England went into today’s play hoping for a couple of things, the weather to stay clear and for Jimmy Anderson to get his 600th wicket with the weather looking pretty dreadful on Tuesday. Unfortunately none of the above happened.
Today was one of those incredibly frustrating days where the weather intervened constantly and nothing much happened on what is a very flat pitch. England’s approach to the day was certainly lackadaisical, somehow how hoping that the Pakistani batsmen would give their wickets away with no hope of winning the game and one eye on the flight home, but this was far from the case. England’s bowlers were too short and too wide throughout the main session before rain ended it and they were even worse in the field, with Jos Buttler shelling a sitter from Jimmy Anderson that might yet cost him his 600th Test Wicket. The Pakistani batsmen also benefitted from a pitch that has just got slower and flatter as this Test has progressed, though that’s not taking away anything from their application and determination not to let this tour end in a 2-0 defeat.
Once the rain halted and the players re-entered the field at 3:45pm, England did at least start to bowl with a little more purpose, with Root adjusting his field having recognised that the pitch was not going to do them any favours. Broad struck early on with a delivery that Masood misjudged and got the merest glance of his pad whilst not playing a shot and was given out LBW. It may have only been clipping the stumps but umpires are never frightened to give someone out when not offering a shot. Anderson then removed Abid with a ball that tailed in with a bit of reverse swing and caught him in front and number 599 was in the bag.
Unfortunately very little happened after that with Bess looking pretty ineffective and Root being forced to bowl before the umpires inexplicably took them off for bad light. Again.
In truth today was one of those days that doesn’t do Test Cricket again good. A flat pitch which isn’t deteriorating, bad weather and overly fussy umpires meant that it was at times a tedious watch. It happens at times, but it is still disappointing when it does. We all know that Test Cricket doesn’t help itself at times especially when the umpires had the opportunity to start the game at 10:30am today and decided to refuse; I guess they like their breakfast in bed.
So we move on tomorrow and the forecast is grim. It is meant to hammer down for most of this evening and tomorrow morning in Southampton and best case scenario is likely for a 3pm start if they can clear the ground of the excess water. Unless something very strange happens, then this game is set for a bore draw, but hey Test Cricket can be a funny beast at times. One thing we can all hope for is that Jimmy Anderson does get the opportunity to bowl and take that final wicket to get to 600. I would hate to be in the shoes of some of England’s slip fielders and the wicketkeeper if the weather fails to play ball or if they drop any more chances off him.
As ever, thoughts and comments always welcome.
I think your main mistake, from my experience, was not tweeting something like this:
That drop was bloody rank. I’m not sure he was watching the ball at all, and I don’t think it even looked like it wobbled that much. Crap!
I have watched a fair amount of these Tests this summer, and mentioned before Bess doesn’t hit a good length often enough. I think it’s a case of trying to be too funky, particularly with his changes of pace. There isn’t a stock ball there, and his pace seems to vary every ball rather than being a more subtle variation. Just hit a length and bowl outside off. Once an over try something else. It’s a really difficult art, he’s just not very good at it.
Fair play to Azhar as well. His recent first class record stinks, but 6000 Test runs for a nation which doesn’t exactly play a shedload of matches isn’t to be sniffed at. Also, I think every batsman who plays at Taunton in recent years most likely has a record that stinks, so maybe he ought to get his agent to dial South London counties and see if he can get a game on a friendlier surface.
I personally don’t think Bess is the best spin bowler for Somerset let alone England. I’d rather they did to him what they did to Swann and let him learn his art at county level.
I’m a big fan of Azhar, it’s never easy to take on the captaincy of Pakistan and score big runs when they’ve had precious little home series. I think he’s a really important guy moving forward for Pakistan cricket and happy for him that he’s managed to score some runs. I genuinely don’t doubt he has the class to score a lot more runs at Test level.
Is Leach properly healthy yet?
If he isn’t then the ECB should have told us about it, given that he’s been in every squad this summer. And he probably shouldn’t have been in those squads.
He’s still in Southampton. I think he wasn’t released because he’s Bess’s concussion substitute.
Re the dropped catches…given the power Broad and Anderson have in the team set up and igven that the latter is seeking his sixth hundred wicket I can well imagine that the fear of failure to make a catch off their bowling is enough to freeze normal reactions.
To be fair, Bess made remarks that it was dangerous for the tailenders to face the pacers on Day 3. He also noted that in one case he did not see the ball coming to him at all. Some of the drops may simply be attributed to bad light, rather than fielder error.
What would help is a uniform standard for bad light. But rather than spend money on some (cheap) research to come up with a sensible metric, let’s spend the money on something far more useful: zing bails for the T20 World Cup!
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Not sure that play should commence given the state of the pitch. I also do not know if the ICC has a fund setup for the injuries such a thing could cause, including career ending injuries..
If it hadn’t been for the fact that Jimmy could get his 600th wicket, they’d have shaken hands at 1pm.
It wasn’t dangerous at all TBF, credit goes to the ground staff.
My worry was mostly the tailenders having to face Archer in near darkness (a reversal of the series in Pakistan in 2000, when England batted to a series victory in near darkness, but obviously it was not tailenders batting for England then in Karachi).
Since they went with a light meter reading of 430 lux, it would have been extremely hard to take off the players for bad light, and I don’t think intimidatory bowling is a thing anymore (though Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi can hardly bat). Then a bit of ill fortune for the batsman could be career ending.
Also, with sight being a bit poorer, it is a bit easier to suffer freak fielding injuries (delayed reaction time due to poor sight being one reason, possibly losing footing on a slightly moist outfield being another, when a tough catch needs a fair bit of running to take – the mind can play funny tricks in such situations).
Thankfully they called off the Test shortly into the final hour, so my fears did not come to pass.