EletiofeEngland v Pakistan: third Test, day one – live!

England v Pakistan: third Test, day one – live!


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46th over: England 150-4 (Crawley 78, Buttler 12) Shaheen replaces Mohammad Abbas at the whatever end this is. Crawley plays a confident back-foot drive for three, taking him past his previous highest score of 76. It’s one thing to find a high-class young batsman, quite another to discover one who can bat in the pivotal position of No3. It’s hard not to be excited about what Crawley might achieve in the next 10-15 years.

45th over: England 147-4 (Crawley 75, Buttler 12) “Top of the afternoon Rob,” says Alex Bramble. “I scoffed indignantly reading that of active ‘keepers only BJ Watling is averaging more than YJB, smugly assuming that QdK’s average would also be comfortably higher. The joy that is Stasguru reveals that it’s a tad tighter than I expected: his average is 39.12 but at an eye-catching strike rate of 70.95!”

All this makes you realise how utterly ludicrous Gilchrist was: average 47.60, s/r 81.95. At one stage, after four years and 47 matches as a Test cricketer, he averaged 60 with a strike rate of 84.

44th over: England 144-4 (Crawley 74, Buttler 10) Crawley edges Abbas well short of first slip, another demonstration of a pretty slow pitch. The ball bounces through for a single, and then Buttler waves a quite majestic off drive for four.

Abbas doesn’t take kindly to such effrontery and almost dismisses Buttler with each of the next two deliveries. The first wobbled past the edge, the second was pinged just short of midwicket. Super cricket.

43rd over: England 139-4 (Crawley 73, Buttler 6) A quiet over from Yasir to Buttler, just a couple from it. Yasir’s dismissal of Ollie Pope a few overs ago was quite delicious.

Thanks Adam, hello everyone. As a Kentish Man, I join you with busy tear ducts, because Zak Crawley is 27 runs away from a maiden Test century. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, I think it would – would, not will, you hear me Fate – be the first Test hundred by a Kent batsman since Robert Key made all

my dreams come true on 22 July 2004. If I close my eyes I can see and smell the old Guardian Unlimited offices in Ray Street: Georgina Turner opposite, Nick Harper at two o’clock, Sean Ingle to my right. We were only kids then.

Adam Collins

42nd over: England 137-4 (Crawley 73, Buttler 4) Abbas to Crawley, making him think about every delivery. Quality, probing seam. Crawley is up to the task when a rare bad ball does arrive, clipping through midwicket with superb timing. That moves him into the 70s as they head towards drinks. That’s my cue to hand over to Rob. Thanks for your company today, a lot of fun as always. If you aren’t completely sick of me yet, I’ll be on the Sky Cricket Debate after play this evening. Bye!

41st over: England 133-4 (Crawley 69, Buttler 4) Yasir gets another go at Crawley, who has played him so well today, and do so again here with a nice drive down the ground for one. Buttler’s turn and he’s off the mark in style, whacking him through midwicket for four. Yasir drags him forward to finish – that’s the length he needs.

I’m just about ready to pass over the baton to Rob at drinks, to the last word on weighted averages (is that what we’re calling it?) goes to the man who started this classic OBO discussion thread, Tim Bradley: “I was, of course, being slightly cheeky picking the example I did. Both Cook and Pietersen were great in their own way and both did very different jobs for the team. I thought Alistair Cook was wonderful, but if you had a team of Cooks, the spectators would be praying for bad light so they had something to get excited about. On the other hand, a team full of Pietersens might not have made it until lunch without falling out.” Well summed up.

40th over: England 128-4 (Crawley 68, Buttler 0) “You’ve got to play Yasir on the front foot,” insists Wasim Akram on telly when watching the Pope dismissal back. Positive captaincy from Azhar Ali to get Abbas straight back on after two quick wickets – he does his best work ripping through the middle order. He gets a one ball at the new man after Crawley inside edges out to fine leg. Buttler leaves.

With Buttler walking out at No6, a few quick emails replying to my earlier take…

“I thought the only proper side on Buttler was that he should be in for his batting, but his keeping is so bad he should take up leg spin.” That’s Bob O’Hara’s view. “We need a tricksy spinner so it’s either him or Jimmy, trying to extend his career.”

