Tipping Point? Day 2 at Lord’s

It tipped down at Lord’s on Thursday. And it tipped down at Lord’s for most of Friday too. But during the brief intervals when the players actually made it onto the field, the wickets rained down in torrents too. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if yesterday was the tipping point of the whole series.

With the weather set fair for Saturday, England’s batsmen should capitalise on the Gods generosity and all but wrap up the series over the next three days. They’ll never have a better chance to go 2-0 up. And if that happens it’s a long, long, way back for an India team that have looked anything like the world’s No.1 ranked test nation on this tour so dar.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch yesterday’s action for two reasons. Firstly, I’m still between houses. And secondly, although I’m still able to watch Sky Go on my tablet, some numpty (who may or may not have been me) left the iPad upstairs when I was ensconced on the sofa in my father in law’s sitting room. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem, even for a lazy sod who struggles to get his arse most days, but I’m currently suffering from a back injury and I literally can’t move. Add a few doses of Diazepam to the equation – every back spasm has a silver lining I guess – and upstairs might as well have been the Faroe Islands. Another room has never seemed so far away. And with the Mrs out with the kids, yesterday was a story of me, a playstation, the Witcher 3, and Naproxen. Imagine my annoyance when I discovered that I couldn’t drink my customary beer in the evening either.

Anyway I digress. This is a cricket blog rather than the diary of an idiot with a back made of balsa wood. And fortunately, due to the joys of social media, I have been able to watch yesterday’s wickets and ask everyone else what they thought of the action. Below is a summary:

Apparently England bowled beautifully – oh how sweet it will be when Jimmy Anderson sails past Glen McGrath’s test wickets record – but India also batted like a bunch of middle-aged losers on Diazepam. A common narrative was that their batsmen struggled in alien conditions much like our batsmen struggle in alien conditions in the subcontinent. However, judging by the below tweet, conditions really couldn’t have favoured the bowlers more.

Having seen the wickets (which I accept aren’t a true reflection of events) not too many batsmen threw their wickets away. The dismissals that stuck in my mind were Anderson’s jaffa to dismiss Vijay and Woakes’ top nut that roasted Kohli. Had England caught better then India might not have made triple figures.

Naturally one could argue that India’s batsmen could’ve left the ball better, and their footwork was less than exemplary, but I think most sides would’ve struggled against Jimmy in those conditions. And let’s not forget that the last time England’s bowlers enjoyed such helpful conditions they knocked Australia over for 60 back in 2015 at Trent Bridge. Perhaps India should thank their lucky stars that Stuart Broad was somewhat below his best yesterday or things could have got very messy indeed.

The big hypothetical, of course, is what might have happened if Kohli had won the toss yesterday? I think we can safely say that England’s weak-as-a-kitten batting line-up would’ve struggled big time too. As it stands, however, if we get a decent enough start tomorrow then the likes of Pope, Bairstow, and Buttler can really make hay under zero pressure against demoralised opposition. And that’s a very dangerous position for India to be in.

In fact, I’m tempted to put a fork in India now. In this game at least, they’re possibly done already. Their only hope is that England’s batsmen have a tendency to self-destruct too.

James Morgan

17 comments

  • This is more enjoyable than a run fest but is a sad indication of how poor test batsmen are in the modern game as soon as it isn’t a road. England are sadly no better and anyone who thinks they are is deluded.

    Still, this is more enjoyable seeing the ball dominate than run fests

    • What’s poorer is that if the quality of pro Cricket has declined so much.. and yet they dominate when playing amateur leagues.. how poor now much amateur Cricket actually be!!

  • I find this a totally pointless Test now we have lost so much time. It seems to have degenerated into a T20 mess

  • Random one., did everyone see the other Curran brothers tweet about the football nature of Somerset crowd yesterday ?? I wasn’t there so can’t comment if true or not but it’s something Cricket should worry about.. football fanatical partisan crowds with abuse isn’t what anyone should want to see.

    Football is not the model to follow but the game is sadly

    • I’ve seen a few comments online about “Leeds United” fans coming out to support Yorkshire at T20 & being pretty boreishly drunk & obnoxious

  • Think England would have bowled out most sides in world Cricket for not many and some of the vaunted sides of the past, they were extreme conditions.

    Jimmy is a master once he has got the ball swinging both ways what chance does a batsmen have as he disguises which way it will swing. There will be one with the batsmen name on it soon enough, staying in becomes about luck even if the batsmen is doing everything right.

