England v Pakistan: 3rd Test, Day 4

You got Dmitri today. Poor you.

It was an odd day, a day of contrasts, a day where the ebbs were certainly deep, and for a long time the only flow was the bowling of deliveries as far from the batsmen as possible without being called wide. The plan at the start of the day for England was to build on last night’s superb work by Cook and Hales and then push on. Cook seemed to be invoking the memories of last year’s innings at Lord’s against New Zealand, and Hales needed a score to confirm his place more emphatically. That both fell early clearly put that plan back, but then came the rather dull passage of play that made me scratch my head and wonder really what is happening to test cricket. Fear of losing took over from taking control. Pakistan, in my view, retreated into their shells when they had a modicum of control. England were effectively 23 for 2. We were in a pickle.

Now I’m one who does appreciate the nuances of the game, but this passage was infuriating, and it wasn’t really England’s fault. There are lots out there who marvel at Misbah, and for bloody good reasons, but the attitude to the new occupiers of the crease (Root and Vince) turned Misbah negative after such a positive start. The pre-lunch session was pretty tedious stuff. Nasser Hussain broke his Twitter silence to say how much he admired the performance of Misbah in that session, and I was surprised, to be honest. It declared, at least in my eyes, that Pakistan were going to rely on England giving it away than them seizing the moment. We mock Warne a lot, I know, but I thought it was a slightly defeatist approach. It was sitting in to the nth degree. England might have felt some pressure, and yes, Root was dropped during his knock, but both Vince and Root (struggling with his back) felt little pressure to survive. Both laid excellent groundwork, but it was dull stuff.

Root’s dismissal, to a sweep, may have been seen as some justification for the negativity, and Vince nibbling at the new ball might have put England into a tricky-ish situation again (at 257 for 4, with a lead of just 154). However, Bairstow got himself in and with Moeen Ali as a fluent, focused ally, took the game away from the visitors with a wonderful post-tea stand. Ballance’s innings of 28 also stabilised matters, but people are so worked up about looking for repeat dismissals that the work, although incomplete, he did to prevent a collapse is underestimated. I much prefer 28s and 42s to single figures!

England finished the day at 414 for 5. I had to go out for the last half hour so not sure how many overs we were short today (if any), but England are 311 in front, which is probably enough now (but no way we declare overnight) and will dictate matters tomorrow. Again, we aren’t about to set the Cook Fan Club up in these parts, but in many ways he must dread these situations. England dug themselves into a hole, and got out of it, and it would be crazy to throw that away with a declaration that gives the visitors a sniff. Their bowling today, in my view, doesn’t earn them a shot we gift them. But he knows that for every minute he delays the declaration, the siren voices will be ringing in his ears. My view, is 45 minutes of 40 runs, whichever is the quicker. I’m sure you all feel differently. But however this game goes, Cook is going to be in the spotlight. Win it and it’s one of our better ones, draw it with 7 or 8 down, and the questions will be there if he delays the declaration.

Other observations – for every decent insight Warne provides, and he does provide some, you have to navigate a mass of noise to get there. Post-lunch him and Botham just pounded at my head with incessant, dull nonsense. When they handed over to Holding and Athers, I could relax. The art of letting the action breathe, dull or exciting, is lost on Warne. In his case, less would really be more.

Seeing an Edgbaston crowd like that on a Saturday was also a little concerning. At £31, and I’m not sure how many seats were available at that price, this is excellent value for a day out. Maybe its the fact that tests have been on the short side recently has made people unwilling to commit to a fourth day’s action that prevented the full house, but if you can’t sell out a Saturday in advance at Birmingham, there’s issues. I really believe that each test in England has to have two of the first three days play at weekends, and starting on a Wednesday is asking for it. All tests should start on Thursdays and Fridays, but in the crowded schedules, I might as well ask for the recall of he who can’t be mentioned.

Game on tomorrow. It could be great. It could be dull. Imagine how much more dull it would have been if this was a four day test. You know those – the ones where we’ll compel teams to bowl 100-105 overs a day when we can’t make them bowl 90 now. Those where any rainfall is going to condemn a test. Those where we have to create more daylight (Durban, UAE for example….) than we have now or make every test a pink ball pandemonium. Michael Vaughan’s text, which I linked on Day 3’s post, sums it up. Thought went out the window a long time ago. It’s all about the Benjamins Baby.

Final Day comments below. I attach a little picture from yesterday at Lord’s, just for the hell of it…..

