Before I move on to any assessment of today’s play, I thought it was right to wish Michael Carberry all the very best wishes from all on here (and I’m pretty sure for once, I’m speaking for all of you) in his battle against cancer. I’m always hit quite hard when hearing about people younger than me, fitter than me etc. falling foul of that awful disease. I wish Michael all the best. It’s all we can do. Good luck.
With that awful news breaking at the end of the day’s play, complaining or moaning about the action seems somewhat out of place. But let’s get the good out of the way first. As Chris said yesterday, real lives really do interrupt our ability to do full justice to what went on. Chris was there today and can no doubt let us know his views on what he saw. I was in the office – the workers, united, will never be able to watch weekday cricket – and could follow it only on the internet, until I managed to sneak out early, courtesy of a ragging toothache (and I’m not moaning, my fault) and watch the last half hour. I therefore missed (just) Misbah completing his century and the brilliant press up celebration. I did catch his interview with Ian Ward afterwards, and there looked a man totally at ease with his place and role in life. 42 years old and looking every bit a test batsman, totally contemptuous of Moeen Ali, on top of many of the other pressures exerted on him. In a world where we dismiss players if they have a bad run on the older side of 32, there is a testament to the class is permanent as long as the body is willing. 10 press ups? I could barely get myself out of bed.
England nicked four out before Shafiq, a very impressive player in the Emirates, and looking a class act here, joined with his skipper to put the Pakistanis in a decent position before he got tempted by a little outswinger (having missed one barely shortly before) and it clipped the bottom of his bat to be pouched by Bairstow. The wicket off the final ball of the day, via a shot that would have had our media tut tutting but appeared to have Misbah laughing, made it a top day for Chris Woakes, who took four of the six wickets to fall and by common consent, it seems, was the pick of the bowlers. George Dobell’s head, I understand, has swollen to the size of a small planet, and there is no truth in the rumour that he is currently marching through St. John’s Wood with a placard saying “I told you so”.
Following the game as much as I could – I have a job, I have a massive interest in the Tour de France, I have a massive interest in the politics at the moment, and wouldn’t mind knowing about the golf too – it seems there was much wailing about Mr. Finn. On the day when David Saker was appointed as assistant manager to Buzz Lehmann (I just made it up, heaven knows why), 4 Fux special project was on display for all to see. Now the Selfey’s of this world place no blame for Finn’s regression on 4 Fux, as of course he is his mate (now, who were we to accuse the media of cosy relationships, how dare we) and he wouldn’t do that, but there’s a massive correlation between his downturn and him being told constantly by all and sundry to change actions, bowl dry etc. etc. I like Finn, but can’t help but feel he’s been a prime asset wasted. Hope is getting less and less. Every time he gets into rhythm, he then seems to lose it as quickly. With Jake Ball performing well, Woakes having a great time and also the added weight he brings with the bat, Finn risks slipping a fair way down the line if Anderson, Stokes and Wood are all fit and firing.
This is based on reports. It seems likely I’ll be able to watch him bowl for a little bit on Saturday as, if I imagine this game will go, we manage to take the last four wickets before lunch tomorrow. Misbah doesn’t have, off the top of my head, a wonderful record past 100, and Sarfraz is placed above what looks quite a long tail. However, while England pundits are saying 350 is below par, they seem to be rather too confident that England will get there given our recent track record. This looks a flat deck, but then they are illegal now for the moanerati who purvey this line like a stuck record every time we have a wicket that isn’t seaming all over the shop (could we wait a bit to see how the game plays out, please?). One wicket fell on day 1 last year, and the game was over within four days. Yeah, let’s see how it goes.
Talking of four days, and I know Chris has been hot on this one, recall how Colin the Never Wrong has been burbling on about four day tests with 100 overs per day in them (looking forward to that in tropical areas – what time you intend to start play, 7:30 am?), today England provided the spectators with 87 overs of action in half an hour over the allotted time. Those three overs will never be seen again. The studio and interviews warbled on for another 30 minutes after play – those three overs could have been bowled, the TV cameras were still there, but hey, no, it’s not important – and cricket that could have been played, wasn’t. Chris is never a happy bunny at this, and made his views very clear:
There’s so much farting about in cricket that you have to wonder why this is still allowed to happen. But it is. And there’s nothing we can do about it. I’ll let the Wanderer go into more detail because believe me, as good as I am at a moan on a pet peeve, this Crampton is Champion.
