119th over: New Zealand 354-9 (Conway 187, Wagner 15) Neil Wagner, you’ve gotta love him! Broad replaces Robinson, looking to get himself into the book for the first time, so the New Zealand No11 launches him over extra cover for SIX! That’s one of the shots of the match! Knee bent at the point of contact like Kim Hughes, Lara-esque follow-through… delightful. It brings up the New Zealand 350. And three more to finish through cover to retain the strike. Sure, Conway is chasing a double on debut but more from Wags, please.
“Enjoying the OBO.” Thank you, Steph Cooper. “My suggestion for dealing with this is to pass the right to request a new ball to the batting side, if the bowlers are behind on the over rate at the point where a new ball becomes available. That would focus minds far more effectively than any of the current options.”
Like it! Maybe a market-based solution, ala this for the toss.
118th over: New Zealand 344-9 (Conway 186, Wagner 6) Nice shot from Wagner to get off the mark through midwicket. And an even better one to follow, punshing Anderson off the back foot through cover point for four. I did say earlier that New Zealand bat deep…
“Regarding over rates,” writes Graeme Thorn, “imagine how inconvenient it would be for teams to return for a sixth day to catch up on the overs they’re underbowling?”
I speak for all paid-by-the-day freelancers in saying… bring it on.
WICKET! Southee c Bracey b Anderson 8 (New Zealand 338-9)
A bit of bounce and bit of movement, enough to find Southee’s outside edge. Anderson’s 616th dismissal in Tests, Bracey’s first.
117th over: New Zealand 338-8 (Conway 186, Southee 8) A good little period for New Zealand, this pair adding 21. That’s helped by a Robinson no-ball, the seventh delivery also bringing an overthrow.
“Afternoon Adam.” Brian Withington! “Good to have you back on OBO as Conway edges further towards glory, but what we all really want to know is how is Winnie and has she had her first bat fitting yet?”
She is going very well, I’m pleased to report. Closer to 16 months than 15 now, with about 30-odd words. She’s quite content watching cricket, shouting “ball!” at the screen (or occasionally “apple” when confused), and claps along when she hears the cloud doing so. Has a brand new pink cricket ball in her toy box, which she grips like a future left-arm orthodox spinner and bites into ala Shahid Afridi.
116th over: New Zealand 334-8 (Conway 185, Southee 6) We’re going to lose some more time here with two boxes of balls brought out after a change has been agreed by the umpire. Will Southee try and pop it out to Abbey Road? No, it’s a quick single to midwicket instead. Back to Conway, who helps New Zealand to four more off his thigh pad to end the over. Jimmy won’t be best pleased. Meanwhile, only one player in the last 120 years has carried their bat on Test debut, Sky tells us, with three in all matches played.
“Hey Adam.” Hello, Tom Bowtell. “On Southee, I wonder if he has the highest percentage of career Test runs in 6s for anyone with more than 1000 runs? 438 in sixes (72 of ‘em) out of 1690, so 25.9% Old slow coach Afridi only has 18.18% of Test runs in sixes and Alistair Cook is minutely further back at 0.53%”
Glorious. Surely nobody is matching that?
115th over: New Zealand 328-8 (Conway 184, Southee 5) Broad drops Southee! A straightforward chance at mid-off, moving to his right. “It was a dolly,” says Nasser on TV. Ouch. Would have been five wickets for Robinson on debut. Anderson, by contrast, saves four with a perfectly-executed dive at mid-off from Conway.
114th over: New Zealand 324-8 (Conway 183, Southee 2) Anderson to Conway from round the wicket, the opener playing straight throughout. No concerns. You can’t break this man’s concentration.
113th over: New Zealand 324-8 (Conway 183, Southee 2) A tight single for Conway from the penultimate ball, galloping away after prodding down to cover. He keeps the strike. Earlier in the over, Robinson wasn’t far away from going past Southee’s inside edge.
