And now for something completely different

8:00 – The cricket has started.  It’s cold.  I don’t want to get up, but I need to.  I’ve got work to do most importantly.

8:15 – No really, I need to get up.

8:23 – Coffee is on, cricket is on, I’m up.  I seem to have missed Virat Kohli, it’s 21-3.  This is one of those situations where if it was England with that score you’d be absolutely certain it was game over, at least for England of most of the time I’ve been watching them.  But India?  There’s the nagging feeling that after 25 overs they’re going to be 150-3.  Basic rule of this one today is I’m not going to to go back and amend anything that makes me look stupid later on.  Some may say that’s a given anyway.

8:43 – Yep, it’s started.  Yuvraj Singh has spent his career making England miserable by pulling the fat out of the fire, and he’s just pinged Jake Ball for three fours in an over.  Thus it begins.  Watching England involves absolutely certainty that no matter how good the situation, they can find a way to make a mess of it.

8:44 – Djokovic out of the Australian Open.  The reminder that for all the corruption, cheating and theft of sport as a concept in favour of filthy lucre, there’s a reason people love it – the unexpected.

8:49 – Yuvraj and Dhoni, it’s so 2010.

8:50 – Woakes off.  Given he’s taken 3-14 off five it seems a trifle harsh not to have mentioned him.  But I didn’t actually see much.  But well bowled anyway.

8:55 – Yuvraj Singh is a lovely player to watch.

8:56 – Work.  We don’t get paid for cricket.  Although I was once.  I was a professional cricketer. It’s true, it really is.  I was a pro for one day, when my boss for my summer job was due to play for the our club, but had to work, so he got me to do it that day and paid me anyway.

9:02 – Is it just me who really hates the way every other advert on TV is for a betting company?  I don’t object to gambling, but the number of commercials for it pisses me off no end.

9:10 – Nasser Hussain mentions that the England players have black armbands on as a mark of respect for Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.  Quite right too, she put the women’s game on the map in a way that no-one had done before.  There are a lot of female cricketers up and down the country, and across the world, who owe her a nod of thanks for her refusal to accept being patronised.

9:28 – at 88-3 India have fought back well.  England are still on top but it’s a lot more even.  They don’t remotely look like taking a wicket, and it’s something that England have been guilty of for quite a number of years, failing to press home and early advantage and then reverting to run saving and hoping a wicket falls.  Perhaps it’s a mentality thing as much as anything else, but it’s extremely rare to see England determined to take wickets in the middle overs.

9:55 – 135-3 off 26.  It’s a decent recovery alright, you’d think all things being equal 300 was distinctly possible.  Part of the reason for doing today’s report this way was to see how wise after the event I tend to be.  The OBO boys tend to describe the action, and I don’t really blame them – it’s a hostage to fortune to talk about expectations.  So I’m going to do it anyway.  There’ll be acceleration and right now I’ll call India’s final total to be 340.  Which may not be enough.

9:58 – The problem with ODIs is that these overs are just pretty dull.  Yet when at the ground, at least in England, that’s part of it, it’s the time when you wander out to get the beers in or something to eat (after pleading with your bank manager for a loan, especially at Lords).  Yet it’s hard to maintain attention to the television, and perhaps that’s not a bad thing.  In my case, I’m working anyway, so I have plenty to do.  No I really am.  It’s true, I’ve done a fair bit so far.  You don’t believe me I know.

10:10 – Just a comment on England sitting in and not trying to take wickets, there have been three edges through where first slip would be.  The temptation to be Ian Botham and imagine there are 15 fielders on the ground is always there, but that’s how you take wickets, by giving the bowlers a chance.  It’s something England are always prone to do, and then wonder why they end up facing a big total after taking them early on.  It’s not especially a criticism of this one per se, more of an approach issue.

10:15 – The general rule is to double the score at 30 overs, though apparently it’s nearer 31 according to the stattos.  172-3 after 31, so my 340 is looking a decent shout at the moment.

