Ravi Bopara has been an absolute batting genius for England against the West Indies. Three Test innings for three hundreds (104, 143, 108). Now take those three innings out of his career record, and what are left with?
Against Sri Lanka in 2007: 8, 34, 0, 0, 0.
Against Australia in 2009 to date: 35, 1, 18, 27, 23, 1, 0.
That's 147 runs at 12.15. And three of those four quackers were solid gold, including Saturday afternoon's demise.
Those numbers may have as much to say about the state of West Indian cricket as they do about Bopara's inappropriateness for the England number three position. Bopara hasn't played a single game for Essex this season. Make a date for the Championship Division Two game at home against Surrey starting August 19. He surely won't be playing at Surrey's home ground that weekend in the Fifth Test.
There's a chap by the name of Jonathan Trott who was named in the England squad this week, then sent back to Warwickshire where scored 78, well below his season's average to date of 91.00. And who's this 39 year-old lad from Surrey who's on the brink of his 108th first-class hundred this morning?
The apparent revelation that a member of Australian yobbistas "The Fanatics" set off the fire alarm at the England team hotel at 4am on Friday morning is simply dumbfounding. While it would be churlish to blame England's first innings performance on interrupted sleep, this was a very, very unfunny thing for any so-called cricket fan to be doing. Especially after the violent attack on the Sri Lankan Test team at Lahore in March. Whoever was responsible should be turned over to the Yorkshire Police and transported to Australia to perform compulsory armed service such as targeted air strikes on feral camels.
Having written next to nothing about another amazing day's play at Headingley, I give you the day's Midwinter-Midwinter votes: Marcus North 3 pts, Michael Clarke 2, Mitchell Johnson 1. Clarke now joins Paul Collingwood as joint leader on 8 pts with a truckload of players on 6.