As a Surrey County cricket fan, I've been following Jade Dernbach's career as a bowler for around four years. If I'm honest, I've been surprised at how quickly he's made it into the England team over the last nine months or so — I'd have projected that he needed to wait and develop for at least one more season. But he got the call-up to play with the England Lions in the West Indies over the winter, got plenty of wickets, then an opening emerged, and he grasped it.
Still, I was nervous when he got handed the ball to bowl the penultimate over in the series-decider against Sri Lanka this afternoon, with the opposition needing 17 runs from 12 balls with two wickets remaining. Jade can be great "at the death", but he can also be erratic: there was a chance that his first three balls would go for 10 and the game would effectively be over. He evidently wasn't as nervous as me, because he never got to bowl that third ball: he took the two wickets in the first two balls. Not "game effectively over"; game over, full stop. Attaboy.
The text commentator at Cricinfo appeared to be sceptical at first, too:
Dernbach, what are you made of? In his first series he has a huge task here.
Dernbach to Mathews, OUT, slower ball has done for Mathews! Dernbach screams to the heavens! Great delivery! Mathews was completely deceived, played much too early, lost one hand off the bat and it looped to Bresnan at short third man who held on. Brilliant innings but it might not be enough
AD Mathews c Bresnan b Dernbach 62 (102m 64b 6x4 0x6) SR: 96.87
That could just about be the final blow. That 15-run partnership between Anderson and Dernbach at the end of the England innings has been pivotal.
Dernbach to Malinga, OUT, bowled him! Dernbach is appealing at first but realises soon enough he's won the match for England! Spearing yorker bursts under the bat and rattles the stumps! England go wild, the crowd goes wild! Cook has pulled off victory in his first series as full-time captain
SL Malinga b Dernbach 6 (6m 2b 0x4 1x6) SR: 300.00
[Picture taken from a Murdoch-owned media company without permission. I bet they never take anything without permission. Oh, wait.]