Whilst the nation is in turmoil as it seeks a new ‘normal’, the ‘old normal’ of poor batting displays is never far away!
After the crash-banging, ‘allegedly’ new, style of test cricket and the thrash and bash of the one day stuff, ‘proper’ cricket returns to Lord’s with Middlesex hosting Glamorgan after a hiatus of 52 days in Division Two of the County Championship.
No one is supposedly watching this competition (according to A Strauss – head of the performance review of English cricket) but the numbers at Lord’s today belie that! The Pavilion is humming and rammed with spectators enjoying late summer sunshine and warmth and Middlesex among the wickets.
In commemoration, the Long Room has a portrait of the late Queen surrounded by Aussie test players from a recent tour. All I’ll say is that you can tell it’s the Queen!
Losing your first two with 9 on the board within 15 minutes was not a good start for Glamorgan but with a mix of grit, determination and more loose shots than you can shake a stick at, they reach 109/5 at lunch. Better than it looked at 70/5 when the ball was doing things off the pitch but the wiser heads of Murtagh and Roland-Jones knew exactly what to do and did it better than the others!
The afternoon promises more of the same especially if, true to form, it starts reversing in the next 10/15 overs. But we’ve seen Cooke in these ramblings before grind Surrey into the ground but I think this pitch is a bit different. Who knows what’s in store?
Two hours later and they’re walking off with Glamorgan 214ao. Cooke made a promising 50, Patel threw his bat for a quick 30-odd but the rest was just awful batting, shot selection and ‘ring rusty’! Glamorgan are supposed to be the second best side in the Division!
From where I sat I couldn’t tell if the ball reversed but the odd one did keep low so there’s the possibility that the pitch will deteriorate and you don’t want to have to chase too many in innings #4. No spin but five catches behind suggests good bowling but poor selection.
Sense prevails and tea is taken so let’s see what the Middle can do!
One thing Glamorgan did was set off like an express train and so do Middlesex (4 plus an over). Batting seems to be easier as the pitch dries under an increasingly warm late summer sun – so much so that the areas of exposed flesh among the spectators increased as did the application of sunscreen in some parts of the ground!
Or it could be that the Glamorgan attack is not as good? However, poor shot selection and/or lack of footwork (seen regularly in the Glamorgan innings) seems to have been transferred to the Middle’s men as they succumb to 92/4 from 90/1.
Harris (formerly of this parish) did the damage but missed out on a hat trick! Stoneman provided the steady undercurrent of support (72no) as stumps are drawn at 132/4.
I suppose Middlesex are the happier side and will be looking for a lead in excess of 100 but they’ll need to persevere – you need to get your head down and graft if you’re going to succeed on this pitch!
So the ‘new’ normal of hard work for rewards will be very much like the ‘old’ normal and life moves on.