Well the day is finally upon us, the chance to watch to live cricket again, which many of us doubted might even happen this year. Naturally this pales into the context that many people have lost their lives or their livelihoods from this awful pandemic, but as someone much wiser than me said ‘Sport is the most important, least important thing there is’ and I certainly feel excited that we can finally see some live cricket again, albeit in slightly strange surroundings.
A massive debt of gratitude must go to the West Indies for coming over and participating in this series especially when it would have been easier for them to look at the ECB’s call for help with total disdain. I would hope that their administrators (though they are just as bonkers as the ECB) kindly reminds our administrators that they have dug them out of a financial crater of their own doing. Many of us refuse to let the disgraceful actions of ‘The Big 3’ be swept under the carpet now that they themselves are facing some tough financial decisions, but I sure hope that anyone of the sides who tour and help them out, make sure they get rewarded both financially and in the political landscape of the game.
England will have an interesting choice with regards to their fast bowling attack, especially if the pitch at the Aegeas Bowl resembles anything like that of the ‘Intra Squad’ game. In past times, Jimmy and Broad would be the first 2 on the team sheet; however father time still remains undefeated and it would surely be a risk picking both players without any real overs under the belt; indeed it does look like Broad won’t feature, which is a blow for us fans of comical batting. The same could be said for both Wood and Archer, who are recently coming back from injuries and whom I think it would be difficult to pick together in any England side, especially with the horrendous injury catalogue of the former. Although far from a big fan of his, I’d be picking Chris Woakes for this game, especially with our batting line up looking less than convincing.
The batting will pick itself with Root missing this Test and Lawrence being pretty unlucky not to make the final 13. Root will return for the games at Old Trafford, so this does seem a straight shoot out between Denly and Crawley, with the former surely needing a big score if he isn’t going to be the one jettisoned in favour of youth. This is also a mightily big series for Jos Buttler, who has looked anything but a Test Match batsman in the last 12 months.
The West Indies will naturally be hoping for a bit of pace and bounce in the pitch, as their fast bowling is easily their strongest suit. The batting looks vulnerable on paper and it will be an interesting choice if England win the toss with suitable cloud cover on offer.
Naturally, just to piss on our chips, the weather looks less than ideal for the first 2 days. This is especially galling as April and May were so hot weather wise when we were in proper lockdown, but it seems that 2020 isn’t ready to stop toying with us yet. I have a feeling that both Wednesday and Thursday might be stop start affairs, but fingers crossed that we do get a decent amount of play for all of our sanity.
We will be live blogging for most of the day, if and when there is action, so do join in by commenting below. Unfortunately we don’t have the budget of the BBC, so you will need to manually refresh to see the our latest musings or rants dependant on the action..
10:32 – It’s raining, well of course it bloody is. Toss has been delayed.
10:52 – Very powerful interviews with Michael Holding and Ebony Rainsford-Brent on Sky. Uncomfortable viewing at times, but fair play, they haven’t held back on this.
11:11 – For a brief moment the covers were off and it looked like we could have the toss, but unfortunately the weather has intervened again. It could be one of those frustrating day’s of cricket.
11:30 – Whilst the rain continues to fall, I’d absolutely recommend watching the BLM piece on Sky with Michael Holding and Ebony Rainsford-Brent. Really powerful stuff:
11:46 – We’ve had the umpires out for a quick inspection and they’re currently trying to clear any excess water off the ground. Maybe some hope of play in the near future.
11:57 – Maybe not as promising as first thought!
12:04 – Early lunch being taken with another inspection at 1:10pm. This was not the start that we had hoped for.
13:15 – Covers are coming off. Might play be around the corner?
13:30 – England have won the toss and will have a bat! As predicted Broad has been dropped and England will go with Wood, Jimmy and Jofra as their main seamers.
13:32 – That sound your hearing is TLG throwing his phone out of the window somewhere in deepest, darkest, West Sussex.
13:36 – Meanwhile the West Indies have gone for 4 seamers. Could that hurt them in the long run as the Aegeas Bowl is known to take spin the later the game goes on.
13:50 – Quite why we needed a half break between the toss and play starting really is beyond me. If it starts raining again at 2pm, I might have a little cry.
