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  • 13 Aug
    导出博客文章PITTSBURGH -- Music was blaring in the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse late
    Wednesday night.Thats not all that unusual, but it seemed just a little louder
    than normal, and the players seemed more upbeat.Thats because they not only
    avoided a sweep by St. Louis, but also ended an eight-game losing streak with a
    4-3 victory against the Cardinals.That will allow the Pirates to go into a
    four-game home series against the Cincinnati Reds starting Thursday without that
    skid hanging over them.Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle preaches the
    day-at-a-time approach as much as anyone, but seemed as relieved as
    anyone.Absolutely, he said, smiling. You play to win. You want to play well, and
    you have a process we follow (but) winnings better than losing. Ive figured that
    much out.Hurdle is one win shy of becoming the sixth Pirates manager in history
    to reach 500 wins with the club.For the first time in several days, the Pirates
    are in a better spot then their opponent. Pittsburgh (68-69) can get back to
    .500 with a strong weekend and still has a shot at the postseason, trailing St.
    Louis -- which holds the second wild-card spot -- by 4 1/2 games.Cincinnati has
    lost four in a row and eight of 10 and is playing out the season.The Reds on
    Wednesday lost at home 6-3 to New York, giving the Mets a three-game sweep.
    Cincinnati is 57-81 but has played Pittsburgh close. The Pirates hold a 6-5 edge
    in 11 meetings and outscored the Reds by only 40-39.Cincinnati made three outs
    on the bases early and missed a lot of opportunities Wednesday against the Mets.
    Manager Bryan Price describes that as atypical, even for his underachieving
    club.In fact, Price guaranteed better performances at PNC Park.When youre (this)
    far under .500, to have regular games like this as a regular part of what were
    doing would make it a way more challenging season than it already is, Price told Guys, for the most part, have really played hard and played relatively
    to their ability and sometimes beyond. (Wednesday) will be something we dont see
    for a long time. Im confident in that. This isnt our typical game by any means.
    We will certainly play better in Pittsburgh.The Reds had runners on base in
    every inning Wednesday but stranded 12, going 3-for-13 with runners in scoring
    position.Its a tough series, but hopefully we get back on track against
    Pittsburgh and try to finish the season strong, Anthony DeSclafani, who took the
    loss Wednesday, told Dan Straily (11-7, 3.83 ERA) is
    scheduled to start Thursday for Cincinnati. Hes already made a career-high 29
    appearances and makes his career-high 28th start. He is 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in
    seven appearances (four starts) against Pittsburgh.The Pirates counter with
    right-hander Ivan Nova (11-6, 4.34).Nova is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his first six
    starts since Pittsburgh acquired him from the Yankees on Aug. 1. He allowed two
    runs in six innings in a no-decision Saturday against Milwaukee in his last
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    flattered, Dudley told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. When Alastair
    Cook walked out for the toss in Chittagong on October 20, 2016, he became
    Englands most capped Test player. At the time of writing, he holds every England
    Test batting record worth holding. He has made more Test runs, more Test
    hundreds, more Test fifties and played in more Test wins (and scored more runs
    in Test wins) than any other England cricketer in history.He has captained
    England in 54 Tests, a record he currently shares with Mike Atherton. Since
    World War II, only Joe Root, Denis Compton, Ken Barrington and Len Hutton have
    improved on Cooks career Test average of 47.Cooks Test average matches that of
    Kevin Pietersen, Ted Dexter, Peter May, Dennis Amiss and Geoff Boycott. No other
    England player since the war averages better than 45 runs per dismissal. Cook is
    also the only English player to score more than 10,000 Test runs. In the current
    England line-up, Root is more than 6000 runs behind.Cook belongs in exalted
    company. But perhaps the most stunning thing about his career is that it has
    taken him fewer than 11 years to achieve all these records. Thats less than half
    the length of Sachin Tendulkars Test career. If Cook plays for as long as
    Tendulkar did, he will play nearly 300 Test matches, score nearly 24,000 Test
    runs and 66 Test hundreds, provided he maintains his current rate. At the end,
    hell be a very tired 45-year-old man.As Misbah-ul-Haq has shown, its possible
    for an experienced player to be capable of Test-quality play after the age of
    40.For the 192 players whose careers have lasted as long as Cooks has so far,
    the median number of Tests played is 67. Cook has averaged one Test every 29
    days during his career. Among players of comparable longevity, those who come
    closest to this are Mark Boucher (34 days per Test) and Rahul Dravid (35 days
    per Test). Tendulkar played a Test once every 44 days during his career.Until
    the turn of the century, the player who most resembled Cooks unusually high
    frequency of Test caps was Allan Border, who averaged a Test every 36 days.
    Border played about ten Tests per year during his career. Cook has played 12.5.
