“Sack The ECB – Save Test Cricket” Banner on Aircraft Flying Over Headingley
After two days of out of character cricket, normal-ish service was resumed today. England struggled to make the same breakthroughs India did from the second day tea interval, and as they had done on the first day. In truth it made for a compelling (which is probably the cricketing equivalent of football’s “intriguing” – aka dull) day’s play. The weather matched the mood, the grey skies not seeming as threatening. India batted sensibly and, as I start this report with about an hour’s play to go, have set a decent base to eliminate the deficit. With their long tail (and I am really tempting fate) and a long time to go, India will probably need to bat until lunch (or just before) on Sunday to make a game of it.
England started the day in fine shape, and would probably have been very disappointed to add so few this morning. We did have the bizarre sight though of a number 10 on 0 turning down a single to protect a number 11 with a test best of 81! Still, a lead of 354 is a rare pleasure, and like all pessimists, I’ve found a way England can lose from here (indeed, while I was listening on TMS, they raised the very game I was thinking of – Durban in 2004).
The ball swung early but this time edges weren’t induced. A bungled review deprived England of a morning wicket until the last ball before lunch when Overton induced an edge and Bairstow took a fine catch to dismiss Rahul. Rohit Sharma played a watchful role, and I think his slowest 50 in tests, before falling to an LBW appeal upheld by Richard Kettleborough. Ollie Robinson breathed a sigh of relief when on review the ball was ruled to be grazing the leg stump. It was actually nice to hear Deep Dasgupta on the radio saying he had little problem with the decision and it definitely wasn’t a howler. He won’t go far if he doesn’t dive in with a controversial take when the situation presents itself.
Those were the two wickets to fall. Cheteshwar Pujara played an innings the world knows he is capable of, but hasn’t shown so far, with a little more fluidity and solidity. He will be looking to move towards a real big one. He is also playing himself a little bit more into form, and so has his compatriot at the other end. To me Virat’s bat still doesn’t come down as straight as it does in his pomp, and he’s maybe not playing quite as late to my untrained eye (and it is), but it won’t take much to put that together, and the length of time he spent out there today could be of huge benefit.
England were forced to bowl spin for the last 10 or so overs of the day, and so allowed India to take another 20 or 30 off the lead while looking largely unthreatening – although Root got one to go through the gate and bounce over Virat’s stumps. India finished the day on 215 for 2 – Pujara unbeaten on 91, Kohli on 44. England will have something to think about and India will feel a bit better, knowing there is a ton of work to do. England have the new ball to take first thing tomorrow.
And that’s about it, really. Sometimes there is no sense in trying to tell you something more than what happened. It is, in its way the essence of test cricket, ebb and flow. Hard work wins games, and getting into great positions allows you to have days like these and still be in it. 139 behind is not as great as it could have been (I wouldn’t have bowled spin for 10 overs and let India milk it, but that’s a minor criticism).
Of course, there was the aeroplane, and some joker in a cricket costume. Vic Marks and Jonathan Agnew were joking on the radio that Harrison would be looking to see who had put that aeroplane banner up, but that would give credence to the assumption that he cares a jot what people think. I’ve not seen evidence of that. As the Lightning Seeds sang in the song of the lyric above “A change in style, for a little while, is only make believe”. That could apply to England, it could apply to Tom Harrison allowing himself to be interviewed.
A few other quick thoughts to finish off the day. RIP Ted Dexter. While people of my generation will always remember him from the chairman of selector days, when heaven only knows what I would have written about him if the blog was a thing, his career and reputation as a dashing batsman also stood tall. No-one will ever doubt his commitment to the game, and his love of it. The rankings were his brainchild, I do believe, and so I could blame him from Cricviz! But that would be unfair. A life lived well, we can only aim to try to do the same.
I have listened to a lot of TMS in the last couple of days. There are some good parts, some not so. Some good analysis, some absolute nonsense. I suppose that’s life. I then get to watch the last hour and a half on TV, and I am sorry, but Bumble’s days must be numbered. Mustn’t they. As I am wont to say at the moment, “not for me, Clive”.
India will continue their graft tomorrow….
“Cause I’ll be working long as my two hands are fit to use, I drink a little beer that evening, Sing a little bit of these working man blues” Merle Haggard
Comments on today and tomorrow’s action below.
I said below that England had left the door slightly ajar by not batting themselves into a position where they don’t have to bat again. India are nearly half way to the 500 or so they will need to make England have butterflies on the last day.