10:25 – Hundred up for Yuvraj.  He seems to have been around forever.  And seems to save his best for England.  No matter, he’s a joy to watch, and given his health problems there’s always a strong sense of goodwill towards him.  Maybe his Test career didn’t fulfil him completely, but as an ODI performer, he’s quite something.  Maybe he’s not quite the player he was, but that’s true of most players as they get towards the end.

10:55 – This is getting messy.  Plenty of chat about what England need to be better, and while it’s true Mark Wood is a loss, the temptation to believe those not in the team would be better by virtue of them not being here is always strong.  Some are saying recall Stuart Broad, but he’s never been that great at ODIs, there’s no reason to assume he’ll suddenly become the best thing since sliced bread.

11:20 – One batsman not out 150, the other not out 100.  As Richie would have said “Problems there”

11:21 – Oh nice, I get an email from an aviation magazine asking if I’ll write them 1,500 words on cultural differences in Asia.  Wonder how I can get out of that.

11:26 – Er.  When did England get Yuvraj out?

11:54 – 340 has been and gone.  The problem when you don’t take wickets is that the slog can be completely unrestricted.  Much doom and gloom, but the boundaries are very small and England aren’t out of it by any means.  A big chase, yes, but not an impossible one.

On that point, some mishits are going for six, which always gets people talking about the bats.  But small boundaries are the bigger issue – and it’s a deliberate choice.  If it’s only said when England are on the receiving end (and it’s glorious batting when they do it) then that’s just lashing out and whining that it’s not fair.

11:57 – Dhoni was brilliant today.  He and Yuvraj, both over 35, both outstanding.  Let’s just remember that in England players get written off in their early thirties all too often purely on the grounds of age.

12:01 – 382 to win then.

12:44 – England under way.  Unless they lose wickets early, there’s never much to say at this stage.

13:08 – 51-1 off the first 8 overs.  Decent start and the complaints about England’s bowlers have quietened for a bit.

13:52 – Root goes, but it’s 127-2 off 19.5.  So England are handily placed.  Still not much to say though, and this is the trouble with the ODIs, they purr along in the background while you wait for the business end of the game.  Maybe it’s just me, as plenty seem to love them.  And I don’t dislike them at all, it’s just that there’s so much setting up time.  The irony is that this is the period that actually dictates the result to a fair extent – England have made a good start, and they bat deep.  The next 10 overs will give a strong idea which way this match is going.

1449 – work does get in the way. Now on my way to an event in London, so having to do the cricket following via Cricinfo. This could make detailed exposition on the good and bad a mite tricky. Oh Buttler is out. Oh dear. At this point India are obviously rather strong favourites, so let’s do the prediction thing again. I’m going for England to be all out for 320 or so. They do bat very deep of course. But 10 an over with half the side out is a big ask. Over to Captain Morgan to make the hacks spit their tea out. 

 1457 – Ashwin and Jadeja look like being the difference. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth that India have better spinners than England. 

1512 -Biggest shock news of the day, Southern Rail are on time. I feel faint. 

1513 – I’m not the world’s biggest Eoin Morgan fan, but then neither do I dislike or have a problem with him. But I’d really love him to ram the words of those who slag him off back down their throats. 

1531 –  Morgan and Moeen have done extremely well, but this would be the highest number of runs off the last ten over by a side batting second ever. Well, records are there to be broken, and you can usually find one if you look hard enough. 

1538 – Just as I was thinking my 320 was looking pessimistic, bang go two wickets. Big ask now. 

1552 – a game of cricket just isn’t complete until you’ve had a third umpire shambles. 

1601 – Morgan appears to have gone into ‘batting like God’ mode. 

1604 – God’s had a word then

1606 – 22 off an over. Those of a certain age will be thinking about Allan Lamb right now. Younger ones, Carlos Brathwaite

1612 – all over, but close. Morgan almost got England there so it’ll be interesting to see how some manage to blame him for it. At best it’ll be ‘he owed them that’ or similar. 

Curious, I was hoping reading this back to have been miles out, but the format is sufficiently formulaic to follow a script.

I’ve made no changes except to grammar. An interesting experiment for me, and maybe we try it again as an over by over. If it interests anyone.