EletiofeEngland v Pakistan: second Test, day five – live!

England v Pakistan: second Test, day five – live!


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The umpires undertake a forlorn tramp around. We’ll get a verdict of some sort presently, and Athers notes that on such occasions, the match referee should speak to media, explaining what’s going on.

And while we’re here, here’s one more: whenever you grill meat – burgers, Porthmadog Meat sausages and the like – don’t tip away the juice, fridge or freeze it to toss in the next time you make stew or meat with sauce.

Please do send in your own.


However, I will never grasp why people use any chilli that isn’t a scotch bonnet, on which point a cooking, er “lifehack”: keep your peppers in the freezer so that when you chop them you’re not left with burning fingertips which lead to all sorts of hilarity when you take out a lens or visit the toilet.

“Spicy meats, eh?” emails Andrew Thomas. “You need to try Porthmadog Meats’ sausages. You have to sign a disclaimer when you buy them accepting all blame for injuries sustained during and following their consumption.

I hope my rabbi isn’t reading.

Spicy meat

Photograph: OBO

“The answer is simple,” says Em Jackson. “School sports hall and a game of Kwik Cricket. Run on every ball bowled, hit or not, a four for hitting the back wall along the floor, six for hitting the back wall in the air, batter out if caught in two hands, whole team out if caught in one (off the back wall only).”

I’d watch that, as I would corridor cricket.

Shane Warne, the most relentlessly positive man in the world, doesn’t think we’re getting any play today. Great stuff.

Thanks Pete Salmon for pointing that out. He also notes: “So the players will go into work today knowing there is no positive result possible, nothing they do will mean anything, and all their good work will prove utterly futile. Welcome to the real world chaps!”

Yes, although I trust all 22 players are committed nihilists.

Apparently my email was incorrectly entered at the top the the page. That’s been amended now, but to be clear, please get in touch via [email protected].

I’m fizz all day – no beer, no wine. Then as many spicy crisps as I can find, as much spicy meat as I can find, challah from Daniels in Temple Fortune (local knowledge, truss), Israeli hummus (none of that grainy, lemony, supermarket muck), sour sweets to make your mouth hurt and various meat in various pastry.

I’m seriously considering going downstairs and preparing myself a cricket picnic. How do you eat yours?

Sky show us footage of a lunatic downpour in the middle of the night, and that the outfield is extremely wet. No play before lunch and maybe no play beyond that, reckons Robkey Key, depending on whether the sun comes out.

“Or maybe they should call the Test off and decide to play some kind of single day game, a unique event,” responds Peter Brown.

That seems a better option, though again, I think the seriousness with which these sides compete would prevent that from happening.

“Wouldn’t it be great,” tweets Gary Naylor, “if Joe Root were to say, ‘It’s a summer like no other. Everyone has worked so hard to get this on, not least Pakistan. I’m declaring now and Azhar has agreed to set a target of 280 from as soon as possible after lunch. Let’s get it on!’”

It would, but elite-level sport isn’t like that, it’s about being a hard-nosed winner. If either side was 2-0 up, then perhaps, but with the series in the balance and Test championship points available, you need to be serious.

With nothing doing this Test, we also find ourselves looking forward to the next one. I’m sure England want to pick at least one of Archer and Wood, but who do they leave out given no one will be tired after five days doing not very much and the series on the line?

I suppose we have to talk about the rain and bad light situation. It wouldn’t have made any difference in this Test, but it is fair to start at 10.30 if time’s been lost out of the game; I don’t see much reason to oppose that. The light, though, is different because we need to be sure that the players are safe. It’s fine for Jimmy Anderson to talk about needing “leeway” – he knows a bit about cricket – but ultimately, we have a law specifically so that there is no “leeway”. “Leeway” is what will get people hurt.

Let’s look on the bright side: I cannot wait till England go to Pakistan. Mainly because it’ll be fun watching the struggle to pick a pace attack when you need at least two spinners, but the prospect of reverse-swing is also tantalising.

On the spinning point, I wonder if Root and Smith think Bess has the highest potential of the various options, though Leach was decent in Sri Lanka. Bess was pretty good in the first West Indies Test, and also offers the batting and fielding that Leach does not. If it’s close, which it is, then I can see why that might be the determining factor, even if someone better than both would be better.

Er, oh. I guess no chance of starting on time, and a good chance of no play this morning.

Will Macpherson

The scene on the final morning at the Ageas Bowl. Not raining but there were big storms overnight and another dump this morning. pic.twitter.com/GuA05xVsNe

August 17, 2020


Sometimes, the preambles just write themselves … and this time isn’t one of them. There’s so much to like about both these teams – even the cricket we’ve seen in this Test has been great – but unfortunately, it’s going nowhere.

A few years ago – OK, a lot of years ago – they played three-day games in the Britannic Assurance County Championship, which meant a lot of forfeited innings in pursuit of a result. But with England about to go dormie one, I can’t see Joe Root agreeing to that, however much we’d all enjoy watching Rory Burns and Dom Sibley commandeer a chase.

On which basis, I’m not sure what we’re going to see today. Usually, that’s one of the best things about sport, but on this occasion … it’s still one of the best things about sport. For as long as the weather holds, we’re going to enjoy the best thing that’s going on anywhere on this planet at this time, so it is incumbent upon us to wade right in.

Play: 11pm BST


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