It’s best I don’t get too deeply into this again, it lands me in hot water!

“Hi again Adam.” And to you, Geoff Wignall. “I’m not quite clear on the law you mentioned, but if Buttler v Bairstow then Buttler; if Buttler v Foakes then both ( it might require a slight tweak to the playing regs, to make it a 12 a side game).”

One more on this from James Dark: “Bairstow’s batting average when keeping wicket is 38 despite his dip in runs over the past 2 years. Buttler’s is 28. Among current Test match keepers only Watling has a higher average than Bairstow. No one has a lower average than Buttler. That is all.”

WICKET! Pope b Yasir 127-4

Here comes Yasir! Pope is bowled through the gate, cramped on the crease without a lot of footwork. That’s the second time in a row the leggie has sorted him out. That’s a ripper of a delivery, jumping off the track with serious zip. Big moment!

39th over: England 127-4 (Crawley 67)

Pope, bowled by Yasir.

Pope, bowled by Yasir. Photograph: Getty Images


38th over: England 123-3 (Crawley 64, Pope 2) Ooh, that’s real pretty, Crawley standing tall and pushing Naseem down the ground; an on-drive for three. Pope is right on the top of his defensive posture before keeping the strike with a tuck.

“Another factor to throw into the mix of course is that for several years Cook was captain, which tends to shave points off the average,” Tom Booth wants thrown into the mix. “His average was actually higher while captain, but that might just be because those were his peak years, and his figures would have been even better had he remained in the ranks. Of course, putting aside spectacle for substance, I was never in any doubt about who the superior batsman was.” Speaking of which, see below. But as Nasser says on TV, there’s very little he could have done about that.


Joe Root in home Tests since the start of 2018:

18 matches

Ave 33.93

1×100, 7×50#ENGvPAK

August 21, 2020

37th over: England 119-3 (Crawley 61, Pope 1) Ooh, Rizwan is nearly in the game again when Pope goes dancing, just getting the outside portion of his blade to the ball after failing to get to the pitch of the legbreak. A top over, mixing up his pace and not giving the youngster a chance to settle having just walked to the middle.

36th over: England 119-3 (Crawley 61, Pope 1) Did anyone tell Zac Crawley that Naseem just picked up the skipper with an absolute beauty? What a glorious cover drive in response, crashing into the rope in a barely a heartbeat. He’s well, well on his way to a maiden Test ton here and I won’t hear anything about commentators curses or whatever – this kid is looking the goods. Back him in, I say.

England Cricket

August 21, 2020

WICKET! Root c Rizwan b Naseem 29 (England 114-3)

Outstanding cricket, Pakistan! A beauty from Naseem, forcing Root to play a delivery that tails away. It’s a healthy edge, forcing Rizwan to dive to his right, gloving the catch like it isn’t a thing at all. He’s a brilliant wicketkeeper.

Naseem celebrates taking Root.

Naseem celebrates taking Root. Photograph: Reuters


35th over: England 110-2 (Crawley 57, Root 25) Yasir is thrown the ball, so they’ve seen off Abbas for now. He’s attacking Crawley’s stumps as he did successfully against Sibley earlier but the No3 has quick hands and twice takes singles from straight deliveries. Root does as you would expect when on strike, twice picking out deep point for easy runs. Four from it, no risks – a healthy re-start against the leggie.

“Hi Adam.” G’day, Pete Salmon. “As someone who both opened the batting and played in the middle order for the Upwey under 16s in 1985, I feel I can give a unique insight into the problem. Opening I averaged 8.72, and in the middle order 10.33. I think the numbers speak for themselves.”

Great cricketing terrain! Not far from Glenn Maxwell’s home club at Belgrave South.

34th over: England 106-2 (Crawley 55, Root 23) Naseem to Root, the former now consistently getting it up at 90mph. He starts off by adopting Shaheen’s plan from before lunch by working on Root well outside the off stump before taking back to his stumps, the England captain up to the task. A maiden it is, his first of the day.