112th over: New Zealand 321-8 (Conway 181, Southee 1) Ignore what I said before, Southee doesn’t swing. He holds the record for the most sixes in Tests at both No9 and No10, if I recall correctly. It’ll frustrate Jimmy that he hasn’t made it into the book a second time.
John Starbuck is with me on Conway record-watch: “The way things are going, can someone work out the records and dates for a Test debut record which includes carrying one’s bat?”
111th over: New Zealand 318-8 (Conway 179, Southee 0) Some fightback this from England, taking 5/30 since New Zealand got off to a flier in the first 50 minutes this morning. Meanwhile, Conway is inching closer to carrying his bat. Southee will swing, we know that, so Conway might need to do likewise to hunt his double ton. Fun!
WICKET! Jamieson c Crawley b Robinson 9 (New Zealand 317-8)
The perfect re-start for England! And really well set up. Jamieson tried to drive earlier in the over, as is his preferencce, so they dropped an extra man back and went short on three occasions, the last of which won a top edge to Crawley running in from deep square, taking a fine diving catch low to the turf. Robinson has four.
The players are back on the field. Robinson to Conway to start us off again, running in from the Nursery End. PLAY!
I hope everyone had a nice bowl of soup or something like that. A quick email from Graham O’Reilly, which is fairly representive of my inbox. “Lots of sympathy for your poster Umran Sarwar when he complains about ersatz apologies from Ollie Robinson. Also when he says ‘He should be nowhere near the England team until he gets the help he obviously needs.’ On the other hand, perhaps he already has had the help and has already grown up. People do. But we can’t know from the stuff he had to read out yesterday, imposed as it clearly was by a three-line whip. The greater fault lies with the ECB, who didn’t check all this in advance, and so could pick him on his merits with no baggage. The bottom line surely is that they didn’t think it was important. One hopes that whatever punishment is meted out goes to whoever made that non-decision.”
LUNCH: New Zealand 314-7
110th over: New Zealand 314-7 (Conway 179, Jamieson 7) Anderson is back to bowl it and gives Jamieson a look at a full delivery, driving it through cover for four. Nice shot to go to lunch on, ending a highly entertaining session. New Zealand added 68 runs, most of them in the first hour of play but losing four wickets in a hurry after Mark Wood was brought into the attack. He has three, Robinson the other. Conway, meanwhile, has batted for four sessions on debut and doesn’t look like he’s going to be satisfied for a while yet – he gets to enjoy a second Lord’s lunch as a not out batsman. I’ll grab a bite to eat myself before returning to your emails in about 15 minutes.
109th over: New Zealand 308-7 (Conway 178, Jamieson 2) Broad hits Jamieson and runs down the pitch without looking back at the umpire until he’s about two metres away from the batsman. Not even close to out. As I say in this tweet, I’ve enjoyed celebrappeals as much as anyone in the press box, but it’s time to put them away. It’s becoming a bit of a problem at domestic level. Saw a shocking example of it at Lord’s a couple of weeks ago in a county game. No huge deal, love everything that Broad brings to the game, but time to put it away. And Conway takes him through midwicket to finish, the opener’s 21st boundary. One over left before lunch.
108th over: New Zealand 303-7 (Conway 174, Jamieson 2) New Zealand bring up their 300 with a lovely shot from Conway, turning Wood up the hill for three. They’ve lost four wickets in the last 12 runs of that journey, though. Scoring shots from five of the six deliveries here – that might be the end of Wood’s excellent spell.
107th over: New Zealand 295-7 (Conway 168, Jamieson 0) Robinson is ever so close to going through Jamieson! That’s a big inswinger, saved by the inside edge of his bat. Sure enough, the seamer has a little word. I watched him against Middlesex last season at Radlett where he spent the match relentlessly sledging the opposition and flaring up at the umpires whenever a decision didn’t go his way.
Here’s the third Wood wicket.
