Today sees me rocking up to Lord’s for the first day of Middlesex v Warwickshire County Championship division 2 match.
This is one of the two rounds of championship matches weaved into the fabric of the T20 cash cow fixtures and before play started I wondered how the transition from crash bang wallop into more sedate ways would manifest itself.
I didn’t need to wonder for too long as within minutes Stirling was gone for 16 of the first 17 runs on the board, and a procession against some sharp yet effective fast bowling followed. Within 80 minutes Middlesex who won the toss and wanted to bat have reached 69/5 with the ‘class’ batsmen all back in the Pavilion for an early lunch.
Eoin Morgan did say ‘thank you’ to me as I held the door open for him when we passed in the upper reaches of the Pavilion after he had had time to contemplate his innings!
The wicket looks pale green from afar whilst the glory of the green outfield is a wonder to behold when every other piece of greenery in the land resembles Mediterranean scrub land.
The Warwickshire pace attack – Woakes excepted – seem to be getting pace and seam movement from the pitch as all the wickets falling to date – and another goes as I write – have gone to catches behind the wicket or bowled.
The wheels seem to have come off the Middlesex first team since the debacle at Canterbury under the lights and the loss of their first team coach too. They seem to be playing so wrong…one day shots, one day methods, no stick ability which means that 76/7 faces us as we head into the last half hour before lunch. It’s reached with no more alarms at 103/7 off 25 overs; ok, so it’s 70+ runs per 100 balls, 60+% in boundaries and fast scoring but at the sake of wickets. All the wickets to fall have been caught behind or in the slips except for one bowled neck and crop!
Today is ladies day at Lords promoted by Middlesex but in the current day and age it’s so wrong on so many counts – prizes for the best hat, best dress, free entry, drinks reception! It’s just so patronising, anachronistic, discriminatory and I could go on! The chuntering in the Pavilion suggests I am not alone in this view!
Lunch time one is allowed to perambulate the outfield as the announcer proclaimed but so much is cordoned off – understandably- it’s a bit of a crush but nonetheless great PR!
By mid-afternoon (time wise if not overs) Middlesex reach 171/8 off 40 overs, Fuller showing the top order how to bat having curbed but not eliminated his one day repertoire. The edge seems to have gone off the Warwickshire bowling – the MCC chefs coming to Middlesex aid again with an over sumptuous lunch menu perhaps? I’ve seen this before as Warwickshire take only one wicket in over an hours play! More power to the chefs!
Nonetheless the batting is still fast for the Championship as a whole 70/75 runs as a strike rate but on the stroke of what should be teatime Middlesex are all out for 236 off 54 overs – a lot more than seemed likely at noon! Fuller ends on 75. Woakes was wicket less and maiden less going for 75 off his 13 overs- he will bowl a lot worse and get better figures!
Only three maidens bowled – less than 5% of the overs whereas you can expect between 15% and 25% normally and over 60% of the runs came in boundaries- again high but given the conditions etc not perhaps unsurprising. None of the wickets fell in front of the stumps – all the catches were in the slips/keeper zone with the leg before and bowled balls pinning the batsmen back…odd? Let’s see?
Warwickshire play Middlesex only once this season – the second division teams don’t all play each other twice – and this is Trott’s last game at Lords and could well be Bell’s too. Fine servants each to England and Warwickshire cricket so it’s frustrating to see Bell fall for 8 whilst Trott sallied forth with a fine 47 off 59 balls as Warwickshire end the day just over 150 for the loss of four wickets.
Bell drives for 4
A good first innings lead can be expected and unless Middlesex find some batting gumption from somewhere I can only see one result sometime on Tuesday which leaves me with Wednesday in limbo.
And finally…in view of the warm summer weather gentlemen are allowed to remove their jackets in the Long Room but must keep their ties on! But also need to be wearing a jacket to gain entry to the Pavilion!
All so wrong in so many ways but then…that’s life; never goes according to plan, so why have one?
Ryan Sidebottom – Australian born with UK passport- could he be as good as his ex-Yorkshire namesake?