13:59 – Right here we go with the first delivery of the match. TEST CRICKET IS BACK, I REPEAT, TEST CRICKET IS BACK.
14:00 – After the players all take a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign. Roach to bowl the first delivery to Burns.
14:02 – First delivery……….safely defended by Burns.
14:04 – Huge LBW shout against Rory Burns, who misjudges a leave. West Indies review.
14:05 – Umpires call. A bit of luck for Burns early on.
14:07 – Powerful and unified message.
14:09: – WICKET – Sibley bowled by Shannon Gabriel. Sibley shoulders arms to a delivery that nipped back and sees his off stump disappear. Not the start England would’ve hoped for.
14:16 – First run on the board for England. Hang on though, the umpires don’t look to happy with the light. Let’s hope they don’t take them off.
14:17 – Boooooooo. Bit of rain and some dodgy light and the players are off again.
14:22 – 3 overs, 1 run, 1 wicket, some technical difficulties from Sky and then off for a rain break. Yep English cricket is back.
14:34 – Restart in 10 minutes if the rain holds off….IF
14:40 Gerron wi’it. Meanwhile, I didn’t realise how potent Kemar Roach has been against left handers. Yikes.
14:45 – Nervous times for the English batsmen as Joe Denly miscues a pull shot that lands just short of mid-on.
14:51 – The rain is really starting to take the piss now. 1 over, 2 runs and then the rain returns. 2020 do you not have any mercy?
15:03 – The rain looks to be set in for now and hence I’m off for a cup of tea. Danny will be on the decks when the rain finally clears. Lets hope he has more luck than me. Sean
15:10 – Danny here. Sean has decided to step aside after 25 deliveries, just over four overs. What a slacker…
15:11 – Restart at 15:30, assuming no more rain.
15:28 – They’re back on the field. Roach to resume his third over…
15:38 – Roach bowls a maiden. Gabriel bowling round the wicket to the left-handed Burns. Every ball going on the legs or wide of off.
15:41 – Another maiden from Roach. He’s conceded one run off his first four overs. I’m sure England’s batsmen are thanking Stokes for sending them in.
15:46 – Gabriel has been a lot less economical. He gifted a wide halftracker to Denly who gratefully cuts the ball to the boundary.
15:47 – This marks 4.1 overs after I took over. I think it might be Sean’s turn again…
15:50 – Another maiden over from Roach. He’s been tighter than [insert your own joke]!
15:54 – Denly dispatches another loose ball from Gabriel for four, then edges one in the air through fourth slip. There is a lot of swing in the air and, thus far (10 overs in), the ban on using saliva on the ball doesn’t seem to have had an effect.
15:59 – Roach conceded another run! England have now scored 2 off his 6 overs to date. Joseph replacing Gabriel at the other end.
16:04 – 7 runs from Alzarri Joseph’s first over, off two loose deliveries on the legs and wide, but I think it still looked better than Gabriel.
16:08 – Captain Holder replaces Roach, and he’s got two balls to jump off a good length. Well played by Denly.
16:13 – The swing appears to be dying down, although that may be the new bowlers rather than the ball.
16:22 – A couple of comfortable overs for the English batsmen. Economical, but not threatening bowling from Joseph and Holder. Maybe Roach can come back for a second spell?
16:28 – Bad light stops play. England are 35/1 off 17.4 overs with Burns and Denly still at the crease. I can only assume that this was, somehow, Sean’s fault.
16:36 – They’ve taken an early TEA.
16:46 – Play can apparently be extended to 19:30 today. That would be interesting, since the BBC Two highlights programme starts at 19:00.
16:50 – It may be raining again, with the umpire in the middle using an umbrella.
16:55 – Yep. The full square is covered now and they’re moving to cover the bowlers’ run ups.
17:55 – I can’t see play restarting now. An incredibly frustrating first day of the English cricket season, with barely an hour’s worth of play all day. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be better, although the forecast isn’t fantastic. One item of interest might be the new highlights programme on BBC Two, starting in an hour. Obviously there won’t be much in terms of highlights themselves, but it might give us an idea about how cricket coverage will look on the ECB’s new free-to-air TV partner.
18:16 – Play abandoned for the day. Sorry we tried our best.
So thanks from me and Sean for reading this. If you have any comments on the game, feel free to post them below.