While The Leg Glance is posting pictures of cats on Twitter, it falls to me to take up the cudgels and write the review of the day’s play. Now I’m having to write this before the end of the day’s play, with England at the commencement of this piece standing on a very steady 55/2 – I mean 55/3 as James Vince finishes his test career – and stand on the precipice. Carry on with me as we take England down in the last 50 minutes of play.
Definition of optimism…
The day started with Pakistan in the ascendancy with a small lead and four wickets remaining. A solid session for either team and the game may well swing their way. It was Pakistan who took the honours. Sarfraz, without making a massive score this series, once again showed he has a lot to offer with a 44, in support of the increasingly confident, and permanence personified of Younus Khan. I’m going with Younus, by the way. Then after Wahab stayed around to support Khan on the departure of the busy keeper, the lead inexorably rose to Edgbaston levels. Wahab’s Sunday Club Cricket stumping brought Mohammad Amir to the fray, who chose this time to make his test best score. England were looking increasingly punchless, and, it has to be said, not like a World Number One.
Suddenly the almost complacent approach of England’s legion of supporters was looking flawed. This wasn’t the tail stretching the lead, more the imperious, immovable Younus Khan. His contempt for Ali’s efforts, a salutary reminder of our spinners shortcomings exposed again, was frightening. It was summed up with him on 192. He pushed a two to mid-wicket sitting too deep, and every man and his mutt knew what his next move would be. And so it happened, biffed for six over mid-wicket and a double was up. This was majestic stuff, and the lead went over 200. Younus fell via a full ball from Jimmy (think I was watching the Men’s Eights at the time) for 218, joining Rahul Dravid and Sanath Jayasuriya in the last 20 years to visit the South London pastures and come back with a double, and he’d played the vital hand.
Woakes was again the pick of the bowlers, and again Broad seemed a little off kilter. It hasn’t been his greatest summer. Jimmy was rather under-bowled today, it seemed, but all four quicks bowled around the same amount of overs (29 for the elderly, 30 for the youth). Moeen Alis’s 2/128 with an economy rate well over 5 has to be concerning. But as we’ve said, as may have said, there aren’t a litany of options out there to take his place.
It’s 65 for 3 at this time.
A selection of Vince tweets….
There’s been a more forthright tone to this guy’s tweets this summer. Lord knows why. This one was from yesterday!
Yes. It probably did.
It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.
More Stocks. Also Alec Swann still around. Beginning to wonder. But while I agree about his contention about Bell, wasn’t Swann the one who didn’t have KP in his top 10 English players he’d seen? Maybe I’m watching the wrong sport.
OK. Enough of that. I’ll top and tail this at 6:30….
The day finished with England on 88 for 4. They are a long way away from doing anything to avert a defeat. They lost no more wickets after I saw the end of Root to a plumb LBW that he decided to review – as plumb as Hales, who also reviewed his. We’d better hope no-one gets sawn off.
Pakistan have done superbly well in this game, outplaying us yet again – they won here in 2010, they were in the driving seat in 2006 when the ball tampering incident took over, and won here in 1996, 1992 and were very much on top in 1987. They love SE London, just like your author.
Oh. I didn’t mention the skipper. It really doesn’t matter. There will be time to discuss matters when the series finishes. But don’t invoke the great captains of the past, before time. Our media, our fans, our players seem to get ahead of themselves. This game bites you on the arse.
Good luck to Ballance, Bairstow, Moeen et al to get us to a total to bowl at, and this test might have a real sting in the tail.
Comments on Day 4 tomorrow. Anyone wanting to catch Selvey on CWOTV, let me know what happens….I’m off to a birthday bash!