Still very unlikely, and with a new ball tomorrow they will hope to make early inroads. But if India are still batting tomorrow night……
Ted Dexter was a man who loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was from a different age. Not necessarily fashionable today. His time running English cricket could be shambolic, and also quite funny. But he was not being paid the kind of money the current management class have awarded themselves. His was more a Heath Robinson sort of old fashioned English…..”It will be alright on the night approach.”
He had his critics, and he could come off as rather out of touch but I prefer that to the current bunch of charlatans. What ever you may think of Ted Dexter he really did love the game. I’m not at all sure you can say the same for the current administration.
I guess today was the day where the one pacedness of the England attack was exposed. India did well to manage the new ball and then build to where they are now. I am also pleased that those who have bought tickets for tomorrow’s play will get at least a reasonable amount of what they paid for.
India of course could fold in a heap tomorrow morning, but I would like to think England can still triumph through a solid day’s graft to set up the next two tests. I am going to the Saturday at the Oval so I sort of want the whole series to be on tenterhooks then!
The one-dimensionalness and the strange selection: as someone, Mark I think, pointed out on the last thread, it seems as if England have only selected three bowlers that they actually trust.
I just don’t get it: I can see the logic in Ali (although I don’t know if it;s the logic they used! It’s based on his strike rate as an attacking bowler, not his batting three years ago)–but in that case they need to have the confidence in him to actually use him as a front-line bowler.
But I can’t see the Curran logic at all. There’s no way that he’s a better test bowling prospect than Mahmood, especially across different conditions. And again, if they’ve decided that his batting isn’t good enough to bat him at seven, then he’s a specialist bowler and they need to treat him as such.
Otherwise you’ll be bowling your three specialists into the ground, and you’ve effectively got two bits-and-pieces players. In which case you might as well go the whole hog and fill the rest of the bowling slots with Luis Reece, Dan Douthwaite and Martin Andersson!
Re Mahmood’s non selection, perhaps they were following Yorkshire CC logic in not picking too many Asians.
Root and Silverwood’s lack of confidence in their own selections is mystifying on its own
Agreed. You’d almost think they pick Curran solely on the basis of what he did to the Indians in 2018. A bit like home commentators picking the touring side, and then wondering why player X, Y, or Z, is not that highly rated anymore by the away side (eg. the English commentariat refusing to understand that between 2012 and 2017 Amla had declined substantially).
As for Yorkshire, the lack of openness seems to suggest they do have a massive racism problem. A process that should have taken a couple of months at most has now taken over a year. If they are afraid of libel cases, either they did a shoddy job in substantiating the report, or they fear lawsuits to such an extent that even the truth is not deemed a sufficient defence (and truth is a valid defence) – i.e. that the bad PR would be extremely damaging as well. Methinks it is the latter.
Obviously the only remedy is to stick one’s head in the sand, and appeal to the ECB that Durham be docked points for the racist excesses at YCCC.
I’m pleased to see my team Kent are still allowed – for the time being – to have a cricket team and have got to the T20 finals day beating Warwickshire/Birmingham (whatever they call themselves this week).
Is it live on BBC2 all day like the crisp packet tournament?
BBC2? Ha ha
I would bet the four quarter finals of the T20 Blast were every bit as good as the Hundred matches (which i didn’t watch at all so i may be wrong!) but what coverage has the Blast had? nothing in the DT or Guardian that i can see, but both were full of Hundred match reports and pics. BBC website has mentioned the Blast but they would as they were covering them on radio.
Those of us who have spent the summer watching county cricket on live stream are now deprived of watching the culmination of the Royal London, the Blast and probably some of the county championship as Sky has taken over and prevented the live streams. Makes my blood boil! I confess I’ve taken out a NOW TV month subscription so i can watch the tests and T20 finals.
The blocking of the Royal London final is particularly egregious given it was ignored by Sky until that match, and that the support for it was so much more than I think they expected. It really wouldn’t have hurt them to allow the game to be on a free stream, would it?
The lack of vision these decision makers have is absolutely frightening. The fact that county fans came out in really good numbers for a lot of reserve and young players is a testament to how much the game is loved, and how a lot of these fans felt ignored and, yes, betrayed. The Blast QFs have just reinforced that.
It might be too simplistic to say Hundred team players make the runs / take wickets for future revenues, but in the Blast they make them for their counties, but there is a bit in that.
I would guess a lot of county supporters enjoyed seeing so many of the young players in the Royal London, i certainly did. They had a good discussion with the local commentators about them all, probably on TMS, there may even be a podcast. But a lot of names mentioned. The one that stands out to me was the young spin bowler from Sussex, Archie Lenham or similar, he looked about 12, i think he’s just 16, but played very well and with such maturity.
