England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test, Day Three

This blog has been on something of a mission to talk about over rates over the last year or so, but even by the woeful and unpunished standards of that time today was something special.  Only 81 overs were bowled in the day, and that was thanks to the innings change being at tea, otherwise it would have been in the seventies.  That is 10% of the day’s play not completed, and rightfully there has been much comment about it.

Yet it is merely an extreme example of something that is considered acceptable.  In no other sport would this go on – can you imagine a football match finishing after 81 minutes for example?  People have paid good money to go to these matches, and they are being shortchanged repeatedly.  What normally happens is that the match referees take into account delays such as reviews, repairing the bowlers footholes and so on – but this is nonsense.  The additional half hour is there precisely to cater for such things, it is not part of the playing time.

No excuses, no justification.  Today is merely an extreme example of the game not giving a stuff about those who pay to watch.

During what play there was, England actually had an exceptionally good day, perhaps even more so considering it wasn’t one of those magic days where nothing can go wrong.  Instead, on a pitch that has shown no signs whatever of breaking up – indeed it appears to have got flatter – they worked hard and stayed in touch through the dint of those efforts rather than anything extraordinary.  The wickets were shared around with the exception of the luckless Finn who cannot buy one at the present and suffered yet another dropped catch towards the end.

Woakes again was excellent, Anderson was miserly, and Broad showed what he has added to his game in the last few years – namely the ability to keep things tight and pick up wickets even when not at his very best.  Broad in particular is one of those divisive characters who gets criticism despite having a truly outstanding record in recent years.  He has a bowling average of 22.69 in the last two years.  This isn’t just good, it is truly world class.  Yet he still gets stick when he has a less than perfect day.  It’s hard to know what more he could possibly do to win the detractors over.

For Pakistan, a lead of 103 might have been less than they had hoped for, but it would have still been an immensely satisfying outcome from the first innings.  Stats can be manipulated to express a desired outcome, but the one that only 3% of matches have been lost by a side taking a lead of 100 or more does emphasise the strong position in which they found themselves.

It could have been better still – Misbah continued his one man mission to give hope to all those over the age of 40 with another good innings, cut short rather unluckily from an inside edge that deflected off pad and heel back on to the stumps.  After his departure the innings began to fall away, despite the best efforts of the increasingly impressive Sarfraz Ahmed, ultimately left stranded on 46 as the tail fell away.

Flat as the surface was, England were in some difficulty with the match position, and Cook and Hales deserve immense credit for batting to the end of the day without either being dismissed.  Pakistan’s bowling could have been better certainly, but there’s always the temptation to lay the blame on the opposition rather than praising England.  Confining Cook by not bowling anything wide of the stumps for him to cut is extremely easy to say, and not terribly easy to do.  The way Australia managed it in 2010/11 was exceptional – but that is not normal, or cricket would be a far easier game than it ever has been.  Likewise, Hales may have a weakness outside off stump, but he batted with good discipline and reined his instincts in.  In some ways this was his most impressive innings to date in the Test side.

So with England now in the lead with all 10 wickets in hand, it could be argued that the match is now level, and numerically this is so.  But psychology plays a funny role in cricket, and an effective 17-0 it may be, but the effort in getting to parity cannot be overlooked.  England have made a very good start, but 120-0 can all too easily become 150-3; still not a bad innings but in the match context 50-3 is back in trouble.  Therefore for England to get into a good position they will need to bat exceptionally well tomorrow too, they are the vulnerable team in this match still.

The draw is now a good possibility though, with two days remaining it’s hard to see circumstances where England are sufficiently comfortable to be in a position to declare, so at worst Pakistan will likely have less than a day to bat should things go perfectly for England.  Pakistan remain the most likely winners, and perhaps England’s best chance of victory is to be bowled out, sometime towards the end of play tomorrow.  Another 300 would represent a perfect fourth day and be a stiff target.  But another 300 would also require England to bat out of their skins.

This could yet become an exceptionally good Test match.

Day Four Comments Below






40 thoughts on “England vs Pakistan: 3rd Test, Day Three

  1. Mark Aug 5, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    81 overs is pathetic. But the ICC have shown that they don’t give a shit about the paying public. And as many test matches end in 4 days they view it as not a problem. Someone posted below that at tea only 46 overs had been bowled. That’s 14 overs short. One can only assume that it was a deliberate tactic by England. Once again we find the so called “spirit of cricket,” much promoted by people like Newman to be a pile of crap.

    If England bat tomorrow, and then bowl out Pakistan in 85 overs on Sunday it will be seen as mission accomplishment. I slightly disagree with the leg glance about bowling to Cook. It’s not rocket science. You don’t give him width either off or leg side, and you pitch it up on middle and off. Then repeat rinse and repeat. International bowlers should be able to do that. It’s not a guarantee you will get him out but you reduce his ability to score.

