Sports odyssey Day 2


Lord’s for Day 2 of my odyssey but Day 1 of the first test of the English season. England win the toss and bat and reach 33 for 2 at the first sponsored drinks break. Stoneman and Root each going for 4 whilst Cook progresses to 21. None of them look at ease against a fiery Pakistan attack playing as if they’ve not held a bat for months or they’re still in Australia and New Zealand mentally! Forecast for lunch 65/3.

But this is more than just cricket…this is Lord’s in all its Spring glory, almost a full house, the hum like no other and not a Barmy in sight! The first cork reached deep fine leg just before drinks and the steward is now busy keeping the outfield clear of the rain of corks! This is how test cricket should be watched!

Lunch is reached without too many more alarms at 72/3 Cook 46 and Bairstow 10. No one has looked comfortable so far but this Pakistan attack is quicker than it looks – all in the mid-80s on the speed gun!

So…where are we? England won the toss and decided to bat; at least Root has learned from Adelaide! On balance that was probably Pakistan’s session as to lose three wickets in just over the hour was not the start England wanted. Forecast for afternoon drinks…117/3.

Drinks reached at 105/4 Cook 56no Stokes 5no. Bairstow playing down the wrong line for 27 – no Barmy song for the one who’s ‘too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off you..’!

Stokes looking to redeem himself! Cook just sails on and Pakistan off the pace in the early afternoon sunshine. Perhaps too much sticky toffee pudding for lunch or the fasting for Ramadan kicking in.  Perhaps also…the early afternoon sunshine drying out the pitch, making batting easier or…a combination of all of the above?  Forecast for tea 148/4

Tea 165/5 Stokes 36 Buttler 13. Cook made a fine 70 but was bowled playing down the wrong line; his footwork had improved but the poor footwork seems to be generic across the whole team so far.

Forecast for the close of play – England 275/7

Oh dear…just proves that the more you watch this wonderful game, the less of an expert you become. I suppose at tea I was hoping for an attacking onslaught by Buttler and Stokes but the opposite happened with both out quickly. Stokes to what looked like an innocuous lbw appeal which was overturned on review and Buttler out to a one day shot. Interestingly, the more cloud cover, the more wickets, the more difficult it is to bat?

England made 184 – well below what they expected when they won the toss. Pakistan bowled well and took advantage of the shoddy footwork – perhaps I should be a judge on Strictly Come Dancing as the footwork wasn’t there to be seen!

Pakistan reached 50/1 at the close with few alarms and the English bowling looked as if it couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Broad and Anderson have too much sway in this side, one if not both are past their best but no one in management had the cojones to do anything about it…; they bowl to defensive fields not attacking ones, and woe betide any captain who tries to interfere and change, but it’s time someone did!

But, who takes their place? The same could be said when Harmison and Hoggard were unceremoniously dumped in favour of…? Now is the time before we are shamed by the Aussies next year!

As for spin  – give Bess of the Durbervilles a go but as Gooch said today…the cupboard’s not bare, there is no cupboard! There are young spinners starting out but no one to replace Swann as a match winner – Bess is number 12 on that list…let’s hope we don’t need a #13!

Anyway, we are where we are: a day for the connoisseur and a true day of test cricket played at the best venue in the world…and I’m thankful for that and that I saw it!

Tomorrow is another day on this short odyssey and a change of diet…an afternoon of one day 50 overs before the drunks arrive and spoil the evening!

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