I see Somerset chased down over 180 to beat Lancashire (admitted Taunton is a fast scoring ground. ) with two overs to spare. As you say the quarter finals have been competitive.
It’s interesting how the 16.4 got such loving coverage by the media contrasting the lack of coverage of the Blast. This shows most of the media are completely captured by the ECB, which makes Harrison’s outburst at the media ludicrous. And also shows how much they dislike country cricket.
They have a popular product in the Blast yet they seem to be embarrassed by it. They will take the money from Sky, but promote the 16.4. Weird.
Yes, that Somerset match was great, brilliant batting from Abell and Lammonby. And Hants came back from the dead against the great Notts batting lineup, big surprise there, another very exciting match.
Ted Dexter’s blog was also very interesting for his views on batting, and how to get Steve Smith out. I wonder if Andrew Strauss and Cook twat will ever admit whether they took advice from him. Not all of his ideas were batty. His first class record would probably out qualify 4 of the 5 English bowlers in this Test – said without checking. Only Anderson is obviously a more effective bowler
That was such a provocative comment that I checked!
Interestingly he had a very very similar record, both f-c and test, to Sam Curran (although to be fair Curran’s strike rate is much better).
Robinson is on a different planet in both f-c and (so far) tests. Overton has a much better f-c average and–as we speak, at least–an almost identical test one–but again, a much better strike rate.
And Dexter’s average was some way better than Ali in both, but especially f-c (Ali’s test bowling record is better than his overall f-c…as was Dexter’s batting)–although again, Ali’s test strike rate is a great deal better.
A few years ago, when Simon Hughes brought out his book on batting – which brought derision from Boycott and Dexter, amongst others – Hughes had the temerity to question Ted Dexter’s ability to comment on bowling matters. Lord Ted brought out the stats which suggested that he was every inch Hughes’s equal as a bowler and, I think, had actually taken more wickets. As well as scoring 50 or so centuries and averaging around 47 in Tests. That was the basis for my comment. It seems that he wasn’t as good as the true specialist bowlers England are picking but would otherwise be an asset. Whether England would pick him is debatable – I don’t think he was scared to present his opinions. However, since India have folded, the selectors will no doubt conclude that their team is beyond improvement
The actual quote
“Sorry to do this to you Simon, but the 1969 Playfair career records section tells me that Dexter.E.R took 419 first class wickets at an average of 29.9 – 5 wickets 9 times, 10 wickets twice.
The 1994 edition reveals that Hughes.S.P took 466 wickets at 32.48 – 5 wickets 10 times and 50 wickets in a season twice. I went back to 1969 to check my own season by season tallies to find that the criteria for a mention in the final column used to be 100 wickets, not 50. I did not get a mention”
My faulty memory!
I think if Muttiah Muralitharan or Jeff Thompson were English they would not be picked as bowlers in this era because they were not seen as bowling all rounders. Thompson once did score a Test 49 and nearly saved a test match with a last wicket stand, but he was a number 11. It wasn’t his job to bat, but to bowl fast.
England demand that you must be able to bat if you are picked to bowl outside of the strike bowler Anderson. I guess Archer is another. Broad was once touted as a number 8, but Ali and Curran have not delivered the runs they are supposed to be capable of in recent times. If India bat well today Ali and Root will have to bowl a fair number of overs.
It does bring home how important Swann was to England back in his prime, and he could bat a bit. But he was worth his place on his bowling alone. England seem to tinker with one side of the engine because the other side, the batting, is not reliable. So they mess about with fine tuning the bowling to make allowances for the batting.
Who would be the best 5 bowlers England could pick if taking wickets was the only concern? Obviously Stokes not being fit unbalances the side.
I think we might have been scarred by that 1999 tail against New Zealand – Caddick batted 8. Tufnell, Mullally and Giddens. The last three would have had a battle to bat 12.
As I write Kohli gets out. England one meltdown-free session against Pant or Jadeja away from winning this.
PS – Just before Kohli was out, but England are ahead by 117 with three wickets down for the oppo who do have a long tail.
Five down now, and only an hour of play gone. Knife edge looks pretty blunt at the moment!
Lovely delivery from Moeen.
That went well but what am I supoosed to do for the resto of the evening?
Yes, the ECB have got one of their favoured 4 day test matches. Well more like 3 days. And a bank Holliday weekend as well so no test match cricket on Sunday or Monday.
I wish I got £700,000 a year for such genius!
Next round of county champs starta on Monday.
Not a full refund, but a half refund. Utterly compelling from both sides.
Pray tell, why can’t Bangladesh not even get a single Test in England for two decades again?