the first innings of this match. When asked where the Guyanan stood in the pantheon of great West Indian batsman, he was less than euphoric.

    "How many games has his

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  • Was Strauss really under pressure?

    18 months of waiting...

    A casual sweep of the newspapers prior to the Test series between England and West Indies indicated that Andrew Strauss was supposedly under a great deal of pressure.

    The England captain had indeed endured a torrid run of form prior to the English summer, but he confounded his critics with an unerring knock at Lord's to record his 20th Test ton.

    Albeit against an ineffectual West Indies attack, Strauss kept his composure with dark clouds circling and under lights for his fifth century at the Home of Cricket.

    In addition to drawing level with team-mate Kevin Pietersen on 20 Test centuries and

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  • You can’t shift the Shiv

    Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who was deservedly named England's Player of the Year on Monday, again excelled as the pacemen got the summer off to a fine start with West Indies put to the sword.

    It was a very tough, frustrating day at times for England's bowlers as Shivnarine Chanderpaul - the world's top-ranked Test batsman - set up camp at the crease and stubbornly refused to even entertain the prospect of leaving.

    Chanderpaul defied the hosts as he battled on and on with just Broad and Anderson able to make breakthroughs, but the potency of the pair with the ball swinging was again very

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  • The West Indies: Credible opponents?

    Chris Gayle is back in the West Indies fold - but it sadly isn't going to turn the West Indies back into a force to be reckoned with any time soon.

    Coming into the 'summer' series against England (UK residents looking out their windows may need a reminder that summertime is a mere few weeks away), the West Indies are rated seventh of the Test teams, and eighth of the ODI sides.

    As the documentary Fire in Babylon reminded fans, the great West Indian team of the 1970s and 1980s arose because the players were no longer prepared to be dismissed as 'calypso cricketers', putting in entertaining

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  • Should England be concerned about Broad?

    Andy Flower is not the only one deeply troubled by the persistent injuries and IPL commitments affecting his players, with Stuart Broad's fitness issues perhaps the greatest concern.

    The England paceman, and crucial all-round contributor to the side, continues to fight off the nagging calf strain which kept him out of the second Test against Sri Lanka; but that is just the latest injury set-back.

    Broad had a contract with Kings XI Punjab with the England management, understandably, left in the position of hoping he would not be ruled fit enough to fulfil. That proved to be the case.

    This is

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  • England’s series ratings in Sri Lanka

    Make no mistake about it, England have endured a pretty dismal winter with a 3-0 series defeat against Pakistan in the UAE, and losing the first Test match in Sri Lanka at Galle.

    But Andy Flower's side retained their status at the top of the world Test rankings with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory in Colombo to level the series at 1-1 against Sri Lanka and end on a high.

    Excluding Bangladesh, this was only England's second Test victory on the subcontinent in the last 10 years. That is the scale of the achievement at the P Sara Oval.

    It was undoubtedly a very mixed two-match series for

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  • How can the DRS be improved?

    The debate rages on. The controversial Decision Review System continues to divide opinion, frustrate, confuse, mystify, antagonise and infuriate.

    Yet again, the interpretation of the system left many utterly bewildered and disillusioned with coaches again storming into the match referee's office to demand explanations.

    Players, coaches and spectators were all left seeking clarification for decisions made with the aid of the DRS, and everyone seems to have their own solution to the problem.

    The latest talking point came when Sri Lanka were aggrieved about the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

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  • KP’s switch hit sparks stand-off

    After an innings like the one we saw at the P Sara Stadium in Colombo Stadium today, it's only fitting that Kevin Pietersen's strokeplay is the first point of discussion.

    Unfortunately it is the switch hit will dominate the discussion, after a curious confrontation between Pietersen, Sri Lanka and the two umpires as KP arrowed in on his century.

    Pietersen had already played the switch hit on a couple of occasions, but in an extraordinary over during which Pietersen moved from 86 to 104, Tillakaratne Dilshan decided he wouldn't put up with it any more, and decided not to release the ball when

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  • England discover that patience is fruitful

    England's batsmen have come in for a lot of criticism this winter, and rightly so, but Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook demonstrated the value of a patient, pragmatic approach in Colombo.

    The ultra-defensive, negative batting in the UAE was followed by an overly ambitious and, ultimately careless, set of performances in Galle as the batsmen's struggles in subcontinent conditions continued.

    But Strauss and Cook showed a remarkable transformation in their mindsets as the pair played in a courageous, yet considered, fashion to give the tourists a strong platform from which to build as they

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  • Monty a victim of England’s bowling riches

    The question at the start of the second Test was whether England had made a mistake by dropping Monty Panesar from their bowling ranks.

    Out went the spinner and the injured Stuart Broad, in came Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan.

    For some, it evoked memories of the 2008 series in New Zealand, when after defeat in the first Test in Hamilton following a fourth-innings score of 110 all out, the selectors responded by dropping two bowlers — Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard, and keeping faith with the floundering batsmen instead.

    But the circumstances are different.

    Then the bowlers were at the end of

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