“Weighing back in on the discussion here and not wanting to sound boring,” says Will Lane, “but for a comparison between openers and middle order batsman you could look at balls faced+average for the former and strike rate + average for the latter? 100 balls and average of 40 for an opener is probably as good as S/R of 80 and an average of 45? Basically I have no idea of how you compare, I suppose we could just leave it at comparing batting averages but where’s the joy in that!”

John Starbuck on the Appeal-o-Meter: “The Local Magnitude Scale has replaced the Richter Scale, so we may as well use the latter for cricket since it’s now going spare.”

33rd over: England 106-2 (Crawley 55, Root 23) Crawley pushes Abbas to mid-on and they scamper through for one – good running is good batting. Root eases a single through midwicket later in the over. An important spell to see off, this.

“Hi Adam.” Hello, Geoff Wignall. “So if openers deserve a virtual bonus of a couple of runs on their average, how many should batsmen/ keepers get? Stewart’s record suggests about a dozen but Sangakkara’s more like 26 – so the answer is probably ‘some’. I haven’t checked (aka can’t be arsed to) the in-running comparative numbers for Buttler and Bairstow.”

If it helps me keep Buttler in the XI, then loads. Buttler’s Test spot has officially entered the Great Culture War of late, so we all need to take a side – it’s the law.

32nd over: England 104-2 (Crawley 54, Root 22) Naseem feeds Root, outside off and cut away without a bother at all. He’s into the 20s. Getting a go at Crawley for the first time in a while, he’s not far at all from clipping his outside edge with a delivery he had to play at. It’s the bounce that makes him such a dangerous customer.

31st over: England 98-2 (Crawley 53, Root 17) Ooh, Naseem didn’t get that last ball through to Rizwan but Abbas certainly is, his first delivery here going past Crawley’s edge and flying through off the seam. He’s such a wonderful bowler; I love that our game – at the very top level – still has space for cagey operators him.

“Hi Adam.” Afternoon, Paul Lakin. “Now that we have a top three who seem (Burns recent outings excepted) capable of sticking around for a bit, I wondered what the received wisdom is on what success looks like for an opener. (Actually, if anyone knows what success looks like in general, I’d be interested to know…). I’m not thinking about runs scored, but in their role of “seeing off the new ball”. How many overs have to be delivered before that’s been achieved? Presumably around 20?”

We had a look at this before lunch. I would argue, in England, if the team is getting to the 90-minute mark and Joe Root isn’t yet in at No4, you’ve done pretty well.

30th over: England 98-2 (Crawley 53, Root 17) Naseem to Root: edge, four. Soft hands again – England have scored consistetly behind point so far today. But Naseem won’t be too bothered given he beat Root twice in the over, once on the back foot and the other playing from the crease without much footwork. The second of those didn’t actually make it to the gloves of Rizwan. Interesting.

“Let’s be honest,” writes Tom V d Gucht, “we’re not qualified to hold debate regarding who’s better between Cook and KP. We really ought to Tweet it and @ in Piers Morgan, ideally directly from the Guardian’s account, asking where he stands on the debate. Anyhow, none of it matters as Ian Bell was the greatest batsmen of our generation.” Anyone else play the re-booted Morgan View from the Boundary on TMS during lockdown? From 2006. I didn’t want to listen but couldn’t turn it off.

29th over: England 94-2 (Crawley 53, Root 13) Speaking of positive, that’s Root to begin, on the advance to Abbas’ first ball, driving three past cover point. Crawley is more watchful after the re-start, defending respectfully. Nothing wrong with that.

“Adam the subject of loudness of appeals begs the question should there be a method of assessing the decibel level of any given Owzat, similar to the way earthquakes and tremors are given a numerical value?” Kim Thonger is in good form today. “I believe the Richter Scale is logarithmic and a similar approach could deal with the most extreme examples. I’d suggest we call it the Wicketr Scale but people may mistake us all for seismologists with speech impediments.”

Technique is as important as volume. Since Nathan Lyon stopped apologetically asking the question and went full Dennis Lillee, he’s ben far more successful.

The players are back on the field. Crawley struck a boundary to move to his half-century as the players went to lunch, so it is Root (10) on strike to Abbas. PLAY!