106th over: New Zealand 294-7 (Conway 167, Jamieson 0) Love to see a bowler’s fortunes turn around. Wood did very little wrong yesterday, bowling so quickly for no return. But his spell this morning – 3/7 from six – has turned this innings around for the hosts. And there’s nearly a fourth, finding Jamieson’s outside edge with the one ball he gets at the No8, not quite carrying to second slip.
WICKET! Santner c Anderson b Wood 0 (New Zealand 294-7)
Make that 4/6! The collapse is on and Wood is on fire! Clever from speedster, pushing men back for the short ball before giving Santner a fuller delivery to drive from round the wicket. He’s through the shot too early though, spooning a catch to Anderson at cover.
105th over: New Zealand 293-6 (Conway 166, Santner 0) New Zealand dominated the first 50 minutes of the day but England have struck back hard in the next 45, claiming 3/5. But the visitors do have a strong lower order, Santner having started his Test career at number six in the batting list. He leaves well to begin but Robinson forces him to use his bat in defence for the rest. Another wicket maiden. What an excellent session this has been so far.
WICKET! de Grandhomme lbw b Robinson 0 (New Zealand 293-6)
Outstanding review! Given not out on the basis of there being two noises, it sounded on stump mic like Broad was pushing for it to go upstairs. Root agreed and was spot on to do so, hitting leg stump.
104th over: New Zealand 293-5 (Conway 166, de Grandhomme 0) Ohh, great bit of cricket to finish with Wood pushing another man back but going full to Conway, who leaves just outside his off-stump despite the from round the wicket angle. Back to back maidens from the fastest man on show – does Root keep him going? Meanwhile, on matters Conway, the real number I’m interested in is 287 – the highest score on debut: Tip Foster at Sydney in 1903.
103rd over: New Zealand 293-5 (Conway 166, de Grandhomme 0) Robinson to Conway, who takes a single to go past the mighty Charles Bannerman’s debut in the first Test Match in 1877. No respite for de Grandhomme, who has to make good decisions throughout.
“On the subject of Robinson and his tweets, as an ethnic minority I am becoming tired of the meaningless apologies and the frankly insulting “I am not a racist” excuses,” writes Umran Sarwar. “It’s about the flippant mindset of treating people differently and as the other. The inside joke of the superior race and laughing at Jonny foreigner to make yourself feel better. The cookie cutter non-apology clearly not written by him – lifting a cut and paste ‘there is no place for this’ is just banal and insincere. He needs help yes but the pity should be extended to the ethnic minorities that he has insulted and not to him. He needs to get help, not be dragged kicking and screaming because he has been found out. Until he does so he is an embarrassment to the English shirt and it is not the ethnic minority players to educate him. He should be nowhere near the England team until he gets the help he obviously needs.”
102nd over: New Zealand 292-5 (Conway 165, de Grandhomme 0) Watching it back, Watling didn’t need to be clipping at that given it was on off-stump, but that’s an error created by Mark Wood’s wide angle on the crease and sharp pace. If you then shape it away, as he did then, it’s game on for the quick. de Grandhomme has to be right on his game to start, Wood testing him just outside the off stump.
WICKET! Watling c Sibley b Wood 1 (New Zealand 292-5)
One brings two! Classy bowling from Wood, full with just enough shape off the seam, at serious pace. Watling wanted to flick it into the legside but it takes his outside edge instead, fizzing to Sibley at second slip. A very handy catch given he must’ve seen it late.
101st over: New Zealand 292-4 (Conway 165, Watling 1) Conway solid in defence and happy to leave Robinson alone when he’s outside the off stump. That’s just the second maiden of the day so far. This is where England could do with a turn from Jack Leach, but not to be.
Sky cut to a young lad with his dad in the grandstand, wearing a t-shirt about his love of the game while scoring the innings. I was the kid with a scorebook at the MCG growing up – very happy times.