    Its great theater while its happening but I can’t help wishing the conditions were more bland (and the weather was better) so we can have more competitive Cricket. If Test Cricket is reduced to India get swung out here and England getting spun out there then Test Cricket is in trouble. Its not just the skills required but a mindset, in India England were scoring 400 and getting beaten here they could get 250 and be in a great position

  • “Apparently England bowled beautifully – oh how sweet it will be when Jimmy Anderson sails past Glen McGrath’s test wickets record”

    I find it quite funny that the two most successful “fast” bowlers of all time in terms of wickets both barely topped 80mph for the majority of their careers (watching the highlights yesterday was the first time I noticed just how much slower Jimmy looks than the other fast bowlers, and England don’t even have any bowlers who regularly top 90 mph – not that that changes the fact he bowled superbly).

  • I’ve seen a lot of criticism about India’s batting but I can’t imagine any team (including England) faring well in ideal bowling conditions, exploited extremely well, especially by Woakes and Anderson.

    However India’s bowling in the first 4 overs this morning has been woeful and unless it improves I can see England compiling a large total without too many problems. Only the weather could save India.

  • I quite agree. Yesterday was more like that opening day at Lord’s when McGrath was unplayable as a result of a combination of good bowling and ‘helpful’ conditions. Any side past or present would have found baiting difficult and many wouldn’t have reached three figures.

  • As I write England are two down already. Mmm. 150 all out anyone if the ball keeps swinging round corners? This is really only exciting because both sides have generally very poor batting, but good bowling. England play tests almost like a “long” version of T20. Their spinners still to come, probably finish lunch Sunday. Good value for your £100 seat! Not test cricket though is it.

  • Well, this should end the nonsense claims that this India side are somehow equivalent to the great West Indies or Australia sides of the past.

    Sorry to hear about your back trouble, James. I had a bad dose of back pain about five years ago and a neurologist at Kingston Hospital put me on to Amitriptyline after a wretched spell on useless medication prescribed by my GP. I found it excellent for pain relief with virtually no side effects – yet there doesn’t seem much awareness of its utility for this sort of thing. It’s mainly thought of as an anti-psychotic but very small doses are brilliant for relief of physical pain. If your condition persists, ask the GP about it! Longer term NHS physiotherapy (if you can get any), lots of walking and specialist furniture (stressless chairs, special foam mattresses) have got my show back on the road.

  • Great to see the Indians in such a mess. As I write we have a 250 lead with power to add and my man Woakes is the hero with bat and ball, having dismissed the arrogant Kohli before notching up a ton. Don’t get many days like this, so enjoy them, gloat a bit, as we clearly have bragging rights at the moment, and don’t water it down with the ‘might have beens’ if we’d lost the toss. The boys done good. Give them some credit!
    Soccer fans rarely give credit to the opposition’s qualities in victory, they celebrate their own. Why should cricket fans be different. We get enough crap days to comment on, so let’s get with the beat. We should be able to declare now and win. Yes, if I was captain I would be tempted to declare and risk the remote chance of a Kohli backlash in order to rub their noses in it further and possibly destroy what’s left of their fragile confidence.

  • Well..l India are crap

    England can crow (England fan) but I love Cricket and this Just highlights to me the awful skill level,we are sinking too.

    If people want to be football fans go ahead but everyone knows footy fans are blinkered, biased, partisan and 99% of the time wrong

  • India are no more crap in our conditions than we are in theirs. Our bowlers have used the conditions beautifully, just as theirs do at home. Very few of them have much experience over here. With the ball swinging and seaming all over the place it’s almost impossible for anyone to adapt quickly. If the conditions improve for the next few tests we may see a more even contest, after all Edgbaston was a close call.
    Because test cricket has become more attacking in recent years, with fewer draws, as batsmen look to dominate from the off, more chances are taken. It may not please the purists, but it does stop the tide of boring draws that threatened to kill the game from the 1960’s onwards, with run rates less than 3 an over.
    There is a middle ground to be had here though, as players should take more time to play themselves in, but they are under pressure to entertain more than ever today so they become frustrated when runs dry up and they cannot play their natural game. There are no new Boycotts now because they have no place in the modern game. 20 runs in 2 hours is taking the you know what. Dean Elgar, the South African opener, is the only one of that ilk I can think of. Cricket has always been a game of flux and for the present, like it or loathe it, white ball mentality is dominant. We live in a ‘life is loud’ world where sport generally is fast and furious, so we can’t expect cricket to stand aloof from this.
    About footy fans, of course they’re biased and partisan, that’s the point. If you don’t get that, you’re no fan. If they were wrong 99% of the time they wouldn’t carry on supporting the way they do. Who’s blinkered here?

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