“If you are talking about the job of opening as worthy of a few more runs on the opener’s average, how does that compare to opening the bowling?” asks Paul Haynes. “Surely this is a zero-sum game, so it must be a little easier to get wickets first crack at the openers, often in optimal conditions (new ball, damp mornings, two fresh players on 0, and then often against a number 3 under immediate pressure) this is even before mentioning that opening bowlers are often brought back to finish the tail off. How many should be added to their average?”

“The Wisden article you mentioned earlier has this quote from Alec Stewart. It seems that there sometimes is an advantage to opening,” says Richard O’Hagan.

‘I was probably at a slight advantage opening the batting against them. They were hard to face with the new ball, but at least it was just conventional swing, and you could get yourself in by the time the ball started to reverse. I probably had 25 or 30 on the board by the time it started to go, whereas everyone else came in with the ball already reversing.’

I recall Bill Lawry’s view on this, which is, as an opening bat, you are on an even playing field with the bowler. A nice, positive attitude from the Phantom.

Ned Harrison

@collinsadam In the last 10 years, openers everywhere average 34.8. Number 3 averages 39.5, and numbers 4-5 41.1.

That seems like enough of a difference to say we should have lower expectations on openers’ averages. Especially if they can eat up some overs in getting 30-odd.

August 21, 2020

“Given the conditions I think England have had the best of it this morning,” says Charles Sheldrick, who keeps an eye on the weather radar for us on the OBO. “More play that I expected, how is the weather looking for the afternoon.” Don’t jinx it!

“Hi there.” Hello, Nabeel Younas. “Regarding the Yasir lbw shout, he and the Pakistan players went up in an almighty appeal, almost pleading with the umpire to give the wicket. Shouldn’t an lbw shout be given (or not) merely on the merit of the ball, as opposed to how loud or animated the appeal is? Sometimes it’s said that a quiet appeal indicates it’s less likely to be out. Surely a simple, quiet “how is that umpire” should suffice as an appeal…”

Of course, but there’s something about the theatre of the appeal, isn’t there? Also, if spinners appeal too often, it can work against them too – many well-documented instances of umpires putting their fingers away out of frustration.

“Comparison is difficult,” says Sean Cunningham, “apple and oranges you might say. “How many times did Piertersen come in with the direction to score fast or get out trying, how many times did Cook score at less than one an over to see off the new ball, how many………. never mind of course Cook was a better batsman!”

Good point players down the list being asked to give it a whack. On the other hand, cheap third-innings declaration runs inflate those numbers when it suits.

“Afternoon Adam.” And to you, Kim Thonger. “I’m enjoying the debate about batting averages and how they relate to position in the batting order. I’m fairly confident an algorithm can be designed to produce a ‘Weighted Average Numeric Kinetic Entry Ratio’ and I wonder if any OBOers might be able to think of a suitable acronym as it’s a bit of a mouthful?”

Very good, Kim.

“I’m not sure that life as an opener is much harder than it the middle order,” adds Steve Hudson. “Although it does have different challenges. Openers face a new ball and fresh bowlers, but on the other hand they have more time to play at their own pace, whereas the middle order will often be expected to impose themselves on the game, and will generally be more likely to bat later in the game when the pitch has deteriorated. The fact that for both openers and middle order batsmen, an average of 50 means a world class player shows that they similarly difficult.”

News from Australia: Cameron White has retired from all cricket. A fine player.

Jarrod Kimber

Cameron White was a great cricketer for Victoria. An influence almost as big as his shoulders.

He was still a kid when they became the bushrangers, and played long enough to see the name shelved. Hope he gets into coaching, think he’ll be an interesting thinker on the game.

August 21, 2020

“I reckon there’s swings and roundabouts at play here,” writes Tom Brain in reply to Tim Bradley’s question. “Opening is undoubtedly difficult because the new ball tends to swing more, but it also tends to come off the bat quicker and the fields tend to be more attacking so there are more opportunities to score off the bad balls (and the edges) when they come. Also, the first twenty overs of an innings (at least in England) tend to be the preserve of the seamers so the openers are arguably facing less variety in the bowling than middle order players, who will often face spin from one end at the start of their innings, and when they do face spin the opening batsman will already have his eye in. All of which is to say, I don’t think it’s as simple as adding a run premium to an opener’s career average to get a ‘fair’ comparison.” You’re probably right – pretty reductive. Fun, though!