100th over: New Zealand 292-4 (Conway 165, Watling 1) Wood past the outside edge of Watling to finish after going beyond Conway’s inside edge earlier in the over. He’s well and truly in the game.
“I played against North Devon CC sides containing the teenage Overtons some years ago and it would be fair to say they were vocal and let me know what they thought of me and my batting,” recalls Charles Sheldrick. “As a Somerset fan I am obviously disappointed that Overton is not in the side (and has not been released to play against Hants), but am I the only one who thinks that our boy may have dodged some attention by not being in the XI?”
Given the scrutiny on Overton before the 2017-18 Ashes, I’d be surprised if there is anything on social media that hasn’t been reviewed by now. But yes, he’s another element to this story.
99th over: New Zealand 291-4 (Conway 164, Watling 1) Robinson attacking Watling’s stumps from the get go, well kept out. Drinks. New Zealand’s hour with Conway ticking along beautifully, but by ending that big partnership, the hosts have something to work with.
98th over: New Zealand 290-4 (Conway 163, Watling 1) That was a fantastic partnership, taking New Zealand from a bit of bother at 114-3, adding 174 for the fourth wicket. In walks BJ Watling, starting his final tour as an international cricketer, having announced his decision to retire after the World Test Championship final. He’s off the mark with one around the corner but a successful over for England – how they needed that and well bowled Mark Wood.
“Morning Adam.” Hello, Simon Thomas. “I do love a trawl through scorecards of old, so thanks for putting that up. Apart from Ranji’s knock in the second innings, Tom Richardson sent down over 100 overs for his 13 wickets. Not bad in a 3 day game. I’ll not make a cheap comparison to yesterday’s over rate though, possibly because I think they were 4 ball overs, but still…”
I’ve got some notes about that 1896 match stashed away somewhere form our Final Word live show at Manchester (Woodhouses CC; Athers’ club) a couple of years ago. I’ll dig them out at lunch.
WICKET! Nicholls c Robinson b Wood 61 (New Zealand 288-4)
Wood gets Nicholls with the bouncer! He tried to take it on but it was too quick, the top edge landing with Robinson at long leg.
97th over: New Zealand 287-3 (Conway 161, Nicholls 61) Conway keeps scoring down the ground, with that uncomplicated and compact technique – four more. Robinson didn’t go a lot wrong but the opener is in the zone. If you’re wondering, when ignoring every caveat, he has the highest Test average of all time at the moment (or will, when dismissed). Yes, this means nothing, but makes a nice screenshot for his family seeing him ahead of Bradman et al.
96th over: New Zealand 282-3 (Conway 156, Nicholls 61) Wood bowled very quickly yesterday and without luck. He came ever so close to getting Conway with the short ball after tea, after hitting him twice with it before lunch. He’s up at Nicholls here though, who plays the extra pace nicely, clipping a couple along the way.
“More than 90 overs with no catches and no sixes,” Jonathan McKinley observes. “Are the kiwis (like the bird) incapable of taking to the air?” Very good. And Devon Conway can go big, believe me.
More on Conway: my man Hypocaust with the goods here.
95th over: New Zealand 280-3 (Conway 156, Nicholls 59) I’ve watched a lot of Robinson for Sussex and, putting everyone else aside and just speaking about him as a bowler, I’m not surprised at all that he looks completely at home at Test level. He’s been ready for this step up for a couple of seasons. Very good to Conway here.
94th over: New Zealand 279-3 (Conway 156, Nicholls 58) “Book yourself in,” says David Lloyd of the New Zealand pair, getting a chance to bat big after getting through this first half an hour. A single to Nicholls behind square and a couple for Conway in the same direction. Athers says that Conway’s 156 is now the highest score for any man on debut in England. Wow! He goes past Ranji’s 154 – a brilliant Test at Manchester in 1896. I’ve argued in the past that Old Trafford is the greatest Ashes venue and this match helps with that.
