Judgement Day At HQ

This game couldn’t be more fascinatingly poised. Pakistan are approaching a lead of 300 and the pitch is beginning to turn a little. Personally, I think the visitors probably have enough runs already. But there is a glimmer of hope for England: the pitch is dying and edges are frequently dropping short of the slips. That means is won’t be straightforward for the seamers.

The obvious point is that Joe Root and Alastair Cook will probably decide the outcome of this game (from England’s point of view). If the big two go early then Pakistan are likely to win with something to spare. But if England’s best players dig in then anything is possible.

Personally I have an inkling that Cook might make a big score. This wicket isn’t your typical English wicket. It’s almost subcontinental in nature. It’s slow, dry and fairly low – just the kind of conditions the skipper loves. And if Amir does get him to edge a couple behind, there’s a good chance the ball won’t carry – especially once the ball goes soft.

The problem, of course, is that Yasir Shah is rather good. Pakistan’s other bowlers aren’t bad either. Can Alex Hales, James Vince and Garry Balance score the necessary runs to keep England in the hunt? Maybe tomorrow will be the making of them. Or maybe it will be another nail in their respective international coffins.

One player who has performed admirably, whatever the result, is Chris Woakes. He was England’s best bowler again by far today and single-handedly kept us in the hunt. He bowled some beautiful deliveries (the ball that got Shafiq was a beauty) at just the right time. Without him I suspect the lead would already be unmanageable. He thoroughly deserved his ten-for.

Those who have tickets for Lord’s tomorrow are going to be in for a treat. The game is set up beautifully and a win for either side wouldn’t surprise me. Unfortunately though, my money is on Pakistan. I predicted they’d give us one hell of a game at Lord’s and it gives me no pleasure to be proven right (for once)!

The tragedy from my perspective, however, is that I won’t be at Lord’s and I won’t be watching on TV either. Due to a rather unfortunate clash, I’ll be occupied elsewhere. In fact, I might be tied up for the next few days. Talk about crap timing.

You guys might have to tell me exactly what happens in the comments below. Cheers! Perhaps the great Bishan Bedi, who retweeted yesterday’s report, might drop in and give us some expert analysis? If you’re reading Bishan … :-)

James Morgan


  • Woakes had been utterly superb and has created plenty of chances beyond his wicket haul and generally looked very dangerous as well as being economical. He was the one called on to get breakthroughs and break partnerships. His emergence is fantastic news for the team as it simultaneously strengthens both the bowling and the batting. The thought of him and Stokes as two all rounders in the same team is genuinely exciting.

    Feel a bit for Finn who looked much better today without reward but it’ll be him and Ball out for the next no doubt (personally I’d like to see Rashid in for Ali too but it won’t happen).

    Broad had been a bit off colour; hopefully he’ll be back on form at OT and Anderson will add potency.

    I’m enjoying this test; probably agree it’s a bridge too far for England at the moment in terms of runs but if we do lose it is set up well for a good series.

  • Wakes has been a revelation in this game.
    “He currently has the second best match figures of any England bowler in this decade…” according to the BBC, and apparently the first English tenfer at Lords since the 1970s !
    Batted pretty well, too.

    Let’s not forget, however, that it’s not so long ago that quite a few were saying he wasn’t good enough to be a test bowler. We would do well to remember that players do develop,before writing them off too quickly.

  • The batsmen are just innocuous spectators in a fascinating bowling contest…can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

  • ” there is a glimmer of hope for England: the pitch is dying and edges are frequently dropping short of the slips”.

    Not an unusual situation for Pakistan seamers so they usually attack the stumps more.

  • We need 3 or 4 heroes.
    I’d like to say Hales go out and play an ODI innings, get quick runs on the board before Shah comes on.
    And then the middle order need to defend their wickets and play Shah on his merits, not on reputation or 1st innings demons.
    I’m not hopeful.

  • In the afternoon/early evening period Bairstow and Woakes seemed to survive often without ever being that convincing. Wahab should have buried them but they just about managed to come through. However both players simply couldn’t keep the scoreboard going over enough and it always meant that if one went there was going to be an open end. That was the case and in the end Pakistan definitely deserved their win.