    Until Cook came along, the fastest player to 133 Tests was Boucher and it took
    him nearly 21 extra months. If Tendulkar had played Tests at the rate that Cook
    has, then he would have ended up with about 75 career Test hundreds. At first
    glance, these are doubtful extrapolations. In the case of elite Test batsmen
    (such as all those who score, say, at least 5000 Test runs), it can be safely
    assumed that they do not lack the quality to be regular Test players. Further,
    the evidence suggests that it is extremely difficult to be an elite regular Test
    player. We can therefore safely assume that barring injury, the risk of one of
    these elite players suddenly losing the ability to score runs at Test level is
    small.Injuries are far more likely to interrupt their careers than selection
    troubles. Michael Vaughan suffered from chronic injury problems that almost
    certainly curtailed his Test career. Ravi Shastri played 80 Tests for India and
    scored Test hundreds in England, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan in the
    1980s and early 90s and yet played his final Test before his 31st birthday
    thanks to chronic injuries.But injuries are rare in the case of pure batsmen.
    Test cricket remains that rare sport in which exceptionally skilled specialist
    batsmen remain extremely valuable to Test teams even if they are no longer
    fleet-footed in the outfield.The difficulties England have faced in trying to
    replace Andrew Strauss at the top of the Test batting order illustrate just how
    hard it is to find a quality Test batsman. Since Strauss retirement in August
    2012, Nick Compton, Michael Carberry, Alex Hales, Adam Lyth, Sam Robson and
    Moeen Ali have averaged 26 at the top of Englands order. The search for an
    opening partner for Cook continues with Ben Duckett.Root has been Cooks most
    successful opening partner since Strauss, but hes too important in the middle
    order to be considered.Cooks position as the most prolific English Test
    run-getter is unlikelyy to be seriously challenged in the near
    future.dddddddddddd Among his contemporaries, only Pietersen and Ian Bell could
    challenge him and neither is likely to play for England again.Root will probably
    break many of Cooks records eventually, but Cook is only 31. If nothing else,
    Root will face stiff targets. Whats more, Cook has already been through a
    prolonged slump, which most players who enjoy long careers invariably have to
    endure at least once. Root will have to endure his own slumps.Over 134 Tests,
    Cooks career is marked by two outstanding series performances. He made 766 runs
    in Australia in a five-Test series in 2010-11, and 562 runs in a four-Test
    series in India in 2012-13. These two series account for just over 12% of his
    career Test runs and a quarter of his career Test hundreds to date in about 7%
    of his Tests.Of his other five Ashes series, only one, the 2015 series in
    England could be considered a moderate success. Cook made 330 runs at 36 in this
    series. The other four series brought him 1020 runs in 20 Tests at 26.5 with a
    solitary century. His two South African tours have produced contrasting returns
    - 287 runs at 41 in 2009-10, and 184 runs at 23 in 2015-16. His home series
    against the visiting South Africans have been similarly contrasting. He made 329
    runs at 47 in seven innings without a century in 2008. In 2012 he made 195 in
    six completed innings - 115 of those came in one innings. Cook has had a happy
    time in India. His Test debut in Nagpur (60, 104*) was a triumph. After this it
    took him a further 17 innings to reach a century against India. When he did, it
    ended at 294, his highest Test score. That innings, like so many of his marathon
    masterpieces was marked by unerring judgement outside off stump and extremely
    disciplined treatment of length.When India toured England in 2014, Cook had been
    through a couple of low-scoring years by the standards of an elite Test player.
    He did not make a century in that series, but it was clear that his slump was
    past him. Since that series, apart from a lean tour to South Africa, Cook has
    been his old prolific self.For all of Cooks accomplishments, it will take a
    brave cricket fan to select him to an all-time post-World War II England XI
    today. Is he a better Test opener than Gooch, let alone Hutton or Boycott?What
    is remarkable about Cook is his age. When Misbah was 31, he had played a grand
    total of five Test matches. He had never captained Pakistan. Steve Waugh made 20
    Test hundreds after his 32nd birthday. Dravid, Tendulkar and Brian Lara made
    more than 5000 Test runs after they turned 32. Lara had, arguably, the best
    phase of the Test career after he turned 32.Following Englands triumphant tour
    of India in 2012-13, there was a great deal of discussion about the near
    inevitability of Cook breaking Tendulkars all-time record for Test caps, Test
    aggregate and Test hundreds. While his subsequent slump silenced these
    discussions, his recent recovery ought to prompt a rethink.If Cook plays 200
    Tests, then, provided he does not suffer a slump of the kind Tendulkar suffered
    over his last 20 Tests, he should be mighty close to Tendulkars all-time
    aggregate. Tendulkars 51 Test hundreds will be more difficult for Cook to
    surpass than his aggregate. To play 200 Tests at his current rate of 12.5 per
    year, Cook will have to play for another six years. He will still only be
    37.With the exception of Pietersen, recent England captains - Atherton, Nasser
    Hussain, Vaughan, Paul Collingwood and Strauss - have retired in their mid-30s.
    Pietersen and Alec Stewart are the exceptions, each for very different reasons.
    If this pattern holds, then 200 Tests will remain a doubtful landmark for Cook.
    But as things stand, Cook could end his career having attained or just about
    crossed most of Tendulkars all-time milestones. It will be a gargantuan
    achievement if he does. But even if he doesnt, Cooks place in the history books
    is assured. ' ' '