This was a fight, Joshua could not afford to lose. He didn’t. He perfected his gameplay of hit and not get hit. He called this the sweet science of boxing. Ruiz came in overweight putting on 19lbs from the last fight. I don’t understand the logic of that. When you are chubby why would you put on weight? Joshua, on the other hand, leaned out and came in a stone lighter. I think that this really helped him. Joshua was extremely proactive in having a different and better training camp however he kept and trusted his trainer Rob McCracken this paid off with a very effective gameplan. Ruiz will be frustrated as he has admitted he didn’t work as hard for this fight. He should have partied less and trained more. Although would you be dedicated to your job if you had millions and millions in the bank? Joshua will defend his mandatory next against Usyk but after this everyone wants the same thing. AJ vs Fury or Wilder or in a perfect world he beats one and then fights the other after and wins.
- Joe Root, an obvious selection as the captain. This is a big tour for him all England fans are rooting for him to keep up his form.
- James Anderson, we all know how good he is. However, he has to back himself to be fit for the Ashes your away in Australia otherwise he is wasting somebody else’s place.
- Jofra Archer, a disappointing tour for Jof. He has undoubted talent but needs to apply himself. Root needs to be clear in how he is going to use him he is more than just a bouncer merchant.
- Jonny Bairstow, I don’t know why he is back in the team. If he wasn’t good enough after the Ashes why is he suddenly good enough now?
- Stuart Broad, disappointing against New Zealand, however, he seems to enjoy playing against South Africa. Hopefully, he has a better tour.
- Rory Burns, he has shown he is a test match opener in the ashes and against New Zealand. Long may it continue.
- Jos Butler tweaked his back in New Zealand. Hopefully, he is back and ready for a big tour against South Africa.
- Zak Crawley, only 1 in his innings but hopefully he gets a chance against South Africa and makes an impact.
- Sam Curran looked England’s most threatening bowler at times. Will look to cement his place in the team in South Africa.
- Jack Leach an average game in new Zealand and dropped for the last game. He will hope to bounce back.
- Matthew Parkinson didn’t get a game in New Zealand. He will hope to do more than just carry the drinks in South Africa.
- Ollie pope showed great promise with 75 in the last test. He will hope to cement his place in South Africa against a very difficult attack.
- Dom Sibley a disappointing couple of games but will hope to back bounce in South Africa. If he fails in the first few tests I am sure Crawley will be knocking on the door.
- Ben Stokes looked in goods form will hope to repeat his heroics of the last South African tour.
- Chris Woakes was England’s best bowler in the last test. With lots of competition for places, he will look to have a few big performances.
- Mark Wood still coming back from an injury from the world cup. He showed great potential against the west indies and will hope to replicate that form.
- Liverpool 5 Everton 2, it was a clinical performance from Liverpool without having Alisson and Fabihno. Liverpool even rested Firmino and Salah for this game. However, it didn’t matter as 4 goals in the first half it but one it for the reds. This mounts incredible pressure on Marco Silva with Everton finding themselves 18th in the league. A club this good shouldn’t be there and I think Marco Silva isn’t the right man.
- Manchester United 2- Tottenham 1. Marcus Rashford the match-winner for United with two goals early in both half’s. Dele Ali’s goal was a real plus for Tottenham. It showed his undoubted natural talent. When that is matched with tactical nous and experience he will be one hell of a player. This is the type of game you hire Mourinho to win. If he is not winning the big games like these you have got to question him. Are his best days behind him?
- Chelsea 2- Aston Villa 1. A fine volley from Mason Mount that finished of a free-flowing move from Chelsea which really highlights the way they are playing. Abraham’s first goal and his assist for Mason Mount underlined his quality. He hasn’t scored in a few games but like any good striker be bounced back. This win keeps Chelsea at fourth. Champions league football for the blues next year would be a very good achievement from Frank.
- Select the right team. England’s last team selection was very questionable. 5 seamers and no spinner over a 5-day test match I don’t think is the right balance.
- Score big hundreds, England’s occasions where they have knuckled and batted for long periods of times is where they have won test matches or come close to it. Burns and Root were great examples of this. England was seemingly behind in the second game with New Zealand posting a big score. However, Burns and Root knuckled down and they ended up with a lead of 100.
- Bring the correct cover. If England took another wicketkeeper to the tour they may well of one that game. Pope scored a quality 75 but the drop of Williamson was costly. On a flat pitch with no lateral movement not taking a simple leg-side catch was costly for England.
- Stick to bowling plans. There have been lots of times in this series where England have gone long periods of times without a wicket. They need to keep to a plan and become patient and not become erratic.
- This is a very big tour for England. South Africa has lots of problems and England have a young exciting team. If they win and win well it could lead them on to bigger things.
England struggled to penetrate through the pairing of Taylor and Williamson on day 5. They both scored unbeaten hundreds to save the game for New Zealand. However, England had their chances. Williamson dropped on 39 and 62. The first a hard chance for Pope who couldn’t hold on diving to his left. The second was a lot more straightforward. Archer had out skilled Williamson with a brilliant slower ball he lobbed the simplest of catches up to Joe Denly who dropped it. Would Leach have been able to make an impact on this pitch? I’m not sure however I’m certain it would have given England another option. Furthermore as a batter if everything is seam it is going to get predictable on a flat pitch. However, there were positives in this test. Burns showed his class as a test match opener. Pope showed that he should be selected for South Africa with a skill full 75. He accelerated from a point where he was 19 off of 90 balls. I don’t think anybody minds that. Last but not least the skill of Joe Root. He has shower why Joe Root the batsman is world-class. It looked like he was batting without distractions, long may it continue.
There have been a few big moves in the county games over the last few weeks. The main one is the confirmation of Malan going to Yorkshire. He has been signed on a four-year deal. He has enjoyed 13 very good year’s at Middlesex but he opted for a new challenge. At 32 years old this will most probably where he sees out his career. Hampshire has signed Nathan Lyon for the county championship only. However, he is available for only the early season April fixtures. This seems a strange decision because of April time on off-spinner, whoever they are, probably won’t do much especially if they can’t really bat. Pat Brown has been picked up in the big bash by the Melbourne stars to replace Dale Steyn when he is on international duty. Pat is also set to play in the t10 league in Abhu Dubai. Nicholas Pooran has resigned for Yorkshire for the majority of the t20 blast. Last year he scored a memorable 67 off 28 in Yorkshire’s win over Leicestershire. Gale, the coach, says he will available for 11-12 games.
Ajax v Chelsea what a game. 2 own goals 2 red cards and 8 goals in a 4-4 thriller. The game started in dramatic style with an Abraham goal after only two minutes. Chelsea responded through netting a penalty to even up the scoring from the eventual man of the match Jorghino. However, a headed goal from the young exciting Quincy Promes made it 2-1. Then a spectacular own goal when the ball hit Kepa’s fave from the rebound made it 3-1. An exciting first half. Then after the break, Van De Beek looked to have one it for Ajax slotting away from 12 yards. However, this was just the start of an exciting comeback from Chelsea. Kickstarted from the captain Cezar finished from close range to make it 4-2 in the 63rd minute. Game on. Then only 8 minutes later a shot hit Joel Vettmans arm it was a penalty. Jorghino slotted away his second penalty to make it 4-3. There was real belief. Young substitute Reece James them came on to level the scoring with a low strike. The game ended 4-4 but it’s not one anyone will forget in a while. Ajax Chelsea and Valencia are all level on points so it will be a decisive round of games in group H.