    For the rest of the series England need to do something about the productivity of the upper order because Pakistan actually bowled very poorly indeed in both innings with the new ball. However too many England batsmen found a way to get themselves out and this hasn’t really changed too much from the Sri Lanka series when against a far less talented attack, they were often 50 or so for 3. Against this Pakistan line-up, an early batting failure means that not too many will be put on the board. The only consolation is that I can see a few Pakistan batting collapses keeping England in the game all series and that can only be enhanced with the return of Anderson and Stokes.

  • no article for day4. i am disappointed .
    hello anyone here, where has everyone gone.
    so u guys lost one match, its not the bloody end of the world. tsk tsk

  • It’s just yet another indication that the media driven drivel about some players is un justified.

    Hales yet again is a failure
    Root isn’t a number 3
    Vince .. Really
    Balance did OK but hasn’t improved one bit
    Ali.. I mean seriously.. Not good enough in any way in any discipline
    Finn.. He’s shot, waste of space

    Fed up of saying these things and being shot down to only be proved right. Sure, fill your boots vs bang, sl, weak SA etc.. Not even a half decent attack (OK didn’t bowl well) and boom.. Our ‘feared’ batting looks pop gun. Time to accept these are not test batsmen, they are white ball players who are only at home hitting on flat decks. Counties aren’t producing quality as all the junior stuff and county stuff is built around slap and tickle white ball.. No wonder we aren’t producing spinners, pace men or test batsmen

      • Ah yes, the classic thing to say when someone suddenly does well. The pitch is a road.. It’s doing nothing.

        Moving ball he’s vulnerable.. Anyone at that level should score on this road tbh

          • Realist. No point bulling a player or team up when you can see they will fail when it’s hard.

            Might as well fix the issue

  • Just waiting for the inevitable

    ‘It’ll be fine when stokes is back’
    ‘Bairstow up the order, jos buttler in’
    ‘Anderson will win it for us’

    Stokes is a white ball hitter
    Bairstow is a number 7
    Anderson is good, he’s old though… Doesn’t bode well when the team rely on him !

  • Well, fair play: Pakistan outplayed England and deserved the win in an excellent test match. Had to follow it on the internet but it was obvious from the scores alone. England will be looking for Anderson and Stokes to provide some impetus next test (I hear Adil Rashid has also been called up, which seems to me to be sensible). So, if those 3 play, who is rested/dropped (delete according to taste)? Moeen isn’t contributing a lot either with bat or ball so might well not play. There seems to be a “Woakes or Stokes” (but not both) attitude so I fear Woakes might go. That would be harsh (11 wickets and 50 runs is an excellent contribution, and for me, Woakes has been the England player of the summer so far), and it would be Finn and Ball to go for me. The selectors might (of course) disagree.

    • Coincidentally, Scyld Berry and Mike Selvey are running with exactly the same theme…..

      • I wonder if this would have happened if we’d have lost….

        To be honest I do wonder if our selection system is outdated, before central contracts it was the right system , have 3 or 4 blokes watching cricket around the country, then meet up and thrash a squad out.
        But now we have a pool of players we know all about and anyone sneaking up off the radar should soon be picked up. Perhaps it should be more of an in house thing?

    • Well, it at least provoked this entertaining Dobell article:

      It’s certainly not a selection fiasco in the grand traditions of English cricket. Take the Major Nigel Bennett episode, for example. Major Bennett popped into The Oval in 1946 to renew his county membership after the war, but was mistaken for Major Leo Bennet – who had represented the British Empire XI during the war – and offered the captaincy. He took up the offer before anyone realised a mistake had been made and went on to lead Surrey to what was, at the time, the worst season in their history. He averaged 16 with the bat…

  • Hi everyone. Just a quick update. I’m a little tied up at the moment and taking a bit of a rest. I’ll be back next week to digest the 2nd test. Call it annual leave ;-)


    • Well I do think you’re allowed a break. Amidst whatever’s tying you up, I hope you’re also chillin’ like a villain and come back feeling rejuvenated.

  • Well Vince has given you something to get your teeth into on your return.
    Fails to con-Vince, again. On a belter of a pitch.


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