    Pakistan will view 400 after what happened at OT as a good score. But they had a chance to make 500 and bat England out of the game. Considering the slow scoring rate you would think they would have got a bigger total. Still, as we go Into the 4 th day all 3 results are possible. After OT that the best we could hope for.


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 7:09 pm

      Oh I agree with you about what to bowl to Cook, I just don’t think it’s that easy to manage and maintain that discipline.


      • Mark Aug 5, 2016 / 7:32 pm

        Yes, it’s not easy, I agree, but I think top bowlers should be able to make a better fist of it. I can imagine someone Glenn McGrath having him for lunch. But he was pretty dam good.

        By the way, I would love to see the ICC ban Cook for the final test after today’s pathetic over rate, and then watch the howls of protest from the usual suspects.


        • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 7:53 pm

          I guess the way I’d put is that despite a decade during which everyone has known his weaknesses and strengths, to bowl on off stump and not give him any room, the guy has 10,000 Test runs at 48.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Harry Badger Aug 6, 2016 / 1:04 am

      I agree – it’s a real pisstake to only bowl 81 in a day – this is a problem across the board though Cook and Anderson bear the lions share of the responsibility of today’s low total. Funny how they always seem to bowl 100 overs on time in ODIs.


    • thelegglance Aug 5, 2016 / 11:31 pm

      No intrusion. I thought long and hard about mentioning it in the piece above. I decided I couldn’t add anything to what you’d all said about it. So carry on!


      • Harry Badger Aug 6, 2016 / 12:15 am

        Only seen the scorecards from this series Fred – what’s going on there? Raging bunsens or cavalier Aussie batting?


      • fred Aug 6, 2016 / 7:36 am

        Partly cavalier batting Harry, but mostly they just can’t pick what the ball’s going to do. Khaweja got bowled leaving a straight ball that he thought would turn, qiite a few have been done for while defending. They just don’t know what’s happening.
        When two consecutive wickets were lost, Warner angrily hit the next three balls for four. He hasn’t reined himself in, but he’s far from the biggest problem, he’s using his feet with at least some results, unlike the rabbit in a headlight approach of the rest.


      • SimonH Aug 6, 2016 / 9:54 am

        Brettig’s Day Two review on Cricinfo is a masterpiece of cold fury. Among other things, he pointed out that 14 Australian wickets (out of 33 at that stage) have been beaten on the inside edge. They’ve been playing for turn that’s in their imaginations (plus not being able to read Herath’s arm ball or Sandakan’s variations).

        I haven’t seen Day Three yet, but I was pleased to see it was the unheralded Dilruwan Perera who did most of the damage (wonder-kid Sandakan only bowled fifty balls in the match). Perera has massively out bowled Nathan Lyon in this match. Lyon is one of those cricketers everyone seems loathe to criticise but he’s been poor here. It could be pointed out he’s having to bowl at better players of spin and he is – but this SL batting line-up isn’t Sanga, Mahela et al and Ashwin and Shah took a stack of wickets against them in their last two series in SL. Lyon averages 45+ for his wickets in Asia so this isn’t an isolated one-off. It seems he depends very much on generating bounce through over-spin and when conditions demand greater side-spin he isn’t able to adjust.

        The unfortunate Mitchell Starc’s 11/94 isn’t the best bowling in a match in a losing cause (Merv Hughes’ 13 against WI holds that dubious pleasure) but he deserved better from his teammates – and the doubts about whether he could do it with a red-ball have been thoroughly put to bed.


      • SimonH Aug 6, 2016 / 10:01 am

        Great line in the Geoff Lemon article:

        “is the pressure of being in the middle under foreign conditions enough to wipe away all good intentions and leave the brain in a state of spongy infant blankness?”


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 6, 2016 / 10:21 am

        Good work Simon H, on another forum, I have pointed out that Lyon’s returns in Asia reflect that he hasn’t done that well there. I remember pointing out that he bowled poorly in Delhi when he picked up a few wickets a few years ago when the pitch was such a raging bunsen that simply putting it in the right area in terms of line and length . Then again bowling and (batting) are about repeat trigger mechanisms and that a guy brought up bowling on harder bouncy pitches has relied on his overspin to gain bounce. Bowling fuller and relying more on side-spin is harder without bothering your basic mechanics. An Aussie on the forum explained it well too.

        On to the England v Pak game, a couple of early wickets and the openers too, could mean a different game. My almost preferred result is that England run out of time to bowl Pakistan out tomorrow and can look back at the tardy over rate……………..