“Another vanity review from an England opener,” says Graham Samuel-Gibbon of Sibley’s demise. “Is it just me, or is this becoming and increasing trend, just as Stuart Broad seems to have grown out of his grumpy auto-reviews?”

It’s the third review – I’m sure of it. A lot of good has come of how we’ve been forced to think about the game during the biobubble, but let’s junk this ASAP.

Oh, and if looking for some lunchtime listening as we wait for the players to return:

Adam Collins

New Final Word! #Dhoni with Bharat, sensible (?) chat on bad light and an achievement unlocked for my baby girl. Also, a trip back to 1894. Swing by – 🎧 https://t.co/eZ3JL3nRSs pic.twitter.com/Q51ekUyWFK

August 19, 2020

England’s session. Two wickets before lunch is better than the going rate in this country against the Dukes ball. Sure, Burns will be disappointed to fall in the cordon again and Sibley was going well when trapped half an hour before the interval, but Crawley made sure the hosts would walk off the happier of the two teams. He’s batted quite wonderfully, out of the blocks in a hurry, racing to 45 from 45 balls. That it took him a subsequent 35 deliveries to make his next eight runs matters little – he’s still there and well placed to now enjoy the best of the day after lunch. Speaking of, I’m going to grab something to eat, back with you shortly.

England Cricket

A gorgeous shot to bring up your half-century on the last ball before lunch! 👏

Scorecard/Videos: https://t.co/JVsNai1pz8#ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/NEEKpSDqFW

August 21, 2020

LUNCH: England 91-2

28th over: England 91-2 (Crawley 53, Root 10) Fine bowling, Shaheen going past Crawley’s edge for a second time, on this occasion probing at a ball closer to his stumps. Three to go to get to the break. He leaves the first. Will the left-armer being one back at the stumps or stay the course with the final two balls? It’s the latter; another on the fifth stump line. Last ball of the session, extra cover moving into third slip. Will he have a pop? He does, and does so beautifully, Crawley driving expertly through extra cover to bring up his half-century then walking off for lunch. He offers a smile when greeting his skipper, to the mark in 80 balls.

Crawley brings up his half-century.

Crawley brings up his half-century. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/PA


27th over: England 87-2 (Crawley 49, Root 10) England’s first runs for 22 deliveries, Root working Yasir’s final ball behind square for a couple. Another good over from the spinner, who has bounced back admirably after battling across four expensive overs at the start of his spell. Back to Shaheen v Crawley to finish the session.

“Opening is the hardest job (along with three) in all nations and in England it’s particularly hard,” tweets James Austin in response to Tim Bradley’s poser. “Worth two extra on the average in all conditions and probably five in Eng. So Cook’s ‘real’ average, given he played half his games abroad, is about 48.5 rather than 45?”

26th over: England 85-2 (Crawley 49, Root 8) Fantastic discipline from both young men, Shaheen continuing to angle across Crawley, the No3 – one short of his half-century – content leaving him alone. Ah! But there’s the win for Shaheen, Crawley throwing the kitchen sink at a drive, his edge beaten. He’s back to leaving the final ball, right over the top of his off-stump. Quality Test cricket; back to back maidens.

25th over: England 85-2 (Crawley 49, Root 8) Yasir keeps Root quiet for the first maiden of the morning. That in itself tells a story about Pakistan’s opening session.

“Getting real Micheal Vaughan vibes from Zak Crawley,” Gareth Wilson tweets to me, “He looks a player, doesn’t he? Here to stay.”

I can definitely see that. The other similarity is how he was selected with modest First Class numbers, backed on talent and given a chance rather than worrying too much about what happens with him at Kent. As with all things cricket (before I’m yelled at for diminishing the county championship – I’m not!), there needs to be a balance between these approaches, and that’s why we have selectors.

24th over: England 85-2 (Crawley 49, Root 8) Shaheen is brought back into the attack, this time with the wind. He finds his channel right away at Crawley, angling across the young gun, who has the patience to shoulder arms throughout. Love it.

It is widely accepted that opening the batting is difficult and particularly so in England,” begins Tim Bradley. “Openers from all three teams have struggled at times this summer. With that in mind, how many runs should be added to the average of an opening batter to make a fair comparison to a middle order player? To choose a totally random and non-controversial example, Alistair Cook averaged around 45 over the course of his England career, whereas Kevin Pietersen was around 47. However, Cook opened the batting for his entire time, whilst Pietersen got his runs coming in at 4 or 5. Does this mean Cook is actually better?”

Rarely have I seen a topic so well suited to an OBO debate. Give it your best!

23rd over: England 84-2 (Crawley 49, Root 7) Crawley takes one to cover early in the over, Root does likewise to finish and retain the strike. Four overs until sandwiches.

22nd over: England 82-2 (Crawley 48, Root 6) Root’s busy, pushing Naseem for a couple into the gap at cover. The young quick bounces back with one that takes off, not too dissimilar to the delivery that sorted out Pope at Manchester a couple of weeks ago. A lot to like here. He finds a genuine edge later in the over off the England captain but it doesn’t make it to the catcher at third slip.

“With Sibley gone, we’re still waiting for an opener to make it to three centuries this century.” A niche one from Tom V d Gucht, but I like it. “Outside of the big guns, Vaughan, Trescothick, Strauss, Cook etc) have any openers managed it? There’s been loads of players tried and jettisoned with one century to their name: Robson, Lyth etc. Some who managed none, like Roy, and some who managed two like Compton and Jennings. But I can’t think of any players who managed three. Will Sibley and / or Burns manage to buck this trend?”

Root pushes for two.

Root pushes for two. Photograph: Reuters


21st over: England 78-2 (Crawley 47, Root 3) Yasir has found his length to Crawley, making him come forward rather than letting him step back and dictate terms. In turn, just a couple of singles down to long-off. He’ll be fine with that.

“Is it ever worth reviewing one of this guy’s decisions?” Richard O’Hagan says of Michael Gough. “Can anyone recall him having one overturned?”

In his first this this summer, at Old Trafford when England were playing the West Indies, an amazing stat flashed up that the previous time he had a decision overturned was in 2016. So, on that basis, your rule of thumb is sound.

“Wondering at what point in his innings you think Sibley has ‘done his job’?” asks William Lane. “It feels as though the general feeling among OBOers is that his job is to soak up deliveries, which is (delete as appropriate) as important/almost as important/more important than scoring big runs. He’s not going to score 100 off 400 balls every innings obviously, so is a Sibley innings a success if he makes it through the first session and gets in to the 20s?”

In England, the toughest place in the world to open the innings (getting tougher by the year), getting through 90 minutes on morning one probably does tick that box?

This jumped out at me on twitter. One for the lunch break from Wisden Towers.

Phil Walker

92 was the year I got what cricket could be: wild, naughty, a bit dark, chaotically unpredictable and full of tetchy lunatics locked in a kind of weirdly poisonous intimacy. And Gower never played again, but I’m working through it#ENGvPAKhttps://t.co/jxyHaGnGM6

August 21, 2020

20th over: England 76-2 (Crawley 46, Root 2) Ooh, that’s more like it! With a wicket up the other end, the young man Naseem is getting some serious zip, Crawley’s outside edge beating for the first time. Athers notes on the telly that the sawdust, brought out in the middle of the over, is actually popped into the marks made by Abbas earlier in the morning so Naseem’s feet are missing it. Cricket, I love it.

“Morning Adam.” Afternoon, Doug Roberts. “I’m sure I’m not the only one delighted to see the return of the traditional boundary rope. Those triangular advertising covers are one of my cricketing pet hates. They make the boundary look like a children’s play area. How do we go about having them banned permanently?”

Without being too cynical, surely the reason the ropes are naked again is because the ECB don’t have a sponsor for the boundary in this series. The triangles will return when advertising budgets get back to normal over the next summer or two.

