After Bodyline, Douglas Jardine famously gave Harold Larwood an ashtray with the inscription ‘from a grateful Skipper’ as a token of his appreciation. If Andrew Strauss had half a heart he would commission a job lot at the end of this winter for his own bowlers, especially if their latest effort goes some way to help reduce the level of noise over his own position.
For all the speculation surrounding Strauss, some invented, some self-inflicted, the best evidence of a captain’s suitability for the job has always been the conduct and attitude of his team in the field. Despite the results, England have looked a highly disciplined, professional and motivated unit throughout the winter, and yesterday, led by the magnificent Jimmy Anderson once again, was no different.
It could have been a difficult day. The toss went again Strauss again; the pitch, whilst dry and cracked, played well enough, with occasional low bounce suggesting more to come, and conditions were about as harsh as they could possibly be on a cricket field. If there were any doubts about how truthful the words of those who had been thrust forward in the week to defend Strauss were, then yesterday would have revealed them. It was a day when discord could have easily risen to the surface.