“I’ve expressed myself (and Tom) a little clumsily there,” returns Mike Daniels, “but the point he was making was that if you only play on flat wickets you won’t necessarily promote the mindset and techniques of taking wickets, you will, in the main, promote defensive bowling. You’re right that you need to take wickets to win a Test but you won’t necessarily develop the bowlers to think about taking wickets if you don’t put them into situations where the pressure is on them to take wickets, and there’s no better place to do that than in a situation where they are expected to, as opposed to hoping to. The bowler then has to develop the relevant techniques to do so in varied conditions.”
I see both sides, I really do, but it’s also the case that England have struggled to take 20 wickets in India and Australia and I’d guess that more practise on flat tracks is likely to be helpful.
On which point, I absolutely loved this – sentiment and turn of phrase.
Please excuse my namedrop, but KP told me the same, and that if you were out or fielding, you waded in to the fullest possible extent. He also reserved particular praise the the prawns in Marie Rose sauce.
Weather update: it’s still raining, so lunch will be taken as usual at 1pm meaning no play until 1.40pm at the earliest but realistically, it’ll probably be later than that.
“At the risk of being ‘that guy’,” says Nick Ridgman, “I must insist that Detectorists is referred to by its proper name, sans rogue ‘The’.”
Behold my “Netherlands” below!
“Still trying to work out if Silverwood would have preferred a flat pitch or a lively one as a player,” muses Sean Clayton. “If we believe Wikipedia, Bob Cottam claimed Silverwood was faster than Allan Donald (!) but I remember him as more of a swing and seam bowler than an outright paceman…”
I’m certain he’d have fancied a greentop – and no, I’m not sure he was quite as quick as Ai Dee.
“Stealing a break to glance at the OBO in the rehearsal room (Le Wine Club with Anna Lou, opens Brighton Fringe June 19th since you ask),” begins Michael Keane. “Shame about the weather but wondering if you have any updates on the ODI in Utrecht? Don’t know which site is best for scores so thought I’d email you. And much as I love Ireland, having the live stream on here while directing would probably be unprofessional…”
Netherlands are 123-8 off 40, so Ireland are pretty well-placed. Good luck with the play!
“Flatter pitches,” begins Mike Daniels. “Tom Cartwright would say that producing flatter pitches doesn’t produce better bowlers except in the sense that they become better defensive bowlers. He ascribed to the view that pitches with something in them made for better bowlers as it put the pressure on the bowlers to deliver wickets and develop an attacking mindset rather than a defensive one. The good bowlers will find a way to take wickets on most surfaces if that’s the way that they set out to achieve.”
That’s a really interesting angle – so much of sport, and life, is played in the mind. I’m not sure I can buy it though, because you can’t win a Test bowling defensively on a flat track – you need to find a way to attack even with no help from the conditions. And another of looking at things might be that the good bowlers look to attack on every wicket.
“On the subject of spreading joy,” emails Brian Withington, “all three seasons of the Detectorists are a delight but the last episode is simply wonderful. See also Marvellous, also with the impeccably life-affirming Toby Jones lead role. You’re welcome.”
Someone pressed the Detectorists on me quite some time ago, and I sort of mentally filed it under whimsy. But if it’s worth a go, will have a look – and agree on Marvellous.
Ian Ward reckons rain until about 2pm, then we should get a decent amount of cricket thereafter. “From his mouth to God’s ears,” as my Gran would’ve said.
“G’day Daniel,” says Alistair Connor. “I’m thinking ‘Ha. England. Summer. Rain.’ But to be honest, you’ve got just as much of a chance of rain interruption in Auckland in December. Except that the rain is warmer. And it doesn’t last all bloody day.”
What’s especially galling here is that in most of the country, they’re playing – even Old Trafford, for crying out loud. But hopefully we’ll get enough in today to make the next two days what they should be.
Oh, and one more: Musa Okwonga’s book, One of Them, achieves the difficult feat of being an easy read – it’s propulsive and entertaining – and a difficult read – it teaches you things about the world and about yourself that are upsetting. Find out more:
Longtime members of our community will know that the OBO is not just for cricket but for the general sharing of joy, so allow me to recommend a couple of things that have enriched my recent life: Les Misérables – not the original, but the Ladj Li film on Netflix – is really, really worth your heart and mind. And, on an entirely different tip, American Barbecue Showdown has perhaps the most likeable cast of any reality show I’ve seen.
Yeah, it’s still raining. No one has sent me any cake to stimulate conversation but we can pretend to the contrary; I’d love a school dinner-style treacle sponge.
It’s interesting that Chris Silverwood has asked for flatter pitches this summer, so his bowlers get better at finding a way and his batsmen get better at occupying the crease. I guess we can add it to the IPL on our list of things about which KP was right, but otherwise that strikes me as good news for Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, whose pace becomes even more valuable. I also can’t wait to see how Branderson impose themselves just when we think that conditions are against them.
Pivoting back to the match, Rory Burns will be delighted to have got a score here. I guess there’s a feeling that England’s top three aren’t quite cemented yet, Burns and Sibley good players who’ve not yet made the runs to waive stylistic concerns and Crawley seeking to bring his bottom level closer to his very acceptable top level. I hope all three do well this summer, but I’d absolutely love another look at Hasseb Hameed, and not just because of his luscious locks.
“Since we’re on a hip-hop tip,” says George Browne, “Do you think today’s cloud will see the ball hooping around?”
In the first hour, for sure, but at 60 minutes and one second? Who can say.
The umpires are in the middle and the pitch is being uncovered, which is good I guess – though looking around and looking out my window, the weather does not scream “CRICKET!”
