This is round seven (of 16) of the County Championship and it’s only just mid-May! How crazy is that? And there’s a lot of talk about the rare feat of 1,000 runs by the end of May being achieved soon. That’s different from 1,000 runs IN May but then only a very few achieve that!
It’s a reflection of the crowded fixture list and overcrowded number of competitions, as well as the ECB succeeding in its unwritten strategic plan to write off the first class game in England. Media commentators today underlining the point that the ECB has allowed itself to be business and not cricket dominated so much so that you could pay yesterday to have the Test squad details sent to you before the general release.
And precisely what would those pounds have gained for you?
But I digress…Lord’s today is a picture as the Middle host Durham. I had hoped to see the latest up and coming bowling star from Durham – ‘Chamber’ Potts (or to give him his real name – Matthew). Given his England selection, I suppose the need to keep him fit for the tests, since the ego-fest which is Broaderson cannot continue for ever, takes precedence especially as Archer and a host of others are out for the season (again)!
What the media seemed to have overlooked is that while Chamber has been ripping out bats this season like it’s going out of fashion, it’s second division batting and from what I’ve seen below the standard of the first division and certainly well below tests…but let’s hope he makes the transition (or is at least given a chance)!
Stokes is playing as is Lees – so at least some England players are getting real match practice; as is Petersen from SA in readiness for the second half of the test season.
Inserting the opposition means you have hopes of running through the batting quite quickly but at 81/1 at lunch, that’s not the outcome intended! Lees made a patient 44 and playing at Lord’s with its slope would have helped his preparation. Or were the Middle frightened of the Durham attack given the batting frailty of late? Who knows? Time will tell.
The MCC kindly invited spectators to walk on the outfield at lunch and it would have been churlish not to accept. This happens about twice a year so is not to be sneezed at. The sheer joy cannot be described but the view from the probable test pitch allows the imagination to run riot.
By tea Durham had reached 178/4 with Petersen homing in on his 50 and honing his skills in advance of the August test. Stokes provided a brief cameo so short that it wasn’t a cameo more a ‘cam’. But the two cover drives were sublime, the switch hit awkward and the shot to get out…appalling!
The pitch looks another ‘made to order of the ECB’ to be flat, almost bowler hostile (given the state of the Duke this season) and has all the hallmarks of 400 a side. I suppose it’s a way of building innings and learning how to bowl sides out but I’m not convinced how this fits within the ‘red-ball reset’ – let’s see!
Silly mistakes in the main have been the downfall of each bat so far and Petersen is no exception – silly shot and gone for 48 but useful Lord’s experience. The odd ball does something but with application batting should be reasonable on this pitch.
And so it proves; The Middle fail to take another wicket as play ends on 256/5. Not quite what the Middle had hoped and a firm foundation for Durham.
Not the most enthralling or exciting day, but when the world’s gone potty, sensible is probably the best thing!