Look forward to any comments, hope you can get to see some of the action (more than me) and I’ll no doubt have lots of stuff coming out of my visit on Saturday, including a load of pictures, and of course, extra overs for the ones lost today. Ho Ho.
Comments for Day 2 below. Isn’t it nice to have, for at least the first day, some hard competitive cricket. Thanks Misbah.
With regards Finn, I was always of the opinion that as soon as he got the rhythm together he got injured. And England would help him find that rhythm again by making him bowl against the best in the world. Clang!!!
I love Moeen as much as the next punter from Worcestershire or Sparkhill, but he needs some significant wickets, I feel.
I was bloody cross. I still am. A one off is ok, but this is every single sodding Test match. Every one. Ban them till they learn to stop cheating us.
Agggh, so bloody annoying! Can’t the skipper be fined? It’s happened before to Dhoni if I remember rightly.
Discussing it this afternoon and Bumble said Captain ahould be suspended and not play in the next game
Didn’t see any of the cricket today. The overs thing is ludicrous. Don’t expect the media to make anything of it because they would then have to blame the captain. And that is against the law. As you say, good luck getting 100 overs in a day.
2 late wickets have swung it Englands way. The pitch is flat as are all at Lords so England should be looking to make 400 plus.
No reason why they could not have got 100 overs in today. The ball did not disappear out of the ground. Maybe the host should bear the fines. Plus the captain and the team. Sorry guys, you can’t see the end of the play because we have run out of time, is an excuse I have never seen in a theatre
Just a quick word to enquire about and hope that one of our number, Rooto, has not been caught up in the horror in Nice. Let us know, Sir.
Sorry for the very late reply. I’m touched that you should think of me. Thank you. In fact, I’m on holiday in Wales, and have been busy texting, emailing and talking to friends and colleagues in Nice who thankfully have all answered my messages.
Will now catch up with the wise words written over the course of the test which I haven’t seen much of.
Glad to hear from you.
Well, it should be telling enough that I thought today would be Day 1 of the series. This is simply a reflection of my disillusionment with the ICC more than anything else. Why bother with something that is more similar to WWE, than anything sportslike?
I obviously have missed all the play, and though Pakistan are in a somewhat precarious position, Sarfraz can bat, and Amir and Wahab can be (occasionally) useful with the bat as well. Rahat would be a #10 at best in that lineup.
Congratulations to Misbah are in order. Great achievement and he really dug Pakistan out of a hole there.
Curiously enough the two batsmen who were older than he when he scored a ton at Lord’s played in the same match in 1926. Both were playing as openers. Misbah is not even the oldest visiting batsman to score a ton at Lord’s.
Not sure why only 87 overs were bowled. Just penalize players 1% of their annual salaries for each over missed. It does not work with match fees, since players from non-Big 3 nations are much more dependent on match fees, than from the Big 3 nations. Cook gets about 1 million GBP / year, before he even takes to the field.
Surely simpler to crack down by adding 20 runs per over not bowled.
Once we’re talking a material influence on the state of the match, things will improve.
Particularly pisses me off b/c England have a strategy of slowing over rate down when bowling to well-set batsmen.
Allow match referee to vary for extenuating circumstances (because no rule can cover everything.)
I agree, I think penalty runs to the opposition would work best – I think 20 per over is perhaps a bit harsh (although I don’t doubt it would certainly encourage teams to get a move on as a result), but 10 seems perfectly fair enough to me. I think similar rules were used in domestic competitions across the world many years ago (can’t find specific sources at the moment), so it’s not like it’s without precedent.
The problem with penalty runs is that it is very easy to fix.
Hm, very good point that I hadn’t considered. The only problem is that fines are the only alternative I can think of, and they’ve never really had an obvious impact in regards to disciplinary punishments for years now, even for the less economically well-off teams.
Overall comment. It’s clear Finn is in trouble, but England’s balance without him really worries me.
Where is the pace and bounce to trouble good batsmen on pitches outside of rainy England?
Finn was wearing a brace on his right knee. I don’t think it’s the only or even probably the main reason why his pace was down but it’s worth being aware of.
It also maybe helps explain why they were unwilling also to risk Anderson.
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It surely goes against all the laws of stats that almost all the seamers we develop bowl at almost exactly the same pace, so it must be something in our coaching and cricketing culture. Frustrating and made worse by the lack of spinners.
“Mohammad Amir to Cook, no run, dropped. Oh no. Hafeez. What have you done? Superb channels from Amir. Just outside off on a good length. Cook is drawn forward and has to play. A thick outside edge carries low to Hafeez, who gets down but the ball bursts out of his hands. Hit his left hand and bounced out, hands not in a good place. Should have been taken”
FFS FFS FFS FFS FFS FFS FFS.