There’s play in the champo pretty much across the country – they’re delayed at Trent Bridge and Canterbury, but going strong everywhere else. This country, eh? Anyhow, follow the action here:
“Shame about this rain, eh,” laments Andrew Cosgrove. “I couldn’t agree more about the new stands, they look fantastic. When you bemoaned the loss of the toilets, I thought you were talking about my greatest grievance. I used to love the magnificent urinals at the Nursery End. I think they might have been Edwardian, acres of porcelain. The fact that the entrance and egress appeared to have been designed by someone who had given absolutely no thought to the most efficient way of getting hundreds of men in and out just added to the charm, somehow. I believe those toilets are no more, but it turns out you were talking about a different toilet.”
I know your ones too, and yes, I agree – I like to believe that the small opening and vast expanse was a metaphor for opening a window into the soul.
Anyway, how is learning every note of a classic album not more crucial than matrices, Great Expectations and the French idioms on page 175 of Tricolore?
“Cruciality is relative,” philosophises Matt Dony, “and only truly understood when we can look back on a period and place it within a wider context. (My GCSE year, for example, was supposed to be ‘crucial’, and yet the fact that I wasted it learning every guitar note of Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness appears to have done no lasting damage). When taking about upcoming time periods, I would argue that we only ever have the potential for cruciality. The first hour’s play could be crucial. We won’t know until we’re looking back on it. And, anyway, time is a man-made construct, and nothing truly matters. Happy Friday, everyone.”
That takes me back – I too did GCSEs in what graffiti around Golders Green and Camden Town knew as “Nutty 9T5”. I didn’t have the dexterity for guitar-playing, but did visit Virgin Megastore and ease open the plastic protecting various sheet music books, in order to copy down lyrics into my homework diary. Failing that, I would wait until my Walkman battery ran down and my tapes played slowly; who needs the internet?
The rain doesn’t look “set in” but doesn’t look likely to disappear in the next bit. We’ve not been advised about a potential start-time which isn’t a great sign.
Would it ever be possible to take, say, six weeks in the calendar and hold a Test-match World Cup? Last 16, last eight, semi-finals and final, one and done? I daresay I would watch it.
The new Compton and Edrich stands look the absolute business, don’t they? I have reservations – boxes in the middle of the two tiers, sending the upper deck further from the action, less sun for those so inclined – but the view from the bottom looks so much better. Ultimately, you’ve got to credit the MCC in that every single ground improvement has been an absolute belter, on its own and as part of the whole. One minor tragedy, though, is the loss of the greatest toilets in the world – those were in the Warner, and featured a window which afforded members a view of the middle.
It’s still raining, but that’s sort of good news. It means we should have play through all five days – and, as per the below, prospect of cricket is better than no cricket – on top of which, for those that can it’s worth investigating tickets for Sunday because there may be some.
Tim Southee had a chat with Sky, discussing the inswinger he’s found and with which he dismissed Zak Crawley yesterday. It’s incredible really – how good he’s been without one – and how watching James Anderson can leave one taking such behaviour for granted
“If the first hour is crucial, yet is lost to rain, does that hour remain crucial or does the next one take on that role?” wonders Phil Withall. “Does time lose its meaning if nothing happens during it or does it become more valuable for that reason? Do I need help?”
These are the issues we’re here to tackle. I’m using my crucial first hour to debate the contents of my cool bag for tomorrow – did you know that Jews are forbidden from carrying on Saturdays, but if various posts are erected in the correct manner this no longer applies, and it’s now possible to do so all the way from Woodside Park to St John’s Wood, yes I will be making kiddush and hamotzi – but otherwise, I’m not sure. I would, though, like to know which are the uncrucial hours, and am certain that time is illmatic, keep static like wool fabric.
Ah man, it’s so good to be back. Rain during cricket is somehow the best rain there is and the worst rain there is all at the same time.
We’re looking at Joe Root, who may well hold the key to this Test. We’ve been here many times before – him looking sensational and in total command of the bowlers – but too often, he’s allowed himself to get out without grinding home his artistry. It might be that he’s over the bump, and though today won’t prove anything either way, a serious score will make a statement.
Yesssss. Just caught a “first hour is crucial” in a Sky montage, but was looking at my fingers so not sure who bestowed it upon us. More news as I get it.
Alan Gardner, OBO alumnus, has confirmed on Cricinfo that it’s raining at Lord’s, so there’s a strong chance we’ll have to spend the first bit of the morning amusing ourselves. As such, aitch or haitch? The Fresh Prince of Manny has strong thoughts on the topic.
A normal person looks at this Test match – the players, the conditions, the game – says draw and moves on. Except nothing about Test matches – nor the people obsessed by them – says normal, so here we are at the start of day three simply saying more more more more more more.
The thing with sport is that though most encounters aren’t classics – like everyday life – the possibility of a classic always exists – not like everyday life – a truth that is perfectly encapsulated by this perfect thing of ours. So here we are.
Yeah, alright. Anyone with the vaguest familiarity with English cricket is expecting a glorious collapse rich with symbolism and allegory – the sensation is gorgeously palpable – but anyone with the vaguest familiarity with this England cricket team is wondering which of the various freaks is poised to do something definitive – the sensation is hilariously ill-conceived.
And similar is so of New Zealand, which really sets up what we’re about to see. With runs on the board they should be the happier side, except with not as many runs on the board as they’d have liked, they’re the more vulnerable side. Or, put another way, this is why we’re here. Go well, everyone.
Play: 11am BST