I reckon it was 2009 that I last saw Alastair Cook bowl in any form of cricket but today broke that spell. One gem of an over to be relished (or ignored!) to help things along and, of course, homage to Bob Willis in the process, but I’m getting ahead of myself!
It was one of those morning sessions at Chelmsford when you could honestly say that nothing really happened. The pitch is as flat as flat can be; both sides realising that a result is unlikely and so really just spent time doing…not a lot!
The crowd numbers about 300 at best, not really enthralled by the spectacle presented when you could read the paper at leisure, check up on emails, wander around the ground, look up and next to nothing had changed or progressed.
Kent at lunch had added 63 runs in two hours – Cox 27 to his overnight century and totalled 468/5…46 behind. Westley decided not to take the new ball hoping that Lawrence Critchley can wheedle something with the old ball. This is not a great advertisement for county cricket.
Something happened over lunch – a greater sense of purpose shown in the afternoon!
The new ball taken – Porter shared with Lawrence – runs followed as did wickets (the rate of wicket taking is still slow – 17 in the match after 3 days and 3 hours play!). Interestingly, close to a third of Essex overs have been spin and, to date, five of the seven wickets taken. Are Essex missing Harmer? Would he have done better on this track? Who knows but at least Plan B for Essex spin is making progress!
By tea, all types and options had been tried but when Jackson Bird can score a 50no at #9 you know something’s not quite right! The pace of the game did quicken after lunch (and especially after the drinks break! Warm enough for drinks? Hmmm…not sure) and Kent breezed along to 581/9 – a lead of 67. With one session left of a maximum of 37 overs and, I reckon, an early finish, the result is certain.
Only Porter was trusted with the 3rd new ball and then only for a short time. Westley tried himself but the highlight had to be Sir A turning his arm over – will we ever see him bowl again? But at least I can say ‘I woz there’. Otherwise it was spin all the way (I’m assuming Sir A was spinning it!)
Eighteen centuries have been scored (so far) in this first round of matches – and five here at Chelmsford – so things aren’t quite right. We need to get better ‘cricket wickets’ as they say; something in the pitch for both bat and ball. Making things too one-sided is not a good idea and when you’re trying to ‘expand your market’ as the ECB cricket ‘experts’ would have us believe then you need a better ‘product’ or is this just part of the ECBs strategy to kill off the county game and by extension tests?
So when you see Sir A having to bowl, you know things aren’t quite right (and you can see why he’s a batter! 🤫)