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Looks like the gods are smiling on Mr Skipper, dropped again by Sarfraz, even more straightforward than the first one!
Conspiracy alert! How much have the ECB paid the opposition? Is this spot fixing? (This is a joke for the Cook luvies)
Here’s my solution to the slow over rate. Take away their breaks.
So you start at 11am, and you have 2 hours to bowl 30 overs. At 1pm only 26 overs have been bowled. (As yesterday) Instead of going for luch you stay out there until the overs are bowled. 4 overs to bowl at 5 minutes an over means you finish at 1.20. Then you go for lunch, but you only have 20 mins lunch now. 1.40pm you start again. Come 3.40pm this time you have bowled 28 overs. So you stay out there for another 10 minutes until you have made up the 2 overs, and then you have a 10 minute tea break. Final session starts at 4pm and you have 30 overs to bowl. If you are a few short by 6pm you stay out there to make up overs.
In essence you don’t allow the lost overs to build up over the day. And the players pay for their slowness by losing their breaks. No need for fines or extra runs. I suspect this will make them get their overs in on time. Maybe the odd over short at lunch but hey, that’s only 5 minutes lost. As a fan I pay to watch from 11pm till 6pm or just afterwards. If the players want to be slow they take it out of there time not my time.
Of course for this to happen cricket has to stop being obsessed with lunch breaks and tea breaks, and all the corporate hospitality industry that for many people (sponsors) is more important than the cricket or the paying spectator.
Don’t read the 13:58 entry on the Guardian’s OBO. Cook received “despicable abuse “. Yes. We needed to feel sorry for him.
What “despicable abuse?” He has been lauded like Lord Nelson for 3 years! He even got a gong in the Queens honours list.
But then you’re punishing both teams when only one has committed an offence.
If Cook gets fined for the slow over rate, he should be suspended for the next Test because it’s his second offence in under a year. I suspect that he won’t be fined.
But most of the batting team are already with their feet up in the dressing room so it doesn’t really hurt the batting side. If the batsman in the middle are the ones who are slowing down the play they will also lose their breaks. I think often both sides are to blame anyway. There are far too many stoppages for glove changes, and drinks of water from bottles for both bowlers and batsman that are not the designated drinks breaks.
My solution means that both fielders and batsman have a carrot to get the overs bowled. Also this keeps coming day after day, so if you don’t bowl the overs you are going to be spending 4-5 days with no breaks. I think they will get the arses into gear.
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Amir finally gets his man, bowled off an inside edge for 81, down to the lower order again. Wouldn’t fancy chasing too many in the second innings against Yasir.
The side batting second has won only one of the last 23 Tests at Lord’s (England beating WI in 2012).
Two lives granted by Hafeez and Sarfraz and still not enough lives to make a ton. Bet that won’t be highlighted in the MSM.
Bet they’ll mention that he has the top score in the innings though!
They’ve been going on about Cook going past Gavaskar in terms of runs scored by an opener. No mention of course that Sunny G has 6 more test tons in 5 less tests played overall and an average of 4 or so greater than Cook, nevermind usually having played pretty well v an all time great Windies pace attack.
I am afraid that Gavaskar’s supposedly excellent record against the West Indies pace quartet is more myth than fact.
Let’s examine his record briefly againt the West Indies:
In the West Indies:
In 1971, he averaged 154.80 (!), but this was before the onset of the great pace attack
In 1975/76 he averaged 55.71. (Roberts, Holding; if you want to include Daniel, he made his debut in the last Test of that series)
In India (1974), he averaged 27 (Roberts)
In 1978/79 he averaged 91.50 (Sylvester Clarke, if you want to include him, Marshall made his debut) Not exactly the greatest attack. Suppose Packer played a role in that.
In 1983 he averaged 50.50 (Sylvester Clarke and Marshall again)
So he did not really face the pace quartet in any of the series he did well in.
And in the West Indies (1982/83) he averaged 30 (Roberts, Marshall, Garner, Holding). That is the one series in which Gavaskar faced the pace quartet.
Mind you, this is not to detract from Gavaskar. If I’d had to pick a post-WW2 team, he’d be under serious consideration for me. The same does not apply to Cook, who really needs mediocre opposition to cash in.
Great! It’s 5pm and there is still another 25 overs to be bowled.
Umpire Wilson evens it up at one Ali each: