12th over: Ireland 63-1 (Stirling 44, Balbirnie 5) England do have one vacancy in their best ODI XI – the Plunkett role. Tom Curran’s variety, imagination and temperament make him the leading contender at this stage, and he’s an expert at the death as well. His second over is another quiet one, four singles from it.
11th over: Ireland 59-1 (Stirling 42, Balbirnie 3) Moeen Ali, England’s stand-in captain, brings himself into the attack. Stirling mistimes a couple of lofted strokes that both go for two runs rather than the intended four or six. He looks like he wants to go after Moeen.
10th over: Ireland 55-1 (Stirling 38, Balbirnie 3) Tom Curran replaces Saqib Mahmood and is driven pleasantly for three by the new batsman Balbirnie. A quiet first over from Curran.
9th over: Ireland 50-1 (Stirling 36) That was the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Ireland 50-1 (Delany b Willey 12)
Gareth Delany has been bowled behind his legs. He walked across his stumps to Willey, missed an attempted work to leg and heard the horrible clink of ball on bail.
8th over: Ireland 44-0 (Stirling 33, Delany 10) Stirling picks up Mahmood for consecutive sixes over square leg. They were big sixes, too, right off the sweet spot. This is exactly the start Ireland needed.
7th over: Ireland 29-0 (Stirling 19, Delany 9) There’s been no swing for Willey, which makes life much more comfortable for the Ireland openers. Stirling feels secure enough to walk across his stumps and ping Willey into the leg side, with the substitute Liam Livingstone saving the boundary.
6th over: Ireland 25-0 (Stirling 17, Delany 8) Delany gets his first boundary with a beautifully placed cover drive off Mahmood. This is turning into a decent start for Ireland, who now need 304 from 44 overs.
5th over: Ireland 20-0 (Stirling 17, Delany 3) Stirling may be starting to find his range. He spanks Willey past point for four, another very easy-on-the-ear stroke, and works three more to fine leg.
“The Squirell here,” says Niall Morrissey. “Yup, I was being somewhat impish with the André-Beckett thing. It is certain, though, that André was picked up along with other kids and dropped off to school by Beckett on occasion. All of the locals did it. There was no special relationship between the two. It is nice to think there might have been, though. One thing I heard from the locals, though, was that when André returned home during breaks in the wrestling season he left his credit card behind the counter in his local Bar du Sports and all drinks were on him for the locals until he returned to the US.”
4th over: Ireland 9-0 (Stirling 8, Delany 1) Stirling squirts Mahmood to third man for a single, and then Delany clunks a pull that just clears Billings at midwicket. England have started superbly with the ball and could easily have picked up both openers already.
“Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “How good is it to have a game like this to follow, especially when you’ve been stuck at home all day while it chucks it down outside? Will be the same in Orkney I suppose – if you’re really there, that is? Maybe you’re having dinner with Keyser Soze? Anyway, long live cricket.”
I had dinner alone tonight, with Keyser Soze. Silencio. REDRUM.
3rd over: Ireland 7-0 (Stirling 7, Delany 0) Gareth Delany is beaten by a couple of deliveries from Willey, who then has an LBW appeal caught in the throat when his brain registers that there was an inside-edge. Delany has such an ugly batting stance. He has a very high backlift, which isn’t that unusual, but with the face of the bat pointing towards extra cover. I’ve never seen that before.
“French Wikipedia does not just confirm the Andre the Giant/Beckett lifts-to-school story,” says Robert Wilson, “but also adds – ‘Plus tard, quand Roussimoff raconta ses trajets passés avec Beckett, il révéla qu’ils discutaient rarement d’autre chose que de cricket’. (Later, Andre revealed that, on those car journeys, Beckett rarely talked about anything other than cricket.) It’s Beckettian in the sense that it’s a lot funnier and more charming than anything he ever actually wrote (that Wisden avg is INCREDIBLY low).”
2nd over: Ireland 7-0 (Stirling 7, Delany 0) If Ireland are to get close to victory, they probably need a Stirling special – 72 off 59 balls, that kind of thing. First he needs to lay a bat on Saqib Mahmood, whose first three deliveries go past the outside edge. Stirling mows the fifth over mid-on, an entirely disgusting but ultimately effective stroke that brings two runs.
“Hi Adam,” says Damian Clarke. “Today’s OBO has been a veritable m̶i̶n̶e̶f̶i̶e̶l̶d̶ goldmine of information. Not least that Andre The Giant was a wrestler. I’ve only ever known him as the rhyming giant from The Princess Bride. “You want a peanut?” Fabulous stuff.”
1st over: Ireland 5-0 (Stirling 5, Delany 0) David Willey will open the bowling. He averages 98 with the bat and 11 with the ball in this short series. And now he averages 12 with the ball, because Paul Stirling has crashed his third ball through the covers for four. That made the sweetest sound off the bat.
“I’m down a rabbit hole Adam,” writes Pete Salmon. “It’s this… Roussimoff (Andre the Giant) has been unofficially crowned “the greatest drunk on Earth”for once consuming 119 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) beers (in total, over 41 litres (72 imp pt)) in six hours. On an episode of WWE’s Legends of Wrestling, Mike Graham said Roussimoff once drank 156 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 ml) beers (over 73 litres (128 imp pt)) in one sitting. Another story also says prior to his famous WrestleMania III match, Roussimoff drank 14 bottles of wine. Sounds very Bay 13 circa 1975. Eskies. Whatever happened to eskies?”
Andre the Giant today, is it? There was a very good documentary on him on Sky Atlantic last year. I realise now I can’t remember a single thing about it, but it was very good. Or was it?
Eoin Morgan has a tight groin so he won’t be on the field for the Ireland innings. My colleague Moeen Ali will take over as captain.
A bit of dinnertime reading
Thanks Adam, evening everyone. England took a helluva scenic route, but they’ll be happy enough with that score. Ireland’s target is a sizeable 329. Imagine.
Did England do well there? I think they might’ve. Even though, at one stage, they were 190/3 in the 27th over with Morgan (106) and Banton (58) really motoring. That was when captain fell, prompting a collapse of 4/26. Enter Willey, who smacked a 40-ball half-century of his own. Curran’s composure with the tail then made sure it wouldn’t just be 300-odd but, rather, 329 that the visitors need to win. Thanks for your emails – the truth, the lies, Andre the Giant! Over to Rob for the chase. Bye!
ENGLAND ALL-OUT 328! (WICKET! Mahmood c Balbirnie b Little 12) Curran 38 not out.
Curran is shuffling across his stumps with Little trying to follow him. It works, the batsman can’t get his arms away, having to settle for a leg bye instead. Mahmood is the man on strike with two balls to go but he skies the first of those up to mid-off, Balbirnie ending the England innings with his safe pair of hands. England fall one ball short of batting through their overs, setting Ireland 329 to win.
DID TOM CURRAN GET AN EDGE ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE A SWING AND A MISS? No, he did not. DRS tells us so. The wide call is confirmed instead.
49th over: England 325-9 (Curran 36, Mahmood 12) Shot Tom Curran! It might have been a bit of a battle for him for his first 20 runs but he’s kicking on nicely now, leaping onto Young’s overpitched delivery and cracking it straight back past him for four. From there, three further singles putting the No9 back on strike for the 50th. These two have now put on 27 in 23 balls for the final wicket. Painful for Ireland.
48th over: England 318-9 (Curran 30, Mahmood 11) It’s not the plan for Mahmood to face five of the six balls in this Little over, but they still get four from it with Curran back on strike for the 49th. Not a bad result. Ireland will be rightly gutted if England end up adding 30-odd for the final wicket.
47th over: England 314-9 (Curran 29, Mahmood 8) Can Adair finish the job? Not with a slower ball sitting up like that, Curran picking it early and slamming it through midwicket for four. It’s not been a pretty innings for the England all-rounder (we’re calling Tom Curran an all-rounder, right?) but he’s still there and has three overs to push England up beyond 330-odd if they make it to the finish line.
46th over: England 306-9 (Curran 22, Mahmood 7) That’s a frustrating over for Ireland in the end, Mahmood’s inside edge spitting away for four to take the home side beyond 300. A more controlled stroke in that direction ends Little’s set, the young pair running hard and running well. Eight runs from it after the run out.
WICKET! Rashid run out [Tucker] 3 (England 298-9)
Yes, no, yes, gone! Curran tipped and ran, off his inside edge, giving the ‘keeper Tucker had enough time to gather and throw at his own stumps, hitting them direct. Rashid was well short. Ireland continue to scrap hard.
45th over: England 298-8 (Curran 21, Rashid 3) Curran has limped along since arriving, his 20 coming from 41 balls. Six runs are their lot off Young’s over here.
I now have various detailed emails about Andre the Giant and Samuel Beckett and I don’t know what to do. Well done, OBOers – we sure found our tangent.
44th over: England 292-8 (Curran 17, Rashid 2) A breakthrough and four runs from the Campher set, the big wicket of Willey drying up boundaries at the perfect time for Ireland. The all-rounder has finished his ten, taking 2/68 – Moeen and Willey.
Ian Forth is back in my inbox. “Now that you’re a parent, Adam, you will effortlessly accrue many more ‘hobbyhorses I’ve held for years’. These will include but will not be limited to your views on dishwashing stacking, the wisdom of having your lawnmower serviced, traffic cameras, innovations in the DRS referral system, and the relative benefits of an afternoon’s bird spotting compared to mindfulness exercises.” I’m also looking forward to the first time I can weigh into a silly argument by starting off with “Well, as a parent…” – a rite of passage.
WICKET! Willey c Balbirnie b Campher 51 (England 289-8)
Another important wicket for Campher. He nails his off-cutter slower ball, Willey through the shot too early, holing out to long-on. Taken well by Balbirnie, running back with the flight and looking into the sun. Can they finish them off in a hurry?
Willey to 50!
43rd over: England 288-7 (Willey 51, Curran 15) Willey gets there in style with the biggest six of the day! That’s a massive strike, down on one knee and launching McBrine at least 30 metres over the midwicket fence to raise his second ODI half-century. He reaches the mark in 38 deliveries, faultless throughout his stay so far.
42nd over: England 277-7 (Willey 44, Curran 14) Another front-foot no-ball, another free hit, another fantastic shot from Willey the ball out to the rope. Campher is the offender, backing up his foot fault with a top yorker, but Willey is good enough to time it out of the blockhole and in front of square for four. He’s playing a blinder.
“When Beckett moved to France he set about building a house,” The Squirell insists. “His neighbours helped him out and he returned the favour by driving their son to school. The son was too big for the school bus, but Beckett had purchased a large vehicle for his building project. The son was called André René Roussimoff, better known in later life as “André the Giant”. There. From cricket at Trinity via a Nobel Prize to the World Wrestling Federation.”
41st over: England 269-7 (Willey 38, Curran 13) Willey is making every moment count back in this team, bringing up the 50 partnership in 46 balls with a perfectly lofted pull shot, picking McBrine up and popping him over the rope at midwicket. Another double-digit over. Ireland have get the left-hander out. Go to CURTIS.
“Adam Giles (35th over) has given it the long handle and knocked it right over the sight screen,” says Rob Wilson. “The unlikely cricketer was indeed Gary Cooper. The dashingly handsome and sociable Cooper played a couple of games for that very team he cites. I took some pains to ensure it was ungoogleable, so Giles’ forensic deduction skills are impeccably top-drawer. Such a pity they’ll be lost to posterity when he inevitably dies a virgin.”
I’m merely the conduit at this stage of an eventful ODI innings.
40th over: England 259-7 (Willey 30, Curran 11) Curran is far from fluent, absorbing another couple of dots from the bowling of Adair. England reach 250 from the penultimate delivery, clipped by England for a couple, which is retrospectively called a no-ball by the TV umpire. As many of you would know, this has been my hobby horse for years and I’m so glad to see it in operation for this ODI Super League. Willey makes the very most of the free hit too, swinging over backward square with a hand off the bat but making the contact he needs for it to go all the way! Gosh, that hurts. From a tidy over to 13 from it – that’s a costly overstep.
You want cricket lies? Paul Haynes has a classic of the genre. “Isn’t the oddest ‘commonly held’ cricket lie (but reported in English newspaper, Pall Mall Gazette 15th January 1894) that 286 runs were scored off one ball (in a match between Western Australia and Victoria). Victoria batted, and the first ball was hit into a tree overhanging the boundary. Western Australia offered the six, and claimed a lost ball but as the umpires could see that the ball hadn’t crossed the boundary (and thus it wasn’t a lost ball) they turned down the appeal. Meanwhile the Victorian batsmen kept running for almost 6 kilometres. Except none of this really happened.”
39th over: England 246-7 (Willey 20, Curran 10) Shot, Dave. Up against McBrine from around the wicket, Willey dances while making room for himself outside the leg stump, swinging hard over midwicket for four. Curran is more orthodox in defence then fails to beat mid-on to finish, leaving him audibly frustrated.
“I know I’ve mentioned this before,” says Pete Salmon, “but it still wakes me up at night: Samuel Beckett lived in the same French village as the young Andre the Giant, and would occasionally drive him to school. For me this is the best fact in the history of cricket, wrestling and literature. And everything. The best fact in the history of everything. Prove me wrong!” Rob W, the floor is yours.
38th over: England 239-7 (Willey 14, Curran 9) Mark Adair has a shift to put in here, with six overs still to send down from his ten, most of those likely to be at the death. It’s a good over until he gives Curran a look at a slower ball, smashed straight back over his head for four. Seven off it. These two are played in now.
On telly, Andy Bradshaw endorses both Staged and The Detectorists. A note in also from OBO youngster Abhijato Sensarma. “Today, I spent most of my waking hours organising an event for my school (takes place tomorrow), understanding the nuances of excel sheets, refraining myself from getting into arguments with non-performing members, and turning in an unrelated assignment three minutes before the deadline. Took a peek at the score right now, and found it comforting that England will never change its unparalleled entertaining-yet-depressing ways!”
37th over: England 232-7 (Willey 12, Curran 5) Alright, maybe the Delany spell should come to an end now – did his job, tiring a bit now. He gives Curran a full toss – a very ropey full toss – which is given the treatment. Although, to be fair to the young leggie, his over ends with two dots. Okay, best give him another one.
36th over: England 225-7 (Willey 10, Curran 0) Just one from Young’s over. So, after returning to the attack, he has 1/1 from two overs to go with his removal of Roy in the first over of the afternoon and Vince by the end of the power play. Handy.
“Hi Adam.” Hi, Michael from New York. “Enjoying the OBO as we are waiting the arrival Tropical Storm Isaias. Much as I love Moeen, seems that he’s done as a batsman. Bowling seems a little soft too. Who comes in instead? Thanks again.”
He’s bowled well in the series so far but, as you say, he’s badly out of form with the blade. It’s a difficult question for Eoin Morgan to answer. He wants Moeen to be in his best team, there’s no doubting this. But he has dropped him before.
35th over: England 224-7 (Willey 9, Curran 0) Willey profits from a Delany full toss, breaking the shackles somewhat, but it’s all about wickets for the visitors right now. Whatever it takes to force errors, and Delany has been successful in doing that so far. Eight taken from his fifth over, he has 1/22. They have to keep pushing.
“In response to Mr. R. Wilson’s poser at the end of his correspondence (15:40),” writes Adam Giles, “I was intrigued. Had Mother Theresa indeed experienced the famous English pastime of coming in at 107/9 and having to duck and weave around some chin music? Was Baudelaire as flowing with the willow as he was with the pen? It was then I recalled that a certain Sir C A Smith had indeed made the unlikely move of swapping the sightscreen for the Silver Screen, and while an occupant of Hollywood, started up a small cricket club that he populated with fellow ex-pats. I also recall that the same Sir Smith also starred alongside Gary Cooper (and a few other members of his Hollywood CC) in the film “Lives of a Bengal Dancer” (as well as, IMDB tells me, a lesser known film called “Unconquered”). Could Mr. Wilson confirm that G. Cooper troubled the scorers at one point or another?”
34th over: England 216-7 (Willey 2, Curran 0) As Niall O’Brien notes on telly, it was Tom Curran who dug England out of a hole when they were wobbling at Malahide against Ireland last May. Nothing silly here, four dots to finish Young’s over, making another wicket maiden for Ireland; the second of this this productive period.
“Il Duce & the Sticky Wicket,” is Robbie Wilson’s essay/book title. “If they’d let him have a have dozen jammy long-hops, maybe history might have been different. Just like that other grumpy sod, Sammy ‘Giggles’ Beckett.” For the record, this email arrived before I published Ian Forth’s reflections on Beckett. I like the other of the other Samuel Beckett, from Quantum Leap, playing cricket in an episode. If only.
WICKET! Billings c Adair b Young 19 (England 216-7)
Billings goes too! Young is back and nabs the vital middle-order man with his second ball, miscuing a lofted drove to Adair at mid-on who completes a diving catch. Ireland have taken 4/26 and really opened up this game. Keep going!
33rd over: England 216-6 (Billings 19, Willey 2) Dangerous Delany’s turn again and he’s doing a top job at Willey, who can’t get him away however hard he tries. He shelves the muscular approach by the end of the over, playing him respectfully.
“Re Bobby Wilson’s post,” says Ian Forth, “one true celebrity and the only Nobel Prize winner to play first class cricket was Samuel Becket. Pivot alert, I once met Nobel Prize winner William Golding when he came to our college (where he was a student). The idea was for a collection of undergrads to read a piece from one of his novels and for him to comment. I read out a piece from The Inheritors and eagerly awaited his penetrating analysis. ‘I can’t remember writing that,’ he said. ‘So I don’t know what you want me to say about it.’ Bit disappointing.”
Samuel Beckett’s First Class career another regular OBO topic, too. Nice crossover.
32nd over: England 214-6 (Billings 18, Willey 1) Billings has played so well this week. Here he is, breaking up that bit of pressure England are under, with two fours in three balls. The second is a lovely cover drive, perfect to go to drinks on.
We have some TV recommendations. Andew Robinson pointing Richard O’Hagan in the direction of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, The Detectorists and Dix Pour Cent, which has “lots of famous French actors sending themselves up.”
31st over: England 206-6 (Billings 10, Willey 1) Blimey, forget what I said earlier about McBrine being Ireland’s primary spinner – Delany is seriously dangerous. Not a big turner of the ball but his pace and high point of delivery are making life difficult for everyone he bowls at – especially when landing his slider, as he does to Billings here. Not at all far away from another leg-before victim. Three of it.
30th over: England 203-6 (Billings 8, Willey 0) So, it’s the pair England were able to depend on in the Saturday chase, combining then for an unbeaten 79 after Campher and Little ran through the England middle order. The former has once again influenced the game, his dismissal of Moeen giving Ireland a real chance of bowling England out. To think, 20 minutes ago Morgan and Banton were blasting them everywhere. What a sport cricket is. And the all-rounder goes on to complete a fine over, a wicket maiden. Fantastic stuff. England, it’s your turn.
WICKET! Moeen Ali c Stirling b Campher 1 (England 203-6)
Three wickets in four overs! The first ball of Campher’s fresh over arrives with Moeen a fraction earlier than he thought, the leading edge spitting out to cover.
29th over: England 203-5 (Billings 8, Moeen Ali 1) Well played Tom Banton, coming in as he did after three early wickets, but his departure does open the door somewhat for Ireland. Sure, they’ve given up plenty of runs at a very good clip but they are a couple of wickets away from getting a look at England’s bowlers. Ooh, not far from a run out chance to finish, too. A little of pressure on Moeen, of course.
“Afternoon, Adam.” Hello, Digvijay Yadav. “When India tour Australia later this year, will we have separate bubbles for Tests and LOI teams with both playing on successive days like during this English summer?”
I don’t expect so given the schedule, but everything might be up in the air soon if the Melbourne situation doesn’t improve by the end of this lockdown period.
WICKET! Banton lbw b Delany 58 (England 202-5)
Delany gets Banton with a ripper! He’s trapped with a quicker slider that hits the right-hander on the line of the crease – that’s smashing leg-stump.
28th over: England 201-4 (Banton 58, Billings 7) With Morgan gone, my man Curt is back into the act from the Hotel End. Campher, with the ‘keeper back, gets a look at Billings who is off the mark with a couple behind square. They have to race back for the second, the third umpire called upon to make sure the Kent man is back in time – he is, easily. He doesn’t worry about running from the next offering, picking it up in front of the square – a lovely clipped boundary to bring up England’s 200.
27th over: England 193-4 (Banton 57, Billings 0) Billings, unbeaten in both chases this week, joins Banton. The latter keeps the board ticking after Morgan departs.
WICKET! Morgan c Tector b Little 106 (England 190-4)
You’re right, I shouldn’t have said it. Little goes fuller to Morgan who tries to wallop him anyway but the top edge is in the air long enough for Tector to take a good catch running in from the third man rope. The end of a quite outstanding innings.
26th over: England 189-3 (Morgan 106, Banton 53) Gareth Delany is on a hiding to nothing with his legbreaks here, isn’t he? He has no margin of error to Morgan, who sweeps him over square leg with a minimum of fuss for four more. Dare I think it, let along say it, but could this be a very big ton? A record-breaker? Let’s dream.
Eoin Morgan brings up his 14th ODI century!
25th over: England 182-3 (Morgan 101, Banton 51) SIX MORE for Morgan on the hook! Little is having no luck with this short strategy. Now the captain brings up his ton with a lovely straight drive, there in 78 balls. What a fine hand: four sixes and 14 balls. And remember, these two came together with the score 44/3. Excellent.
Banton to his first ODI 50!
24th over: England 171-3 (Morgan 91, Banton 50) Another big over for England and an important one for Banton too, bringing up his first one-day international half-century from 40 balls. He reaches the mark with a single off McBrine but to start the over he joined his captain in going big, dancing and slamming over long-on for SIX! Morgan makes it another double-digit over from the final ball, missing his sweep but the edge runs away for four anyway. They all count. He’s into the 90s.