      • fred Aug 6, 2016 / 1:04 pm

        “is the pressure of being in the middle under foreign conditions enough to wipe away all good intentions and leave the brain in a state of spongy infant blankness?”

        Sounds like the sort of thing Ed Smith could have a crack at explaining. Surely he’s read something about it in The Economist recently?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Escort Aug 6, 2016 / 6:43 am

    Lovejoy said on commentary yesterday that the players couldn’t care less about the over rate.
    Did anybody hear Simon Mann interview Stuart Broad yesterday on TMS? lovejoy complaining all day about it for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Aug 6, 2016 / 7:27 am

      Lovejoy. Cats. Legal technicalities. Blood test irregularities.
      He did great things as a bowler for England, but as a human being he ranks pretty low.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 6, 2016 / 8:53 am

      Well seeing as he didn’t have a clue what the price of a ticket was, its not surprising he takes the position on over rates. But this is why the authorities have to be tough on the players. Unfortunately they don’t give a shit either.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 6, 2016 / 8:58 am

        This argument has so many logical flaws, I really don’t know where to start. Still, when we have this sort of position put out, then why bother?


      • Escort Aug 6, 2016 / 9:16 am

        Ticket prices were mentioned on day one on TMS and again nobody had much of a clue as to what they were. FICJAM said it was the same as asking a politician the price of a pint of milk.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 6, 2016 / 9:46 am


        Cricket really doesn’t dererve the paying supporters it gets. Let’s dock Michael Vaughan, and Lovejoy 10% of his fee for the day. If England have Pakistan 9 down tomorrow at the close serves them right.

        As for Mr Smallwood, another example of how the modern ENGLAND cricket fan is showing Darwinism in reverse.

        Here was another on Cricinfo from day 1………..

        Matt: “I wonder how many of the players in that (1990s) Test would get into this England side. Tufnell, probably. Ramprakash, maybe?? Atherton, Stewart doubtful?? The only one I’d say was a certainty would be Hussain.”

        Atherton, Stewart doubtful? The years of dumbing down by the Cricket media has worked well.

        Liked by 2 people

      • thelegglance Aug 6, 2016 / 12:06 pm

        Atherton wasn’t an outstanding player really, though his back problems undoubtedly reduced his effectiveness. Stewart was a terrific player.

        The one batsman England had in that era who came close to being genuinely world class was Thorpe.


  3. thelegglance Aug 6, 2016 / 10:22 am

    “But psychology plays a funny role in cricket, and an effective 17-0 it may be, but the effort in getting to parity cannot be overlooked.  England have made a very good start, but 120-0 can all too easily become 150-3; still not a bad innings but in the match context 50-3 is back in trouble.”

    Permission to be a smug git sir?


  4. SimonH Aug 6, 2016 / 11:22 am

    Root’s having trouble with his back.

    As someone who’s had a fair share of back trouble, this looks worse than his previous ones.


    • Mark Aug 6, 2016 / 11:40 am

      He’s just been dropped at slip. Hard chance mind, low down. Still, the sort of chances you need to take.


      • SimonH Aug 6, 2016 / 11:52 am

        He was indicating to the physio that he can’t get forward properly which led to the nick.

        That ashen-faced look and the way that he’s moving very slowly are things I recognise – and they aren’t good.


      • thelegglance Aug 6, 2016 / 12:02 pm

        I guess they’ll spend the lunchbreak treating him.


      • SimonH Aug 6, 2016 / 12:08 pm

        Last couple of overs before lunch he was moving better.


      • thelegglance Aug 6, 2016 / 12:10 pm

        Painkillers kicking in I guess. But that of course just masks the problem.

        I’d suspect we may not see him field.


  5. BoredInAustria Aug 6, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    I am not listening but following BBC online is bad enough – some wisdom according to Swannie:

    “I know people are pushing for Adil Rashid, because he bowls well in the one-dayers. But being a one-day bowler is a piece of cake for a spinner. Being a Test spinner, being able to rip through a team in the fourth innings is tough”

    “I’m getting angry at people questioning whether Vince should be in the team or not. I’d have him in just for the way he looks.”


  6. LordCanisLupus Aug 6, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Well, I laughed. (Root out two minutes later)


  7. d'Arthez Aug 6, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    We’re on schedule for 86 overs today. Oh, and the overs lost might well end up making the difference in terms of the result of the game. The question is to which team’s advantage that might be.


    • d'Arthez Aug 6, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      Pakistan not helping their cause by coming close to actually bowling all the overs in the day (or at least closer than England yesterday).

      Seems the draw is the best Pakistan can get now/


  8. Mark Aug 6, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    So how brave is Mr Cook? Lead is 289 and counting.


    • Escort Aug 6, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      Previous form would suggest not very brave. A declaration before midday is unlikely


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