The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley


Experimental England squad defeat de Villiers and co 2-1

Mason’s craft

‘Who was your first international wicket?’

‘AB de Villiers.'

In both matches 45.83 per cent of Crane’s delvieries were fired towards de Villiers, quite the baptism, no tail-end fodder to start things.

On his home ground the spinner was thrust into the attack eight overs in, Crane quickly got into his rhythm, displaying variations, producing his googly second ball. There he finished with figures of 4-0-24-0, with de Villiers scoring 12 from 11, hitting Crane for one boundary.

At Cardiff the South Africa skipper had more joy attacking the spinner, scoring 27 from 11 with two fours and two sixes. Crane however eventually got his man, de Villiers looking to go big picked out Alex Hales on the rope. The young spinner was more expensive with figures of 4-0-38-1 but that ‘one’ in the wicket column will live long in the memory.

Captain Morgan defends rum decision

Should a England relentlessly pick their strongest XI, or is there a case for using certain matches to experiment, as they have done in this series?

With several key players already missing, Eoin Morgan’s decision to rest himself – despite England’s next white-ball match being 83 days away – understandably left some supporters feeling short changed.

While it is interesting to see new blood coming through, for the paying punter it is understandable that they want to see England’s star players. Speaking on Test Match Special, former England batsman James Taylor said: “He’s the leader and he should be playing.”

In response, speaking to Ian Ward on Sky Sports, Morgan said: It’s a very difficult situation... this is an important part of our development for this series. You have to look to the long-term."

Curran impresses in England shirt

Another debut, another England talent impressing with the ball. It has been a matter of when, not if with Curran, the same goes for his brother and Surrey team-mate, Sam.

At Taunton the Surrey seamer struck with his second ball as Reeza Hendricks dragged on, he duped Chris Morris with a slower ball and produced his yorker to upend Andile Phehlukwayo’s off stump.

3 for 33 in Somerset was followed by figures of 4-0-22-2 at Cardiff to mark a promising start to what one would assume will be a long international career.

Malan keeps up with the youngsters

At 29 Dawid Malan is no old guard, but in comparison to the likes of Crane and Curran, he’s certainly a late bloomer. It may have been some time coming but Malan looked right at home, slippers, pipe, armchair, the whole lot.

He blasted 78 from 44 deliveries – the highest score by and England player on T20I debut. His second ball was pulled high and handsome for six off Morris, he hit Morne Morkel for a crunching straight six out of the ground and displayed the more innovative shots with ramp and flicks through fine leg. It was a high-class innings from the Middlesex debutant.

Overton made to wait…

Craig Overton was the one unlucky uncapped player not to make his debut. Somerset’s director of cricket, Matt Maynard, took to social media to vent his disappointment.