“Good morning.” And to you, John Starbuck. “One thing I did enjoy yesterday was hearing, on the Beeb’s highlights show, an Antipodean commentator saying the magic words ‘Day Boo’ again. It’s the little things one misses.”
That’d be Craig McMillan, working on BBC TV. It continues to be the word that prompts the most scrutiny when commentating in England: I’m hardwired to day-boo, nothing I can do about it.
93rd over: New Zealand 276-3 (Conway 154, Nicholls 57) Ollie Robinson into the attack, to a chorus of support from his colleagues. How will he handle this pressure? Has he been able to switch it off? He gives Nicholls one on his pads early in the over, helped down the slope for three. Better to Conway, locating his inside edge.
“Well,” says Mark Slater, “there we were wondering how the ECB was going to accommodate a surfiet of fast bowling talent into the national side. Seems that a check into the media history of prospects, and their unilateral acknowledgement and regrets for any stupidity found, could be a criteria for inclusion going forward.”
Conway to 150!
92nd over: New Zealand 273-3 (Conway 154, Nicholls 54) This is turning into a huge debut effort from Conway, raising his bat for 150. He’s already the highest scorer at Lord’s when appearing for the first time and now has the chance to join the small club of international players to make that a double. Nicholls’ turn, on the front foot scoring again, grabbing three past point. And now four more for Conway, steering to deep third as he has so well – despite going through fourth slip, he’s played that with control. It prompts a chat between Broad and Root, third slip coming out. To Plan B.
91st over: New Zealand 265-3 (Conway 149, Nicholls 51) The second over in a row where Anderson has started with a half-volley, put away this time through point by Conway. “Excellent,” says Nasser, “waiting for hit to pass him then flat-batting it for four.” Jimmy is again back where he needs to be soon enough, locating the opener’s inside edge. The Black Caps have added 19 runs in 20 minutes.
Nicholls to 50!
90th over: New Zealand 258-3 (Conway 143, Nicholls 50) A lovely way for Nicholls to bring up his half-century, on-driving Broad into the rope beneath the pavilion. He’s been such a big part of New Zealand’s rise over the last three years – a very good cricketer, averaging 45 in Tests, ranked sixth in the world by the ICC.
89th over: New Zealand 254-3 (Conway 143, Nicholls 46) Half-volley, put away by Conway to the grandstand side of the ground. Shot. Sure enough, Anderson is back on his length straight away, up again for leg before, but much as it was in his previous over, going just over the top. Good cricket. “That’s the length at Lord’s,” says Nasser.
88th over: New Zealand 250-3 (Conway 139, Nicholls 46) The 250 is up with a delightful straight drive, a shot Conway played so well yesterday either side of his century milestone. They take three. Beforehand, Bracey mishandled a ball that swung late, spitting away for a bye. The wicketkeeper is in the game again later in the over with Broad’s scramble-seamer doing plenty after Nicholls shoulders arms. Lord’s, as they say, is never an easy place for stumpers.
And here, my friends, is the overseas TMS link! Enjoy!
87th over: New Zealand 246-3 (Conway 136, Nicholls 46) Ouch, Jimmy, running in from the Nursery End, gets one to take off from a good length first ball of the day, Conway ripping his bottom hand off the blade at the point of contact. A reminder that this second new ball is only six overs old, so this is an important passage. Good leave later in the over, bouncing over off-stump. Now a shout for leg before with one going beyond the left-hander’s inside edge, but it’s pitched outside leg; no review. All told, a predictably probing start.
The players are on the field. James Anderson, the floor is yours. Conway to face for New Zealand. PLAY!
“Hi, Adam.” Morning, Andrew Moore. “As someone with virtually no social media profile am curious as to why this is coming out now? Has it been deliberately timed to damage Ollie Robinson (which in itself would be a pretty vile thing to do), or is it the result of people on Twitter searching his history due to his increased exposure.”