19th over: England 74-2 (Crawley 45, Root 1) Michael Holding is into the commentary box, good timing given how he detests how batsmen are treated by DRS – will he fire up? Meanwhile, Root is off the mark first ball, punching out to cover. A lot of love for Michael Gough from both Mikey and Athers given his remarkable record at getting decisions correct on the field. He’s in great form.

“I think the reason for minimum over rates is sporting rather than commercial/viewer led,” says Hugh Molloy. “It attempts to stop teams being able to slow play down to gain an advantage in certain circumstances, ie play for a draw.

I’d just add 5 runs on as extras for every over that’s not played in an hour and still try and play the over in the days play. That would stop it.”

It’s interesting that the problem doesn’t really persist in short-form cricket anymore due to these type of penalities. Might work. The captain can no longer be suspended after Jason Holder had to miss a Test against England last year.

England Cricket

Pakistan take their second wicket to break a good partnership between Sibley and Crawley.

Scorecard & Clips: https://t.co/JVsNai1pz8#ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/6uuu2kV94l

August 21, 2020

WICKET! Sibley lbw b Yasir 22 (England 73-2)

What a brilliant decision, giving Sibley out on the field despite the fact that he was down the track by a yard when contact was made. But ball-tracking showed it was the delivery spinning straight on, crashing into off-stump. Pakistan needed that.

Yasir successfully appeals for the wicket of Sibley.

Yasir successfully appeals for the wicket of Sibley. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AFP/Getty Images


IS SIBLEY LBW TO YASIR? The leggie has won an affirmative decision from Michael Gough! The opener sends it upstairs for a second look. Stand by.

18th over: England 73-1 (Sibley 22, Crawley 45) Zac Crawley is batting beautifully here, into the 40s with a lovely steer through third man then hammering Naseem through midwicket with a cracking pull-shot. He had to adjust in his stance with the delivery not getting up as high as he would have anticipated but adjust he did, timing the pants off it. He’s rocking along at a run a ball, doing everything right.

“As far as I can remember,” reports Steve Hudson, “the 8 ball over was always uncommon – used only in Australia and I think for a while in the subcontinent. So when in the late 70s they were trying to standardise the playing conditions, it seemed best to move to 6 ball overs. And that had additional merit in that 8 balls for a fast bowler, in hot conditions, is a very hard task.” Thanks!

17th over: England 65-1 (Sibley 22, Crawley 37) As Andrew Strauss notes on telly, this is a great time to face a leggie before there are any footmarks with the wind blowing a gale. One, two, three singles are plucked off here; Yasir has given up 21 runs in four overs so far. Crawley is looking to leave an early mark on the spinner.

16th over: England 62-1 (Sibley 21, Crawley 35) Free runs for Crawley, helping a ropey legside delivery from Naseem down to the rope. He’s already into the 30s – fine batting. Three more runs later in the over when driving past mid-off. The pressure is already transferred back onto Azhar Ali and the Pakistan bowlers.

“It’s excellent parenting,” agrees Damien Clarke on my… pinching my daughter’s food while she sits with me OBOing? It doesn’t sound like good parenting now I am summing it up like this. Back to Damian: “A good example of letting the offspring know that what she’s eating is good. Bad parenting was probably sending my kids to fetch my beer from the fridge as soon as they could reach the handle.”

15th over: England 55-1 (Sibley 21, Crawley 28) Sibley moves into the 20s with a tuck through midwicket when Yasir is too full, turning him around the corner for a couple more to finish. Between times, the young pair exchanged singles on the posh side. This stand is showing the early signs of an important day for both players.

“Hi Adam.” Toby Blake, yo. “Am I the only person that doesn’t particularly care about over rates? It really seems to enrage some people, but I don’t feel particularly short-changed if I miss out on 6 or 12 balls in an hour. It’s the quality that counts – in the same way that a good 35 minute album is better than a padded 60 minute one. And don’t get me started on 3 hour films either. One of the joys of test cricket is the gaps, allowing my limited mind to wander aimlessly.”

You’re definitely not the only one to put this view – a number of my colleagues from the CricViz factory push it on twitter whenever the debate flares up. But the simple way I see it is they can get the job done in First Class cricket (I’ve seldom seen a day where they don’t get the overs in), so it should be done at Test level as well.

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