P1070429
He had a good day today….Sam Curran yesterday.
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27 thoughts on “England v Pakistan: 3rd Test, Day 4

  1. thelegglance August 6, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    England have obviously played more Tests than anyone else this year, but given the meme that all the batting is about Cook and Root, it’s notable that Jonny Bairstow is the leading run scorer in the world this year, 855 @ 85.50.

    Also, given how much stick he gets, Moeen averages 54.87 this year. I did mention the other day that he seems to play as a batsman when at 7 and as a tailender when at 8. Interesting that on commentary they said he’d told himself to imagine he was batting at 3 for exactly that reason.

    As far as the game is concerned, I can’t imagine there’ll be a bold declaration, so England will bat on too long, Pakistan will have no chance of making the target and we’ll have a day of blocking. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I doubt it.

    Like

    • SimonH August 6, 2016 / 8:11 pm

      ” it’s notable that Jonny Bairstow is the leading run scorer in the world this year”.

      Number of matches each team has played this year: England 9; Australia and SL 5; NZ 4; Pakistan, SA and WI 3; India and Zimbabwe 2; Bangladesh 0.

      Like

      • thelegglance August 6, 2016 / 8:13 pm

        “England have obviously played more Tests than anyone else this year”

        Like

  2. Sean B August 6, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    I’m of the same parish, 320 would’ve been a bold(ish) declaration, but one that might have opened up the game on the last day, even though I doubt it would be chased down despite the flat wicket.

    No doubt we’ll plod onto around 380 and then have a dart at them 45 minutes before lunch, by which time I fear it will be way too late to try and force a positive outcome.

    Like

  3. CRICKETJON August 6, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    England has fought back tremendously well after batting below par in the first innings. Had they batted with more application they would have the time to force a result. I just don’t see a result on this pitch now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 August 6, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      Exactly

      Like

    • d'Arthez August 7, 2016 / 10:01 am

      Or if they actually had bowled the overs they were supposed to be bowling on Day 3. 46 overs in two full sessions is criminal.

      Pakistan could have done the same thing, and just bowled 81 overs in Day 4 (they bowled 90) – then the lead would have been around 270, which would almost have guaranteed that England would be batting till lunch.

      Like

  4. Neil August 6, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    The £31 tickets are in the Hollies and the no alchol stand.
    Elsewhere its £42 (which is still a fair price for a days cricket I feel)

    I go to the Edgbaston test every year but couldn’t make the first 3 days due to covering colleagues holidays.
    I’m not sure what its like in other parts of the country but in the midlands the main 2 weeks still exist and a lot of the population is on holiday, leaving us with no kids holding the fort at work ( if not closed completely)

    We did talk about going on the 4th day, but to my shame I was involved in a conversation that came to the conclusion there might be little play
    Had a chat in the week and my mates already had their football tickets.

    My point (I’m rambling). Cricket is a hard sell, when you try to sell it in a competitive market it suffers.

    Edgbaston emailed me immediately after the close. £16 for adults, £6 for kids. Weather is set fair. Hope they get a good turn out.

    Like

    • Sean B August 6, 2016 / 11:16 pm

      Been to Edgbaston for my third time now. Hollies is my favourite stand and at £31 that’s a bargain. Day 4 always more difficult sell, would much prefer the old Thursday start, as it guarantees a weekend sell out in most venues.

      Like

  5. SimonH August 6, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    England bowled NZ out in 67.3 overs at Lord’s in the second innings last year (and I’d rate that NZ batting line-up as no worse than Pakistan’s in English conditions – and probably a little better).

    Like

  6. LordCanisLupus August 6, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Vaughan…

    “It was different in my era. I made 36 on my debut and was hailed as a new star. Over the next few Tests, I made contributions but played a few iffy shots, scoring nice 30s and 40s, like Vince. It took until my 11th Test to score my first hundred. ”

    Match-winning (Cronje jacket test) 69 in his 4th test.
    Match-winning (with the bat – Caddick with ball) 72 in his 7th test.

    His first series was with an inexperienced team in South Africa against Donald and Pollock.
    His second series was against the West Indies with Ambrose and Walsh.

    I’m not going mad about Vince, but we all suspect why Vaughan is doing this and was more dismissive of others in the very recent past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto August 7, 2016 / 6:23 am

      I agree. I just can’t see Vince stopping the rot if he came in at 2 for 4 on debut. Using hindsight, of course. I didn’t know that Vince was one of Vaughan’s management protégés, until I guessed as much listening to him on TMS yesterday.