Good question. A bit of both, I reckon. Not that this is the answer (as Nasser said perfectly on TV last night) but it’s remarkable to me that Robinson’s support team didn’t have the presence of mind to clean this up before he was in the spotlight. It’s widely acknowledged by the man himself that he had a few anger issues. Did nobody twig that there might be some dreadful tweets out there? Odd.
There’ll be a lot of emails about Robinson. I’ll try my best to read them all and will include some, but plese don’t be cross with me if your note doesn’t appear. Here’s one to open the batting.
“Hiya, Collo.” Morning, Iain McKane. “Seems Robinson’s sanction may be at least that handed down to Craig Overton for his offensive remarks a few years back. Robinson’s age/immaturity at the time (and, if it can be proved, his state of mind then, during an apparently tempestuous time in his life) should be taken into account in mitigation of sanction; but, this is a serious matter, whatever your age. A ban for at least the next Test would seem appropriate and reasonable, if within the ECB’s powers. I would also recommend OR undertakes some professionally-mediated meetings with members of the England set-up from minority backgrounds, as well as further education programmes.”
It’s a lovely morning in London. 20 degrees now; expected to reach 24 this afternoon. On account of the fact they maintained such a poor over rate yesterday – always a risk when not playing a spinner – the hosts only got six overs in with the second new ball before stumps. So, an opening for Anderson and Broad before Conway (136) and Nicholls (48) get themselves in again. The incumbent pair added 102 chanceless runs through the course of the final session.
Mark Wood is talking to TMS. “I saw him at breakfast. Obviously, last night was pretty tough for him and the whole team to get that news but I think he is going to just try and concentrate on the cricket today and get his mind firmly fixed on what is an important morning for us to try and get back into the game. So, mentally if his head is in that space, I think he can do the business as he did yesterday.”
Sky are on air. There will be a lot of attention on what the commentators have to say in response to Robinson’s statement.
“I was pretty depressed when I left the ground last night,” Mike Atherton begins. “It should have been the greatest day of his cricketing life but he ends up giving a humiliating apology. I thought it was a distressing story on so many levels.”
He believes Robinson will be disciplined by the ECB after the match, especially after the t-shirts the England team wore before play yesterday re-affirming the organisation’s anti-discrimination stance.
“These things certainly have an impact upon an individual,” Atherton continues on Robinson’s mindset coming into today. “He will feel that everyone is watching him, all the cameras are watching him, and you need to be very mentally strong to get through that.”
Simon Doull didn’t like the statement, which he says was clearly written by the ECB rather than the man himself, saying he would rather have heard something from the heart. As for what comes next, he wants him to be educated and helped through this.
How does the meme go when adapted for our sport? One regular day of England cricket / That’s all I ask / Will never happen. And so it was yesterday at Lord’s. Sure, it was conventional enough on the scoreboard, New Zealand ticking along very nicely to reach 246-3 with Devon Conway marching to a quite outstanding unbeaten 136 on debut. However, anyone playing along via twitter through the afternoon session knew that the main action was to come at stumps via another man making his bow, Ollie Robinson.
In case you missed it – unlikely as that is – as England’s new quick bowled a potent spell after lunch, old tweets of his were being mined and the result was grim. Really grim. Just about every box was ticked: sexism, racism, the works. Simon Burnton recaps what we know (and more tweets have surfaced since this was written), along with Robinson’s subsequent apology issued after play.
That piece also includes strongly-worded comments from Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, with the organisation set to carry out a review at the end of this Test Match. He didn’t miss:
I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England men’s player has chosen to write tweets of this nature, however long ago that might have been.
Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of colour, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this. We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination and there are rules in place that handle conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process.
It’s going to be a strange morning. All eyes will be on Robinson as he takes the field to bowl, with all ears tuned to the voices-of-reason around the game to get their considered opinion the morning after the night before. Where the pieces land really is anyone’s guess.