23rd over: England 160-3 (Morgan 87, Banton 43) Well, that’s one way for Morgan to respond to whispers that he’s becoming vulnerable to short bowling. He’s hit that miles off Josh Little, hooking over the first bank of seating onto the concourse. His third six. What a striker of the ball he’s been over such a long period of time.
22nd over: England 147-3 (Morgan 80, Banton 39) Morgan 20 away from a ton now, bookending this McBrine over with two more boundaries. He’s lucky with the first, not getting all of it but still clearing long-on running in off the rope. The sweep to finish is pristine, though, straight into the gap at backward square. In the process, the 100 partnership was raised between this pair after coming together at 44/3.
“May I recommend the very excellent ‘Staged’ on the iPlayer?” You can, Richard O’Hagan. “David Tennant, Michael Sheen and their families going slowly up the walls during lockdown. One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time – and I’ve seen film of me batting.” Good enough for me, I’ll put it on later tonight. Cheers.
21st over: England 139-3 (Morgan 72, Banton 39) Banton back on it with back-to-back boundaries to complete Campher’s fifth over. The first stroke is another stand-and-deliver effort after coming down the track at the seamer, smashed through midwicket. Boy, can this lad hit a ball. Next, it’s a big top edge over the cordon, going within inches of clearing the rope. I’m doing him a disservice there – more an uppercut than an edge, the replay confirms. They’re really moroting now.
“Yo Ad.” My man, Bobby Wilson. “Nice Jerusalem piece (though I latched on thinking you’d be covering the Intifadas from a cricketing angle). Some actual reporting. Isn’t it bloody hard, actual reporting! Makes you miss the freewheeling sunny downlands of the opinion piece.” Tell me about it. Although, I think, the longer I’m in this caper, the more I enjoy the fact-finding side of it. Anyway, I’ll save that conversation for the next time we’re in the same pub. “The great neglected theme of OBO contributions is lies. We did a decent riff on spoof averages a while ago (obviously, as the possessor of no fewer than FOUR fake averages, I won). But the finest falsification is in making up random and unlikely celebrities and historical figures who have played cricket. You can convince almost anyone that Tom Cruise, Albert Einstein or Gary Cooper once played in a Californian scratch game. But if you can manage to credibly claim that Baudelaire, Eamon de Valera or Mother Theresa played some club cricket, you have got some serious game. I hate to boast but I can’t see anyone beating that bibulous night I genuinely persuaded a prominent English novelist that Benito Mussolini once played a Minor Counties game. Thing is…can you spot the one that’s true?”
Laughed out loud at Mussolini. Do you dare turn this into a fictional piece?
20th over: England 129-3 (Morgan 71, Banton 30) Banton’s turn to have a dip at McBrine, making room to pop him over mid-off for four. Lovely, modern batting.
19th over: England 123-3 (Morgan 70, Banton 25) Good recovery from Campher after copping some tap from his previous set; just four off the over this time around.
“Afternoon Adam.” G’day, Simon McMahon. “John Starbuck also forgot the weather, but I forgive him. It’s hosing it down here in Dundee, so I’ve cracked open the beer and snacks early while Mrs McMahon works from home upstairs. Like Denly in the Tests, I fear, like Ol’ Blue Eyes, that the end is near for poor Vince as far as international recognition is concerned. The Mark Ramprakash de nos jours? Anyway, I’m looking for TV comedy recommendations – everybody I know (ok, my neighbour) seems to be banging on about Schitt’s Creek – is it any good? With a title like that I’m not sure. Sounds like a documentary about English cricket in the 90s.”
We watched the first couple of eps and moved off it but I don’t know why, as it was pretty good. I’m staying with my partner’s parents this week as they don’t live a million miles away from the Rose Bowl. They steered me to an old but good cop show: Life on Mars. It does the trick. I’m legally bound, though, to direct you to the best show ever made, and nobody has heard of in England: The Americans. Once you fall in love with it, from season four on, listen to the weekly re-cap podcast I hosted for the final three years, The Rezidentura. You won’t regret investing in it.
18th over: England 119-3 (Morgan 69, Banton 22) Dropped catch! Andy Balbirnie did well to get his hands on Morgan’s miscued pull through midwicket but it is a missed chance all the same. A much better over from McBrine around the wicket. He has a lot of work to do in the middle overs here as Ireland’s only full-time spinner.