      On scheduling: the first two back-to-back tests were Thursday and Friday starts. It seems unnecessary for the second pair to be Wednesday and Thursday starts instead of repeating the first two. For the sake of one day in the schedules.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. man in a barrel August 7, 2016 / 9:10 am

    The commentary dream team would be Warne and Ramiz. Non stop drivel and platitudes repeated endlessly. When will it happen?

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus August 7, 2016 / 9:58 am

      Meanwhile, Henderson invokes the spirit of FICJAM in his latest piece for The Cricketer

      Hendo.

      Why? To explain while university educated Misbah (yes, that obsession with education) gets what being a Pakistani cricketer is all about.

      Selvey’s column was about 1960s cricket. Nice if you like that sort of thing. Lots of Fred Titmus.

      Like

  8. d'Arthez August 7, 2016 / 10:21 am

    343 to get from 84 overs for Pakistan. Reasonable declaration.

    Like

    • SimonH August 7, 2016 / 10:36 am

      Yep, no complaints about the declaration from me.

      Eleven times this decade a team has held out for a draw for 84 overs (504 balls) or more. Pakistan have done it twice (as have England). For comparison, “six inches of carry” was 541 and WI held out for 780 in Antigua when Jason Holder made a century. Faf in Adelaide (the highest this decade) was 889.

      Like

    • d'Arthez August 7, 2016 / 12:27 pm

      Of course there were a few wins within 84 overs as well (of targets that were not nominal in nature, such as the 302/5 made by Pakistan against Sri Lanka in the UAE), but:

      Only 13 times has a target of 200+ been successfully chased this decade – and only three of those were above 300. The only time that England were on the wrong side on that list was in Melbourne in the “difficult winter” (and the only time that England were on the right side was in Dhaka 2010).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. d'Arthez August 7, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Hafeez gone. What a surprise.

    Averaging 17 for the series – still his best for a series outside of Asia and playing in more than one Test of the series.

    Like

  10. SimonH August 7, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Anyone remember Adam Riley, the great hope of English spin bowling c. 2014?

    Taken 0/146 in f’c cricket this year and not played since May 8th. Very sad.

    Like

    • Benny August 7, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      Wondered what happened to him. It’s the Botham syndrome. After Beefy retired, anyone who could hold a bat and bowl a bit, would be hailed as the “new Botham”. Now the search is on for someone who can spin a ball. The puzzle is why it is so difficult.

      Like

  11. d'Arthez August 7, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    Well played England.

    Pity they get rewarded for their tardy overrates, while Pakistan effectively get penalised for theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. SimonH August 7, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    Dusting off those holding all the trophies and #1 in the world so every decision since 2014 is vindicated and Cook must stay forever articles….

    Tough to see how they can now argue Bayliss must go and Flower come back – but I’m sure there’ll be a way. Strauss-Flower-Cook reunited for an away Ashes’ triumph and Nasser yelling “Redemption for Flower” has to be the dream.

    Like

  13. Burly August 7, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    Chuckle.

    Followed by

    “WICKET! Misbah c Bairstow b Finn 10 (Pakistan 124-4)

    Exceptional from Finn as he goes full and gets one to move late away from Misbah and snare the edge.”

    “WICKET! Aslam b Finn 70 (Pakistan 125-7)

    Glorious delivery from Finn, who starts one wide from around the wicket and gets it to move in late and clip the top of Aslam’s off stump, who was leaving it well alone. The end of a cracking knock.”

    “Finn bowling full and finally getting a wicket,” writes Adam Hirst. “Whoever woulda thunk it.”

    Yes, I wonder…

    anyway, spite aside, England have been excellent. Very pleased with Cook’s form since his jammy innings, loving the continued Woakes resurgence, and my only quibbles are with Moeen’s bowling and the insistence on picking Finn (even if he has taken 2 today). This is not a bad Pakistan team at all.

    Like

    • BoredInAustria August 7, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      not Saker…:)

      Like

    • nonoxcol August 7, 2016 / 7:44 pm

      Selvey still thinks Finn was rewarded for dragging his length back just enough, and put it in his match report.

      He is never wrong, you see.

      Like

  14. fred August 7, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    F**king Pakistan, every time I dare to invest a bit of belief in you, I get repaid like this.
    I’m going of to sulk for a while.

    Like

  15. CRICKETJON August 7, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Well done England today. Please note the rousing reception Moeen Ali got from the crowd when awarded MoM. This is the same ground where Moeen was booed by a bunch of pigs two year ago. Progress or lack of pigs, time will tell.

    Like

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