The saying goes that there’s nothing new under the sun but in all my time of watching cricket I’ve never seen any of:
1. A wedding at the ground at the same time the match was in progress
2. The use of a hairdryer on a trailer to help dry the outfield and
3. An extreme roof top view
But let’s get back to the match. Play was delayed by an hour by rain (making the ground staff stand on each corner of the covers to stop it blowing away…and then not giving them umbrellas or coats to keep dry!) but in true non-faffing Aussie style, everything was knocked back an hour as the 96 overs need to be bowled! None of the recalculation of the time for lunch and tea, no prevarication about whether the ground was fit etc – just get on with it!
The NSW innings was quickly wrapped up at 289ao with Solway ‘stranded’ on 133no – seemingly his debut innings for NSW (which explains a lot of the hugging and hand shaking at close of play last night). And Sayers takes 8/64 – a career best. Shame he’s only played the one test for Australia!
SA in reply reach 2/44 at lunch – a small recovery from 2/27; the innings so far mirroring the NSW innings. Hazlewood looks sharp but not penetrating whereas Lyon has three maiden overs in the last few minutes before lunch. And he hasn’t fumbled any fielding (yet!)…but as I’m surrounded by Aussies and wearing my ECB supporters cap, it’s probably best not to!
The afternoon session somewhat ambles along and continues to mirror the NSW innings. Lunches at 2/44 soon becomes 3/68 but Head, who goes past 50, and Cooper 30 see tea arrive at 3/130 and some 32 overs to go before a late finish. Lyon bowls five consecutive maidens before he’s scored off but still keeps things tight nonetheless. Hazlewood looks fast but ineffective- he looked better when he wasn’t bowling no balls and trying too hard; Conway has two and Copeland one. As ever, the third innings will be key.
What’s pleasing is the number of young dads, mums and families – newborns to toddlers to infants- coming along as the game develops. I suppose this is the demographic the Hundred will look to hook into cricket but what quality games will they be able to watch with the CC being systematically destroyed by the ECB?
As I’ve said before I think this pitch is getting flatter by the hour as any moisture dries out but still if you can cope with the new ball, get your head down, runs are there to be scored…just as Head heads into the 90s with an hour left today.
And so the new ball (and possibly the effects of the lights) strikes! Head made his hundred before a loose shot against Hazlewood with the new ball brought the formers innings to a close on 109 and the latter’s first wicket. But this was symptomatic of a general decline from 3/130 at tea to 7/222 at the close.
The innings are mirroring each other – one big score, the rest so-so but NSW have shared the wickets unlike SA. Head’s innings was fine but I rate Solway’s as better. Head somewhat spoilt things in being churlish in not acknowledging the applause from a diminished crowd but in his defence he was clearly so ashamed of the poor shot.
Both first innings will be close so how SA respond and NSW bat will be key.
And I’ve found another tongue sticker – and probably the best so far – come forward Nathan!